When Queen Anne enters service in May 2024, she will become the 249th ship to sail under the Cunard flag.
Summer 2024 will be the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships at sea.
Cunard is Britain’s flagship cruise line, founded by Canadian (Sir) Samuel Cunard in 1840, domiciled in Liverpool until the 1960s when the centre of UK passenger ship operations homed in on Southampton. Whilst a listed company on the London Stock Exchange its major shareholder is the US Carnival Corporation the world’s largest cruise ship operator.
Liverpool is is still a regular port of call during the summer British season for Cunard. The Grade II listed Cunard Building on the Mersey is located at the Pier Head and, along with the neighbouring Royal Liver Building and Port of Liverpool Building, is one of Liverpool's Three Graces. These line the city's waterfront and will provide a splendid backdrop when Queen Anne visits Liverpool in summer 2024.
To this day Cunard maintains a close relationship with the city which houses an extensive company archive at the University of Liverpool. This collection has been a source of inspiration for Queen Anne’s interior design.
At 113,000 gross tonnes she fits comfortably between Queen Mary (150,000 tonnes and 2,500 passengers) and sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria at 90,000 tonnes and 2,100 guests. Queen Anne will offer the latest in accommodation for up to 3,000 clients. She is a 24 x 7 floating hotel and leisure paradise. It goes without saying it is the most environmentally friendly Cunarder ever.
The seven-night maiden voyage is sold out and leaves Southampton 3 May bound for La Coruña and Lisbon before a three-night passage back to the Solent.
It will be a leisurely cruise, Cunard newcomers finding their way around the ship and old hands meeting friends made on previous voyages. A 14-day trip to the Canary Islands follows on 10 May and then an Eastbound circumference of the United Kingdom of the same length starting 24 May.
Ports include Edinburgh (Newhaven, near the Royal Yacht Britannia), Invergordon for Inverness, Belfast and Liverpool, the traditional home port for Cunard. Ship spotters and the travel trade will be taking a keen interest in her progress.
The Queen Anne programme for 2024 encompasses a whole series of three- to14-day cruises to European destinations including Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.
On 9 January 2025 she embarks from Southampton on a westbound 107 days Maiden World Cruise through both the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal.
Per person prices start for a Britannia Inside cabin at £12,999 up to the exclusive Queens Grill from £64,999. For those who just want to find out what Queen Anne is all about you can board at Southampton (5 January) stay on board until she returns for the Atlantic crossing 9 January, jump ship at Hamburg two days later, or join at the German port.
For a two-night Britannia Inside prices start at £219, terrific value with full board and entertainment.
And now for the ship.
Her hull is based on the Pinnacle class of vessels designed by the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, a long-time supplier to Carnival Group. Experience and innovation are coming together to create what undoubtedly will be the star new cruise ship for 2024.
Queen Anne’s keel-laying ceremony was celebrated on 8 September 2022, acknowledging an important milestone in the life of a ship.
As a symbol of stability, heritage and good fortune a newly minted Queen Anne commemorative coin and original Queen Anne half-crown from 1702 were welded into the hull by Captain Inger Thorhauge designated her first Commander.
On 3 May 2023 the ship was floated out her first revenue service 12 months away. Currently she is fitting out and then will go on extensive sea trials early next year. Staffing will be experienced Cunard staff volunteers (many like to stay on the ships they have grown to love) and new recruits who will undergo an intensive training programme. Her crew totals around 1,250.
Queen Anne features 14 decks with a combination of Cunard popular amenities, new innovations and a range of dining and entertainment experiences. Four sets of four strategically placed elevators ensure that queuing to get up and down will be at a minimum.
The centre piece of Queen Anne is the spectacular Grand Lobby spanning three decks. The layout provides a show-stopping entrance as you board, full of energy and light. Marking the transition from past to present, the area will house a contemporary sculpted mural that will change throughout the day by the lighting effect integrated within, celebrating ocean travel.
