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Sunday, 19 January 2020

Newly Refurbished Seven Seas Navigator back for 2020 Australasian Season



Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the leading luxury ocean cruise line, today welcomes Seven Seas Navigator to local waters following an extensive refurbishment last year. Visiting Brisbane as her first port-of-call, SS Navigator’s 2020 Australasian season features a variety of Asia Pacific itineraries visiting picturesque ports such as Sydney, Auckland, Komodo, Alotau and more.

Over the past four years, Regent Seven Seas Cruises has invested more than US$150 million to modernise its best-in-class fleet, with its four intimate vessels showcasing why Regent is the leader in luxury cruising, offering guests an unrivalled experience both at sea and ashore.

The new-look SS Navigator will be showcasing her revamped restaurants; a redesigned spa; remodelled lounges; fresh suite designs; new artwork; sleek carpeting, Italian marble floors and wallpaper; and a dramatic, elegant new ambience for all guest spaces.

“We are thrilled to have Seven Seas Navigator return to our waters following her stunning transformation. Her recent enhancements mark the completion of our US$150 million refurbishment program, with an ongoing investment in our fleet being one of many reasons why Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world’s leading luxury ocean cruise line,” said Lisa Pile, Vice President and General Manager, Australia and New Zealand at Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“Since launching our regional headquarters in 2015, we have been committed to strengthening our presence in local waters, showcasing to local travellers both the elevation of our fleet and our all-inclusive luxury offering. In addition to the arrival of Seven Seas Navigator, both Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner will be sailing local waters in early 2020, which is significant given Regent currently operates a fleet of four vessels. Having three of our luxury ships in the Asia Pacific region offers a great taste of what’s to come, with The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built™, Seven Seas Explorer, sailing Asia Pacific itineraries for the first time ever at the end of this year,” added Ms Pile.


Highlight Itineraries:

Circle Australia – 23rd January 2020 – 28th February 2020 – Sydney to Sydney.

Departing on the 23rd January 2020 from Sydney, this grand 36-night voyage will circumnavigate the coast of Australia and visit iconic ports such as Airlie Beach, Cairns, Alotau, Darwin, Komodo, Bali, Esperance, Adelaide, Philip Island and Burnie to name but a few. The all-inclusive journey will feature an Australian-orientated enrichment program, including an exclusive performance by Opera Australia in the intimate Constellation Theater, and several other exclusive lectures provided by renowned experts from the likes of Australia Zoo and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

New Zealand Splendor – 28th February 2020 – 13th Mach 2020 – Sydney to Auckland.

Departing Sydney on the 28th February 2020, this 14-night voyage will visit stunning destinations including Melbourne (overnight), Burnie, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Rotorua and Bay of Islands before disembarking in Auckland. Guests on this sailing can see the beautiful sights while taking advantage of up to 38 free shore excursions. There is also an option available to extend this sailing for another 15 nights after she reaches Auckland. From there, she will embark on an exotic journey to the South Pacific and visit Norfolk Island, Noumea (overnight), Lautoka, Suba, Apia, Pago Pago, Bora Bora and Moorea before she reaches Papeete, where she will overnight.

An unrivalled, all-inclusive experience:

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ guests enjoy free unlimited shore excursions in every port, unlimited internet access, highly personalised service, a remarkable staff to guest ratio of 1:1.6, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and premium spirits and prepaid gratuities as part of their cruise fare. Guests staying in concierge-level suites and above also receive a one-night pre-cruise hotel package.

Seven Seas Navigator Refurbishment Background:

Restaurants: Guest favourite, Prime 7, a Contemporary American steakhouse, has been completely reimagined with dramatic new appeal. Dark imperial blue walls accented with gold, light leather chairs and rich wood finishes provide a refined and elegant backdrop for prime steaks and seafood. Large artwork, marble sculptures and intricately patterned floors were added to enhance the décor.

