Cunard Ship Makes Unscheduled Maiden Port of Call

Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth makes a maiden call to Port Lincoln as part of an unexpected last-minute itinerary adjustment.

Port Lincoln, a small cruise port in South Australia, rolled out a royal welcome for Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth on January 28, 2024, after the ship made an unscheduled call when bad weather altered her planned course.

Local dignitaries were on hand to receive the ship’s guests and crew to Port Lincoln, known as the seafood capital of Australia.

Storm Prompts Queen Elizabeth to Alter Course

Dark clouds revealed a silver lining for Port Lincoln, South Australia, on January 28, 2024, when a tropical cyclone prompted Cunard to alter the itinerary of Queen Elizabeth and send her southward rather than north to her originally planned port calls in Queensland.

The ship’s call to Port Lincoln was her first-ever visit to the destination, and city Mayor Diana Mislay and Chief Executive Officer Eric Brown boarded the ship and presented a welcome plaque to the ship’s captain.

To welcome such a prestigious cruise ship to our shores is an extraordinary honour and is evidence of the exceptional welcome program we offer, and the breadth of activities passengers can enjoy whilst in our region. I know our cruise volunteers will provide the outstanding level of warmth and service that they have become renowned for,said Diana Misloy, mayor of Port Lincoln.

The 2,081-guest ship departed on her 10-day voyage roundtrip from Sydney on January 22, 2024. Her original itinerary included calls at Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas, and Willis Island, but a tropical cyclone forced the ship to change direction and head south toward South Australia.

Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship
Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Princess_Anmitsu)

Queen Elizabeth’s altered routing took her to Eden on January 23; to Melbourne for an overnight call on January 24; to Adelaide on January 27; and Port Lincoln on January 28. She is due to conclude the voyage in Sydney on January 31.

Queen Elizabeth is operating a series of 12- to 14-night  New Zealand and South Pacific cruises from Sydney and Melbourne through March 5, 2024. Following a 21-night voyage from Melbourne to Tokyo on March 7, 2024, the ship will offer a series of 9- to 19-day sailings around Japan. 

After that, Queen Elizabeth repositions to Vancouver, British Columbia, and in June begins a collection of Alaska voyages. The 9- to 11-night cruises offer add-on tours featuring the iconic Rocky Mountaineer train. The ship also is scheduled to return to Alaska for the 2025 season.

Small Port Offers Wide Range of Activities for Cruisers

Port Lincoln is a modest cruise port with a short season that runs from December to March. For the 2023-24 season, the port expects to reach about 22,000 cruise arrivals on less than a dozen ships. 

Ships scheduled to call through the end of the current season include Holland America Line’s Volendam, P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Explorer, and Seabourn’s Seabourn Odyssey. Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess called at the port on January 26, 2024.

Read Also: Cunard Unveils Extraordinary 2025 Alaska Season

Queen Elizabeth in Australia
Queen Elizabeth in Australia (Photo Credit: Philip Schubert)

This unscheduled arrival brings the number of cruise ships to Port Lincoln this cruise season to 10. Cruise passengers make a valuable contribution to Port Lincoln on the day of their visit, but importantly, they often result in repeat visitation for longer visits in the future and positive word of mouth,said Naomi Blacker, manager of economic and tourism growth for Port Lincoln.

The city of Port Lincoln is known for its fishing industry and seafood, and is home to about 14,500 residents.

Cruise guests disembarking in Port Lincoln will find a pop-up visitor center on the port’s wharf, and a selection of tours and activities. The city runs a town shuttle and has a hop-on hop-off bus service for visitors seeking independent touring.

Guided tours are offered by local vendors and feature activities such as the Behind the Scene Seafood Factory Tour, perfect for seafood lovers, and a Swim With the Sea Lions tour, which enables visitors to swim with the animals in their natural environment.

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