Queen Mary 2 is 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) passenger vessel ever built. She is the first true trans-Atlantic liner to have been built since the line's famous QE2 entered service in May 1969.
Queen Elizabeth II formally named the ship on January 8 during a gala quayside ceremony. "I name this ship Queen Mary 2. May God bless her and all who sail in her" Her Majesty said. Upon her signal, a jeroboam of Veuve Cliquot Champagne crashed against the ship's starboard bow and the 2,000 invited guests broke into revelry, as ticker tapes showered in gaiety, into the rafters of a specially constructed, weather-proof grandstand.
In her inaugural year, Queen Mary 2 will sail 13 crossings between Europe and North America, as she assumes the scheduled ocean cruises previously assigned to the QE2, Cunard's transatlantic flagship.
On April 16, Queen Mary 2 will have made her inaugural westbound transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York. The vessel will also introduce a series of Caribbean cruises from New York and Fort Lauderdale; a voyage to Rio de Janeiro and back, timed for the Carnival; five European itineraries and two fall foliage cruises, to ports in Canada and New England. Meanwhile, QE2 will continue to operate Cunard's annual World Cruise and will offer an exciting new series of Europe cruises from Southampton.
Queen Mary 2 features 10 dining venues with acclaimed Chef Daniel Boulud serving as Cunard's culinary advisor and Chef Todd English operating a Mediterranean specialty restaurant of the same name. The liner boasts of many pioneer features like, the only Canyon Ranch SpaClubÂ®, the world's first planetarium, the largest ballroom, the largest library and the largest wine collection, all of these said to be firsts at sea. It includes also a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, a two-story theatre, a casino, five indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, boutiques and children's facilities manned by British nannies.
Last month residents in Gibraltar had their first sighting of this impressive liner anchored in the bay. Passengers were taken by tender boats using the landing berth reserved for the Dolphin World boat. Specially invited by the management of The Dolphin World, a Web Express Guide photographer was taken on their boat, to snap some exclusive photographs of this historical moment. A timely display by the biggest pod of dolphins in playful antics, feasted our eyes, as if to show that they too had to convey their grand and warm welcome to Queen Mary 2 in Gibraltar waters.