Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review of Cunard's Queen Victoria Ship Inspection

On January 13th I took a short drive to the other coast to go and visit Cunard's Queen Victoria. I was one of few agents who were taken aboard to tour the ship. This was the first day of the Queen Victoria's second world cruise. It was quite the site seeing not only one but two queens docked across from one another. I took a few nice photos of the Queen Mary 2 from aboard the Victoria.

As always I started my tour from top to bottom trying to get a picture of most all the public areas so I can pass on that information to my clients. The Queen Victoria has restricted access to decks 11 and 12 which are exclusively for the use of Queens Grill passengers. If accessing this area by elevator guests will need to use their Queens Grill room key. We took a peek at their small and intimate Queens Grill dinning room and across the hall, their concierge lounge where a nice couple were relaxing sipping a cocktail upon their first day of their voyage. Than we went to the outside area which included The Courtyard, the Grills Terrace, and Upper Terrace. These areas were a great retreat for passengers who would like some privacy and quiet to read a good book or have an afternoon cocktail. My only complaint would have to be the faux wood decks. I myself do prefer the real wood giving it a warmer tone and more luxurious feel. The lounge chairs on the Terrace were comfortably lined and cushioned.

Deck 9 took me through the Lido buffet, two pools and hot tubs, and a large area of the forward dedicated to the Canyon Ranch spa and fitness center. I was pleased with the spa sanctuary and the pleasant music piped in throughout. The aromatherapy was wonderful, I just love the smell of a the eucalyptus and lavender. The spa seems to puts me in a state of relaxation right as I enter the waiting room. The fitness equipment was all new and up to date with the individual flat screens on the cardio machines. They had spin bikes as well as room for a variety of aerobics classes. The sign up sheets that appeared to be most popular were Pilates, Yoga and Body Tone classes. They also had my favorite class onboard! ZUMBA! If you are a fan of salsa music and dancing in general, this is a must try class for all levels of dancers. The key is to relax, have fun, and you don’t have to remember steps like some other classes (Step aerobics) Put me in a step class and I will be lost in a heartbeat and most of the time your'll find me going in the wrong direction.

Than I walked past 5 decks of cabins, unfortunately the sailing was full and so I was not be able to go inside and take pictures of the cabins. I did manage to sneak a peak of a cabin steward getting a room ready for a guest who had not yet arrived, but not quick enough to snap a photo. Sorry :(

Decks one through three were mostly the public areas of the ship centered around a gorgeous atrium. They had a large replica of Big Ben as a center piece, as shown below. They had a very elegant two story library filled with all types of books and reference materials. There were also books to read up on the ports of call for the voyage. I passed a couple nice bars and lounges on my tour all staffed with friendly faces. The theater was quite a sight and the boxes were a very nice touch for those who want to make their evening at the theater extra special. The Golden Lion Pub was filled with happy patrons drinking their beer and watching sports on the large flat panel TVs placed throughout. Todd English, their specialty restaurant was very nicely appointed and intimate for that special night out for dinner. I was not able to sample to food but from what I hear it is fabulous.

I would say those were the highlight of my day on the Queen Victoria and as always it was very sad to leave the ship as we passed those cruisers embarking on their first day of their World Voyage. I sometimes catch myself wondering how long it would take for them to notice a stow- away hiding out in the Library. Than I come to my senses.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Kind of Letter We Love to Receive!

Dear Jen:

Just a note to thank you for the wonderful jobs you always do for me finding the best types of vacations to meet my needs and specifications, readily researching and comparing prices for all of the various aspects of the trips, keeping me informed of everything early enough to make changes if, and when, necessary as well as your making all arrangements without me having to constantly ask and prompt.

I have noticed, and greatly appreciate, that you go above and beyond the efforts of the many other travel consultants I have worked with over the years. I feel that my great satisfaction with your work is due not only to your willingness to do whatever is necessary to get the job done - and to devote the time necessary to these tasks, but also your remembering my needs and your responsiveness to them along with other requests. All of this, is in addition to your being blessingly detail oriented so that all of the trips which you have arranged for me have turned out extremely well, despite the sometimes last minute nature of some of my needs and requests.

Thank you again for your work on my behalf and those friends with whom I have traveled.

Chrys Sullivan

Us with our wine steward and servers in Rembrandt Dining Room ...

Kate and me at Port of Halifax

me with Maitre D

Monday, January 12, 2009

Join us January 20, 2009 at 3:00pm for a special presentation with Orion Expedition Cruises!

Founded in early 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises has developed voyages to encourage guests to become a part of the region they are discovering.

Their innovative expeditions are year-round and vary with the seasons:
- Summer (December, January and February) Antarctica and New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands.
- Autumn (March, April) in remote and unspoilt parts of Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.
- Winter (April to September) in the Kimberley and Arnhem Land.
- Spring (October, November) New Zealand and south-East Asia.

Described as the latest in the quest to build the perfect expedition vessel *, all Orion’s staterooms feature ocean views and offer internet access, flat-screen TV, DVD/CD, a choice of twin and queen sized beds, a sitting area and marble bathrooms. Other on board amenities include a health spa with gymnasium, sauna, sun deck Jacuzzi and a stern marina platform.

Our event will feature special guest speaker Mick Fogg, Orion Expedition Team Leader, Orion Expedition Team Naturalist. A marine biologist and PADI dive master, Michael (Mick) Fogg has more than 20 years of experience researching and educating the general public on the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests and other wonders of the natural world.

RSVP to 513-0333 or Info@BettyMacleanTravel.com