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alaska, panama canal transit and caribbean explorer

16th Sep 2025 | 32 nights | Cunard Line | Queen Elizabeth

All our packages can be tailor-made
ATOL protected
Ketchikan, Alaska
Tracy Arm, Alaska (Cruising)
Juneau, Alaska
Sitka, Alaska
Victoria, British Columbia
Seattle, Washington
San Francisco, California
Los Angeles, California
Cabo San Lucas
Puntarenas
Panama Canal
Cartagena
Oranjestad
Miami, Florida
All our packages can be tailor-made
ATOL protected

Alaska, Panama Canal Transit and Caribbean Explorer

Set sail on an unforgettable adventure with Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, where you'll experience the magic of Alaska, the marvel of the Panama Canal, and the beauty of the Caribbean, all in one incredible journey. After 2-nights exploring Seattle, your voyage takes you to Alaska, where the stunning natural landscapes will take your breath away. Imagine watching majestic glaciers calve into the sea, spotting whales and eagles in their natural habitat, and exploring charming ports like Juneau and Ketchikan. Each moment in Alaska is a chance to connect with nature in a thrilling and serene way.
 

As Queen Elizabeth makes its way to the Panama Canal, you'll stop by the Californian cities of San Fransisco and Los Angeles before you get ready to be amazed by the incredible engineering feat of the canal. Transiting through the canal is a bucket-list experience, offering a unique perspective on one of the world’s most important waterways. Finally, the cruise wraps up in the Caribbean, where crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches await before you arrive in Miami, with a final 2-night stay to explore before you head home to the UK. Here's what's included;

  • Return flights and baggage
  • 2-night stay in Seattle, in a 4* hotel
  • 28-night full-board cruise on Queen Elizabeth
  • 2-night stay in Miami, in a 4* hotel

What's included with the Cruise

When booking with Cunard, your fare will include:

Staterooms.

  • A choice of Britannia, Britannia Club, Princess Grill and Queens Grill staterooms and suites. All en suite and air-conditioned.
  • Your own personal steward or butler* (for Queens Grill suites).
  • Nightly turndown service.
  • Satellite TV (with multi-language film and music channels).
  • Direct-Dial Telephone.
  • Refrigerator.
  • Hair Dryer.
  • Safe.
  • Daily Shipboard Newspaper and Programme.
  • Egyptian cotton bed linen.
  • Pamper pack.

Dining.

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main restaurant associated with your stateroom grade.
  • A self-service buffet restaurant (the Lido or Kings Court) offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  • Room service.
  • Afternoon Tea of sandwiches, cakes and pastries each day.
  • Tea, coffee, water and fruit juice are available 24 hours a day at the Lido Restaurants on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, and Kings Court on board Queen Mary 2.
  • Water during meals and coffee after meals.

Entertainment.

  • Productions in the Royal Court Theatre, including light-hearted comedies, serious dramas, Shakespeare classics and spectacular musical productions.
  • Dancing in the nightclub or Queens Room.
  • Deck games, board games, and quizzes.
  • Access to the on board libraries.
  • A variety of fitness and dance classes.
  • Live music in many venues, including resident bands to jazz ensembles to classical recitals and soloists.
  • Film screenings in cinema venues or in your stateroom.
  • Shows in the planetarium (Queen Mary 2 only).
  • Cunard Insights - regular talks on contemporary issues by well-known celebrities, experts and personalities.

Health and well-being.

  • Full use of the sports court for football, deck tennis, basketball and more
  • A choice of swimming pools and whirlpool spas
  • Fully equipped gym

Children's clubs.

  • Full access to our supervised age-specific children's clubs.
  • Wide range of entertainment and age-specific activities offered day and night.

Fare benefits.

When booking with the Cunard Fare, you can choose your stateroom location and have use of the shuttle bus service provided by Cunard when on shore. You will also benefit from first priority for receiving your chosen dining seating time and table size in the Britannia Restaurant, and you will receive the highest priority for stateroom upgrades: all for only a 15% deposit.

When you book the Cunard fare for a voyage of 7 nights or more, you can select one additional benefit, free of charge:

  • On board spending money
  • Car parking at Southampton
  • Return coach transfers on all Southampton roundtrip voyages

Cruise Circle Collection packages adhere to our 7 point charter:

  • Up-front, honest pricing
  • No hidden fees
  • No booking fees. Ever.
  • A personal service
  • Educational trips and ship visits
  • Good quality accommodation
  • No unreasonable flight times
Learn more about our charter

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View Package
Day
Date
 
Arrival
Departure
 
1
16th Sep 2025 Tuesday
Fly to Seattle
Seattle Hotel Stay
 
 
 
 
Fly to Seattle
Flights

Fly to the UK to Seattle in Washington state. 

Seattle Hotel Stay
Hotel

Make your way to your hotel for a 2-night stay to explore this beautiful Pacific city.

2
17th Sep 2025 Wednesday
Seattle Hotel Stay
 
 
Seattle Hotel Stay
Hotel

Another Day at leisure to explore the city of Seattle.

3
18th Sep 2025 Thursday
Cruise Port
Seattle, Washington
 
 
 
 
Cruise Port
Other

Head to the cruise port to join Queen Elizabeth for the start of your journey.

Seattle, Washington
Cruise
Seattle, Washington
The largest and most densely populated city in Washington State, Seattle is known as the Emerald City, in recognition of its lush evergreens and plentiful public green spaces that include an old-growth forest, a converted military base, and parks built over freeways. All that green is a byproduct of the temperate marine climate. And while there are many grey, wet days in Seattle, it rains less here than most visitors have been led to believe. Seattle's average annual precipitation is below what falls from the sky in Boston, Houston, New York City and Washington, D.C.; it just seems like more rain because Seattle's drizzly weather lingers longer. All the buzz about Seattle's love affair with coffee is real. Starbucks was born here (an outpost at Pike Place Market retains the first store's original look) and the city brims with branches of that now-worldwide chain along with dozens of independent coffeehouses with steadfast followers. While more than 200 cruises set sail from Seattle for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest each summer, the city does not sit on the ocean. It's actually at the inland-most end of Puget Sound, which wends its way north to the Pacific and is the gateway to some of the most magnificent scenery on the continent. Pristine mountain ranges rim the east, while hundreds of islands dot the Sound to the north and west. Downtown, you'll find Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operating farmers' markets in the United States. In nearby Pioneer Square is the 38-story Smith Tower, which opened in 1914 and held the title of the tallest building west of the Mississippi for more than 50 years. There's plenty of must-see modern architecture, too, from the geometrically exuberant glass-and-steel Central Library on 4th Avenue downtown to the MoPop Museum at Seattle Center, which celebrates music and popular culture in a building inspired by a pile of smashed guitars. Next door to the pop culture museum is Seattle's most famous landmark, the Space Needle, which still looks futuristic although it was created for the 1962 World's Fair.
4
19th Sep 2025 Friday
At Sea
 
 
5
20th Sep 2025 Saturday
Ketchikan, Alaska
07:00
16:00
Ketchikan, Alaska
Cruise
Ketchikan, Alaska
Misty Ketchikan, the rainiest town in Southeast Alaska, is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World." The town offers the perfect blend of activities: kayak in Misty Fjords or hike up Deer Mountain in the morning, then poke in and out of fantastic galleries and shops in the afternoon. You're bound to visit Creek Street, a row of wooden buildings perched over the water on pilings. Brightly painted boutiques once catered to gentlemen seeking the company of "sporting women." The museum at Dolly's House gives you a glimpse into the bawdy ways of frontier life, though Ketchikan's red-light district wasn't shut down until 1953. Legends of a different sort are recorded on totem poles. Boasting the world's largest collection of Northwest totems, Ketchikan offers plenty of places to see these fascinating works of art.
6
21st Sep 2025 Sunday
Tracy Arm, Alaska (Cruising)
Juneau, Alaska
07:00
13:00
10:00
20:00
Tracy Arm, Alaska (Cruising)
Cruise
Tracy Arm, Alaska (Cruising)

Tracy Arm is a 30-mile long fjord and one of the two branches of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness region, the other being Endicott Arm. During the summer, these fjords are dotted with pristine white floating ice fragments from the calving glaciers, some the size of houses and others that look like icing sugar dusting the pristine dark blue water. A rewarding few hours of scenic cruising.

