Queen Victoria Gallery
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Even before the completion of the new Queen Mary 2, Cunard's owners, Carnival Corporation, had allocated one of the "Vista-class" ships ordered by Holland America Line from Fincantieri of Trieste, Italy, to be Cunard's second new liner, Queen Victoria.

However, prior to the ship's launching in 2004, it was decided that significant modifications would be necessary to bring the new ship up to the standard required for a running-mate to the brand new Queen Mary 2. Consequently, that ship was re-allocated to P&O as the new Arcadia and a slightly larger, modified hull design was laid down in 2006 for the ship that was to become the new liner.

Queen Victoria (2007)
90,049grt; length 964.5 ft; 23.7 knots
Passengers: 2,014 (one class)

The new Queen Victoria was christened in Southampton in December 2007 by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and to the considerable glee of some, the bottle did not break. In maritime terms, this can be considered a bad omen, so it is perhaps fortunate that the second bottle did break when applied!

At 90,049 gross tons, she is larger than her retired sister, Queen Elizabeth 2, and in 2007, was the second largest Cunard Liner to date.

Below: The Cunard Queens, drawn to the same scale
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Above: Queen Victoria departs Southampton's Ocean Dock

View Five Queens Larger Profile

Queen Mary (1936)
81,237grt; length 1,019ft; 28.5 knots
776 pass (1st), 784 (Tourist), 579 (3rd)
View Five Queens Larger Profile Queen Elizabeth (1940)
83,673grt; length 1,031ft; 28.5 knots
823 pass (1st), 662 (Cabin), 798 (Tourist)

View Five Queens Larger Profile

Queen Elizabeth 2 (as from 1994)
70,327grt; length 963ft; 28.5 knots
1,740 passengers (one-class cruising)
View Five Queens Larger Profile Queen Mary 2 (2004)
148,528grt; Length 1,132ft; 29.6 knots
2,620 passengers (one class)
View Five Queens Larger Profile Queen Victoria (2007)
90,049grt; Length 964ft; 23.7 knots
2,014 passengers (one class)

Show Picture Full Size Following a couple of introductory cruises, the new Queen Victoria made her maiden crossing of the North Atlantic in January 2008, accompanied for the entire voyage by Queen Elizabeth 2. In New York, the two ships were joined by Queen Mary 2 for a spectacular fireworks sailaway by all three ships.

Watch this brilliant 7 min video of the crossing >> from Paul on Vimeo

Exactly 3 years later, Queen Victoria would make the same voyage in tandem with her new sister, Queen Elizabeth, making her maiden crossing. And with another "Royal Rendezvous" planned with Queen Mary 2 in New York, this time I was not going to miss the occasion! see Queen Elizabeth >>

Transatlantic to New York
5th - 13th January 2011

View the complete Log of this cruise >>

Cunard may have coined the phrase "Getting there is half the fun" but crossing the Atlantic was still about how quickly you could get there. Queen Elizabeth 2 was able to do the trip in 5 days; indeed, I did the trip both ways in 1991 with John & Andrew ( See QE2 1991 >> ) Even Queen Mary 2 was designed to cross to New York in 5 days if necessary, although from her debut in 2004, she has maintained a more economical cruising speed of 26 knots and a crossing time of 6 or 7 days ( See QM2 2010 >> ).

The new Queen Victoria, while not as fast as QM2, is still capable of more speed than the average cruise ship but for this winter crossing of the North Atlantic, alongside the new Queen Elizabeth on her maiden crossing, the passage to New York would take 7 nights, arriving on the 8th day.

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Atlantic Sunrise
aboard Queen Victoria
Gale Force 10
Queen Elizabeth in heavy seas (from Queen Victoria)
Queen Victoria & Queen Elizabeth
arrive in New York
Royal Rendezvous
All 3 Queens together

All the photos of Queen Victoria & Queen Elizabeth taken on this cruise can be found on my account at
Captain Martini >>

Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size Accommodation
My A5-grade balcony cabin (no.4184) was a standard double cabin aft on Deck 4.

