Author Topic: In your opinion what was QE2's "final nail in the coffin" with Cunard?  (Read 2829 times)

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Online Thomas Hypher

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Hi everyone,

Having read around on this forum and elsewhere, I'm of the opinion that QE2's Achilles' heel, her Aluminium superstructure was the "final nail in the coffin" as far as Cunard were concerned circa. 2006. The Aluminium superstructure was giving increasingly serious problems (me and my Dad remember gaps/holes in it) and would have needed major or complete renewal (almost impossible to do) at some point in the near future. The Aluminium couldn't have been replaced with Steel either due to weight etc. meaning that repairs of any new Aluminium would have been an ongoing problem for Cunard too. This, however, overlooks the low melting point (compared to Steel) and heavy burning nature of Aluminium (as discovered by the US Navy and Royal Navy in the 1970s - after an accidental collision, USS Belknap, and an accidental fire, HMS Amazon - and by the Royal Navy during the Falklands War of 1982 - HMS Ardent and HMS Antelope). These properties of Aluminium mean it is no longer used in Warship construction but it is still used for Cruise Ship upperworks (deckhouses etc.).

What I'm wondering though, does SOLAS 2010 class Aluminium as a flammable material, modern cruise ships (such as MV Oriana) not having enough of it to be a major problem - but QE2 having more along with any other flammable materials?

I think that QE2 could have been made SOLAS 2010 compliant (if Aluminium doesn't come into it?) , albeit with a lot of work and money, and she would have made the money back for Cunard due to her enormous popularity in a matter of a few years (like with the re-engineing in 1986/7). The major obstacle, it seems, with SOLAS 2010 is the requirement for passenger ships to contain/be made of 85% non-flammable materials - but with enough money this wouldn't have been impossible to overcome. Granted her interiors would have changed a lot if made compliant.

Also, Cunard neglected QE2 by making the early 2008 planned drydock a wetdock alongside in Southampton instead. Her Lloyds class problems such as with the leaking bow thruster door seal could have been fixed with a drydocking perhaps if she'd ever been made SOLAS 2010 compliant by Cunard. QE2's last drydocking under Cunard ownership being in early 2006 in Bremerhaven.

Finally, I wonder what Dubai are doing regarding the Aluminium superstructure? (perhaps piecemeal repairs like Cunard did, where problems emerged?) Do they have any plans for her long term preservation, particularly regarding the Aluminium superstructure?

Anyway enough of my opinion/s and rambling.

Thomas
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Michael Gallagher

Thomas

A very interesting subject to raise and it would be great to hear from others. The aluminium was certainly an issue. It is interesting to note that Cunard knew in the 1960s that using so much aluminium would probably curtail the life expectancy of the future ship but the benefits of its use outweighed this potential shortcoming. And when you think she lasted over 39 years in service - much longer than expected and with what she endured during the those years - the aluminium did a great job overall.

I know that any heavy rainfall would result in problems in the top decks of the ship and that during the 2006 refit a great deal of re-plating work in the aluminium superstructure took place. Many leaks had been experienced on Signal Deck aft which caused flooding in many of the officer’s cabins on Sports Deck below on several occasions. Also QE2 had been experiencing many problems with her ballast tank system and a great deal of work was carried out in 2006. Work to diagnose the source of the problems was undertaken and several sources of air leakage on the repairs was carried out during the refit. The ballast tank steelwork was repaired and renewed where necessary and a new tank level gauging system was introduced. The toilet system and the saltwater piping throughout the ship another issue.

Princess Cruises’ Vice President Marine revealed to me in Rio de Janeiro on 27 January 2006 that QE2’s funnel was having problems structurally and would need welding to re-attach it properly to the superstructure – work that would be done during the 2006 refit.

There were also problems within the ship. In 2004 Seven Deck pool collapsed and had to be rebuilt in the 2004 refit.

