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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!

 

 

This page commences with some History of the 3 ships that have had the wonderful name Queen Elizabeth

However, to go directly to the main MV Queen Elizabeth Cruise Feature CLICK HERE

Welcome to the updated MV Queen Elizabeth feature that will include some of new images from her 2014 comprehensive refurbishment and refit that was undertaken from May 18 to June 1. I trust that you will gain much on this fine ship and that it will encourage you to consider cruising on this the largest Queen Elizabeth ever built. In addition to being the largest she is also the most modern and an ever so British and an elegant and a stylish cruise ship, that continues Cunard’s a long heritage, considering she is the third ship to bear the great name Queen Elizabeth!

Three Ships to bear the Name Queen Elizabeth:

It stands to reason, that I, having been in the Passenger Shipping Industry from an office boy to a Managing director of a major International Shipping Company and CEO of a Cruise Company (long sold but still operating as a 6 star cruise line shown on this page), I retired and have become a Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author and Lecturer, thus it stands to reason that I would have pay honour to the two great Queens being the forerunners to the current cruise ship, being the third Cunard ship named “Queen Elizabeth.”

Click the link for RMS Queen Mary six page history.

RMS Queen Elizabeth:

It all commenced when the Cunard Steamship Company Ltd., built their first great 81,237 GRT (Gross Registered Tons) “Queen.” However, this ship was not named “Elizabeth” but she was the wonderful and greatly loved luxury liner with the full name of RMS (Royal Mail Service) “Queen Mary. She was followed up three years later by the new and somewhat larger liner, the “RMS Queen Elizabeth” at 83,673 GRT being 1,031ft - 314.2m long and she was considered to be massive for her day. This 2,283 passenger liner was considered as being one of the finest examples of a large luxury Trans-Atlantic ever built for Cunard Line!

RMS Queen Mary seen departing Southampton in May 1967

Photographer is unknown – Please see my photo notes at the bottom of the page!

 

The elegant RMS Queen Elizabeth is seen arriving New York in 1940 in order to make ready for war duties

History: RMS Queen Elizabeth 1939-1968 / 1968-1970 SS Elizabeth – 1970 – 1972 SS Seawise University

Photographer is unknown – Please see my photo notes at the bottom of the page!

Click the link for Queen Elizabeth’s complete history.

SS - Later MS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2):

The long, sleek and sublimely elegant SS Queen Elizabeth 2 quickly became lovingly known around the globe as the “QE2” and she was built to be a more than just a Trans-Atlantic ocean liner, but also serve as a cruise ship for Cunard. There is no doubt that she did this with huge success from 1969 through to 2008.

She was essentially designed for the Atlantic service, operating from Southampton to New York and With the RMS Queen Mary having been sold to Port Everglades, California in 1967 to become a floating hotel and the RMS Queen Elizabeth having just been sold to a Florida company to become a tourist centre, but was later sold to a Hon Kong owner to be converted into a cruising University, the QE2 was now Cunard’s only liner. Thus, she became the company’s flagship and she held that honour from 1969 until this was succeeded at the arrival of the massive new 148,528-ton MS Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

Here we see the superbly beautiful and sleek MS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), and yet she was originally built as a steam ship!

History: QE2 1969 – 1998 Cunard / 1998 - 2008 both Carnival registered UK / 2008

QE2 2008 to current “Istithmar” in lay up at Dubai, registered in Port Vila Vanuatu

Photograph from the authors private collection

For interest, the QE2 was originally a steam ship but during a massive refit in 1986/87 the old steam system was removed and a new diesel power plant was inserted, amazingly the QE2 was also the very last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in a scheduled liner service. QE2 retired from active Cunard service on 27 November 2008. She was acquired by Istithmar, the private equity arm of Dubai World, which planned to begin conversion of the vessel to a 500-room floating hotel moored at the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Due to the worldwide economic financial downturn this plan collapsed and she was laid up and her future became unsure. There were further talks about her becoming a super luxury hotel in Asia, but nothing has occured to date:

Visit Save the Classic Liners Campaign for regular updates on the QE2

QE2 and the New Era for Cunard:

