CRUISE THE PLANET
In this second post of a three-part series, we’re taking a deep look at the evolution of three different cruise lines and the people behind what we think is one of the most relevant changes to business-as-usual to come about in recent memory.
In the first installment of On A Similar Path To Excellence, we profiled Holland America Line using some interesting current initiatives aimed at building on their past to propel them into the future. Tagging President Orlando Ashford’s Collective Intelligence focus as the power source that results when everyone in an organization gets involved, Holland America Line is headed in a positive direction. It’s a measured and planned departure from a cruise line that could very well have been stuck in its illustrious past, dating back to 1873. Also a cruise travel company steeped in history, Cunard Line dates back even further. In an interesting change of course for Cunard Line, new developments point to a contemporary focus here as well, beginning with a remastering of ships.
In a nearly month-long dry dock, Cunard Line flagship Queen Mary 2 will undergo extensive hardware changes, adding a variety of staterooms and remodeling all public spaces of the nearly 150,000 ton ship. The first in a forward-thinking plan titled Cunard Ships Remastered, this recent video brings us up to speed.
History protected and embedded into all areas of the ship, Queen Mary 2 the hardware will sail off into the future, a comfortable fit for long time fans. The extreme attention to detail in this project extends past public areas as well. To be added: a lamp post and fire hydrant installed on the area of the ship’s deck reserved for dog walking in a nod to Cunard’s British and American canine friends. Perhaps of more interest in this space, an underlying current of energized change is in the wind at Cunard Line and I’ll get to that interesting part of the story in a moment. First, a quick summing up of Queen Mary 2 remastering hardware highlights:
- 15 new Single Staterooms
- 30 new Britannia Club Balcony Staterooms
- 10 new Kennels
- Restyling of all suites and staterooms
- Restyling the Grills Dining Experience
- Tea and coffee makers in each stateroom and suite
- Debut: The Verandah dining venue already on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria with regional French cooking
- Winter Garden remastered into an elegant, airy gathering venue
- Debut: The Carinthia Lounge, a light fare transition venue
- Kings Court moves beyond “the buffet” to a chef-manned demo of food journeys, rotated throughout the dining experience
A New Level Of Luxury
In addition to all of the above, Cunard Line will introduce new menus with a fresh new look that both honor the line’s past, pleasing long time fans and positions it to bring in new luxury cruise travelers in a unique way. We saw a quick glimpse of that effort during the 2016 Seatrade Global cruise conference in Fort Lauderdale not long ago as Cunard executives clearly defined where the line is right now, what is planned during the Cunard Ships Remastered initiative and what’s next for Cunard.
Cunard CEO David Noyes ran down all of the above elements of the Cunard Ships Remastered plan, confirming that British tradition was alive and well at the line. Next up was Cunard North America President Richard Meadows, expanding on those changes as did Angus Struthers, Vice President of Marketing. Of particular interest to readers here, an unannounced but quite present expansion of the We Are Cunard focus, highlighted at the Cunard Line blog of the same name.
History aside (something that takes a herculean effort), we see a cruise line already positioned to attract new upmarket luxury travelers from other lines if not create their own new pool of cruise travelers. At that same press conference, we saw the result of that effort with a glimpse of fresh faces and samples of culinary delights presented in an unusual way for Cunard Line. The takeaway here: this is not your great-grandmother’s Cunard. We’ll look at renderings of what this effort will resolve as shortly. First, a look back. We sailed Queen Mary 2 during her inaugural year in 2006, noting at the time “every night is formal night” for all practical purposes when compared to other big ship cruise lines. This was the look and feel of the ship at the time:
Fast forward to 2016 and beyond, renderings of remastered spaces on Queen Mary 2 document a significant change in the line’s approach in the Queen Mary 2 Remastered project that stays true to Cunard’s heritage. Simultaneously positioning the line for the future, new designs, color palates and furnishings highlights an updated direction on a similar path to excellence as Holland America Line.
On a similar path to excellence as sister line Holland America, further evidence of positive evolution at Cunard Line can be found in announced plans for the future.