Remarks of Carol Marlow
Cornell Club of New York
The Evolution of QUEEN VICTORIA
When I became involved [with Cunard] was when Carnival had taken
over Cunard and they were trying to compete against P&O Cruises,
which is the largest cruise line in the U.K. QUEEN MARY 2 was
coming and there had been a decision to build another ship, which was
QUEEN VICTORIA. That ship was going to be built to go head-to-
head with P&O/Princess.
But then, Carnival decided to buy P&O Cruises. So, when they did that,
they suddenly thought: “Hold on a minute, we just decided to put
QUEEN VICTORIA to go head-to-head with P&O’s flagship,
AURORA, but actually, we don’t want to do that anymore. Now, we
think about it, QUEEN VICTORIA isn’t really the ocean liner material
that Cunard needs to have under its most famous ocean liners in the
world banner.” So, the decision was taken that this clearly was not the
ship for Cunard and the ship that was going to be QUEEN VICTORIA
is now ARCADIA in the P&O fleet.
Cunard then did a great amount of research to determine whether there
was a market for another Cunard-style ship. It found that: people were
looking for experiences. The luxury market was becoming more
experiential and we could see in the reports that people were buying less
luxury goods and more luxury experiences. So this boded well. People
also wanted with their holidays a sense of self-fulfillment and to educate
themselves. That was great because we do a lot of that on our vessels.
And they are looking for a company quite unique, a lifestyle experience
that they can share with their family and friends. So, we thought this
looks good from a quality point of view.
From a quantity point of view, the cruise market is growing
phenomenally. It is by far the most successful part of the travel industry
all around the world. The last three years, the travel industry itself has
stagnated whereas the cruise industry has grown. There are about 50
million cruisers out there taking holidays on ships nowadays. And it is
getting better and better. If you look at the history since the middle of the
1990s, every time a new ship comes out, it fills. It is quite a strange
phenomenon that this market is supply led. Of course, in the
background, it follows that demand is higher than supply. In fact, there
are some 36 new ships around the world coming into the marketplace
over the next three years. That is a phenomenal growth.
Now, we looked at all this and said “what do we do? Do we announce a
new ship?” And we decided, “Well, yes, absolutely we do.” So,
QUEEN VICTORIA, mark II, was put on the blocks.
The next issue was how was QUEEN VICTORIA going to develop?
The new QUEEN VICTORIA is being built in Italy and is certainly
another Cunard ocean liner. What does that mean? Well, it means she is
not a cruise ship. She is actually longer - - a liner is usually loner than a
cruise ship - - so she glides through the water more easily. Her hull is
strengthened, her bow is strengthened to make sure she can go amongst
all sorts of seas and the oceans of the world; and we made sure that her
interior is very different than any cruise ship, that it was an ongoing ocean
She is going to be very much of the Cunard theme and Cunard history
and heritage will come shining through. But, she will also have those
touches that you would expect from a 21st Century ship.
Her vital statistics: She is going to take nearly 2,000 guests. She is
90,000 tons, which some of you know QUEEN MARY 2 is 151,000,
so she is quite a bit smaller. But QE2 is 70,000 tons, so she is right in the
middle. About the same length and the same width as QE2 but she has
more volume due to her style of build.
She has all the modern facilities that you would expect in terms of her
safety systems, her security systems, her waste management system.
And I mentioned that her hull and her bow have been strengthened
according to the classification society demands and so she is fit to go
across any ocean.
She has six diesel engines, four 16 cylinder and two twelve cylinder.
There are two Azipods which pull her through the water. These are
instead of propellers [attached to shafts protruding from the hull], the old
style propulsion. These basically pull her through the water rather than
push. They are attached to the ship in such a way that they turn through
360 degrees. They have fixed pitch propellers. In order to maneuver the
ship, [the pods can] turn independently from one another. And they can
vary the speed with which the propellers rotate and in that way, you can
do almost anything with the ship. She also has three bow thrusters. So,
everything you would expect for maneuverability of a modern day ship.
