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Queen Victoria
Cunard Line's Newest "Royal"

Queen Victoria's Winter Garden

by Linda Coffman

Part Three

Relaxation & Recreation
As much as I loved my crossing last year on Queen Mary 2, the one spot aboard that I found lacking was her Winter Garden. Oddly placed, it seemed devoid of warmth. That's not the case on Queen Victoria—her Winter Garden is just what I expected—a colonial style garden retreat with fountain and greenery, cushy rattan furnishings, ceiling fans turning lazily and a retractable ceiling and glass wall panels to let in ocean breezes on balmy days. Even on a dreary afternoon in Southampton, it is a bright and cheerful spot adjacent to the swimming pool and hot tubs.

Nearby, the Royal Spa & Fitness Center will set health enthusiasts' hearts aflutter. Facilities include the exclusive Thermal Suite and Hydrotherapy Pool (day passes can be purchased for those who don't book a spa treatment) and a state-of-the-art gym. The aerobics studio offers Pilates, Yoga, resistance workouts, and Zumba, the hot Latin dance workout that really gets your blood pumping. A full menu of spa treatments includes exotic-sounding rituals that incorporate oils, soothing music, room atomizers, and, of course, the art of massage. Men aren't overlooked when it comes to some pampering. While the ladies may swoon over beauty regimes that cover hair, nails, and skin, the guys can choose to be barbered, shaved, and revitalized with a massage or manly-man skin treatment. I was delighted to learn that experts from Harding Brother Spa are in charge. Their programs are unabashedly designed for pleasure and make no false "medicinal benefit" promises the way other spa operators do.

Kid Stuff
Even the smallest passengers aboard Queen Victoria have something to look forward to at sea. British nannies supervise the Play Zone Nursery & Children's Center where children age one through six have a full schedule of activities from story time to arts and crafts, games and movies. In The Zone, children from seven to sixteen can test their skills on 28 PlayStation 3 video games, watch movies, and challenge one another to air hockey and foosball. Teens age 16 and up are also invited to take daily fencing lessons with an instructor in the Sports & Recreation Center. A large outdoor deck area is reserved for family fun and parents may join their children for traditional Children's Tea.

Your Home Away From Home
While aboard Queen Victoria for the naming ceremony I was comfortably ensconced in a Category A1 stateroom with a balcony on Deck 8. The soft golden yellow and navy blue decor appealed to me, as did a balcony deep enough to use without feeling cramped. However, the one quirk about my new quarters that struck me almost immediately was a lack of drawer space. The desk/vanity contained a shallow drawer under the desktop and a deeper one below the television held a built-in hairdryer, leaving limited space for incidentals. Other than a tiny drawer in each nightstand, that was it. While there was plenty of hanging space in the closets, a single floor-to-ceiling bank of shelves housed the safe on one shelf and life vests on another, leaving little useable room for personal items. Oddly, a couple more shelves could have been added, but it seems that room was left at the bottom for storing luggage or bulky items. It's a simple fix—just add more shelves.

Other accommodations I viewed also made ample use of lemon-gold fabrics with assorted accent colors. If you decide to book a suite in either of the Grill classes, you won't have any problem with storage. The Queens Grill accommodations are particularly sumptuous.

As on all Cunard liners, where you dine is determined by the category of accommodations you occupy. All square footage figures include balconies.

Queens Grill

  • Grand Suites: 1,918 to 2,131 square feet
  • Master Suites: 1,100 square feet
  • Penthouses: 520-707 square feet
  • Queens Suites: 508-771 square feet

Princess Grill

  • Princess Suites: 342-513 square feet

Britannia Restaurant

  • Balcony: 242-472 square feet
  • Oceanview: 180-210 square feet
  • Inside: 151-243 square feet

Former passengers of Princess Cruises will recognize Queen Victoria's Princess Suites as being very similar to Grand-class mini-suites. Everyone should sleep well on the super-comfy beds with ultra plush pillows.

Lasting Impressions
Queen Victoria is an intriguing ship; a blend of classic liner and (dare I say it!) contemporary cruise ship. Stately and dignified, she incorporates places to relax and have fun that should satisfy an international mix of passengers as she roams the globe. While a decidedly British atmosphere prevails, there's a lot for everyone to love.

Over the years I've been fortunate to sail on nearly one hundred ships and I can honestly say that some of the finest meals I've enjoyed were served during my two days aboard Queen Victoria. My brief preview left me yearning for a voyage on the newest jewel in the Cunard crown.

Photographs Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com


Back to...

Queen Victoria -> Part One

Queen Victoria -> Part Two

Photographs Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

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