Public Areas: The welcoming Navigator Lounge was refreshed with new furnishings, enabling more space for guests to sit and enjoy coffee during the day and cocktails around the piano in the afternoon and evenings. Stars Lounge was completely reimagined with new carpet, new furniture and new wall coverings in light dusty rose and champagne tones highlighted with gold. Marble tables glimmer under evening dance floor lights where guests can enjoy cocktails and dancing before dinner or after the evening performance in the Constellation Theater.

Spa: The spa is a refreshed haven of tranquillity. Treatment rooms have been updated to provide soothing environments for a variety of services. The relaxation area has been updated with light tones, making it a perfect retreat before or after a spa visit. The beauty salon has been enlarged, now featuring a dedicated pedicure and manicure area that has floor-to-ceiling ocean views. Stations for hair treatments and make-up round out the array of services available in the top deck spa.

Guest Suites: Suite entrances are warm and inviting with dark wood doors and new signage. The in-suite closets now feature more chests and drawers for additional storage space to benefit guests sailing on extended voyages. New plush carpeting was added to all suites as well as fresh upholstery, with private balconies boasting refinished teak wood for a refined cruising experience.

Monday, 6 January 2020

MSC's world cruise aboard MSC Magnifica


  • 43 exotic and aspirational destinations across 23 countries and 5 continents
  • An outstanding line-up of 10 international chefs on board
  • 8 content creators hand-selected to share their experience on board
MSC Cruises, the fastest-growing cruise-line in the word has wished ‘Bon voyage’ to guests aboard MSC Magnifica as she departed from Genoa, Italy for the Company’s second world cruise. Guests will discover the world without having to unpack their suitcase during their 117-day trip of a lifetime. They will not only visit 43 amazing destinations across 5 continents but also live a true gastronomic journey through a uniquely international onboard dining programme from ten award-winning chefs from around the globe representing the very best of their respective cuisines from Australia, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Peru, Hawaii, China, India and Germany.

The chefs will join the cruise at different intervals to prepare a complete menu from three to four dishes for guests. These special menus have been created to reflect the chef’s culinary flair and bring flavours of the world cruise destinations to life.

During each exclusive dinner, the chefs will be on hand to greet the guests in person, while they enjoy their dishes. If that wasn’t enough, guests will also be able to take part in a culinary demonstration held by most of the chefs, giving them the opportunity to see them in action and learn how to prepare newly discovered cuisines once back on land.

The impressive line-up of chefs includes:

Two Michelin starred Spanish Chef Ramón Freixa

Known for his ability to create a balance between tradition and avant-garde, taking his inspiration from his Mediterranean roots. He will bring his excellence in Spanish gastronomy with an innovative and modern style for guests.

Veteran Brazilian Chef and restauranteur Allan Vila Espejo

Will present his signature menu introducing guests to his rich culture and take on Brazilian fine dining.

Bake Off Argentina star Chef Christophe Krywonis

Trained in Paris, chef Krywonis has pioneered his craft in French cuisine and will bring guests to his own take on French gastronomy at its bests.

MasterChef Colombia jury member Chef Jorge Rausch

Known for his innovative and modern style infused and inspired by his Colombian roots.

Chef James Berckemeyer

This Peruvian chef will introduce guests to a refined and modern spin on comfort food and “hearty meals with a little taste of home”.

Internationally-renowned Japanese-American Chef Roy Yamaguchi

Guests will discover a menu enriched with Asian flavours and Hawaiian fusion cuisine.

Sydney Morning Herald’s “Chef of the Year”, French-Canadian Chef Serge Dansereau

Chef Serge Dansereau
Of Bathers Pavilion, Sydney Australia fame, Dansereau will delight guests’ taste buds with an exclusive menu inspired by France with an international twist.

Acclaimed Chinese chef Jereme Leung

Bringing guests his contemporary interpretation of Chinese cuisine. Along with a modern approach to presentation, guests will be inspired by his mouth-watering menu.

Decorated Indian-American Chef Vikas Khanna

Michelin starred Chef Khanna will create a delicious menu inspired by his Indian heritage.

