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Christmas Gift Guide

Queen Victoria glamour photo

On deck on the Queen Victoria

Looking down into the wake

Lifeboat onboard

Giant chess board on deck

Fencing at sea

Lapping the ship on deck

Inside Queen Victoria's galley

Life preserver in bright orange

The view of the Atlantic

Crossing the ocean doesn't have to mean getting on a plane. Ships still carry people across the Atlantic in traditional style.

Cunard's Queen Victoria is capable of ferrying around 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members across the Atlantic Ocean. A crossing lasts about a week and comes stocked with onboard activities ranging from lectures to pub quizzes and dance lessons.

Caption by / Photo by Cunard

CNET contributor Amanda Kooser stands on the deck of the Queen Victoria, surrounded by a gray and blustery Atlantic Ocean. Weather during crossings is often cold and rainy, with sea swells rocking the boat. Sometimes the outside deck access is closed due to extreme winds.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The rear of the Queen Victoria is a noisy place during a transatlantic crossing. The water churns up from underneath the ship, which is powered by six diesel-electric engines. Queen Victoria's propulsion system is unusual in that it pulls the ship from near the front, rather than pushing it from the back.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Unlike the ill-fated Titanic, the Queen Victoria has plenty of lifeboats for all passengers and crew. The Queen passed just 37 nautical miles from where the Titanic rests on the ocean floor. There is still considerable fascination surrounding the doomed ship, which sank in 1912. It is the subject of books available in Queen Victoria's onboard shop.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

A stroll around the top deck of the Queen Victoria takes you by a larger-than-life chess board with plastic chess pieces that come up to your knee in height. The Cunard ship retains a strong air of British heritage, even though it offers modern amenities like key-card room access and Wi-Fi.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Foil fencing lessons are on the menu in the morning for passengers on the Queen Victoria. By the time the final lesson rolls around, students are ready for a basic duel. Other classes revolve around ballroom dancing or painting with watercolors.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Three laps around the third deck on the Queen Victoria is equivalent to a mile in distance. Intrepid travelers brave the cold Atlantic winds to exercise on deck and look out over the ocean for other ships, dolphins and sea birds.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The galley of the Queen Victoria is a busy place. Chefs prepare thousands of meals each day, including room service, fish and chips at the pub and full-service dining in restaurants. Passengers are allowed on a kitchen tour to see behind the scenes and peek into the stainless-steel wonderland hidden in the ship.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

A life preserver on the Queen Victoria sits in front of an inflatable life raft. Passengers are instructed to throw anything that will float into the water in the case they see someone go overboard. The ship will turn around and launch a rescue boat in an attempt to find anyone in the ocean.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Unlike tropical destinations, a transatlantic crossing is usually full of gray skies, clouds and wind. Other ships, dolphins, fish and sea birds occasionally come into view. This view is from the Queen Victoria during a crossing in late April 2015. It looked like this from all sides.

Caption by / Photo by Amanda Kooser/CNET