MS Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth in Tallinn, 10 June 2011
|Owner:||Carnival Corporation & plc|
|Port of registry:|
|Builder:||Fincantieri Monfalcone Shipyard, Italy|
|Cost:||UK£350 million (approx.)(US$560 million)|
|Laid down:||2 July 2009|
|Launched:||5 January 2010|
|Maiden voyage:||12 October 2010|
|In service:||October 2010|
|Class and type:||Vista Class cruise ship|
|Length:||294 m (965 ft)|
|Beam:||32.3 m (106 ft)|
|Draught:||8 m (26 ft)|
|Speed:||23.7 knots (43.9 km/h; 27.3 mph)|
|Capacity:||2,092 passengers lower beds, 2,547 maximum passengers|
MS Queen Elizabeth is a Vista-class cruise ship operated by the Cunard Line. She is the second largest ship constructed for Cunard, exceeded only by Queen Mary 2, and is capable of carrying up to 2,092 passengers. The ship is running mate to Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.
The ship's name was announced by Cunard on 10 October 2007. Since the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2008 the company has operated three vessels. The naming of the ship as Queen Elizabeth brings about a situation similar to that between 1940 and 1948, when Cunard's original Queen Elizabeth was in service at the same time as the Royal Navy battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth. The Royal Navy plans to introduce the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth into service in 2016, six years after this ship joined the fleet.
Queen Elizabeth is almost identical in design to Queen Victoria, although because of the steeper stern, her passenger capacity is slightly higher (2,058 to Queen Victoria's 2,014).
Also unlike many previous Cunard Queens, Queen Elizabeth is not a true ocean liner as she does not have the heavy plating throughout the hull nor the propulsion system of a dedicated transatlantic liner. However the bow was constructed with heavier plating to cope with the Transatlantic run, and the ship has a high freeboard. During construction Queen Mary 2 had cost approximately $300,000 US per berth, nearly double that of many contemporary cruise ships, so Cunard made the economical decision to base Queen Elizabeth on an enhanced Vista-class cruise ship.
Although having an almost identical interior arrangement to Queen Victoria, the decor is very different. The ship is a tribute to the two previous Queen Elizabeth-named ships: the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth 2. She also evokes the era of the 1930s, in which Cunard's first Queen Elizabeth was launched, with many art deco interior touches. The ship also features a Britannia Club section of the main restaurant, which is a feature popular on Queen Mary 2, but not available on Queen Victoria. This service allows passengers in the Britannia staterooms to have single seating dining arrangements, without having to upgrade to the more expensive Grills classes. The sliding roof over the Winter Garden featured on Queen Victoria is replaced with a simple glass roof (the space being renamed The Garden Lounge).
Following the ship's construction in Italy from 2007 to 2010, Cunard Line officially confirmed that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II would name Cunard's new ship. The ceremony was held in Southampton on Monday 11 October 2010 before the ship set sail on her maiden voyage to the Canary Islands the following day. The Queen was also the sponsor of the now-retired Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and Cunard's current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004.
The first master of Queen Elizabeth was Captain Christopher Wells. On Monday 4 October 2010 Queen Elizabeth was formally handed over to Cunard. She sailed on her maiden voyage from Southampton on Tuesday 12 October 2010, following a naming ceremony with the monarch on Monday 11 October 2010.
On 29 June 2012, the ship made her one and only visit to Ny-Ålesund, in Svalbard. The previous scheduled visit in 2011 had to be aborted due to bad weather. However, she was not scheduled to visit Svalbard in her 2013 schedule. Newly introduced legislation relating to cruise ships visiting the archipelago (applicable from 2014 onwards) mean that Queen Elizabeth will never be able to visit again.
Cunard Royal Rendezvous
13 January 2011:
Two years after the first Cunard Royal Rendezvous, RMS Queen Mary 2 met up with Queen Victoria and the then brand new Queen Elizabeth for another Royal Rendezvous in New York City. Both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth made an Atlantic crossing in tandem for the event. All three Cunarders met in front of the Statue of Liberty at 6:45 pm for a Grucci fireworks display. The Empire State Building was lit up in red to mark the event.
6 May 2014: All three Queens met up for the first time in Lisbon, Portugal, in preparation for Queen Mary 2s 10th birthday. All three on departure sailed in a one-line formation to Southampton.
9 May 2014: Both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria led in single file, Queen Mary 2 up the Southampton channel, with both ships docking in a bow to bow formation performing a birthday salute to Queen Mary 2. Later on, all three Cunarders gather for a fireworks display in which Queen Mary 2 led both the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria back down the channel.
25 May 2015: The three 'Queens' at Liverpool celebrating 175 years of the formation of the Cunard Line, which was formed and based at Liverpool. At low tide, the three ships stopped in line in middle of the River Mersey, bow to stern, turned 180 degrees in full synchronisation with each other (called a river dance), and then formed an arrow side by side. The Queen Mary 2 was in the centre with its bow in line with the Cunard Building at the Pier Head. The RAF Red Arrows performed a flypast in Vic formation, emitting red, white and blue smoke, over the vessels. An estimated 1.3 million people lined the river banks to witness the spectacle.
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