Queen Elizabeth 2 home page
Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) operated from 1969 to 2008. Built as an ocean liner during the twilight of the ocean liner era, QE2 provided regularly-scheduled transatlantic service between New York City and Southampton, England. In addition, the ship did the occasional cruise from either side of the Atlantic including cruises to the Caribbean; Canada and New England; Bermuda, the Bahamas; the Norwegian Fjords; Baltic capitals; the Mediterranean; Northern Europe and elsewhere. She also did a world cruise most years.
When the ship first entered service, there was the traditional class system with sections of the ship dedicated for the exclusive use of each class. However, this system eroded over the years and was all but gone by the 1990s. However, throughout her service life, the ship maintained separate dining rooms based upon the passenger's cabin category with passengers in the most expensive cabins dining in the Queens Grill; the next most expensive cabins dined in the Princess Grill and the remainder of the passengers dined in one of two seatings in the large Mauretania Restaurant.
Passengers ranged from celebrities to average people. North Americans dominated the passenger lists and the onboard currency was the U.S. dollar. However, on cruises from Southampton, the majority of the passengers were always British. Moreover, there was always a large number of international passengers. QE2 was the most famous ship in the world and people from all over the world wanted to experience traveling on her.
Most of the officers were British. The crew was also British until 1987 when Cunard went over to having an international crew.
QE2 was built in Scotland by John Brown & Co. (later Upper Clydebank Shipbuilders). To make her lighter, the superstructure was aluminum and the hull was steel. In order to withstand the stresses of the North Atlantic, the steel in the hull was very thick resembling that of a contemporary warship.
The original power plant was steam turbines. However, in 1987, the ship was re-engined in Germany. Eight diesel-electric engines provided electric power to two motors which drove the ship's two propeller shafts. Officially, her top speed rose from 28 knots to 33 knots but speeds of up to 35 knots have been reported.
It is important to note that when QE2 was built, Cunard was eager to distance its new ship from the ocean liners of the past. Jet air travel had come into its own and no one wanted to travel on a traditional ocean liner. Therefore, Cunard wanted its new liner to have an exciting new atmosphere and strove to link QE 2 to the popular Swinging England of the Beatles and Caranby Street with a Space Age décor and materials. Over time, as interest in the old liners revived, QE2 was re-decorated with a more traditional look.
In 2008, QE2 left service. She is now a hotel in Dubai.
CLASS: Queen (individual design)
BUILDER: John Brown (Scotland)
REGISTRY: Great Britain
ENTERED SERVICE: 1969
COST: £29,091,000 (Cunard estimated
that since her launch, it has spent
15 times that amount in refitting).
LENGTH: 963 feet
BEAM: 105 feet, 2.5 inches
BEAM AT BRIDGE WINGS: 117 feet, 5.5 inches
DRAFT: 32 feet
HEIGHT (Keel to Funnel): 204 feet, 1.5 inches
MAXIMUM SPEED: 32.5 knots (forward); approx.
15 knots (reverse)
POWER PLANT: 9 9-cylinder 58/64 medium speed
turbo-charged diesels driving two
400-ton GEC electric motors.
PROPULSION: 2 variable pitch propellers
STABILIZERS: 4 Denny Brown
Entered Service: 1969
"QE2 Farewell to a Legend" - - Our retrospective
article from the Navy League Log on QE2's exit from
"Capatin Ian McNaught" - - QE2's last captain speaks about Cunard and P&O Cruises.
"Abandon Ship" - - A memoir of QE2's grounding off of Martha's Vineyard.
QE2's 1,000th Voyage - - A look at the
disastrous 1994 refit and how QE2 regained
"QE2 In The Falklands War" - - The story
of QE2 in the Falklands War of 1982.
Profile - (originally Cunard Line) - Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2)