Cunard Line announced that their fleet will be expanding with the addition of a fourth ship scheduled to join their existing fleet of three Queens in 2022. The news comes just five days after the company celebrated the 50th anniversary of the launch of the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2. The new cruise ship will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard house flag since the company’s founding in 1839. At the time it enters service it will be Cunard’s first new ship in 12 years, since the launch of the current QUEEN ELIZABETH in 2010. At 113,000 gross tons the latest addition will be the second largest ship ever built for Cunard Line. The size of the Cunard fleet has varied greatly over the years but the arrival of this ship will mark the first time since 1998 that the line will have four ships in simultaneous service.
Based on early renderings the ship appears to be a greatly expanded version of the smaller 90,901 gross ton QUEEN ELIZABETH. Stacked high on the forward structure, five decks tower above the ship’s bridge. While it remains uncertain what the double-occupancy capacity will be, the ability to carry 3,000 passengers is higher than that of the QUEEN ELIZABETH at double-occupancy by over 900 passengers and is greater than the double-occupancy capacity of the QUEEN MARY 2 as well. Bearing a family resemblance to the other three Queens, and the latest vessels of sister-company Holland America Line, the new ship will be built at one of the Fincantieri S.p.A. facilities in Italy, most likely at Monfalcone.
“Cunard continues the legacy of our liners with the commissioning of a magnificent new ship. It’s an especially fitting time with the recent 50th Anniversary of the beloved QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 marking the occasion. We are proud to share Cunard’s enduring luxury liner experience with future generations to be enjoyed the world over,” said Josh Leibowitz, Chief Strategy Officer at Carnival Corporation and Senior Vice President, Cunard, North America.
“Sharing the iconic livery and red funnels, the new ship will accommodate up to 3,000 guests. Distinct Cunard signatures and brand new experiences will combine as part of this next generation of the Cunard fleet and we’re looking forward to sharing exciting details in the coming years.”
Addressing Cunard Line employees and the travel industry Mr. Leibowitz went on to add, “The new ship order is an ambitious statement of confidence of Cunard globally and it is a testament to the commitment our entire team and valued travel partners make every day to provide our guests with incredible vacation experiences, and we thank each of you for your significant contributions to making this vision a reality. Again congratulations to our entire team.”
At the present time the new ship remains unnamed. Since before the launch of the original QUEEN MARY at Clydebank in 1934 it has been a bit of a cottage industry to speculate about the name of the newest Cunard liner or cruise ship. No doubt that will take place again as the anticipation builds over the next five years. What Queen will it be, or will it even be another Queen? Only time will tell but it will be fun to hear the guesses in the meantime.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.