As with most modern cabins, mine was comfortably appointed and spacious (especially for one!). However, the complimentary bottle of sparkling wine is not standard but one of the benefits of "Diamond Membership" of the "Cunard World Club" scheme!
( Above: My A5-grade Balcony Cabin no.4184 )

While all the facilities, lounges and bars aboard the ship are open to all passengers (though, like the Spa, not necessarily without charge), the primary difference between Cunard and other lines is its adherence to different classes of dining, depending upon which grade of cabin or suite you book to travel in. This puts a modern twist on the old concept of First Class, Cabin Class and Tourist.

Show Picture Full Size The Britannia Restaurant (Decks 2 & 3 aft)
The grand centre-piece and balconied main section of the Restaurant evoke that post-war style with which Cunard is today assoociated. However, with the galleys on the port side, there are windows only on the starboard side.

The aft-facing sections on both levels (see right) have windows on 3 sides but the upper level faces onto the Promenade and both levels suffer from a rather low ceiling-height, so that tables not situated close to a window can feel a little dark and claustrophobic. Show Picture Full Size

Passengers booking Britannia Club cabins are seated in the balcony in a single sitting, whereas the remainder of the Restaurant operates 2 sittings for dinner and is open-seating for Breakfast and Lunch. Service from the stewards is generally good and as tables are, thankfully, not too close together, correct service is possible in most locations.

The menu selection in the main restaurant follows the same pattern as that on Queen Mary 2 and while it is considerably less extensive than that offered by Celebrity Cruises for instance, I found the range of choice adequate - although for those of less broad tastes, this might not be the case.

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First Night Menu First Formal Dinner The Farewell Dinner Last Night Menu

Show Picture Full Size The Grills (deck 11)
Passengers travelling in the suites have a private cocktail lounge and the exclusive Queen's Grill and Princess Grill, where the menus are more extensive. I was not able to see either on this voyage but these photos of the Queens Grill were taken on a visit to the new Queen Elizabeth in 2010.
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Todd English Restaurant (Decks 2 midships)
With great views of the sea, this is Cunard's signature speciality restaurant, introduced on Queen Mary 2 in 2004. visit toddenglish.com >>

Show Picture Full Size Adapted with flair and panache, the eclectic menu of rustic mediterranean-style dishes is well worth the additional cover charge for a long, lingering lunch or intimate dinner.
Menus: Lunch (pt.1) >> , Lunch (pt.2) >> & Dinner (pt.1) >> , Dinner (pt.2) >>
(left) Sounding the Ship's Bell at noon, outside the Todd English Restaurant (right)
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My fellow "Diamond" table companion and I enjoyed a delightfully indulgent lunch here, although I was not as impressed as in the same restaurant on Queen Mary 2 last year; service was slow and my flatbread was rather like cardboard but we were so absorbed in conversation that it really didn't matter and we were the last to leave, having had a thoroughly good time!

Other public areas
Designed primarily for warm weather cruising, Queen Victoria has plenty of open deck-space and lots of interesting levels for great views of the sea. Even a full circuit of the Promenade Deck might have been possible (3 times is about 1 mile) if they hadn't blocked-off the forward crossing for crew use, and it's a shame that real teak has given way to a supposedly non-slip "look-a-like" surface. However, there's a great view from the aft Promenade, nicely sheltered from the wind and spray.

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Atlantic Sunrise
From the aft Promenade
The Pavilion Pool
But uncovered?
Promenade Deck
No teak & not "wrap-around"

A major drawback in the ship's design is the lack of a covered swimming-pool; this seems to have been a questionable decision for an "Atlantic Liner". The attractive but tiny Spa-pool is available only to paying guests and in any event, is quite unsuitable for swimming See photo >> and there are two outdoor heated public pools, the Lido aft and the Pavilion Pool midships, but both are too exposed to be suitable for swimming in January, unless you are of an unusually hardy nature!