Juneau, Alaska
Cruise
Juneau, Alaska
Juneau, often described as America's most unusual state capital, is the only centre of U.S. government with no roads leading into or out of town. The city is surrounded by nature, namely towering mountains and the waters of Gastineau Channel. For most visitors, the only way in or out is by air or sea. Residents boast three routes: plane, boat or birth canal. Gold put Juneau on the map in the 1880s, though the mining camp went by several names before prospector Joe Juneau finally wrangled enough votes to get his name to stick. Juneau became a state capital when Alaska became the 49th U.S. state in 1959, and nearly 60 percent of the city's population works in government. The governor's mansion stands on a hillside overlooking the cruise docks, and anyone can take a walk up the hills via steep stairways. Juneau offers a wide range of shoreside activities, from whale watching, dog sledging and ziplining to touring the Capitol building or the Alaskan Brewing Company. Then, there's the state's most accessible glacier -- Mendenhall, an immense, 12-mile-long river of ice. Along with glacier viewing, there's always the chance of seeing a bear or two up close. The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council has a community calendar on its website that is jam-packed with events, so you can easily find out what's happening while you're in port.
7
22nd Sep 2025 Monday
Sitka, Alaska
10:00
18:00
Sitka, Alaska
Cruise
Sitka, Alaska
Over the centuries, Sitka -- one of Alaska's most exotic ports -- has reinvented itself over and over again. It's been home to the Tlingit Native Americans, an outpost of the Russian empire and the one-time capital of Alaska. The region is still a centre for commercial fishing. Through it all, its residents have always figured out a way to get the best out of their resources. Today, roughly 8,900 locals still rely on their natural surroundings, but with an eye toward the burgeoning tourism market. From the moment you arrive, you'll notice that Sitka is different from the rest of Alaska. It's not just the Russian influence that makes the town unique. In addition to the usual commercial fishing and tourism, Sitka's economic livelihood also relies on drinking-water exportation, healthcare and education, including the Alaska State Trooper Academy. Sitka is located on the west side of Baranof Island -- a 100-mile-long island in the state's panhandle -- and is only accessible by air and sea. The vast Tongass National Forest covers the area outside of town, which only has a roadway along the Pacific coast about 7 miles in either direction. Watching over Sitka from across the sound is Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano and Mount Fuji lookalike. Although the port's more than 210,000 cruise passengers provide economic stimulus each summer, Sitka is primarily known for the quality and quantity of seafood harvested from its waters and processed in its plants. Sitka's historic attractions are located within walking distance of downtown. Lincoln Street is approximately 1 mile long, starting at the city's southeast corner (featuring the lookout at Castle Hill) and ending at the Sitka National Historical Park visitor centre to the north. The street passes by the historic onion-shaped domed architecture of St. Michael's Cathedral and the Russian Bishop's House as it follows the Sitka Sound waterfront and Crescent Harbor (the multi-slip marina). The other main street is Katlian Street, a road that follows the waterfront of the Sitka Channel, featuring colourful fishing boats, weathered houses and the essence of a working harbour town.
8
23rd Sep 2025 Tuesday
At Sea
 
 
9
24th Sep 2025 Wednesday
Victoria, British Columbia
13:00
20:00
Victoria, British Columbia
Cruise
Victoria, British Columbia

Wrapped around the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is a gentle blend of colonial England and contemporary Western Canada. The thriving cafe scene conjures something European, while having the outdoors at your doorstep could only be pure British Columbia bliss. Wherever you venture, this famously temperate region reveals natural, historic, culinary and cultural delights. Proud of its British influence, Victoria delights in serving up an elegant High Tea, with all the trappings. At the same time, it urges you to get outside and enjoy the alfresco lifestyle. Walking trails lead right from the city center to Dallas Road, what locals call the scenic drive, along the Pacific Ocean and around the southern coast of the city. Vancouver Island is renowned as a world-class scuba-diving destination, where you can get in the water with seals and sea lions on a regular basis. But, for people who prefer to keep their feet dry, there are all kinds of boat excursions, from kayaking and glass-bottom-boat tours, to get you up close and personal with the amazing marine life. Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, and its grand Parliament Buildings, along with the gracious Fairmont Empress Hotel, dominate the Inner Harbour. Adjacent walkable inner-city streets foster cordiality. And, indeed, walking is a favorite local pastime -- Victoria is lauded as one of the most walkable Canadian cities. Myriad experiences are just a short walk away from the cruise terminal: a slice of Old England, an evocative meander through Chinatown, a forage along Antique Row (on Fort Street), the Royal B.C. Museum and IMAX Theatre, and fine hotels, tea houses, restaurants, pubs and shops -- both traditional and contemporary. So put on your walking shoes, and get moving.

10
25th Sep 2025 Thursday
Seattle, Washington
07:00
18:00
Seattle, Washington
Cruise
Seattle, Washington
The largest and most densely populated city in Washington State, Seattle is known as the Emerald City, in recognition of its lush evergreens and plentiful public green spaces that include an old-growth forest, a converted military base, and parks built over freeways. All that green is a byproduct of the temperate marine climate. And while there are many grey, wet days in Seattle, it rains less here than most visitors have been led to believe. Seattle's average annual precipitation is below what falls from the sky in Boston, Houston, New York City and Washington, D.C.; it just seems like more rain because Seattle's drizzly weather lingers longer. All the buzz about Seattle's love affair with coffee is real. Starbucks was born here (an outpost at Pike Place Market retains the first store's original look) and the city brims with branches of that now-worldwide chain along with dozens of independent coffeehouses with steadfast followers. While more than 200 cruises set sail from Seattle for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest each summer, the city does not sit on the ocean. It's actually at the inland-most end of Puget Sound, which wends its way north to the Pacific and is the gateway to some of the most magnificent scenery on the continent. Pristine mountain ranges rim the east, while hundreds of islands dot the Sound to the north and west. Downtown, you'll find Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operating farmers' markets in the United States. In nearby Pioneer Square is the 38-story Smith Tower, which opened in 1914 and held the title of the tallest building west of the Mississippi for more than 50 years. There's plenty of must-see modern architecture, too, from the geometrically exuberant glass-and-steel Central Library on 4th Avenue downtown to the MoPop Museum at Seattle Center, which celebrates music and popular culture in a building inspired by a pile of smashed guitars. Next door to the pop culture museum is Seattle's most famous landmark, the Space Needle, which still looks futuristic although it was created for the 1962 World's Fair.
11
26th Sep 2025 Friday
At Sea
 
 
12
27th Sep 2025 Saturday
At Sea
 
 
13
28th Sep 2025 Sunday
San Francisco, California
07:00
18:00
San Francisco, California
Cruise
San Francisco, California

