The incredible MS Queen Elizabeth cruise liner, affectionately known as the QE, will berth at Fremantle’s Inner Harbour at 5.30 am this coming Monday, 7 November 2022, and depart at 10pm on the same day.
QE left Singapore on 30 October on an eight-day cruise, visiting Jakarta and Bali en route to Freo.
Before that, between 3-30 October 2022, she completed a 27-day, one-way cruise from Barcelona to Singapore.
Very nice for the long distance travellers!
The QE is one of the three queens operated by Cunard: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, and Queen Victoria.
QE is huge – 294 metres long and weighs in at 92,000 GT. She can carry up to 2,092 passengers and 911 crew.
She was built in Italy between 2007 to 2010 at a cost of $629 million and launched on 11 October 2010.
The late Queen Elizabeth II officially named her with a giant bottle of Australian wine during the quayside ceremony at Southampton. The Queen spoke the familiar vessel-launching words, requesting God to bless the vessel ‘and all who sail in her’.
It was 72 years since the Queen had watched her own mother launch the first Queen Elizabeth.
QE’s debut voyage to the Canary Island sold out in 29 minutes.
Her last refurbishment was in 2018.
The ship is a tribute to the two previous Queen Elizabeth-named ships: the original Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Elizabeth 2. She evokes the era of the 1930s with art deco elegance: Italian marble and rich timber details, gleaming wooden marquetry, grand lobby with an amazing staircase and chandeliers. The QE exudes style and a refined feel, built on tradition and nostalgia.
So, what is life on board like? Boarding QE sets the scene for what is ahead, bellboys in traditional tailored red jackets welcome guests up the gangway. There are no water slides, high-tech gimmicks, or zip lines. Highlights of the QE include the Garden Lounge, a light and airy atrium with a glass roof that is inspired by the conservatories at Kew Gardens in London – a great place to laze and read.
Single seating dining arrangements are available in the Britannia Club for lone travellers. There is live piano music, dancing classes, splendid cocktail bars, speciality afternoon tea and lots of open decks. On the games deck, you can try your hand at croquet or lawn bowls. At night, there are amazing shows in the Royal Court Theatre.
QE is only in Fremantle for a day ‘in transit’ and leaves again for an eight-night cruise to Sydney calling into Melbourne and Adelaide. The cost of this cruise starts at $1399 per person for an inside cabin. You can enjoy a touch of royal treatment, comfort, and pampering, and partake in garden parties and a grand ball.
We will see more of the ‘Queens’ – Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth will visit WA ports seven times this summer season during 63 port calls.
IN OTHER CRUISE NEWS: You can now Sail the Seven Seas on cruise ships. We will have had three cruise ships in Fremantle in as many weeks, marking the restart of big-ship cruising in WA.
The Coral Princess departed Fremantle last Saturday. Due to rough weather she had to stay an extra night in Fremantle and forego her visit to Albany. On he plus side, it was slightly surreal seeing a cruise ship berthed at the Passenger Terminal again after a 956 days absence.
Coral Princess arrived in Melbourne on 1 November in time for the Melbourne Cup. She still has passengers with Covid onboard.
Two other large cruise ships also arrived in Melbourne for the Cup, carrying a total of over 6000 passengers there for the event and providing extra accommodation.
The giant Quantum of the Seas arrived in Brisbane from Hawaii after an 18-day cruise on 1 November with 4,400 passengers – 400 with Covid.
It looks like cruising and Covid continue to go hand in hand.
And in the USA, Richard Branson joined one of his Virgin-cruise ships, the Valiant Lady, for a six-night Halloween-themed sailing from Miami on 30 October. The official ‘MerMaiden’ Voyage hopes to break the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of Mer-folk in one place!
Back here at Victoria Quay – head down to the Port on Monday, either to welcome QE in the morning, or to watch her depart at night. It will be a huge spectacle and not a single Merperson onboard!
* STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS (except where indicated) by our Shipping Correspondent, Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey. Jean is also a regular feature writer and photographer here on the Shipping News. You may also like to follow up her informative Places I Love stories, as well as other feature stories and Freo Today photographs, right here.
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