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Into each life some rain must fall and in my case it came in the form of a bucketful delivered on Day 12 of the cruise. But before sharing the details, let me say that cruises don’t get much better than this: the best European itinerary enjoyed from the luxury and comfort of Cunard Queen Elizabeth. My first sea cruise was to the Baltic and it remains a favourite. Every port offers such tantalising glimpses into the history of northern Europe and however many times you return, there is always something new to discover. If you’ve yet to do a Baltic cruise, I urge you to book one. In Stockholm the beauty of Gamla Stan (the old town) contrasts with the grandness of Royal palaces, in Copenhagen Christiansborg Palace offers rich history whilst the Abba museum offers history of a different sort – not just the chance to thank Abba for the music but also to join in with their songs. St Petersburg, rightly known as the Venice of the North with its network of canals and bridges, provides access to the largest art collections in the world – it would take a lifetime to view every exhibit in the Hermitage – whilst the views from a river cruise bring to life the chronology of the 1917 Russian revolution and the fall of the Tsarist monarchy. Then there is Helsinki, its stern beauty underlining for me by grey skies and early morning rain. Very different is sunny Warnemünde, a pretty seaside town of tree-lined streets and colourful window boxes. Expressionist painter Edvard Munch lived here but for most visitors the main attraction is the friendly cafés and bars along the Alter Strom canal, a five-minute walk from the berth. After days ashore there is much to do on board Queen Elizabeth. On sea days guest speakers cover a range of topics. Lt Colonel Graham Jones, music director for different regimental bands including the Coldstream Guards, attracted good audiences. He was a natural speaker and his stories about rehearsing for great state occasions such as the Trooping of the Colour were witty and laced with stirring musical pieces. The Clarendon Fine Art gallery on Deck 3 was a popular destination, with a varied range of original art work exhibited. Consultants David and Rachel shared their enthusiasm and made sure there was always something new to see. Towards the end of the cruise contemporary wildlife artist Colin Banks came on board to give a painting demonstration; his creation of a lion’s face was awesome and we peppered him with questions as he worked. Elsewhere on other decks there were ice carving displays, wine tastings, quizzes, bridge classes, croquet, the lot – and because the weather was so warm and sunny, plenty of time to relax on the sun decks as well. With my interest in painting I found the art classes led by Penny Wilton good fun. During the cruise she taught us different techniques and we completed pictures inspired by the ports we visited, like the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen and the lighthouse at Warnemünde. Each evening the Royal Court theatre was packed. John Martin, a Liverpudlian comic delivered two shows of non-stop jokes and anecdotes. His style reminded me of Ken Dodd in his heyday and so it came as no surprise to learn that John not only sold jokes to the King of Knotty Ash but was also a pallbearer at his funeral. On three evenings the Royal Court Theatre Company presented shows of music and dance with great energy. This was their first contract and they performed brilliantly together, ably supported by the ship’s orchestra. Less impressive for me was the Royal Arcade of shops. Yes, the range of goods is now more extensive and includes top-end brands such as Dunhill, Rolex and Montblanc, but I expect a sales team to have some knowledge about their products. With a generous amount of onboard credit to spend I found myself looking at a Montblanc pencil with a price tag high enough to make my eyes water. How disappointing to find that the sales assistant was unable to explain its features! Better by far was the team who came on board to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for Russian lacquered boxes. Service across the ship was memorable for all the right reasons . . . Ranji in Security for his cheerful welcome whenever returning after a day ashore, Ash in Mareel Spa for a great haircut mixed with good conversation (prices can sometimes be discounted on port days) and Gilda, my cabin steward, for ensuring my home on Deck 2 was maintained perfectly. In the Britannia restaurant, waiters Cleford and Angelo made every dinner special with their friendly manner and insights into the different menu choices. The quality of the food was first class and hot courses arrived at the table piping hot. The beef Wellington was moist and tender and a grilled turbot fillet I had on another evening was packed with flavour. A highlight every day was afternoon tea at 3.30. In the elegant Queens Room, white-gloved waiters serve finger sandwiches, cakes and scones and it is best to arrive early to avoid queuing. I loved the atmosphere but just as good, if not better, was the self-service tea in the Lido on Deck 9. Trays of warm scones are temptation enough but piled high next to them are tubs of clotted cream. Yes, an entire tub to yourself! What a good job I managed to visit the gym most days! But what happened on Day 12? Well, those gorgeous teatime tubs vanished to be replaced with whipped cream! Cunard’s commitment to reducing the use of plastics means that tubs are no longer acceptable. However, all is not lost. I was assured that clotted cream will continue to be served – not in tubs but as individual servings. What a relief - the world is saved, and so is my favourite Cornish cream.

