Mersey plays host to Cunard birthday party

Share Button
Cunard plans to bring three of its fleet up the Mersey as part of its 175th birthday celebrations © Cunard

Cunard plans to bring three of its fleet up the Mersey as part of its 175th birthday celebrations © Cunard

Liverpool’s summer will be packed with sea-themed activity thanks to a series of events under the banner ‘One Magnificent City’.

It’s part of plans to commemorate to 175th anniversary of the first Cunard voyage from the city. The seven-week programme will begin on 15th May with the sixth year of Light Night, a popular one-night cultural festival that lights up 50 outdoor venues around the city.

It will include a mixture of outdoor events, art installations, and special lectures. The event will be headlined by only the fourth ever meeting of Cunard’s three biggest ships, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, in the River Mersey on 25th May.

Cunard’s Michael Gallagher told JMU Journalism: “We were founded there, that’s where it all began. While Liverpool isn’t our home port at the moment – that’s Southampton – you never forget where you come from.

“This event has been in the planning for the last four or five years. You see, the difficulty is the ships have established itinerary plans, so to get them here we’ve had to alter those plans to get them all to Liverpool. The Queen Victoria would usually be in the Mediterranean.

“The thing with Liverpool is it has this excellent reputation of putting on great events every year, and every year you try and outdo the one that was the previous year. I think because you’ve got the Mersey and that fabulous river front, you make use of your best asset.

Cunard Building in Liverpool. Pic © Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

Cunard Building in Liverpool. Pic © Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

“To remind people of the importance of that river, and what it’s done for the city, and for the population is great. The remembering of the sea and the river should continue for a long time.”

On 4th July, which is Independence Day in the United States, Queen Mary 2 will set sail for New York, retracing the inaugural voyage of Cunard’s first ship Britannia in 1840. Meanwhile a festival in Liverpool celebrates the cultural exchange between Britain and the USA.

Other events under the ‘One Magnificent City’ banner include a 3D sound installation called The Crossing, which “will surround visitors to the city with the sounds synonymous with the special relationship between Liverpool and New York”.

There’s also a one-night-only audience with The Godfather star Gianni Russo, who spent years performing on Cunard ships with Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly.

Existing events will also be incorporated, such as The International Mersey River Festival & Music on the Waterfront, and Liverpool Sound City music festival, which this year moves to its new venue on the abandoned docks.

About Kieran Etoria-King, JMU Journalism