Instead of covering the pool, the Winter Garden is a sort of Conservatory facing it which has a sliding glass roof and glass sliding doors to the deck; clearly designed for warm weather cruising because unfortunately, even with the roof closed during the crossing, this room was rather bleak, as well as draughty from the constant flow of passengers using it as a fore-and-aft thoroughfare.

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Winter Garden
Deck 9
Hemispheres Lounge & Nightclub
Deck 10
Hemispheres Lift Lobby
'A' Stairway, Deck 10

Much more inviting is Hemispheres on Deck 10 overlooking the Pavilion Pool. This attractive lounge works well as a meeting-room during the day, as a cocktail-lounge in the evening and as a disco at night. The approach to it is via a sumptuous lift lobby, with a beautifully themed carpet design.

The Commodore Club (Deck 10 fwd)
Forward on this deck and off the same lobby as Hemispheres, this impressive lounge spans the full width of the ship and has a spectactular 180-degree sea-view over the bows.

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The Commodore Club (deck 10 fwd) - the place for a Martini!
Larger and less intimate than its namesake on Queen Mary 2 but just as comfortable, it became my "lounge of choice" for an early evening cocktail with friends. There is an impressive Martini selection and it was where I discovered "Grey Goose Pear Vodka", amongst other things!

Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size Ship models of QE2 and QM2 grace the room's 2 entrances and other maritime art includes a mural of "Russia & Persia on the Thames" by Jeremy Sanders. Adjacent is Churchill's, a cigar lounge. Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size
Mural QE2 Model QM2 Model Churchill's

The Lido Restaurant (Deck 9 aft)
Self-service restaurants have come a long way in recent years and this is a vast improvement on Cunard's previous attempt aboard Queen Mary 2! Slightly disjointed in layout but spacious and with good serveries, I enjoyed very pleasant breakfasts and the occasional delicious pasta lunch in here.
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Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size The Grand Lobby (Decks 2/3 off the Grand Lobby)
The main public areas are down on Decks 2 & 3 where the focal hub of the ship is the Grand Lobby, with the Reception and Tour Office desks on Deck 1. Though somewhat less spectacular than on many other cruise ships, it is nonetheless appropriately "grand" as a modern evocation of what Cunard would like us to think of as a traditional Atlantic liner.

Leading off the Grand Lobby on Deck 2 is Cafe Carinthia, a comfortable coffee & patisserie lounge where a particularly civilised light lunch can be enjoyed, away from the bustle of the restaurants.

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Cafe Carinthia
(Deck 2)
The Veuve Cliquot
Champagne Bar (Deck 2)
The Chart Room
(Deck 2, starboard side)

Further aft on Deck 2 are the Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar and the Chart Room, another popular signature cocktail lounge, first introduced by Cunard aboard Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1994.

Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size The Library (Decks 2/3 off the Grand Lobby)
An impressive spiral staircase is the focal-point of this stunning 2-deck high, wood-panelled room but it also boasts 2 full-time librarians as well as 6,000 volumes and a rather special carpet incorporating the signatures of some famous authors.
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Show Picture Full Size "Cunardia" (Decks 2 & 3)
Cleverly utilising walk-through areas on Decks 2 & 3 is Cunard's homage to its transatlantic hey-day, with an eclectic collection of memorablia and fascinating bric-a-brac, as well as a shop selling Cunard logo merchanidise and an extremely well-stocked martitime bookshop.
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Show Picture Full Size The Queen's Room (Deck 2 midships)
One of the main differences aboard Cunard ships is the provision of a traditional ballroom with a "proper" dance-floor and the Queen's Room has long been the line's signature feature in this regard. I attended at least 3 cocktail parties here, as well as some ballroom dance classes, although the Eastern-European accents of dance instructors Artsiom & Volha proved something of a stumbling-block.
The Queens Room (above & below)

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Fake clerestory windows
Gallery lighting detail
The Art Gallery The Stage Closed-circuit TV in
The side lounges

The Queens Room is extremely popular in the evenings, when its large dance-floor can be surprisingly busy, but the room serves well for entertaining large groups and the side lounges on the lower level (Deck 2) have TV screens that are cleverly used to relay "the action" from the main body of the room. The upper level (Deck 3) has fake stained-glass "clerestory" windows on one side and a walk-through "gallery" on the other side which actually houses the ship's Art Shop.

