To put this review in perspective, here is some background. We cruise this segment almost every year at the same time for our wedding anniversary, using Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Cunard from Hong Kong back to Singapore. We also love dancing and spend most of each evening on the dance floor. So the starting and ending ports are all that matter and the ports in between, we have been to more times than we care too.
We went with pretty high expectations after wonderful experiences on the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary, we were quite disappointed with the Queen Elizabeth.
Embarkation in Hong Kong was a breeze, we arrived a few hours before the sated embarkation time ( at 1pm instead of 3:30pm) and encountered no queues anywhere. Our complaint was that the staff posted around the terminal building to direct people were not very proactive and maybe a bit racist. A couple dragging a carryon bag with Cunard tags and a sheaf of documents would obviously be looking for the Cunard check-in desk, no? They did not smile or point the way out to us but were quick to greet and direct any Caucasian walking past, even if they did not have a suitcase!
We were able to go straight to our cabin which was ready, with a bottle of champagne chilling on the table.
Our cabin was quite large(see cabin review) and close to all the things we wanted to get to however, very noisy on the last night as it was next to all the crew working areas.
We booked early and so had early seating with a quiet table for 2, much in demand I heard, which was set well away from other tables- unlike another cruise where it was separated from the next table by 10cm.
Our waiter was the 2nd worst we have had on any cruise. He was unsmiling, distracted and constantly facing away from his tables, fiddling with the silverware over and over instead of looking at his tables to see if we needed anything. He did not try to make any conversation not even to greet us on arrival! He never tried to make any food recommendations, never asked the standard " how is everything?", did not remember simple requests from the previous night (I asked for a slice of lemon in my water, the next night there was a small plate of sliced lemons on his service table but he never brought it to us). We had excellent service from other wait staff at lunch and breakfast so perhaps it was just the one person. Unfortunately the MDR waiter is the person we interact with the most on a cruise and so this gave a poor impression of the service levels.
We had informed Cunard that we were celebrating our anniversary. We got a card in the room but not a whisper in the dining room.
Food was disappointing but beautifully plated. All the fish was dry and over cooked. The only edible poultry was the duck and even that was just passable. Only the red meats were good. The side dishes did not complement the mains well.
We went for the afternoon tea on the first day, white gloved service wasn't too happy we asked for Earl Grey instead of the generic tea they were serving. Sandwiches were dry and fillings were miserly. They only had dry raisin scones that were COLD! Cakes were poor quality ( we later found that they use Cadbury's cooking chocolate now - so brownies and chocolate cake did not taste of chocolate!).We did not bother to make it for subsequent teas. In previous cruises, this was one of the highlights of the afternoons.
The best part of the cruise was the dance lessons - Sergey and Olga were amazing. They were able to teach more than 60 people, mostly beginners, in 45 minutes to dance quite complicated steps with good technique. Although we already dance well, we were still able to learn a thing or two from them.
We spent most evenings on the dance floor in the Queens Room. It was large and a beautiful space to dance in when there was recorded music. The band spoilt it a little as they were not open to requests and there was a lot of down time between songs. They said they had a set of songs to play ( hence not keen to allow requests and yet did not seem to know which song it was they were going to play next and there was a lot of discussion between members before playing each song). The vocalist really ruined it. Everytime he appeared, you could almost hear the groans from the serious dancers. He was full of himself and used the same lame jokes every night that were very insulting and disrescpectful of his several ex-wives. Lots of talk before each song, called out the wrong dance ( could not tell the difference between a Viennese waltz and a Slow waltz) and switched tempos ( a big no-no in dance music) midway and always ended with a sudden stop which gave no time for any nice end to our dancing.
The dance hosts on this cruise were all good dancers and all the single ladies seemed well catered to.
We enjoyed having a matinee show in the Royal Theatre called La Danza - put up by the ships singers and dancers. They were not very good but certainly helped pass the time nicely. The magician/comedian on one of the nights was very entertaining.
The rest of the programming was quite boring with hardly anything of interest to do in the afternoons.
We did not join in the ship excursions as we had already visited both ports ( Nha Trang and Phu My) several times. Instead we took the free shuttle to Cho Dam ( market and bought lots of fish sauce - a specialty of Nha Trang and vietnamese coffee, followed by a very cheap and excellent massage at Sen Spa. We took a small group tour ( just 4 of us) with " Best Tours in Vung Tau" to visit the Long Phouc tunnels, local market and a fruit farm with an excellent home cooked lunch and accompanied by a very hospitable guide-owner. Both activities are highly recommended for people who have already done the usual tours in the 2 ports.
Nha Trang was a tender port and it was a nightmare. While I totally understand the extra caution that QE was taking ( after the tragic incident they had on the same sector 2 years ago). Only 3 tenders were running and the waiting time to board one was almost 2 hours. We witnessed a poor family of 8 given tickets for tender number 22 who were told to go away for a coffee and come back in 45 minutes as the Queens Room was too full ( we were told the same thing as we were behind them and given the a number for 2 boats later). We remained in the Queens Room. No annoucements were made in the ship when the tender numbers were called, only in the Queens Room. When that family came back 35 minutes later, they were told they had missed their boat and given new tickets for 32! which meant another 1 and a half hour wait. Amazingly they remained cool! Perhaps there were safety constraints that prevented putting on more tenders so the wait may have been unavoidable BUT there were many ways they could have improved the experience like providing pastries and coffee while people waited, making ship wide annoucements if tender numbers came up before the expected time etc which they did not do. I was not impressed.
As Gold members we had 2 hours of free internet each which was a nice perk. The connection was slow but good enough for confirming tours and quick checkins home. Part of the thing about cruising is getting away from computers anyway.
It was the shortest cruise we had on Cunard ( previous ones were 8 and 9 days) but we were actually quite glad to get home in Singapore as the overall experience was not great. We did self help disembarkation in Singapore at 7am and it was quick and efficient as usual. There was a little glitch at immigration as they had not put up the guide ropes to allow Singaporean passengers to use the automated passports gates, soon rectified. Lots of taxis were waiting so we did not have to use Uber.
We will probably cruise Cunard again but we will take the Queen Mary and never Queen Elizabeth.
Much bigger than our previous Standard inside with a 2 seater sofa and 2 comfortable chairs ( instead of just 1 chair and no sofa). Much more room and worth the extra $20 a night.
Our room was comfortable and quiet until the night before disembarkation when there was a persistent thumping sound all through the entire night, making for a totally sleepless night. It sounded like suitcases rolling around and knocking on walls. This room was next to a lot of the crew operations area and I suspect the luggage hold.
frenetic and full of good food.
We went out to the City to Stanley and the SaiKung GeoPark - wonderful to get away and enjoy nature.
Home! Full of exciting options for tourists. Lots of information available online can't possibly do justice to it on this platform.
Quick tip - the MRT station is just a short walk away from the cruise terminal, taxis are cheap, Gardens by the Bay is beautiful and close to the ships.
Small group tour off the beaten track to visit Long Phuoc tunnels - much closer to the port than CuChi tunnels. Followed by a home cooked lunch at the guide's farm. A very personal and memorable experience.View All undefined undefined Reviews