God save
the Queen


Ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s longest-ever stay in Australasian waters, Teresa Ooi was granted an audience.


Queen Elizabeth – the ship, not the monarch – returns to the Australasian waters at the end of this year. Built in 2010, the youngest of the three queens in Cunard’s fleet, which includes Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth is designed as a cruise ship rather than an ocean liner and is more suitable for those who love traditional cruising.


Queen Elizabeth was in Australia on a 122-night world cruise and we spent three days on board from Sydney to Brisbane – and it was a true cruising experience.


She is grand, but in an understated way. Curved staircases, geometric patterns and spectacular artworks grace the soaring Grand Lobby. The interior design echoes nautical charm and harks back to the art deco days of cruising, with more than a few nods to its British heritage: popular authentic English watering hole the Golden Lion Pub on deck 2 hosts afternoon Trivial Pursuit games to a packed house, and you can savour 43 gins from all over the world at Gin & Fizz, formerly the Midships Bar, which specialises in gin cocktails.

Recreation


Like most ships on a world cruise, Queen Elizabeth has a plethora of activities, especially on sea days. You can try your hand at needlework and knitting, play social croquet on deck 11 or deck quoits on deck 10, take part in a golf putting tournament or attend ballroom dance classes for beginners. Bookworms will love the two-level library with its spiral staircase, leaded-glass ceiling and 6,000 books. For more active guests, there are fitness stretch classes, yoga and indoor cycling. You can challenge fellow cruisers to a game of ping-pong on deck 9, swim in one of the two nearby pools, or enter a shuffleboard tournament on deck 10. The Royal Arcade has seven boutiques selling souvenirs including Fortnum & Mason products and Harris Tweed jackets. How British is that?

Food


There are more than 10 restaurants and cafes, including the two-deck main dining Britannia Restaurant which can accommodate 800 people, the exclusive Queens Grill and Princess Grill, Mexican food at Aztec and the 464-seat Lido restaurant on deck 9, where late-night snacks are offered till 2am. My pick is The Verandah, where we dined on a French degustation menu which included pan-roasted pigeon breast in bitter chocolate with Grand Veneur sauce. The much talked-about afternoon tea is served at the Queens Room (where else?) and includes finger sandwiches, pastries and traditional warm scones served with cream and strawberry jam, accompanied by music from harpist Lara Szabo.

Accommodation


There are 1074 staterooms, including 700 with private balconies. At the top end are the four ultra-luxurious Queens Grill suites – the grandest offers up to 138 square metres of space – then Princess Grill suites, Britannia Club balcony staterooms and standard staterooms of various sizes and configurations. I stayed in stateroom 4171 which is roomy and has a balcony, sufficient cupboard space and an adequate bathroom.

Entertainment


Guests are spoilt for choice, with the luxurious Royal Court Theatre hosting lavish musicals and high-tech productions, the resident band striking up at each sailaway party, and regular guest entertainers including Tenori: The Three Tenors and ventriloquist Dean Atkinson. There’s always ballroom dancing at the Queens Room, party night with an international band, and karaoke for aspiring singers. For the more serious cruiser, there are lectures from invited celebrities, bridge tournaments and an afternoon movie is screened at the Royal Court Theatre.

Spa


The Royal Spa on deck 9 offers a range of facials, massages and acupuncture using Remède products. Sign up for a soothing, hot-stone body massage or a seaweed facial wrap. The spa also holds lectures on topics such as healthy feet as well as make-up classes, and there is also a hydro pool and sauna rooms. I had an aromatherapy massage which was blissful and spent some time resting on the heated stone bed with panoramic views of the ocean.

Fact File

CRUISE LINE: Cunard
VESSEL: Queen Elizabeth
PASSENGER CAPACI
TY: 2081

STAR RATING: 4.5
TOTAL CR
EW: 1005
PASSENGER DEC
KS: 12
ENTERED SERVI
CE: 2010
TONNAG
E: 90,900

FACILITIES: Walking promenade with Cunard deck chairs, two pools, The Verandah Restaurant, Royal Court Theatre, two-level library, games deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls.

BOOKINGS: See cunard.com

The Verdict

HIGHS: One of the best meals is at The Verandah which serves fine French cuisine with impeccable service. The competitive game of Trivial Pursuit every afternoon at the Golden Lion Pub is a fun, social event.

LOWS: The buffet dining at Lido Restaurant was ordinary.

BEST FOR: Seasoned cruisers who want to see the world at a gentle pace.

