A first look at Queen Anne, Cunard’s first new ship in 14 years

It’s a milestone week for Cunard as the cruise line welcomed Queen Anne to her homeport in Southampton, England, officially marking the first new ship in 14 years to join its fleet.

“Queen Anne is the 249th ship in our 184 year seafaring history,” Cunard president Katie McAlister announced onboard the ship during a preview event for members of the travel trade and international media, including PressToday. “We are renowned worldwide for our distinctive timeless British heritage and luxury experience.”

A significant milestone

Alongside Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth, this is the first time since 1999 that Cunard has had four ships in simultaneous service with Queen Anne’s debut.

“This is a significant milestone for us — it’s the first new ship in 14 years,” shared Matthew Gleaves, VP, Commercial, North America and Australasia, Cunard. “The brand has engaged renowned designers led by Adam Tihany, who has had top hospitality clients from all over the globe. They’ve spent endless hours in our archives in Liverpool. Believe it or not, we’re a brand that has its own museum so they’ve gone through those archives and you’ll see lots of those little hints throughout the ship and how they’ve weaved it into the design.”

The 113,000-ton, 3,000-guest Queen Anne spans 14 decks with 15 eateries ranging from lite bites, pub fare and wellness options to fine-dining venues.

“We see a trend that increasingly people are interested in wellness and their wellbeing, whether that be through the food they eat or their lifestyle and the time they spend on themselves,” noted Lee Powell, VP Brand & Product, Cunard. “We have a wellness studio where you can practice yoga, practice mindfulness classes, but with the benefit of seeing the ocean and the fresh air that breezes through that venue. Within the pavilion, we have a new wellness cafe with really wholesome, healthy breakfast options and salad bowls for lunch, really fresh offerings.”

Banksy art revealed

During the preview event, two Banksy pieces were unveiled as part of the art collection onboard the ship, including a piece called Love Is In The Air.

“It was released as a limited and numbered print — numbered out of only 500 in the world — one of which we have on the wall at present. The highest price that one of these has sold for is £215,000, that was back in 2022. There was also a signed contingent, 50 signed editions of this piece, the highest selling price for that is just over £500,000 pounds and that is for a print that we’re talking about rather than an original from Banksy so the collectability of these pieces is absolutely immense,” shared Sam Cox, art gallery manager on Queen Anne. “The image itself is showing the rioter, wearing his balaclava, his backwards baseball cap. You would expect to see something being thrown, something like a molotov cocktail or a grenade, instead you have the bouquet of flowers. Of course, the name Love Is In The Air, alluding to the idea that love is being spread rather than violence or hate. We go back to 2003 for that piece but the idea is still absolutely true today.”

Cunard has a new partnership with Harper’s Bazaar on Queen Anne to deliver a range of holistic wellness programs for passengers.

As part of a new partnership with the British Film Institute, a curated collection of 10 rotating shorts will also be screened during sailings.

As for the travel trade, Gleaves noted a record number of sales were made during this year’s Wave Season.

“Cunard has booked 28 per cent more guests during Wave this year than in the last decade,” he added.

Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge, who became the first female captain in the history of the cruise line in 2010, will lead Queen Anne’s maiden voyage today — May 3 — on a seven night journey to La Coruña and Lisbon.