I'm afraid I don't agree with your assertion that if Cunard had invested vast sums "she would have made the money back for Cunard due to her enormous popularity". By the early 2000s it would have taken £100 million + to get QE2 to where she should have been technically, to meet regulations and upgrade the hotel plant etc. There is no doubting her popularity but to recoup that sort of investment would have taken many years with the ship needing constant ongoing investment still.

And I wouldn't say Cunard "neglected" QE2. They still undertook a refit - albeit on a smaller scale and they did some annoying things like replace fabrics in the original suites and Princess Grill Bar that had been there since 1969 with cheap imitations - and maintenance was amazing even on the last voyage. You don't sell a house and then totally refurbish it before you move out.

Yes she did go too early but she did have to go and just think going when she did saved her the embarrasment of re-registry, seven-day crossings, having to use Brooklyn and the tell-tale signs of an ageing ship - regular breakdowns (there were a few in the later years) and arriving at ports late as well as other signs.

Michael

Online Thomas Hypher

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Michael

That's interesting information regarding the heavy rainfall flooding due to the Aluminium before it was renewed/replaced. I was unaware about the structural integrity of the funnel being less than good either and the other major work that took place during the 2006 drydocking and refit. I am surprised about the collapse of the Seven Deck pool (coincidentally the only QE2 pool I ever swam in) in 2004.

I would argue that the cost of refitting QE2 and bringing her back in line with regulations etc. would have been less than a newbuild (even of a Vista class cruise ship) and you are left with a ship with an excellent reputation instead of having to make an excellent reputation from scratch, crew retraining and adaption etc. that comes with a newbuild. However, I do agree the cost would have been very high for Cunard.

When I said Cunard neglected QE2 during the last refit, I meant it in the sense that they didn't deal with her mechanical issues on a significant scale (and as a result her Lloyds class problems). They really appeared to focus on cosmetics mainly - the steering gear problems and the couple of power failures in the last months being a consequence of this. Also I don't debate the regular maintenance her crew carried out. My dad remembers teak decking being replaced and/or re-caulked where needed in the last few/couple months of service, not to mention the almost constant repainting that me and my parents witnessed around the ship in July 2008.

Also, not all the late arrivals into ports were QE2's fault as such. One such occasion being her delayed arrival into Southampton (where we were waiting to board her for a Med cruise) from Cherbourg apparently due to her Captain deeming it unsafe for QE2 (of all ships!) to cross a rather stormy English channel - Captain Ian Mcnaught or Captain David Perkins replaced this Captain on arrival into Southampton (as was probably already planned regardless of the circumstances/weather). Our late departure from Southampton was followed by an approx. 29 knot, occasionally touching 30 knot trip down to Cadiz, Spain where we arrived slightly early (if my memory serves me correctly)!

However, I do agree it was best she retired before the seven day (or eight days in the case of QV and QE) crossings became a thing even though she was mostly cruising at this point, and before the re-registry in particular. However, why would QE2 have had to move to Brooklyn from Manhattan? I understand that QM2 probably doesn't use Manhattan because of practical and logistical reasons but QE2 most likely didn't have these issues as she always used Manhattan when docking in New York.

It's good to have an interesting debate going on here!

Thomas
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Michael Gallagher

Thanks Thomas.

It is true Cunard could have gotten a hugely-refurbished QE2 for a third of the price of a Vista-class ship but you have to consider the benefits of a Vista-class ship compared to a refurbished QE2 - and, while I do like the QV and QE (much more than QM2) and while I'd take QE2 anyday over the three of the ships I've just mentioned - the benefits of Vista-class cannot be ignored: standard cabin design across the fleet (a big selling point and easier for agents to sell your product), consistency in product offering across the fleet (another plus in selling the product), reduced operating costs,  and a 15 - 20 year lifespan to name a few. I am not a fan of too much standardisation across fleets but there are benefits to be had and it is true that a lot of travels agents couldn't get their heads around QE2 because of her quirkiness and it wasn't fair paying exactly the same price as the people in the cabin next door to you and they got a much bigger (better?) cabin.

