Set to debut in December, Queen Victoria follows in the wake of her liner predecessors, offering a collection of inaugural itineraries that underscore her well-travelled passengers’ quest for genuinely intriguing travel experiences. Highlights of the ship’s 2008 schedule are an eclectic variety of Mediterranean itineraries offering departures from Rome, Barcelona, Venice, Athens and Southampton – allowing passengers a more in-depth experience into the ancient cities and renowned ports of this popular region. In addition, Queen Victoria‘s voyages to the Baltic mark Cunard’s return to this part of the world.
In keeping with Cunard’s heritage of inaugural call fanfare, the ship is expected to be greeted by celebratory festivities and large numbers of well wishers at every port. Passengers sailing on these voyages will not only enjoy the opportunity to be a part of Queen Victoria‘s once-in-a-lifetime inaugural season, but will also enjoy the opportunity to depart from some of Europe’s most glamorous cities.
“In Queen Victoria‘s inaugural year, we’ve planned a compelling around-the-world schedule that affords travellers an opportunity to experience the next generation of Cunard style, complete with festive welcomes in every port,” says Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. “In addition to joining Cunard’s exciting heritage of maiden call fanfare, guests travelling on Mediterranean, Baltic and Northern European voyages will be able to enjoy a more in-depth experience in each of these fascinating ports.”
Following the sun, Queen Victoria will sail the Mediterranean for a series of open-ended voyages that afford her passengers an even greater opportunity for in-depth exploration and discovery. Many of the ship’s Mediterranean voyages depart from Barcelona, Rome and Venice – even Athens – and arrive in another of the Med’s iconic ports.
Legends of the Mediterranean - Two 12-day voyages departing Barcelona on August 25 and October 24, with stops in Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Naples/Capri, Valletta, Crete, Izmir, Athens, Sicily and Rome. Voyage fares start from US$2,395.
Classical Mediterranean – Two 12-day voyages departing Venice on August 13 and October 12, with stops in Dubrovnik, Katakolon, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Sicily, Rome, Florence/Pisa, Marseille and Barcelona. Both departures feature an overnight stay in Venice. Voyage fares start from US$2,445.
Ancient Wonders of the Mediterranean - Two 12-day voyages, departing on November 5 and November 17 from Rome and Athens, respectively, with stops in Naples/Capri, Sicily, Valletta, Alexandria (for Cairo/Giza), Port Said, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Dikili, Volos and Athens. Voyage fares start from at US$2,295.
Connoisseur’s Mediterranean - A 12-day voyage, departing Rome on November 29 and ending in Southampton, with stops in Naples/Capri, Sicily, Katakolon, Dubrovnik, Valletta, La Goulette and Malaga. Voyage fares starting at US$2,295.
Greek Isles and Aegean Shores – Two 12-day voyages, departing Rome on September 6 and September 30, with stops in Naples/Capri, Santorini, Izmir, Istanbul (overnight), Samos, Athens, Zakinthos, Dubrovnik and concluding with an overnight in Venice. Voyage fares start from US$2,695.
Crimean Coasts - A 12-day voyage, departing from Venice on September 18 and ending in Rome, with stops in Kusadasi, Istanbul (overnight), Odessa, Yalta, Athens, Sicily and Rome. Voyage fares start from US$2,795.
For those wishing to sail to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands or Western Europe roundtrip from Southampton:
Canary Islands Splendour - A ten-day voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on April 22, with stops in Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lisbon and Vigo. Voyage fares start from US$1,775.
Spring Getaway – A four-day voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on May 2, with stops in Le Havre, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. Voyage fares start from US$995.
Mediterranean Delights - A 14-day voyage departing roundtrip from Southampton on May 6 with stops in Seville, Corsica, Rome, Naples/Capri, Valletta, La Goulette and Gibraltar. Voyage fares start from US$2,975.
Caribbean Holiday - A 22-day voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on December 11 with stops in Ponta Delgada, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, Madeira and Vigo. Voyage fares start from at US$5,695.
Additionally, Queen Victoria offers a Mediterranean voyage departing from Southampton, ending with an overnight in Venice:
Jewels of the Mediterranean – A 12-day voyage, departing Southampton on August 1 and ending with an overnight stay in Venice, with stops in Gibraltar, Cannes, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Sicily, Corfu and Dubrovnik. Voyage fares start from US$2,995.
Throughout her first year, Queen Victoria will chart a far-reaching 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. Likewise, rare overnight stays in Venice, Istanbul and St. Petersburg will afford Queen Victoria‘s passengers the opportunity to explore these captivating cities at a more leisurely pace.
“Covering the northernmost ports, then south to Egypt, east into the Black Sea and west to the Canary Islands, the breadth of her dazzling itinerary really sets her apart as she will sail a significant percentage of the globe in her first year,” Ms Marlow added.
A Return to Russia
Another highlight of Queen Victoria‘s 2008 programme is Cunard’s return to Russia. Three 14-day Russian Rendezvous voyages (departing May 27, June 22 and July 18 roundtrip from Southampton) 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. Voyage fares start from US$3,375.
Voyaging Through Northern Europe
Queen Victoria‘s forays into this enthralling region include 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. Voyage fares for Norwegian Fjords start from US$1,675 and Voyage of the Vikings fares start from US$2,895.
The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offering the very best of Cunard’s heritage and traditions, along with all modern day luxuries, and will also feature many exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-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 Cunarder 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 panelling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style Winter Garden complete with a retractable glass deckhead.
As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria‘s arrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens have been in service together in the company’s 168-year history. She joins RMS Queen Mary 2, and the world’s most famous ship, Queen Elizabeth 2.