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The New Era of Ocean Liners: Project Queen Mary Continues.

queenmaryproject.jpg (12891 bytes)

unconfirmed image of the new Cunard ocean liner set to sail in 2003.

The following is a press release from Cunard Company Limited:

General arrangement plans for Cunard Line's much anticipated, classic new ocean liner---a grand and glamorous link to yesteryear's golden age of sea travel---have now been finished and the company expects to name the vessel and builder by year's end. She is expected to be the largest passenger vessel ever built.

This news was revealed by Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Cunard Line Limited, who said he was prompted to comment on progress to date because of increasingly high interest in the new ocean liner. "Among the many ships being built, this Cunard ocean liner is perhaps the most intriguing of any passenger vessel under consideration. She will become famous before she even takes to the seas. The level of interest is beyond our wildest imagination."

He added that based on Cunard's timeline, the vessel is expected to be introduced in 2003.

The silhouette of Project Queen Mary will be unmistakable. She will be sleek and majestic with a dramatic raked prow, similar to QE2, reflecting the grandeur of the great Cunard liners of the past. At more than 1100 feet long, her hull will be longer than three football fields-as long, in fact, as four city blocks - making her the longest passenger vessel ever built. Her hull will be painted a non-reflecting matte black, a Cunard tradition dating back nearly 160 years.

Her giant single stack, painted historic "Cunard Red" with black bands, will tower over 20 stories above her keel. Foreward, her eye-catching white superstructure will be stepped far back from her raked prow, and stepped aft as well, in the classic liner profile. Her power plant will produce sufficient electricity to light a city the size of Southampton, England. And her engines will produce a mighty 140,000 horsepower. Her great whistle will be audible from a distance of ten miles. The unique Cunard liner will carry 2500 guests in dramatic palatial interior spaces, reminiscent of the White Star liner Titanic as depicted in the recent film. Considering that smaller ships sailing today carry many more guests, those 2500 fortunates will enjoy an extravagant amount of space per guest, and the skilled attentions of nearly one staff member per couple of guests on board, assuring a service standard unmatched on any other large vessel.

The ship's ambience will reflect a high style and grace, with classic Cunard hallmarks such as grand staircases, expansive promenades, elegant grand restaurants and gracious public rooms of an imposing scale. Some of the features already revealed include a Heritage Trail highlighted by mementos and artifacts from Cunard's 160-year history and an onboard Maritime Museum of liner history; a pub with its own onboard microbrewery; an advanced Computer Learning Centre and an extravagant spa and health centre. Other unique design concepts will be revealed as the final yard selection is made. While Project Queen Mary is expected to be the largest passenger vessel ever built, Pimentel said she will nevertheless maintain a feeling of intimacy with smaller, comfortable spaces ideal for contemplation and privacy. Three-quarters of all suites, staterooms and apartments will have large private balconies.

"Ever since we announced we would build a giant classic liner, our mail has been flooded with requests for information and wherever I go I am besieged by questions about her. Guests have even sent in deposits without knowing the specifics of the product or the deployment. Candidly, they want to be the first guests on the first ocean liner to be built in thirty years."

"While we realize that details of this wonderful project are eagerly awaited, we are proceeding prudently and deliberately. The grand scope and cost of the project dictates this approach.

"We will unveil complete plans for Project Queen Mary on the cusp of the new millennium.

"We will build a unique liner that fosters the tradition and legacy of British seagoing excellence. We can't be, and we won't be, rushed," Pimentel stated. "Maritime architects, marine historians and interior designers have been hard at work developing the form and style of the ship and completing detailed plans and drawings for her creation."

General arrangement plans have been completed. Three shipyards have already quoted on her building and two others will provide quotes within a month.

Pimentel was careful to distinguish between Cunard's planned ocean liner and today's large modern cruise ships. "The true nature of an ocean liner is that of a majestic thoroughbred roaming the oceans of the world. They are conceived with a long, streamlined hull, a proportionally long bow section and a stepped stern, giving them a sleek profile that is distinctive and pleasing to the eye. They are capable of very high speeds. The speed of Project Queen Mary will probably not exceed that of Queen Elizabeth 2, Cunard's current flagship, which is the fastest deep sea passenger ship in the world. However, she will certainly be built to operate at speeds in the vicinity of 30 knots.She must therefore possess an inherent strength and stability necessary for high-speed passage through open ocean conditions, and a deep, narrow draft to cut the water for a comfortable and stable ride."

"Modern cruise ships stick more closely to ports of call which they visit on an almost daily basis.

"The seagoing experiences are uniquely different. Certainly, there is a vast public for the cruise experience. We believe, similarly, there is an eager and growing audience for the drama, elegance and shipboard ambience exemplified by sailing aboard a true Atlantic ocean liner.

"We know that details of our liner are eagerly awaited but no one has built a true ocean liner in more than 30 years. It is nearly a lost art." Pimentel indicated. "Shipbuilders can't simply go into their plans files and pull out a convenient blueprint. We are recreating history."

Pimentel stated emphatically that Project Queen Mary would extend Cunard's global brand position and popularity among discerning guests.

Concluding, Pimentel stated "The extraordinary interest we have experienced in this magnificent ocean liner tells us there is yearning for a return to the golden age of sea travel. It's a bygone era and an exciting concept for a new audience and a new time---and that time is now."

Cunard Line, one of the world's most recognized brand names with a classic British heritage, is operated by Miami-based Cunard Line Limited, which also operates Seabourn Cruise Line. Cunard Line Limited is a unit of Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL). The Cunard fleet includes the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 and Caronia (formerly Vistafjord). The Seabourn fleet includes Seabourn Sun, Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend and Seabourn Goddess I & II.

Cunard Line and Seabourn Cruise Line are members of the exclusive World's Leading Cruise Lines alliance, which also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Together, these member lines share a commitment to quality and value, offering cruise vacations that appeal to the widest range of lifestyles and budgets and sail to some of the world's most exciting destinations. Cunard Line and Seabourn Cruise Line represent nearly 50 percent of the world's luxury cruise market.

The Following Press release was from the Cunard Line website.

page update on 7 February 2000

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