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kmerlin14

2019 Trip Report: Queen Elizabeth round trip from Vancouver June 10-20

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1 hour ago, Kevin's girl said:

Really enjoying your review. Keep up the writing, I'm enjoying your Alaskan dream this year as I get ready for my return there next year.

Great. I really enjoyed yours of Alaska and of your British Isles trip. We are hoping to do the British Isles in 2021 if we can swing it. Enjoy your trip back to Alaska.

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Sea Day- Tuesday, June 18 

I had been looking forward to one more line dance class and dance lesson on this sea day, so I was heartbroken to find out that they were cancelled because they Queen’s room was needed for a cocktail party. I was able to go to Zumba though and it was fun even if I was upset about the other two classes being cancelled. Instead, we had a lazy day: trying to finish our library books, walking on the promenade deck, and chatting with the naturalist in the garden lounge.  

 

And remember that tin of salmon I bought in Icy Straight Point? I’d had to check off yes to the “are you bringing food products into the country” question even though I knew it was in a tin and was in no way going to affect our agriculture industry. But it earned me a phone call telling me I’d have to report for special customs screening when we got to Victoria. Yet another souvenir had gotten me into trouble.  

 

As usual, we went to the Lido for lunch so I could load up on vegetables. Only this time it backfired because it was the chocolate buffet. I ate my vegetables like a good girl, but I did have to check out the desert offerings. They had Nanaimo bars and butter tarts, but the serving staff had never heard of them before so I was able to explain them a bit. I picked up a butter tart, intending to split it with my husband, but then I ate the entire thing. It was really good, but could be one of the reasons I fell asleep after lunch instead of going to the lecture about the Apollo mission like I had intended. I found the waves made me sleepy and hungry. I almost wondered if they made me slightly dizzy and I mistook the dizzy for the lightheadedness you get when you are hungry and kept eating even when I probably shouldn't have. Most nights we didn't’ bother with anything for seasickness (except for the candied ginger and chocolate in the dining room), but that night we took one of the meclazine capsules I’d had my pharmacist makeup for us before the cruise just in case. We were taking the passage on the far side of Vancouver Island so it wasn’t as sheltered. 

 

My husband hasn't been very keen on travelling and cruising up until now, so I was thrilled that he was having such a great time on this voyage. In fact, he suggested that I book another cruise while we were on the ship. We couldn't' decide which cruise we wanted, so we went with the future cruise deposit option and I booked the Eastern Seaboard cruise for next year when we got home. That will give us a chance to experience the Queen Mary and we plan to take the train home form Quebec city.

 

This was the second formal night and it was the Roaring Twenties theme. I already posted a picture of our table mates in all their glory, so I won’t post another, but I do have some pictures that I took around the ship that show the various dance floors if anyone is interested. After dinner, we went to the Hollywood Nights show. Then we went to the ballroom for the roaring twenties ball. It was quite crowded so we just danced a bit and then left. I think we tried the Yacht club but it is higher up on the ship so the waves made it difficult that night.

 

The pictures attached show some of the paintings that show cruising in days gone by and the garden lounge where we thought would be a good place to see the scenery, but then found we liked our balcony just as well. The first dance floor is the Yacht Club and the second one is the Queen's Room. And there is also a shot of the upstairs of the library where all the good fiction books are.

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14 hours ago, kmerlin14 said:

This was the second formal night and it was the Roaring Twenties theme. I already posted a picture of our table mates in all their glory, so I won’t post another, but I do have some pictures that I took around the ship that show the various dance floors if anyone is interested. After dinner, we went to the Hollywood Nights show. Then we went to the ballroom for the roaring twenties ball. It was quite crowded so we just danced a bit and then left. I think we tried the Yacht club but it is higher up on the ship so the waves made it difficult that night.

 

 

I would love to see more pics from around the ship. I've heard she is beautiful.

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Tried to post last night, but the board was undergoing some sort of upgrade and it wouldn't' let me.

