Huge Cunard cruise ship the Queen Victoria docks in Belfast for repairs

The arrival in Belfast of the largest cruise ship ever to dry dock in a UK shipyard – the Queen Victoria – has been hailed as “an incredible coup” for Harland and Wolff.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 5:55 pm
Cunard's Queen Victoria in Belfast harbour
Cunard's Queen Victoria in Belfast harbour

The arrival of Cunard’s vast Queen Victoria has captured the imagination, with many Belfast residents marvelling at the mammoth vessel set to undergo works at the iconic 81-acre Belfast shipyard.

The Harland and Wolff contract comes as part of an ambitious ‘reactivation’ strategy for the future which it hopes will maximise opportunities from plans to build over 150 UK domestic vessels in the coming years.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson was amongst those delighted to see the large vessel’s arrival.

The Queen Victoria is the largest cruise ship ever to drydock in the UK

“It is great news to see Harland and Wolff busy, and to see it get a flagship vessel of that standing, size, scale and reputation,” he told the News Letter.

“It is an incredible coup.”

The DUP MP continued: “The company has a sort of five-stranded approach for working across all the sectors – civil, leisure, energy, wind, defence and so on. They’ve now got contracts in for the five areas.

“They are out there actively seeking work, and gaining work for the yard and that’s all hugely encouraging for Belfast.”

The Queen Victoria with the P&O vessel European Causeway in the foreground at Larne on Tuesday. Image submitted by reader Steven Williamson

With a length of 294 metres and a beam of 32.3m, the Queen Victoria is a ‘Vista class’ cruise ship – a class of Panamax-type cruise ships, built by Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Italy.

The Harland and Wolff contract also includes works on P&O cruise ship Aurora.

With a length of 270m and a beam of 32m, it will be in the yard from June 9-23.

Harland and Wolff said the arrival of these ships in Belfast marks another milestone completed in relation to its reactivation strategy.

The Queen Victoria includes seven restaurants, 13 bars, three swimming pools, a ballroom, and a theatre. It was officially named by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall upon its arrival in the UK from Italy in August, 2007.