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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Jan. 31) – The season when international cruise ships make quick visits to Tahiti & Her Islands is well underway, highlighted during the past week by the visit of the QE2, otherwise known as the Queen Elizabeth 2.

The QE2 is one of 26 cruise ships scheduled to visit French Polynesia this year. Arriving from Hawaii, the 1,573-passenger QE2 anchored next to downtown Papeete for the first time ever, thanks to one of two new T-wharfs that have been built. Previously, the 293.5-meter (964.5-foot) long ship with its 9.9-meter (32.5-foot) draft was obliged to anchor on the other side of Papeete Harbor where cargo ships normally dock for loading and unloading.

The QE2 visited Tahiti’s sister island of Moorea before continuing its voyage to Auckland, one of three stops in New Zealand, and on to Australia, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, the Middle East, Portugal and Spain, returning to its home port of Southampton, England on April 16.

Tahiti’s current cruise ship season began with earlier visits by The Topaz, the 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager and the 1,160-passenger Statendam, which made its maiden visit to Tahiti.

Another maiden visit occurred after the QE2 visit when the 1,080-passenger Crystal Serenity visited Tahiti after having stopped at Raiatea and Bora Bora on its cruise around the world.

The QE2 is registered in Southampton. Queen Elizabeth II baptized the vessel in 1967. It is the only cruise ship of that epic still in operation. The former SS France, which became the Norway, has been taken out of service.

The QE2 was the flagship of the Cunard Line for more than 30 years. She made her maiden voyage in 1969 and is one of the last great transatlantic liners. At 70,327 tons and 963 feet long with a top speed of 32.5 knots, she is also one of the largest and fastest passenger vessels afloat.

February 2, 2005

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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