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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Legendary Experience: Carnival Legend to Arrive in Sydney


Carnival Spirit's sister ship, Carnival Legend, is arriving in Sydney next year from the East Coast of America. The ship has been custom-built to create history-making holidays, and pays tribute to some of the world's greatest legends throughout the ages. Guest can take a dip in the Camelot and Avalon pools, wish for magic at Club Merlin Casino, and taste iconic flavours at Truffles Restaurant. Music lovers can head for Satchmo's Lounge and Billie's Piano Bar, then dance the night away at Medusa's Lair Dance Club.

Carnival Legend will offer multiple ports of call (Los Angeles and Tampa), diverse cultures, exciting cities and activities on one cruise. Onboard features include a wide range of bars, dining choices and a variety of fun outdoor activities including the iconic Water Park and Green Thunder Waterslide, as well as indoor and relaxation options and exciting entertainment. 

 

Carnival Legend will sail from the East Coast of America mid-August 2014 arriving in Sydney on 22 September 2014. Itineraries on offer: 

·         13-day cruise from Tampa to Los Angeles sailing through the Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Mexico departing on 17 August 2014 with prices from $1925 per person, twin share.

·         23-day cruise from Los Angeles to Sydney sailing through Tahiti, Fiji and Noumea departing on 30 August 2014 with prices starting from $2,795 per person, twin share.

 

Travel the World is also offering Carnival Legend guests the opportunity to combine the two itineraries for a legendary 36-day cruise experience sailing from Tampa to Sydney through Mexico, Tahiti, Fiji and Noumea. By booking through Travel the World, clients can access competitive airfares; from Australia to Los Angeles from $1,450, or Australia to Tampa from $1,610

 

For further information on bookings, please contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622 or www.traveltheworld.com.au. (Australian Dollar fares include taxes and gratuities).

 

Monday, 29 July 2013

A Long World Cruise From Oceania – Other Cruise News: Early World Cruises – And A Different Kind of World Cruise


by Kevin Griffin
While European lines such as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have traditionally offered longer world cruises each winter, stretching up to 180 days, most English-speaking lines have stuck to a formula that sees world cruises come in at 105 to 110 days. Oceania Cruises, however, has chosen for its first world cruise in 2015 in the 30,277-ton Insignia, to offer an extended 180-day cruise. We take the opportunity of this announcement to look at some earlier world cruises, dating back to 1891 and 1909, and not just to the usually-quoted 1922 of Cunard Line’s Laconia. Finally, we look at an alternative world cruise that is offered year-round – this time by container ship!
THIS WEEK’S STORY
A Long World Cruise From Oceania

New from Oceania Cruises, fresh on then news that sister line Regent Seven Seas Cruises had just ordered a fourth new ship, is an announcement that it will offer a long 180-day world cruise in 2015, visiting five continents, forty-four countries and eighty-nine ports of call, in its 30,277-ton Insignia.
Insignia and Nautica



Departing Miami on January 10, 2015, Insignia will return to the same port on July 8, after a complete 180-day circumnavigation of the globe.

Outbound calls will be made at the Caribbean ports and islands of Santa Marta, Aruba, Bonaire, Margarita, Grenada, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Barbados and Tobago before heading along the South American coast to Devil’s Island, Belem, Fortaleza, Natal and Recife, then crossing the Atlantic to Africa, where she is scheduled to call at Lome, Cotonou, Sao Tome, Walvis Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban Richards Bay, Maputo, Nosy Be, Zanzibar and Mombasa.

From Mombasa, Insignia will set out across the Indian Ocean to visit the Maldives, Mangalore, Cochin, Rangoon, Langkawi, Port Kelang, Singapore, Ko Samui, Sihanoukville, Bangkok, Saigon, Ha Long Bay and Hong Kong.

From Hong Kong she will then proceed to China, South Korea and Japan, with calls at Xiamen, Shanghai, Tianjin, Incheon, Nagasaki and Kagoshima, thence Keelung, Kaohsiung, Manila, Kota Kinabalu, Brunei, Kuching, Benoa, Komodo and Darwin.

In Australia and the South Pacific, she will leave Darwin for Cairns, Whitsunday Island, Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart, Picton, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, Nuku’alofa, Rarotonga, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Moorea, Papeete, Ruahine, Rangiroa, Nuku Hiva, thence Hilo, Honolulu, Lahaina and Nawilili in Hawaii.

