Speaking to Seatrade Cruise aboard Queen Victoria during an exclusive preview of Queen Anne’s new Indian-themed restaurant, Aranya, he said, ‘We’ve got the opportunity with Queen Anne to develop new concepts, new venues, new experiences. We will work out which of those are appropriate – and we can move – to other ships. So over time, you will start to see some experiences that debuted on Queen Anne being rolled out to the rest of the fleet.’
According to Struthers, the brand has to ‘keep on evolving’ to suit the tastes of loyal current guests, as well as new, younger passengers. When Queen Anne was being designed, Cunard hosted numerous focus groups around the world to find out from existing customers their favourite venues, must-haves and where they could see room for improvement. ‘A lot of that feedback was taken on board,’ Struthers explained. ‘They said the Grand Lobby – walking down the curved staircase – is the central heart of the ship and a timeless experience,’ and urged that it be ‘protected at all costs.’ In other areas, such as the theatre, there was ‘more permission to be creative,’ with customers grateful for the sense of occasion, but equally mindful of comfort. ‘And then, the overall look of the design and architecture evolves,’ Struthers continued. ‘Throughout Cunard’s history you see this evolution of design principles. Queen Anne will be very different to Queen Victoria, which will be very different to Queen Mary 2. It’s the next iteration of the design ethos.’
In order to ensure a timeless, ‘distinctly Cunard’ atmosphere, architects and designers for Queen Anne were carefully reviewed.
Each of the designers spent days, even weeks, at the Cunard archive in Liverpool, poring through the history of the brand. They were advised to feed back how they had been inspired, for instance, from a pattern or a piece of furniture. The outcome is ‘the next level, the next chapter for Cunard.’
Food and beverage
As for Cunard’s culinary offering, it is ‘definitely something we’ve built out over recent years. Food is a universal love and it’s something that is a passion for our guests…’ As well as Indian-themed restuarant Aranya, featuring dishes from highly acclaimed chef Surjan Singh (chef Jolly) new dining experiences that will appear on board Queen Anne include Aji Wa, Aranya, Sir Samuels, and Tramonto, offering more choice than ever before. ‘We look to work with the likes of chef Jolly on specific menus where we want to make sure the attention to detail and authenticity is really brought to the fore. We try to find chefs that are esteemed in their own field that can help support us and make sure we offer the finest dining…’ Michel Roux and Matt Moran are also among the world-renowned chefs Cunard has recently teamed up with. ‘We try to make sure they supplement the skill set that we’ve got with our executive chefs and our existing culinary team, who are phenomenal,’ stated Struthers.
Launching in May 2024, the arrival of Queen Anne will mark the first occasion since 1999 that Cunard has sailed as a four ship fleet. ‘It’s a very significant milestone for the company and testament to the growing popularity of the brand,’ Struthers noted.
‘We’re seeing record booking periods, we’re seeing exceptional demand, in particular for Queen Anne and her maiden season, but we’re also seeing demand growing year on year for the existing fleet.’
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