Q Cruise + Travel and Cunard Line News

Here you will find some of the latest news issued by Cunard Line or information about Q Cruise + Travel (formerly Cruise Holidays Chicago) on Magnificent Mile, the Cunard certified cruise and leisure travel agency in Chicago and member of Cunard's exclusive group of Inner Circle travel agents.

Cunard Line Cunard Line Celebrates 200th Anniversary of “Pride and Prejudice” with Special Tour on Select Queen Mary 2 Voyages

Site Excursions Illuminate the Life of Renowned Author Jane Austen

1 March 2013 – In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice,” Cunard Line will offer a special site tour highlighting the famed author’s regional ties to Southampton, England, Cunard’s home port.

Four-day, three-night tours are available pre- and post-sailing for select Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossings and Europe voyages between April and December of this year, and include lodging and select meals.

  Jane Austen's House Museum

Site visits include:
- Jane Austen’s House Museum: Tour the 17th century Chawton village home where Austen wrote many of her major works
- Winchester Cathedral: Pay respects at Austen’s burial site and view an exhibition of her life and work
- Chawton House Library: Visit this historic manor, which Austen frequented, featuring a robust collection of 18th century women’s literary works
- Salisbury Cathedral: While viewing the original Magna Carta, tour the location for the 1995 award-winning film, “Sense and Sensibility,” which was based on the eponymous Austen novel

"Jane Austen resided in Southampton for some time, and so we are delighted to provide our guests a glimpse into this beloved writer's life," said Peter Shanks, president, Cunard Line. "The Austen tours are the perfect complement to enjoying the British heritage of a Cunard voyage, either before or after sailing."

Sample 2013 voyages featuring these pre- and post-voyage tours include, but are not limited to, the following:
• 17 July for the seven-day 20 July westbound Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton to New York
• 5 August for the seven-day 8 August westbound Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton to New York
• 29 September for the seven-day 22 September eastbound Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton
• 11 December for the 11-day 30 November Iberian Serenade roundtrip from Southampton

The only liner to provide regularly scheduled Transatlantic service and offering a selection of enticing European voyages from the unique perspective of a Cunard Queen, Queen Mary 2 offers the ultimate luxury cruise vacation, rich in classic British traditions, fine cuisine and stimulating on board enrichment.

Evenings aboard Queen Mary 2 are filled with Royal Nights themed balls, where guests can dance the night away to a live orchestra in the Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea; while days are spent visiting grand destinations and, for sea days, with leisurely activities such as perusing more than 8,000 books in the largest library at sea, enjoying traditional white-gloved afternoon tea, or exploring the cosmos in Illuminations, the only planetarium at sea.

For more information about the special “Pride and Prejudice” 200th Anniversary site tours, visit http://www.cunard.com/janeausten.

For more information about Queen Mary 2 or to book a voyage, consult Cruise Holidays Chicago or visit www.cunardcommodore.com.

Cruise Holidays Chicago accepts reservations for Cunard Line 2013-2014 schedule from April 24, 2012 onwards; offers extra shipboard credits 

5 April 2012 – Cruise Holidays Chicago on Magnificent Mile, the Cunard Commodore certified specialist agency and part of Cunard's exclusive Inner Circle agencies, will start accepting reservations for the 2013-2014 Cunard Voyage Progamme on April 24, 2012.  Guests who book by April 30 during Cruise Holidays' Cunard Spring Sales event will receive additional shipboard credits on most sailings.

Cunard's 2013 Voyage Programme offers an extensive range of sailings across its three ships featuring 106 voyages visiting 99 ports in 35 countries. Highlights include several maiden calls and overnight stays, and multiple departures for its most popular itineraries, including the St. Petersburg & Baltic Explorer, Fjords & Waterfalls and Greek Isles & Mediterranean Treasures voyages. 

Cunard brings over 170 years of maritime heritage to the youngest, luxury fleet at sea – flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth – acquainting guests with captivating destinations and the Line's enduring grandeur, glamour and elegance. For those seeking to experience a luxury cruise vacation aboard Cunard, the Line's classic traditions and legendary White Star Service coupled with contemporary and sophisticated on board offerings provide an unmatched ocean travel experience.

