The venerable Queen Elizabeth 2, the world's best-known cruise ship, will make its farewell round of transatlantic crossings next year before Cunard's giant new Queen Mary 2, under construction in France, takes over the route. Passage on the QE2 in 2003, starting at $1,499 per person, double occupancy, with early booking discounts, can be reserved now.
The QE2, launched in 1969, will make 16 six-day crossings between New York and Southampton, England, between April 17 and Dec. 15, 2003, Cunard announced earlier this month. On Dec. 21, 2003, it will head for the Caribbean for a 15-day Christmas sail, then embark on a world cruise in January 2004. In April 2004 it will join the Queen Mary 2 in a special transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton--its final service.
The QE2 is expected thereafter to be in regular service on world cruises and to the Mediterranean and other destinations, said Deborah Natansohn, Cunard senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing.
Booking for the 2004 season of the $800-million Queen Mary 2, expected to be the biggest cruise ship afloat, will begin Aug. 1, Natansohn said; the April 2004 crossing of the QE2, expected to be popular with liner buffs, cannot yet be booked, she added.