Board the youngest ship in Cu­nard’s fleet, Queen El­iz­a­beth, for a grand voy­age

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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.



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