January 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Queen Mary 2 - British flagship celebrates second year of service

Happy Birthday Queen Mary 2 - British flagship celebrates second year of service
LONDON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 11, 2006) - Queen Mary 2 celebrates her second birthday tomorrow, having entered service and making worldwide headlines on 12 January 2004. The first transatlantic liner to be built since QE2, Queen Mary 2 is still the biggest (151,400-tons), the longest (1,132 feet / 342 metres), the tallest (236 feet / 72 metres) the widest (135 feet / 41 metres) passenger liner ever and, at a cost of GBP 540 million, the most expensive passenger ship in history.

Ever since she entered service Queen Mary 2 has been making headlines. Her first two years have seen her complete 39 Atlantic crossings, sail 276,000 nautical miles, visit 67 different ports in 27 countries and carry almost 230,000 passengers of over 70 nationalities. She has been a crowd-puller at every port she has visited for the first time; almost three million turned out when she sailed up the east coast of England at close range, followed by half a million in Hamburg in August 2005.

Reaction to Queen Mary 2 has been overwhelming with passengers rating the ship highly especially when it comes to dining, service and on board facilities - which have no equal at sea today.

Queen Mary 2 has entertained a range of celebrities including Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Hurley, Esther Rantzen, Sir Jimmy Savile and The Muppets.

Her Royal Court Theatre has been the venue for shows from Dame Shirley Bassey. Jon Bon Jovi, Harry Connick Jnr and Beyonce Knowles while eminent visitors have included Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, the Rt Hon John Prescott MP, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Senator Hilary Clinton, the Prime Ministers of St Lucia and St Vincent and HRH The Sultan of Kelabtan.

She was the flagship vessel at the Athens Olympics where she played host to Queen Sophia of Spain, former President George Bush and Olympic athlete royalty including Great Britain's gold medal winner Ben Ainslie.

She's now so famous, in fact, that already six books have been published about her!

Queen Mary 2's primary role is transatlantic liner - the route Cunard has operated since 1840 and she has taken over from QE2 in plying that legendary route.

In addition Queen Mary 2 offers a variety of voyages to Northern Europe, the Mediterreanan and the Caribbean. She is about to break more records, for she departed New York on 9 January heading for Los Angeles and so will become the largest passenger ship ever to circumnavigate South America and visit the US West Coast and Hawaii.

Queen Mary 2 has also proved herself to be the destination in her own right. Everything about this ship is superlative and she offers a whole host of 'firsts' and exclusives. 79% of cabins feature private balconies. There is over GBP 3.5 million of artwork on board. The world's first floating Planetarium offers virtual reality rides through the galaxies. A cultural academy is operated by the University of Oxford.

She has the first suites with private lift access, the first Canyon Ranch Spa at sea, the first Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar at sea, the largest Library at sea (with 8,000 hardbacks, 500 paperbacks, 200 audio books and 100 CD ROMs) and the largest ballroom with the biggest dancefloor at sea. Workshops and master classes are performed by RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts). She also boasts the longest jogging track at sea, the largest and most extensive wine cellar at sea - and, if that's not enough, the 'Queen Mary 2' signs near the funnel are the largest illuminated ship's name signs in maritime history!

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