(10:50 a.m. EDT) -- Cunard Line has announced a series of brand-new itineraries for the Winter 2021-2022 cruise season, at the same time cancelling its scheduled 2022 World Cruises and Queen Elizabeth's scheduled season in Australia.
The line said Wednesday it would instead redeploy its flagship, Queen Mary 2, in the Caribbean between January and April of 2022, giving travellers the opportunity to sail the world's only true modern ocean liner in the Caribbean.
Queen Mary 2 typically operates a handful of Caribbean voyages each year, but this will be one of the vessel's longest stays in the region. The ship will re-enter service on November 14, 2021 with its scheduled transatlantic crossing, and will resume its published 2022 sailing schedule on April 24, 2021.
Cunard's smaller Queen Elizabeth -- which resumes service for UK passengers on July 19, 2021 with a series of UK sailings from Southampton -- will begin international cruises on October 13, 2021. These new itineraries will operate along the Iberian Coast and the Canary Islands for the remainder of the year, prior to the ship setting sail in February 2021 for Japan, where it will resume its scheduled cruise season on April 13, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth sister-ship Queen Victoria will remain out of service until April 2022. Its previously-scheduled 2022 World Cruise, and all sailings up to and including April 29, 2022, are now cancelled.
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Queen Victoria will instead embark on three new sailings from Southampton beginning April 22, 2022, with itineraries that call on Western Europe, the Baltics and the Iberian Coast. The ship resumes its published sailing schedule on May 20, 2022.
"On July 19 Queen Elizabeth's crew and I will be welcoming guests on board as at long last we start our return to sailing," said Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard. "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 vacations. To say we cannot wait would be an understatement!"
"Sadly, the path for a return to sailing across international waters is less clear and we are extremely sorry for the huge disappointment cancellations will cause for all guests who have been affected. Unfortunately, there are simply too many international ports of call affected by the ongoing complexities of COVID-19, which has sadly led to this decision."
Also affected are Queen Elizabeth's voyages from the UK to Australia, along with the ship's entire Australian cruise season up to March 9, 2022, which is now cancelled. Australia has recently further extended its ban on cruise travel in that country.
Additionally, passengers booked on five Queen Victoria voyages (V126, V128, V129, V130 and V201) will be transferred automatically to sister-ship Queen Elizabeth.
Passengers on affected voyages will receive a Future Cruise Credit for 125 percent of the standard deposit and 100 percent of any additional monies paid. Full refunds are also available by contacting Cunard or filling out the form on the line's website.
Cunard's newly-announced sailings will go on sale in July.