Cunard launches ‘Summer at Sea’ luxury UK voyages including special sun voyages

Luxury British cruise line Cunard has said that it is offering UK guests the opportunity to spend this summer at sea, with a series of UK voyages on board Queen Elizabeth.

Voyages will be round-trip from Southampton, between July and October 2021, and comprise of British Isles scenic cruising and special Sun Voyages, sailing to bright summer destinations. Ten British Isles Voyages and three Sun Voyages, which would last from three to 12 nights, are available.

British Isles Voyages include sailings along Britain’s coastline including The Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO world heritage site, Cornwall including Land’s End and Scotland including the Isle of Arran, Mull of Kintyre and Sound of Mull. Four voyages will make various port calls, including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, and Newcastle, in addition to a maiden call for Cunard’s fleet to the Welsh port of Holyhead.

Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: ‘Cunard’s Summer at Sea luxury UK voyages are a truly unique way for guests to have a much-needed break this summer. With international travel not yet fully opened up we’re delighted to offer these voyages exclusively for British guests to experience a staycation unlike any other, as they relax in Cunard luxury knowing we will take care of everything.

‘Guests can sail along some of the most stunning coastlines anywhere in the world, as Queen Elizabeth provides a unique vantage point, or sail on one of our Sun Voyages where the destination is unscripted and is guided by studying the weather forecast and heading to where the sun shines brightest.’

Four night British Isles Voyages are priced from £599 per person for a Balcony Stateroom, while a ten night British Isles Voyage will start at £1,299 per person for a Balcony Stateroom. Seven night Sun Voyages are priced from £899 per person for a Balcony Stateroom. The cruises go on sale Wednesday March 31, 2021 at 10am, and can be booked at www.cunard.com.

The sailings on Queen Elizabeth will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only. All other voyages on sale currently do not require guests to be vaccinated.

All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and wellbeing measures to protect everyone on board on these cruises. These protocols include enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing and the wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship. Crew will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board, subject to change as rules evolve. Travel insurance will also be mandatory for all guests.

Cunard to extend pause in operations amid ongoing travel restrictions

Cunard, the British luxury cruise line, and part of Carnival Corporation, has said that it has extended its pause in operations due to the ongoing travel constraints across the world.

According to the cruise line, voyages departing on board Queen Mary 2 up to and including May 28, 2021, and on-board Queen Elizabeth up to and including June 4, 2021, have been cancelled. Departures on Queen Victoria remain unaffected and are scheduled to resume May 17, 2021.

Customers who have had their voyage cancelled will receive a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit, providing an additional 25 percent on any amount paid, to redeem against a future voyage. The 125 percent Future Cruise Credit can be used on any new booking made by the end of December 2021 and on any voyage available at the time of booking. Voyages are currently available through to early 2023. Guests preferring a refund should complete the form on Cunard.com.

Cunard President Simon Palethorpe said: ‘Our extension to the pause in operations is the result of the ongoing restrictions on cruising in the UK and around the world, and recognizes the significant lead times to return to service once those restrictions are lifted.

‘We are extremely sorry for the disappointment we know this will cause. We know how much careful consideration goes into planning a holiday and apologize that our guests now have to wait a little longer to travel once again with Cunard.

‘Guests are able to use their enhanced 125% Future Cruise Credit to book for later in 2021 or for one of our newly announced 2022 voyages. The tremendous response already to our 2022 voyages, put on sale just a few weeks ago, clearly demonstrates our guests are eagerly anticipating travelling again with us. We’re equally looking forward to the time when we can welcome back our guests.’

Cunard extends stoppage of operations, confirms itinerary changes for 2021 and 2022 World Voyage

British cruise line Cunard has said that will be extending its stoppage of operations from November 2020 until March 25, 2021 for its ship Queen Elizabeth; until April 18, 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and until May 16, 2021 for Queen Victoria, due to issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

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.’

All new itineraries on board Queen Elizabeth will be available to book from September 29, 2020. ‘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,’ Palethorpe said.

‘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,’ he added.

The new 118 night adventure will depart roundtrip from New York on January 3, 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 bookable, either as a full world voyage or as one of six sectors, from September 8, 2020.

Cunard will be contacting guests and travel agents who are impacted and all guests who have had their voyage cancelled will automatically receive an enhanced 125 percent Future Cruise Credit or alternatively can fill in the website form for a 100 percent refund.

Full details of the changes to operations and options available to guests due to travel on cancelled voyages, as well as the latest updates, can be found at www.cunard.com, it said.

Cunard extends suspension of operations

Cunard, the luxury British cruise line, has said that as a result of the continued impact of Covid-19, it will be extending the suspension of its operations.

Cunard currently operates three ships: Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, with destinations including Europe, the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia. For its ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Cunard is cancelling all sailings that were due to depart up to and including 1 November, 2020 and for Queen Elizabeth, departures up to and including the 23 November, 2020.

Cunard President, Simon Palethorpe, said, ‘With many differing restrictions across countries, people’s ability to move freely and safely across borders remains seemingly someway in the distance. For Cunard, where we celebrate having a truly international mix of guests and sail all over the world, this becomes particularly impactful. We also need to better understand the implications Covid-19 will have on board our ships. We are therefore working, at the highest level possible, with government bodies, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the CDC – and Public Health England, as well as the industry collective body – CLIA – and other expert medical professionals to review every aspect of a holiday with us.’

