I’m going to make a statement I never thought I’d make. I love cruising. Thanks to Cunard I’ve found my sea legs and discovered the joys of cruising. I’m still bathing in the afterglow of a glorious two weeks cruising around the Mediterranean on the Cunard Queen Victoria.
My cruise holiday was not a planned one. Quite spontaneously my friend Pip and I decided to go on holiday. The criteria was two weeks in the sun. I’m not one for sitting still for five minutes, and so a cruise seemed to meet both of our needs. It turned out to be the best decision. Initially it was the itinerary which really grabbed us, with 10 destinations over 14 days we were certainly going to be busy. Having never cruised with Cunard previously, we had a look at the ship and were taken by the elegance of the Art Deco inspired features on the Queen Victoria. It didn’t take us long to decide this was the cruise for us. Booking six weeks before departure gave me just enough time to plan my glamorous cruise wardrobe and investigate the countries we would be visiting.
We flew to Rome to embark the Queen Victoria (the photos below was taken in Montenegro not Rome). On first sight I was happy that she was a mid size ship. This, I hope, meant it was going to be easier to find our way around.
Our bags were already waiting for us at our cabin and we made ourselves at home straight away. We had booked an ocean view cabin and it was nice to have a big picture window. The cabin was spacious and had three wardrobes, which catered for two sets of day and evening clothes perfectly, along with shoes, handbags and other accessories. We were able to store our suitcases under our beds, so for two weeks we were luggage free within our cabin. The shower room was the normal size for the type of cabin, but had everything we needed in the compact space.
There was a bottle of Prosecco waiting for us which was a lovely way to start our holiday. It was then time to explore.
Thankfully it was both arrivals and trip day, which meant there were very few people on the ship. Perfect for trying to get our bearings. The total capacity is 2,000 people, but whilst we were told the ship was full, not once did we get any sense of being crowded, quite the opposite in fact. Decks two and three housed the public areas running the length of the ship and were easy to navigate. Decks nine, ten and eleven were also home to public areas, but were a bit more tricky to navigate and you had to remember which staircase you needed to use. But this just added to the fun. On deck three you were able to walk the whole circumference of the boat, if you so desired. Although with all of our days off ship sight seeing we never quite had the energy left for this.
The Grand Lobby is a three story elegant space, with a sweeping staircase and large 3D bronze of the Queen Victoria. The arrangement and scent of the flowers were beautiful. At night there was a harpist or pianist playing. This is where the pursers desk and tour desk can be found, both of which never seemed to have a terribly long queue, whatever time of day.
It didn’t take us long to find the Veuve Clicquot champagne bar and Chart Room bar. Both were on the way to the restaurant so perfect for pre-dinner drinks. Apart from before both dinner sittings each space was never terribly busy, which suited us. Part of this could have been due to relaxed seating being available in the space just outside, as an extension to the bars. We enjoyed many a glass of bubbles here.
We were dinning in the Britannia Restaurant which offers a superb fine dining menu in the evening, along with waiter service breakfast and three course luncheon. Thankfully we were on the 2nd sitting which meant we had plenty of time after our time off ship to get ourselves preened. Over the two weeks we had four formal nights, with the rest being informal. Our waiter, Raj, looked after us perfectly, making sure our dietary needs were always met. I couldn’t fault any of the meals we had, and there were only two nights where nothing grabbed me, but Raj quickly stepped in to provide suggestions. We had a wonderful set of dining guests the first week, but only two of whom were with us for the whole cruise. This really did make the holiday even more wonderful.
The magnificent Queens Room is located on deck 2 and is where the Captain’s cocktail parties, dancing and afternoon tea take place. With its chandeliers and opulent decor you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Claridges or The Ritz. We attended a few evening events here and always had a wonderful time.
The Royal Arcade runs the length of the ship on deck 3. Here you can find a selection of shops including jewellery, cloths, plus there is an art gallery shop.
The Lido is the buffet restaurant, which is situated mid ship on deck 9. Whilst not the biggest selection of food, it was adequate enough for us. We visited here for breakfast, and lunch if we were on ship. There was a good variety of healthy options, and surprisingly the filter coffee was very good. It was lovely having breakfast with a view each morning.
The Winter Garden is located mid ship towards the front by the Lido and the family pool. This was a more relaxed lounge which was inspired by Kew Gardens. In the day time you can watch live sport or par take in an activity from the daily programme. At night there were various activities including the resident bands playing.
Our cabin was at the front of the ship right by the corridor to the Royal Court Theatre. We loved this entrance it really felt like you were at a West End theatre. We went to a number of the shows in the evening, but the best by far were The Patriot Girls, Incanto and the Jersey Boys. We both thought the quality of the entertainment was excellent and definitely rivaled the West End.
There are two swimming pools on deck nine. One at the front of the ship, for families, and one at the rear for adults only. We used both, but late afternoon at the rear of the ship there were shadows cast by the poles. There was a giant chess board by the family pool, which occasionally people used. At night the family pool looked gorgeous all lite up.
At the front of the ship we found The Commodore Lounge. A glamorous lounge where we spent many a night watching the ship sail towards our next destination. With either bubbles or a G&T in hand we listened to the resident pianist whilst talking about our day and watching the most amazing sunsets.
These weren’t the only spaces and places on board, there was also the Golden Lion Pub, Hemispheres night club, a spa and a casino. For a medium size ship, she has every type of entertainment space and more. With a varied entertainment schedule you weren’t short of activities to take part in, whether day or evening.
Throughout the ship there are cabinets which display memorabilia from past Queen Victoria voyages. It was lovely to look at this past history, especially as we were cruising in this the 175 years of Cunard.
We both felt that cruising on the Queen Victoria felt like cruising how it used to be. We loved the elegance and ambiance of each and every part of the ship. It was lovely for there to be standards on dress and etiquette, which we felt sets Cunard apart from other cruise companies. The quality of the food and entertainment were superb. From the minute we stepped on the ship to the minute we left the Cunard customer service was second to none. We both would certainly cruise on the Queen Victoria and with Cunard again. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the company or the ship to anyone who wants to enjoy a more glamorous type of cruise. I’m already looking at future cruises.
Have you cruised with Cunard on the Queen Victoria?