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Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth Makes Dazzling Salute to Mardi Gras Festival

March 4, 2014 Photo Gallery No Comments Email Email

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Salutes Sydney Mardi Gras Mandatory Credit James Morgan (5)Cunard Line’s luxury liner Queen Elizabeth made a spectacular entry into Sydney this morning, with a massive ‘Happy Mardi Gras’ cape billowing from her top decks in a salute to one of the city’s biggest international festivals.

Stretching 126-metres long, the cape formed part of a head-turning outfit for iconic performer and personality Vanity Faire, who was positioned on top of Queen Elizabeth on a giant glittering 2.2 metre-high stiletto.

The dazzling display paid tribute to the 2014 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with the Mardi Gras parade due to get underway in the city tonight.

Reaching almost half the length of the 296-metre liner and measuring 12.5 metres at its widest point the cape was unfurled as Queen Elizabeth entered Sydney Harbour, with Vanity taking her position on top of the stiletto, 41 metres above the harbour, as the liner approached the Opera House around 7.30am.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Salutes Sydney Mardi Gras Mandatory Credit James Morgan (2)Berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay until 9pm tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth is the second of the three magnificent Cunard Queens to visit Sydney this summer – the first time all three liners have called to Australia in one season.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which represents Cunard Line in Australia, said Queen Elizabeth’s arrival was a great opportunity to contribute to Sydney’s Mardi Gras excitement.

“Everyone around the world knows that at this time of year Sydney is in a perpetual state of celebration, starting with New Year’s Eve fireworks and the Sydney Festival and continuing through to the excitement of Mardi Gras – a celebration of diversity which draws massive crowds to the city and many thousands of international visitors to Australia,” Ms Sherry said.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Salutes Sydney Mardi Gras Mandatory Credit James Morgan (3)“Cunard Line prides itself on taking its guests to some of the world’s most desirable destinations and delivering memorable moments during its voyages and today’s arrival is certainly one of those.”

Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik said Festival organisers were thrilled by the Cunard gesture.

“The liner’s spectacular arrival is a wonderful celebration of our Festival and has helped to bring our event back onto Sydney Harbour,” Mr Rolik said.

Vanity Faire, who boarded the liner in Auckland earlier in the week, said she was enormously excited to be part of the moment in history.  “The arrival was magnificent. I think I had the best view in Sydney this morning – it felt like I was on top of the world,” Vanity said.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Salutes Sydney Mardi Gras Mandatory Credit James Morgan (4)

Queen Elizabeth’s Sydney visit comes about halfway through her 118-night world voyage. Carrying around 1900 guests, the liner sailed from Auckland to Sydney this week and will set sail tomorrow for Brisbane and the Whitsunday Islands before cruising on to Asia.

Launched by Her Majesty The Queen in 2010, Queen Elizabeth is the second largest liner in the Cunard fleet and offers more than 1000 staterooms.  Her many features include more than 10 restaurants and cafes, two outdoor swimming pools, a Games Deck including paddle tennis, croquet and bowls as well as a two-storey library complete with leaded glass ceiling and around 6000 books.  Her visit follows Queen Mary 2’s call to Sydney on February 19, with Queen Mary 2 due to return on March 14 and Queen Victoria visiting Sydney on March 5.

Performer Vanity Faire on a Giant Stiletto as Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Salutes Sydney Mardi Gras Mandatory Credit James MorganSome additional facts about Queen Elizabeth’s special arrival:

  • The 126 metre long cape weighs 180 kilograms and was made in Melbourne by 50-year-old company Carroll & Richardson
  • The cape features 6500 perforated holes to allow it to billow in the breeze.
  • The cape is made from 1900 square metres of material which was laser printed with the multi-coloured design and took two weeks to machine sew.
  • The stiletto is 2.7 metres long and 2.2 metres high and is a stage prop which has been specially modified to accommodate Vanity sitting 41 metres high above sea level.  A temporary stage was created on top of Queen Elizabeth for the shoe.
  • The stiletto features 1000 LED lights which will be illuminated overnight while the ship is at Circular Quay, while the cape will be bathed in deck lighting.
  • The cape and stiletto were shipped in a container from Sydney to Auckland and loaded onto Queen Elizabeth on February 25.
  • Sydney-based cruise ship marine specialists Inter-Marine managed the project which included the creation of a special 140-metre long steel cable dressing line on Queen Elizabeth to accommodate the cape.

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