Cunard launches new cruise ship
Cunard's new cruise ship Queen Victoria is being officially named by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall in Southampton today.
Prince Charles will also be at the naming ceremony, which is expected to be attended by more than 2000 VIPs and dignitaries. A big screen in Mayflower Park in Southampton will allow thousands more people to watch the launch event.
Queen Victoria will then depart on her maiden voyage from Southampton on 11 December, a 10 night cruise around Northern Europe. A spectacular fireworks display in Southampton will mark the start of the historic voyage. Queen Victoria's next cruise will be a 16 night Canaries Christmas cruise departing from Southampton on 21 December.
Cunard's latest cruise liner is the first "Queen" ship to be named by a non-monarch, and the first to be built by Italian shipyard, Fincantieri. Queen Victoria cost around £300 million, and is 294 metres long and weighs 90,000 tons. The ship can accommodate just over 2000 guests and has a crew of around 900.
Special features of the new Queen Victoria include the 800 seat Royal Court Theatre, the first on a cruise ship to have private boxes, and a two storey wood-panelled library containing over 6000 books. Guests will also be wowed by the spectacular two storey art deco style Britannia Restaurant and the dramatic three storey Grand Lobby.
Queen Victoria is set to replace Cunard's much-loved QE2, which will finally leave service next year to become a floating hotel in Dubai from 2009.
Written by: Nick Purdom
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