Posts Tagged ‘Cunard’

Plans For A QE2 Hotel Back On?

February 11, 2018


The QE2 Ocean Liner  has been docked in Dubai’s Port Rashid, since 2008, after plans for a hotel on board fell through.

The ship has a rich nautical history after she was launched by the Her Majesty the Queen, for Cunard, in 1967.

However the Telegraph  reported that the vessel had become “mouldy” and “filthy” during her time in retirement.

Then in 2017, Dubai-based construction company Shafa Construction announced it was going to give the classic ship a refurbishment.

They have now launched a web site.  There isn’t much detail on the site as  yet, but is does promise “a new take on hospitality” as well as “a royal experience”.


(One of the past concepts)

New QE2 Web Site: HERE

Malcolm says: Firstly I will believe this news when it happens. There have been many rumours, about the QE2’s fate, over the past decade.   I don’t want to see the QE2 scrapped, but she is an out-dated vessel. She was dated when they withdrew her.

The problem is that if you modify the QE2’s accommodation and public rooms, to make big suites from smaller cabins, with balconies etc. she is no longer the QE2. It’s difficult to combine both a museum and a hotel, of a good standard,

The original Cunard ‘Queen Mary’ (in Long Beach) is still a wonderful Ocean Liner but a pretty mediocre hotel. The SS Rotterdam is still a wonderful ship too, but only ship nuts would probably want to stay on her. Mind you, I did.

Slide-show – QE2 Transatlantic crossing 2008: HERE


Cunard Are Back In Alaska

October 24, 2017

(Courtesy Cunard)

For the first time in 20 years Cunard are back in Alaska.

Join Queen Elizabeth on her maiden Alaska season.

Itineraries include:

25 Jun 19 – 29nts – Vancouver to New York with The Rocky Mountaineer
15 Jun 19 – 53nts Vancouver to Southampton with The Rocky Mountaineer & Reykjavik
25 Jun 19 – 44nts – Vancouver to Southampton with The Rocky Mountaineer & Panama Canal
1 May 19 – 22nts – Tokyo to Vancouver with The Inside Passage
5 June, 10 June, 15 Jun 19 – 12nts – Best of Alaska with The Rocky Mountaineer


2022: A New ‘Pinnacle Class’ Cunarder

September 25, 2017

New Cunarder: 2nd from left – click to enlarge  (Cunard)

Over the last few years we have had so much to be proud of at Cunard – from the magnificent celebrations for our 175th anniversary, that drew crowds of more than a million people in Liverpool, to the stunning £120m refurbishments of our flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. And, as we mark 50 years since the naming of our much loved liner QE2, we wanted to share our most exciting news yet.

In 2022, a new ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the fleet, the first new Cunard ship in 12 years and the first time since 1998 that we’ll have four ships in simultaneous service.


(Courtesy Cunard)

Sharing the iconic livery and red funnels, the new ship will accommodate up to 3,000 guests. Distinct Cunard signatures and brand new experiences will combine as part of this next generation of the Cunard fleet and we’re looking forward to sharing exciting details in the coming years.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Palethorpe
Senior Vice President, Cunard.


(Courtesy Cunard)

Malcolm says: Well that was a surprise. I did not see that one coming.  She will be the biggest Cunarder yet, in terms of passenger capacity (not volume/gross tonnage). She’s the first new Cunard ship to enter service in 7 years, making it the first time since 1998 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.

Cuanrd have not revealed very much as yet. We do know that the new ship will be 113,000-gross-tonne and will carry 3,000 passengers. It will be built by the Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri.

However the design will be based on Holland America Lines’s  ‘Koningsdam’. This ‘Pinnacle’ class design is a slightly bigger version of the ‘Vista’ class, like Cunard’s QV and QE are. Using existing ship designs is a cheap way for Carnival to add tonnage to thie brands.

QV and QE are around 91,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 2,547 passengers. The new ship will carry 453 more passengers. (The Queen Mary 2 is around 150,000 gt  but only carries up to 2,620 passengers. That’s spacious!)

The new ship is no  beauty Queen either, she looks a bit like ‘Norwegian Epic’ to me, with a very top-heavy superstructure, when compare to QV and QE.

 The ‘Koningsdam’ design does have a walk-around promenade deck, but it is not the traditional design, which has always been a popular Cunard feature. The lifeboats sit on the promenade deck with just a narrow walkway behind them, obscuring much of the promenade view. I hear ‘HAL’ regulars were not impressed with this aspect of the design. Will the new Cunarder have the same design flaw?

Cunard is currently undertaking a fleet-wide upgrade programme that saw $90 million spent on the refurbishment of Queen Mary 2 in 2016 and $40 million spent on Queen Victoria earlier in 2017. Queen Elizabeth is expected to undergo a similar upgrade in 2018.

Click to enlarge (Courtesy Cunard)

Cunard’s ‘Vista’ class cruise ships are quite different, from a technical point of view, from the bespoke ‘ocean liner’ Queen Mary 2. She is specifically designed for the rigours of the North Atlantic during transatlantic crossings. The other Cunarder’s (and the new one) are all conventional ‘cruise ships’.

Queen Mary 2 review: HERE

Queen Victoria review: HERE

Art Deco Lover

September 10, 2016

I do love a bit of Art Deco architecture. This was the style that became first became popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Art Deco influenced the design of almost everything from paintings, jewellery, clothing, buildings, furniture, cars, movie theatres, trains and ocean liners.

During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

Cunard’s original RMS RMS Queen Mary (1936) ocean liner has wonderful Art Deco interiors.

