Cunard's announcement today -- that it will build a new Queen Elizabeth -- may not make the many aficionados of the venerable Queen Elizabeth 2 feel too much better, but it's good news all the same. The "new" Elizabeth, which will debut in 2010, will of course replace number 2; that ship will transfer out of service next fall. It will become a floating hotel in Dubai.
Queen Elizabeth (so far there's no 3 after the name) will measure 92,000 tons and carry 2,092 passengers -- just this side of Panamax sized, which means it can squeeze through the Panama Canal. The ship will be built by the Italian company Fincantieri (at its Monfalcone yard), with a scheduled launch of autumn 2010.
The announcement today bills the ship as Cunard's second largest -- but it's nowhere near the size of the massive Queen Mary 2. In fact, it's a lot closer, in size and likely style, to the 90,000-ton, 2,014-passenger Queen Victoria. That ship debuts in December in Southampton.
Little detail has been revealed about ship specifics other than the fact that the announcement calls the new Elizabeth a "liner" as opposed to a cruise ship.