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Queen Elizabeth

A Queen Elizabeth Update with Peter Shanks

September 29, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Elizabeth

Welcome to a special guest Blog featuring our President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, who told me that he is keen to play an active role in this Blog, by posting regular stories and update readers on a wide range of topics. Today sees the first of those with Peter sharing a day he spent last week looking at the latest and exciting design plans for Queen Elizabeth. I hope you enjoy his first Blog and as always we would love have any comments or questions you may have which Peter will look forward to answering.


Guest Blog – Peter Shanks (President and Managing Director Of Cunard Line)

Queen Elizabeth – Our beautiful new liner is certainly going to turn heads


Earlier this week I spent a full day with our designers reviewing the designs for each of the public rooms on Queen Elizabeth. We had the designs and drawings all together in one room and the first impression I had as we started the day was that she is going to be a beautiful addition to the Cunard fleet.


At this stage we are very well advanced in all of the detailed designs, but to be able to spend the day immersed in the detail was very exciting. Over coming months we will be revealing a number of ‘innovations’ and ‘firsts’ to  further build the excitement and anticipation as we head towards her maiden voyage on 12 October 2010. And I was reminded this week that 12 October is a special day in North America – Columbus Day – the very day in 1492 that Columbus himself discovered that great nation for the very first time. A perfect day for the Queen Elizabeth maiden voyage.


But back to the review of the designs for Queen Elizabeth – here are some highlights of some of the public rooms to whet your appetite as to just how special the ship is going to be;


Grand Lobby – The reaction to the Queen Victoria Grand Lobby has been very warm and appreciative. – Queen Elizabeth will be just as special. We reviewed the colours of the marble floors, the intricate carpets, quite different railings on the sweeping stairs and of course the major piece of art that will dominate the Grand Lobby. More of that in weeks to come, but I can tell you that the artist we have chosen to produce that piece of art is famous indeed and a perfect fit with the Cunard Brand.


Britannia Club – This is new to Queen Elizabeth, a separate restaurant twinned with the premium balcony staterooms and offering dining at individual times to suit our guests. Britannia Club has proved to be very popular on Queen Mary 2 – but we take it to a new level on Queen Elizabeth with a totally separate and beautiful dining room. 


A grand entrance, engraved glass panels, evocative light fixtures, and beautiful carpets; I am convinced this is going to prove very popular. It will not be as special as the Princess or Queens Grill, but it will offer another option for those guests who like the flexibility of when they dine and a more intimate surroundings. The menu will be the same as the menu in the main Britannia Restaurant.


Carinthia Café – This bar and café has proved to be very popular on Queen Victoria throughout the day and evening. We have expanded the seating area, beautiful carpets and included some very interesting ‘art deco’ comfortable and striking furniture as well as wonderful and intricate glass panels on the ceiling, so it will be every bit as popular on Queen Elizabeth as it is today on Queen Victoria.


Royal Court Theatre – Well how could we possibly beat the theatre on Queen Victoria? The layout is the same and the private boxes just as special, but we have changed the colours in the room from Queen Victoria’s traditional theatre red and gold. This is a brave move but we researched and visited many famous and provincial theatres in the United Kingdom and we have come up with the colours blue and gold.


Queens Grill and Princess Grill – The feedback we have had for these two restaurants on Queen Victoria, and the Grill Lounge, has been tremendous. The location of the two restaurants at the top of the ship, with panoramic views and private outdoor terrace is simply unbeatable by any other cruise line. So you may ask why make any changes. We want to make sure the décor, the furniture and the art is simply stunning and it will be. Following feedback from our guests, one thing we are doing is having the ability to offer more tables for two in both of our Grill restaurants.


Midships Bar – A new room for Queen Elizabeth. We have taken the name from previous famous liners. The area will be steeped in reminders of famous Cunard liners of the past. 


The highlight will be a large piece of art taken from the original Queen Mary showing the two continents and the transatlantic routes, the moon and the stars and all set in beautiful gold brass and silver. Those who are familiar with the original Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth will be able to sit back in the surroundings of the Midships Bar, enjoying a martini or other preferred tipple, White Star Service and feel every bit as special as many Cunard guests would have felt years ago on the first Queen Elizabeth.


Garden Lounge – This too is a very different room on Queen Elizabeth. 



