Review: Queen Elizabeth
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Day Visit to Queen Elizabeth
138 people found this review helpful
1964, I was standing on the dockside looking up at the hull and superstructure of a beautiful ocean liner at Southampton that had just arrived from New York. The ship was the RMS Queen Elizabeth, at that time the largest passenger ship in the world. I looked on with awe and thought, one day……. 48 years later I found myself again on the dockside at Southampton looking up at the hull and superstructure of a beautiful ship but this time it was the new Queen Elizabeth and I was about to go onboard. Would it live up to my expectations? Read on…
This latest ship to be named Queen Elizabeth was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on the 11th October 2010. This, the third ship to bear that famous name was built in Italy. At 965ft long, 106 ft in breadth and weighing in at a little less than 91,000 tonnes she has a service speed of almost 24 knots. Carrying 2,068 passengers in comfort, they are attended to and looked after by 1,005 crew.
After walking up the gangway and passing through security you immediately become aware that this is a ship that exudes style and elegance. Our guide then conducted us on one of the most interesting and informative tours that I have ever done of any ship. One of the first places you arrive at is the magnificent sweeping staircase in the Grand Lobby on Deck 1. The staircase is dominated by a fabulous marquetry panel of the original Queen Elizabeth. Also on this deck at the bow is the lower level of the Royal Court Theatre, there are 3 levels. This as the name implies is the main entertainment venue where the main shows are held. There are even private boxes where you can sit in comfort and enjoy the spectacular or a film. At the stern of this deck is situated the lower of the 2 levels of the Britannia Restaurant. This is the largest restaurant on the ship catering as the name implies for the Britannia grade passengers.
Moving up to Deck 2 brings you to the Queens Room, a magnificent ballroom where you can dance the night away. There are even dance hosts available for those requiring a dance partner. Again this area exudes elegance with its murals, furnishings and wooden dance floor. A little further along this deck is the Empire Casino for those that wish to try their hand against Lady Luck. Close by is the Golden Lion Pub where you can celebrate your win or commiserate over your loss. Based on an authentic English Pub it not only serves beer, wines and spirits but that great English dish, Fish and Chips. You will also find the Café Carinthia, Britannia Club and Verandah Restaurant on this deck together with the lower level of the library. The library really does deserve a special mention with its mahogany winding staircase, matching bookcases, leather seating and an air of tranquillity. Giving access to over 6,000 books it has something for everyone.
Deck 3 contains the upper levels of the Britannia Restaurant, Royal Court Theatre, Queens Room and Grand Lobby. In addition is the Cunarder’s Gallery where you gaze on a collection of famous faces who have travelled on the Cunard ships, together with shops on the Royal Arcade, Art Gallery and Midships Bar.
Moving to Deck 9 where the Lido and Pavilion swimming pools are located you will also find Cunard’s Royal Spa and the Fitness Centre for those who wish to try and stop the weight gain associated with the good food on cruise ships. Having said that the Lido Buffet is located on this deck with a selection that is the envy of many. One area on this deck which especially appealed to me was the Garden Lounge. It is a fabulous area that has been modelled on the glass green houses of Kew Gardens and one where I personally would be happy to sit and read whilst time drifts by.
Deck 10 houses the Children’s Play Area, The Yacht and Commodore Club, Admirals Lounge and Churchill’s (who else) Cigar Lounge.
It is on Deck 11 that he Queens Grill and Princess Grill dining rooms are situated. From here, high up on the ship, you can enjoy magnificent views whilst receiving exquisite food accompanied by excellent attentive service. This deck also is the home of the Grills Lounge which has its own private lift for access. Here you can enjoy pre dinner drink as well as afternoon tea providing of course that you are occupying the appropriate cabin grade. At the forward part of this deck is the Games Area. No not Table Tennis and Quoits but Croquet, Bowls and Paddle Tennis. A touch of England away from home.
What about decks 4 to 8 I hear you ask? Well, the Cabins or staterooms as cruise lines now call them occupy these decks. They begin with the Standard Inside Staterooms which, it has to be said, are very well appointed with on suite facilities, twin/double beds, dressing table etc. plus Interactive Television that have multi language film and music channels. Also Direct-Dial telephone, Refrigerator, a safe, and for the ladies, that all important hair dryer. Supplied for your use whilst on board is a Bath Robe & Slippers. On arrival there will be half bottle of sparkling wine awaiting you to celebrate the start of your cruise.
The staterooms then progress through those with outside view, to balcony, and finally the top level suites. The top level suites are something to behold. As an example the Queens Grill Penthouses vary between 520 – 707 square feet and have a separate living area. You will also have your own butler, marble bathrooms, whirlpool baths and large balcony’s. You can even have the refrigerator stocked with your own preference of drinks!! Your grade of cabin will dictate where you dine. Occupants of the super luxurious suites dine in the Queens Grill, Princess Grade staterooms dine in the Princess Grill whilst all other stateroom passengers dine in the Britannia Restaurant.
Whilst on board I had lunch in the Britannia Restaurant and it could not be faulted. For my Appetiser I chose the Cured Loch Duart Scottish Salmon followed by Grilled Fillet Steak, Blue Cheese Potato Mousseline, Haricots Verts, Shallots and a Vintage Port Wine Glaze. For Dessert it had to be the Crème Brulee for me. A selection of wines and despite the old adage of red meat, red wine, I personally prefer to drink what I enjoy and therefore chose the Chardonnay. The service from the waiters was excellent. Quick, efficient and polite. Little things stand out such as waiting for everyone at the table to finish before removing the plates.
Back to the question I asked at the start of this article, “Would it live up to my expectations?” The answer is a very definite yes. It not only lived up to them but surpassed them. Cunard are proud of their heritage with artefacts from its history all over the ship. From the shops in the Royal Arcade to the expansive sun bathing areas around the pools this ship has everything. With so many alternative bars, lounges and dining venues you would never be board. Add to this the excellent food and well appointed cabins and you have a ship for the discerning traveller. It is easy to understand why people who have sailed with Cunard remain loyal to the brand.
138 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.