The QE2 was without a doubt a superb ship one I greatly loved and enjoyed, for she offered everything that was perfect in a ship, be it design wise offering what we old sea dogs like to call a genuine ocean going experience for she was a ship with wide promenade decks, a host of superb lounges and other venues and you always knew that you were on a real ship! Whilst aboard you always received excellence in service, all in the finest Cunard tradition and thus it is so sad that this great and last genuine Trans-Atlantic liner come cruise ship is now gone! The truth is, although the three new “Queens” are simply beautiful and yes they have every possible luxury and offer the very best in traditional Cunard service, but they will never, and cannot offer that “genuine ocean going experience that real ships like the MS QE2, and the RMS Queen Elizabeth and RMS Queen Mary offered, for those unique days of grand ocean going style on the high seas are sadly but a memory that so many will never come to know, for very few classic ships are still in operation! But what made those classic style ships so different? The truth is simple, they were real ships, whilst all new and modern ships are more like massive square, if not somewhat unattractive looking boxes with a stylish bow that have been assembled and look more like apartment (condos) building on water, and they have been designed to be resorts and hotels than have the feel of a genuine ship!

MV Queen Elizabeth

With Carnival having built the Queen Mary 2 which was based on Carnival design and their next ship was again another Carnival based ship, a “Vista Class” ship the MV Queen Victoria. With passenger loadings for the two ships being exceptional, and considering the popularity of the brand, Carnival/Cunard decided to build a third ship that would be another “Vista Class” ship, thus she would be much the same as the “Victoria.” Although it took a while to decide on a suitable name for the new ship, and the name “Queen Elizabeth” was being considered, but considering Her Royal Highness was still alive and on the throne, permission had to be sought and amazingly it was given in due course! An order was given for her to be built by Fincantieri Monfalcone Shipyard, Italy in 2009 and she was laid down on July, 2 of that year.

She was launched on January 5, 2010 and after having been completed she undertook her sea trails successfully where she gained a respectable maximum speed of 27.3 knots, after which she headed for Southampton to be stocked up and manned, and the for the official naming ceremony!

The 90,901 GRT MV Queen Elizabeth the 3rd.is seen arriving at Southampton just prior to her Christening and maiden voyage

Once she arrived at Southampton, the hard work began, as the ship had to be made ready for her maiden voyage on October 12. Her crew came onboard and commenced the job at hand with many other workers, as all stores, such as linens, and everything you can think of that is needed on a ship had to be brought on board, and then just prior to sailing all the fresh food!

Then finally came her big day as she was officially Christened and Named by none other than HRH Queen Elizabeth II on Monday October 11, 2010. It was a huge and a gala event and the Queen came on board and enjoyed her time on the third ship that had carried this wonderful Royal name, her name in fact!

The newly named MV Queen Elizabeth set sail for her maiden voyage on the following day Tuesday October 12, filled with delighted passengers who all looked forward to enjoying their experience on this new luxury Cunard cruise ship that was bound for the Canary Islands!

MV Queen Elizabeth heading off to the Canary Islands!

We could ask, now the third ship named the Queen Elizabeth, will she ever become lovingly known as the “QE3”? I somehow doubt that, for she is a very different ship and it is a very different time! Although, her passengers will obviously come to love this cruise ship, for her facilities are simply magnificent, but, she is not have that feel of the previous Ocean Liner the QE2 as she will always remain one of a kind!

The Grand Lobby is without a doubt simply splendid!

Come aboard the MV Queen Elizabeth:

Cunard stated that once you step on board the spectacular new Queen Elizabeth you will relive “The same style of glamour of high society events of the 1930s and 1940s as you grace ornate rooms whose rich décor recalls the halcyon days when our first Queen Elizabeth ruled the waves.” And I am sure that once you have viewed this page that you will agree that this new cruise ships is without doubt one of the most innovative and above all even more glamorous and luxurious than even her two predecessors, the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.

Another view of the Grand Lobby stairwell

Although she is basically the same ship as the Queen Victoria and many of the Carnival based ships, such as the P&O Arcadia, and others of Holland America Line and the Italian Costa fleet as they all have Vista Class ships with the same distinctive style superstructure. However, in each fleet the forward part of the superstructure as well as the funnel are especially modified to make them look part of the respective fleet.

Her facilities and accommodations are superb, but her staterooms offer an excellent variety of choice from comfortable and affordable inside and outside rooms up to the ultimate deluxe Master and Penthouse Suites. Interestingly 85% Queen Elizabeth’s Staterooms have an Ocean view and 71% of Staterooms feature a private balcony.

