By Libby, Cruise & Stay Expert
I had the pleasure of sailing onboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria for four nights on what was my very first cruise. Although I’ve been a member of the Cruise & Stay team for some time, I must admit that I didn’t quite know what to expect – but as soon as I saw Queen Victoria, she appeared to be an amazing ship, and not too big.
From the moment I stepped on board, I was made to feel so special by all the staff, and I had such an amazing time exploring everything Queen Victoria had to offer. As I was sailing in late November, I was also very surprised that she had been decorated for Christmas with such grandeur; from the Christmas trees in the atrium to the displays around the ship, it was so festive and fantastic to see.
I was fortunate to stay in one of the incredible Princess Grill Suites onboard and all I have to say is WOW! These suites offer the most luxurious accommodation and provide access to a private lounge and terrace. I noticed a lot of special little extras throughout the suite, including dainty cups and saucers on the hospitality tray, turndown service each evening by the cabin stewards and the quality of the toiletries offered in the cabin. The suite was much larger than I expected, even right down to our corner balcony which was a great space to kick back and relax. One of the things which did enhance my experience was the friendly and knowledgeable cabin stewards, who just went above and beyond to make sure every guest had the best time.
Now on to the food. The quality was excellent no matter whether I dined in the Lido buffet, Princess Grill or speciality restaurants. All the waiters were so attentive and informative about the food, and always incredibly happy to answer any questions we had. We dined in the Princess Grill on two of the evenings and I was so impressed with the amount of choice, both on the main and a la carte menus. We were advised that most of the dishes change daily so there is always something new to try, but it was also nice to know that there would always be a handful of dishes which were always on offer to the guests.
On our second evening in the Princess Grill, we were treated to some tableside show cooking by the waiters – this was such a wonderful experience as I had never seen anything like this before. We watched them cook a rack of lamb and dover sole, followed by crepe suzette for dessert. All the waiters were very interactive by letting us know what they were doing, and the food tasted amazing! Moving onto the speciality restaurants we were lucky enough to dine in The Steakhouse at the Veranda and the Lido Specialty Restaurant, both of which were truly memorable. In The Steakhouse, what I did find impressive was that the guests who ordered steak were able to choose their steak knife, an extra-special touch you don’t often see in restaurants on land, let alone at sea. We also made time to have afternoon tea in the Britannia Restaurant; the selection was very good for both the savoury and sweet items – the scones were definitely my favourite!
One of my highlights of the trip was the onboard entertainment – there was always something to do and so much variety. In the daytime, there were lots of events and classes, including everything from dance classes to fencing lessons and watercolour art in the afternoons.
The cast on board performed in a show called ‘One Way Or Another’, which was simply fantastic; the singers and dancers were so energetic and the quality of the performance really stood out for me. There was also an Irish duo one of the evenings who were great; they were so interactive with the audience and the Golden Lion Pub was packed – there wasn’t a seat to be found they were that good! One of the things I never expected was the Yacht Club which turned into a nightclub later in the evening. What an atmosphere it had – it was very popular with everyone, complete with fantastic music and a brilliant vibe.
As my very first cruise, I have to say I was amazed by everything Queen Victoria had to offer, and I hope I can book my next cruise in the not-so-distant future. I am totally converted to cruising and I hope I will be back sailing with Cunard very soon!