Cunard’s return to service this summer has been delayed after a "small number" of positive cases of Covid-19 were identified among new crew last month.
Queen Elizabeth had been due to sail from 19 July, but the ship will instead resume sailing from Southampton on 13 August as part of what Cunard president Simon Palethorpe described as a "revised schedule" of UK coastal voyages.
Palethorpe hailed the line’s Covid precautions, which he said had kept the line’s crew Covid-free.
"These protocols, of which we are very proud, have proven to be very effective," said Palethorpe. "We had no cases of Covid-19 in over 5,000 crew members until last month when a small number of cases were identified among new crew boarding the ship.
"Working in conjunction with Southampton Port Health, we took immediate steps to successfully contain the situation and we have limited the number of new crew joining the ship."
Palethorpe continued: "This has meant, however, that we are not able to complete the final, essential preparations or deliver the comprehensive training schedule to the full required contingent of crew prior to the first scheduled sailing.
“We know how much everyone has been looking forward to these coastal holidays but after such a long period it is critical all our crew are trained in the new procedures and refreshed in the very special White Star service which makes a Cunard voyage so memorable."
Palethorpe added: “We apologise to those guests whose voyages have been disrupted by this four-week delay and we very much look forward to welcoming guests back onboard from 13 August when Queen Elizabeth sails from Southampton on a seven-night cruise showcasing the highlights of Britain’s coastline.”
All guests on affected voyages will receive a full refund or future cruise credit (FCC) worth 110% of monies paid.