MS Queen Elizabeth

MS Queen Elizabeth (QE) is a cruise ship of the Vista class operated by the Cunard Line. The design is modified from that of previous ships of that class, and slightly larger than Queen Victoria, at 92,000 GT, largely due to a more vertical stern.[1] The ship is able to carry up to 2092 passengers.[1]

Queen Elizabeth in Tallinn, 10 June 2011
Name: Queen Elizabeth
Owner: Carnival Corporation & plc
Operator: Cunard Line
Port of registry:
Ordered: October 2007
Builder: Fincantieri Monfalcone Shipyard, Italy
Cost: UK£350 million (approx.)[1] (US$560 million)
Yard number: 6187
Laid down: 2 July 2009
Launched: 5 January 2010
Christened: 11 October 2010
Completed: October 2010
Maiden voyage: 12 October 2010
In service: October 2010
Status: In service
General characteristics
Class and type: Vista Class cruise ship
Tonnage: 90,901 GT
Length: 294 m (965 ft)
Beam: 32.3 m (106 ft)
Draught: 8 m (26 ft)
  • 16 total
  • 12 accessible to passengers
Installed power:
  • 4 × MaK 12VM43C
  • 2 × MaK 8M43C
  • 64,000 kW (combined)
Speed: 23.7 knots (43.9 km/h; 27.3 mph)
Capacity: 2,092 passengers lower beds, 2,547 maximum passengers

The ship's name was announced by Cunard on 10 October 2007. Since the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2008 the company has operated three vessels.[2] The naming of the ship as Queen Elizabeth brings about a situation similar to that between 1940 and 1948, when Cunard's original Queen Elizabeth was in service at the same time as the Royal Navy battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth.



Queen Elizabeth is almost identical in design to Queen Victoria, although because of the steeper stern, at her introduction into service the passenger capacity was slightly higher with up to 2,058 compared to Queen Victoria's 2,014.[3]

Also unlike many previous Cunard Queens, Queen Elizabeth is not a true ocean liner as she does not have the heavy plating throughout the hull. However the bow was constructed with heavier plating to cope with the Transatlantic run, and the ship has a high freeboard.[4]


Although having an almost identical interior arrangement to Queen Victoria, the decor is very different. The ship is a tribute to the two previous Queen Elizabeth-named ships: the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth 2. She also evokes the era of the 1930s, in which Cunard's first Queen Elizabeth was launched, with many art deco interior touches.[5] The ship also features a Britannia Club section of the main restaurant, which is a feature popular on Queen Mary 2, but not available on Queen Victoria. This service allows passengers in the Britannia staterooms to have single seating dining arrangements, without having to upgrade to the more expensive Grills classes.[6] The sliding roof over the Winter Garden featured on Queen Victoria is replaced with a simple glass roof (the space being renamed The Garden Lounge).[7]


Following the ship's construction in Italy from 2007 to 2010, Cunard Line officially confirmed that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II would name Cunard's new ship.[8] The ceremony was held in Southampton on Monday 11 October 2010 before the ship set sail on her maiden voyage to the Canary Islands the following day.[9] The Queen was also the sponsor of the now-retired Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and Cunard's current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004.[10]

Service history

The first master of Queen Elizabeth was Captain Christopher Wells.[11] On Monday 4 October 2010 Queen Elizabeth was formally handed over to Cunard. She sailed on her maiden voyage from Southampton on Tuesday 12 October 2010, following a naming ceremony with the monarch on Monday 11 October 2010.[12]

At the end of October 2011 Queen Elizabeth and her fleet mates changed their registries to Hamilton, Bermuda, in order to host weddings aboard.[13]

On 29 June 2012, the ship made her one and only visit to Ny-Ålesund, in Svalbard. The previous scheduled visit in 2011 had to be aborted due to bad weather. However, she was not scheduled to visit Svalbard in her 2013 schedule. Legislation relating to cruise ships visiting the archipelago (applicable from 2014) meant that Queen Elizabeth will never be able to visit again.[14]

On 31 August 2013, British journalist and broadcaster Sir David Frost had been invited to give a speech by Cunard whilst travelling on board the ship but died of a heart attack.[15]

On 13 August 2016 Queen Elizabeth made the 2,500th cruise ship call at Kiel, Germany.[16]

On 23 May 2019, Queen Elizabeth began regular service between Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and various destinations in Alaska, United States.[17]

13 January 2011:
Two years after the first Cunard Royal Rendezvous, RMS Queen Mary 2 met up with Queen Victoria and the then brand new Queen Elizabeth for another Royal Rendezvous in New York City. Both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth made an Atlantic crossing in tandem for the event. All three Cunarders met in front of the Statue of Liberty at 6:45 pm for a Grucci fireworks display. The Empire State Building was lit up in red to mark the event.[18]

5 June 2012:
All three 'Queens' met once more, but this time in Southampton in order to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[19]

15 July 2012:
Both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 visited Hamburg the first time together.[20]

12 March 2013: Passed the former Cunard ship Queen Mary, currently a hotel in Long Beach, California, for the first time along with fireworks display.[21]