The glass roof is reminiscent of Kew Gardens in London, the tiled floors and carpets are beautiful in every detail. It is a room where relaxation will be the motto – but also a room where we plan some special events in the evening to recreate some of the special events and entertainments that took place on the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary.


The day was one of the most motivating and satisfying days at work we have had in a long time. The new ship is coming together very well indeed. I am going to leave news of other rooms to another time; too much to share with you all in one go. In particular I look forward to sharing our plans with the Yacht Club and the links to QE2 and of course our plans on Art, which are very special indeed. There is also a story to tell about the Queens Room; that too will have to wait till next time.


In the meantime – the shipyard is very busy and Queen Elizabeth is taking shape. If you haven’t already done so, do have a look at Alastair’s recent video blogs. I hope you have found this update useful and informative – I have enjoyed sharing it with you. The anticipation for Queen Elizabeth is building fast – right around the world – and justifiably so. I can’t wait!


Best Regards – Peter


Thank you very much Peter for this Guest Blog; I know everyone is keen to hear more so please do keep that news coming in. I’ll be back again soon with lots more news from the Cunard world. Cheers Alastair

  1. ShipMaven says:

    I am anxious to see the new Queen Elizabeth inasmuch as I literally grew up sailing transatlantic on RMS Queen Elizabeth – my first crossing on her was July 7, 1951 from New York to Cherbourg. We lived in Manhattan at the time and several of our Officer friends would come to our apartment Tuesday evenings every other week. In those days, the ship would arrive Tuesday morning and sail Wednesday afternoon. The “Lizzie” has always held a special place in my heart – paintings and large photos of her adorn my office.

  2. Christian Reay says:

    The Queen Elizabeth will no doubt be a wonderful ship and will have equally impressive interiors and decoration.

    I do hope that amongst Queen Elizabeth’s vast collection of art works and nautical memorabilia that there will be many paintings, photographs and at least one ship’s model of QE2.

    Like the first Queen Elizabeth, QE2 holds a special place in the hearts and memories of the many fortunate guests who, like me, had the honour of sailing on a very special ship – a much loved and reveered icon.

    Peter, If I may I would like to suggest an idea for an art piece for the new ship – a painting of all the all six Cunard Queens together – Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, QE2, Queen Mary, Queen Victoria and the new Queen Elizabeth as a centre piece to one of the public rooms or bars.

    In the meantime I look forward to many more updates about QE – particularly from your perspective.

    All the best


  3. Steve B says:

    I am looking forward to going on Queen Elizabeth but I am dissapointed at the loss of the chart room which is so successful on Queen Victoria. The Britania club restaurant is taking its place which can only be used by those who can afford the premium balcony cabins. This means a long coridor from the central lobby to the main dining room without the chart room for pre-dinner drinks.

  4. Shirley Hall says:

    Queen Elizabeth I am sure will be a fantastic addition to the Cunard fleet, and I am looking forward to her maiden cruise, for which I have been lucky enough to obtain a cabin.
    If I could just point out what would be a great improvement over Queen Victoria, it would be to replace the “Builders Mugs” in the Lido with something more appropriate.

  5. An interesting glimpse there Peter and looking forward to the next instalment. Have to agree with Steve’s comment though (Hi btw). I know you can’t please everyone but for what it’s worth, the loss of the Chart Room is a bad move imo.

  6. David Cunard says:

    First – when did Carol Marlowe bow out? No-one seems to stay put at Cunard any longer!

    The Royal Court Theatre on QV is remarkable, but since QE3 is to be reminiscent of art deco design, what a pity that somewhere like the New Theatre, Oxford, was not researched. It is one of the most splendid art deco auditoriums in England, originally in many shades of gold and mushroom brown, *very* 1930s! Today it has been repainted in many colours which do not match the design, but how lovely it would have been to see something similar at sea. The artist’s rendering hints at it, but some gilt relied (as in Oxford) would add to the design.

    I especially liked the Grills’ lounge on QV where tea could be taken or pre-dinner drinks and late evening night caps. I only hope that the new one does not become too large, the intimacy of the space, like a club, was very appealing. My partner and I are very much anticipating the 2011 World Cruise, although we can only partake a small segment of it and I feel sure it will be a worthy successor to both the first Queen Elizabeth, QE2 and also QV. But one last question – who is to name the new vessel, and when?

  7. mark napier says:

    Agree with all other comments that she looks a truly special ship and hope to sail in 2011. What facilities will she have for children over and above those on QV?