It's no wonder Tony Bennett left his heart there. San Francisco is a compact city of world-class culture, historical landmarks, award-winning dining, outdoor adventures and nightlife -- all wrapped by a sparkling bay flanked by the famous Golden Gate Bridge, visible from historic cable cars that ply the hilly streets. Even the unpredictable fog adds to the beauty. Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala discovered the inlet in 1775, but it wasn't until 1847 that San Francisco got its name -- just before gold was discovered in "them thar" Sierra Nevada hills to the east. In 1850, California became the 31st state in the union, and, by 1854, more than 500 saloons and 20 theatres graced the booming Gold Rush town. But, the real "gold" to be found was in its seas. The area known as Fisherman's Wharf, on the San Francisco Bay, is still the centre of Northern California's commercial and sport fishing industry. Indeed, the City by the Bay reflects its roots: a morning stroll down Fish Alley -- Jefferson between Hyde and Jones -- offers a chance to view fishermen at work. The Saloon (1232 Grant Avenue) established in 1861, still stands in the city's North Beach neighbourhood with cracked barstools and a dusty wooden floor. (It's one of the three oldest taverns in San Francisco, which somehow survived demolition by man and earthquakes, including the major one in 1906 that resulted in a fire and widespread destruction.) But, above all, today's San Francisco is playfully sophisticated, with a mix of distinct contemporary neighbourhoods like the tie-dye-wearing, peace-loving Haight; the super-trendy Mission; swank Pacific Heights; and fabulously gay Castro, home to many of the city's LGBT businesses and households. If your voyage begins or ends in this colourful California port, consider a pre-or post-cruise stay. The treats of San Francisco command more than a few hours. These include mah-jongg parlours in Chinatown (with yummy samples from the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory on Ross Alley), cable car rides over Nob Hill, the staircase down the very steep and crooked Lombard Street, the ferry ride to enchanting Sausalito across San Francisco Bay and, of course, an escape to Alcatraz.

14
29th Sep 2025 Monday
At Sea
 
 
15
30th Sep 2025 Tuesday
Los Angeles, California
07:00
18:00
Los Angeles, California
Cruise
Los Angeles, California
The City of Los Angeles has a lot going for it. Stretching along the Pacific from Malibu to Long Beach, the region offers plenty to see and do in what can only be called a sun-kissed blend of adventure, culture and whimsy. It all melds stylishly with an anything-goes attitude, and whether you're kicking back on one of its fabled beaches, grabbing a ride at a world-class amusement park, plunging into glittery shops for the latest Oscar-worthy fashions (you need to practice a regally bored look to fit in better), dining at Tinsel Town hot spots or exploring inspiring world-class museums -- you're in for a magic-carpet ride like no other. And in a city dominated by "show business" -- prepare for a ride that comes with a good deal of self-indulgent dazzle any time of day, be it a Malibu glamour tan while nonchalantly reading Variety, catching the Pussycat Dolls at the Viper Club on Sunset Boulevard or browsing breathtaking artworks at the Getty.

For those who never watch TV or go to the movies, we should tell you that L.A. is a sprawling metropolis (with an atypically high percentage of beautiful people) with no "centre" -- which means you'll wind your way through various neighbourhoods and independently incorporated communities, keeping your eyes peeled for celebs and clusters of paparazzi everywhere. (Did you know that the city's Zagat restaurant guide actually has a "stargazing" category?) And still under the heading of Geography 101, try to think in terms of the major "areas" like Santa Monica and Malibu, the San Fernando Valley (the "valley" to locals), the Westside and Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Downtown and Pasadena.

One important note: Cruises don't actually leave from Los Angeles -- they embark and disembark from San Pedro and Long Beach, two adjacent ports. These are located about 20 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport.
16
1st Oct 2025 Wednesday
At Sea
 
 
17
2nd Oct 2025 Thursday
At Sea
 
 
18
3rd Oct 2025 Friday
Cabo San Lucas
07:00
16:00
Cabo San Lucas
Cruise
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is an anchor port for all cruises sailing on Mexico's Riviera and Sea of Cortez itineraries, but passengers are a small minority of the tourists who flock there. The heavily Americanized party town serves as one of the most popular beach escapes for Californians and other West Coasters who come here to let loose (spring break festivities are intense and not a proposition for the faint of heart). One of Cabo's major attractions is Cabo Wabo, a cantina owned by rocker Sammy Hagar, most famously of Van Halen. Rocks of a different sort -- El Arco, with its jagged points protruding from the Sea of Cortez, make more impressive photos. Yet for those passing on the beer-pong tournaments and temporary tattoos, Cabo has a lot to offer. Located at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas -- together with its more elegant and much quieter sister town of San Jose del Cabo -- is an ideal spot for adventure-oriented pursuits. If conditions are right, the clear waters make for great snorkeling kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, parasailing, sailing and Jet Skiing. The Sea of Cortez is among the biologically richest areas in the world, with pods of whales that winter offshore; if you're here in season (late December through late March), a whale-watching trip is a must. Cabo also has some of the best sportfishing in the world, and it is the quest for marlin that put the town on the map. After World War II and the advent of private planes, Hollywood royalty such as Bing Crosby and John Wayne arrived to fish. In the 1970s, a highway was built to connect California to Baja, and the travel industry began in earnest. Now, it's hard to open a celebrity magazine without seeing photos of A-listers lounging at the six-star resorts that have sprung up in "The Corridor," as the coastal stretch between the two cities is known. One of the downsides for most cruise travelers: There's no cruise pier, so all ships must anchor and tender passengers to the port. That means you'll need to factor in extra time getting to and from your ship. Even odder is the fact that some ships only stop for half-day visits, which means that actual on-land time can be extremely limited (although excursion providers usually time their tours to meet the needs of cruisers). However, other ships spend two days in Cabo, allowing passengers to stay out until 9 p.m. before the ship maneuvers offshore to open casinos. If you're one of the lucky ones with a longer port time, greater Baja, including daytrips to Todos Santos, are within reach -- but can be expensive to coordinate independently.
19
4th Oct 2025 Saturday
At Sea
 
 
20
5th Oct 2025 Sunday
At Sea
 
 
21
6th Oct 2025 Monday
At Sea
 
 
22
7th Oct 2025 Tuesday
Puntarenas
07:00
18:00
Puntarenas
Cruise
Puntarenas
Costa Rica is a small country, about the size of West Virginia, but it's got massive appeal as one of the most ecologically diverse places on earth. Even though Costa Rica covers less than .03 percent of the earth's total surface, you can find nearly five percent of the planet's plant and animal species there. Its location -- between Nicaragua and Panama on the isthmus connecting North and South America, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east -- has enabled flora and fauna from both continents to thrive there.

Cruise passengers visiting Costa Rica's Pacific Coast will come ashore in one of two places -- Puerto Caldera, a commercial port serving the nearby seaside town of Puntarenas, and Puntarenas itself. Puntarenas is a lively town that hosts josefinos (residents of the capital city of San Jose) on holiday, as well as international tourists. The main drag, a wide walkway fronting the beach that's jam-packed with places to shop and eat, is even called Paseo de los Turistas -- loosely, "stroll of the tourists."

However, Costa Rica's real draw is its lush, natural beauty and biodiversity -- the "rich coast" after which it is named. Most cruise travelers use Puntarenas as a kickoff point for eco-adventures on the ground (horseback riding or hiking in the rainforest), in the water (kayaking, white-water rafting) and even in the air (zip-lining, an activity which originated here and is now popular throughout the Americas and the Caribbean).
23
8th Oct 2025 Wednesday
At Sea
 
 
24
9th Oct 2025 Thursday
Panama Canal
07:00
16:00
Panama Canal
Cruise
Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is one of modern engineering's greatest feats. Built as a trade route to stop ships from having to circumnavigate treacherous shipping lanes around North and South America, the canal links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and a full transit of the canal takes around 8 - 10 hours. 

Cruises that allow transit of the canal (or partial transit!) also offer the chance to discover lush rainforests, sandy Caribbean beaches, and bustling Latin towns. 

