Cunard Queen Elizabeth - Canary Islands - Jan 2022 - 12nights

Day 1- Jan 6th 2022
A new year starts and some challenges cruising still remain, but we're here yay!

It's interesting after sailing with Fred Olsen twice in succession that the New Year sees us trying what will be for us two brand new lines. The first is Cunard   The second will be with Saga  on one of their brand new "boutique" ships. Both have the disadvantage (to us) of being based in Southampton however we have opted to use Cunard's own included coach transfer. Saga actually include a private or shared transfer.

We are picked up on an icy morning in Bolton by a rather nice coach that has already made its way all the way down from Scotland. There are going to be just 27 of us on a 60 seat coach and it has to be said it's an absolute breeze being dropped off right alongside the ship and simply watch the baggage guys handle the luggage. Lateral flow testing is quick and efficient - in fact it took only 20 mins to ping up on your phone , then board.

Cunard is probably one of the last historic lines that likes to keep things traditional and it's interior design really reflects this. It is the only line that still operates an ocean liner (The Queen Mary 2) and currently operates just two cruise liners Elizabeth and Victoria. The second you step onto the ship its the elegant art deco design that strikes you first. 

All the public areas shine with a sense of opulence and grandeur that liners of the past exuded. From staircases to lift lobbys, theatres to restaurants and bars. Then to top it all you have the library and something even more  unique, the Queens ballroom; she does indeed feel very special.

Just to come back to earth for one second though the cabins themselves feel just a little left out of all of this grandeur especially when it comes to the bathrooms. There really is no place anymore on cruise ships for showers with fixed heads and light blocking shower curtains. Despite this balcony cabin being about the standard size for some reason the bathroom layout feels very cramped. The TV interface is also rather dated and does not have 'on demand' films etc but we don't watch any TV on cruises, so not a problem.

Lunch is calling and the Buffet has a good selection of Sushi and we both settle on that for a light snack with a Sauvignon Blanc to keep us going until dinner. We are curious to get some details from the Sommelier regarding the wine package on offer and settle on that after he has explained it. The odd thing onboard Cunard is despite the UK heritage the umbrella  company are Carnival so it's like being back on NCL without a drinks package when it comes to pricing in dollars with 15% service added. As we mainly drink wine it doesn't take a mathematical genius to work out this package is better value especially as A)service is included in the price and B)the wines are better than those in the normal drinks package or the cheapest options from the wine lists. There is a third option on Cunard which is to bring your own onboard and pay the corkage buts its not really viable when arriving by coach.

Dinner tonight is in the beautiful Brittania restaurant again filled with art deco influences and wood panelling.  We are on first sitting and have a table for two and despite the fact the room is busy, service is wonderfully efficient.

We are curious to see how the wine package works in reality and as soon as we sit the sommelier (Marcelo from Rio de Janeiro) appears to explain and offer help matching wines to dishes chosen. First course for me is a wild game terrine Jack chooses a simple dish of chanterelle carrots roasted. We both follow this with a cauliflower soup infused with 5 spice. The main course tonight  is beef  with Stilton cake - lovely and tender if slightly lacking in vegetables which is soon put to rights by Jay (our ever efficient head waiter). Quick as a flash he returns with a plate of vegetables that would keep a family of four going for a day or two. This process is then repeated without us having to ask everyday. Service is outstanding.

Desserts were a divine apple strudel containing a good amount of apples and a vanilla cheesecake for Dan. Coffee and petitfour followed, the chocolate is good too.

The Royal Court theatre with proscenium, 'royal' boxes and even a full width front of stage ground level lighting rig, does actually feel like your entering a real west end theatre. 

It also comes not only with a house band but with a house orchestra and OMG what a huge difference that makes. As does the superb lighting & faultless sound. But none of this means anything without a skilled ship's theatre company, who excel. 4 vocalists and 10 dancers - tonight's show gives us a variety show taster of what is to come. I have praised Fred Olsens ships company in previous posts but these have the edge mainly because the all the lead vocalists are equally skilled. The costumes are beautiful too.
I would have been happy calling it a night as it has been a long day but the ships other main band are performing in the Queens ballroom with Aida and Josh on vocals so we head over to grab a table and order drinks.

The Queens Room is a ballroom, the band play tunes new and old and boy do people like to dance on Cunard. Its a joy to watch and listen. The song mix is excellent with the female singer equally showing the tenderness of a Carol King song for a rumba or launching into Poker Face with more attitude than  Lady Gaga (a great tango). Another little detail here we're impressed with is there is no announcing 15minute breaks and having a tape left playing. Instead the band and singers split the breaks up so when the band is on break one singer is on stage to perform to a backing track. Simple and effective. Its then off for to bed for a good nights sleep after filling in the Breakfast in Bed card. Godiva chocolates are awaiting us. Its been quite a day and tomorrow we will enjoy a day at sea before we arrive in A Coruna. 

No comments:

Post a Comment