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SIR SAMUEL AND THE
NEW QUEEN VICTORIA

RICHARD H. WAGNER
(Originally published in The Porthole, The World Ship
Society, Port of New York Branch, January 2007)
Coinciding with QUEEN MARY 2’s call at
Halifax on 7 October 2006, a ceremony was held
to unveil a statue of Sir Samuel Cunard, the
founder of Cunard Line and a native of Halifax.  
The larger-than-life bronze statue by artist Peter
Bustin stands on the waterfront not far from the
cruise ship terminal and depicts Cunard with his
hand on a steamship’s telegraph looking out
across the harbor.  Among those on the dais for
the ceremony were Carol Marlow, President and
Managing Director of Cunard, and maritime
historian Commodore Ronald Warwick who
recently retired from Cunard.  In the audience of
approximately 150 were a large contingent of
QM2’s officers and passengers including PONY
members Ed Squire and Richard Wagner.


Although there had been talk of creating a Samuel
Cunard memorial in Halifax for some time, the
project achieved momentum in 2005 when
Commodore Warwick wrote to a local newspaper
following QM2’s inaugural call in Halifax urging
that such a memorial be created.  The project
was then taken-up by The Halifax Foundation in
co-operation with the Halifax Port Authority.  
Cunard Line made the initial contribution to start
the fundraising efforts.  The Canadian National
Railway, Secunda Marine Limited, The Bank of
Nova Scotia, and The Waterfront Development
Corporation were among those who also provided
support.  Commodore Warwick was the
Honorary Chairman of the project.       

The Hon. Mayann Francis, Lieutenant Governor
of Nova Scotia, dedicated the monument.  
“Samuel Cunard was born in Halifax, Nova
Scotia November 21, 1787. Eldest son of
Abraham and Margaret Cunard, United Empire
Loyalists who emigrated from
Philadelphia/Germantown to Nova Scotia in
1783, his marriage to Susan Duffus produced
nine children, all boys, in Halifax. For more than
half a century, the Samuel Cunard and Company
wharves on the Halifax waterfront were the
center of a vast shipping empire engaged in the
West Indies trade.  Samuel Cunard became the
foremost entrepanuer and one of the largest
owners of sailing vessels in the Maritime
Provinces.”

“Samuel Cunard was a visionary. He foresaw
steam power replacing sail on the North Atlantic.  
He became the pioneer of ocean steam navigation
when the paddle steamer Britannia, first flagship
of the British North America Royal Mail Steam
Packet Company, later known as the Cunard
Line, arrived in Halifax from Liverpool, England
July 17, 1840.  The advent of steam on the North
Atlantic forever altered commerce and
communications between the old and the new
world.  Samuel Cunard, esteemed Nova Scotian
and founder of the Cunard Line, was knighted by
Queen Victoria in 1859. He died in London,
England, April 28th 1865.  It is my great honor to
dedicate this memorial on the 7th day of October
2006 to Samuel Cunard.”   Cunard’s great, great,
great, great grandsons Benjamin and Samuel
Paton then released the curtain that covered the
statue.

Following the ceremony, Carol Marlow
commented to this writer on the meaning of the
ceremony to her company.  “At Cunard our
history is really where our future lies. We take
our history with us. If you look at QUEEN
MARY 2 you see all sorts of memorabilia of our
history. Our new ship, QUEEN VICTORIA, is
being built very much in the footprint of the
Cunard of the past.  Really, our heritage is our
watchword.  So this sort of ceremony where we
can honor our heritage and our founder is
extremely significant.”

With QUEEN VICTORIA scheduled to enter
service next year, the discussion naturally turned
to the new ship.  “She has almost the same
dimensions as the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 in
terms of her length [964.5 feet] and breadth [106
feet] and her height [179 feet].  She is designed
as a classic ocean liner.  The interior space has
many grand two or three deck high areas, very
much designed on the Cunard liners of the past.
So, [she will be] very, very different than a cruise
ship.”

Indeed, Cunard’s effort to reproduce the
atmosphere of its earlier ships is manifest.
Included in QUEEN VICTORIA’s 12 passenger
decks will be a number of public rooms bearing
names familiar to travelers on QM2 and QE2
including: a Golden Lion Pub, a Queens Room
ballroom; a multi-story, pillared Britannia
restaurant; a Todd English alternative restaurant;
a Chart Room bar; a Commodore Club
observation bar; and a Cunard Connections
computer facility.  In addition, the 2,014
passengers will be able to utilize a two-story,
6,000-volume library and explore an onboard
Cunard ocean liner museum.  No neon, water
slides or boxing rings.

