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The Luxury Cruise Review

Review: Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill

Editors rating:
4.0
/5.0
Very good

Queen Elizabeth cruise ship facts

  • 2,081 guests
  • 1,005 crew
  • 2010 launched
  • 2018 refurbished

The Queen Elizabeth Queen's Grill is Cunard’s first-class offering. It has pluses and minuses, as this luxury cruise review explains.

Review: Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill

Editors rating:
4.0
/5.0
Very good
By Published On: 7 Apr 2019

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This review explains what makes the Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill experience unique. There are video tours of the accommodation and the exclusive Queen’s Grill Restaurant so you can see what they are really like. Click on the tabs above to navigate to each part of this review.

What’s Hot

  • Spacious suites.
  • Excellent Queen’s Grill Restaurant.

What’s not

  • Not all-inclusive.
  • The first class feel disappears outside the Grills.
  • No direct access from the Grills Terrace to the pool.

Survey results

StaffRating
Service efficiency
(3.5)
Enthusiasm
(4.0)
Problem solving
(3.0)
Language skills
(5.0)
AmenitiesRating
Rooms
(4.0)
Dining
(5.0)
Nightlife
(4.0)
Wellness
(4.0)

About Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill

Queen’s Grill is first class on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship. Queen’s Grill guests stay in the biggest suites and they also enjoy exclusive access to private areas of the cruise ship, like the Grills Lounge, the Grills Terrace and the Queen’s Grill Restaurant. 

The Queen Elizabeth cruise ship can accommodate 2,081 guests, but there are only 130 first class guests who stay in the luxurious Queen’s Grill.

The living space in a Queen Elizabeth Queen's Grill suite.
The living space in a Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill suite.

Queen’s Grill guests stay in suites ranging in size from 45 sq. m. / 484 sq. ft. to 139 sq. m. / 1,493 sq. ft. All of these suites were renovated in November 2018. This Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill review details one of the most popular suite categories, the Queen’s Suite.

As this Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill review also explains, there is fine dining and an elevated level of service. However, it’s worth noting that things can be different outside the rarified atmosphere of the Grills. Sharing the rest of the cruise ship with almost 2,000 other guests invariably means queues and a reduced level of personal attention. Also, some of the amenities in the general public areas are below what luxury cruisers might expect. 

Moreover, I think it’s the little things that let down the Queen’s Grill experience. For instance, the lackluster butler service and the minimal evening turndown. Not to mention the lack of inclusions and the ageing suite bathrooms. I can’t help feeling that things could be better.

Insiders tip: On my review voyage water was not replenished in the suite on the final night. So you might need to ration it the next morning. Also, on disembarkation day it’s worth remembering that there’s no in-suite breakfast and that the Queen’s Grill Restaurant closes early at 8:00am.

The history of Cunard Grills

The history of the Cunard Grills concept is intriguing. It dates to 1901 and is based on the name of a restaurant, namely the Grill restaurant on the HAPAG liner Deutschland. This was an “extra tariff” restaurant that served grilled steaks.

In 1914 Cunard adapted the idea. Their first class passengers could dine in the exclusive Grill Room onboard Aquitania. This beautifully appointed restaurant was more intimate than the grand first class dining room. Moreover, there was no extra tariff to dine there.

However, the Grills concept came into its own in 1936 when Cunard introduced an à la carte restaurant and supper club on Queen Mary. This was the Verandah Grill and it was also exclusively for first class passengers.

The 80 seat Verandah Grill restaurant had a large circular bay of windows that overlooked the stern. The walls had paintings of pantomime and theatre by artist Doris Zinkeisen. In the middle of the room was a circular parquetry dance floor. It was perfect for late-nights when the venue transformed into the Starlight Club.

The Verandah Grill was the place to be, and be seen. Indeed, the intimate club-like atmosphere made it popular with celebrities from stage and screen. In fact it was so popular that guests had to book tables months before their Atlantic crossing, that’s despite the fact there was now an extra dining tariff.

Over the years the term “Grill” became synonymous with first class on Cunard. Indeed, today first class tickets are called Queens Grill. Those ticket holders still dine in the best venue onboard, the Queen’s Grill Restaurant.

Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill dining

Guests staying in Queen’s Grill suites eat in an exclusive dining room called the Queen’s Grill Restaurant. In my opinion it serves some of the best traditional cuisine at sea. Indeed, I think dining there is the highlight of the Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill experience.

