We have sailed with other cruise lines a number of times and we were booked on a trans-Atlantic sailing with one of those other lines when we looked into the possibility of arriving at the departure point by taking the Queen Mary to England. We thought that as opposed to flying, taking the Queen Mary would be an alternate method of getting to Southampton and it would allow us to experience travel on the Cunard line. In researching the Queen Mary, we came across the Queen Elizabeth Mediterranean Europe sailing. The itinerary, price and timing were excellent so we booked.
We arrived in Southampton four days before our sailing and checked into a historic (and supposedly haunted), hotel in the old town. As expected, we did not see any ghosts but we loved the ambiance of a storied building with a bit of quirkiness. We also enjoyed a day trip to Winchester which was easily achieved by taking a local bus and touring on our own.
On the day of departure, 15 October, 2018, we headed to the port around 12:10pm. I would be remiss if I did not comment on the excellent boarding process. Never have we encountered such a smooth, seamless and speedy check-in as we did with this sailing. Cunard set a service standard with its handling of the check-in, security screening and overall boarding experience. From the time we arrived to the time we entered our cabin, we were welcomed and made to feel like we were valued guests. Given that this was our first sailing with the Cunard line, we were very impressed.
Our cabin was 8129 which falls into category “BC”. It is an irregular sized room because it is at the juncture where the ship has a bubble (there are several areas where the ship juts out). Consequently, the cabin is a bit irregular in size which gives it fractionally more space than other BC cabins. It also meant that the balcony is a little larger as well as it is on an angle. One downside to that angle is the wind. When the ship is in motion, we seemed to get a lot of wind on our balcony. In the summer it would be great but in October, it often made it chilly to sit out and read.
The bathroom was a good size and fairly consistent in size with those found on ships associated with other cruise lines (perhaps even fractionally larger).