Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Harry Potter Sails Aboard Queen Mary ll

It's only appropriate that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the highly-anticipated book that promises to immerse readers even further into the magical realm of Hogwarts, be transported to the U.S. under tight security aboard Queen Mary 2, the world's most famous ocean liner. While accustomed to carrying heads of state, royalty and celebrities, this is the first time in history that an internationally best-selling book has traveled to its international debut aboard an ocean liner.

"The Queen Mary 2 continues Cunard's 165-year tradition of Royal Mail Service by transporting this priceless edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the first author-signed U.S. copy by author J.K. Rowling, to New York for Scholastic's U.S. book launch," stated Jan Swartz Senior Vice President of Customer Service and Sales for Cunard Line.

The book's transatlantic crossing began in Southampton, England, arriving in New York under tight security. Like QM2 passengers, who receive the utmost attention while onboard, the book and its 5' x 7' steamer trunk were placed under lock and key and guarded closely by the ship's security.

After J.K. Rowling signed the book in her office in Edinburgh, Scotland, a Scholastic executive traveled with the book - under tight security - to Southampton, England where it was placed in a 5 foot by 7 foot steamer trunk which was then locked and loaded by crane onto the Queen Mary 2 for its journey to America. When the ship docked in New York City harbor, the steamer trunk was unloaded and transferred by the ship's White Star Serviceā„¢ porters to a Dunbar Armored truck and taken to a secure and undisclosed location. It will remain there until Friday, July 15 at 9:30am when Dunbar will deliver the trunk to Scholastic headquarters for a press event where the trunk will be unlocked and the book will be presented to the Grand Prize Winner of Scholastic's nationwide public library sweepstakes. The book will remain on display in a locked case guarded by security personnel at Harry Potter Place in New York City until 12:01 a.m. on July 16 when the winning public library will take possession of it.

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