Cunard’s latest vessel, Queen Anne, sophisticated and glamorous, combines the style of the past with a hint of the future.

Queen Anne sailed into Southampton this week putting on her final touches of finery before her maiden cruise. And she’s dressed differently from her siblings – Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. The dark wood and rich Art Deco designs have given way to a light and often playful rethink.

A fleeting chance to investigate before she headed for the sun of Portugal shows that the Art Deco elegance of the 1930s has been transformed into something more modern, and the ship – still with its iconic black hull and red funnel – has adopted more of an outdoor country club feel, although the classy cocktail lounge atmosphere hasn’t been forgotten.

The Queen Anne ship

The Pavilion is an indoor and outdoor relaxation and entertainment hub

The central point is the Pavilion, a two-deck-high greenhouse-like affair that houses a swimming pool and a bevvy of hot tubs in gloriously blue-and-white tiled surrounds. At one end there’s a performance space for bands, plus a large screen for cinema, often open-air, and with National Film Theatre involvement; at the other is bar, the whole place perfect for celebrations (we know from experience!).

Queen Anne has a sunny feel with many of the outdoor spaces having a blue-and-white theme, whether the tiling or the subtly patterned fabrics on the rattan chairs. Rows of stylishly bronze sun loungers have cushions that continue the theme.

Queen Anne’s archery is the first on a cruise ship

Outdoor fun is encouraged – in a ‘first at sea’ moment there’s even an archery range. Anyone can have a go for free, aided by instructors. There’s also a basketball court, putting green, golf tee net, pickleball court and shuffleboard. And the Sky Bar on deck 14 is a place to relax.


Gearing up for Kings of the Boardwalk in the Queens Room

Indoors, there are grand spaces. The Queens Room encompasses classics – dance lessons, afternoon tea – but is also the home of live music (we saw Kings of the Boardwalk, four-piece soul smooching from the original cast of The Drifters Girl) and late-night dancing. The Golden Lion is the sort of traditional British pub you don’t find on the high street these days, even with Cunard real ale on draught, plus a modern take on pub food (at extra cost) courtesy of gourmet chef Michel Roux. While we were there an Irish duo played music.

The Bright Lights Society is a swish show bar, lots of singing and dancing amid the glittering lights, followed by more dancing. The Commodore Club has a 270-degree sweep of sea views by day and come evening is a thriving bar with piano music.

The Royal Court Theatre aims to do something different from greatest hits musicals and here we saw Brief Encounter, the acclaimed production from director Amma Rice.

Eating and drinking on Queen Anne

The grandeur of the Britannia restaurant

Plentiful and excellent. The main Britannia restaurant is two floors and grand, pillared style, with the Queens Grill and Princess Grill, more intimate, for two levels of suite passengers.

The Artisans’ Food Hall, a contemporary take on the buffet, has a host of flavours; by evening tucked away spots become Tramonto with Mediterranean cuisine, and Aranya, a refined curry house. Both the latter come at a cost, as do Sir Samuel’s, a steakhouse, and Aji Wa, Cunard’s first Japanese restaurant.

Another first is the Wellness Café, in a lofty spot in the Pavilion, largely vegetarian but in a gourmet way, with the option of healthily cooked chicken or salmon added to extravagant salads. Even breakfast will never be the same again: five-grain date and tamarind porridge, hemp seed, fig leaf and nut butter, or pea and edamame guacamole on sourdough with apple cider vinegar and chia jam or nut butters.

A quiet spot for a drink and ocean views is the Chart Room, peaceful in rich lacquered reds and blacks.

Accommodation on Queen Anne

The elegance of the lounge in a Queens Grill suite

Soothing yet colourful the Queens Grill suite combined shades of grey and wood in the sleeping area, with a huge bed. The other side of the room divider (with TV on both sides) features shades of blue and gold with fascinating artwork, from an exotic parrot to a Vivienne Westwood poster.

As with the Britannia staterooms and Princess Grill suites, the Cunard logo is emblazoned on cushions – red, royal blue – there were fascinating carpet designs, echoing 30s chic and a feeling of elegance.


The space-age hot pool in the Mareel Spa

Cunard has stretched out with the Mareel Spa, bringing in a host of new features including a Himalayan salt sauna and cryo-body therapy alongside the big, circular hot pool and other saunas. Treatments range from gentle massage to ‘pain management therapy’, a mix of hot and cold plus salt stone massage and seaweed mask.

High on deck is the new Pavilion Wellness Studio, an airy, open, tent-like spot for yoga and other classes.

Fact file

A classic Cunard image goes modern in the Grand :obby

Queen Anne spends 2024 sailing from Southampton, with several cruises around Britain before summer in the Med, fjords and Iceland. In early 2025 she departs Southampton on a 107-night world voyage, available in many segments, arriving back in late April.

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