Wed, June 19-Victoria

The last time I was in Victoria, I was too young to rent a car, so I wanted to rent one this time—before I got too old. But the idea was stressing hubby out to much—I did point out that we could always take the ferry to catch up with the ship if we missed it, but he didn’t go for the idea at all. So, we signed up for the shore excursion to Butchart Gardens instead. I’d been on a night tour there and I really wanted to see it during the day.

My tin of salmon meant that I had to go down to the pursers area while my husband went to the Queen’s room to check in and get our coloured stickers. But when we got there no one seemed to know where we were supposed to go, especially since the room we’d been told had been taken over by the customs people. Luckily, we were in Canada now, so I could call my husband easily on his cellphone to let him know there had been a delay because they were still figuring out what to do about us. Finally, someone told us to just go through the customs line with everyone else and they’d let us know if there was an issue. One of the other passengers asked if we could just get our cards scanned to see if there was an issue, so we did that, and everyone was fine. I headed up to the Queen’s room which was still full because it took longer to get off the ship at this port because everyone had to go through customs.

The gardens themselves are beautiful. They were also packed. We were also hungry because of the delay leaving the ship, but we didn’t want to waste any time and stop for lunch. I did find a concession stand that sold sandwiches, so we bought a couple and munched on them as we toured the gardens. I’m pretty sure we managed to see everything and even had time to go to the gift shop. They were warning everyone at the cash that they might now be able to bring the seeds across the border, but this time I didn’t have to worry because we’d gone through our customs. We planted their annual and perennial mix in our garden and the plants did very well until Dorian came through and flattened them.

I would have liked to have had more time at the gardens, but we had to return to the bus after about an hour and a half. If I were doing it again, I’d probably try to find a private tour that would let me take as long as I wanted at the gardens. Most of the ones I had found left from the downtown area, so it would have been tricky to schedule knowing that we had to go through customs first. The commentary on the bus was interesting though. ON the way back he told us about how the owners had gone on vacation to Europe and one of them was very interested in ducks and insisted on going to Germany buy a rare duck even though his wife was worried they’d miss their ship if they went. She was right, they missed their ship. But seeing as how it was the Titanic, it was probably just as well.

Then it was time for one more dinner, show, and a quick turn round the dance floor before we packed up our suitcases and left them out in the hall. They didn’t have to be out until around 11pm.

I've posted some pictures below. The gardens are famous for their blue poppies and I did find a few in bloom which made me happy because they weren't in bloom when I went with my Dad all those years ago. You can get an idea of the crowds in the picture of the rose garden which I would have liked to have spent more time in so that I could have said "hi" personally to each variety instead of feeling like I was on some sort of sightseeing assembly line that had to keep rolling along.

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Thursday, June 20-Debarkation

We cleared out our stateroom and took our carryons to the Lido restaurant for one last breakfast. It was quite crowded, so we actually ate in the garden lounge. I hadn’t realized that the main dining room was open as well, so we probably should have gone there since we didn’t have to muster in the auditorium until 9:30. That was a case of hurry up and wait, but at least we had a place to sit instead of standing in a big long line up for two hours. The staff were checking on the line up and sending us out as it got shorter. Then they could direct us straight to where our luggage was so we could pick it up and then go stand in the line for the taxis. I was actually surprised at how long that line up was because we were the only ship in port that day. If there is more than one ship in port, I suspect it might be quicker to take the ship’s airport transfer. And FYI anyone requiring assistance was sent to a separate line for accessible cabs etc. One woman didn’t need an accessible cab, but she had trouble standing, so they asked us if she could jump ahead of us, so they do their best to take care of everyone. I’ve attached a picture of the taxi lineup so you can get an idea of it.

Our plane was a little late taking off, so we were late getting to Toronto, but the weather was so bad, they told us all the planes were going to be late, so we would probably make our connection. They were right. I got about 8,000 steps moving from gate to gate as they kept shifting it and I think it was something like two am before we finally took off. An exhausting end to a wonderful vacation. If anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Someone on the Cunard board has asked for daily programs, so I will try to scan them in and post them there.

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I would like to know how you compare and contrast the Cunard QE with other cruise ships? We cruised Alaska last year, and it was our first cruise. We want to go back. We went on Celebrity and loved it. Have you been on other cruise lines that you can compare? Also, you mentioned the ship rolling a bit. We did not experience that much at all on the inside passage. Were sea conditions rough? Do you believe the QE to be less stable than other ships? Thanks. -Jim

Edited by Rode Warrior

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4 hours ago, Rode Warrior said:

I would like to know how you compare and contrast the Cunard QE with other cruise ships? We cruised Alaska last year, and it was our first cruise. We want to go back. We went on Celebrity and loved it. Have you been on other cruise lines that you can compare? Also, you mentioned the ship rolling a bit. We did not experience that much at all on the inside passage. Were sea conditions rough? Do you believe the QE to be less stable than other ships? Thanks. -Jim

I suspect the Queen Elizabeth is more stable than other ships. The two places the sea was rough were in areas than many on the Alaska board say are rough and it wasn't during the inside passage itself. The captain was also able to get us extremely close to the Hubbard glacier. The naturalist on board was quite surprised at how close she got.

We've only ever done a Caribbean cruise on the Allure, so I don't have a lot of experience, but we did prefer the Queen Elizabeth because it suited us better, but that is partly because of our interests. We much preferred the dancing on the Queen Elizabeth. On the Allure, they just had a tiny dance floor and the main area was often booked for a private function. The one time it was open, there was a toddler playing in the middle of the dance floor so it was hard to figure out where the toddler would move next when you did a shoulder check. The line dance and ballroom dance lessons were better as well. The Allure didn't actually have any line dance lessons on sea days--only on port days.

The Allure was also too big for us. It was almost impossible to find a seat anywhere near the pool on sea days.  I usually went late at night  instead. Note: there are no indoor pools on the Queen Elizabeth so you probably wont' be swimming in Alaska on that one. I found the crowds overwhelming especially when it came time to leave the ship because we had to stand in a long line up for over an hour.

We like to read and the Queen Elizabeth has a lovely library. The Allure has a room with some books on the shelves, but not really anything interesting to read.

The theatre shows are better on the Allure, but we enjoyed the ones on the Queen Elizabeth. I was going to try to go to some lectures, but I fell asleep.

Both ships had a nice deck to walk around.

We had traditional dining on the Queen Elizabeth and my time on the Allure. This meant we were at a table for 8 and got to meet other passengers on the Queen Elizabeth. On the Allure, we had the same waiter every night, but we were at a table for 2, so there wasn't much mingling because everyone seemed to be in their own little bubble. Even up in the buffet, there seemed to be more inter-passenger interaction on the Queen Elizabeth's.

The Allure had more stuff to do with the climbing wall, boardwalk, fancy theatres etc., but we weren't interested in doing a lot of that stuff, so it was wasted on us. I did enjoy Central Park and we had a Central Park balcony, but it got very hot out there during the day. It was lovely at night though with all the light shows. We had an ocean view on the Queen Elizabeth and I much preferred that.

The food was great on both ships.

With all of this, I still think you should chose your Alaskan ship for the ports and how long you are in port, rather than the ship facilities. Most of our time in Alaska was spent off the ship and not on it. And I will always get the meclazine capsules for seasickness even though they have those lovely ginger candies in the dining room and lemon ginger tea in the lido.

Sorry I can't be any more help and remember it is coming from someone who likes to dance, read, go to the theatre, walk around the deck, meet other people, explore ports, eat, and relax. If you are cruising with kids or have other interests, you'll probably would have preferred the Allure or another ship. I did like the Vancouver to Vancouver 10-day itinerary though because it let us see more ports and stay in Canada for our flights.

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Thank you - we are new cruisers - doing our first ever cruise on QE next month - but also considering Alaska later on in the year. We are dancers and readers without kids so  thanks for the detailed notes on the dancing! 

 

I like the itinerary of QE  in Alaska - particularly Stika - but I think we'll go with Princess or HAL so we can go one way and spend some land time in Anchorage. 

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I drool over those pictures at Butchart Gardens.  Can't wait to go back again.  Thanks for sharing your review.

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