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From The Archives - Cunard's Secret Q5 Project

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    From The Archives - Cunard's Secret Q5 Project

    A lot of discussions took place in the mid 1980's concerning the life span of QE2 and whether a new Queen liner should be built. A final decision rested on the strength of the QE2's hull, which was strong and was felt by ship surveyors could last another 20 years or so. Given this and the potential cost of a new Queen a decision was made to re-engine the QE2 which took place at the end of 1986. That six-month operation is still the largest project of its kind ever undertaken! That decision would ultimately prove the correct one but Cunard and its owner, Trafalgar House, knew that a new ocean liner would still be required at some point even though QE2’s new engines were designed to give her a further 20-year lifespan.

    Initially known as ‘Century 21’ it seemed fitting to begin using ‘Q5’ for the project as this would become the fifth Queen liner for Cunard (or sixth if Berengaria was included) despite the original replacement for Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in the 1959s (‘Q3’) never leaving the drawing board. The use of ‘Q5’ rekindled memories of the British comedian Spike Milligan’s ‘Q...’ surreal comedy TV series which ran from 1969 to 1982. It was rumoured he’d been inspired by the use of ‘Q3’ and ‘Q4’ (QE2) by Cunard that the six seasons of ‘Q...’ were known as ‘Q5’, ‘Q6’ and so on.

    While a project like ‘Q5’ was usually not discussed publicly by Cunard it did become public knowledge when market research for a new ocean liner was undertaken with various groups outside the company. The questionnaire circulated clearly stated Atlantic crossings of 3.5 – 4 days and even one-way fares of $2,175 were printed. Despite this Cunard never formally confirmed they were planning a new Queen even when the UK press excitedly reported that Cunard was planning a new ship to be called Princess Diana.

    Internal documents show that ‘Q5’ was to have entered service in 1991 and that she would have been very revolutionary – perhaps the most revolutionary liner ever. ‘Q5’ was to be a two-funnelled, 90,000-ton gas-turbine ship capable of 40 knots! Such a revolutionary ship would have have offered four classes of accommodation: two Super Deluxe, a First and a Tourist Class with the latter initially having to enjoy buffet food - for which they would pay extra (this concept was way ahead of cruise lines such as Aida and Ocean Village which would appear several years later). With QE2 having received new engines she would have worked together with ‘Q5’ but trade in Japanese, Pacific and Alaskan markets while ‘Q5’ would assume QE2’s Atlantic mantle.

    Designing ‘Q5’ was a challenge and Cunard and Trafalgar House couldn't agree on final design details and were never satisfied with their profile of the new ship. The design and development costs started to spiral. Cunard approached the noted Norwegian ship architect Njall Eide and he was drafted in to work on the design – just as James Gardner had been drafted in to work on QE2 in the 1960s. The result was a ship streamlined to within an inch and the two funnels had been replaced with three grouped together and swept backwards toward the stern.
    Cunard’s Q5 Concept Specification Document (Revision 6) dated November 1990 revealed:

    OBJECTIVE

    · A 40-knot ship capable of crossing the Atlantic in four days
    · 2,400 passengers
    · 1,400 of these in First Class (about 700 of these in Grills)
    · Multiple Grill Restaurants
    · Classic lines
    · An overall experience to command superliner pricing
    · Acceptable return on investment to Trafalgar House
    · Panamax Hull

    MARKETING PARAMETERS

    · Minimum deck head of 7.6 ft free space in the main portion of the cabin
    · Public room deck head heights similar to QE2
    · Accommodation range similar to QE2 (size)
    · Need a Concierge Lounge concept for Grill accommodations (in the bedroom area)
    · Need to maximise the use of outside space for accommodation and inside space for public room use
    · Need greater emphasis on classic ocean liner amenities like a grand staircase verses a cruise style amenity such as an atrium
    · Need a good distribution of deck space in more than one area
    · Need unique public spaces (eg Lincoln Center at Sea?)
    · Accommodation classes cannot be mixed in one area
    · No need for tendered that carry more than 250 people

    Passengers 2500
    CLASS NUMBER CABIN SIZE
    Super Class (A) 600 sq ft
    Super Class (B) 750 total in Super Class 400 sq ft
    First Class 700 225 sq ft
    Tourist Class 1050 160 – 180 sq ft
    RESTAURANTS

    · Buffet facilities – comprehensive for lunch and breakfast and alternative dinner service
    · Super Class – four smaller restaurants: two with a 125 passenger capacity and two with a 250 passenger capacity with one sitting each
    · First Class – two restaurants each for 350 passengers with one sitting each
    · Tourist Class – one restaurant for 525 passengers with two sittings

    PUBLIC SPACES

    · Generally integrated but some special spaces for Super Class
    · Generally high public space to passenger rations
    · Board and Meeting Facilities (Restaurant daytime use?)
    · Comprehensive Spa facility
    · Maximum dual use of space (ie Buffet facility becomes disco at night etc)
    · Indoor – Outdoor spaces suitable for a variety of trading areas
    · Casino
    · No Cinema (show movies in meeting facilities)
    · Indoor and Outdoor Swimming Pools

