Airliners are interesting, that's why we're here. We're all little boys inside. But let's admit it. They have no soul. They're just wiseass creations. Metallic cylinders filled with theater seating. Perched precariously upon a tentative balance between gravity and lift, thrust and drag, all kept together by rivets and glue and computer calculations. Half the mass is just the fuel used to get you there. Like a moon rocket. Not much room for error. They get you from A to B. Fill in the customer survey card for complaints.
No fanfare. No confetti. No soul. When everything goes fine, they're boring as hell. When things aren't boring, they're terrifying as hell. And when they crash, there's no glory. It's just spam in a can.
Ocean liners, on the otherhand, are interesting too. But not just from a little boy's perspective. But from the traveller in all of us. They are also romantic, a place for adventure, and the setting for a great story, romantic, dramatic, or action. Whatever you want that story to be. And they have a soul. And if they sink, they become legend. If you're lucky and you survive, maybe you can play yourself in the motion picture.
When the Queen Mary 2 hits the water in 2003, she'll be replacing the QE2 on the transatlantic run. She won't be a garish, tacky, tasteless abomination of a cruise ship the likes of which we already have in spades to take dumbass Homer Simpsons down to the Carribean islands and back. A ship cruising around like pimp in a flashy Camaro. No sir. This ship is going to do the Atlantic crossing. A ship with a purpose. A ship that has a mission. Just like a real traveller. A real traveller has a mission.
I'm going to do my best to get on that maiden voyage. I'm going go out tomorrow and get a tuxedo measured to fit. From then on, I cross the pond this way and only this way. Money be damned. Who needs it? I'll win my ticket in a card game just before sailing.
We are all familar with the saying that "getting there is half the fun". Well, I can tell you this, they weren't talking about the Concorde.
CUNARD SIGNS LETTER OF INTENT FOR QUEEN MARY 2 $700 Million Liner Will Be The World's Longest, Largest Ever -- and the Fastest Cruise Liner Since QE2
Miami, March 9, 2000 Cunard Line announced today that the company has signed a letter of intent to build its super-liner Queen Mary 2 at the Alstom Chantiers de L'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The liner is expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2003. Once launched, Queen Mary 2 is intended to fly the British flag, with her homeport being Southampton, England.
"The signing of this letter of intent is a significant milestone in the birth of this unique vessel, " said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL), Cunard's parent company. "Over the last months, our vision of the first true ocean liner to be built in a generation has evolved from a dream to a detailed plan on paper. We are satisfied that the shipyard that created Normandie, France and other legendary liners has the capability to make that dream a reality."
Alstom Chantiers de L'Atlantique, which employs over 4000 workers in its facility, has a continuing record of delivering ships of unusual size and style. Recent projects at the yard resulted in large ships for the coastal cruising trade. However, it is entirely another matter to construct a purpose-built transatlantic liner. From the architect's plans to the nature of the steel plating that forms the skin of the hull, a liner differs in most details from the sorts of ships that have been built in the last three decades. Nonetheless, Alstom's officers are confident that their company represents the best choice for Cunard.
" We want to build this magnificent ship because of our history and because of our future," said Alstom Chantiers de L'Atlantique Chairman and CEO Patrick Boissier. "We understand the character of the ship they want to build, and we know how to build that kind of ship."
"The level of excitement and interest in this project is beyond anything we could have imagined," said Cunard Line President and CEO Larry Pimentel. "Queen Mary 2 seems to embody the public's renewed fascination with the romance of a bygone era of sea travel. Now that excitement and interest is being transformed into a tangible project, with dollars and cents attached to it. From the start, we believed that this project could be realized. Now we have agreed to the fundamentals of how we are going to make Queen Mary 2 not merely a reality, but a sound investment and a resounding success."
"QM2 will measure over 1130 feet in length," Pimentel continued, "That's just 117 feet shorter than the Empire State Building is tall. She'll tower nearly 21 stories in height from keel to masthead, with a gross registered tonnage of nearly 150,000 tons."
Pimentel stated that QM2 is expected to carry just 2800 guests, which is a very small complement for a ship of this size, and a guest-to-crew ratio of about two to one will enable a superb service standard.
"But aside from her sheer size," said Pimentel, "She is a marvel of innovative features, specifically designed for her. For instance, she will be propelled by the world's first four-pod ship propulsion system, utilizing two fixed and two rotating propulsion pods that will enable her to cruise at nearly thirty knots. Inside, she'll have all the dramatic features and grand scale that marked the great liners of the past, enhanced by the latest technology for comfort and convenience. The combination of all of these elements will produce the most luxurious ocean liner ever built."
A recent agreement with the City of Long Beach, California and its affiliates which operate the floating hotel Queen Mary has cleared the way for Cunard Line to use the name Queen Mary 2 for its new liner.
The final building agreement is subject to several conditions including the finalization of definitive contracts and financing.
Length: 345 meters / 1131 feet
Beam: 40 meters / 131 feet
Beam at Bridge Wings: 45 meters / 147.5 feet
Draft: 10 meters / 32 feet ten inches
Height (Keel to Funnel): 72 meters / 236.2 feet
Gross Registered Tonnage: Approximately 150,000 tons
Crew: 1300 +
Top Speed: Approximately 30 knots (34.5 mph)
Power: 140,000 horsepower Environmentally friendly, gas turbine/diesel electric plant
Propulsion: Four pods of 20 MW each. 2 fixed and 2 azimuthing.
Strength: extra thick steel hull for strength and stability for Atlantic trade
Stabilizers: Two sets
Cost: Estimated 700 million dollars
QM2 is five times longer than Cunard's first ship, Britannia (230 ft.)
QM2 is more than twice as long as the Washington Monument is tall (550 ft.)
QM2 is 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall ( 984 ft.)
QM2 is more than 3 ½ times as long as Westminster Tower (Big Ben) is high (310 ft.)
QM2 is only 117 feet shorter than the Empire State Building is tall (1248 ft.)
QM2 is more than three times as long as St. Paul's Cathedral is tall (366 ft.)
QM2 is as long as 36 double-decker London buses (31 ½ ft. each)
QM2's whistle will be audible for ten miles.
For more information, call any travel agent or Cunard Line
Ocean Liner Voyages | About Cunard Line | Voyage Specials | Cunard World Club | Agents
© 2000 Cunard Line. All Rights Reserved
This thing is going to be twice the size of the QE2. And four times the gross registered tonnage of the Titanic. Four times! And guess what? There's going to be lifeboat capacity for everyone!
I'm there, boys.