Where to start, stopped overnight 40 miles away in a hotel, visited relatives in Southampton during the morning then onto the harbour, how simple is this cruising, from entering the security surrounding the cunard area, parked up the car in an ordered fashion. Our time for arrival was 1500 and we were in the car queue for 1230 and expecting a long wait. Within twenty minutes we were directed to the nearest row to the ship, bags taken from us, car also taken off us,(cost of local parking 85 pounds for the week).
Then into the main waiting area, (drinks available) and waiting for our letter to be called out, this must have taken another twenty minutes and we are off to the booking in officer. At this point we had communicated with at least six different employees and they were smart, friendly and above all apparently happy! Another twenty minutes and we were walking onto the ship. The smoothest most uneventful not stressful hour we have ever spent just before any holiday.
The cabin, suite 1001, clean and tidy, big enough for at least a family of four and there was just the two of us, we were very happy with the room and the bottle of champagne provided by Cunard. A room bar with (expensive) water, tinned drinks but room for our use. A very comfy bed and pillows, the usual gowns and slippers, useful ship information including layout etc. We then toured what ended up to be a very smart, impressive ship. The week consisted of eating, dancing, drinking, all very friendly and lots of room for walking and 'people watching'. The food was as expected from a ship of this standard and quality, with the dietary requirements met without any problem by professional and competent staff who were also very friendly. Now to look at the trip itself which included stops at, Stavanger, aalesund, bergen and Geiranger, each was different in its own way and yes expensive to eat, drink and shop, but with a little bit of common sense i.e. eat a hearty breakfast before going ashore, will cut the costs.
On board entertainment was from a couple of pianists, a talented harpist and a couple of smaller groups, all of whom worked hard every evening to account for all tastes however in the theatre, all the evenings were in the form of tasters, a little bit of everything, on previous cruises with other companies the entertainment teams worked hard in all parts of the days events, not on the Queen Elizabeth though when the singers and dancers only provided two shows an evening. On the third evening there was a much publicised theatrical event (again two shows) with staff trying to be Americans for the evening acting in two Paul Simon numbers, poorly acted with little or no entertaining story line. Pity but not to detract from the rest of a wonderful cruise.