Our 14-Day Journal Onboard Queen Anne, Cunard’s Newest Ship

14 days is not enough time! We recently returned from our 14-night voyage around the British Isles on Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne. Two weeks might seem like a lot of time, but there are so many options we discovered there was simply not enough time to fit everything in.

Background: We flew JFK to Heathrow, took the National Express bus to Southampton, stayed at the MOXY Hotel overnight on Thursday, boarding the ship on Friday, May 24th. We booked an inside cabin, the lowest priced accommodation. Our cabin was about 148 square feet, but it was fine. Once you step outside your cabin, everyone onboard is treated with the same courtesy and respect.

Friday, May 24th: We board in the early afternoon, drop our hand luggage in the cabin and explore the ship. We have lunch at the Artesian Food Hall on Deck 9. This is the buffet restaurant. The sliced pork belly with masked potatoes and broccoli is quite good. We have drinks in the Commodore Lounge as the ship pulls away from the dock. At 8:30 we arrive at the Britannia Dining Room for late seating and meet our tablemates.

High Point: Sitting at dinner with friends we met on Cunard’s Caribbean Christmas Cruise.

Saturday, May 25th: Our first sea day. We wake up to rolls, juice and coffee, ordered the previous night. I joined the 10:45 AM walking tour of the ship. At the Pavilion pool area on Deck 9, someone calls my name. It is another couple we met on a previous Cunard voyage. The afternoon was a blur. I closed my eyes in the cabin and suddenly it was 5:30 PM! Tonight was the first of three formal nights, the Black and White Ball. Most people dress according to the theme.

High Point: Meeting another couple we met on a previous voyage. (We keep in touch.)

Sunday, May 26th: Today we arrive at Edinburgh, our first port. The ship anchors offshore and we tender in to Queensferry, the port. Rough seas delayed arrival by about two hours. The first couple of friends mentioned earlier had arranged for a car and driver to show us around Edinburgh. Because of the delay, most of the sights were seen from inside a moving car. Back on board at dinner, we began our tradition of being one of the last couples to leave the dining room.

High Point: The Scottish pub where we had lunch. 140 types of scotch whisky. You could toss the “hoop of destiny” at the bar, ordering from the bottle it hit.

Monday, May 27th: This was our second sea day. Breakfast was carved ham and bacon, topped with a fried egg and served on a croissant. The Artesian Food Hall had interesting selections. At 3:00 PM we attended afternoon tea. This takes place daily in the Queens Room, involves white-gloved waiters serving tea, scones and finger sandwiches. It is included in your cruise fare. The big event of the day was the World Club Reception for guests who have sailed with Cunard previously. Out of about 3,000 guests, 2,000 have sailed previously. We chatted with another passenger we met on a few earlier voyages. We started our tradition of pre-dinner cocktails in the Chart Room.

High Point: Learning at the World Club Reception there are 555 Diamond tier passengers. Like us, they have completed 15+ voyages with Cunard.

Tuesday, May 28th: We dock at the Orkney Islands at the very top of Scotland. Sunset is 10:15 PM and it’s not the longest day yet! Kirkwell, the largest town, has a population of 6,000. Upon returning to the ship, we are recognized by a maître d’ that we met on a previous voyage. He is in a different dining room. I start attending the trivia quizzes. There are at least four a day and the Golden Lion pub onboard is packed. Exploring onboard I discover two new bars, the Cabana Bar and the Sky Bar. Both are outdoor venues and reachable only by certain elevators. We enjoy a lengthy dinner. When we leave there is still an occupied table at the far side of the dining room. I think they are mannequins.

High point: In Scotland, you can easily tell the locals from the tourists. We are wearing sweaters and windbreakers, the Scots are in tee shirts and shorts!

Wednesday, May 29th: We arrive at Inverness, Scotland’s fourth largest city. Their claim to fame is Loch Ness and Nessie, the monster. We have booked the Leisurely Loch Ness bus tour. We visit a charming town with one main street. We see a truck emblazoned with a bank name. It is a mobile bank branch, traveling from town to town. We visit a touristy motel/restaurant with a huge gift shop. Almost everything is themed to the Loch Ness monster. A talented piper plays in the parking area with the loch as his backdrop. Back onboard, we had booked seats in advance for the Bright Lights Society, the ship’s nightclub venue.

High point: Noir, the show in the Bright Lights Society was fabulous! It was like stepping into the movie Cabaret or Victor, Victoria. The show is interactive with the audience.

Thursday, May 30th: This is another sea day. We attended a great lecture, part of the Cunard Insights series, from a British lawyer who specializes in medical cases. He spoke about the use of DNA evidence in court. We had lunch in Sir Samuels, one of the specialty restaurants. It was fabulous! The steak I ordered was top quality. There is a surcharge, but lunch here is a perk for Diamond Tier World Club members. Tonight was the second formal gala. The theme was the Roaring 20’s. Our tablemates talked about their first trip to Paris in the 1970’s, carrying their copy of “Europe on $5.00 a Day.”

High point: Our choices at dinner included Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska.

