Since we first started cruising, about 4 years ago, we always wanted to try Cunard and see what the real difference was at this level of cruising. This was our 15th cruise so we have a few ships to compare it to.
First impressions were amazing. Gorgeous decor, lovely stateroom, beautiful rooms to relax in, we were very impressed. On sailing might, we went to the Verndah restaurant which was first class, even the following night in the Britannia dining room, the food and service were top notch as was the first couple of shows that we went to in the main theatre. At this point of the cruise this was 'best cruise ever' material.
Then we came to Sydney and 1700 people disembarked, with 1700 new people embarking and for what we could see a lot of first time cruisers, getting the chance to experience Cunard at a reasonably lower cost, given that this was only a 5 day cruise, to Tasmania and back.
The whole vibe of the ship changed, people were older loud, rude and obnoxious, the English Pub was always full, so Trivia was standing room only, the buffet was full and almost impossible to get a seat there for breakfast. There were many old people with scooters and walking frames. I have never seen people with walking frames on a disco floor, but I guess there is a first time for everything and good on them for giving it a go!
We really were ready to disembark after 9 days, a first for us.
All in all QE is a beautiful ship with first class food and service but maybe it's that we are just not old enough.
We have had several obstructed view balconies on several cruise lines before and it has not been an issue, with usually just the lifeboat below the balcony, obstructing the view of the sea below. However this room ids a different matter with a large piece of lifting machinery in front, so the view is very restricted. Both rooms either side were not that restricted, so I would definitely warn against this room, unless it is cheaper than any other, which it wasn't.
Other than that the room itself was lovely. Plenty of room, great wardrobe storage, tea and coffee making facilities and UK and EU sockets with 110 volt and 220 volt outputs. The water pressure in the shower was amazing too. Our room steward kept the room immaculate every day and was really polite.