God save
the Queen

Ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s longest-ever stay in Australasian waters, Teresa Ooi was granted an audience.


Queen Elizabeth – the ship, not the monarch – returns to the Australasian waters at the end of this year. Built in 2010, the youngest of the three queens in Cunard’s fleet, which includes Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth is designed as a cruise ship rather than an ocean liner and is more suitable for those who love traditional cruising.


Queen Elizabeth was in Australia on a 122-night world cruise and we spent three days on board from Sydney to Brisbane – and it was a true cruising experience.


She is grand, but in an understated way. Curved staircases, geometric patterns and spectacular artworks grace the soaring Grand Lobby. The interior design echoes nautical charm and harks back to the art deco days of cruising, with more than a few nods to its British heritage: popular authentic English watering hole the Golden Lion Pub on deck 2 hosts afternoon Trivial Pursuit games to a packed house, and you can savour 43 gins from all over the world at Gin & Fizz, formerly the Midships Bar, which specialises in gin cocktails.

Recreation


Like most ships on a world cruise, Queen Elizabeth has a plethora of activities, especially on sea days. You can try your hand at needlework and knitting, play social croquet on deck 11 or deck quoits on deck 10, take part in a golf putting tournament or attend ballroom dance classes for beginners. Bookworms will love the two-level library with its spiral staircase, leaded-glass ceiling and 6,000 books. For more active guests, there are fitness stretch classes, yoga and indoor cycling. You can challenge fellow cruisers to a game of ping-pong on deck 9, swim in one of the two nearby pools, or enter a shuffleboard tournament on deck 10. The Royal Arcade has seven boutiques selling souvenirs including Fortnum & Mason products and Harris Tweed jackets. How British is that?

Food


There are more than 10 restaurants and cafes, including the two-deck main dining Britannia Restaurant which can accommodate 800 people, the exclusive Queens Grill and Princess Grill, Mexican food at Aztec and the 464-seat Lido restaurant on deck 9, where late-night snacks are offered till 2am. My pick is The Verandah, where we dined on a French degustation menu which included pan-roasted pigeon breast in bitter chocolate with Grand Veneur sauce. The much talked-about afternoon tea is served at the Queens Room (where else?) and includes finger sandwiches, pastries and traditional warm scones served with cream and strawberry jam, accompanied by music from harpist Lara Szabo.

Spa


There are 1074 staterooms, including 700 with private balconies. At the top end are the four ultra-luxurious Queens Grill suites – the grandest offers up to 138 square metres of space – then Princess Grill suites, Britannia Club balcony staterooms and standard staterooms of various sizes and configurations. I stayed in stateroom 4171 which is roomy and has a balcony, sufficient cupboard space and an adequate bathroom.


Entertainment


Guests are spoilt for choice, with the luxurious Royal Court Theatre hosting lavish musicals and high-tech productions, the resident band striking up at each sailaway party, and regular guest entertainers including Tenori: The Three Tenors and ventriloquist Dean Atkinson. There’s always ballroom dancing at the Queens Room, party night with an international band, and karaoke for aspiring singers. For the more serious cruiser, there are lectures from invited celebrities, bridge tournaments and an afternoon movie is screened at the Royal Court Theatre.

Accommodation


The Royal Spa on deck 9 offers a range of facials, massages and acupuncture using Remède products. Sign up for a soothing, hot-stone body massage or a seaweed facial wrap. The spa also holds lectures on topics such as healthy feet as well as make-up classes, and there is also a hydro pool and sauna rooms. I had an aromatherapy massage which was blissful and spent some time resting on the heated stone bed with panoramic views of the ocean.

Fact File

CRUISE LINE: Cunard
VESSEL: Queen Elizabeth
PASSENGER CAPACITY:
2081

STAR RATING: 4.5
TOTAL CREW:
1005
PASSENGER DECKS:
12
ENTERED SERVICE:
2010
TONNAGE:
90,900

FACILITIES: Walking promenade with Cunard deck chairs, two pools, The Verandah Restaurant, Royal Court Theatre, two-level library, games deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls.

BOOKINGS: See cunard.com



The Verdict

HIGHS: One of the best meals is at The Verandah which serves fine French cuisine with impeccable service. The competitive game of Trivial Pursuit every afternoon at the Golden Lion Pub is a fun, social event.

LOWS: The buffet dining at Lido Restaurant was ordinary.

BEST FOR: Seasoned cruisers who want to see the world at a gentle pace.