Cunard announced in 2002 the intention to build a "New Cunarder" later named Queen Victoria. At 85,000 tons, she was to enter service in 2005 during the company's 165th anniversary celebrations. The "New Cunarder" was to be dedicated to the British Cruise Market operating cruises out of Southampton to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.
In late 2004, P&O and Cunard jointly announced that the New Cunarder was to be completed as Arcadia for P&O cruises. The new Arcadia was to replace P&O's previous vessel Adonia which had returned to Princess Cruises.
Cunard subsequently announced the building of a new Queen Victoria which would... Adhere to the grand ocean liner design inspired by current vessels QE2 and QM2. The three liners would sail together under Cunard colors for the first time in late-2007.
Queen Victoria was built in the same shipyard as Arcadia and her keel was successfully laid down on 19th May, 2006 at Fincantieri with Cunard's Commodore Ronald W. Warwick in attendance.
On 4th October, 2006 Captain Paul Wright, who has commanded both QE2 and QM2 during his 26 year career with Cunard, was appointed Queen Victoria's first master. By 15th January, 2007, Queen Victoria was ready to be floated out and a special ceremony was held. Cunard's Managing Director Carol Marlow was joined by Maureen Ryan, the only known person to have served on all Cunard Queens: Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, QE2 and QM2. In recognition of her service, Cunard gave Maureen the honour, in Italian tradition, of being Madrina to Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria began her sea trials in August of 2007. After the successful completion of the trials, Cunard officially took delivery of the vessel on the 24th November. She was sailed out of Venice on the 30th of November to her home port, arriving in Southampton for the first time on 7th of December 2007.
She was named by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall on the 10th December, 2007, however the ceremony was marred by the failure of the champagne bottle to break when it hit against the bow. QV departed on her sold out Maiden Voyage the next day accompanied by a fantastic fireworks display and many well wishers. The voyage was a success despite superstitious overtones.