In an acknowledgment of the UK FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) guidance and the complexity of operating world cruises, luxury cruise line Cunard is extending its pause in operations from November 2020 through March 25, 2021, for its liner Queen Elizabeth; through April 18, 2021, for Queen Mary 2 and through May 16, 2021, for Queen Victoria.
Cunard Line 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."
Palethorpe added that Queen Elizabeth had 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 suspension of operations, all Queen Elizabeth’s cruises due to depart between March 26, 2021-December 13, 2021, in and around Alaska, Japan and Australia, will be cancelled.
These sailings will be replaced with shorter duration European voyages ranging from 3 to 14 nights, departing from Southampton UK. These are scheduled to start at the end of March 2021, with a series of trips around the west coast of Ireland, the coast of Cornwall, and the Scottish Isles. There will be short breaks to Amsterdam, The Netherlands which will include an overnight in the port city, as well as cruises to northern and southern European destinations like Norway and the Iberian coast, with a number of itineraries featuring overnight city stays.
The new programme of Queen Elizabeth will be completed with a series of 7- and 14-night sailings in the Mediterranean from Barcelona, Spain.
All new itineraries onboard Queen Elizabeth will be available to book from September 29.
However, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 will boast a classic World Voyage in 2022 which will replace her scheduled cruises departing January 3, 2022, through April 3, 2022, including the sailing to South America. The new 118-night voyage will depart roundtrip from New York City on January 3, 2022, and feature visits to Greece, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia, Bali prior to returning to Southampton UK via Abu Dhabi, Oman, Italy, Portugal. The liner will sail through the Suez Canal on the outbound voyage and on return. The world cruise will be bookable, either as a full voyage or as one of 6 sectors, from September 8.
All passengers who have had their cruise cancelled will automatically receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC) or alternatively can fill in the line's website form for a 100% refund.