Fittingly, our Chairman witnessed the maiden voyage of the QE2 on the River Clyde as a teenager, before he went on to be offered his first job straight out of college by James Gardner, the man who designed the ship.
Codenamed ‘Project Lifestyle’, MET recruited a large specialist team to work alongside its own staff for 9 months on the full masterplan of the ship, the redesign of most of the public spaces, and the rationalisation of the Cunard Brand (including fleet livery).
With our specialism in narrative design we began the project by thoroughly researching the history of Cunard, contemporary cruise liners and the QE2’s changing passenger demographics to understand the company’s strategic objectives moving forward. We discovered that although existing passengers loved the ship, they found her original two-class design conception was too limited and the ship needed to be “opened up”. We redefined the vertical and horizontal circulation routes that would allow a return to the tradition of ‘promenading’ the whole length of the ship, as well as giving good daytime to evening passenger movement flow, allowing for maximum on-board revenue generation at all times of the day. We also felt the overall public areas needed a major upgrade so that everyone who sailed in her retained a sense of having experienced her prestigious presence.
The new interior designs for the ship and the spec included integrated commissioned artworks, giving a narrative which referred to Cunard’s history alongside many specially-commissioned and exclusive materials and finishes, all working together to form a sophisticated, colour palette, which gave the ship the unified and timeless elegance it needed for the next stage in its life.
During its 21 days in the yard in dry dock in Hamburg, MET had a team of 12 designers and project managers on site, with two of our team remaining on the ship for part of her world cruise to oversee any teething problems that might occur.
In its first year of sailing after the refit, we succeeded in increasing the on-board revenue by 33%.
'A five-star experience. As well as being luxurious, the ship is unique' (Lloyd's Cruise International)