HeadLine: THE QM II
The Mirror, 07/11/2000, p21
by SHAUN MILNE
CUNARD’S £538million Queen Mary II liner was unveiled as the new
monarch of the seas yesterday.
The majestic 150,000-tonne cruise vessel will be the longest, tallest
and widest passenger ship ever built.
But though she will operate from Southampton and proudly fly the
British flag, she will be built in France.
The QM II follows in the wake of her gracious predecessors the Queen
Mary, Queen Elizabeth and QE2.
With her grand staircases, promenades and imposing public rooms she is
a deliberate attempt to reflect the golden pre-war age of cruise
Shipbuilding chief Patrick Boissier pledged yesterday: “She will be a
piece of history and a work of art.”
Cunard president Larry Pimentel said: “She will carry the grace and
elegance of a bygone era into the future.”
The QM II is due to enter service in 2003 carrying some 2,800
passengers and 1,300 crew.
She will be 1,131ft long – about the length of 35 double-decker buses –
and 236ft high.
Her 140,000-horsepower engines, powerful enough to light Southampton,
will enable the giant vessel to travel at nearly 35mph.
There will be nine different classes of cabin ranging from duplex
apartments and penthouse suites – both with butler service – to the
biggest standard cabins on the British market. Other features include:
A MAIN dining room seating 1,310 passengers. It will span the full
width of the ship and be nearly three decks in height;
A 1,100-seat main lounge for Broadway-style productions.
A BALLROOM, nightclub, planetarium, lecture theatre, casino, computer
centre, cinema, five swimming pools and even a pub brewery.
French constructors Chantiers de l’Atlantique will build the QM II at
St Nazaire after Belfast-based Harland and Wolff lost the contract
The decision cast a shadow over Harland’s 1,800 workers.
But yesterday Mr Pimentel said the only reason they were not chosen was
because Harland would have had to join with another firm to build part
of the vessel.
He told a London conference: “We went to the yard that could produce a
vessel on time to the specifications put forward.”
The QM II is twice the size of Cunard’s 70,327-tonne QE2. The original
81,000-tonne Queen Mary was built at Clydebank and was launched in
At present, the world’s biggest liners are the Finnish-built Explorer
of the Seas and her “sister”, the Voyager of the Seas.
Owned by Miami-based Royal Caribbean, each of the 14-deck floating
cities weighs 142,000 tonnes and can carry more than 3,000 passengers.
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