Cunard Changes World Cruise to Bypass Troubled Red Sea Region

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Cunard Line has reached out to guests booked on a portion of Queen Mary 2‘s World Voyage about a dramatic itinerary change that will now bypass the troubled Red Sea region.

Instead, the ship will sail up the west coast of Africa, which doubles some of the existing itinerary and changes a month of the cruise’s route. Guests are being provided with generous compensation for the extensive shift.

Queen Mary 2 World Voyage Itinerary Change

The iconic ocean liner Queen Mary 2 began her 100+ night world sailing earlier this month, and guests are now informed that nearly one-quarter of the extensive voyage is being rerouted with a complete itinerary change.

This is a result of the ongoing tensions in the Red Sea – which have already impacted multiple ships from multiple cruise lines, including other world voyages – and is a necessary shift to ensure the safety of the guests, crew, and ship.

“Given recent developments and following extensive consultation with global security experts and government authorities, we have made the decision to reroute our itinerary to bypass the Red Sea and the surrounding area,” the notification explained.

The change in itinerary begins following the ship’s call on Colombo, Sri Lanka on March 31. After that point, the complete itinerary will shift. Rather than heading northwest to the Middle East and on to the Red Sea, Queen Mary 2 will instead head southwest to the Cape of Good Hope and up the west coast of Africa.

Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship
Queen Mary 2 (Photo Credit: Lykourgos06 / Shutterstock)

Cunard Line is clear that the length of the voyage, as well as the planned disembarkation in Southampton, UK on April 28, will remain the same. Ports of call the ship will no longer be visiting include destinations in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, and Spain.

Instead, Queen Mary 2 will now be visiting African ports in various countries, including Mauritius, South Africa, Namibia, the Canary Islands, and Portugal. Unfortunately, four of these port visits duplicate visits earlier in the sailing, as the ship is already sailing down the west African coast as the first part of the World Cruise.

This may be frustrating to travelers who are onboard for the entire cruise, but will still be a new and exciting itinerary for passengers boarding later in the voyage, albeit not the original destinations that were planned.

Dubai Debarkation Impacted

For guests who had only booked part of the voyage and planned to debark in Dubai on April 7, that debarkation is no longer possible. Instead, those passengers will continue on with the ship to debark in Cape Town, South Africa on April 13. The extra six days of the itinerary are complimentary.

Dubai Cruise Terminal
Dubai Cruise Terminal (Photo Credit: Steve Heap)

Airfare arrangements can be complicated, though Cunard Line will assist guests who have paid for air travel through the cruise line. Exact arrangements, including potential reimbursement for change fees, will vary depending on how guests booked their travel after debarkation.

Compensation Offered

Guests scheduled for the impacted part of the World Cruise are being offered generous compensation for the changes in the itinerary.

Cunard Line is offering on board credit of $500 (USD) per person (amounts may vary depending on individual bookings), and all guests sailing on the voyage will also receive a future cruise credit valued at 15% of the cruise fare paid for the days of the voyage impacted. Future cruise credits are good for any new Cunard Line reservation booked by January 30, 2025.

Read Also: Cunard Unveils Extraordinary 2025 Alaska Season

All pre-booked shore tours arranged through the cruise line for ports that are now cancelled will be automatically refunded to the original form of payment. If guests have made independent arrangements, they will need to contact their tour operators for options. New tours for the new ports of call will be made available through guests’ online accounts in the coming days.

“Our apologies once again that it has been necessary to amend our itinerary,” the notification concludes. “Please know that our entire crew will be working hard to ensure you have a wonderful vacation on board.”

The 149,215-gross-ton Queen Mary 2 can welcome 2,695 passengers aboard, and is also home to more than 1,200 international officers and crew members. These itinerary changes have not been made lightly, but are always made with the safety of guests and crew in mind.

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