Queen Elizabeth Cruise Review by kohl57
- Sail Date: August 2018
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Princess Suite
Our second cruise (and for me, my 11th Cunard cruise/crossing since 1977) in QUEEN ELIZABETH numbers among the very best… in all departments and for all good reasons.
This was our first Princess Grill experience in QE having enjoyed the Grills in QE2 and QM2 and I’d have to rate it the best (even more than QM2 Queens Grill) in service, cuisine and especially the “ship within a ship” experience imparted by the private deck space and lounge.
Cuisine: consistently excellent and for breakfast, luncheon and dinner. We certainly had no reason or need to dine elsewhere so we enjoyed one of the great benefits of the Grills: having your own private table throughout and the same stewards who came to know our preferences. This something you’ll never get with “freedom” dining or open sittings. The menu was fulsome and varied, sufficiently tempting that we seldom availed ourselves of the additional “a la carte” menu except for the treat of Dover sole and a superb rack of lamb. The preparation, presentation etc of every dish was outstanding abetted by an excellent wine by the glass selection. Cunard also sets a proper table with fish forks/knives and soup spoons and if you’ve ever sailed in an American market ship you will appreciate this. Make no mistake this is classic Old School Ocean Liner dining that few if any lines can match, including Oceania. A fascinating tour of the Grills galley showed the meticulous planning and skill that goes into it, too. None of this happens by accident and efforts pay off.
Service: “Madam, nothing is too much trouble up here” said a steward to a diner at the next table during our first dinner aboard. And that pretty summed up the service we enjoyed and not just in the Grills decks and dining room, but throughout the entire ship. We never encountered a single crew member who was not unfailing pleasant, personable and professional. The bar service was outstanding. And unlike last year’s cruise, the deck service was, too. The Princess Grill wine steward (from Serbia) was exceptional and personable as were our two table stewards, both from India. Our cabin stewardess, Rowena, was simply the best in some 40 years of cruising… simply brilliant. So efficient, we never once came back from breakfast without the cabin "done" and immaculate. The service on the Grills open decks is.. amazing. Cold towels, fruit, sandwiches, ice cream and full afternoon is served by trolley, something we remember on QE2 in First Class “back in the day”.
Cabin: We had a P2 on Deck Four and found it larger that it appears in photos and deck place. There was ample hanging space in the walk-in closet, but the drawer space is almost non existent. Little details like hat hooks and a tie hanging rail are also much missed. My wife loved the full tub bath, too. But the bathroom is nothing like the gorgeous luxurious ones on Oceania’s MARINA and RIVIERA. And yes everything…. Is beige. The veranda furniture, too, is leagues behind that expected for suites on most ships.
Décor: And yes everything on QUEEN ELIZABETH is beige. Or brown. Or shades in between. Oh except the endless sheets of pale gray sheeting that line the endless accommodation passageways. It’s relentlessly depressing. Made worse by the “Art Something” decorative touches that’s supposed to evoke the Great Liners and instead often looks like the phony wood fascia board on 1970s cars. QE is due for a refit this November and one can only hope someone discovers there are other colours in the sample book instead of dung brown and band-aid beige.
Condition: overall the ship was in better condition in terms of paint work etc. than last year. We did have two bouts of plumbing troubles including about five hours with no hot water. But yes carpets and upholstery need wholesale replacement. It was all very clean just a bit tired.
Entertainment: we are not into cruise ship “shows” etc, but really enjoyed evenings in the Yacht Club with an excellent band (as good as last years) and great atmosphere. The string orchestra was good, too. The ship has two pianists and oddly the best (by far), the delightful Campbell Simpson, was related to the Midships Lobby most evenings.
Ports etc: a wonderful itinerary with lots of sea days abetted by simply wonderful weather contributed enormously to a good time. Sailing into and out of Venice by ship remains sublime even if the place is heaving with selfie stick tourists. Dubrovnik was far worse and that once enchanting place has been simply and utterly ruined by “Game of Thrones” groupies. We don’t ever want to go there again. Sibenik, on the other hand, was charming and delightful. As was the splendid Spanish city of Valencia. The only tour we did was Giardini Naxos (Taormina) which was to the various villages used in the filming of the “Godfather” films and a wonderful introduction to the beauty of the Sicilian coast and hilltop villages. Cunard does an enviable job with tendering in ports and general organization.
QUEEN ELIZABETH Princess Grill is an exemplary product across the board and a now rare exemplar of “proper” traditional ocean liner cruising. It’s adult, it’s quiet, it’s elegant and it’s adult… not some floating theme park or Las Vegas resort. Long may Cunard remain so! We only lament Cunard has decided to all but give up its traditional cruises to the Med... BIG mistake!! Not everyone wants the Baltic and Scandinavia.
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Generally pleasant and comfortable and well laid out, biggest negative is the relentlessly depressing beige everything.
Good hanging space, very poor drawer space
OK bathroom with full tub bath but nothing remotely luxurious as found on Oceania etc.
Balcony furniture surprising basic