Commodore Christopher Rynd has commanded and driven many ships not only at Cunard Line but earlier in his career with Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises. These ships have included some great names such as Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2 and the original Love Boat, Pacific Princess. However, there is a special place in his heart for Cunard's Queen Victoria.
“I love this ship. I was on her during her building in Fincantieri and at various times since. She has a great ship's company”
While Queen Victoria does an occasional transatlantic crossing, she spends most of her time cruising. Nonetheless, the ship seeks to provide an onboard experience in the tradition of Cunard's great ocean liners.
“The style onboard should be the same. More than ever, I think Cunard is holding to its traditions [It is] the attractive option for those who like traditional cruising, luxury on a grand scale, and great ocean liners.”
“The style comes into its own with long sea voyages, not only with developing relationships between ship's company and the guests but also in what we do over those days Next year, [Queen Victoria] will be filling the slot on the transatlantic while Queen Mary goes in for her major overhaul refit. So we will be filling that role again and that suits me very much. Otherwise, the next two summers for this ship will be mostly Mediterranean-based.”
In January 2015, Queen Victoria underwent a re-fit while in dry dock in Hamburg, Germany. Such refits are often the occasion for radical changes but here, the atmosphere onboard was preserved. Indeed, the most significant change to the ship was the conversion of some of the space that had been occupied by the ship's casino into nine single-occupancy staterooms.
“During the last refit we put in these single cabins. They are very nice cabins. It is quite private there, just up forward of the casino. There has been a demand for singles.”
Apart from changing the cabin televisions to flat screen televisions throughout the ship, most of the other work done to the hotel portion of the ship was more in the nature of refurbishment.
“They did a lot of re-carpeting within the ship as well. They did a lot of plumbing work behind the scenes.”
Originally, this refit had been scheduled for December 2015. However, it was brought forward in order to do work on the azipods - - the structures which both propel and steer the ship.
“They did the bearings in the pods and put in a new type of roller bearing for the actual propeller shaft that should give more resilience as well. When these ships were built,the size of the pods was getting near the limits of technology in terms of bearings.”
Work was also done to enhance Queen Victoria's eco-friendliness.
“They did the major work towards putting in dry particle filters for engine exhaust, commonly known as scrubbers, to clean the exhaust. The major work there was done. [The remainder was left to be done while the ship is in service]. We expect [to] have the scrubbers on three of our engines. We have six engines so at least half of them have this option of using heavy fuel but using it cleanly.”
Queen Victoria is based on the Vista class design used extensively in the Holland America Line fleet (see, e.g., Westerdam, Noordam , Zuiderdam). However, the difference in the interior décor is not all that makes Queen Victoria different than her Holland America relations.
“We are slightly longer than those ships - -11 meters or 30 odd feet.. That has had other advantages with the ship It is easier to trim from head to stern Sometimes we need to get the ship exactly in trim for shallow water.”
“Curiously, lengthening it gives you more side-to-side stability - - more transverse stability. These ships (Queen Victoria and sister ship Queen Elizabeth) are stable and they are directionally stable too. That is they go in a straight line with very little correction which we notice when we are in shallow water like the approaches to New York or departure from Port Canaveral. They are pretty steady steering whereas some of the other wider cruise ships become directionally unstable and want to veer off course. So I am very fond of this ship and her dynamics. They do have good natural stability as a result of lengthening.”
While Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are sister ships, they are not identical twins. The interior décor of the Victoria is, naturally, inspired by the Victorian age whereas the interior of the Elizabeth is more Art Deco-inspired. The Elizabeth also a covered area forward on Deck 12 whereas the Victoria's is open. The stern of the Elizabeth is squared whereas the Victoira's stern cascades over a number of tiers..
“She has a distinctive profile, which I find quite pleasing. She is a beauty.”
Cruise ship interview - - Cunard Line - - Commodore Christopher Rynd - - Talking About Queen Victoria