The Queen Mary 2 is changing its current itinerary due to the impact of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. According to a letter received by the ship’s current passengers, the ship will likely now be required to stay in Barbados for “additional manning” until the evening of Jan. 2.
“(This) extended stay in Barbados means that unfortunately we will no longer be calling in New York on Jan. 3 if we are to maintain our arrival back in Southampton on Jan. 10,” wrote the ship’s captain, Andrew Hall, in the letter.
The decision of additional manning in essential roles onboard came after speaking with the relevant authorities and Cunard’s head offices in Miami and Southampton, Hall said.
He added that it was a precautionary measure and the Jan. 2 departure from Barbados was yet to be confirmed.
Cunard’s new focus, according to the letter, is “making sure that for those guests due to disembark on Jan. 3 in New York, the onward journey home is as smooth and easy as possible.”
Hall said that the cruise line is looking at flight options for these passengers and will be in contact directly with “exact details and confirmation.”
The Queen Mary 2 is currently on a 28-day round-trip itinerary entitled Grand Caribbean Celebration. The ship left Southampton on Dec. 13 and arrived in Barbados on Dec. 28. It was due to leave Barbados for Dominica today.
With the announced amendments, the Queen Mary 2 would seemingly skip three ports of call in Dominica, St Maarten and New York on Dec. 29, Dec. 30 and Jan. 3, respectively. The ship would instead head straight from Barbados to Southampton on Jan. 2.
To compensate for the itinerary changes, guests will receive an enhanced 125-percent Future Cruise Credit of the money paid on their booking pro-rata to all days sailed from Dec. 22, when the Queen Mary 2 departed from New York.
For example, if a guest joined the ship in Southampton on Dec. 13 and was due to disembark the ship in New York on Jan. 3, they will receive an FCC for 13 days (Dec. 22 to Jan. 3).
“Your FCC can be used for any new sailing that is booked before Dec. 31, 2023, on any voyage on sale at the time of booking. Should this be unsuitable for any reason, then you are entitled to a 100-percent refund of monies paid on your booking on the same pro rata basis,” the letter read.
UK-based guests have also been offered the option of flying from Barbados to Southampton earlier, should they wish so.
“Should our UK guests wish to fly back to the UK directly from Barbados we do have some limited flight options departing on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. We will be sending you a further letter in the next 24 hours asking if you would like to take this option,” Hall wrote.
However, Hall said, passengers are welcome to stay onboard until the very end of the voyage.
“There may be some slight amendments to our services, but we will make every endeavor to ensure that you have a very enjoyable journey as planned,” he wrote.