Queen Victoria Cruise Review by Bollinger_Babe
- Sail Date: May 2015
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
We boarded at Southampton, where all three Cunard Queens were in port together, waiting to leave in a convoy. Queen Victoria was at the back of the procession, which allowed us to get some great photos of the QM2 and QE. Seeing all three queens leaving together, their foghorns blasting away, was quite an experience.
We were allocated cabin 4119, a standard outside cabin which was spacious and immaculate. The king-size bed contained very comfortable and crisp cotton sheets, pillowcases and duvet. The cabin also contained a settee, coffee table, ample wardrobe and drawer space and a well-appointed bathroom with a selection of toiletries. The flat-screen television had an extensive selection of channels and programmes. There was also a fridge containing a mini-bar, and our excellent cabin stewardess kept our ice-bucket filled.
We ate in the Britannia Restaurant for dinner and (usually) the Lido buffet or the Golden Lion for lunch, and the food was never less than excellent. In the Britannia we were given special "Lusitania" menus to keep as souvenirs, and the service from our waiter, sommelier and bus-boy were superb and professional.
The daytime activities were plentiful and varied, and we were often spoilt for choice as what to do. The guest lecturers were superb; we had maritime historians who really knew their Cunard stuff, and there were two truly excellent presentations given by former BBC news reporter Martin Bell, who is a natural and enthusiastic orator.
The evening shows were also brilliant and varied. The ship's own production company put on a couple of very original shows, and the star guests included an excellent 1960s tribute band called "The Overtures", accomplished flautist Claire Langan, and former TV show host and comedian Tom O'Connor. We never saw a duff show at all.
Although we didn't stray very far from Britain, the ports of call were interesting and charming. We visited St. Peter Port, Guernsey; Le Havre, France, then around to Cobh, Ireland for the highlight of this cruise - the "Lusitania Remembered" ceremony on 7th May 2015 which marked 100 years since the tragic sinking of this great Cunard ocean liner in the 1st World War. The president of Ireland attended, as did other dignitaries such as the chairman of Cunard Line, Ambassadors from Britain, USA and Germany as well as the Queen Victoria's master, Commodore Christopher Rynd. Each made an eloquent and emotional speech about the Lusitania, which culminated in the Queen Victoria, berthed behind us in the port, giving a blast on her foghorn to mark the exact moment at 2.10pm when the torpedo hit the Lusitania 100 years before. This was followed by a minute's silence, and the whole remembrance ceremony was so dignified and a fitting way to remember the 1200 dead.
As well as the Lusitania ceremonies, there were also a number of other things going on in Cobh, such as an open-air musical concert. The evening finished with a flotilla of small boats carrying white lights sailing past the Queen Victoria at 9.30pm, to mark the return of the lifeboats to Cobh with the rescued survivors 100 years before. It was certainly a sight to behold, and we were so privileged to be a part of it.
Our final port of call was Dublin, before a day at sea and our return to Southampton. Throughout the cruise the weather certainly left a lot to be desired, but that's something that we (and Cunard!) are unable to do anything about.
So all in all, there is absolutely nothing we can fault about this cruise - the ship, the food, entertainment, ports of call - everything met and even exceeded our high expectations and it is easy to see why Cunard are still a leading cruise line after 175 years.