Written on: 04/01/2006 by Mitsmaz
Fast ship was able to transport us to Dakar - south enough to ensure good weather for 5 days.
Prices in Dollars gives a feel-good factor when you convert your account back to sterling!
Smoking fumes waft around all of ship and through some connecting doors in staterooms.
Rather dated although good quality accommodation
Activities weighted towards selling products from SPA and for older generation.
Cinema showing some B&W films (albeit classics like Casablanca.) made before I was born!
The QE2 real ship with a wonderful crew transported us to Portugal with little effort. Do not expect a glitzy cruise experience - this is real liner stuff - this old lady is built for speed and bad weather with timeless elegance rather than luxury and now rather dated in parts. Some bathrooms have been re-done in tasteful decor and modern fittings but some (even in dearer staterooms) are still original and showing wear and tear - worth checking. Although due a re-fit in April 06 many of the public rooms are already re-decorated. Take your ear plugs as a moving ship can be creaky and engine noise is a fact of life. Lisbon in December can be chilly as was Barcelona re-scheduled as an earlier stop due to Gibraltar port being closed - bad weather. Did make Gibraltar - to load passengers (and for passengers and crew to stock up on booze?) We booked Princess grill cabins last time, but preferred the look of the Caronia restaurant - we were not disappointed. The people were less stuffy and the food just as good served in a stunning restaurant where you can please yourself what time you eat and you keep the same table for breakfast and dinner.
Las Palmas not much sun but pleasant - other parts of G.C. did have some sun. We rate the tourist bus available from the bus station which takes you through the old town.
Champagne cocktails in the Champagne bar with canapes before dinner (little bar totally non-smoking) reached only from staircase C on the port side at about $8 each for a treat before dinner.
Dakar - rather scary Africa - police escort for one tour - we stayed on board to catch the brilliant sun. Up on the Sun deck (most of the passengers never find this deck as it is only reached by stairs) you really get looked after with towels, drinks and blankets for the chillier times of day.
Come prepared for bugs with over 2,000 people they spread like wildfire and some sad people told us they had found it a challange to avoid the hand sanitiser! Needless to say after this we took every opportunity to sanitise our own hands and manged to avoid all the colds, flu, upset tummy etc. Bring the pills with you although reports of doctor were fantastic (very thorough and charming) it does cost!
Another day sun bathing on the way back to Tenerife. Despite a full ship we never failed to find 2 sunbeds together! Next stop - wonderful fireworks in Funchal harbour, Maderia. Took the cable car with a combined ticket for the gardens - well worth a visit and we include in our itenerary tea or coffee on the terrace in the hotel just across the street from the cable car top station - wonderful views and a pleasant experience.
Back on board - shore gangways from deck 4 or 5 reminded us how stuffy is seems down there. Mauretania customers should try to get decks 3 upwards for wider corridors and to be nearer the facilities as lifts are well used.
For a classic cruise experience and excellent food you will not be disappointed on the QE2 providing your expectations are realistic.
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