Monday, January 14, 2008

Queen Victoria Tour

Yesterday afternoon, I toured the Queen Victoria. The last time I saw her up close was in the Fincantieri shipyard outside Venice, where she was built. She was then around seven weeks short of completion — there in the bones but without her finishes. I was amazed at how beautifully she came together. The public rooms are gracious, warm and elegant. Teresa Anderson, the designer, said that she kept Cunard history in mind, with paintings, furnishings and Art Deco motifs that recall the 1920's and '30's, when trans-Atlantic ships were the last word in glamour. The QV has a 6,000-volume library, a theater with private boxes, a small museum, a Queens Room where afternoon tea is served, accompanied by a harpist and other musicians. Evening dress on the ship is usually formal or semi-formal. Queens Grill and Princess Grill passengers have their own dining room and lounge, "just like on airplanes," explained Philip Naylor, a Cunard official, "where there are first class and business class passengers." And the others. I will be sailing on the Queen Victoria later this month among the "others" and will let you know what that's like.


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