|Launched:||1st December 2007|
Queen Victoria will delight you with her special appeal, where elegance and unique features combine seamlessly with outstanding hospitality. You’ll discover an extraordinary way to see the world. Take a voyage on Queen Victoria and you’ll soon discover why she’s established herself as a favourite way to explore the world. You’ll find her unique atmosphere and warmth encourages a sense of escapism. This special appeal has recently been elevated still further with the introduction of an expanded sun deck and Britannia Club dining, as well as a newly enhanced Chart Room and Winter Garden. These new levels of refinement combine perfectly to offer you an extraordinary base for your holiday.
Average Ship Rating
Mr john mair visited on 07/10 and recommended this ship.
Ship Review – Cunard Queen Victoria, visited at Greenock on 28th July 2010.
This visit was to be quite a special one, as it was a ship, and indeed a cruise line to which I had never experienced before, and for the fact that it is very rare to be able to visit any ship from the CCS Brands in Scotland, so I was quite enthusiastic to attend.
The ship in question was Cunard’s 90,000 gross tonne Queen Victoria, an extended version of the “Vista Class” design, to which its sister ships are currently in operation with Carnival Corporation’s Holland America, P&O and Costa Brands.
So, on arrival on a typical cloudy and wet Western Scottish day, I was greeted with the wonderful contrasting black, red and white livery, to which I had only saw once before when it docked beside us in Istanbul in October 2008, only the weather was somewhat different.
On entering the ship, on Deck 2, we walked straight into the three deck high,”Grand Lobby”, with delightful double stairways, and is what is undoubtedly the primary meeting place on the ship.
From there, we were directed to the innovative; “Royal Court Theatre”, again set over three decks, but this had the “First Ever West End Style Private Boxes at Sea”
There are sixteen of these private boxes available, and these can be booked by guests on, “Royal Nights”, for a fee of approximately $20 per person. For this fee, the guests receives additional value of pre-production desserts and coffee and wine in an exclusive lounge, before being escorted to your private box by a Cunarder Bell Boy. During your viewing of the production, the guest then gets a further half carafe of wine or champagne for their enjoyment. In nights other than the Royal ones, guests can accommodate the Royal Boxes free of charge, on a first come, first served basis.
After visiting the theatre, we stepped out side to the,” Royal Arcade” and Golden Lion Pub. I thought this was a great idea due to the fact that you can get traditional pub grub style food as an alternative dining venue, and entertain yourself in the daily pub quizzes as you are eating. Very cosy, I thought! (Don’t know why they didn’t call it the Queen Vic though…)
On to the two tier library, where there are in excess of 6,000 titles to choose from, and the wonderful spiral staircase to which you can navigate from tier to tier.
Our next stop was to visit the exclusive, “Todd English” Signature Restaurant. For a small cover fee, you can enjoy the most exquisite Mediterranean/Californian fusion food available at sea, very much to be recommended to any discerning traveller.
Onwards, to the,” Queens Room”, a lovely little venue to which was based directly on Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, much loved holiday home of the old Queen herself. This signature room spans two decks and boasts cantilevered balconies to where you can look on at elegant ball room dancing. Through the day, this venue can be turned into a dining venue for afternoon tea and lovely, “tea and scones and cucumber sandwiches with no crusts on” in the very best English Tradition. And at night, the versatility of the Queens Room is further portrayed when it is transformed into a Themed Ball Room Dancing, complete with accomplished orchestra and glittering dresses and penguin suits dancing the light fantastic until the bewitching hour.
We were then transported to Decks 9 and 10, to have a look at the outdoor facilities and swimming pools. I am happy to say that deck space was very generous, with plenty space for relaxing and sunbathing, (albeit not in Victoria’s current round UK itinerary.) we also had the opportunity to have a look around the” Royal Spa”, to I am sure many hours at sea could be taken up relaxing in the large array of massage and treatment offers on display.
We then had the good fortune to visit the private areas of the “Queens and Princess Grilles”. There we visited these Grilles private eating and relaxing areas. We visited in particular, the restaurant reserved exclusively for Queen’s Guests the Courtyard for al fresco dining, and also the Grilles Private Deck Area. These are wonderful areas for the premium paying Cunarders, many small details and enhancements that make a Cunard cruise that little bit more special.
As we were visiting the Queen Victoria mid-cruise, we were unable to see any staterooms, due to the fact that the cruise was fully sold out. But apparently this was a cruise to commemorate the 170th year of Cunard, so I could see why this sell out was so!
