The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 63
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 63

Arlington Heights, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Page 63
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8 Queens: Continued from Page 7 and chipped over the years. To appreciate this aging monarch, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, visitors must turn a blind eye to her wrinkles and age spots. The Queen Victoria, clean and new from its Italian shipyard, shows off the elegant decor of a classic ocean liner, with art deco and nouveau touches. Some of her wood, though, isn't real. Simulated materials make for easier maintenance and fire safety. Royal innovations Queen Victoria boasts some "firsts" at sea: the first two- story library, connected by spiral staircase and holding 6,000 books; a Winter Garden with retractable roof; and complimentary classes in fencing, a favorite pastime of Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert. The ship's Royal Court Theatre, modeled after a London West End theater, is the only theater at sea with private boxes. For daytime lectures or films, box seating is first come, first served. For evening theatrical productions, passengers can reserve one of the 16 boxes for $25 per person. After champagne and hors d'oeuvres in a private lounge, a red- uniformed steward leads them to their box where comfortable armchairs, more champagne and chocolates await. Should they need anything more, a tug on a tasseled rope summons a steward. Queen Victoria also has the first museum at sea, Cunar- dia. Current exhibits tell the history of Cunard's Queens, including the first Queen Elizabeth, launched in 1938 and destroyed by fire, and the QE2, now on her final voyage. She will be removed from service this fall and has been sold to investors in Dubai, where she will be operated as a hotel and attraction. Another Queen now under construction will be launched in 2010. Several exhibits in the Cunardia museum detail the Queen Elizabeth's and Queen Mary's service in World War II as troop carriers. Winston Churchill, whose cigar is on display, credited them with shortening the war by at least a year. The Queen Mary carried up to 15,000 troops at a time and transported more than 12,000 KATHY RODEGHIER/ You can order a glass of bubbly in Queen Victoria's elegant champagne bar. ** GI brides and children. Churchill took her to war conferences on three occasions and a suite and a restaurant named for him can be found on the ship today. Exhibits on the Queen Mary devoted to her war service are seen on a self-guided tour, along with a look at the bridge, officers' quarters and wireless room. Guided tours also can be booked, including one devoted to the ghosts supposedly roaming on board. Several public spaces serve as meeting rooms, such as the two-story Queen's Salon where scenes from "The Poseidon Adventure" were filmed. Two films were shot in the Queen Mary's elegant art deco Observation Bar: "Being John Malkovich" and "What Women Want." This semi-circular bar at the prow of the ship is crowned by an oversized mural, "The Royal JublieeWeek," depicting the celebration of George V's 25th year on the Bridsh throne. Just outside the bar is a room that once served as the first-class passengers' children's playroom. Notice the proximity to the bar, says tour guide Sanders. "The parents would come, drop the kids off to play and men the parents, in turn, would go and play." British traditions The Queen Victoria also has facilities for children — a nurseiy staffed by a British nanny and an area for teens — but neither seemed much in use when I was aboard. World cruises don't draw many children. The age of passengers on a world cruise also tends to be older than on shorter cruises. The oldest passenger aboard the maiden voyage is 103, according to Queen Victoria's social hostess Anja Eyvindsson, who guessed the average age at 60 to 65. My guess would be somewhere in the 70s. Dances are held in the Queen's Room Ballroom, a two-deck room inspired by Queen Victoria's summerhouse on the Isle ofWight. "That's a tradition with Cunard, good music and dancing," says Eyvindsson. "We have gentlemen hosts for the ladies who are traveling independently," she says. Ten serve as dance partners on the World cruise. "They are very much appreciated and busy eveiy night." The Queen Mary also drew passengers to the dance floor as she crisscrossed the Atlantic, and afternoon tea in the British tradition was a must. On the Queen Victoria, white-gloved waiters carry trays of scones, clotted cream, finger sandwiches and petit > fours for the daily tea service. For those whose tastes lean toward the bubbly, Queen Victoria has the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar. Those craving a cognac and a good cigar head for Churchill's Cigar Lounge. Whiskey tastings are held in the Chart Room, where ladies take advantage of good light during the day for needlecraft. The Golden Lion pub serves Guinness and other brews along with pub fare, such as fish and chips and shepherd's pie. Upscale dining comes with an extra charge ($20 lunch, $30 dinner) at the Todd English Restaurant where the celebrity chef's nouveau Mediterranean cuisine is featured. All meals come from Queen Victoria's galley, where 153 chefs labor under the tutelage of French-born chef Jean- Marie Zimmermann. Meals are "still very much from the days of Escoffier, the very traditional cuisine," says Zimmerman, who creates innovative dishes along with Cunard signature entrees, such as lobster thermidor, duck a 1'or- artge and Chateaubriand, that date back to the days of Queen Mary. On a world cruise, care is taken to offer plenty of variety and to keep portions under control. Passengers "are here for a long time. It isn't like a restaurant where you go once in a while," says Zimmerman. "Portions are not too large, where people are afraid to go to the dining room." If they want more food, they can always request a second portion, or go to the 24-hour Lido dining room, which has a buffet, deli and pizzeria. The main dining room, Britannia, serves nearly 900 passengers in each of two seat- ings for dinner. Its art deco design was inspired by Britain's luxury Golden Arrow train. On formal nights, Capt. Paul Wright dines with guests at the captain's table below a 10-foot illuminated world globe in the two-deck atrium. A full agenda During the day, Britannia becomes the venue for watercolor classes, one of a long list of activities available to passengers. A Card Room is set aside for bridge players, with lessons in the morning. Passengers can take computer classes, dance See QUEENS on PAGE 9 TWWISCONSIN 800 432 8747 a World War II exhib, an comn tke Civil War. Tne Kenoina Area DIG FREE VUito™ Guide www.KenoikftCVB.oom (800)654-7309 nna rea

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