Cunard is slowing down its famed Queen Mary 2 trips from New York to Southampton. The cruises will last seven days on some crossings and eight days on others, which is slightly longer than the original six-day sailing. The reason? To cut fuel costs.
Anyone who has ever owned a boat—even a small one—knows that a minor increase in speed typically means a big increase in fuel consumption. Water is even more resistant to speed than air.
But slowdowns aren’t likely to affect conventional cruising. Speed doesn’t matter much on those trips—even modern cruise ships, capable of up to 20 knots, generally amble along at an easy 10 to 15 knots, enough to get from one port to the next overnight.
However, nonstop transatlantic ships have traditionally aimed at faster trips. Remember the big fuss about a race for the fastest crossing, won by the S.S. United States? But air travel rapidly took over the market for people who needed to cross the Atlantic quickly, and high-speed liners suddenly became irrelevant.
Presumably, these days people take the Queen Mary 2 because they want the ocean liner experience, not to get across as quickly as they can. So probably nobody will complain about an extra day or two.
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