Cruise

Cunard president talks ports, agents and Brexit

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Cunard’s popular Queen Elizabeth ship will return to Australia for a record 118 days over the 2020-21 summer period, headlining the line’s biggest ever Australian season.

She will be joined by the line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 and sister ship Queen Victoria during their world voyages, marking the first time all three Queens will be in Austalia for a record 49 days.

Cunard President Simon Palethorpe said at a press conference in Sydney that this season will see a closing of the gap between Melbourne, which is more frequented by the line, and Sydney.

“I’d love to see us with a good balance between Sydney and Melbourne, that would be ideal,” he said. 

“We think both markets are really strong for Cunard, if you look forward to 2020-21 we will be calling to Melbourne nine times and calling to Sydney seven times.

“That way we can serve all the markets really nicely.”

Simon Palethorpe (Cunard president), Katrina McAlpine (Snr manager for Aus & NZ) and Matthew Gleaves (VP international planning and development)
Simon Palethorpe (Cunard president), Katrina McAlpine (Snr manager for Aus & NZ) and Matthew Gleaves (VP international planning and development)

The blockbuster season will include new offerings such as 12 and 13-night cruises between Sydney and Auckland calling at a range of stunning ports along the New Zealand coastline, as well as calls to Tasmania and Victoria.

Palethorpe, who arrived in Sydney after sailing from Adelaide to Melbourne on Queen Elizabeth, said he had spent a few days travelling with the line’s agent partners.

“Our agent partners really are and have been instrumental in Cunard gaining confidence in the market and helping us develop in the market,” he said.

The Cunard brand takes a little bit of explaining, you need to make sure we get the right people on the right ship and I think this applies for all brands.

“We always talk about there being a cruise for everyone, it’s just a question of getting people onto the right ships that suit them and our agent partners do a great job for us in working out who would suit Cunard and thankfully finding more and more and more of them.”

Palethorpe also said the UK based line has spent a lot of time preparing for Brexit, including making sure their supply chains work well no matter where they operate.

“The beauty of working for a global organisation is that we have ships taking on supplies, embarking, disembarking passengers all over the world, all the time. So we’ve got infrastructure all over the world that we can take advantage of, ” he said.

“Cunard has been sailing for 177 years and taking passengers from multiple countries to multiple other countries every single day of the week.

“We know how to get people in and out of countries in a way probably no one else in the industry does so we think people can sail with confidence,”

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