Cunard’s QM2 is back from dry-dock refit and looking pretty as a picture

//Cunard’s QM2 is back from dry-dock refit and looking pretty as a picture

CunardQM2-2167.jpgQM2_ham.jpgThe stern of Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 may now be emblazoned with the name of Hamilton, her now port of registry, but a new reminder of her British heritage is now on display in the Grand Lobby.
A portrait of the Queen, painted by celebrity artist Gail Graham, was unveiled last week when the ship returned to service after a multi-million pound refit.
The oil-on-canvas work shows Her Majesty during her final visit to Queen Elizabeth 2 to mark the ship’s 40th anniversary in June 2008. The picture above shows the artist with Cunard president Peter Shanks and Captain Kevin Oprey.
QM2 returns to Southampton tomorrow after a brief shakedown cruise, with some of the refit work still being completed. While the Golden Lion pub has been completely re-modelled (below) and enough carpet to cover 10 football pitches has been laid in cabins and public rooms, not every detail was completed in time.
CunardQM2-2139.jpgAs Shanks admits in his most recent blog, some minor details, such as matching stateroom sofas, are still to finished. He writes: “The new look Commodore Club is a triumph, the Golden Lion Pub so much warmer and the Queens Grill Suites are just gorgeous – more so than ever.
“Given the scale of what we achieved, notably refurbishing 1,310 staterooms in just 12 days, we had always planned for some of the activity to be completed over the coming weeks. I have had quite a few questions and comments about the new stateroom designs. One point raised was over some of the sofas and the fact that they do not quite match the new designs. Well please don’t worry – they are all planned to be changed over coming weeks.”
His words recall memories of a Cunard refit 17 years ago. Fortunately, the work to be finished on QM2 is not on the scale of the task faced when QE2 underwent a £32 million refit during a 32-day dry-dock at the same Blohm+Voss yard in Hamburg, Germany in 1994.
As Carol Thatcher relates in the encyclopaedic QE2: Forty years Famous, when Prince Andrew boarded the ship before it sailed from Southampton on December 17 he found workmen everywhere and vast areas of the ship still looking like a construction site. He was invited to unveil a portrait of his grandmother, the Queen Mother, and one of his parents on honeymoon, but the curtain covering them stubbornly refused to open, and the pictures were revealed only when the rail collapsed.
The Prince even remarked to crewmembers: “I think you are very brave going to sea this week,” and when the ship arrived in New York after a stormy Atlantic crossing, it was detained for 24 hours by the US Coastguard until further work was completed.
No such problems this week. Over to Shanks again: “We had several hundred contractors and our colleagues from the office worked very hard indeed. But to me the real heroes of the piece are every member of the ship’s company. They worked so very hard, achieved all they had to achieve and I am so very, very proud of them – well done to each and every one of them.”

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:57+00:00 11 December 2011|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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