(6.30 p.m. AEST) – Cunard has announced its biggest ever Australia season, with Queen Elizabeth sailing Down Under for 118 days during the 2020-21 Australian summer.

The season will also feature visits from Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 and sister ship Queen Victoria during their world voyages, with the royal trio spending a record 49 days in Australian ports between them.

Queen Elizabeth will sail from Melbourne and Sydney for a four-month season which will begin in November 2020 and include more than 60 itinerary options.

Voyages will range from short two-night sojourns between Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide to longer journeys around Australia and New Zealand.

New offerings for the 2020/21 season include 12 and 13-night cruises between Sydney and Auckland calling at a range of ports along the New Zealand coastline, as well as calls to Tasmania and Victoria. The cruises can also be combined to create a 25-night journey featuring nine New Zealand ports.

Other highlights include a Royal Rendezvous with Queen Victoria in Sydney on 1 March 2021 – marking the first time the two ships have met in Australia – as well as an overnight call in Auckland on 31 December 2020, so Cunard passengers can celebrate the New Year in New Zealand.

Cunard President Simon Palethorpe said the cruise line’s decision to boost its Australian presence even further reflected the continuing growth in popularity of Cunard cruises among Australian travellers.

“Our new 2020-21 season is not only our biggest, it will be the third consecutive summer deployment Down Under for Queen Elizabeth, which is winning a strong following among local cruisers who enjoy her stylish features and her voyage offerings,” Mr Palethorpe said.

“Basing Queen Elizabeth in Australia for a record 118 days enables us to create a range of new itinerary options, such as our longer New Zealand journeys, which we think will appeal to both existing and new Cunard guests and boost the popularity of Queen Elizabeth even further.”

The new program will also feature overnight calls in Hobart, Wellington and Auckland as well as Queen Elizabeth’s maiden call to Lyttelton and Cunard’s inaugural call to New Plymouth in New Zealand.

Full details of the 2021 World Voyage season and Queen Elizabeth’s 2020-21 Australian program will be released on 5 March 2019, with the program scheduled to go on sale on 12 March 2019.