The Cream of Cruises

Queen Elizabeth Cruise Review by David George, Chester

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Into each life some rain must fall and in my case it came in the form of a bucketful delivered on Day 12 of the cruise. But before sharing the details, let me say that cruises don’t get much better than this: the best European itinerary enjoyed from the luxury and comfort of Cunard Queen Elizabeth.

My first sea cruise was to the Baltic and it remains a favourite. Every port offers such tantalising glimpses into the history of northern Europe and however many times you return, there is always something new to discover. If you’ve yet to do a Baltic cruise, I urge you to book one.

In Stockholm the beauty of Gamla Stan (the old town) contrasts with the grandness of Royal palaces, in Copenhagen Christiansborg Palace offers rich history whilst the Abba museum offers history of a different sort – not just the chance to thank Abba for the music but also to join in with their songs. St Petersburg, rightly known as the Venice of the North with its network of canals and bridges, provides access to the largest art collections in the world – it would take a lifetime to view every exhibit in the Hermitage – whilst the views from a river cruise bring to life the chronology of the 1917 Russian revolution and the fall of the Tsarist monarchy. Then there is Helsinki, its stern beauty underlining for me by grey skies and early morning rain.

Very different is sunny Warnemünde, a pretty seaside town of tree-lined streets and colourful window boxes. Expressionist painter Edvard Munch lived here but for most visitors the main attraction is the friendly cafés and bars along the Alter Strom canal, a five-minute walk from the berth.

After days ashore there is much to do on board Queen Elizabeth. On sea days guest speakers cover a range of topics. Lt Colonel Graham Jones, music director for different regimental bands including the Coldstream Guards, attracted good audiences. He was a natural speaker and his stories about rehearsing for great state occasions such as the Trooping of the Colour were witty and laced with stirring musical pieces.

The Clarendon Fine Art gallery on Deck 3 was a popular destination, with a varied range of original art work exhibited. Consultants David and Rachel shared their enthusiasm and made sure there was always something new to see. Towards the end of the cruise contemporary wildlife artist Colin Banks came on board to give a painting demonstration; his creation of a lion’s face was awesome and we peppered him with questions as he worked. Elsewhere on other decks there were ice carving displays, wine tastings, quizzes, bridge classes, croquet, the lot – and because the weather was so warm and sunny, plenty of time to relax on the sun decks as well.

With my interest in painting I found the art classes led by Penny Wilton good fun. During the cruise she taught us different techniques and we completed pictures inspired by the ports we visited, like the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen and the lighthouse at Warnemünde.

Each evening the Royal Court theatre was packed. John Martin, a Liverpudlian comic delivered two shows of non-stop jokes and anecdotes. His style reminded me of Ken Dodd in his heyday and so it came as no surprise to learn that John not only sold jokes to the King of Knotty Ash but was also a pallbearer at his funeral. On three evenings the Royal Court Theatre Company presented shows of music and dance with great energy. This was their first contract and they performed brilliantly together, ably supported by the ship’s orchestra.

Less impressive for me was the Royal Arcade of shops. Yes, the range of goods is now more extensive and includes top-end brands such as Dunhill, Rolex and Montblanc, but I expect a sales team to have some knowledge about their products. With a generous amount of onboard credit to spend I found myself looking at a Montblanc pencil with a price tag high enough to make my eyes water. How disappointing to find that the sales assistant was unable to explain its features! Better by far was the team who came on board to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for Russian lacquered boxes.

Service across the ship was memorable for all the right reasons . . . Ranji in Security for his cheerful welcome whenever returning after a day ashore, Ash in Mareel Spa for a great haircut mixed with good conversation (prices can sometimes be discounted on port days) and Gilda, my cabin steward, for ensuring my home on Deck 2 was maintained perfectly.

In the Britannia restaurant, waiters Cleford and Angelo made every dinner special with their friendly manner and insights into the different menu choices. The quality of the food was first class and hot courses arrived at the table piping hot. The beef Wellington was moist and tender and a grilled turbot fillet I had on another evening was packed with flavour.

A highlight every day was afternoon tea at 3.30. In the elegant Queens Room, white-gloved waiters serve finger sandwiches, cakes and scones and it is best to arrive early to avoid queuing. I loved the atmosphere but just as good, if not better, was the self-service tea in the Lido on Deck 9. Trays of warm scones are temptation enough but piled high next to them are tubs of clotted cream. Yes, an entire tub to yourself! What a good job I managed to visit the gym most days!

But what happened on Day 12? Well, those gorgeous teatime tubs vanished to be replaced with whipped cream! Cunard’s commitment to reducing the use of plastics means that tubs are no longer acceptable. However, all is not lost. I was assured that clotted cream will continue to be served – not in tubs but as individual servings. What a relief - the world is saved, and so is my favourite Cornish cream.
David George, Chester’s Full Rating Summary
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