Queen Victoria ship review: Timeless elegance at sea
Queen Victoria joined the Cunard Line fleet in December 2007, making Victoria the second oldest of the cruise line's three ships alongside Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth. Like all of them, its decor and style draws heavily on the line's British roots and is inspired by the colors and shapes of the Art Deco era. The ship is full of plush looking marbles, woods, deep-pile carpets, rich fabrics and soft furnishings to create an overall feeling of elegance.
As with all Cunard ships, the Queen Victoria offers a more formal cruise experience than many of its more contemporary competitors. It has stricter dress codes, white-gloved waiters at afternoon tea and ballroom dancing to a live band in the Queens Room Ballroom. Entertainment follows a more refined approach with eminent guest lecturers, classical music and West End-style production shows. You will not find rowdy party games and activities on deck.
Who will like sailing on Queen Victoria
Sailing aboard the Queen Victoria exudes the class and feel of a bygone era. It has refined service and a calming atmosphere in addition to enriching and relaxing activities. If you like dressing up and want a more formal style of cruising, then the Queen Victoria is the ideal ship for you.
Where Queen Victoria sails
Every January, the ship embarks on a three-month circumnavigation of the world, visiting most of the continents and usually passing through the Panama Canal, which its large sister, Queen Mary 2, is too big to do. During the summer, it sails routes around Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and occasionally the Canary Islands. It tends to have a majority of British guests on board all of its cruises.
Step aboard Queen Victoria
Travelers seeking a more traditional cruise experience that harks back to the golden age of travel will enjoy stepping aboard Queen Victoria. You need to enjoy getting dressed up in the evening, as you may find as many as three formal nights in a week. Dress codes are enforced for access to the dining rooms in which gentlemen must wear tuxedos or dark suits and ties, and ladies must wear formal gowns and cocktail dresses.
The entertainment is refined and more educational in nature, with a focus on lectures and enrichment. While during the holiday seasons there will be children on board, and they are catered for, Queen Victoria provides more of an adult experience. Children may find the onboard attractions and entertainment on more family-friendly lines more appealing. The ship will introduce solo cabins in 2015 to build on its popularity among female solo travelers. Note: Queen Victoria will be in dock in December 2015 for some minor work.
3-tier staterooms & dining rooms
Like the other ships in the fleet, Queen Victoria has a class-based structure with three grades (Queens Grill, Princess Grill and Britannia), which have their own dining rooms. Guests staying in the Grill suites have exclusive, key-card access to a private area high up in the ship, where there is a lounge bar, concierge and shore excursion desk, and private deck. They also have priority check-in and embarkation. The Queens Grill suites also have butler service.
Top dining options
Queens Grill Restaurant
Queens Grill guests dine in a magnificent restaurant on Deck 11 with floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant features single-seating dining, and guests may come at anytime when the restaurant is open. In addition to the daily menu, there is also an a la carte menu as well as the ability to order off-menu dishes with some prior warning.
Princess Grill Restaurant
Also located on Deck 11, the intimate single-seating Princess Grill Restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows and a large a la carte menu.
There is an open-air courtyard connected to these two restaurants that Queens and Princess Grill guests can dine in for lunch and dinner.
Guests sailing in Britannia staterooms dine in the elegant two-tier dining room with a huge grand staircase and Art Deco chandelier. You can choose from early or late dining while those staying in Britannia Club cabins have a dedicated restaurant with single seating, so they can select what time they eat.
Other dining options
Lido Restaurant: Buffet dining is available throughout the day. Each evening you’ll find a selection of dishes devoted to a specific theme such as Italian, Indian or fondue.
The Verandah: The Verandah, the formal alternative dining venue, serves contemporary French cuisine that uses ingredients sourced in France along with an ambience that recalls the legendary Verandah Grill aboard the original Queen Elizabeth. A charge is made per dish.
Golden Lion Pub: The Golden Lion is an authentic British pub with a wide selection of beer and cider. This complements a traditional pub lunch menu with favorites such as cottage pie and fish and chips.
Queen's Room: Afternoon tea in the Queens Room is a Cunard signature not to be missed. White-gloved waiters serve delightful cucumber sandwiches, fresh scones and tea accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the orchestra.
Bars & lounges
Commodore Club: Memories of Cunard's past contrast with panoramic views over the bow. Enjoy your favorite cocktail in this elegant bar while watching the ocean glide past.
Chart Room: With the Britannia Restaurant next door, the Chart Room is a popular place for an elegant pre-dinner cocktail. This is one of the most popular bars on the ship with nautically themed decor.
