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ren0312

Why doesn't Cunard run a fast ocean liner Transatlantic service anymore?

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Why doesn't it run a 6 day Southampton to New York service like it did in the late 90s or early 2000s? I mean with oil at a reasonable 60 dollars a barrel it could make economic sense to have a fast Transatlantic service again, or Cunard could build a fast LNG ocean liner aguan with more economical gas turbine engines with a 35 knot top speed that could cross the Atlantic in 5 days like the QE2 used to do until 1997.

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At a guess:

 

Slower crossing = more time on board = more spending on board

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Presumably if you were in a a hurry you'd take a lane? 

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2 hours ago, ren0312 said:

Why doesn't it run a 6 day Southampton to New York service like it did in the late 90s or early 2000s? I mean with oil at a reasonable 60 dollars a barrel it could make economic sense to have a fast Transatlantic service again, or Cunard could build a fast LNG ocean liner aguan with more economical gas turbine engines with a 35 knot top speed that could cross the Atlantic in 5 days like the QE2 used to do until 1997.

Mainly because there is no demand for it, simple economics.  Secondly, there is no direct correlation between crude oil prices and bunker prices for residual fuel oil.  Third, as of two days ago, the worldwide sulfur limit on fuel oil has dropped from 3.5% to 0.5%, making a whole new market in the fuel oil business, and a whole new set of demands on fuel pricing.  LNG has its own hurdles to overcome, most notably the storage onboard.  LNG requires about 6 times the volume of fuel oil for the same energy output, so storing enough to make a high speed crossing takes up a lot of valuable space on the ship, thereby reducing the available passenger space, making the profit margin slimmer.  And, gas turbine engines are not necessarily more economical.  They are only more economical than diesels when run at full load, which is why the QM2 has both diesels and gas turbines, and only used the gas turbines when the last couple of knots of speed were needed, when they could be run at full load.  And, finally, because fuel consumption in relation to ship speed is not a straight line relationship, it is exponential, meaning that the difference in fuel consumption between 24 knots and 35 knots (about a 45% increase in speed) would require about a 100-150% increase in fuel consumption.  Again, increased cost means you have to increase revenue (cruise fare) to cover it, so the price of the cruise goes up, and the demand goes down.

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4 hours ago, ren0312 said:

Why doesn't it run a 6 day Southampton to New York service like it did in the late 90s or early 2000s? I mean with oil at a reasonable 60 dollars a barrel it could make economic sense to have a fast Transatlantic service again, or Cunard could build a fast LNG ocean liner aguan with more economical gas turbine engines with a 35 knot top speed that could cross the Atlantic in 5 days like the QE2 used to do until 1997.

People who really want to cruise want to spend more than five sea days with no port calls; and people who want to cross the ocean quickly wil just fly.  A 4 or 5 day crossing would burn a lot more fuel than one of 7 days - forcing much higher fares - and minimizing on-board spending.  There is little apparent demand and little economic sense to justify offering  “fast Transatlantic service”.

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We did a couple of 6nt transatlantics and loved them.   We could combine it easily with time off work, having just a night in NY before boarding the ship back to the UK.  It was perfect.  

 

We haven't done one since the switched them to the 7nt voyages but I can't see them reverting it back for the reasons mentioned above. 

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7 hours ago, ren0312 said:

Why doesn't it run a 6 day Southampton to New York service like it did in the late 90s or early 2000s? I mean with oil at a reasonable 60 dollars a barrel it could make economic sense to have a fast Transatlantic service again, or Cunard could build a fast LNG ocean liner aguan with more economical gas turbine engines with a 35 knot top speed that could cross the Atlantic in 5 days like the QE2 used to do until 1997.

This question often comes up on various cruise forums from time to time . Often posted by those who have never experience a Transatlantic crossing  since the 1960's . 

The majority of us who take a crossing these days are not in a hurry and   don't want to get off , otherwise  we'd have chosen to travelled by air. 

For many of us who enjoy QM2, the ship is the destination !   

 

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Those shorter crossings were transportation. Current Cunard crossings are vacations.

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It all boils down to money

- higher fuel costs for 5 day crossing

- higher onboard revenues for a 6 day crossing.

💲💲💲💲💲💲💲💲 

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What's the hurry ?  It's your Vacation .

You don't like Sea Days ? You already know how to get there fast ?

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QM2 sailed 6day crossings thru 2009...So it must not have been that expensive...7day crossing must bring in enough revenue to cover the extra days food and still increase profits..I liked the 6day thou don't mind the 7 day crossings ..now 8 days is too much and they tried a few and stopped them..thou I am looking at the 2022 Jan NYC roundtrip and it appears the SOU-NYC leg is 8days..which I don't really care for..hopefully its a one off and not another Cunard slow down of TAs

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Nonetheless a shame for a ship with near 30 knot capability to not at least operate one or two high speed crossings a year for the enthusiast crowd willing to pay for the thrill (assuming there is such a demographic),

Somewhat like owning a Porsche yet never driving faster than 50 mph.

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35 minutes ago, sfbearcat said:

QM2 sailed 6day crossings thru 2009...So it must not have been that expensive...7day crossing must bring in enough revenue to cover the extra days food and still increase profits..I liked the 6day thou don't mind the 7 day crossings ..now 8 days is too much and they tried a few and stopped them..thou I am looking at the 2022 Jan NYC roundtrip and it appears the SOU-NYC leg is 8days..which I don't really care for..hopefully its a one off and not another Cunard slow down of TAs

 

Both the first and last segments of QM2's 2022 world/exotic voyage will be 8-day crossings.

