5 knots and now it will be 32

THE QUEEN OF THE SEA IS READY TO TREAT ITS PASSENGERS AS ROYALTY

Long live the Queen!” The Queen, of course, is the Queen Elizabeth 2. On Wednesday the QE2 is scheduled to depart Southampton for New York City, arriving May 4, after undergoing a six month, $130 million overhaul that will propel her into the 21st Century.

After its trans Atlantic crossing last October, Cunard Lines 18 year old QE2 cruised to West Germanys Lloyd Werft dry dock at Bremerhaven for a massive re engining and refurbishing program. For what some cruise lines spend to build a ship from scratch, Cunards investment makes the QE2 the worlds most powerfully driven and perhaps the most luxurious ocean liner afloat.

The QE2s steam turbines were replaced with nine diesel electric generators that power two 350 ton main motors that produce 130,000 horsepower, making it the largest ship propulsion plant in the world in nonmilitary use. The engines use 50 percent less fuel oil, a savings of 250 tons of fuel oil each day.

Commanding all that power is Capt. Lawrence Portet, 61, a veteran of 44 years at sea on 40 ships.

”Our top speed had previously been 29.5 knots and now it will be 32.5 knots,” Portet said of Cunards flagship. ”This will enable us to maintain our scheduled service that much more efficiently. high quality designer replica handbags Well be able to divert for bad weather and still arrive on schedule.”

Portet, during a visit to Chicago cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk while the ship was in dry dock, said the sailing schedules were also rearranged to enable passengers to leave the ship at a more convenient time for onward transportation. For example, an earlier arrival in Southampton would allow passengers to arrive at their hotels much earlier in the evening 1:1 replica handbags , he replica louis vuitton bags from china said.

The QE2 is scheduled to make 25 trans Atlantic crossings this year, starting at $1,250 a person based on double occupancy, including a free return on British Airways. The Queen Mary/Queen Elizabeth split level suites go for $18 dolabuy.su ,540 on an air/sea super ”thrift” excursion. The ship carries 1,858 passengers.

”The QE2 is essentially coming out as a brand new state of the art ship,” Portet explained. ”For $130 million, it would be possible to build a new ship, but it would not be anything Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags approaching the QE2. The QE2s hull in its present state is so superb that to replace it would cost many times the present sum spent.

”The QE2 remains unique. The new ship has the capability to do cruises and trans Atlantic service. No other ship can do both. The new ships coming into service are not replica louis vuitton bags from china capable of a regular trans Atlantic service. For that you need hull formation under the water and length. With other improvements that will cheap replica handbags be made year by year as they have in the past the QE2 can continue service for another 20 years, maybe even 25 years.”

The 967 foot, 67,000 ton QE2 has enjoyed a lofty reputation since it entered service in May, 1969, following in the wake of two earlier queens, the Queen Mary now docked in Long Beach, Calif., as a hotel/museum, and the Queen Elizabeth, which was sold to a Japanese investor and moved to Hong Kong, where it caught fire and sank.

In 1982, the QE2 underwent $80 million in refurbishing after being pressed into service as a troop ship during Britains Falkland Islands conflict with Argentina.

While the QE2 enjoyed a proud reputation, there were occasional squawks from passengers about the ships food and service.

When asked about the food, Portet replied that Cunard and the QE2 ”are always looking at improvement and changes to increase the pleasure we give to the traveling public. The food is gourmet, 5 star plus, the best in the world. We have four replica designer handbags restaurants, three kitchens and internationally reknowned chefs.”

As for service, Portet acknowledged there would be improvements.

”The crew agreed overwhelmingly to go along with changes,” Portet said. Involved are about 800 people assigned to the hotel division, including stewards, stewardesses, waiters, cooks and barmen, all of whom by British law fall under the National Union of Seamen.

But Cunard fake louis bag negotiated for a nonunion hotel crew by offering the workers a ”redundancy payment,” essentially a severance payment, calculated by salary and years of service. The hotel crew, made up of British and Europeans, had the choice of signing on as nonunion Cunard employees.

”The entire hotel division is being reorganized,” Portet continued.

”Under the new arrangement, the restrictions that were placed on the operation (by the union contract) prior to this year will be removed. Well be able to do what is in the interest of the passengers.”

For example, Portet explained, ”Under the old contract, a room steward or stewardess would have to tell their passengers they were prevented from serving room service breakfasts on the last day of a cruise. In the future, they will not be restricted.”

In addition to her high quality designer replica handbags wholesale new propulsion plant, propellers, freshwater generators and other technical work that cost $1 million, the QE2 underwent $30 million in changes that passengers will enjoy.

Portet said eight luxury penthouse suites were added. ”We were finding the top accommodations, the most luxurious, sold first. The passengers who travel in them will be dining in a slightly larger Queens Grill, the top restaurant on board.” Passengers are assigned to one of four restaurants, depending upon their cabin accommodations. The menus vary slightly.

He said most of the passenger areas within the ship were completely redecorated and upgraded, including all cheap louis vuitton bags from china the restaurants. The Double Down Room was rearranged with shopping arcades, bar and recreational facilities for adults and teenagers. An IBM Computer high quality replica handbags china Center, installed three years ago, proved to be so popular that it was relocated and enlarged, Portet said.

”People can come on board with no knowledge of a computer and be taken through a course that will enable them to go home and enjoy operating a computer.”

Passengers aboard the floating city can shop at an enlarged Harrods of Londonand at such toney boutiques as Gucci, Christian Dior replica louis vuitton bags from china , Liberty of London, Aquascutum, Dunhill, H. Stern jewelers, Garrards (the crowns jewelers), Louis Vuitton, Pringle, Hanleys Toy Shop and Louis Feraud. Fortunately, the QE2 will have an American Express Bank, the only seagoing one.

Passengers can sample goodies at an international food bazaar, which will serve tidbits and drinks from around the world. Women can take advantage of an Elizabeth Arden beauty salon.

And for men who suddenly realize they forgot their tux, the QE2 will have Louis Feraud, as Portet described it, ”a gentleman tailoring facility offering Savile Row tailoring at its best.” Added Portet, ”We are in the top of the quality market.”

Besides its trans Atlantic crossings, the QE2 will cruise from her home port of New York to Bermuda and the Caribbean. And next year, from January to April, she will do her traditional around the world cruise.

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