Maiden Voyage on Cunard's Newest Queen: Queen Elizabeth Cruise Review by Bollinger_Babe

Queen Elizabeth 5
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Maiden Voyage on Cunard's Newest Queen

Sail Date: October 2010
Destination: Canary Islands
Embarkation: Southampton
We have just returned from the Maiden Voyage of the Queen Elizabeth, a cruise we booked over 18 months ago. My husband and I are seasoned cruisers and the QE maiden completed our hat-trick of maiden voyages, as we also participated in history in the making on the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary 2.

We boarded at Southampton (I do wish Cruise Critic would not class Southampton as 'London' as it is nowhere near London!) from the new Ocean Terminal and the embarkation process was extremely efficient; we were on the vessel within an hour after enjoying a pre-cruise drink or two! :-)

Our stateroom was on Deck 6, number 6179 starboard aft and we had a balcony. As the ship is brand new, as soon as we boarded we could smell new carpets and leather and everything was gleaming. We were met with the usual complimentary bottle of bubbly on ice which we took out to the balcony to enjoy, whilst watching all the frenetic pre-voyage activity on the shoreside below. Our cabin was More immaculate and had a lovely big bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, pillowcases and a big, soft quilt.

We dined in the Britannia Restaurant each night and the food was never less than superb; beautifully presented, decent portions and well-served. The waiters were attentive but unobtrusive, and the sommelier soon got to know which wines and liqueurs we liked. :-) During the day we ate lunch either in the self-service Lido Restaurant or we enjoyed a traditional British pub lunch in the Golden Lion; for example bangers and mash, Ploughman's lunch, cottage pie etc.

Entertainment around the ship was varied and of an excellent standard - there really is something for everyone. There were lectures from interesting people (including Sir David Frost), art classes, fencing classes, ballroom dancing, and many other things. During the evening there is a cabaret-type show in the Royal Court Theatre; this could be anything from a West End-type musical, visiting celebrities (we had Lulu and Kiki Dee), comedians, violinists, flautists, all combined with an excellent full live orchestra.

After the show passengers could spend time relaxing around the various lounges and bars around the ship, or visit the Golden Lion to take part in the trivia challenges, games or karaoke, or the Yacht Club for late-night dancing. Traditional, glamorous ballroom dancing took place in the opulent Queen's Room ballroom.

Ports of call included Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz, Grand Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma and Madeira. With the exception of La Palma, we had been to the other places before, but we were repeating the Maiden Voyage of the grand old lady of the seas, the QE2, 41 years after she set out, so it was quite fitting.

We have travelled with several different cruise lines over the years but I would say that Cunard is, quite possibly, that little cut above the rest and is very traditional. That said, however, I do find their on-board prices for drinks etc. to be expensive and everything is in US dollars with an extra 15% service charge added (for EVERYTHING!) as well as the $143.00 per person they took off us for gratuities. They really should advertise these 'hidden extras' more clearly.

All in all, we had a superb cruise and a memorable Maiden Voyage, and would look forward to returning to the Queen Elizabeth at a later date. Less

Published 10/26/10

Cabin review: BC6179 Balcony

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