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July 3, 2008

Cunard Line Partners with The Royal Astronomical Society

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Cunard Line is proud to announce a new partnership with The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) onboard its trio of famed luxury ocean liners, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and QE2. Poised to become a highlight of Cunard Insights, the Line’s award-winning enrichment programme, the RAS partnership begins this summer with RAS Fellows joining 15 voyages on such popular itineraries as Queen Mary 2’s Transatlantic Crossings and Caribbean voyages and Queen Victoria’s Mediterranean sailings. RAS will offer custom night sky displays of constellations and star navigation instruction, and highlight astronomical points of interest using the SkyScan software in the only planetarium at sea onboard Queen Mary 2. Nighttime “Star Parties” on deck, informal discussion groups and formal lectures with leading astronomers, will also be distinguishing features of this first-at-sea programme.

“At Cunard, we are committed to offering our guests a dynamic and diverse range of enrichment opportunities,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. “Our new partnership with The Royal Astronomical Society brings another new and innovative learning experience to our guests, allowing unprecedented access to one of the U.K.’s most renowned and historic scientific institutions.”

RAS Fellows scheduled to sail in upcoming months include:

Alan Fitzsimmons – Professor of Astronomy at Queen’s University Belfast. Fitzsimmons is an expert on the solar system with a particular interest in killer asteroids. On board, Fitzsimmons’ lecture topics will include “The Path of the Dinosaurs” and “The Life of Stars.” He will sail on QE2’s July 20 Mediterranean Mosaic voyage.

Paul Murdin – Fellow, Institute of Astronomy and member of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge and Visiting Professor, John Moores University, Liverpool. Murdin has worked in five countries studying exploding stars and black holes. His topics include a discussion of the cosmic history of water, climate change and the universe’s composition. He sails on QE2’s August 27 Mediterranean Sojourn voyage.

Dr. Alastair Gunn – Professional Astrophysicist, musician and author. Gunn’s professional research relates to the extended atmospheres of highly active binary stars. He will sail on Queen Mary 2’s November 15 westbound Transatlantic Crossing.

Dr. Roberto Trotta – Lecturer at Imperial College, London, and former Lockyer Fellow of RAS at the Astrophysics Dept. of Oxford University and Fellow of St. Anne’s College, Oxford. Trotta will tackle topics ranging from the “observable universe” highlighting the history of discoveries in the past five centuries, to the “invisible universe” and “implausible universe.” He sails on Queen Mary 2’s November 21 Caribbean Adventure voyage.

Ian Ritpath – Astronomer, author and former Council member of the RAS. Ritpath is the editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and author of The Monthly Star Guide and Star Tales, in which he explores his particular interest in Greek myths of the constellations, the subject of one of his onboard discussions. He will sail on Queen Mary 2’s November 29 Southern Caribbean Calypso voyage.

Dr. Simon Mitton – Astrophysicist, Fellow of St. Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge and member of the Department for the History and Philosophy of Science, and Jacqueline Mitton, Astronomer, author and media spokesperson for RAS. Simon Mitton will share his 35 years of experience researching the origin and evolution of the universe, black holes and the highest energy objects in the universe. He also authored a biography of British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle. His wife is an award-winning author of children’s books on astronomy and a frequent lecturer. The Mittons will sail on Queen Mary 2’s December 9 Southern Caribbean Calypso voyage.

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Cunard Insights/RAS programmes in conjunction with The Royal Astronomical Society are featured on the following voyages:

Queen Mary 2:
Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing to Germany (July 22)
Westbound Transatlantic Crossing from Germany (July 30)
Westbound Transatlantic Crossing (Aug. 13)
Westbound Transatlantic Crossing (Nov. 15)
Caribbean Adventure (Nov. 21)
Southern Caribbean Calypso (Nov. 29)
Southern Caribbean Calypso (Dec. 9)
Caribbean Celebration (Dec. 19)

Queen Victoria:
Legends of the Mediterranean (Aug. 25)
Connoisseur’s Mediterranean (Nov. 29)

Land of the Midnight Sun (June 2)
Mediterranean Mosaic (July 20)
Taste of Mediterranean (Aug 12)
Mediterranean Sojourn (Aug. 27)

Cunard has long been synonymous with providing engaging onboard enrichment programmes. Delving deeply into a variety of compelling and relevant topics, Cunard Insights introduces guests to stimulating experts and accomplished visionaries who reflect the line’s heritage of adventure and prestige. Through a series of lectures, Q&A’s, debates, social gatherings, and workshops, guests connect with personalities who have achieved notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, politics, arts and literature. The Insights programmes underscore Cunard’s longstanding view that onboard entertainment should afford guests a provocative and rewarding cerebral experience.

For information about a Cunard voyage and to make reservations contact your travel professional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or browse

About Cunard Line
Cunard Line, operator of the luxury ocean liners Queen Mary 2, QE2 and Queen Victoria has long been synonymous with the quest for new discoveries and the epitome of British refinement since the company’s first paddle-wheeled steamer, Britannia, crossed the Atlantic in 1840. Cunard voyages bring together like-minded travelers who relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star ServiceTM, fine dining, sophisticated adventure, the legacy of historic voyages and transatlantic travel.
Cunard Line is a proud member of World’s Leading Cruise Lines. The exclusive alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together they offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world’s most desirable destinations.

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