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Since 1840 Cunard Line has been sailing the seven seas, and for the past six decades there has been a Queen amongst its fleet plying the open ocean.
A New Queen Is About To Be Crowned.
The Cunard fleet has a classic British heritage and includes Queen Elizabeth 2 and Caronia. In December 2003 the line welcomes Queen Mary 2, destined to recapture the glamour of the original Queen Mary, currently a hotel and attraction in Long Beach, California. Another new, as of yet unnamed, ship is expected to come online for Cunard in 2005.
The keel for the new Queen Mary 2 was laid in Saint Nazaire, France on July 4, 2002, a commemorative day celebrating the 162nd anniversary of the maiden voyage of the first Cunard ship - Britannia, sailing from Liverpool to Halifax and Boston.
The new $800-million Cunard flagship is expected to enter service in January 2004 and she will be the largest, longest, and tallest and most expensive passenger ship ever built.
Stylistically, QM2 will recall the grand ocean liners, with sweeping staircases, towering domed public rooms, five swimming pools, a grand ballroom and a 360-degree promenade deck. Yet she will be technologically advanced, with a four-pod propulsion system, sophisticated multi-media, conference and classroom facilities, and even the world's first shipboard planetarium.
The first liner to be built since the line's Queen Elizabeth 2 entered service in 1969, QM2 is the first ship for Cunard by the renowned French shipyard Alstom Chantiers de l'Atlantique, one of world's most technically advanced shipbuilders who have built such famous luxury liners as Normandie, France, and Ile de France.
Cunard officials marked the keel-laying occasion by the placing of coins under the first section of the keel. A commemorative £5 Queen's Golden Jubilee coin symbolizing Great Britain and a silver French Franc was chosen to represent France, the country of her birth. The ceremonial gesture, believed to have originated in ancient Greece, is said to bring good luck to a ship.
In the spirit of her predecessors, QM2 will be resplendent with grandeur and elegance, while at the same time featuring contemporary style amenities and the latest technological innovations. She will feature classic Cunard hallmarks such as sweeping staircases, expansive promenades, stylish restaurants and public rooms of an imposing scale. The sheer size of the vessel, 150,000 tonnes, has enabled the line to create a space ratio per passenger of 57.25, making her among the grandest of the world's larger passenger ships.
In A Royal League Of Her Own!
The 2,620-passenger QM2 is a prototype of unique design: the multi-million-dollar project employs teams of naval architects, engineers and maritime experts, including the marine interior design firms of SMC-Tillberg and "designteam", both based in London.
The liner's handsome, traditional exterior lines are complemented by stylish interiors that carry the grace and elegance of a bygone era into the future. Facilities include 1,310 fully equipped staterooms and suites, nearly three quarters of which will have a private balcony, and a variety of passenger spaces, from a majestic, three-story dining room to intimate bars and lounges to the first sea-going planetarium.
On the technical side, the QM2 powerplant includes two gas turbines and four diesel engines. More than two-thirds of this energy will be used to power a state-of-the-art Mermaid Pod Propulsion System, comprised of two fixed and two azimuthing pod units. The first four-pod installation to date, the powerful new system provides a speed of nearly 30 knots with low noise and vibration levels and maximum maneuverability.
World Class Itineraries
Four Inaugural Voyages & A Tandem QE2 Sail
The itineraries for the QM2 will include the traditional six-day transatlantic crossing, Caribbean voyages from New York, Rio de Janeiro sailings at Carnival time, as well as Europe and the Americas.
It is only fitting that the maiden voyage of QM2 be a transatlantic crossing, for which she was designed. Inaugural festivities to be held in Southampton, her U.K. homeport, promise to be fit for a Queen complete with pomp and circumstance befitting the launch of the first new ocean liner in more than 30 years. On January 12, 2004, Cunard's new flagship will set out for North America calling at Madeira, Tenerife, and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, Barbados, and St. Thomas USVI, en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for her inaugural voyage from the U.S.
QM2 will use both Fort Lauderdale and New York as her U.S. bases for a series of warm-weather sailings to some of the most desirable islands in the Caribbean. Due to her capability of cruising at a speed of nearly 30 knots, QM2 is able to sail a deep Caribbean route out of New York, unlike most other ships. Itineraries from eight to 14 days - offered in March, November and December - will visit San Juan, St. Kitts, Martinique, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Aruba, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.
