Date of cruise : December 2018
Ports visited : Madeira, the Canary Islands, and Cadiz
Our friends booked the 2018 Christmas & New Year cruise on Cunard’s Queen Victoria from Southampton. Unfortunately, we couldn’t join them for the whole event, but after spending our Christmas day with family in Spain we flew out to the island of Fuerteventura to join them on the ship… Well we couldn’t miss out on the fabulous New Year’s Eve celebration after all!!
It was wonderful embarking the vessel after our short trip from the airport, with the party atmosphere still very apparent, and of course the excitement and anticipation of the New Year’s Eve party ahead. After settling into our balcony cabins, which were well appointed and very comfortable, we set out to explore the ship.
At around 90,000 tonnes, the Queen Victoria is a relatively large cruise liner, and can accommodate 2081 passengers. Her public areas are very grand, and in keeping with the Cunard theme of ‘grandeur of a bygone era’, she is luxurious. The dress code during the evenings is very smart, and gents would feel uncomfortable not wearing a jacket to dinner each evening. On the formal nights everyone goes to town with dinner jackets or dark suits for the men, and cocktail or long dresses for the ladies. There is a class system on the ship, and depending on what you spend you go higher up the ladder! We have been lucky in the past to sail in the top Queens Grill category suites, with separate sunbathing area and dining room, but to be honest the choice, service, and culinary creations that were presented in the ‘lead in’ Britannia category was fantastic on this cruise, we had no complaints at all, and thoroughly enjoyed all of our evenings.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t at its best during the cruise, but we still made the most of the ports of call we visited. In Santa Cruz de La Palma we took a tour into the mountains of the island, and were rewarded with spectacular views down to the Atlantic below. We also visited a local church showcasing a beautiful nativity scene. In Cadiz we wandered the old streets, and sat in a pavement café where we were serenaded by the flamenco dancers in the square by the cathedral, a real taste of Spain. Cadiz is an absolutely beautiful city, with some spectacular architecture, and indeed the cathedral itself is stunning.
New Year’s Eve we were moored off the coast of Madeira, a beautiful island, affectionately known as ‘the garden Island’. Once again though weather was against us, and the Captain decided to cancel all tender operations, so nobody could venture ashore! So near yet so far… Luckily for us we have visited the island before, so we just milled around on-board and rested up ready for the festivities.
New Year’s Eve in Madeira is World famous, and we have been lucky in the past to have celebrated the occasion there. The fireworks display is incredible, and as the clock strikes midnight the sky literally lights up with a dazzling display of colour. You find yourself spinning around on the spot trying to take it all in! New Year’s Eve 2018 was such an event, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, even through the rain showers! The gala meal in the dining room prior to the fireworks event was sensational, and there was dancing and music all over the ship during the evening. New Year’s Eve can be such an anti-climax, but not this year!
Summing up, Christmas & New Year is a wonderful occasion on Cunard, and they really go to town. Wonderful decorations, traditional British values, delicious food, and a fantastic Christmas atmosphere all combine to make it extra special and guess what, no cooking, washing up and Turkey leftovers in sight!!