All aboard Queen Anne
Travel courier was amongst the first on board the new ship


As one of the oldest cruise lines in the world — dating back to 1840 — Cunard has garnered a longstanding reputation for its classic, traditional and elegant spaces reflecting the golden age of travel. On Queen Anne, the first new ship in 14 years to debut in its fleet, the design team has introduced modern touches to many areas while still maintaining the level of sophistication Cunard is known for around the world.

One of the most innovative spaces on the 2,996-guest and 1,225-crew capacity ship is the Pavilion, a pool area by day and a movie and silent disco and entertainment locale by night, set under a retractable glass roof. Designed by architect Martin Francis, who had a hand in creating the landmark Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the setting served as the backdrop for a welcome reception in Southampton, UK ahead of her maiden voyage.

“Queen Anne is the 249th ship in our 184 year seafaring history,” Cunard president Katie McAlister announced to members of the travel trade and international media, including Travel Courier, who were among the first to see the new ship in person. “We are renowned worldwide for our distinctive timeless British heritage and luxury experience.”

Alongside Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth, this is the first time since 1999 that Cunard has four ships in simultaneous service. At the helm of the ship is Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge, who became the first female captain in the history of the cruise line in 2010.

“This is a significant milestone for us — it’s the first new ship in 14 years,” shared Matthew Gleaves, VP, Commercial, North America and Australasia, Cunard. “The brand has engaged renowned designers led by Adam Tihany, who has had top hospitality clients from all over the globe. They’ve spent endless hours in our archives in Liverpool. Believe it or not, we’re a brand that has its own museum so they’ve gone through those archives and you’ll see lots of those little hints throughout the ship and how they’ve weaved it into the design.”

Featuring the largest curated art collection at sea, with some 4,300 art pieces by more than 3,000 artists, paintings and sculptures abound around the ship. During the preview event, a special unveiling ceremony took place to introduce three pieces in the collection, including one of Banksy’s fake banknotes featuring Princess Diana and a highly recognizable piece called Love Is In The Air.

“It was released as a limited and numbered print — numbered out of only 500 in the world — one of which we have on the wall at present. The highest price that one of these has sold for is £215,000, that was back in 2022. There was also a signed contingent, 50 signed editions of this piece, the highest selling price for that is just over £500,000 pounds and that is for a print that we’re talking about rather than an original from Banksy so the collectability of these pieces is absolutely immense,” shared Sam Cox, senior gallery manager for Clarendon Fine Art, the company that manages the art gallery on Queen Anne. “The image itself is showing the rioter, wearing his balaclava, his backwards baseball cap. You would expect to see something being thrown, something like a molotov cocktail or a grenade, instead you have the bouquet of flowers. Of course, the name Love Is In The Air, alluding to the idea that love is being spread rather than violence or hate. We go back to 2003 for that piece but the idea is still absolutely true today.”

The third piece to be unveiled was a brand new original by Mr. Brainwash, featuring a Mona Lisa-like portrait — with a moustache — set inside a retro television.

“Many of you would have heard of Banksy, know the story of Banksy… in terms of Mr. Brainwash, he may be a new name to many of you. He’s taking the art world by storm with incredible commissions all across the world including being commissioned by Cunard last year to create a five metre mural on board Queen Elizabeth when he was out in Los Angeles,” he said.

The 113,000-ton Queen Anne spans 14 decks with 15 eateries ranging from lite bites, pub fare and wellness options to fine-dining venues.

“We see a trend that increasingly people are interested in wellness and their wellbeing, whether that be through the food they eat or their lifestyle and the time they spend on themselves,” noted Lee Powell, VP Brand & Product, Cunard. “We have a wellness studio where you can practice yoga, practice mindfulness classes, but with the benefit of seeing the ocean and the fresh air that breezes through that venue. Within the pavilion, we have a new wellness cafe with really wholesome, healthy breakfast options and salad bowls for lunch, really fresh offerings.”

For Powell, seeing Queen Anne come to life has been a long time in the making.

“We started this project in 2017. We started the design work in 2018 so it’s an incredibly proud moment to be here today to talk about what we’ve achieved. The real beginning of the whole project was to try and do Cunard justice essentially — to try and create a luxury travel experience for today’s guest,” he shared. “Telling the story of Cunard, a story that has created so many memories and so many life stories since 1840, that was a real challenge and an opportunity for us. What we wanted to do, as Cunard always does, was try to set new standards and enlist the very best of expertise across the creative world to help us do that. We have an incredible roll call of creative designers who have created, I think, one of the most beautiful ships at sea. It’s really hard to encapsulate Cunard but.. this ship has a feeling of Cunard and that is a testament to the great design.”

As part of a new initiative with the British Film Institute, a curated collection of rotating shorts are being screened during sailings.

“As part of Queen Anne’s launch, we have forged a three-year collaboration with the British Film Institute, which consists of a curated program of short films and popular blockbusters shown on the outdoor screen in The Pavilion on Queen Anne,” shared Matthew Gleaves, VP, Commercial — North America and Australasia, Cunard.

Screening take place in the Pavilion, the open-air space on the top deck.

“It has a stunning retractable glass dome roof, which was designed in partnership with the architect Martin Francis – who was on the team that created the iconic Louvre Pyramid in Paris,” he added. “The BFI will be showing 10 films every month on the cinematic LED screen in The Pavilion, and they will also be shown in guests’ staterooms.”

In addition, Cunard will be supporting the BFI’s London Film Festival this year and in 2025, which runs at venues across London.

For activities, there’s a pickleball court as well as a spot for clients to take part in archery at sea. Entertainment wise, an adaptation of the British film Brief Encounter is currently on offer. Another option is the Bright Lights Society venue, a speak easy type setting with smaller productions. Cunard has a new partnership with Harper’s Bazaar on Queen Anne to deliver a range of holistic wellness programs for passengers. The spa area has features like salt and steam rooms and also offers services like acupuncture.

For those who like to shop, retail meets art at The Cabinet of Curiosities, a new concept featuring 38 display cases showcasing a variety of luxury brands that celebrate the style and intrigue of travel.

“Luxury ocean travel is all about escapism and being immersed in a world full of unique and enriching experiences,” said McAlister. “It’s a philosophy we are passionate about bringing to life with our new ship Queen Anne, which is why we are all so excited about her elevated retail offering. Nowhere else will travellers be able to find such a beautifully curated collection of luxury brands at sea, or learn about heritage brands in such an engaging way as with Queen Anne’s Cabinet of Curiosities.”

Queen Anne’s cabins are divided into four categories, the most luxurious being the Queens Grill, followed by the Princess Grill, then the Britannia Club, and then the Britannia. Clients’ room cabins will indicate where they will eat while on a sailing. For example, guests in the Princess Grill suites dine at the Princess Grill restaurant.

As for the travel trade, Gleaves noted that a record number of sales were made during this year’s Wave Season.

“Cunard has booked 28 per cent more guests during Wave this year than in the last decade,” he added.

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