Queen Victoria departed Southampton, England on her Maiden Voyage on December 11, 2007. The 1,980-passenger ship is the second largest Cunard ocean liner. Joining the Queen Mary 2 and the QE2, the Queen Victoria celebrates the first time, in Cunard's 168-year history, that three Cunard Queens are in service together.
The white and black ocean liner, which is trimmed in red, features elegant public rooms, with rich wood paneling, complex mosaics and sparkling chandeliers. Her grand colonial-style conservatory has a retractable glass roof.
In the Royal Court Theatre, Queen Victoria boasts the first traditional West End-style private boxes at sea. Her two-storey library (a first at sea) features an elegant spiral staircase.
In addition to the Queens Grill and Princess Grill accommodations and dining, Queen Victoria offers an exclusive deck terrace and an al fresco dining option.
The Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar is on Deck 2 of the triple-storey Grand Lobby. With space for 34 patrons, the Art Deco-style bar serves vintage champagnes with culinary delicacies, before and after dinner.
Queen Victoria houses the first fully curated Cunardia museum at sea, exhibiting Cunard artifacts and memorabilia. It tells the stories of the Queen Mary (launched in 1936), Queen Elizabeth (launched in 1940) and Queen Elizabeth 2 (launched in 1969).
Enhanced with audiovisuals, one display describes a typical day at sea from a passenger's and a crew member's perspective. Another exhibit describes the role of the ocean liners as troop carriers during World War II and the Falklands War in 1982.
Historic souvenirs include Queen Mary's handwritten log book and her historic Zig Zag clock. Hitler made the Queen Mary a target. The Zig Zag clock advised the crew on the bridge when to change course to prevent U-Boat attacks during World War II.
Other exhibits include detailed ship models, a length of Queen Mary's deck rail carved with GIs' initials, and artifacts from the "Cunard Yanks," the youthful crew who transported the latest New York fashions and music to England after the war.
Visitors see a copy of the Hales Trophy, which was awarded to the Atlantic Blue Riband winner. Cunard officials refused the award because the Line followed Samuel Cunard's 1840 mandate to put safety before speed, even though the Queen Mary broke the speed record in 1936 and held it from 1938 to 1952.
Cunardia's newest artifact is the cork from the bottle of prosecco, broken over Queen Victoria's bow by Maureen Ryan, the only known person to have served on four Queen liners.
Queen Victoria's two-storey Royal Arcade features a dramatic wrought-iron staircase. The focal point of the dark green, gold and cream shopping center is a clock by Dent and Co., clockmaker to HRH Queen Victoria and the manufacturers of Big Ben in London.
Harrods, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton are among the seven boutiques on the Queen Victoria. Besides tax and duty-free shopping, passengers will find top-quality jewelry, watches, perfumes, cosmetics and Queen Victoria-branded formal and casual clothing.
Cunardia Museum Shop sells Queen Victoria exclusive limited-edition items by Waterford, Swarovski, Faberge and Staffordshire. Collectors can buy Waterford Crystal decanters, Faberge Rose Quartz gemstone dishes, Swarovski paperweights and Staffordshire enamel pill boxes, with images of the Queen Victoria, as well as limited-edition Queen Victoria ship models by Maritime Replicas, crystal ship models by Crystal Galleria and etched glassware and decanters by Glencairn Crystal.
Queen Victoria's bookshop sells maritime books, maps, high-end stationary and Cunard souvenirs.
The Thermal Suite, with saunas, steam rooms, a meditation room, showers and a relaxation area is the centerpiece of Queen Victoria's 13,000-square foot spa. Passengers also pamper themselves in the private 745-gallon Hydrotherapy Pool area, with its relaxation beds, in the glass-enclosed health centre. Robes and slippers are provided.
Spa treatments include the 90-minute Aromasoul Signature Body Rituals. Four Arabian, Oriental, Mediterranean and Indian-inspired massage therapies combine exotic oils, relaxing music and room atomizers, followed by herbal tea in the relaxation room. Guests also enjoy facials, scrubs and mud wraps.
The Cunard Royal Spa and Fitness Centre offers a 3.5 to 4.5-hour Day Spa Escape package. Men can experience a traditional shave and barbering service, skin programs and massages. The Nailspa and Stylespa Salon provide beauty and hair services, including four Kérastase Hair Rituals.
Queen Victoria's fitness centre features a well-equipped work-out facility and aerobics studio. Fitness programs include the renowned Pilates Institute at Sea; Gravity, a trainer-led program using a glide board and body weight; Yo'Fit, a yoga program; Multitrax Indoor Cycling; Push and Lift, for resistance training; and Zumba, Latino-style dance aerobics.
Besides a free program of aerobics, step and conditioning classes, trained fitness practitioners offer one-on-one personal training, comprehensive structured fitness programs, nutrition consultations and meditation programs. Registered therapists, from the British Acupuncture Council, offer acupuncture treatments.
Guests can also hear lectures by experts, like Michael King, creator of the Pilates Institute Method.
Sports and recreation
The Queen Victoria offers paddle tennis, shuffleboard, chess, deck quoits (the nautical version of horseshoes), ping-pong and golf, using two golf nets.
For the first time on a cruise ship, passengers can study fencing and perfect their fencing skills with state-of-the-art Leon Paul Fencing equipment. The sport was practiced by Prince Albert, husband and consort of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
A fully certified instructor teaches foil fencing, which uses flexible and lightweight blades and blunted tips, to up to 10 students, ages 16 and older.
Virtual Tour of Queen Victoria
Visitors to Cunard's website can see 360-degree views of the Queen Victoria's public rooms and accommodations on video.
On the virtual tour, Captain Paul Wright welcomes visitors on board in the Grand Lobby. Alistair Greener, Cunard Entertainment Director, escorts website viewers through The Royal Court Theatre, the Queens Room, the double-level Library, The Cunard Royal Spa and Fitness Centre, the cafés, lounges, suites, staterooms, Internet centre, casino and restaurants inside the ship.