Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cunard Line Unveils Queen Elizabeth

Cunard Line has revealed itinerary and design plans for its newest ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth, which is scheduled to enter service on 12 October 2010, giving one of the oldest names in shipping the strength of operating the youngest fleet in the industry. Queen Elizabeth will be the third new ocean liner to be introduced by Cunard in six years and the second largest Cunard ship ever built. Queen Elizabeth will feature the unique Cunard traditions linking her with her sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, and their predecessors. She will also debut some exciting features that will give the vessel her own style and personality, plus all the modern day luxuries Cunard’s guests have come to expect. Likewise, Cunard’s renowned White Star Service will be ever-present, ensuring that travellers who seek a return to tradition will enjoy proper, authentic experiences that reflect the line’s 170-year heritage of formality and civility at sea.

In announcing the first details of the new ship, Cunard President Carol Marlow said “Cunard holds the distinction of sailing the most famous ocean liners in the world and I’m delighted to announce this magnificent addition to our fleet, which marks the return to our operation of three Queens simultaneously. For more than 70 years there has been an ‘Elizabeth’ in the fleet and this beautiful modern-day celebration of our past ‘Elizabeths’ will ensure this proud tradition continues far into this century. Sir Samuel Cunard would be rightly proud.”

A Nod to Cunard’s History and Heritage: Queen Elizabeth is named after Cunard’s first Queen Elizabeth, the famed Cunard ship which was launched in 1938 as the world’s largest liner. The new ship will reference her predecessor in interior grandeur, d├ęcor and style, but with a modern twist. From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the experience that differentiates a Cunard liner from a modern-day cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship’s adherence to liner decor, with elegant double and triple height public rooms on a grand scale, intricately detailed interiors replete with rich wood panelling, 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. And in addition to the extensive Cunard entertainment programmes onboard, Queen Elizabeth will offer some unique strands inspired by the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, including country house parties, lively piano evenings and a variety of dancing from that time–including the jitterbug and jive–all within the setting of this 21st century ship.

As a successor to Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship will also reflect this great liner via artwork and memorabilia and will have its very own ‘Yacht Club,’ named after the lively aft lounge on QE2. Offering guests 270 degree views and the perfect setting for activities and gatherings during the day, it will also double as a dramatic evening venue for cocktails and dancing.Similarly, through photography, memorabilia and exhibits, the ship will recognize the historic links Cunard has enjoyed with Royalty over the years.

The ship’s distinctive public spaces include:
-- Queens Room: a new take on the traditional Cunard ballroom, with artwork depicting views from royal palaces, and photography of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family, along with its 1000 square foot dance floor for Grand Balls and Tea Dances at sea.
-- Garden Lounge: with its magnificent vaulted glass ceiling creating a conservatory feel inspired by the glass houses of Kew Gardens, beneath where guests will enjoy Supper Clubs, and mix dining with dancing under the stars. (illustrated above)
-- Games Deck: Named after the same deck on the original Queen Elizabeth, the Games Deck will offer paddle tennis, croquet and traditional British bowls. (Interestingly, the ship’s home port of Southampton is home to the oldest surviving bowls green in the world, first used in 1299.)
-- Midships Bar: will pay homage to her namesake liner, the first Queen Elizabeth, with memorabilia displayed from that era.

The ship’s dining venues include:
-- Queens Grill & Princess Grill: The ship will also feature the line’s celebrated five-star Grills accommodation and dining, with its al fresco dining option on a private deck terrace - first introduced on Queen Victoria - beautiful restaurants, Grills Lounge and sunbathing deck.
-- The popular Britannia Club, having first debuted aboard Queen Mary 2, features a private dining room with single seating dining for those guests in the top Balcony staterooms.
-- Britannia Restaurant: Art Deco decorative flourishes create a dramatic backdrop for this two-tiered dining room featuring a sweeping staircase ideal for making a grand entrance.

Queen Elizabeth’s maiden 2010 season will consist of six voyages, calling on 32 distinct ports in 18 countries. Her Maiden Voyage will depart from Cunard’s homeport of Southampton on 12 October 2010, en route to the Atlantic Isles. The 13-night voyage will call at Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Seville (Cadiz), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), La Palma (Santa Cruz de La Palma) and Madeira (Funchal). The ship will then embark on five celebratory inaugural voyages. For more information see Cruise Diva's Cruise News.

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