Keralapix Photography and Video

Friday, March 9, 2007

FKN - 055 - Cruise Ship Queen Mary 2 on her visit to Cochin.

Stock Image No: FKN - 055
Photograph 10: RMS Queen Mary 2 sailing from Cochin Harbour. A view from Fort Cochin.

The vision of a 21st century ocean liner — bigger than any that had gone before — started as the brainchild of Carnival CEO Micky Arison, who has stated that his company bought Cunard to create Queen Mary 2, not vice versa.

Cunard completed a design for a new class of 84,000-ton, 2,000-passenger liners on 8 June 1998, but immediately revised them upon comparing those specifications with Carnival Cruise Lines' 100,000-ton Destiny-class cruise ships and Royal Caribbean's 137,200-ton Voyager of the Seas.

Six months later, on 10 December Cunard released details of "Project Queen Mary", the project to develop a liner that would complement Queen Elizabeth 2. Harland and Wolff of Northern Ireland, Aker Kværner of Norway, Fincantieri of Italy, Meyer Werft of Germany, and Chantiers de l'Atlantique of France were invited to bid on the project. If construction began immediately, the liner could be in service by 2002. But it was not until 6 November 2000 that a contract was signed with Chantiers de l'Atlantique, a subsidiary of Alstom. This was the same yard that built Cunard's one-time rivals, the SS Normandie and SS France of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.

Her keel was laid down on 4 July 2002, in Saint-Nazaire, France. Approximately 3,000 craftsmen spent some 8 million working hours on the ship, and a total of 20,000 people were directly or indirectly involved in her design, construction, and fitting out. In total, 300,000 pieces of steel were assembled into 94 "blocks" off of the drydock, which were then stacked and welded together to complete the hull and superstructure. She is so much larger than the ships that Chantiers normally build that the shipyard treated her as "1.6 ships."

The QM2 was floated on 21 March 2003. Her sea trials were conducted between 25 September-29 September and 7 November-11 November 2003, between Saint-Nazaire and the off-shore islands of Ile d'Yeu and Belle-Ile. The final stages of construction were marred by a fatal accident on 15 November 2003, when a gangway collapsed under a group of shipyard workers and their relatives who had been invited to visit the vessel. 48 people on the gangway fell over 15 m (50 ft); 32 were injured and 16, including a child, were killed.

Construction was completed on schedule. Due to the size of the ship, the luxury of materials, and the fact that, due to her nature as an ocean liner, she required 40% more steel than a standard cruise ship, the final cost ended up being approximately $300,000 US per berth - nearly double that of ships such as Voyager of the Seas, Grand Princess, or Carnival Conquest.[8]

Cunard took delivery in Southampton, England on 26 December 2003. On 8 January 2004, the liner was named Queen Mary 2 by her namesake's granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

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