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