Continuing a grand royal tradition, HM The Queen officially named Cunard Line‘s newest ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth, on October 11. “Today marks a milestone in British maritime history and the continuation of a longstanding tradition of royal namings of our Cunard Queens,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. Australians and New Zealanders can see Queen Elizabeth when she visits the southern hemisphere on her maiden world voyage in February 2011, with a ‘royal rendezvous’ planned in Sydney Harbour, where she will meet Queen Mary 2 on February 22/23.

Built in Italy, the 92,000-ton ship is about a third of the size of ‘big sister’ QM2 and an almost identical twin to Queen Victoria. She can accommodate 2,068 guests on her 12 passenger decks (there are 16 altogether) and a 1,000-strong crew will be on hand to deliver top-notch service. Queen Elizabeth’s grand decor combines the gracious traditions of cruising with the most modern facilities you could wish for.

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