    DIMENSIONS

    · Panamax
    · Draft as necessary but not to exceed 35 feet

    TECHNICAL

    · Speed: 37.5 knots average normal service; 41 knots maximum service speed and 44 knots trial speed
    · Flat consumption curve – 100 days per year 37.5 knots; 250 days 28 knots average
    · Range: 10,000 miles at 25 knots; 7,000 miles at 37.5 knots
    · Water: make daily requirement in 12 hours at sea. Five days storage.
    · Engines: minimize noise / vibration

    one or two fuel ship
    minimize operating costs
    cheapest fuel possible

    · Sewage / garbage – advanced
    · Manouvering – completely self sustaining without tugs under all but the most extreme conditions
    · Stabilized
    · Comprehensive tendering capacity

    STORES / BAGGAGE

    · Very advanced systems with baggage systems toed to dedicated on shore facilities airline style and with stores loaded by container or conventionally – advance materials handling on board
    · Stores space for up to 60 days depending on item

    CREW

    · About 1300 in good accommodation. (About 250 singles and 550 doubles). About half singles with private bathrooms. Other share one bathroom between two cabins.

    CABIN DETAIL

    · Additionally a small number of very large suites like Queen Elizabeth Suite on QE2.
    · Maximise the number of outside cabins and balconies
    · Maintain general separation of cabin type
    · About 300 connecting cabins (within and between types)
    · Bathrooms should be the best possible with marble, double sinks, hairdryers, shaving mirrors etc
    · Tourist Class cabins showers, remainder baths, Super Class bath plus shower separate
    · Jacuzzis in Super Class and First Class
    · Highest level of between cabin soundproofing technically achievable
    · All twin beds convert to doubles
    · Interactive TV with radio channels
    · Tape players in all cabins
    · Safe in all cabins
    · Refrigerator / minibar in all cabins
    · Handicapped cabins in sufficient number
    · Walk-in closets in First and Super Class if possible. In any case sufficient storage for World Cruises

    Having invested heavily in extending the life of QE2, Trafalgar House put aside for future capital investment in ‘Q5’ – a rights issue had raised £400 million. However, investment in its commercial property division, Scott Lithgow, as well as the Davy Corporation in 1992 (which added 30% to Trafalgar Houses’ turnover) swallowed up too much cash flow. As a consequence, and mainly as a result of poor investment decisions in oil and gas platforms and accounting issues relating to the capitalisation of interest etc (leading to a re-statement of the 1992 accounts), any money for ‘Q5’ Trafalgar House had disappeared.

    And so did ‘Q5’.

    #2
    Makes you wonder if they had kept the commercial shipping part of Cunard instead of asset stripping.
    Shipping[edit]

    Trafalgar House acquired the Cunard group of shipping and leisure companies in 1971. Cunard operated cargo and passenger ships, hotels and resorts. At that time it had forty-two cargo ships in service, with fourteen more under construction; and three passenger ships, with two more under construction. But twelve years later the cargo fleet had shrunk to eighteen, half of which were by then container ships. The size of the passenger fleet had remained constant. In 1989 Trafalgar House withdrew Cunard from the cargo shipping industry and sold off all its freighters.[6]

    From Wiki .

    Interesting read though....Taffy
    ​Taffy

    Comment


      #3
      Very interesting James!

      I also have three special commemorative newspapers from the 1967 launch of the "Q4". At the time of print, they still never knew what the ship's name would be.

      The Glasgow Herald, The Evening Times and the Evening Citizen, all show drawings of the ship and "artists impressions" of how the Q4 might eventually look, as the designs had not been finalised even although it was being launched.

      We still don't know if the name is QE2 or QE the Second. Was Brenda's mistake intentional?

      Stewart

      Comment


        #4
        Really interesting, thanks for sharing.

        Comment


          #5
          I wonder if the days of the transatlantic liner will ever return?

          Flying in economy class is so damned unpleasant. If there was a regular service to NY that did the crossing in 4½ days I would probably use it. With current oil prices and ships staffed with third world labour it would probably be viable. Of course no one knows what will happen to oil prices in future.

          Comment


            #6
            Fascinating article James. Very much appreciated.

            Bill


            Lawnmowerman

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Taffy, Wales View Post
              Makes you wonder if they had kept the commercial shipping part of Cunard instead of asset stripping.
              Shipping[edit]

              Trafalgar House acquired the Cunard group of shipping and leisure companies in 1971. Cunard operated cargo and passenger ships, hotels and resorts. At that time it had forty-two cargo ships in service, with fourteen more under construction; and three passenger ships, with two more under construction. But twelve years later the cargo fleet had shrunk to eighteen, half of which were by then container ships. The size of the passenger fleet had remained constant. In 1989 Trafalgar House withdrew Cunard from the cargo shipping industry and sold off all its freighters.[6]

              From Wiki .

              Interesting read though....Taffy
              The last British Cargo Ship to be Sunk by Enemy Action was a Cunard Ship
              ]

              Comment


                #8
                A 90,000 ton ship carrying 2500 passengers?? cruising at 40knots and powered by gas turbines. I love the Queen Elizabeth which is approximately 90,000 tons but thankfully she only carries 2000 passengers, the joy of that was the theatre rarely got overcrowded and the ship felt 'just right'. Would an extra 500 passengers spoil that atmosphere?

                Gas turbines are notoriously thirsty beasts and whilst fuel prices have recently dropped will they stay at a low price?

                Is there a need for roaring across the oceans at such a fast rate

                I'm sorry but it is not my idea of cruising

                Comment


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