Cunard Line has marked the 100-day countdown to the Australian arrival of Queen Mary 2 – the largest ship ever to visit Down Under – with the announcement that its New Zealand-born Commodore Christopher Rynd will be at the helm for the liner’s historic circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Queen Mary 2 will return to Australia on March 2, 2013, calling in Cairns before sailing south to Sydney to commence her inaugural 12-night voyage around New Zealand on March 7.
Commodore Rynd, who lives in the UK and Australia, was also in command of Queen Mary 2 for her maiden circumnavigation of Australia earlier this year, which made headlines around the country.
With a gross registered tonnage of 151,400 tonnes, the internationally accepted measure for cruise ship size, Queen Mary 2 is one of the largest ships in the world and retains the record as the largest vessel to visit Australia.
The liner stretches 345 metres long – close to 30 metres further than any other visiting ship – and sits 62 metres above the waterline, eclipsing all other ships to sail Down Under.
Launched in 2004, Queen Mary 2 is one of the most spacious ships at sea, offering her 2600 guests a stunning combination of maritime heritage and state-of-the-art modernity. Her many features include the largest ballroom and library at sea and the only planetarium at sea.
Cunard Line President and Managing Director Peter Shanks said Cunard was pleased to be making history again in Australasia, where its fleet of Queens was always well received.
“A circumnavigation is always a particularly memorable voyage and we are thrilled that Commodore Rynd, with his strong New Zealand ties, will be at the helm as Queen Mary 2 sails around New Zealand,” Mr Shanks said.
Queen Mary 2 will arrive in Australia in 100 days, visiting Cairns (March 2) before sailing to Brisbane (March 5) and then onto Sydney (March 7), where she will depart on her voyage around New Zealand visiting Bay of Islands (March 10), Auckland (March 11), Wellington (March 13), Akaroa (March 14) and Milford Sound (March 16). After returning to Sydney on March 19 she will visit Melbourne (March 21), Adelaide (March 23) and Perth (March 26). From Australia she will sail to South Africa and Europe.
QUEEN MARY 2 VITAL STATISTICS
Length – 345 metres
Size – 151,400 tonnes
Height – 62 metres above the water
Width – 41 metres (45 metres incuding bridge wings)
Capacity - 2620 guests and 1253 crew
Draft – 10 metres
Maximum speed – 30 knots