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All the pictures on the pages provide details of where they were taken if you hover a cursor over them and they can all be clicked to open a larger version in an Overlay (Lightbox) or Popup Window. The Queen Victoria was added to the Cunard fleet and named by the Duchess of Cornwall on 10 December 2007.
Our Second Cruise on the Queen Victoria was in 2009 and called 'Autumn Colours' and was from Southampton across the Atlantic to New York, where we spent two nights.
Our Third Cruise in 2010 was actually made up from two consecutive but separate cruises namely the Baltic Explorer and Jewels of the Mediterranean Cruises.
Our Fifth Cruise on the Queen Victoria was titled Black Sea and Turkish Splendours 2012 and took us from Southampton to an area which we have never visited before - the Black Sea. This was followed by A Magical Mystery Tour - a cruise on the Cunard Queen Victoria in 2012 taking us from Southampton to see the Ancient Wonders of the World.
We decided to do another cruise to the far end of the Mediterranean the following year which had the best of our last three Mediterranian cruises. Whilst we were onboard the prices fell for a cruise we had wondered about doing which was only 5 weeks away from the British weather in one of our only quiet periods to warmer climes. Our ninth cruise on the Queen Victoria was booked long in advance to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary and had to include Venice. Before we say anything more about the Queen Victoria or our journeys we thought we should say a little about why Cunard and all its ships have a different ethos from many others in this competitive market and we can think of no better way than to reproduce the White Star Code which is prominently displayed throughout their ships. At any point in every day, one of our guests will come into contact with one of us, the Cunard employee, and at that moment in time, we will be Cunard Line. It was against this background, and these core values, that we judge our cruise and because we have been delighted with the service on our previous cruises we are enthusiastic and regular Cunard passengers. The Queen Victoria cannot use Cunards QEII terminal in Southampton because of her completely different shape so she uses the various other terminals in the centre of Southampton. Queen Victoria is simple to find ones way around, she has just three sets of lifts and stairs, labelled A, B and C. The best staterooms are large suites, their restaurant is the Queen's Grill, and there are special restricted lounge and outdoor areas. After a second cruise on the Queen Victoria we are now better prepared for comparing between an inside cabin and a balcony cabin, both linked to the Britannia restaurant.
The larger bedroom space was at the expense of the bathroom and this is a standard shape for all Britannia grade cabins.
The Deluxe inside cabins, grade D2 on 1 Deck and grade D1 on 6 Deck are 203 square feet and have a two seater settee replacing the single armchair.
Since the feedback from the World Cruise in 2008 the bedside cabinets are now sets of drawers and there are also two enormous drawers underneath the beds.
We liked our A1 on 8 Deck instantly, and as our cruise progressed we began to appreciate the balcony as a good place to sit and sometimes sip a glass of wine before dinner.
During our first transatlantic crossing on the Queen Victoria in tandem with the QE2 in January 2008 there were a lot of loud bangs and 'oil can' noises as we pitched through the waves. On our second cruise the weather both ways across the North Atlantic was also kind, and the crossing still took 6 full days at sea from Southampton to New York. Britannia Restaurant: The main Dining Room, the Britannia Restaurant, seating 878 guests is one of the most remarkable rooms at sea, spanning two desks at the stern on Decks 2 and 3 at Stairway C. We were allocated to the Britannia Restaurant, and always express a preference for eating at the second sitting at 2030, and ask for a table for 2. Having cruised for more than 150 days with Cunard we are Diamond World Club members and one of the benefits is that we can have one lunch in the Todd English restaurant at no additional charge. Todd English is an award winning celebrity chef with a number of respected restaurants in America and he is the author of several cookbooks. Like many other features there had been a dramatic improvement when we returned to Todd English in 2009 for our 'free lunch'. The Lido is an airy self-service restaurant which extends between Staircases B and C across Deck 9. Overall the Lido is very good and we often choose to eat lunch there; the variety is good and being self-service it is quick on the days in port. The second criticism of the Lido is related to the implementation of the twelve points of White Star Service. Our first sight of the Roayal Court Theatre was shortly after we left Southampton on our first cruise as our muster station from Deck 6 was in the theatre. Cookery demonstartions have always been a popular feature of Cunard cruises and we have been to many on the QE2. A typical example was when Bernard Strumpfel Executive Chef and Eric Yoong the Chef de Cuisine in the Britannia restaurant gave a cooking demonstration on our second cruise.
