Design Considerations by D. L. Wallace

INVESTIGATIONS were first started by Cunard into a replacement for the liner 'Queen Mary' in 1954. From the design studies undertaken at that time it appeared that one of the biggest problems which would be encountered would be that of minimising the new ship's weight. In order to investigate various weight saving ideas, the opportunity was taken to incorporate some of them in the liner 'Sylvania' which, in 1957, was being built for Cunard on Clydebank.

The original conception for the new ship was that of a large quadruple-screw vessel, essentially a modern version of the 'Queen Elizabeth'. However, by 1961, it had become obvious that this type of vessel would be completely uneconomic and so preliminary investigations were started on a different ship, destined to become the new 'Queen Elizabeth 2'.

By the end of 1963 the basic features of this vessel had been decided and a detailed design study was started. Resulting from this and other studies on the proposed ship was the signing on December 30, 1964, of a contract with John Brown & Co. Ltd., now the Clydebank division of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd., who were to be responsible for the detailed development of the design and the building of the ship.

Throughout the design there has been an intense effort to save weight and space. The desire to establish an exceptionally high standard for all passengers and crew has been a dominant factor and has required the fullest attention to detail. The dimensions of the ship were limited to 963 ft in length and 105 ft in width by the Panama Canal requirements. With these dimensions limited it was necessary to increase the depth of the ship to the maximum. The superstructure was constructed of aluminium to save top weight and this saving allowed an additional tier of public rooms to be added.

Another useful contribution to increasing the deck area resulted from a reduction of 'tween deck heights by about 6-9 in per deck without detriment to the height of the decorative ceiling in the cabins, by careful pre-planning of the leads of piping and ventilation etc., together with re-designed structural girders which could accommodate the services without loss of headroom. This saving in height of the accommodation, together with a reduction in the height of the machinery spaces by similar pre-planning finally resulted in a saving sufficient to provide an additional deck of accommodation.

In order to avoid alterations at a later stage all general arrangements were drawn in large-scale detail even before the tender drawings were issued to the shipyards. Also, very early discussions were held with Lloyd's, Board of Trade, U.S. Coast Guards, U.S. Health Authorities, subcontractors etc., so that their requirements and recommendations could be easily embodied. The positions of all structural webs, bulkheads and pillars etc , were also determined in the design stage and remained unaltered as the details were developed.

This early work saved much time and allowed much of the piping, ventilation etc., to be prefabricated and erected on board ship considerably earlier than normal. Except at the fore end of the ship all decks are level and are without camber or sheer. This again greatly simplified construction methods and also helped to reduce building costs. By careful design of bulwarks and windows and skilful use of painting colours, the level decks are not noticeable and have not affected the extemal appearance of the ship.

One of the greatest economies in space and running costs of course, was the decision to build a twin-screw vessel. This was considered reasonable because of the considerable improvements in recent years regarding the design of hull forms and propellers. The ship's average speed will be about 28.00 knots and to attain this, experience indicates that a sea speed of 29/00 knots will often be necessary. The ship's scheduled speed is governed by the time required to maintain suitable arrival times etc. at the terminal ports of New York and Southampton, with an intermediate call at Havre. At this speed one hour saved represents a reduction in the average speed of the North Atlantic crossing of 0.25 knots. A study was therefore made of the baggage handling arrangements at Havre and a saving of about two hours is envisaged, thus reducing the required average speed by 0.5 knots.

Early strength calculations showed that for minimum weight the main machinery should be sited slightly aft of midships. Fortunately this also coincided with the optimum position of the machinery spaces as far as subdivision was concerned. Even a variation of a few feet in the position of the machinery spaces had a considerable effect on the strength and subdivision requirements. The position of the main machinery, of course, dictated the position of the funnel which is slightly aft of midships. ln this position the tall funnel which finally evolved after extensive NPL wind tunnel tests, is able to keep the lido decks clear of soot deposit. The lido decks can thus be arranged in a terraced fashion. This provided more sheltered decks than are available in liners whose machinery is aft. The terraced decks also allow the decks to overlap, thus providing greater lido deck areas and also affording areas giving shelter from the sun.

The passenger accommodation is arranged on five decks, the greatest care having been taken to ensure the maximum number of outside rooms. Experience has indicated that even with air-conditioning, passengers have a strong preference for rooms with natural daylight - indeed many passengers will refuse to sail in an inside room. On Queen Elizabeth 2 about 75 per cent of the passengers occupy outside rooms. To suit modern demands there has also been a very considerable emphasis on the provision of two-berth cabins. A few four-berth cabins have been provided, mainly for students or families who may wish to travel at minimum rate. Today there is an ever-increasing demand for families to occupy adjoining rooms and a large number of communicating doors have been fitted. Many of the outer rooms are linked to an inner room by a communicating door. This allows the inner cabin to be used by children, or when cruising it may be used as an additional dressing-room.

All passenger cabins are provided with a private WC and bath or shower. Great efforts have also been made to provide large wardrobes or trunk spaces and a maximum number of drawers葉hese latter facilities are particularly important when cruising.

The ship has been built to the full requirements of the latest safety regulations. Special emphasis has been given to the fire precautions. ln view of the very satisfactory experience by British owners using the sprinkler system. This has again been adopted and the ship is built to the Method II system. To reduce the fire risk, however, all bulkheads and ceilings are of Marinite incombustible bulkheading and the ship virtually meets also the full requirements of Method l. i.e. the American method which does not incorporate sprinklers. During the building of the ship the IMCO requirements regarding fire precautions were amended and the vessel has been built to comply with the requirements of the IMCO Fire Safety Committee of March 1967, although these will not be mandatory for some years.


Related Articles

  • http://www.rmsqueenelizabeth2.com/shipbuilder002.html

    QE2: Details of Her Construction

    Of all-welded construction, the hull is divided by 13 watertight transverse bulkheads. Steel has been used up to main deck level with the superstructure in aluminium, supplied by Alcan lndustries Limited, in order to minimise topside weight. The decks are framed longitudinally on the foyer deck and above and transversely on all other decks.

    Continue Reading »


  • http://www.rmsqueenelizabeth2.com/1969.html

    QE2: From Concept To Cunarder»

    Jet air liners extinguished the Q3 project, which was intended to maintain the North Atlantic shuttle service around which the Queens were designed.

    Continue Reading »


  • http://www.rmsqueenelizabeth2.com/1969ad.html

    Suppliers to Q4 »

    A collection of advertisements from the companies that provided everything from steel to fine china.

    Continue Reading »


The passenger numbers are as follows:

  • Beds .. .. .. ...... .. 1,847
  • Pullmans .. . . .... . ..178
  • Passengers inside ... 582
  • Outside . . . . . .... 1,443
  • Rooms inside . . . . . 330
  • Outside . . . .......... . 648
  • Single rooms . . . . . 1O6
  • l+Prooms.. .. ...... .. 74
  • 2B rooms .. ....... .. .. 638
  • 3B rooms .. .. .. ....... l45
  • 4B rooms .. .. ....... .. l5
  • Total rooms 978
  • Total passengers 2,025

Site Sponsors