Posted on Sunday, October 17, 2010 by Peter Knego
The new QUEEN ELIZABETH is the latest entrant in the Carnival Corporation-owned platform of ships sharing similar hull and machinery blueprints that include her near twin, the 2008-built QUEEN VICTORIA, Holland America Line’s two Signature (EURODAM and NIEUW AMSTERDAM) and four Vista Class ships (ZUIDERDAM, OOSTERDAM, WESTERDAM, NOORDAM), P&O’s ARCADIA, a quartet of Costa Line vessels and Carnival’s four member SPIRIT Class.
MV QUEEN ELIZABETH Principal Statistics:
Owners: Cunard Line division of the Carnival Corporation
Built by Fincantieri’s Monfalcone (near Trieste) shipyard: Hull number 6187
Registry: Southampton, U.K.
Gross Tonnage: 90,900
Length: 964.5 feet (294 meters)
Beam: 104.8 feet (32.25 meters) hull/120 feet (36.6 meters) bridge wings
Draft: 26.2 feet (8.0 meters)
Passengers: 2092 double occupancy
Passenger Decks: 12
Propulsion: Six Mak M43C diesels that drive 2 ABB pods
Speed: 21.7 knots (23.7 maximum)
The contract for the QUEEN ELIZABETH, the successor to the 1968-built QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, was signed in October of 2007. The first keel blocks were laid in July of 2009 and the hull was floated out in January of 2010.
The first sea trials began in the summer of 2010. On October 1, 2010, the new QUEEN ELIZABETH was handed over to Cunard and sailed for Southampton via Algeciras to begin her career as the second largest Cunard vessel ever built.
She arrived in Southampton for the first time on Friday, October 8, 2010, remaining at the Ocean Cruise Terminal to be inspected by media and the travel industry prior to her maiden voyage (which sold out in a mere 29 minutes when it was announced for sale on 1 April 2009), a thirteen night Atlantic Isles cruise that departed on Tuesday, October 12.
The ship was christened by HM Queen Elizabeth in a gala ceremony on the afternoon of Monday, October 11, invoking the royal launch of the first QUEEN ELIZABETH by the Queen Mother Elizabeth in 1938, attended by the then 12 year old HRH Princess Ellizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret. The young Elizabeth, first as princess, then as queen, went on to launch and or name a series of important cruise ships and liners, including Cunard’s CARONIA in 1947, Shaw Savill’s SOUTHERN CROSS in 1954, Canadian Pacific’s EMPRESS OF BRITAIN in 1955, Cunard’s QE2 in 1967 and Cunard’s QUEEN MARY 2 in 2006.
All Photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2010 unless otherwise noted. Please click on image to view a larger version.
Externally, the twelve passenger deck QUEEN ELIZABETH differs from the slightly smaller QUEEN VICTORIA with the additional glass-enclosed structure atop her bridge on Deck 11, as well as her more vertical stern which houses more accommodation and a larger lido than the VICTORIA.
Our Decked! tour will begin at the highest passenger level and work its way gradually down, from fore to aft.
The platform surrounding the funnel on Deck 12 is the highest point on the ship.
It overlooks the Pavilion Pool area midships and glass screens provide a certain degree of shelter from the wind.
Deck 11 is divided into fore and aft “islands”. The forward Games Court or “English Garden” is housed under the distinctive canopied structure atop the superstructure that distinguishes the ship from her sister, QUEEN VICTORIA. It has many design trademarks of senior Princess architect Giacomo Mortola and resembles similar “Sanctuary” fixtures atop the Mortola-designed GRAND and CROWN class Princess ships.
The QUEEN ELIZABETH features the world’s first sea-going bowls court (although several Brit. based lines such as Fred. Olsen and Voyages of Discovery do offer improvised versions of the game. The astroturf-decked area surrounding the radio mast housing also features paddle tennis and croquet courts.
Games get a bit more cerebral in the aft portion of the forward island of Deck 11 with an elevated, oversized chess board.
Surrounding the chessboard is a semi-circular platform that overlooks the Pavilion Pool from forward.
The external portion of Midships Deck 11 begins with a sunning and observation terrace.
The domed, 34 seat Grill Lounge begins the small, exclusive group of public spaces on midships Deck 11. This “ship within a ship” portion of the QUEEN ELIZABETH is reserved for the vessel’s Grill category passengers. The lounge is used for afternoon tea as well as pre and post dinner aperitifs and drinks for those dining in either the Princess or Queens Grills, just aft.
Queens Grill guests enjoy the ship’s most opulent suites and the grill that spans the port portion of midships Deck 11. The crescent-shaped space with a cream and gold decorative palette offers spectacular sea views, exemplary service and some of the richest foods on the high seas to please even the most discriminating palettes.
The 122 seat Princess Grill is the starboard side complement of the Queens Grill with a similar layout and decorative fixtures.
Both grills share a sheltered, al fresco patio with a water fountain, just aft, that accommodates 28 guests for meals and afternoon tea.
Deck 10 begins with the 122 seat Commodore Club observation lounge. Seating lines the perimeter of the room which has floor to ceiling windows on three sides and handsome alcoves featuring paintings depicting Cunard’s most recent QUEENs by maritime artist Robert Lloyd. A bar and small dance floor are located in the aft/center portion of the room.
The small Admiral’s Lounge is located directly aft of the Commodore Club on the starboard side and is accessed by the starboard passageway.
Churchill’s cigar lounge is located aft of the Commodore Club and is also accessed via the starboard passageway.
Just aft of the Commodore Club on the port side of Deck 10, there are couples spa therapy suites, which are connected to the Cunard Royal Spa on Deck 9 via a private staircase.
Featuring 270 degree views, the 90 seat Yacht Club is one of the QUEEN ELIZABETH’s more striking venues. It features a domed skylight, modern decor, floor to ceiling windows in its aft portion, a small bandstand, bar and dance floor.
One of the special highlights of the Yacht Club of particular interest to Cunard Line fans and ocean liner enthusiasts in general, is the solid silver model of the QE2, rescued from the famed Cunarder’s entrance lobby.
Midships Deck 10 continues with two finite open air verandahs on either side overlooking the Pavilion Pool and two jacuzzis on Deck 9.
Sheltered outdoor decks lead aft to the child and teen areas of the ship. On the starboard side, there is the Zone, the ship’s dedicated teen tween center with video games, computers and.
On the port side, there is the Play Zone area for young children, with adjoining play area.
Promenades span aft to a small terrace overlooking the stern on Deck 10.
From the farthest aft portion of Deck 10, there is a nice view of the QUEEN ELIZABETH’s expanded aft pool and lido.
The forward portion of Deck 9 begins with a narrow observation platform that is accessed through the emergency exit doors on either side of the Fitness Center.
QUEEN ELIZABETH has an excellent gym with a large variety of cardio equipment (treadmills, ellipticals, stair machines, stationary bikes and spinning machines), free weights, weight machines and an aerobics/stretching area.
The Cunard Royal Spa is aft adjacent to the fitness center. On the port side are numerous treatment rooms and the women’s changing area. There is also a small meeting room where classes are held.
At the aft end of the port side of the Cunard Royal Spa, there is the Beauty Salon.
Adjoining the Beauty Salon is a foot therapy suite with three stations.
The men’s changing and shower area is on the starboard side of the spa, just aft of the gym. During my visit, it still had shipyard workers putting on the finishing touches.
A dry sauna is at the after end of the men’s changing area.
On the starboard side of the Cunard Royal Spa, there is also a waiting are and relaxation room.
The Hydrotherapy Pool is at the aft end of the Cunard Royal Spa.
The open air Pavilion Pool is located amidships and features two whirlpools.
Just aft of the Pavilion Pool is the 134 seat Garden Lounge. Its soaring ceiling is inspired by the glass houses of Kew Gardens. It is the ship’s conservatory style venue, home to afternoon teas and supper club gatherings. Its complement on the QUEEN VICTORIA has a sliding glass Magrodome ceiling but somehow lacks the dynamic scale of this room.
The Garden Lounge has a bar on its aft/port side and space for dancing. Wicker seating lines it perimeter.
The Lido Restaurant is the ship’s casual 24 hour eatery featuring floor-to-ceiling windows seating 464 guests.
The QUEEN ELIZABETH’s lido also features three new extra tariff ($10 per person) dining options: Asado (South American cuisine), Azted (Authentic Regional Mexican) and Jasmine (Pan-Asiaan).
The Lido Pool is served by a canopied al fresco bar on the starboard side. The lido, itself, is larger than that of the QUEEN VICTORIA’s due to the expanded stern that accommodates more suites just below.
Here is where we will conclude the first portion of the QUEEN ELIZABETH tour.
End of QUEEN ELIZABETH Triple Decked!, Part One