The final leg from Hawaii will take in Los Angeles, San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, Huatulco, Puerto Quetzal, Corinto and Puntarenas in the Pacific and Cartagena and Key West in the Atlantic before her early July return to Miami.

Two-for-one early booking fares, which are only valid for the next fifty days or so, start at $39,999 per person in an inside cabin, $41,999 in an outside and $55,999 per person in a verandah cabin. The best accommodation, the Owners Suite, is on sale at $114,999 (regular $300,984) per person.

These early booking fares are valid until September 17 and include round-trip US flights to and from Miami. If booked by September 17, the fare will also include free upgrade to first-class air travel, prepaid gratuities, a pre-cruise night in Miami, visas for sixteen countries, luggage delivery, unlimited laundry services and Internet.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Europa in Dubai
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa in Dubai
This length of voyage at 180 days approaches the world cruises offered by Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa, which are usually about the same length, and about two-thirds longer than the usual world cruise.
“As the leading specialist in destination cruising, we wanted to create a unique port-intensive voyage that reflects the dreams of the true explorer, rather than speed across the seas racing to the next convenient port as is the norm in a typical 100- to 110-day world cruise,” said Kunal Kamlani, president of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.
In addition to eleven overnight calls, the Insignia will spend two nights each in Cape Town, Rangoon, Singapore and Shanghai.

OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Early World Cruises
Contrary to what most sources say, world cruising actually got its start back in 1891 when Canadian Pacific took delivery of the first of three new Empresses, the 5,920-ton Empress of India.

Built at Barrow-in-Furness, in the shipyard where BAE Systems is today building seven “Astute” class nuclear-powered fleet submarines for the Royal Navy, the Empress of India was launched on August 30, 1890. After fitting out, she departed Liverpool on Sunday, February 8, 1891, on Canadian Pacific’s first world cruise, one in which it offered a voyage in the Empress of India from Liverpool via the Suez and Hong Kong to Vancouver, a journey across Canada on its own famous trans-continental railway and a Transatlantic liner crossing back to Liverpool.

Thus, on Tuesday, April 28, 1891, the Empress of India became the first White Empress to arrive at Vancouver, after a voyage of 79 days, whereupon her world cruise passengers continued their journey across Canada and around the world.

Within less than six months, Canadian Pacific offered two more world cruises, with the Empress of Japan leaving Liverpool on April 11, 1891, and the last of the trio, Empress of China, sailing from Liverpool on July 15. This trio, the first twin-screw liners on the Pacific, had been ordered by Canadian Pacific for a new mail contract that connected the UK and Hong Kong by way of its recently-completed transcontinental railway, over which the first train had run between Montreal and Port Moody in July 1886, with the line reaching Vancouver in May 1887.

While these were really positioning voyages to get the new ships from Liverpool to Vancouver, this was not the end of the story for Canadian Pacific. More world cruises would follow when new ships were ordered for its Transpacific services and in the 1920s and 1930s, Canadian Pacific would become one of the best-known names in world cruising, with several of its Empresses offering world cruises, and most particularly the 42,348–ton Empress of Britain (ii) of 1931, the first ship to be designed to cross the North Atlantic by summer and offer a world cruise every winter.
Cunard Line’s Laconia, Empress of India 1891 and Cleveland


Three famous Cunard ships would later follow this pattern, including the 34,274–ton Caronia of 1949, the 65,863-ton Queen Elizabeth 2 of 1969 and the 148.528-ton Queen Mary 2 of 2003, which is celebrating ten years of service this year.

After the delivery voyages of Canadian Pacific’s Empresses, the next stage in world cruising occurred in 1909, when a new world cruise routing was offered by Frank C Clarke of New York, an early organizer of cruises, who chartered Hamburg America Line’s 16.960-ton Cleveland to offer two world cruises five years before the Panama Canal was opened.

The Cleveland left New York on October 16, 1909, and took 108 days to proceed across the Atlantic to ports in the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, India and the Far East before finishing her world cruise in San Francisco on January 31, 1910. Passengers then returned to their homes from the West Coast by train San Francisco to New York by way of Suez.

Cunard Line’s claim that its 19,680-ton Laconia made the first world cruise in 1922-23 is correct only insofar as this was the first complete circumnavigation of the world by a cruise ship, something obviously could not be done before the Panama Canal opened in 1914. The first full circumnavigation by the Laconia thus left New York in November 1922, took 130 days and called at twenty-two ports on her way around the world. But this was only one of four world cruises that winter.