25
10th Oct 2025 Friday
At Sea
 
 
26
11th Oct 2025 Saturday
Cartagena
07:00
20:00
Cartagena
Cruise
Cartagena

You're in for a big treat if you've booked a Caribbean or Panama Canal cruise with Cartagena on the itinerary, as this lovely old town and resort on Colombia's Caribbean coast is quite deservedly the country's most popular tourist destination. There, you'll find everything a cruise passenger's heart could desire: a fascinating -- and often dark and bloody -- history embedded in ancient forts, churches and palaces; a walled town filled with exquisite 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial architecture; soft beaches; world-class snorkelling and scuba diving reefs; delightful restaurants; and enough shops to capture your interest without the place feeling like one gigantic mall. Your only regret, as your cruise ship steams away at the end of the day, will be that you didn't have longer to explore.

27
12th Oct 2025 Sunday
At Sea
 
 
28
13th Oct 2025 Monday
Oranjestad
07:00
18:00
Oranjestad
Cruise
Oranjestad

Aruba is located in the Southern Caribbean, and represents the first letter of the ABC island chain (which includes Bonaire and Curacao), and is the richest and most developed of the three, with chain hotels and high-end stores. Cruise ships dock in the city of Oranjestad. The island is a surprising mix of soft, white-sand beaches and desert (the aloe plant thrives here and aloe vera is one of the island's biggest exports); Dutch heritage and influences from nearby Venezuela. The official language is Papiamento, an intriguing blend of Dutch, English, Spanish and creole, but most islanders are multilingual (including English). The currency is the Aruban florin, but most shops and restaurants will accept the U.S. dollar. Cruisers visiting Aruba will want to set out for the shoreline, visiting famous stretches of sand like Eagle Beach or Baby Beach. If time in port allows, be sure to book a sunset cruise shore excursion when the Aruban sky puts on a fiery show. Other popular excursions include an island tour, a trip beneath the Caribbean Sea in a submarine or a visit to an ostrich farm. The weather is ideal in Aruba, which means that a daily average of 82 degrees Fahrenheit is kept comfortable by the trade winds that blow through, along with little rainfall. It's rare for hurricanes to reach this part of the Caribbean, which means that while it's pleasant to visit year-round, it can also withstand the hurricane season months of May through October.

29
14th Oct 2025 Tuesday
At Sea
 
 
30
15th Oct 2025 Wednesday
At Sea
 
 
31
16th Oct 2025 Thursday
Miami, Florida
Miami Hotel Stay
 
 
 
 
Miami, Florida
Cruise
Miami, Florida

No city in the United States has evolved into as many disparate identities in so short a time as has Miami. A bit more than a hundred years ago this former Spanish settlement, located along the Miami River where it spills into Biscayne Bay (now the centre of the city of Miami), attracted neither interest nor population. That's understandable since up until that point, the only way to reach Miami was by boat.

That changed in 1896, when financier Henry Flagler extended his new Florida East Coast Railroad south from its previous terminus at West Palm Beach. By the turn of the 20th century, the first of Miami's real estate booms was underway, a pattern that continued unabated right up to the Great Depression. Miami was one of the few places on earth where someone could offer you a get-rich-quick deal on 10 acres of swampland, and there was a good chance that you could actually get rich on it. Many made their fortunes here and left monuments to their achievements in places such as the grand Mediterranean-style estates like Villa Vizcaya and the slew of privately developed islands along the causeways crossing Biscayne Bay.

The city of Miami sits on the Florida mainland. Offshore, due east in the Atlantic, are a series of barrier islands. The southernmost island in the near vicinity is Key Biscayne. Next to the north is Virginia Key, then Fisher Island, and then comes Miami Beach. The body of water between these islands and the mainland is Biscayne Bay. Early on, resort developers looked to the Atlantic Ocean beaches of Miami Beach, beginning their development with the elegant Art Deco hotels at the southern tip, now better known as South Beach. As development proceeded northward its complexion changed, becoming more "high-rise" and grandiose, with amenities geared to a wider range of interests, from yachting to golf.

The 1960s saw another sea change in Miami, generating another boom cycle, brought about by the unlikely combination of the advent of universally available air conditioning and the rise to power of Fidel Castro. As Cuban refugees fled in droves to the U.S., they settled in that part of our country most like their former homeland in climate -- namely, South Florida. Miami, whose tropical temperatures were now tamed by indoor climate control, thus tolerable to an influx of workers, became the gateway to the Caribbean for any number of businesses, which soon rivalled tourism as the keystone industry.

The Caribbean population influx also profoundly changed Miami's personality. It is now largely bilingual, with French and Creole also gaining a foothold with increasing waves of immigration from Haiti. It's hard to walk a block in Miami without coming into contact with Cuban food, Cuban music, Cuban culture. It is a dynamic, vibrant city steeped in multiculturalism. These new Miamians and their businesses have also contributed directly to the revitalization of the mainland portion of Miami, leading to a number of tourist assets along the western shore of Biscayne Bay, such as Bayside Marketplace.

Across the bay is the renovated Art Deco district, including South Beach (SoBe), which has become a mecca in its own right, attracting celebrities and those who follow them, whether it be with a camera or with autograph book. SoBe is also home to Miami's nightclub, fashion, music and hip dining scene, and rivals Venice, California as the place to go to people-watch.

Not all is development (or overdevelopment, some would say). Though the seaside corridor has been urbanized almost from the tip of Florida to midway up the coast, there is still much for lovers of nature and the great outdoors. The Everglades are within a half-day's drive to the southwest. Off the Atlantic coast a short distance to the south is the only living coral reef in the continental United States. Birders wax poetic over opportunities to spy tropical shore birds and waterfowl found nowhere else in the States. And where else in the U.S.A. might you have to brake to avoid alligators crossing the road?

Whether Miami is your port of embarkation, debarkation or a port of call mid-cruise, it is unlikely that you will encounter a city anywhere on your travels that appeal to as many tastes: foodie, shopaholic, eco-tourist, golfer, water sportsperson or lover of traditional tourist attractions.

Miami Hotel Stay
Hotel

Check-in to your hotel in Miami for a 2-night stay, giving you plenty of time to explore the sights.

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17th Oct 2025 Friday
Miami Hotel Stay
 
 
Miami Hotel Stay
Hotel

Another day at leisure to explore Miami

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18th Oct 2025 Saturday
Fly back to the UK
 
 
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Fly back to the UK on an overnight flight.

Queen Elizabeth captures the glamour of yesteryear when steamer trunks, formal dining and ballroom galas were all the rage at sea. At the same time, it provides the expected conveniences of modern times like computer lounges and plenty of shopping opportunities. But while it's a modern ship, Queen Elizabeth relies on its chic, geometric Art Deco-inspired interiors to set the tone. There's no neon or glitz, and there are few gimmicks. Instead of capturing the public's imagination with water slides and high-tech nightclubs, Cunard cashes in on its nostalgic heritage with ballroom dancing, lawn bowls and afternoon tea in the Garden Lounge.

If the onboard aura and sentimental pursuits call up the past, so, too does Cunard's cabin category system in which the cabin you're staying in dictates lounge and dining room access. While this might add to the exclusivity of the ship, it isn't exactly a luxury experience. While the main dining food (and even room service) are high quality, there's some of the same nickel-and-diming that you'd find on any other big ship (charging for water in cabins and on shore excursions, for example) -- just in a more polished setting. Sadly, with so much going for it, our biggest disappointment onboard came from the service -- a far cry from the touted standard of White Star Service we were expecting. Aside from a select few crew members who were exceptionally helpful or friendly, service onboard was surprisingly lacking. Cabin attendants seemed disinterested or downright depressed, staff bickered in the spa, bar managers reprimanded waiters loudly in front of passengers and servers seemed annoyed by simple requests. Crew either went above and beyond or couldn't be bothered at all.

Apart from a few high-trafficked areas, like the buffet or close to the theatre after a show, you'll never feel crowded on Queen Elizabeth; there are plenty of nooks and crannies to settle into and enjoy the quiet that comes with this style of cruising. If you've been feeling like you need a break from the rat race, a cruise on Queen Elizabeth offers you the chance to just sit and watch the world go by. For more details about cabins, dining and things to do, see the separate sections of this review.