Friday, May 31st: This was another sea day. We attended another Cunard Insights lecture from the lawyer specializing in medical cases. This time he spoke about medical mistakes and the law. Yes, someone actually did go in for a knee replacement and had the wrong knee replaced! We kept our seats because next on stage was the interview with Frank Bruno, a much loved British heavyweight boxing champion. The theater was packed, standing room only. Jane did laundry in the afternoon. Because many onboard are British, there is a “code of conduct” on how you use the washers and dryers. Dinner came with a surprise: Because we order several wines among the six of us, the wine steward now sets each place with three tall wineglasses and a water glass!

High point: When the boxer Frank Bruno was asked: “In your career, who hit you the hardest” his answer was “The tax man.”

Saturday, June 1st: We dock at Greenock, Scotland. This is the port for Glasgow. It was a beautiful day and we decided to explore Greenock on foot instead of taking a shore excursion into Glasgow. This was a fortunate decision because I noticed one of my favorite walking shoes suddenly felt very loose. It was falling apart! I was able to limp back to the ship, throw them out and change into another pair. Thank goodness we were not walking a distance in a big city! We relaxed in the Cabana Bar at the top of Deck 11, towards the stern of the ship. Their focus is rum based cocktails. I did manage to get to the gym.

High point: As we walked ashore we passed a delegation in business clothing. One wore a chain with medallions around his neck. This was probably the mayor, wearing his symbol of office. This was probably a delegation to welcome Queen Anne on its maiden port call and to exchange plaques.

Sunday, June 2nd: We docked in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Friends we met on a different cruise let us know they would pick us up at the pier at 8:00 AM and return us to the ship before sailing. Northern Ireland has six counties. We drove through three of them to reach a golf club on the coast. At times you could see Scotland or the Republic of Ireland across the water. We had a fabulous time, seeing the country as only a local could show it.

High point: Driving on a winding coastal road with a local resident who has done it many, many times before and drives at a higher speed than a tourist like me would have chosen.

Monday, June 3rd: You might say this is why we are all here: It is the day of the naming ceremony in Liverpool. This takes place on shore. Cunard passengers have a dedicated viewing area in front of the stage. The people of Liverpool get a free party. Thousands attend. It is front page news. One of our tablemates made it his mission to visit the Cavern Club, the venue where The Beatles performed 292 times between 1961 and 1963. We walked into Liverpool and visited the Cavern Club when it opened. There was a musician on stage performing Beatles hits. It was fabulous! The ship pulled away from the pier about 2:30 and the onshore festivities started at 4:00. It was simulcast onto the ship. Andrea Bocelli performed with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. There were fireworks.

High point: There were two: The Cavern Club and the naming ceremony, complete with christening the ship with an enormous bottle of champagne.

Tuesday, June 4th: This was another sea day as we sailed towards Ireland. I had a version of Eggs Benedict, made with poached salmon for breakfast in the Artesian Food Hall. One of the Cunard Insights lectures featured Celia Imrie, a famous British actor who has won an Olivier Award and appeared in about 180+ films plus numerous TV series. The theater was packed! After lunch I returned to the theater for the production of “Pride and Prejudice (sort of)” which was introduced by the West End producer himself. In London, it won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy. This was our third formal night. “Masked Ball” was the gala theme. The waiters were setting up for breakfast when we closed the dining room.

High point: Celia Imrie’s talk was great. The presentation of the West End play was terrific too.

Wednesday, June 5th: We docked in Cobh in the Republic of Ireland. This is the port for Cork, about 25 minutes away by train. Cork has a fabulous shopping precinct with side streets and alleys lined with restaurants and pubs. I found a great fine wine store. Back in the town of Cobh I came across a park with a brass band in military uniforms playing in a park filled with locals picnicking, enjoying the music. In the evening we returned to the Bright Lights Society nightclub for their next show, “Fizz.”  It was excellent!

High point: The band in the park was great, but the show in the Bright Lights Society onboard was the standout.

Thursday, June 6th: This was our last full day at sea. We attended another lecture by the lawyer specializing in medical cases. At 2;00 we attended the concert given by the Cunard Choir, a group of 50+ passengers who never met before this trip, training together on sea days under the direction of the Cunard staff. Two of our tablemates were in the group. Afterwards we headed up to the Sky Bar on Deck 14 to enjoy our Long Island Iced Teas in the fresh air. We had our final dinner together. The third couple at our table were celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary.

High point: The Cunard Choir, made up entirely of passengers on this voyage, was spectacular.

Friday, June 7th: We had breakfast and were off the ship by about 8:10. We booked the ship to airport transfer and were at Heathrow airport about 10:30. We spent the next few hours hopping between airline clubs.

High point: Ontime flights and getting home without incident.

There were many things we wanted to do onboard but could not find the time. We did not try three of the specialty restaurants. We never got into a pool. We only passed through the shops on the way to someplace else. We never had lunch in the Golden Lion pub. Perhaps we need another trip, sooner rather than later.

cover photo: Cunarder bed draped in sumptuous linen, courtesy Cunard

For more information about Cunard Line and Cunard ships Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Anne, click here https://www.cruisecompete.com/lines/cunard_cruises.html

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Also see Overall Review: Cunard Queen Anne Naming Ceremony Voyage ~So very much to like! – All Things Cruise


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