Golden Lion Pub: Experience an authentic British pub atmosphere complemented by a traditional pub lunch menu, live music or karaoke and an impressive selection of beer and cider.
Hemispheres: By day, admire the expansive panoramic views that stretch from horizon to horizon through the floor-to-wall windows, and by night, dance to the beat of the big band and the resident DJ under a splendid glass-domed roof.
Queens Room: Cantilevered balconies, ornate frescos and backlit glass panels rise to the height of two decks. White-gloved waiters serve Afternoon Tea in the afternoons, and in the evening, the room transforms into the venue for themed balls.
Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar: If you fancy a glass of bubbly before taking your table for dinner, then the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar overlooking the Grand Lobby is the perfect setting. Guests can choose from among seven different Veuve Clicquot Champagnes, served by the bottle or the glass.
Winter Garden: This is a grand conservatory filled with greenery, where you can enjoy a drink and relax. A retractable glass roof allows you to feel the warm sunshine on your face without stepping foot outside.
Cafe Carinthia: The cafe serves a wide variety of fragrant specialty teas, rich aromatic coffees and indulgent pastries, and overlooks the beautiful Grand Lobby.
Churchill's: After dinner, settle into an armchair and savor the worldwide selection of fine cigars and cognacs at Churchill's. Also on the menu is a wide variety of single malt whiskies, Plantation rums and ports. This is the only bar you can smoke in on board.
Grills Lounge: Exclusive to Grill guests, this refined, comfortable and relaxed haven located on Deck 11 is perfect for a pre-dinner rendezvous with friends.
Leisure & entertainment
In addition to enjoying the pools on board you can also enjoy traditional Afternoon Tea served by white-gloved waiters, browse the Royal Arcade's exclusive boutiques, stroll through the art gallery and bid at the auction or join a watercolor class and create a masterpiece of your own. The Cunard Insights Program includes a wide variety of guest speakers to inspire and educate.
If you want to relax, visit the Cunard Royal Spa and Fitness Center for a rejuvenating massage or enjoy a novel from the magnificent and ornate 6,000-book library. If you're feeling energetic, however, then there are fitness classes and sports courts, as well as traditional deck sports such as quoits and shuffleboard. On most cruises, you can also attend a fencing class.
Younger members of the family will not want to leave The Play Zone, which is filled with toys, games and activities. The Queen Victoria Children's Program is run by certified Early Years staff on Deck 10. For younger guests, these facilities feature both inside and outside areas dedicated to children ages one to 12. Parents may drop off their children in the center to enjoy a host of activities from arts and crafts to board games and sports.
Please note that children must be a minimum of one year old to participate in the nursery without parental supervision. Children under one year old are welcome, provided they are accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times.
Entertainment ranges from West End-style musical productions in the three-level Royal Court Theater to grand balls at sea in which you can waltz your way around the dance floor to a live orchestra in the elegant Queens Room. A resident band and DJ play more contemporary music in Hemispheres club, and onboard musicians such as string quartets to pianists to harpists play in the various bars and lounges. Enjoy gaming in the casino, test your mind with a pub quiz or grab the microphone for a karaoke sing-along.
A vast array of Queen Victoria enrichment and lecture programs are available:
- Cunard Insights: With the Cunard Insights Program, you can explore a number of historical and contemporary issues presented by a wide range of speakers including explorers, academics, former ambassadors and politicians, historians and scientists, award-winning novelists, biographers and acclaimed actors and filmmakers.
- Royal Astronomical Society: The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. Speakers from the Royal Astronomical Society are on board selected voyages, offering you the opportunity to learn about the constellations, meteorites, space travel and to participate in star gazing on deck (weather permitting).
Gary Bembridge sailed on Queen Victora on a media pass as a guest of Cunard Line. See Cruiseable's Ethics & Disclosure policy.
How about you? Have you sailed on Queen Victoria? Where was your sailing? Did you like it? Tell me about it — I'd love to hear the highlights.
Republished and updated from an earlier post.
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
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Top highlights on this ship
- Enjoy the shows on board in one of the private boxes while being served champagne and desserts.
- Enjoy traditional afternoon tea with white-glove waiter service in the Queens Room Ballroom.
- Dance to a live band in the Queens Room, where gentleman dance hosts are available to partner with solo women travellers.
- Listen to lectures by leading authors, entertainers, celebrities, politicians and historians as part of the Cunard Insights Program.