Inside QUEEN VICTORIA
Ms. Marlow then discussed some of the interior highlights of the new
The Grand Lobby. It will cover three decks. The décor is wood and
marble, beautiful mosaic drawings. [The center piece artwork] will be a
very dramatic bow shot of QUEEN VICTORIA coming out of the globe
which will be marquetry with the four points of the compass. It will be a
very dramatic central piece to that Grand Lobby.
The Library. Six thousand books will be in there. The leaded glass
ceiling is very reminiscent of our liners of the past. It is going to be a
fabulous space with two librarians there to help our guests out. [The
carpet will have] authentic signatures of about 20 different British authors
who have cruised on Cunard liners over the last 168 years. We will have
a piece of artwork that will be on the wall of the library that will tell a little
bit about those authors. Just a little bit of whimsy there to help look at
the heritage and history of Cunard.
In fact, that will tie in with something else - - Cunard’s “Quote Quest”.
You’ll be able to go around the ship and find quotes by these various
authors and collect them. As I mentioned earlier, we were the first
company to put a library on a ship and indeed every time we do put one
on now, we do like to do something different.
The Cunardia Museum. This is the first time that we have had a
museum at sea. This will show exhibitions that will change once every
two or three years. The first exhibition that we will show in there will be
of the Cunard Queens. We will have various pieces of interest in there.
For example, the zig-zag clock that QUEEN MARY had that showed
her how to cross the Atlantic so as to get away from the U-boats that
were chasing her and to keep away from the torpedoes.
We have a replica of the Hales Trophy. The Hales Trophy was what
was awarded when a ship won the Blue Ribband for the fastest time
across the Atlantic. Cunard was never interested in speed but rather
safety and reliability so even though a number of his ships won the Blue
Ribband, he would never let the trophy come aboard one of the ships.
So, this is a replica that we are putting on to honor the ships that did win.
The log books from the QUEEN MARY, various pieces of QE2, and
we have a piece in here which is more modern if you like, a cork, which
came from the bottle which was smashed on QUEEN VICTORIA’s side
when the yard had there float out ceremony. When the ship floats out of
its dry dock into its outfitting dock, there is a little ceremony that is
performed. A madrina is chosen and she smashes the bottle against the
side. Maureen Ryan, who is a lady that is the only person in the
company to have worked on all four Cunard Queens - - QUEEN
MARY, QUEEN ELIZABETH, QE2 and QUEEN MARY 2 - -
kindly did us the honor of being the madrina and has kindly donated the
cork from the bottle.
There will be a whole host of interesting story lines, the Queens at war,
the Queens in peacetime. Just up above there will be the Cunardia
Gallery where we are going to have interactive screens where guests can
go in and find out all sorts of things about the history of the company.
Britannia Restaurant. The main restaurant on board, two decks high. It
is going to be very interestingly designed. It is reminiscent of the Golden
Arrow which was a train that went between London and Pairs way back
when, very much Art Deco in terms of its feel. Here, the décor is going
to be polished wood, little pieces of mirror, bronze, very spectacular,
very Art Deco in its feel. There will be a huge piece of artwork, a globe
which is 12 feet high, that just represents that Cunard does ply the world’
s oceans all around the world. It will be quite a spectacular restaurant.
The Queens Room. This room is going to be a fabulous room. It is
inspired by Osborne House, which is the island retreat of Queen Victoria
on the Isle of Wight. It is very much designed in honor of that. The faux
marble panels, which were very in vogue at that time. There is a beautiful
mural of the views from Osborne House down towards the sea. We
have other pieces of art that were of Queen Victoria, photographs - - she
was the first British monarch to be photographed with her family, she was
quite forward thinking. She was also quite good at etching and we have
a few etchings done by Queen Victoria and some done by Prince Albert
of their dogs, three dogs. It is quite an interesting room.
We will use it for afternoon tea but we will also have grand balls at sea,
which we find our guests love - - the Ascot Ball where they all wear
those wonderful hats, the Big Band Ball, where they are all ballroom
dancing. The dance floor is some 1,000 square feet.
