As devoted followers of the 'QE2', we had uneasy expectations of our first experience of the 'Queen Victoria' before we set off on our Mediterranean cruise. We found that many fellow-passengers and members of the crew had sailed on the 'QE2', all with great affection for her. How would the 'Queen Vic' compare? How does a comparative newcomer match a legend ? Of course no real comparison is possible between two such different ships. There were ways in which the 'QE2' can never be equalled, but in the end (or earlier) there were lots of ways in which we loved the 'Queen Vic' - and, given her own 40 years of service in the future, perhaps she will earn the same fame as the 'QE2'.
The staff were as wonderful as ever - the food was brilliant - and our cabin was an upgrade delight: all of these distinctions at Cunard's dependable best. In addition I particularly enjoyed the way the 'Queen Vic' felt uncrowded in spite of the huge number of passengers. There were so many public rooms and so much outside deck space. When the pool and games areas were packed with sun-worshippers, it was always possible to find somewhere to sit on the promenade deck with as much or as little sun as was wanted. I was impressed by the variety of entertainments. The singers and dancers produced some excellent shows, and there was regular music around the ship in different locations. The string quartet was always busy, whether in the restaurant, Queen's Room or Lobby; the harpist and pianist contributed impressively to the atmosphere of wherever they played; and the professional pianist's concerts were a delight.
There were only two very minor matters where we felt that Cunard could have done better (a remarkable achievement in itself). At Palma there were no directions to where the shuttle buses were to be found, and so we walked some way in the wrong direction.
The other grumble concerned the too frequent attendance of the photographers. Perhaps those who want to pay $29 for each photograph of every special evening and gangplank arrival could make a special arrangement, while the rest of us won't need to keep saying 'No, thank you'.
Meanwhile this was a period of bliss under blue skies, protected from the heat, and rich with the soft glow of sunrises and sunsets over the ever-changing,(usually) tranquil sea, while being transported without effort to some of the great European destinations. Thank you, 'Queen Victoria' ! Thank you, Cunard ! ..and Yes, we'll be back for more before long !