Queen Elizabeth to Launch New Cunard Ship

Cunard Line has announced that Her Majesty The Queen will name the company's new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name, at a ceremony to take place in Southampton today. The Queen Elizabeth, a 2092-passenger ocean liner, will set sail on her maiden voyage tomorrow - the voyage sold out in a record 29 minutes. The 13-night maiden voyage will depart from Southampton with ports of call including Vigo, Lisbon, Seville, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma and Madeira.

The Queen at the launch of the QE2 in 1967

"The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be an historic event in the true sense of the word. The Queen launched Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship Queen Mary 2 in 2004," said Peter Shanks, President and Managing Director. "We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner Queen Elizabeth," he added.

Her Majesty was also present at the age of 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth on 27 September 1938 when she accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to Clydebank for the launch. The Queen Elizabeth will be the second largest Cunarder ever built and will join her sisters, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, as part of the youngest fleet in the world.


Artist rendering of the QE3

Cunard ships, while among the most modern afloat, are known for their traditional luxury, accentuated by extensive use of brass, classic fabrics, marble and highly polished woods. One challenge for Queen Elizabeth’s designers was how to treat the significant central space on the sweeping staircase in the ship’s soaring Grand Lobby.
Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, says: “We needed to fill that space with something which would not just be dramatic but which would also reflect our emphasis on traditional and sumptuous materials. After much thought and exploratory work, it was decided to commission a 5.6-metre (18 ft 6 in) high marquetry panel depicting the original Queen Elizabeth, an Art Deco icon, using a variety of natural woods from around the world.

“Once we had decided on the theme and the medium, it didn’t take us long to conclude that no-one was better qualified for this work than the company of the exceptional craftsman David Linley (Viscount Linley, son of Princess Margaret, nephew of the Queen), whose creative ability and mastery of wood is renowned.”

Peter Shanks and Viscount Linley at the unveiling

As a result, Linley, a company specialising in the design and manufacture of fine furniture and marquetry was commissioned to design and make this stunning centrepiece at the heart of the ship. The magnificent artwork spans 2½ decks and shows the port bow of the original Queen Elizabeth seen dramatically from sea level. The piece is intricately executed using the technique of marquetry inlay in nine different types of wood veneers.

State Room on the QE III's sister ship, the Queen Victoria

Cunard was the first to introduce a Library on board Bothnia in 1874. Queen Elizabeth’s Library features a unique leaded glass ceiling and a globe from the era of the original Queen Elizabeth, along with its 6,000 volume book collection.
Cunard Line’s tradition of providing guests with the ultimate luxury experiences at sea continues on board with Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Spa. The tranquil 13,000 square-foot modern spa space features stunning décor in line with the art deco style of the new Cunarder, and includes two levels for treatment rooms, and fitness and pool facilities. Like her sister ships, Queen Elizabeth’s spa offers a comprehensive health and wellness programme with a spectacular Hydrotherapy Pool and Thermal Suite, with the new addition of the Royal Bath House, the centerpiece for the ultimate spa experience. Inspired by holistic, relaxing and stress-relieving treatments drawn from disciplines around the world, the Royal Spa.  This covered space is a social relaxation area that includes both the Thermal Suite and Hydrotherapy Pool, all adjacent to the main outdoor pool on Deck 9. Plush robes, slippers and other amenities will be provided.

To attract good luck during its voyages, three coins were welded under the mast of the Queen Elizabeth 3- a British half-crown from 1938 (when the first Queen Elizabeth was launched), a 1967 sovereign (when the QE2 was launched) and a contemporary 'sovereign' bearing the date 2010.