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A New Queen Elizabeth On The Way, Launch In October

PTI 07 Jan 2010, 10:16:10 IST

Towering over the quayside and still cluttered with scaffolding, this is the third and biggest liner to bear the name Queen Elizabeth.

The latest addition to the Cunard fleet took to the water for the first time on Tuesday, reports The Mail. 

But there's another nine months of fitting out before the Queen Elizabeth will sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton. 

The £365million liner, seen at the Fincanteri shipyard, near Trieste in Italy, is replacing the QE2 - but she will not be referred to as the QE3. Instead it is hoped the new ship will recall the 1930s opulence of the original Queen Elizabeth.

She will carry the same royal standard that Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, presented when she launched the original in 1938.

At 92,000 tons, the new ship is 20,000 bigger than the recently retired QE2 and 10,000 tons bigger than the first Queen Elizabeth.

She is the third luxury ship to be launched by Cunard in the past seven years and will serve as a sister ship to the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 - Cunard's flagship at an enormous 148,000 tons.

Despite the economic climate the company believes there is strong demand for cruises, particularly among the older generation.

In the evenings there will be glamorous balls, dance marathons and classic films from the 1930s and 1940s.

The new Queen Elizabeth features mosaics, marble and chandeliers

The new ship will be officially named at its home port of Southampton on October 11 and will leave the next day on its 13-night maiden voyage around the Mediterranean

The ship, which will be able to accommodate 2,092 guests, will also have a West End-style theatre with private boxes.

The interior will boast what the company described as an 'art deco flourish', plus some solid, traditional materials such as oak, mahogany, stained glass and marble.

Prices for a two-week voyage start at £1,099 for standard rooms and can reach £3,699 for the most luxurious Queens Grill suites. These offer their own butler.

The new ship will be named at her home port of Southampton on October 11 and will leave the next day on a voyage to Spain, the Canaries and Madeira.

Passengers on the 964ft-long vessel will be able to indulge in various activities, including swimming in the ship's pool (artist's impression)

Because of the Second World War, the original Queen Elizabeth started her career as a troopship in 1940. She was retired in 1968 and wrecked by a fire in Hong Kong harbour in 1975.

Cunard boss Peter Shanks said: 'Of our 170 years of history there has been an Elizabeth in the fleet for over 70 and this ship will take the name far into the 21st century.'