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A Glimpse Of The QM2

Cunard Line will start accepting bookings for the Queen Mary 2 on August 1. 2002. “This is 15 months before delivery,” said Deborah Natansohn, senior vice president, worldwide sales and marketing, acknowledging what she called strong demand.

The QM2 is slated to sail her maiden voyage on January 12, 2004 from Southampton to Ft. Lauderdale, following a month of shakedown cruises and introductions in Europe.

The first of the traditional six-day Atlantic crossings sails from Southampton to New York on April 25. Altogether, 15 crossings will be offered from April through October interspersed with cruises in Europe and along the Eastern Seaboard. Several Caribbean cruises from New York will be offered in November and December.

“The QM2 will be the largest, the tallest, the widest and the most expensive ship afloat,” noted Natansohn. She underscored that the QM2 will not be a liner in the Disneyesque way, but a liner for the 21st century, featuring a Canyon Ranch spa and a variety of restaurants. Every stateroom will also have interactive television from which passengers can order shore excursions, make spa appointments, or anything they normally would stay in line for, Natansohn explained, adding that the lack of lines as well as the ship’s design with smaller public areas will create more intimate environments (disguising the fact that the 150,000-ton ship may be carrying 2,600 passengers onboard).

Another unique feature of the QM2 will be Cunard's Connexions - an onboard learning center with seven class rooms. “Our passengers want to learn,” Natansohn said, “and Connexions will bring out the best elements of two world- class cities - New York and London. We will bring aboard experts from both sides of the Atlantic and will constantly change the syllabus to encourage more repeat passengers.” The new ship will have all the elements to attract not only cruisers but people who are looking for a different vacation alternative, according to Natansohn, who said: “When you talk about ocean liners, people’s resistance to cruising melts away. Cunard trips are different and have always been.” She also promised that the QM2 will feature first-class entertainment. “Traveling between the two greatest theatrical cities of the world, we must offer what our passengers expect,” Natansohn said.

Seventy-five percent of the staterooms will have outside balconies.

A six-day crossing in a typical outside stateroom (with balcony) will cost about $2,500 per person including one-way economy airfare with an early booking discount for 2004, according to Cunard’s new brochure, which Natansohn described as a collectors’ edition. The first 1,000 brochures were numbered and offered to top accounts and people who are contributing to building the QM2, Natansohn said.

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