RMS Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She was the first major ocean liner built since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, the vessel she succeeded as flagship of the Cunard Line. The new ship was named Queen Mary 2 by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 after the first RMS Queen Mary, completed in 1936. Queen Mary was in turn named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. With the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 from active duty in 2008, Queen Mary 2 is the only transatlantic ocean liner in line service between Southampton and New York, which operates for part of each year. The ship is also used for cruising, including an annual world cruise.
Although not of British construction, the ship was designed by a team of British naval architects, led by Stephen Payne. At the time of her construction in 2003 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Queen Mary 2 was the longest, widest, and tallest passenger ship ever built, and with her gross tonnage of 148,528 also the largest. She no longer holds this distinction after the construction of Royal Caribbean International's 154,407 GT Freedom of the Seas in April 2006. Although later cruise ships are larger, Queen Mary 2 remains the largest ocean liner (as opposed to cruise ship) ever built.
An ocean liner is a ship designed to transport people from one seaport to another along regular long-distance maritime routes according to a schedule. Liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes (e.g., for pleasure cruises or as hospital ships).
Cargo vessels running to a schedule are sometimes called liners. The category does not include ferries or other vessels engaged in short-sea trading, nor dedicated cruise ships where the voyage itself, and not transportation, is the prime purpose of the trip. Nor does it include tramp steamers, even those equipped to handle limited numbers of passengers. Some shipping companies refer to themselves as "lines" and their container ships, which often operate over set routes according to established schedules, as "liners".
Ocean liners are usually strongly built with a high freeboard to withstand rough seas and adverse conditions encountered in the open ocean. Additionally, they are often designed with thicker hull plating than is found on cruise ships, and have large capacities for fuel, food and other consumables on long voyages.
As of 2012, the Queen Mary 2 is the only ocean liner in active service in the world. In April 2012, the Australian mining magnate, Clive Palmer, announced his plans for building an ocean liner meant to be a replica of the RMS Titanic for trans-atlantic voyages.