On a grand new cruise ship, floating around the world in style with a golden two-story ballroom for dancing and costume parties, fancy restaurants, fencing lessons, an elegant theater with private boxes, and a library with 6,000 books, much of the talk among passengers is about Queen Victoria's drawers. She is, well, sailing without them.
The case of the missing drawers -- in cabins without suitable storage for clothes -- is a mystery that has perplexed passengers on Cunard's Queen Victoria, world's newest cruise ship, since her inaugural voyage Dec. 11. The drawers are a continuing topic of conversation on Victoria's first world cruise, which began in Southampton, England, Jan. 6 and New York Jan. 13. Victoria sails into Los Angeles on Jan. 30 before heading across the Pacific.
On any new ship, you will recognize mistakes, unfinished business and uncompleted training, especially among employees who are cleaning cabins and working the dining rooms and lounges for the first time.
Most mistakes are irritants rather than major flaws, and most are fixable.
I suspect that the folks at Cunard, which operates the three Queens -- Victoria, Mary 2 and Elizabeth 2 -- are busily considering alternatives for resolving the case of Victoria's missing drawers.
Still, it's difficult to imagine that cabins on a cruise ship designed for long voyages would be so lacking in places to store your clothes. Room for hangups is sufficient, though not spaceous. But there are few shelves in the standard cabins and no drawers of even moderate size (or a makeup mirror).
I can't figure out what the cabin designers had in mind. This is a formal ship on which many passengers bring gowns, costumes and dinner jackets, clothes for touring, as well as outfits and outerware for different climates. My cruise of seven days from Aruba to Acapulco, Mexico, includes two formal nights, four semi-formal nights (ties and jackets for men) and one casual night when gentlemen are expected to wear a jacket.
Where in one's cabin do you park all those clothes between dinners?
Like many other passengers on Queen Victoria, I have stored some of my clothes in a makeshift drawer by using my suitcase and sliding it under the bed -- a temporary solution not in keeping with the style of the rest of this grand ship.
Perhaps by the time the Queen returns to England in April, drawers will be added under the beds as well as to the rather useless night tables.
Cunard's rescue party can't arrive too soon for the ship's captain, Paul Wright, who has been hearing about the missing drawers from passengers since the first day out of Southampton.
I met the captain after he led a church service on board the Queen Victoria last Sunday.
"I was praying," said Wright. "Please send drawers."
Molyneaux is editor of TravelMavens.net. CLICK for articles on cruising, Florida, Europe and adventure.