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Cunard Line
Cruise Line Information
The Cunard Line is a British-American owned shipping company based at Santa Clarita, California with offices at Carnival House in Southampton, England, and owned by the dual listed company Carnival Corporation, PLC, headquartered in Miami, Florida. It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015. Area served transAtlantic, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean and World Cruises.
 
 In 1839, Nova Scotian Samuel Cunard was awarded the first British Transatlantic steamship mail contract, and the next year formed the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company to operate the line's four pioneer paddle steamers on the Liverpool–Halifax–Boston route. For most of the next 30 years, Cunard held the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic voyage. However, in the 1870's Cunard fell behind its rivals, the White Star Line and the Inman Line. To meet this competition, in 1879 the firm was reorganized as Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd to raise capital.
 
In 1902, White Star joined the American owned International Mercantile Marine Co. and the British Government provided Cunard with substantial loans and a subsidy to build two super liners needed to retain its competitive position. Mauretania held the Blue Riband from 1909 to 1929. The sinking of her running mate Lusitania in 1915 was one of the causes of the United States' entering the First World War. In the late 1920s, Cunard faced new competition when the Germans, Italians and French built large prestige liners. Cunard was forced to suspend construction on its own new superliner because of the Great Depression. In 1934 the British Government offered Cunard loans to finish Queen Mary and to build a second ship, Queen Elizabeth, on the condition that Cunard merged with the then ailing White Star line to form Cunard-White Star Ltd. Cunard owned two-thirds of the new company. Cunard purchased White Star's share in 1947; the name reverted to the Cunard Line in 1950.
 
 Winston Churchill estimated that the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth helped to shorten the Second World War by at least a year; fundamentally due to the large troop-carrying capacities of the ships. Upon the end of the war, Cunard regained its position as the largest Atlantic passenger line. By the mid-1950s, it operated twelve ships to the United States and Canada. After 1958, transatlantic passenger ships became increasingly unprofitable because of the introduction of jet airliners. Cunard withdrew from its year round service in 1968 to concentrate on cruising and summer transatlantic voyages for vacationers. The Queens were replaced by Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), which was designed for the dual role.
 
 In 1998 Cunard was acquired by the Carnival Corporation, and accounted for 8.7% of that company's revenue in 2012. Five years later, QE2 was replaced on the Transatlantic runs by Queen Mary 2 (QM2). The line also operates Queen Victoria (QV) and Queen Elizabeth (QE). At the moment, Cunard is the only shipping company to operate a scheduled passenger service between Europe and North America.
 
 in 1971, when the line was purchased by the conglomerate Trafalgar House, Cunard operated cargo and passenger ships, hotels and resorts. Its cargo fleet consisted of 42 ships in service, with 20 on order. The flagship of the passenger fleet was the two-year-old Queen Elizabeth 2. The fleet also included the remaining two intermediate liners from the 1950s, plus two purpose-built cruise ships on order. Trafalgar acquired two additional cruise ships and disposed of the intermediate liners and most of the cargo fleet. During the Falklands War, QE2 and Cunard Countess were chartered as troopships while Cunard's container ship Atlantic Conveyor was sunk by an Exocet missile.
 
Cunard acquired the Norwegian America Line in 1983, with two classic ocean liner/cruise ships. Also in 1983, the Trafalgar attempted a hostile takeover of P&O, another large passenger and cargo shipping line, which was formed the same year as Cunard. P&O objected and forced the issue to the British Monopolies and Mergers Commission. In their filing, P&O was critical of Trafalgar's management of Cunard and their failure to correct QE2's mechanical problems.[30] In 1984, the Commission ruled in favour of the merger, but Trafalgar decided against proceeding. In 1988, Cunard acquired Ellerman Lines and its small fleet of cargo vessels, organising the business as Cunard-Ellerman, however, only a few years later, Cunard decided to abandon the cargo business and focus solely on cruise ships. Cunard's cargo fleet was sold off between 1989 and 1991, with a single container ship, the second Atlantic Conveyor, remaining under Cunard ownership until 1996. In 1994 Cunard purchased the rights to the name of the Royal Viking Line and its Royal Viking Sun. The rest of Royal Viking Line's fleet stayed with the line's owner, Norwegian Cruise Line.
 
By the mid-1990s Cunard was ailing. The company was embarrassed in late 1994 when the QE2 experienced numerous defects during the first voyage of the season because of unfinished renovation work. Claims from passengers cost the company US$13 million. After Cunard reported a US$25 million loss in 1995, Trafalgar assigned a new CEO to the line, who concluded that the company had management issues. In 1996 the Norwegian conglomerate Kværner acquired Trafalgar House, and attempted to sell Cunard. When there were no takers, Kværner made substantial investments to turn around the company's tarnished reputation.
 
Carnival: from 1998
Queen Mary 2 of 2004 (148,528 GT)
Queen Victoria of 2007 (90,049 GT)
Queen Elizabeth of 2010 (90,901 GT)

In 1998, the cruise line conglomerate Carnival Corporation acquired 68% of Cunard for US$425 million. The next year Carnival acquired the remaining stock for US$205 million. Ultimately, Carnival sued Kværner claiming that the ships were in worse condition than represented and Kværner agreed to refund USD$50 million to Carnival. Each of Carnival's cruise lines is designed to appeal to a different market, and Carnival was interested in rebuilding Cunard as a luxury brand trading on its British traditions. Under the slogan "Advancing Civilization Since 1840," Cunard's advertising campaign sought to emphasise the elegance and mystique of ocean travel. Only the QE2 and Caronia continued under the Cunard brand and the company started Project Queen Mary to build a new ocean liner/cruise ship for the transatlantic route.
 
By 2001 Carnival was the largest cruise company, followed by Royal Caribbean and P&O Princess Cruises, which had recently separated from its parent P&O. When Royal Caribbean and P&O Princess agreed to merge, Carnival countered with a hostile takeover bid for P&O Princess. Carnival rejected the idea of selling Cunard to resolve antitrust issues with the acquisition. European and US regulators approved the merger without requiring Cunard's sale. After the merger was completed, Carnival moved Cunard's headquarters to the offices of Princess Cruises in Santa Clarita, California so that administrative, financial and technology services could be combined.
 
With the opening of Carnival House in Southampton in 2009, executive control of Cunard Line was subsequently transferred from Carnival Corporation in the United States, to Carnival UK, the primary operating company of Carnival plc. As the UK-listed holding company of the group, Carnival plc had executive control of all Carnival Group activities in the UK, with the headquarters of all UK-based brands, including Cunard, in offices at Carnival House.
 
In 2004 the 36-year-old QE2 was replaced on the North Atlantic by Queen Mary 2. Caronia was sold and QE2 continued to cruise until she was retired in 2008. In 2007 Cunard added a large cruise ship, Queen Victoria. She is not a sister for the QM2, being ordered by Carnival as a Vista class cruise ship for the Holland America Line. To reinforce Cunard traditions, the QV has a small museum on board. Cunard commissioned a second Vista class cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth in 2010.
 

In 2011 all three Cunard ships in service changed vessel registry to Hamilton, Bermuda, the first time in the 171-year history of the company that it had no ships registered in the United Kingdom. The captains of ships registered in Bermuda, but not in the UK, can marry couples at sea; weddings at sea are a lucrative market.


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Cunard Line

Cunard Line 24305 Town Center Drive, Suite 200 Valencia, CA 91355 Call (800) 468-7752

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