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Lest We Forget The Lusitania

Today is the day to remember the Lusitania.

Lusitania?

If there hadn’t been a Titanic, you’d know all about the Lusitania. It sank 100 years ago today, courtesy of a torpedo, and if the Titanic had missed that iceberg three years earlier, Lusitania would have been the word by which all cruise-ship disasters at sea would be measured.

There’s surely nobody left old enough to remember the Lusitania’s demise.

Cunard, at 175, is…and with good reason. The Lusitania was the first of 22 Cunard ships that were sunk during World War I, by then just a year old. Today, 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in Ireland, near Cobh, Cunard’s Queen Victoria will hover over the Lusitaniaapproximate spot where the Lusitania went down. There will be floral tributes. Its whistles will sound. Chances are the Queen Victoria will linger for 18 minutes, because that’s how long it took for the old ship to disappear into the depths at 10 minutes past two that afternoon.

At the time, it was apparently the most famous ship in the world, heading from Liverpool to New York. Along with sister ship Mauritania, this was the first of what were called “floating palaces.” Many of the passengers were from the Liverpool area, Cunard’s original home. A church service and minute of silence were planned, along with a walk past the Lusitania’s propeller.

On the Queen Mary, in the midst of a 7-day memorial cruise, there is a Lusitania exhibition, assembled by Eric Sauder, who has dived onto the wreck and who was once a tour guide on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Sauder has written two books on the ship, the release of the second to coincide with today’s anniversary.

David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line, provided some context for the ship: “Her story was also one of triumph in the technical achievement of her construction and her glittering career from 1907 until the outbreak of war.”

That career began five years before the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage in April 1912. Cobh was the last port before both ships crossed the ocean on the trip to New York. On the Titanic, 1,517 people perished. On the Lusitania, 1,190 perished.

But the Titanic was first. As such, its name is forever memorialized and Lusitania’s is not. She is remembered only on anniversaries like today.

In the news…

• Carnival's brands donate $200,000 to Nepal earthquake relief
• All-inclusive suite class coming to Royal Caribbean in 2016 [Travel Weekly]
• Freestyle Choice freebies for Norwegian cruisers who book this month
• Mexico building a cruise home port southwest of Phoenix [Arizona Republic]

Today at portsandbows.com: Flight deals to get to Silver Galapagos

Norwegian Jade
7 nights
June 6, 2015
Venice (return): Dubrovnik, Athens, Ephesus, Split
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92
www.ncl.com

Royal Baby Royal Treat For Cunard

 

Ah yes, the Royal Baby. She arrived on the weekend, in case you haven’t heard. Her birth was on the very day that Britain’s three queens of sailing — Victoria, Mary 2, Elizabeth — were launching another celebration: 175 years of Cunard.

The connection was not lost on Cunard.

When the news broke, thee three ships of royal lineage were all in British waters and in unison sounded their whistles three times. The significance of three comes from the “time-honored Magpie rhyme”…

“One for sorrow,
“Two for joy,
“Three for a girl…”

When Royal Baby Girl’s brother George was born two years ago, the three queens must have had scheduling problems because they didn’t blast “four for a boy” in unison. Or at least they weren’t close enough to be in tune.

This time, the timing was ideal.

The cruise line Samuel Cunard founded in 1840 planned this weekend retreat for its three ships long before England’s most famous mother of two even knew her Royal Daughter was on the way. So call it coincidence, luck or celestial intervention…but the perfect little one arrived on the perfect big weekend, when ships named after her ancestors — including her great-grandmother — were within driving distance.

Cunard’s anniversary year was kicked off at the home port, Southampton. Sunday’s royal procession was delayed until Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Anthem of the Seas, had left on its inaugural voyage. The three ships later broke formation on cruises to Hamburg (Queen Elizabeth), Guernsey (Queen Victoria) and New York (Queen Mary 2).

They’ll get together again later this month to take the River Mersey to Liverpool, Cunard’s ancestral home, for an event that’s expected to be watched by a million people on the shoreline.

In the meantime, like everyone else, Cunard’s people are waiting to hear the new queen-to-be’s name…

Elizabeth? Victoria? Mary?

Now that would be TOO much!

In the news…

• Balconies for the price of oceanviews on Anthem of the Seas
• $20 million loan to make Alaska's Icy Straight Point better port by fall
• Silver Whisper fails CDC health inspection with unsatisfactrory score of 82

Today at portsandbows.com: Star Wars to be a hit for Disney

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
12 nights
May 28, 2015
Barcelona (return): Nice, Florence, Rome, Salerno, Venice, Ravenna, Kotor
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $58
www.royalcaribbean.com

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