The Queen Elizabeth Queen's Grill restaurant offers some of the best dining at sea.
The Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill restaurant offers some of the best dining at sea.

In some ways the Queen’s Grill restaurant reminds me of Simpson’s in the Strand – that most quintessential of English restaurants in London. It is elegant with a decor that echoes a more glamorous era.

The Queen’s Grill Restaurant serves classic dishes like Roasted Loin of Venison, Duck L Orange and Roasted Pheasant Breast. The menu changes daily, however there are some signature dishes that are available all the time. The dining section of this Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill review explains it all.

The wine list is exceptional. In fact it’s like a bible of new and old-world vintages. If you enjoy wine you’ll delight in browsing the list each evening. 

The Grills sommelier has an excellent knowledge of the wines, so it’s worth asking advice if you are unsure or simply can’t make up your mind!

What does Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill include?

Unlike most ultra-luxury cruise offerings, a Queen’s Grill ticket is not all-inclusive. In fact only accommodation, dining, entertainment and in-suite beverages are included.

Insiders tip: Soft drinks from the mini bar are free and replenished daily. So too is tea and coffee. Queen’s Grill guests get a welcome bottle of champagne upon embarkation and they may also choose two bottles of spirits. 

Enjoy a welcome bottle of champagne, but other alcoholic drinks are generally not included.
Enjoy a welcome bottle of champagne.

A Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill cruise fare does not include any other wines, spirits or cocktails. You can purchase these individually, or you can choose from a selection of Cunard beverage packages. However, it’s worth noting that the beverage packages have a somewhat limited wine selection.

The cruise fare does not include gratuities either. So a service charge of 15% will be added to the cost of individual beverage purchases, while a 12.5% gratuity will be added to the cost of spa and salon treatments. 

In addition, a daily “Hotel and Dining” charge of US$13.50 per person per day will be added to your account at the end of the cruise.

On the plus side, guests do have the services of a butler who can arrange restaurant bookings, shore excursions or other activities.

Also, there is an afternoon canapé service for Queen’s Grill guests.

In some ports there are transfers to and from downtown. 

Who are Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill passengers

The Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill has a loyal following, in fact many passengers are return guests. They know what they like and they like what they know. The Queen’s Grill guests are mostly discerning cruisers. They are also generally well-travelled and financially secure.

The age of most Grills guests is from 45 to 85-years old. They tend to be fit and mobile.

Like all the Cunard offerings the Queen’s Grill is also gay-friendly.

Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill review conclusion

People often ask me if the Queen’s Grill experience is still the ultimate in luxury? In so far as Queen Elizabeth is concerned, the answer is probably not. 

Make no mistake, the Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill has some great attributes. Most notably the delectable dining and outstanding service in the Queen’s Grill Restaurant, but it misses the mark in other ways. Indeed the first class feel tends to slip away as you leave the restaurant.

In addition, Queen Elizabeth Queen’s Grill does not have the same inclusions as other similarly priced ultra-luxury cruise offerings. So luxury cruisers should be mindful of this when making their choice. 

About the Author: Jason Kerr

Jason is the founder and Managing Editor of The Luxury Cruise Review. He has a passion for travel, a weakness for espresso coffee and a love of Greek cuisine.

4 Comments

  1. Allan Jenkins 9 Apr 2019 at 08:58 - Reply

    We were to understand the spirits in the Queens Grill Suites are replenished daily free of charge from a minimal but adequate room service menu? One assumes on can purchase alcohol on board for consumption in the Suites if the above information is incorrect?

    • The Luxury Cruise Review 9 Apr 2019 at 09:59 - Reply

      Hi Allan and thank you for your post. In general the rule is two bottles of spirits upon embarkation. These can be chosen from a (limited) list and will be delivered by your butler. However, occasionally Cunard do run certain promotions which may entitle you to additional alcoholic beverages. I recommend clarifying your situation with your travel agent before you get onboard.

      Jason

  2. Daniel J White 18 Oct 2020 at 17:16 - Reply

    Can I pay an additional fee to dine in the Queen’s Grill if I’m not staying in a Grill stateroom? At any price?

    • Jason Kerr 18 Oct 2020 at 17:37 - Reply

      Hi Daniel

      Thanks for your question – it’s a good one. Alas, you can only dine in the Queen’s Grill restaurant if you book a Queens Grill suite for your cruise (usually denoted as Q category).

      Hope this helps.

      Regards
      Jason
      Managing Editor

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