The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 167
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 167

Arlington Heights, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Page 167
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8 z 1 t/5 a § d Queens: Cotttimiedfrom Rige 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 earned up to 15,000 troops at a time and _ ttansportedmoxe-than-JiOOQ You can order a glass of bubbly KATHY RODEGHIER/ 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 Jubilee Week," depicting the celebration of George V's 25th year on the British 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 then the parents, in turn, would go and play." British traditions The Queen Victoria also has facilities for children—a nursery 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 ._jnany.chilcum The age of passengers on a as she crisscrossed the world cruise also tends to be Atlantic, and afternoon tea in older than on shorter cruises. the British tradition was a The oldest passenger aboard must, the maiden voyage is 103, On the Queen Victoria, according to Queen Victoria's white-gloved waiters carry social hostess Anja Eyvinds- trays of scones, clotted cream, son, who guessed the average finger sandwiches and petit age at 60 to 65. My guess fours for the daily tea service, would be somewhere in the For those whose tastes lean 70s toward the bubbly, Queen Vic- Dances are held in the toria has the Veuve Clicquot Queen's Room Ballroom, a Champagne Bar. Those crav- two-deck room inspired by ing a cognac and a good cigar Queen Victoria's summer- head for Churchills Cigar house on the Isle ofWight. Lounge. Whiskey tastings are "That's a tradition with held in the Chart Room, Cunard, good music and where ladies take advantage dancing," says Eyvindsson. of good light during the day "We have gentlemen hosts for for needlecraft. The Golden the ladies who are traveling Lion pub serves Guinness and independently," she says. Ten other brews along with pub serve as dance partners on the fare, such as fish and chips world cruise. "They are very and shepherd's pie. much appreciated and busy Upscale dining comes with every night." an extra charge ($20 lunch, The Queen Mary also drew $30 dinner) at theTodd Eng- passengers to the dance floor lish 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- ange 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 WISCONSIN HOO 432 K747 /(Me • l^Vt^* ^--«^ •»*• • • jpgi •A 12,500-year-old mammotn, a 65-million-year-old ^ T-rez. a World War II exkibit, and coming in June .. tbe Civil Vifc Tl» KenoAa Arc. DIGS Hiitoryl •"••^^^^^^^•••"••••'•—•—•••••••••i jenoana Area (800)664-7309

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