September 11, 2012

Cunard’s Queen Victoria Being Taken Out of Service And Cancelling Cruise on 3 October To Make Repairs.

Cunard Queen Victoria in Rotterdam Holland

I was intrigued yesterday when my cruise agent (Jane Chadwick of contacted me to say that Cunard had just announced a 2 day short cruise on 17 October on the Queen Victoria from Southampton to Zeebrugge (Bruges). The prices are very sharp, with Inside at £150/ $300 through to even Grills from £349/ $520. This I assumed was due to announcing a new schedule just over a month of departure, but it got me wondering what had happened to create a new cruise at such short notice?

After some investigation the reason was very clear. Cunard are having to take the Queen Victoria out of service to fix a problem with the propulsion service, which means they cannot maintain the speed they need to meet their cruise commitments and ports of call. So they have cancelled a cruise called “Adriatic Discovery” that was due to leave Southampton on 3 October to put the ship into dry dock in Germany to make repairs. The short cruise they have announced at the end of that appears to be a try out after the repairs before it resumes the planned cruise schedule.

The Queen Victoria is going to be repositioning to the Caribbean soon for the season there, and so I assume they wanted to do the repairs before that long repositioning and to ensure the ship was in good order while still fairly near her home port, and the German Shipyards Cunard use to do repairs and refits.

People on board the ship have reported some changes have been made to current schedule which is likely due to the problem with propulsion system. For example, the Queen Victoria Black sea cruise will be affected by a morning rather than afternoon call at Palma and that Oporto has been replaced by Vigo.

The communication to those affected by the cancellation of the full cruise from Cunard explained more, along with the compensation offered as follows:

“Queen Victoria – Adriatic Discovery.Voyage V224 – Departing 3 October 2012 

I am very sorry to have to advise you that we have unfortunately had to cancel this voyage. This is an incredibly rare occurrence and I am very sorry that we have had to cancel at such short notice. 

It has become apparent that we need to undertake some essential maintenance work on one of Queen Victoria’s propulsion units. Although there are no safety issues relating to this maintenance, it does preclude us from achieving the speeds required to deliver our voyage itineraries and therefore it will be necessary to take the ship out of service for a short period. 

Recognising how much you will have been looking forward to sailing with us, we have listed some voyages where we still have availability. We are able to transfer some or all of your voyage fare to a new booking, and in addition, will provide you an additional credit of 15% of the fare paid for voyage V224 in recognition of this late change to your travel plans. Alternatively, you may wish to receive a full refund of the cost of your fare, and we will set up a credit of 15% of the fare paid for you to enjoy at a later date. We calculate the value of your credit to be £XXX per person. 

Please contact your travel agent by19 September 2012 to confirm that you have received this message and wish to either transfer monies paid to a new booking, utilising the future voyage credit we have offered, or to be refunded your fare in full via your agent. We will consider the refund of reasonable expenses that you have incurred as a result of this cancellation. 

Once again please accept my apology for having to make such a late cancellation to your voyage as well as the disruption and upset this no doubt will have caused. Please also be assured that we have not taken the decision to cancel lightly, but it is very important that we undertake this essential maintenance at the earliest opportunity. 

I very much hope that you may choose to travel with us on Queen Victoria or another Cunard ship in the future.”

Have you been affected by the propulsion system on board affecting your cruise? Or are you affected by this cancellation? Please leave a comment or contact me by email or twitter with any comments, observations and thoughts!

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