Cunard starts work on a new Queen Elizabeth

Juy 7, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

Work has begun in an Italian shipyard on constructing Cunard’s third new building in seven years, the 90,400-gt passenger ship QUEEN ELIZABETH.

The new ship, which is due to enter service in October 2010 will join Cunard’s other modern passenger vessels, the 150,000-gt QUEEN MARY 2 and the 90,000-gt QUEEN VICTORIA. Queen Elizabeth will be similar in design to Queen Victoria which entered service in late 2007, but will have her own distinctive décor and finishes.

At the so-called keel laying ceremony held alongside the Manfalcone dry dock of shipbuilder Fincantieri in Trieste, six pre-manufactured block sections were placed in position, marking the start of her construction. A total of 53 sections will be used in completing the ship’s hull and superstructure before the vessel is floated out in December this year for installation of her accommodation, public areas and other fittings and equipment.

“We are delighted to be back here among our friends at Fincantieri so soon after we took delivery of Queen Victoria in 2007 - the first Cunarder to be built in Italy - and I am sure that Queen Elizabeth will be just as popular and successful as her two sister ships,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.

Queen Elizabeth will feature the unique Cunard traditions linking her with her sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria and their predecessors, together with all the modern luxuries Cunard's guests have come to expect and some exciting features that will give the vessel her own style and personality.

Named after the first Queen Elizabeth, one of Cunard's most famous ships, the new Queen Elizabeth will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist. From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at an experience that differentiates a Cunard liner from a modern-day cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions, with elegant double and triple height public rooms on a grand scale, luxuriously endowed with rich wood panelling, intricate mosaics, gleaming chandeliers and cool marbles. Art Deco features will pay homage to the original Queen Elizabeth and will allow the new ship to reflect a more civilized era of travel.

In addition to the extensive Cunard entertainment programme on board, Queen Elizabeth will offer some unique strands inspired by the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, such as country house parties at sea, evening piano sing-a-longs and period dancing, from traditional ballroom to the jitterbug and the jive, all within the setting of this 21st century ship.

As successor to Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship will also reflect this great liner through artworks and memorabilia and its very own "Yacht Club." Her links with former Cunard ships will also be acknowledged by way of photography, memorabilia and exhibits.

The ship’s first cruise was sold out within 30 minutes of bookings being opened. Subsequent fares for the remaining ‘maiden cruise season’ range from £1195 per person for the five-night Gallic Debut cruise sailing from Southampton and calling at Amsterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre, to £2395 per person for a 13-night voyage from Southampton to Madeira, with calls made at Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Seville (for Cadiz), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Tenerife, La Palma and Madeira (Funchal).

On 5 January 2011 Queen Elizabeth will depart on what QE2 was especially famous for, the World Cruise. The new ship will call at 38 ports in 24 countries (unfortunately not in South Africa) as she sails westwards around the globe. En route to New York from Southampton Queen Elizabeth will sail in tandem with Queen Victoria where all three ‘Queens’ are due to meet for a Cunard Royal Rendezvous in New York harbour on 13 January.

Later during her World Cruise Queen Elizabeth will meet again with Queen Mary 2 in Sydney and again in Civitavecchia (the Rome port) and with Queen Victoria at Aruba.

To go on the entire World Cruise will set you back from £19 995 but shorter segments are available from £2545 per person, double occupancy. Details should be available from your local travel agency.



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