Queen Anne Day 36

Written by Safarigal
June 10, 2024


June 7th, 2024

Well that day has come. Time to get back to reality.

I saw that familiar view, and knew that Queen Anne was back to Southampton. Still, it looked like a beautiful day, and I am sure they will have a great sail away. Except I will not be on her.

We were due to disembark at 8:10. Alex, our driver, was scheduled to meet us at around 8:30 to take me to Terminal 2, and Deirdre to a friend who lived near Heathrow.

Two weeks ago disembarkation had been totally chaotic with Cunard blaming the cruise terminal staff, and the cruise terminal staff blaming Cunard. Whoever was to blame, we hoped they would get things right this time.

We went to deck 2 in preparation to disembark, the line wasn’t too long and things were moving well when we suddenly came to a stop.

There had been a medical emergency in the cruise terminal so disembarkation had been halted.

So we waited and waited and waited. Despite the fact that people had been asked to wait in the public rooms, everyone had chosen to come to deck 2, and with all of their hand luggage in tow, it was becoming quite crowded.

Finally disembarkation started again, and we were able to say a fond farewell to the ship. We headed towards the escalator, but were told it was closed and we would have to use the stairs. What about the lift? Well there was an extremely long wait for the lift, and as we appeared to be “able bodied” we would need to use the stairs, it’s only one flight down.

Well, it is certainly not one flight down, there were several landings, and I could see that Deirdre was struggling with her carry on bag, so I volunteered to help out and clutching on to 2 overweight bags I gingerly made my way down the concrete stairs. I may be “able bodied”, but this was quite a challenge.

When we finally got down to ground level Deirdre hailed a porter. We had done enough heavy lifting for one day.

Disembarking is so easy in Southampton once you are off the ship. You just grab your bags and place them on a trolley if you are not using a porter, and off you go out the door. No queueing around to get through immigration as you do in Brooklyn.

With the aid of our porter we were soon out of the building and waiting for Alex. It was 9:00. Not bad all things considered. I was hoping to get to the airport by 11:00 for my 1:00 plane.

There was an ambulance waiting in the loading area next to us. We asked the porter if he knew  what had happened and he said that someone had fallen on the escalator and was seriously injured. It sounded bad. It was just horrible.

Alex arrived at that moment, and soon all of our luggage was in his car, and we were all off to London, well Heathrow really.

As we got nearer to Terminal 2 the traffic started to back up, and soon we weren’t moving at all, and Alex was looking worried. He surmised that there was trouble in the tunnel leading to terminals 2 and 3. He didn’t think we had a chance at getting to Terminal 2, and the only option was to get out of the traffic and take me to Terminal 5. From Terminal 5 I could take the Heathrow Express train to Terminal 2.

I wasn’t too happy about all of this, but it seemed there was no option. There was a lot of traffic going to Terminal 5, but at least it was moving.

We offloaded all of my luggage when we arrived at Terminal 5, and I bid Deirdre and Alex farewell. I maneuvered my way through the throngs of other travelers in search of the train station.  Clearly I wasn’t the only person trying to change terminals, but I persevered and finally got onto the platform and was able to get on to the overfilled train with all of my stuff just as the doors closed.

Then the announcement came, “this is the Heathrow Express to London Paddington”. I hadn’t had the chance to read where the train was going in my rush to squeeze onto it. I thought all of the trains did stop at Terminals 2 and 3, but what if some don’t? What if this train is just going to Paddington? I can certainly forget about getting to Seattle today if that is the case. The train showed no signs of slowing down so I was getting a bit worried. Then suddenly the train came to a screeching halt and the doors opened disgorging the huddled masses onto the station platform. Yay, this is exactly where I want to be!

I persevered through the crowds to find Terminal 2 and the Iceland Air check in desk. I was warmly greeted by the pleasant check in lady who reassured me that it wasn’t too late to check in, and I even had time to get a cup of tea before they started boarding. Phew!

Once I was on the plane to Reykjavik I could finally relax. It was only 1:00 PM and I was already exhausted and I had many miles to go before I sleep.

As we flew over the motorway I could see that traffic was still backed up.

Gradually the London suburbs below grew smaller and smaller

And in a matter of minutes we were in the clouds, I could no longer see England’s green and pleasant land. I was on my way home.

