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Links with Cunard

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From White Star Line to Cunard Line

Founded in 1845, the White Star Line was taken over in 1867 by Thomas Henry Ismay, who transformed the company into a specialist in the transport of passengers to and from luxury liners. His son, Jopseh Bruce Ismay, replaced him in 1899. The White Star Line ran into difficulty during the 1930’s depression which hit the United States and a merger with its main rival Cunard Line, became inevitable in 1949.

Escale du Queen Mary I à Cherbourg

1st Queen Mary stopover


The Cunard Line tenders

Transbordeur Nomadic appartenant à la White Star Line, future Cunard

Nomadic : tender of White Star Line company, in Cherbourg

As soon as the liner Olympic was launched, White Star Line (later to become Cunard Line) invested in the Port of Cherbourg by setting up its offices near to the first passenger terminal. Its two tenders the Traffic and Nomadic were brought to the port and Nomadic was used to transport 1st and 2nd class passengers. The tender was to be used by the British company until 1927 when it was sold to the Société Cherbourgeoise de Transbordement (Cherbourg tenders) and re-baptised as Engineer Minard.

The Traffic transported 3rd class passengers and also remained in Cherbourg after its sale in 1927, being renamed as Engineer Riebell. It was used as a tug before being sunk by the French Navy in 1941 in the hope of blocking Cherbourg harbour during the Second World War.


Stop-overs for the liners Queen Mary, Queen Elisabeth and Queen Victoria

Visits from the Queens of the seas will always remain in the memories of Cherbourg’s inhabitants both young and old:

  • The Queen Mary makes her first stop-over in Cherbourg harbour on May 27th 1936. During her next visit in 1937, she docks at the Quai de France. The cruise ship will make many more visits to the town and in particular in 1952, just before the new Transatlantic passenger terminal is inaugurated. The people of Cherbourg will see the liner for the last time at the Quai de France on September 28th 1967.
  • The Queen Elizabeth made stop-overs in 1948 and 1952 and continued visiting the port up until 1968, when Cunard took the liner out of service.
  • The Queen Elizabeth 2 made her first appearance in Cherbourg in 1969 and remained a loyal visitor until 2003!
  • The Queen Mary 2 made her inaugural visit to Cherbourg on 14th April 2004. The Baggage hall was renovated especially for this occasion. The ship still visits Cherbourg and will stopover at the port 3 times in 2011!
  • The last in line: the Queen Victoria visited Cherbourg for the first time in 2009. She returned in 2010 and will perhaps honour us with another visit in the future

Today, the only remaining witness to the Cunard Line era is the tender Nomadic.

Queen Mary 2, 2004, Cherbourg

The Queen Mary 2 inaugural visit on the 14th April 2004


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