Feed on

I’ve just watched a Discovery Channel programme about the new Queen Elizabeth. It was pretty good. There were lots of interesting sequences showing the method of construction – how the blocks are fabricated away from the shipyard, transported to it, lifted into position by cranes and then welded into position to build up the hull and superstructure. There were also a number of sequences showing the construction of the internal spaces: the grand lobbies, the main restaurant, at the theatre and so on. What this made clear is that simply constructing a hull and superstructure is only a part of the construction of a modern cruise ship. I also enjoyed the archive footage of the old Queens: mostly the original Queen Elizabeth, but also Queen Mary and QEII.

At the same time there were things I didn’t like. There were constant references to QE as a modern superliner. Sorry, but in an age in which Oasis of the Seas exists – almost three times the gross tonnage of QE – then the latter is not a superliner. There were a couple of other howlers, too. There was the usual misunderstanding about gross tonnage – it seemed that the programme writers thought the QE weighed, or displaced 92,000 tons – and there was a suggestion as one point that QE could provide a 5-day transatlantic service. Sorry, she can’t: sister-ship Queen Victoria takes 7 days for the Southampton – New York voyage, and QE will be the same. I also think that there was no mention at all of Carnival, just of Cunard, which seems a little unfair as in fact it’s the Carnival Corporation & plc which has paid for the new Queen Elizabeth.

What did strike a bad note with me, however, was the constant stressing of the ship’s British roots and by inference the British-ness of the ship itself. Sorry, but she isn’t British. She’s Italian built, with a lot of German engineering, and American funding; apart from the work of a number of British artists, there’s almost nothing in her that was made or designed in Britain. The fact that the words ‘Cunard’ and ‘Southampton’ are written on her stern doesn’t change that. Why don’t we make ships anymore? It seems to work for the French, Finns, Germans & Italians.

But that’s me being a curmudgeon. She looks like a good ship, and I’d love to take a cruise in her.       

3 Responses to “Discovery Channel programme about Queen Elizabeth”

  1. Gary Falconer says:

    Very well said Tom!! Also all the refferences they made about her being British this and British that and the on board currency is the Dollar. Still she looks very nice! and we would like to sail on her!
    Keep up the good Blogs Tom, they are very good!!


  2. Malcolm Oliver says:

    “What did strike a bad note with me, however, was the constant stressing of the ship’s British roots and by inference the British-ness of the ship itself” Yes Costa, HAL and Carnival have similar ships. I bet they stess the ‘Italian-ness’ or ‘American-ness’ of those!

    • tomtotley says:

      You might be right as far as Costa is concerned – it would be interesting to get an italian insider’s view of the introduction of Costa Luminosa or Costa Deliziosa. What struck me when we cruised on MSC Sinfonia was how international it was, however: there were too many Germans and Spaniards on board for overt statements about ‘Italian-ness’ to survive.

      But the Costa issue just brings us back to Carnival, doesn’t it? – they’ve obviously decided that appealing to tradition, however spuriously, is one way to sell cruises to Europeans.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: