Author Topic: QE2 Overhaul and Refit 3 - 20 December 1977  (Read 994 times)

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Online Lynda Bradford

QE2 Overhaul and Refit 3 - 20 December 1977
« on: Mar 02, 2016, 06:28 PM »
The QE2 Story would like to thank Michael Gallagher for giving his permission to extract information from information he had compiled on refits and allowing us to make this information available on the QE2 Story Forum. 

Source: Michael Gallagher
Timescale: 16 day annual overhaul
Date: 3 – 20 December 1977
Place: Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Bayonne, New Jersey, USA
Initial Refit  Cost: £2.9 million ($5 million)
   Revenue            £1,097,847
   Capital             £2,443,370
   Damage              £387,787

Actual Refit Cost: £3.6 million
As the result of the over budget cost Cunard made a claim against the shipyard for inefficient labour and supervision and non-completion of certain items of work within the contract period. Many outstanding items had to be completed once QE2 returned to service. However they accepted closer cooperation should have taken place between their Hotel Director, the Technical Department and the Furnishings Manager.

Captains: R Arnott and L Portet

Dry Dock: 3 December to 19 December 1977

Gross Tonnage: The addition of the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth Suites resulted in the QE2’s Gross Tonnage being altered; the 66,851-ton vessel was re-listed as 67,107 grt.


 “For economic reasons, it was decided that the 1977 annual overhaul and refit would be carried out by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation of Bayonne in New Jersey. By having the refit in the United States, QE2 was able to start her Winter cruise season earlier without having to make late Winter crossings of the Atlantic as a time of year when they were not very well subscribed.  Technicians, craftsmen and designers from Britain were flown out to advise and assist.

QE2 left drydock on Monday 19 December and sailed from New York on her Christmas Cruise on 20 December. A press event to showcase the new suites and Tables of the World was held on the day of sailing.

While a great deal of work was performed on the main turbines during the overhaul a series of malfunctions with the boilers and in the fresh water distillation plant were experienced during the 1978 World Cruise. These were indicative of the ship approaching middle age, the demanding service schedule and inadequate maintenance during some period of the ships life.
« Last Edit: Apr 25, 2016, 11:54 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Repairs and Refit 3 - 20 December 1977
« Reply #1 on: Mar 05, 2016, 11:18 AM »
Passenger Areas

Design: Cunard appointed Dennis Lennon to be in charge of refurbishment and redesign.

“Overall furnishing work was not entirely successful due to container strikes, the late arrival of materials and the change of the decorative architect. Some late deliveries of materials necessitated special air freights to New York, and in some cases arrived so late that work in the Boat Deck rooms and Midships Bar had to be cancelled.”


New Tables of the World Restaurant
Total invested: $1 million

The tourist-class Britannia Restaurant on Upper deck was totally remodelled to an entirely new concept in dining and renamed the Tables of the World – to reflect its new international menu and link it to the name of the exclusive restaurant at the summit of the World Trade Centre, completed in 1973 – Windows of the World.

Dennis Lennon redesigned the whole area, dividing the restaurant into five sections, each with a different national character and décor, representing the areas QE2 visited: England, France, Spain, Italy and the Far East. Each area was decorated in an appropriate national motif. Lennon described the new look as offering “quiet elegance and great style”; his aim had been to “make it the best, with no restrictions”.

The Londoner
Position in restaurant: at the rear across the width of the ship. 
Capacity: 242 seats
Theme: Victorian era London West End Restaurant.  This theme was created through the colour scheme and the English themes such as a wall covered in  prints, including spy cartoons, views of colleges of Oxford and a Chatelain map of the World. There were also models of the Cunard paddle steamers Britannia and Persia set into shadowboxes in the wall. Imitation gaslights added to the atmosphere. 
Décor:  White walls with dark wood effect ceiling.  Chairs covered in plush dark red material. Mink brown coloured carpet. 

The Flamenco
Position in restaurant: Port side
Theme: Hot Spanish Andalusian gypsies were an inspiration for the decor of the theme. 
Décor:  Tan and white with terracotta tile floor, white blinds and wall lamps in a pierced Moroccan style.  Picasso drawings of bullfights in Seville, was a major feature of this section. 

The Parisienne
Position in restaurant: at the entrance to the restaurant
Theme: al fresco outdoor café themed
Décor:  The colour scheme was dark green, emerald and white.  Four large square umbrellas (lit from above) a carpet to resemble a green astroturf lawn and dark green trellises created the effect that diners were sitting in an outdoor café.  A $1000 enlarged print of a Paris Street scene was a focal feature, as were prints of Versailles and Paris food shops. 

The Florentine
Position in restaurant: Starboard side of the dining room

‘Cut in the classic Italian style’ with a white tiled floor, dark blue velvet covered chairs, blue and white striped blinds and specially-designed Pucci wall hangings in silk and abstract designs based on the Duomo in Florence (the cathedral in Florence). The theme colours were echoed in tiles on the sides of the dumb waiters – a new idea at the time. Dark blue dinner napkins were used and these were set against a white table cloth repeating the blue and white motif of the area.

The Oriental
Position in restaurant: Centre of the dining room

This was the central section and centrepiece of the whole restaurant, designed to be ‘full of eastern surprises.’ A big scarlet coloured pagoda, set against a mirrored wall, was the major feature. The ceiling was of gold leaf and hanging bamboo lanterns and Lennon-designed oriental fans that created intriguing wall lamps were introduced. Silver walls (decorated with fans) contrasted with a black carpet. The wicker cane chairs were upholstered in a material resembling black patent leather and lighting was provided via bamboo hanging lanterns.

The main restaurant access was moved to the rear of the room, port and starboard, and the Britannia figurehead was relocated to this new entrance on the starboard side. At the forward end, steps led up to the lobby and the dark blue carpeting of the forward ‘A’ Stairway.

Cunard announced that the same food would be served throughout the restaurant regardless of where passengers were seated. 

Queens Grill

“As a result of the decision to build the additional Penthouse Suites, the Department of Trade insisted that an area of fire installation should be installed. This work was substantial.

The capacity of the Grill was increased to accommodate the extra diners”.

Columbia Restaurant

“Redundant chairs (of the same design) from the former Britannia Restaurant were relocated to the Columbia Restaurant and recovered in white hide to replace damaged Columbia seating.”

Public Rooms

Midships Bar Promenade outside the Midships Bar received a new carpet and green valour curtains, similar to that used in the bar itself, and 40 chairs from the Q4 Room were recovered and fitted in that area.

Q4 Room New chairs were ordered to replace those put in the Midships Bar area (approved by Dennis Lennon).

Teen Centre games area was constructed.

Sports Facilities - A nine-hole miniature golf course was built outdoors aft on Upper deck.

Corridors and Staircases

•   The carpeting on A and D Staircases was renewed.

•   Carpets in alleyways and lobbies were renewed as necessary.

•   Four and Five Deck alleyways had a considerable of work expended and bulkheads were cleaned, watertight door casings were repaired     
        and a total in excess of 300 missing metal trims were replaced on Five Deck.
« Last Edit: Apr 25, 2016, 11:56 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Repairs and Refit 3 - 20 December 1977
« Reply #2 on: Mar 05, 2016, 11:25 AM »
Passenger Accommodation

New Luxury Combination Suite Apartments: Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth Suites

Total cost: $1 million ($500,000 each)
Dimensions of suite blocks: each measured 50 by 30 feet and 16 feet high
Weight: Aluminium structures each weighing 15 tons
Position on ship: Signal deck forward of the 1972 Penthouse block
Construction and fitting:  Constructed in USA (only American contribution to the superstructure of QE2)
Designer: Interior designs by Dennis Lennon.

Preparation: Preparatory construction work was undertaken over a period of several months during periodic calls at Southampton and involved the removal of decking and setting the foundations of the new units. A team from Vosper Thornycroft carried out final preparations while QE2 was on passage from Southampton to New York. Each module was constructed ashore at the yard adjacent to the dry dock and were hoisted aboard (fully furnished) by crane within days of QE2’s arrival at Bayonne onto foundations already prepared on the deck just aft of the mast.

Suite Dimensions:
8082   544 square feet
8084   437 square feet
8081   544 square feet
8083   437 square feet

These could be combined to form two ultra-luxury, split-level apartments:
8082    (main room) and 8084
8081 (main room) and 8083

Suites 8081 and 8082: Named after the two most famous Cunarders, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, these suites were outfitted in the last word in European and American designs in a style called ‘classic modern’.

      Queen Mary Suite - decorated in gold
      Queen Elizabeth Suite -decorated in blue

Both suites featured two bedrooms, sitting room, two bathrooms, two patios and a walk-in closet / dressing room. The suites’ distinctive architectural feature was the split-level configuration with the sitting room above the main bedroom.

At the time the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth Suites were more luxurious than any other accommodation available at sea: so lavish were these accommodations, they were referred to in the New York Times as “two rooms riverside view; rent $125,000 quarterly”.

