That’s A Big Ship!

I consider myself lucky living where I do in the North East of England, with the North Sea coast and mouth of the River Tyne within easy reach. This morning the dogs decided they wanted their mid-morning walk a little earlier and we were treated to a rare sight as we walked round near the river. With little fuss, and only one tug in attendance, the Cunard liner Queen Victoria slipped into the Tyne and berthed in North Shields.

I’ve always liked ships and try and get a photo of those that come in and berth nearby, but I’ve not taken many lately. So once we’d got the dogs home I went off to take a picture (shown above). By the time I’d got to a spot on the South Shields quayside, the Queen Victoria had turned through 180 degrees and berthed on the opposite side of the river, quite an achievement I think since she’s 294m long! At 90,000 tons she’s bigger than the Japanese battleship Yamato, a US Iowa class battleship or even the largest Royal Navy ship, the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth . What I found amusing is that, according to Wikipedia, she’s the smallest of Cunard’s operating ships! Quite a sight to see coming up river and looming over all of the surrounding houses!


  1. We get some huge ones up here, but I reckon that is bigger than the ones we get. Cruise ship season is upon us already with coaches everywhere and poor bemused tourists wandering the streets of Lerwick in their matching Cruise liner waterproof jackets.

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    • What surprised me is how fast they got this one turned round and berthed! I know that they berth on the North Shields side just downriver of the ferry terminal and that you can get a good photograph from the the cross-Tyne ferry landing, but by the time I got there the Queen Victoria was berthed and the tug had pulled away. I bet watching her turn was impressive – I think they can manoeuvre themselves quite well and the tug’s just there to provide extra pull when it might be needed.

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    • Thanks Marvin! πŸ™‚ I saw the QE2 come in some years ago and you couldn’t move for boats and people, but the Queen Victoria just gave two blasts on her horn and sailed majestically past us, with not many people about at all. We knew it must be a large ship coming in from the horn. But it’s always strange to look down the road over to the other side of the river and see a ship passing in front of you that’s higher than all of the houses!

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    • Thanks Dave! πŸ™‚ Shame you’re away from the coast, there’s always something to see! For some reason your link doesn’t take me to your site and gets lost thinking it should be going somewhere in WordPress but it’s not sure where!

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  2. That is an impressive ship. The fact that it is the smallest of Cunard’s ships reminds me of all of those movies where they present a large ship and then once they establish that have another HUGE ship, that dwarfs it, come onscreen beside it.

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    • Have to agree with you, Jeff! πŸ™‚ What I should do is look on one of the ship-finder sites in the morning to see if anything interesting is due in. Since the cruising season has started there’s a good chance different cruise ships will dock, but you also get to see some other interesting ships, such as oil and gas support ships, and warships also visit from time to time!

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    • I think a lot of passenger vessels have bow (and probably stern) thrusters, small propellors or water jets mounted in the hull sides to facilitate manoeuvring. I don’t know specific details for the Queen Victoria but I could only see one tug in attendance as she travelled upriver and after she berthed, so I’m assuming she did the manoeuvring herself and the tug was there to provide emergency power if it was needed. I’ve watched tugs tow and manoeuvre big ships in the past and I find it fascinating how they all work together and synchronise their efforts!

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    • Thanks Justin! πŸ™‚ I’ve got pictures of other liners that have visited the Tyne and I’ve thought them pretty handsome ships as well – the Queen Victoria’s Cunard livery makes her look more traditional by comparison, although she is a striking looking vessel! She’s also small in comparison to a supertanker!

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  3. Wow John I haven’t seen many ships in my time but if I had seen that one I wouldn’t have believed my eyes!! I did go one a container ship once for drinks as my Mate from Plymouths dad worked aboard and as it was in Melbourne we went on board. It was dark but I’m sure it was pretty high and had to walk up this ramp like thing on the side of the ship. After being plied with a brew called Scrumpy that they had on board it took my mate some time to get me down this contraction, strangely he never invited me again!!

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  4. Great picture, I live by Liverpool and a few years back we had all three of the “Queens” in the Mersey, we went on one of the Mersey Ferries to see them leave, they can turn on a sixpence to be honest as they have side “jets” front and rear to help spin them, it is impressive to watch.

    Cheers Roger.

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