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Cunard: The History and The Centenary World Voyages

Cunard: The History and The Centenary World Voyages

Cunard is one of the oldest cruise lines out there and with 180 years of cruising under their belts, they have a wealth of experience and stories to tell. 

They began their journey in 1840 when Samuel Cunard first established the cruise line in Halifax Nova Scotia. His ships were the first steam-powered ferries in the area and provided Princes Edward Island with a mail service across the Atlantic. For fresh milk, cows were kept on board and were used for meat at the end of each voyage. Also, during the first EVER Cunard Transatlantic Crossing, Charles Dickens sailed onboard Britannia in July 1840. 

In 1850 Cunard solidified their place within international shipping and were used to carry horses to the Crimean war as well as aiding charge of the Light Brigade. In 1870 Cunard introduced the first flushing toilets at sea which as you can imagine was a huge relief for both passengers and crew. During the 1880s, Cunard brought over 2.5 million people to America as part of the mass immigration and also launched Servia which was the first steel ship with electrical lighting. 

Cunard was really starting to take shape into what we know cruising as today in the 20th century and their ships were being advertised as ‘floating palaces’ with design features similar to The Ritz. To increase the maximum speed of the ships Cunard launched Lusitania and Mauretania which both had revolutionary steam turbines. 

Moving forward to the 1950s and 1960s Cunard was welcoming stars from Hollywood onboard their iconic Transatlantic Crossings. Stars such as Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth and Walt Disney all travelled onboard their famous ships. The decade ended with the launch of Queen Elizabeth 2 who sailed over 5 million miles during her 39 years at sea. 

In the 1980s Cunard launched a new fly-cruise packaged with Concorde as well as Queen Elizabeth 2 travelling to the Falklands with 3,000 troops in 1982 before having her steam engines replaced in 1986. 

During the 1990s Cunard saw welcomed more famous faces onboard including Rod Stewart and David Bowie. Not only that, Cunard officially joined the Carnival group in 1999 ready to hit the millennium with a bang. 

Cunard’s history makes up a huge part of who they are today and all these unique events over the last 180 years are as iconic today as they were then. 

Celebrating these historic events has always been important to Cunard and 2023 marks 100 years since RSM Laconia completed Cunard’s first World Voyage and to celebrate they’re embarking on a season of global adventures inspired by this pioneering feat in ocean travel.

Taking inspiration from RMS Laconia’s ground-breaking journey, they’re fleet will embark on two Centenary World Voyages in 2023, calling at ten ports originally featured on that historic circumnavigation of the globe by a passenger ship.

For her Centenary World Voyage, Queen Victoria will embark on a 101-night programme, visiting 26 ports in 20 countries, ten of which RMS Laconia also called at. She’ll treat guests to time ashore in Aruba, Jordan, Tonga and Mexico, a full transit of the Panama Canal, and overnight stays in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore, as part of an invigorating global itinerary.

Queen Mary 2 will also embark on a Centenary World Voyage in 2023, delighting guests with a 102-night voyage featuring four of RMS Laconia’s original ports of call. She’ll chart a course that transits the Suez Canal, stopping overnight in Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Cape Town, as she sails roundtrip from Southampton on a landmark travel adventure that spans Asia, Australia and South Africa.

Each Centenary World Voyage will be complemented by a series of shorter travel adventures, with Queen Elizabeth undertaking full circumnavigations of Australia and Japan as part of her 2022 – 2023 season.

If you’re interested in celebrating 100 years of Cunard’s first World Voyage or are keen to secure your place onboard one of their 2022/2023 sailings, click HERE

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