Incoming 3,000-passenger vessel will have signature Cunard features and new concepts, president Sture Myrmell tells Travel Weekly
How have you found the first few months at the helm of Carnival UK?
It would have been really exciting to join the Carnival UK team under normal circumstances. But to do so as we are coming out of Covid and seeing all of our ships back into guest operation, coupled with newbuilds on the horizon, is just amazing. There’s real energy in our business, both ship and shore, our guests are excited about cruising again, and our partners are all keen on getting this amazing industry back up and running again.
Do you have any crew members affected by the situation in Ukraine?
The wellbeing of our people is always hugely important. We’re supporting any of our people, whether on ship or on shore, who are affected by this situation. From a guest perspective we have changed any itinerary sailing this year which was due to call at St Petersburg, and we have communicated these changes to our guests.
What are your short-term and long-term priorities for the Cunard business?
Short term, having Queen Victoria come back into service in the coming months. Long term, we have ambitious global plans to continue Cunard’s market leader status in the cruise industry, with our new ship Queen Anne central to that.
How close are you to filling the role of Cunard president? Are you still in the position on an interim basis?
Getting the right person in place is a major factor in our ongoing success. We’re taking the necessary steps to fill this very important role. I am in the position on an interim basis. When we are in a position to reveal more, we’ll make an announcement through our normal channels.
What booking trends have you noticed since you took over from former president Simon Palethorpe?
Guests love our iconic voyages where they feel special, inspired and free. We sail all over the world and are most famous for Queen Mary 2’s iconic transatlantic crossing which often features ‘event’ voyages like Literature Festival at Sea. We have just seen a tremendous response to the launch of our summer 2023 itineraries, with a mix of bookings from established customers to those new to cruise or brand, signifying a desire to get on board and travel in style and luxury.
What can you tell us about the fourth Cunard ship?
The introduction of our fourth Queen marks a new era for Cunard and the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships at sea – a remarkable quartet of Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne. As we embark upon this new era for Cunard, we’ve been collaborating with the very best design talent. Designers David Collins Studio, Richmond International and Sybille de Margerie Paris working with Cunard creative director Adam D. Tihany have collaborated to create an amazing, thoughtful modern approach to design. The new approach will bring a combination of distinct Cunard signatures that our loyal guests love like The Grand Lobby and Britannia Restaurant as well as brand new concepts. The décor will reveal bold colours and a striking look and feel. Queen Anne will showcase more dining choice than ever before. In addition to the four Cunard signature restaurants from Britannia Restaurant to Queens Grill, guests will have 11 other dining options with a variety of menus, dining styles, times and locations – both inside and out on deck – to choose from. We’re also introducing an updated Cunard livery to maintain the striking look and feel.
What should travel agents be telling their customers about Queen Anne?
Queen Anne’s maiden season programme will go on sale in May, with the ship’s first sailings in early 2024. We hope that even more agents will sign up to [trade loyalty programme] Shine Rewards Club and follow our Cunard travel agent page on Facebook for all the latest information.
Will agents be invited to any ship launch events?
We’ve got some exciting agent engagement plans in the pipeline – this will include ship launch events. We’ll reveal more over the coming months. Watch this space.