Stern's Guide to the Greatest Resorts of the World, Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, Stern's Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel Barges, and The Indispensable Guide to Foreign Words and Phrases--by Steven B. Stern (Sponsored by Stern's Travel Guides, Ltd.)
90,400-ton, 2,068-passenger Queen
Elizabeth entered service in 2010. The unique feature on this ship, as on
all the Queens, is the existence of a special section known as
"Grill Class" for the guests opting for the most expensive accommodations.
On these ships there are two Grill Classes: the Queen's Grill and the Princess
Grill. Passengers who select suites ranging in size between 506-to 2,249-square
feet enjoy the privilege of dining in the Queen's Grill, while those booking
the less expensive (but not inexpensive) suites ranging in size between 335-and
513-square feet dine in the Princess Grill. Both dining rooms are very elegant
and enjoy panoramic views out to the sea. The service is impeccable and the
menu choices are more extensive than found on the rest of the ship. In both,
dining times are flexible; however guests have assigned tables. Non Grill-Class
passengers dine in the Britannia Restaurant with the higher priced Britannia-Class
staterooms seated in their own special section.
Other than as described above, wine and
alcoholic beverages are not included, nor are shore excursions or Internet. However,
passengers who have sailed frequently with Cunard earn various hours of free
Internet access. Actually the amenities are not any greater than suite guests
receive on most other ships. The big attraction is the private dining rooms,
lounge and outside deck space.
During our voyage we dined in both Grill rooms as well as the Britannia Club
and Britannia Restaurant. When weather
permitted, we especially enjoyed breakfast and lunch in the open-air courtyard,
which was available to both Queen's Grill and Princess Grill guests. An
excellent dining experience is the Veranda, a specialty, reservation-only, a la
carte restaurant created by Michelin-stared chef, Jean Marie Zimmermann. Here,
guests can choose between an impressive array of individually priced French and
continental selections and a $35 price-fixed menu.
for the ship itself, she is a traditionally decorated vessel with most of the
common areas and the plethora of activities found on premium vessels of this
size. Although most Grill guests seem to prefer the exclusivity of their
private dining rooms or room service, other dining possibilities include: an
English pub serving the likes of fish and chips and bangers and mash, the afore-described
Veranda, and an extensive buffet facility. A section of the buffet restaurant
is sectioned off in the evening and offers an alternating Asian, Indian and
steak-house cuisine.($10 charge). Needless to say this venue is seldom frequented
by Grill guests.
Noteworthy on all Cunard ships is the lecture
programs which feature speakers from varied walks of life. Helpful port talks cover
information both for those going on tours and those choosing to travel independently.
Elizabeth offered a variety of Mediterranean itineraries during the summer
and fall of 2014, departing for a world cruise in early 2015. Our cruise
departed from Venice and terminated in Athens. During our seven days aboard, we visited Korcula,
Heraklion, Rhodes, and Kusadasi with two days at sea.Shore excursions were offered at all of the
stops. Having visited these ports previously, we opted to avoid the rather
hefty expense of the tours and go off on our own. Although Grill-Class
passengers received priority embarkation and debarkation, the cost of the tours
was not included.
Overall, luxury as exemplified in Grill
Class on Cunard's three Queens is of a more formal, or if you will, a more British-elegant
style. Men and women dress for dinner and the waiters and maitre d' are always
very polite, proper and solicitous of passenger needs and requests. In many ways it is a blast from the past of
cruising on the great ocean liners.