Behind The Scenes When Colin Met Lizzie In Tenerife

Hammering on the thick tinted glass door I hoped that a helpfull waiter would let me back in to the meeting room cum nightclub on the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner. I only popped out to be nosey, I missed the trays of nibbles and soft drinks from the bar as the officials warmed up for their speeches. It was hot and sunny nine decks up and the quayside looked a long way down but looking to my other side I had a great view of the rooftop jacuzzi and swimming pool area, how was I to know the door would lock behind me!

Sipping a coffee in the car park cafe in Santa Cruz port I hoped it wasn’t an omen to read about a Fred Olsen ferry bumping an Armas ferry in La Gomera the previous day. Checking in past the security guard I headed down the quayside to the blunt end (stop me if i’m getting too technical) of the new 500 million pound Cunard cruiser. It was amusing to see a Union Jack draped over a balcony high above, yep the Brits were in port, passengers were coming down the gangways in small numbers, it was 11am and most had already come out to play since the 8am docking. The media guests were gathered and I filled in the offered forms to confirm I didn’t have a cold, flu or dia, diah, diarr….the runs, handing in my passport I got my clip on badge and snapped a few shots as we waited to be welcomed aboard.

Security was tight and out bags went through a scanner, the passes bar codes were electronically read and we posed one by one for mug shots. The outside of the ship was quite functional but inside the oppulence hit me immediately, carpets to sink into, glittering chandeliers, and a lift lobby as big as my apartment. The greeting ceremony was first stop and one I had been rescued from the scorching outside I watched the captain Chris Wells and various port officials exchange pleasantries and gifts. I also introduced myself to Alastair Greener the entertainments officer whose blog I had been following for the last week, and you thought my research was watching old episodes of Captain Pugwash! Formalities done we were off through my favourite glass door for an official view of the pool area and The Garden Lounge beyond. most Passengers were out on shore but as our guide gave the lowdown on the Kew Garden paintings I chatted to a few middle aged cruisers and kept an eye out for rich old ladies after a blonde toy boy.

I lagged behind the main group prying into corners and looking for clues to the ships character. Cunards pride in its historical association with the royal names was clear through posters, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia of the illustrious previous voyages. The library was a two level grand collection of polished wood cases with a great range of books and a twisting staircase that helped to create intimate reading alcoves. I tried a large wood frame mounted world globe to see if it was a cocktail cabinet but alas no. Just outside some large tables were set up for intricate jigsaws with hundreds of scattered pieces, I resisted the urge to hide any vital parts. There was also a book shop dedicated to books on great ships and journeys, a couple of titles about the Titanic struck me as a bad idea for bedtime reading on board.

The Grand Lobby leading down to the Dent clock, designed by the firm that maintains Big Ben, was a huge centrepiece of flowing stairs and polished brass work, it ooozed money and class. Downstairs we passed on to the Royal Theatre, sprawling and ornate, the show music performed there in the evenings had received a mixed reception on the ships blog but passengers I spoke to were very impressed. The Verandah restaurant was empty and cutlery polishing was being performed with great relish, the cream chairs and coffee coloured tables were joined by enough cut glass to give a bull a tempting alternative to a china shop. The Royal Arcade was the commercial hub of the ship, the shops upstairs were closed and the fruit machines down below were silent, bet it’s not three cherries for a win, more like three crowns or sceptres. The Golden Lion pub looked posher than most pubs I have been in and although the food was good basic fare the large choice of cocktails was a big hint at the upmarket setting.

It’s an amazing ship, don’t think I could afford the 16,000 pound luxury suites but I would like to try a small cruise some time to see if it appeals to me. On the Queen Elizabeth I would never find my cabin after a few beers, it’s like a floating city. If you want to see more about this new addition to the worlds oceans have a look on the Tenerife Magazine website.