Get a Sneak Peek of Queen Elizabeth in the Shipyard!

August 2, 2010
With a mere 11 weeks until its launch, excitement is building around Cunard's new 90,400-ton, 2,092-passenger Queen Elizabeth –- with the biggest question being: What will Cunard pull out of the hat to make this ship innovative and different?

Queen Elizabeth is a near-twin of Queen Victoria structurally but there are some changes, most in the décor but some in the use of public areas, too. For a start, Queen Victoria's classic interiors are inspired by the line's long heritage, while Queen Elizabeth's look will reflect the art deco era, a distinctive style that was at its peak in the 1920s and 1930s.

There are four big changes. Guests in top-grade Britannia-class cabins get their own dining room with open seating dining, a Cunard first. Next, the Winter Garden on Queen Victoria becomes a vast conservatory on Queen Elizabeth, styled after the stunning glasshouses in London's Kew Gardens. And the Games Deck on deck 10 will hark back to the era of Brideshead Revisited; think croquet and bowls on the lawn, and paddle tennis in whites. In addition, there are 38 new cabins, the reason for the ship's boxy stern.

The ship is still very much under construction at Fincantieri's Monfalcone shipyard at Trieste, Italy, absolutely swarming with welders, electricians, painters and contractors. Structurally, everything is in place but a lot of imagination is required to visualise the elegant vessel that will emerge in October. Here's a snapshot of the ship as it looked in late July, 2010.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor. Updated by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief.

Image appears courtesy of Sue Bryant.