The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 166
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 166

Arlington Heights, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Page 166
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6 W The debutante and the dowager QUEEN VICTORIA COURTESY OF CUNARD LINE QUEEN MARY wo Queens trace the history of a storied cruise ne PHOTOS BY KATHY RODEGHIER/ Queen Victoria offers the first fencing classes at sea, above, along with snuffleboard, below right, which has been around since Queen Mary's day. o o <M X O of P c/j The Royal Court Theatre, left, is the only theater on a ship with boxes, including a royal box where Prince Charles sat for opening ceremonies. BY KATHY RODEGHIER Daily Herald Travel Editor krodtghier@dailyherald. com When Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles, officially named Cunard Line's new ship on Dec. 10, she joined a long line of British royals who have smashed champagne bottles on the sides ofQueens. In Camilla's case, the bottle failed to break (much to the amusement of the British press), but a crew member quickly accomplished the task and launched QueenVictoria on her maiden voyage around the world. She's now cruising the South China Sea with a stop today in Hong Kong. I stepped aboard the new ship in Mexico and cruised with her to California where I spent the night on Cunard's first Queen. The venerable Queen Mary, launched in 1934 after a champagne christening by her namesake, the wife of George V retired in 1967 after crossing the Atlantic more than 1,000 times. She was sold to the city of Long Beach where she is permanently docked and operates as a hotel and tourist attraction housing several restaurants and shops. Comparing the new and the old offered some perspective on how times—and Cunard's Queens —have changed. What has not changed is the mantle of history both ships proudly wear over their regalia of British tradition. "Cunard is the oldest cruise line out there," says Palatine resident NanSea Pelletier, who's aboard the QueenVictoria for the world cruise. As host for the Ensemble Travel Group, she's leading its members on the 105-day maiden voyage with stops in 23 countries. The QueenVictoria is "absolutely gorgeous," Pelletier says, ranking her the prettiest of more than 50 different ships she's cruised aboard. "This cruise line has been around for a long time, so they got it right." QueenVictoria "has such elegance, yet it's hot stuffy," says Pelletier, and the service is outstanding. Many of the crew members worked on Cunard's other Queens—the Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 — and connect with past passengers. About See morn photos ;it 70 percent of those on the maiden voyage cruised with Cunard before. "They remember you," says Pelletier. "When I came on board, even though this is a brand new ship, I felt like I was home." Class system The Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary were each built for roughly 2,000 passengers with cabins in three classes. Queen Mary's second-class and third-class staterooms have been turned into display areas and other spaces. The second-class smoking lounge, for example, is now a wedding chapel. But 365 first-class cabins have been converted to hotel rooms with updates such as a satellite TV, air conditioning, mini-fridge, coffeemaker and hair dryer. Queen Victoria offers eight types of staterooms ranging from a 151-square-foot inside cabin to a 2,131-square-foot grand suite. Rather than first- and second-class categories, passengers in the largest staterooms are assigned to either the Queens Grill or Princess Grill with the services of a butler and concierge, and private elevator access to a separate lounge, sundeck, courtyard and dining rooms. Here the crystal is Waterford and the china Wedgwood. The Queen Mary's hotel rooms range from windowless inside cabins to royal suites, including one once occupied by the Duke and Duchess ofWindsor. They brought 80 pieces of luggage aboard "with another 75 pieces in the cargo hold," says Queen Mary tour guide James Sanders. In the Queen Mary's bathrooms, four knobs by the bathtubs could be opened for hot, cold, fresh and saltwater. "Many people in the 1930s considered saltwater baths to be therapeutic," says Sanders. Only the largest staterooms on the Queen Victoria contain bathtubs. Most have the small showers standard on cruise ships today, and vacuum toilets that sometimes took several minutes to flush. While closet space seemed adequate for my needs, some world cruisers complained of too few drawers and hopped off in port to buy plastic bins at Wal-Mart. Cunard is looking into both problems. Spacious balconies in many of Queen Victoria's staterooms make them feel roomier. Here passengers drink their morning coffee or sip an evening cocktail as the ship glides past the Sydney Opera House or along the Amalfi Coast. In Queen Mary's day, the stateroom view was from portholes. Art deco flourished in the 1930s and the Queen Mary embraced it in light fixtures, furniture and art work, such as the 50-foot frieze over what was once the ship's Austin Reed men's shop. When visitors step aboard, however, they often first notice the wood. Fifty-six varieties of wood panel stateroom walls, corridors and public rooms, and trim doorways and windows. Unfortunately, some has been scratched See QUEENS on PAGE 8 Queen Mary's Observation Bar has art deco touches in vogue at the time of her launch. Queen Victoria and Queen Mary GOl If you like ships with a sense of history NO" If you prefer glitzy, fun-in-the-sun ships to elegant ocean liners If you go Getting there: The Queen Mary is docked at 1126 Queen Hwy. in Long Beach, Calif. The nearest airports are Long Beach Airport and Los Angeles International. Transportation to Queen Victoria cruises depends on points of embarkation. Queen Victoria itinerary and rates: At the conclusion of her world cruise this spring, Queen Victoria will set off on several itineraries in the Mediterranean, plus cruises to Scandinavia and Russia. Prices start at $2,295 per person. The 2009 world cruise departs New York on Jan. 10 for 99 days and starts at $20,955 per person for an inside cabin. Queen Mary hotel rates: Prices range from $119 per night for an inside stateroom to $660 for a suite. Queen Mary dining: Sir Winston's and Chelsea are the fanciest restaurants; reservations (526) 435-3511. Sunday brunch is held in the Grand Salon; reservations (562) 499-1606. The Promenade Cafe is casual and the ship also has a deli and ice-cream parlor. . Dress code: On the Queen Victoria, men will need a tux or dark suit for formal nights; women should pack evening dress or other formal attire. Semi-formal evenings call for a jacket and tie; cocktail dress or pant suit. Almost anything goes on elegant casual evenings, except jeans or shorts. Queen Mary has no dress code, but semi-formal wear is requested in Sir Winston's restaurant. —Kathy Rodeghier NEED TO KNOW Queen Victoria's new public rooms, including the Britannia dining room, have art deco elements reminiscent of the golden age of ocean liners. Cunard Line, (800) 728-6273, WWW.; The Queen Mary, (800) 437-2934,

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