I have just counted at least eight steering gear failures in the last two years!

I remember in 2007 she had problems in Dubrovnik on the cruise before the special 40th anniversary cruise. At one point the anniversary cruise was at risk. I know things happen but the cancellation of such a cruise would have generated huge media attention. Ships breakdown but if QE2 breaks down...

With regards to the 2008 refit Cunard did what was needed to get the ship to November 2008 and Handover to new owners. Whether that was the proper thing to do is open to debate...

With regard to the pool: originally no work had been planned in the Seven Deck Gymnasium area in the 2004 refit but it became necessary to re-tile the swimming pool in order to fix a leak that had been discovered - when the various pieces of gym equipment had been added over the years, they had been bolted straight to the deck thus damaging the water tanks below and resulting in the leak that required repair. When the existing tiles were removed it was discovered that it was the tiles actually holding the space together and the pool collapsed. This unplanned for work was not completed by the time the ship was ready to leave Bremerhaven (the pool was not ready as the tile cement and grouting was not properly cured) so the area would remain closed for some time after QE2 had re-entered service. As a temporary measure some of the gym equipment (treadmills, bikes and weights) was relocated to the Boardroom on Boat Deck – where problems arose as there was insufficient electricity in this area for the equipment to work and there were no changing facilities.

Michael

Online Thomas Hypher

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Michael

I would argue that QE2 had a couple of major benefits over the Vista class cruise ships that would have made her invaluable to Cunard had she continued in service, this being the ability to cross the North Atlantic safely most of the time while mostly staying on time, and crossing in a fewer number of nights. The QV and QE as much as they are made out by Cunard to be worthy successors to QE2 and the past Queens etc. (quite frankly an insult when they are just cruise ships and nothing more) and in some cases are called ocean liners - they are not, not having the speed, mechanical redundancy, hull form (having to slow down more in lesser sea states compared to QE2), draught, or the strength (despite having extra steel built into their bows). Also, QE2 had mechanical redundancy more so when cruising which allowed for some mechanical failures and allowed her to make up for delays which she did more than once. Not even QM2 boasts the level of mechanical redundancy QE2 had. Also, the build quality of QV and QE leaves a bit to be desired in terms of the quality of their interior finishes, according to my Auntie's husband who has been an architect for many years and they have cruised more than once on QV and QE. QE2's interior finish was a lot better despite the major changes over the years. Not to demean the QV and QE which are great cruise ships (as my Auntie has said - she also travelled on QE2) but I feel they are factory produced ships and they lack much uniqueness which surely can be a very strong selling point in itself?

An example of major mechanical failures and/or adverse weather affecting schedules is the Southampton to Southampton Med cruises QE occasionally does at the moment. These Med cruises are of a similar duration to the virtually same itinerated Med cruises QE2 did in her later years (having the same number of days at sea). QE would have to operate at 20 knots + during sea days to stay on schedule and any major mechanical failure would throw out this already tight schedule let alone any adverse weather she has to slow down for (quite likely in the Bay of Biscay!). This is before the schedule risk to QE's rest of the season of cruises. However, ports would have to be missed if the above happened during the cruise so passengers would not get their money's worth port wise on the cruise - the sea days at the end of the cruise being the schedule affecting time to have problems of that kind.

I would also argue that a lot of people who travelled on QE2 in the later years, travelled on her because she was unique (as well as world famous) and therefore expected and mostly didn't mind the quirkiness with the cabins in particular. The travel agents had 39 years of her quirkiness to work around so I can't see that being a major problem? Also a smaller cabin can be better (more cosy for one)  :P Also, certainly during her last season a lot of passengers were repeat QE2 passengers who knew what to expect and loved the ship regardless.