Bernard does not believe that cooking should be taken entirely seriously and his presentation was excellent with a lot of amusing banter with the other chef as well as being extremely instructive. Bernards first dish was a stuffed quail which turned out to be a very small and scrawny looking example more like a sparrow when boned but he assured us that after all his preparation it would turn out like the loaves and fishes and easily feed a full dinner party. Afternoon tea is served in the Queen's Room, and this is the typical Cunard White Star and white gloved service. On the occasional day at sea special teas are laid on in the Queen's Room, the most notable being the Viennese tea. The day we went the service was, as usual, exemplary and as additional people arrived they were seated and immediately offered tea or coffee. The Winter Garden is between the Lido restaurant and the Deck 9 pool area and has a roof which can be opened in good weather and has a lot of very comfortable seats and tinted picture windows the whole length on both sides. There is a bandstand where the Caribbean band plays at various times and the area was also used for a cocktail mixing demonstation which Pete lurked on the edge of.
There are a number of locations round the Queen Victoria where there is classical and light entertainment, often in the background. The library is a pretty two storey copy of a private library from Victorian days, with a spiral internal staircase. Internet access is very good on the Queen Victoria, simple to set up, fast and reliable in the areas of the world we reached on this trip. Once we could get a connection and log in (the usual way opening a browser after which any requested is directed to the login page) the connection was very fast. Satellite telephone calls are possible from your cabin at a price of $4.95 a minute and there is a system allowing ordinary mobile telephones to be used but you need to check the costs with your provider - Vodafone is very expensive for maritime access which is used even for internal calls and TXTs and makes the satellite calls look cheap by comparison - watch out. Pete has managed to keep up the program since November 2003 when he started on the QE2 and will always be greatful to Cunard - without the training on that cruise the chances were that he would never have got full use of the shoulder back, even so it took three years before his right arm was once more the dominent one. We have only once had the opportunity of a Galley tour these are rare because only small numbers can be taken round and there are obvious Health and Safety implecations so we were very pleased to accept. The first stop was beside the giant dishwasher which takes everything through on a conveyor belt and delivering it two minutes latter clean and sterile at 170 degrees Fahrenheit so it dries almost instantly. Overall the tour took about 30 minutes with plenty of opportunities for questions by Jason who did an excellent job. We decided that we must go into lunch so we could actually sample the dishes we had watched being prepared and take some close up pictures. The ships power system is diesel-electric - in other words she has six large diesel engines which drive generators which provide power for driving the ship and all her auxilary services. For those who are interested in the details the diesel engines are built by Wartsila and are of the Sulzer ZA40S design and are located at the lowest deck of the ship, Deck D. They utilize either diesel oil or heavy fuel oil which is heated to 125ºC to reduce the viscosity and enable complete combustion to take place. The two Azipods contain syncronous AC variable speed electric motors of 17,600 kwatts (47,000 HP) output driving fixed pitch propellors with 4 blades and 17 feet diameter.
The Bow Thrusters are in contrast drived by electric motors run at a constant speed and direction of rotation with variable pitch propellers run at 300 revs per minute.
The Queen Victoria is very environmentally friendly, the exhaust gases from the engines are fed through boilers which absorb the waste heat of the gasses created by the main engines and create steam.
Steam is used in many areas around the ship - for heating and cooking in the galley, making hot water, heating fuel and air-conditioning in the colder climates and for generating pure water.
Ships need a lot of fresh water and the Queen Victoria generates most of its requirements by distillation using both the waste heat from the cooling system from the diesel-electric power plant and from the exhaust gas steam generators described above. Both Black and Grey Water are processed on board to standards exceeding any current requirements and even then are only discharged much further offshore than regulations demand. This section has drawn heavily on information provided by the Chief Engineer of the Queen Victoria and the pictures reproduced in this section retain Cunard Copyright. The first question we are always asked is how the various Cunard ships compare, in particular the new Queen Victoria and the QE2 that she replaced. In calm seas and with good weather there are lots of impressive deck areas for sitting, either in full sunshine or in the shade.
The cheapest inside cabins are larger than on QE2, but for our first cruise we wished we had paid the small additional cost to get a larger midships Deluxe cabin, or even an ocean view cabin on Deck 1. Please Login to add a comment!This photo has been shown 1,870 times since it was added to the site.
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We then worked our way up the Atlantic coast of the USA and Canada before crossing back from Newfoundland to Southampton - 24 days in total. We had wanted to go to Tallin and St Petersburg for a long time so we started by booking the Baltic Explorer Cruise whilst we were on the Queen Victoria on the cruise to Canada a year before. The itinery was changed several times both due to bad weather and the problems in Egypt so we did not go to Port Said or Alexandria in Egypt for the Pyramids and gales prevented use entering Rhodes but we did go to Cyprus where we met up with a college friend and to Ephesus which was the highlight of the trip. It was again called Black Sea and Turkish Splendours 2013 but had a rather different set of ports. Our entire reputation as a company will be in our hands and we will make a lasting impression.