I now had time to sit back and think about the past 5 weeks. What did I really think about Queen Anne? Was she a Cunarder?

Well she has the correct colored hull and funnel, but does it take more than that to be a Cunarder?

What about her public spaces? Certainly Queen Anne’s public spaces share the same names as the public spaces on the other Queens, but in some cases, that was where the similarities ended. Some of Queen Anne’s public spaces simply weren’t as nice as those on the other Queens, however some were far superior, especially the Grills Terrace and the amount of open space and the great bars on the top decks. To make any informed judgement I felt you simply cannot compare the ships. I had to look at each space on the ship and decided did I like it or not, and that had nothing to do with the equivalent spaces on the other ships.

All in all I didn’t dislike any of the public spaces. The Promenade deck is functional. You can walk around it and get some exercise, but it is not a place to sit and watch the world go by. The Queens Room is small and needs different furniture, that cafeteria style furniture in there at the moment has to go. But the room functions well as a show lounge in the evenings and it is nice to have an alternative venue to listen to a live performance if the show in the Royal Court Theatre doesn’t look appealing, and you have seen the show in the Bright Lights Society.

There was no Captains welcome party, or senior officers’ party, but I really didn’t miss them. They were a fun way to interact with the officers and fellow passengers, however they were never a major feature of any voyage. Still, it was always nice to know what nationalities were on board, and how many cats and dogs were on a Queen Mary 2 crossing, and who the most traveled dog was. Now there is no easy way to get that information.

The lifts are a problem. I wonder if they have the same lift arrangement (3 lift banks with 4 lifts each) on the other Pinnacle class ships? If so, are those ships having the same issues? One factor in the lift problem is that there were far more than the usual number of passengers using assistive devices, especially motorized scooters, on all 3 cruises. These folks took up more space in the lifts, so fewer people were able to get into the lift. Also, no one seemed to be using the stairs, and no matter whether you were going up or down, people took the first lift that arrived, leading to more congestion.

However apart from high traffic times like when the shows or Insight talks came out, going ashore in ports, or coming back from tours, I often had the lift to myself. The couches in the lift lobby look nice, and provide a welcome seat for those needing to sit while waiting for the lift, but they are an obstacle if you are trying to catch a lift on the other side of the lobby. Time will tell whether the current complaints about the lifts can be resolved.

Yes, there are things that people dislike about the ship, and I do have my concerns, but one thing that I cannot fault is the staff.

From Captain Inger down, they are all wonderful in my estimation, and exemplify the true spirit of Cunard. Over and over again I found the crew went out of their way to make sure that they were providing the best service possible. To me, that is what I love about Cunard.

So although the dress codes, the ship’s physical appearance, and the public areas all contribute to the feeling of whether the ship is a true Cunard ship or not, it’s the people that really make you feel that you are back home on a Queen.

Queen Anne will not replace Queen Mary 2 as my favorite ship, but it is always good to have choices.

I was so lost in thought that I had not realized that we had arrived in Reykjavik.

I had a four and a half hour layover, and I wondered around the airport looking at the shops. It really isn’t a very exciting airport, and all of the passengers waiting for their flights seemed to be Americans. Don’t the locals ever fly?

Finally it was time to board my flight to Seattle. I settled into my seat, all ready for the 8 hour flight that would almost get me home. Two of the other passengers seemed to be extremely unhappy, so I listened in to ascertain what was going on.

It turned out that our scheduled aircraft had a “mechanical problem” and thus was not safe to fly. Instead of making all of us stay in Iceland overnight until the problem was fixed, Iceland Air found another plane to transport us, one that the captain said was used “for domesticated services”. The first problem was that this plane had fewer seats than the original plane, and the couple who were causing all of the fuss were holding boarding passes for non existent seats. I could see why they were upset. They were offered seats in coach, but they were insisting that they be given seats in business class. That simply wasn’t going to happen. They were refusing to get off the plane and things were getting nasty.

I would have offered them my seat, but I thought that would be like rewarding a screaming child in the supermarket checkout line with the candy that they were demanding.

Several more employees got on the plane and tried to placate them, but with no success. Finally someone did work their magic and they agreed to switch to another flight, and the ground staff and the aggrieved passengers all got off the plane, and we were free to fly to Seattle at last.

