Anyone hear any rumors about Queen Mary 2? Cunard is at its second deadline for signing a contract with the ship yard, and still no committment. I understand the final estimates are around $800 million -- a huge amount for a ship slated to only carry 2,600 people. QE 2 is discounted on transatlantic service constantly, so I don't think the market is enormous for crossings. Imagine Cunard/Carnival will finally emerge with a scaled down version of the ship.
I wouldn't put too much stock in postings on the QM2. Let's wait and see what happens. Carnival can only do so much at a time... they just made a major commitment for a new build for Costa, with a second coming shortly.
I suspect we'll hear more on this subject very soon.
Micky Arison said during a press conference last week that they are still negotiating details with the shipyard because they are finding the logistics of building a ship that large specifically for trans-atlantic crossings to be significantly different from what they are building now. For example, the usual method of locating dining rooms and swimming pools aft is not recommended because of the greater possibility of rough seas.
He said their target is to finalize details by the end of September but that there are no guarantees.
It will be interesting to see if this ship actually is successful. As mentioned, there are always "deals" on the QE2. But right now capacity seems to be greater than demand -- so there are lots of deals.
I read the following news item in the Maritime Matters web site:
QUEEN MARY 2 moves forward
October 8, 2000: Stephen Payne, Naval architect and project manager for Carnival Corporations QM2 project announced aboard QUEEN MARY in Long Beach, California, the design of the new Cunard Liner is close to completion. He demonstrated a profile drawing of the new giant ship. At a glance it's design appeared to be a combination of elements from FRANCE, QUEEN MARY and QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, but clearly the scale will put this new transatlantic liner in a class of it's own. Mr. Paine gave the following statistics: The uppermost deck will be as high as the original QUEEN MARY's funnel top. To be built in France she will have a combination of gas turbines and diesel engines and four propellors of the "azipod" type, two steerable two fixed, the gross tonnage is estimated at 150,000. The Southampton registered ship will be approximately 1,170 feet will feature balconies and will debue in October 2003.