Why do people not like the Queen Elizabeth so much

I myself have a soft spot for the QE as my father was at the launch in 1938 as a baby and recalls seeing it painted in war ship grey at Clydebank when he was a small child prior to its departure in February 1940. He and my mother also recall seeing it at Greenock, one of Olympic's WW1 ports, for its last refit in 1965.

From all accounts I've heard, she was a beatiful ship, with many improvements on the Queen Mary including more graceful lines, uncluttered decks, a more modern appearance and public rooms that were bigger and even more awe inspiring.

Yet people I've talked to in ship enthusiast circles don't seem to have much regard for the QE and the relatively small number of posts on this message board seems to confirm this. Steve Booth, a dealer from Bath, told me at a convention at the White Swan Hotel that he didn't take much interest in QE collectables and only had some souvenir ashtrays. He knew a lot about the QM and the Normandie but he considered the QE irrelevant. Brian Hawley mentions on his website that the QE did not have the same sentimental appeal that the QM did.

I think this may be due to the fact that she was new in the 1940s, which is not thought of by many people as being a good time. She also had much publicity stolen by the war that she would have had otherwise. I think she could have ranked alongside the QM in stature if she had had a peacetime, paying passenger maiden voyage with all the glamour and publicity that goes with it. Because of the war, she effectively lost the first seven years of her career and so has a certain annonymity that other famous liners don't have.

Any thoughts?
 

Tom Lear

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Aug 22, 2003
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I had been under the impression that since the QE1 didn't finish fitting out as a passenger ship until after the war, when Britain was to all purposes bankrupt, there really wasn't the money to spruce up the Elizabeth's interiors in the same way the Queen Mary had been done.

Possibly the fact that she wasn't the fastest ship also made her suffer in comparison to her sister. I wonder if she also suffered from the same rolling/corkscrewing problems?
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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I recall fondly my dad driving us to Port Everglades on the weekend to park across the channel from Queen Elizabeth. Though he said people could not go on the ship, I loved staring at her. I was sad when she sank in Hong Kong Harbor.

Kyrila
 

Kyrila Scully

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I don't recall if he did or not. I know I wasn't considered old enough to own a camera at the time (ah, how times have changed!) It is preserved in my memory though. I'll have to ask my mother if she's aware of any such photos.

Kyrila
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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If you want a piece of the Queen Elizabeth, you can get it in a form of a pen!

Parker Pen issued a limited edition of 5000 fountain pens in 1977 using brass recovered from the wreck in Hong Kong.

A warning - It is definately not cheap today! Figure about US$800 for a set in mint state. How did I know? My father collects vintage fountain pens!
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Jul 11, 2001
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Hi Stewart & all! I have always thought the QE1 to be a much more elegant ship than the QM1. You can really appreciate the differences when you see that picture of them both in New York. The Elizabeth has far less deck clutter and therefore cleaner looking.

I think there is still more attention given to the Mary because she is still around today. If the Elizabeth had been turned into a Hotel on the Lower East coast, History may have treated her much differently.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Cunard should have pulled them out at the same time and then perhaps they could be permenatly moored together.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Not likely, Jeremy. Maintaining even one ship nearly broke the people who own the Queen Mary now, and it's still a hit or miss expensive proposition to keep her up to snuff. Keeping up two liners wouldtake some really serious cash that few ever manage to come up with.
 
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Hello all!

the story of the QE is one that makes me both sad and angry. Sad in the first place because I personally think she was one of the most beautiful ships in her class, she had an unlucky start in life and was taken for granted as long as her life lasted. My anger stems from two things; in general, it is not recognised how important both Queens have been for their influence on WW2. Their role as trooptransporters could have shortened the war for the duration of one year, with all the soldiers they took to the UK and consequently, the continent. I have recently read a book about the role of the ss "Nieuw Amsterdam" during WW2, and was staggered by the numbers of soldiers this considerably smaller ship has transported around the world during that time. So the numbers both Queens transported run into the hundreds of thousands of liberators for the (my) occupied country. For that I am still grateful, even if I myself am not from the generation of that time.
The second reason which angers me is what happened to the QE after Cunard had disposed of her. I know of all the problems which face the new owners of old ships, especially about the financial side. At present we, the Dutch, are expecting the 'Norway' and the old 'Rotterdam', and years have gone by finding financial means to give these ships economical viability. So the same must have faced C Y Yung (or Tung?) when he bought the QE1, but everything that happened to the ship afterwards has an atmosphere about it which lacks some sort of respect for her. I feel irritated about her loss as it was SO unneccessary. The loss of the 'Normandie' was tragic enough as it was (with her designer standing on the quay), but it was a war-loss, so could be justefied by that. I will dive deeper into the history of the QE1 and will open up a new thread when I find interesting information which I want to share.
regards.
 

