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Queen Victoria Cruise

Voyage V913: Mediterranean Medley II - 17th-30th August 2009

Day 1: 17th August - Southampton Departure



This is the record of a 13 night cruise taken on board Cunard's Queen Victoria from Southampton on 17th August 2009. The party consisted of myself, wife, son and son's friend (both aged 17), in a balcony cabin and opposing inside cabin. Separate pages show the main ports visited, with images of the shipping and other transport systems encountered. This is not primarily a tourist travelogue. This page covers the departure from Southampton on Monday 17th August.

Overall this was a hugely enjoyable cruise, and the few gripes detailed on subsequent pages did little to affect this. I found Queen Victoria to be a comfortable and well laid out ship. However I did not form an immediate affection for her. This my be due to her newness, but I did form an immediate attachment to Oriana in her first season, and also to Aurora on her first completed (but third scheduled) voyage, despite some misgivings about the open plan passenger flows. Queen Victoria maintains a similar design style throughout, loosely based on that of the first Queen Mary. Nothing stands out as being exceptional, but nothing offends either. She is virtually smoke free as cruise ships increasingly are, with only the casino as a no-go area if you prefer breathing air to smoke. The cruise experience has been immeasurably improved over the last few years for non-smokers, fug-filled rooms a thing of the past.

The weather throughout was fantastic, with continuous sunshine from our sailaway past Cowes and the Nab Tower until sunset on the final sea day on the 29th August. If anything, temperatures were too high, hovering around the mid to upper 30°s until we made our final call at Gibraltar when it was a pleasant 28°C. Only on the return sea days did it drop below 20°C, although remaining sunny. The only rain was a very brief but heavy thundery shower as we left Palma.

The cruise was initially advertised as a 12 night voyage. An extra day, and a call at Livorno (Pisa/Florence) was added by shortening the following minicruise from 4 to 3 nights. The map below reflects this revised itinerary. Finally, just 6 days before departure, we were informed that the Livorno and Civitavecchia calls were being transposed, which obviously saves fuel, and allows a weekday visit to Rome (more Vatican tour options than a Sunday?). The itinerary below shows the actual route taken - the map incorrectly shows Civitavecchia preceding Livorno. This late change caused us considerable annoyance since we had pre-booked tours of the Colosseum and Leaning Tower at Pisa. These were only changed after much effort and additional expense, so Cunard started the cruise with some ill feeling from us.

Both Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 were in port on 17th August, the former at the Mayflower Terminal and the latter at the new Ocean Terminal. Queen Victoria was due to depart first at 16:30, but was late due to a delayed delivery of bottled 'Cunard water'. Queen Mary 2 left first and we never came close to her. Both Ocean Scene and Ashleigh R of Blue Funnel Cruises were running harbour tours to see the departure of the two Queens. A day of dull weather brightened up as we left, giving a spectacular view of the Nab Tower. This weather continued over the following days, with mid to high 30s and blue skies every day, but visibility remaining good. This was too hot to do much walking in many of the ports.


I
An initial problem was that despite booking two adjacent cabins simultaneously with Cunard we were allocated different tables for dinner. This could not be rectified for the first evening, but we were promised a change for the second night. However, we all enjoyed the company on our separate two tables and our son decided that they preferred their existing table rather than risk a change of companions.

I also had 120 free minutes of internet access as a Cunard Gold Club member, but the internet service was appallingly slow - quite the worst speeds encountered in all my years of cruising. Theoretically I could have wi-fi access in the cabin, bit not within my 120 free minutes. By day 5 I had  used only 6 of my free minutes since I could not access any websites on numerous attempts. The ship is apparently being re-cabled (on a ship less than 2 years old?) but this will not be completed until September. With a crucial Ashes match in progress it was very irritating, plus I could not upload any of these web pages as they were completed as I have always been able to do in the past on P&O, Princess, Celebrity or RCI ships, and even on the QE2.



     
 
Cruise Itinerary
Sections on this Page

Ships on this Page
  APL Russia - American President Lines
  Ashleigh R - Blue Funnel Cruises
  Normandie Express - Brittany Ferries
  Ocean Scene - Blue Funnel Cruises
  Queen Mary 2
  Queen Victoria
  Red Jet 4 - Red Funnel Ferries
  Red Jet 5 - Red Funnel Ferries
  Solent Cat - Solent & Wight Line

 
Queen Victoria Pages
Associated Pages

References

Contacts
  Cunard Line - www.cunard.co.uk




Queen Victoria


Voyage V913: Mediterranean Medley II - 17th-30th August 2009


Day 1: 17th August - Southampton Departure



Red Funnel Ferries

Red Jet 4

IMO number: 9295854 - Name of ship: RED JET 4 - Call Sign: VQII3 - Gross tonnage: 342
Type of ship: Passenger Ship - Year of build: 2003 - Flag: United Kingdom


Red Jet 4 joined the Red Funnel fleet in 2003. She was built by North West Bay Ships Pty Ltd, Margate, Tasmania (Yard/hull No.: 6)..


