Queen Anne History
Origins of Queen Anne
Cunard placed their order for a new cruise ship in 2017, announcing their intention to build the new ship during the 50th Anniversary of QE2 Celebration. Today known as Queen Anne, the new ship is the 249th vessel built for Cunard, and was ordered from the Fincantieri Marghera Shipyard, Italy.
The ship’s design is based on the Pinnacle-class utilised by Holland America Line. The selection of the 113,000 gross ton Pinnacle-class platform makes the new ship larger than the Vista-class Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Although smaller than the 149,500 gross ton flagship Queen Mary 2, the new vessel will have a higher passenger capacity.
Cunard announced the design team for the public rooms aboard the then-unnamed ship in 2019. Led by Simon Rawlings (David Collins Studio), Terry McGillicuddy (Richmond International) and Sybille de Margerie (Sybille de Margerie Paris), the design team were tasked with reimagining the Cunard experience for the modern traveller.
Cutting of the ship’s steel commenced at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia shipyard on 11 October 2019, and work commenced on constructing the ship during the early months of 2020. Throughout 2021 and 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic created global workforce shortages and materials delays, with major impacts on global supply chains. This impact led to a delay in the construction of many new ships, including Queen Anne. It led to the planned maiden voyage being pushed out to early 2024.
In a nod to past traditions, Cunard initially kept the name of the new ship a secret. This secret was held throughout the global cruise pause. However in February 2022 the company revealed the name of the ship to be Queen Anne, named after the 18th century reigning British Monarch.
Of the name, Cunard notes:
Our close relationship with the British monarchy is a key part of our heritage, and we pride ourselves on a history that is closely interwoven with that of the nation. A fitting name for the fourth in a fleet of prestigious queens, Queen Anne was chosen because of the monarch’s many merits. Reigning between the years of 1702 and 1714, in just twelve short years Queen Anne achieved a great deal, including the unification of Great Britain and pushing forward the boundaries of arts and education, enabling great progress and change. An often overlooked and even mistreated sovereign, Queen Anne was an accomplished and dedicated woman. Well-loved by the people, she was an example of true grace and refinement: two qualities that are emulated by her namesake, our fourth ship.
Queen Anne’s bow section was launched at the Troncone shipyard in May 2022, and towed to the Monfalcone shipyard to be added to the stern section. The ship was floated out in May 2023.
Fit for a Queen:
Queen Anne’s construction is being undertaken in phases, with the bow and forward hull being built and launched separately to the stern. The block-style construction method makes ship building far more efficient than more labour intensive methods of days gone by.
The bow section was transferred to the Marghera yard in August 2022, where it was connected to the ship’s keel at a keel laying ceremony. During the ceremony, Queen Anne’s first master, Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge welded an 18th century coin to the ship’s hull, signifying a major milestone in the construction process.
Internally the ship will feature many of the Cunard signature spaces. This includes the Grand Lobby, Golden Lion Pub, Queens Room, Britannia Restaurant and the Grills. However the internal design of Queen Anne sees a more modern design applied to the ship’s overall internal appearance. Queen Anne will have a variety of suites, with the top suites named after waterways that are important to Cunard, including Mersey, Solent, Boston, Hudson, Halifax and Clyde.
Queen Anne’s maiden voyage sold out within minutes of going on sale. The ship is currently scheduled to set sail on her first cruise in May 2024.
Images: Courtesy Cunard Line.