Daytime: During the day, stylish casual wear, including jeans and shorts, is fine onboard. The Britannia Restaurant requires a casual wear dress code for breakfast and lunch.

Evening: The evening dress code comes into play at 6 p.m. On informal nights, which are still more formal than on most cruise lines, smart attire is required; men should wear a jacket (ties are not required) and ladies may opt for a dress, skirt or trousers. No jeans or shorts are allowed. There is no limit to the glamour on formal nights, called gala evenings -- typically three on a 10-night sailing (two on Alaska voyages). People make a big effort to dress up, with lots of long gowns. Many gala evenings are also themed -- masquerade or Roaring Twenties -- so be sure to check out the schedule before packing to include any costume elements. For passengers who don't want to dress up on formal nights, the nightly dinner buffet in The Lido -- along with the Golden Lion Pub, the Carinthia Lounge, the casino, the Garden Lounge and the Yacht Club -- has a casual and relaxed dress code (still no shorts). You'll have to be dressed up to visit anywhere else onboard, including the theatre. There is a relaxed dress code in the Britannia Restaurant on the first night of every cruise, which does not require a jacket.

Not permitted: Swimsuits, sarongs and gym wear are allowed poolside, on deck and in the spa and fitness centre, but passengers must be covered up in any other areas of the ship. Shorts, torn or tattered clothing, sandals or sleeveless T-shirts are not permitted in any part of the ship after 6 p.m.

Daytime

During the day, there are plenty of activities to choose from on Queen Elizabeth, but a lot are unhosted: paddle tennis, shuffleboard, croquet, deck quoits (similar to ring toss), darts, needlework and knitting, and chess. Other options might include dance lessons, movie screenings, daily trivia and bridge lessons. Foil fencing lessons are held in the Queens Room at no charge, though you will need to get on the sought-after sign-up list to participate. An instructed watercolour class is held a handful of times (in a section of the Britannia Restaurant) for $35 a session (and limited to 25 spots). Bridge lessons are available free of charge. Collect stickers from the various activities in a booklet and redeem it for prizes at the end of your sailing. Cunard is also well-known for its enrichment program, and there are technology seminars, cooking demos and art talks -- proper ones, not just attempts to sell the art in the Clarendon Fine Art Gallery onboard. Guest lecturers vary as part of the Cunard Insights program and offer in-depth talks on wildlife, architecture and politics -- largely depending on your itinerary. An onboard naturalist joined us for our Alaska itinerary and was heavily involved in the onboard programming. An interesting behind-the-scenes option is the free galley visit, held once per cruise, which provides cruisers a sneak peek at the logistics involved in the ship's culinary operation. Daily meetings include get-togethers for solo travellers, Christian fellowship, LGBTQ and Friends of Bill W.

By Night

There's live music all over Queen Elizabeth. Evenings kick off with either a harpist or a pianist in the Grand Lobby, which is lovely if you're enjoying a pre-dinner drink in the Café Carinthia or the Midships Bar, both of which overlook the area. A singing pianist entertains in the Golden Lion Pub, interspersed with quizzes and karaoke, while there's mellow piano up in the Commodore Club, another great pre-dinner and late-night drinking spot. At the heart of a Queen Elizabeth cruise is dancing, and there is dancing every day, morning, noon and night. Most of it is in the Queens Room, a lavish ballroom built for this very purpose. During the day you can find dance lessons here. Every night, there's ballroom and Latin dancing before and after dinner, usually to a live band, as well as dancing at afternoon tea and classes in the mornings. Single ladies are kept on their toes by gentleman hosts. The Queens Room is also the venue for jazz concerts and classical piano recitals. Formal Royal Balls take place every few nights (on the gala evenings).

The other big evening events are the shows in the stunning theatre, complete with 20 V.I.P. boxes. A dedicated Royal Cunard Company of singers and dancers stage variety and dance spectaculars (including a performance based on "The Greatest Showman"), which are interspersed throughout the week with guest acts -- a comedian or an acapella group, for example. For $69 (plus 15 percent) per couple, you can book one of the boxes. The full package includes a Champagne cocktail and a tray of petit fours in a private lounge, attended by Cunard's scarlet-uniformed White Star Bell Boys, and a half-bottle of Laurent-Perrier in the box. It's a lovely idea, and there's a real sense of excitement when the ticket, like a proper theatre ticket, is delivered to your stateroom. Our only criticism is for the plastic screen in front of the seats, which means everything on the stage is slightly distorted. Evenings bring plenty of other diversions, as well. Forward of the Queens Room is the Empire Casino with the Golden Lion Pub on one side. The casino has table games like roulette and blackjack, as well as numerous slots. Bets range from a $5 minimum to a $200 maximum, or $25 to $500 on a high-rollers' table.

Queen Elizabeth Bars & Lounges

There are a number of comfortable and stylish places to drink onboard Queen Elizabeth, including a traditional British pub, a lounge with a surprising cocktail menu and a not-so-hidden gem.

Café Carinthia (Deck 2): Café Carinthia is a light-filled space that serves as a coffee and tea lounge as well as a bar. Complimentary pastries are offered for breakfast, with light bites in the afternoon for lunch and tea time. Speciality coffees and teas are served alongside wine and mixed drinks. All drinks carry a fee.

Queens Room (Deck 2): The venue for afternoon tea and occasional galas, the Queens Room is an elegant space with a stage and a spacious dance floor lit by a huge Swarovski chandelier. Big band nights with ballroom dancing and Latin nights are regular occurrences here. On port days, the lounge often serves as a meeting point for tours.

Golden Lion Pub (Deck 2): Golden Lion is a traditional British-style pub and the place to be for viewing sports tournaments or playing trivia over a round of draft beers. The beer selection is respectable, with a selection of British brands like Boddingtons. Occasional pub lunches and dinners are served here, for free. Karaoke is held here on select nights.

Midships (Gin & Fizz) Bar (Deck 3): The Midships Bar is the perfect place to go for a drink before or after dinner. Also known as the Gin & Fizz Bar, you'll find menu of more than 40 gins with thousands of tonic combinations. Even if you think you don't like gin, bartenders might change your mind with their scholarly level of knowledge and a flourish when it comes to complementing flavours that enhance or hide the gin, depending on your preference. For the already converted, we recommend one of the perfect pours (go with Queen Victoria). For sceptics who don't mind sweet, try the Mary Rose cocktail -- it was a favourite on our sailing.

Garden Lounge (Deck 9): The Garden Lounge is a popular hangout space during the day, accommodating readers and crossword puzzle-doers with comfy cane chairs and speciality coffees, teas and a full bar. The sunny solarium setting was inspired by the glasshouses at Kew Gardens in London. In the morning, a great selection of fresh juices and smoothies are available for purchase. Fencing lessons are held here, along with live music performances in the afternoons. On Alaska sailings, an Alaska Outpost is located in one corner with maps, educational materials and office hours with the onboard naturalist.

Lido Pool Bar & Grill (Deck 9): The Lido Pool Bar, at the back of the ship, is the site of the sail-away party on the first afternoon with a DJ playing party music, while onboard performers encourage passengers to dance and there's even a Champagne cart (but you'll have to pay for drinks). Other days, the bar serves patrons at the adjacent pool, weather permitting. A selection of drinks -- including great mocktails -- as well as crisps are on offer. Some afternoons you can even grab a hot dog or hamburger and munch under a shaded canopy.

