The size of the new liner was creating a stir and not just in the launching and fitting-out berths that had to be dredged to accommodate her. CANBERRA was to be the largest passenger liner built in Britain since the QUEEN ELIZABETH, some 30 years earlier, but there the comparisons ended. Unlike her predecessors and contemporaries, CANBERRA was designed with her engines aft allowing large public rooms to dominate the centre of the ship and giving greater passenger capacity and comfort. On the upper decks her sleek tanker style funnels created ample and uncluttered deck space for sports and games.
The superstructure was constructed using an aluminium alloy, giving a saving of 1,500 tons of stuctural weight that was reallocated to accommodate an additional deck and 200 passengers.