Just as we were taking off, the captain announced that the active volcano that was not affecting air traffic could be seen from the right side of the plane. Of course, I was sitting on the left side, and couldn’t see a thing.

It wasn’t the best flight I must say. I assume because the plane was “domesticated” there was no inflight entertainment, no wifi and no electrical outlets. The latter was most annoying as my computer’s battery was totally flat and I had planned to plug it in and use it during the flight. This was not to be.

Dinner was interesting, 3 courses of fish. Who knew that there Greenlandic shrimp? When I saw Arctic chard on the menu I thought it might be a relative of Swiss chard, which I rather enjoy, although I was surprised that such a vegetable could grow in the arctic regions. Climate change really is affecting vegetables.

However to my surprise it turned out to be a very salty pink fish.  The lady sitting next to me pointed out that there was a spelling mistake on the menu, and the fish was actually Arctic char. Well you live and learn.

I looked out the window and watched the Arctic waters below. There really wasn’t anything else to do. There was not an Arctic chard in sight.

Finally we arrived at our destination. It wasn’t even raining and we were treated to a beautiful view of Mt Rainier as we walked to the border control kiosks.

Here I was. Back to where it all started on May 2nd. That felt like an age ago. I really had got used to life on board Queen Anne. But now here I am in the US again.

I had hoped for a more traditional naming ceremony, and a Queen Anne commemorative gift would have been much appreciated, something tangible to remind me of this wonderful voyage, but the times they are a changing.

So, as the 4 icons from Liverpool said to Queen Anne; may God bless her and all who sail on her. And I have been blessed to sail on her. My 6th Cunard Queen.

Post Discussion


  1. Beverley Allen

    thank you for your reports throughout your travels. I’ve really enjoyed them.
    We will be on Queen Anne in less than 2 weeks and very much looking forward to enjoying ourselves. I’ll try to remember to look for the Cruise Critic book in the library!

    • Safarigal

      Have a wonderful time on Queen Anne – I would love to know what you think of her 🙂

  2. Lyle Harrison

    Thanks Lesley, you have become my morning read! Now I guess I will start working through your archives😊. Did you every blog an Alaska cruise?

    • Safarigal

      Thanks so much for reading my blog! I have not done a blog of our Alaska cruise – We did a family Alaska cruise in 2022, but I didn’t write a blog about that cruise, which is a shame because our daughter’s boyfriend proposed to her in front of the Hubbard Glacier. It would have been fun to write about that experience!

  3. Karen Hill

    I’m glad you got food on your Iceland air flight. They have a huge, extremely well done greenhouse industry, so chard wouldn’t have seemed odd to me :-). When we went, there was no food service at all and you couldn’t even eat anything with peanuts – a lot of hungry people.

    Also, there is a domestic airport near the city so I’m sure locals fly from there unless leaving the country.

    We’ve been there three times. I think. Fascinating, beautiful place.

    • Safarigal

      I won’t complain about the strange food on Iceland Air again, at least I got food. Many years ago I took a flight from Heathrow to New York on Iran Air during Ramadan. For many reasons this was a mistake, but the lack of food and liquids for the whole flight was very disappointing!

  4. kimb

    thanks for the journey.. I enjoyed the analysis of the ship and your thoughts on the different venues on the ships. Good ol’ chard seems to get about…

    • Safarigal

      Travel is always more fun with you two on board!

You May Also Like…

Queen Anne Day 35

At Sea June 6th, 2024 Today is my final day on board. I really should have been packing, but as always there is way too much to do. To commemorate D Day there was a memorial service in the Royal Court Theater. This was very well attended, and it...

Read More

Queen Anne Day 34

Cobh, Ireland June 5th, 2024 The last time we were in Cobh we had spent the day walking around Cobh. Today I decided to spend the day in Cork. It is easy to get to Cork by train, but due to my paranoia about rail strikes, I took the ship’s tour...

Read More

Queen Anne Day 33

At Sea June 4th, 2024 After a very exciting day yesterday the ship felt very subdued. Maybe everyone was exhausted – I certainly needed some extra sleep after my early morning watching our arrival in Liverpool. I have processed my feelings about...

Read More


I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.