• Short Summary


    When the Royal Princess is officially named by the Princess of Wales on November 15, she will become the most expensive, most efficient and, arguably the most luxurious passenger ship afloat.

  • Description

    1. AT SEA: NOVEMBER 5, 1984: AVs & SVs Royal Princess at sea (5 shots) 0.19
    2. MONO: MUTE: JUNE, 1920: Laplander liner in dock; actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks on deck of liner (5 shots) 0.33
    3. AT SEA: GVS Rough seas crashing over deck of Aquitania (2 shots) 0.47
    4. SEPTEMBER, 1934: PAN ALONG Length of Queen Mary liner GVs Liner launched by Queen Mary; vessel at sea; liner enters New York harbour on inaugural trip (7 shots) 1.24
    5. AUSTRALIA: SVs & GVs Troops board Queen Mary liner; troops wave from deck (4 shots) 1.34
    6. AT SEA: AVs Troops packed on to decks of Queen Elizabeth the First liner (3 shots) 1.44
    7. SOUTHAMPTON, UK: SV Queen Elizabeth the First in dock; SVs INTERIOR Maid cleaning cabin; stewards serving meals in dining rooms (8 shots) 2.11
    8. GV & SVs Boeing 707 comes out of hangar; sign to commemorate inaugural London-to-New York intercontinental flight (3 shots) 2.19
    9. HONG KONG HARBOUR: 1972: AVs Queen Elizabeth the First on fire and listing (4 shots) 2.33
    10. SOUND: COLOR: LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, USA: MAY, 1971: SVs & SVs Customers at cash till in newly-converted Queen Mary; people walking on deck of Queen Mary, converted as tourist attraction (6 shots) 2.51
    11. SOUTHAMPTON, UK: MAY, 1982 SOUND: COLOUR: SV PULL BACK TO GV Queen Elizabeth the Second liner in dock; troops, bound for the South Atlantic, board vessel; families on quayside, troops on deck (6 shots) 3.16

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


    When the Royal Princess is officially named by the Princess of Wales on November 15, she will become the most expensive, most efficient and, arguably the most luxurious passenger ship afloat. The Royal Princess marks the latest development in a new age of luxury liners. Her owners, the P and O shipping line, are aiming for the top end of the cruise market. Together with the liner's Finnish shipbuilders, P and O have developed innovations in design and technology which make her a distant relative of ocean liners which ploughed their way across the Atlantic Ocean. The role of the passenger liner has changed dramatically during the past sixty years as people's tastes and choices have influenced the trade.

    SYNOPSIS: She has been dubbed the world's most advanced cruise ship. The Royal Princes cost more than 150 million US dollars (125 million pounds sterling) and at 213 metres from bow to stern she's best thought of as a 10-storey floating hotel, designed to carry cruise passengers in unashamed luxury.

    The role of passenger ships has changed dramatically since the turn of the century. In the 1920s, it was the only way film stars like Fairbanks and Pickford could cross the Atlantic. In fact, it was the only way for anyone to travel between the continents, and shipping lines catered for all customers. But for rich and poor passengers alike, the crossing was usually long and sometimes hazardous.

    The launch fifty years ago of the Queen Mary heralded a new breed of passenger liners. Her owners, the Cunard White Star Line, abandoned the old styles in favour of modern art deco interiors. She was a massive hit with the public and established a new standard of luxury. In August, 1938, she set a record trans-Atlantic voyage which held the Blue Riband prize for the fastest crossing until 1952. Nearly two thousand passengers could travel in surroundings described by one critic as "mild but expensive vulgarity".

    But at the outbreak of World War Two, the Queen Mary was pressed into military service. During the war she carried more than 800,000 passengers, many of them United States' servicemen.

    Her sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth the First, did not even have time for a commercial maiden voyage. She made her debut as a troop carrier, with 15,000 men crammed on board.

    The twenty years immediately after the war was the golden age of passenger liners. Despite fierce competition, the Atlantic crossing was a lucrative market. In one year alone, the Queen Elizabeth made a profit of nearly three million US dollars (two and a half million pounds sterling). There were enough passengers wanting a taste of luxury for every shipping line to want a share. But the boom ended as quickly as it began, when luxury in itself was no longer enough.

    In 1959, Boeing unveiled its 707 jet, making it possible to fly between the United States and Europe in under seven hours. By 1965, five out of every six trans-Atlantic passengers were travelling by air. Trans-Atlantic liners suddenly became a liability and they were hurriedly sold off.

    The Queen Elizabeth was sold to a company which turned it into a tourist attraction off Florida. She was later auctioned and sailed to Hong Kong, where she was destroyed by fire in 1972 as conversion work was being carried out.

    The Queen Mary was bought by the City of Long Beach in California. In 1967 she took on a new lease of life as a museum and hotel complex.

    In 1982, history repeated itself. The Queen Elizabeth the Second was requisitioned by the British Navy and carried 3,000 troops to the South Atlantic during the Falklands conflict. The QE 2 had been built to recapture the North Atlantic passenger trade, but instead she spends such of her time as a cruise liner. For her owners, it is a way of earning the 60 million US dollars (50 million pounds sterling) a year it costs to keep the QE 2 afloat.


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