The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

09 September, 2010

QE3 on Sea Trials

QE3 on sea trials in the Adriatic Sea - all photos courtesy

The new cruise ship Queen Elizabeth, which I will continue to call QE3 to differentiate her from her predecessor (sorry Cunard), the original Queen Elizabeth, a true liner proudly built at John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank.  From this angle above, she looks complete, at least from the exterior appearance.  Judging from the bow wave off the bulbous bow, the ship is probably cruising near or at the whopping top speed of 24 knots, several knots slower than QE2's service speed of 28.5 knots. 

Comparisons to QE2 come natural, since she is still in the minds of many and is similarly named.  In reality, Cunard has added to the confusion with their current marketing of the ship as a replacement of QE2 and not correcting this factual error.  Queen Mary 2 was designed from the get go as QE2's replacement.  Comparisons should not apply since the role of this new ship is dramatically different from QE2's.  Times have changed and we have one ship currently handling the transatlantic crossing route; Queen Mary 2, the world's only ship currently in service worthy of the ocean liner designation. 

QE3 and her sistership, Queen Victoria were designed for cruising with the "occasional" transatlantic crossing.  Although marketed by Cunard as liners, they are more cruise ship than liner.  To me, they are well designed for this role, using a proven Carnival Vista class hull design, modified to Cunard specifications.  I just wish they would not have marketed them as "Queens" and reserved that designation for ships expressly designed for the rigors of transatlantic service with the necessary speed to maintain the crossing schedule.  This debate on what makes a ship a liner verses a cruise ship and whether these Vista sisters should be called "Queens" or not will rage on for a long time to come. 

While one can argue that QE3 is a decent looking Vista Class ship, the added cabins in the aft end take the already least attractive part of the ship and make it more boxier and frankly, uglier.  At least Queen Victoria has a stepped down appearance at the stern in a most liner-like side appearance.

From the bow, the only other major difference visible between the Cunard Vista sisters is the semi-enclosed sports deck on QE3, which is visible as the white "top hat" or perhaps a "crown" if you want to continue with the references to the ship's namesake.  At first, I was not a fan of this added appendage, but after seeing the final product, I'm warming up to it. I am looking forward to lawn bowling in this area.

QE2's exterior appearance was crafted in a different era.  Her proportions were carefully crafted by the team of designers for both functionality and beauty.  Her silhouette is perfectly balanced and every feature from her slender bow profile with pronounced flair, to the funnel design, centrally situated due to her original powerplant's boiler locations, are the perfect synergy of form and function.  Like all great design, her design is timeless.  Today's crop of cruisers are all about maximizing interior space to include all the latest features today's typical passengers, or guests as Cunard would like us to call them.  Unfortunately, the outward exterior appearance of the ship suffer, but the obvious counter to this complaint is that once on board, all is lost and the focus is on the interiors.  With this in mind, QE3 appears to have some stunning Art Deco themed interiors.  More on the interiors as updated interior photos are released.

1 comment:

  1. THE QE3 is really ugly and also Queen victorea. QM2 is OK. When will the QE3 be launched.