Friday, March 20, 2009

Cunard announces design and itineraries for its newest liner, the Queen Elizabeth

Cunard Line will launch its newest ocean liner, the Queen Elizabeth, on October 12, 2010 -- the third new liner introduced by the line in the past six years and the second largest Cunard ship ever built. It will join the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria in the Cunard fleet.

The new liner's name, of course, harks back to the original Queen Elizabeth, which was launched in 1938, and succeeds the recently retired Queen Elizabeth 2. So while it will be the third "Queen Elizabeth" ship, it will not be called the QE3.

The new liner will combine 21st-century amenities with traditional features such as Art Deco elements, rich wood interior panelling, mosaics, marbles and chandeliers. Public rooms and spaces will be on a grand scale, including a ballroom, garden lounge, and games deck.

In 2010, the Queen Elizabeth will make its 13-night maiden voyage out of Southampton, England, on October 12, sailing to Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and Madeira; fares will start at $2,995 per person. If you're looking for a more affordable introduction to the ship, consider the five-day "Gallic Debut" voyage from Southampton to Rotterdam, Brussels/Bruges and Cherbourg, with fares starting at $1,195 per person. The liner will also make four other voyages in 2010, including a 22-day holiday Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean in December, 2010.

You can begin booking the Queen Elizabeth's inaugural season on April 2 (2009). For information and reservations, call Cunard at 800-7-CUNARD or a travel agent; or go to the Cunard website here.

Photo of the Queen Mary 2 from Cunard.

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