Special ceremonies at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard near Venice were held to mark the float out of Cunard's newest Queen, ocean liner Queen Victoria. During the float out, the valves will be opened and the dry-dock flooded for the ship to meet the sea for the first time marking the initial introduction of the new Cunard Queen to the water. This significant occasion marks the beginning of the final construction stages for the $522m sister ship to the lines flagship Queen Mary
2 and grande dame of the seas QE2.
Cunard's Managing Director, Carol Marlow
, will be joined by Maureen
Ryan, who will be guest of honour at the event. Maureen joined Cunard in 1963 and is the only known person to have served on all Cunard Queens: Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth
, QE2 and Queen Mary 2. In recognition of this, Cunard has bestowed on Maureen the honor of acting as the yard's Madrina to Queen Victoria.
After the coin ceremony, a further ceremony will take place on the
dockside at which the ship will be blessed, and a bottle of Italian
prosecco will be smashed against the hull. The valves of the dry dock will then be opened so the ship meets the water for the first time.
From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at what differentiates a Cunard liner
from a standard cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood panelling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof.
And, of course, the ship has been constructed with impressive sea keeping qualities that will enable her to travel easily and efficiently through the world's oceans.
Queen Victoria will depart on its maiden voyage on December 11,