Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary
2 returned from the sea for the second time on Tuesday having successfully completed her final series of sea trials off the Brittany coast
QM2 is the largest, longest, tallest, widest, and at - $780-million - the most expensive liner ever built. The successful trials, where the ship consistently exceeded 30 knots, put her right on schedule for her January 12 maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale.
During the sea trials, QM2 underwent performance tests that consisted of three runs over a 10-mile-long course. At various points, the ship was stabilised at speed during which very accurate measurements were taken to establish an average speed. The average speed was then corrected for final ship performance standards such as an allowance for the weight that is still to be added before delivery and for weather conditions, etc.
Captain Ronald Warwick, QM2 master-designate, acted as helmsman for the final run. "It was exhilarating to finally take command of Queen Mary 2 on the open sea," said Warwick. "I am happy to report that she performed magnificently and the trials were a complete success."
In her inaugural year the ship will offer 13 transatlantic crossings as she takes over the role as Cunard's transatlantic liner that is currently operated by her sister ship, Queen Elizabeth 2. Prices for six-day crossings begin at $1,499 per person, double occupancy, including transatlantic air. QM2 will also introduce a new series of Caribbean cruises from New York and Fort Lauderdale; a voyage to Rio de Janeiro and back, timed for Carnival; five European cruise itineraries and two fall foliage sailings to ports in Canada and New England.
Cunard's new flagship features sweeping staircases, expansive promenades and luxurious accommodations for 2,620 passengers; nearly three-quarters of which have private balconies. World-famous chef Daniel Boulud is the ship's culinary consultant. Facilities include 10 dining venues, including the only shipboard restaurant by celebrity chef Todd English, the only Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea, the world's first planetarium at sea, the largest ballroom at sea, the largest library at sea, and the largest wine collection at sea.