Southampton’s original ‘Ocean Terminal’ also had an Art Deco design and décor to compliment the ocean liners of the day. Unfortunately they knocked it down to build a car park!

(Southampton's 1950 Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton’s 1950 Ocean Terminal)

Fortunately the United kingdom still has some wonderful Art Deco buildings that have been well preserved.

In 2011 I visited the Midland hotel, in Morecambe, Lancashire, on the UK coast. Built in 1933, this 40 bedroom Hotel was an Art Deco marvel. She initially thrived, but would eventually fall into disrepair in the 1990s.

In 2008 her refurbishment was complete. The architects had combined her original feature with some modern facilities.

In 2014 I was lucky enough to visit Burgh island,  a small Tidal island on the coast of South Devon in England near the small seaside village of Bigbury-on-Sea.

There are several buildings on the island, the largest being the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel and a Pub the Pilchard Inn.

Part of the Hotel is actually shaped like the stern of an old frigate and has a keel. Inside is a ships wheel.

The island is approximately 270 yards from the mainland and is approachable on foot at low tide. At high tide, the sea tractor, which is operated by the hotel, transports passengers back and forth.

The holiday island of ‘Jersey’ (one of the UK’s ‘Channel Islands’) is located nearer the coast of France than it is from the cost of Britain.

This beautiful little island (5 x 9 miles) which still has a lovely 1937 Art Deco Airport building, along with a new terminal building. However I am saddened to hear that the Art Deco building may be demolished in the future.


Queen Mary 2 Interior Design

November 6, 2011

The QM2 is a wonderful ship, but like all ships she does have some quirks.

Have you ever wondered why the QM2’s ‘Kings Court’ (buffet) has a long, confusing, far from ideal, design?  Why is the Night Club (G32) is so out of keeping with the rest of the ship in terms of decor and can only accesses through the ‘Queens Room’. ( The dance music can leak through G32’s doors out into the more sedate ‘Queens Room’.) Why was ‘Todd English’ picked for the alternative dining restaurant.

Gerry Ellis, a former chief officer of the Queen Elizabeth 2  served as the QM2 project coordinator.  He explained for how the QM2’s design was all a compromise:

The layouts of the rooms were a continually changing scene through the 5 years leading up to the delivery of the ship. Many of the locations are where they are for good reason, often structural, sometimes compromise for operational reasons.

Todd English was originally to be a Lido style restaurant that opened up onto the aft deck. It was also intended to be linked strongly to the Lido on deck 7 through the staircase on the port side. That staircase was considered as an escalator or a wider sweeping stair to ensure the connection was made. There was then a campaign to get recognisable chef’s or restaurants on-board that would match the product that was being sold. Originally, Todd English was to be “Rules” restaurant. Rules is the oldest restaurant in London, is very popular amongst politicians and city business men. Their menu is very traditional old style English – surprisingly good. Actually exceptionally good. They have their own land and parks in Scotland where you can bag your own fowl and the restaurant will serve it to you a little while later in London. It was all very old style upper class England, very authentic and would have been lapped up in the States. It was then decided that that was too specific and narrow spectrum and Todd English came on scene. By now of course, the idea of going back to a simple Lido restaurant was forgotten and we have what we have now. The link to the Lido on deck 7 was not required to be as strong so the staircase was reduced to the one on the port side that we have now.

The Grills need a specific galley with different equipment and layout. The supply for these needs to be on elevator and crew stairways in line with the stores, below. The one galley serves both restaurants and this means the Grill chef’s can operate together. One of the only viable locations for this was where they are now. They needed to be somewhere next to open deck as this gives them a cache that would not exist if they were internal or lower down.

G32 was originally “The Yacht Club” by the way and was a much more gentile, cocktail bar like the one on QE2 – It was then decided we needed a conventional night club and we changed the decor and the name – (G32 was my idea). The transition between the entrance and the Queen’s room was always going to be awkward. The challenge was the change in deck level between the aft end of the Britannia restaurant, through the Queens room and into G32. There is a half deck height change in order to accommodate the ‘tween deck passages through the restaurant between the upper and lower levels (it was very difficult to envisage this in the design stages and caused many headaches…)

In addition, there is no passenger staircase at the entrance to G32 as there is crew area above and stores below. Only a small crew staircase. We were taking advantage of the availability of space that could be used for a public room but that could only be accessed through the same deck. Because it is so isolated, it means it is a good space for a nightclub as no passenger cabins are disturbed. That brings us back to the challenge of the transition from the Queen’s room. There was just enough space to put an ‘airlock’ with a double door arrangement. This is negated when both sets of doors are opened at the same time. This arrangement was obviously a compromise but the alternative was to use the space as storage. There was not sufficient capacity on the stairs to build extra cabins.

The Lido (Kings Court) was going to be a sprawling affair and an attempt was made to give each section a character of its own to break it down, this led to the idea of using the space in the evening in separate restaurants. I think this works well, actually better than during the day when the theming may not be strong enough to delineate the areas. The design of the ship did not help here. She has a very strong ‘backbone’ in the centre of the ship that acts like a structural spine. It means that the space outboard of this structure is slightly less than on a conventional cruise ship without this very strong box spine. It was always going to be a challenge.

There was a great deal of planning went into the ship. The team wrestled with this type of problem for many, many hours. There was often a challenge due to the nature of the ship being an Ocean Liner with non conventional shape and not an empty box to layout as freely as normal. She is a very different animal and I stand by the design and layout as the best that could have been done with the restrictions and parameters that we had, some of which I have touched on here.

Source: Gerry Ellis/Travelpage (2006)