We have accumulated over 500 days on Cunard ships, of which over 300 days were on board the QE2. In 2008 it was our first experience of the City Centre cruise terminal in Southampton; all our previous trips had been on the QE2 and from the QEII Terminal. This is a spectacular central area, extending over 3 decks, and reminiscent of a film set of the impressive staircases of the old Ocean Liners.
On our first cruise from the City Centre Terminal, when our luggage arrived one suitcase had lost its wheel so it went off to the carpenters to see if they had a spare.
The rooms are numbered as if in a traditional hotel, with cabins on Decks 1,4,5,6,7, and 8. There are also a number of cheaper Princess Grill staterooms, with access to their own restaurant and to the common Grill lounges.
Each standard inside cabin, grades D8 to D3, is exactly the same size at 156 sq ft, and comprises twin beds which are convertible to a king size, two bedside drawers, desk and chair with fridge and drawer, small table and one small armchair. The basin is too small for hair washing and there is no bathroom cabinet, just an open shelf under the basin unit. There are also some special cabins for disabled passengers marked with a wheelchair symbol in the Cunard brochure, which have wider doors, larger walk-in bathrooms, and often larger overall floor areas. Two months before departure we had paid a supplement to upgrade from our inside cabin D8 guarantee. Our balcony is very sheltered; there is a large canopy above because we are directly below the Lido restaurant which is wider and its floor extends beyond the line of balconies, and the adjacent wheelchair accessible cabin 8093 is larger and the separating bulkhead gives us extra shelter. There were two days of bad weather going up the east coast but the Queen Victoria handled it all very well. It evokes memories of classic ocean liner restaurants with sweeping staircases and art deco pillars and arches. There are very few tables for 2 and they are allocated in the order of having booked the cruise. His first venture at sea was in 2004 on the QM2, and the alternative dining restaurant on the Queen Victoria is his second Todd English restaurant at sea. Service is always good on Cunard ships but this time it reached a new level, probably better than we had even experienced in our cruise in the Queens grill on the QE2.
It is open 24 hours, serving breakfast from 0400, followed by lunch from 1130, then afternoon snacks, dinner from 1800 until 2300 and finally evening snacks until breakfast begins. Number 11 is that English is always spoken in guest areas, whether there are guests nearby or not.
It is styled as a typical British pub with classic pub grub: fish and chips, chicken korma, steak and ale pie etc. This gave us the chance to look around the theatre which we had only seen on the TV at the naming ceremony. Pete booked one for Pauline's Birthday on our second cruise and we were pleasantly surprised at what we got for the supplement. We had chosen Box 16 which could seat four thinking it would give more room but in practice you get more space in a box for two as it does not have ramped seats. It was called Victoriana which was written especially for The Queen Victoria and the Royal Court Theatre.
The difficulty has always been arranging for a good view with the inevitably large audience.
In this case we were seated in Box 1 and were looking directly down as the chefs worked and could also take some pictures to show the set up - the lights are so bright that there is no need for flash. When he looked at the recipes that had been printed for us he said that would never do and screwed them up and threw them away. This has a huge selection of Viennese style cakes laid out beneath a giant ice carving in the centre of the room with lots of additional showpieces. The demonstration covered 7 popular cocktails including the Mai Tai which we discovered in Hong Kong and is about the only one we ever indulge in. For example the Britannia restaurant usually has a quartet or harpist playing during dinner, and there is similar music in the Grand Lobby after dinner. On Queen Victoria the library and bookshop are on opposite sides of the ship and on different decks.


It is however, like much of the ships fittings, very insubstantial and poorly fitted - many plastic plugs into unnecessary holes have already fallen out.
There are twenty computers available in the Internet Center and there is also Wifi available over most of the ship.
As regular passengers we get an allocation through the Cunard World Club of 8 hours per cruise sector which covers everything we need to do. He was determined to continue his Physiotherapy program, and perhaps improve his general fitness which had deteriorated seriously when he was partially immobilised. On our first session we were shown the equipment, used the bike and treadmill, and Kristy promised individual training programs, which responded to Peter's shoulder problem, to be collected on the next session. He still regards the cruises as a time to top up his fitness and even if he does not lose wight on board working out for an hour every morning on cardio machines (600 cals a day) and weights at least it contains the damage of all the good food - he even lost weight once!
We were taken round by the Assistant Food and Beverage Manager who proved an excellent guide. We were shown the machines providing all the drinks, including the all important Espresso Coffee machine! The galley seemed a model of efficiency and everything seemed extremely professional, organised and under total control - a complete contrast to the impression the TV impresarios try to give - but one has to be professional to deliver 850 4 course dinners plus all the extras twice an evening every day of the year to Cunard standards.
We had selected the Chilled Mediterranean vegetable and Buffalo Monzarella Terrine with Pesto Sauce as our starter, Mixed Grill and Tarte au Citrone with Vanilla Ice-cream. There are five self-service passenger laundry rooms, near cabins 4068, 5070, 6068, 7042 and 8060.
