Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 422 out of 500
Accommodation: 145 out of 200
Food: 300 out of 400
Service: 315 out of 400
Entertainment: 81 out of 100
Cruise: 320 out of 400
Overall Score: 1583 out of 2000
Queen Elizabeth Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Cunard Line
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9477438
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: €634 million
Entered Service: Oct 2010
Length (ft/m): 964.5/294.0
Beam (ft/m): 105.9/32.3
Draft (ft/m): 26.2/8.0
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (64,000kW)/2 azimuthing pods
Passenger Decks: 12
Total Crew: 1,003
Passengers (lower beds): 2,101
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 43.2
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.0
Cabins (total): 1,046
Size Range (sq ft/m): 152.0-1,493 sq.ft/14.0-138.5
Cabins (for one person): 9
Cabins (with private balcony): 820
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 20
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 5
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
A delightful interior decor that represents British heritage
Overview. Queen Elizabeth, a cruise ship that longs to be an ocean liner, suits mature adults and solo travelers, and families with children. It’s pitched at traditionalists who like to dress more formally for dinner, and sail with a sense of style. Note that Berlitz’s Ratings scores are the averages for both Grill Class and Britannia Class.
The Ship. Queen Elizabeth, named in the company’s 170th year (the company began operations in 1840), is the second largest Cunarder ordered in that long history. But, although Cunard purports to offer a resolutely British experience, the marketing hype is undermined by the use of US dollars as the onboard currency, and trying to find British service staff is challenging. The Cunard red funnel is instantly recognizable.
Once inside, the ship feels instantly comfortable, rather like a mini-QE2. It has less somber colors than Queen Victoria, commendably little glitzy brass or chrome surfaces, and more of the look and feel of an ocean liner, including some gorgeous carpeting. The decor is classic and timeless.
Features include a majestic three-deck high Grand Lobby with a sweeping staircase, sculpted balconies and elegant decorative touches, and an adjacent Cunarders’ Galleria floating museum whose glass cabinets display memorabilia. The original Asprey silver model of QE2 is in the Yacht Club, and there’s a nice model of the original Queen Elizabeth in a cabinet at the back of the Café Carinthia.
The Royal Arcade is a cluster of shops, selling goods connected with traditional and modern-day Britain, all set in an arcade-like environment; they include Hackett, Penhaligon’s, and Aspinal of London. There’s a separate Fortnum & Mason shop.
The Library is a stunning two-deck-high wood-paneled 6,000-book facility serviced by full-time librarians, although there are few chairs in which to sit and read. Few ships today have such a fine library. There’s also a bookshop selling maritime-related books, memorabilia, maps, and stationery.
Gratuities - called a Hotel and Dining charge, depending on your accommodation grade - are added to your onboard account daily.
Queen Elizabeth provides an elegant setting for a traditional cruise experience, with a wide choice of public rooms, bars and lounges, and a mostly attentive staff. But, in the final analysis, the finesse is missing, and the ship’s Princess Cruises-style cabins are below the standard expected.
Accommodation. There are three class categories of accommodation: Queens Grill; Princess Grill; Britannia Club and Britannia Restaurant grade. So, it’s all about location, location, location. Yet however much or little you pay, passengers all embark and disembark via the same gangway. Note that the air conditioning cannot be turned off in cabins or bathrooms.
Grand Suites. Four units, measuring 1,918-2,131 sq ft (178-184 sq m) and named Bisset, Charles, Illingworth, and Rostron, are located aft, with great ocean views from their private wrap-around balconies, which contain a complete wet bar. Each has two bedrooms with walk-in closets; bathroom with tub and separate shower enclosure; lounge; and dining room with seating for six. In-suite dining from the Queens Grill menus is also available.
Master Suites. Two units, measuring 1,100 sq ft [102 sq m]. Named Britten and Thomson, they are located in the center of the ship.
Penthouse Suites. Measuring 520-707 sq ft [48-65 sq m].
Queens Suites. Measuring 508-771 sq ft [47-72 sq m].
Princess Suites. Measuring 342-513 sq ft [32-48 sq m].
