12 September 2010

A Festive Good Bye


From the Kentucky New Era on this day in 1967:

Gala Farewell Voyage

2 Stowaways Slip Aboard Queen Mary

ABOARD THE QUEEN MARY (AP) - Two stowaways, a man and a woman, were discovered on the Queen Mary today as she steamed across the Atlantic toward England and retirement.

The woman, who identified herself as Angelina Romero, 25, of San Diego, Calif., presented herself to the purser at about midnight. By that time the ship was several hundred miles from New York and she could not be returned.

The other stowaway, an unidentified American man in his 20s or 30s, was found on deck this morning by a crewman who became suspicious. He was placed under lock and key by the master at arms.

Both Miss Romero and the man came aboard Friday during the gala sendoff for the Queen Mary, symbol of a bygone era of transatlantic splendor. Thousands of wellwishers mingled with the 2,500 passengers before the sailing.

The final voyage on her regular run to England was turned into a retirement party that will long be remembered.

"There won't be another ship like this one and there won't ever be another crossing like this one," said Bob Searles, a bar steward who had sailed on the Queen Mary's maiden voyage in 1936. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We're going to give her a real party."

The Queen Mary had been a festive ship for most of her 31 years and the mood was unchanged when she sailed from New York Friday on her 1,000th and last transatlantic crossing. Corks began popping hours before the Queen left her dock and champagne bottles soon littered companionways.

The tempo of the celebration quickened after the 81,000-ton ship left New York Harbor.

"We haven't planned anything special for this trip," a spokesman for the British Cunard Line said. "The passengers look great. We'll let them improvise. They'll give the old girl the kind of farewell she deserves." A symbol of a vanishing era, the Queen Mary carried more than two million persons in war and peace--more of them Americans than any other nationality. But she lost money--$2 million a year after the transatlantic jet planes arrived.

Next month she will sail around Cape Horn to Long Beach, Calif., for use as a floating hotel and museum.

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