Australia’s cruise season under threat as Cunard, Seabourn cancel

In a move that indicates major cruise lines have made up their minds about the likelihood of a cruise season in Australia, Cunard and Seabourn have cancelled sailings here this year.

“We are extremely sorry for the huge disappointment cancellations will cause for all guests who have been affected,” said Cunard president Simon Palethorpe.

“Unfortunately, there are simply too many international ports of call impacted by the ongoing complexities of COVID-19, which has sadly led to this decision including the need to reluctantly cancel Queen Elizabeth’s much anticipated Australian season.”

He pledged the line, part of the Carnival group, will return next season. His video message to Australian cruisers is here.

Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will also not sail in Asia, Arabia or Australia for the 2021-2022 Autumn or spring/summer seasons due to continuing limitations in travel throughout those regions.

Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation sailings between September 1, 2021 – April 26, 2022 have been cancelled.

Tony Archbold, Seabourn’s Senior Director of Sales & Marketing for Australia & New Zealand, said: “We know the intense desire that our guests have to cruise again in local waters with Seabourn and we are sorry that circumstances have lead us to have had to make this call.”

Both Seabourn and Cunard are part of the Carnival group, which has P&O, Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises usually homeported in Australia with a fleet of nine vessels.  The group has already moved sailings into September.

The news last week that the ban on foreign flagged vessels, which had been due to end today, is to be extended to September has been a huge disappointment to cruisers and the industry.

Over 40,000 cruisers have petitioned MPs to try and mount a campaign to let cruising restart.

Cunard is a hugely popular luxury line in Australia and the news will add to the anger.  The first arrival of the QM2 to Sydney in 2007 caused traffic gridlock as onlookers tried to get a glimpse the mighty trans-Atlantic liner as she docked.

Among the cancelled itineraries:

  • Queen Elizabeth’s sailings from the UK to Australia and her homeport season in Australia from the 18 October, 2021 up to and including the 9 March, 2022.
  • World Voyages on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria in 2022
  • Queen Victoria’s sailings from the 10 September 2021 up to and including the 29 April, 2022

Mr Palethorpe’s announcement came as the line resumes operations next month, with a series of UK voyages from Southampton.

Cunard’s new season

Beginning 13 October, 2021, Queen Elizabeth will sail internationally with new voyages including to the Iberian coast and the Canary Islands. She will then leave the UK in mid-February to resume her scheduled season in Japan from 13 April, 2022.

Queen Mary 2 will resume sailing with a Transatlantic crossing on 14 November, 2021 as per her existing schedule and will now sail on a series of voyages around the Caribbean between January and April, 2022, with embarkation options from Southampton, New York and Hamburg before resuming her existing published schedule on 24 April, 2022.

Queen Victoria will embark on three new voyages departing from Southampton from the 22 April, 2022 which include Western Europe, the Baltics and the Iberian Coast before resuming her existing published schedule on 20 May, 2022.

Mr Palethorpe, said: “On 19 July Queen Elizabeth’s crew and I will be welcoming guests on board as at long last we start our return to sailing. This will be a momentous day for Cunard as after a long pause we finally get back to doing what we love doing, hosting guests for fantastic holidays. To say we cannot wait would be an understatement!”

All guests whose cruises have been cancelled will automatically receive a Future Cruise Credit worth 125% of the standard deposit terms, and 100% of any additional monies paid.

Alternatively, 100% refund is available through the form on www.cunard.com.