Cunard Liner Brings Eternal Flame to US For Special Anniversary

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Cunard’s iconic ocean liner, Queen Mary 2, played the leading role in the delivery of the Eternal Flame to New York on May 23, 2024. 

The transport of the historic flame across the Atlantic was part of a multi-country recognition of the upcoming 80th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy during World War II.

French and American diplomats, city officials, Cunard representatives, and volunteers from the Flame of Liberty in Paris gathered onboard the famous ship after she arrived at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal following a 7-day transatlantic crossing.

Queen Mary 2 Event
Queen Mary 2 Event

A ceremony to honor the Normandy landings and mark the anniversary was attended by Queen Mary 2 Captain Andrew Hall; French Ambassador to the US Laurent Bili; New York Commissioner for International Affairs Edward Mermelstein; World War II veterans; and Helen Ayer-Patton, a granddaughter of General Patton, among others.

We are honored that our flagship Queen Mary 2 was part of this historic occasion honoring the men and women who served in D-Day, and the many hundreds of thousands of whom were brought over the Atlantic on Cunard ships. Today will truly be remembered as an important part of Cunard’s long and storied history,said Queen Mary 2 Captain Andrew Hall.

The D-Day Invasion was the largest amphibious military operation in modern history, with 156,000 Allied troops landing by sea and air on five beaches in Normandy, France.

The Eternal Flame was lit on November 11, 1923 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It was created after World War I and holds the remains of an unknown French soldier who died in that war.

The flame’s transport to the US began on May 8, 2024, when a dozen volunteers from the Flame of Liberty (La Flamme de la Liberté) carried the flame to Cherbourg on the Normandy coast. From there it crossed the English Channel to an important site where the D-Day Invasion began, Portsmouth, England.

The flame then traveled to Southampton and was carried onboard Queen Mary 2 for the transatlantic journey to New York. The group of volunteers from Paris is scheduled to transport the historic flame to Arlington Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, on May 24, 2024, where it will burn until the D-Day Invasion anniversary on June 6, 2024.

Queen Mary 2 to Sail Norwegian, British Isles Cruises in Summer 2024

Queen Mary 2 is the only ocean liner operating scheduled transatlantic service between the US and the UK. The 2,700-guest ship entered service in 2004 and was christened by Queen Elizabeth II.

With the Eternal Flame safely delivered, the ship left the New York port on May 23, 2024 and is operating a 23-day Norwegian fjords cruise roundtrip from the Big Apple. Port calls include Southampton; Brugge, Belgium; Le Havre, France; and Skjolden and Olden, Norway.

Queen Mary 2 Ship
Queen Mary 2 Ship (Photo Credit: Thorsten Schier)

Read Also: Ocean Liner vs Cruise Ship – What are the Differences?

Following her current sailing, Queen Mary 2 will operate scheduled 7- and 14-day transatlantic voyages through mid-fall 2024, with several Norwegian fjords and British Isles cruises offered from both New York and Southampton.

Cunard, a brand of Carnival Corporation, is among the world’s most historically significant cruise lines. It celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2023 and is considered to be the first cruise line to operate a world voyage. That first circumnavigation of the globe happened onboard RMS Laconia in 1922. The 130-day cruise visited at 22 ports.

Besides Queen Mary 2, Cunard operates Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, each with a capacity for 2,000 guests, and the just-launched Queen Anne, a 3,000-guest ship that entered service on May 3, 2024.

Queen Anne will be christened in Liverpool, England, on June 3, 2024, and Cunard earlier this week disclosed that Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will be among the performers at the gala naming event.

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