The Queen Victoria is far more than a smaller version of the Queen Mary 2. The classy QV has her own style, personality, and decor while maintaining much of the line's heritage.
Typical Per Diems: $175-$230
Queen Elizabeth sails to New England/Canada from New York (fall).
Queen Victoria has traditional Cunard style, with the line's classic black-and-red hull on the outside and grand public spaces on the inside. At 90,049 gross tons, she was the second-largest Cunard ship ever (until the new and slightly bigger QE comes along, that is). Since she was built to cater to both the North American and British markets, there is lots of British flavor on board -- from the pub to the lovely Chart Room and class structure of the cabins -- though still, the official currency on board is the U.S. dollar.
A sleek, smooth-running modern ship that hasn't lost sight of her line's history, Queen Victory has many of Cunard's signature elements along with some very new ones. Fans of class division appreciate that the Queens Grill and Princess Grill diners have an exclusive centralized lounge for their use only (the QM2 has two separate lounges for each of the Grills, on the QV they're combined), plus outside dining and sunning areas reserved only for Grill-class guests. The QV's spa is not the huge grandiose area that QM2 has; it feels more casual yet it has all sorts of treatment rooms. And this seems to be a trend as one navigates through all of the different public areas. There are no over-the-top huge spaces (or "wow" features such as QM2's planetarium), which makes the ship feel relatively cozy throughout. Still, QV looks and feels like a very modern ocean liner.
As might be expected on a ship that has a definite class structure, there is quite a range of accommodations, all of which are sleek and contemporary with some traditional touches. In fact, the non-Grill-class cabins are much nicer than they are on QM2. The inside rooms range from 152 to 207 square feet (try and get one of the bigger ones if you can, even if there's a slight increase in price) and all come with two beds (twin or combinable to a queen) and a shower; there are no single rooms. Outside rooms range from 180 to 197 square feet for those without balconies; rooms with balconies are all 249 square feet. There are 20 different categories of inside and outside rooms (not including suites and penthouses) spread out over five different decks, and all of them have TVs with multilanguage films and music channels, a refrigerator, safe, hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, nightly turndown service, 24-hour room service, a daily shipboard paper, American and British electrical outlets, a direct-dial telephone, and a dataport outlet. There's also a half-bottle of sparkling wine upon embarkation for everyone (class be gone!).
As for the suites and penthouses, there are 11 different categories (127 rooms in all), with the four categories of Princess Suites all running 367 square feet including their balconies (the difference is only in the cruise fare and it's based on location/deck). Other amenities include upgraded linens, bathrobes and toiletries, plus there's a pillow menu, concierge service, shoe shine service, a separate bath and shower, a larger sitting area, and a full bottle of sparkling wine upon embarkation. Higher up on the accommodations spectrum are the seven categories of Queen's Grill Suites and Penthouses, ranging from 536 to 2,097 square feet, including their balconies. A higher level of amenities includes complimentary canapés, a fruit basket and bud vase, butler service, and sugar-iced strawberries to go along with a bottle of champagne upon embarkation. There are 20 wheelchair-accessible cabins total in various categories.
All guests are assigned a table in one of three restaurants: the gorgeous, two-level Britannia Restaurant (which is actually nicer looking than the Grill-class restaurants) for all non-Grill guests or, for Grill guests, either the Queens or Princess Grill depending on one's cabin category. There are two seatings for dinner in the Britannia Restaurant and it's single seating in the Grill Restaurants. Guests in the latter may also have the occasion to dine alfresco in the Tuscan-styled courtyard. One outstanding feature of the Britannia Restaurant, either upper or lower level, is the space between the tables. There's plenty of room for spreading out and to allow the waitstaff to comfortably serve all guests. Colors are muted with lots of golds and beiges and such. The Grill restaurants are shaped with a curve along the window side, allowing for even better views. Visually, there's little difference between the Grill classes (leather instead of fabric seats for the banquettes being an example).
The most casual of restaurants aboard Queen Victoria is the Lido Café; it's mostly buffet style with some custom-made areas for breakfast and lunch (it's open 24 hr. with dinner and late-night buffets). Other dining outlets available to all guests include the outstanding Todd English restaurant (English, by the way, is actually an American), $20 for lunch and $30 for dinner; the Golden Lion Pub; Lido Grill (casual poolside fare); and Café Carinthia, one of the bars on Deck 2, open for morning coffees and pastries.
There's a lot happening on Deck 2, where you'll find the first level of the extremely attractive Britannia Restaurant (where most guests are assigned their dining tables), as well as a series of bars all along one side of the ship: Chart Room, Café Carinthia, Midships Lounge, Champagne Bar, and the Golden Lion Pub. Each of the bars has its own personality, ranging from the nautical decor of the Chart Room to the pubby feel of the Golden Lion, especially great in daytime for casual pub food and nighttime for the lively piano player (and convenient access to the casino across the hall). There's also the Queen's Room ballroom with its gorgeous, 1,000-square-foot inlaid wood floor for dancing to a live orchestra (it's also the home of the Royal Nights-themed balls). Deck 2 also harbors the lower level of the library and the eponymous Todd English restaurant (available to all guests for lunch and dinner, but not as stunning as the version on QM2). Deck 3 has the upper level of the main restaurant, the many shopping areas, the Cunardia Museum (great to spend some time reading the quotes and history and enjoying the historical photos), and the upper level of the impressive library. Also on Deck 3 is access to the upper level of the theater with its 15 private boxes and lounge area; there's a charge for the boxes for special performances, but no charge for regular ones. While the sight lines to the stage are fine from all of the boxes, the ones more centrally located are by far the best.
The upper set of public decks, running from Decks 9 to 12, includes the forward-facing Cunard Royal Spa and Fitness Centre. Midships on Deck 10 is the indoor/outdoor space for kids, with separate spots for teens and younger kids. At the forward end of Deck 10 is the lovely Commodore Club lounge, probably the best place for that relaxing drink in the evening or quiet time during the day, and the 270-degree view Hemispheres, which by night becomes the disco. Adjacent is the cigar bar; it's named after Churchill, of course. Up above on Decks 11 and 12 are the exclusive areas for Grill-class guests: sunning/lounging areas with really nice cushions on the loungers, the Tuscan-themed courtyards, and a Grill Lounge serving both Grill restaurants. For anyone lost, a sign in the stairwell and restricted elevator access keep non-Grill guests at bay in these areas.
Pool, Fitness & Spa Facilities
Pools are located both midships and at the aft end of Deck 9, with two whirlpools adjacent to each. Though the main pool area isn't huge, at one end is the attractive Winter Garden, with its rattan furniture, ceiling fans, central fountain, movable glass wall, and sliding roof. The spa and fitness center, at the forward end of Deck 9, is terrific and there's even a 40-page guide describing the extensive services. There are facials, oxygen treatments, "aromasoul" massages and scrubs, all sorts of other massages, the regular nail and hair services, a Pilates institute, something described as "Kerastase style spa" (the Kerastase ambassador is apparently a highly educated scalp and hair professional), and a whole lot more. The gym sports 15 treadmills and dozens of other pieces of workout equipment and plenty of free weights. In addition, guests can stay fit by walking and jogging on several different decks, play paddle tennis or quoits (that quintessentially British game), and practice their golf swing.