Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will spend a second season sailing in Australian waters for at least 101 days or more in the summer of 2021.
“There is no doubt that Cunard will maintain, if not grow Queen Elizabeth’s presence in Australia in 2021 – but we will vary her voyages,” David Rousham, Cunard vice president UK and International Development told Cruise Passenger.
This follows on from what the luxury line had earlier announced – that it will double the sailing season for Queen Elizabeth to 101 days in 2019-20 summer. For the 2018-19 season she’ll spend 54 days Down Under.
Queen Elizabeth will spend 101 days in Australia sailing from both Sydney and Melbourne with a variety of itineraries to South Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea between December 2019 and March 2020.
For the first time, the Queen Elizabeth will spend Christmas in Australian waters next year.
“Queen Elizabeth will leave Melbourne on December 22 next year, spend Christmas Day on the Tasman Sea and see in the new decade when she arrives in Auckland on New Year’s Eve,’’ Mr Rousham added.
Queen Elizabeth is the youngest of the three Queens including Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. She carries a maximum of 2080 passengers, has 10 restaurants and cafes, a games deck with paddle tennis, croquet and bowls and a three-deck Royal Court Theatre with seating for 800 guests.
Mr Rousham noticed that Australians are also booking their Cunard cruises a year ahead.
“The speed with which 2019 itineraries are selling is astonishing. We have seen a strong pick-up in bookings a year ahead from Australians especially for longer cruises. This is linked to prices of airfares as well as to ensure they get the right cabins,’’ he said.
There has been a three-fold increase in the number of Australians embarking on Queen Mary 2’s transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton.
About 1000 Australians are booked to do the transatlantic crossing on QM 2 in May and June this year. Many are also combining a Fjord voyage in Norway or a Baltic cruise so that they can have a different experience on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
He said Australians have a fascination with the three Queens. Each Queen has unique attributes. Queen Mary 2 is a grand ship, others like the regal colours of Queen Victoria while Queen Elizabeth, the youngest in the fleet, is fresh and new.
Perhaps, Australians simply enjoy the “bragging rights” Mr Rousham said.
In another move indicating Cunard is enhancing its relationship with Australia, the line will announce later this month a tie-up with local fashion and retail brands.