The Steam Lion, Sir Samuel Cunard (1787 - 1865), Canadian-born Britisher and founder of Cunard Steamship Lines, must therefore be turning in his grave to witness the latest ship to enter his transatlantic fleet, the MS Queen Victoria. The contrast with RMS Queen Mary 2, or the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, could not be more vividly disappointing. Unlike the QM2 and QE2, the QV is not an ocean liner and therefore does not live up to its glorious and grand predecessors, yet Cunard considers it one of their sea-going monarchs. The QV was royally christened on December 10th by the Duchess of Cornwall, and in regal fashion departed on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on December 12th. But it should never have been maidened a Queen. An ocean liner it is not.
The QM2 is the largest ocean liner ever built. Here she is about to visit her mother ship, the original Queen Mary (consort to George V), now a floating hotel in Los Angeles harbour
QE2's fate is also to become a floating hotel next year in Dubai.
The QE2 was purposely designed in the 1960s to be much smaller than its grand predecessors when airlines surpassed sea-going passenger routes as the primary mode of transatlantic crossing. But the popularity of ocean sailing saw a return to the larger vessels. The QM2 shown above is almost twice the size as her Cunard sister.
The original Queen Elizabeth, named after the Queen Mother, was used as a troopship during the Second World War.
The newly christened Queen Victoria with its abominable wrap-around promenade and enclosed balcony decks. The QV is nothing more than a glorified cruise ship with a black-painted hull. Unfortunately the future MS Queen Elizabeth is to be a larger version of this, and will come into service in 2010.
And here, continuing along the same theme, is the massive cruiser MS Freedom of the Seas (note the similarity above), which just overtook the QM2 as the largest passenger ship ever built.
No long and slender graceful lines here, just a giant floating condo, a massive hulk of a ship out of all proportion to her keel and hull. In my opinion, they shouldn't let this kind of "Love Boat" brutality exit Miami Harbor. But with respect to the new Queen Victoria and the future Queen Elizabeth, what shall we make of the magnificent ocean liner's future?