Weighing in with a gross tonnage of approximately 150,000 tons and built at a cost of around US$800m, the QM2 is the largest and most expensive passenger vessel ever built. Its crew of 1253 will serve up to 2620 passengers in what Cunard is referring to as "White Star" luxury.
Cunard commissioned Heidelberg to design and install prepress, sheetfed and postpress systems that could withstand ocean currents with stabilising equipment and meet daily printing needs with land-sea logistical service solutions.
Heidelberg worked closely with the ship’s builder in preparation for this specialised installation. Of the two features, the stabilising equipment consists of special mounting brackets and ink dispensing systems that can handle rough seas in the North Atlantic.
QM2 has daily print demands with limited space to operate presses and store enough material between ports-of-call. To meet these special space and storage needs, Heidelberg designed a custom configuration for Cunard.
With such a system, QM2 can produce 1500 copies of daily programmes, 1700 menus for the three main dining rooms and seven alternate venues, eight-page versions of daily British and American newspapers, and high-quality name cards for special occasions.
Installed aboard QM2 is a two-colour Printmaster QM 46-2 press, a Quicksetter 300 CTP device for polyester plates, a Polar 66 cutter and a Quickfolder T 34.
The system is managed by a two-person crew led by chief printer, William Neugebauer, and Jared Unterborn.
In preparing the QM2 installation, Heidelberg referred to similar plans it had used for other vessels including Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), considered by many people to be the most recognised passenger vessel in the world.
"We are honoured Cunard has chosen Heidelberg once again, and has relied on our tradition and experience of printing outside the press room in unusual and challenging environments", says Niels Winther, president of Heidelberg USA. "Heidelberg is pleased to have provided two unique printing solutions to two of the most spectacular vessels ever built".
According to Lawrence Rapp, Cunard’s vice president of Hotel Operations, the prestige cruise line needs reliable systems and a contractor that has the experience and resources to handle these challenges. "Heidelberg understands the difficulties of printing at sea, and we are impressed with the quality and service we have received from its systems aboard Queen Mary 2", Rapp says.
Fast facts about the QE2
* QM2 is five times longer than Cunard’s first ship, Britannia (230 ft.)
* QM2 is 113 feet longer than the original Queen Mary
* QM2 is more than twice as long as the Washington Monument is tall (550 ft.)
* QM2 is 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall (984 ft.)
* QM2 is more than 3 ½ times as long as Westminster Tower (Big Ben) is high (310 ft.)
* QM2 is only 117 feet shorter than the Empire State Building is tall (1248 ft.)
* QM2 is more than three times as long as St. Paul’s Cathedral is tall (366 ft.)
* QM2 is as long as 41 double-decker London buses (31 ½ ft. each)
* QM2’s whistle will be audible for 10 miles