Cruising on Cunard’s 2081-passenger Queen Elizabeth really is like taking a step back in time when it comes to dressing for dinner, though probably not quite back to days when ladies would forward a complete change of wardrobe to be picked up in Rio, or wherever else.
Most nights on board are deemed ‘informal’, which for men is defined as jacket compulsory, tie optional. For women, it’s a little less strictly defined, but ‘smart cocktail outfit’ seemed to be the talked-about go.
On ‘formal’ nights, the requirements are increased, and dark suit, preferably dinner suit, and tie, preferably bow tie, become the standard for men, with most women opting for an evening gown. Spats, top hats and very, very classy blue suede shoes certainly make an appearance.
And though Cunard admits that dress standards do slip a little when the ship is in Australian waters, attempts to bypass the regulations are inevitably met with a very polite, but also very firm, suggestion that the guests in question would be more comfortable in the less formal Lido Restaurant or the Golden Lion Pub rather than in the larger à la carte Britannia Restaurant.
But wherever you eat, you’re sure to have an extraordinarily pleasant experience.
Executive chef Trevor Connolly commands 120 chefs — yes, that’s chefs, we’re not counting kitchen hands — and obviously runs a ship-shape operation.
Lunch of fish and chips in the very British Golden Lion Pub
And the figures he deals in are astronomical. I could fill the article with examples, so let’s just say he’s in charge of making nearly 55 tonnes of scrambled eggs each year.
Most people dine in the 800-seat Britannia, where the fare is included in the fare, but it’s certainly worth considering the 96-seat Verandah, the Queen Elizabeth’s fine-dining restaurant and obviously the delight of Connolly’s professional life.
Queen Elizabeth’s Britannia Restaurant … fine fare and plenty of art deco.
This carries a quite reasonable surcharge and it’s certainly worth booking a table, especially if you have a special occasion that coincides with your time on board. If you truly love your food the degustation menu, with specially matched wines, is just so good.
And do try lunch of fish and chips in the very British Golden Lion Pub, accompanied of course by one of those great English ales, such as Fullers ESB or Old Speckled Hen.
And talking of British, you can tell the origin of most of the passengers from the figures on beverage consumption — 2615 teabags daily, just 77 kilos of coffee used annually.
Executive Chef Trevor Connolly … in charge of 120 chefs and nearly 55 tonnes of scrambled eggs annually.
IF YOU’RE GOING
Cunard — phone 132 441 or visit www.cunardline.com.au. You’ll pay in the vicinity of $400 per person twin-share per night for a balcony stateroom.
Text and images: JOHN ROZENTALS