The Hindles will have a double celebration during the maiden voyage
"It's been like waiting for Christmas, it really is like a dream come true."
Linda and Ken Hindle describe the prospect of sailing on the Queen Elizabeth's maiden voyage.
Former QE2 devotees, the Southampton couple are among the 2,092 passengers who snapped up tickets for the trip which sold out in less than half an hour 18 months ago.
"When we heard there was going to be a new Queen Elizabeth, we really wanted to be part of that," Mr Hindle said.
After marrying 19 years ago, Linda and Ken Hindle took their first cruise on the legendary QE2 in 1995.
They fell in love with the famous liner - over the following 13 years they racked up 18 trips on QE2.
The Queen Elizabeth liner boasts 1930s art deco features
They said: "It's the crew, the friendliness, the atmosphere. It was just a classic ship and had something special. They're trying to recreate the QE2, but you can't."
After securing their tickets for Queen Elizabeth a year and a half ago, they have been following the progress of the liner on the web.
When the ship sailed into its home port on Friday it finally sank in that they were going to be part of the historic occasion.
"When we woke up we were like children on Christmas morning," they said.
"We kept waking up saying 'is it time to get up yet'? We went down to Mayflower Park and she just appeared through the haze.
"It will almost inevitably be the last chance we get to sail on a brand new Cunard ship."
Making it even more special, during the 13-night cruise the couple will celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary and Linda's 62nd birthday, which fall on the same day.
Mrs Hindle says she has packed plenty of glittering evening attire for the voyage which includes four formal black-tie balls.
The first stop is Vigo in Spain, from where the ship will sail to the Canaries
With indulgent dining in the liner's restaurants, it is not the place to watch your waistline.
Mrs Hindle said: "You do have to pace yourself, elasticated waists come into play a lot towards the end of the cruise."
The couple already have a maiden voyage under their belts, on Queen Victoria.
"When we first got on Queen Victoria we compared her to QE2 - then we had to chastise ourselves and say 'stop.'
"It's a completely different ship, you've just got to look at it and take it for what it is and just revel in the memories of the QE2, she's gone now and life moves on."
"One day, many years from now, when our grandchildren and their children stand on the dockside to watch the famous Queen Elizabeth sail off into the sunset for the very last time, they'll be able to say my nan and granddad went on her maiden voyage."