Tenders are out for the May 2004 refit of Cunard's 34-year-old QE2. It is understood that various European yards are on the list, including some Spanish facilities as well as A&P Southampton
, which carried out the vessel's last UK refit at her home port in 1996. But Germany's Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven, which undertook the cruise ship' last refit in 1999, must be high on Cunard's list. No major structural work to the ship's exterior will be involved, we understand, but carpets, furniture and other out-fitting work will be required in the passenger areas, as well as technical repairs and maintenance down below. The vessel, whose diesel electric machinery delivers 130,000 bhp and gives her a top speed of 32 knots, consumes 600 tons of heavy fuel a day at her 26-knot service speed. Nevertheless, she is earning good money for her owners at present.
The last eight Concorde-related trans-Atlantic trips are almost fully booked as cruise-goers scramble to make the round trip before Concorde is phased out later this year. And, when the vessel left Southampton yesterday, bound for the Mediterranean, she was almost completely full. However, the QE2 will
cease to sail between Southampton and New York when the 150,000 grt Queen Mary 2
is commissioned in January. The vessel will continue to cruise in the Mediterranean and northern Europe and will still cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean and South America. She is due to be retired in 2010 when new SOLAS regulations on interior wooden furniture and fittings enter force