Three Michelin starred German Chef Harald Wohlfahrt

Joining the ship for the last leg of her journey, Chef Wohlfahrt and will showcase his passion for haute cuisine and love for natural and fresh ingredients.

MSC Cruises has enlisted a team of content creators to take part in the second round-the-world relay race at sea on board MSC Magnifica. The eight content creators will publish their once-in-a-lifetime vacation as they sail different segments of the cruise in a relay with one another. Each a curious traveller, they will capture their experiences, share their passion for travel and bring their fans closer to the worlds that they discover.

These eight avid voyagers will curate stories powered by their own spin on storytelling and on the “made by humans” concept. In partnership with Instax, the content creator disembarking will pass on a Fuji Hybrid Camera, as a “baton”, making this incredible storytelling continue, port after port. Each of these content creators will meet and interact with local people ashore in the 23 different countries, an impressive way of creating inspiring stories on their daily discovery. The MSC Cruises relay team consists of Evan Edinger (US), MolaViajar (Spain), Sami & Vale (Chile), Kenza SMG (France), Travel and Share (Brazil), Emre Durmuş (Turkey), Marcello Ascani (Italy), Ceci De Viaje (Argentina).

View the teaser for the relay race [on YouTube]

Guests are still able to book last-remaining cabins for the MSC World Cruise departing in January 2021 and January 2022, for more information please visit: msccruises.com.au or msccruises.co.nz


Monday, 23 December 2019

Cunard’s 2022 Season Down Under Offers Luxury Voyages to Explore Australia, South Pacific and Japan




Queen Elizabeth based in Australia for a record 124 days

Luxury cruise line Cunard has announced its 2021 / 2022 collection of voyages, which will allow guests to explore even more inspirational destinations on board the famous Cunard fleet.

Queen Elizabeth returns to Australia for her longest season yet, spanning 124 days from November 2021 to March 2022. Guests can experience unique itineraries including Cunard’s sought after Christmas voyage, the line’s inaugural Fiji and South Pacific round trip, and breath-taking voyages around Japan. Queen Elizabeth’s Australian season finishes with the renowned Royal Rendezvous giving people a rare opportunity to witness Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, when they meet in Sydney Harbour on March 2, 2022.

Cunard Australia’s Commercial Director, Katrina McAlpine said she was very excited to welcome Queen Elizabeth back for yet another record deployment Down Under with exciting new voyages around Australia, Fiji and the South Pacific and Japan.

The return of Queen Elizabeth, one of the world’s most famous ships, for a record 124 days is testament to Australia’s growing importance to Cunard as the line’s third largest international source market,” Ms McAlpine said.

“Queen Elizabeth is going to 11 different Australian destinations making a total of 30 calls to those ports, she is also making 27 calls across 10 New Zealand ports, injecting upwards of $34m into the Australian and New Zealand economies combined.”

Queen Elizabeth’s home port season includes multiple exciting maiden calls for the ship including Lautoka and Suva in Fiji and also features Cunard’s first call to Eden in NSW.

At the end of the Australian season in March, Queen Elizabeth will travel north to Japan via Southeast Asia. The voyage includes a variety of exotic and iconic destinations such as Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Shanghai and a maiden call to Beijing.

For more information about Cunard and the newly announced voyages, that are bookable from December 18, please visit www.cunard.com.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Luxury cruise ship, Silver Muse inaugural arrival in Hobart




Today, ultra-luxury cruise line, Silversea Cruises, is celebrating the inaugural arrival of its fleet’s iconic flagship Silver Muse into Hobart, following her return to the region earlier this month. Led by Australian, Italian Captain, Alessandro Zanello, the arrival marks the first of a number of maiden calls that Silver Muse will be making during her second, extended season in the region.

