It feels like an eternity since our last cruise – back in pre-covid days onboard Queen Victoria cruising around the Baltic in 2018. Before Covid gripped the world we had booked a cruise onboard Queen Elizabeth that would take us on a circumnavigation of Japan. Early in 2020 when news of a new virus spreading through the Far East was just breaking it was maybe only at the back of our minds that this might impact us – after all its not the first time there had been outbreaks in China and other parts of the world, but life for most of us in the West carried on pretty much as normal. However as we moved through February and into March it was clear that things were not looking good, especially seeing the story play out of Covid spreading around passengers onboard Diamond Princess in Japan. Queen Victoria and QM2 were despatched back Southampton from their world cruises. Queen Elizabeths Australian cruises were put on hold and her last guests left her in Sydney in March 2020. It would be 518 days until she carried guests onboard again. She spent a few months loitering along the coast of Australia, with an extended time anchored off the industrial port of Gladstone and then Manila in the Philippines. Eventually she too was ordered back to the UK arriving on 24 July 2020 after sailing non-stop from a fuel stop in Singapore. She spent the rest of 2020 and until 13 August 2021 loitering along the south coast of England with her sister ships and many other cruise ships.
We received a refund & future cruise credit from Cunard for our cancelled Japan voyage which we used that to book an Alaska voyage sailing from Vancouver in June 2021. However as the hiatus continued, that of course never happened…..so we tried again – and booked another Queen Elizabeth Alaska voyage for June 2022. That trip is now right around the corner!
Queen Elizabeth sailed from Southampton on 2 May 2022. Based on her future itineraries this would be her last visit to Southampton until at least 2024. We enjoy weekend trips to the New Forest and we had booked a night away which coincided with her sailing, so we dutifully watched her sail past Calshot as she made her way down the Solent to start her repositioning voyage to Vancouver via Spain, Florida, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Mexico and the US west coast.
We are now just 48 hours from starting our journey to join Queen Elizabeth. We have family who live in Washington state so we are flying into Seattle a few days before our cruise to visit them enroute. We were fortunate enough to be able to use one of our British Airways 2for1 Companion vouchers – to get the maximum value out of these the trick really is to snap up a Club World/Business class seat…..we managed to book these 1 year in advance when the flights became available. Business class is always a real treat and does make the journey much more pleasant, especially on the return overnight flight.
So here we are, 2 days away from flying out. Our USA entry covid test is booked for tomorrow morning, and Friday we head to Heathrow to start our next adventure. Feels good to be heading on a significant holiday again – especially to be back onboard a Cunard ship again.