by Gary Bembridge
May 26, 2011
We went on a short 5-night cruise out of Southampton round Europe on the newest of the Cunard Fleet, the Queen Elizabeth. The trip went to Amsterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre, and was one of a series of identical trips that they did to let people try out and see the new ship.
I had mixed views about the ship before going on her, as we had been on the Queen Victoria and this ship is pretty much the same ship and layout - and we had thought the Queen Victoria was okay - but had not blown us away.
I had also read very mixed reviews about the Queen Elizabeth, mostly related to the food and the service. It is always exciting though to go on a new ship, and of course even more so when one of the famous Cunard ones.
In the end, we loved the ship. It has great looking decor, very stylish and very Cunard. The service was outstanding across all areas of the ship. The food we had in Queens Grill was amazing. The ship, although has a stern like a block of apartments rather than the staggered back of the Queen Victoria and looks a bit blocky, looks great overall. Though, of course, it is a Vista Class style ship and so looks like many other ships. This is such a pity that no longer Cunard ships are one off and unique.
The ship was launched in October 2010, and has 1034 cabins and takes 2068 passengers in total, with a crew of 1005. On our trip there were 2009 passengers, and almost all from the UK as one would expect.
Here are my other observations and thoughts on the ship:
1: As mentioned, the design and look of the ship is very classy. It has an art deco feel, and is classy and rich looking. It is done with style. The grand lobby, for example, is very grand and has a "wow" factor. The Royal Arcade with the shops, grand staircase and casino is also grand. The carpets through out are very striking and worth paying some attention to! I do not usually note carpets but these are worth checking out!
2: Some of the other rooms and areas that were good include:
The Royal Court Theatre. This is a large room on 2 levels, and they have boxes along the side that for the production shows can be booked for $50 and you get finger desserts, champagne and a signed photograph of the cast.
Royal Arcade Shops. There is a good selection and the addition of a Fortnum and Masons is a nice touch. You can make and order hampers that they will deliver to your home address if you want. There is a large art shop and exhibition ares run by Claredon Art. There is a large casino with machines, including popular 1c and 2c ones.
Garden Lounge. This was not one of the areas I was impressed with, but the large room with glass roof was popular with many and was always busy. I thought it lacked some class and style, but clearly others liked it!
Apple iRange/ iStudy. Throughout the ship they use Apple, and they have a shop where they sell various Apple PCs, iPads and iPods and all the internet computers are Apple.
Commodore Lounge. This is a great bar and room right at the front of the ship with panoramic views. This is a great place to sit during the day, and great for evening drinks. In here are also the old QE2 bell and the bell from the original QE, as well as models of the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. Opposite is also the Yacht Club where they have a disco and band at night.
We made a video of much of the interior rooms, and another one of the exterior and decks, both of which can be watched below or on my YouTube Channel.
3: Queens Grill. We stayed in Queens Grill. On Cunard the type of cabin you stay in determines the restaurant that you eat in. There is the Brittannia Grill, the largest and on 2 levels. There there are the "Grills" with Princess and Queens. For those in Grills, the 2 restaurants are on 11 deck which is accessed via a card in the elevator. On the Grills area there is a lounge, the 2 restaurants and then an alfresco dining area and 2 large decks with very comfortable loungers.
We were in a very nice suite which was a Q3 Penthouse Suite. It is an unusual shape, as the video I made shows. It had a very comfortable Sealey bed, seating area, bar area, bathroom and shower and separate basin and toilet. There are huge amounts of storage space. You get canapes each evening and a bar with soft drinks, and the choice of 2 bottles of spirits.
As mentioned, the food in Queens Grill is excellent and there is huge choice, including both a set menu choice and an a la carte at dinner.
See all my photos of the ship: