£470m Queen Anne completes sea trials

Due to sail into Liverpool for a naming ceremony in June, the new £470m Cunard vessel Queen Anne successfully completes her sea trials. Tony McDonough reports

Queen Anne
Cunard cruise vessel Queen Anne on sea trials off the Italian coast


Costing around £470m, Queen Anne is the first new cruise vessel built by Cunard for more than a decade and she has now successfully completed her sea trials.

With a capacity for 3,000 guests and more than 1,200 staff, Queen Anne was put through her paces in 16 days out at sea. This culminated in a voyage from Venice to Palermo and back. Soon she will head to the Mersey, her spiritual home, for a naming ceremony.

On Monday, June 3, the ship is expected to arrive at Liverpool Cruise Terminal just after sunrise. This visit will be part of a celebratory ‘lap of honour’ voyage around the British Isles. 

Plans are being made for her arrival to include a special salute to the city where Cunard’s pioneering transatlantic service – and passenger shipping itself – was launched in 1840.

Cunard ships have previously attracted more than a million spectators to the banks of the Mersey. For the maiden call of QE2 in July 1990, and in 2015 for the Three Queens event to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Cunard in front of its former headquarters Cunard Building.

Captain Inger Thorhauge said: “For the months of her fit-out, Queen Anne has been alongside at our builder Fincantieri’s shipyard. Hundreds of contractors, miles of cabling, welding, noise, heat, and harsh work lights greeted me every time I stepped on board.

“All that changed the moment the order to ‘let go ropes’ was given and we edged away from the crowded quayside at Marghera.

“Before long, with tugs stood down, Queen Anne was making way under her own power for the very first time. It was a very moving milestone in the project – but not one we could savour for too long.

“Ahead of us was a vast programme of checking, testing, assessing, and calibrating all major systems.

“Everything from the pods powering our propulsion system, to the mighty bow thrusters aiding our manoeuvrability, and the stabilisers giving us ‘wings in the water’ was tested to the extreme.

“And all the complex electronic systems controlling all this hardware were also thoroughly tested to ensure they meet the required specification and performance. The volume of work was enormous.

“A primary aim was to see how the ship handles in various situations from full speed ahead to full speed astern, tight turns, fast turns, slow turns, and crash stops.

“Believe me, these were stringent tests and Queen Anne’s performance under these extremes was really impressive.”


Queen Anne
Cunard cruise vessel Queen will be coming to Liverpool in June


The 14-night British Isles Festival Voyage will depart Southampton on May 24 with maiden calls to Edinburgh (South Queensferry), Invergordon, Greenock, Belfast, and Liverpool where tens of thousands of people are expected to welcome her.

While on the Mersey guests sailing on the voyage will have an exclusive opportunity to join the naming celebrations before a spectacular, late evening departure bound for Cobh followed by her return to Southampton.

READ MORE: Global shipping firm takes new Liverpool office

Captain Thorhauge added: “We are now in the critical final phase of work towards completion and delivery of the ship in April and In the coming weeks Queen Anne’s crew will start to assemble.

“I cannot wait to take command on Queen Anne’s historic first sailing under the Cunard flag.. Until then, it’ll be goodbye from me as I sign off the last of my Captain’s Logs from the shipyard.”

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