ART DECO AT SEA
Board the youngest ship in Cunard’s fleet, Queen Elizabeth, for a grand voyage
White-gloved waiters line up under the crystal chandeliers of the Queen’s Room, pristine white tea pots balanced on trays. The string quartet strikes up a waltz and, as one, the tea-bearers drift across the dance floor, fanning out into every corner of the magnificent room.
Afternoon Tea is a sea-day institution aboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and it seems that the whole ship has turned out for the occasion. Underneath one of several portraits of Queen Elizabeth II dotted across the ship, we sip Earl Grey, nibble on scones dripping with jam and toast our voyage with champagne.
Queen Elizabeth is a ship bound by tradition. Cunard still attracts a predominately British crowd and reminders of the line’s 178-year history are everywhere across the 2081-passenger ship. Every stairwell features photos and artworks of past crew and guests, as well as artefacts from the bygone days of ocean liners.
Even today, the dress code is no less sophisticated, although there are no Gala nights on our three-night sampler cruise from Sydney to Brisbane. To the uninitiated, this might sound like an opportunity to go casual, but any Cunard devotee knows that sophisticated evenings mean jackets are required for men and cocktail attire is de rigueur for ladies.
There’s no shortage of dining options on board, from the relaxed ambience of the 464-seat Lido on Deck 9 to the refined French cuisine of The Verandah, and a dining space within the Lido that showcases up to four global cuisines on longer voyages.
Catching a show at the grand, threedeck, 800-seat Royal Court Theatre is a must – we are treated to the vocal (and comedic) stylings of Australian trio, Tenori – as is heading up to the Games Deck for old-fashioned fun in the form of croquet, bowls and paddle tennis. There’s even an English pub, the Golden Lion, where passengers showcase their skills in trivia and karaoke.
Following my aromatherapy massage in The Royal Spa, I linger in the bathhouse, lulled to sleep by a heated tiled bed, the constant sea view and the sense that this is cruising as it is meant to be.