c Cruise Around Britain on Cunard Queen Elizabeth | Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me

Cruise Around Britain on Cunard Queen Elizabeth

I have been so meaning to share with you my experience of cruising for the first time.  So where did I go? Well as it happens not too far at all, choosing to explore and cruise around Great Britain for 12 nights with Cunard Cruises on the prestigious Queen Elizabeth ship.
Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review deck 8
I travelled with my sister and my parents, all of us first time cruisers. I truly had no idea what to expect, I knew that standards on board would be high and that the food would be amazing, but it far out weighed my expectations.

I was so impressed with the checking in and boarding process, no hanging around or endless queues, it was nothing like travelling by plane, thankfully. We sailed anti clockwise around Britain, visiting Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Channel Isles.
Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review

Great Britain Cruise Itinerary

  • Southampton
  • Edinburgh
  • Invergorden / Inverness
  • Kirkwall
  • Stornoway
  • Greenock
  • Belfast
  • Liverpool
  • Guernsey

Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review
Foyer area Queen Elizabeth Cruise Liner
Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review
One of many stunning fresh flower displays on board 
Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship
What a breathtaking ship, I know I have nothing to compare it to but it was beautiful. Our room on deck 8 had space and plenty of storage, a sofa and balcony so we could sit out and enjoy the sun and spectacular views and relaxing feel of the water. You can order complimentary room service at any time, quite often I enjoyed relaxing on the balcony with tea and scones, literally watching the world sail by. It was from our balcony my sister and I spotted dolphins off the coast of the top of Scotland.
Balcony Room Deck 8 Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship

Food
Food served in the Britannia restaurant was spectacular. I never did manage to eat all 3 courses that were available, although I seemed to have no trouble finishing the petite fours. 
Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review
Britannia Restaurant Cunard Queen Elizabeth

For the occasional evening and usually at lunch the Lido buffet restaurant offered very good choices too. There were several other restaurants on board including a pub The Golden Lion, but we just did not find the time to eat in all of them. Though I did seem to eat quite a lot!
Britannia Restaurant menu Cunard Queen Elizabeth review
Amazing menu in the Britannia Restaurant 
Afternoon Tea
Regular readers will know all about my love of Afternoon Tea, so there was no way I would miss out on enjoying Afternoon Tea on board the Queen Elizabeth. Every day a formal Afternoon Tea is served at 3.30pm in the Queens Room. This was such a wonderful event, white gloved waiters served delightful finger sandwiches, scones and small cakes along with endless cups of tea. This was accompanied with wonderful live music.
Cruise around Britain Cruise Ship Cunard Queen Elizabeth review

Spa
There are 2 outdoor pools with hot tubs on board the Lido and Pavilion, which everyone can use. There is also a spa which offers numerous spa treatments and access to sauna, steam rooms, heated loungers and a hot plunge pool, which you have to book and pay for. My sister and I did use the spa, in fact we book a spa day. I am afraid I have very few good words to say about the experience. I have been to many spa in the UK and abroad and this was the worst I have ever experienced, and yes we did complain. 
Shopping
There are numerous shops on board selling everything you could want and not want. I did enjoy looking around the art gallery, there were some beautiful paintings and sculptures. They also have one of the largest libraries on a cruise ship, I love a library!
Relax and Enjoy
There are so many activities and events on board the ship throughout the day. I enjoyed watching the cake decorating demonstration, but I also enjoyed doing nothing. The midships bar the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail and a book, or relax listening to background music of Micheal Bubble singing. The Commodore Club which enjoyed spectacular views looking out of the front of the ship was another spot for relaxing as the ship sailed.
Cocktails and cakes Midships Bar Cunard Queen Elizabeth
Cocktails and cake at Midships Bar Queen Elizabeth
The Weather and the Sea
I enjoyed the experience of cruising, I never once felt sea sick and the majority of time I would not have been able to tell you we were even at sea. The weather for the UK in June/July was good, we had some sunny but fresh days when we sailed and visited the islands of Scotland. However I was a little disappointed that fog descended when we arrived in Guernsey, and luckily we were one step ahead of the rain in Ireland. 
Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review
Walking the promenade deck
We did have a few peculiar moments, twice one evening the ship lost all power and it was plunged into darkness. We were reassuringly informed by the captain that we were not in any shipping lanes and were safe. We hit choppy water at the top of Scotland, so had to adjust our course and back track slightly, this was the only time I felt like I was at sea and whilst at the aft of the ship was a little unsteady on my feet.  
Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review
Here I am enjoying fine dining in the Britannia Restaurant
Wi-fi
You had to pay for wi-fi access, it was around $40 for an hour. Therefore I hardly used my ipad and social media with the exception of one very important thing. Whilst on holiday the final Game of Thrones episode of season 6 was broadcast, so I did pay for wi-fi so I could download it onto my Sky Go app somewhere off the coast of the Orkney Isles. Phew! I would not have survived the holiday not knowing what happened. 

Ports of Call
I wanted to find a balance of enjoying the ship and using the facilities whilst also enjoying the ports of call. Each destination offered the opportunity to explore with numerous organised excursions available for a cost. Or you could step of the ship and explore on foot. I had not really given it much thought when booking but the ship did not dock directly at all the ports, a number of them the ships anchored off shore and the port was accessed using the ships small tender boats. Time consuming and not a particularly pleasant experience if I am honest. 

I have much more to tell you about the different ports of call, so do check back over the next few weeks as I publish more blog posts about my cruise around Great Britain.

Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Queen Elizabeth review

Will I cruise again? 
I think so, but I don't think I will be a cruise fanatic. I certainly enjoyed waking up and finding myself in a new destination without the chore of feeling I had travelled there.  I do fancy a cruise around Norwegian Fjords, or through the Panama Canal. 

Have you cruised? I would love to hear your recommendations.

Read my next Cruise around Britain blog post  - Port of Call Edinburgh & Falkirk Wheel.

If you know someone who would find this article interesting please do share it with them. Or if you have any questions please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer.

Cruise around Great Britain Cunard Cruise Ship Europe
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6 comments:

  1. Following this with interest as it is the tendering that puts me off! There is a similar trip I was thinking of but a friend said that sometimes they just can't get near the small ports. Your photos are wonderful and I am tempted if only by the decor and the afternoon tea!

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  2. Looks wonderful. I sailed on the original Queen Elizabeth in 1956 from England to America, and then by train to Canada.

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  3. It looks amazing, love the look of the stunning décor and of course the luxury of fine dining, not to mention the decadence of afternoon tea.

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  4. Glad you had a great time! I will enjoy reading all of your posts to come I am sure!

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  5. Thank-you for sharing,I look forward to your next installment. I am originally from Kirkwall, so I hope you enjoyed that stop. I have been on three cruises in the Caribbean and loved them, I would love to do a cruise in Europe one day too.

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  6. Will follow blog as booked on QE for Feb 2018 also on Deck 8 - Club Balcony 8068 to be specific:) i was not aware the room service was complimentary?

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I really do appreciate you leaving me a comment, I enjoy reading them all.
Angela x

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