Adam Armstrong, Managing Director – Australia and New Zealand, Silversea Cruises, said,

“We are continuing to increase the range of unique destinations on offer to our guests and we are thrilled to add Hobart to Silver Muse’s itineraries this season. The majority of guests travelling onboard this voyage are international visitors and I have no doubt that they will be thrilled with what is on offer as we showcase the very best of our region. We are absolutely committed to the growth of the Australia and New Zealand market, which we expect to soon become our second biggest market globally, and Silver Muse will be making a number of maiden calls this season, including in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.” 

The luxurious Silver Muse will stay in the Australia-Pacific region until the end of March and will make a total of three calls in Hobart during this time. Whilst in Hobart, Silversea’s guests can choose from a number of optional excursions, including a half-day sightseeing excursion by air and sea; an exclusive early-evening sightseeing excursion to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary; a scenic and invigorating, half-day kayaking excursion in the picturesque harbour; a relaxing, half-day golfing excursion; and a leisurely, half-day culinary excursion of the Coal Valley with tastings at a renowned oyster farm and winery.

Since her inaugural season in the region last year, a number of enhancements have been implemented to upgrade the already exceptional culinary offering on board Silver Muse. In addition to receiving chilled champagne in their suites upon embarkation, guests now have complimentary sustainable Ars Italica caviar at their fingertips 24 hours per day. Comprising between 50 and 70 labels, the largest complimentary wine list at sea has also been upgraded, as Silversea adds more variety to its industry-leading selection, including more regional options to immerse guests in the culinary culture of sailed regions.

Silver Muse offers uncompromising levels of comfort, service and quality for the world’s most discerning travellers. On board, guests experience enhanced small-ship intimacy, spacious all suite accommodations, expansive outdoor spaces and the most comprehensive choice of dining options at sea with eight venues, including specialty choices such as Kaiseki and Indochine, plus 24-hour complimentary dining options throughout the ship. The all-suite vessel carries up to 596 guests in all-inclusive luxury with butler service in all suites.

In 2020, Silver Muse will return to Hobart on 22 January and 8 March, and in 2021 she will return on 14 February. Further reinforcing the cruise line’s commitment to Tasmania, Silver Muse will sail into Burnie on 30 December 2019, and on 20 January, 12 February, 7 and 27 March, 12 November and 23 December in 2020.

For more information on Silver Muse’s voyages to Hobart, visit here.

For more information on Silver Muse’s voyages to Burnie visit here.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Norwegian Jewel returns for third local season




Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel, is celebrating the return of Norwegian Jewel ‘Down Under’, with the ship entering Sydney Harbour for her third Australasian sailing season over the weekend.

Having undergone a multi-million-dollar, bow-to-stern refurbishment in late 2018, Norwegian Jewel has officially commenced her 2019/2020 local cruising season that will see her explore stunning regional ports-of-call including Milford Sound, Akaroa, Picton, Wellington, Eden, Melbourne and Brisbane, to name but a few.

Norwegian Jewel recently underwent a revitalisation as part of NCL’s Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program, reaffirming the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across its fleet.

Joined in regional waters by Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Spirit; set to undergo an over US$100 million refurbishment, the company’s most extensive bow-to-stern renovation to date, Norwegian Jewel will give both local and short haul AU/NZ fly-cruise travellers even greater access to NCL’s unrivalled freedom and flexibility, world-class dining, award-winning entertainment, immersive itineraries, extensive on-board activities and wide range of accommodation options.

“Local cruisers have really embraced Norwegian Jewel, and with thanks to our valued trade partners, bookings since her first Australasian season in 2017 have exceeded all expectations - one of the key reasons she has already been confirmed for a 2020/21 local sailing season. The additional deployment of the soon-to-be refurbished Norwegian Spirit to Asia further demonstrates NCL’s long-term commitment to providing next level experiences for local cruisers, while continuing to strengthen and elevate our presence in the Asia Pacific region,” said Ben Angell, Vice President and Managing Director Norwegian Cruise Line APAC.

“The recent launch of our newest vessel, Norwegian Encore, the extensive refurbishment of Norwegian Spirit in early-2020, as well as the introduction of six new Leonardo class ships to our fleet from 2022 makes this a truly exciting time for the company both on a regional and international level,” added Mr. Angell.

