First morning on board MS Queen Elizabeth – at Sea en route to Whitsunday Islands.
SUNRISE. The weather is stunning.
Day 2 – March 5th.
We are feeling refreshed and invigorated after an awesome night’s sleep. The bedding on the QE is like everything else here, – huge, luxurious and very, very comfortable – with an enormous duvet and soft fluffy pillows rivalling Angelina Jolie’s lips in size-to-face ratio.
A pre-breakfast (yes, that is a thing) of room-service brought tea and a freshly baked, flaky Danish pastry is truly not a bad way to start the day. Incidentally, room service is included in the cruise complimentary, including NO service or delivery fee.
Coffee in Cafe Carinthia on QE
We then have a leisurely breakfast at around 9.30am which is followed by a flat white in the Cafe Carinthia. Surprisingly the coffee is not as good as we both like but at least it’s better than the black liquid from hell the drip machines churn out. Two flat whites from the cafe cost $7 plus 15% service so all up $8.05 US dollars. Everything is charged in US dollars on board.
So then we decide it’s time to knuckle down for some WORK. What?? You mean this isn’t just some forever-long luxurious junket? Hehe… A little from column A, and a little from column B.
We were flabbergasted after discovering the cost of the onboard internet package – $287.95 for 960 minutes. Oh, Good Golly Gosh (Queen Elizabeth translated version of “&%^$ ME!”)
That’s nearly 30 cents a minute or $18 per hour. Very expensive. We discover that the cheapest plan is 25 cents a minute which still isn’t great, but since we need it for our income (which is funding our marvellous adventure), we know it’s a cost that needs to be absorbed.
The Most Traditional English Pub at Sea
After that, we have a pub lunch in the Golden Lion Pub – “The Most Traditional English Pub at Sea”. The battered fish n chips, and steak and ale suet crust pie with mushy peas etc. didn’t disappoint. Yum. The meals in the Golden Lion Pub are also included in your cruise and you can go as often as you like.
Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room
We momentarily pause from stuffing our faces with a bit of reading and set then off to the Queens Room for their traditional afternoon tea – finger sandwiches and scones with jam and cream. Again the afternoon tea is included, (Champagne costs an extra $35). This is a popular activity as was evident by the VERY long queue – good job we were early to get a seat.
Dinner at the Verandah restaurant
This evening is the first of our formal dress code nights, which means cocktail dress for ladies and a dark suit and tie for gents. Our fellow guests scrub up very well, without looking too ostentatious or over-the-top.
In saying that, there is still another level of “luxury” denied to us mere mortals – The Queens Grill & Princess Suite are areas of the ship which are home to the VERY expensive staterooms and are reserved for those guests who have paid (much) extra for the privilege. Oh, well – maybe next time.
We don our glad rags and choose the Verandah restaurant, our alternative dining venue. This costs extra but was definitely worth the value as the food is delicious. We indulge in the Degustation menu (with Moni changing the pigeon dish to ravioli – ‘nuff said), and with this, we enjoy a bottle of Chilean wine from 2009. In my opinion, based on our experience, the restaurant would possibly attain a 1 star Michelin or 16 points Gaut Millau (for those of you that follow these ratings), but only if the consistency was there. Service is attentive but the MD was somewhat lacking – he is unable to explain a particular dish & spilt some wine – a no-no!!).
Overall, it’s an enjoyable evening, but a “done-it-once-got-the-t-shirt” kind of thing. The Verandah which for Britannia restaurant patrons is a speciality dining venue is open for lunch and dinner.
The cost for two degustation dinners was $70. Plus $44 for the wine and $4.50 for a bottle of San Pellegrino. And a $7.28 service charge.
You can pre-book the Verandah restaurant before you leave for your cruise on the voyage personaliser from Cunard with the minimum payment of $29 per person.
A short evening stroll on the deck and then it was “off to Bedfordshire”.