Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 419 out of 500
Accommodation: 145 out of 200
Food: 299 out of 400
Service: 313 out of 400
Entertainment: 81 out of 100
Cruise: 318 out of 400
Overall Score: 1575 out of 2000
Queen Victoria Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Cunard Line
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9320556
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $390 million
Entered Service: Dec 2007
Length (ft/m): 964.5/294.0
Beam (ft/m): 105.9/32.3
Draft (ft/m): 26.2/8.0
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (64,00kW)/2 azimuthing pods
Passenger Decks: 12
Total Crew: 1,001
Passengers (lower beds): 2,014
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 44.7
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2
Cabins (total): 1,007
Size Range (sq ft/m): 143.0-2,131.3/13.2-198.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 718
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 20
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 5
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
A pretend ocean liner that really suits traditional British tastes
Overview. Queen Victoria, a very comfortable, likeable cruise ship posing as an ocean liner, is best suited to a couples and single travelers who enjoy a ship that offers traditional British ocean liner-style decor, world-wide itineraries, and dressing for dinner. Note that scores given in the Berlitz’s Ratings box are the averages for all accommodation grader.
The Ship. Queen Victoria is aimed at the North American and British markets, but will appeal to any Anglophile, because Cunard is still a very British experience, although it is to some extent marketing hype since British staff is rather thin on the ground.
Basically a stretched, modified platform and layout as the Vista series of ships (examples: Arcadia, Carnival Legend, Costa Atlantica, Costa Luminosa, Costa Mediterranea, Oosterdam), the Cunard version has an additional passenger deck, a specially strengthened hull lengthened by 36ft (11m), giving the ship more of an ‘ocean liner’ feel. It also has a more traditional interior layout reminiscent of yesteryear’s ocean liners.
The interior decor is ‘traditional’ in Cunard-speak, with many public rooms finely decorated in Edwardian/Victorian styles, with wrought-iron balustrades on staircases and in some bars. The three-deck-high Grand Lobby has a sweeping staircase and sculpted balconies. The Cunardia museum’s glass cabinets display models of former Cunard Line ships, old menus, and daily programs.
The Royal Arcade houses a cluster of seven shops, including Harrods, Royal Doulton, and Wedgwood, set in an arcade-like environment.
The Library is a really stunning two-deck-high wood-paneled 6,000-book facility with two full-time librarians. But there are few chairs on which to sit in and read.
Golden Lion Pub - a must aboard a Cunarder. This one lies along the starboard side, and is a good gathering place for karaoke, singalong, and quiz enthusiasts - plus, it has good pub food.
The Commodore Club acts as a large observation lounge, with its ocean views on three sides, and late-night room for low-volume interactive entertainment.
The adjacent Churchill’s Cigar Lounge, on the starboard side, is a haven for smokers.
Chart Room Bar, adjacent to the Britannia Restaurant - a place for a quiet drink before dinner.
Hemispheres, positioned aft of the mast and adjacent to the Commodore Club, overlooks the wood-decked Pavilion Pool; this is the high-volume disco and themed nightclub.
There’s also a fairly large casino (no smoking) on the port side of the lower level of the Royal Court.
A grand conservatory (Winter Gardens), with central fountain and retractable glass roof, has a moveable glass wall to an open-air swimming pool. Rattan furniture and ceiling fans help to conjure up the area’s colonial theme.
A per person, per day gratuity is charged to your onboard account, and a 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar and wine accounts. Gratuities - called a ‘Hotel and Dining’ charge - of $11.50-$13.50, depending on accommodation grade - are automatically added to your onboard account daily. The onboard currency is the US dollar - another reason to take the Britishness claims with a pinch of salt.
Accommodation. There are numerous price grades but just eight types of accommodation, ranging from ample to opulent: Queens Grill, Princess Grill, and Britannia Restaurant grades.
Grand Suites. There are four, measuring 1,918-2,131 sq ft (178-197 sq m). They are located aft, with great ocean views from their private wrap-around balconies, which contain a complete wet bar. The suites have two bedrooms with walk-in closets; bathroom with bathtub and separate shower enclosure; lounge; and dining room (with seating for six). In-suite dining from the Queens Grill menus is also available.
