Cunard Line will likely pull the Queen Elizabeth 2 from its traditional trans-Atlantic runs and possibly redeploy the storied cruise ship in the Pacific once the $780 million Queen Mary 2 is launched in late 2003.
"We are thinking of placing the Queen Mary 2 on routes very similar to the Queen Elizabeth 2," Peter Cox, itinerary director for Cunard, said. "We don't feel we can deploy the QE2
on those same itineraries."
A unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp., Cunard last
November sealed a deal with a French shipyard to build the 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2. At 150,000 tons, the Queen Mary 2, whose namesake is now a tourist attraction permanently berthed in California, will be the biggest cruise ship afloat. Royal Caribbean Cruises twin ships, Voyager of the Seas and Explorer
of the Seas, are now the world's largest cruise vessels at about 137,000 tons. Cox said work was proceeding as scheduled on the Queen Mary 2 and that decisions on redeploying the Queen Elizabeth 2 would likely be made in 18 months or so.
In addition to a trans-Pacific itinerary, Cunard was considering others to Asia and Latin America not commonly taken by passenger ships since the rise of mass air travel in the mid-20th century.
"These are routes once taken by missionaries, businessmen and immigrants," Cox said, adding the Queen Elizabeth 2 might make port calls at Bombay, Singapore and Hong Kong. "We'd get a lot of romance out of that."
Around-the-world itineraries for the ship were also likely to be continued, Cox said. The Queen Elizabeth 2, launched in 1968, is now on a 104-day, round-trip world tour from New York.
"My personal, gut feeling is that we will have a mixed deployment, especially in 2004," he said.