When I found out that I was one of the lucky few guests from our office to be invited to visit the Queen Victoria when she came to San Francisco I was ecstatic. On a particularly sunny January afternoon as I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge I could see her parked at Pier 35 in all her glory. There was much excitement and anticipation as I reached the travel professional holding area, everyone was just as eager as I to see the Queen Victoria as she prepared to embark on the full World Cruise voyage.
From the moment I stepped onboard and reveled in the beautiful lobby until the moment I left back down the gangplank I was impressed and in awe. The Queen Victoria may only weigh in at 90,000 Gross Registered Tons, not a lot by today’s standards, but every inch of her had magnificent style and grace.
Most people know that a voyage on Cunard Line is like none other in the world. Part of this unique experience is the varying class of service throughout the ship. The Grills are the utmost elite class of service that Cunard provides. In addition to spacious and beautiful suite accommodations and a host of upgraded amenities such as priority embarkation,
you have access to the private Grills Lounge and Upper Grills Terrace, to socialize with new found friends, relax and for drinks. The Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants, both identical one is Aft and one Starboard; with a very pretty private outdoor Courtyard that connects them. I am happy to report that on the Queen Victoria anyone not booked in a Grill Suite will not feel left out. In order to get to these amenities you must use only one set of elevators all the way forward and you must have a Grill Suite keycard.
For the rest of us we may be more inclined to sail in a standard Inside, Oceanview or Balcony Stateroom, all of which use the lovely two-tiered Britannia Dining room as their main dining area. Although the staterooms were not readily available for viewing I did get a chance to see the layout of a Standard Inside stateroom (D3-D8). These staterooms are pretty small and although are fine for many, if you must sail in an inside I would suggest at least upgrading to a Deluxe Inside (D1-D2). If I had to choose I would go with a Balcony (AA-A7), there’s nothing quite like opening your balcony door and enjoying the fresh sea air!
If you are going to do a Library at sea, do it right or don’t do it at all. Cunard Line definitely got this right; as this was the most stunning library at sea I have ever seen. Rows and rows of books from all genres to choose from on two floors connecting with one dramatic dark wood spiral staircase. The room also had comfortable seating for those wishing to stay and read.
Visions of dignitaries and the social elite flashed through my mind as I walked onto the dance floor. This grand space complete with live Orchestra includes a truly grand dance floor with plenty of space for everyone to dance the night away. Surrounding the dance floor are plenty of tables and chairs to socialize and relax. The Queens Room is the location of Cunard’s famed Royal Nights formal balls.
CUNARD ROYAL SPA & FITNESS CENTER
This large spa and fitness center is truly wonderful. The large fitness room with floor-to-ceiling windows is where they provide instructed classes such as yoga and Pilates, as well as your typical workout machines. The Spa side has a luxurious Thermal Suite, complete with heated tile chairs, a large Hydrotherapy Pool and plenty of other treatment rooms for you to indulge in.
I was a little sad as I waved goodbye to the Queen Victoria, as she is truly a remarkable and beautiful ship. From her friendly and attentive staff, always with a smile to her amazing public spaces and activities – anyone who has the opportunity should sail on her at least once. You will find yourself whisked away to a bygone era to the golden age of ocean travel that is synonymous with Cunard’s regal heritage. I know I did – if only for a few hours.