The larger v16 engines consume 2.17 tons per hour at the 85% of maximum continuous power rating they normally run at. The directions of rotation are opposite on the two sides of the ship and the propellers are mounted on the front of each Azipod to allow undisturbed water flow over the propellors for maximum thrust. The steam generation can be augmented by two oil-fired boilers when the main engines are running at low power. This is used to evaporate sea water under low pressure which is then condensed and pumped into storage tanks. Firstly the ships have been designed for different tasks and in the case of the QE2 and Queen Victoria there is a difference of 40 years between them so it is not an entirely fair question. In the caribbean or the mediterranean it would be perfect to have an outside cabin with a balcony.
Seating in the Britannia restaurant at breakfast and lunch is as an open sitting, with the Maitre d' organising the allocation of tables. The historical trend in global energy mix shown in Figure 3.1 shows a steady increase in the share of natural gas consumption in the total primary energy mix, between 1970 and the early 2000s. The share of renewable energy sources in world total primary energy supply (TPES) in 2002 was 13.4 per cent, virtually unchanged from earlier years (see chart 1). We eagerly booked onto the start of the new Queen Victoria's first world cruise shortly before the news broke that the QE2 was leaving the fleet and going to Dubai.
By now the ship had settled down and we had a gloriously smooth Atlantic crossing despite it being at the end of September. But it seemed very short compared to the cruise we were on so we looked at the cruises either side and decided it would be nice to continue for another 12 nights round the Mediterranean on the Mediterranean Jewels Cruise which included three ports we had not visited before, Barcelona, Monte-Carlo and Livorno which gave access to Florence which Pete had never been too.
The routing took us first to Lisbon which we had not visited for many years then a long passage to a favourite of ours, Malta. The main attraction however was the itinery which took us to new places (Cadiz, Valencia and La Coroba) and favourites we wanted to visit again such as Barcelona where we wanted to see Gaudi's famous Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family).
The impression will be either good or it will be bad, and we will have spoken to our guests more loudly than all of our community involvement, advertising and public relations put together. On our second cruise, from the Mayflower Terminal, one suitcase had been crushed like an egg, and the ABS shell was cracked.
Deck A, with the medical centre, is below Deck 1, and then the decks continue upwards until the highest cabins on Deck 8 and the public areas on Decks 1, 2, 3, 9, 10 and 11.
These small changes mean it is much more practical for a long cruise - no longer will one find passengers buying flat pack furniture and taking it onboard as we understand happened in the early days!
The first evening we raised a glass to Richard Curtis, the Marketing Director at Cunard Line in Southampton, who wrote to us offering the chance to upgrade. In our cabin up on 8 Deck we were hardly aware that we were moving on the ocean, and the only noise was the gentle hiss of the air conditioning. The design was inspired by the dining car of the Golden Arrow train that linked London to Paris. The lunch menu is a subset of the dinner menu, and neither changed during our trip, although the menu in January 2008 was different to that in September 2009.
He has a contemporary and innovative approach to Mediterranean-inspired fare that combines comfort-food with a deliberate sense of style.
As starter we enjoyed the signature Maine crab cake with fiery sweet and sour tomato sauce.
The lady sommelier was extremely knowledgeable and spent a long time talking to us and we found to our delight that there was still some Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc on board and we had a bottle as it was Pauline's birthday. One consequence of the 24 hour opening is that there is no Midnight Buffet, more specifically there is no celebration Gala Midnight buffet with all the ice carvings and the carved fruits and vegetables.
In certain parts of the Lido it was noticeable that the waiters spoke among themselves in their own language, and one of the Head Waiters spoke to his waiters in the same language.
The theatre is where all the lectures, films and many of the demonstrations take place as well as the shows in the evening. We checked in half an hour before the performance started and were led to seats in a private lounge by a White Star Bell Boy in classic Cunard red complete with pillbox hat. We, of course, got an excellent close up view of the performances, the first being 'A stroke of Genius' and at the end we were presented with a souvenir present of a picture of the cast. The Royal Court Theatre was inspired by the grand theatres and playhouses built during the Victorian era. The approach on the QE2 in the Grand Lounge used to be a large mirror above the cooks pointing down so one could look down on their work, that is if you were seated in a small area near the front. The recipe sheets were brought round and we even had one hand delivered to the box we had bagged.
When finally finished it went into the usual magic oven under the work surface and in due course it appeared looking just like a well stuffed Turkey clearly capable of feeding more than the 15 he had promised!
As soon as a gap appeared the tables were cleared and relaid in seconds as the next customers were being brought across. The Mai Tai originated in Taihiti where Victor Bergeren (Trader Vic) created the drink for his clients who greated it with the words Mai Tai which very loosely translates as 'the greatest'.
