Cunard Line Celebrates 175th Anniversary Year in 2015 with Special Cruises

Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in Sydney, Australia.  In 2015, she will meet sister ship Queen Victoria Down Under in Sydney to celebrate the company’s 175 years of service.  Photo Courtesy of Cunard Cruises
Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in Sydney, Australia. In 2015, she will meet sister ship Queen Victoria Down Under
in Sydney to celebrate the company’s 175 years of service. Photo Courtesy of Cunard Cruises

In 2015, Cunard will commemorate the 175th year of the company’s founding, and the global voyages will celebrate this significant milestone in style. This festive time will include several Cunard Royal Rendezvous events during the World Voyage itineraries: Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth will depart Southampton together on 10 January; on 12 March, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will meet in Sydney; and on 3 May, all three Queens will return from their World Voyages to Southampton.

Cunard’s 2015 World Voyages and Exotic Cruises Programme will feature voyages from eight days to 127 days aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Plus, passengers will have the option to combine itineraries into and out of Sydney, Australia across two ocean liners to create customised World Voyage options with a land portion in between. Passengers have the opportunity to visit South Africa or the South Pacific, to circumnavigate Australia, and to discover Japan and Southeast Asia. Together, the ships will visit 82 unique destinations in 46 countries, from major cities to less visited locations.

The programme opens for pre-registration today and opens for sale on 5 September at 5:00am PT.

“Cunard continues its tradition of being the world voyage leader,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “We have completed more circumnavigations and taken more passengers on this incredible journey than any other cruise line. And no other ships are welcomed around the world as warmly as the Cunard fleet. Our ships’ arrivals into port attract well-wishers in the thousands – on the water and ashore – it is part of the magic of the Cunard world voyage experience.”

Queen Mary 2
With four maiden calls and an enhanced East-West loop including New Zealand, flagship Queen Mary 2 kicks off her exciting 113-night World Voyage from Southampton and will visit 38 ports of call in 21 countries.

Destination highlights will include celebrating Chinese New Year in Sanya, China; travelling through the Suez Canal; extensive cruising of New Zealand’s Fjordland and iconic city waterfronts; Sydney Harbour; and an East-West loop that includes Auckland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Maiden calls will include Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), Bitung (Indonesia), Sanya (China) and Sihanoukville (Cambodia).

Overnight calls will include Sokhna, Dubai, Hong Kong, Auckland and Cape Town.

Regional Voyages provide passengers the opportunity to enjoy Cunard’s exclusive World Voyage experience in a shorter time frame, ranging from eight to 24 days with fares starting from $1,599, and will include:

20-day Southampton to Dubai – includes an overnight in Sokhna and Dubai
14-day Dubai to Singapore
8-day Singapore to Hong Kong
19-day Hong Kong to Sydney – includes an overnight stay in Hong Kong
13-day Sydney to Sydney – includes an overnight stay in Auckland
24-day Sydney to Cape Town – includes an overnight stay in Cape Town
15-day Cape Town to Southampton
Full World Voyage fares for Queen Mary 2 start from $16,399.

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria’s 103-night Pacific Exploration itinerary will visit 33 ports in 21 countries, including two Panama Canal transits and two Transatlantic Crossings. Additional options include a South Pacific cruise starting in Los Angeles or San Francisco, visiting Sydney, and then returning to Los Angeles. Guests will also have the chance to view other city waterfronts such as New York, Sydney Harbour and Auckland with one overnight call in Sydney.

Queen Victoria will make five maiden calls during her World Voyage: Akaroa (New Zealand), Bora Bora, Puerto Limón (Costa Rica), Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua).

Exotic Cruises range from eight to 27 days, with fares starting from $1,499, and will include:

13-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
17-day Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco
15-day Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
21-day Los Angeles to Sydney
19-day San Francisco to Sydney
27-day Sydney to Los Angeles – includes an overnight stay in Sydney
19-day Los Angeles to New York
15-day Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
12-day Fort Lauderdale to Southampton
8-day New York to Southampton
Full World Voyage fares for Queen Victoria start from $12,699.

