Two more cruise lines—Cunard Line and Virgin Voyages—have announced further delays in their restart of ocean cruises.
Cunard Line extended its pause in operations—which resulted in the cancellation of Queen Mary 2’s cruises up through and including May 28, 2021, and Queen Elizabeth’s voyages up through and including June 4, 2021. Departures on Queen Victoria remain unaffected and are set to resume May 17, 2021.
Guests on a cancelled voyage should talk with their travel advisor. Cunard is providing an automatic 125 percent Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for the cancelled voyages. That can be used on any new booking made by the end of December 2021 and on any voyage available at the time of booking.
Currently, the line has posted schedules for cruises as far out as early 2023. If guests prefer a refund, the form is available on Cunard's website.
“Our extension to the pause in operations is the result of the ongoing restrictions on cruising in the U.K. and around the world and recognizes the significant lead times to return to service once those restrictions are lifted,” said Simon Palethorpe, Cunard's president, in a press release. He added that the line knows how much careful consideration goes into planning a vacation and apologized that guests now have to wait a little longer to travel once again with Cunard.
Palethorpe said a "tremendous" consumer response to the 2022 voyages, put on sale just a few weeks ago, “clearly demonstrates our guests are eagerly anticipating traveling again with us.”
Start-Up in May
Virgin Voyages’ first ship, the 2,700-passenger Scarlet Lady was delivered just prior to the global pandemic shut-down. While it operated a few special cruises, the ship wasn’t able to sail its regular line-up in 2020. A sister ship, Valiant Lady, is still in the final stages of outfitting. Both ships are currently in Genoa, Italy.
Outdoor area on the new ship Scarlet Lady is shown above. // Rendering by Virgin Voyages
But their restart is delayed again, given the pandemic. Sir Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group, posted a message on the line’s website, informing guests of new restart dates.
“As we look toward 2021, we’re all beginning to see a very bright light at the end of the tunnel,” Branson said. “And with that, we’re thrilled to be making plans for Scarlet Lady to set sail on May 9, 2021, and Valiant Lady on November 14, 2021."
That said, the further delay in restarting service has resulted in cancellation of more 2021 cruises. Those booked guests who are impacted should contact their travel advisor. An onboard offers page on Virgin’s site also allows guests to rebook or request a full refund until January 28, 2021. Guests who book before March 31, 2021 for any 2021 departure in 2021 are covered by Virgin’s flexible booking policy, which allows cancellation up to 48 hours before departure with a full refund by the line.