Queen Anne Day 32

Written by Safarigal
June 4, 2024


June 3rd, 2024

Today’s the day! The day we have all been waiting for. Queen Anne’s naming. What will the day bring?

Queen Anne was escorted by water spraying fire boats as she glided up the Mersey in the early morning hours. It was certainly lovely to look out at the three graces, the Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building, from our balcony as we maneuvered on the River Mersey to dock at the cruise terminal.

There was already quite a crowd on the waterfront, it looked like there was going to be quite a strong turnout for the naming ceremony.

As I watched us docking, I could hear our neighbor on his balcony, with a very BBC sounding voice from the olden days, giving what sounded like his report on the plans for the naming ceremony.

Now I had been wondering how they were going to do the “bottle smash” when the ship was going to be out in the middle of the Mersey. My neighbor explained the his dear listeners that a wire pulley had been set up above the bridge, and the champagne bottle had been attached to it. At the appointed time, the bottle would be released, and would travel down to the front of the ship and collide with a board placed there. The bottle would be smashed to smithereens, but all of the glass and champagne would remain on the ship, and not be an environmental disaster for the River Mersey. He then signed off from BBC Radio Merseyside.  I just knew he had to be from the BBC.

So that explains how they are going to break the bottle of champagne.

I went up to the Commodore Club to see if I could see the bottle. There was no bottle, but the launch system was in place, as was the board at the front of the ship. What a great idea. But how would the Godparent on the shore cause the bottle to be released? Like the revelation as to who the Godparent would be, we would just have to wait.

I had planned to meet a school friend in front of the Royal Liver building at 9:15. After making the arrangement I was concerned that there would be queues of people also trying to get off when they allowed passengers off at 9:00, but it turned out there was no one else waiting to go ashore, and I was able to go straight off the ship.

There were new flowers in the lobby, and a cake. I wonder if we will be to have a slice of the cake later.

I had made a reservation for breakfast at a restaurant close to Liverpool Pier Head. After I made the reservation I read the reviews on TripAdvisor. They were terrible, lots of 1 star reviews. I regretted my decision, but then thought, how bad can it be?

It turned out to be absolutely wonderful, I would give it a 5 star review. Great atmosphere, delicious food, a very efficient and charming waitress. It just goes to show, it’s hard to trust reviews. They are all so individual. Anyone can have a bad day. I suppose it’s just like ship reviews. I have seen some really awful reviews of Queen Anne, and have wondered if they have ever actually been on the ship. I have also seen some glowing ones, and have wondered if we are on the same ship. There are good things and bad things about Queen Anne, but I personally am having a really great time. Good food, infinity edged hot tubs, and a red funnel with a loud whistle do it for me. She checks all of those boxes.

After breakfast my friend and I walked back to the waterfront where the crowds were building. There was a definite sense of excitement in the air as the food trucks and street vendors arrived.

Neither of us had ever been on the Ferris wheel, so today seemed to be the right day to give it a whirl.

When I asked for 2 tickets for seniors, the sales lady pointed out to me that you had to be over 65 to get the senior rate. Well we are both well over 65, so it was pleasant to hear that! We negotiated student rate tickets from her, and off we went.

We were the only people on the Ferris wheel (very odd as the waterfront was crowded) so the operator agreed to stop the wheel when we were at the top so we could enjoy the view from the top for a little while longer.

We had a great view over the Albert Docks and Pier Head.

The Anglican Cathedral stood out at the top of the hill. I have such great memories of the wonderful concert there on the 4th of July 2015. It would have been amazing to have a similar concert there today. It was a real acknowledgement of Cunard’s wonderful history. And we got to sing Jerusalem.

The Catholic Cathedral was hidden by cranes unfortunately.

And the murky Mersey River flowed by us.

After our rejuvenating Ferris wheel ride we walked back to Pier Head.

Everything was set up and ready for this afternoon.