‘Whilst we have always taken pride in having the highest levels of health and safety, we are looking at enhanced protocols across all aspects of ship life and experiences on shore. We will only return to service when we have a comprehensive restart protocol with the stamps of approval and accreditation from the most trusted and informed sources,’ Palethorpe added.

Cunard will be communicating with all guests, and their travel advisors, who are booked on affected voyages, it said. As Cunard has done earlier during this pause period, guests who are booked on cancelled voyages will automatically be given a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit. This can be redeemed against any new booking made by the end of December 2021 on any voyage that’s on sale at the time of booking.

Cunard extends suspension of voyages as Covid-19 crisis continues

Luxury cruise line Cunard has said that it will be extending the suspension of voyages as a result of the continued impact of Covid-19.

Cunard is the operator of luxury cruise ships Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, and the only line to offer regularly scheduled transatlantic service between New York and London. For its ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Cunard is cancelling all sailings that were due to depart up to and including July 31, 2020. For Queen Elizabeth, the cruise line has cancelled the entire Alaska season and all departures up to and including September 8, 2020.

‘These are extraordinary times and this global outbreak continues to challenge Cunard and the travel industry as a whole,’ said Simon Palethorpe, President, Cunard. ‘We would love nothing more than to bring our fleet back in to service, and give our guests the holidays they deserve and long for, but with the lockdowns and travel restrictions in place around the world, this is simply not possible at this time.’

‘We have been sailing for 180 years and we look forward to many more,’ he added. ‘We will get through these tough times together and look forward to welcoming our guests back on board again when the time is right.’

As earlier, guests who are booked on cancelled voyages during this period will automatically be given a 125 per cent Future Cruise Credit or have an option of a full refund. This may be used on any sailing before the end of March 2022, and the booking must be made by December 31, 2021. Guests may now also use their Future Cruise Credit for a second cabin to bring friends or family or to upgrade an existing booking. Full details on voyage cancellations, the changes to operations and the current cancellation policies including options available to guests due to travel on cancelled voyages, can be found at www.cunard.com.

Cunard will communicate with all guests, and their travel advisors, who are booked on affected voyages. Travel advisor commission on all bookings fully paid by April 22, 2020 will be protected.

Cunard will continue to monitor government guidelines and travel restrictions around the world, which could mean further changes to the timing of when each of the ships returns to service, it said.

Cunard catering more towards casual eveningwear

Cunard Line, the Anglo-American cruise company, has eased back on its long standing reputation for strict dress code at evening events, by introducing a new ‘elegant casual’ option.

Previously, the company held a tradition of two evening wear options – ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ – aboard its ships. Starting this year before the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria begin their voyages this sailing season in April and May, a third option will be available, with the new codes now being ‘formal’, ‘semi-formal’ and ‘elegant casual’.

Evenings where formal dress is required will now be down to three times a week on Transatlantic cruises, and twice a week on cruises around Scandinavia and in the Mediterranean. In place will be four or five informal evenings where ties are no longer required, although jackets remain so. Guests can opt out of formal dress entirely, although formal areas of the ship will be out of bounds. They will instead have access to the ships’ main buffet restaurants and the Winter Garden and Garden Lounge bars.
The decision comes as a result of research carried out among passengers, which suggested ‘smart casual’ to be most favoured dress code, but also a desire to see formal nights maintained.

Peter Shanks, Cunard’s President and Managing Director, said that although there was a growing trend towards the casual, ‘Dressing up heightens anticipation and brings an extra special sense of occasion to an evening at sea. Our passengers tell us it makes all the difference to their enjoyment of a big night out on board.’

Chinese to scrap QE2

The QE2, once the pride of cruise company Cunard’s fleet, is to be sold to the Chinese for scrap.

The GBP20m scrap deal follows the apparent collapse of a proposal to bring the ship back to the UK from its present mooring in Dubai, with the intention of turning it into a floating 5-star hotel. Investors had intended to moor the ship on the Thames, opposite the O2 Arena, and had presented a proposal to Dubai World, the owner of the vessel since its purchase for GBP64m in 2007.

However, it now appears that a separate deal has been done with a Chinese breaking yard, and the Daily Mail has reported that a twenty-strong Chinese crew is already on board the ship.

The newspaper quoted Roger Murray of QE2 London, saying, ‘We have been told the ship is going to be put into a dry dock before being taken to an unknown destination in the far east. That is a tragedy because it almost certainly means the QE2 is being sold as scrap. Our investors were going to give GBP20 million for the ship itself, plus GBP60 million for renovation and the cost of bringing the ship back to Britain. But the ship could raise as much as GBP20 million as dead weight scrap, and the Chinese cash would be immediate.’

Alaric Errington, a spokesman for Equity in Finance, the organisation that was leading the investment consortium behind the QE2 London bid, said, ‘This is a fantastic opportunity and we put forward a very commanding commercial proposition that was designed to give Dubai a future return. The QE2 is an icon but our proposal also makes business sense. The cost of renovating the QE2 and bringing it back to the UK is no more than acquiring land in central London to build a luxury hotel.’

Selling the vessel for scrap appears to be at odds with the agreement signed in 2007 by Istithmar, part of the state conglomerate, Dubai World, which included a clause that the ship would not be sold on for at least 10 years, but Dubai World believe that ‘a contract modification could be agreed’, according to the report.

The UK hotel project had the potential to create up to 2,000 new jobs.