Cunard Line Cruises Travel Guide

Enrichment Is Truly Impressive: The lecturers include big names, with politicians, noteworthy academics, and celebrities, especially on crossings.

Proper High Tea: The afternoon tea is a highlight, with warm scones served with clotted cream and jam as well as finger sandwiches and pastries, delivered by white-gloved waiters. (Oh, and there's an orchestra too. )

Gorgeous Libraries: The ships' wood-paneled libraries are the best at sea.

Classic Grandeur: From the original Queen Mary to the QE2 and now Queen Mary 2, Cunard ships are synonymous with glamour and the transatlantic crossing.

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Kennels at Sea: Queen Mary 2 boasts the only kennel for dogs and cats at sea, used only on transatlantic crossings.

Cons.

The Class System Can Rankle: While life is swank if you're sailing in The Grills aboard one of Cunard's ships, the regular Britannia class experience is more mainstream than luxury. But hey it's still plenty special.

Overview.

Formed in 1840 by Sir Samuel Cunard, the line provided the first regular steamship service between Europe and North America, and was one of the dominant players during the great years of steamship travel, which lasted roughly from 1905 to the mid-1960s. In 1969, long after it was clear that jet travel had replaced the liners, the company made what some considered a foolhardy move, launching Queen Elizabeth 2 and setting her on a mixed schedule, half-crossing, half-cruising. Through sheer persistence, the ship proved the critics wrong, and thrived throughout 40 years of Cunard service, even if the company endured some rough times.

In 1998, the line was purchased by Carnival Corporation, which injected a much-needed cash-infusion into the venerable company. Plans were immediately drawn up for a successor to Queen Elizabeth 2. Known initially as Project Queen Mary, the ship that would become the iconic Queen Mary 2 the largest purpose-built ocean liner of her kind would make her debut in early 2004. As Carnival's Micky Arison said at the time, We bought Cunard to create Queen Mary 2 not the other way around.

QM2, as she is affectionately known, also pays homage to all that went before, designed with oversize grandeur and old-world formality, even Titanic-style elitism: Some restaurants and outdoor decks are set aside specifically for suite guests only, if you please. Same story for the Queen Victoria, which is essentially a sister ship to Queen Elizabeth both are in the 90, 000-ton-plus category, carrying just over 2,000 passengers. And, unlike QM2, they can transit the Panama Canal. In the summer of 2016, QM2 emerged from a massive refurbishment that added new staterooms, additional dog kennels, and revitalized public spaces and dining venues.

EXPERIENCE

This is about as traditional as cruising gets these days, with a class system that determines which dining room you eat in based on your cabin category and a stricter dress code system than you find elsewhere (there are more formal nights on these cruises than on other lines). In addition, the British influence extends to the pub (which serves pints and fish and chips and has insanely popular pub quizzes on sea days); and the nursery, where proper British nannies watch babies and toddlers in the evenings.

ROUTES

The line is best known for offering the only regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings, which sail from New York (Brooklyn) to Southampton, England (an hour and a half by train from London). Select crossings also continue on to Hamburg, Germany. In addition, Cunard offers plenty of more traditional cruises, including voyages to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Asia, Northern Europe, and the Mediterranean.

PASSENGERS

North American cruises tend to get more North Americans and European sailings tend toward more Brits and Europeans, while crossings are often an intoxicating mix of nationalities.

DINING

Cunard is the last bastion of the old steamship tradition of segregating passengers according to category of accommodations. This means that passengers are assigned to one of the three reserved-seating restaurants according to the level of cabin accommodations they've booked: Suite-and-above passengers dine in the Queen's Grill; passengers in the next levels dine in the Princess Grill; and everyone else dines in the Britannia Restaurant decor-wise, the most beautiful of the three and a fitting heir to the grand restaurants of the past. Of course, it's also the largest and the busiest dining venue on board. Guests in the two Grills enjoy dining in much cozier surroundings, always single seating at an assigned table, while the Britannia has early and late seatings for dinner and open seating for breakfast and lunch.

If you like the idea of dining in a smaller restaurant but can't bring yourself to splurge for the top-end suites, booking a Britannia Club stateroom is the way to go. Guests in this category dine in a tucked-away corner of the Britannia Restaurant, with seating for just 100 or so. Thanks to the smaller size of the dining room, service here tends to be less rushed than in the pretty, but busy, Britannia Restaurant. Guests have assigned tables, but are invited to come into the dining room at any time during opening hours.

