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3 Night Baltic Sea Cruise from Kiel

3 Night Baltic Sea Cruise from Kiel

Queen Victoria (Photo: Cunard Cruise Line)
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Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria - Cunard Line


Stylish and sophisticated, offering world-wide itineraries


Passengers who don't like to dress up will feel out of place

Bottom line

Queen Victoria is more traditional and formal than most ships, with an elegant atmosphere

Cruise Reviews

6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have done this trip before and wanted to go back at a different time of year. We always sail with Cunard having experienced the cattle market of other lines sailing from Southampton. As always the service was impeccable and crew ... Read More
We have done this trip before and wanted to go back at a different time of year. We always sail with Cunard having experienced the cattle market of other lines sailing from Southampton. As always the service was impeccable and crew are always happy to have a chat, they smile and are sincere. Formal nights are now called Gala nights but the themes remain the same. One of the main reasons we sail with Cunard is because we like the formality of dressing up properly in the evenings. We also enjoy dancing in the ballroom to live band music. The singers can vary in ability though and this time we had an excellent lady singer and a dreadful male. Cunard are very clear that ‘dressing’ is a requirement and you know what you are signing up for before you embark. There are areas that can be accessed for those who wish to dress more casually. As for drinks prices - if you are used to London prices, cocktails and beer are comparatively priced, however wine is expensive. This trip followed the aforementioned Baltic, and I see that a previous passenger complained that the ship was too cold. I guess that they changed the air con to suit this as we spent our trip too hot! If you have never done the fjords trip, you really should. We’ve done it twice now, both times on QV. The weather was amazing, 24c in Haugesund. Norway is expensive, however the scenery is fantastic and there are things you should see before global warming has its way. The Briksdal glacier for instance, is a shadow of its former glory and yet remains an awesome sight. So if you are someone who likes to dress properly, enjoys politeness and old fashioned service, Cunard is for you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We've cruised some over the years: river, small ship, big ship. It's a great way to travel. Queen Victoria is the most gorgeous ship I've ever seen. I was so immediately "at home", all the positive reviews of her ... Read More
We've cruised some over the years: river, small ship, big ship. It's a great way to travel. Queen Victoria is the most gorgeous ship I've ever seen. I was so immediately "at home", all the positive reviews of her are true. I am grateful to Cruise Critic reviewers for all their information, it really made a difference. Actually, we found our cruise to be better than the reviews. While there certainly could be more horizontal space in the cabin for "your stuff", and the bathroom is tiny, that's about the only change I'd make. We dined mostly at the Lido buffet and the food was amazingly good with great variety. Service was adequate. The "activities" were fine, we didn't participate much. An artist demo was a waste of time, but Big Dave who manages the Goring, a luxe London hotel was great. The entertainment was mediocre to awful, the "Hollywood" production was the worst I've ever seen. Most staff was polite and professional; interesting to realize after a couple of days that they lack the seemingly-genuine friendliness of the crew on all the other cruises we've taken. Exception was the bar staff in the Chart Room ... most of them were barely civil. Embark and disembarkation was handled very well. Except for one thing: COMMUNICATION We had issues with the Drinks Package and were run around in circles almost 2 days. Communication overall was pretty awful ... and non-existent when it comes to the ports. Cunard is only interested in selling their own shore excursions and provides absolutely no real information on the ports. I found their shore excursions so expensive that I didn’t book an. $59 for a 2-hour walking tour of a small Norwegian town?? Sure, there's a 2-page information sheet delivered the every evening, but it contains very little solid information. A perfect example is Olden. Cunard’s map is a big blob of grey surrounded by more shades of grey, lines that might be streets ... and not a word on the map. I had no idea who to ask, so I visited the Purser's Desk. Looking down, we had seen three little trains, some large buses and lots of activity on the dock. I wanted to go out to the new Loen Skylift, and there might be some other activities we'd like. The clerk shrugged her shoulders when I asked about the map. I was told to sign up for one of Cunard's shore