Cunard celebrates impending arrival of Queen Elizabeth

100 day count down for Queen Elizabeth's Australian homeport season

Queen Elizabeth in Tasmania.

Cunard cured travel industry insiders of Mondayitis on 21 August 2023 by hosting an intimate dinner at Sydney’s Midden by Mark Olive. Guests were welcomed by sports commentator and journalist, Mark Beretta, who is joining Cunard’s Sporting Greats and Wellness Voyage in February next year. Guests were briefed by Matthew Gleaves, Cunard’s VP of International Development and Planning, and Katrina McAlpine, Commercial Director for Australia and New Zealand.

Indigenous chef and founder of Midden, Mark Olive, curated a multi-dimensional menu of native ingredients and flavours, representative of Cunard’s intention to craft intrinsically Australian experiences for the Australian homeport season. Olive also joins Cunard aboard the Great Australian Culinary Voyage.

The event marked 100 days out of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth for the 2023 to 2024 Australian homeport season, and the delivery milestones of Curnard’s new ship debuting in 2024, the Queen Anne. The dinner was preceded by an update on Cunard’s Great Australian Culinary Voyage and Sporting Greats and Wellness Voyage, and teased an exclusive partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

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Mark Olive and Darren Purchese, photographed by David Li.
Mark Olive and Darren Purchese, photographed by David Li.

Cunard’s Great Australian Culinary Voyage

Departing Melbourne on 5 January 2024, Cunard’s Great Australian Culinary Voyage seven-night sailing exposes guests to unique food and drink experiences created by acclaimed chefs such as Karen Martini, Mark Olive, Darren Purchese and Gary Mehigan.


  • Award-winning New Zealand entertainer and presenter of The Great Australian Bake Off, Cal Wilson, will put a comedic twist on all things culinary.
  • Gary Mehigan and Mark Olive will teach guests some of their tricks of the trade during live cooking demonstrations.
  • Join insightful wine masterclasses with Katie Spain and learn all about local gin during Four Pillars Gin masterclasses.
  • Darren Purchese will host a shore excursion to some of his favourite sweet spots in Melbourne.
  • Wine expert Katie Spain will take guests on an incredible tour of McLaren Vale’s latest hot spots.
  • Guests can join bespoke culinary tours to Maggie Beer’s Farm, MONA and Port Arthur’s Lavender Farm.
Katie Spain, Gary Mehigan and Karen Martini.
Katie Spain, Gary Mehigan and Karen Martini.

Cunard’s Sporting Greats and Wellness Voyage

Sailing from Sydney on 13 February 2024 onboard the Queen Elizabeth, the Sporting Greats and Wellness Voyage is the first of its kind for Cunard. The program allows guests to interact with sporting legends while learning about wellness. Cricketer Brett Lee, AFL champion Adam Goodes, Australia’s most successful female golfer Karrie Webb, sports presenter Mark Beretta, and Amanda McLaren, daughter of legendary race car driver and founder of McLaren Racing, Bruce McLaren, will be present on the journey.


  • Have a yarn with cricket legend Brett Lee at the ship’s Golden Lion pub or join him on a cricket-inspired shore excursion.
  • Challenge Adam Goodes to a couple of games such as shuffleboard, paddle tennis or croquet on the ship’s Games Deck.
  • Get valuable golfing advice from one of the best of the game, Karrie Webb.
  • Swing your golf club at some of Australia’s most premier and scenic golf courses including NSW Golf Club in Sydney, Royal Hobart Golf Club and
  • Tasman Golf Club in Port Arthur.
  • Join Mark Beretta behind the scenes of the Australian F1 Grand Prix track and hear stories from his rich racing experience.
  • Enjoy a sauna, steam room or massage at the Mareel Wellness & Beauty sanctuary.
  • Daily complimentary classes of yoga, spinning and boot camp followed by a session in the thermal suite, stretching and aerobics classes.
Brett Lee cricket experience.
Brett Lee cricket experience.
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