On our recent Cunard cruises, food and service were top drawer, even in good old Britannia Class, which offers the same level of food you'd get in the main dining rooms of the Celebrity ships (see p. 132 ). Service in The Grills kicks things up into luxury cruise territory.

Overall, the ships' cuisine sticks close to tradition, with entrees that might include pheasant with southern haggis and port-wine sauce, roasted prime rib, grilled lobster with garden pea risotto, and scallion wild-rice crepes with mushroom filling and red-pepper sauce. The Grill restaurants also allow the option of requesting whatever dish comes into your head if they have the ingredients aboard, someone in the galley will whip it up for you (caviar is available on request). Otherwise, it's the intimacy and cachet of the Grill restaurants that set them apart more than the food does, as many of the same dishes are served in the Britannia. At all three restaurants, special diets can be.

Accommodated, and vegetarian dishes and health-conscious Canyon Ranch SpaClub dishes are available as a matter of course.

Specialty During her 2016 refit, QM2 ‘s Todd English restaurant was removed, replaced instead by The Veranda, an elegant dining spot that echoes the original Queen Mary ‘s Verandah Grill, one of that ship's most legendary spaces. This remastered space features regional French cuisine with menus that change seasonally, and is still located on Deck 8 overlooking the stern. QV and QE also have The Veranda.

Casual Almost a third of QM2's Deck 7 is given over to the massive King's Court, a large buffet restaurant that stretches out for nearly half a deck along both sides of the ship. The casual restaurant on QV is fittingly smaller and has a more typical location, up on Deck 11. Though its food items are not as extensive as QM2's, the QV's buffet venue is far more expansive than the industry's usual lido cafe.

Snacks & extras On both ships, the Golden Lion Pub serves English pub grub, while w-a-a-a-ay up on QM2 ‘s Deck 12, you can get standard burgers and hot dogs at the outdoor Boardwalk Cafe, weather permitting. Real afternoon tea service, usually accompanied by a string quartet, is served in the Queen's Room (a posh space that hearkens back to the dramatic ballrooms of yesteryear, with a high arched ceiling and crystal chandeliers). The selection of more than 20 teas includes Darjeeling, jasmine, and Japanese green tea. Room service is available 24 hours a day.

ACTIVITIES

While many people like to spend sea days the traditional way, on deck with a big book, a wool blanket, and a steaming mug of bouillon, Queen Mary 2 also has an unforgettable planetarium. There are also visiting lecturers and a 3D movie theater, and you can take drama classes through the line's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) partnership.

Central to the onboard experience is Cunard Insights, the line's lecture program: Superaccomplished authorities present talks on literature, political history, marine science, ocean-liner history, music and pop culture, modern art, Shakespeare on film, architectural history, cooking, computer applications, languages, and many other topics. On crossings, there are so many worthwhile lectures that you could find yourself sitting in the theater all morning long. Cunard has even managed to attract a handful of stars, with Uma Thurman, Rod Stewart, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Dreyfuss, John Cleese, and others having sailed, and some lectured, in the last few years. Many of these Cunard Insights presenters even the ones that aren't famous fill the theatres on board to capacity. On one of our last crossings, a former British Airways Concorde pilot packed the theatre for three straight days.

Particularly aboard QM2, Cunard offers special musical guests from time to time. These have included James Taylor, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Julliard Academy of Music, and noted blues performers as part of the spectacular BlueNote Jazz at Sea crossings. Don't let anyone tell you nightlife aboard Cunard ships is dull: We've personally sat in the Chart Room well past two in the morning on our Julliard crossing, listening to performers who went overtime and played to the still-packed room.

QM2 passengers who prefer book learning can take advantage of the largest and by far the most impressive library at sea: a huge, beautifully designed space that actually looks like a library, unlike.

The typical rooms-with-a-few-bookshelves on most megaships. The library on QV is smaller, but still carries an impressive 6,000 books and is staffed by two librarians. Next door on QM2, a bookshop sells volumes on passenger-ship history, as well as Cunard memorabilia. Other shops aboard the ships sell everything from high-end Hermes to low-end souvenirs and jewelry, some of it sold in a rather undignified way from long tables set up in the public corridors. Continuing the marine history topic, Cunard's ships offer an onboard museum detailing Cunard's 170-year-history. It's called Maritime Quest on the QM2 and it is a history trail with a timeline set up in various places throughout the ship that highlights important moments in the story of Cunard through art and oversized archival photos; on QV and QE, it's called Cunardia, and it's more like a mini-museum exhibiting Cunard artifacts.

CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS

A Cunard cruise is more than high tea and stiff upper lips. Finger paints and cartoons are just as much a part of the ship's activities as ballroom dancing and quoits. Though you might not expect it from a grand liner that (in the popular imagination) is filled with seniors, QM2 especially has great digs for kids (the QV has a decent kids' program, though not quite as impressive as the QM2's). Called the Zone on both ships, it's open to kids ages 1 and up an extraordinarily young minimum age shared only by Disney's ships. (Most ships with kids' programming welcome kids ages 3 and up, a few ages 2 and up. ) The ages 1-to-6 set occupies half of a cheery and roomy area with lots of toys, arts and crafts, a play gym and ball pit, and big-screen TVs (and the staff do change diapers). On the QM2, there's also a separate nursery with 10 crib/toddler-bed combos for napping tots. Bring a stroller if your kids are young: The QM2 is really long, so getting from one end of a deck to the other is a hike.

Both ships also have an outdoor play area just outside the playroom, along with a wading pool and a regular pool. The other half of the play area is reserved for kids ages 7 to 17, with the ages 7-to-12 crowd usually occupying a play area with beanbag chairs, lots of board games, TVs, and a number of Xbox video-game systems. Activities for teens including ship tours, movies and production shows in the theaters, and pizza parties are usually held elsewhere.

The kids' program is staffed by certified British nannies, plus a handful of other qualified activity counselors. The best part? Aside from 2 hours at lunchtime and an hour or two in the afternoon, the playrooms provide complimentary supervised activities and care from 9am to midnight, so you have ample time to enjoy adult company and know that your offspring are being well cared for (on other lines, you must generally pay an hourly fee after 10pm).

Though the ships' kids' program is topnotch, there are rarely more than 250 kids aboard any given sailing and usually fewer (compared to the 800-1, 200 kids and teens typically aboard similar-size ships). This is a plus: Fewer kids means more attention and space for the ones who are there. Keep in mind, though, if a sailing is especially full, the counselors reserve the right to limit participation and will ask parents to choose either the morning or the afternoon session; everyone can be accommodated during evenings.

ENTERTAINMENT

Entertainment runs the gamut from plays featuring graduates of Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) to pretty run-of-the-mill song-and-dance revues. The former perform generally from April to November as part of a partnership between Cunard and the school, with RADA graduates and students also giving a variety of readings and workshops, including acting classes. Besides.

Theater, a wide variety of music is heard throughout the ships' many lounges, from string quartets and harpists to jazz groups and high-toned dance music in the gorgeous Queen's Ballroom (with gentlemen hosts on hand to partner with single ladies). Both ships have a disco and a casino, which are more Monte Carlo than Vegas, with refined art and furnishings rather than the usual clangor of an arcade. Aboard the QV, there's an unusual show lounge arrangement where the best box seats can be reserved in advance for special performances and are first-come, first-seated for other shows. Whereas most ships have one theater, QM2 ‘s lecture program is so busy that there are two. As the secondary theater, Illuminations is smaller than the Royal Court Theatre, but is probably the most used room on the ship. It serves triple duty as a lecture hall, a movie theater, and also the world's only oceangoing planetarium that shows 3-D films, some of them created in conjunction with noted institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

SERVICE

The service tends toward the formal, especially in some key areas the white-glove afternoon tea, the nanny service, and in the top-of-the-line Grills Suites. That being said, service throughout is friendly and punctual, delivered by a staff of British and International crew members.

Queen Mary 2 This ship is literally in a class by herself: a modern reinterpretation of the golden age luxury liner, built to sail hard seas. A massive refit in 2016 introduced new lounges and features that have left the flagship of the Cunard fleet looking better than ever.

THE SHIP IN GENERAL

Before her launch, some industry types referred to the Queen Mary 2 as Micky's White Elephant Micky being Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation. The nickname referred to the fact that QM2 ‘s design and construction sucked up about $1 billion and five years of labor, a record expenditure to match her record-breaking size.

