She has arrived! Cunard's Queen Anne takes the age-old mantra to new heights. Jolly good show! Credit: Cunard

A new chapter for Cunard: How Queen Anne carries Cunard’s mantra

Author: Gillian Carmoodie

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A spirited new chapter is about to unfurl for Cunard courtesy of this week’s arrival of Queen Anne in Southampton. Expanding the fleet to four vessels, Queen Anne offers a stunning yet contemporary take on Cunard’s spectacular heritage

When a new Cunard ship is proudly launched, it feels as if the whole world is curiously watching on. Seasoned cruisers as well as those simply possessing a keen interest in societal history find themselves equally magnetised by the same aura when a new Cunard liner takes to the sea.

Among those who observe any new offering from Cunard, there exists a desire to assess the latest genesis stemming from a line known the world over while, simultaneously, once more seeking an age-old decadence that has transcended numerous and often tempestuous eras in our time.

Cunard vessels – often nicknamed ‘floating palaces’ thanks to their exquisite fittings and interiors – have a perceptible je ne sais quoi that few other lines can contest. Quite simply, Cunard ships stand in a sublime class of their own construct.

Over almost two centuries, Cunard ships have transported royalty, world leaders and celebrities alike. These proud Cunard ships have ploughed on, full speed ahead, through notable global events.

Many rose to the mark with steadfast and courageous war service when the call came while critical decisions were plotted on board. In 1944, within his suite on board RMS Queen Mary, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed the D-day declaration. This prompted 195,000 soldiers and 7,000 military vehicles to descend upon the French coast - known now as the renowned D-day landings – and, shortly after, the eagerly anticipated cessation of the second World War followed.

In peace time, countless individuals have soaked up the line’s resplendent interiors, superior ‘White Star’ service and the opportunity to state they too have sailed with Cunard. Boarding a Cunard ship for the first time is a particularly special moment. To set foot upon a Cunard ship is as if to step into history itself.

In turn, each new ship that joins the Cunard fleet rapidly integrates with the wealth of history and prestige that proceeds it before gradually adding to Cunard’s lengthy timeline as the vessel herself pushes into the future while enthralling passengers as she does so.

In May 2024, Cunard embark on a spirited new chapter as they launch the much-anticipated Queen Anne. Having set forth this month, Queen Anne expands the Cunard fleet to four active vessels – joining Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth - while presenting as the first new ship built by the line in over a decade and the 249th vessel to sail for Cunard.

That iconic funnel symbolises a wealth of dignified luxury. It always has, and it always will. Credit: Cunard

Constructed in the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Venice, Queen Anne arrived last night in Southampton, Great Britain where she is expected to commence her maiden voyage to Lisbon on Friday 3rd May. On her way to Portugal, Queen Anne will call into a number of UK ports including South Queensferry, Invergordon, Greenock, Belfast and Liverpool.

Liverpool is the former UK headquarters of the Cunard Line and it is here that Queen Anne will arrive to deliver a special salute to the city that once pioneered transatlantic passenger service back in 1840. Tens of thousands of people are expected to welcome Cunard’s new vessel as they witness her official naming ceremony on 3rd June 2024.

Afterwards, Queen Anne will embark on her maiden season, travelling between the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Canary Islands, the Norwegian Fjords and the British Isles.

Throughout all of these initial 2024 sailings and beyond, Queen Anne promises to both continue and enhance the Cunard mantra. The new ship’s facilities, crew and service will work in tandem, conscientiously ensuring that Queen Anne is everything that is expected of a Cunard ship.

Already a notable vessel in her own right, Queen Anne will also elegantly give a nod to all the former Cunard ships that have formed her illustrious evolutionary pedigree.

Cunard's Queen Anne arrived in Southampton for her first voyage on April 30, 2024. Credit: Cunard

Queen Anne: largest passenger capacity of the Cunard fleet

Measuring in at 1,058 ft and carrying 113,000 gross tons, Queen Anne possesses the largest passenger capacity of Cunard’s current fleet with space for up to 3,000 guests to travel on board.

Queen Anne carries 14 decks, 13 of which are fitted with luxurious accommodation and inspirational public spaces. Of these, the ship’s centrepiece will be the Grand Lobby. This will span three decks with the primary aim being to wow those onboard with a metal mural sculpture that will change throughout the day courtesy of varying lighting. The sculpture features hints of Cunard’s former art-deco design, for which the line has become so well known.

Beyond the Grand Lobby, reflections of Cunard’s former liners and heritage have been incorporated throughout Queen Anne’s interior. An elegant reworking of former Cunard design has been directly inspired by the line’s generous archive of historical images. Touches of the golden transatlantic era and art-deco design are to be found throughout all of the new ship’s public rooms and spaces.

Further tribute to Cunard’s heritage comes courtesy of the Carinthia lounge. Located on deck 3, this aptly-named and relaxed space is named after RMS Carinthia, one of Cunard’s four Saxonia class ships that worked the Liverpool-Montreal-Halifax route as of the mid-fifties.

Queen Anne's Carinthia Lounge pays homage to the Cunard legends of the past. Credit: Cunard

Another notable venue on board Queen Anne is the striking Queens Room. This space is set to host gala evenings, classic recitals and ballroom dancing as well as being the perfect spot to take afternoon tea with Cunard.

Further entertainment will be available in the 835-seat Royal Court Theatre as well as within Queen Anne’s casino, library and art gallery. Elsewhere, open air theatre performances as well as live music and cinema screenings can be enjoyed within The Pavilion – a captivating space that resides under a retractable glass dome roof.

For those seeking relaxation, the Mareel Wellness and Beauty facility offers a delightful array of beauty, thermal and spa options. There are numerous treatment rooms and a private spa suite as well as a wellness studio upon the top deck.

