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Queen Anne's funnel, seen at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy (Photo: Cunard)
Queen Anne's funnel, seen at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy (Photo: Cunard)

Cunard’s New Queen Anne Embraces Tradition with Modern Twists

Queen Anne's funnel, seen at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy (Photo: Cunard)
Queen Anne's funnel, seen at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy (Photo: Cunard)
U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter

Last updated
Oct 5, 2023

Read time
8 min read

(4:15 p.m. EDT) -- Cunard Line doesn’t launch ships with much frequency; the line’s last vessel to debut was Queen Elizabeth in 2010. So when Queen Anne, the line’s 249th ship since Cunard was founded in 1840, launches on May 3, 2024, it will be a significant event in the history of the company.

Fourteen years between ships is a long time in the cruise game, and a lot has changed in terms of fashions, trends and expectations. And Cunard, perhaps more than many lines, is in the unenviable position of having to please die-hard Cunarders who don’t want a thing to change – set dining times, formal wear in the evenings, a strictly enforced “class” set up – and trying to attract new guests.

The question is: has it managed this fine balance on Queen Anne?

We got an exclusive sneak peek of the still-under-construction Queen Anne at Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, near Venice, to find out.

Cunard’s Queen Anne Boasts Attention to Detail Throughout the Ship

Cunard Queen Anne under construction at the Marghera shipyard
The aft of Queen Anne in the Marghera shipyard (Image: Adam Coulter)

The first thing you notice when you step onboard Queen Anne is that although this is not quite a one off vessel (it’s loosely based on Holland America Line’s Pinnacle class vessels like Koningsdam and Rotterdam, but modified for the Transatlantic crossing), it feels like a one off: Cunard ships just look and feel different from any other vessel afloat.

It is worth noting at this point that this 3,000-passenger ship is currently a construction site – you have to work hard with the use of renderings and the fantastic commentary from Francis Fred, Senior Brand Manager for Cunard, who has lived and breathed this ship from its inception, to help imagine how these spaces will look come next May.

Queen Anne's atrium under construction (Photo: Cunard)
Queen Anne's atrium under construction (Photo: Cunard)

Having said that, the attention to detail in every aspect of the ship – from the fabrics and colours used in the cabins and throughout the ship (more on that later); to the wave design at the entrance to the Britannia restaurant, and the friezes that will adorn it, depicting the four winds; to the expansive use of light and glass throughout – is not hard to spot.

And to that end, Cunard is using three world-renowned design companies – David Collins Studio, which designed Claridge's Hotel and Harrods in London; Richmond International, which designed the interiors of sister brand P&O Cruises' Iona and Arvia ships; and Sybille de Margerie, who is designing the suites and cabins, to create stunning interiors.

Queen Anne Showcases Brand New Cunard Venues

Queen Anne's funnel, seen at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy (Photo: Cunard)
The future site of Queen Anne's hydrotherapy pool at the Mareel Spa (Photo: Cunard)

One of the ways the line is keeping relevant is by leaning heavily into wellness, and Queen Anne will have the widest selection of fitness, beauty, thermal and spa facilities of any Cunard ship, with a vast thermal suite and what looks like one of the largest spa pools at sea, run by health group Mareel.

The multi-purpose space, designed by David Collins Studio, weaves together several wellness elements, including the top deck Wellness Studio – a first for Cunard.

Cunard Line's Queen Anne under construction (Photo: Cunard)
Cunard Line's Queen Anne under construction (Photo: Cunard)

We got a peek at this gorgeous, light-filled spot (designed by one of the engineers behind the Dome at the Louvre) and can predict it will be a hugely popular spot for sun salutations, yoga and aerobics; as well as a gorgeous area for evening soirees.

The Wellness Café will cater for breakfast, lunch, and daytime diners, offering plant-based foods as well as sustainably sourced meat, dairy and fish options.

We also got a sneak peek at the vast gym space and cardio room and aerobics studios on Deck 4.

The thermal suite on Queen Anne will be Cunard's largest across its fleet and features a huge spa pool
Render of thermal suite on Queen Anne (Image: Adam Coulter)

Another interesting space is Artisans’ Food Hall. In what would be called the buffet on other ships, in a nod to changing food tastes this is more of a multi-cuisine food hall – and it’s not just in name. The line has removed all trays and there are no lines – all the food stations are live, with a food either serving or cooking to order – a first as far as we are aware, and a step above the King’s Court casual buffet found on Cunard’s existing three ships.

The Bright Lights Society is a Brand New Entertainment Venue for Cunard

The iconic funnel on Cunard's newest ship Queen Anne
Funnel on Cunard Queen Anne (Image: Adam Coulter)

We’ve written about this new entertainment area aboard Queen Anne before, but to see the space in which it will be onboard and to hear it described so eloquently by Fred, makes it come alive.

Guests will walk into a room that throws them straight back to the 1920s – a band and a singer on stage, Art Deco flourishes and waiters in dinner jackets serving you Cunard’s own brand of gin-based cocktails.

It’s a huge space which you enter via a door filled with lights, designed to make you feel like a Hollywood star, before you are plunged into the Bright Lights Society itself.

It will double as a nightclub, but we love the idea of the throwback vibe the line is trying to recreate.

Again, there is a deliberate thread aboard Queen Anne that runs right back to that golden age of transatlantic ocean travel, when Cunard and the German lines were all competing to retain the prestigious Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic, and a modern nod to more current fare like Dancing With the Stars.

Cunard Leans into Its Heritage aboard Queen Anne

The Golden Lion pub on Queen Anne will feature a menu by Michel Roux
the Golden Lion pub on Cunard Queen Anne (Image: Adam Coulter)

But no Cunard ship would be complete without leaning heavily into its 183-year heritage. All the familiar Cunard hallmarks beloved by the line’s past passengers, called Cunarders, are onboard, including The Golden Lion Pub, the Queens Room ballroom, the Britannia Dining Room, Sir Samuel’s and a vast shipboard library – with a few new touches.

The Golden Lion Pub, for example, now has the touch of culinary figure Sir Michel Roux on it, offering higher end fare along with traditional pub grub. Roux also has a hand in redesigning the menu in the Queens Grill, Cunard’s most upscale dining venue aboard that is reserved for passengers travelling in the upscale Queens Grill suites.

The aft Panorama Pool Club features a pool and hot tubs
Panorama Pool Club on Queen Anne (Image: Adam Coulter)

The Queens Room ballroom will as ever serve afternoon tea, with live music in the evening, but it will also have a few surprises – including a “circ acrobat” directly above.

It is also home to what promises to be a stunning triple height mural, a brass installation currently being created in Devon, England which tells the story of Cunard. As you walk round it, passengers will see a homage to various departure ports and ports of call, including Venice and Liverpool, as well as the famous art deco bow of the ship.

The lighting for the Britannia Dining Room is in place aboard Queen Anne (Photo: Cunard)
The lighting for the Britannia Dining Room is in place aboard Queen Anne (Photo: Cunard)

Sir Samuel’s is placed in a beautiful spot at the aft of the ship, with large windows flooding the space with light, leading out onto a space which overlooks the Panorama Pool Deck.

The double-height Britannia Dining Room is always a Cunard ship’s showstopper, a stunning space, full of so much design detail you could spend every night on a seven-night cruise discovering new things (as mentioned, in this iteration, the theme is the four wind gods – look out for nods to them all over the space).

Queen Anne Cabins and Suites Up The Accommodations Game

The Grand Suite is the top suite onboard Queen Anne and features a large living room area
Render of the Grand Suite on Cunard Queen Anne (Image: Adam Coulter)

Queen Anne ups Cunard’s accommodations game measurably. Demand is such, according to Cunard’s Vice President, Angus Struthers, that the line has increased the Britannia Club cabin capacity by 200% to 160 individual rooms. In addition, there are 121 Princess Grill cabins and 65 Queens Grill cabins. All of these are topped by Q1 and Q2, two of the largest suites at sea, featuring: a main bedroom, bathroom, a dining room, a butler’s pantry, a second bedroom and bathroom, a living room and a huge balcony, and taking up the floor space of around five standard Britannia cabins.

Designer Sybille de Margerie has designed these each with a distinct color scheme, reflected in the curtains, carpets and fabrics, so the deep blue of the sea is the main color in the Britannia cabins; Princess Grills cabins have an autumnal feel, and the Queens Grill colors depict a luxury hotel, all purples and wood. The Grand Suites are designed to depict a private home, in greens and purples.

Another lovely touch: all of these color schemes are continued elsewhere on the shop, so it’s almost as if you subliminally know where you are. For example: Stairway A, in deep blue, riffs on the line’s nautical history; Stairway B, is a nod to the line’s design history and is in ochre; and Stairway C is designed in deep, rich reds. Look too for the chevrons in the colors of your cabin to find your way around the ship.

Queen Anne under construction in the Marghera shipyard in Venice
Cunard Queen Anne in the shipyard in Marghera Venice (Image: Adam Coulter)

You may not notice this at first, you may not care even, but when a line spends this amount of time on color schemes, you know that will translate to food, entertainment and service.

We cannot wait to see that realized in six short months, when Queen Anne makes its inaugural voyage.

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