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The "Queen Mary 2" hosts the world's first onboard planetarium

The Queen Mary 2A brand new cruise ship built for the Cunard line features the world's first floating planetarium. The "Queen Mary 2" is scheduled to embark on her maiden voyage in January 2004 with a theatre equipped with a Sky - Skan Inc.'s SkyVision video and DigitalSky Planetarium system. The 150-seat theatre will present star shows three times a day.

Additional highlights of the onboard astronomy programme will include international guest presenters, and the chance for guests to view the real sky from a top deck following the evening presentations.

Depending on the specific cruise, guests will be able to view either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere's astronomical delights. The "Queen Mary 2" will regularly make the six - day transatlantic crossings along with special trips to the Caribbean, Rio de Janeiro, and other sites in Europe and the Americas.

The "Queen Mary 2" will carry 2,620 passengers and is costing a whopping $800 million to build. It will be the largest, longest, tallest and widest passenger ship ever built. The "Queen Mary 2" planetarium will join two dozen other SkyVision installations around the world.

On the 25th september, the Queen Mary 2 spent 3 days on sea trials. Click here for more.

Queen officially names Queen Mary 2


The Queen officially named the Queen Mary 2 - the world's biggest and most expensive cruise ship - in a lavish ceremony at Southampton.

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen was first touring the 150,000-tonne Cunard liner before naming the £550 million vessel in front of more than 2,000 guests. It was the first time the Queen had named a Cunard ship since the launch in 1967 of the QE2, whose Southampton to New York service will be taken over by the 2,620-passenger QM2 in April.

Among the guests at Southampton were John Prescott and Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.Lesley Garrett and pop singer Heather Small will both perform at the quayside ceremony, which includes a fireworks display.Then, after the departure of the Royal couple, guests were staying on board the 1,132ft-long vessel for a gala dinner.

The QM2, capable of a top speed of 34mph, leaves on its maiden, fare-paying passenger voyage on Monday when it sails from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.The QM2 has 1,310 cabins, including four royal suites and six penthouses. The standard cabins, at 194 sq ft, are the largest of any British-registered passenger ship and 955 of the cabins have balconies.

As well as a plethora of swimming pools, bars, restaurants and public rooms, the QM2 also boasts an art gallery, a casino and a cinema that can convert into a planetarium.

The Cunard Line has had an illustrious history, and its ships have been renowned for providing luxury accommodation on the Atlantic route, and have even served their countries in times of war.

  • In 1915, during World War 1, the Cunard liner "Lusitania" was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat off the South - West coast of Ireland, with the loss of some 1,195 lives.
  • Following the 1912 tragedy of the sinking of the "Titanic", it was Cunard's ship "Carpathia" which was first on the scene to pick up the survivors. The Carpathia was only recently discovered by NUMA (the National Underwater and Marine Agency) on May 27 2000, rests 500 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean in waters 120 miles south of Fastnet, Ireland. Many will know NUMA as being the home of fictional character, Dirk Pitt in the author Clive Cussler's best-selling adventure series of books (highly recommended). Cussler uses the money he receives from writing to fund NUMA. It's purpose is to preserve our maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey and conservation of shipwreck artifacts.


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