CUNARD’S three Ocean Queens will meet in the River Mersey for the first time ever to celebrate the company’s 175th anniversary.

Millions of visitors are expected to greet the Elizabeth, Mary and Victoria vessels as they stage the global centrepiece for the shipping line’s birthday in 2015.

The once in a lifetime event will see all three ships assemble in front of the iconic Three Graces, making maritime history.

The announcement has created waves on both sides of the river.

Councillor Pat Hackett, Wirral Council cabinet member for the economy, said: “Cunard’s decision to bring the ‘three Queens’ to Liverpool in 2015 is wonderful news for the whole of the Liverpool City Region.

“Wirral is already feeling the benefit of increased cruise liner traffic to the Port of Liverpool as many passengers love to visit and experience our wonderful peninsula and its beautiful coast and countryside during their stay.

“The stunning heritage village of Port Sunlight and the resort of New Brighton with its great new attractions are particular favourites and our hosting of the Open Championship at Hoylake next July will see three cruise liners dock during the week for their passengers to take in the golf in style.

“Wirral is also the best place to view the ‘three queens’ against the beautiful Liverpool waterfront when they make their return in 2015 and I would recommend that the public get along to the promenade at New Brighton, Seacombe, Woodside and Eastham to make the most of what is bound to be a spectacular occasion.”

Liverpool’s Mayor Joe Anderson said: “To have the three Cunard Queens back in their spiritual home on our beautiful waterfront will be nothing short of majestic.

“This will be an unmissable spectacle which will attract worldwide attention and draw massive crowds.

“It is particularly fitting given our plans to bring the Cunard Building back into use as a Cruise Liner Terminal.

“I am absolutely delighted by this news.

“Liverpool is once again making its mark as a great maritime destination.”

The Queen Mary 2 will arrive on May 24, 2015 and stay overnight.

Sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will arrive the next morning, creating an unprecedented spectacle beside the Cunard Building, the company’s HQ from 1917 to 1967.

Angus Struthers, Cunard Director said: “Liverpool is the spiritual home of Cunard.

“We are therefore delighted to celebrate our 175th anniversary in 2015 with two historic events in Liverpool.

“A meeting of our fleet of Queens on the Mersey and a repeat of the original transatlantic crossing to Halifax and Boston.”

On July 4, 2015, 175 years to the day that Samuel Cunard launched his famous shipping line, QM2 will set sail on a 10 night voyage, repeating the maiden transatlantic crossing in 1840 to Halifax, Boston and New York.

QM2 is not only the largest, longest, tallest, widest and grandest ocean liner ever built, it is the only liner in the world today as well as being the fastest passenger ship afloat.