Cunard Queens: Elizabeth 2, Mary 2 and Victoria in Southampton


Cunard is having a sale, which always makes news, and there are two ways to look at this one…

One, royalty's cruise line is so happy about The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations that this week it's almost giving away (relatively speaking) passage on one of its ships — Queen Mary 2.

Or two, Cunard is really feeling the pinch that is running rampant among cruise lines in Europe this summer and has to offer deep discounts to try filling its ships.

Deep discounts?

You can take the Queen Mary 2 from Southampton to New York on one of its sailings every month for the rest of the year for $795. In a "premium balcony" room. Regular price: $1,995. Going the other way on the Queen Mary, New York to Southampton, the premium balcony deal is not quite as good…just a $700 discount. However, you can double the discount by booking the Queen's Suite, for $3,395 (regularly $4,780).

Tomorrow is the height of the Diamond Jubilee Sale, which began Friday and runs — like the Queen Mary 2 cruises — for seven days. It's also the height of Cunard's role in The Queen's big week.

Mary and her floating sisters will sail up Southampton Water at daylight (this evening, our time) and tie up at Cunard's berths, the decks of all three ships — Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria being the others — lined with crew members dressed in their finest. Tomorrow evening, the ships will snuggle together (as much as cruise ships can snuggle) and light up the sky with fireworks before departing the next day on their "Jubilee Journeys" with Queen Mary 2 in the lead.

Cunard has enjoyed a 74-year relationship with The Queen and is the only cruise line to have this unique relationship with the Royal Family — Queen Elizabeth II has attended the naming of all three ships that have borne her title, in 1938, 1969 and 2010. Tomorrow's event is being billed as the Royal Rendezvous, the first time the three ships have been together in their maternal home, Southampton.

Carnival Conquest
7 nights
September 16, 2012
New Orleans (return): Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $479
Cost per day: $68

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