The Red Jet 4 passing Calshot on her way to Southampton,
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
RED JET 4 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Red Jet 4 passing Calshot on her way to Southampton,
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
RED JET 4 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Red Jet 4 passing Calshot on her way to Southampton,
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
RED JET 4 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009





Red Jet 5

IMO number: 8954415 - Name of ship: RED JET 5 - Call Sign: 2CBD3 - Gross tonnage: 209
Type of ship: Passenger Ship - Year of build: 1999 = Flag: United Kingdom
1999-07 Pequot River Shipworks - New London, Ct Yard/hull No.: PRS-5


Red Jet 5 joined the Red Funnel fleet in 2009. She was built in July 1999 by the Pequot River Shipworks, New London, Ct (Yard/hull No.: PRS-5) for Bahamas Fast Ferries, with whom she served until sold to Red Funnel in July 2009.


The Red Jet 5 arriving at Southampton, with NYK Triton
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
RED JET 5 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Red Jet 5 arriving at Southampton, with Queen Mary 2
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
RED JET 5 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Red Jet 5 leaving Cowes
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
RED JET 5 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Red Jet 5 leaving Cowes
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
RED JET 5 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009




Blue Funnel Cruises - Solent & Wight Line

Blue Funnel Cruises and Solent & Wight Line are associated companies running cruises in the Solent area. Blue Funnel Cruises operate the Southampton-based Ocean Scene and Ashleigh R. Solent & Wight Line are Cowes-based and run the Wight Scene and Solent Cat, mainly from Portsmouth. Both were running


Ocean Scene

The Ocean Scene
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
OCEAN SCENE - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Ocean Scene
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
OCEAN SCENE - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009




Ashleigh R

The Ashleigh R
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
ASHLEIGH R - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Ashleigh R
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
ASHLEIGH R - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009




Solent Cat

The Solent Cat returning to Cowes from Portsmouth at the end of her day's cruising
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
SOLENT CAT - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Solent Cat returning to Cowes from Portsmouth at the end of her day's cruising
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
SOLENT CAT - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Solent Cat returning to Cowes from Portsmouth at the end of her day's cruising
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
SOLENT CAT - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009




Warsash

Warsash is a village situated at the mouth of the River Hamble, west of the area known as Locks Heath. Boating plays an important part in the village's economy, and the village has a sailing club. It is also home to the Warsash Maritime Academy, part of Southampton Solent University, which provides training for merchant navy officers from around the world.


The village of Warsash on the River Hamble
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
WARSASH - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The village of Warsash on the River Hamble
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
WARSASH - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009




Calshot

Calshot Spit is a one-mile long sand and shingle bank, located on the southern bank of the open end of Southampton Water, on the south coast of England.
At the end of the spit are Calshot Castle (built by King Henry VIII), an RNLI lifeboat, a Coastguard station, several slipways, a former Royal Navy and Royal Air Force flying boat station and Calshot Activities Centre.

Calshot CastleThe castle is a low, circular, stone structure and was armed with large muzzle-loading guns. Its purpose, when it was built in 1539, was to protect access to the important harbour at Southampton from seaborne attack, by France or Spain from the English Channel via the Solent.

Calshot Naval Air Station was originally set up in 1913. Its choice as a location for operating flying boats is clear: the landing area is sheltered by land on the three sides of Southampton Water and by the Isle of Wight, several miles away, on the fourth side. In 1929 and 1931, Calshot was the venue for the Schneider Trophy, an international air race for seaplanes. The site is now used as a base for the RNLI, yachts and HM Coastguard. The hangars are home to Calshot Activities Centre and house indoor climbing walls, artificial ski slopes and a velodrome.


Calshot Spit, with Calshot Castle, coastguard tower and ex-WW2 seaplane and flying boat hangers
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
CALSHOT - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Calshot Spit RNLI station, jetty and lifeboat
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
CALSHOT - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Calshot Castle and RNLI lifeboat
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
CALSHOT - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009



Calshot Spit, with an ex-WW2 seaplane hanger, beach huts and the Isle of Wight in the background
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
CALSHOT - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009




Cowes

After rounding Calshot Spit, we passed the yachting centre of Cowes, with its new jetty on the site of the earlier small pier.