Norwegian Jewel provides guests access to endless opportunities, with onboard amenities including 16 high quality dining options, ranging from Teppanyaki and sushi to French, Italian, Brazilian and pub classics, as well as a choice of 15 bars and nightclubs, boutique shopping, a library and video arcade. Outdoors, there are swimming pools, hot tubs, jogging tracks, a basketball and tennis court, as well as the Mandara Spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

With NCL renowned for award-winning entertainment, Norwegian Jewel returns with two amazing shows for guests, ‘Rock You Tonight’, packed with 70s hits from the likes of Queen, Journey and The Who, and exclusive Australian hit musical ‘Velvet’, featuring disco classics, circus acrobatics and cabaret.

During her 2019/20 season, Norwegian Jewel will embark upon scenic Australia and New Zealand voyages, including a 14-day itinerary departing Sydney on 6 December, visiting Dunedin, Marlborough (Picton) and the Bay of Islands and a 14-Day itinerary departing Sydney on 20 December where she’ll be calling on Eden, Burnie and Auckland. February 2020 sees Norwegian Jewel heading to the South Pacific for some immersive itineraries before heading across to Alaska for the 2020 North America summer season.

For more information or to book a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line, please contact a travel professional; call NCL in Australia on 1300 255 200 or in New Zealand on 0800 969 283; or visit www.ncl.com

Thursday, 28 November 2019

CMV announces two additional cruise ships for 2021





British-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has announced the acquisition of two more cruise ships to join its expanding ocean fleet – increasing to eight cruise ships in 2021.

The independently owned CMV Group will take delivery of P&O Australia’s Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria in Singapore on 2 March and 2 May 2021 respectively, increasing CMV’s capacity to 9,000 berths and an increase in passenger capacity by 30% in 2021.

The duo will be officially re-named in mid-2021, following dry docking in Singapore where some minor upgrades will be completed, and the ships’ livery updated. The vessels will then embark on maiden positioning voyages via the Suez Canal to Northern Europe.

Pacific Dawn (to be renamed) at 70,285grt, with 798 passenger cabins and carrying around 1,400 passengers, will be deployed to the UK market in late May 2021, bolstering much-needed capacity and cruising year-round alongside Columbus ex-London Tilbury.



Pacific Aria (to be renamed) at 55,819grt, with 630 passenger cabins and carrying around 1,100 passengers, will be deployed to the German market under the TransOcean Kreuzfahrten brand with a much-needed increase in capacity, cruising alongside Vasco da Gama and replacing the 580 passenger Astor. Astor is being re-named Jules Verne and will be re-deployed to the French market in May 2021.

CEO Christian Verhounig commented, “The introduction of two more ships to the global ocean fleet is the next exciting chapter of our strategic growth objectives. This will enable us to service increasing market demand for our traditional brand of cruising, generated by our expanding international network of in-house sales offices and developing source markets. We have now acquired five cruise ships in just five years and are firmly on course in carrying 200,000 passengers in 2021.”

The new ship names will be unveiled later in December 2019 under CMV’s explorer theme, providing a more traditional cruise experience that can access harder-to-reach ports.

Chris Coates, Group Commercial Director, added, “As the CMV brand continues to evolve, the growing popularity of our traditional product, classic ships and destination-focused cruise programs has encouraged us to accelerate plans to add capacity to the two top European cruise markets in the UK and Germany, which represent 85% of our business.

“These two fine cruise ships perfectly complement our existing fleet, providing trade partners and consumers alike with much needed extra capacity. For 2020, we expect close to 70% of capacity to be sold by the year end, in line with expectations. This provides an ideal platform for the early introduction of new tonnage and opportunities for 2021.”

CMV Australia’s National Sales Manager, Darren Chigwidden, said, “We’re so excited to welcome these new vessels in joining our fleet. We look forward to discussing this soon with our trade partners at the upcoming inspections and events onboard as we welcome our newest ship, Vasco da Gama. Her arrival into Australian waters for the first time with CMV on Sunday marks our growth and commitment to the Australasian market.

