Looking at some of the reviews of Queen Elizabeth we feared the worst. However we thought a 5 day cruise was not too much of a risk and decided to make our own minds up. It was nowhere near the disaster others have painted; all I can say is that they must be very hard to please.
Firstly the plus points
1) The ship itself is just so elegant. Its Art Deco design, carefully considered colour schemes, attractive and comfortable furniture everywhere all added up to what we considered our favourite ship now
2) Perhaps Cunard have taken the criticism to heart for we found all meals in the Britannia to be excellent; in fact far better than in the Queen Mary equivalent. The service was also fast and friendly
3) We tried the Oriental speciality one night and it was delightful and the $10 extra was reasonable compared to other lines.
4) The lunches in the Golden Lion pub were lovely with truly authentic British Fish & Chips. This was so refreshing having just sampled NCL's abomination
5) We thought the white-gloved served afternoon tea was beautiful, truly White Star line service
6) We found the entertainment terrific, from the shows in the theatre, to classy musicians dotted around the ship. We treated ourselves to a private box for one show which included a half bottle of good champagne; tremendous value. The theatre was also about the nearest we have found to an authentic West End venue
7) I dont understand people's comments about bad service, we found superb service everywhere except at the Pursers Office reception - see minus points
8) After being constantly harassed on NCL to buy drinks any time we halted, it was literally refreshing to know the service was at hand if required but not compulsory or over-invasive on QE. It was also great not to have waiters with drinks constantly blocking your vision in the theatre during a performance
9) The sensible limitation of public announcements and in English only. I suppose an advantage on being on a British/American oriented ship, but on MSC we got everything repeated in 5 languages.
1) The aforementioned Pursers Office reception. I have to agree with member The Brick - you would have thought we were speaking a foreign language to them. Please Cunard tell you staff behind the counter that it is perfectly alright to smile now and then; in fact it does help when customers are generally putting awkward questions to them
2) The Lido buffet. What a baffling layout. You did however work up an appetite walking the mileage necessary to find all that you wanted. Here the service was very lazy with often empty trays of food. There were times when the coffee machine was empty and also the cream jug too.
3) Looking forward to docking at the Cruise Terminal in Amsterdam and just walking into the city centre as off previous ships, boy were we disappointed to find ourselves in a dismal commercial dockyard 30 minutes drive away. The same happened in Zeebrugge and Le Havre; I can only presume they are saving money on port fees and blow the customer
4) I appreciate the name of the game these days is to get you onto expensive tours, so port information is carefully limited. We made our own way to Ostende on public transport and was overwhelmed to stumble across a ship festival going on with all sorts of historic vessels gathered. There were craft & food stalls together with entertainments too. A really special day, but no thanks to Cunard's info. Surely they missed out on a great tour opportunity there.
Summing up we found the Queen Elizabeth an absolute delight and intend to sail on her again. However, spoiling and halfpence of tar saying comes to mind. If Cunard just addressed a few minor points it could be perfect.