In a word, life on board Queen Victoria is great.
Yes, we do not have our suitcases. As we had predicted, when we were sailing down the Solent, they were standing alone on the quayside at Ocean Terminal. I imagined that they were feeling much the same way as Hyacinth Bouquet felt as she saw the QE2 disappearing in the distance.
Well, there is not much to be done about it. The customer service manager has offered to lend us clothes (no thank you), and give us toothpaste if we need it (we don’t). We get free laundry (we will take that) and because I didn’t listen to all of those reminders not to leave your prescription medication in you suitcases, I got a free visit to the Medical Center where I was able to replenish my supply. So all is good.
Our suitcases will join the ship on Friday the 10th in Barcelona, so Brian has to do without his duct tape, zip ties, wall magnets, and other cruise essentials until then. We did manage to hang up our bunting using paper clips, but it is attached to the curtains so you can’t draw them. Brian was not happy with the sun streaming into the stateroom early this morning waking him up. Once the wall magnets arrive we will transfer the bunting to the wall so all will be well again I hope. Luckily we had our small suitcase from the Hebridean cruise which was sent to meet us in London, and that did make the journey in time. So we have winter clothes. We also have a depleted supply of basic toiletries in our carry-on bags, which we used during our time traveling around the UK. However, it would be nice to have summer clothes, sandals, and a swimsuit, not to mention my red dress and flapper dress (and synthetic feather boa which does not shed) for the Gala nights, and all those things Brian takes along,
What are the COVID precautions like? Well of course we are all vaccinated, and we had to have a negative antigen test within one day of boarding. We had bought the eMed proctored test kits with us from the US, so on the day before departure in the privacy of our flat we were renting, we embarked on doing the tests. Brian’s test went well, but somehow I did something wrong with the test strip, and I was told that my test was invalid. So we had to head out and find somewhere for me to be tested. Luckily we were off to spend the day with a friend in Bournemouth and we found a testing center near to Waterloo station. Phew! I wish I didn’t keep on messing things up. On board Queen Victoria the staff are all wearing masks, but the guests are not, except for a couple of people. The only place where masks are required are in the Medical Center and for the shows in the Royal Court Theatre. It’s help yourself time again in the Lido, and the guest choir is already rehearsing. The Yacht Club and the launderettes are open, and dancing, fencing, and quizzes are all a go. The lifts are running at full capacity. It’s almost as though COVID is no longer among us despite the fact that Queen Elizabeth had quite a few cases on board a couple of weeks ago. The main things missing are the welcome on board cocktail party, the World Club party, and the senior officers’ party. I do miss those as they were a great place to meet fellow travelers.
Also missing is the captain, Evans Hoyt. He must be somewhere around as we haven’t crashed in to one of the many ships that are surrounding us on our southward journey, but apart from one message I haven’t heard him talk. And no one has ever seen him. I miss our old familiar captains, with their wit and sense of engagement. I am sure he is keeping away from us from a COVID point of view, but I would love him to do the noon announcement instead of the officer of the watch. Where are you Captain Hashmi when we need you? Seriously, I am sure he is a lovely man, and look forward to getting to know him in the future. He is a very well respected and competent man from what I have heard. It’s just I don’t do well with change.
There is no more specialty dining in the Lido restaurant in the evenings. From June 12th the Verandah will serve “British Cuisine” in the evenings, and that will become the specialty dining. The menu did look interesting, but quite honestly not that different to what you can get in the main dining room. I will miss Coriander!
Apparently there are only 1000 passengers on board due to a lack of staff. The ship does not feel at all deserted, and there are people in the bars and enjoying themselves around the ship. The ship really has a great vibe to it, but then Queen Victoria always does somehow. The staff are as efficient and friendly as ever, and if they are understaffed, it does not seem that way at all. They find the time to provide an excellent level of service, and it was great to see familiar faces again. I am so happy to be back.
Apart from the new internet system making people crazy (they so need to bring Adam from the internet desk back), everyone seems to be having a good time. Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship, and we are heading to the warmth of the Mediterranean. What is there not to be very happy about?
Sounds wonderful – Queen Victoria has always been our favourite ship – she seems to have more of a soul than many others we have sailed on – even dare I say it QM2!
Trust your luggage will arrive safely.
Yes, there is definitely something very special about Queen Victoria. Fingers crossed for our suitcases!
Captain Evans Hoyt spoke I’m the Royal Court Theatre on Monday Evening and introduced his Senior Officers to the passengers who attended the show.
That’s good news. Unfortunately we had to miss the show, so I am glad that he was there 🙂
I see that Captain Hoyt hails from Norfolk, Virginia and has a vast background in the cruise industry, including testifying before the US Congress on matters of safety. I’m sure you are in excellent hands and that you will soon meet the fine captain.
As always, thank you for your very informative reply. He does seem to be gradually more visible, and I look forward to eventually meeting him in person 🙂
Isn’t it interesting how we have our favorites–and they differ. My fav is QE. I shall miss seeing Capt Thorhauge (sp?) as she is to be Captain of Queen Anne. I’ve always loved the vibe on QE–it has always seemed a ‘happy ship’ to me but I’ve had grand times on all three. Love your spirit Safarigal.
I tend to be fickle – I always think that the ship I am on is my favorite! I love QE as well. They each have a very different “feel”., and like you we have had very happy times on all 3!
Hi there from a fellow cruise blogger. Followed you from the link at Cruise Critic. The quote I made was from my fellow Admin on the facebook group ‘We Are Cunard fanzine’, one of many Cunard sites I Admin. I don’t know if you are interested but should you join any of them then you could freely link your reviews. Here’s trusting your luggage arrives safely tomorrow. Richard (Solent)
Thank you. I very much enjoy your blog and am a Facebook group member :). Your fellow Admin will be meeting us for drinks on Saturday night, he has a very busy social schedule you know! I hope I will have something to wear by then.If not it could be interesting…..