Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cunard’s QM2 and QE2

Executive summary by darmansjah

RMS Queen Mary 2 (also referred to as the QM2) is a transatlantic ocean liner. She was the first major ocean liner built since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, the vessel she succeeded as flagship of the Cunard Line. The new ship was named Queen Mary 2 by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 after the first RMS Queen Mary, completed in 1936. Queen Mary was in turn named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. With the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 from active duty in 2008, Queen Mary 2 is the only transatlantic ocean liner in line service between Southampton and New York, which operates for part of each year. The ship is also used for cruising, including an annual world cruise.

Although not of British construction, the ship was designed by a team of British naval architects, led by Stephen Payne. At the time of her construction in 2003 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Queen Mary 2 was the longest, widest, and tallest passenger ship ever built, and with her gross tonnage of 148,528 also the largest. She no longer holds this distinction after the construction of Royal Caribbean International's 154,407 GT Freedom of the Seas in April 2006. Although later cruise ships are larger, Queen Mary 2 remains the largest ocean liner (as opposed to cruise ship) ever built.

Queen Mary 2 was intended to routinely cross the Atlantic Ocean, and was therefore designed differently from many other passenger ships. The ship's final cost was approximately $300,000 US per berth, nearly double that of many contemporary cruise ships. Expenses were increased by the high quality of materials, and having been designed as an ocean liner, she required 40% more steel than a standard cruise ship. Queen Mary 2 has a maximum speed of just over 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and a cruising speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph), much faster than a contemporary cruise ship. Instead of the diesel-electric configuration found on many ships, Queen Mary 2 uses integrated electric propulsion in order to achieve her top speed. This uses gas turbines to augment the power generated from the ship's diesels.

Queen Mary 2's facilities include fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, and the first planetarium at sea. There are also kennels on board, as well as a nursery.

On 19 October 2011, Queen Mary 2 had her registry changed to Hamilton, Bermuda, from her home port of Southampton, England to allow the ship to host on-board weddings. This continued 171 years of British registry for Cunard ships, as Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory.

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