Cunard QM2 Preview

June 26, 2002

Cunard continues to dribble out details on Queen Mary 2, the line’s huge newbuild. The ship, which won’t debut for another year and a half -- official date: January 2004 -- will blend some of the company’s long-held Anglophile-style traditions with a number of 21st century American-influenced additions.

For instance, afternoon tea -- brewed fresh, no tea bags, please! -- will be served in its very own gracious venue; the Winter Garden features year-round greenery and trompe l’oeile painted ceilings. Queen Mary 2 will persist with QE2’s multi-class-style dining (high ticket passengers go to one dining room, low-ticket to another, etc.). Ship’s designers are recreating the original Queen Mary’s whistle (two octaves below middle C). And Cunard will continue its industry-only custom of bookstores-at-sea by including a shop on Queen Mary 2. And while Cunard is eliminating the onboard “garage” that is a unique feature of the QE2, it is keeping the concept of its pet kennel alive on the new ship.

But there are lots of swanky -- and anything-but-traditional -- elements too. First up: Very American chef/entrepreneur Todd English, of “Olives” restaurant, will open his first eatery-at-sea. The ship will have a full-scale planetarium (what, the stars in the real sky in the middle of the Atlantic aren’t enough?). Canyon Ranch is running the spa and Cunard is expanding its Internet facilities (the line, on QE2, anyway, is genuinely an industry pioneer in adopting passenger Internet access not to mention extensive onboard workshops). The Play Zone is an extensive children’s facility (British nannies will supervise toddlers). And privileged suite holders will access their cabins via private elevators.

Cunard is opening its reservations line for Queen Mary 2 on August 1.