The Cunard cruise ship Queen Elizabeth has missed a scheduled visit to Bali due to a COVID-19 outbreak onboard.
In accordance with local restrictions and after discussion with local authorities, the vessel has bypassed the port of call and is continuing on to Fremantle in Western Australia for debarkation.
Onboard Outbreak Causes Port Diversion
While the Vista-class ship departed Sydney on schedule on November 7 for her 17-night, one-way cruise, rising cases in Australia and the presence of cases onboard have now diverted the ship and canceled the call in Bali that had been scheduled for Monday, November 28, 2022.
“Unfortunately, due to the ongoing rise in community transmission across Australia and this being reflected on various cruise lines, we’re unable to visit Indonesia at this time,” a Cunard spokesperson said.
“That has followed ongoing conversations with the respective authorities in Bali, and we understand and respect the current circumstances we’re operating in. In light of this, we will sail into Fremantle in the coming days as planned.”
Queen Elizabeth has the capacity to welcome 2,092 guests at double occupancy, and as many as 2,547 guests when fully booked with all berths filled.
The ship has already made calls to Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas, and Darwin – all popular Australian ports – on this sailing. The call to Bali, Indonesia was to have been the only non-Australian port visit, and the last port of call for the itinerary.
How Many Cases?
No confirmed data is available on exactly how many guests are onboard the current sailing, but local authorities estimate that as many as 10-15 percent of guests are COVID-positive. This could mean 200-380 guests may already be testing positive, but no details have been released about their condition or if any guests need hospital care.
In many recent outbreaks, including aboard Majestic Princess recently, also in Australia, the vast majority of cases have either been very mild or completely asymptomatic. On the Majestic Princess sailing, 800 guests were reported positive. Majestic Princess is a larger, Royal-class vessel, with a capacity for 3,560 guests.
Passengers on Queen Elizabeth who do test positive are required to isolate for five days, and must return a negative rapid antigen test before being released from the isolation period. Free tests are available to all guests, and close contacts of those who have already tested positive are required to test daily.
Guests onboard the ship are reporting that some venues have now been closed and there are longer waits for some dining and bar service, likely owing to the greater need for room service deliveries to guests in isolation.
Arrival to Be Sooner Than Expected
The ship was scheduled to finish the cruise in Fremantle on Friday, December 2, but tracking data now shows the ship’s estimated arrival to be very early in the morning of Wednesday, November 30. This has been confirmed by the local health authorities.
There is no word on whether all passengers will be disembarked early, or what compensation may be offered if the cruise is officially shortened.
While no official explanation has been given, it is likely that the early arrival will permit extra time for more intensive cleaning and sanitation before the next cruise sets sail on December 2, an 11-night itinerary returning to Sydney.
That itinerary is sailing along the southern Australian coast and Tasmania, and will arrive in Sydney on Tuesday, December 13, 2022.