Travel

This lady keeps it in royal family

GRACING THE SEAS: The QE sets sail for another leisurely, luxurious ride on the ocean waves.
GRACING THE SEAS: The QE sets sail for another leisurely, luxurious ride on the ocean waves. Indusfoto Limited

IT'S A return to the golden era of cruising. Refined yet combined with a beautiful display of design and art.

Cunard's newest ocean liner Queen Elizabeth, or QE as she is affectionately known, graced the waters of Brisbane recently.

It was her maiden call and came just two weeks after her big sister Queen Mary 2 made her inaugural visit to the state capital.

She is the third Cunard liner to carry the name and, like the two grand ladies before her, sees passengers immediately warm to the unmistakable comfort and style.

Having been aboard QEII on her final visit in 2008, it was wonderful to see over this latest addition to the Cunard fleet which has captured the imagination of generations of cruise lovers since the 19th century.

Originally known as the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, the line was founded in 1839 by Samuel Cunard, principally to carry the Royal Mail between Britain and North America.

QE's Brisbane visit was midway through her second world voyage and coincided with the completion of Queen Mary 2's history-making circumnavigation of Australia.

While similar to her predecessor QEII in many ways, this newest ship weighs 90,900 tonnes compared to 70,000, accommodates more passengers and offers more features.

At 294m long, Queen Elizabeth is 103m shorter than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and almost twice as long as the Gabba cricket ground.

She features 12 guest decks and towers about 56 metres above the waterline, almost equal to the height of a 21-storey building.

Carrying 2000-plus passengers and 1000 crew, on this voyage, QE is home to clientele from all over the world. There are 30-plus nationalities aboard with 860 passengers travelling all the way around the world. More than 100 on board in Brisbane were from New Zealand and 800 were on the Australia-Singapore leg.

Between them, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth made five visits to Queensland ports over three weeks, underlining the state's popularity as a cruise destination.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which represents Cunard, said the Queens' visits were evidence that Queensland's cruise industry was going from strength to strength.

Ms Sherry said a new study, undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics for Carnival Australia and released this month, showed that the cruise industry contributed $166.4million to the Queensland economy in 2010-11 - second only in size to New South Wales ($370.9million).

"With cruising's economic contribution in Queensland forecast to rise to $340.8 million in 2019-20, it's clear that the cruise industry has a long-term role to play in the state's economy," Ms Sherry said.

But back to the liner and the stunning centrepiece for the Grand Lobby is a marquetry impression of the original Queen Elizabeth, completed in a range of fine timbers by David Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and the internationally famous photographer Lord Snowdon. Viscount Linley is the Queen's only nephew and his magnificent work shows the port bow of the ship seen dramatically from sea level.

The liner has 1046 staterooms, including 738 private balcony cabins. There are more than 10 restaurants and cafes, including the decorative 800-seat, two-deck Britannia Restaurant, 12 bars and clubs, and seven different retail outlets including boutiques from Fortnum & Mason, Hackett, Harris Tweed and Anya Hindmarch.

A two-storey library comes complete with a unique leaded glass ceiling and about 6000 books.

Other features include a two-storey Queen's Room ballroom and a three-deck Royal Court Theatre seating 800 guests and offering private boxes.

There are two outdoor swimming pools and two whirlpool spas plus a state-of-the-art spa, hydro pool and thermal suite.

Deck 10 is the games area where passengers even play lawn bowls and croquet at sea.

Apparently the British and Australian passengers love educating the Americans on the art of the game of bowls as they try and play it like 10-pin bowling.

Queen Elizabeth offers sailings to the Caribbean, Northern Europe, Mediterranean and round world voyages.

In 2013, she will spend 91 nights travelling from the UK to New Zealand via America and the South Pacific.

A retreat, a resort, a rejuvenation … QE is its own city and a world unto itself.

It must be the perfect place to revitalise the senses.

Stylish and timeless, this is one grand lady who will never go out of style.

ROYAL CHECKLIST

Entered Service: 2010

Home Port: Southampton, UK

Port of Registry: Hamilton, Bermuda

Speed: 23.7 knots

Gross Tonnage: 90,900 GRT

Guest Capacity: 2068

No. of Crew: 1005

>> Read more travel stories.

Topics:  cruise ocean liner queen elizabeth travel travelling



PHOTOS: Your Mr Beef 2017 revealed

Entrants into the 2017 Mr Beef contest posed inside a photobooth.

HEATED online campaign between competitors came to a climax Saturday

Refugee 'unfairly' sacked from Byron Bay Superfoods

Company labelled "vindictive" after civil war victim bullied

Fisherman in hospital after hooking a shark off Evans Head

File photo of NSW Ambulance.

Fisherman in his seventies rushed to hospital after shark encounter.

Local Partners

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Here's your chance to carp about feral pests

Carp might by great fun to catch but they're destroying Australia's watercourses.

Science in the Pub looks at carp and coral trees

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!