Queen Elizabeth Cruise Review by Eric Potts: More Grey Star than White Star
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More Grey Star than White Star
To be fair our perspective will have been affected by the serious difficulty we had in getting to Southampton from Scotland because of the appalling weather. The colder weather also affected even Spain and Portugal to a degree.
But the ship, though very attractive, did not seem quite ready to go. One of the three propulsion pods was not working, so that they had to fly out an engineer from Italy to Gran Canaria to try to fix it: this on a brand new ship!
The staff need much more training and supervision, because they fell down on many things, small in themselves but cumulatively giving a less than excellent impression - and we have learned to expect excellence from Cunard.
We couldn't get into the island of La Palma because of winds; so there was an extra at sea day. Then getting into Funchal resulted in the bumpiest ride we've ever experienced.
We had an outbreak of norovirus. It was contained but it led, reasonably, to various restrictions on More board. There was no self-service in the Lido - fair enough - but the Lido was then badly managed: not enough staff, not enough areas open for those queuing, leading to long queues at main meal times, and staff not being very helpful at all. The captain advised people to dine in the main restaurants instead, bu they didn't extend the restaurant hours to compensate.
The captain seemed very casual about all this and we barely heard the word "Sorry".
I agree with those who say the drinks prices are outrageous, especially with the automatic 15% surcharge.
We do not like either the automatic addition of $11 or $13 per person a day to your onboard bill for general gratuities (Hotel and Dining Charge it's called). True, you are given warning of this. We now go to the Purser's Office on the last but one day and say we do not wish to pay this charge. It is in fact optional, but you do have to personally opt out like this. In fairness, we've never had a problem in getting the amount dropped. A brief explanation such as "We prefer to tip people directly" will satisfy the desk clerk.
But, for the positives: we just loved the alternative dining in the Verandah. Superb food, a succession of delights, excellent service and fairly priced. Book a table and its your for the duration - one night my wife and I entered at 7.30 and left just before ten feeling relaxed and very well fed and watered.
The Royal Spa is very good too - a day pass for $35 to the steam and hot rooms,, warm beds, spa pool etc, on a do it yourself basis. Luxury.
In summary, a lovely ship and we will go again, but quite a lot needs to be done before they can truly talk about "White Star Service."
Cadiz - not included in the ports for review below: a lovely city, excellent for ambling round in an unplanned way, lots of serendipity and you can't really get lost. Less
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Cabin review: Queen Elizabeth Balcony Deck 6 6157
Our cabin was right opposite a stairway. This made it very convenient but there was some noise,mainly from early risers, especially as the stewards sometimes parked there trolley outside.
Port and Shore Excursions
There is now a supertram service to La Laguna, the older capital just a few miles away. It's well worth the half hour journey. Trams run at least every 15 minutes. Buy your ticket from a machine at the tram stop (press the button with a Union Jack to get instructions in English). It's flat fare system, it cost us €2.30 for a return journey. Take the tram marked La Trinidad. Stay on to the end of the line of the uphill journey. The terminus is in a nondescript street (though I had a superb kebab in a restaurant there), but if you walk forward and go left at the top you will be into the old city. The cathedral was closed for repairs, but not far away is the lovely old church of the Conception. (NB Remember that just about everything is closed in the afternoon for siesta, including churches). The cafe Don Tito can be recommended, especially if you like crepes!
In early December though it was cold, 5 or 6 degrees only. We think that's unusual: on local TV they were getting very excited about the snow in the hills not far away.
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