Cunard will not now return to cruising until next year.
The company has pushed its resumption of cruises back from November, 2020 until 25th March, 2021 for ‘Queen Elizabeth’; 18th April for ‘Queen Mary 2’ and 16th May, 2021 for ‘Queen Victoria’, the company said.
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 26th March, 2021 and 13th December, 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.
“’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.
“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 3rd January, 2022 to 3rd April, 2022, including the voyage to South America. Given the current uncertainty, the complexity of our scheduled World Voyage with our international mix of guests visiting many countries and continents, each with its own evolving travel regulations was a very real factor in our decision making,” he explained.
Elsewhere, Marella Cruises has confirmed that due to ongoing uncertainty around travel restrictions it has taken the decision to extend its pause in operations until 15th November, 2020.
In addition, Viking has cancelled its remaining 2020 cruise programme since becoming the first cruise line to cease operations in March.
“I would not have imagined that in August we would still not be sailing and that I would be writing this letter,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman, in a letter sent to guests.
“But as you well know, recent events have shown us that the recovery from this pandemic will be sporadic, and the ability to travel freely across borders remains some time away. Fortunately, the US State Department has lifted some travel advisories for Americans, but many countries are still limiting tourists. As keen as we may be to get back to exploring, for now, international travel must wait.
“I have said before that we will only sail again when it is safe to do so. We are a private, closely-held company, which means we do not have to rush the decision to return to service.
“We believe that our smaller ships, which feature spacious public areas and staterooms, provide a much safer environment than mega liners.
“We have always had the highest standards for health and cleanliness and we are currently finalising additional protocols to make Viking safer, in co-operation with leading international experts. We will be sharing more information about this very soon,” he added in the letter.