But that was before her launch, before the Queen of England did the honors at the naming ceremony, and before the fireworks and traffic jams that attended her first arrival into every port, and in some cases still continue to this day. In short, QM2 the longest passenger ship at sea is remarkable: classic yet contemporary, refined yet fun, huge yet homey, and grand, grand, grand.

Inside, QM2 is laid out in such a way that, even after a weeklong crossing, you might still find new places to explore on board. And it's very unlikely you'll feel hemmed in or claustrophobic. Our.

Favorite rooms? The Queen's Room ballroom on formal night; the handsome, forward-facing Commodore Club; and the forward observation area on Deck 11, just below the bridge probably the best spot aboard when sailing out of New York harbor. Artwork throughout recalls the golden age of ocean liners, but the most evocative feature might be a sound: Way up on QM2 ‘s funnel, on the starboard side, is one of the original Tyfon steam whistles from the first Queen Mary the same whistle that sounded when that vessel made her first crossing in 1936.

To be honest, QM2 is really two ships in one. The top categories, the Grill classes, are very luxurious and come with their own dining rooms, lounge, and private deck space. Guests in these categories also enjoy all of the rest of the ship along with everyone else booked in non-Grill-class accommodations. For the purposes of this guide, we're rating those non-Grill categories (the largest part of the ship). It's safe to assume that ratings for the accommodations and dining for the Grill classes would be higher.

Cabins All of QM2 ‘s cabins, from the smallest inside ones to the largest outside, are decorated in a sleek, contemporary style, with light-blond woods, simple lines, and a clean, uncluttered look. They range decently sized inside cabins to outside cabins with portholes to the truly over-the-top Grand Duplex Suites. Each of the latter has views of the stern through two-story walls of glass. Junior Suites (aka Princess Grill suites) are almost twice as big as a standard and have huge bathrooms, walk-in closets, and oversize balconies.

The vast majority of cabins are outside ones with balconies, but to ensure they stay dry in even the roughest seas, many of them are recessed into the hull with steel bulkheads that block ocean views when you're seated. All Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites feature Frette linens, dedicated concierge service, a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine on embarkation, and access to the Queens Grill Lounge and a large private deck overlooking the stern (which is actually also open to Princess Grill guests as well, despite the signage). Queens Grill Suites also get stocked bars, daily canapes, and personalized stationery.

Britannia Club cabins bridge the gap between standard Britannia class staterooms (the vast majority of insides, oceanviews, and balcony staterooms are categorized this way) and Grill suites. These all-balcony rooms have been given a brand-new look, and 30 new Britannia Club balcony staterooms were added to Deck 13 during QM2 ‘s 2016 dry dock.

There are 30 wheelchair-accessible cabins in various cabin grades, and 15 newly added oceanview staterooms are designed specifically for solo travelers.

Public areas & activities Because QM2 was designed for comfortable sailing in rough seas, most of the public areas are clustered unusually low, down on Decks 2 and 3. At midships, the relatively restrained Grand Lobby atrium opens onto two central promenades, decorated with huge Art Deco wall panels. Some are stunning and recall decorated glass from the opulent liner Normandie, while others are chintzy (they look like they're plastic) and miss the mark. Deck 2's promenade leads down to the elegant Empire Casino and the Golden Lion pub. Up one deck, the very attractive Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar (serving a variety of champagnes, as well as caviar and foie gras) is decorated with slightly abstracted images of mid-20th-century movie stars. It leads into one of the ship's loveliest areas: the Chart Room, a high-ceilinged space with green-glass deco maps. Across, on the ship's port side, Sir Samuel's Wine Bar serves coffee, sandwiches, and cakes in the morning and afternoon, wine and lite bites come evening.

Forward, the Royal Court Theatre is a two-deck grand showroom and the principal theatrical venue on board, seconded by the striking Illuminations planetarium farther forward (see Entertainment,  above). In the stern on Deck 3, the Queen's Room ballroom, perfectly captures the essence of Cunard style, running the full width of the ship and boasting a high arched ceiling, the largest ballroom dance floor at sea, crystal chandeliers, and a truly royal quality. The G32 nightclub, almost hidden behind silver doors at the head of the Queen's Room, is decorated in industrial style to match its name G32 was the number by which QM2 ‘s hull was known at the shipyard.