“This growth has not only been in domestic cruising, but also in CMV’s international voyages with our small to mid-size ship offering. Having Pacific Dawn among our fleet is a great opportunity for our travel agents – who are key to our ongoing success – as they are already familiar with the unique selling points of the ship itself.

“Combined with Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ reputation for friendly, traditional service and value for money, we believe this presents a fantastic proposition for agents and their clients to venture to new destinations aboard vessels they already know and love.”

The inaugural 2021 programs will go on sale via travel trade and CMV’s international sales offices and websites during Q1-2020, with special 2021 launch incentives planned to encourage early bookings.

www.cmvaustralia.com

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Return of Viking to Australian waters




The countdown is on to the return of Viking to Australian waters from December 2019. The line’s third year of operating in Australia and New Zealand will be heralded by the arrival of two of Viking’s fleet of award-winning small ships; Viking Orion and Viking Sun.

December 2019 marks Viking Orion’s return to her seasonal Sydney and Auckland home ports for the second year in a row, from where she will offer eight local cruises over three months. Meanwhile sister ship Viking Sun visits Australia in February 2020 for the third time, as she circumnavigates the globe on her Guinness World Record-setting Ultimate World Cruise, an extraordinary 245-day voyage which is the longest continuous passenger cruise on record.

Boasting the most high-tech planetarium at sea, Viking Orion will reach Australian waters on 15 December 2019 when she arrives in Darwin before sailing into Sydney on 27 December 2019. She will sail six 15-day Australia & New Zealand itineraries between Sydney and Auckland, bookended at each end of the season by the 17-day Komodo and the Australian Coast itinerary between Bali and Sydney.

Viking Sun will arrive in Hobart on 7 February 2020, the first of eight Australian destinations during her epic 245-day voyage, which visits six continents, 51 countries and 111 ports over eight months. When Viking Sun reaches Australian waters, she’ll mark day 160 of her Guinness World Record-setting voyage from London to London, with 10 Australian guests sailing the full itinerary.

Together, the two state-of-the-art 930-guest sister ships will call at 10 Australian ports and seven New Zealand ports, including major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland and Wellington, as well as smaller destinations like Thursday Island, Cairns and the Whitsundays. Viking Sun and Viking Orion will offer guests no less than 16 overnight stays on Australian and New Zealand shores.

“Since launching our very first ocean ship in 2015, demand to sail from Australia and New Zealand has grown from strength to strength,” said Michelle Black, Viking’s Managing Director ANZ.

“One third of Viking’s fleet of six ocean ships will be based in our waters for a month, demonstrating both the importance of this region to Viking, and the incredible popularity of our destinations to Viking’s discerning guests,” she concluded.

Since Viking’s very first ocean ship sailed in 2015, the cruise line has won an incredible array of awards globally, making a name for itself and gaining loyal followers by offering ‘The Thinking Person’s Cruise’.

A voyage with Viking is destination focused, culturally enriching and carefully curated. Itineraries are developed with curious, experienced travellers in mind and once onboard, every detail is designed to enrich the travel experience, so that guests can deeply connect to the destinations they visit.

Viking’s all-new, all-veranda, ocean ships are engineered at a scale that allows direct access into most ports around the world, and each identical sister ship features understated elegance coupled with modern Scandinavian design.

Viking Sun will spend a month in Australian waters, departing Darwin on 23 February 2020 as she travels onwards to Asia, India and the Middle East. Meanwhile Viking Orion will depart Sydney bound for Bali on 20 March 2020, marking the close of three months based down under. Viking Orion will return to Australia for her third and longest ever local season in October 2020, when she will sail eight 15-day Australia & New Zealand itineraries. Plus Viking Orion’s fourth Australian season has just been announced, arriving December 2021.

For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 138 747 (AU) or 0800 447 913 (New Zealand) or visit vikingcruises.com.au.