by Teresa Machan, The Telegraph, September 25, 2017
Cunard, one of the world’s most recognised cruise brands, has announced it will build a new ship for launch in 2022. The 3,000-passenger ship, the fourth and largest in the fleet by total capacity, will join the Queen Mary 2 (QM2), Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
Carnival Corporation, Cunard's parent company, has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Fincantieri shipyard, in northern Italy - where ships for Viking Cruises, Seabourn and MSC Cruises are currently under construction. This is Cunard’s first new ship since the launch of the Queen Elizabeth, launched by Her Majesty The Queen in 2010. Carnival says it has “ambitious plans” for the future of Cunard.
In the face of fierce competition from newer and increasingly luxurious ships, the brand has recently invested £120 million bringing two of its existing vessels up to date. The refurbishment of of it flagship QM2 was the most expensive refit for any ship in Cunard’s 176-year history.
Cunard relaunched the QM2 last summer following a bow-to-stern refit, while the Queen Victoria re-emerged from dry dock in June this year following a significant facelift. New and refreshed cabins furnished in smart purple, navy and gold offer more allocation for solo travellers and include a significant number of suite categories.
These include apartment-style Grand Suites with a separate kitchen and a ‘snug’ TV room, and dual-aspect balconies.
Drinking and dining venues have also been given a makeover. To coincide with its £34 million refit the Queen Victoria offers the first gin tap at sea, serving Queen Victoria gin as part of its new Gin and Fizz menu. Each of the “three Queens,” as the ships are collectively known, now have a bespoke gin, blended to reflect their sailing routes.
With its trademark red-and-black funnels and white and navy livery, Cunard is one of the world’s most recognised “heritage” cruise brands. The QE2, also launched by the Queen and now retired, celebrated its 50th anniversary this month and in 2015 more than one million people gathered on the Mersey in Liverpool to mark the line’s 175th year in service.
The QM2 is the only dedicated passenger liner in the world, purpose-built to sail across the Atlantic. The journey from Southampton to New York takes six days.