Queen Elizabeth
In 2015, Queen Elizabeth will sail a 112-night Western Circumnavigation itinerary that will visit 38 ports in 26 countries, including her sail past Gallipoli on 24 April 2015 to commemorate ANZAC Day and the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign of World War One.

In addition, passengers will travel through the Panama Canal and Suez Canal and under the Golden Gate Bridge, and visit the iconic city waterfronts of New York, San Francisco, Sydney Harbour, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Overnight calls include San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong and Instanbul.

Queen Elizabeth will make one maiden call to Yorkeys Knob (Queensland).

Regional Voyages range from 8 to 22 days with fares starting from $1,499, and will include:

11-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
8-day Southampton to New York
21-day New York to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
18-day New York to Los Angeles
18-day Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
15-day Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
22-day San Francisco to Sydney
15-day Sydney to Yokohama – includes an overnight stay in Sydney
16-day Yokohama to Singapore
10-day Singapore to Dubai
20-day Dubai to Southampton – includes an overnight stay in Instanbul
Queen Elizabeth will make one maiden call to Yorkeys Knob (Queensland).

Regional Voyages range from 8 to 22 days with fares starting from $1,499, and will include:

11-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
8-day Southampton to New York
21-day New York to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
18-day New York to Los Angeles
18-day Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
15-day Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
22-day San Francisco to Sydney
15-day Sydney to Yokohama – includes an overnight stay in Sydney
16-day Yokohama to Singapore
10-day Singapore to Dubai
20-day Dubai to Southampton – includes an overnight stay in Instanbul
Full World Voyage fares for Queen Elizabeth start from $15,499.

All fares quoted are per person, based on double occupancy.

World Voyage Land Tours include:

The Wonders of Middle Earth: Three nights in New Zealand visiting the glow-worm caves of Waitomo and The Hobbit movie set

Cape Town & Safari: Two nights including game drives in the Aquila Game reserve

Hong Kong and a Taste of China: Three nights including a tour of The Peak and a glimpse of the Terracotta Warriors at Shennzhen

San Francisco: Two nights including a Redwood tour, a visit to the artist district in Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge

Traditional Singapore: Three nights including a city tour and afternoon tea at the Raffles Hotel

Sydney – Tall ships and Beaches: Three nights including an 1850s tall ship harbor cruise and a wildlife park visit

Enhanced Benefits Programme
Passengers who book their 2015 World Voyages and Exotic Cruises adventure before 28 February 2014 will receive an On Board Credit of up to $3,000 per stateroom on Full World and Liner Voyages, and will also receive a reduced deposit.

In addition to On Board Credit, World Club members will receive additional savings of up to $2,000 per person for bookings made before 28 February 2014.

White Star Premier Package
Cunard introduces the White Star Premier Package for Full World Voyage guests and offers roundtrip Economy airfare credit, pre-cruise hotel, transfers, White Star Luggage service, additional On Board Credit, Internet and pre-cruise World Concierge Services. Princess Grill and Queens Grill Suite guests who purchase the White Star Premiere Package will be upgraded to Business Class airfare credit and executive car transfers. The White Star Premiere Package starts from $4,300 per person.

For more information and to book a 2015 Cunard World Voyage and Exotic Cruise aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273 or visit www.cunard.com.

Recalling Queen Mary’s Maiden Arrival in New York

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When Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 sails into New York harbour on Saturday 1 June, at the conclusion of her current Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton, she will arrive on the 77th anniversary of the maiden call of the original Queen Mary in New York in 1936.

Queen Mary’s Maiden Voyage began in Southampton on 27 May 1936 when she departed to the sounds of gleeful bands and ecstatic crowds. On board were the famous bandleader, Henry Hall, scheduled to give a series of live radio broadcasts during the Crossing; the virtuoso harmonica player, Larry Adler; and well-known singer, Frances Day, who performed a song written especially for Queen Mary by Henry Hall. Interestingly, Miss Day was doubtful of the ship’s ability to provide fresh eggs throughout the voyage, and so brought along her own chickens.

