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Deck Ten at dusk sets the stage for a formal gala evening to follow.



Unlike many previous Cunard ships, Queen Victoria is not a traditional ocean liner, as she does not have the heavy plating throughout the hull. However, the bow was constructed with heavier plating to cope with the transatlantic run, and the ship has a high freeboard. The Queen Mary 2 had cost approximately $300,000 US per berth, nearly double that of many contemporary cruise ships, so Cunard made the economical decision to base Queen Victoria on a modified Vista-class cruise ship, and Queen Elizabeth retains the same design with some minor changes. Nonetheless, Ian McNaught, who was Queen Victoria's captain in 2009, has asserted that the ship is a liner based on her classic décor.


Queen Victoria was ordered from Fincantieri in 2004 was 11 metres (36 ft 1 in) longer, 5,000 tons larger, with an increased passenger capacity of 2,000 and features which had proved successful on Queen Mary 2. The keel was laid on 12 May 2006. Eighty prefabricated steel "blocks", each complete with interior structure, cabling, and ducts, and each weighing 325 tons, were then added. The completed hull with superstructure was floated out on 15 January 2007, after having a bottle of Prosecco smashed against her side by Maureen Ryan, a Cunard employee who has served on all four "Cunard Queens". The ceremony also saw the traditional placing of coins on the mast – in this case a Euro and a gold Queen Victoria sovereign were welded beneath the radar mast.

Queen Victoria departed the Port of Venice on 24 August 2007 to commence her sea trials, and, after handover to Cunard, arrived in Southampton, United Kingdom, to fanfare and media attention on 7 December; much of the coverage was focused on the ship's superlatives, and represented Queen Victoria as "Cunard's most luxurious ship." The same day, the ship was officially named by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, continuing the tradition of Cunard "Queens" being named by royalty. The bottle of champagne failed to break upon impact with Queen Victoria's hull, which according to nautical superstition is a bad omen. However, a backup bottle was immediately successful.


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