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 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.’

Thomas Cook Announces Royal Globetrotting Tours

Thomas Cook Group Plc, a UK-based travel company, is offering a number of new tours celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to places visited by the royal family in recent times.

Queen Elizabeth II has visited around 129 countries during her reign to date, making her one of the most extensively travelled crowned heads in history.

The company is offering a seven night ‘stay in Bahamas, a favourite destination of the Queen, which she visited on a total of six occasions. The tour prices commence from GBP1,429 per person, which includes stays at the four-star Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort in Nassau, daily breakfast, and return airfares from London Heathrow Airport with British Airways, for departures scheduled between August 6 and November 10, 2012.

Canada is the Queen’s most visited Commonwealth destination, and the company is offering a number of trips to the country. The Thomas Cook Signature 14 day Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Explorer includes two nights in Halifax, two nights in Baddeck, one night in Corner Brook, one night in Twillingate, one night in Gander, one night in Clarenville, two nights in St John’s, one night at Bras Dor Lake and one night in Antigonish. The tours are priced from GBP2,213 per person on a self-drive basis, and are inclusive of car rental, accommodation, ferry crossings, and return airfare from London Heathrow with Air Canada, for departures scheduled between June 1 and September 3, 2012.

The Thomas Cook Signature tour of five nights in Vancouver is priced from GBP658 per person, and includes stays at the Howard Johnson Vancouver Hotel in Vancouver, and return airfare from London Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic, with scheduled departures on October 16, 2012.