Cunard officially took delivery today of Queen Mary 2 -- the largest (151,400 tons), longest (1,132 feet/345 metres), tallest (236 feet/72 metres), widest (135 feet/41 metres) and most expensive ($800 million) ocean liner ever built. Queen Mary 2 is the first true transatlantic liner to have been built since the line's legendary Queen
Elizabeth 2 entered service in May 1969.
The historic ceremony at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard here included the symbolic changing of the flag where the Blue ensign and the Cunard house flag -- a gold lion rampant on a red background -- were raised. Queen Mary 2 then
officially became a Cunarder, carrying the Cunard name, with its associated heritage and traditions, into the future. The ceremony also included a celebratory lunch on board for 600 guests.
According to Pamela Conover, Cunard Line
's president and chief operating officer, "Queen Mary 2 is the most extraordinary passenger liner ever built and is destined to be the most famous ship in the world. The superb quality and exacting care with which she was built will ensure that she is the ultimate in ocean travel for years to come."
Patrick Boissier, chairman and CEO of Chantiers de l'Atlantique, said: "Today is a proud day for all of our employees and partners associated with this magnificent vessel. Without question, Queen Mary 2 is the new benchmark for shipbuilding excellence
. She will be our best ambassador on the seas."