Excitement is brewing in the cruising world over the October introduction of Cunard's new Queen Elizabeth ship, the third in the line. The ship will be the second largest "Cunarder" (as they call it) ever built.
The boat is a masterpiece in opulence: There are nine types of suites and 1,046 rooms in total, not to mention the four grand suites measuring in size from 1,375 to 1,493 square feet.
There are three levels of rooms, each with their own dining rooms. The ship also has one main dining room for all levels PLUS five alternative restaurants on the 11-deck boat.
As for entertainment, the ship has an 832-seat Royal Court Theatre and a Games Deck with, among other things, paddle tennis and (our personal favorite) croquet.
The boat will visit 32 ports in over 18 countries over its six inaugural trips this year. (Cunard is offering around-the-world cruises on the Queen Mary 2 in 2012, as well). Queen Elizabeth's maiden voyage leaves from Southampton and travels to Vigo, Lisbon, Seville, Grand Canary Islands, Tenerife, La Palma and Madeira ($2,995 per person).
The ship will make 5 other journeys this year, too: a 14-day Mediterranean jaunt ($2,795); an 18-day Aegean trip ($3,295); a 5-day Gallic debut ($1,195); a 13-day Iberian Discovery voyage ($2,395) and a special 22-day Holiday voyage around the holidays ($4,795).