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The funnel on Cunard Queen Anne
The funnel on Cunard Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Cunard’s New Cruise Ship: Photos of Queen Anne

The funnel on Cunard Queen Anne
The funnel on Cunard Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)
U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter

Last updated
May 3, 2024

Read time
8 min read

Cunard’s Queen Anne arrived to Southampton – its homeport – on April 30, 2024. The 249th Cunard ship carries 3,000 passengers and will be sailing from Southampton on a variety of cruises – to Spain, the Canary Islands and the British Isles, ahead of its naming in Liverpool on June 3, 2024.

The first thing to note is that this is a Pinnacle-class ship, which has the same basic structure as Holland America Line’s Koningsdam, and its sisters, so Queen Anne is neither a first in class or a one-off special.

So while Cunard has been envisioning this new ship since 2017, the line has had to make do with creating a Cunard ship with an existing ship design. In some respects this works well but in others we feel it does not.

We got onboard the ship May 1 on a special one-day showcase day for VIP guests, media and trade partners, to get a closer look at what the first new ship from Cunard in 14 years has to offer.

The Grand Lobby Deftly Blends Tradition With Modernity

The Grand Atrium on Cunard Queen Anne
The Grand Atrium on Cunard Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

One of the main aspects of Queen Anne that Cunard has been at pains to emphasize is the mix of heritage and modernity, the aim being to keep the traditional Cunarders happy while bringing in a newer, perhaps younger passenger.

This aim is captured perfectly in the Grand Lobby, which, while not being especially grand – it is triple-height, but it’s quite a small space relatively – is backlit by an ever-changing LED floor-to-ceiling screen, which depicts the line’s storied past. The marble floor, too, is art-deco inspired.

Cunard calls it the beating heart of the ship, and while the upper levels are buzzy, with bars and restaurants, the lowest level is somewhat muted, with a shore ex desk, the Drawing Room and a Games Room flanking the circular space.

The Mareel Spa is Hidden Away on Deck 1

Mareel Spa reception glass structure
Mareel Spa reception glass structure (Photo: Adam Coulter)

The Mareel Spa is situated on the lowest deck and accessed via cabin corridors (if you are anywhere other than the front of the ship).

It seems an odd place to put a spa, deep in the bowels of the ship, particularly with the line’s link up with "Harpers Bazaar" and the experts’ advice of the importance of sweeping sea views and sunshine and all their positive properties on wellbeing.

Despite the location, the design touches are lovely, as in the reception area and the Thermal Suite, which is huge, and in keeping with the other ships, is centered around a thermal pool and flanked by various rooms – a sauna, a steam room, a salt room, plus shower experiences – with treatment rooms and relaxation rooms running off it.

The Wellness Studio on Cunard Queen Anne
The Wellness Studio on Cunard's Queen Anne is still under construction. (Photo: Adam Coulter)

The much-vaunted Wellness Studio (still under construction), is, however, in a wonderful spot overlooking The Pavilion, and is flooded with light. It just seems a miss to place it up here and the rest of the spa 10 decks below.

The Pavilion is a Stunning Space

The Pavilion on Queen Anne
The Pavilion on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

For us, The Pavilion is the star of the show architecturally and conceptually, as well as arguably the beating heart of the ship, certainly during the day. This space is stunning – a deep blue color scheme, which extends to the furniture, the pool and the mosaic tiles, topped with a huge glass-dome roof that opens and closes depending on the weather.

The Pavilion is triple height, with an upper area that includes various eateries including the Wellness Cafe, serving vegetarian-forward dishes, and the Pavilion Grill, as well as a bar. The only confusing aspect is the inability to get out of the upper level; from what we could see there seems to be no exit from the cafe side, and you have to exit and enter via the lower level.

VIP event on Cunard Queen Anne in Southampton
VIP event on Cunard Queen Anne in Southampton (Photo: Adam Coulter)

You’ll also find three hot tubs clustered together in one corner and a huge screen and stage for events. Whoever designed this space should take a bow: It combines elegance, style and function; we loved it.

Panorama Pool Club on Queen Anne
Panorama Pool Club on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

An alternative swimming pool to The Pavilion is found at the aft of the ship, and it's a standout space we predict will be a huge hit. As always in the U.K., it was pouring with rain, so it was hard to imagine people sunbathing, sipping a cocktail and swimming, but we think this will be thronged in warmer climes.

We love that the pool is a good size (many aft pools are small), with two hot tubs and a long bar. A DJ was valiantly trying to play some tunes in the rain with little interest, but again we think this will be a popular space with a laid-back vibe as the ship heads to the Canaries.

Princess and Queens Suites Are Beautifully Designed And Decorated

Princess Frill Suite on Cunard Queen Anne
Princess Frill Suite on Cunard Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

We were really impressed with our Princess Grill Suite, which shone in a number of aspects:

King sized bed in Princess Grill Suite on Queen Anne
King sized bed in Princess Grill Suite on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

The bed was huge and quite possibly had the comfiest pillows we have ever slept on.

