The latest Queen Elizabeth ship, the third generation of ocean liners going back to the late 1930s, was named by the actual Queen Elizabeth Monday in Southampton, England. The $634 million ship, the third and final new vessel to be launched by Cunard in a decade, begins its maiden voyage on Tuesday.
She will be nearly full with her maximum 2,094 passengers. The sailing sold out some 18 months ago in 29 minutes and 29 seconds.
Much has changed since the QE2, which went out of service two years ago and was ignominiously sent to Dubai to function as a hotel. Gone are the ripple-effect ceilings and bachelor-pad brass fittings that made the previous ship the latest in 1970s sophistication.
This iteration, technically the QE3 but called simply the QE like the first in the line, hews closely to Cunard's current design ethic, and in both ethic and size, is largely similar to the Queen Victoria, launched in 2007. Extensive wood paneling, art deco touches, and swooping shapes in the ceiling and balustrades mark the interior.