The Art & Soul
of a Cunard Liner
October 2010, Southampton, UK — On board Queen Elizabeth for the
naming events, Peter Shanks, CEO and Managing Director of Cunard
Line, told those of us in the American media group that his mission
was to make the hairs on the back of our necks stand up during the
proceedings. At the actual ceremony itself, he said, "In our
170-year history, Cunard has owned three ships bearing the name
Queen Elizabeth. The first was launched in 1938. The second was
launched in 1967.
And the third is being named today, in 2010. And there is only one
person here who can claim presence at all three Elizabeth namings:
and that person is... Her Majesty The Queen." At that, Queen
Elizabeth II smiled and arose to give Cunard Line’s new Queen
Elizabeth her name and bestowed her royal blessing upon the liner.
That did it for me, Shanks' prediction came true and I got a shiver
down my spine.
|The Grand Lobby
QE 2's Bell
We are once again reminded that Cunard
ships are ocean liners, not
cruise ships, and they sail on voyages, not cruises. What's the difference?
Queen Elizabeth features
the double- and triple-height spaces that define grand passenger
liners. Cunard's long tradition of excellence sets the standard
for Queen Elizabeth, and her interior spaces reflect the
grandeur of the line's history. Dramatic soaring spaces flow easily into intimate alcoves.
On no ship does art play a
more significant role in the
than on the new Queen Elizabeth. Signature art deco
style pieces mingle
seamlessly with contemporary art commissioned for the ship,
including the 18.5-foot marquetry panel anchoring the
sweeping staircase of the
The three dimensional sculpture depicting the port bow of the
original Queen Elizabeth parting the sea was created by David Linley, son of the
late Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon, and Her Majesty The
Queen’s only nephew.
Yet, artwork commissioned especially for the ship doesn't
overpower the simplicity of such historic pieces as the QE 2's ship bell at the entrance to the
line's signature Commodore
Club, although Cunard might want to consider putting it under glass
as passengers can't resist the temptation to ring it as they pass
Wood paneling, intricate mosaics, sparkling chandeliers,
and cool marbles combine with
the dominant art deco flourishes
to give Queen Elizabeth a distinctive
personality of her own, while including overtones of the late 1930s when
her predecessor, the first Queen Elizabeth, was built. The iconic
silver Queen Elizabeth 2 model created by Asprey of Bond Street, London in the
early 1970s—and displayed for many years on QE2—now greets guests at
the Yacht Club entrance and is an important highlight of the current
Queen Elizabeth’s art collection, demonstrating the enduring history
of that famous liner.
Other priceless items from Queen Elizabeth 2 and the
original Queen Elizabeth are found throughout the newest Cunard
Admittedly, my three days on board weren't nearly long enough to
experience the ship as a passenger would on a voyage, but let's take
a look around. Welcome aboard!
1969 bust of Her Majesty,
Queen Elizabeth II
No Cunard liner would be complete without a ballroom and Queen
Elizabeth is no exception. The Queens Room is two decks
in height with a 1,000 square foot dance floor centered beneath
shimmering crystal chandeliers. Greeting guests as they enter is a
bust of Her Majesty that resided in the Queen's Room aboard QE 2
from 1969 until that liner's retirement in 2008. Adjacent to the Queens Room is Queens
Arcade, an inviting space to enjoy
Equally as grand as the ballroom is the Royal Court Theatre.
Spanning three decks, it is distinguished by upper level private
boxes, where—for a fee—occupants can sip champagne while
watching productions by Queen Elizabeth's own theater
As on other Cunard vessels, the level of accommodations
you reserve determines your assigned dining room. The Grand, Master,
Penthouse, and Queens Suites dine in Queens Grill, Princess Suites
dine in Princess Grill,
AA Club Balcony Staterooms in Britannia Club, and all others in Britannia
Queens Grill & Princess Grill—High atop Queen
both single-seating Grill restaurants are cantilevered over the side
of the ship and offer splendid sea views from every table. Guests also have exclusive
access to a private lounge for cocktails as well as an adjacent Courtyard for al fresco dining.
Restaurant—Simply a stunning dining room (pictured left),
Britannia's two-deck height is emphasized by
a backlit decorative ceiling and
a sweeping staircase, down which every woman on board will want to
make a grand entrance in her formal night finery. Dinner is served in two assigned seatings.
Britannia Club Restaurant
— Similar to Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth
also offers Britannia Club dining, where guests accommodated in AA
Club Balcony Staterooms dine in a single-seating at the time of
their choosing during restaurant hours. However, new for Queen
Elizabeth is that it is an entirely separate
dining room. Rich in art deco flourishes, Britannia Club features a
ceiling with backlit decorative glass panels, a sand-blasted
decorative glass wall, and panoramic windows for sea views.
Verandah Restaurant—Located just off the Lobby on Deck 2,
the light, bright, and elegant Verandah Restaurant celebrates fine
French cuisine. As in the days when The Verandah Grills on Queen
Mary and the original Queen Elizabeth were among the most exclusive
dining rooms at sea, this latest incarnation is sure to be one of
the most celebrated restaurants afloat. The room's art is inspired
by the playful and whimsical murals on the first two Queens and the
vintage menus on display tell a story of the dining experience on board the
original Queen Elizabeth. Reservations are required and there is a fee.
Casual Options—Here's where you'll find choices as
diverse as breakfast and lunch served buffet-style in the Lido
Restaurant, traditional British pub lunches in the Golden
Lion Pub, and pastries and tea in Café Carinthia, a
stylish patisserie. In
addition, the Lido Pool Grill aft on Deck 9 serves
up a lunch alternative. I highly recommend the pub grub, especially
the fish and chips.
Where else are you going to play, relax, and sleep on board?
Elizabeth -> Part Two
Elizabeth -> Part Three
Courtesy Cunard Line &
© Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com
From Cruise Diva's Blog