Cunard’s love affair with Australia means luxury liner Queen Elizabeth will spend another record season down under, the line has announced.
Starting her second season, Queen Elizabeth is now set to sail for 118 days in 2020-21 – cementing the line’s homeporting in Melbourne and a firm indication Australia is set to be the famous brand’s second strongest market.
The 2081-passenger ship has started a 54 day season sailing from Melbourne and Sydney, with some stunning voyages around Australia, including Kangaroo Island and Tasmania.
Cunard President Simon Palethorpe told Cruise Passenger the line’s first season had “flown off the shelves” with bookings by Australians 62% up, and the second season was now selling well.
Queen Elizabeth will sail a 101 day season at the end of this year.
Asked what made Cunard different, Mr Palethorpe said research among Australian passengers indicated they felt sailing with the line gave them “a sense of occasion”.
Gala balls, special service and an essential “Britishness” gave the line its differentiating character.
Queen Elizabeth is the second largest ship ever to sail in Cunard’s fleet. Launched in 2010, she is also the youngest in the luxury cruise line’s current trio of Queens with features including more than 10 restaurants and cafés, a Games Deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls, a two-storey library, a ballroom and the three-deck Royal Court Theatre seating 800 guests and offering private boxes.
To commemorate the line’s new links to Australia, the famous red-and-black liveried bell boys have been given a distinctly Down Under look by R.M. Williams and hat-maker Akubra.
The new uniforms feature a red tailored jacket with gold nautical buttons and black cuffs, 100 per cent cotton black twill pants, handmade leather belts and R.M.Williams’ most recognised boots, The Craftsman, in striking Cunard red.
The bell boys will also swap their traditional pillbox hats for Akubras.
Presenting the uniforms, Mr Palethorpe said: “Over the past decade we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of Australians travelling with Cunard so we wanted to acknowledge the importance of this market not only with record deployment Down Under this year, but also with some ground- breaking partnerships.”
The Australian Dance Theatre take to the stage for the cruise line’s first special event cruise Down Under – a six- night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania departing Melbourne on March 12, 2019. The troupe will perform in their first-ever bespoke performance at sea, featuring two exclusive shows adapted from their latest work, The Beginning of Nature.
Guests will be able to polish their own dance moves with movement classes led by ADT performers and the group’s Artistic Director, Garry Stewart, as part of a special itinerary building on the ship’s new wellbeing services.