Seventy-seven years later, flagship Queen Mary 2 left Southampton last Saturday, 25 May, for New York. On board to speak is Jeffrey Weinberg, adviser to seven U.S. Presidents; and passengers still enjoy Cunard’s renowned on board entertainment, including presentations from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Today, the eggs – all 45,000 of them – are fresh and plentiful, and the Line’s legendary Transatlantic Crossings live on.

“During her nearly 10 years in service, Queen Mary 2 has proudly continued the Transatlantic legacy of elegance and glamour that Queen Mary so beautifully exemplified during her long reign of service,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

“On this special anniversary, we are also pleased to continue to call New York our U.S. homeport, a city which has embraced our ships throughout the decades and played a prominent role in many Cunard milestones,” Shanks added.

Queen Mary in New York in 1936 Photo courtesy of Cunard
Queen Mary in New York in 1936 Photo courtesy of Cunard

Queen Mary would cross the Atlantic another 1,000 times during her 31-year career before being retired in 1967. Queen Mary 2 will sail her 200th Crossing on 6 July – from New York – during this, her ninth year on the Atlantic.

For more information about Cunard, and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, contact your Travel Agent, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273, or go to www.cunard.com.

Cunard gives North American Military Personnel a great deal on cruises

Cunard announced a new benefit for those who serve in the armed forces in North America. The new programme grants On Board Credits of up to $250 per person to members of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves, and the Canadian National Defense. Military personnel who are active, retired or disabled veterans are eligible with proper documentation.

The credits apply to all published voyages aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth and are combinable with other On Board Credit offers. The amount of each credit varies with cruise length: $50 per person for a cruise of six days or less; $100 per person for cruises of seven to 14 days; or $250 per person for those 14 days or longer.

Under the terms of the programme, retired status applies to enlisted personnel or officers with a minimum of 20 years of service, medical retirees and the 100 percent disabled. Veterans with an honourable discharge and a length of service that meets certain minimums also are eligible to apply. Military status must be confirmed prior to embarking on the voyage to be eligible for credits.

Cunard has a distinguished history with the military. During World War II, the Queen Mary served as a British Royal Mail Ship and, along with the original Queen Elizabeth, as a troopship. In addition, Winston Churchill credited Cunard with ending the war one year early because of the troop transfer services that both ships provided.

For more information go to Cunard.com

Fleet wide improvements for the Carnival Corporation

Carnival Cruise Lines is conducting a fleet wide $300 million plan to significantly enhance emergency power capabilities, introducing a new fire safety technology system and improving the level of operating redundancies.

The improvement plan is the result of a comprehensive operational review, overseen by parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, initiated immediately after the Carnival Triumph fire in February 2013.

“All of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships operate safely today. Each vessel already has effective systems in place to prevent, detect and respond to emergency situations, and we meet or exceed all regulatory requirements,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “However, by applying lessons learned through our fleet-wide operational review after the Carnival Triumph fire and by taking advantage of new technologies, we have identified areas for enhancement across our operations. These initiatives reflect our commitment to safe and reliable operations and an enjoyable cruising experience for the nearly 4.5 million guests who sail with Carnival Cruise Lines each year.”

The work is already underway and will not affect scheduled itineraries. Upon completion of the initial phase, the line will install a second permanent back-up power system on each ship to provide an even greater level of hotel and guest services if main power is lost. These additional services will include expanded cooking facilities and cold food storage, as well as internet and telephone communications.

The company has also announced the formation of a Safety & Reliability Review Board that will include experts with significant expertise in marine and occupational safety, reliability and maintenance, marine regulatory compliance and quality control/assurance.

The parent company Carnival Corporation & plc previously announced a corporate-wide operational review of all 10 of its brands and 101 ships. The review process will include learnings from the recent incidents that can be applied across the corporation’s fleet. Carnival Corporation & plc has confirmed that, based on the results of the ongoing review, the latest versions of technologies and enhancements will also be implemented on the remainder of the fleet where they are not already present. The overall program of enhancements across the corporation’s 101-ship fleet, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in North America; P&O Cruises and Cunard in the United Kingdom; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Southern Europe; Iberocruceros in Spain; and P&O Cruises in Australia , is expected to cost between $600 and $700 million.

