Cunard Cancels Transatlantic Crossing on Embarkation Day

Cunard has cancelled a one-way Queen Mary 2 cruise at the very last minute for technical reasons, but how will guests now get home?

Guests planning to set sail aboard Queen Mary 2 for a classic transatlantic crossing on April 23, 2023 were notified the morning of embarkation that the cruise is now cancelled for a technical issue.

Generous compensation is being offered for the extremely last-minute cancellation, but guests may face many difficulties to replace a transatlantic sailing.

Last Minute Cancellation of Queen Mary 2 Crossing

The elegant Queen Mary 2 will not be making her 7-night transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York departing on April 23, 2023 as planned.

Instead, booked guests were notified via email and text message just hours before embarkation that the cruise had been cancelled due to a technical problem that requires immediate repair.

“Queen Mary 2 Arrived into Southampton last night for assessment of a technical issue,” the email read. “Unfortunately, after further investigation, it has been confirmed that this work will take longer to resolve than anticipated and the ship is unable to sail until this is completed.”

Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship
Queen Mary 2 (Photo Credit: Jane Rix / Shutterstock)

The type of technical issue has not been disclosed, but it may be related to the ship’s propulsion, safety operation, or other critical systems.

There is no indication that the ship will move into dry dock or be taken to a different shipyard for extensive repair, but delays in receiving proper replacement parts could be a concern.

At this time, only the 7-night crossing from April 23-30 is impacted, with no indication about whether or not the ship’s next voyage, a return crossing one-way from New York back to Southampton, will also be cancelled. Guests booked on that sailing should stay in close contact with Cunard as well as their travel agent for updates.

“We are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience this will cause,” the email concludes.

Generous Compensation Offered

Due to the last-minute nature of the cancellation, all guests are receiving a full refund of their cruise, as well as a future cruise credit (FCC) equal to 20% of the monies paid.

The credit will be registered to guests’ Cunard World Club member numbers, and will be valid on any future booking until April 23, 2025.

Any pre-booked shore tours arranged through Cunard are also being fully refunded to the original method of payment. If guests booked tours independently, they will need to reach out to those tour operators to discuss options.

How to Get to New York or Southampton

Because the cancelled cruise was to have been a one-way journey, many guests using the ship to travel home to New York are now without transportation plans, while guests on the return April 30 crossing may be similarly left without arrangements if the ship cannot be repaired and make it to New York in time for the next sailing.

Guests will likely need to make their own arrangements either to fly to New York if necessary, or else to arrange a different transatlantic cruise from Southampton to replace the cancelled sailing, or from New York to Southampton for the following week if a second Queen Mary 2 cruise is cancelled.

Queen Mary in New York
Queen Mary 2 in New York (Photo Credit: John Penney / Shutterstock)

Because many cruise lines are currently repositioning ships to Europe for the summer sailing season, a number of vessels are making transatlantic journeys from North America to Europe.

Royal Caribbean International, for example, has three ships crossing the Atlantic in the coming days.

Anthem of the Seas is departing May 1, 2023, from New York to Southampton via an 11-night sailing with ports of call in the Azores and France, while Rhapsody of the Seas is sailing a 17-night crossing from Miami to Haifa, Israel departing on April 29. Enchantment of the Seas is leaving New York on April 30, 2023 to reposition to Rome, Italy via a 15-night cruise.

If guests can delay their plans to reach Europe and are able to make more convoluted arrangements, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Prima, is sailing from New York on May 14 and will arrive in Reykjavic, Iceland on May 25, with a second cruise onward to Southampton that will arrive in England on June 4.

Guests will be unable to make similar sailing arrangements through Cunard, as the line’s other two ships are not sailing similar crossings at this time.

Queen Elizabeth is currently sailing in Asia and will not return to European waters until September, while Queen Victoria has a full schedule of round-trip European sailings.

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