Tomorrow marks one year to go until Cunard’s flagship liner Queen Mary 2 visits Milford Sound – and advance bookings for the 12-night Royal Circumnavigation of New Zealand are already all but sold out.
Departing Sydney on March 7, Queen Mary 2 will cruise through Milford Sound and make her maiden visit to Christchurch following the cancellation of her scheduled 2011 visit due to the devastating earthquake, before heading north to Wellington, Auckland and the Bay of Islands.
The circumnavigation is part of Queen Mary 2’s sixth, 106-day World Voyage and the highlight of Cunard’s 2013 World Voyage program which features an unprecedented 10 visits to New Zealand ports by all three of its luxurious liners, estimated to collectively inject up to $10 million into the New Zealand economy.
Sister ship Queen Victoria will call at Auckland and the Bay of Islands in February 2013 during her World Voyage – and Cunard’s youngest liner, Queen Elizabeth, will visit Auckland, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch later that month, during a 91-night Exotic Discoveries voyage.
Each port visit generates between $500,000 and $1 million in passenger and crew spending, port fees, fuel and providoring.
Cunard Line President and Managing Director Peter Shanks says strong bookings for next year’s circumnavigation have been sparked by Queen Mary 2’s recent, high profile Royal Circumnavigation of Australia and Queen Elizabeth’s February visit to Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
“We are pleased to be seeing high interest from New Zealanders and Australians keen to travel on the legendary Queen Mary 2 and experience a slice of the stunning scenery and interesting ports within their own waters,” says Mr Shanks.
The New Zealand visits from the three largest Cunarders ever built will follow their unique display this June in their home port of Southampton to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The “Three Queens” event will be the first time that the three ships of the Cunard fleet will be seen arriving and departing together in formation at their home port and is expected to be a spectacle not to miss.