For someone who has loved cruise liners for as long as she can remember, the chance to tour Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth last week was a dream come true.
So, I donned a frock I felt worthy of such a ‘royal visit’ and charged my camera, ready for my two hours with the Queen.
Apart from her generous size of course, the first thing I noticed was how plush the carpets felt! Had there not been a group of people around, I may just have slipped my heels off and made myself at home!
Peter Shanks, president & managing director Cunard Lines joined us for afternoon tea in The Garden Lounge and shared his experience of meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the ship’s launch in October 2010.
Her Majesty surprised Mr Shanks by asking to see a cabin and, although she hasn’t travelled on the vessel yet, she does have a box reserved for her visits in the Royal Court Theatre.
As the second largest Cunard cruise ship ever built and the 3rd in the current fleet, Queen Elizabeth carries 2,092 guests plus 996 crew and is just 103m shorter than the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
With the ship travelling at capacity, we were unable to view a cabin during our tour, however, the Queen Elizabeth offers 1046 staterooms including 738 that feature private balcony cabins.
Their 9 options for accommodation include Grand Suites with up to 1493 sq ft of space.
Bars & Entertainment
12 bars and clubs grace the Queen Elizabeth.
The Royal Court Theatre (pictured right) was possibly my favourite area of the ship. Passengers can enjoy a musical performance or even an abridged Shakespearian play by the newly-formed Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company in the 832-seat Theatre.
The two-deck Queen’s Room will serve as host to dancing, cocktail parties and traditional English afternoon teas. The murals were just divine and were inspired by views from royal palaces but perhaps my favourite feature of the Queen’s Room were the amazing chandeliers…I could definitely imagine myself floating along the dance floor beneath those glistening lights!
The most important feature of any ship would have to be the dining options. With so many cruise lines boasting innovative additions this year, the return to tradition on board this vessel is actually quite a novel one.
The Queen Elizabeth has taken the most popular dining options from her sisters Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria and introduced several traditional twists that reflect Cunard’s past.
Service is paramount on any Cunard liner and, having been treated to a sumptuous afternoon tea on board, I can attest that this didn’t disappoint.
Being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to cruising, I was pleased to hear that black tie is a regular occurrence on board and, given the decadent surroundings, it truly would feel like returning to a bygone era.
Spa & Fitness
The Royal Spa and Fitness Centre offers a range of treatments and signature classes for those of us who want to keep the calories at bay.
A beautiful escape, the Royal Bath House (pictured right) incorporates a Thermal Suite and Hydrotherapy pool and had a very ‘Grecian’ feel about it. The only thing missing were attendants waving leaves to cool the guests down whilst feeding them grapes!
To view the complete photo gallery of our Queen Elizabeth tour click here