Regarding QE2's last refit (the wetdock) I think it was an exercise in cost cutting and doing the absolute bare minimum for a ship that saved the Cunard brand more than once (also making sure Cunard stayed world famous as a brand) and served them the longest time of all. Leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth considering!

On a side note, are the rumours that were swirling around a few years ago that QV had major structural cracking going on (such as in the lift shafts) true at all or just ridiculous rumours?

Thomas
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Rob Lightbody

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The original Dubai management team looked at every option about how to make money from QE2.  The only one that made sense on a spreadsheet, was a giant refit, and a partial or full return to service.

It would have taken a different company than Cunard to do it,  the same way as it needed someone other than British Airways to save Concorde ... In old age, they become niche...

What is forgotten is the huge financial value the brand QE2 had.  She was more famous than the company that owned her.  That is one reason why expenditure at a level that wouldn't make sense on any other ship, could make sense on her...

In terms of what finished her off, as Michael says, old age!
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Online Michael Gallagher

Both QE and QV cracked quite seriously when battling across the Atlantic for the first time: QV in January 2008 and QE in January in 2011. Fincantieri ships are not known as TINcantieri ships for nothing! The cracking was more obvious in the crew stairwells which do not have the same wall cladding as the passenger stairwells.

Online Michael Gallagher

The vast amount of the $100 million purchase price was to buy the QE2 name and brand which is why Dubai considered setting up a global chain of QE2 hotels around the world to capitalise on the name and justify spending so much on the name.

One of the obvious reasons to use the Queen Mary 2 name was to be able to use QM2 and establish those initials in the marketplace and hearts and minds as people the same as QE2 is / was. So it seemed crazy to me when the order came from Carnival Corp. not long after she entered service that QM2 was not to be used by Cunard formally but she had to be referred to as Queen Mary 2. And, annoyingly, one of the first things you see when boarding her is QM2 laid into the floor of the Grand Lobby. But then don't get me started on the stupidity of having the words Grand Lobby imbedded into the staircase.

Sorry for going off-topic a wee bit!
« Last Edit: Sep 08, 2017, 12:12 PM by Michael Gallagher »

Online Thomas Hypher

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The original Dubai management team looked at every option about how to make money from QE2.  The only one that made sense on a spreadsheet, was a giant refit, and a partial or full return to service.

It would have taken a different company than Cunard to do it,  the same way as it needed someone other than British Airways to save Concorde ... In old age, they become niche...

What is forgotten is the huge financial value the brand QE2 had.  She was more famous than the company that owned her.  That is one reason why expenditure at a level that wouldn't make sense on any other ship, could make sense on her...

In terms of what finished her off, as Michael says, old age!

Hi Rob - I always thought that QE2's (new at the time) Dubai owners had planned to make her a static hotel from the get go , so to speak? I disagree that a different company to Cunard was needed in QE2's case - if continued passenger service was envisaged at the same time as my last sentence. QE2 and Cunard were intertwined, both owed their continued existence to each other and also, not many other companies would have had the cash to splash , so to speak, after Cunard was bought by Carnival UK. I think that the fact that QE2 was becoming a niche market in old age would have been a major source of income for Cunard (and as a consequence Carnival UK) if marketed as such for at least a few years.

Both QE and QV cracked quite seriously when battling across the Atlantic for the first time: QV in January 2008 and QE in January in 2011. Fincantieri ships are not known as TINcantieri ships for nothing! The cracking was more obvious in the crew stairwells which do not have the same wall cladding as the passenger stairwells.

Did the cracking have a major effect on their structural integrity and have to be repaired? Why did Cunard go to Fincantieri if they are known for producing ships which don't handle the weather very well? Also, why did Cunard run QV and QE across the Atlantic so hard when they each first crossed? (I know QV's first Atlantic was in tandem with QE2 and QE2 couldn't slow down much more  ;)  - QV was running at near full power on her 4 main diesels whereas QE2 was using approx. 4 out of 9 diesels - 8 being serviceable at any one time) My Dad was on QE2 during the tandem Atlantic with QV in January 2008 and had a friend on QV at the same time (QV had raw sewage flowing back and forth along the passenger decks due to the plumbing system not handling the rough weather  :o . To me at least, the major cracking on QE and QV illustrates the folly of using thinner hulled cruise ships on the Atlantic and makes me question whether Cunard has made the right choice in this case for the long term future?

