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On board the Queen Elizabeth

Michele writes of her memorable experience sailing on the majestic Queen Elizabeth from Auckland:
"The first person I saw was Elizabeth Taylor.  She was there along with stars of yesteryear – Janet Gaynor, Robert Mitchun, Alfred Hitchcock.  Winston Churchill even had an appearance peering from the walls over the intimate cluster of leather chairs in the serenity of the cigar room..."

These previous passengers are all there in black and white glory hanging as snapshots from another more romantic, more glamorous era of cruising.  But we didn’t need the snapshots to remind us of what the Queen Elizabeth means as a special cruising experience.  Every inch of the walnut-panelled queen of the seas evoked the spirit of glamour and luxury.  This was a ship here you could imagine starlets racing up the gangplank clutching a fur coat and a fluffy dog.

We were greeted by a white-gloved bell boy who showed us to our cabin.  We had the lowest category cabin (inside) but this was still roomy with comfortable beds and a bottle of champagne to welcome us.

We dressed up for dinner and this was a special treat each night.  Food was sumptuous but not too rich and the waiters were wonderfully cosmopolitan hailing from all corners of the globe.  The old gentleman sitting (by choice) at a table for one was engaged in conversation by the crew, some of whom spoke in Spanish.  There were a number who were on their third or fourth world cruise.  “They look after me.  It’s like home,” a lady from London told me.

We ate in the Brittania restaurant, which was like stepping back in time with its impressive art deco touches.  In the few short days on board we visited the English pub on board to take part in a pub quiz.  You could even order a pub lunch here if you wanted a casual lunch for a change.  We browsed through books in the two-storeyed library boasting the largest collection of books at sea.  Oh how I could get lost in the books alone!  Two generous swimming pools were surrounded by sheltered outdoor lounges (yes that’s lounges, not loungers) where one could find a quiet spot on a comfortable chair and see the day away watching the waves.

For the more active, the games deck offered croquet, mini basketball, bowls and deck tennis.  A morning of this could be followed by high tea in the ballroom where we were served by gloved waiters offering an array of teas, coffee, dainty sandwiches and cakes.

We were not on board long enough to experience the full array of entertainment.  From all accounts however, this too was first class.

The average age of passengers on a  world voyage from observation was around 70 but personally this was no detraction, despite my apparent “youthful” age of 50!  These were passengers with stories!  From the world-renowned psychotherapist to a starlet who was actually  one of ‘Hitchcock’s girls’, they matched the ship with a wonderful history and an edge of mystery.  If you want to feel like a Queen (or King), sail the Queen.  This is cruising at its glamorous best.