The price passengers would be charged for tenancy on one of these ‘bolt-on-boxes’ was around £1,000 per day. Fares for the first cruise after the refit (20 December 1977, fourteen days to the Caribbean) were $15,590 per person. The 1978 90-day Great Pacific and Orient Cruise would see fares of $160,000 per person for these suites.

If required, the new rooms could be sold as four separate units.

8083 and 8084: To enable these two rooms to be sold individually, these two Penthouses were of a similar layout to the existing Penthouses.

On Sports deck forward of the 1972 Penthouses, two additional deluxe rooms were constructed.  These suites did not have balconies:

8184   Penthouse with no veranda (431 square feet)
8183   Deluxe Room with no veranda (317 square feet)

These new additions brought the number of Penthouses on board QE2 to 25, which could be sold individually or as 12 double-room suites.

Penthouse Alleyways:These were refurbished with new bulkhead panelling, door trims and carpets (the Britannia Restaurant stock carpet was used) which improved the overall appearance of the alleyways. However the lobbies and staircases did not receive work.

General Cabin Refurbishment: Many of the existing suites and suiterooms were completely refurbished; in all accommodation for 300 passengers received work.

Ten Schreiber suiterooms were completely stripped and refurbished:

1032     1035     1037     1039     2063
2065     2066     2067     2070     2072

Ten first class rooms received the new Dennis Lennon scheme – this work included soft furnishings, painting, polishing and joiner work:

1060     1062     1066     1092     1102
1059     1093     1101     2047     2100

First Class cabins that received painting, polishing and joiner work:

1088     1011     1075     1077     1083     1103     2036
2038     2044     2096     2049     2095     3038     3040
3044     3050     3052     3058     3060     3070     3076
3078     3086     3098     3102     3104     3116     3142
3041     3047     3112

In all 60 original scheme cabins were received work and the anticipated life of these rooms was two years.

The following Tourist Class cabins were upgraded to First Class:

1106     1110     1114     1116     1107     1111     1115
1117     2132     2134     2136     2138     2142     2144
2121     2127     2133     2141

Twenty Tourist Class cabins were progressed with the new Forbes Ergas schemes:
      New carpets, curtains and bedspreads

         4007     4045     4064     4156
         4169     4215     4222     4023

      New carpets

         4009     4059     4124     4144     4148     4155
         4160     4175     4176     4199     4255     4106
« Last Edit: Apr 25, 2016, 11:57 AM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2 Repairs and Refit 3 - 20 December 1977
« Reply #3 on: Mar 09, 2016, 06:57 PM »
Behind the Scenes and Technical Work

Turbine: An inspection by the Department of Trade and Industry discover the turbine blades were showing signs of weakness and would need to be replaced at a cost of £100,000.  Fortunately, John Brown’s Engineering Clydebank had built a replacement turbine that could be fitted within the refit timescale. 

The new turbine weighing 17 tons and measuring 10 feet x 7 feet x 6 feet was transported from Clydebank and flown in a Lockhead Hercules aircraft from Scotland to New Jersey, USA where 120 men were on standby ready to fit the turbine when it arrived at the repair yard. 

Other Work
•   A number of leaking bifurications on superheater tubes in the port boiler were welded and repaired. Some of this work proved
      unsuccessful due to the extreme inaccessibility of the defects plus the fact that time at the yard was running out.
•   All three units in the fresh water distillation plant were thoroughly cleaned with inhibited hydrochloric acid.
•   General housekeeping and maintenance.

Galley Work
•   The Tables of the World galley was enlarged and remodelled to allow for an expanded menu.
•   A new rotary oven was fitted replacing the existing bakers ovens and steam ovens.
•   The bread prover received modifications.

•   A new thawing box (requested by USPH) was installed in the butchers shop, together with stainless steel tables and sparred divisions
        on the meat room.
•   A new undercounter refrigerator and a vertical refrigerator was installed in the fish preparing room.

United States Public Health Work
•   The sink in the Columbia Restaurant galley was relocated.
•   The redundant fish box was removed.
•   Tiles throughout the galleys were repaired.
•   New garbage enclosures on the starboard side of the commissary were installed.
•   A new dishwasher was installed in the Queens Grill galley.
•   The garbage compactor in the Queens Grill galley was repositioned.

Satellite Communications Equipment:The commercial facilities of the ship were augmented by the installation of satellite communications equipment, which provided a direct link with telephone and telex systems throughout the world.

Crew Areas
•   New furniture was supplied and fitted in the Officers Wardroom.
•   Work in crew areas was limited to the provision of new carpets, some new furniture and general minor repairs.
« Last Edit: Jan 14, 2018, 07:42 PM by Lynda Bradford »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank