Queen Mary 2 -- Cunard’s biggest, splashiest, priciest ship ever -- will debut on January 12, 2004 with an Atlantic crossing. The maiden season schedule for the 2,620-passenger, 150,000 ton vessel, now under construction at Chantiers de l'Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, France has been announced by Cunard. Highlights, beyond the launch voyage which will sail from Southampton to Ft. Lauderdale by way of Madeira, the Canary Islands, and the Caribbean, include Rio-at-Carnival and deep Caribbean itineraries out of New York. The ship’s fairly unprecedented capacity for speed -- engines can run at a maximum of 30 knots -- makes that possible. Queen Mary 2 will also sail transatlantics and European voyages.
Probably the most sentimental voyage will be a tandem-sailing with QE2. Slated for April 25, 2004, the eastbound Atlantic crossing -- a first in that direction for Queen Mary 2 -- begins in New York will feature QE2 in the lead on its last such itinerary.