REFITTING A queen In 2016, the ship underwent its most extensive refit ever. New staterooms were designed for solo travelers, carved out of the space formerly occupied by the Photo Gallery and part of the Casino. The King's Court Buffet on Deck 7 always marred by bad passenger flow was gutted and rebuilt from the ground up, with a better layout and more contemporary decor. The two glass elevators that once graced the Atrium were removed during this refit, and no one seems to miss them: They've opened up the Atrium in ways that just weren't possible before.

Also on Deck 7, the Wintergarden a pretty but underused space has been completely redone. Renamed the Carinthia Lounge, it features a dedicated patisserie and an afternoon tea service, with the option of a special Veuve Cliquot Champagne Afternoon Tea experience. In the evenings, premium wines and small bites are offered here. We hope those Canyon Ranch Spa demos don't intrude on this space like they did in the former Wintergarden.

Also getting the axe is the Todd English restaurant, which clears out to make way for The Veranda, a French-inspired eatery featured on board both QE and QV.

In addition to solo staterooms, Cunard has also increased the number of Britannia Club staterooms on board, perhaps not the greatest news, as that means more crowds. To be fair, the line has also refreshed all accommodations with new color palettes, linens and other soft furnishings. ? The line also added 10 new kennels, bringing the total number on board to 22. Both dogs and cats can be booked on transatlantic crossings, and are taken care of by a dedicated Kennel Master. A replica fire hydrant was installed on the pet's special Deck 12 area, to make them feel, er, more at home. ?

Other notable spaces include the Winter Garden, designed to feel like an outdoor garden, and the Commodore Club bar/observation lounge, with its white leather chairs, dramatic bow views, and attached Churchill's cigar room. There's also a remarkable library and bookshop (see Activities,  above).

The Canyon Ranch Spa is a two-story complex occupying some 20, 000 square feet. At the center of its treatment rooms is a coed 15×30-foot aqua-therapy pool whose relaxation gizmos include airbed recliner lounges, neck fountains, a deluge waterfall, an air tub, and body-massage jet benches. There's a hot tub adjacent, and nearby is a thermal suite composed of aromatic steam rooms and an herbal sauna. A salon occupies the top level of the complex, affording tremendous views from its lofty perch. The gym, one deck down, is drab and chopped up, but is adequately equipped with free weights and the latest climbers, steppers, runners, and rowers. Why not jog the wide outdoor Promenade Deck (Deck 7) instead? Three times around equals 1 mile.

To work on your swing, there's a pair of golf simulators adjacent to the covered pool solarium You'll find a splash pool and hot tubs way up on Deck 13, and, a wading pool, family pool, and play fountain outside of the children's playrooms. Rounding out the sports options are Ping-Pong, an outdoor golf driving net, basketball, quoits, a paddle-tennis court, and, of course, shuffleboard this is a transatlantic liner, after all.

Dining The Britannia Restaurant is a large dramatic space intended to recall the old Queen Mary ‘s.

Magnificent first-class restaurant with a vaulted, Tiffany-style glass ceiling, a curved balcony, candlelit tables, soaring pillars, and the largest art tapestry at sea, depicting a liner against the New York skyline. The new Britannia Club area has literally been carved out of a corner of the restaurant, providing an exclusive, old-world dining experience, just as the suite guests have in the Grill restaurants. All guests can dine in the Veranda Restaurant all the way aft on Deck 8. Formerly the space occupied by the Todd English specialty restaurant, the Veranda was added in 2016 and offers French regional specialties in a completely redesigned space.

The King's Court on Deck 7 is the ship's casual buffet option, and it's broken up into separate (complimentary) specialty restaurants each evening. It was substantially refitted in 2016 to address flow problems resulting from its disjointed layout.

See Dining,  p. 236, for more details on the ship's dining experience. Queen Elizabeth – Queen Victoria The Queen Victoria (QV) and Queen Elizabeth (QE ) are more than smaller versions of the Queen Mary 2. These classy ships have their own style, personality, and decor while maintaining much of the line's heritage.

Both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have the line's classic black-and-red hull on the outside and grand public spaces inside. At 90, 049 gross tons, QV was the second-largest Cunard ship ever until the newer and slightly bigger QE came along, that is. Since they were built to cater to both sides of the Atlantic, there's lots of British flavor on board from the pub to the lovely Chart Room (though the official currency on board is still the U.S. dollar).

