Around the UK in ten days!: Queen Victoria Cruise Review by Mr PJ Dooley

Queen Victoria 5
Mr PJ Dooley

Overall Member Rating

Around the UK in ten days!

Sail Date: July 2010
Destination: Europe - British Isles & Western
Embarkation: Southampton
The cruise was called "British Isles Roundtrip" and we would be visiting Cherbourg, Cobh, Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast, Greenock for Glasgow and South Queensferry for Edinburgh.

A short drive from home of 40 minutes, brought us into Ocean Terminal in Southampton on Thursday 22 July 2010. On arrival our luggage was whisked away, the car keys handed over and we walked into the terminal building within minutes, carrying just our hand luggage. Up the escalator in the departure lounge, we filled in a medical form and were soon booked in with all paperwork completed. Then we walked through port authority scanning and straight onto the Queen Victoria. We had had a glimpse of her as we arrived and wondered at her magnificent size and splendour. We found our cabin 1050 very quickly from the directions given and were impressed by how well appointed it was and even more delighted with the half bottle of champagne on ice that awaited us. We met Norven our cabin steward who seemed very More kind and pleasant. Then we went up to the Lido restaurant for a delicious lunch. The whole procedure from leaving home to sitting down for lunch had taken less than an hour and a half. Our holiday had begun! After lunch we spent some time exploring the ship and were very impressed by the fabulous decor and the plentiful amenities. We were looking forward to trying our luck in the casino, with the roulette and blackjack tables and of course the gaming machines. Our luggage had been delivered within minutes of arriving in our stateroom, so we unpacked and found plenty of storage space. At 4.30 there was a muster drill in the nearby Queen's room and we were soon sailing on our way down Southampton water and out into the English Channel. We had been designated second sitting for dinner in the lower area of the Brittania restaurant. The food was presented beautifully in a nouvelle cuisine style and to be honest, this wasn't really to our liking so we dined often in the Lido restaurant instead. The Lido always had plenty of choices for a rich and hearty main course, with an abundance of appetisers, accompanying vegetables and puddings. We found the food in the Lido for breakfast, lunch and dinner exemplary in quality. The staff were super from the chefs to the waiters and waitresses. Nothing was ever too much trouble and was always accompanied by laughter and smiles.

Cobh for Cork.

On Saturday morning we awoke to find the ship docked in Cobh. This is a delightful little port town in Southern Ireland with much history to it. There were even musicians playing on the quay and a lovely museum right on the dock. We noticed that the train station was nearby, from where one could catch a train into Cork city. We chose to walk round the friendly town of Cobh, looking in the shops and walking up the steep hill to visit a beautiful church. We had lunch back on the Queen Victoria in the irresistable Lido restaurant and after a short rest, returned ashore to look round the museum that was beautifully constructed in the old railway station building. That evening we dined in the Lido where there was a superb carvery in addition to freshly cooked fish and other dishes. We spent some time in the casino, although sadly 'Lady Luck' was not on our side that night. Afterwards we found ourselves drawn back to the Commodore bar, where we had a few drinks as a nightcap.


The next morning when we woke up, the ship had docked in Cherbourg. After a hearty breakfast in the Lido restaurant, we caught the free shuttle bus into the town centre. We spent a very pleasant morning walking round the town, visiting places of interest and doing some shopping, mostly of the window variety. As we waited to catch the return shuttle bus, we found two friends waiting as well whom we had met on a previous cruise a year ago. Both they and we were amazed to find we had come on the same cruise a year later and it was great to renew friendship. The shuttle bus arrived and we returned to the ship for lunch and again ate a delicious buffet meal in the Lido. After watching the television, reading a book and enjoying a short nap(the sea air seemed to induce this), we got ready for dinner. That was a formal night, so we dressed up and went to the cocktail party before the evening meal in the Brittania restaurant, meeting the captain and having our photos taken. After dinner we met up with friends and enjoyed a drink and a chat in the Commodore bar, which has a wonderful atmosphere and is very comfortable listening to the reminiscent music of Gershwin played on the piano. We slept very well that night again in the luxurious bed. Less

Published 08/16/10

Cabin review: EB1050 Oceanview

The cabin was very comfortable especially the bed. Their was more than enough storage space for a ten day trip and the bathroom was fine for our needs. There was the noise of loud music playing with heavy drumbeat until nearly midnight every night, which meant we couldn't get an early night. The position of the cabin so close to the purser's desk was convenient.