Thomas
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Michael Gallagher

In the latter years the figures for QE2 were starting to not stack up - that is a fact. She was profitable but getting less so. It pains me to say it but she was not the success / cash cow everyone assumes she was and it is a fact that her base of die-hard / QE2 can do no wrong / we will not sail on any other ship fans was not growing enough to ensure her survival.

As for why Fincantieri? Price. Efficiency in build. And the fact that typically a ship will pay for itself after around seven years so anything after that should be profit which is why I think gone are the days of cruise ships built today being built to last. If they pay for themselves at 7 you can get rid at 15 - 20 years.

All ships crack so cracking is not an issue as such but it was the extent of the cracking that came as a surprise. I thought it daft to send them across the Atlantic in January - especially QV which only entered service in the December before. I was on QE2 for that tandem crossing and we did look across and feel sorry for the poor souls on QV as we both battled across the Atlantic but just thing of the view they had! QV and QE are perfectly OK and safe to send across the Atlantic but just not regularly as that would affect their lifespan.

An aside - plans were drawn up for QE2 to go on her first world cruise in 1970 but Operations decided against putting such a new ship into that market so soon. They used the same argument for 1971 and 1972 too...
« Last Edit: Sep 08, 2017, 12:34 PM by Michael Gallagher »

Online Rob Lightbody

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Let me adjust the following sentence ! :-

After it became clear that the business case for Hotel QE2 no longer existed, the original Dubai management team looked at every option about how to make money from QE2 either in Dubai or elsewhere.  The only one that made sense on a spreadsheet, was a giant refit, and a partial or full return to service.

In terms of refits - and "no expense spared" - what if they'd "simply" demolished the passenger cabin decks, and everything inside, and built new sympathetic larger, more consistent ones on a wholesale basis.  That would be easier to sell (despite still having no balcony).

The reason I said Cunard was not the company to keep QE2 going in old age, was because of what Michael said.  She didn't suit their modern business model - she had to be treated differently.   That takes me back to my old "Cunard Classic" brand idea - the same way as, for example, Land Rover kept the iconic "old" Land Rover going for ages, without damaging their core brand - in fact doing the opposite.   In 2009 she could have been sent for a second rebuild, rebranded as "Cunard Classic" and re-entered service in 2010 to a fanfare.... thats just my dream though.
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Online Thomas Hypher

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In the latter years the figures for QE2 were starting to not stack up - that is a fact. She was profitable but getting less so. It pains me to say it but she was not the success / cash cow everyone assumes she was and it is a fact that her base of die-hard / QE2 can do no wrong / we will not sail on any other ship fans was not growing enough to ensure her survival.

As for why Fincantieri? Price. Efficiency in build. And the fact that typically a ship will pay for itself after around seven years so anything after that should be profit which is why I think gone are the days of cruise ships built today being built to last. If they pay for themselves at 7 you can get rid at 15 - 20 years.

All ships crack so cracking is not an issue as such but it was the extent of the cracking that came as a surprise. I thought it daft to send them across the Atlantic in January - especially QV which only entered service in the December before. I was on QE2 for that tandem crossing and we did look across and feel sorry for the poor souls on QV as we both battled across the Atlantic but just thing of the view they had! QV and QE are perfectly OK and safe to send across the Atlantic but just not regularly as that would affect their lifespan.

An aside - plans were drawn up for QE2 to go on her first world cruise in 1970 but Operations decided against putting such a new ship into that market so soon. They used the same argument for 1971 and 1972 too...

