Cunard extends pause on operations
Cunard has extended its pause in operations from November until next spring – with Asia, Australia and Alaska departures cancelled for the whole of 2021.
Queen Elizabeth will not not return to service until March 25, 2021 with revised operations from the UK. Flagship QE2 will not return until April 18 and Queen Victoria until May 26.
New European sailings by Queen Elizabeth and a 2022 world cruise by Queen Mary 2 have been announced.
The changes reflect Foreign Office guidance “and the complexity of operating world voyages”.
Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: “We are so sorry to all those guests who were due to sail on any of the cancelled voyages and for the disappointment this news will cause.
“After very careful consideration and reviewing the latest guidance, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule so we have reviewed future itineraries.
“Queen Elizabeth has returned to the UK and with ongoing uncertainty over the re-opening of many ports and countries, it is sadly not practical to continue her planned itineraries for 2021.
“Therefore, in addition to the pause in operations, all of Queen Elizabeth’s sailings due to depart between March 26, 2021 and December 13, 2021, in and around Australia, Japan and Alaska, will be cancelled.
“These voyages will be replaced with a programme of shorter duration European holidays ranging from three to 14 nights, departing from Southampton.
“These will start at the end of March 2021, with a series of scenic voyages around the coast of Cornwall, the west coast of Ireland and the Scottish Isles.
“There will also be short breaks to Amsterdam which will include an overnight in the city, as well as voyages to northern and southern European destinations including Norway and the Iberian coast, with several of these itineraries featuring overnight city stays.
“Queen Elizabeth’s new programme will be completed with a series of seven and 14 night voyages in the Mediterranean, sailing from Barcelona. It is an exciting new programme which I am sure will have great appeal.”
The new Queen Elizabeth itineraries will be available to book from September 29.
Palethorpe added: “Additionally, recognising the immense disappointment of those on board Queen Mary 2’s curtailed world voyage this year, and the cancellation of her world voyage in 2021, we are delighted that Queen Mary 2 will sail a classic world voyage in 2022.
“This will replace her scheduled sailings departing January 3, 2022 to April 3, 2022, including the voyage to South America.”
The new 104-night journye will depart from Southampton on January 10, 2022 and include calls to Greece, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia and Bali before returning to Southampton via Abu Dhabi, Oman, Italy and Portugal.
The ship will sail through the Suez Canal both on the outbound journey and on return.
It will be available to book, either as a full world voyage or as one of six sectors, from September 8.
“Given the current uncertainty, the complexity of our scheduled world voyage with our international mix of guests visiting many countries and continents, each with its own evolving travel regulations was a very real factor in our decision making,” Palethorpe said.
Cunard will be contacting guests and travel agents who are impacted.
Passengers who have had their voyage cancelled will automatically receive an enhanced 125% future cruise credit or can fill in a website form for a 100% refund