Cunard’s Queen Anne – Inspired by the Past and Designed for The Future

Cunard Queen Anne
Cunard's Queen Anne arriving in Southampton

I carefully draw back the arrow as the instructor tells me to raise my elbow and keep going until my hand reaches the side of my mouth. I continue to pull, my fingers protected from the increasingly taut string by a guard and try and focus on the middle of the target. “Now release,” says my tutor. With a satisfying thud the arrow lands on the target.

It might not be a bullseye, but frankly I’m amazed to have hit part of the target in the first place and I’m keen to have another go.

Think of sun deck activities on cruise ships and gentle pursuits such as shuffleboard and quoits might come to mind. While they are still available, Cunard has set its sights – quite literally – on providing passengers with all-new experiences on its eagerly awaited vessel, Queen Anne. It is the first ship in the world where you can try your hand at archery using a real bow and arrow.

I was onboard for an overnight preview of the 3,000-passenger ship – the first new Cunard vessel since 2010 – before Queen Anne’s first sailing. The event was held in the ship’s homeport of Southampton, where it recently arrived to a ceremonial fanfare of water jets from fireboats.

Constructed at Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, Queen Anne is the 249th vessel to sail under the Cunard flag. The ship will be officially named in Liverpool on 3rd June.

The Golden Lion Pub on Queen Anne
The Golden Lion Pub on board Queen Anne

While celebrating the line’s 183-year history, Queen Anne is markedly different from its predecessors. It continues to draw on Cunard’s trademark Art Deco style with modern concepts, such as a collection of more than 4,000 pieces of contemporary artwork including works by up-and-coming young artists.

In a previous interview with Our Man On The Ground, Cunard’s VP Global Marketing and EMEA Sales Angus Struthers said:

“We are a heritage and luxury brand, but we also need to evolve. We want people to come onboard and see things they weren’t expecting. It is a ship that is inspired by the past but designed for the future.”

Two Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, who owned the famous London restaurant Le Gavroche, was among the guests at the preview and hosted a Q&A session. The chef has created an exclusive gala menu for the ship’s Queen’s Grill restaurant and a new menu for the Golden Lion pub. He also announced that he will be onboard for a pair of themed Le Gavroche culinary sailings in 2025, in addition to sailings already announced for this year.

He was asked if tastes in food had changed over the years and he said that while people were making healthier choices generally, they still wanted a treat and something they would not normally have when eating out. He said one of the most popular dishes at Le Gavroche was the cream and cheese rich Souffle Suissesse. While the Mayfair dining institution closed earlier this year, Le Gavroche name continues through events such as his residencies at sea with Cunard.

Michel, a keen runner, joked that Queen Anne had a gym where passengers could work out, which Le Gavroche did not.

The Pavilion Pool on board Cunard’s Queen Anne
The Pavilion Pool on board Queen Anne

Elsewhere, guests had the chance to join key interior architects involved with Queen Anne, including the ship’s lead Designer and Creative Director Adam Tihany. One of the world’s most respected hospitality designers who has worked on international hotels and restaurants, as well as cruise ships, the New York based creative director said he deliberately collaborated with other companies that had never been involved in ships so they could approach the project without any preconceptions, and said:

“We worked with people who had not worked on cruise ships before. We wanted them to do something they had not done before. A good designer can design anything.”

New venues on the ship include the intimate Bright Lights Society, created by UK interior design company Richmond International, which has been involved in projects including The Langham hotel in London. The live entertainment space takes its name from the fact that Cunard launched the world’s first ocean liner with electric lighting.

The design teams tapped into the Cunard archives held at the University of Liverpool to find inspiration for various elements on the ship, while creating an all-new look that is very different from the other three vessels in the fleet: Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

The launch of Queen Anne marks the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.

Kate McAllister, President of Cunard, said:

“It was a privilege to showcase so many exciting and elevated new concepts to our VIP guests. Queen Anne boasts the widest selection of dining venues, bars, entertainment and wellness so far seen on a Cunard ship and we are all so proud of the experiences and incredible service that our guests will enjoy onboard.”

Throughout her maiden season, Queen Anne will sail on itineraries in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Canary Islands and Norwegian Fjords, visiting 60 destinations in 16 countries.

Author bio:

Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.

Photographs courtesy of Cunard

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