Queen Elizabeth (Cunard Line)

Queen Elizabeth is the third ship and second largest of the more recent Cunard Line ships.

She is a Vista class ship, sharing the same physical size as eleven other Carnival ships. She differs from her sister ship, Queen Victoria by having a straight down stern instead of stepped. This allowed Cunard Line to add an additional 38 staterooms and provides additional privacy for the Grills suites at the stern.

The ship caters mainly for the British, but is very popular with American, German and Australians too. Like her sister ships, she has a Royal Court Theatre and she offers private boxes for viewing performances.

Queen Elizabeth offers four types of passenger category to travel in. These are; Britannia, Britannia Club, Princess Grill and Queen’s Grill. All four have separate restaurants, although Grills passengers are free to use the Britannia Main Dining Room too.

One of her defining differences compared to most cruise ships is her luxurious Royal Court Theatre with private boxes and one of the largest ballrooms at sea (The Queens Room), a typically British tradition. Ballroom dancing and balls take place here most nights throughout her voyages and during the day fencing classes, amongst other things are taught. Also daily, afternoon tea is served by white gloved waiters with finger sandwiches and scones with fresh Twinings tea in a nod to the ages gone by.

As a ship that is mainly aimed at the British she doesn’t have a lot of different restaurants unlike some of more family orientated ships. She has the Britannia Dining Room which is a two deck high beautifully crafted dining room for the majority of passengers – it still does the traditional two sitting dining experience every evening. There is also the Britannia Club Restaurant which is on the Port side of the vessel located midships. This venue caters for the Britannia Club passengers and offers the same menu as the main dining room but with no fixed times for meals, just set hours you can enter at. Additionally, The Verandah is a restaurant available for a small cover fee and offers dishes by Executive Chef Jean-Marie Zimmermann. The Golden Lion is the pub aboard and serves lunch and evening meals inclusive to all passengers, during the day it offers a hearty pub lunch and quizzes and in the evenings it has live entertainment. Passengers may also eat at The Lido, based on deck 9 this venue is open 24/7 and allows passengers to choose from many different fresh dishes in a buffet style with additional fresh dishes such as Pizza and Pasta being cooked to order for the passenger. Each day a different theme is offered at the Lido, such as Sunday Roast, Chinese, etc.

She also boasts one of the largest libraries at sea, with a beautiful two deck library with spiral staircase joining the two. There are over 6,000 books available for passengers to borrow throughout their voyage, if they aren’t into reading books and fancy something more ‘present day’ they can also use the onboard internet cafe, Connexions or take one of the many computer classes available aboard or perhaps watch a movie in the Royal Court Theatre.

The Royal Bathhouse is the Spa aboard Queen Elizabeth and offers many treatments you would find in most high-end spas. At 13,000 sq foot it is a fairly large spa that offers hot ceramic beds to lay on and a 745 gallon hydrotherapy pool to relax sore aching muscles from all the port sightseeing! Like her sister, Queen Victoria she also offers a covered games deck on Deck 12 towards the bow of the ship. Traditional British games such as Bowls and Croquet are available to be play here.

Although she isn’t a classic ocean liner (unlike Queen Mary 2) her bow was strengthened during her build so she could traverse the Atlantic better than other cruise ships. From the outside she has a very distinctive black and red livery that hints at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard ship from other cruise ships.

Trivia: Christened on 11th October 2010 by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth is the second largest Cunard ship ever to be built.

Ship info

Cruise Line Cunard Line
Ship class Vista
Ships in class
Tonnage 90,900
Passengers 2,068
Staterooms 1,032
Crew 1,005
Ship Length 293.93 m (964.5 ft)
Ship Beam 32.26 m (106 ft)
Ship Draft 7.9 m (25.9 ft)
No. of decks 12
Elevators 12
Service Speed 23.7 knots
Onboard Currency USD
Registry Port Hamilton, Bermuda
Home Port Southampton, UK
Shipyard Fincantieri (Italy)
Build Date September 2008
Build Cost £300 million GBP
Entered Service October 2010
Last refit October 2015 (dry dock)
Next refit October 2020
IMO Number 9477438
Call Sign ZCEF2
Status In Service

Ship history

Queen Elizabeth took her maiden voyage in October 2010 to the Canary Islands.

Queen Elizabeth was built in the Monfalcone Shipyard in Trieste, Italy. She is a Vista-class ship and has sister ships that look like her operating with P&O Cruises and Holland America Line. Internally, of course they are all very different ships. She differs from her sister ship, Queen Victoria by having a straight down stern instead of stepped. This allowed Cunard to add an additional 38 staterooms.

Back in 2007 Cunard announced they were going to build a third ship and she was to enter service in 2010. On 18th September 2008 her first steel plates were cut and in April 2009 the laying of her keel commenced with a ceremony. In the same month her Maiden Voyage went on sale and sold out at in incredible 29 minutes! During September 2009, her first Master was appointed. Captain Christopher Wells. He is an ex-Royal Naval Reserve Officer and this allows him to fly the Blue Ensign when he sails merchant vessels.

Queen Elizabeth was floated out in January 2010, just 9 months before her first Maiden Voyage, during September of that year she took her first sea trials and passed with flying colours. En-route to Southampton for her naming ceremony there were still over 600 workmen aboard her putting the finishing touches to every area of the ship.

Queen Elizabeth was named by Her Majesty The Queen at Ocean Terminal, Southampton Docks on the 11th October 2010. It was a televised event on BBC and Sky News and Queen Elizabeth set sail on her Maiden Voyage the following afternoon.

Her Maiden World Cruise was in 2011 and started in early January. She sailed in tandem with Queen Victoria across the Atlantic Ocean towards New York and for the first time all three sisters were together in the same port at once. Cunard celebrated with fireworks and the Empire State Building was even lit up in Cunard colours to mark the occasion.

In October 2011 she was re-flagged to the Bermudas along with her sister ships and Southampton was removed from her stern and replaced with Hamilton.

On the 10th January 2012 she started her second World Cruise at the same time as her sister, Queen Mary 2. However they didn’t both sail in tandem as they were heading in opposite directions around the world.

In June 2012 she met up with both her sisters for the second time (it was first time at Southampton) to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. All three ships performed a bow to bow salute and crew stood on the fore-deck whilst all three ships signalled each other with their whistles. In the evening they performed the same routine with fireworks before each setting off on their separate cruises.


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