In port cities throughout the world, Cunard's newest liner is already generating anticipation and excitement. Set to debut in December, Queen Victoria follows in the footsteps of her liner predecessors, offering a collection of compelling inaugural itineraries that underscore her well-traveled passengers' quest for genuinely intriguing travel experiences. Highlights of the ship's 2008 schedule are an eclectic variety of Mediterranean itineraries offering departures from Rome, Barcelona, Venice, Athens and Southampton - allowing guests a more in-depth experience into the ancient cities and renowned ports of this popular region. In addition, Queen Victoria's voyages to the Baltic mark Cunard's much-anticipated return to this intriguing part of the world.
And in keeping with Cunard's storied heritage of maiden call fanfare, the ship is expected to be greeted by celebratory festivities and large numbers of well wishers at every port. Guests sailing on these voyages will not only enjoy the opportunity to be a part of Queen Victoria's once-in-a-lifetime maiden season, but will also enjoy the opportunity to depart from some of Europe's most glamorous cities.
"In Queen Victoria's inaugural year, we've planned a compelling around-the-world schedule that affords travelers an opportunity to experience the next generation of Cunard style, complete with festive welcomes in every port," says Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. "In addition to joining Cunard's exciting heritage of maiden call fanfare, guests traveling on Mediterranean, Baltic and Northern European voyages will be able to enjoy a more in-depth experience in each of these fascinating ports."
Following the sun, Queen Victoria will sail the Mediterranean for a series of open-ended voyages that afford her discerning passengers an even greater opportunity for in-depth exploration and discovery. Many of the ship's Mediterranean voyages depart from Barcelona, Rome and Venice - even Athens - and arrive in another of the Med's iconic ports.
Legends of the Mediterranean - Two 12-day voyages departing Barcelona on August 25 and October 24, with stops in Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Naples/Capri, Valletta, Crete, Izmir, Athens, Sicily and Rome. Voyage fares start from $2,395.
Classical Mediterranean - Two 12-day voyages departing Venice on August 13 and October 12, with stops in Dubrovnik, Katakolon, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Sicily, Rome, Florence/Pisa, Marseille and Barcelona. Both departures feature an overnight stay in Venice. Voyage fares start from $2,445.
Ancient Wonders of the Mediterranean - Two 12-day voyages, departing on November 5 and November 17 from Rome and Athens, respectively, with stops in Naples/Capri, Sicily, Valletta, Alexandria (for Cairo/Giza), Port Said, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Dikili, Volos and Athens. Voyage fares start from at $2,295.
Connoisseur's Mediterranean - A 12-day voyage, departing Rome on November 29 and ending in Southampton, with stops in Naples/Capri, Sicily, Katakolon, Dubrovnik, Valletta, La Goulette and Malaga. Voyage fares starting at $2,295.
Greek Isles and Aegean Shores - Two 12-day voyages, departing Rome on September 6 and September 30, with stops in Naples/Capri, Santorini, Izmir, Istanbul (overnight), Samos, Athens, Zakinthos, Dubrovnik and concluding with an overnight in Venice. Voyage fares start from $2,695.
Crimean Coasts - A 12-day voyage, departing from Venice on September 18 and ending in Rome, with stops in Kusadasi, Istanbul (overnight), Odessa, Yalta, Athens, Sicily and Rome. Voyage fares start from $2,795.
For those wishing to sail to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands or Western Europe roundtrip from Southampton:
Canary Islands Splendour - A ten-day voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on April 22, with stops in Madeira, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lisbon and Vigo. Voyage fares start from $1,775.
Spring Getaway - A four-day voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on May 2, with stops in Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. Voyage fares start from $995.
Mediterranean Delights - A 14-day voyage departing roundtrip from Southampton on May 6 with stops in Seville, Corsica, Rome, Naples/Capri, Valletta, La Goulette and Gibraltar. Voyage fares start from $2,975.
Caribbean Holiday - A 22-day voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on December 11 with stops in Ponta Delgada, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, Madeira and Vigo. Voyage fares start from at $5,695.
Additionally, Queen Victoria offers a Mediterranean voyage departing from Southampton, ending with an overnight in Venice:
Jewels of the Mediterranean - A 12-day voyage, departing Southampton on August 1 and ending with an overnight stay in Venice, with stops in Gibraltar, Cannes, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Sicily, Corfu and Dubrovnik. Voyage fares start from $2,995.
Throughout her first year, Queen Victoria will chart a far-reaching course through Europe stretching as far south as the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria; as far east as Yalta, Ukraine, once an ancient Greek colony on the northern coast of the Black Sea; and west to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Likewise, rare overnight stays in Venice, Istanbul and St. Petersburg will afford Queen Victoria's guests the opportunity to explore these captivating cities at a more leisurely pace.
"Covering the northernmost ports, then south to Egypt, east into the Black Sea and west to the Canary Islands, the breadth of her dazzling itinerary really sets her apart as she will sail a significant percentage of the globe in her first year," Marlow added.
A Return to Russia
Another highlight of Queen Victoria's 2008 programme is Cunard's much-anticipated return to Russia. Three 14-day Russian Rendezvous voyages (departing May 27, June 22 and July 18 roundtrip from Southampton) will circle the Baltic Sea and feature two full days in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as stops in Bruges, Belgium; Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Voyage fares start from $3,375.
Voyaging Through Northern Europe
For sheer drama, few regions can compare to Northern Europe. Queen Victoria's forays into this enthralling region include a seven-day Norwegian Fjords voyage, departing roundtrip from Southampton on May 20, with stops in Bergen, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Aalesund and Stavanger, and two 12-day Voyage of the Vikings voyages departing roundtrip from Southampton on June 10 and July 6, with stops in Bergen, Tromso, Honningsvag (for the North Cape), Trondheim, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Olden and Stavanger. Voyage fares for Norwegian Fjords start from $1,675 and Voyage of the Vikings fares start from $2,895.