  8. Simon says:

    We are sailing on the QE maiden voyage for our honeymoon and can’t wait. She looks wonderful.

  9. Janie Maxwell says:

    I’m wondering why you are not calling her Queen Elizabeth 3? Is it because we have only had 2 human Queens by the name of Elizabeth?

  10. D Critchell says:

    Looking forward to Queen Elizabeths maiden voyage hope it will have a walk round promenade deck also an allround vision in the commodore club or what ever it will be called like the Victoria has

  11. Carol kane says:

    If the new QE is 1/2 as good as QV we are in for a real treat, cant wait. I found the QM2 far to big,so pleased you did not go that way, cheers everyone

  12. Michael Birch says:


    I wanted to tell Cunard a little story.

    I was in the United States Navy for eight years. For the first four of those years, 1966-1970, I was stationed onboard the USS Simon Lake, a submarine tender based at Holy Loch, Scotland. Holy Loch is located near Greenoch, approximately 30 miles from Glasgow. When I took the train back and forth to Glasgow, we would pass through Clyde Bank. Off in the distance we could see the QE2 being built. Week by week, month by month, it grew larger and larger. I knew it was going to be something special. When the QE2 took its “shakedown cruise,” it anchored near our ship. I remember how white it was, and how at night with its lights aglow, it seemed almost like something from a fairie tale. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and I still do. I stood in our Pilot House with a pair of binoculars looking at the QE2, wondering if someone in the QE2′s Pilot House was looking back at me. I decided then that someday I would cruise on that majestic ship.

    Unfortunately that never happened, and now it’s too late. More than 40 years later, I do look forward to my first cruise ever, on the Queen Victoria in February 2011 (roundtrip Los Angeles to Hawaii). But my heart is still with the QE2, and now that I’m retired and in my “twilight years,” I hope that I might instead be able to cruise on the new Queen Elizabeth (money is always an issue). To do so would be something of a “homecoming” for me, and remind me briefly of a time when both I and the QE2 were young.

    Thank you for listening, and thank you for your magnificent ships. Cunard has been a wonderful part of my life since that long-ago day when I fell in love with an ocean liner.

    Michael Birch
    San Diego, California

  13. Gabriel Moronez says:


    My name is Gabriel.I live in southern California

    I just want to know will the new Queen Elizabeth

    be faster then Queen Victoria and what will be her

    cruising speed and Max speed please let me know

    I love all the Queen ships my e-mail is


    Thank you Gabriel Moronez

  14. Stuart Denyer says:

    Dear Mr. Shanks:
    It sounds like the interior of the new Queen Elizabeth will be truly magnificent – a homage to grand liners of yore but with modern touches. It’s only a shame that more thought wasn’t put into the exterior of the ship. The French-built Queen Mary 2 has a splendid profile, with a curved stern, recessed decks, etc. It sounds, however, that the new QE exterior will look much like the Queen Victoria’s – a pedestrian Italian-built cruise ship indistinguishable from Holland-America or P & O ships. I hope the Queen Mary 2′s exterior design can inspire future Cunard ships.
    Stuart Denyer

  15. Ken says:

    I am surprised that CUNARD ignored many passenger’s comments (to Carol M. both written and verbally) that the mid-ship outdoor pool on the forthcomiung QE should have a retractable roof. Having done the maiden WORLD cruise on the QV, the use of that pool was sorely limited by weather conditions. If I recall, the retractable roof on the Winter Garden might have been opened less that a half dozen times during the voyage. On other cruises aboard the QV, bad weather prevented any use of that pool as well. While we were berthed next to the HAL ZUIDERDAM in Istanbul( same class of ship) their pool was covered and the pax could make use of the pool every day.

    Another corrective measure should be drawer space in the cabins on the QE. Hopefully this is being rectified and we won’t find ourselves kneeling at the foot of the bed pulling out our clothes on the QE’s WORLD cruise.

  16. Freda & Bill Cureton says:

    Just returned from a monumental celebration – Queen Mary 2′s 5th Anniversary Around the British Isles Cruise. Had a fabulous time on board and in all the ports of call.

    Congratulations and many thanks to all concerned at Cunard.

    See you again soon.

  17. Martin Jarrett says:

    Looks like the ship is going to be beautiful -On a personal note Peter – you ought to set up an old Cranleighans Cruise before we’re all retired !

    Congratulations on the new ship

    Martin Jarrett

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