The desk in the Princess Grill Suite on Queen Anne
The desk in the Princess Grill Suite on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

We loved the desk, which again – in keeping with the tradition and modernity – is a nod to old-school as it looks like a traditional stand-alone writing desk, but of course has every plug and socket and lighting configuration a modern traveler might need.

Display cabinet in Princess Grill Suite on Queen Anne
Display cabinet in Princess Grill Suite on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

And opposite, the wonderful display shelves, which had an eclectic display of art and sculptures and – for the Brit, a huge plus – a kettle, as well as a coffee machine.

The separate living area has a vast sofa (I swear, four people could easily sit side-by-side on it), flatscreen TV and leads out on to the balcony.

The only observation is we’d have been happy to sacrifice some space in the room for a bigger shower room. Though with lovely Penhaligon toiletries and an excellent adjustable rainshower, it was tiny relative to the room. We’d have loved to have had twin basins and more space between the toilet and the shower.

Queens Grill Suite
Queens Grill Suite (Photo: Sue Bryant)

Although we didn’t stay in the Queens Grill Suite, we do have a friend who did who told us the space was stunning, square shaped rather than rectangular, with a divider between the bedroom area and living room – and a bathroom that lived up to the suite space (with a bath).

Britannia Dining Room Dazzles

The Britannia Dining Room on Cunard's new ship Queen Anne is a stunning double-height space at the aft of the ship
Britannia Dining Room on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

As on all Cunard ships, your cabin determines where you dine. But also, as with all Cunard ships, the main dining room – the Britannia Restaurant is far more inspiring than the Grills Restaurants assigned to Princess and Queen guests. We were impressed by this dazzling gorgeous double-height room, where everything about Cunard is celebrated, with chandeliers, brass, sweeping stairs, balconies and vast aft windows with gorgeous views of the wake.

We ate in the Princess Grill, and although it's light and bright, with a delicate wall-pattern design, it’s underwhelming compared with the Britannia Restaurant.

Queen Anne has 15 places to eat, but we didn’t have a chance to try any of them. However, we are excited for the Japanese restaurant, Aji Wa; the Indian restaurant, the line’s first, Aranya; Sir Samuels, a high-end steakhouse; and Tramonto, which has outdoor dining and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.

One duff note: Artisans’ Foodhall is not actually a food hall; it's a buffet, and the food quality is not up to what you might expect even in a typical cruise ship buffet (early days, we emphasize; we would expect improvement as time passes).

The Royal Court Theatre Doesn't Wow Like It Could

The Royal Court Theatre on Queen Anne
The Royal Court Theatre on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

We were expecting more of a showstopper, an old-school theater-type space with balconies and boxes, but instead this looks more like a large alternative lounge area with a relatively small stage for the space. Although it is designed across two decks, you don't get that double-height feeling that you do on Queen Mary 2, for example.

We’re loathe to make contrasts, but when you see what Holland America Line has done on the exact same type of ship – the 714-seat World Stage, a state-of-the-art, 270-degree almost-theater-in-the-round, with high-definition LED screens that extend well into the room’s perimeter, you do wonder if the line might have missed a trick on this one.

Entertainment Onboard is Hard to Gauge at this Early Stage

We had high hopes for Bright Lights Society after we had a sneak peek in London a year ago, expecting a 1920s vibe with a big band and a singer, but instead we got a guitarist and singer playing Deep Purple covers. It was disappointing, considering the hype, but hopefully it will have a proper band installed when it starts sailing. It’s also the de facto disco after the live entertainment.

Cunarders might get a surprise at the Queens Room, which is less of a sedate lounge and more of a live music space.

The Library and The Drawing Room Are Stunning Spaces

The Library on Queen Anne
The Library on Queen Anne (Photo: Adam Coulter)

In keeping with tradition, the library space high up on Deck 12, is truly standout. No half-forgotten tiny room off a corridor, but in a prime piece of real estate on the penultimate floor (though we’re scratching our heads why it’s next to The Zone (the kids’ club)!

It’s so beautiful – the layout, flanked with bookshelves, like you are in a nook of Barnes & Noble ; writing desks against the windows, with stunning views; beautiful decor, with comfy chairs for reading – a truly gorgeous space.

Drawing Room on Cunard Queen Anne
Drawing Room on Cunard Queen Anne (Photo: Cunard)

The Drawing Room, at the base of the Grand Lobby, is another gorgeous space, lined with books and a scale model of the ship.

Final thoughts on Cunard Queen Anne

Yes, there are some spaces that don’t quite work, but these are offset by the many that do, and overall, we believe Queen Anne is a stunning ship, both inside and out, with an attention to detail that is hard to find on many modern cruise ships.

Queen Anne definitely fulfills the brief of respecting tradition but bringing it into the modern day.

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