Queen Victoria Cruise Review by Britravel70: Splendid Queen!
Member Since 2009
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For this, my first voyage on QV, I had booked a Princess Grade suite for the twelve day cruise and was upgraded to the Queens Grill category. Perhaps it was because we made a Transatlantic crossing on QM2, but nevertheless it was a delightful surprise. Having travelled frequently on QE2 I had found QM2 rather large and over-decorated for my taste, but with Queen Victoria, Cunard and its parent company have hit the nail on the head. Unlike some reviewers I did not find anything "cheap" onboard but rather found it to be a fitting successor to QE2 in both size and ambience. Our suite had complete privacy, our butler was discrete and ensured that everything needed was present, even exchanging the complimentary bar contents for a preferred wine. There were absolutely no complaints about the accommodation or service. I would recommend Queen Victoria to anyone having the funds to pay for it.
Dining was a delight although in retrospect I would have rather had a smaller table since More out table companions were rarely present when we chose to eat; two people sitting at a table for eight can be rather daunting! Ordering 'off-the-menu' for a birthday celebration, Lobster Thermidor was not a problem - and incidentally, one of the best versions we have had. Lunches and dinners were as good as anything on land with an outstanding variety; perhaps not Michelin 3 Star, but as good as any fine restaurant in London or Los Angeles. Portions were just right for us although some larger passengers may have felt they were small. Only on one morning did we take breakfast in our suite and that was not in the least "greasy" as another reviewer puts it. Because we are late risers, we frequently took breakfast in the Lido which we found to be very good and a big improvement on QM2's "Kings Court". Teatime in the Grill's lounge was, for the most part, splendid, although I do wish that sandwiches could be made with really thin bread. But not even The Ritz can do that today, so perhaps it's widespread. Pastries and tea itself were fine and there was always a server at hand to bring more as required. The lounge itself is a delight; clubby, quiet and understated elegance with a staff which was ever cheerful - but never over-familiar. Unfortunately, the Patio area was rather windy, so that precluded sitting out there with a drink in the evening. Am attractive spot nevertheless.
We had previously dined in the Todd English restaurant on QM2, and since the menu appeared to be identical, did not do so on QV, but it's location seemed to me to be more appropriate. Incidentally, I thought the extra-tariff was worth every penny when on QM2, but in any case, we had a very good dining experience in the Grill.
The main public rooms seemed very attractive, the ballroom smaller than QM2, but with an upper level from which one could observe those dancing. The Golden Lion was far more 'pubby' than either QE2 or QM2 and succeeded well on that score. However, since we were in Q class, there was little need to use such facilities - however, it is anticipated that next time we shall be in a much lower grade and will then have a better feel for them. Dining in Britannia on QM2 has always been more than acceptable and I anticipate no less on QV.
Entertainment was splendid, the Royal Court Theatre being a remarkable simulacrum of an older West End Theatre. The major productions were excellent and although we did not attend every evening, what we did see was first class. Some people took advantage of the bookable 'boxes' with Champagne, but that was not necessary for full enjoyment.
Excursions - as always, just a bit over-priced, but in each port there was sufficient time to see the sights, get the T-shirt and any other souvenirs! The approach to Venice was remarkable in itself because much of its glory could be seen so much better from the upper decks than would otherwise be the case. Getting us to St Mark's Square was no problem and having visited before, we did not avail ourselves of any organized tours. The other ports en route were as fine, although I chose to remain onboard at Dubrovnik while my companion went ashore.
My only complaint was and is the amount of junky jewelry, perfume and other assorted bargains which was always "on sale" along with the ridiculous art auctions. No doubt they bring in extra revenue, but for a luxury ship they are most out of place. Happily, in the Grills area there was no such thing, but if one decided to go elsewhere, a veritable bazaar greeted on along every public space.
All-in-all, our experience was very positive. It is easy to complain about the price of drinks or the largely "foreign" staff, but that's how the entire industry is today. Thirty years ago on QE2, all the crew and wait-staff were British and drinks far less expensive than on land, there being no duty on them. Today that duty goes into the pockets of the shipping line and makes the bottom line easier to reach. However, that is the way of the modern cruise industry and one must accept it. I agree about complaints noting that a space for a tip was left in addition to the 15% service charge, but it can of course be ignored. Besides such minor quibbles we had a splendid voyage and with the right itinerary, would definitely choose Queen Victoria again. She is a fitting successor to QE2. Less
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