We watched the rehearsals on the big screen. One of the hosts,  Emma Willis, mentioned “the 5 Liverpool icons” – we wondered what that was all about. What did these icons have to do with anything, and why were they listed as icon 1,2,3,4 and 5. Very mysterious. I hoped that the icons weren’t the Godparents, but that was unlikely because Cunard had said there would be a Godparent singular, not plural. No hints as to the Godparent however. There was still hope for Princess Anne.

Then they rehearsed the national anthem. A young guitarist started to play a solo. We both looked in horror at each other. It was a rather screechy noise. Now I know Brian May has done similar things, but somehow he sounded good. No doubt the guitarist is a very talented young man, but it was just not to our taste. We sighed, despite that fact that we look younger than 65, we really are fuddy duddies, oh no, we are sounding just like our parents.

On that note I returned to the ship, and my friend headed back across the Mersey to her dental appointment.

I had meant to pick up the lanyard and wrist band to get into the passenger area for the naming ceremony and then go ashore again to say hi to friends who were at my favourite Liverpool hangout, Matou.

I made the mistake of opening up my computer to check emails, and all of a sudden it was 2:30 and time to get off the ship as she was going to move out into the Mersey for the naming ceremony.

When I passed the area where the passengers could watch the naming ceremony I saw that it was already filling up, so I decided to go in, and alas didn’t meet up with the group at Matou 

Everyone who had got off the ship seemed to have headed straight to the designated viewing area, and it was filling up fast. I was not looking forward to standing around waiting for the festivities to start at 4:00, but I wasn’t sure there was much of an option. Luckily I found a stone wall on the river side of the enclosure and I could sit there. Not the best place to view the proceedings, but at least I could sit.

I took my novel out of my bag and settled down to read. There was still no word of who Queen Anne’s Godparent would be, but clearly it wasn’t Princess Anne, or any other Royal for that matter. There were security guards standing around directing people, but no police presence or any signs of real security. Hmmmm, so who could it be?

We watched as Queen Anne repositioned herself in the Mersey.

Finally we were getting closer to 4:00 PM which was good. Loud music was blasting out of the nearby speakers, to get everyone into the mood.

Local DJ Lauren Lo Sung kept the beat going by playing what sounded like techno music. Not my favorite, but the crowd seemed to be enjoying it.

Then the naming ceremony started, hosted by TV presenter Emma Willis and her musician husband, Matt.

The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra arrived, and they provided music for the dance presentation from the students at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, a performing arts higher education institution which was founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty.

It was difficult to see the dancers from where I was standing, but they seemed to have a high level of energy, and the crowd loved it.

Captain Inger Thorhauge and Katie McAllister, the current president of Cunard were introduced and they both gave speeches.

Then I got to learn who the 5 icons were. They are 5 distinguished women, who according to Cunard, embody the heart and future of Liverpool, just as Queen Anne does for Cunard, and have been chosen for their significant contributions to culture at a local, national or international level.

They are all proud Liverpudlians. The icons are: Spice Girl Melanie C, broadcaster and community leader Ngunan Adamu, local restaurant entrepreneur Natalie Haywood, Liverpool music and cultural legend Jayne Casey, and British Olympian heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Emma described them as bringing together culture, creativity, and innovation. Each icon will be awarded with a grant to invest in a local charity organization of their choice.

I thought this was lovely, but I wished they would stop using the term icon. These women certainly meet the definition of an icon as a person widely admired especially for having great influence or significance in a particular sphere. However, I kept on thinking of computer and religious icons. It spoiled the moment for me. I was at a loss to come up with another term, so I decided I had to just put up with it, and concentrate on what was going on.

I might have had my head full of various icons, or maybe I was just so stunned by the announcement, but I can’t exactly remember when in the proceedings, the Godparent was announced.

I knew she wouldn’t be a royal, or major celebrity, by the lack of security, but I never imagined that she wouldn’t be a person, but she would be a city.

Liverpool????????? The silence in the passenger dedicated viewing area was palpable. There was a  look of disbelief on everyone’s face. However, the crowd behind us was cheering, clearly a positive choice for the people of Liverpool.

