Every month we’ll take a cruise line and look at the history, the fleet and its people to find out what really makes its cruises worthwhile. This month, we’re looking at one of the oldest cruise lines in history: Cunard.

Next year, Cunard will celebrate its 175th anniversary. With three of the most famous ships in the world today, it’s no wonder the cruise line has become the institution that it is. The Cunard name and the fleet have become synonymous with luxury cruising, but how did the line achieve its iconic status?

Cunard was founded by Samuel Cunard, who travelled from his native Nova Scotia to England after seeing an (out-of-date) advertisement in The Times newspaper. He won the contract from the British Admiralty to carry the Royal Mail and in 1839 he established the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company – also known as the Cunard Line.

The first Cunard sailing began on the 4th July 1840, when the ship Britannia set sail for Boston from Liverpool. It was the first of thousands of cross-Atlantic voyages for the company, and it is still going strong nearly 175 years later.

2015 will be the 175th anniversary of this iconic cruise line, and just like everything Cunard, it intends to celebrate in lavish style. First, the three Cunard ships will meet for the very first time in the Liverpool dock. Following that, the Queen Mary 2 will retrace that first journey made by Britannia on the 4th July – 175 years to the day after it began.

After all these years, Cunard is still synonymous with opulent luxury, thanks to its beautiful fleet. Currently, Cunard runs three ships, also lovingly known as “The three queens”, each sporting the unmistakeable black and red funnel: the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, and Queen Mary 2. Each “queen” has her very own personality and style, so you should do your research before deciding which ship is for you.

Having said that, the Queen Mary 2 is Cunard’s star ship, and should be on the bucket list of every avid cruiser. At more than 151,000 tonnes and 1,132 feet long, it’s the grandest ocean liner ever built and the only ocean liner in the world today. She has crossed the Atlantic more than 200 times, and regularly sails between Southampton and New York. While there are only two stops on this voyage, it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a great chance to discover this floating five-star beauty.

While Cunard is probably most famous for its transatlantic crossings, the fleet has explored all four corners of the globe: from Australia, to Europe, to Southeast Asia. But no matter where they go, the ships always draw huge crowds when they dock in port, with hundreds of people trying to get a glimpse of these magnificent vessels.

However, the fleet’s interiors are just as impressive as the exteriors. Each ship has its own unique style, but all offer a stunning five-star experience that simply cannot be replicated on other cruise line, with luxurious accommodation, delicious cuisine and a wide variety of entertainment options.

If the Cunard experience sounds like the perfect cruising holiday for you, why not explore our Cunard itineraries?

Have you ever sailed on a Cunard ship? What was it like? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!

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