Queen Mary 2 Information
Quoted from the Southampton (England) Daily Echo- Southampton Daily Echo
Date published: Saturday 26 April 2003
by Keith Hamilton
Queen Mary 2 is the biggest passenger liner in the history of shipping and she is heading for Southampton. Keith Hamilton takes you on a tour of her decks
SOUTHAMPTON'S slumbering giant is slowly awakening. Gradually this leviathan of the sea, the like of which has never been seen before, is emerging, its massive shape soaring high into the air.
The result of the work of thousands, Queen Mary 2 is quite simply enormous, at 150,000 tons her size takes your breath away. The first true ocean going liner for more than 30 years she is the biggest object man has ever made that moves under its own power.
QM2 has already been hailed as one of the most sophisticated engineering undertakings of the 21st century.
The towering decks of the ship stand 200 feet above the waves, equivalent to a 23-storey high building. The ship's promenade deck is well in excess of a third of a mile long and her power plant will generate enough electricity to light the whole of Southampton with its population of around 200,000.
At the end of this year the 150,000- ton monster is due to make her dramatic first entrance in the city when she arrives in her home port to begin a career expected to span 40 years.
Today the Cunarder, with a price tag of £550m, the most expensive passenger liner in history, is under construction in the French shipyard of Chantiers de l'Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire in Brittany.
With her specially thickened steel hull, strengthened to withstand the worst conditions the North Atlantic can throw at her on the traditional passage between Southampton and New York, QM2 is in a class all of her own.
On board, even at this stage of construction it is possible to envisage the sumptuous surroundings, including 5,000 works of art together worth more than £3.5m and the ultra luxury Royal Suites quite literally fit for a queen, that passengers will enjoy when QM2 enters service in January 2004.
The first sight passengers will have as they step aboard will be the six- deck high atrium and reception area.
Perhaps one of the most impressive spaces on board is the Britannia restaurant, which is named after Cunard's first ship.
Seating 1,347 passengers, this room is situated on two levels but actually spans the space of three storeys due to the clever design of QM2.
Sweeping central staircases will be complemented by dramatic overhead lighting, classic columns and the largest tapestry ever to go to sea.
With the unique design of the ship, where the uptakes from the engine room have been split, mean the public rooms can be placed each side giving sea views on these decks.
A traditional British pub, the Golden Lion, which takes its name from the symbol on Cunard's house flag, will feature darts, draft beer, pub grub such as fish and chips and shepherd's pie and will have space for up to 150 passengers.
In the Empire casino a staff of 24 will operate the 11 custom designed gaming tables and 115 slot machines.
The Royal Court Theatre is the main showroom on board QM2. It will be decorated in red and seat 1,094 over two levels and feature a stage which extends into the audience, state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting, a revolving platform and lifts on stage for elaborate sets, and orchestra pit than can drop and rise as well as a video wall for background sets.
Another QM2 exclusive and first at sea is a dedicated college and education centre called Cunard ConneXions. This is a seven-room complex that will offer a programme of courses on a wide variety of subjects and has two computer learning centres and a business centre.
Illuminations is the first, and only planetarium at sea, which seats 473 passengers and can also double as a cinema or television studio.
The Queen's Room is QM2's ballroom which has a capacity of 562 passengers and features the largest dance-floor on any ship. This is a formal room with a dramatic high arched ceiling, crystal chandeliers and sweeping ocean windows from large windows.
It will be at 4pm every day that the Cunard tradition of afternoon tea will be served by white gloved waiters.
As on Queen Elizabeth 2, the type of cabin booked determines where you eat on board QM2. The Britannia restaurant is where the majority of passengers will have their meals however, the Queen's Grill will be reserved for guests in the highest grade suites and duplexes on board.
The top of the range grand duplexes each have 2,249 square feet of space covering two levels that will be connected by a staircase. Facilities will include a living room downstairs, an upstairs bedroom, a large balcony, two marble bathrooms and gym equipment.
QM2 will be named in Southampton in a glittering quayside ceremony before leaving on her maiden voyage to Florida in January 2004.
QUEEN MARY 2 FACTFILE:
On board Queen Mary 2 on the day she arrives in Southampton will be :
1,553 miles of electric cable