The other day I had the pleasure of visiting the Queen Elizabeth in port, the newest ocean liner from Cunard Line. I much enjoyed the ship, which had a very welcoming feel, with beautiful soft tones and warm woods, inviting lounges and comfortable seating, a feeling of openness and spaciousness, and delightful art and decor befitting a grand ocean liner. I've previously sailed on Queen Mary 2 across the Atlantic, and have been aboard Queen Victoria, and this was my first viewing of Cunard's latest ship.
The designers of Cunard's cruise ships, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, have carefully crafted ocean liners for the 21st century that still echo the golden days when ship travel was the principal means of transport between Europe and America. While having all the modern comforts one expects, today's Cunard liners still evoke their storied history.
Indeed, there's a very different flavor of these liners compared to most other cruise ships: The central location of the Queen's Room, host to formal balls and other events onboard, the layout of the public areas, the shops, library and art gallery, a bookstore. There's also the British touches: a pub, a croquet court and lawn bowling area, the formal high tea service every afternoon, or the Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar, and more.
I must admit, I found the Queen Elizabeth far more elegant and inviting than Queen Victoria, her sister. It's been a while since I visited the Queen Victoria, so not sure why this is,but several colleagues I've spoken to all seem to agree. Perhaps it's the warm woods and classy decor. So if you need to pick an ocean liner between these two, short of itinerary, I'd favor QE. The Queen Mary 2 is a different ship altogether, with its own unique style (and onboard planetarium).
It's also important to keep in mind that unlike most cruise lines, Cunard still offers a tiered service onboard when it comes to dining. When booking higher-end suites and staterooms, guests dine in either the Queen's Grill or Princess Grill restaurants on the top deck (and with some outdoor seating available), which are smaller, offer more personalized service and the best cuisine onboard. Those in other staterooms dine in the large main Britannia restaurant. In addition, all guests have access to alternative dining venues onboard, from the Golden Lion English pub; South American, Mexican and Asian fare in the Lido restaurant at night; and the gorgeous Verandah Grill, featuring fine French cuisine.
Being onboard a Cunard cruise is to revisit the history of this company and of transatlantic travel, through photographs, news articles, china and more. Even more so, it's to feel you're part of the line's ongoing history in a way one doesn't feel this on other cruise lines. Whether planning a world cruise or shorter ocean cruise getaway, our cruise experts can secure all your arrangements in a style befitting of grand class travel.