excursions. She said "it's a small town, there's little to do". Really? Then why are we here? What about those little trains? Another shrug. Other passengers were asking the same questions and being given the same answers: "who knows?". This was beyond aggravating. I had extensive research notes on this cruise, but as you all know, some details can't be verified until you arrive at the dock. I could have purchased hours of internet from Queen Victoria and done more research for several hundred dollars, of course. Based on previous cruising experience, I did expect some level of information from the ship. This is Norway, after all, not the Caribbean where most ports are often quite alike. Another example: we had received an email announcing our last port would be hosting a big festival in honor of Norwegian Constitution Day, so no shore excursions. I was really looking forward to Haugesund and the festival. The daily news told us about a couple of parades, and that there would be shuttle busses running all day to the festival for people with limited mobility. That was the extent of the info. They had added a couple of shore excursions. The walk was supposed to be "ten minutes", but we've heard that before. My husband has had a hip replacement, so we boarded one of the busses. It took us to the bottom of a huge bridge over a big river, maybe 3 stories. We were expected to walk up this bridge and down the other side, or perhaps there were several flights of stairs, we couldn't tell. Coming back, we'd have to climb to the top of the bridge again. This was too much for people with limited mobility, that's for sure. There was no sign of a festival of any kind. We asked a couple of people returning to the ship and they confirmed that "the morning parades were the festival, there were no stalls with Norwegian goods or foods, no music, nothing much except a long line of bars and restaurants" on the water". Very disappointing. These two examples are merely that ... Cunard is a wonderful cruise line, Queen Victoria is just a gem and we enjoyed almost every minute. We'll cruise on her again for sure. But someone is not doing their assigned job on Queen Victoria. There's no excuse for not giving passengers any real port information ... just a bunch of fluff and history ... little about the activities available. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. ... Read More
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sea travel has opened up a new world of exploration and last week I repeated my first ever cruise, but this time with Cunard. Would the grand histories of the Baltic ports be matched by the royal splendours of Queen Victoria? THE PORTS Every city on the Baltic itinerary is steeped in history and if palaces, galleries and cathedrals are your thing then this cruise does not disappoint. And if, like me, you appreciate Scandinavian art and design, the ports have some wonderful specialist shops and art studios as well. Be prepared for eye watering prices, however. A cup of coffee and a pastry in Copenhagen for £9 is one thing, but £925 for a cake slice is quite another, albeit an exquisite one designed by Georg Jensen. St Petersburg remains the highlight destination and these days there is more of an effort to make visitors feel welcome: immigration formalities have been streamlined and stern faces replaced with occasional smiles. This is one port where organised excursions are the only way to enjoy the city’s palaces and museums because independent sightseeing is impossible without a visa. I started with a four-hour walking tour, led by a witty and knowledgeable guide who was as happy to be quizzed about Salisbury as she was to rib Putin. One of many highlights was the Church on Spilled Blood with its onion domes reaching to the sky, still beautiful despite a major programme of renovations. Stockholm’s royal palaces are as good a starting point as any for understanding the city’s history but there is so much more. The Museum of Modern Art on the island of Skeppsholmen is worth a visit, its gardens home to colourful and zany sculptures. Although there is a shuttle bus service available, I found it as quick to take the riverside walk past the Film Museum and enter Stockholm via the warren of narrow streets in the Old Town. Of the other ports, Tallinn is compact and the easiest to explore on foot. My starting point was the 13th century cobblestoned main square where I enjoyed a coffee in warm sunshine. From there I walked up to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an orthodox and gloriously ornate cathedral funded by public donations. Kiel on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast was less impressive. It is twinned with Coventry but has not been as successful in rebuilding after the devastations of war. The Rathaus, or Town Hall, with its ornate interior survived the bombing but Kiel is one place where the best plan might be to book an excursion. THE SHIP Ask loyal Cunarders which is their favourite ship and the answer more often than not is Queen Victoria. I can see why. My cabin was spacious and the public areas luxuriously comfortable, with deep sofas and armchairs waiting to help relieve tired legs after busy days ashore. The dark wood veneers, deep pile carpets in golds and creams, and art deco marble tiling all recall a golden era for passenger ships. The elegant Queens Room on Deck 2 is a popular haunt, not only for afternoon cream teas served by waiters in white gloves but also because it is a ballroom where every evening there is dancing to live music. Cunard dance hosts offer to partner single guests and during the day there are classes led by a professional dance couple. Guests Jane and Robert from Harlow in Essex are keen dancers and the ship’s ballroom was one of the reasons they booked the cruise. “The setting is beautiful,” Jane told me. “We love dancing and enjoyed our times in the Queens Room – but more opportunities for sequence dancing would have been nice.” The handsome two-storey library is well-stocked and the two librarians impressed me with their courtesy and knowledge. At the Purser’s Desk, international receptionists like Lisa from Berlin, Martin from Vienna and Charles from Cambridge were fine ambassadors for Cunard, cheerfully responding to my questions and often providing me with additional maps before going ashore. I cannot think of any area where service was less than excellent. On deck and in the bars, stewards were attentive however busy they were and in the Chart Room ($4.83 for an Illy cappuccino), waiters Julito, Martina and Rolando made every visit special thanks to their professionalism. It was the same in the Britannia Restaurant with waiters Gede and KC delivering faultless service at our table, and Cyril offering expert wine advice. The House wines were good although $14 for a glass of red made my eyes water! The galleys prepare around 5000 meals a day and standards are high. My beef sirloin and pork medallions were first rate, piping hot and full of flavour, and the fish was also excellent, whether the roasted monkfish or the grilled turbot. When I asked for chips, they were delivered immediately. For desserts, and knowing that coffee and chocolates or petit fours would follow, I generally restricted myself to the ice creams. Yes, there were disappointments but they were remedied quickly. My roast turkey one evening was lukewarm and Gede handled the matter without fuss, apologising and returning promptly with a hot replacement meal. There was a wide range of activities to choose from on sea days, from bridge and watercolour art classes to port presentations and talks from guest speakers, all of them well attended. Captain Tomás Connery was seen around the ship every day – always a good sign - and at midday updated us with navigational details. In the evenings, The Royal Court Theatre Company presented music and dance shows to packed houses and there were guest artists too. My favourites were Roy G Hemmings who spent ten years as a singer with The Drifters and Jon Courtenay, an energetic pianist comic. Perhaps because of the Baltic itinerary, there was an international dimension to the cruise. The majority of passengers were British but there were several other nationalities as well – mainly Australians, Americans, Germans, French and Dutch . . . and one South Korean. Does such a mixture have a major influence on menus? Not according to Jackie Bott, the ship’s Hotel General Manager (HGM). “People generally come to Cunard because it’s Cunard,” she told me. “Our international guests tell us that they don’t want to be served with their local dishes. They want to taste British food.” Nancy and John Keisman, guests from Brandon in Mississippi, took the same view. “We loved this cruise,” said John. “Not only for the ports with their different cultures but also for the opportunity to enjoy some great British food - Yorkshire pudding was new to us but we kinda liked it!” Nevertheless some of the food did reflect Continental tastes. The variety of bread and pastries served at breakfast in the Lido restaurant on Deck 9 is one example, with white, black, rye and brown breads, along with bagels and croissants, available each morning. WORTH BOOKING? The Baltic itinerary features throughout the Cunard 2019/2020 brochure and, although I have now done it twice, I would happily do it a third time because each port offers such a diverse range of history and culture. But the real star of this cruise was Queen Victoria and I can’t wait to return on board. HGM Jackie Bott unwittingly summed up the ship’s success when she told me what appealed most about her work in leading a department of 800 officers and crew. “Passengers think it must be the chance to see the world that is the best part of the job, but ports are secondary to people and in any case I’ve visited most ports more than once. People are far more interesting and complex and they are central to everything we do at Cunard.” No surprise, then, that Queen Victoria delivered such a successful cruise. Read Less
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