Visiting a Queen

This is a little belated but I had to get all the posts from our European trip out before I could cover this. Last Thursday (June 20) we were lucky enough to be able to go north to Vancouver, BC to tour Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth. We have never sailed on a Cunard ship and this would be our first chance to go aboard what I consider to be the last outpost of traditional cruising (which I miss). We expected a very beautiful and classy ship and that is exactly what we got (check out my photos to see what I am talking about).

Our journey started on Wednesday when we headed north to Chilliwack to see our best buddies, Bob and Judy. If we are going to B.C., we go to the Wack first. We hadn’t seen Bob and Judy since before our European trip so we had a lot to talk about. Plus, they had found an outstanding new restaurant we wanted to try out. After a great time and a super breakfast, we were off to Surrey, where, to avoid the traffic, we parked our car and jumped on a very crowded Skytrain into Downtown Vancouver.

We arrived before 10:00 (when we needed to board) and the balance of the travel agents who were touring with the Cunard BDM (Business Development Manager) did too. Many of them had come up on a bus from Seattle early that morning. We had the option to do that as well but we would rather have seen Bob and Judy.

When we do ship visitations we usually have to go through the same security that we do when boarding a ship for a cruise. Pretty much what you have to go through to get on an airplane and clear the TSA. Once we were onboard we split into two groups and one went with the BDM and the other (ours) were escorted by the ship’s Future Cruise Salesperson who was a very nice German woman.

Some overall observations.

The Queen Elizabeth is one of three Cunard Ships. She was built in 2010 and her capacity is 2077 with two people in every stateroom and completely full, 2503. I am still not sure where they put them as the ship just does not look that big, either inside or out.

Unlike any other ship visitation we have ever done, we were not allowed to see a single stateroom. No suites, no verandahs, no outsides, no insides. That is just wrong. That’s a huge part of why we want to go onboard—to check out all aspects of the ship to advise clients. Sadly, Cunard chose not to let us see any of the staterooms.

The ship is gorgeous and VERY classically decorated in an Art Deco style. The wood everywhere is gorgeous. Lots of places to sit, relax and enjoy your friends and family. The classic beauty carries on in the crews’ uniforms, the chandeliers, the sconces and so much more. Everything is truly beautiful.

Not only is the ship a classic beauty but it is a much more traditional kind of cruising. Kind of like cruising in the past. There are still real formal nights (you don’t HAVE to dress up except in the dining rooms and the entertainment venues on those nights), a gorgeous ballroom with a full dance band, individual boxes in the theater that you can rent for $50 per show (comes with Champagne and snacks) and just an all around class those who like that kind of cruising will appreciate. They even still have dance hosts on board. If you aren’t familiar with dance hosts, those are single men who are employed by the cruise line to ballroom dance with the single ladies on board. They used to be rather common on many cruise lines (we had a dance host at our table on Celebrity Galaxy in 2005) but most other lines have discontinued them.

I should also add that they do have kind of a class system on board even though they don’t call it that. There are regular guests and then those in the Princess Grille and if you really spend some money, the Queen’s Grille. You eat in a better restaurant, have a different area to relax in and a few other perks.

The one thing we were a little surprised with was lunch. Having just come off Celebrity’s Reflection less than a week before, the lunch we were served was not in the same caliber as any meal we had eaten aboard Reflection. Yes, it was in the dining room and yes, it was fancy and the service as impeccable but the food was beyond bland. It was edible but totally boring. I expected better.

I am going to let you look at the pics to see more and if you have questions, please ask them in the comments and I promise to get back to you.

Summing up

If you love traditional, classical cruising then Cunard is for you! We would sail on the Queen Elizabeth or either of her two sister ships as we like that kind of cruising.

You’re dressed in a tuxedo, you wear a bow tie. A bow tie with a tuxedo is more formal than a straight tie with a tuxedo. —Bill Nye