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

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.