Fleet & History Sections:
Cunard is the most historic cruise line in the world.
Cunard Line’s heritage dates back to 1839 when Sir Samuel Cunard won the first British Government contract to supply a regular mail service across the North Atlantic Ocean. Since that date, Cunard has had hundreds of Ocean Liners.
Cunard’s heritage is built on safety, speed and luxury. During the early days of the 20th Century their ocean-greyhounds, Lusitania and Mauretania, were the fastest ocean liners in the world. Their modern turbine engines allowed them to achieve over 24 knots – an impressive feat of engineering.
Cunard’s Golden Age occurred after World War II, when their Ocean Liners, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were the epitome of luxury ocean travel. With speeds of over 30 knots, these two sisters were the largest Ocean Liners in the world. In fact, Queen Elizabeth, at 83,673 tons, held this record until eclipsed in 1996 by the Carnival Destiny.
In the late 1950s, Cunard faced its most fierce competitor – the Jet aircraft. With the introduction of the Boeing 707 on the transatlantic route, Cunard’s fleet quickly became obsolete. This saw the great decline of Ocean Liners, with names such as Caronia, Media, Britannic as well as the famous Queens disappearing from the North Atlantic.
But in the midst of this transport revolution, Cunard gambled their future on a new ship. This liner, built at the same yard as her predecessors (John Brown & Co., Clydebank), was named Queen Elizabeth 2. She maintained Cunard’s presence on the transatlantic service before retiring in 2008, passing the baton to Queen Mary 2.
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Image courtesy: Henderson & Cremer Collection.