Getting There is Half the Fun!
“Getting There was Half the Fun” – one of the best travel advertising slogans ever. It became a well-known phrase after Cunard started using it hoping to differentiate the luxury of their transatlantic ships from the passenger planes that were becoming more and more popular. Especially when the jets airliners started crossing the Atlantic in 1958.
In the 1950s Cunard had the largest fleet on the Atlantic including the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary both of which crossed at about 28 knots and sailed every Wednesday from New York’s Pier 90 reaching Cherbourg or Southampton late on the following Monday.
The ships had three classes and in first class there were two members of staff to every passenger. “There was very, very little intermingling between classes. Even the staff did not intermingle” Tony Dent, a former steward, is quoted in Willim H. Miller’s History of the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, “A first class waiter on one of the Queens would never, ever be seen going ashore with, say, a tourist class waiter.”
By the early sixties, despite actually being cheaper than an airline ticket, Cunard was losing money on their North Atlantic crossing – with most of their ships ill-suited for cruising. Queen Mary’s last voyage was in 1967 and Queen Elizabeth a year later.