This area is about the same size as the outdoor pool on QE2, so overall Queen Victoria has much more deck space for sunbathing and sitting. On our cruise we had the Paradise String Quartet from the Ukraine; three young men playing violins and cello, and one lady playing the viola. There are entries on both Deck 2 and 3 although the upstairs one is often closed off at quiet times meaning one has to use the internal stairs. The whole Internet system has been updated since out last visit when it was already very good.
QE2 had a gym and like the Queen Victoria had professional trainers there to give advice and run classes.
The Gym on the Queen Victoria is the best yet with plenty of machines including 4 cross trainers that we use, a dozen treadmills and countless bycycles as well as about twenty specialist machines. We went round at 1030 so it was relatively quiet, breakfast having just ended, with mainly preparation for lunch being carried out. We saw the starters being prepared and plated on mass before being held chilled ready for serving.
Between them there are 14 standard Maytag machines and tumble driers, and each has one iron and ironing board. She is based on the well proven Vista hull built by Fincantieri of Italy and her Port of Registry is Southampton, the classification society is the Lloyd’s Register and her call sign is GBQV. The Azipods are a combined drive and steering system that, like an overgrown outboard motor, allows one to turn the motor and propellor combination which are fitted in a pod below the ship. A computerised power management system automatically stops and starts engines as required to ensure the highest efficiency is maintained. Even with almost 2000 passengers there is always somewhere to sit; on QE2 the similar deck areas are limited and always more crowded.
This is nice because it is possible to sit at a different table each day, and with different people.
They have exactly the same designs of stateroom, presumably using the same computer software for the layouts. For this our First Cruise on the Queen Victoria we went from Southampton to Los Angeles as part of Her Maiden World Cruise.
Most importantly there were far more of the experienced Cunard staff off the QE2 and there was a subtly different atmosphere onboard. This gave us an overall cruise of 26 nights with tremendous contrasts within an overall theme of historic cities, diverse cultures and opulent buildings.
It was then on to Ephesus which had been an unexpected highlight of the Ancient Wonders Cruise in 2012 followed by Istanbul, the highlight of the Black Sea and Turkish Splendours cruise in 2012.
A short cruise meant also meant we needed less luggage, and so could go to Southampton by train. On the Queen Victoria it is only the Grill cabins which have baths; all the rest have only showers. 8 Deck is four decks higher and is well situated because it is just below the Lido self-service restaurant and the gym, both on 9 Deck.
Queen Victoria is a cruise ship; she is not a liner designed for the North Atlantic in January and fortunately the weather was comparatively reasonable and she did very well. The restaurant's Art Deco design is captured in its original artwork, wall sconces, and a combination of authentic finishes including polished wood, bronze, mirror and gold leaf. On our first cruise we remarked that the waiters did not speak very good English, and they often spoke their own language even when they were with passengers. When the Queen Victoria made her maiden visit to Boston he came on board; unfortunately we were off sightseeing so did not see him. In 2008 we had been recommended the lobster salad for main course, which comprised pieces of lobster served inside a croissant on a bed of lettuce, acompanied by a bowl of homemade crisps.
At breakfast there is the usual cereals, fruit including an endless supply of strawberries and fresh pineapple, cold meats and cheese and traditional cooked breakfast with omelettes cooked to order.
Leadership has to come from the top, and if a Head Waiter chooses to speak in another language then his staff will do the same.
We were pleased to find that all restaurants are completely non-smoking, although the area outside the Golden Lion and near the Casino is the only public indoor area where smoking is allowed. We were quickly served a glass of champagne, and we mean champagne unlike so many functions these days that economise with cheap bubbles from who knows where. The boxes can only be booked for the 'Production Shows' by the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers who are very good, a complete contrast to the shows on the QE2. In keeping with this theme, Cunard specially sponsored Victoriana, a spectacular show taking guests back to the apex of the British Empire and paying tribute to the milestones of the era.
The Royal Court Theatre is superb for cooking demonstrations with a custom work area on the stage, like a gigantic kitchen unit with hot plates and preparation areas for two chefs to work simultaneously.
We were not sure whether that was his contribution to the German Re-unification Day celebrations on board or whether it was a coincidence. It is therefore similar to the Grand Lounge on QE2, but with only one corridor and one upstairs gallery on the starboard side. The tea starts earlier than usual at 1500 and continues until 1630 due to the high level of demand.
The whole flow was being effortlessly 'conducted' by Satish by the slightest wave of a hand or more often just the movement of a finger or change of expression was all that was needed. There was a lot of space for books by on-board lecturers but no space for books by other authors on board. It now covers every cabin on the ship as well as the public areas and is all centralised at provider and managed via the satellite link.