Master Suites. Two, measuring 1,100 sq ft (102 sq m), located in the center of the ship (Deck 7).
Penthouse Suites. 25, measuring 520-707 sq ft (48-66 sq m).
Queens Suites. 35, measuring 508-771 sq ft (47-72 sq m).
Princess Suites. 61, measuring 342-513 sq ft (32-48 sq m).
Balcony cabins. 581, measuring 242-472 sq ft (22-44 sq m).
Outside-view cabins. 146, measuring 180-201 sq ft (17-19 sq m).
Interior (no-view) cabins. 143, measuring 151-243 sq ft (14-19 sq m).
All accommodation grades have both British three-pin (240-volt) sockets and American (110-volt) and European-style two-pin (220-volt) sockets. Penhaligon toiletries are supplied to all passengers, and a hairdryer is stored in the vanity desk units. Some cabins have nicely indented ceilings with suffused lighting. However, the flat-screen TV sets are small - not good for bedtime movie watching.
The regular cabins (Grades C/D) are small, but functional, although completely lacking in ‘wow’ factor. The cabinetry resembles that in an Ibis hotel - a bit austere and lacking character. There is a distinct lack of drawer space in a cabin supposedly designed for two persons - it’s very noticeable on long voyages, and the additional drawers located under the bed may prove challenging for some to use. The premium mattresses are, however, excellent, as is the bed linen; European duvets are standard.
The bathrooms are stunningly bland, similar to those found aboard the ships of Princess Cruises, with small washbasins, little storage space for toiletries, and cold, tiled floors.
Dining. Cunard is respected for its cuisine and service, with a wide variety of well-prepared and presented dishes. The Britannia Restaurant - the name is taken from a former Cunard ocean liner of 1914-50 (not from P&O Cruises’ new Britannia) - is located in the aft section. It is two decks high, with seating on both the main level (two seatings for dinner, but open seating for breakfast and lunch) and balcony level. A horseshoe-shaped stairway links both levels. While the lower level diners have a good sea view through large picture windows, balcony diners get a promenade view. Waterford Wedgwood china is used, and there’s a wide range of wines (and prices).
Queens Grill and Princess Grill, two Grill Class-only restaurants, provide exclusive dining. These have a single-seating arrangement, providing an intimate, exclusive dining experience than in the two-seating main Britannia Restaurant.
On the port side, the 142-seat Queens Grill is for passengers in suites and top category accommodation grades, and provides the best cuisine and service aboard. The Cunard Grill experience also includes alfresco dining in a seldom used courtyard terrace (The Courtyard), suitably protected from the wind, and exclusive access for Grill Class passengers to an upper terrace deck, with dedicated staff as well as the Grills’ lounge and bar.
On the starboard side, the 132-seat Princess Grill is for passengers in middle-class accommodation grades.
Other dining options. The 100-seat à-la-carte, reservations required Verandah Restaurant (formerly Todd English Restaurant) focuses on classic French cuisine. The main course options include beef and lobster flambéed with cognac and truffle with parmesan fries, and baked rack of lamb in pastry with morel mushrooms and Madeira reduction. It is on the second level of the three-deck high lobby.
The Lido Café, on Deck 11, has good panoramic views, indoor/outdoor seating for 468, and offers a fairly standard multi-line self-serve buffet arrangement. For excellent Lavazza-family coffees from Maria (the coffee machine), and light bites, there’s the Parisian-style Café Carinthia, located one deck above the purser’s desk and adjacent to a popular Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar.
For traditional British pub food, the Golden Lion Pub serves fish and chips, steak and mushroom pie, ploughman’s lunch, and bangers (sausages) and mash - particularly good at lunchtime - with a nice draft pint of bitter, naturally.
Entertainment. The 830-seat, three-deck-high Royal Court Theatre is designed in the style of a classic opera house.
Spa/Fitness. The Cunard Royal Health Club and Spa has features including a beauty salon, large gymnasium and several body treatment rooms.