While most cruise ships are white, a few companies choose to be different. Among these are the ships of the Cunard Line, which retain the traditional colours of the British Royal Mail Steamers of the past. Cunard Line is now just one of the nine cruise ship lines that form the huge Carnival Corporation group, but as well as its colour scheme its ships keep some of the ways of the old British company.
During February and March this year, the Port of Melbourne will be visited four times by the Queen Elizabeth, but from December 2019 to March 2020 the ship will be based in Melbourne, operating six round-trip cruises during that time.
This is the third Cunard ship to bear the name. The first was launched in 1938 to be the running mate of the first Queen Mary on the high status North Atlantic run. In 1967 Cunard launched the Queen Elizabeth 2 — usually referred to as the QE2 — to replace those two older ships on the North Atlantic, but with the popularity of air travel she soon became a cruise ship.
Cunard now operates three ships as cruise liners: the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth. The first two ships with the name Queen Elizabeth were built in Scotland, but the current ship was built in Italy by Fincantieri at Monfalcone, near Trieste. Similar in design to a number of other cruise ships, including the Queen Victoria, her interior recreates some of the atmosphere of her 1930s namesake with many Art Deco touches. Launched in 2010, with a length of 294m she has accommodation for up to 2092 passengers. This passenger capacity puts her in the middle of the range among cruise ships.
The earlier ‘Queens’ were all powered by steam turbines, though the QE2 had hers replaced by diesel-electric in 1986-87. The current ship has a diesel-electric power plant and Azipods, which are propeller units that can be rotated to provide thrust in any direction, allowing the ship to be pushed sideways when mooring and departing.
BY MAURIE HUTCHINSON
President, Peninsula Ship Society
T: Maurie Hutchinson 9787 5780
The Peninsula Ship Society meets at Hastings Yacht Club on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10am. Visitors always welcome.