JULIAN BURGESS was bringing the Queen Elizabeth into Sydney Harbour under grey skies and could feel the eyes of the city on him.
”It is always a challenge coming into any harbour, but particularly this morning when we had the two Queens coming together in such a high profile way, quite close together,” Captain Burgess said.
”There were so many small water craft on the harbour; some of them we had to encourage to get out of the way.”
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Not since 1941 has the harbour been graced by two such Queens. then, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth were troop ships, calling into Sydney to take soldiers to war in Europe.
Captain Burgess’s Queen Elizabeth, 90,000 tonnes of art deco styling, carried more than 2000 passengers and 1000 crew. It boasts 10 restaurants and cafes, an 800-seat theatre and a library with more than 6000 books.
She is the smaller cousin. The Queen Mary 2, at 150,000 tonnes, led the two Cunard liners into the harbour just after 5.30am. It carried more than 2600 passengers and 1250 crew. A round-the-world ticket in a grand suite costs $267,000, though it is possible to take the 103-day journey for as little as $26,000.
The Queen Elizabeth sails for Melbourne at midday today.
The Queen Mary 2 sails for new Zealand at 5pm, and was scheduled to arrive at Lyttelton, the port for the devastated city of Christchurch, on Saturday.