In fact, world cruises boomed in 1922-23, with the Laconia being only the first of four ships to leave New York on world cruises that winter. The others, booked either by Frank C Clark or by American Express, were United American Line’s 19,653-ton Resolute, Canadian Pacific’s 18,481-ton Empress of France and Cunard Line’s 19,602-ton Samaria, which sailed in the opposite direction from the other three, proceeding from west to east.
And A Different Kind of World Cruise

Finally, for a world cruise of a totally different kind, one can choose the French Line CMA CGM. Its Columbus Loop service now offers a total of nine partial world cruises throughout the year, with the 89,787-ton CMA CGM Dalila, built in 2011, and 90.931-ton CMA CGM Figaro and CMA CGM La Scala, built in 2010.

These three ships run between New York, Norfolk and Savannah on the East Coast and Seattle and Vancouver on the West Coast, sailing by way of the Suez Canal, or sometimes the Cape of Good Hope, and ports in Malaysia, China, South Korea and Japan.

As with the Cleveland’s cruise of 1909, one must travel by train or plane between the two coasts of the United States in order to complete a full round-the-world trip.
French Line CMA CGM. Its Columbus Loop service now offers a total of nine partial world cruises throughout the year, with the 89,787-ton CMA CGM Dalila, built in 2011, and 90.931-ton CMA CGM Figaro and CMA CGM La Scala, built in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Quick)


Ports of call in Asia include Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai and Pusan on the way out from New York and Yokohama, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian and Tanjung Pelepas in the opposite direction back from Seattle.

These modern container ships carry seven passengers each in three double cabins and one single, come equipped with swimming pools, and meals are taken with the officers. Fares are set at €100 per person per day and include full board, port charges, deviation insurance and complimentary French table wine with lunch and dinner. CMA CGM Dalila and Figaro fly the French flag, while CMA CGM La Scala is registered in London.

Part voyages are also possible but the full 112-day round voyage from New York to Seattle and back, or vice versa, costs €11,200 (about $15,495 or £10,075). New York to Seattle is €6,000 (about $8,300 or £5,395) for 60 days and Seattle to New York €5,200 (about $7,195 or £4,675) for 52 days.

The next sailings from New York are by La Scala on August 7, Figaro on September 16 and Dalila on September 30, followed by La Scala again on November 25. Sailings from Seattle are by the Dalila on August 8, La Scala on October 3, Figaro on November 14 and Dalila again on November 28.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Alaska cruise post-tours


 Inline images 1

SEVEN full days exploring the amazing wilderness and national parks of Alaska are a unique highlight of the 40-night fly/cruise/tour available from leading on-line cruise operator ecruising.travel

The Kenai Fjords National Park, North America's highest peak Mt McKinley, a motorcoach tour to Talkeetna and rail journey into Denali National Park, gold panning at Fairbanks' Gold Dredge No8 and a sternwheeler riverboat trip down the Chena River are all part of the wonderful touring sector. 

The best of Alaska has never been more affordable as your tour takes you past the dazzling glaciers and stunning coastline and into the heart of Alaska with its amazing scenery  and wildlife.

Departing on May 1, 2014, the itinerary includes 27 days cruising from Fort Lauderdale to Colombia through the Panama Canal to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver before spending seven nights cruising through Alaska's amazing fjords and bays.

The entire package is priced from $8599 per person twin share and includes return air fares from Sydney, three nights pre-cruise accommodation at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, (plus a night helicopter flight over the Vegas Strip) and three nights at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort before beginning the cruise on board Island Princess.

The deal also includes seven nights' accommodation in Alaska, coach and rail travel with extensive guided sight-seeing, all meals and entertainment throughout the cruise and use of the ship's many facilities.

For more information on this itinerary contact ecruising.travel on 1300 369 848 or check-out www.ecruising.travel


Award of Excellence for Scenic Cruises

Scenic Cruises, the cruising division of Scenic Tours, has received an 'Award of Excellence' from renowned author Steven B. Stern after being ranked in the highest class category for river cruise ships in his book, 'Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel Barges'. Stern has sailed on over 790 cruise ships, river cruise ships and hotel barges, visiting every major port of call in the world, and personally inspecting virtually every ship currently in operation. He has evaluated every vessel based on comfort and luxury.