Queen Anne features a staggering 15 restaurants on board, offering a vast selection of refreshments from light bites to bespoke fine dining. Among the many venues are the line’s signature Britannia Restaurant as well as a refreshed Golden Lion pub.

There's no tacky activity here. Queen Anne offers only the most genteel and stylish of onboard activities. Credit: Cunard

Meanwhile, up high and situated in clear sight, Queen Anne will naturally sport a famous red funnel. After all, what could be more Cunard than the modern equivalent of those glorious stackers? Beneath, Queen Anne’s engines work to provide a cruising speed of 22 knots while her name - written in a modernised font on the forward bow - will confidently announce to all which grand Cunard ship happens to be passing by.

Just like her stable mates (QM2, Queen Victoria, Queen ELizabeth), Cunard’s newest ship takes her name from Queen Anne who reigned over Great Britain between 1702 and 1714. In her brief yet dedicated term as monarch, Queen Anne guided Britain into unification as well as pushing the boundaries of art and education. Hardworking and popular with her people, Queen Anne held the country together as rival political views and significant change challenged the British public. Cunard’s new ship honours Queen Anne and her service as monarch.

Situated deep within the keel of Cunard’s new ship resides a coin from Queen Anne’s time, quietly accompanying this proud new vessel as she commences writing her own impressive history.

Cunard always push the boat (or should that be ship?) out when it comes to onboard crew. Credit: Cunard

A Queen’s crew: Delivering comprehensive and faultless on-board service

To ensure comprehensive and faultless service aboard Queen Anne, there exists a remarkable crew comprised of some 1,225 members. Many bring valuable experience from former service onboard many of Cunard’s other stunning liners, including Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Victoria.

Leading from the helm is Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge who was named as Cunard’s first female captain in March 2022. Thorhauge brings with her over 25 years seafaring experience as well as having carefully observed Queen Anne’s construction first-hand in Venice.

On 30th April 2024, Captain Thorhauge successfully brought Queen Anne into her home port of Southampton, Great Britain where thousands of spectators watched on as the new liner approached with the last light of the day welcoming her in.

The Golden Lion Pub is a must. It doesn't get any more British than this. Huzzah! Credit: Cunard

Heralding from Queen Elizabeth 2, Captain David Hudson also joins Queen Anne’s crew, having previously served as a Senior Deck Officer with Cunard for almost two decades.

Deputy Captain and Safety Officer Yuliyan Kostov has been with Cunard since 2012, participating in six Cunard World Voyages prior to moving across to Queen Anne. Kostov is joined by Deputy Captain Matthew Nicholls.

Supporting Queen Anne’s technical, training and manning requirements are Chief Engineers Jon Cammish and Sinclair Ross while Hotel General Managers Robert Howie and Jacqueline Bott work to provide seamless customer service for both guests and crew.

In recent months, many existing Cunard crew have transferred to Queen Anne from Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2. This has seen the Cunard line take on over 800 new crew, many of whom have recently completed training in Bali and Jakarta in preparation for their upcoming duties.

Speaking on Queen Anne’s crew, Captain Thorhauge said “They remain dedicated to delivering the very best service for our guests and upholding our White Star Service standards, and this is what makes Cunard so special and unique.”

Cunard use White Star Line's mantra to provide sterling service. Credit: Cunard Careers

Exemplary White Star service: A Cunard tradition that remains alive and well

Among the fresh new fittings and features aboard Queen Anne, there remains an ongoing tradition that has resided since the first days of transatlantic travel – exemplary service. At Cunard, the ability to anticipate a passenger’s needs long before a request is made and to gracefully and imperceptibly resolve any issue before it even becomes know is proudly named the ‘White Star’ service.

For over a century, alongside their ever more impressive vessels and improved modern facilities, it is the line’s White Star service that has really continued to set Cunard apart.

At one time, the White Star line - best known for RMS Titanic and the mighty RMS Olympic - was one of Cunard’s main rivals. However, in 1934, the two operators joined forces with a merger and for a short time, their histories intermingled as did their name in the form of Cunard-White Star.

Look at this absolute beauty. Long live the Queen Anne! Credit: Cunard

On 31st December 1949, Cunard acquired White Star’s assets and operations and from 1st January 1950, the line reverted back to the Cunard name. However, the White Star name re-emerges when the stellar service that Cunard is so renowned for comes to mention.

Cunard’s White Star service takes its inspiration from the golden age of ocean travel. While much has changed since the dawn of transatlantic travel, there exists still today a desire for a luxurious and special experience at sea and this is what White Star service aims to satisfy.

Despite now existing in a very different looking world from their founding in 1840, Cunard continue to pride themselves on going above and beyond. No matter what the era, Cunard’s White Star service remains true, for all to enjoy and be inspired from. Queen Anne is Cunard’s latest ship but the values held by those who serve aboard are as firmly resolute as the line itself.

As Queen Anne prepares to commence her maiden voyage this Friday, the world awaits what this superb new Cunard ship can offer while historians are eagerly poised to add Queen Anne’s name and solid reputation to the already astounding heritage that belongs to Cunard.

How cool is this cutaway diagram of Queen Anne? Answer: It's Cunard cool.

About Gillian Carmoodie

Gillian has been a part of the heritage world for longer than she would care to admit. From piloting pre-war racers across Montlhéry and traversing the Cumbrian mountains with an Edwardian automobile, to flying a WWI Tiger Moth and obsessing over all things shipping, Gillian lives for history.

When not buried in a book or lost to the archives, you'll usually find her under the bonnet of her classic Rover or exploring the old shipyards of the North East. When partaking in work for RNLI, Land Rover or RRM, Gillian mostly runs on high-octane Earl Grey.