Marcia Levin has been sailing on Cunard’s Queen Victoria on a transatlantic cruise.
There comes a time in every girl’s life when she must address a least-favorable subject.
I am talking about food.
I no longer cook very much and I don’t like plates with massive quantities of food or extensive buffet spreads. I enjoy a good meal, but eat far less than I did in earlier years and, on a ship, spend a lot of time watching the amounts of food I eat.
It is the only aspect of being aboard a ship that I find troublesome. I try not to obsess, but it is something to think about and be vigilant.
The variety of food aboard Queen Victoria is daunting. Not unlike food services on other fine cruise lines, but since this is a 16-day crossing, and I hope to limit myself to two meals a day, the offerings and variety are a bit daunting.
Take breakfast. I am scheduled in Britannia Restaurant which has full service usually from 8-9:30am. The Lido has a full buffet until 11:30, followed by lunch.
(The Lido also does dinner, and a special area is dedicated to theme dining, priced at $10 per person.)
The fresh-made waffles, handed directly from the waffle-iron to the passenger, are a marvelous indulgence. I believe the last time someone handed me a fresh-made waffle was when my mother made waffles for me as a child. (Waiter or waitresses carrying them to the table, after sitting under lights, do not count.) I have had waffles for breakfast twice. Delightful.
Then there is the traditional British breakfast of beans, bacon (either American crisp or British) scrambled eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, and tomatoes. This breakfast is offered on cabin breakfast menus as well as in the dining room and on the Lido deck.
Eggs to-order, sausages, herring, a great array of fruit and breads are all offered.
Lunch is lunch is lunch, sandwiches, a hot buffet and burger grill are available on Lido. A menu in the dining room might include a fish dish, some meat, a salad, and sandwich and vegan specialties. A full range of desserts are on tap as well.
It is dinner, where the stars come out.
I have had fine fish entrees all but two days and once opted for a vegetarian dish. I limit myself to two courses: sometimes just an appetizer and salad, but usually salad and entrée. Some members of our gang of eight at the table do the whole thing: starter, soup, salad, entrée and dessert. Choices are many and the menu, service and presentation are very well done. Henry, our waiter, has been with Cunard for years and the choreography of serving us eight each night is beautiful to behold.
The real star of dining aboard Queen Victoria is the Todd English restaurant.
English, an American, has several of his Olives Restaurants in the Northeast, in Florida, in Las Vegas and in San Francisco. A trail-blazer in the restaurant business, his first onboard restaurant was on Queen Mary 2 and this beautiful new restaurant is magnificent.
I dined there one night and thoroughly enjoyed it. The gleaming white china, trimmed in gold, bears the restaurateur’s name.
First comes a breadbasket with four types of bread and butter, plus two olive tapenades and olives.
My first course is a signature dish: flat bread with prosciutto, fig jam and melted gorgonzola cheese atop, it is enough of an appetizer for a family and overwhelmingly delicious. I loved the strong mix of flavors.
For my entrée, I opted for the tenderloin, listed on the menu as a 7 oz. tenderloin. I requested a smaller steak, and it arrived with its oxtail ragout, truffle mashed potatoes and carrots.
Dessert was a Maine blueberry cobbler without ice cream.
It was a marvelous meal, a great experience and something providing that added dollop to the already varied Queen Mary menu offerings. Todd English charges $20 per person for lunch and $30 for dinner.
And that’s the last word about food.