In addition to the free group training sessions in the Cunard Gyms, there are also personal sessions. The warming up with treadmill and bike was OK but it was followed by a cross trainer which was harder. It is right at the front of the ship and there is a special magic in watch dolphins playing, the sun rising or a port approach as you are working on the cross trainer or treadmills before breakfast of fresh fruit in the Lido. Each dish has an example prepared by the executive chef to be copied - it was difficult to tell one from another. Her absolute maximum complement (safety equipment and insurance limits) is 3200 and this is, on average, broken down to 1800 passengers (2208 max.) and 1000 crew. This not only gives superb manoeuvrability but also high efficiency as the propellors are mounted on the front of the pod and in clear water away from the hull.
The cylinders are aligned in a V formation and each cylinder has a capacity of 4290 cubic inches (70 litres) and the engines are run at 514 RPM.
She is a standard design, similar to the Holland America Vista ships, so her performance should be similar and therefore well known. We presume people stay in their cabins on Queen Victoria and sit on their private balconies, so do not compete for public sun lounge areas. However there appear to be slight differences in layout, with some inside staterooms being turned by 90 degrees, easy to do with software. Since this overhaul this diesel generator has been mainly used as a stand-by unit and started few times in a month for full load.
The world cruise started with an Atlantic crossing in tandem with the QE2 and the three current Cunard Queens met in New York and left to a spectacular firework display.
Yalta and Odessa followed and certainly Yalta merited a second visit before we went to Piraeus, the port of Athens, where we wanted to visit the nearby Corinth Canal. The reason was that the x-ray process was before the ticket check-in, whereas in the QEII terminal it is in the other order. On board the crew found grey tape as a temporary repair to cover the cracks; we hope it is not raining when we disembark. Towards the end of our first trip we met a couple who had one of the Q2 Master Suites and we were able to visit their stateroom. We used the space for all our woollies and T-shirts, and stored the life-jackets on the floor under our little coffee table.


Her best cruising speed is much slower than the QE2, and the crossing takes much longer when it is limited to 20 knots.
The room's focal point, an illuminated world globe 10 feet tall, is a sizeable yet elegant reference to Cunard's rich history plying the world's oceans. Cunard White Star service guidelines forbid use of a foreign language, but it is not yet enforced on Queen Victoria. Only the Waterford wine glasses and gold decorated plates and coffee cups were distinctive. The other main was swordfish, which was good and accompanied with large shrimps, but it sat on a pile of soggy greasy chips. The breads, olives and dips were good and the signature Maine crab cake was again an excellent starter. It has slightly better choice than on QE2, but there is no waiter service for carrying trays or bringing water and coffee. The cheese is always good, and there is Stilton with a spoon for scooping as well as interesting french cheeses. We noticed the problem in January 2008 when the staff were assembled from a number of different ships with different ideas about White Star service, and it has improved, but the Lido is still one of the areas where more needs to be done. A big silver three level stand of finger desserts topped by tiny ice-creams was placed in front of us and the evenings delights had commenced. We were so impressed we booked again for their production of 'Celtic Heartbeat', choosing Box 3 which was a box for 2 people and closer to the stage as you can see from the picture. It captures Music Hall memories with authentic character performances, the elegance of Victorian fashion and a tongue in cheek look at the Gothic Revival and inventions such as the light bulb. The chefs are videoed and front of the unit has two screens where the work is projected and it is also projected onto a huge screen behind them so everyone can see wherever they are seated.
He briefly changed to a set of Nordic style horns but was disappointed to find there were no Scandinavians present.
The troubles started however when we got to the Pan Fried Sweet Bread in Puff pastry as the recipe included white wine for the chef as well as Dry Vermouth for cooking and his assistant had forgotten to bring the white wine - it seems even an Executive Chef needs a glass or two before starting! Here she seems to be performing more sessions, and she also works in the Internet Centre during the day. The librarian sent details of my book to Cunard but they refused to approve it and although I had prepared a lecture there was no opportunity to give it. We, however, had difficulties in our cabin with the Wifi although it seemed to be a good signal - I suspected that it was a bad 'access point' with a low reception sensitivity or one in an area of interference as we could get good results elsewhere with a lower apparent signal. The first time it seemed important for Peter to have some professional instruction so we committed to 3 hours of Personal Training with Kristy.
The aim was to use up 100 calories before being allowed to stop in a target time of 7.5 mins! Apparently the demand for all the options is quite predictable, for example first sitting orders are predominantly fish and second sitting has far more carnivores. The Vista design has been modified for the Queen Victoria by extending the hull by 5 metres and adding an additional deck, as well as redesigning the layout of cabins and all public areas of the ship. Some items are missing - for example there is no citrous sorbet as an option between courses, the cheese is only available as a plated selection of four cheeses, and the homemade petit fours do not include the chocolate truffles which we like.