Royal Court Theater. This is very special because it will be the first time
a theater at sea has had West End-style boxes, 16 in total. There is
going to be a royal box, which will be unveiled the same day as the
The Royal Arcade. It is a shopping area with a difference. This is
modeled on the Burlington Arcade and the Queens Arcade in London,
some 4,000 feet of shops, very traditional in nature with the wrought iron
and the marble pillars. There’s going to be a pillar clock standing on a
pedestal. It is being made for us by Denton Co., the official clock
makers to Queen Victoria, and they have created clocks for quite a few
Cunard liners in the past. Their most famous clock is Big Ben and indeed
[this clock] chimes on the hour with the Westminister chimes. So,
wherever you are it is a little bit of England at sea.
The Commodore Club. This is the observation lounge up on Deck 10
forward area. Ship models will be in here and wonderful portraits of our
Cunard liners of the past.
[Adjoining it will be] Hemispheres a very new style of room for Cunard.
It is probably the most contemporary room on the ship. It has got 270
degree glass windows. That will be used for classes, for arts and crafts
during the day and in the evening it is turned into a spectacular nightclub.
The Pavilion Pool. One of the two outdoor pools that we have on
board. Nearby will be the Winter Garden with a roof that opens so that
you can enjoy a conservatory-style experience with fresh air or with the
roof closed. That will have greenery, rattan furniture, colonial-style
ceiling fans, a juice bar - - we will try and have that whole conservatory-
In addition to that there will be a whole host of tradition Cunard bars and
facilities. A traditional English pub with pub food, fish and chips,
Shepard’s pie, bangers and mash, and which will have a very traditional
décor - - beams and a pressed metal ceiling.
Todd English is a restaurant that we have on QUEEN MARY 2 that has
worked very well so we have it on QUEEN VICTORIA as well.
We have a Royal Spa Fitness Center which has all sorts of hydra pools,
thermal suites, treatment rooms and gyms and equipment for keeping fit.
To keep up that Cunard tradition, we have a children’s section as well to
make sure the whole family is catered for.
Accommodations. She has just under 1,000 staterooms, 85 percent are
outside, 70 percent with balconies. And we have our Queens and
Princess Grill suites. These are for very superlative accommodation and
dining at sea. The suites are magnificent and dining is in two separate
restaurants, the Grill restaurants, and are quite a special experience. The
Grill restaurants are up on the top of the ship and they cantilever out over
the sides of the ship with glass walls. So, if you are in the Princess Grill
or the Queens Grill, you will have fabulous views out to the sea. There
will also be an al fresco dining area between the restaurants.
There are four Grand suites aft in the ship over 2,000 square feet.
Captain Paul Wright, a Cunarder of some 26 years experience, last seen
captaining QUEEN MARY 2, is delighted to be on QUEEN
VICTORIA. He’ll be taking care of her different itineraries as she heads
off on her maiden voyage, a Christmas markets voyage to Northern
Europe. Then she heads off down to the Canaries for Christmas, and
then off on her first world cruise. She’ll be over here in January. Then,
she heads back, she does some northern European voyages from
Southampton and then in August, right until the end of the year, she is
actually in the Mediterranean offering 12 night voyages - - fly into
Barcelcona and then go on to Athens or Venice.
QUEEN VICTORIA is being names on the 10th of December by her
royal highness the Duchess of Cornwall in the presence of her husband
the Prince of Wales. In fact, Prince Charles was the first passenger on
board QE2 way back when. He actually went on board when she was in
the yard and traveled down to the outfitting dock. It is nice to have him
on board again quite so early in the life of this vessel.
So that is our new Cunarder. Plainly, you can see that we tried to pick
up a lot of our history and heritage within the ship and yet still keep her
very modern, which our guests would expect. This is the first time in our
168-year history that we will have three Cunard Queens on the ocean
waves. And it is definitely the first time in our history that we will have
them all in the same place and that is happening on the 13th of January
here in New York harbor.
CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR A
Above: An artist's conception of
the Grand Lobby. Below: The
Grand Lobby during
construction. (Photos: Cunard)
Above: An artist's conception of
the Library. Below: The
staircase in the Library and the
upper level of the Library during
construction. (Photos: Cunard)
Above: The Commodore Club as
envisioned. Below: Two views
of the room during
construction. (Photos: Cunard)
Above and below: The Queens
Room being prepared. (Photos: