I had the pleasure of sailing on the Queen Elizabeth as part of her current deployment in Australia from Sydney to Melbourne on the 9th March.
Due to the popularity of her home port season in Australia she will return later this year, and again in 2020/21 for an unprecedented 118 days. I encourage everyone to experience this stylish modern ship, which while modern is also steeped in a great sense of history and tradition.
Upon boarding the ship I was greeted by staff in their signature red coats and red shoes with wide brimmed black hats , this alerts you to the fact that Cunard do things differently to any other cruise line you may have been on.
I was cruising in an Interior cabin on the Elizabeth and the cabin came equipped with full tea and coffee making facilities and the royal touches, being Royal blue cushions and a chilled bottle of bubbles to welcome you onboard.
My first night’s dining was in the Verandah restaurant, I would recommend booking this specialty restaurant for your cruise as it offers an amazing menu and service, the traces of French influence are still there, however now
The focus is on steak and the best cuts of meat. Even non red meat eaters are very well catered for, with fish, chicken and vegetarian options and it’s a very rare restaurant where the “sides” are just as good as the main meals on offer, I recommend trying a few of these.
On the second night I experienced “Alternative Dining” which is where half of the Lido buffet restaurant instead turns into a “popup” restaurant complete with a special theme and personalised table service. The theme does change from night to night so check when you get onboard, the night I went it was “Bamboo”, pan Asian cuisine served with a set menu for entrée and dessert (you receive everything on the list for both) and you choice of mains. The Group I was with voted this the most delicious food on the ship, so would recommend this if you want to experience something different onboard.
The rest of my meals were enjoyed in the Brittania restaurant, a very grand but very welcoming large dining space with very attentive service from the staff. Here in the main a la carte restaurant onboard you can enjoy fine dining three meals a day, with set dining times and table allocation for dinner and open seating for both breakfast and lunch, giving you the opportunity to meet other diners during the day, and get to know the same people for dinner every night.
Entertainment onboard is very diverse, from film screenings to enrichment programmes with guest speakers on different topics and events in history, through to great live music of all types and cruise staples such as trivia, bingo and of course amazing production shows and guest performers.
I saw two production shows onboard being “La Danza”, a tribute to dancing through the ages and around the world, and “Be my Guest”, the traditional welcome onboard show offered across the Cunard fleet, which is always being updated with the latest show stoppers, currently featuring a finale with medley of songs from the very popular “Greatest Showman”, which the crowd loved. On the last evening we enjoyed a 70’s disco and ABBA themed event in the stunning Queen’s room and a great comedy show.
As this cruise had a port stop of Burnie in Tasmania, I relished the opportunity to do the Cunard shore excursion for a day trip to Cradle mountain, this was a full day trip but well worth doing. The beautiful Tasmanian scenery is worth seeing alone – with Cradle mountain and Dove lake being a highlight , but this day trip also paired it with an insight into the history of the first European settlers of the region, the indigenous history of the region and a buffet lunch at Cradle mountain Hotel, with a morning tea stop in the township of Sheffield.
Queen Elizabeth is a great option for all ages, with an opportunity to dress up and get glamorous if you wish on their Gala nights, but not compulsory with lots of other options onboard for those that are not comfortable in a suit, I certainly recommend you be their guest and experience Cunard for yourself.