“Our fleet already operates at a high standard of reliability. The investments announced today for Carnival Cruise Lines, and those we will continue to make, will reinforce our ability to consistently deliver the customer experience that 10 million people every year have come to expect from us across our fleet of 101 ships. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and comfort of our guests and crew, and we will use the full resources of our company to meet that commitment,” said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

Initial implementation of the upgrades to the Carnival Corporation & plc fleet will take place during the next several months. Each class of ship is different and often systems differ on ships within a class, so the enhancements will be tailored to each vessel.

These fleet wide improvements will most likely help the cruise consumers regain their faith in Carnival Lines after the recent unfortunate events.

Cruise lines celebrating the royal wedding at sea

Royal Caribbean is offering royal wedding packages so you can feel like a prince or princess. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

By Jackie Roseboom

Many businesses are celebrating the Royal Wedding by offering their guests a viewing party and special offerings, and the cruise industry is no exception. From small viewing areas to lavish parties, it will all be available at sea.

Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean is celebrating the upcoming British royal wedding by offering an exclusive Royal Caribbean wedding package for couples looking to tie the knot at sea.

“Royal Caribbean’s full fleet of ships around the world will broadcast the royal wedding live so that guests may join in the ceremony’s excitement,” said Betsy O’Rourke, senior vice president of marketing. “Inspired by the pending royal nuptials, the Royal Wedding package and honeymoon registry offers guests the royal treatment on their special day and honeymoon cruise.”

The Royal wedding packages include an onboard symbolic wedding ceremony (due to the varying international legal restrictions). Royal Romance Wedding Coordinators will handle every detail so the couples’ special day is a truly regal experience including any legal requirements pre-departure.

Cunard

Cunard’s Royal Court Theatre is very fitting for watching Prince William marry Kate. Photo courtesy of Cunard
Guests onboard Cunard’s three ships — Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth need have no fear of missing one second of the historic union of the future King and Kate Middleton.

Queen Mary 2’s Royal Court Theatre seats over 1,000 guests, who will be able to watch events unfold in plush cinema comfort as the ship sails between New York and Southampton, on a seven-night Transatlantic Crossing (April 26 to May 2).
The Royal Court Theatres on the smaller Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria seat more than 800 passengers, and they too will be used to screen the Royal nuptials live. At the time Queen Elizabeth will be at sea heading for Southampton, and Queen Victoria will be at sea in the Mediterranean.

The day will also be one of celebration on all three Cunard ships, with that evening’s dinner featuring a commemorative menu and a champagne toast.

MSC
With the exception of MSC Sinfonia and Opera, which will not be sailing in European waters, the Royal Wedding will be broadcast in English across the MSC fleet. Bars on board will be serving a great selection of champagnes and prosecco together with a special commemorative Royal Cocktail (sparkling wine, cognac and grand marnier). Guests will be able to raise a glass – or two – to the happy couple.

NCL
The highly-anticipated event will be broadcast across Norwegian’s fleet of ships, with the exception of Norwegian Sky in the Bahamas. Guests will be able to watch the magic of the royal wedding on two-story big screens on Norwegian Pearl, Jewel, Jade, Gem and Epic, as well as in any of the line’s bars and lounges.
After the royal couple say their “I do’s,” guests can raise a toast to the newlyweds with champagne, gin and tonic or a pitcher of Pimm’s and attend street parties held in true British style, complete with music playing tribute to the Beatles. Special dining events will be held throughout the sailing including the Prince and Princess Brunch and an afternoon Royal High Tea.

Princess Cruise Line
Princess ships will be airing the Royal Wedding on the Movies Under the Stars giant screens. Passengers will be able to follow along with full coverage of the pomp and majesty of the historic wedding through BBC World’s broadcast of the event. The onboard viewing parties will add a celebratory flair to the event with British-style refreshments and special royal-themed cocktails. Passengers can also test their knowledge with royal wedding trivia competitions and participate in a William and Kate look-alike contest.

Princess Cruise Line’s first Royal Princess cruise ship debuted in 1984 and was christened by HRH Princess Diana. The ship left the fleet in 2005, the name was passed to one of Princess’ small ships in 2007. This vessel is being transferred to a sister company at the end of April. The new Royal Princess cruise ship will be debuting in spring of 2013. We’ll be waiting in anticipation to see if Princess Kate will also christen the Royal Princess, as the beloved Princess Diana did.

