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24 September 2014

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You are in: Hampshire > Places > Places Features > Solent Shipspotting

Solent Shipspotting

Southampton is home to many cruise ships and superliners. When they arrive and depart they dominate the waterfront skyline. Click through our news, video and pictures of the shipspotting highlights.

Queen Victoria in Southampton

Queen Victoria sent in by Gwilym Jones

Weston Shore and Mayflower Park, Hythe Marina and Calshot Castle at the mouth of Southampton Water provide an excellent vantage point to witness the arrival and departure of the cruise ships.

You can see all the arrival and departure times of the liners and cruise ships via the link below.

QE2 farewell

One of the most famous ships on the planet, and a regular sight in the Solent, the QE2 left Southampton on 11 November 2008 to begin a new life as a first-class hotel in Dubai.

The much loved cruise liner set off on her maiden voyage on 2 May 1969.  Almost 40 years on she has sailed 5.5 million nautical miles - that's more than any other ship ever, and the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back 13 times!

Queen Elizabeth 2 gave up its flagship status to newer sister ship the Queen Mary 2 on May 1 2004.

The Queen paid a special farewell visit to the ship in Southampton on Monday 2 June. She toured the vessel before attending a reception and lunch onboard with 300 guests, including the former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher.

The liner's new permanent home will be on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, the world’s largest man-made island where she will be transformed into a luxurious floating hotel and museum.

World's biggest

Just after dawn on Friday 25 April Independence of the Seas, currently the largest cruise ship in the world made her debut in Southampton.

The giant vessel was christened in the city on Wednesday 30 at 16:30 before sailing at 19:00. Independence will be a regular sight in the city throughout the summer.

Back in January BBC South's Transport Correspondent Paul Clifton visited Finland to take an exclusive look at Independence of the Seas.

Whilst filming Paul met Minna Herrala, a pig-tailed ship's welder who was working on the giant vessel. Minna came to Southampton for the ship's debut and gave Paul a tour of the ship.

Independence of the Seas is longer than 3 ½ football pitches, weighs more than 32,000 elephants and features an onboard ice rink and a 'street' of shops for its 4,300 guests.

Whilst in Finland, Paul also got a peek at Project Genesis, due for completion in 2009,  which will be 40% bigger than any other passenger ship. Click on the links below to read Paul's in-depth articles and watch exclusive video features.

The Three Queens

Tuesday 22 April saw a historic spectacle when the three Queens paid a visit to Southampton.

QE2, QM2 and Queen Victoria all met in their home port of Southampton for the first and final time in their history.

Thousands of people gathered on the shore as the three ships sounded their whistles in salute before Queen Mary 2 departed on her first transatlantic crossing of 2008 then Queen Victoria set off for the Canary Islands leaving the QE2 in dock.

The QE2 will retire in November when it will be converted into a hotel in Dubai after more than 40 years in service.

last updated: 03/11/2009 at 10:16
created: 04/04/2007

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