Cunard Line

The Last Ocean Liners


Cunard Line In the final decades of the ocean liner era, the 1950s and 1960s, the Cunard Steamship Company of Great Britain was by far the best known shipping line in the world. Cunard carried a third of all the North Atlantic passengers, and more than their share of the rich and famous. The line was most noted for its two legendary superliners, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, the largest passenger ships in the world. They were the ultimate expression of the art deco style at sea.

The ships were completed prior to World War II, but due to the pressing need for them as troop transports, they were not able to begin their tandem service until 1947. Then for two decades they were a great success as the two most glamorous running mates on the high seas, earning great profits and worldwide acclaim for the Cunard Line.

Cunard Line British and other European royalty were frequent passengers in First class, along with Hollywood stars and millionaires. Businessmen, politicians, religious leaders and tourists mainly filled the Cabin and Tourist class berths.

Their precise schedule of five day crossings from New York to Cherbourg and Southampton was timed so that one of the behemoth ocean liners departed New York every Wednesday, arriving in England on the following Monday. They normally sailed westbound every Thursday, to arrive in New York on Tuesday in time for turnaround the next day.

Cunard Line The Mauretania served a supplementary role, sailing from New York to Cobh (6 days), Le Havre and Southampton (7 days). A notable vessel even in comparison to many national flagships, she was in style and decor a smaller version of the Queen Elizabeth. In her final years she was assigned mainly to cruising and painted in shades of green.

"It's all part of Cunard's First Class mood as you cross the Atlantic to Europe. It's a holiday mood. A mood that lasts for five wonderful days, dispels cares, creates enchantment - the extra value which comes with every Cunard ticket. Getting there is half the fun ... go Cunard."

Cunard Line The decision was made in 1964 that there was still sufficient demand for Atlantic crossings by sea, such that a new superliner was ordered, to be equally suited to both crossing and cruising. Thus, the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 admirably fulfilled both roles for 35 years, extending Cunard Line's legacy into the 21st century. Then in 2004, the QE2 was replaced on the transatlantic run by the biggest and most superlative ocean liner of them all, the Queen Mary 2. Cunard Line now occupies a niche in the contemporary cruise industry as the only company to operate regular line voyages.

Go to Cunard Line Sailing Schedules

Queen Mary - 1936 - Cunard Line
Queen Mary Cunard Line
Built: 1936 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland Gross tons: 81237 Length: 1019ft (311m) Width: 119ft (36m) Depth: 39ft (12m) Speed: 28.5kn Power: 200000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines quadruple screw Passengers: 711 First 707 Cabin 577 Tourist End of service: Sold 1967

Queen Elizabeth - 1940 - Cunard Line
Queen Elizabeth Cunard Line
Built: 1940 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland Gross tons: 83673 Length: 1031ft (314m) Width: 119ft (36m) Depth: 39ft (12m) Speed: 28.5kn Power: 200000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines quadruple screw Passengers: 823 First 622 Cabin 798 Tourist End of service: Sold 1968

Mauretania - 1939 - Cunard Line
Mauretania Cunard Line
Built: 1939 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, England Gross tons: 35655 Length: 772ft (235m) Width: 89ft (27m) Depth: 30ft (9m) Speed: 23kn Power: 42000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 470 First 370 Cabin 300 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1965

Queen Elizabeth 2 - 1969 - Cunard Line
Queen Elizabeth 2 Cunard Line
Built: 1969 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland Gross tons: 65862 Length: 936ft (285m) Width: 105ft (32m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 28.5kn Power: 110000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 564 First 1441 Tourist End of service: Cruising only from 2004; sold 2008

Queen Mary 2 - 2004 - Cunard Line
Queen Mary 2 Cunard Line
Built: 2004 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St Nazaire, France Gross tons: 148528 Length: 1132ft (345m) Width: 134ft (41m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 28.5kn Power: 157000 bhp Propulsion: Gas/diesel quadruple pods Passengers: 2620 One class End of service: Currently in service