Cunard’s Queen Anne: A Modern Lady With A Past

In May 2024, Cunard begins an exciting new era with the launch of Queen Anne, the line’s first new ship in 13 years.  This 113,000 grt ton, 3000-guest newbuild celebrates Cunard’s legendary ocean liner traditions and elegance while, at the same time, introduces dazzling new features that assure her a prominent place in the cruise world of today…and tomorrow.

Last night in New York City, this combination of past and future came together at a lavish event that celebrated some of what we can look forward to with the launch of Queen Anne.   Among the opulent surroundings of Cipriani, in the art deco Great Hall of the 1920’s Cunard Building, guests were transported back in time against a backdrop of elaborate marble, towering arches, a bronze frieze and a domed ceiling adorned with maritime-themed frescoes.  And there, in the glorious splendor of yesteryear, we joined Cunard for a look towards tomorrow.

Evening Highlights:

Art on Board:  Fifteen of the 4,300 eclectic pieces of art from more than 3,000 artists and designers that will grace Queen Anne’s public spaces were exhibited.  The collection demonstrates Cunard’s commitment to championing new and global talent and reflects interpretations of these artists’ visions of the line and its history, from a swatch of glittering fabric symbolizing the glamour and elegance of ocean travel to an intricate, hand-woven installation of twisted rope enhanced with Cunard’s lion insignia to a tapestry “postcard” that depicts Cunard guests sailing from New York, the city’s iconic skyline set against a vivid and decorative sunset.

The Bright Lights Society:  “Did you know Cunard was the first line that used electric lighting?” asked newly-appointed Cunard Brand President Katie McAlister as she addressed guests from the intimate performance stage erected for the event.  In recognition of that history, Queen Anne debuts The Bright Lights Society, an intimate performance space similar, according to McAlister, to the stage she was speaking from. To illustrate the Bright Lights Society concept further, guests were treated to a stunning—and often hilarious— performance by Tony and Emmy Award-winning Scottish Actor Alan Cumming who will perform aboard Queen Anne’s December 8, 2024 sailing.

From Stewardess…to Captain!:   When Queen Anne launches, Inger Klein Thorhauge will be at the helm.  Thorhauge, a native of the Faroe Islands, was Cunard’s first female captain ever, serving as Captain of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth during her 25 years of service.   Her maritime career included a stint as a stewardess on a cargo ship and, at the age of 16, she joined DFDS Scandinavian Seaways as a cadet and worked her way up, achieving her Master’s license in 1994.

Let the Night Be Gin!:  Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria…you recognize the names as Cunard ships, but now they’re also Cunard gins!  That’s right!  In partnership with Pickering’s Gin at Summerhall Distillery (the first exclusive gin distillery to be established in Edinburgh in over 150 years), Cunard has its own gins, while also serving over 40 premium gins sourced from around the world.  Cunard gins, however, are each infused with ingredients inspired by Cunard itineraries with Queen Elizabeth exuding a hint of the Orient; Queen Mary 2, a hint of the Americas and Queen Victoria, a hint of the Mediterranean.  (And trivia buffs will be interested to know that Pickering Gin’s co-founder is the great nephew of Cunard Captain George Gibbons!) 

With 15 dining venues (including Pan Asian, Indian, Mediterranean, a steakhouse, tapas, healthy eating and more), expanded wellness facilities and increased entertainment options, Queen Anne will debut a new Cunard.

But, never fear, traditionalists!  The Golden Lion Pub will still serve up your favorite shepherd’s pie, you’ll still dance the night away at the lavish Grand Ballroom and the Grand Lobby will still awe guests the moment they board.

Queen Anne is designed for the future, but hasn’t let go of the past.

And that, my friends, is what will make her so magical.

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.