Interior View: Queen Anne

Cunard has worked with several design firms to create its latest cruise ship, which celebrates the brand’s history while moving into a new era. Rebecca Gibson went onboard to find out more 

Interior View: Queen Anne


The mural in the Grand Lobby depicts three different images celebrating a Cunard voyage

By Rebecca Gibson |

Renowned worldwide for its distinctive British heritage and opulence, Cunard has redefined contemporary luxury cruising with the new Queen Anne. The 3,000-guest ship, the 249th to sail for Cunard, was built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. 

“We wanted to create a contemporary ship that would celebrate the story of Cunard and its illustrious history,” says Lee Powell, Cunard’s vice president of brand and product.  

Award-winning interior designer Adam Tihany was appointed as creative director, with the support of three firms: Richmond International and cruise industry newcomers David Collins Studio and Sybille de Margerie.  

“We wanted to challenge the designers to do something they’d never done before,” says Tihany. “We followed five design ideals: heritage, style, storytelling, craftsmanship and innovation.”  

Each company was tasked with designing individual spaces onboard the ship, but all collaborated to develop the overall design narrative.  

“Our spaces are adjacent to each other, so it was very important to have seamless transitions between the areas,” says Fiona Thompson, principal of Richmond International. “Every space is purposefully designed with its own identity, but they don’t feel jarring or like they have been created by different people.”  

The designers visited the Cunard archives in Liverpool, UK, to study the layouts, materials and art deco patterns used on the brand’s historic ships, with a view to reinterpreting them in a contemporary way.  

“Each time we visited, we found new materials that informed the design of each venue in very different ways,” says Lewis Taylor, design director at David Collins Studio. “For example, historic menu cards informed the navy blue, yellow and coral colour palette in The Pavilion. We had to carefully toe the line between being inspired by the past but pushing the design forwards to ensure authenticity.”  

Guests will find art deco-inspired design elements and historic Cunard references throughout the ship, for example in the marble of the Grand Lobby, the red velvet seats and curtains in the Royal Court Theatre, the light installations in public spaces and the geometric shapes on the carpets.  

Cunard’s maritime history is evident in the Commodore Club cocktail lounge, where David Collins Studio took inspiration from the British commodore’s uniform. “The epaulettes on the shoulders are reflected on the back of some of the chairs, while the spacing of the stripes on the columns and the bar is perfectly set out in the same ratio as the bands on the commodore’s sleeves,” says Taylor.  

Cunard Queen Anne

The details on the pillars and the back of the chairs in the Commodore Club reflect the designs of a British commodore’s uniform

Many of the 15 dining venues onboard showcase art deco-inspired colour palettes and design elements. Cunard has significantly expanded its culinary offering for Queen Anne, with 15 venues including nine signature spaces and four new speciality restaurants: Indian eatery Aranya; Mediterranean restaurant Tramonto, which also has an alfresco terrace; Aji Wa, Cunard’s first Japanese restaurant; and Sir Samuel’s Steakhouse & Grill, a space named in honour of Cunard’s founder.  

There is a new Wellness Café in The Pavilion, one of several venues on Queen Anne designed to introduce a “new era of wellbeing at sea”. Others include the new top-deck Pavilion Wellness Studio designed by Richmond International and the Mareel Wellness & Beauty spa by Sybille de Margerie.  

“We designed a very organic and fluid space with lots of curves and angles,” says De Margerie. “We’ve used fresh tones, sandy colours and highlights of light green and turquoise. Everything in the spa space is linked with water, so we’ve created glass screens with bubbles and mosaics with blue and green colours. It’s a relaxing space that is very playful too.”  

With Tihany’s encouragement, Cunard has incorporated additional alfresco spaces, including a wraparound promenade, the Panorama Pool Club, the Sky Bar, games areas and a new top-deck Grills Terrace with a private lounge and two infinity whirlpools exclusively for Grill Suite guests.  

Artwork is a cornerstone of Queen Anne’s design. The ship boasts the largest curated art collection at sea, with 4,300 unique pieces by over 3,000 established and emerging artists, all commissioned by consultants Double Decker.  

Noteworthy pieces include Sam Shendi’s colourful sculpture ‘Genesis’, formed from the first piece of steel cut for the ship, a digital wall installation in the reimagined Queens Room, and works by graduates handpicked from three prestigious art colleges in ‘The Vertical Galleries’ of the stairwells.  

“The challenge was to enhance the narrative in each space with artwork that would create an emotional response in the guests,” says Melita Skamnaki, co-director of Double Decker, which mentored the artists. “All the artists chose their own mediums, so you will see different ideas and approaches.”  

Perhaps the most striking artwork is the three-deck-high brass-etched mural in the iconic art deco-inspired Grand Lobby. Created by Ian Kirkpatrick, the piece uses lenticular panels with integrated lighting to depict the three stages of a Cunard journey – the departure, sailing on the open seas, and the destination. As guests move around the lobby and look at the mural from different angles, they will see one image morph and transition into the next.  

“With Queen Anne, we’ve preserved that quintessential Cunard essence but also introduced an innovative modernity, which we believe truly heralds a new era in luxury ocean travel,” says Katie McAlister, Cunard CEO.   

This article was first published in the 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

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