Still, the new ship will be no ocean greyhound.  
Her maximum speed will be about 23.7 knots in
contrast to QE2’s 33 knots and QM2’s 30 knots.  
Furthermore, she is being constructed at Italy’s
Fincantieri yard where the Vista-class cruise ships
of Holland America, P&O, and other lines were
built.  In fact, isn’t QUEEN VICTORIA based on
the same design as the Vista-class ships?   


“Originally, yes. But now QUEEN VICTORIA
has been lengthened, her bow strengthened, and
her superstructure has been strengthened. Those
[exterior] lifts that go up and down are gone. The
layout and of the interior is just totally different.
We describe the QUEEN VICTORIA as the
‘next classic Cunarder’ because that is what she
is going to look like.”

As Ms. Marlow indicated, QUEEN VICTORIA
will not be just a Vista painted black and white
with a red funnel on top.  Indeed, a Vista was
originally ordered from Fincantieri to be the third
ship in the Cunard fleet but that ship was given
over to sister-company P&O (as the ARCADIA)
because inter alia Cunard wanted to make certain
modifications to the design.  As a result, QUEEN
VICTORIA will be approximately 8,000 tons
larger and 30 feet longer than NOORDAM, the
most recent of the HAL Vistas. The hull design
was analyzed to ensure it can withstand the rigors
of the North Atlantic.  Based upon these
calculations, critical areas, decking, and
bulkheads were strengthened to meet the
predicted stress levels.  Similarly, steel was added
to the bow structure to meet the dynamics and
pounding that the fore end of a ship can expect to
experience in extreme seas.     

Like QM2, QUEEN VICTORIA will be driven
by pods.  However, unlike QM2, there will be no
fixed pods, just two rotating Azipods.  Providing
power to the pods and the three bow thrusters
will be six diesel engines capable of generating
63.4 MW.  In contrast, QM2’s four diesel
engines and two gas turbine engines can generate
118 MW.  This means that while she will not
have the speed of QM2, QUEEN VICTORIA
should have the same excellent maneuverability.
Another way Cunard is seeking to ensure that its
heritage is carried forward is by the appointing
Captain Paul Wright to bring out the new ship.  
Wright has been with Cunard for 26 years and
has commanded QM2, QE2, as well as
CUNARD COUNTESS, CUNARD PRINCESS,
and CUNARD DYNASTY.  He will be one of
just a handful of captains to have commanded
three Cunard Queens and, of course, the first to
command all three of the more recent Queens.  
Past travelers on Cunard will remember that his
affable charm made him popular with his crews
and with passengers.  Marlow indicated that she
was “delighted” by the reaction to the 4 October
announcement of Wright’s appointment.         

Work on QUEEN VICTORIA began in April
2005 and her keel laying took place thirteen
months later.  She will be floated out in January
2007 and is scheduled to enter service in
December 2007 with two inaugural cruises - -
one to northern Europe and the other to the
Canary Islands.  After that, she will make a
tandem transatlantic crossing with QE2, which
will end with a meeting with QM2 in New York
on 13 January 2008.  How will she be used after
that?


“She is off on a world cruise to start with and we
are just finalizing her 2008 deployment at the
moment. She is one of the Cunard fleet so she
can do any of the itineraries, really. We haven’t
quite decided.”   
cruise travel photo - Sir Samuel Cunard statue Halifax Nova Scotia
cruise photo - dedication of Sir Samuel Cunard statue
The Hon. Mayann Francis, Lieutenant Governor of
Nova Scotia speaking at the dedication while Carol
Marlow, President of Cunard (center) looks on.
Cruise photo - Cunard Line - Dedication of Sir Samuel Cunard statue
Following the ceremony, Carol Marlow and
Commodore Ronald Warwick pose with Benjamin
and Samuel Paton, descendants of Samuel
Cunard, and members of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police.
cruise ship photo- Cunard Line - Commodore Ronald Warwick, Commodore Bernard Warner
Retired Commodore Ronald Warwick chats with
Commodore Bernard Warner of Cunard Line prior
to the dedication of the statue.
The statue of Samuel Cunard is located near the
terminals used by passenger ships arriving in
Halifax.
FOR LARGER VIEWS CLICK ON THE PHOTOS
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OF THE ARTICLE
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Cruise ship interview - Cunard Line - President and Managing Director Carol Marlow