Yacht Club (Deck 10): The casual night-time venue onboard Queen Elizabeth is the Yacht Club, which serves as a nightclub with DJ-ed music after hours (9:30 p.m. and later). There is a dance floor, a bar and plenty of seating near windows overlooking the pool outside. The Yacht Club features a full bar with a specialized menu of Old Fashioneds (whiskey and bitters)if you're feeling adventurous, ask if your drink can come in a tiki cup. (Drinks are not permitted on the dance floor.)

Commodore Club (Deck 10): During the day this space functions as an observation lounge with excellent views of the sea from the front of the ship. By night, the relaxed atmosphere continues with mellow musical performances, low lighting and intimate seating. The lounge boasts a nautical theme that is complemented by a series of detailed (and pricy) drinks inspired by former Cunard captains. We were also impressed by the breadth of the drinks menu -- virtually any spirit you might want (and some you have never heard of) can be poured in the Commodore Club. It's the ultimate spot for a nightcap.

Churchill's Cigar Lounge (Deck 10): Enjoy a cigar at Churchill's (purchase from Commodore Club first, prices range from $20 to $40 apiece). A nod to the former British prime minister and his affinity for cigars, it's one of the few places to smoke (but not cigarettes) inside of the ship.

Grills Lounge (Deck 11): The dedicated lounge for passengers booked in suites is at the top of the ship, near the Grills restaurants. There is also an upper terrace and outdoor courtyard.

Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Recreation

Pools

There are two pools on Deck 9: the Pavilion Pool, midship and the aft Lido Pool, which is surrounded by a huge sunbathing area and serves as the venue for sail-away parties. Each pool has its own bar and two Jacuzzis.

Recreation

Queen Elizabeth offers some unusual outdoor activities -- though none involve water slides or adrenaline-pumping attractions. The covered Games Deck, a throwback to simpler pursuits, is up on Deck 11, with paddle tennis, short mat bowls and croquet. Vintage murals and white lampposts complete the nostalgic feel. Nearby, a netted golf area allows you to practice your swing. Table tennis is available on Deck 9, outside of the spa near the midship pool.

Sun Decks

Passengers seeking sun on Queen Elizabeth can find real estate (and padded loungers) near both pools (midship and aft on Deck 9). Suite passengers can relax in privacy on the Grills upper terrace on Deck 12\. Padded wooden loungers providing some shade (good for reading) can also be found around the promenade area on Deck 3.

Queen Elizabeth Services

The front desk, also known as the Purser's Office, is located at the foot of the atrium on Deck 1. Adjacent are the tour office for shore excursion assistance and the voyage sales office for booking future Cunard cruises. Many of Queen Elizabeth's public spaces can be found surrounding the stunning three-deck Grand Lobby, which features curving staircases and a carved wooden panel by the nephew of the Queen, David Linley. Above, stretching from Decks 2 to 3, is the library -- a dying breed on many cruise ships. Here, it is a venerated space. Polished wood panelling, stained glass and a two-story spiral staircase draw you in to a space packed with approximately 6,000 volumes, including a notable reference section that includes works on the various ports and destinations from each itinerary the ship sails. A mini-museum of ship memorabilia is at the front, and ocean-view desks are at the back. The library desk is staffed on and off throughout the day, and a librarian must be present to borrow any books. Next to the library, on Deck 3, is a card room with bridge tables and an alcove where a jigsaw puzzle is almost certainly in play. Deck 3 is also where the shops are located, along a stretch called the Royal Arcade. The onboard shops feel more like boutiques -- featuring designers like Max Mara -- than the standard duty-free souvenir grab. You'll find logo items and duty-free goods, along with a book shop selling curated books and curios. The Port Shop sells necessities, like toothpaste and shampoo. The Clarendon Fine Art Gallery is also on Deck 3. The photo gallery is on Deck 3, toward the Britannia Restaurant, and utilizes digital kiosks to display photos to passengers, reducing the waste of unnecessary printouts. The space also sells camera and video equipment and accessories. A computer lounge is on Deck 1, with plenty of stations for passengers to log on and check email. Internet packages are available for a fee. There are a handful of meeting rooms onboard Queen Elizabeth on Decks 1 and 3, designated as ConneXions 1, 2 and 3. The Admiral's Lounge on Deck 10 can also serve as a meeting room. Self-service launderettes are scattered throughout the ship between cabins on Decks 4, 5, 7 and 8. They're a much cheaper alternative to the ship's laundry services and completely free (even detergent). Just be aware that doors lock at 9 p.m., even if your clothes are still in the dryer! Smoking is permitted in designated sections on Decks 3 and 10, starboard only. The medical centre is located below Deck 1 on Deck A. The Mareel Wellness & Beauty centre (run by Canyon Ranch) is located on Deck 9 and houses a hair salon, treatment rooms, a fitness centre and a thermal suite.

Spa

Drawing its inspiration from the ocean and the elements, the calming spa offers marine-themed treatments under the "Ocean Discovery" moniker, including seaweed bathing rituals and a luminescence massage. The 80-minute Taste the Ocean includes samplers of these treatments for about $209. The spa menu includes a variety of body treatments, acupuncture and reflexology, along with manicures, pedicures and hair styling. Prices range from $135 for a 50-minute Mareel massage to $300 for a 100-minute deep-tissue massage. Facials run about $76 for 30 minutes. A one-day pass to the thermal suite is $35 and includes access to a thalassotherapy pool, heated ceramic loungers, various steam rooms, aromatherapy showers and a sauna. Voyage-long passes are available, but pricing varies by cruise.

Fitness

A fitness centre can be found inside the Mareel Spa. The space is not massive but contains about 36 machines (including 11 treadmills) for complimentary use, as well as fit balls and free weights. Spin bikes are available by booking a class for an additional fee. Personal fitness instruction is available, also for a fee, as well as a number of classes such as yoga or boot camp -- these typically range from $12 to $18 per class. A wraparound promenade on Deck 3 provides a nice space for a walk -- jogging is only permitted between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Three laps equal 0.9 miles.

Whether it was molasses-glazed reindeer loin (we sailed in Alaska) in the main dining room, a burger in the pub, a salmon appetizer in the steakhouse or tomato soup sent to our cabin, the food onboard Queen Elizabeth was consistently tasty and well prepared. Service, however, was inconsistent -- from slow to downright aggressive. Though you could easily spend 10 days onboard and never get tired of the selections in the main dining room, the ship does offer a handful of extra-fee venues, and though our alternative dining experiences were mixed, they were mostly positive. The Verandah steakhouse is an incredible value and well worth the time and extra expense, while La Piazza, the Italian night in the for-fee section of the Lido, was mediocre and dragged on for too long. We were told by other passengers that the extra-fee Asian night in the Lido (called Bamboo), was excellent with a delicious black cod; some went two nights in a row. Passengers can bring one bottle of wine or Champagne onboard, but larger quantities need to be approved by Cunard before the voyage. A $20-per-bottle corkage fee applies for wine brought onboard and consumed in the restaurants.

Free

Britannia Restaurant (Decks 2 and 3)

Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L) and Dinner (D): The main dining room is the lofty, two-tier Britannia Restaurant, where everybody -- except those in Grill suites and Britannia Club cabins -- dines. There are two set dinner seating's: 5:30 and 7:45 p.m. Tables are allocated in twos, fours, sixes and eights. Britannia is also open for a full, cooked, waiter-served breakfast (including pancakes, waffles, omelettes and eggs Benedict) from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on sea days (7:30 to 9 a.m. on port days) and lunch from about noon to 1:30 p.m. every day, with open seating at both.

At dinner, there's a wide choice on the dinner menu, and *everything* changes nightly -- even on a 10-night sailing. Expect about eight appetizers and entrees (at least one of which is a vegetarian or vegan choice) and six desserts, as well as a cheese plate. Typical dishes include broiled lobster tail or duck. Vegetarians should note that there's also a full veggie menu available on request with plenty of choices, so coupled with the options on the main menu, it's easy to have a varied and meat-free vacation. Passengers with any special dietary request are asked to place orders 24 hours in advance.

