RMS Queen Mary 2 (also referred to as the QM2) is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the largest and only major ocean liner built for the British Cunard Line since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, the vessel she succeeded as flagship of the Cunard Line.
The new ship was named Queen Mary 2 by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 after the first 1936 namesake ship RMS Queen Mary. Queen Mary was in turn named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. With the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2008, Queen Mary 2 is the only transatlantic ocean liner in line service between Southampton, England and New York City, New York, which operates for part of each year. The ship is also used for cruising, including an annual world cruise.
The ship was designed by a team of British naval architects led by Stephen Payne, and was constructed in France by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in 2003. At the time of her construction, Queen Mary 2 was the longest passenger ship ever built, and with her gross tonnage of 148,528 also the largest. She no longer holds this distinction after the construction of Royal Caribbean International’s 154,407 GT Freedom of the Seas in April 2006, but remains the largest ocean liner ever built.
Queen Mary 2 was intended for routine crossings of the Atlantic Ocean, and was therefore designed differently from many other passenger ships. The ship’s final cost was approximately $300,000 US per berth. Expenses were increased by the high quality of materials, and having been designed as an ocean liner, she required 40% more steel than a standard cruise ship. Queen Mary 2 has a maximum speed of just over 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and a cruising speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph), much faster than a contemporary cruise ship. Instead of the diesel-electric configuration found on many ships, Queen Mary 2 uses integrated electric propulsion to achieve her top speed. Diesel engines, augmented by gas turbines, are used to generate electricity for electric motors for propulsion and for on-board use.
Some of Queen Mary 2’s facilities include fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, and the first planetarium at sea.