Further forward, is the 2-deck high Royal Arcade, with shops on the upper level (Deck 2), a grand staircase, "wrought-iron" railings and a Victorian-style clock; all a bit "twee" for my tastes, although it didn't stop me having my formal photo taken there!

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Royal Arcade
(Decks 2 & 3)
My Formal Portrait Golden Lion Pub
(Deck 2)
Empire Casino
(Deck 2)

On the lower level (Deck 2) of the Royal Arcade, can be found the Empire Casino, somewhat akin to an Amusement Arcade at the end of the pier, while on the starboard side is the Golden Lion Pub, another feature of QE2's 1993 refit, copying the idea of the Cricketers' Tavern from P&O's Canberra and which continues to be surprisingly popular, given Cunard's supposed passenger demographic!

Fully forward at this point, and occupying the full width of 3 decks, is the Royal Court Theatre.

The Royal Court Theatre (Decks 1-3 forward)
Nothing could be more anacronistic aboard a modern cruise ship than a full-size Victorian theatre but here it is, complete with red plush-velvet seating and various private boxes, the access to which creates a maze of little stepped passages around the sides, with seating boothes designed for pre-show, private cocktail parties. Indeed, you can even hire one of these for an "Exclusive Champagne Evening", complete with your own uniformed Bell-boy, should your lavish tastes so desire! Show Picture Full Size
Cunard Bell-boy

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The Royal Court Theatre Private Boxes
& side lounges
View from a box Theatre Lobby
('A' Stairway, Deck 3)

Notwithstanding the avoidable kitch marketing gimmicks, the theatre is extremely comfortable (which most Victorian theatres are not!) and apart from a few unfortunate columns, it has very good sight-lines. Following the English rather than the American model though, there are no drinks tables, apart from in the boxes. Some excellent daytime talks were held here (speakers included maritime historian John Maxtone-Graham and celebrity ex-MP Lembit Opik) and the evening entertainment followed the usual pattern of cabaret artists, a comedian and 2 productions shows, the first of which was reasonably good but the second of which followed an "Old Time Music Hall" theme, culminating in an excruciatingly embarrassing attempt at "Land of Hope & Glory"!

All the photos of Queen Victoria & Queen Elizabeth taken on this cruise can be found on my account at Captain Martini >>

European Spring Getaway
26th April - 1st May 2013

View the complete Log of this cruise >>

The next cruise aboard Queen Victoria would be a chance to occupy a Princess Suite and to sample the fine cuisine of the Princess Grill.

Our Princess Suite
While not as large as the suites on some other ships, Princess Suites retain a traditional cabin layout but are longer and more spacious than a standard cabin. With a walk-in closet, there's ample hanging-space and a good set of deep shelves and proper drawers you can actually put things in!

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Welcome Back! Princess Suite #6102
Slightly larger than a standard cabin
Walk-in Closet A full-size bath

The bathroom is larger too, with a full-size bath/shower and plenty of shelves. However, some of this extra cabin space is at the expense of the balcony, which is quite small and has barely enough room for its 2 loungers and a tiny table. Also, the cabin TVs are not up to much, with poor reception and no on-line services; you do get 2 of them but I would rather have had one good one instead!

The Princess Grill
The big difference between Cunard and other cruise lines is that your cabin-grade dictates which restaurant you are assigned to. Passengers in Princess Suites have the Princess Grill and as we had only 5 nights aboard and it was still lunch time, we were all keen to investigate what it had to offer!

Show Picture Full Size Show Picture Full Size Situated on Deck-11 (starboard) with a fabulous sea-view, the restaurant comfortably seats 132. Your table & waiters remain fixed for the voyage and in our case, principal waiter Azam maintained an informal professionalism that was impeccable.

