Written by on Thursday August 6, 2015
I’m sure that I must have one of the best jobs in the world. Seven colleagues and myself were treated like royalty from start to finish on our recent cruise on Queen Victoria.
After a hugely enjoyable day and overnight stay in Dubrovnik, a destination worthy of a return visit, we made our way to the port to begin a 3 night cruise from Dubrovnik to Venice. The ship was overnight in port in Venice so we managed to enjoy a full day in Venice arriving in style from the ship to St Marks Square by private water taxi and spending the day experiencing a wonderful gondola ride and marvelling at everything the beautiful city had to offer.
Arriving at a Cunard ship is always an impressive experience, they are the most elegant ships in the market and we felt proud to be boarding her.
After a speedy check-in we made our way to our balcony staterooms on deck 4. My room was 4143 which had a larger balcony than the decks above. We were welcomed with sparkling wine in our room on arrival which was enjoyed on the balcony before dinner.
Our cabin steward opened up the dividers on our balconies as we had 3 cabins next door to each other giving us more space, fabulous if travelling with friends or family. The stateroom was very well appointed and had a flatscreen tv with a good choice of free movies, generous storage and the use of complimentary bathrobes, slippers and penhaligons toiletries. There were UK, European and US sockets in the room which was very handy.
Queen Victoria was built in 2007 and underwent a multi-million pound refit in January 2015 and was looking in fabulous condition. The ship has a classical decor with Edwardian elegance and luxurious marbles, woods and rich fabrics.
The ship's interior pays many tributes to Cunard's venerable history. These celebratory nods range from black and white photos of the rich and famous as they travelled on various Cunard steamers to a homage to Queen Victoria herself in the design of the two-deck high Queen's Room, meant to replicate the general ambience of Osborne House, the monarch's favourite residence.
Following on from the uniqueness and tradition of Cunard is the dress code which is casual during the day but at 6pm a strict dress code exists and gentlemen are required to wear shirts and jackets and cocktail dress or stylish separates for women. On the formal evenings men should wear a dinner jacket, tuxedo or dark suit with tie and evening cocktail dress for women. It was lovely to see everyone making an effort and looking so smart in the evenings as this is sadly one part of cruising that is disappearing with other cruise lines.
On our first evening we enjoyed pre dinner drinks in the Veuve Clicquot champagne bar before having a sumptuous meal in the Verandah speciality restaurant which has a cover charge of $24, well worth it for the quality of food and service. We dined in the Britannia restaurant the following two evenings and the food was fabulous. There were two seatings, 6pm and 8.30pm.
The entertainment was very varied onboard with ballroom dancing featuring very highly every day. We had fun at the party night with the ships international party band, Nexus in the Queens Room, something I had to admit that I didn’t think I would see on a Cunard ship. Daytime and evening activities consisted of quizzes in the Golden Lion Pub to films in the Royal Court Theatre, sequence dancing, variety shows, classical music and DJ late night dancing in Hemispheres. A little bit of something for everyone!
During our guided tour of the ship we were shown around the play zone which is the kids club area of the ship. Children from aged 2 to 17 years have their own supervised activities and I was impressed at the night nursery for young children aged 6 months to 23 months. On the sailing we were on, children aged 8-17 were in the same area but they would have separate activities depending on their age. Although the activities and facilities are not as extensive as the likes of P&O and Royal Caribbean it was still a good area for children to meet friends and enjoy being away from their parents until 11pm each evening.
One of the highlights of the cruise was experiencing the tradition of afternoon tea in the Queens Room. At 3.30pm on the dot a procession of white gloved waiters served us delightful sandwiches, cakes and scones served on wedgwood china. There is no extra charge for this and I would highly recommend it. We also enjoyed a pub lunch in the Golden Lion Pub which served traditional British fare like fish and chips and bangers & mash along with British ales and bitters.
The Grills Suites are the epitome of the Cunard experience. Grills guests enjoy attentive service and the space to relax in their suites, exclusive lounges and private terraces. We were very fortunate to be given a guided tour of how the other half live. Princess and Queens Grill suite guests have exclusive access to private deck areas with plush sun loungers and the elegant Grills Lounge and Princess Grill restaurants. They can dine here for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have the luxury of open dining with the freedom to dine at a time that suits them.
I especially loved the alfresco eating area of The Grills Courtyard. A concierge service attends to any special requirements they have on board or ashore. Although we didn’t manage to view a suite as the ship was sailing full, they would receive priority embarkation and be welcomed with sparkling wine and strawberries in their spacious balcony suite that occupies a prime location along with plentifully stocked Penhaligons toiletries and soft terry robes and slippers.
If you are looking for something a little bit special but at affordable prices I would highly recommend taking a cruise on Queen Victoria. The staff are some of the friendliest that I have ever encountered, the ship is grand in scale, yet stylish down to the tiniest detail and the perfect setting from which to explore new destinations, or old favourites.
Angela Lafferty, Product Executive