Queen Elizabeth refurbishment 2014:

The Queen Elizabeth was extensively refurbished in 2014 at a cost of US$30 million. The work was done by Blu Marine  who is a marine vessel outfitting company in operation since 2007 and has an excellent record to date! Blu Marine has facilities in the UK, in Southampton as well as Belfast, however the Queen Elizabeth’s refit was undertaken at the famed Blohm+Voss Hamburg Germany, in Yard number 17 where she remained for fourteen days! She entered the Yard on May 18 and she was completed on June 1.

The massive list of works undertaken was completed by a large workforce of 950 contract and highly specialised workers, who undertook the following tasks and much more:

Full hull maintenance including fully cleaning the hull and then repainting it.

Also there was a complete “filtration system upgrade.”

Installation of new scrubbers, this being an environmentally friendly technology that would lower the bad emissions levels and improve the ships fuel efficiency!

Special modifications were made to the Azipod, being the ships independent propulsion units.

Countless other enhancements were made on board, such as extensive renovations of the public venues, staterooms and suites, including laying brand new carpeting throughout the ship, as well as adding many new amenities and enhancements too all staterooms, including the addition of the very latest new flat screen TVs and for the perfect night sleep the finest high grade new mattresses. Every the restaurant also received excellent renovations whilst the Lido buffet area was restyled. New shops for jewellery were added with other outlets being updated and a new touch screen system has been placed in the Photo Studio. In order to add some much needed shade out on certain decks extensive canopies have been added on the Upper Deck that now add those much needed shaded areas!

Also, nine brand new single occupancy cabins, out of which eight of these are Ocean view and only one interior. To make space for the nine cabins, the casino was remodelled in order to make space for these desperately needed single rooms!

The total cost of the Queen Elizabeth refurbishment project was a massive US$30 million. Below are some of the refurbished accommodations/

An inside stateroom can be made up as a twin or a double. I find that this stateroom feels far more spacious as a twin! 

 

This is a typical Balcony Twin bedded/double stateroom

 

This is a typical Ocean view twin/double stateroom

 

 

Above & below: Here we see parts of the superb Queens Grill Master Suite lounge and bedroom

 

Amazingly 12% of the accommodations on the Queen Elizabeth are in the Grills Suite section, which is more ever before. Grades of accommodations available are similar to that of the famed QE2: 1. Britannia inside and outside Staterooms: 2. Britannia Club balcony Staterooms: 3. Princess Grill Staterooms and suites: 4. completing the scene with the opulent Queens Grill suites and Penthouses.

Although there are four separate dinning venues pending your grade of accommodation and I am aware that many would say that in old-fashioned terms this is considered as a “class system.” It may well be, but the Queen Elizabeth is still a one class ship. This grand new ship is without a doubt a beautiful ship for those who like the more formal Cunard style!

The A to Y some of Queen Elizabeth’s many fine features!

Britannia Restaurant The grandest Restaurant on the Queen Elizabeth features two decks of fine Cunard dinning in grand style! Although this is the dinning venue, amazingly is allocated for the lower grades of accommodations, yet as can be seen, sailing on a Cunard ship is always a Grand Event, regardless the accommodation you are in!

 

Above & below: Two fine views of the Britannia-Restaurant

Located aft on Decks 2 and 3

 

Britannia Club Fine dinning in a superb environment.

Guests in Britannia Club Staterooms dine in this more exclusive restaurant and have single sittings

Café Carinthia - Luxurious drapes and chandeliers create a golden glow as you sip speciality teas and indulge in delicious pastries whilst overlooking the Grand Lobby.

 

Children’s Programme - For our younger guests, these facilities feature both inside and outside areas dedicated to children ages 1-12.

Commodore Club - Sink into the comfy chairs of this club-like observation lounge with sweeping views over the bow and choose from a wide selection of delicious martinis.

 

Above & below: The Commodore Club that was originally called the Yacht Club, but it is a superb and an elegant venue!

 

ConneXions Internet Centre - Improve your computer skills and keep up-to-date on email with friends back home with our Internet Centre located just off the Grand Lobby. Charges apply for internet and email access.

Cunarders' Gallery - Gaze at the famous faces that have travelled on iconic Cunard ships, as fascinating black and white photographs tell their stories.

Cunard Royal Spa and Fitness Centre - Pamper yourself with aromatherapy massages and rejuvenating treatments and stay trim at the superbly equipped gym and Royal Spa!

