Before I get into the nuts and bolts of my Queen Elizabeth cruise review, let me say this. I have always dreamed of sailing on one of the Cunard Line ships and since that day when I booked our stateroom on MS Queen Elizabeth I have been so excited and counting down the days.
Having booked and paid my deposit I was ready to fill in the online details, full name as in your passport, emergency details etc. Then I was free to look over the ship’s port excursions and if I wanted could pre-book. Now it was just a matter of time.
Closer to the date I received a tour book from Cunard specific to our cruise with ports of call and travel information details. After reading through this and discussing it with Monika we decided to book a couple of tours. I did this online and paid upfront.
Our voyage on Cunard Queen Elizabeth for 14 nights from Brisbane, Australia to Yokohama, Japan had a few ports of call along the way of which you can read more here.
Some stats about the MS Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth is one of Cunard’s finest ships honouring the fine name that was Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 and can hold 2092 passengers and around 1005 crew. Built in 2010 puts her in the newer bracket of ships these days, not too big and yet not small;
- Tonnage: 90,900
- Length: 965 ft
- Beam: 105 ft
- Draught: 26 ft
- Cruising Speed: 23.7 kts
- 2092 Passengers
- 1005 Crew
The day arrived and with baggage tags printed and attached, we loaded the cases into the car and off we went to the Port of Brisbane (the grain terminal). Wow, what a let down this cruise terminal is. You can’t even see the ship in all her glory because of the grain conveyor belts, gantries etc that are in the way. Oh well, I wasn’t going to let that upset me, just worth noting that maybe one day a real cruise ship terminal will be built.
The bag drop off was swift, two staff checked our credentials and loaded the bags onto a trolley then whisked them away and the next we saw them was in our cabin.
We were then given a number and told to take a seat and fill in a departure form and a health form, this is standard procedure. The wait in the hall was about an hour but it flew by and then our number was called.
The check-in was smooth and simple credit card details checked, cruise card received and off we go. Past the sniffer dogs, that’s a new one, the standard pre-boarding photos, then a short walk to the ship. Cold water was available if you wanted it.
Boarding – Embarkation
MS Queen Elizabeth awaits as you get closer, and bell boys greet you at the entrance to the ship, which is awesome. All smiles and very polite you are directed to the lifts and then onto your cabin.
Balcony Cabin #6043
We are instantly directed to the lifts and explained where to find our stateroom. All very polite, but not over the top. Our balcony cabin was wonderful, a king size bed with lots of pillows, table, and chair along with a couch. A half bottle of bubbly is on ice for us with a welcome note.
The bathroom is pretty standard and has everything you need.
Wardrobe space is good and enough, with bathrobes a safe box and the life jackets.
This tour will start on deck 1 and work upwards.
Royal Court Theatre with a lower, middle and upper level
The theatre was very comfortable and always packed. The seating was very traditional like a city theatre, no couple seats or long banks only single chairs. It also lacked any table lighting for drink service.
The glass front on the upper levels is obstructing or annoying, best to sit a bit further back. The boxes which are for the use of every passenger yet can be reserved for a show for a fee and you can also have drinks and nibbles served again a fee applies.
The Internet centre was not overly busy, maybe due to the demographic of the passengers, yet it was very functional. The Internet was very hit and miss like on many ships especially in Japanese waters.
There are a few packages for the WiFi like $287.95 for 960 minutes, the cheapest being 25 cents a minute.
The iStudy is not another internet room it is a place where the IT staff hold seminars teaching about various operations on the computer and they do cost extra. It also is where you can purchase gadgets for all things I and some pieces have the Cunard logo.
This is really the front desk and very efficient with plenty of staff, saying that, there was nearly always a line of people wanting to speak with them.
(sorry no photo)
The Grand Lobby lives up to the name indeed and is spread over three levels with the staircase and wooden wall panel the main highlight.
Fresh flowers a piano and a few tables and chairs are spaced around. Each level leads to another bar or café or restaurant which is really good. It did become a little congested at times when guests posed for photos or portraits on the stairs.
Britannia Restaurant lower
This is the main dining room and very elegant indeed, yet not over the top. Actually, that sums up this Cunard ship it is elegant everywhere you look yet not over the top.
You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner here all of which are served with top class service and attention. The food was excellent as well. The dress code on Cunard has been relaxed of late to keep up with the times was the reason and apparently some people were upset with the change however most guests were dressed very decent on normal days and on the formal nights a few were extravagant the most just normal.
The Britannia Club was only for select guests in Britannia class cabins, a bit like the Queens & Princess grills are to those guests. We were not allowed in any of these mentioned dining rooms.
We spent plenty of time here either online or just soaking up the atmosphere. The coffees were not that great and really Cunard should really look into this. The service was A1 again as it was all over the ship. Plenty of comfortable seating here yet nearly always busy with some live music playing nearby.
The Verandah Restaurant
This is one of the speciality restaurants that is for all guests and comes with a menu surcharge. The decor is sophisticated fitting for a very fine establishment where one would pay top dollar. The menu and wine list reflect that and the food and service were very good. A must do when onboard even if only once.
This area has some Cunard memorabilia on display which dates back to the beginning of the company. Lots of royal bits and bobs as well. There is a small store which sells books, art and everything Cunard.(sorry no photo)
Library Lower & Upper
This is one of the largest libraries at sea and has an excellent supply of books. It is split over two levels and is open every day with a librarian on duty to help you find something special. You stamp the books out and must return before the end of the cruise.
This is a very open space, a huge dance floor, a stage and lots of seating with tables. The Queens room is used for many things and can get very busy, especially at afternoon tea, a queue to get in generally appears around 3.30pm, but it is well worth the wait for a table.
Dancing is here I think every night and Cunard have dance hosts for the entire cruise voyage whom will dance all night long. The music ranges from waltz to big band and is very good.
The Empire Casino was never packed although the serial one arm bandit players were there. The tables did get used especially when the specials were on and the James Bond night of course.
Golden Lion Pub
This place was the hit many of the passengers. A very English style pub serving ales, stouts, and good British fare. The best news is that it’s included in the cruise. Yes, it was busy and tables were often shared with others which for us was great. We very much enjoyed it here for lunch.
At other times, it was used for trivia and music, karaoke etc.
Royal Arcade Shops
Here you will find various shops, from Cunard logo apparel to high-end boutique products. To try on garments you sign them out with your cruise card and if you don’t return them within a time frame (1 hour) it gets charged to your account all very comfortable, just don’t forget to return it if you don’t want it.
Royal Court Theatre
There is plenty of art on board which I expected and it is presented in a gallery which you walk through to get to the dining room at the rear. Funny enough we didn’t attend an auction which we normally do.
Here you can walk all around the ship which is great. Like the rest of the ship, it is very clean and well maintained, we actually saw a couple of dogs being taken for their daily walk.
Fortnum & Mason
Even though Cunard is now owned by an American company the ship is very British, and the Famous iconic shop from London Fortum & Mason can be found with a stock of typical goodies. Also, items from Harrods are for sale here.
This is a nice bar for before or after dinner drinks with canapes. Ideal as it’s only a short walk to the Britannia dining room from here.
This is a huge space with plenty of tables and chairs, yet each time I passed by during the cruise it was very busy (this photo taken on embarkation day) Card and board games are very popular with the older folk for sure.
The photos onboard are expensive as normal and are displayed in this area. As for the photographers, they get around at the usual times, formal nights, captains invite etc, but are not too in your face. The portraits which are strategically set up are frequently used as people make use of maybe the once in a lifetime QE photo.
Britannia Restaurant Upper
Decks 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8
These decks are all accommodation staterooms.
This was an added bonus on this ship, to find a laundrette on many decks and FREE to use, surprisingly they were busy each time I went.
Royal Spa & Fitness Centre
This is very nice and well appointed but all things cost extra lots!! Except for the relaxation room with soft cushioned chairs, towels, tea and nuts.
(sorry no photo)
This shot I took at night through the glass, it was used during the day by only a few that we saw, it was quite expensive and you had to book it for the entire cruise.
This pool and whirlpools are protected from the wind as it is surrounded by the upper deck and there is some shade created by them as well. This pool area being more midship did seem busier than the Lido pool. It was my favourite pool for sure.
The Garden Lounge
This is a nice open area to sit and eat or have a drink or coffee. It’s just before the pool and after the Lido restaurant. They have live music here from the stage, a great place to relax with natural light from the glass roof.
This is the buffet restaurant and is really good. It’s the cleanest and most comfortable buffet I have experienced. Lots of choice, well-labeled food items and very well presented. It did get busy but was always kept very clean and so were the tables.
Lido Pool Grill
We actually had a very nice dinner here which the do on most evenings with only a few tables set up on the back deck. The pool grill serves light meals during the day for people around the pool etc.
Lido Pool Bar
(sorry no photo) This bar which is on the opposite side to the pool grill is dedicated to the Lido pool service area.
Lido Pool & Whirlpools
A wonderful spot at the very back of the ship, nice and open but does lack shade.
Great use of the front of the ship above the spa area with a bar, plenty of seating and live music by Piano. The views are awesome and the service equal. Just along from here, you find the Admirals lounge.
Basically a square room with soft chairs and couches. Never saw anyone here.
Churchill’s Cigar Lounge
(sorry no photo) Just next door to the Admirals lounge is this smoking room which was used by the cigar brigade.
Royal Spa Treatment Rooms
The Yacht Club
A great sitting room during the day and a nightclub at night. This place was used by a mixed bunch of guests with a mix of music.
The Teen zone
At the front of the ship is an area used for games. The classic Croquet or bowls are played on artificial grass. Short racquet tennis and chess, plus quoits. This area was busy with the Cunard activities hosts holding games every day.
The Grills Lounge
This area is only for the guests in the suites.
The Queens Grill & Princess Grill
This area is only for the guests that are staying the grill suites and allowed to use these two restaurants and the lounge. I sneaked a few photos. The Queens grill is directly opposite the Princess grill. The Terrace is directly above the restaurant.
The Grills Terrace
This is above the two Grill restaurants and only for those guests. Looks very plain, but it would have full on butler drinks and nibble service for sure.
So that completes the review of the Cunard ship Queen Elizabeth and all its public venues on our 14-night cruise in 2014. As you can see we did not do or experience everything onboard, especially as some venues are restricted to the category of stateroom, however, what we did do we enjoyed very much.
MS Queen Elizabeth and what she offered on this voyage was more than excellent and we had an awesome cruise experience with Cunard.
We would easily book another Cunard cruise on any of the Queens to some exotic destination, however, the next cruise voyage for the Entrepreneurs Odyssey is in May and this time on a Celebrity ship the Millennium, so keep an eye out for that review later in the year.
Happy cruising people and don’t forget… Don’t dream your life – Live your dream.
Be sure to read our experiences of each day as we cruised from Brisbane to Yokohama. Start at the beginning when we boarded MS Queen Elizabeth in Brisbane.