In all the main restaurants, the more healthful dishes are marked as "Canyon Ranch Spa Selections" (Canyon Ranch is the company that operates the onboard Mareel Spa). Desserts include global classics like crème brûlée and chocolate parfaits, as well as some English classics like rhubarb pie; plus, there's always a sugar-free option. Waiters bring around petit fours after dinner, which is a nice touch.

Lido Buffet (Deck 9)

Meals: Open 24/7: The ship's all-day casual dining venue is the Lido. Breakfast begins early -- 4:30 a.m. -- and takes various forms until to 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Afternoon tea (considered a "snack") is served until 6 p.m. and dinner is from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with late-night snacks available from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The variety is respectable, with a mix of British, American and Asian options: eggs (to order if you want), bacon (English and crispy American), sausages, fried potatoes and other usual morning items. Coffee and juice come out of machines, which attract long queues.

Lunchtime has a pizza and pasta station (open until 4 p.m., which can be a life-saver on port days), a sandwich station, salad and dessert bars, and hot choices like grilled sole, steak and traditional English dishes like roasts, hot pots and meat pies.

Dinners are typically themed and might offer dishes that incorporate the destinations on your itinerary. The layout of the Lido is not particularly user-friendly; it took us a while to work out where everything was and to realize some counters are duplicated. The waiters don't serve much of a purpose here -- every morning we hoped someone would pour us a cup of hot coffee, but it never happened.

Golden Lion Pub (Deck 2)

Meals: L, D: The British-themed Golden Lion Pub serves free pub lunches, featuring staples like bangers (sausages) and mash, fish and chips, cottage pie and ploughman's lunches (a platter of cold meats and cheese). There are also occasional (free) evening meals with a mile-high house burger with a brisket patty on top of lettuce, tomato, onion and a burger patty on a crunchy bun (with fries served with a tangy beer ketchup).

Afternoon Tea at the Queens Room (Deck 2)

Meals: Snacks: Like clockwork, every day at 3 p.m., the doors to the Queens Room open, white-gloved servers carrying silver trays appear and you are expected to politely clap as Afternoon Tea commences. It *is* worthy of applause, as crustless sandwiches, cakes and, of course, a choice of tea (a black afternoon blend or Earl Grey) is served to you in courses against a sophisticated backdrop featuring classical music from either a harpist, a pianist or the string trio. And don't forget the scones, accompanied by cream and jam. We were surprised how good they were, to be honest, considering this is a daily included experience.

Britannia Club (Deck 2)

Meals: B, L, D: One step up from the Britannia is the Britannia Club, a separate dining room for anyone staying in the Britannia Club cabins. Small and intimate with a cream and teal colour scheme, this pretty room has windows all along one side and tables for two, four and six. The menu is a tweaked version of what's found in Britannia, and you get a more exclusive atmosphere, with a team of ultra professional staff who quickly remember your name and personal likes and dislikes. Dinner is open seating from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Princess Grill (Deck 11)

Meals: B, L, D: Located on the upper decks of the ship are the two Grill restaurants reserved exclusively for passengers staying in Princess or Queens Grill cabins, in an area accessible only with a special key card or up a staircase marked "Grill guests only beyond this point." Both dining rooms, which share a cocktail lounge with views over the pool, have a chocolate and gold colour scheme and are adorned with ornate, backlit glass panels and flooded with early evening sunlight from windows all along one side. The two Grills share a pretty outdoor terrace, decked out with Italian tiles and a splashing fountain, partly sheltered from the wind by high walls. Princess Grill offers a similar menu to the Britannia Restaurant but with more items and a long, always-available à la carte menu.

Queens Grill (Deck 11)

Meals: B, L, D: Queens Grill has an even bigger à la carte menu than Princess Grill -- essentially, you can have whatever you like, whether it's beef Wellington or lamb flambeed tableside. Tableside cooking is a special feature of the restaurant, with options like crepes Suzette for dessert.

Room Service

Meals: 24/7: The room service menu has a great selection at no charge. Favourites include a tomato soup with basil oil, a steak sandwich and a hearty super-food salad with squash, pomegranate, avocado, spinach, toasted seeds and more. There's a brunch menu, a day menu, a children's menu, desserts (cake in a mug, anyone?) and even a late-night menu with offerings from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. -- still at no cost. Drinks and a selection of speciality items carry a fee.

For Fee

Pricing was accurate at time of review but may have changed since.

Alternative Dining at the Lido Buffet (Deck 9); $19.50

Meals: D: In the evenings, one side of the Lido turns into a themed, waiter-service venue, which changes every three days or so (open 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.). Themes include Aztec (Mexican), Bamboo (pan-Asian), Coriander (Indian) and La Piazza (Italian). It's a low-cost way to spend a night out if you need a break from the main restaurant or the buffet, but note, just because it's in the Lido doesn't mean it's informal -- jackets are required for men.

The Verandah (Deck 2); $25 for lunch, $39 for dinner

Meals: L, D: The Verandah is a chic steakhouse open 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. each evening and for lunch on sea days from noon to 1:30 p.m. The food and service are excellent, and the atmosphere is elegant but relaxed. We delighted in the small touches, like presenting the cuts of meat before ordering or being able to choose your steak knife from an appealing selection of handles and blades. Nonmeat-eaters will still be satisfied with plenty of seafood choices or a gourmet veggie burger.

Champagne Tea (location varies); $35

Meals: Snacks: Once per voyage, a full-scale Champagne tea is served, including a glass of Laurent-Perrier (rose or brut) and a selection of loose-leaf Twinings tea, as well as a tempting array of cakes. On our sailing, it was held inside the attractive Britannia Club restaurant, and a harpist played as we nibbled on pumpkin scones, maple butter tarts, butter-poached snow crab on an avocado bagel and cold baked Alaska mousse with a lemon sponge.

In-Cabin Champagne Breakfast; $75:

If you're looking to splurge, a Champagne breakfast delivered right to your cabin is available for a set fee. Your choice of breakfast entrees is accompanied by coffee or tea, juices and a half-bottle of Champagne. In Alaska, a crab quiche, wild berry pancakes and a loaded salmon bagel are some of the menu selections. A crew member will bring a white tablecloth and china to complete the occasion.

There are 1,055 cabins onboard Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, with 885 in the Britannia (or standard) category and the rest split among Britannia Club, Princess Grill and Queens Grill suites. Most cabins -- about 70 percent -- have a balcony. Overall, cabins are cosy -- small in the standard categories, but comfortable. Most rooms have two twin beds that can be pushed together to form one bed, and we found the bedding to be extremely comfortable. However, storage space is a little lacking, especially for those longer voyages. There are his and hers closets, but space to put folded clothes is limited outside of this area. All cabins come with flat-screen TVs with channels spanning multiple languages as well as ship channels where you can gaze at the bow of the ship or watch a lecture held in the theatre. There are also room phones, mini-fridges, a safe and Penhaligon's (British brand) toiletries in the bathroom. Outlets are few, but there are U.S. - and UK-compatible varieties -- find them by the desk/mirror.

We weren't enamoured with the bathrooms in the standard cabins; they are a bit tight, with showers only (and a clingy curtain). Our toiletries didn't fit on the soap shelf in the shower -- we had to keep everything on the floor. (And forget about trying to shave your legs -- it's a little tricky.) We also had trouble hanging our towels on the hook behind the bathroom door; the towels never stayed.

We do like that every cabin comes with a robe and slippers, nightly turn-down service with chocolates, and a welcome drink (a half-bottle of sparkling wine in Britannia staterooms). Fresh fruit is available on request in non-suites. Mini-bars are stocked with for-fee drinks and snacks, and even bottled water carries a charge.

