Akubra, R.M.Williams and the Australian Dance Academy: Cunard announces new Australian partnerships for record season Down Under

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Cunard is about to take on a distinctly Australian flavour. The cruise line is partnering with leading Australian companies ahead of a record season Down Under for its ship Queen Elizabeth.

Under the move, Cunard will join forces with four key brands during Queen Elizabeth’s two-month Australian season in February and March 2019 including:

  • Fashion brand R.M.Williams
  • Australia’s iconic Akubra hats
  • Award-winning Melbourne-based boutique whisky distillery STARWARD
  • National dance company Australian Dance Theatre.

The move will see Cunard’s Bellboys swap their trademark red-and-black uniforms for a new Australian outfit to be designed by R.M.Williams and Akubra and worn throughout the local season.

Under its partnership with STARWARD, the ship’s top decks will become home to some very special cargo: a 225-litre barrel of Australian whisky, known as The Seafarer. Loaded in Sydney early March, the whisky will spend 12 months travelling the world on Queen Elizabeth’s decks before it is opened in February at the start of the ship’s 2019 Australian season.

Meanwhile, Australia’s longest-running contemporary dance company, Australian Dance Theatre (ADT), will also be leaping on board. The ADT’s partnership with Cunard will create the cruise line’s first-ever special event cruise in Australian waters, featuring a performance of ADT’s latest international work, The Beginning of Nature, as well as workshops and movement classes for guests.

Announcing the partnerships onboard in Sydney last week, Sture Myrmell, president of Carnival Australia which represents Cunard, said the initiatives broke new ground for Cunard and reflected the cruise line’s increasingly strong commitment to the Australian market: “These partnerships are designed to embrace Australian products and culture and celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 2019 season Down Under, which sets a new record for Cunard’s current fleet of Queens.

“All our partners are respected names in their fields so we’re delighted to join forces with them for the season with a range of initiatives which we think will be very popular – and maintain Cunard’s tradition of turning heads in this market.”

Australians’ interest in holidays at sea – and cruises with Cunard – has surged since Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth’s predecessor, Queen Elizabeth 2, brought Sydney to a standstill when they visited the city together in 2007. The number of Australians taking cruise holidays annually has risen from 251,000 in 2007 to almost 1.3 million in 2016.

Recognising the demand, Cunard decided to base Queen Elizabeth in Australian waters for an unprecedented two months next year, with 27 different cruise itineraries on offer as she sails from Sydney and Melbourne.

The cruise line will go even further the following summer, with Queen Elizabeth set to return to Australian waters for an extraordinary 101 days of cruising, from December 2019 to March 2020.


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