Sleek, smooth-running modern ships that haven't lost sight of their line's history, QV and QE have many of Cunard's signature elements along with some fresh additions. Queens Grill and Princess Grill diners have an exclusive centralized lounge for their use only (the QM2 has two separate lounges for each of the Grills, but on the QV/QE they're combined), plus outside dining and sunning areas reserved for Grill-class guests only. The onboard spas are not as huge and grandiose as the QM2's, and consequently they feel more casual and relaxing. There are no over-the-top stunners such as QM2 ‘s planetarium, but the lack of huge spaces makes both ships feel relatively intimate despite their size.

Cabins As might be expected on a ship that has a definite class hierarchy, there's quite a range of quality in accommodations. That being said, the non-Grill-class cabins are much nicer than they are.

On QM2. Inside rooms range from 152 to 207 square feet (try and get a bigger one if budget and availability allow), and all come with two beds (twin or combinable into a queen) and a shower. Outside rooms range from 180 to 197 square feet for those without balconies; rooms with balconies are all 249 square feet. A half-bottle of sparkling wine is given to everyone upon embarkation.

As for suites and penthouses, these are divided into 11 different categories, with the four categories of Princess Suites all of which have balconies their balconies. Other amenities include upgraded linens, bathrobes and toiletries, plus a pillow menu, concierge service, shoeshine service, a separate bath and shower, a larger sitting area, and a full bottle of sparkling wine upon embarkation. Higher up on the spectrum are the seven categories of Queen's Grill Suites and Penthouses. With these you get complimentary canapes, butler service, and sugar-iced strawberries to go along with the champagne.

Solo travelers, rejoice: There are now single-occupancy cabins available aboard both ships. Queen Elizabeth offers both inside and oceanview staterooms for solo travelers on Deck 2, while Queen Victoria has nine staterooms for solo travelers eight oceanview rooms and one interior room.

There are 20 wheelchair-accessible cabins total in various categories.

Public areas & activities There's a lot happening on Deck 2, where you'll find the first level of the extremely attractive Britannia Restaurant (where most guests are assigned their dining tables), as well as a series of bars all along one side of the ship (the Chart Room, Cafe Carinthia, Midships Lounge, Champagne Bar, and the Golden Lion Pub ). Each of the bars has its own personality, ranging from the nautical Chart Room to the gentleman's club feel of the Golden Lion. There's also the Queen's Room ballroom with its gorgeous, 1,000-square-foot inlaid wood floor for dancing to a live orchestra.

The upper set of public decks, running from Decks 9 to 12, includes the forward-facing Cunard Royal Spa and Fitness Centre. Midships on Deck 10 is the indoor/outdoor space for kids, with separate spots for teens and younger kids. At the forward end of Deck 10 is the lovely Commodore Club lounge, probably the best place for a relaxing drink in the evening or quiet time during the day, and the 270-degree views at Hemispheres, which turns into a disco at night. Adjacent is the cigar bar named after Churchill, of course.

Up above on Decks 11 and 12 are the exclusive areas for Grill-class guests: sunning areas with plush loungers, Tuscan-themed courtyards, and a Grill Lounge. A sign in the stairwell and restricted elevator access deny entry to non-Grill guests. They can head instead to pools located midships and at the aft end of Deck 9; two whirlpools are adjacent to each. Though the main pool area isn't huge, at one end is the attractive Winter Garden, with its rattan furniture, ceiling fans, central fountain, movable glass wall, and sliding roof.

The spa and fitness center, at the forward end of Deck 9, are impressive a whopping 40-page guide is used to describe the extensive services available (facials, oxygen treatments, aromasoul massages and scrubs, nail and hair services, a Pilates institute, and a whole lot more). The gym sports 15 treadmills, dozens of other pieces of workout equipment, and plenty of free weights. Additionally, guests can stay fit by walking and jogging on several different decks, play paddle tennis or quoits, and practice their golf swing.

Dining All guests are assigned a table in one of three restaurants: the gorgeous, two-level Britannia Restaurant (which actually looks better than the Grill-class restaurants) or, for Grill guests, either the Queens or Princess Grill, depending on cabin category. There are two seatings for dinner in the.

Britannia Restaurant; it's single seating in the Grill restaurants. One outstanding feature of the Britannia Restaurant is the space between the tables there's plenty of room for spreading out. The Grill restaurants curve along the window side, allowing for stellar views.

As for other dining venues, the most casual is the Lido Cafe, a buffet that stays open 24 hours a day. But the one you should really consider trying is the outstanding Veranda Restaurant (extra fees; see p. 237 for more info).

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