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Queen Victoria
Cunard Line's Newest "Royal"

Queen Victoria's Grand Lobby

by Linda Coffman

Part Two

There's no doubt that the Grand Lobby is the heart of Queen Victoria. From this triple height reception area, you'll find a places to work (the Internet Center) and relax (the library and lounges).

Cocktails & Conversation
Ascend the sweeping staircase to Deck 2 for before dinner libations in the decidedly nautical Chart Room or a flute of bubbly in the Art Deco Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar. For more privacy, on Deck 3 you'll find my favorite spot, The Alcove Midships Lounge.

Should you be a bit hungry before dinner, satisfy your craving for canapés and a martini shaken tableside in the Commodore Club forward on Deck 10. Don't let the view over Queen Victoria's bow distract your attention; you'll want to concentrate on which stuffed olive to select for that icy martini. Next door is Churchill's Cigar Lounge, the ideal retreat for an after-dinner cigar from the well-stocked humidor and a single malt scotch or fine port.

Don't get the ideal that Queen Victoria's lounges are stuffy... back on Deck 2 forward you'll find the Golden Lion Pub, where a seat near the faux fireplace is a cozy spot for a pint of ale with your mates, and the Empire Casino Bar, one of designated locations that welcomes cigarette smokers to light up.

Before we take a look at formal entertainment, I consider reading a favorite pastime and found Queen Victoria's wood paneled Library a haven for readers. On two levels, a spiral staircase affords access to shelves containing nearly 6,000 books. Don't forget to look up at the stained glass ceiling and down at the carpet, in which the signatures of famed authors are woven.

Historic artifacts and unique memorabilia are displayed in "Cunardia," the collection of museum-quality exhibits that tell the story of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Elizabeth 2. Fascinating and entertaining, I was particularly taken with the copy of the Hales Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the Atlantic Blue Ribband for speed. As Cunard Line explains, "Although Queen Mary broke the speed record in 1936 and held it unchallenged from 1938-1952, Cunard Line refused to accept the award on the ground that the Line still followed Samuel Cunard's mandate to his captains in 1840 to put safety before speed at all times."

A particularly appealing and 'entertaining' pursuit at sea is shopping and Queen Victoria passengers are in for a treat in the Royal Arcade (photo left). Dust off those gold cards, ladies, the selection is as long as your next bill. You'll find luxury boutiques stocked with merchandise from Harrod's, Wedgewood, and Royal Doulton, as well as tax-and-duty-free perfumes, jewelry, and logo items. Styled after London's Royal and Burlington Arcades, the two-deck arcade is a sort of "second" lobby with a dramatic staircase grounded by a classically designed clock, the work of Dent & Co., whose most famous timepiece is "Big Ben" in London's Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster.

Where to place Hemisphere Lounge? Certainly it's a great spot for cocktails with a commanding 270-degree view from atop the ship, but late at night it morphs into a pulsating dance club. Even if you aren't a dance fan, you may find yourself being entertained at a lecture while seated beneath Hemisphere's sparkling chandelier.

And the pièce de résistance of entertainment is the three-tiered Royal Court Theatre. Very 19th century in feel, its walls are covered in rich brocades and a red velvet curtain adorns the stage, which is framed by sixteen sumptuous private boxes. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall was so taken with them that she declared one to be a Royal Box, and so it shall be. In addition to full-blown production shows featuring singers and dancers, the Royal Court Theatre will also be the setting for concert-style shows ranging from classical to contemporary.

Wait, there's more...

Queen Victoria -> Part Three

Queen Victoria -> Part One

Photographs © Linda Coffman,


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