Review: Queen Elizabeth
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Classic elegance on Queen Elizabeth
150 people found this review helpful
This is the third of three mini cruises that we are taking this year. After a very disappointing first cruise on Azura, we were worried that Carnival UK were cutting back on both their brands, but we need not have worried. We had a wonderful short cruise in the classic elegance of Queen Elizabeth.
We planned to arrive early as there were four ships in dock on the day of our departure, including Royal Princess at Ocean Terminal so we feared that Dock Gate 4 might be grid locked. As it turned out, we drove directly through the gate at 10.35 and had deposited the car, checked in and passed through security to be in the departure lounge before 11.00. We were invited to board a little after 12.00 and the cabins were ready for us.
We deposited our bags and had lunch in the Lido. First pleasant surprise, it was not crowded and the food quality and choice was very good.
We took the opportunity to explore the ship after lunch and were again very pleasantly surprised. There are some lovely rooms and overall, we think that Queen Elizabeth is the most elegant of the three Queens.
Having explored the ship we went back to our cabin to unpack the few things we needed for two nights. The cabin was clean and functional with an enormous amount of storage space, a small dressing table and a comfortable 2 seat settee. The balcony was spacious and had clear views in all directions. Being on deck 8, there was some clattering of furniture on the open deck above but nothing too serious. Being right at the back of the ship, there was an amount of shimmy in the structure, but again nothing too serious on our calm voyage.
The disappointment was the bathroom, it had poor lighting and for a relatively new ship, the dreaded shower curtain and a shower with a mind of its own when it comes to water temperature.
Our first dinner was in the Britannia restaurant where the service was efficient if not particularly friendly. The food was again very good in terms of taste, quality and quantity. The food was significantly better than P&O and with everything served on the plate, it looked attractive and was nice and hot. (Why P&O pretend to offer silver service by throwing a few veg on your plate is beyond me). Whilst the food and service was good, I have to say that being stuck on a table with four "Cunarders" was a real pain. They never stopped moaning about how standards had dropped, "it was much better of QEII", and were complaining about the new pricing system and the fact that some get the cruise at short notice at low prices. They then went on to say that they could never try anything else. OK, get real and either put up or shut up. Perhaps Cunard could arrange to heard these "Cunarders" into one area of the dining room so that they do not spoil the dining experience of other guests who dare to try other cruise lines or are perhaps new to cruising. Note to ask for a table for 2 next time we book with Cunard.
Breakfast in the Britannia was also very good and relaxed with a nice choice on the cruise day but this was reduced somewhat on the disembarkation day.
For our second evening meal we had a booking in the Veranda. This was a superb experience and the total cost of the different items compared very well with other company alternative dining restaurants. The menu was imaginative and the service excellent. In our experience, Jean Marie's menu in the Veranda is far superior to the Todd English restaurants so it would be nice to see Veranda on the other Queens. Our Veranda experience came close to the Celebrity Ocean Liners restaurants and was not far behind the Oceania offer on Marina and Riviera.
The staff overall were very effective and efficient, but did not have the friendliness of the Royal Caribbean staff. The one exception was the bar service in the Commodore Club where we waited 20 mins. for a drink before dinner.
Disembarkation was as easy as joining the ship. We were allocated a time of 09.00 but got to our designated meeting point just before 08.00. At 08.00 sharp, the Captain announced that everything was ashore and they were starting disembarkation. At 08.10 we were invited to leave the ship and we were in our car driving out of Dock Gate 4 at 08.25.
I mentioned at the start of this review that this was the first of three mini cruises we planned for this year, all were 2 night cruises, and all were around the £200 per person for a guaranteed balcony cabin. P&O Azura was first when we went to Guernsey, Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas was second when we went to Le Havre and Queen Elizabeth was the third and we sailed to Zeebrugger.
We were very disappointed with Azura and will not be trying P&O again. The service was lacklustre and at times curt, the cabin was very small and the food quality very patchy, especially in the buffets. What really got us was the need to queue for ages to get on the ship, to get off the ship and tendering was a joke.
We really enjoyed Independence of the Seas and whilst it is not without a few challenges, the overall experience was good and the ship is stunning in many ways and the food and service were better than we expected. The cabin was great and the staff were very friendly. RCI manage to move passengers around and on and off the ship with ease and the entertainment, especially the ice show was spectacular.
Cunard well lived up to expectations and Queen Elizabeth is a really elegant ship. Whilst this experience was very different to Independence of the Seas, it was, excellent in almost every respect.
We are cruising with Celebrity again next but will be back with Cunard and Royal Caribbean again before too long.
150 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.