Queen Mary 2 will continue to offer her legendary Transatlantic Crossings between New York and Southampton, as well as to Hamburg, while Queen Victoria will spend her full 2013 season sailing Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and Atlantic Isles, Iberia and Morocco, with a new 24-day voyage to the Black Sea and Turkey; and Queen Elizabeth will spend much of her season travelling from Southampton to Northern Europe and sailing the Mediterranean from Venice, Athens, Rome and Southampton.

Queen Mary 2

The grandest ocean liner at sea, Queen Mary 2, will sail a total of 17 Transatlantic Crossings between New York and Southampton from May 2013 to January 2014. In addition to the flagship's popular seven-day Transatlantic voyages, Cunard introduces two eight-day Crossings, providing guests the most of Queen Mary 2's exceptional travel experience and more time to enjoy the unique sense of timelessness that only a Transatlantic voyage can provide. Extended nine- and ten-day Crossings between New York and Hamburg will also be available.

These longer Crossings offer additional time to explore the ship's extensive on board amenities and activities, including lectures through the award-winning Cunard Insights programme; stargazing in the only planetarium at sea; white-gloved afternoon tea served in the Queens Room or a spin around the dance floor during a Royal Nights themed ball; taking in a performance or workshop by members of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; or perusing the 8,000 volumes in the largest library at sea. Guests travelling select European itineraries also may opt to combine their voyage with Transatlantic Crossings on either side, creating a "Grand" voyage.

Queen Mary 2 will also continue ventures to Northern Europe, plus roundtrip New York departures to New England and Canada – featuring an overnight stay in Quebec – and a visit to the Caribbean just in time for the holidays. Maiden calls for Queen Mary 2 include Andalsnes, Norway and Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda.

Fares for the following voyages start from:
• Seven-day Transatlantic Crossings: $1199
• Eight-day Transatlantic Crossings: $1499
• Seven-day Fjords & Waterfalls: $1699
• Five-day 4th of July Getaway: $1349
• 12-day Autumn Colours (New England/Canada): $2499
• 15-day Northern Highlights: $2999
• 21-day Grand Fjords & Waterfalls: $4399

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria will sail a range of voyages from Southampton to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Isles, Iberia and Morocco, including the popular seven-day Fjords & Waterfalls itinerary (Norway) and the St. Petersburg & Baltic Explorer voyage, with an overnight stay in St. Petersburg.  Additionally, Queen Victoria will sail a series of Mediterranean voyages ranging from 12 to 17 days and, new for 2013, a 24-day voyage to the Black Sea and Turkey. Maiden ports include Agadir, Morocco; Isafjordur, Iceland; Palau–Costa Smeralda, Italy; Torshavn, Faroe Islands; and Warnemunde, Germany. Overnight stays include St. Petersburg, Istanbul and Madeira (two nights).

Fares for the following voyages start from:
• 10-day Iberia & Moroccan Highlights: $1499
• 14-day Mediterranean Medley: $3099
• 14-day St. Petersburg & Baltic Explorer: $2999
• 15-day Geysers & Glaciers: $3199
• 24-day Black Sea & Turkish Splendours: $5399

Guests sailing aboard Queen Victoria enjoy many distinctive features including the first private theatre boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre; the classic art of fencing; Cunardia, a museum display of historic artifacts; and nods to HM Queen Victoria including original etchings drawn by The Queen and Prince Albert.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth's 2013 schedule will take her to Iceland, the Norwegian Fjords, the British Isles and the Baltic Sea. Later in the season, she will reposition to the Mediterranean and embark on eight voyages from Venice, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Athens (Piraeus). These popular itineraries again include the Greek Isles and Holy Land voyages, and maiden ports include Akureyri, Iceland; Goteborg, Sweden; Isafjordur, Iceland; Izmir, Turkey; Marseilles, France; Reykjavik, Iceland; Salerno, Italy; Split, Croatia; Valencia, Spain; and Warnemunde, Germany. Overnight calls include St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Copenhagen and Venice.

Fares for the following voyages start from:
• 7-day Fjords & Waterfalls: $1399
• 12-day Greek Isles & Holy Land Explorer: $1799
• 12-day Mediterranean Odyssey: $1799
• 12-day Adriatic & Black Sea Explorer: $2499
• 14-day St. Petersburg & Baltic Explorer: $2799
All referenced fares are per person, based on double occupancy.

