Just returned from a superb 10 day cruise on the Queen Elizabeth.
This was our third cruise and the second time on Queen Elizabeth, first cruising with her in 2011. This time we were booked into a Princess Grill suite and were upgraded from a P2 to P1, cabin 8081. Our last experience was in a Britannia balcony cabin number 8020, so both on deck eight. We had a fantastic time on board last time but have to say that our most recent cruise was even better. Partly due to the slightly larger cabin and bathroom but mainly because of the Princess Grills restaurant which was superb.
The additional benefits of the exclusive Grills upper decks and Grills Lounge were also really nice. The upper grills decks are much less crowded and have great views They also have more comfortable cushioned loungers and there are always plenty available what ever the time of day.
The overall service and attention to detail throughout the ship was also excellent.
Embarkation was quick and easy. We had left our car at Heathrow in readiness for our return flight from Rome and booked a Transfer to Southampton with Cruise Connections. The coach was on time at 10.30am and the transfer to Southampton took about 2 hours arriving at 12.30pm. We had priority boarding and were on the ship in about 15 minutes. We went straight to our cabin and our cases arrived within a few minutes. A really good start.
Our Princess Grill cabin number 8081 was situated on deck 8 mid ships and is very convenient for getting around the ship. Lifts are close by and the Lido is just a few seconds away as is the Princess Grills Restaurant. The cabin was immaculate and larger than our previous experience in a Britannia balcony cabin. The bed as before was very very comfortable and I liked having a full size bath in the bathroom. The shower over the bath was ok but is fixed at a rather low height.
We had clear unobstructed views from the balcony, which had two relining chairs and foot stalls together with a small table.
There was no noise from the nearby lifts or crew access doors which are situated just down the corridor although there is noise from above. The cabin is situated underneath the entrance to the Lido which is partly carpeted and partly tiled so footsteps can be heard during busy periods. There is also a store area above and some noise can be heard from this area every morning around 6am. It only lasts briefly so was not a big issue. Because we booked a Getaway Cruise we did not have a cabin choice, but if we had a choice we would select a different cabin next time.
Our impression was that there were many more younger guests this time compared to our previous Cunard cruise. By young I mean 40 to 55. There were also a number of guests in there 20's and 30's,together with many in there 60,s and 70's so overall a nice mix and quite different from our cruise in 2011 which I would say averaged nearer 70.
We had the sad announcement on our first sea day by the captain that Sir David Frost had passed away in his stateroom in the early hours. This really was a shock.
The general entertainment was ok but not brilliant although the Comedian John Evans was hilarious and the Flautist Suzanne Godfrey was really entertaining.
We went to a couple of evening dances in the Queens room, a 50's and 60's night and the Strictly Starlight Ball which were good fun and absolutely packed which made for a great atmosphere.
Our first port was Lisbon. Its an impressive approach up the Tagus passing under the 25th of April Bridge which looks a bit like the Golden Gate. Here we just chose a hop on hop off bus tour which was very good. Our next port was Gibraltar and as we had been hear before we got a taxi in (£4 return) to do some shopping for a couple of hours and then returned to the ship.
Cartagena was our next port of call and we made use of the ships shuttle service to take us to the centre and we walked from there. Nice historic port with quite a bit to see, but we ended up in a small bar on the seafront with a cool larger.
Barcelona was our next stop and again we made use of the ships shuttle bus and then toured around the city on the hop on buses and got off at La Rambla to walk back and shop. Barcelona is a very busy port, particularly the day we visited as there were 7 cruise ships in port. Marseilles, Monte Carlo and Florence were our remaining stops, Florence being our favorite. We took a ship tour bus into Florence. The travel time was about 1.5 hours and we then spent the day exploring on our own. Many beautiful designer shops and a great market together with many historical buildings.
Sadly the cruise was all too quickly over when we reached Civitavecchia the next morning when we disembarked. Disembarkation was at 7.30am and took about 20 minutes. Our cases were quickly found and we boarded the Cunard coach to transfer us to the airport. Check in took about 25 minutes and the flight was on time but was delayed 30 minutes before take off at 12.15pm. We were still back at Heathrow and at our hotel to collect the car by 2.45pm UK time so quite a stress fee trip back.
Overall this was an excellent cruise particularly the Princess Grill Restaurant which really made the holiday for us. Service and politeness of the staff throughout the ship was excellent. Our cabin steward Nestor was hardly seen but always kept our cabin spotless.
We have booked a short 4 night cruise on the Queen Mary in December so will be interested to experience this ship also, and we are already planning a longer cruise with Cunard next year.