The Queen Elizabeth sailed into Cape Town, just as the sun was rising, on the 19th April 2017 on the penultimate leg of a 129 day around the world voyage, Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge, the first ever female Captain of a Cunard ship, at the helm. With 1,900 guests, just over 500 of whom are on board for the duration of the world trip, and 1000 crew, the ship glided serenely into the Cruiseship Terminal of Cape Town Harbour with Table Mountain towering over her, just as the Flagship of Cunard, Queen Mary 2, had done 3 months previously.
The Queen Elizabeth might be 50 metres shorter (295 m), 50000 gross tonnes the lighter (91000 grt) and with 700 less guests (1900 pax) than the Queen Mary 2, but she is beyond spectacular on the inside. Art deco is delightfully reproduced throughout from the Grand Lobby to the Brittania restaurant. The cabins are luxurious and the state rooms – well, outrageous.
Entertainment for the guests is in abundance including – croquet, quoits, fencing lessons, the world’s largest floating Library, 800 seater theatre with world class performers, computer room, swimming pools, bars and of course 11 restaurants, and room service, providing 2000 meals three times a day, when at sea, not forgetting the 1000 meals three times a day for the crew.
Executive Chef, Mark Oldroyd, has 133 chefs and 66 galley utility cleaners working under him. He is a strapping Yorkshireman whose identical twin brother, Nicholas, is the Executive Chef on the Queen Mary 2. In addition there are 200 restaurant staff, 23 sommeliers and 57 bar staff. Could he receive the first Michelin Star floating restaurant in the future?
There is an array of global culinary foods ranging from French to Aztec to Eastern to American to which port you have just visited. On a regular 14 day voyage the guests and crew will consume approximately 70 tons of fruit and vegetables, 18 tons of meat, 12 tons of poultry, 20 tons of fish and seafood, 30 tons of cheese and dairy, 67850 pints of milk, 56000 eggs, 70000 cups of tea, 7000 beers, 5250 bottles of Wine and 530 bottles of Champagne. Then on top of that over 90000 meals will be served and over one million pieces of china and glass will be cleaned.
The Queen Elizabeth starts the final leg of her world voyage on the 20th April and will arrive in Southampton on 8th May whereupon she will spend the next eight months touring the Norwegian fjords, the Baltic, Portugal Spain and the Mediterranean until she starts a new around the world cruise in early January 2018 and visiting Cape Town on 23rd April 2018.
So long you majestic Queen of the Seas – I look forward, enormously, to you gracing our shores again.