Queen Elizabeth's grand art deco interiors and unique art works, which pay homage to both the original Queen Elizabeth and Great Britain's Royal Family, continue to fascinate and delight guests who sail aboard the Line's newest Cunarder. The ship's Grand Lobby prominently displays the 18.5 ft. marquetry piece of the original Queen Elizabeth created by David Linley, only nephew of Her Majesty The Queen; and a specially commissioned portrait of The Queen, created by artist Isobel Peachey particularly for Queen Elizabeth's 2010 debut.

World Club members enjoy an On Board Credit of up to $1,100 per stateroom, and are available to guests who book by 30 June 2012 for all Summer and Fall 2013 voyages of seven days or longer. Offer not applicable to third and fourth berth guests.

Download the Cunard's 2013 Voyages Preview Calendar (pdf).

Reservations for Cunard's 2013 voyages will open for booking on 24 April 2012. To ensure the best availability and stateroom selection, please call Cruise Holidays Chicago at 888-744-7397 or 312-266-7447 before that date, so we can be prepared to pick the best room or suite for you. 

Rob Clabbers of Cruise Holidays Chicago talks about Cruise Travel Safety on FOX TV

As cruise travel specialists, the experts at Cruise Holidays Chicago are frequently invited by the media to provide their insight on the cruise line and travel industry. 

On November 12, 2010, FOX TV "Good Day Chicago" invited Rob Clabbers, president of Cruise Holidays Chicago, to speak with anchors Corey McPherrin and Kori Chambers about cruise line safety. (Click the below image to open the FOX Chicago's website in a new window.  Click on the play button on that site to start the video.)


Cruise Holidays Chicago invited to Royal Naming Ceremony of Queen Elizabeth

19 October 2010 - Cruise Holidays Chicago was one of Cunard Line's top producing U.S. travel agents who travelled to Southampton, England to attend the Royal Naming Ceremony and related festivities of Cunard Line’s new Queen Elizabeth on 11 October. The group gathered in the ship’s Grand Lobby shortly after Her Majesty The Queen christened the liner in front of more than 1,500 invited guests.

  Top producing agents on Queen Elizabeth

Joining some of the top Cunard agents are Cunard executives Jan Swartz, executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service; as well as Elena Rodriguez, director of charter and incentive sales/national accounts, and Anthony Viciana, regional sales director.

Pictured in the group are (L-R):
- (back row) Mark Kammerer, Rob Swartz, Julian Menken, Anthony Viciana, John Lovell and Rob Clabbers of Cruise Holidays Chicago
- (middle row) Julia Haisley Smith, Elena Rodriguez, Audrey Johnston and Nancy Magee 
- (front row) Sabrina Greca, Jackie Friedman, Jan Swartz, Dorothy Reminick, Valerie Wilson and
Elizabeth Langton.

The group posed under the Grand Lobby’s signature art installation depicting the original
Queen Elizabeth. The 18 and a half foot panel was crafted by renowned marquetry artist David Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and famed photographer, Lord Snowden, and also the only nephew of Her Majesty The Queen.   

Her Majesty the Queen to Name Queen Elizabeth

Cunard Line is pleased to announce that Her Majesty The Queen will name the company’s new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name, at a ceremony to take place in Southampton, England on Monday, 11 October 2010.

The naming will be a milestone in British maritime history and will be a major event of worldwide interest.

“The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be an historic event in the true sense of the word,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The Queen launched Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner, Queen Elizabeth,” added Shanks.

Her Majesty was also present at the age of 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth on 27 September 1938 when she accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to Clydebank for the launch.

The Naming Ceremony will take place in Southampton on Monday, 11 October and Queen Elizabeth will set sail on her Maiden Voyage the following day.

Other historic namings of Cunard ships by British royalty over the Line’s 170-year history include the following:

  • Her Majesty The Queen, as Princess Elizabeth, launched Caronia, the ‘Green Goddess,’ in 1947.
  • Her Majesty Queen Mary, wife of King George V, launched Queen Mary in 1934 – and in so doing became the first British Monarch ever to launch a merchant ship. His Majesty King George V accompanied his wife.
  • The late Queen Mother, as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, launched Queen Elizabeth in 1938. Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret accompanied their mother.
  • HRH The Princess Margaret launched Carinthia in 1955.
  • HRH The Duchess of Cornwall named Queen Victoria in Southampton in December 2007. HRH The Prince of Wales was also in attendance.   

