Cunard Line Unveils Historical Photo Exhibition From Past 100 Years

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Cunard has taken to heart the words of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, who famously said, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” The luxury cruise line has officially debuted its much-anticipated online photography exhibition that chronicles the iconic brand’s storied history.

The project celebrates Cunard’s introduction of onboard photography a century ago as well as the industry’s first world voyage, undertaken in 1922 by the Cunard ship Laconia.

The Past Comes To Life

Cunard unveiled its Sea Views Exhibition, a long-planned online display of images from the cruise line’s photo archives alongside many photographs submitted by past guests who sailed aboard its ships.

Cunard said that hundreds of former passengers hailing from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia and other countries sent in more than 1,000 of their personal photos taken aboard various ships operated by the line.

McCartney commented, “Curating the Sea Views Exhibition for Cunard has been a fulfilling project for me as a photographer and filmmaker. It was a joy to dig deep into the archives and discover never-before-seen photographs that capture the essence of Cunard’s signature moments, showcasing the glamour, elegance, and adventures families and friends shared together.” 

100 Years of Cunard Line
Photo Courtesy: Cunard Line

Curated by British photographer and filmmaker Mary McCartney, the images show shipboard activities, changing fashions of the times and the ships’ interior designs across the decades, plus celebrities and politicians, and even families emigrating to the New World.

She added, ”It was not just about showcasing the history, but also celebrating the millions of travelers who have embarked on unforgettable voyages across the globe. As I went through the archives and read the stories submitted by passengers from all corners of the world, I was struck by the strong sense of community and connection that Cunard has fostered over the years. It was an honor to bring those stories to life through the exhibition.”

McCartney also is a documentary filmmaker and cookbook author, and the host of a vegan cooking TV show called Mary McCartney Serves It Up.

Auspicious Moments Captured

Some of the highlights within the Cunard photo exhibition show:

  • Troops boarding Queen Mary in 1940 in Sydney, Australia, after the ship was deployed to transport soldiers to Europe during World War II
  • Sir Winston Churchill on the bridge of Queen Elizabeth in the 1940s
  • Nelson Mandela sailing aboard Queen Elizabeth 2 on a 1998 cruise between Durban and Cape Town
  • American singer and actor Bing Crosby onboard Queen Mary
  • Snapshots of Hollywood legends such as Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth sailing on Cunard ships
100 Years of Cunard Line
Photo Courtesy: Cunard Line

Cunard also is marking the 100th anniversary of the first world voyage, which was undertaken by the line’s Laconia. The 130-day cruise sailed roundtrip from New York, departing on November 21, 1922 and returning March 30, 1923, after calling at 22 ports.

Cunard today operates three ships, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2, and has a fourth, Queen Anne, under construction in Italy and slated to launch in 2024. The cruise line recently announced that Queen Anne will sail a world cruise in 2025.

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