Come February, travelers on two voyages will have the opportunity to celebrate Carnival in Rio with QM2 as their five-star floating hotel. The southbound cruise leaves Fort Lauderdale February 11, calling at St. Thomas and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, before arriving in Rio for an overnight aboard ship. Northbound guests overnight on board February 23 before sailing to Fort Lauderdale via Barbados, Martinique, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
Commemorative Crossings - New York & Southampton
On April 16, 2004, QM2 will set sail from Southampton on her Inaugural Westbound Transatlantic Crossing to New York. Then, on Sunday, April 25, Cunard Line will celebrate an historic day when it not only marks the Inaugural Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing for QM2, but also the final eastbound crossing for her sister ship, Queen Elizabeth 2. The famous QE2 - in transatlantic service since 1969 - will continue to operate her annual World Cruise and will offer a full line-up of exciting cruises from Southampton.
To celebrate this milestone, the Queens will sail transatlantic in tandem with QE2 leading the way for her younger sibling. The last two Cunard Line Queens to be in the port of New York together were their legendary namesakes, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, in the 1940s.
Cunard has offered regularly scheduled service between the U.S. and England since 1840. The passage has evolved into a journey rich with tradition, elegance and romance, one widely favored by the international jetset, rock stars and royalty. From April through October 2004, QM2 will operate 15 crossings between Southampton and New York.
Sampler Cruises & European Summer Holidays
To showcase Cunard's glamorous new flagship to New Yorkers, two short, round-trip cruises from New York have been created. A three-day departs May 7, timed for Mother's Day, and a four-day departs July 1, in order to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Five summer Europe cruises from Southampton will take QM2 to ports in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Iberian Peninsula. Three 12-day cruises call at Vigo, Mallorca, Barcelona, Malaga and Cadiz in Spain, as well as Gibraltar, UK; Marseille, France; and Lisbon, Portugal.
A two-week variation adds a taste of Italy to the above itinerary with calls at Civitavecchia, (Rome), and Livorno, gateway to Florence and Pisa. On July 11, QM2 sails round-trip from Southampton to Norway's fjords via Edinburgh. Ports include Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Aalesund and Hellesylt/Geiranger in Norway; Hamburg, Germany; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
In September, the ship will cruise along the Eastern Seaboard to the highlights of Canada and New England on two 12-day cruises round-trip from New York. Ports include Portland, Maine; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Corner Brook, Newfoundland; Quebec City, Quebec; Newport, Rhode Island; and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
- Queen Mary 2 Fun Facts
- At 1,131 feet, QM2 is five times longer than Cunard's first ship, Britannia (230 feet), and 22 feet longer than the original Queen Mary (1,109 feet).
- She will feature 17 decks and tower 200 feet above the waterline, equal to the height of a 23-story building.
- QM2 is more than twice as long as the Washington Monument is tall (550 feet), 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall (984 feet), more than 3 ½ times as long as Big Ben (Westminster Tower) is high (310 feet), as long as 36 double-decker London buses (31½ feet each), more than three times as long as St. Paul's Cathedral (366 feet), and only 117 feet shorter than the height of the Empire State Building (1248 feet).
- QM2 will stretch nearly four football fields in length.
- There will be several dining venues, all featuring ocean views, including Cunard's traditional Grill Rooms for the higher stateroom categories and an elegant restaurant for the deluxe and standard categories. Recalling the classic dining salons of grand liners of the past, the magnificent three-deck-high main dining room will span the full width of the ship with a sweeping central staircase creating a dramatic showcase for those wishing to make the ultimate grand entrance.
- Another classic feature will be a 360-degree Promenade Deck, recreating an environment, which historically served as an important social venue aboard transatlantic liners. The spacious deck, whose total circumference exceeds one-third of a mile, will be lined with traditional steamer chairs while leaving expansive room for guests to stroll. Interior promenades circling several decks will provide attractive walking venues, as well.
- The ship will have a large indoor swimming pool in the spa as well as four outside pools, one of which will have a retractable glass roof.
- A planetarium on board will offer a variety of constellation shows, as well as other presentations.
- The ship's whistle will be an original from Queen Mary so that her famous predecessor's voice will once more be heard on the ocean. It will be audible for 10 miles.
- Queen Mary 2 will measure 1,132 feet in length and 237 feet in height from keel to funnel top, with beam of 135 feet, making it not only the longest but also the widest passenger ship in the world.
- She will carry just 2,620 passengers. Accommodations will range from 194 to 5,000 square feet, with 77 percent offering ocean views, and nearly three-fourths having balconies.
The beauty salon will be a luxurious facility offering a full menu of Canyon Ranch services for both women and men, including hair design and nail care treatments, manicures, pedicures, makeup consultations and makeovers.
Celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality Todd English has been signed to the QM2 to create a featured restaurant on-board, simply called Todd English. This is the chef's first venture at sea and will highlight his interpretive Mediterranean cuisine. The 216-seat venue will have both indoor and poolside seating and English has worked very closely with the London-based design team to create a visually stunning atmosphere. Passengers must make advance reservations, but there will be no additional gratuity or surcharge levied.
English and his restaurants have received numerous accolades. His restaurant, Olives, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, opened in May of 1989, and has drawn national and international acclaim ever since. It has received the "Best Food" and "Top Table" awards by Gourmet, was named the "Best New Restaurant" by Boston Magazine and is consistently named Boston's #1 favorite restaurant by Zagat.
However, it was in 2001 that English's face became as renowned as his cooking when he was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People." The same year Bon Appetit recognized him as "Restaurateur of the Year."
English started cooking at age 15 and five years later began his studies at the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1982 with honors. He apprenticed with Jean Jacques Rachou at New York's La Cote Basque and then relocated to Italy where he honed his craft at the well-known Dal Pescatore in Canto Sull O'lio and Paraccuchi in Locando D'Angello. It was in Italy that English developed his unique cooking style, which is inspired by his Italian heritage.
At age 25 English returned to the United States and was asked to be the executive chef of the award-winning Northern Italian restaurant Michela's in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He served there as executive chef for three years garnering high praise from both the press and the public.
English is currently the chef and owner of Olives in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which opened as a 50-seat storefront. The restaurant now occupies a larger space down the street from its original location also in Charlestown. In recent years English has opened other Olives locations through-out the U.S.: Olives New York in the W Hotel in Union Square, Olives Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel, Olives DC in the heart of Washington, DC and Olives Aspen at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen, Colorado.
Additionally, English has opened Miramar at The Inn at National Hall in Westport, Connecticut; Greg Norman's Australian Grille in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with golf great Greg Norman; and his seafood concept KingFish Hall, in Boston's Historic Faneuil Hall. English also has four Figs restaurants in the greater Boston area and two locations at New York's LaGuardia Airport. Figs serves traditional and not-so-traditional pizzas and handmade pastas. English opened a second location in Faneuil Hall for his casual concept Rustic Kitchen. Tuscany at Mohegan Sun serves Italian-inspired foods and pays homage to his Italian roots. English's latest concept Bonfire, a steakhouse, is a celebration of ranch cooking around the world from the U.S. to Australia.
In the spring 1991 English caught the culinary world's eye when the James Beard Foundation named him the "National Rising Star Chef," and then in 1994 named him the best chef in the Northeast. He was also the first recipient of the Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence and appeared on the companion public television cooking series "America's Rising Star Chefs." The respected Nation's Restaurant News named English one of their "Top 50 Tastemakers."
Canyon Ranch health resorts is designing and operating the QM2 spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness facilities.
Canyon Ranch SpaClub - will feature 20,000 square feet of state-of-the-art spa and fitness facilities located on two decks and employ 51 staff members for massage, body and skin care treatment. There is a gymnasium and weight room with more than 50 pieces of cardio and weight-training equipment, a juice bar, and men's and women's locker rooms. Designers will incorporate unique water features throughout, emphasizing the healing and therapeutic benefits of water and heat.
Facilities will include a 30' x 15' co-ed Thallasotherapy Pool featuring airbed recliner lounges, neck fountains, a deluge waterfall, air tub and body massage jet benches. The pool area also will have a whirlpool. Adjacent to the pool will be an extensive Thermal Suite featuring an herbal sauna, Finnish sauna, reflexology basins and an aromatic steam room.
Passengers aboard QM2 will be able to experience an array of rejuvenating spa treatments, including massages and therapeutic bodywork, mud, aromatherapy, Ayurveda and seaweed treatments, facials and masks, conditioning body scrubs and therapeutic body cocoons.
The ship's SpaClub also will offer the exotic Rasul Ceremony, a Canyon Ranch signature treatment. This medicinal mud and steam therapy, which takes place in an ornately tiled steam chamber, is derived from an ancient Middle Eastern cleansing ritual.
In addition to the ship's extensive spa, beauty and fitness facilities, Canyon Ranch certified instructors will conduct daily group and private fitness, yoga and tai chi classes for passengers. Canyon Ranch "healthy living experts" will offer on-board lectures and workshops addressing lifestyle change, health and medical issues, stress management, smoking cessation, healthy aging and disease prevention. Canyon Ranch chefs will design spa selections for various QM2 restaurants.
The SpaClub aboard QM2 will be the first such facility for Canyon Ranch on board a ship. The company also operates another SpaClub at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas and two destination health resorts: the original Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, and Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, Massachusetts.
Compiled by Rick Thompson, Denver Correspondent.