Helen Van Berkel sails aboard Cunard's Queen Elizabeth.

The journey:

An overnight sail from Melbourne to Burnie, Tasmania; a day in port; a day at sea and early-the-next day arrival in Sydney.

The arrival: The Uber driver had trouble finding the Melbourne pier where the Queen Elizabeth was moored, which added about $12 to a $65 trip from the airport. My airline had already lost my luggage so check-in was straightforward.


The room: I was in Balcony room 5013. It was a standard cruise ship room plus a balcony. It came with a small table, which I kept knocking over when I pushed back my chair from the desk, power points for laptops and so on.

The toiletries: Beautifully scented Penhaligon shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and shower gel. They were only replaced every second steward visit after I collected the tiny bottles to pass on to the local women's refuge.

The service: The steward was thorough and quick. Too much so: he threw away the shopping bags containing some of my purchases to replace the lost luggage.

On board: The Queen Elizabeth prides itself on its elegance and luxury and its ambience is of a bygone era, but with Wi-Fi.

The food: There are no fewer than 10 dining options. I managed to sample only the Britannia, the Steakhouse at the Verandah and Bamboo. And all were divine. The Lido offers all-day buffet and is the best way to meet fellow passengers over breakfast.

Facts and figures: The Queen Elizabeth is 294m long, weighs 90,900 tonnes and is 32m wide. She can take 2081 passengers and 1005 crew. Her maximum speed is 23.7knots.

Onboard treats: The Mareel Spa is a recent addition to the Queen Elizabeth after a revamp last year. I enjoyed a glorious massage at the talented hands of Meggie, a Zimbabwean whose first sight ever of a ship was when she was preparing to board the Queen Elizabeth in Southampton. She did not believe it would float.