Cunard Line Limited

Cunard Line Limited

January 14, 2007 19:01 ET

Cunard Line Limited: Ceremonies Mark the Float Out of the World's Newest Queen Ocean Liner

Cunard's Queen Victoria reaches major milestone

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 15, 2007) - Special ceremonies at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard near Venice will be held today (Monday 15 January) to mark the float out of Cunard's newest Queen ocean liner Queen Victoria.

Cunard's Managing Director, Carol Marlow, will be joined by Maureen Ryan who will be guest of honour at the event. Maureen joined Cunard in 1963 and is the only known person to have served on all Cunard Queens: Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, QE2 and Queen Mary 2. In recognition of this Cunard has bestowed on Maureen the honour, in Italian tradition, of being 'Madrina' to Queen Victoria.

The first ceremony will involve the welding of significant coins beneath the mast of Queen Victoria for good luck. Two coins have been chosen - a Euro (symbolising the fact that the ship is being built in Italy) and a gold Queen Victoria sovereign with St George slaying the dragon on the reverse side.

Carol Marlow will confirm the reasoning behind the sovereign by saying:

"Cunard came into being at the very beginning of the Victorian era - Queen Victoria had been on the throne for only three years when Samuel Cunard's first ship set sail. And there followed, throughout her reign, a huge expansion in the Cunard fleet until by the end of it the company was the pre-eminent force in British shipping. Today the company is probably the most famous name in shipping and the birth of this great liner confirms for all to see, the continuing renaissance of the great name of Cunard. The Cunard lion roars again!"

After the coin ceremony a further ceremony will take place on the dockside at which the ship will be blessed, and a bottle of Italian prosecco will be smashed against the hull. The valves of the dry dock will then be opened so the ship meets the water for the first time.

Corrado Antonini, Chairman of Fincantieri, will say:

"Our Company is the heir to the Italian shipbuilding industry and the world leader in cruise ship construction and believes, as Cunard does, in the possibility and the need of actively matching tradition and innovation. Building a liner for Cunard is a special achievement for Fincantieri and takes us right to our roots, fostering both our determination to build once again a passenger ship of high technological content and unmistakable style, reflecting the best of the industry and tailored to the needs and requirements of the owner".

The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will not only be a classic ocean liner, offering the very best of Cunard's heritage and traditions, along with all modern day luxuries, but will also feature some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre; the first floating museum, Cunardia, housing Cunard artefacts and memorabilia and the first two-storey, 'spiral staircased' library at sea. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated luxury Grills accommodation and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with exclusive deck terraces and an al fresco dining option.

From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at what differentiates a Cunard liner from a standard cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood panelling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof.

And, of course, the ship has been constructed with impressive sea keeping qualities that will enable her to travel easily and efficiently through the world's oceans.

As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria's arrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens (she joins the world's largest liner Queen Mary 2 and the world's most famous and best-loved liner QE2) have been in service together in the company's 167-year history.

Queen Victoria will depart on her Maiden Voyage on Tuesday 11 December 2007. This 10-night 'Christmas Markets' voyage will leave from the company's homeport, Southampton, and will call at Amsterdam, Copenhagen (overnight call), Oslo, Hamburg and Bruges, enjoying the pre-Christmas decorations and traditional gift markets. After spending her first Christmas in the Canaries Queen Victoria will embark on her 106-night 'Maiden World Cruise' which will call at 37 cities in 23 countries. Every call, with the exception of Lisbon, will be a maiden call for Cunard's new Queen. Queen Victoria will circumnavigate the globe in a westbound direction and, after calling at New York, will transit the Panama Canal before making maiden calls at some of the world's most famous cities including Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Dubai, Athens and Barcelona. Queen Victoria will also transit the other of the great canals, the Suez, before returning to her homeport of Southampton on 22 April. Early Booking Fares for the complete voyage range from Pounds Sterling 10,999 per person for double occupancy of a D8 inside cabin to Pounds Sterling 115,869 per person for double occupancy of a Q1 Queens Grill Grand Suite.

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