Queen Victoria Cruise Review by twosalties
- Sail Date: March 2017
- Destination: Transpacific
- Cabin Type: Princess Suite
The first benefit of the upgrade was the priority embarkation when we went straight through Immigration and all the other checking in processes, avoiding the very long lines for others not so fortunate.
The exclusive Princess Grill dining room is nice, but the dinner arrangements of the same people at the same table, arriving at any time between 6.30pm and 9pm, is not for us. As an example, we could have arrived at our table for 6 persons at 8pm and found the other two couples had arrived at 6.30pm, departing at 8pm. We dined each morning at breakfast in the Princess Grill and the staff were top class, addressing us by name from the second day.
As Princess Grill guests we were given 135 minutes free internet time each, indeed a bonus!
We relocated to the Brittania Restaurant for dinner, seated at a table for eight. This table for eight made dinner a delightful occasion for the duration of the cruise.
The Queens Lounge which is shared by Queens and Princess Suite guests, is very enjoyable for reading quietly and conversation, and the daily afternoon tea is certainly a treat. Afternoon tea in the Queens Lounge is the ultimate in pampering: a private lounge for suite guests, Cunard do afternoon tea brilliantly: white gloved waiters serving finger sandwiches, petit fours, scones with jam and cream.
There is a Captain’s Cocktail Party for Princess and Queens Grill guests, there is a feeling of spaciousness throughout the ship, with all staff being pleasant and attentive.
Guest speakers, lecturers and entertainment are of a very high standard. Two stand-out guest speakers were Midge Ure and John McCarthy. Midge Ure was a member of the group Ultravox and had an extremely interesting story to tell, including his partnership with Bob Geldorf, forming Band-Aid and Live-Aid. John McCarthy was a journalist, taken hostage in Beirut and kept prisoner for 1,943 days, in company with others, including Terry Waite.
The Queen Victoria Library has 7,000 books, an excellent reference section, and along with Queen Elizabeth, the best we have experienced in all our years of cruising.
The Princess Suite bathroom is no larger than any other cruise ship balcony stateroom we have experienced, indeed, the lighting is worse than others. There was no TV channel in our suite or indeed in the entire ship, that showed AFL football live or delayed, even though there were more Australians on the ship, Sydney-San Francisco, than any other nationality.
It is worth noting that in the Golden Lion Pub, which was saturated by televised soccer, rugby, golf and every other imaginable sport, they could not find a spot for AFL. Our observation was recorded in writing as part of the end of cruise questionnaire.
As a contrast, on Celebrity Solstice in 2016, Sydney-Honolulu, AFL live broadcasts went to every cabin.
While dress standards are a big plus for Cunard, we wonder whether they have gone a bit too far to the extreme in wanting to have a point of difference. Jackets are required, not only every night at dinner, but everywhere on the ship other than the Lido Buffet and the semi-outdoor Winter Garden after 6pm. You could not even enter a bar or the coffee shop after 6pm unless a jacket was worn. Perhaps one night in four of smart casual, where men are required to wear long trousers with an open neck, long sleeved shirt, or polo top, would be welcomed by guests. Whilst our Queen Elizabeth cruise was in 2012, we think that the dress standard at that time included a “Smart Casual” evening option.
Cunard’s Queen Victoria was everything we expected: a beautiful ship, well maintained, with excellent food, entertainment and lectures. We would definitely cruise with Cunard again, depending on the time frame, itinerary and cost.
Gratuities are discretionary and can be negotiated at the Purser’s Office. From the Commodore/Captain down, all staff were professional and courteous, with a high degree of visibility around the ship daily.
Queen Victoria is very shortly going in for a refit, there will be more suites/passengers, elimination of some public areas and with no additional crew. Hopefully this will only have minimal effect on the amount of public spaces.
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