 

Jan 10-18, 2022: Southampton-New York

Mar 14-22, 2022: New York-Southampton

 

So not a one-off, but perhaps a two-off to lengthen that world/exotic voyage. The other two crossings that have been announced so far for 2022 are 7-day crossings.

 

Jan 3-10, 2022: New York-Southampton

Apr 3-10, 2022: Southampton-New York

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We would definitely go for a quick crossing as our objective is to get to or from Europe and to avoid jet lag and unpleasant air travel.  But I think we are odd balls and there is a very limited market of customers like us.  I perceive that Cunard's crossing customers prefer a leisurely crossing with more days on the ship so it becomes something akin to a cruise.

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Regarding the eight-night crossings, most of them over the past few years were voyages that included Halifax. For a few years there were two of these per year: six nights Southampton-Halifax and two nights Halifax-New York.  Sadly Cunard seems not to include Halifax on crossings except for the rare 14-night crossings such as M024 in July this year.

 

My first crossing on the QE2 in 1973 was the fastest ocean voyage I ever made. Departure from Southampton was delayed by about 12 hours due to late arrival from New York. We departed just after midnight and arrived in New York on time. The average speed was approximately 30 knots all the way except for the slow departure down Southampton Water and the Solent and, of course, arriving in Manhattan. We faced a westerly wind of around 30 knots most of the way, which made for some brisk walks on deck.

 

I prefer the longer crossings. Five nights was never enough. It seemed we were packing such a short time after unpacking.

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On 1/3/2020 at 6:36 AM, chengkp75 said:

They are only more economical than diesels when run at full load, which is why the QM2 has both diesels and gas turbines, and only used the gas turbines when the last couple of knots of speed were needed, when they could be run at full load. 

 

I was under the impression a gas turbine is always less efficient than a large marine diesel, even when both are at high loads.  The turbines, however, weigh only a fraction as much for the amount of power produced, so there is less dead weight to lug around when not in use.  

19 hours ago, sfbearcat said:

QM2 sailed 6day crossings thru 2009...So it must not have been that expensive...7day crossing must bring in enough revenue to cover the extra days food and still increase profits

 

The fuel savings of the slow down are substantial.  I'm sure they weighed on board spending, initial revenues, fuel costs, utilization of the ship, and incremental costs related to the extra day very carefully before making the change.

 

18 hours ago, foodsvcmgr said:

Somewhat like owning a Porsche yet never driving faster than 50 mph.

 

If the window sticker on your Porsche quoted "feet per gallon" you might feel differently ;).

 

 

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18 hours ago, foodsvcmgr said:

Nonetheless a shame for a ship with near 30 knot capability to not at least operate one or two high speed crossings a year for the enthusiast crowd willing to pay for the thrill (assuming there is such a demographic),

Plus I don't think QM2 is even capable of a 5 day crossing-- just a 6 day at full tilt. QE2 was always a reasonable amount faster than QM2. 

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22 minutes ago, AL3XCruise said:

I was under the impression a gas turbine is always less efficient than a large marine diesel, even when both are at high loads.  The turbines, however, weigh only a fraction as much for the amount of power produced, so there is less dead weight to lug around when not in use.  

Comparing a gas turbine to the total diesel powerplant, you are more or less correct.  This is because the diesel plant can regain efficiency by reclaiming heat energy from cooling water and exhaust gas.  Comparing a gas turbine engine to a bare diesel engine, then the gas turbine tends to be more efficient at full load.

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4 minutes ago, princeton123211 said:

Plus I don't think QM2 is even capable of a 5 day crossing-- just a 6 day at full tilt. QE2 was always a reasonable amount faster than QM2. 

While QE2's maximum speed is higher than QM2 (34 knots v 30 knots), QE2 did not use her maximum speed, and her "service speed" of 28 knots was sufficient for the 5 day crossing.  Southampton to NYC at 28 knots is 4 days 17 hours.

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16 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

QE2 did not use her maximum speed,

She definitely did on occasion-- I was onboard once when we were delayed out of New York and we ran at 33 knots after passing Nantucket for a good part of a day. 

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1 minute ago, princeton123211 said:

She definitely did on occasion-- I was onboard once when we were delayed out of New York and we ran at 33 knots after passing Nantucket for a good part of a day. 

Yes, she could, if needed, but she didn't regularly, and I would suspect that the 33 knots was aided by the Gulf Stream of about 1-2 knots.  So, the crossing you were on was not a 5 day crossing, but less than that, since you left late.

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Of course, one issue with scheduling to run flat out is that it affords little opportunity to catch up should something go awry.

Case in point - this week QM2 had to reverse course 200 miles toward Puerto Rico so an injured passenger could be airlifted off the ship. Without the ability to run faster than planned she would have arrived in New York 8 hours lat on Sunday rather than about an hour late.

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20 hours ago, tv24 said:

We would definitely go for a quick crossing as our objective is to get to or from Europe and to avoid jet lag and unpleasant air travel.  But I think we are odd balls and there is a very limited market of customers like us.  I perceive that Cunard's crossing customers prefer a leisurely crossing with more days on the ship so it becomes something akin to a cruise.

It would be interesting to understand how many people take QM2 to get across the pond without having to fly vs. the percentage for whom it is only a cruise vacation.  I do think that those of us who take the ship for transportation are in the minority; however, I have met plenty of others who do so as well.  I would also appeal to the vacationers to remember that she is still a true ocean liner and not a cruise ship, per se, and to be aware that there are those for whom it is "simply" (and I hesitate to use that word in connection with QM2) transportation.

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QM2 is not doing this cruise ship style - if she were she would not be using the northern route which is where the wilder weather resides. She would go via Bermuda across the South Atlantic like others do. 

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