Note: Be sure to follow your Cruise News Weekly columnists as we report live from Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Magic, from May 1 to 10 in Europe. We’ll be reporting from our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Cunard launches Queen Elizabeth

Cruise travel brand icon Cunard launched the 2,068-guest Queen Elizabeth this week in London. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth officiated at the naming ceremony. The Queen christened Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in 1984 and was on hand in 1967 for the naming of Queen Elizabeth 2. Image courtesy Cunard Line

By Michael Coleman

Cruise travel’s most famous brand name paired with the world’s most famous monarch this week.

Her Majesty The Queen officially named Cunard Line’s newest ocean liner, the 2,068-guest Queen Elizabeth during ceremonies in London. The new vessel — estimates peg the total cost at $634 million – features 1,046 staterooms, 71 per cent of which have balconies.

Look for the ship’s lobby to showcase her grandeur complete with links to Cunard ocean liners of the past. With its finishes of light mahogany and marble, stunning art deco chandelier from the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, cantilevered balconies and magnificent, two-deck high original artwork on the grand staircase, the Grand Lobby is the social focal point of the ship. Plaques detailing the Captains who have served on the two previous Cunard “Elizabeths” celebrate the continuation of the “Elizabeth” name, and a third plaque will record over time the names of the future masters of the newest Queen Elizabeth.

The main dining room, the Britannia Restaurant, spans two decks at the stern of the vessel and offers an art deco feel. It evokes memories of classic ocean liner restaurants with a unique sweeping staircase and marbleized backlit decorative ceiling among the focal points. Breakfast and lunch are served by open seating and guests have the option of either early or late sitting for dinner.

Both the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants are located on top of the ship (Deck 11), enclosed by graceful and gently curving panoramic glass walls on the seaboard sides, and cantilevered out over the side of the vessel above Deck 10. Both Grills offer a single seating, so guests can enter at a time of their choosing, and the restaurants themselves, although architecturally similar, are decorated distinctly to create an individual feel. Grills guests also have exclusive use of their own private bar and lounge conveniently located next to the Grills restaurants, and complete with resident Concierge.

The ship also features a number of alternative dining venues: The Garden Lounge hosts occasional evening ‘Supper Clubs’ with musical entertainment and dancing; The Lido Restaurants, up on Deck 9, offer breakfast and lunch buffet style; Café Carinthia continues the popular venue introduce on Queen Victoria – furnished in art deco touches and rich décor – offering guests sweet pastries, fine teas and coffees; Golden Lion Pub offers English pub food for lunch in a traditional British pub setting.

The ship’s three-deck Royal Court Theatre, with tiered seating for 832 guests, is the focal point for evening entertainment. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth’s two-deck Queen’s Room ballroom, another Cunard signature feature, is designed for dancing, cocktail parties and traditional English afternoon teas complete with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones with jam and cream.

Look for a host of bars and clubs to suit a wide variety of tastes.

The ship’s outdoor space on Deck 9 aft, meanwhile, will feature garden parties reminiscent of those held at British country houses, while the forward Games Deck, named after the same deck on the original Queen Elizabeth, offers paddle tennis and introduces croquet and bowls under a canopy to shield players from the sun.

On the web: cunard.com

Special deals offered for ‘World’s Largest Cruise Night’

Most cruise lines are offering some sort of special deal for the World's Largest Cruise Night on Oct. 13. Some offers are only good for deals booked that day and some last a bit longer. Pick your ship, see what sort of deal you can get and plan your next getaway. Photo by Matt Roseboom

By Jackie Roseboom

The Cruise Lines International Association is holding a special World’s Largest Cruise Night this Oct. 13. Travel agents across North America will be hosting a special events in partnership with several cruise lines. Some amazing deals are being offered. As the event gets closer, more deals will be offered. Here are the ones already showing up:

Carnival is enticing vacationers with cruise upgrades on virtually all “Fun Ship” departures through December 2011. To sweeten the deal, Carnival will offer up to a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for all Carnival Magic Europe voyages booked on Oct. 13. The Carnival Magic Europe offer includes best available upgrades and a $100 onboard credit per stateroom for seven-day Europe sailings and a $200 onboard credit per stateroom for nine- and 12-day sailings.

Celebrity is hosting a three-day sale beginning Oct. 13 for sailings departing April through December 2011 for select seven- to 14-night sailings. Look for onboard credits of $50 per stateroom for oceanview accommodations; $100 per stateroom for veranda accommodations; and $150 per stateroom for AquaClass (only on Solstice-class ships), suites, and Concierge Class.

Costa is offering a $50 onboard credit per stateroom on any sailing. The offer is valid only on Oct. 13.

Crystal Cruises is offering a $100 per person additional savings incentive on most 2010-2011 departures for new bookings made from Oct. 1 to 31.

Cunard is offering an onboard credit (per stateroom) of up to $300 for Queens & Princess Grill accommodation; up to $200 for Balcony staterooms; and up to $100 for Oceanview/Inside staterooms, depending on length of voyage. Bookings made during the Cruise Sale will receive a waiver of the deposit on the second guest.

Holland America Line is offering shipboard credits that can be combined with group amenities or cruise night offers. Plus deposits are only $100 per person for cruises of seven to 36 days.

For booking between Oct. 13 to 27, MSC will offer exclusive shipboard credits, such as $25 per passenger for inside cabin/oceanview bookings; $50 per passenger for standard balcony/superior balcony accommodations; and $100 per passenger for suites bookings.

Oceania Cruises is celebrating its maiden season in Alaska with two-for-one cruise fares, plus free round-trip air and bonus savings up to $1,000 per stateroom.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a $100 per person ($200 per suite) shipboard credit booking incentive. This offer is valid for any new reservation on a 2010 or 2011 departure of seven nights or longer booked between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15.

Silversea Cruises is offering a $100 per guest ($200 per suite) savings on any 2010, 2011 or 2012 cruise booked during the month of October.

Windstar is offering a $100 per person shipboard credit on any Wind Spirit, Wind Star or Wind Surf sailing in the Caribbean or Costa Rica between Jan. 2 and April 2, 2011. The offer is valid for new bookings made between Oct. 13 and Nov. 15, and the credits may be combined with all nationwide offers including two-for-one offers.

On the Web: visit cruising.org for more information or check with a CLIA-member travel agent.

Queen Elizabeth to name the next Cunard ship

Cunard Line just announced that her majesty the Queen will name the company’s new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name.

The naming will be a milestone in British maritime history and is sure to spark interest worldwide.

Her majesty was present at the age of 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 27, 1938, when she accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to Clydebank for the launch.

“The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be a historic event in the true sense of the word,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The Queen launched Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner, Queen Elizabeth,” added Shanks.

The Naming Ceremony will take place in Southampton on Monday, Oct. 11 and Queen Elizabeth will set sail on her maiden voyage on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company to debut on Cunard’s new ship

By Matt Roseboom

The Cunard line will further enhance their reputation for high-class entertainment when their new ship, Queen Elizabeth, launches in England this October.

An original concept will debut on the ship — the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company. A group of 29 actors, dancers and musicians will perform a brand new repertoire of shows in the majestic Royal Court Theatre. Cruisers will be able to see a variety of musical productions and abridged versions of popular plays.

New shows include the hit “Slice of Saturday Night.” The play, which features a popular medley of ‘60s music, has been staged in London and toured extensively. Adapted for the Queen Elizabeth by its original writers, the Heather Brothers, the show will feature all of the Theatre Company members. It will be the largest production show Cunard has ever staged.

Abridged versions of popular plays such as a Neil Simon triple bill and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” will also be performed. The Simon show will feature three scenes, one each from some of the playwright’s best-loved shows — “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Plaza Suite” and “The Odd Couple”. At the conclusion of each show, the audience may take part in an informal Q&A session with the actors.

Other onboard performances:

– “The Piccadilly Line” features speech, song and prose as characters get on and off a train journey on the world’s oldest underground rail system.