Cabin Categories

Inside: Inside cabins (standard and deluxe) range from 152 to 243 square feet. **Oceanview:** Ocean view, also known as outside cabins, range from 180 to 197 square feet.

Balcony: Standard balcony cabins are 228 square feet or slightly more.

Single: There are nine single staterooms --in Inside and Ocean View categories -- priced specifically for solo travellers without a single supplement onboard Queen Elizabeth. Room sizes range from about 133 to 159 square feet.

Suites: Suites make up about 16 percent of the cabins on Queen Elizabeth and come with an array of perks that depend on the suite category. Britannia Club: There are 43 Britannia Club rooms onboard, starting from 258 square feet. These rooms come with a pillow menu and access to the exclusive Britannia Club restaurant. Princess Grill Suites: There are 61 Princess Grill Suites, ranging from 335 to 345 square feet. They're essentially elongated versions of standard balcony rooms with almost identical verandas. Beyond a larger living area, there's also more closet space, and the bathrooms have full-size tubs. Princess Grill passengers have their own dedicated restaurant with open seating and receive concierge service, wine and chocolates at embarkation, enhanced toiletries, velour robes and slippers, walk-in closets, personalized stationery and an atlas. Queens Grill Suites: There are 66 suites categorized as Queens Grill. These top-category cabins begin at 484 square feet and are scattered around the ship, either aft, with views of the wake, or in the bulge midship, where the balconies are deeper

In addition to several Queens Grill penthouses (508 to 596 square feet), Deck 7 has the biggest concentration of top suites: two Grand Suites (1,375 square feet) and two of the four Master Suites (1,493 square feet), which include features like huge balconies, whirlpool baths and separate dining areas. These six suites are named after the half-dozen Cunard commodores who have been knighted. If you want a bath with a sea view, go for one of the Master Suites. For a wraparound balcony, outdoor dining and reclining steamer loungers, choose the Grand Suites. Additionally, Queens Grill passengers receive all the same perks at those staying in Princess Grill suites but are the only passengers with butler service, welcome Champagne and a complimentary bar. There is a Queens Grill Restaurant open from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each evening.

Deck 12 (High)
Deck 11 (High)
Deck 10 (High)
Deck 9 (High)
Deck 8 (High)
Deck 7 (High)
Deck 6 (High)
Deck 5 (High)
Deck 4 (High)
Deck 3
Deck 2 (Low)
Deck 1 (Low)

Best for...

Those who enjoy a more formal style of cruising and value the opportunity to learn more about the world through insightful talks

Not the best for...

Anyone looking for a party atmosphere and informal vibe or who enjoys a more modern style of cruising

Who goes on Cunard Line cruise ships?

Cunard draws an incredibly diverse crowd, with people from all over the world and of all ages. With that said, most passengers come from the U.K., North America, Germany and Japan. The world cruisers who occupy the top cabins are often extremely wealthy, with a fair smattering of celebrities enjoying Queens Grill -- but equally, the entry-level cabins on the shorter cruises attract bargain hunters. Passengers are mainly couples, although solos are catered for. Cunard is particularly LGBTQ-friendly, too, with plenty of same-gender couples. The age range is mainly over 55, but during school holidays, a lot of families travel. On Queen Mary 2, you'll also find a small subset of people who have chosen the route because there's a kennel onboard for dogs and cats.


Do I have to dress up on a Cunard Line cruise?

Absolutely. You'd be unlikely to book if you weren't a fan of glamorous black-tie nights. This is a line where tradition triumphs and even a relatively short, eight-night transatlantic crossing may involve three formal nights. Tuxedos or dark suits for men is expected, with women trotting out long dresses and jewels. Even the formal nights are narrowed down with themes like a black-and-white ball. Gala evenings aside, the dress code is generally "smart," which can be interpreted as stylish but not involving men needing to wear a tie. Those who really don't want to dress up can still go casual-ish and eat at the buffet on formal nights, but you won't be allowed in any of the lounges or go into the theatre for a show.


Is everything free on Cunard Line cruises?

No. You will need to pay extra for pretty well everything, from bottled water and specialty coffee to Wi-Fi, crew gratuities, specialty dining, shore excursions and drinks, as well as exercise classes and a day pass to use the saunas and steam rooms in the spa. Dining is included in the cruise fare but which main dining room you're assigned to will vary by what type of cabin you have booked. Also included are evening entertainment and basic tea and coffee at meals.


What are Cunard Line's most popular activities?

On sea days, Cunard's ships are famous for its guest speaker program, which features big names from the arts, politics and science scenes. Otherwise, popular activities are pretty traditional -- bridge, dance classes, bingo and pub quizzes in the Golden Lion Pub. There are watercolour painting classes, wine tasting sessions, flower arranging, table tennis and, in the evenings, karaoke. Afternoon tea is a daily ritual rarely missed by most passengers. On Queen Mary 2 the planetarium shows are quite popular as well.


Prices based on:

Britannia Inside
Britannia Inside

  • A king-sized bed, lounge area and desk with stationery.
  • Satellite TV, tea & coffee making facilities and a mini-bar.
  • An invigorating shower and complimentary Penhaligon's toiletries.
  • Complimentary robe and slippers for everyone in your party. 
  • Nightly turndown service, including a chocolate on your pillow.
  • Sparkling wine to welcome you on board.
  • Your own stateroom steward for the duration of your stay. 
  • 24 hour room service.
  • Hairdryer & safe.
  • Approx. size: 152 sq. ft.

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise
Fly Cruise

Britannia Ocean View (Obstructed)
Britannia Ocean View (Obstructed)

  • A king-sized bed, lounge area and desk with stationery.
  • Satellite TV, tea & coffee making facilities and a mini-bar.
  • An invigorating shower and complimentary Penhaligon's toiletries.
  • Complimentary robe and slippers for everyone in your party. 
  • Nightly turndown service, including a chocolate on your pillow.
  • Sparkling wine to welcome you on board.
  • Your own stateroom steward for the duration of your stay. 
  • A window offering a slightly obscured outside view. 
  • 24 hour room service. 
  • Hairdryer & safe.
  • Approximately 180 sq. ft.

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise
Fly Cruise

Britannia Balcony (Obstructed)
Britannia Balcony (Obstructed)

  • A king-sized bed, lounge area and desk with stationery.
  • Satellite TV, tea & coffee making facilities and a mini-bar.
  • An invigorating shower and complimentary Penhaligon's toiletries.
  • Complimentary robe and slippers for everyone in your party. 
  • Nightly turndown service, including a chocolate on your pillow.
  • Sparkling wine to welcome you on board.
  • Your own stateroom steward for the duration of your stay. 
  • A private balcony with space to relax (partially obstructed view).
  • 24 hour room service. 
  • Hairdryer & safe.
  • Approximately 228 sq. ft.

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise
Fly Cruise

Princess Grill Suite
Princess Grill Suite

  • A king-sized bed, lounge area and desk with personalised stationery.
  • Satellite TV, illy coffee machine, atlas and a mini-bar.
  • Bathroom with bath and shower.
  • Complimentary Penhaligon's toiletries.
  • Velour robe and slippers for everyone in your party.
  • Nightly turndown service, including a chocolate on your pillow.
  • A selection of fresh fruit, delivered daily.
  • Sparkling wine and chocolates to welcome you on board.
  • Your own Grills Concierge for the duration of your stay.
  • A spacious private balcony with table and chairs to relax in.
  • A seven-pillow concierge menu.
  • Freedom dining in the Princess Grill restaurant.
  • Optional in-room dining from the Princess Grill menu.
  • Exclusive access to the Grills Lounge and Grills Terrace.
  • 24 hour room service.
  • Hairdryer & safe.
  • Approximately 335-513 sq. ft.

Cat Cabin Grade
Cruise
Fly Cruise

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