Queen Mary 2 Curtails Cruise Due to COVID-19 Disruption
Cunard Line informed passengers last night that it has decided to curtail the remainder of the Queen Mary 2’s long cruise around the Caribbean. The cruise line called the decision a precautionary measure based on the rapid rise in Omicron cases and the strain placed on operations, including its own.
“We have concluded that as a precautionary measure, we will need to take on additional manning in essential roles onboard before we continue our voyage to the U.K.,” the letter from Captain Andrew Hull informed passengers. “Given the current international travel situation, this will take a few days.”
According to a letter distributed to passengers on December 28, a week after the ship left New York for a cruise around the Caribbean, Cunard has decided that the ship will remain in Barbados till January 2, 2022, foregoing additional port calls and omitting its return to New York. She will instead be going straight back to Southampton, England. The cruise had been due to stop at Dominica and St. Maarten before three days of cruising to New York. After a day’s stop in New York, the Queen Mary 2 was due to sail that same evening for the U.K.
The ship currently has 1,575 passengers onboard. Passengers who were due to disembark in New York are going to be flown home from Barbados. The captain writes “we are pleased if you stay with us for the voyage back to the U.K.,” for the passengers due to disembark in Southampton. However, Cunard is also trying to obtain flights to the U.K. for passengers who wish to leave the ship.
In his letter, the captain also advises passengers remaining aboard the Queen Mary 2, “There might be some slight amendments to our services, but we will make every endeavour to ensure that you have a very enjoyable journey as planned.”
Cunard has not reported a further outbreak of the virus onboard the Queen Mary 2. However, when the ship reached New York on December 20 after its first Atlantic crossing in nearly two years, there were 10 positive tests for COVID-19. Those passengers were moved from the ship into hotels in New York but were to be able to rejoin the ship on January 3, 2022, in New York. Cunard stresses that all passengers were fully vaccinated and had a negative test before boarding the ship.
On December 26, the Ministry of Health & Social Development in the British Virgin Islands reported, "The public and tourism partners are notified of the cancellation of the calls of Queen Mary, Queen Victoria, and Wind Surf due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases aboard these vessels." Cunard's cruise ship the Queen Victoria is in the Caribbean but currently not operating revenue voyages.
The Queen Mary 2 becomes the first ship during the current wave of the virus to announce that it was curtailing an ongoing cruise. In March 2020, many cruise ships ended their voyages with the world cruise ships flying passengers home from destinations such as Australia.
After the global pausing in cruising, the Queen Mary 2 returned to service in November 2021. She operated short cruises in Europe before she began her first Atlantic crossing and extended cruise on December 13, 2021. She is due to begin a second, long cruise from Europe to the Caribbean in mid-January. Cunard has not announced any changes to that scheduled cruise.