I am aware that QE2 had cracking in her Aluminium superstructure sometimes due to adverse weather, and ships having expansion joints running vertically to allow for flexing and reduce the risk and/or amount of cracking (or at least they used to do so).

I am surprised QE2 wasn't doing as well as needed, financially, in her final years with Cunard. What were the main reasons for this (if they can indeed be pinpointed)? I suspect a couple of reasons being: the increasing so called "Sea Blindness" of younger generations (Millennials like myself, unfortunately), and the younger generations wanting flashier more modern ships with all the land based amenities (inward looking hotels that happen to float and move to different ports). Not withstanding the fact that some QE2 fans were and are starting to die off  :o or are/were getting to old/infirm to travel on her. To sum it up, old age has been a double edged sword for QE2 (increasing her appeal for many but not bringing aboard enough of the younger generations, so to speak, due to changing times and the inevitable advance of technological progress - I'm starting to sound like a Luddite when I am very interested in technology  ::)  ).

I suppose operating a brand like Cunard is even more of an accountants business these days even when profits are significant (does that make QV and QE cash cows, particularly now they should be turning a profit?) Sadly no room for sentiment  :'(  .

If Cunard (still an independent company in 1970) had decided to do a world cruise they might have saved themselves some more from their dire financial state at the time, particularly with the foreign currency they would have earned! Same again for early 1971... The benefit of hindsight I suppose!
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Thomas Hypher

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Let me adjust the following sentence ! :-

In terms of refits - and "no expense spared" - what if they'd "simply" demolished the passenger cabin decks, and everything inside, and built new sympathetic larger, more consistent ones on a wholesale basis.  That would be easier to sell (despite still having no balcony).

The reason I said Cunard was not the company to keep QE2 going in old age, was because of what Michael said.  She didn't suit their modern business model - she had to be treated differently.   That takes me back to my old "Cunard Classic" brand idea - the same way as, for example, Land Rover kept the iconic "old" Land Rover going for ages, without damaging their core brand - in fact doing the opposite.   In 2009 she could have been sent for a second rebuild, rebranded as "Cunard Classic" and re-entered service in 2010 to a fanfare.... thats just my dream though.

My Dad has had the same, if not similar, idea in the past and that was what I was implying above when saying she could have had a niche market and operated within that for at least a few years. Although, with the internal strip out and rebuilding it begs the question - would she be quintessentially QE2 afterwards? She would still be a Cunard ship with this idea, just partitioned from the rest of the brand in marketing and perhaps financially (so the accountants - bean counters  ::) - wouldn't have to worry about reduced profits etc.
« Last Edit: Sep 08, 2017, 12:59 PM by ThomasPixel »
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Michael Gallagher

I loved the Cunard Classic idea and that would have been perfect for QE2 and Caronia. The problem would have been to get the first-timers to become repeaters. A lot would have become repeaters but would enough have become so? There would always be those who were doing it as a one-off and then there would always be some who tried it and hated it. I KNOW I KNOW!!

Cunard is a past Master at sub-branding. Since the 1980s alone they have had the following subbrands: Cunard Hotels / Cunard Resorts / Cunard EuropAmerica River Cruises / Cunard NAC / Cunard Sea Goddess / Cunard Crown / Cunard Royal Viking and Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2. The rationale for this was understandable and it showed the breadth of the Cunard offering but never really worked because of the Cunard association. People were going on the Cunard Countess expecting the same as they got on the Royal Viking Sun and being disappointed - surely Cunard meant Cunard no matter what ship you were on and they did have a point!

Online Thomas Hypher

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Sorry to go even more off topic here, haha. What was the main reason Caronia was sold out of the Cunard fleet to Saga to become Saga Ruby in 2004/5? Was it a matter of her not fitting in with the rest of the fleet? Or did Saga wave a big wad of cash in Carnival UK's face a bit like Dubai kind of did with QE2 in 2006?

