Cunard has one of the strictest dress codes of any line: jackets are required on informal nights, and most men break out their tuxes for formal nights, though a suit and tie will do. During the day and at night, expect to see classical and jazz musicians in many of the public areas—everything from a harpist to a string quartet. Balls are held throughout the voyage, and most nights there is dancing on the elegant 1,000-square-foot dance floor in the Queens Room, decked out in crystal chandeliers and art deco backlit glass panels.
Like her sister ships, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, the Queen Elizabeth evokes the golden age of cruise travel with lavish art deco details, wood paneling, and mosaics. The centerpiece of all the grandeur is the Grand Lobby, swathed in marble and mahogany and framed by an antique art deco crystal chandelier, a story-high ship mural, and a dramatic staircase.
When you choose your stateroom class, you’re also choosing your dining room for the voyage. Britannia cabins, the most affordable class, are assigned a table and one of two seating times at the grand, two-floor Britannia dining room. Britannia Club passengers eat in the intimate Britannia Club and can dine at any time. Suite or “grill” passengers have open-seating restaurants: the Princess Grill (which caters exclusively to passengers in Princess Grill suites) and the Queens Grill (the domain of guests in Queens Grill suites), both of which share an outdoor terrace and are enclosed by glass walls high on Deck 11. They also have their own private lounge and concierge. No surprise: as you go up in class the number of options and quality of the food improves. At the Queens Grill, for example, the menu includes refined fare like chateaubriand and lobster Américaine flambé.
When passengers really want to spoil themselves, they make a reservation at the à la carte Verandah. Everything here, from the art deco design to the refined French dishes (duck foie gras with pears, milk-fed rack of lamb in a salt-dough crust), feels decadent. On the other end of the spectrum is the Golden Lion Pub, where passengers can watch football and order a Boddingtons and fish ‘n’ chips. At dinner, one part of the Lido buffet restaurant turns into an alternative dining room with themes that change every night: one evening it may be American barbecue, the next Italian. For a nibble, the best spot is the chic, wood-paneled Café Carinthia, which serves pastries and quiches at lunchtime.
With a pub, walls of Cunard memorabilia, and a cigar lounge called Churchill’s, this ship is an anglophile’s dream. Nowhere is that more evident than at the daily afternoon tea served in the opulent Queens Room, rendered even more glamorous by elegant murals depicting views from royal palaces and crystal chandeliers that hover above the expansive wood dance floor.