Casino - This elegant “Empire casino” will set your heart racing as you spin the roulette wheel, play the slots or try your hand at black jack. But not the author’s kind of place!

Cunard Place - Take a nostalgic trip into our past as you admire this collection of artefacts and images from years and liners gone by.

Games Deck - When the warm weather entices you on to the spacious Games Deck, you will notice a definite English country garden ambience, with the gentle clunk of croquet balls, traditional bowls or paddle tennis in the welcome shade of its canopy.

----

Left: Sports Deck – Middle: Royal Spa – Right: Sports Deck

Garden Lounge - A light and sociable room reminiscent of a resplendent conservatory and inspired by the glasshouses at Kew Gardens. What a wonderfully atmospheric venue for occasional ‘Supper Clubs’ that combine dining and dancing under the stars.

This wonderful venue is reminiscent of days long gone, but with touches of the modern age!

Golden Lion - A Cunard favourite, choose from a wide selection of beer, cider and wine to complement the delicious gastro pub-style lunch menus in a comfortable, traditional setting.

The ever popular and old world - Golden Lion Pub

Grand Lobby - From its marble floors up to the stunning chandelier. The Grand Lobby ensure a majestic welcome on board this gracious new liner.

Grills Terrace - The highest outdoor area on Queen Elizabeth, exclusively for Grills guests to soak up the sun and admire the scenery.

Library - Admire the flowing spiral staircase and striking geometric patterns as you select from 6,000 titles located on two floors of books.

The Library is over two decks and features beautifully timbered walls and cabinets and fine arts, but with countless thousands of books!

Midships Bar - A warm and sophisticated venue harking back to the days of the original RMS Queen Elizabeth.

This retaining the style of yesteryear is what Cunard is so famous for!

Pavilion Pool - After a few lengths, relax in one of the two whirlpools or sit back on a sun lounger with a refreshing drink.

OK, A pool is a pool and it has showers and several hot tubs!

Royal Arcade - A refined air surrounds the chic designer boutiques of the Royal Arcade, with its curved staircases, feature lighting and a strikingly ornate sculpture arranged majestically over two decks.

This is where all the wonderful and the finest stores from around the Globe can be found

Thus you can purchase at Duty Free prices the latest Boutique fashions, jewellery and other luxury items

Royal Court Theatre - Applaud lavish productions from private boxes, as you savour chocolates and champagne.

 

Above & below: The magnificent Royal Court Theatre, that offers private boxes on the various levels

 

QE-Royal-Court-Theatre-1

Queens Grill – This is the rather Exclusive Restaurant for the finest cuisine at sea, but only available to those in the highest grades of suites and Penthouses.

This Restaurant offers the ultimate fine dinning for its guest occupying the ships grandest Suites and Penthouses

Queens Grill Lounge: Again a magnificent venue, but exclusive to the Grills guests. Sadly this does remind us that this ship is based on class distinction. This refined, comfortable and relaxed haven is perfect for a pre-dinner tipple with friends or daily afternoon tea. There is also a private deck space on two levels forward and above the Queens and Princess Grills.

Queens Room – This is the magnificent Grand Ballroom that has artworks and murals that reflect Cunard’s cherished Royal links. This is the setting for grandiose Royal Nights with elegant themed Balls and a traditional White-Gloved afternoon High Tea!

The Queens Room is the grandest venue on board and is the ships main Ballroom

Verandah-Restaurant – This is a dinning venue that offers sheer refined luxury and cuisine and wines that are world standard. This is a must!

This is an elegant optional dining venue, that is a MUST!

 

For those Interested the ships Specifications are as follows:         

Tonnage:              90,400 GRT (Gross Registered Tons)

Length:                 964.5ft / 294m

Width:                  106ft / 32.3m

Draught:               25.9ft / 8m

Guest Decks:         12

Passengers:           2,092

 

MV Queen Elizabeth is seen berthed at Sydney’s International Passenger Terminal on February 22, 2011

during her extensive maiden around the world voyage

 

View Queen Elizabeth’s Deck Plan

 

Visit our other Cunard Features …

Cunard: Queen Elizabeth / Queen Victoria

 

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Where the ships of the past make history the 1914 built MV Doulos Story

 

Photographs on cruise-australia.com & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!!

This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!

 

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