Construction of new Queen Elizabeth begins

2 July 2009 – Today a ceremony to mark the keel laying of Cunard Line’s new Queen Elizabeth was held at the Monfalcone shipyard of Fincantieri near Trieste, Italy. The second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Elizabeth’s keel is the third Cunard has lain in the space of seven years. When she enters service in October 2010, she will join Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria as not only the most famous ocean liners in the world but also the youngest fleet in passenger travel.

The keel laying involves the placement in the dry dock of the first section of the ship’s hull. This section is made up of six pre-manufactured blocks, weighs 364 tons and is fitted with 104 tons of pipes, cables, insulation and other equipment.

The ceremony followed an intensive period of design and development. Fifty-three sections will be used in the construction of Queen Elizabeth and she will take to the water for the first time at her float out in December.

“We are delighted to be back here among our friends at Fincantieri so soon after we took delivery of Queen Victoria in 2007—the first Cunarder to be built in Italy—and I am sure that Queen Elizabeth will be just as popular and successful as her two sister ships,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. “We at Cunard are always impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm of everyone at Fincantieri, and we look forward to the next year-and-a half of working closely with them on this ship, which will be nurtured by their skill and vision and built into a vessel equal in stature to the other great Cunard liners,” she added.

Paolo Capobianco, director of Fincantieri Shipyard, said, “Our company is the heir to the Italian shipbuilding industry and the world leader in cruise ship construction and believes, as Cunard does, in the possibility and the need of actively matching tradition and innovation. Building a new liner for Cunard is a special achievement for Fincantieri and takes us right to our roots, fostering both our determination to build once again a passenger ship of high technological content and unmistakable style, reflecting the best of the industry and tailored to the needs and requirements of the ship owner.”

Queen Elizabeth will feature the unique Cunard traditions linking her with her sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria and their predecessors, together with all the modern day luxuries Cunard’s guests have come to expect and some exciting features that will give the vessel her own style and personality.

Named after the first Queen Elizabeth, one of Cunard’s greatest ships, the new Queen Elizabeth will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist. From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at an experience that differentiates a Cunard liner from a modern-day cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship’s adherence to liner traditions, with elegant double and triple height public rooms on a grand scale, luxuriously endowed with rich wood panelling, intricate mosaics, gleaming chandeliers and cool marbles. Art Deco features will pay homage to the original Queen Elizabeth and will allow the new ship to reflect a more civilized era of travel.

Furthermore, in addition to the extensive Cunard entertainment programme on board, Queen Elizabeth will offer some unique strands inspired by the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, such as country house parties at sea, evening piano sing-a-longs and period dancing, from traditional ballroom to the jitterbug and the jive, all within the setting of this 21st century ship.

As successor to Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship will also reflect this great liner through artworks and memorabilia and its very own “Yacht Club.”

Queen Elizabeth will also pay homage to the links that Cunard has enjoyed with royalty and the maritime world over the years with photography, memorabilia and exhibits.

Queen Elizabeth will depart on her Maiden Voyage on 12 October 2010—a voyage which sold out in a record-breaking 29 minutes 14 seconds in April 2009. This 13-night celebration will leave from Cunard’s home port of Southampton and will call at Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Lisbon, Seville (Cadiz), Gran Canaria (Las Palmas), Tenerife (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, an overnight call), La Palma (Santa Cruz de La Palma) and Madeira (Funchal).

Her Maiden Season will run from October 2010 to January 2011 and include voyages to the Western and Central Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Fares start from just $1,195 per person for the five-night 26 November 2010 Gallic Debut voyage with ports of call at Amsterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre; while the 13-night Iberian Discovery voyage departing 1 December 2010 features fares from $2,395 per person, with ports of call at Vigo, Lisbon, Seville, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma and Madeira.

The world’s newest ocean liner will depart Southampton on 5 January 2011 on her 103-night epic Maiden World Voyage, which has just been released for sale. This will see her make 35 maiden calls, including Cunard’s first call ever at Port Denarau (Fiji). In total, Queen Elizabeth will call at 38 ports in 24 countries as she makes her way west around the globe, with maiden transits of both the Panama and Suez Canals and calls at Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Lisbon. Queen Elizabeth will be in great company as her sisters will be present on several occasions during the voyage: she will sail in tandem to New York with Queen Victoria before all three Queens will meet for a Cunard Royal Rendezvous in New York on 13 January 2011; and then she meets with Queen Mary 2 in Sydney and Civitavecchia and Queen Victoria again in Aruba. Full World Voyage fares aboard Queen Elizabeth start from $19,995; Queen Elizabeth’s Segment World Voyage fares start from $2,545. Fares are based per person, double occupancy.