There is a new stateroom category of Club Balcony, which are more expensive than standard Balcony cabins; they are exactly the same size but give access to a single sitting dining area, as on the QM2. The QE2 and Queen Victoria continued to sail alongside as far as Fort Lauderdale where we gathered up the last of the world cruise passengers after which we went our separate ways although the two ships would meet again in Sydney. The return routed us through very familiar places, Palma in Mallorca and then Vigo in Spain which is good for last minute stocking up on Cheese and Wine being EU.
When we embarked from the Mayflower Terminal on a different cruise the ticket check-in was done first and then the x-rays. There was another, shallower cupboard, with space for a row of shirts, three deep shelves and an adequate size safe. Most cabins on the Queen Victoria have balconies and it was a feature we had never been able to afford on the QE2. From Southampton to New York on her maiden crossing took 6 full days at sea, departing on Sunday evening and arriving on Sunday morning. Now there are many more waiters who have joined the Queen Victoria from the QE2 and the proper standard is in place. There is only orange and apple juice and anything else has to be requested and it is then brought to the table.
The choice is similar to that available in the Queens Grill and much better than the other restaurants on the QE2.
The gallery and the two rows of private boxes on each side, 16 in all, give the impression of a nice traditional theatre on shore. The views are switched and zoomed as required and it is simultaneously recorded so it can be viewed on the stateroom television for the next 24 hours. At the end both chefs showed how to improvise and turn any leftovers in ones fridge into interesting and memorable dishes. Those of you who were used to the gala midnight buffets and chocolate fantasias on the QE2 will not be disappointed and it is all at a much more sensible time of day!
We spoke with him afterwards and were told the Queens room seats 266 and there were 43 waiters on the floor as well as the other Head Waiters. From 1700 onwards a pianist plays in the Golden Lion Pub and there is another in the Chart Room; a third plays after dinner in the Commodore Club.
I have had the same difficulty elsewhere, especially where boosters are employed, and it could be compounded by using a Netbook which may limit the transmit power to save batteries. Even printing is available on the Internet Centre printer at $0.50 a page - I did not try it. There was restricted work on the machines with weights for Peter, but there were lots of stretching exercises.
The demand is continuously monitored and adjusted from a command station as the meal progresses. The Azipods, when used in combination with three powerful bow thrusters (propellors mounted in tunnels running across the ship under the bow), allow the ship to be moved sideways, for example to move out from a pier.
For example, in 2009 her World Cruise segment from Los Angeles to Southampton will take 82 days in comparison to 56 days with QM2 over a similar routing of Sydney, Singapore and Dubai. No any major breakdowns has happened, all bearings and liners within manufacturer’s tolerances. We have to admit we had very mixed feelings as we battered our way across the Atlantic whilst watching the QE2 alongside running on only 4 of her 9 engines to keep down to our speed. We had one morning when it did not work at all, and we were told that the entire front of the ship was in the same situation.
Even the standard balcony staterooms are large, and the brochure states it is 248 sq ft which includes the balcony.
Throughout the trip QE2 travelled alongside, on the port side on one day and then moving to the starboard side for the next.
For dessert, the mandarin orange creme brulee was pleasant, and compared to eating in the restaurant it had the additional decoration of a few berries. Pauline had the Mediterranean paella which was full of mussels, clams, giant prawns, a little lobster tail and a chicken leg, all on top of spicey rice with chorizo sausage.
The results were memorable with contemporary choreography, elaborate period costumes and a grand finale based on the last night of the Proms with Land of hope anf Glory.
Seating starts a little before 1500 and you can always set your watch by the start time of a Cunard function - the string quartet strikes up and dozens of waiters start pouring tea simultaneously. We also saw that the Senior Maitre d' Andrew Nelder who we knew from the QE2 was at various times keeping a discrete eye on this important function in the background. I spoke with the computer manager who agreed and suggested that until they could check the access point I should keep the cabin door ajar - the access points are in the corridors and the doors have recently had extra metalic fireproofing; it worked perfectly with the door open everywhere in the cabin. Much of the food is cooked to order and each 'to order' dish has a station where up to 8 plates are readied simultaneously. Firstly the hull of Queen Victoria has been analysed to ensure the steel structure can meet the repeated demands of the Atlantic Ocean. We like the Chart Room very much and it is a pity the area has been removed on the Queen Elizabeth. All detailed service records are available at the site, equipment is in good operational condition and can be tested in full load. Once we got into better weather and down into the tropics we began to appreciate the large public areas reminiscent of a movie set and extensive deck areas at the top of the ship. There is a nice fridge, but it is small and the bottle of Pol Acker to welcome us had to be stored inside flat. We met passengers on our first cruise who said their toilet had not worked for 5 days, so we were lucky. Overall we were not impressed, and based on that experience we decided we would not pay the supplement to eat there again during that cruise. There is no commercial ice-cream and that served in the main restaurant is excellent and home made.
