Ok, first time we have written a review, but not first time cruisers, actually this was our 18th cruise, which i note only to make the point that we have been about a bit. Having cruised twice on Queen Victoria, we thought we would like a trip on "Elizabeth" for a change. Lets be clear from the start, it is a beautiful ship, and we did overall enjoy the experience, but all this hype about "White Star Service" , I think not. The service in the Britannia Retaurant in particular was not in the same league as Celebrity, and not even close to the service on Q Victoria. In general, and especially in the Lido, the whole process was 'reactionary' as opposed to 'pro actionary'. The food trays, cutlery, soft drinks, coffee, etc., were often all gone, and you had to flag this to someone rather than anyone actually checking this on a regular basis and staying on top of it. The entertainment was generally good,we have always preferred the ships singers and dancers shows rather than the 'star' guests, and were happy with these shows, but one of the guest singers would not have been on stage more than 5 mins in my home town, I have genuinely seen better pub acts than him. Regarding shore excursions, we only booked two having been to this area before, one of them virtually compulsory in St Petersburg. The cost of these shore excursions is now getting way beyond the joke, and very few are worth the cost, we did the " hop on hop off" bus in Copenhagen, which was well worth it, picked up and dropped off at the ship, a good itenary, at your own pace without a long lecure you don't want, and all for 20 Euro each.
The port guides issued on board are also well out of date. They genarally tell you things like the name of the street the best shops are in, and where the shuttle bus will drop you off etc., then you look at the map provided to find these places, and of course they are not named on the map??? One of the better moments was the amazing send off we had from the people of Hamburg, as this was the ships maiden visit there. We got the full monty, tug shooting water high into the air, mississipi stern wheeler alonside, along with a myriad of other small craft, and what must have been a few thousand people along the river bank to wave the ship off, quite moving. On the down side, the ship called at Hamburg twice, proving a 2 nights cruise from Southampton to Hamburg out, and Hamburg to Southampton on the return; these legs proved to be nothing more than a glorified ferry trip in both directions, with the majority showing no intentions of complying with the required dress for the day. Cunard clearly state in their brochures and on board ship that ypu are required to meet the dress codes on these ships, but no-one bats and eye when they just stroll in to the dining roomin jeans and a tee shirt ??., these are YOUR rules Cunard, not mine, how about enforcing them?? In the main, I feel that they are prcing themselves out of the market on all the additional things involved such as photo's, drinks, shore excursions etc, and with the apparent could' care less approach to dress code, thay will eventually lower all the standards. We sat one night and made a list of around 15 points where Celebrity are better then Cunard.