For more information and to book a voyage aboard the new Queen Elizabeth, contact Cruise Holidays of Chicago at (888) 744 7397 or (773) 549 7447.

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Cruise Holidays of Chicago accepts reservations for Cunard's new Queen Elizabeth from April 1, 2009

In preparation for the Maiden Season of Queen Elizabeth, the latest Cunard liner to join the fleet in October 2010, Cruise Holidays of Chicago is accepting reservations on the first six introductory cruises from April 2, 2009 onwards.  Cunard World Club members and past passengers may book as early as April 1, 2009.  Itineraries are now listed on our Europe Cruises page.

Queen Mary 2 entered service in January 2004 just four days after being named by Her Majesty The Queen during the most spectacular naming ceremony Southampton, her home port, had ever seen. Since that historic entry into service, Queen Mary 2 has sailed almost 750,000 nautical miles, completed 104 Atlantic crossings (the route for which she was specifically built, the first passenger ship to be built for that trade in 35 years), and made calls to 115 ports in 45 countries. She will spend her fifth birthday in the Caribbean.

Since becoming Cunard’s flagship in May 2004, taking over the mantle from QE2, Queen Mary 2 has also become one of the most celebrated ships in the world and successfully continues the Cunard passenger liner tradition established almost 170 years ago.

“This is an important milestone for Queen Mary 2 and we are very proud of her many achievements,” said Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard Line. “In her young life, Queen Mary 2 has attracted thousands of well-wishers in many ports around the world, achieving iconic status.”

To mark her fifth birthday, Queen Mary 2 will undertake a “lap of honour” around the UK departing from Southampton on October 15, 2009. This will be her first voyage around Britain, a journey that became so popular for QE2 to undertake as crowds came out to welcome her in every port. It is expected that Queen Mary 2, as the flagship of the British merchant fleet, should continue this Cunard tradition. This voyage will feature maiden calls for Queen Mary 2 at Greenock and Liverpool - ports which have close historic ties with Cunard.

"Cunard is one of the oldest names in shipping; however, we currently are sailing the youngest fleet in the industry which we are poised to continue upon the new Queen Elizabeth’s debut in 2010," Marlow added.

For more information and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, consult your Cruise Holidays of Chicago Cunard certified travel agent at (773) 549 7447, call toll-free 1-888-744 7397 or go to www.CunardCommodore.com

For More Information and Current Availability:

  • Call us at (312) 266 7447 or (888) 744 7397.  We will check on the latest fares and availability and help plan the perfect Cunard experience.

  • Visit our Transatlantic Cruise Schedules and Offers page.

  • Check Cunard Cruise Schedule and Virtuoso amenities
    Our Q Cruise + Travel Virtuoso website will open in a new window and display a wide range of available Cunard cruises and Transatlantic Crossings. You can further refine your search by specifying your preferred destination(s), travel dates, departure cities and more.  Virtuoso amenities and exclusive benefits will display too.  Not all Q Cruise + Travel fares and extra amenities will display online, so we recommend that you give our certified Cunard experts a call at (888) 744 7397 or (312) 266 7447 for the latest availability and pricing.

*Fares are in US Dollars, cruise only, non-air, per person, based on double occupancy, subject to availability, capacity controlled and include Non-Commissionable Fares.  Government taxes and fees are additional and subject to change. Airfare, transfers, travel insurance, gratuities and items of a personal nature are additional. Balcony rooms on Queen Mary 2 or Oceanview rooms on Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth may have an obstructed view. Cunard Flash Fares require instant payment, are non-refundable and not combinable with other discounts or special offers.  Cruise fares are subject to availability and subject to change without prior notice.  Q Cruise + Travel is not responsible for typographical or other errors. At the time of communication, no fuel supplement is in effect, however, Cunard reserves the right to impose a fuel supplement in the future.

Q Cruise + Travel terms and conditions, as well as those of cruise line and other travel suppliers apply to all reservations.  Ship's Registry: Bermuda.