When the designers of Cunard's newest ocean liner, Queen Victoria, began to consider the ship's interior public spaces, they drew upon the well-recorded and rich history of previous Cunard ocean liners to set the tone. From the ship's double and triple-height spaces - a design feature of grand liners of the past - to rooms imbued with an elegant yet understated British charm, the overall effect is both contemporary and historically classic.
"This will be a unique ship offering our guests a glorious taste of grand ocean liner travel from days gone by, along with every modern convenience. Even the most experienced travelers will be impressed. The ship demonstrates such extraordinary attention to detail, not only in craftsmanship but in the thought that has gone into exceeding our guests' expectations," said Carol Marlow, Cunard's president & managing director.
According to Teresa Anderson, vice president of Interior Design, "Much of Queen Victoria's interior design was inspired and carefully planned to take maximum advantage of the ship's grand spaces. Classical motifs, along with art deco and nouveau touches blend in a subtle continuity and add an element of surprise."
Dramatic architecture and design is evident throughout the ship, with the Grand Lobby serving as a majestic and powerful focal point. The centre of onboard activity, it forms the core from which the ship's other public rooms flow.
Beautifully proportioned, the Grand Lobby's architecture is in keeping with the ambiance of many of Cunard ocean liners of the past while its interior design offers the contemporary elegance of a modern day luxury hotel. The Grand Lobby's dramatic triple height ceiling, sweeping staircase and sculpted balconies create an immediate and unmistakable sense of grandeur and arrival. A signature piece of artwork anchors the staircase landing, affording a breathtaking focal point viewable from nearly every part of the Grand Lobby. An earth tone colour palette of creamy beige, chestnut brown and gold is carried throughout, from light mahogany walls and circular hand-woven area rugs to intricately designed marble floors. Here, guests will conduct shipboard business at the Purser's Desk, catch up on email at the computer centre and move easily to Decks 2 and 3.
Moving forward from the Grand Lobby, guests pass through the Cunardia museum-display, emerging into the dramatic double-height Queens Room, a loggia-style venue, reminiscent of a grand ballroom in a large country house. With ceilings featuring a pair of gleaming crystal chandeliers and the delicate use of gold leaf, the room's styling is light and elegant. Specially commissioned murals - by British artists - reinforce the line's British heritage, as do the activities which will take place here, including afternoon tea, served by white gloved waiters, formal balls with a live orchestra, the traditional Captain's cocktail parties, Cunard World Club events and even fencing classes.
Added Teresa Anderson, "This room's cantilevered balconies overlooking the ballroom are reminiscent of QE2, detailed with classically-ornate, curved railings. The dance floor is hand-crafted of inlaid wood, inviting guests to enjoy the line's grand tradition of elegant ballroom dancing. The room's ceilings, light maple paneled walls and warmly backlit stained glass create a feeling of space and elegance."
In contrast is Hemispheres, an ideal venue for daytime pursuits and a nightclub which will be open into the early hours. The most contemporary area on the ship, it is a geometrically dynamic circular shape that is referenced in design elements throughout. The room's glamorous design is evident from the moment of arrival. A backlit perforated metal sphere encapsulated in decorative glazed screens serves as both a dramatic focal point and privacy-enhancing divider wall as guests enter the room. Light mahogany wood paneling, leather-clad columns, metallic wall surfaces, executed in shades of dark blue, burgundy and gold, give the room a modern sensibility. The circular dance floor is handcrafted wood and is highlighted by a gleaming chandelier suspended above. Panoramic views through expansive floor-to-ceiling windows enhance the dramatic location of this unique venue.
The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offer the very best of Cunard's heritage and traditions, along with all modern day luxuries including some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre, the first Cunardia museum exhibit at sea, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia along with the first two-storey, library at sea featuring an elegant spiral staircase. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated Queens Grill and Princess Grill accommodations and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with exclusive deck terraces and an al fresco dining option.
From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard liner. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof.
As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria's arrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that three Cunard Queens have been in service together in the company's 167-year history (she joins the world's grandest liner, Queen Mary 2 and the world's most famous and best-loved liner, QE2).