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Over the years QE2 has gone under some major changes. Some were due to improvements in technology. Others were marketing ploys made to keep up with the trends of cruising which has became increasingly more popular. The enclosed sun deck, located aft of the mast on the Sports deck disappeared when the Penthouse suites were installed in 1972 and 1977. In 1994 the informal Lido Cafe took the place of the Quarter deck out door pool. By 1994 every public room as well as the passenger cabins were re-modeled. The only public space on QE2 that has not changed from her first season is the Synagogue on Three deck. By far the biggest change over the years was the 1987 replacement of the steam engines with nine medium-speed diesel engines. The refit cost a staggering $162-million, not counting the lost revenue incurred as the ship was laid up for six months. While the diesel engines made QE2 more cost efficient, it signaled the end of steam powered passenger ships. That same year the most noticeable change also occurred in the form of a redesigned funnel. While retaining the innovative wind-scoop, a fatter funnel was in place and to the delight of maritime purists, it was painted in the traditional Cunard red.

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The Queens Room, always the center of shipboard activity has undergone a number of refurbishments. Surpassingly, the white shell chairs survived till 1987 when they were replaced with cubic armchairs of brown leather. The room was once again remodeled in1994 and chairs of mustard yellow and deep royal blue adorned the room. A focal point to the room was created with a bronze bust of Queen Elizabeth II. The slotted ceiling and white trumpet columns remained.

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In 1994 the Midships Bar became the Chart Room. As the name suggests, navigational charts and antique nautical instruments are on display. The room also is home to a maple grand piano, which originally sailed on the Queen Mary. Behind the bar is a map of glass panels showing the route and position on the ship. This too was a reference to the Queen Mary where an elaborate map graced the Cabin Class Restaurant.

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The Midships Lobby was also transformed in 1994. The walls and surrounds were transformed with bird's-eyed maple paneling. Along the walls are murals illustrating key moments of Cunard history. As in the Queens Room, the white trumpet column remained. The role of the Midships Lobby also changed. Originally it was First Class embarkation point, all other passengers used two other lobbies on Two Deck. Today all passengers enter in the Midships Lobby .


When QE2 entered service there were a few large liners still plying the north Atlantic sea lanes, but not for long. Six months after QE2 made her maiden voyage the United States, the fastest liner ever to sail, was pulled from service. The France who's construction cost over runs neared $80-million was withdrawn in 1974, her life as a trans Atlantic liner a mere twelve years. In 1963 the Italian Line launched two ships, the Michelangelo and the Raffaello, nearly 45,000 tons and costing over $60-million each. Not surprisingly, they never turned a profit and were retired with in the decade. By the mid seventies, QE2 attained an added celebrity as being the only passenger ship to sail the north Atlantic route.




Copyright 1998 by Chip DeCraene