QE2's last years from 2004 to 2008 when she was no longer flagship and wasn't so busy with Transatlantics would have been the ideal foundation for the "Cunard Classic" sub-brand idea surely?
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Thomas Hypher

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Michael - It's just occurred to me that if many cruise ships built in the last couple of decades are meant to last around 15 to 20 years, are the early Vista Class cruise ships operated by Holland America (specifically MS Zuiderdam the lead ship of the class that entered service in 2002) in the twilight of their service lives and are soon to be retired/sold on/scrapped? This also makes one wonder how long MS Oriana of 1995 and MS Aurora of 2000 have left in service with P&O? MS Oriana sale rumours (that were eventually proved false) starting up recently. MS Aurora's sale being one to look out for given the continued mechanical trouble she has given P&O.

Anyway, let's get back on topic  ::)  .
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Michael Gallagher

The fact that QM2 was cheaper to run on a like-for-like basis than Caronia was Caronia's eventual last nail. Carnival sold her to a competitor just when she had started to build herself a market in ex-UK cruising both for herself and for QE2 when she was assigned to that market from May 2004.

I think Carnival were also being savvy - getting rid of an eventual problem for a good sum before she became a problem. Sound familiar?

And yes her age did have something to do with her sale it was Cunard’s desire to have a consistent fleet and she did not have Grill dining etc – investigations were made to introduce at least a Queens Grill section in her main Dining Room but none of the concepts proved satisfactory and that was an additional factor in her departure. Caronia would have been even more inconsistent than QE2 was with the direction Cunard was taking with its ships.

What I think Carnival / Cunard should have done with QE2 is to use her to take on Saga and Fred Olsen. Reduce her capacity (again) to 1,500 by closing the very bad cabins and unashamedly marketing her for the older generation market. But then even that market is demanding more - Saga's newbuilds compared to the current fleet show this.

Online Michael Gallagher

Every ship is for sale if people are prepared to pay the price being asked for them.

Yes the late 1990s / early 2000s ships are approaching the end of their lives but the vast majority of them have undergone significant refits (with cabins no doubt added) and money can still and will be made from them. With the market run by just a few cruise giants the problem is who can they be sold to and the original plan to offload older ships to developing markets (Australia, China etc) hasn't quite worked out as expected.

Back to topic...

Online Thomas Hypher

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Every ship is for sale if people are prepared to pay the price being asked for them.

Yes the late 1990s / early 2000s ships are approaching the end of their lives but the vast majority of them have undergone significant refits (with cabins no doubt added) and money can still and will be made from them. With the market run by just a few cruise giants the problem is who can they be sold to and the original plan to offload older ships to developing markets (Australia, China etc) hasn't quite worked out as expected.

Back to topic...

I suppose scrapping would be the only option left then when all profit making opportunity has been rinsed from the ships. It sure would make an amazing if not very morbid site when these large cruise ships start turning up at Alang and similar places in a few years time. Anyway enough is enough on that matter!

Caronia's situation definitely sounds familiar being echoed just a few years later as we all know! I think Caronia could have been in the "Cunard Classic" sub-brand along with QE2 as another British built ship (epitomising the best of British and almost being a time machine to a not so distant past). Why Carnival UK didn't pursue this with Cunard back in 2004/5 escapes me, they must have thought of the idea being quite savvy and all? I would've thought there would be enough of a market for 2 ships more dated in terms of amenities for some of the older generation of cruisers?

I must go about getting lunch as it won't cook itself or serve itself, the more's the pity!
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Peter Mugridge

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In terms of refits - and "no expense spared" - what if they'd "simply" demolished the passenger cabin decks, and everything inside, and built new sympathetic larger, more consistent ones on a wholesale basis.  That would be easier to sell (despite still having no balcony).

I get the impression that this is pretty much what is happening to her right now in Dubai?


One question - just to confirm that my memory is correct... there are several mentions in this thread of the 7 deck pool collapsing; am I right in remembering that this is the thalassotherapy pool?
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

 

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