Read All Oceanview (EB) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

The following morning was Tuesday and we docked in Belfast. Again we took the free shuttle bus into the city. We found that we preferred to make our own way in the ports, using local buses and taxis rather than going on organised tours. Belfast is a lovely city with very friendly people even though it is a major capital. We did some more window shopping and then went into the town hall. The interior of this building was amazing, with marble everywhere and some beautiful stained glass windows. The mayor had been to greet the ship when we docked and we were pleased to see him again in the town hall.

Read 123 Belfast Reviews

Sunday morning found us docked in Dublin. Again, we took the shuttle bus into the city centre where we boarded an open top double decker bus and toured the city, visiting the famous Guinness Brewery and driving into the beautiful park nearby. We saw far more of Dublin than you could ever hope to see on foot in a day's visit. It is such a busy city, even on a Sunday with many of the shops open. We spent the rest of the day on board watching a film in the Theatre and walking round more of the ship finding rooms and amenities that we hadn't seen before. That evening we tried out 'Lady Luck' again in the casino and she was with us more this time. It was good fun.

Read 188 Dublin Reviews

Greenock for Glasgow and South Queensferry for Edinburgh.

On Wednesday we arrived in Greenock, Scotland, having sailed past many Scottish islands. Here we were welcomed by bagpipes playing. As we walked into the terminal building, we were met by guides dressed in full traditional outfits with family tartan kilts and jackets. We were told that they offered a choice of free tours of the area, so we jumped at the opportunity. The guides were volunteers and our bus took us round Greenock to see fantastic views of the lochs. Our guides were very informative as to the history and important part Greenock played in the Second World War as it still does to this day with the submarines. We were even shown a photograph taken in exactly the same spot where we stood on the cliff top, with all the ships in the harbour in 1941. This was a very moving experience.

Thursday we spent all day at sea. It was like a mill pond it was so calm and the scenery as we passed the islands of Lewis and the Hebrides, then sailed on past the Shetlands round the top of Scotland, was simply stunning. Little did we know that the Queen and her family weren't far away at the time. We thoroughly enjoyed a talk by Lembit Opik the ex Liberal Democrat MP. He was highly entertaining and had gone to a great deal of trouble researching his presentation, enhancing it with film clips and photographs.

On Friday we arrived at South Queensferry and anchored just by the Forth rail bridge. We were taken ashore from the ship by tender and walked into the town. There we caught a bus into Edinburgh for more shopping. We liked the quaint little town of South Queensferry very much and enjoyed the views of both the Forth road and rail bridges, taking many photos.

We spent all day Saturday at sea again, sailing down the North Sea past the oil rigs and gas platforms towards the Channel. There was plenty to do all day with Lembit Opik's second talk followed by a political quiz in the Golden Lion pub. My partner was pleased to join a line dancing session in the morning which she wasn't expecting, which was great fun and good exercise. The day was marred by having to pack our suitcases. Suddenly the ten days had almost gone and we were about to go home. We enjoyed walking round the ship again, admiring the decor and browsing in the lovely boutiques.

Sunday morning sadly we had to disembark at Southampton. Again, this was a very smooth affair that went like clockwork. The sun was shining and we were home after the end of a brilliant voyage on the fabulous Queen Victoria. We will definitely sail on her again soon!

On Monday morning we woke up in Liverpool. This was a very special day for the Queen Victoria as it was her first visit to the port. The Duchess of Cornwall came aboard to unveil a plaque. We were proud to watch this ceremony before going ashore. We walked round the Albert dock, visited a newly opened museum and enjoyed a return visit to this great city. We noticed that a large number of people were on the dockside, despite some rain and by the evening this number had swelled to many thousands as we prepared to sail away. There was a great party up on deck 10 and a fantastic firework display from a boat in the river. It was a moving event with retro music playing and everyone singing along as we left and sailed out of the Mersey estuary. The sound of the ship's siren must have kept most of Liverpool awake, but no one seemed to really care and the atmosphere was electric. Liverpool did us proud!

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Mr PJ Dooley
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