Cowes, showing the new jetty on the site of the old pier
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
COWES - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009




Brittany Ferries

Normandie Express

IMO number: 9221358 - Name of ship: NORMANDIE EXPRESS - Call Sign: FMIH - Gross tonnage: 6581
Type of ship: Passenger/Ro-Ro Cargo Ship - Year of build: 2000 - Flag: France


Normandie Express approaching Portsmouth
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
NORMANDIE EXPRESS - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Normandie Express approaching Portsmouth
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
NORMANDIE EXPRESS - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Normandie Express approaching Portsmouth
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
NORMANDIE EXPRESS - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009






APL Russia

IMO number: 9358761 - Name of ship: APL RUSSIA - Call Sign: C6XF2 - Gross tonnage: 86692
Type of ship: Container Ship - Year of build: 2008 - Flag: Bahamas


APL Russia passing the Nab Tower
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
APL RUSSIA passing the NAB TOWER - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


APL Russia of American President Lines
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
APL RUSSIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


APL Russia of American President Lines
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
APL RUSSIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009






Nab Tower
Nab Tower Lighthouse - Position 50° 40'.05 N 00° 57'.07 W


We passed the Nab Tower off the Isle of Wight at 19:30. This was the best view I have had of this ex-WW1 fortification.

The Nab Tower is a tower planned for anti-submarine protection in the Straits of Dover in World War I. It was sunk over the Nab rocks east of the Isle of Wight to replace a lightship after the war, and is a well known landmark for sailors in the Solent.

During the First World War the British Admiralty designed eight towers code named M-N that were to be built and positioned in the Straits of Dover to protect allied merchant shipping from German U-boats. Designed by civilian G.Menzies, the towers were to be linked together with steel nets and armed with two 4" guns with the idea of closing the English Channel to enemy ships. However by the end of the war in 1918 only one had been completed, at the cost of one million pounds, and was located at Shoreham Harbour, awaiting deployment. One other part-built structure was dismantled but there remained a 92 foot tall metal cylinder sitting on a raft of concrete. In 1920 the tower was towed by two paddle tugs to the Nab rock, a rock in the deep-water approach to the eastern Solent and previously marked by a lightship. Buoyancy was provided by the honeycomb construction of the concrete base, creating 18 water-tight compartments. When these were flooded, the structure sank and settled to rest at an angle of 3 degrees from vertical towards the northeast - a characteristic tilt which is obvious to this day.

It was manned as a lighthouse, and during World War II it provided some defence to the Solent approach, and shot down several aircraft. The lighthouse is still functional but since 1983 it has been unmanned, operated by Trinity House (www.trinityhouse.co.uk). In November 1999 the Nab was hit by a freighter , the Dole-America, carrying a cargo of bananas and pineapples. The ship was badly damaged and only avoided sinking by being run aground. The base of the tower suffered superficial and internal damage. Damage was repaired in 2001
(www.wikipaedia.com).


The Nab Tower, showing its pronounced lean from this angle
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
NAB TOWER - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Nab Tower
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
NAB TOWER - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


The Nab Tower
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
NAB TOWER - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


looking back to the Nab Tower with the UK mainland (Hayling Island?) in the background
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
NAB TOWER - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009





Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 passing one of the Solent Forts
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN MARY 2 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Mary 2 ahead of us passing anchored shipping off the Isle of Wight
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN MARY 2 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Mary 2 ahead of us off the Isle of Wight
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN MARY 2 - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009





Queen Victoria

Name of ship: QUEEN VICTORIA - IMO number: 9320556 - Call Sign: GBQV = Gross tonnage: 90049
Type of ship: Passenger (Cruise) Ship - Year of build: 2007 - Flag: United Kingdom



Queen Victoria deck 9 looking fowards to deck 10
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Victoria rounding Calshot with Cowes, Isle of Wight, in the background
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Victoria heading out to sea with Portsmouth in the distance
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Victoria view from the promenade deck 3
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Victoria flags prior to dropping the pilot
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Victoria cabin 6159
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009


Queen Victoria cabin 6159
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA - Photo: © Ian Boyle, 17th August 2009





Cruise Itinerary:- Southampton - At Sea 1- At Sea 2 - At Sea 3 - Barcelona - Monte Carlo - Livorno - Civitavecchia - Alghero - Palma - Gibraltar - At Sea 4 - At Sea 5






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