The world’s grandest ocean liner Queen Mary 2 has been photographed sailing in formation alongside sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria for the first time.

The ships were sailing from Lisbon to the UK ahead of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to celebrate Queen Mary 2’s 10th anniversary in Southampton on Friday 9 May.

The stunning aerial shots were taken by photographer James Morgan from a helicopter – the result of a long planning operation between captains and crew which ensured the safety of the vessels and their passengers at all times.

Queen Mary 2 is the only true ocean liner in service today and still the fastest passenger ship at sea. The ship measures 1,132 feet in length and stands 236.2 feet in height. It weighs 150,000 gross tons and has sailed 1.5 million nautical miles on over 400 voyages including 213 Transatlantic Crossings, and has transported 1.3 million guests.

It took all three ships around an hour to sail out of Lisbon to the site of the shoot. All shipping in the area had to be cleared for the three Queens to ensure safety for the technical manoeuvre.

Cunard Director Angus Struthers said: “This is the first time all three Queens of the Cunard fleet have been seen together anywhere outside Southampton or New York, and the first time these magnificent ships have been seen together at sea.”

Photographer James Morgan said: “When you are dealing with the largest ocean liner in the world, you can’t sit in a helicopter asking if it can go left a bit or right a bit because it doesn’t work like that. A three-ship formation like this has to be finely coordinated and choreographed ahead of time. It’s not like directing traffic – this is more like ship ballet.”

Take a look behind the scenes of another amazing James Morgan photoshoot for the Queen Mary 2 anniversary. 

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