Jeremy Lee

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>>So the same must have faced C Y Yung (or Tung?) when he bought the QE1, but everything that happened to the ship afterwards has an atmosphere about it which lacks some sort of respect for her. I feel irritated about her loss as it was SO unneccessary.<<

It wasn't if you take another view at it. C Y Tung wanted the Queen Elizabeth to become a floating university to allow students travel the world and learn at the same time, however, it was due to pure carelessness (or arson?) that resulted in the loss if the ship.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Robert, if I may, why get angry about it? The history was what it was and getting all wound up about it won't change it. I don't think you'll find the ship was unloved or anything like that. It was just that apparently, the Queen Mary was the most popular of the two.

I find myself in agreement with Jeremy on the point of turning the ship into a floating university. It would have been a worthy undertaking to turn her into a centre of learning and as retirements go, it sure beats the tender mercies of the scrapyard.
 

Jeremy Lee

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I can't remember the name, but C.Y. Tung did set up a learning foundation for students to experience studying overseas, to experience different learning environments and cultures. I will try to look up the name of the foundation, and if I can find it I will post it here.
 

John Zoppina

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Feb 5, 2005
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Personally, I do favor the QE over the QM. Why? Something about her that is a unique, appropriate crossover from traditional liner to modern ship. I like her very much.
 

Jeremy Lee

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>>appropriate crossover from traditional liner to modern ship.<<

Just wondering - couldn't the same be said for the QM also?
 

John Zoppina

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Feb 5, 2005
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In my opinion... no. Here's why:

QM was slightly more old fashioned in design. The forward well deck... guy wires supporting the funnel... these things made her look of an older design. Also, wasn't she thought to be rather conservative compared to the Normandie?

On the other hand, I consider QE to be the perfect combination of traditional and modern design. The two funnels, lack of a forward well deck, lack of guy wires supporting the funnels... it makes her seem more uncluttered than QM.

Admittedly, QM was more modern than other liners in the Cunard fleet, like Aquitania... but she was more traditional than QE.

Maybe what I say will make no sense to any who read it... but it makes perfect sense to me.
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-John
 

Tom Lear

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Aug 22, 2003
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The QE1's lack of topside clutter, save for on the cable deck, also appears to be influenced by the Normandie. One could argue that she was a streamlined Queen Mary, but I would say she was almost an entirely different design in a lot of ways.

But, she lacked the speed (and thereby the history) of the QM, the service and cuisine of a French Line ship, so there you have it.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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>>Also, wasn't she thought to be rather conservative compared to the Normandie?<<

Yes, the Normandie could be considered to be in a class of her own in the late 1930s. I would take her over both Queens anytime. Pity about the fire though.
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Steve Olguin

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Mar 31, 2005
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Wasn't it Cunard's goal to create an ocean liner that "looked like an ocean liner" and evoked the "golden days of the North Atlantic" rather than make her look more like a floating hotel as was the case with Normandie. I remember reading that Cunard had the option to make the "Queen Victoria" similar to the Normandie in terms of external appearance But they wanted their ship to feel more like a ship.

I do agree that the exterior of the QE1 is much more attractive than the rather cluttered decks of the QM, but I think that's why I like QM more. She reminds me a lot of the liners from the 1910s... her interior configuration looks as if its a more larger and modern version of the Olympic class ships (which IMO were the best designed ships of their day). I would like to see some more photos, and perhaps some deck plans of the QE1 to compare her more with her older "sister."
If any of you get the chance, go visit the QM in Long Beach. A sad, broken, and gutted version of yesteryear, she still evokes the spirit of the North Atlantic.
Now if the damned city of Long Beach would only kick out the current management (RMS. Foundation) and get someone in there who knows how to a) manage money b) have a knowledge and passion of Ocean liners c) have at least some background in planning and interior design so the Queen Mary can be brought back to life. The sad thing is, a lot of work needs to be done to the old Queen, and the current management is millions of dollars in debt... I wouldn't be too shocked if she is hauled to the scrap yard within this decade.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Tom, The QE1 was not slower than the QM1. Cunard just preferred to Capitalize on the fact they could advertise them as "Queen Mary:Fastest ship in the World" and "Queen Elizabeth: Largest ship in the World". Which was correct until the SS.United States came along.

The QE1's top speed was never really advertised as it would make the QM less favorable.