In a ceremony on Friday at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard near Venice, Cunard laid the first keel for its upcoming 90,000-ton, 2,000-passenger Queen Victoria.|
The keel laying is a significant step in the construction of a vessel, as it involves the placement of the very first section of its hull -- this one (pictured above) weighing 325 tons and containing 50 tons of pipes, cables, insulation and other equipment. Because Queen Victoria is being designed as an ocean liner rather than a traditional cruise ship, it has a different superstructure, and a strengthened hull and bow.
Cunard's President Carol Marlow was on hand for the occasion. According to an official statement, Marlow dubbed Queen Victoria "a very significant ship for Cunard" in a speech prior to the keel laying. "Not only is she the second largest ship we have ever built but she further reinforces Cunard's commitment to our British heritage."
Many of the features set to appear onboard Queen Victoria exist on Queen Mary 2, but have been tweaked. For example, the lavish Royal Court Theater will include the addition of private boxes, and the Winter Garden will move to Deck 9 with a moveable glass roof for indoor/outdoor ambience, depending on weather conditions. Check out our previous news coverage for additional details.
The ship is slated to launch December 11, 2007; on January 13, 2008, Queen Victoria will set sail on a 105-day maiden world cruise.