SYDNEY - Cunard is extending by 60 days the current Australian cruise season of Queen Elizabeth. The ship will sail in Australia and New Zealand waters until May 9.
Katrina McAlpine, commercial director Cunard Australia and New Zealand, said extension of Queen Elizabeth’s Australia and New Zealand season was a result of the current uncertainty “due to travel restrictions and port closures in Asia and their effect on cruise operations in the region”.
The highlights of the ship’s six new itineraries include her first 27-night full circumnavigation of Australia as well as calls to destinations such as Eden and Kangaroo Island, which have both welcomed cruise ship visits as a contribution following the bushfire emergency.
On May 9, Queen Elizabeth will depart Sydney on a 24-night transpacific crossing to Vancouver via New Caledonia, Honolulu, Maui, LA and San Francisco before the 2,000-passenger ship will commence her 2020 Alaska programme.
Queen Elizabeth’s new Australia and New Zealand itineraries will be on sale on Cunard.com from Friday, February 21.
Cunard has contacted guests booked on Queen Elizabeth’s Asia and Japan itineraries about the changes and is offering full refunds and special incentives to book a new voyage.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 left Fremantle in Western Australia on Wednesday evening after diverting from Asia for an Australian programme.
Most cruise lines with current itineraries in Asia are adjusting their schedules. Among them, the Sapphire Princess will redeploy from China to Australia six months earlier than previously planned, with 44 new cruises from five major cities.
Itineraries for the Australia programme will be revealed Feb. 27. The ship had been scheduled to be based in Shanghai from July through October.