By Mike Coleman
The Legendary Cunard Line is just a few months away from ushering in a new maritime era. The much-anticipated launch of Queen Victoria will become reality in December.Â
The 90,000-ton vessel will not only be a classic ocean liner, offering the very best of Cunard’s heritage and traditions (replete with modern-day luxuries), but will also feature a host of new innovations.
Look for the first traditional West End London-style private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre; the first floating Cunardia museum display, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia; and the first two-story, spiral staircased library at sea. The ship will also feature the line’s celebrated luxury Grills accommodation and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with exclusive deck terraces and an al fresco dining option.
From the outside, her distinctive black-and-red livery will hint at what differentiates a Cunard liner from a standard cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship’s adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant double- and triple-height public rooms, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style Winter Garden, complete with a retractable glass roof.
Itineraries will also sparkle.
“In Queen Victoria’s inaugural year, we’ve planned a compelling around-the-world schedule that affords travelers an opportunity to experience the next generation of Cunard style, complete with festive welcomes in every port,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.
“In addition to joining Cunard’s exciting heritage of maiden call fanfare, guests traveling on Mediterranean, Baltic and Northern European voyages will be able to enjoy a more in-depth experience in each of these fascinating ports.”
In the first year alone, the 1,980-passenger vessel will chart a course through Europe, stretching as far south as the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria; as far east as Yalta, Ukraine, once an ancient Greek colony on the northern coast of the Black Sea; and west to Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands.
Highlighting the ship’s 2008 schedule are an eclectic variety of Mediterranean itineraries, offering departures from Rome, Barcelona, Venice, Athens and Southampton. Look also for Queen Victoria to offer a Mediterranean voyage, departing from Southampton, and ending with an overnight in Venice.
Additional highlights include three 14-day Russian Rendezvous voyages (departing May 27, June 22 and July 18, roundtrip from Southampton) that will circle the Baltic Sea and feature two full days in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as stops in Bruges, Belgium; Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo.
The ship will also call on Northern Europe. Look for a seven-day Norwegian Fjords voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on May 20, with stops in Bergen, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Aalesund and Stavanger, and two 12-day Voyage of the Vikings voyages, departing roundtrip from Southampton on June 10 and July 6, with stops in Bergen, Tromso, Honningsvag (for the North Cape), Trondheim, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Olden and Stavanger.