6 May 2014: All three Queens met up for the first time in Lisbon, Portugal, in preparation for Queen Mary 2s 10th birthday. All three on departure sailed in a one-line formation to Southampton.[22]

9 May 2014: Both Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria led in single file, Queen Mary 2 up the Southampton channel, with both ships docking in a bow to bow formation performing a birthday salute to Queen Mary 2. Later on, all three Cunarders gather for a fireworks display in which Queen Mary 2 led both the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria back down the channel.[23]

25 May 2015: The three 'Queens' at Liverpool celebrating 175 years of the formation of the Cunard Line, which was formed and based at Liverpool. At low tide, the three ships stopped in line in middle of the River Mersey, bow to stern, turned 180 degrees in full synchronisation with each other, which was known as river dance), they then formed an arrow side by side. The Queen Mary 2 was in the centre with its bow in line with the Cunard Building at the Pier Head. The RAF Red Arrows performed a flypast in Vic formation, emitting red, white and blue smoke, over the vessels. An estimated 1.3 million people lined the river banks to witness the spectacle.[24]

Special Voyages

QE2 50th Anniversary Celebration

In September 2017 the ship hosted a special commemorative cruise to honour the 50th anniversary of its predecessor the QE2.[25] The Mediterranean cruise was chosen to pay tribute to QE2's role as a cruise ship.[26] Special guests include Captain Ian McNaught, Commodore Ronald Warwick, Maritime Historian Chris Frame and QE2 Social Hostess Maureen Ryan.[27]

Australia 2019

Queen Elizabeth began operating extended seasons in Australia in 2019.[28][29][30]



  1. Cunard Line (10 October 2007). "Cunard to Build "Queen Elizabeth"".
  2. "Cunard - Welcome to the latest news from Cunard". Cunard. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  3. "Queen Elizabeth". Cunard. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  4. "Three Queens: Spotlight on Queen Elizabeth". Lancashire Telegraph. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  5. "Queen Elizabeth Press Launch". Cunard Line - Press Release. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2009.
  6. "Britannia Club". Cunard. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010.
  7. "Queen Elizabeth". Avid Cruiser. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  8. "The Queen WILL name the Queen! (10556)". Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  9. Peter Woodman (11 October 2010). "Queen officially names luxury liner". The Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  10. Charles Starmer-Smith (1 September 2010). "Queen to name Cunard's new ship". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  11. "Breaking News – The Master is Appointed For Queen Elizabeth". Cunard Blog. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  12. "MS Queen Elizabeth naming ceremony highlights". Cunard. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  13. "It's Official: Cunard Re-flags Ships in Bermuda, Launches Weddings at Sea". Cruise Critic. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  14. "Cruise regulations put Svalbard off-limits". The Telegraph. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  15. "Sir David Frost, broadcaster and writer, dies at 74". BBC. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  16. Mayes, William (2016). Ships Monthly November 2016. p. 13.
  17. Meghji, Riaz (23 July 2019). "Cunard's maiden call to Vancouver". CityNews1130. CityNews. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  18. "Iconic Cunard Line Queens to Meet for Historic Royal Rendezvous in New York Harbour on 13 January". PR New Wire. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  19. "Cunard Line Announces 2012-2013 Deployment". Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  20. "Hafen Hamburg - "Queen Mary 2" und "Queen Elizabeth" im Doppelpack". Hamburger Abendblatt.
  21. "Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary to meet in first Cunard royal rendezvous". Breaking Travel News. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  22. "Do you come here often? Cunard's three royal ladies, the liners Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria dock in Lisbon for family portrait". Daily Mail. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  23. "Pictures of the day". The Telegraph. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  24. "Three Queens: Eyes of the world on Liverpool for Cunard's 175th anniversary". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  25. "Cunard sailing to mark 50th anniversary of QE2 launch". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  26. "Cunard's Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship to Host QE2 50th Anniversary Celebrations". 17 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  27. "Big Fat Cruise Wrap – Travel Weekly". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  28. "Grand Voyages on Queen Elizabeth 2019 - Cunard". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  29. Staff, CIN (18 February 2018). "Queen Elizabeth to be Based in Australia for 2019-2020 Season". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  30. "Melbourne cruise schedule". Victorian Ports Corporation - Melbourne. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2019.


  • Dawson, Philip (2010). Queen Elizabeth: a celebration of ocean travel for modern Elizabethan times (2nd ed.). Ramsey, Isle of Man: Lily Publications. ISBN 9781906608224.
  • Frame, Chris; Cross, Rachelle (2011). Queen Elizabeth: a photographic journey. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press. ISBN 9780752459165.
  • Thiel, Ingo (2011). Queen Elizabeth: Noble Eleganz zur See / Elegance at Sea (in German and English). Bielefeld, Germany: Delius Klasing. ISBN 9783768833226.
  • Wills, Elspeth (2011). Cunard Queens: the story of the six Cunard Line Queens. London: Open Agency. ISBN 9780954245191.

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