Age: Over 50
Number of Cruises: 8
Cruise Line: Cunard
Ship: Queen Elizabeth 2
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: South Pacific
We sailed from Honolulu at midnight and it was
wonderful to stand on the forward deck and watch the city recede as we backed
away from the dock, turned in the turning basin, and then headed out to sea. We
had a glass of champagne to toast the start of another blissfull 12 days on the
most elegant of ships.
Since we had booked a C4 stateroom, which ensured that we would be dining in the Caronia restaurant, which we enjoy very much, we were agreeably surprised toi be informed, the day before sailing, that we had been upgraded to a P2, Princess Class stateroom. This, however, meant that we were assigned to the Britannia Grill for meals so we were a bit apprehensive about the difference in atmosphere. This proved to be well founded as, instead of the comfortable wood panneling and brass and warm atmosphere of the Caronia, we were placed at a table for 2 (I had requested one for 6) and endured a very loooong, drawn out meal where every other word was Mr Pearson or Mrs Pearson from the waiters and assistants.
At the end of the meal, we literally ran to the Caronia restaurant and begged the maitre d' to find us a spot for the rest of the cruise. Although the room was supposedly completely full, hde found that we had originally been booked there (when we had the C4 booking) so he squeezed us in, apologizing that the only space he had was at the Captain's table !!
Needless to say, we were delighted and, although Captain Warwick never showed for a single meal, we had the company of various charming ship's officers every night except when in port, complete with complimentary wines.
That being said, we were not too happy with the fact that the Carnival influence seems to be more in evidence than on our past cruises on the QE2. At least that is what we decided was the reason that there were no ice carvings, nor water melon carvings that we had so much enjoyed previously, nor was there a single specialty buffet, such as the Dessert Spectacular and Chocoholic's Delight buffet that we had enjoyed in the past.
The entertainment was very good for the most part, some very talented singers and musicians and we liked the local folklorique shows in Tahiti and New Zealand.
In the past, Cunard has "sweetened the pot" with free return air fare and/or shipboard credits, neither of which were forthcoming this time. We are trying to arrange to take a part of the World Cruise 2004, from Honolulu to Auckland again, this time via Pago Pago, Fiji and the Bay of Islands, however this very much depends on Cunard's flexibility. If they don't offer some incentives we are already booked on the Princess Cruises Tahitian Princess (ex- Renaissance) to the Marquesas and Tuamotus in January and shall hold that booking until the last minute, we have until November to make the final payment.
Much as we love the QE2, with the QM2 being launched next year there is a massive turnover of staff from the Captain on down, we know Captain Warwick personally through his wife's family who live in Honolulu and he is going to be the Captain of the QM2 when she is launched. If Cunard doesn't market the cruise agressively out of Honolulu,we shall regretfully have to make other arrangements.
That being said, we did have a wonderful experience again on the Grand Dame of the ocean, hopefully it won't be our last.