This prestigious line began sailing in 1840, in the grand era of ocean liners. For over a century these elegant ships were "the only way to cross" between Europe and America. Over the years many ships have sailed under the Cunard name, as the company prospered it absorbed the competition including the White Star Line, which had previously built, sailed and sank the Titanic.
Queen Mary 2, at the time the largest ship in the world and and the first new ship for Cunard to be built in 35 years, was launched in 2004. The previous ship, which is still sailing but about to end her prestigious career, is the Queen Elizabeth 2. In December, Cunard will launch Queen Victoria, and it will mark the first time there have been three "Queens" in the company at the same time.
Cunard is known for its British style and traditions, such as high tea every afternoon. Though Queen Mary 2 is still one of the largest ships in the world, she carries 1/3 fewer passengers per ton, making her a much roomier and personalized experience than other ships of similar size.
Queen Elizabeth 2, now 37 years old, is due to retire next year and is already sailing on varying itineraries throughout the globe so the world can say goodbye to her in style. She is one of the last ships to truly represent the age of ocean liners, and she has served the Brits proudly, even working as a troop carrier for the Falklands War, in the same way in the Queen Mary 1 worked as troop carrier in World War II.
Today, the line's newest ship, Queen Victoria, just completed her sea trials. The picture above is the first one of the ship ever being out to sea. The ship is in the process of being built in Fincantieri shipyards, and will have its naming ceremony on December 10 and have its first passenger voyage on December 11.
Her first voyage will be to the cold lands in the North Sea, quite the winter adventure. She will visit Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo Norway, Hamburg and Belgium. Her second cruise visits Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Gibraltar and the the Canary Islands.
Then on January 6th, 2008, she begins the first leg of her first world cruise, a 106-day journey. She heads from London, west to New York, through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles, on to Hawaii, the South Pacific (Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia). From there it is on to the Orient, then India, on to Dubai, up the Red Sea to visit the ancient Egyptian Treasures, through the Suez Canal and across the Mediterranean back to London.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth 2 will be doing her last world cruise beginning on January 13 and going the same direction, but from New York, circumnavigating South America before crossing the South Pacific, then north to Tokyo and trans-pacific to Los Angeles.
CruiseMates will be keeping you up to date on all of these exciting Cunard events, with news and pictures, and as the excitement builds we urge you to book a 208 Cunard cruise early as these voyages are already filling up.
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