We had a fantastic time sailing around the Greek Isles and Turkey on the Queen Elizabeth. The ship is on the subdued side, activity and decor-wise, which meant we enjoyed it much more than some other lines we've been on. We're youngish for cruising -- I'm in my early 30s. But we loved the classic nature of this ship with its large library, vintage photographs and mosaics, nautical themed paintings, and deco design. It was nice to hear the captain describe all his maneuvering whenever we left port, and we liked watching the dancing in the ballroom. We live in the US, although I'm from Australia, so we also enjoyed the British touches like the pub, real scones and cream, baked beans for breakfast, etc.. We also found the food overall to be better than expected based on other reviews.
We were traveling with a 22 month old, and while there was no child care for her, which was a shame, there was an area she could play in with toys, and books that we could take back to our cabin. We More
did not use the night nursery as we were diligent about wanting to keep her usual night time routine so she wouldn't wake in the night. The dining room staff were extremely friendly and accommodating, allowing us to order our meals a night in advance so we wouldn't have to be waiting with a restless toddler for the first course to arrive. She made an absolute disaster of the table every night, but the staff were all patient and never made us feel bad. Overall she was pretty well behaved and made friends with a couple of the other older passengers.
The itinerary was outstanding. We spent a week in Athens ahead of the cruise and recommend that general approach for anyone traveling across timezones with a toddler. It took her five nights to get over jetlag and sleep through the night, and if those five nights had been on the ship, with a port a day, we would have been exhausted. Instead we got to see Athens in a leisurely manner, which in of itself was lovely, and then could enjoy the cruise.
We got a great deal on this cruise. We will cruise Cunard again, but may have to wait for another affordable fare to come along. Less
Queen Elizabeth Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean
This rating is for Ephesus. We took a private tour with No Frills Ephesus, a fantastic hassle-free tour company. They picked us up and took us to the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus (including the Terrace Houses), lunch, the museum, and back to the port. The drive is pretty, though an agricultural and mountainous area of Turkey. The company was very accommodating of our toddler, and also flexible, fun, and knowledgeable. The sites were amazing, particularly the mosaics in the terrace houses, and the extensive ruins at Ephesus.
The rating is for Olympia of course. It's an evocative site that doesn't have the majesty of some other ancient ruins, but has a wandering pastoral quality that is charming. Wildflowers. The starting strip of the stadium is still there, and the whole area is lovely to hike through. There are some magnificent works in the museum. We caught the train. The times were posted with a whiteboard marker and did not reflect the times on the website, but we had no problem getting to the site and back. It looks like they time the trains to accommodate cruise ship passengers. If for some reason the train doesn't work out, there were tour guides with mini buses at the port looking to fill group tours.
Wonderful port. We were lucky enough to have warm weather, even though it was early November. We took the Cunard shuttle to town, then walked to the dock for the boat to Delos. The morning times had been cancelled so a handful of people were milling around wondering when the boat would leave. Someone showed up and told us that it would leave an hour later than the usual posted time. We were able to get there and back without a problem. Delos was fantastic. We hiked up to where some of the more impressive murals are, and visited the museum, then got back to Mykonos with enough time to eat lunch and go for a quick swim in the town beach.