 – “Hotel Royale” is a musical production featuring the story of a hotel with a quirky staff and unusual guests.

 – “Sing” is based on the popularity of “Singers in Concert” performed on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. The show will feature familiar contemporary musical theater, pop and classic songs.

 – “La Danza” is a cutting edge dance production showcasing the virtuoso talents of the dance ensemble. 

The Theatre Company will also present its own take on topical news and entertainment stories as guests take part in a fun panel quiz show.

Queen Elizabeth will continue their tradition of presenting Cunard’s Royal Nights with the debut of “The Cunard Ball,” “London Swings,” “The Starlight Ball” and the “Elizabethan Ball.” “London Swings” will be featured on the same evening as “Slice of Saturday Night,” with its inspirations taken from popular British ’60s icons such as Twiggy, Mary Quant and Carnaby Street.
New for Queen Elizabeth will be the introduction of Professional Insights, a series of expert workshops on diverse subjects including antiques, auctions, sculpture, movie reviews, performance poetry and even weather forecasting.

In addition, Queen Elizabeth will offer Cunard’s Insights enrichment program which allows guests to attend lectures, workshops and the like with personalities of notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, arts and literature. Cunard feels onboard entertainment should offer guests a provocative and rewarding experience.

Days-at-sea voyages in vogue

Cunard Line is the only company that offers regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings, most often aboard the Queen Mary 2. Transocean voyages are in vogue among today’s cruise travelers. Image courtesy Cunard

By Michael Coleman

Transocean cruise travel opportunities are gaining in popularity as luxury, premium and mass market operators offer longer haul, sea-going choices than ever before.

As cruise ships large and small are seasonally repositioned from one cruising destination to another, travelers have dozens of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s most memorable and unique experiences — a voyage by ship from one continent to another.

The Cunard Line, for decades, was literally built via the transatlantic voyages offered aboard her ships and today is the only company that offers regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings on the Queen Mary 2 from April to November.

But, in this highly-competitive global industry that is cruise travel, more and more lines are offering a host of transocean opportunities as well.

In this the first of a two-part series, we’ll look at the transocean voyages being offered by the world’s best luxury cruise lines, each a member of the Cruise Lines International Association.

Next week, we’ll take a closer look at the transocean voyages being offered by the world’s top mass market and premium cruise lines.

CUNARD LINE Queen Mary 2 — Twenty-one transatlantic crossings, April-November, including classic six-day voyages between New York and Southampton, plus a seven-day option as well as eight- and nine-day crossings to Cherbourg and Hamburg,

CRYSTAL CRUISESCrystal Symphony — From Dubai to Athens, departing May 12; from London to New York, departing September 5; from New York to Los Angeles, departing November 2; Crystal Serenity — From Dubai to Athens (part of the 2010 World Cruise), departing March 15; from Rome to Barcelona, departing October 19.

REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISESSeven Seas Mariner — 16 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Monte Carlo departing March 22; Seven Seas Navigator — 20 nights from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco departing May 6; 18 nights from Seward to Tianjin (Beijing) departing September 15; Seven Seas Voyager — 14 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Reykjavik departing May 12; 15 nights from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale departing November 8.

SEABOURN CRUISE LINESeabourn Spirit — 13 days from Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon departing March 19; Seabourn Legend — 13 days from Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon departing April 8; Seabourn Legend — 13 days from Malaga to Fort Lauderdale departing November 20; Seabourn Odyssey — 13 days from Nice to Fort Lauderdale departing December 6.

SEADREAM YACHT CLUBSeaDream I — 13 days from San Juan to Malaga departing April 30; 12 days from Malaga to San Juan departing October 14; SeaDream II — 12 days from Barbados to Malaga departing April 25; 2 days from Barbados to Malaga departing November 8.

SILVERSEA CRUISESSilver Spirit — 14 days from New York to Southampton departing April 23; Silver Cloud — 15 Days from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Barcelona, Spain, departing April 14; Silver Whisper — 12 Days from Southampton, U.K. to New York City, New York, departing September 2; Silver Shadow — 16 Days from Vancouver, British Columbia to Tokyo, Japan, departing Sept. 12.