Queen Anne guests will be able to enjoy a host of other public rooms and spaces, all designed with careful attention to detail, spanning the unique history and heritage of Cunard throughout the last 182 years. The Cunard libraries at sea are renowned for their diversity and will be stocking up. Here you can pick up a daily newssheet with various national editions available to suit the passenger mix.
Cunard’s signature venue, the Queens Room, has a new striking design for Queen Anne. This magnificent room will play host to a variety of activities from the very popular ‘White Star Service’ afternoon tea to gala evenings, classical recitals and ballroom dancing.
Queen Anne is not a two-class ship but moving around holidaymakers will hardly notice certain areas designated for Grill Class passengers.
If you want to be exclusive and private one can be, but for the most part it is open house. Her accommodation will provide guests with some of the finest spaces at sea, including Cunard’s renowned Grills Suites, where sumptuous accommodation in a wide range of suites matched to two of the ship’s finest restaurants, the Queens Grill and the Princess Grill. These suites range from approximately 301sq ft up to 1440sq ft and if Queen Mary is anything to go by they will be sumptuous with, of course, butler service.
A total of six standards of accommodation will are available: Britannia Inside and Britannia Oceanview, both limited in number and offering great value; Britannia Balcony; Britannia Club Balcony; Princess Grill Suites and Queens Grill Suites. Due to guest demand, the number of Britannia Club staterooms on Queen Anne has increased by more than 200% versus other ships in the fleet. No fixed dining time with this class of cabin.
The 835-seat Royal Court Theatre is likely to be an entertainment scene stealer, hosting shows, lectures and briefings. It will be interesting to see how the joining safety drill is operated. On a recent cruise, non-Cunard, it was not taken as seriously as it should have been.
Queen Anne’s spa offering is named Mareel Wellness & Beauty and will feature the widest selection of fitness, beauty, thermal and spa facilities so far seen on a Cunard vessel. There is an exclusive array of treatment rooms and a private spa suite, alongside a brand-new top-deck wellness studio.
There will also be a wealth of pastime choices at The Pavilion, a clever space that boasts a specially designed glass dome roof that can retract in warmer climes. As well as a swimming pool, the space will hold both a central stage and a large LED screen for open-air theatre, cinema screenings, live music and more. If that is too busy you can retreat to another large pool at the stern of the ship.
Queen Anne will debut some exciting new dining options in addition to the classic, much-loved restaurants. There will be 15 venues, from laid-back light bites and indulgent treats, to the ultimate in fine dining. Guests will be able to dine as they wish, with an array of flavours and cuisines to choose from across the ship, throughout the entire day.
As with all Cunard ships, Queen Anne will offer dedicated restaurants corresponding to her four accommodation categories. Each of these will boast a menu that Cunard tell us will showcase the finest ingredients from all over the world.
Queen Anne’s selection of bars and alternative dining options including the breath-taking views afforded by the Commodore Club high up overlooking the bow on Deck 12.
Cunard is renowned for the way it looks after kids and there are a number of cabins that will accommodate up to four. On deck 12 is The Zone, with an outdoor area, for the up to 17s with organised activities. A free-of-charge Night Nursery equips parents with a pager, making guests contactable if needs be. The staff will even come and find you if made aware of your dining location. Suitable for children aged six to 23 months and open from 18:00 to 23:00.
For passengers (and for that matter hotel staff – they need to be kept happy) communications at sea have improved immensely over the years. No confirmation as yet but Queen Anne is likely to be kitted out with Elon Musk’s “SpaceX” with vastly improved band width.
Over the coming months, as Cunard release more details of progress at the Marghera shipyard near Venice, Travel News Update will keep readers posted. Queen Anne is exciting news for the cruise industry.
TNU is asked from time to time what makes Queen Mary 2 different to other cruise ships. QM2 is the last of the real transatlantic liners, deep-hulled and able to cross the North Atlantic all year round. With her integrated electric propulsion units she is capable of 30 knots (35mph). Queen Anne is built for a maximum of 22 knots.
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