Cunard Line’s newest ship, the Queen Mary 2, will make her first visit to St. Thomas on January 24, during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “We are overjoyed to welcome the Queen Mary 2 to our shores,” Commissioner Richards said. “St. Thomas will be the luxury liner’s first stop on U.S. soil, and we have planned the warmest of Caribbean welcomes to commemorate the event.”
At a price tag of US$800 million to build, the Queen Mary 2 is the biggest and most elaborate passenger vessel ever made. Weighing in at 151,400 tons with a length of 1,132 feet (roughly 41 London buses!), a width of 135 feet and a height of 236 feet (taller then the Statue of Liberty!), the ship can comfortably accommodate 2,600 passengers and provides some of the best service in the industry with its 1,300-member crew. Queen Mary 2 features: 10 dining venues; the only Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at sea; the world’s first planetarium at sea; the largest ballroom at sea; the largest library at sea; the largest wine collection at sea; a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar; a two-story theatre; a casino; five indoor and outdoor swimming pools; a variety of boutiques; and children’s facilities complete with British nannies.On January 8, 2004, during a high-profile celebration, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II formally named and christened Queen Mary 2, the first true transatlantic liner to have been built, since her namesake, the Queen Elizabeth 2 entered service in May 1969. The christening of Queen Mary 2 by the Queen follows an established Cunard tradition of having a senior female member of the Royal family name their flagships.Welcoming events have been organised for the ship’s arrival on January 24 that reflect her grandeur and significance in the cruise ship industry. Upon her arrival, Charlotte Amalie harbor will come to life with a beautiful display of red and blue water sprays from the island’s new fireboat and a flotilla of lavish charter yachts that will provide passengers with a private escort to the harbor’s vivacious waterfront. Charlotte Amalie’s Main Street will be turned into a pedestrian mall where local arts and crafts will be available for sale. Guests also will have the opportunity to enjoy live entertainment along the harbour’s waterfront and on Main Street. The ship’s spring itinerary will bring her to St. Thomas again in February and March.During the Queen Mary 2’s first year, she will sail 13 crossings between Europe and North America. Her older sister ship, Queen Elizabeth 2, will lead her first initial crossing. Queen Mary 2 will eventually inherit her older sister’s role as Cunard’s transatlantic flagship.