Queen Victoria – Cunard Cruising – France & Ireland

Queen Victoria - Cunard With five ships leaving Southampton on Sunday afternoon, the roads into the Docks were jammed with vehicles full of people anticipating their exciting upcoming cruises.

Fortunately we had booked off-site parking through Holiday Extras but took advantage of the meet and greet service. Having handed over our car keys we had only to walk across the road to the cruise terminal. It couldn’t have been easier.

Later that afternoon, as part of Cunard’s 175th Anniversary celebrations, all three Queens left in line astern, a great sight for the on the shore.

Bringing up the tail, Queen Victoria, the smallest of the three, holds around 1800 passengers with 75% of cabins having balconies. She is small enough to be friendly but large enough to have a full range of facilities.

Our cabin - Queen Victoria - Cunard Our cabin was comfortable with the usual Queen-size bed, a small sofa, dressing table, TV and four hanging wardrobes. The bathroom was compact with a hand basin and fixed head shower with a shower curtain. On each of the passenger decks there is a self-service launderette, ideal for washing out clothes needed again or ironing something that may have creased in packing.

Princess Grill - Queen Victoria - Cunard Most passengers eat in the Britannia Restaurant which offers two sittings, the first starting at 6.00pm and the second around 8.00 – 8.30pm. Passengers in the mini-suites eat in a separate Princess’ Grill whilst suite passengers eat in the Queen’s Grill. These two Grills, together with indoor and outdoor lounge areas, are in an exclusive part of the ship.

The Lido buffet restaurant, open 24 hours, is split in two in the evenings, one part standard buffet, but themed, the other a speciality restaurant with waiter service for which there is a small supplement. We tested the standard buffet one evening for the Yorkshire Night which included tender roast beef carved to order with, of course, Yorkshire Puddings.  There is also a top-class French restaurant, the Verandah, for which there is also a small supplement. Wherever you eat, however, the food is top class.

Afternoon tea in the Queen's Room - Queen Victoria - Cunard A feature on Cunard is afternoon tea in the Queen’s room. Precisely at 3.30pm, white gloved and jacketed waiters appear en masse, armed with pots of tea, sandwiches, cakes, and scones with the obligatory whipped cream and strawberry jam. A string quartet, pianist or harpist provides background music. It’s delicious and makes a relaxing interlude to the day.

Another popular venue is the Red Lion Pub which serves draft ale and lager and provides a limited but attractive lunch menu. It also has darts competitions and pub games.

With all that good food, it’s just as well there is an excellent and well-equipped gym, and a walking and jogging track on deck 3. Three laps of the ship is one mile. There is also a range of deck games such as paddle tennis.

Show in the theatre - Queen Victoria - Cunard For on-board entertainment there is a magnificent two-storey library holding over 6,000 books, a  card room, jig-saw alcove, various board games and an internet cafe, although WiFi is available throughout the ship.

The theatre puts on evening shows and has its own troupe of highly professional actors, singers, dancers and musicians. A feature of the theatre is the boxes. Each holds two people and must be booked in advance. For a small fee, guests are treated to a  pre-show glass of champagne, canapés or chocolate-covered strawberries, a photo of them in the box enjoying the show and a bell boy in a traditional red tunic to escort them to their box; ideal for that special event.

St Peter Port, Guernsey As for our cruise, it was a relatively local experience. After leaving Southampton we headed out into the English Channel and the following morning we found ourselves moored off St Peter Port in Guernsey where we tendered ashore. This picturesque port, with a great history, was occupied by Germany during World War Two. Our arrival coincided with their liberation celebrations and the narrow streets were decked with flags and bunting. Closer to France than England, the street signs are in French and English and the town has a unique Anglo/Continental feel.

Le Havre, France After a great day walking around and soaking up the celebratory atmosphere we set sail for Le Havre. The rain that greeted us on arrival soon gave way to sunshine and we were able to stretch our legs ashore. The port is probably best known as the gateway to Paris, where many of the guests made their way. Le Havre itself was heavily bombed during the war. It has since been re-built but in a characterless and uniform way that is somehow reminiscent of an old Russian city.

That evening we headed out to Ireland and a visit to Cobh. Originally called Queenstown, this historic town is similar to St Peter Port in many ways although in this instance the ship docks within two hundred yards of the centre of town. Small and easily manageable on foot, it is hilly, picturesque, has delightful shops and, of course, pubs with nautical connections. Sitting outside watching people and small ships go by there can be no better place for a pint of Guinness. The locals are welcoming and friendly and we were sorry to leave.

Cobh, Ireland Next stop was Dublin. Sadly it rained the whole day and whilst we enjoyed our visit the weather dampened our experience, limited what we could do and made photography almost impossible. Nevertheless we made the most of our time there and spent a little more time exploring this lovely ship.

After a day at sea and a chance to catch up on our notes and photos we arrived back in Southampton but at a different quay. However, as we had used the meet and greet service our car had been driven to our arrivals location and was waiting for us just by the ship. A relaxing end to a great voyage.

More information

For details of Cunard cruises on Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2, go to www.cunard.co.uk or call 0843 374 2224.

Holiday Extras offers a choice of parking at UK airports and ports, including a ‘Meet & Greet’ Service. Visit www.holidayextras.co.uk or call 0800 1313 777.

152 people found this helpful
17969

Share Article:

Mike Pickup

Award-winning travel writer & photographer

Leave a comment

*

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Geoff Moore joined events across the island to celebrate Liberation Day, one of the most important dates in Guernsey’s calendar…
The Royal Shakespeare Company offers far more than just live theatre as Gillian Thornton found out on a visit to…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.