In May 1998, the directors of Carnival Cruises, the world‘s leading cruise line, asked the naval architect Stephen Payne to think about the design of a giant transatlantic liner, with totally new fittings, destined to replace the famous Queen Elizabeth 2 within the fleet of their subsidiary Cunard. Very quickly, Stephen Payne, who had a passion for the great liners of the 1930s, defined the general line of this exceptional ship, quite simply the largest liner in the world with its 345 metres long, 41 metres wide and 72 metres high (the equivalent of 23 floors). The architect takes the best aspects of the past and translates them into the present: the breakwater on the foredeck is inherited from the very elegant Normandy breakwater. The facade is very much inspired by the staircase facade of the original Queen Mary. But the „steps“ have given way to a gentle slope. The Queen Mary was equipped with open bridge wings: They are now being reused but closed to better cope with the bad weather in the North Atlantic. QM2 borrowed its wheelhouse and the general line of its chimney from Queen Elizabeth 2. However, the new Cunarder is indeed a 21st century boat which combines the advantages of a cruise ship with those of a liner.