The German guests behind us walked out but everyone else was waving flags and loving every moment. It is easy to forget that none of this would run so smoothly without the leadership of the longer serving senior staff.
There are separate galleys for each of the restaurants and the Britannia Galley is on two levels.
Detailed calculations have been carried out to identify any critical areas and strengthening has been added to the steel decks and bulkheads to meet predicted stress levels.
The end result of the Azipods and Bow Thrusters is exceptional manoevrability - The Queen Victoria showed in trials that she could turn in 544 m at 21 knots (under twice her length) and can do an emergency stop from 21 knots in under 5 times her length.
On our very first transatlantic crossing we gradually worked up to just over 23 knots, which QE2 matched with ease. The only other difference we have noticed is that the Cafe Carinthia and the Champagne Bar on the Queen Victoria have been merged into an enlarged Cafe Carinthia on the Queen Elizabeth.
5o small bottles of Benecol fitted too but all the Cunard water and soft drinks had to be ejected. On our second cruise this all seemed to have been sorted out and we heard no complaints at all. This meant that everyone with balconies had a good view of the beautiful ship as she kept an eye on us. Having swapped forkfulls we unanimously decided to book lunch later and swap main courses then. We believe it is made from a coffee concentrate to which hot water is added as required, and it is not related to proper coffee. There is the normal white glove service but in addition one can partake of the cakes displayed in the centre, or sample the crepe suzettes flambed in a rich Grand Marnier 'sauce' by two Maitre d' stationed to either side. By the time we left after 40 minutes 500 people had been served and he expected the numbers to rise to 800 by the end of the tea. By the end of the cruise we had a regular morning routine of cardiac work and exercises before breakfast and we subsequently bought ourselves a cross trainer for Christmas. At the end of the bottom level of the Britannia Galley is a separate area which currently handles Todd English on an 'on demand' basis and this will be used for the Verandah Restuarant when the change takes place. In particular the bow strength has been analysed with respect to the dynamic loading and pounding experienced by the fore end of the ship in extreme seas. The remaining layout is identical, and the names are the same, with the exception of Hemispheres on 10 Deck which is renamed the Yacht Club.
The desk has a drawer for keeping papers, and there is another small drawer above the fridge, as well as two bedside cabinets. The shower itself is exceptionally small with a curtain instead of a proper door and only a narrow rim prevents flooding the bathroom floor which has no visible drain. Pauline was looking forward to a nice solid desert when the staff approached with a birthday cake covered with strawberries and a little candle. They do not offer to carry your tray and they do not provide a service of hot and cold drinks.The actual food is however the equal or better than on the QE2 and the surroundings even more light and airy. She performs nicely at speeds of between 15 and 20 knots and one day we checked and her speed was just 12 knots.
The shower area is smaller than on our boat and is less than 80cms by 70cms, but we can manage. On our second lunch the follwoing week we swapped mains and Pauline got her dessert - the white chocolate fallen cake with bitter chocolate mousse and raspberry ice cream. The Queen Victoria does offer proper coffee for sale in the Cafe Carinthia, but our only option in the early morning is to make our own and we brought our two Smartcafe insulated mugs with us, and a supply of decaf and regular ground coffee. In the evening there is an orchestra for dancing, and it is lively and busy on the special themed evenings.
Secondly the Queen Victoria is separated from current cruise ships by the style and quality of the interior, for example the theatre is amazing. Our itinerary on the first World Cruise was obviously designed to allow a gentle 'running in'. You wouldn’t get a better theatre in London or on Broadway and whatever you can do on Broadway or in London you can do in there with extremely advanced technology for the stage, lighting and sound systems. Because she is large like QE2 she also suffers from sometimes being berthed in container ship areas, not at the cruise terminals although her lower draft reduces the chances of being at anchor over the QE2 or QM2. The extra space compared with a standard inside cabin means there is a two seater settee, in our case it is a sofabed, replacing the one armchair.
The third factor is not strictly a technical one but with a ship’s company of 1,000 to look after 2,000 passengers, so the level of service is modelled on the best the classic ocean liners had to offer.
All standard balcony cabins are exactly the same size and the price differences are about Deck and location; 8 Deck is more expensive than lower decks, and cabins in the centre where the motion of the ship is less are more expensive than in the bow or the stern.
She may not have competed across the Atlantic with the classic liners of the last century on tight schedules but on the longer liner runs to, for example, Capetown or the Antipodes I know which I would prefer.
Down on 4 Deck it is different, with the balcony cabins in the bow having obstructed views and there are no balcony cabins in the centre only outside cabins with obstructed views of lifeboats.



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