Slow it down with Cunard

With fuel costs spiralling out of control, cruise lines are being forced to take steps to cut down on consumption in order to reduce costs. And anyone who has limped away from a petrol station with an overloaded credit card after filling up the family car will feel nothing but sympathy for the accountants who have to foot the bill for a tanker top-up that is counted in thousands of tons rather than a few dozen litres.
Ships are taking longer to reach their destinations and spending longer in port in order to economise. It’s become a fact of life in the cruise world.
Which makes me wonder why Cunard have felt it necessary to dress up their latest fuel-saving measures with florid words suggesting that it’s all in response to passenger demand for “an antidote to the accelerating pace of modern life”
President and managing director Peter Shanks says: “We have responded to research findings and placed a new emphasis on unhurried relaxation that reflects a growing desire for busy people to leave behind the stresses of modern life and immerse themselves instead in an atmosphere of indulgence and calm where everyday courtesies are extended as a way of life, not an exception.”
Their 2013 programme of cruises will feature “more time at sea, more overnight stays in port, and in the case of two Transatlantic sailings, a whole extra day in which to unwind on an eight-day crossing to or from New York.”
It’s that last offering that has excited some reaction from the purists.
Flagship Queen Mary 2 was designed specifically with fast crossings on the Atlantic in mind – in all weathers, all year round. Its power plant provides enough electricity for the Rolls-Royce motors in its four propulsion pods to propel the ship at 30 knots (about 35 mph) and it is capable of doing the journey from Southampton to New York in less than five days.
Her predecessor, Queen Mary, held the Blue Riband for 14 years for a 1938 crossing which took three days, 20 hours and 42 minutes at an average speed of 31.69 knots – a record only broken in 1952 when the United States made the journey in three days, 10 hours and 40 minutes at an astonishing 35.59 knots.
For the benefit of the slow-boaters, the extended crossings will depart on September 2 and October 27 next year. The remainder of its 2013 Transatlantics will take a (still sedate) seven nights.
With all that extra time on board, passengers will be able to enjoy a Royal Opera House performance of Madame Butterfly filmed in 3D, or join a choir which will be conducted by Anthony Inglis and accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra.
Ship-by-ship, the 2013 destination highlights include:
Queen Mary 2: Its scheduled Transatlantic service will consist of 17 crossings including four round-trip voyages. The two eight-night crossings depart September 2 and October 27. Cruises to Northern Europe, North America and Canada, and the Caribbean for Christmas and New Year. There will be 18 ex-UK departures between May 2013 and January 2014. Voyage durations range from four-nights to 27-nights to Canada and New England voyage. Andalsnes in Norway and Antigua in the Caribbean will be maiden ports of call.
Queen Elizabeth: For much of 2013 it will be sailing round-trip voyages from Southampton to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe including Iceland, Norway’s fjords, the British Isles and the Baltic Sea. In late August the ship will reposition to the Mediterranean to embark on a series of 11 fly-cruises from Venice, Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Piraeus (for Athens). In December Queen Elizabeth will return to Southampton for two round-trip voyages – a Christmas and New Year Western Mediterranean and a Northern Adventure. Maiden ports of call include: Akureyri, Isafjordur and Reykjavik (Iceland); Goteborg (Sweden); Izmir (Turkey), Marseilles (France), Salerno (Italy), Split (Croatia), Valencia (Spain) and Warnemunde (Germany).
Queen Victoria: Between May 2013 and January 2014 the ship set out from Southampton on 18 cruises to the Norwegian fjords, Baltic cities, Mediterranean shores, Atlantic Islands and the Black Sea. Maiden ports of call: Agadir (Morocco), Isafjordur (Iceland), Torshavn (Faeroes) and Warnemunde (Germany).
For bookings made by June 30 2012, fares start at £236 per person for a two-night round trip in an inside stateroom from Southampton to Zeebrugge aboard Queen Elizabeth on June 16 2013, and go right up to £36,004 per person for a 26-night Christmas and New Year voyage to the Caribbean and back, in the top suite aboard Queen Mary 2, leaving Southampton on December 15 2013.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:52+00:00 27 March 2012|Cruise Deals, Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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