Question about Cunard names


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Neil McRae

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Apr 16, 2001
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I know that just as White Star ships traditionally had names ending with "ic", Cunard vessels often had names ending with "ia" (Carpathia, Lusitania, Mauretania, etc.)

A show I saw on the history of Cunard said the original Queen Mary was originally to be named the Victoria. Obviously between the two Queens, the former White Star ships and others, not every Cunard ship had an "ia" name.

I was wondering however, has Cunard continued this practice at all and if not, when did they give it up?
 
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Daniel Odysseus

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The practice hasn't been given up, so to speak... However, now, Cunard only has two ships (though a third, the QM2 is being built, and a fourth MAY be on the drawing board). One of these, of course, is the famed Queen Elizabeth 2. The other ship, however, is the Caronia, which is an old name of Cunard (the first being in the early 1900's).

Though now they have so few ships, it is really hard to tell if they have a practice anymore. However, I DO believe that Cunard has been more lax about their naming procedures (they've had the QM, QE, QE2, QM2, Cunard Countess, Cunard Princess, Sea Goddess 1 and 2, etc.) but for the most part, Cunard names are pretty much either a Queen- OR an -ia... (except, of course, if there was a QUEEN VictorIA, which would use both)...

Hope this helps!

-D.O.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Neil, apparently Cunard gave up the practice of 'ia' names to mark the merger with White Star. I can't give chapter and verse, but I've seen letters on this. They may even be on this site.

There's a good yarn about the Queen Mary originally going to be called Queen Victoria. An official of Cunard is supposed to have gone to King George V and said, "Your Majesty, my company is about to launch the world's largest and finest ocean liner. We would like your permission to name it after England's best-loved Queen." To which the King replied, "You have my permission, and my wife will be greatly honoured." The official went back and told his chief that the new ship would have to be Queen Mary.

As the Italians say, if it's not true, it's a good invention.
 
May 12, 2002
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Hi Daniel

As I understand it, it's actually a fifth vessel that may be on the drawing board. Carnival have transferred one of the new Vista builds from Holland America to Cunard. There is some speculation she may be named Franconia when she debuts in 2005.

Cheers

Paul
 
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David Haisman

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Hi There,

When I was at sea during the 50's and 60's, many Cunard ships using Southampton had their names ending in ''ia'' for example, Scythia, Samaria, Ascania, Franconia, Saxonia, and Ivernia.
These vessels were primarily used out of Southampton and Liverpool on the Montreal and Quebec service, the last two being the newest ships with Southampton as their home port. In those days, the master of the first ship up into the St.Lawrence River through the ice after the winter, received a silver topped walking stick from the Mayor of Quebec. I sometimes wonder if that practice still goes on today.
All the Best,
David Haisman
 
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Daniel Odysseus

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Paul:
Interesting; I didn't hear about the Holland America transfer to Cunard... Finally, Cunard's starting to get some new ships...

Dave:
I heard that story too. It was on the brochure when I went to see the Queen Mary...

All:
I was on a trip to Cunard.com, and I looked at their firsts... Has anyone noticed that they tend to lie a bit on them? LOL.

-D.O.
 
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Brian Hawley

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Like David said the 1950s and early 1960s were marked by Cunard adhering to the older naming procedures. In many ways the company was turning a blind eye towards the problems posed by airliners. After years of losses including over a million pounds a year on the Queens alone Cunard was forced to take drastic action.

Around 1963 the Cunard board hired Sir Basil Smallpeice to be the new CEO. He was an accountant and came from the airline industry and felt no blinding affinity for Cunard's heritage. Smallpeice was just the man for the job in the mid 60s. He made tough and unpleasant choices scrapping many fine ships in a desperate effort to save the company. All of this resulted in the fantastically successful debut of QE2 in 1969. Smallpeice presided over the sale of 6 ships including both QM and QE and the subsequent shedding of thousands of jobs. The massive changes that the company went through heralded a new era for Cunard, one that was marked by an attempt to distance themselves from the past. This is why the QE2 originally did not have traditional funnel markings, and why all the ships for the next 25 years did not have traditional names. For the story of Cunards struggle to survive I highly recommend Sir Smallpiece's bio "Of Comets and Queens".

Brian
 
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