Queen Anne’s keel was laid at the Fincantieri shipyard in Venice on Thursday, marking the start of assembly of the new ship, after steel cutting commenced several months ago.
The keel laying has been a major milestone in ship construction for centuries, and in its modern form is traditionally celebrated with the welding of ceremonial coins into the hull, and is attended by officials from both the cruise line and the shipbuilding company.
The keel laying for Queen Anne was no different, with Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge first welding the ceremonial coin into the keel before a massive crane hauled the keel block into the dry-dock, placing it beside the superstructure for assembly.
Two coins were welded to the ship, a unique Queen Anne coin was commissioned to sit alongside an original coin from Queen Anne’s reign in the 18th century. The ship is named after the UK’s fourth female sovereign, who reigned from 1702 to 1714.
“Over the last three years world-leading designers have worked with master ship builders here at Fincantieri to design this ship that reinforces our decision to be a world-famous luxury brand across all continents,” said Sture Myrmell, Carnival UK and Cunard Line President.
“Queen Anne will be enjoyed for many generations to come and we are really looking forward to welcoming her to our fleet,” he added.
The 3,000-passenger ship is due to enter service in early 2024 and will be the first new cruise ship for the line since 2010, when Queen Elizabeth was launched. Her entry into service will also mark the first time since 1999 that Cunard has had four ships in its fleet.
Queen Anne’s design reportedly draws on Cunard’s Art Deco history, intended to pay homage to the “Golden Age” of travel, suggesting she will feature decor and interiors reminiscent of RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth 2.
The ship will also feature Cunard’s first two-deck, 825-seat Royal Court Theatre inspired by the great theatres of the world, with sumptuous fittings and velvet seating, in addition to 15 restaurants.
One of these will of course be the Britannia main dining room, which is on all the line’s ships, as are the popular Golden Lion Pub.