At 150,000 gross tons, the Cunard liner Queen Mary 2 is the largest, longest, widest, tallest passenger ship ever built. She accommodates 2,620 passengers, is home of 1,253 crew members and features sweeping staircases, expansive promenades and luxurious accommodation. Three-quarters of the cabins have private balconies. The Queen Mary 2 also features ten dining areas, the worldâ€™s first floating planetarium, the largest ballroom at sea and the biggest wine collection afloat. Her total length is 345 meters (1132 feet) and at a height of 72 meters (236 feet) with 14 passenger decks, she is taller than the Statue of Liberty and the Tower of London. She is also the first ship of her type built since Queen Elizabeth 2, being a true liner rather than a cruise ship. With her long, slender and exceptionally strong hull, deep draught and powerful engines, Queen Mary 2 has been designed to cross the North Atlantic between Europe (Southampton, England) and North America (New York) in only six days! Queen Mary 2 is propelled by four 21.5MW Rolls-Royce/Alstom Mermaid electric podded propulsors, each weighing nearly 300 tonnes. Electricity for the pods and hotel services is supplied by four medium speed diesel engines and two gas turbines collectively producing 120MW. With 86MW propulsion power the ship can travel at over 29 knots making her one of the fastest passenger ships ever commissioned. The concept for Queen Mary 2 was born from the purchase of the legendary Cunard Line by Carnival Corporation in May 1998. Carnivalâ€™s Chairman Micky Arison initiated the new ship study. Carnivalâ€™s Chief Naval Architect Stephen Payne and the Director of Newbuildings Gerry Ellis developed the design. After a two year design period the order was placed on 6 November 2000 with Alstom Chantiers De Lâ€™Atlantique, St. Nazaire (France). The Queen Mary 2 recreates the aura of the golden age of travel of the 1930â€™s when travel by ocean liner was the vogue. Her grand and stylish interiors echo the floating palaces of the past such as the fabled Queen Mary and Normandie. All the passengers on Queen Mary 2 can luxuriate in her opulent and commodious interiors. The main dining room, the Britannia Restaurant, spanning two decks and the full width of the ship is one of the grandest public rooms ever built on board a ship. Queen Mary 2 was delivered by the shipyard to Cunard Line on 22 December 2003. After a short shakedown delivery voyage the ship arrived in her homeport of Southampton for the first time on 26 December. After wintering in the Caribbean the ship commenced her transatlantic service in April 2004.