For all meals, you can dine at whatever time suits you; just as long as the restaurant is open, so by 1pm we were already enjoying our first lunch aboard! Our First Lunch Menu >>

Lunch was extremely good and we were all impressed. Indeed, the restaurant's selection of menus, its excellent food and exclusive quiet ambience would, over the next few days, prove so fine that at times it evoked memories of heady days long-ago, aboard Vistafjord and Sagafjord in the 1980's.
More Menus:- Lunch Menu >>; Dinner Menu >>; A la Carte Dinner Menu >> See also my full Collection of Queen Victoria Menus >>

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The Princess Grill & various views of the Courtyard Private Access! The Grills Lounge
& Sun-Terrace

Shared between the Queens & Princess Grills is the Courtyard, an exclusive al-fresco dining area. Along with the private Grills Terrace & Sun-deck, this would have been very pleasant, had the weather been a little warmer! But there is always the private Grills Lounge, for Afternoon Tea!

In 2011, my favourite lounge aboard Queen Victoria was the Commodore Club on deck 10 forward. With its sweeping views, comfy arm-chairs and pre-dinner hors d'oevres, here we assembled for evening drinks and I was pleased that Grey Goose Pear Vodka was still on the bar-menu!

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The exclusive
Grills Terrace
Commodore Club
The Welcome Dinner Menu
in the Princess Grill

After that it was back to the Princess Grill for a suptuous dinner; I had Sautéed Sweetbreads (with poached egg!) and Prosciutto-wrapped Scallops but still managed to try the Amaretto Creme Brulée! However, even better was in store for us the following nights...

Show Picture Full Size Show a la carte Menu Show Chef's Specials Menu An Exceptional Dinner
For dinner on the next three nights, we were presented the a la carte Menu, available most evenings along with a Chef's Selection which changes daily, an interesting reversal of the arrangement used by Celebrity Cruises!

The Princess Grill, a la carte Menu & "Chef's Specials"

The Crab & Crayfish Cocktail was the best I had ever tasted, while the Dover Sole, prepared table-side, simply melted on the tongue! But when the waiter served the Hot Cherry Soufflée, it was as if I had been transported back in time to Vistafjord in 1985; I was in heaven!

Cunard utilises its great Transatlantic heritage to evoke a somewhat romanticised picture of the "traditional ocean liner" and it has been said that Queen Victoria is merely "a cruise ship masquerading as an ocean liner".

That said, she is a supremely comfortable cruise ship and while she may not be able to maintain in high seas the speed of QM2 or indeed, of her illustrious predecessor, QE2, she handles surprisingly well; and in any event, the economic imperatives of today are different from those of the 1960's, when speed was so important.
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Queen Victoria and the new Queen Elizabeth in New York

While she lacks a covered pool (a necessity for a "liner" in my opinion) and her rather "staged" interior design may not suit everyone, she is a wealth of maritime art and history and this fits well with her "corporate style"; Cunard is after all, just one of the many brands of the Carnival Corporation and the quality of the cruising experience aboard Queen Victoria is an extremely good one. Let us hope that this is maintained!

Adriatic & Aegean Gems
2nd - 9th September 2017

View the complete Log of this cruise >>

At 10 years old, Queen Victoria was not long out of a major refit in which her aft was altered to add 31 cabins and suites, changing her appearance to almost match that of her sister, Queen Elizabeth.

Show Picture Full Size As part of the refit, her original Chart Room on deck 2 was converted into the Britannia Club Restaurant, offering single-sitting dining to an enlarged mid-range class of balcony cabins (again, rather like on Queen Elizabeth). Meanwhile, the rather nice Cafe Carinthia, also on deck 2, was sacrificed to become the new location of the Chart Room.

Up top, aft, her now enlarged Lido Deck provided additional seating, with a shaded, al-fresco dining area around the refurbished pool.

And for this welcome return to Queen Victoria, our "Friends & Family" booking for Queen's Grill may have ended up being downgraded to Princess Grill but it proved no less enjoyable as a result!

Total Mileage on board
Queen Victoria: 5,213 nautical miles

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