(11:05 a.m. EDT) -- Cunard has announced it will scrub its planned Japan voyages aboard Queen Elizabeth for the first half of 2022, replacing the ship's Asian itineraries with a new set of sailings departing between February and May.
Queen Elizabeth will instead offer an entirely new collection of itineraries departing between February 20 and May 17, 2022. Sailings will all depart from Southampton, and will include voyages in search of the Northern Lights and departures to the Canary Islands and Western Mediterranean.
The ship's new itineraries will culminate with a transatlantic crossing and Panama Canal journey as Queen Elizabeth repositions from Southampton to Vancouver for the start of its 2022 Alaska cruise season, which will begin from the Western Canadian city as-scheduled.
Because of the addition of these new itineraries, existing departures aboard Queen Elizabeth between February 20 and May 17 will be cancelled.
"We hope our guests will be inspired to find a little adventure with these new itineraries," Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said in a statement. "In a single short program, they offer fantastic variety from the opportunity to experience the wondrous Northern Lights, to sun kissed Mediterranean shores, to a transit of the Panama Canal.
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"To all guests affected by the cancelled voyages we are sorry for the disappointment this will cause and we hope to welcome many back on board when we return to Japan in 2023."
Passengers on affected Queen Elizabeth departures will be offered the choice of a full refund, or a Future Cruise Credit worth 125 percent of the standard deposit, plus 100 percent of additional monies paid.
On Cruise Critic's Cunard message board, posters are sympathetic to both the line and the passengers affected.
"Not surprising, but very disappointing for all of the clients we have booked on these sailings," writes safarigal.
"Just received my cancellation mail, too," writes carlmm. "Certainly understandable and acceptable, but I was really looking for a Cunard cruise after all this time."
Queen Elizabeth is currently operating cruises out of Southampton primarily targeting the UK market. Cunard Line's flagship, Queen Mary 2, returns to service this December, and makes its first transatlantic crossing in January since the pandemic began.
The newly-released itineraries aboard Queen Elizabeth will go on sale in November.