Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 returned from the sea after having completed her sea trials with flying colours. The largest, longest, tallest, widest, and at - $780-million - the most expensive passenger liner ever built underwent four days of rigorous testing of her power, manoeuvrability and vibration levels off the Brittany coast
. The successful trials put QM2 right on schedule for her January 12 Maiden Voyage from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida
According to Captain Ronald Warwick
, master-designate, Queen Mary 2, "The sea trials for Queen Mary 2 have been a tremendous success. It was great to finally take her out to the open ocean, where she belongs."
Another observer on board during sea trials, the ship's naval architect Stephen Payne
, was also jubilant: "For a first builder's sea trial, the performance of Queen Mary 2, being a prototype ship, exceeded expectations in all respects."
Destined to become the defining luxury ocean liner for the 21st century, QM2 will offer 15 transatlantic crossings in her inaugural year as she takes over the role currently operated by her sister ship, Queen Elizabeth
2, as Cunard's transatlantic liner. Prices for six-day crossings begin at $1,499 per person, double occupancy. The vessel also introduces a series of Caribbean cruises
from New York and Fort Lauderdale; a voyage to Rio de Janeiro and back, timed for Carnival; five European itineraries and two fall foliage cruises to ports in Canada
and New England
A special highlight of the QM2's inaugural schedule will be its maiden eastbound crossing from New York on April 25 as both Queen Mary 2 and QE2 will sail in tandem. This day will be the first time two Cunard Queens have been berthed in the port together since Marc