One o’clock and that meant lunchtime, and thank goodness as I was starving! As we were merely travel agents, we had lunch in the inferior, (compared to the grilles) Britannia Restaurant, and what a feast was served before us. I was especially pleased because instead of wine for lunch, we were treated to jugs of orange juice and water. For starters we had lovely…well I am not sure how to describe it, but it was a small sliver of slightly toasted bread, with a tomato paste, surrounded with vegetables and a lovely creamy sauce. Main course was an absolutely sublime tender cut of beefsteak, done fairly rarely as it was very pink in the middle, a medley of vegetables and the smallest amount of mashed potatoes you have ever seen smeared on the middle of the plate. (I was tempted to ask if there was a potato shortage on the ship, but I did decide against it.) The sweet however was delicious, caramelised apples, with a thin shortbread base and a scoop of ice cream. Yum yum, followed by tea of coffee. A very lovely lunch, but for the first time on a ship visit however, I had to stop off at Mc Donald’s in Port Glasgow to satisfy my appetite.
So, in conclusion this is a very lovely, stylish but understated ship, finished to the highest detail, lots of lovely wood and perfect for the discerning of cruisers of a maybe higher, but maybe middle class positioning. There are some scope for children on board, (a cruise in August has got over 200 children booked on it), but in the mainstream, probably best for adult cruisers only. I have a three year old child and I really don’t think that I would go on a Cunard ship for a cruise vacation with him.
If you like formal evenings to be a priority for cruising pleasure, then Cunard is probably a good choice for you. with up to 45% of evenings dedicated to formalwear.
Thank you very much for reading this review, please do not hesitate to comment on anything that you may agree, or indeed disagree on.
This would have been the end of this review, but for the fact that I had a something a little bit special planned for the evening of this ship visit.
At 1600hrs, myself and karen met up with her father, partner and our son Calum, to whom they brought with them, to board the last Ocean going Paddle Steamer in the world, the “Waverley”, to go a trip “Doon the Watter” from the Glasgow Science Centre, on the Clyde, right down to Greenock itself to escort the Queen Victoria out into the Firth of Clyde as it embarks its next leg of its trip to South Queensferry.
It was quite an amazing experience, as I had never been on a voyage on the Waverley before, so was pretty much a day of ‘first’s’ for me.
The Waverley was built in 1946 as a replacement for an earlier PS Waverley of 1899 that took part in the WW II war effort as a minesweeper and was sunk in 1940 while helping with the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk. The new 693-tonne steamer was launched in October 1946 at builders A. & J. Inglis, Glasgow, and entered service in June 1947. She was built for the London & North Eastern Railway Company to sail on their Firth of Clyde steamer route from Craigendoran Pier, near Helensburgh, up Loch Long to Arrochar, and in her first year in service she wore that company's red, white and black funnel colours. In 1948 nationalisation of Britain's railway companies brought the steamers under the control of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company (CSP), a subsidiary of the Railway Executive, and the funnels were repainted yellow with a black top. In 1965 a Scottish red lion rampant was fixed to each side of both funnels, and her hull was painted monastral blue until 1970.
After a revival of pre-war fortunes in the 1950s, the 1960s saw a gradual change in holiday habits leading to a decline in passenger numbers, and the closure of many of the small piers. Since 1969, and the formation of the Scottish Transport Group, the CSP had been gradually merging with the West Highland shipping and ferry company David MacBrayne Ltd, and in 1973 the company became Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd.
We sailed down the Clyde, past many sights of old and new, including at least 3 Warships being built on the Clyde, to continue a rich vein of ship building history on the Clyde, the new Scottish Transport Museum, built on land previous occupied by ship building trades, numerous TITAN Cranes, brand new shopping complexes, and the Erskine Suspension Bridge (which has the infamous title of being Scotland’s most “popular”? place for committing suicide – up to 30 a year)
After arriving at Greenock around 1745 and taking on more passengers, we paddled past the mighty Queen Victoria and exchanged fog horn salvos, then moved aside to see the majestic ship make a 180 degrees turn and set off down the Firth of Clyde. We paced along her past Gourock, Wymess Bay and Skelmorlie until when we were adjacent to Largs, we again exchanged fog horn salvos, and the Queen Victoria peeled away into the distance and round the north of Scotland to its next port of call in its UK Voyage. It was really quite something to see, sailing no more than 500 feet away from the Q.V. for a number of miles.
It is interesting to note, that the Waverley will be making her way down to Southampton in October to usher in the brand new Queen Elizabeth into port as part of her maiden celebrations. If anyone is down there at that time, then I would strongly recommend a nostalgic sailing on her,
Please contact John Mair at GoCruise Ayrshire on 01563 551300, should you wish any more information on this ship, or indeed information on any other ship and cruises
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