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CUNARD 100-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE: A picture is worth a thousand memories

Luxury cruise line Cunard is celebrating a century’s worth of history and memories by launching its new “Sea Views Exhibition,” curated by British photographer and filmmaker Mary McCartney. Boasting images from Cunard’s photography archive together with photos submitted by past and present guests of its iconic cruise liners, the Sea Views Exhibition is a culmination of the century’s rich history.

The digital exhibition, which can be viewed online at, celebrates two milestones in Cunard’s history: the first being that over 100 years ago, Cunard introduced onboard photography to capture the signature moments of their voyages; the second is the centenary of the first-ever round the world voyage on Cunard’s ship, Laconia, which departed on a 130-day voyage on Nov. 21, 1922 and arrived back in New York on March 30, 1923 after calling at 22 ports.

Showcasing a selection of never-before-seen imagery featuring everything from Hollywood’s most famed to the treasured moments of guests, the snapshots cover the dynamic changes in styles across fashion, food and interior design since the 1920s.

The exhibition features a snapshot of some of Cunard’s most glamorous guests, from Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth to Bing Crosby and Nelson Mandela, illustrating some of Cunard’s archival gems across the century.

Hundreds of Cunard passengers from all over the world, including Australia, Canada, Germany, the US, and UK, submitted over a thousand of their personal highlights aboard Cunard ships. The images depict a series of fascinating moments from families immigrating to new continents, and milestone anniversaries to unexpected guest encounters, telling intriguing stories from the 1920s to present day.

Mary McCartney said: “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.

“It was not just about showcasing the history, but also celebrating the millions of travellers 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.”

The main staircase with passengers and a bell boy, on board Cunard’s Aquitania

Other images McCartney selected to be part of this unique photography exhibition include:

• Troops walking onboard in Sydney, Cunard’s Queen Mary (1940). The Queen Mary was deployed during the Second World War to carry troops to Europe

• Nelson Mandela sailing on the Queen Elizabeth 2’s 1998 passage between Durban and Cape Town. In the ship’s visitor book, he wrote “Travelling on QE2 was an unforgettable honour and a pleasure”

• Elizabeth Taylor, who regularly travelled with Cunard and her producer husband Mike Todd

• Harry Lillis Crosby, known to the world as Bing, was a regular on board the Queen Mary. He was often found in the dark room on board the ship chatting to photographers.

• Sir Winston Churchill operating the controls with cigar in hand, with Commodore J.G.P. Bisset on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth (1940s)

• Prominent Passengers Phyllis Calvert and husband Peter Murray-Hill, actors, with their daughter, Auriol, facing press photographers on the Queen Mary’s boat deck

Meeting Captain Lawrence Portet at the Captain’s Cocktail Party en route to New York on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 (1979), photo – Justin Crowe

British cruise line Cunard has operated passenger ships on the North Atlantic, since 1840. There are currently three Cunard ships: Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria and a fourth ship, Queen Anne, will be entering service in early 2024.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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