TRAVELLING IS THE WAY FOR EXPERIENCE

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, often referred to simply as the 'QE2', is an ocean liner that was operated by Cunard from 1969 to 2008. Following her retirement from cruising, she is now owned by Nakheel (a division of Dubai World). She was designed primarily to run a transatlantic service from her home port of Southampton, England, to New York, USA, and was named after the earlier Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth . She served as the flagship of the line from 1969 until succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004. Designed in Cunard's then-headquarters and regional offices in Liverpool and Southampton respectively, and built in Clydebank, Scotland, she was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners until the construction of the QM2 was announced.

Before she was refitted with a diesel power plant in 1986/87, QE2 was also the last oil fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in scheduled liner service. During almost forty years of service, the QE2 undertook regular world cruises and latterly operated predominantly as a cruise ship, sailing out of Southampton, England. QE2 had no identical sister ship or running mate and never ran a year round weekly transatlantic express service to New York. QE2 did, however, continue the Cunard tradition of regular scheduled transatlantic crossings every year of her service life.

QE2 retired from active Cunard service on 27 November 2008, where it was planned for her to begin conversion to a floating hotel which would have seen her eventually moored at the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. However, as of January 2011 she remains moored at Port Rashid awaiting an uncertain future.


CHARACTERISTICS
 The ship has a gross tonnage (GT) of 70,327 tons and is 963 ft (294 m) long. She has a top speed of 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h) using her original steam turbine powerplant, which was increased to 34 knots (63 km/h) when the vessel was re-engined with a diesel electric powerplant.

                                                                                            HISTORY
CONCEPT AND CONSTRUCTION
 By the mid 1960s transatlantic travel was dominated by air travel due to its speed and low cost relative to the sea route, and expansion of air travel showed no signs of slowing down. Conversely, the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were becoming increasingly expensive to operate, and both internally and externally were relics of the pre-war years. Cunard did not want to give up the business of passenger service, and so gambled $80 million on a new ocean liner to replace the original ageing Queens.Realising the decline of transatlantic trade, and the rising costs of fuel and labour, Cunard decided their new ship had to be smaller and cheaper to operate than her predecessors; the design requirements of the new ship were that she was to run at the same service speed of 28.5 knots (52.8 km/h) as the previous Queens, use half the fuel of the older ships, operate with a reduced number of staff compared to the Elizabeth and Mary, the new vessel would also be of Panamax capacity and draw seven foot less draft to allow her to enter ports that the old Queens could not, which were two major disadvantages the old Queens had over the newer generation of cruise ships.

Originally designated Q4 (a previous ship design Q3 had been abandoned due to falling passenger revenues on the North Atlantic), she was to be a three class liner. However, looking to the France, designs were changed to make Q4 a two class liner that could be modified into a single class cruise ship, thereby allowing the ship to ply the Atlantic during the peak summer season, as well as cruise the warmer waters during the winter.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 was built by the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in the John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland. Her keel was laid down on 5 July 1965, as hull number 736 in the same plot that had been used to build iconic liners such as Lusitania, Aquitania, Queen Mary andQueen Elizabeth. She was launched and named on 20 September 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II, using the same pair of gold scissors her mother and grandmother used to launch the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, respectively. On 19 November 1968 she left John Brown's fitting out berth, and travelled down the River Clyde to the Firth of Clyde Dry Dock at Inchgreen, Greenock, for final trials and commissioning. After sea trials in the Irish Sea a "Shakedown cruise" to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria set out on 22 April 1969.