Top marks for Queen Elizabeth

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There may be feet of snow and lingering travel chaos back home in the UK, but the sun is beating down relentlessly from a hazy blue sky here in Vigo, where Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is spending the day.
Appearances can be deceptive, however, and even at 11.00 am when I went ashore there was frost on the pavement in the shade cast by palm trees. Not what I was expecting.
Many passengers had left much earlier, boarding a battalion of coaches for the 60 mile drive to Santiago de Compostela and the shrine of St James. Those of us who stayed in Vigo had to contend with an army of workmen re-paving the centre of the old town. Diggers, dump-trucks and “Do Not Cross” barriers have taken over the alleyways and squares around the Cathedral, and even in Porta do Sol, giant figures of Santa Claus were being inflated around the base of the impressive statue of the Merman.
So I’m afraid it wasn’t long before I took refuge back on the ship – pausing only to wonder whether to blow a fortune on a new camera at the giant MediaMarkt superstore in the shopping mall next to the cruise terminal.
After just two days on board, it’s all too tempting to think of Queen Elizabeth in the same way that snowbound people back in the UK think of your houses – as a comfortable home from which it is not necessary to stray. Ever.
Breakfast in bed, light lunch, lavish dinner . . . all provided. Ballroom dance lessons, blackjack in the casino, watercolour art class, table tennis contest, vodka tasting . . . all available.
The ballgowns and bow ties were all out last night for the first formal night and the Cunard Ball in the Queens Room. I was not expecting the next black tie night to be until another sea day on Monday, between Cadiz and Gran Canaria, but I have just received an invitation to cocktails with the Captain tomorrow, when formal dress will again be required. Hope the shirt is back from the laundry in time.
My fellow passengers seem to have got beyond telling how they battled against snow and impossible travel conditions to make it to Southampton in time for the voyage, and conversation is now turning to the ship and our destinations.
I suppose there must be some who have not sailed with Cunard before, but they will be difficult to track down. For many, this is the umpteenth cruise with the company, as the jackets and T-shirts bearing the logos of QE2 and QM2 testify.
Those who have sailed on sister ship Queen Victoria are generally agreed that Elizabeth is an improvement.
One told me: “It was nice to see the Chart Room gone as I never liked that bar. I am interested in trying the new Club Britannia restaurant as a cheaper alternative to the Grills.
“I think the Lido restaurant and pool bar are better furnished on QE and the new sports area with bowls and croquet is a better use of space. Overall I would score Elizabeth at nine out of 10, whereas Victoria would be 8.5.”

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:14+00:00 3 December 2010|Cruise News, Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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