Today : A Very Different QE2
Queen Elizabeth 2 entered service at a time when the jet
threatened any ship that challenged it. No other vessel in history
has taken on the Jet airplane with such force, and yet at the time
of her retirement in November 2008 she will go down in history as the most
successful Cunard Liner ever - completing a mammoth 806
trans-Atlantic crossings as well as hundreds of cruises over nearly
40 years of service. This feat would not have been possible had her
original designers lacked the foresight for future changes.
QE2 was first presented to the world, she was powered by steam
turbine engines. A thin black funnel, with white cowling and 'Cunard
Red' wind scoop cast a shadow over the open sports deck. The stern
of the vessel was open, the water in the Quarter and One deck pools
sparkled in the sunlight.
ship, the interiors reflected all that was the 1960's. This two
class vessel was not a copy of the older Queens. There were no gates
separating tourist class with first class, just subtle signs. Aluminum
and fiberglass were used extensively throughout the vessel. The best
restaurant (the Grill) was what is
now the Princess Grill, and passengers could relax in the 'Lookout'
bar, the only forward facing passenger lounge aboard.
this ships four decade life, she has undergone some massive
changes. In April 1982 Queen Elizabeth 2 went to war, and lost the
terraces of her Upper and Quarter decks. Once her role in the
Falklands was over she was restored to her pre-war glory, but
appeared with a pebble gray hull and traditional Cunard funnel. The
hull colours was short lived, but to this day QE2 has kept the Cunard
colours on her funnel. The
addition of suites on the Signal and Sun decks, started in the early
1970's was completed by 1987 and now provides some of the most
luxurious accommodations at sea.
additional accommodation created a need for the
Queens Grill restaurant which is located in a space once
occupied by 'Club 736'. To cater for the new restaurant, the
'Lookout Bar' was sacrificed for more kitchen space.
1986/87 QE2 had new engines installed, thus signaling the end of
Cunard Steamships, however it allowed for the ship to be more
economical then ever. It also allowed for her exterior design to
have another change which included the addition of a widened funnel,
which has made her appearance even better giving an overall look of
power and strength. With new engines, she emerged full of youth
and vitality to sail vigorously into the 21st century.
Queen Elizabeth 2 is complimented by the jet. For a time, Concorde
and QE2 were an Atlantic institution. Her role as the primary
Atlantic liner ended in 2004 with the introduction of Queen Mary 2
into service, however QE2 lived on providing cruises throughout
Europe and her annual World Cruise.
the Queen is powered by nine German built diesel electric engines.
Her thin funnel is no more. Fiberglass interiors have given way to tasteful wood paneling. The top restaurant is the award
winning Queens Grill, and the Princess Grill is complimented by a
sister restaurant, Britannia Grill. The One deck pool sparkles
alone, the Quarter Deck pool being sacrificed for what is now the
has spent over ten times the building cost on refurbishing QE2. The
1986/87 refit alone cost $100 million! In tern, QE2 is the investment that has
kept Cunard alive for almost 40 years.
on as a world icon in retirement at 'The Palm' - with a planned
refurbishment to reinvigorate the ship bringing it to world standards in
luxury and opulence.
Long live QE2!
at Circular Quay, Sydney.
Page - www.chriscunard.com
- ^TOP QE2,
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay, Circular Quay Way, Sydney, Australia, 2000