Balcony cabins. Measuring 242-472 sq ft [22-44 sq m].
Outside-view cabins. Measuring 180-201 sq ft [17-9 sq m].
Interior cabins. Measuring 151-243 sq ft [14-23 sq m].
All accommodation grades have both British three-pin (240-volt) sockets and American (110-volt) and European-style two-pin (220-volt) sockets. Penhaligon toiletries are supplied to all passengers, and a hairdryer is stored in the vanity desk units. Some cabins have nicely indented ceilings with suffused lighting.
The standard cabins (Grades C/D) are small, but functional, although the cabinetry is austere and lacks character. There’s a lack of drawer space in a cabin supposedly designed for two persons - it’s noticeable on long voyages; additional drawers are located under the bed, but these may prove challenging for some to use. The premium mattresses are excellent - as is the bed linen. European duvets are standard. The bathrooms are rather bland, like those found aboard the ships of Princess Cruises, with small washbasins, and little storage space for toiletries.
Dining. The 878-seat Britannia Restaurant - the name is taken from a former Cunard ocean liner of 1914-50 - is located aft. It is two decks high, with seating on both levels (stairways link both levels), and two seatings for dinner. An adjacent restaurant houses Britannia Club passengers, who get single-seat dining.
Exclusive dining (Queens Grill, Princess Grill). As with its sister ships, there are two special Grill Class-only restaurants. These have a single-seating arrangement, providing a more intimate and exclusive dining experience than can be found in the two-seating main Britannia Restaurant.
The 142-seat Queens Grill (on the starboard side), with single-seating dining, is for those in suites and the top accommodation grades, and provides the best cuisine and service aboard the ship. The beloved Cunard Grill experience includes alfresco dining in The Courtyard, a seldom-used courtyard terrace protected from the wind, and access for Grill Class passengers only to an exclusive lounge and bar to their own upper terrace deck.
The 132-seat Princess Grill (on the port side), with single-seating dining, is for passengers in middle-class accommodation grades.
Other dining options. The Verandah Restaurant is a beautiful à-la-carte specialty dining venue, available to all passengers. It has a bar and is on the second level of the three-deck high lobby. The decor and ambience recreate the Verandah Grill restaurant aboard the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. The classic French cuisine is exceptionally good and makes for a fine dining experience. Reservations are required, and there’s a cover charge for lunch or dinner.
The Lido Café (on Deck 9) has panoramic views, indoor/outdoor seating for approximately 470, and operates a standard multi-line self-serve buffet arrangement. It’s a bit downmarket for what is supposed to be a stylish ship - the original Queen Elizabeth didn’t have such a facility - but then, this is today. At night, the venue is transformed into three distinct flavors: Asado (South American Grill); Aztec (Mexican cuisine); and Jasmine (Asian cuisine), each with a small cover charge.
For excellent Lavazza-family coffees from Luigi (the name given to the coffee machine), teas, and light bites, there’s the Parisian-style Café Carinthia, one deck above the purser’s desk and adjacent to the popular Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar.
For traditional British comfort food, the Golden Lion Pub offers fish and chips, steak and mushroom pie, a ploughman’s lunch, and, of course, bangers (sausages) and mash, plus, there’s a wide range of draft beers and lagers.
Entertainment. The 830-seat, three-deck-high Royal Court Theatre is designed in the style of a classic opera house. It has 20 private boxes that can be reserved by anyone for special nights, and a special package includes Champagne, chocolates, and a ticket printed with name and box number - in the tradition of a real London West End theatre. There’s a lounge for pre-show drinks.
Spa/Fitness. The Cunard Royal Health Club and Spa includes a beauty salon, large gymnasium with high-tech muscle-pumping equipment and great ocean views; an aerobics area; separate changing rooms for men and women, each with its own ocean-view sauna; a Thermal Area with sauna and steam rooms (extra-cost day passes are available if you don’t book a treatment, or at a lower per-day cost for a multi-use pass); several body treatment rooms; a Rasul chamber for private Hammam-style mud/steam bathing; and a relaxation area. A 12.5% gratuity is added to all spa treatment prices.