Being a well trained group of passengers we all started clapping and cheering too. Yes, we were disappointed, but the choice had not been up to us. It is what it is, and we were happy for Liverpool. However, it did still seem to be rather odd.

A bottle of champagne, similar to the one that will be used when she is named, was brought on to the stage for all to see

I had suspected that the reason for the old ship’s telegraph to be on the stage was that it contained the lever that would be pulled to start the bottle of champagne on it’s zip line course to be smashed. Yes indeed it did.

The lever was pulled by the icons, and they named  the ship. In the distance we could see the bottle zipping down the wire and hitting the board. There was a splash of fluid from the front of the ship. Yay! Unlike at the naming ceremony for Queen Victoria the bottle didn’t break, this one clearly did. Good luck for all.


A cannon blasted out confetti over all of us, with no doubt some going into the river. The deed was done. There was much clapping and celebrating, but no free champagne for all.

We all stood for the National Anthem. There was a problem with Ryan Chan, the young guitarist’s, guitar, but it was soon sorted out, and he began to play. Yes, it was still very screechy, but the crowd loved it. It was a wonderful opportunity for the young man to play with the orchestra in front of thousands of people.

Then there was, for me, the highlight of the ceremony. Andrea Bocelli arrived on the stage and sang his first song. I was in heaven. I absolutely love him. He was the perfect choice. Then he sang “time to say goodbye” which I thought was a strange choice for a second song. Then I realized, that was his last song. It really was the time to say goodbye.

It was 4:45, it was all over, and the crowd dispersed. There was another concert planned for the people of Liverpool, in the evening, which included the Cunard singers and dancers. There was a great atmosphere on Pier Head with street performers, and queues at the multitude of food trucks. It looked like a great evening would be had by all.

I looked for a fish and chips truck, but there wasn’t one alas. Lots of other choices, but I was out of luck when it came to fish and chips. My Dad always said that the best fish and chips came from Liverpool, especially when served in the Liverpool Echo. He thought that the newsprint added to the flavor. I had the best fish and chips ever in July 2015 when we were in Liverpool on the Queen Mary 2 for the 175thanniversary crossing. Tonight there was no fish and chips, and I couldn’t even find a Liverpool Echo.

We could not return to the ship until after 6:00 PM, and I had a lovely time walking around the waterfront area until it was time to board again.

I particularly like the lambananas

There were  dancing funnels.

There was also a Cunard shop selling all kinds of memorabilia from the day. It seemed odd that there was no real maiden voyage memorabilia on the maiden voyage, but here they were selling all kind of mementos from today. I bought a T shirt.

Back on the ship we were entertained by the Beatles tribute band, the Beatles Experience. They were quite good, and I did enjoy the Paul look alike. I can remember the lyrics to every single Beatles song, but I can’t find my phone when I put it down. I wish I could replace those lyric memories with something more useful.

After the show we went up on deck to watch the fireworks.

Pier Head looked like it was packed, and the Cunard Building was lit up. It was all very pretty.

There were fireworks from the waterfront

And also from a barge at the back of the ship.

It was a great display, and I really enjoyed it.

All too soon it was over. The sky was dark. We blew our whistle many times, and we waved goodbye to the crowds on the waterfront. We sailed by the Cunard building and down the Mersey. Goodbye Liverpool, your Godchild salutes you.

Post Discussion


  1. Ruth Landau

    Personally, I think the dancing funnels stole the show. Shocked they didn’t have an orchestra playing “Ferry Cross the Mersey.” But it otherwise sounds quite impressive!

    • Safarigal

      I have to say the funnels were great, and would have met Brian’s standards for tidiness. I wish they had played more Liverpool themed music – there were some Beatles songs, but no Gerry and the Pacemakers alas 🙂

  2. Mick Bettesworth

    The only Queen not to be named by a Royal! Cunard certainly want to be different with this ship.

    • Safarigal

      Maybe there is more to the naming than meets the eye. I so wished it would be my favorite royal, Princess Anne, but alas it was not to be!

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