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

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