Bigger is better, right? Cunard Cruise Lines will soon launch its latest cruise ship, the gigantic Queen Elizabeth. According to the Daily Mail, the ship soon will set sail from its dock in the Gulf of Trieste in Italy and make its way home to Southampton in the United Kingdom.
The ship is the third incarnation of the same name, of which the original was built to honor the Queen Mother in 1938, and is designed to replicate the golden age of transatlantic travel: black-tie balls and leisurely afternoons of croquet and paddle tennis. Inside, curving staircases meet polished marble floors and intricate Art Deco ceilings are being installed. Other key numbers:
- Cost: 365 million British pounds
- 321 yards long
- 16 decks
- 90,400 tons of water displaced
- Top speed of 23.7 knots (around 27.3 mph land speed)
- Can carry 2092 passengers
- 1046 state rooms (the most expensive has a butler and a jacuzzi)
- 29 minutes it took to sell out its maiden voyage
- 3000 craftsmen working double-shifts to complete the ship in time
- 6000-book library
Single female travelers fear not: cruises will come complete with gentlemen dancers for accompaniment. There will be a variety of voyages to choose from, from and to Southampton in 2011, and sailing to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic and the Caribbean.
The first iterations of the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship had long and storied histories, each serving as a troopship during World War I and World War II, respectively. The first fell victim to fire and was sank in Hong Kong in 1975. The second is currently docked in Dubai, where the buyer has plans to convert her to a floating leisure complex.
Her maiden voyage — Round Britain — is set to depart in September 2011.
To see artist impressions of the finished product, see Chris Cunard’s blog site.
[Photo of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 by Dawn Endico/Flickr]