The one where Cunard “loosens up”…

Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks aboard QM2 in Sydney. Image: Natalie Aroyan

Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks aboard QM2 in Sydney. Image: Natalie Aroyan

Cunard will be shaking up its itineraries and “loosening up” in 2014 to project a more modern image to loyal Cunarders and first time cruisers.

All new itineraries will go on sale worldwide on 9 April.

Queen Elizabeth will sail on revamped Mediterranean cruises out of Civitevecchia (Rome), Venice and Athens from June to November 2014.

She will embark on seven-, 14- and 21-night voyages and visit a selection of 25 different ports including overnight stays in Istanbul and Venice and maiden calls into seven ports including Elba, Kotor and Palermo.

These new Meditteranean sailings will take place following a special meeting with her sisters in Southampton where the three Queens will join together to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Queen Mary 2 on 9 May 2014 before she embarks on two “Birthday Crossings” to New York featuring past Commodores and celebrity lecturers.

Queen Mary 2 will undertake 18 Transatlantic crossings between Southampton and New York in 2014 including four eight-night crossings and will also call into Halifax, one of the most popular ports for loyal Cunarders.

In addition to the Transatlantic crossings, Queen Mary 2 will embark on four New York cruises taking in Canada and New England specifically catered to the North American market.

Queen Victoria will sail on itineraries to the Fjords, Baltic, Iceland, Black Sea and Atlantic Isles out of Southampton along with a ‘Round Britain’ voyage that will call into Liverpool on the 100th anniversary of the first sailing of Cunard’s Aquitania on 30 May 2014.

Making the announcements aboard Queen Mary 2 in Sydney last week, Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks spoke of the line’s desire to cater to loyal Cunarders as well as the growing number of first time cruisers looking for a luxury holiday.

“By offering the best in cities and destinations, along with the outstanding luxury experience of a Cunard ship, Cunard is a compelling holiday choice for 2014,” Mr Shanks said.

“Our unique international appeal creates a cosmopolitan flavour onboard, which appeals to the growing number of luxury travellers around the world who are looking for a discerning holiday experience.”

Mr Shanks also spoke of the line’s desire to “move with the times” and portray themselves as a more modern option than cruisers may initially expect.

Feedback showed that first time cruisers viewed the Cunard option as “old fashioned and too formal”, so the line plans to “loosen up” without saying goodbye to their heritage and traditions.

“We’ve got three beautiful young ships so we are going to talk a lot more about the exquisite dining…we are going to bring out our destinations to a greater degree and we are going to talk about the relaxation aspects,” Mr Shanks said.

The ships will be using their time in Australia to get used to “loosening up”, with Mr Shanks sharing that the Australian cruises allow them to relax a little more.

“We’re in much warmer climates here so we’ve been allowing our ships to be a little more flexible with how formal they are. We still have our formal nights, but we limit the amount of formal nights we have,” Mr Shanks said.

“The world is changing, people want to relax more and Cunard needs to move with the times.”

Click here to view the entire photo gallery of Queen Mary 2 in Sydney.

Originally written by Natalie Aroyan for e-Travel Blackboard.

I am someone who loves a good formal night.

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing everyone lying by the pool all day and then, within a mere few hours, they are decked out to the nines enjoying a cocktail and dinner before a show.

Having sailed aboard Queen Elizabeth, in Australian waters, I was quite surprised that it wasn’t as formal a cruise as I had expected. I was a little disappointed actually and have bucket listed a Transatlantic cruise aboard a Cunard liner specifically for that traditional formal experience.

I mean isn’t it every girls dream to be spun around the ballroom by a handsome tuxedoed gentleman whilst sailing across the Atlantic?

I have something to confess –  I am one of the few who still dons a formal dress aboard other ‘non-traditional’ liners but I can understand that there are many others (especially male cruisers I would imagine) that don’t share my love of wearing their finest when cruising – if at all.

A fellow journalist sailed aboard the QM2 last year and I remember having a conversation with him where he was very concerned about not having a tuxedo for the formal night onboard. I guess this is a situation where men do have it a tad more difficult than women – monkey suits may not be a staple in every man’s wardrobe!

Good thing that you can hire them onboard then!

What are your thoughts on formal nights? We welcome your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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