In the comprehensive guide, Stern has ranked 16 different river cruise companies into four categories, Deluxe, Premium, Standard and Economy. The river cruise ships have not been categorised based upon price or clientele like ocean cruising. Instead Stern says, "Some riverboats offer more than others, and therefore, I have assigned class categories to reflect which are in the best condition, are most well-appointed, and offer the most common facilities, the best dining and service, and the most comfortable accommodation. Those that are all-inclusive and include all alcoholic beverages, all tours, and other amenities will receive the highest ratings."

Scenic Cruises is proud to announce that they were one of two companies in the world and the only Australian based River Cruise line (out of 16) to have all their river cruise ships classed into the highest category (Deluxe).  Scenic Cruises Managing Director, Glen Moroney, says "This award recognises our efforts to ensure high standards and consistency of these standards right across the Scenic fleet. We want our guests to enjoy the same luxurious experience regardless of what ship they sail on."

The awards comes after the recent announcement of being named the 'Best Luxury Cruise Line' by the prestigious New York Travel Writers Society (NYTWS), the 'Best Luxury Tour Operator'  by Luxury Travel magazine's 2013 Gold List, and the 'Best River Cruise Line' by Cruise Passenger Magazine.


 


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Cruise Passenger Magazine: Full steam ahead under new owners

We are delighted to announce that Big Splash Media is the new owner and publisher of Cruise Passenger Magazine - a strong brand with a proud history of partnership with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the travel industry.

We have ambitious plans to grow the business across all platforms, and we are keen to engage with you to ensure that our products serve cruise better.

Our management team includes Peter Lynch, former travel publisher at Fairfax Media and managing director at Big Splash Media, and Commercial Manager Leisa Chell, who many of you may know from her days as manager of travel at News Ltd.

Sally Macmillan, who has occupied the chair for the past four years, will remain as editor. Teresa Ooi, a senior journalist with The Australian will be managing editor and writer.

We have a great track record of successfully publishing to high net worth individuals in similar demographics. We publish in superannuation, as well as for government and associations. We understand this market and relish talking to an audience of 75,000 cruise travellers in the biggest growth sector in tourism.

“Cruise Passenger is alone in its market demographic talking solely to those who love to cruise or are about to embark on their first experience at sea,” says Peter Lynch.

“We are strong believers in the power of print and online as a combination. We will be announcing ambitious online plans shortly, so watch this space!”

Cruise has a circulation of 25,000, including 15,000 to CLIA agents in Australia and New Zealand, who hand them to clients asking about cruise.

Please contact us directly with ideas, stories and pictures for our magazine, website, Facebook Page and newsletter. We are keen to write on new products, innovations, trends and, of course, deals - so send us your best!

Our next magazine is publisher at the end of September.

Send your releases to media@cruisepassenger.com.au.

Or call Peter Lynch, Sally or Teresa on 02 9299 8699

Monday, 22 July 2013

Carnival names newbuild Carnival Vista

Dream-class cruise ship, Carnival Magic (Carnival)

Carnival Cruise Lines has announced its next Dream-class ship will be named the Carnival Vista, debuting in 2016 at 135,000 tons and being built at Fincantieri.

Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill made the announcement on July 21 on board the Carnival Sunshine in Europe.

The Carnival Dream and her sisters, Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze, measure 130,000 gross tons (GT) and are the largest ships ever built for Carnival and for Fincantieri. The vessel's design is an evolution from the Conquest class cruise ships. The fourth ship in this class will be Costa Diadema for Carnival brand, Costa Cruises, due for launch in 2014.


The Vista will carry 4,000 passengers and will be the 25th vessel in the Carnival fleet.

The Cruise Examiner: New ships - Princess rebating commission?

Ponant and Norwegian Each Order A Ship – Other Cruise News – Princess Cruises Policy To Undermine Other Cruise Lines

July 22nd, 2013 by Kevin Griffin
Last week came the news that, on the heels of accepting its new Le Soleal, Marseilles-based Compagnie du Ponant had ordered a fourth 264-berth vessel of its Boreal class from Fincantieri, followed swiftly by the news that Norwegian Cruise Line had ordered a second 4,200-berth vessel of the “Breakaway Plus” class from Meyer Werft. The fourth Ponant sister will cruise in Alaska by summer and in Australia by winter, while the intended employment for the second Breakaway Plus ship has not yet been announced. Meanwhile, after years of efforts by Carnival and Royal Caribbean to stop rebating by travel agents, Princess Cruises has made a rather unusual announcement that it will allow agents to give away as much as 10% of the cruise fare in on board credits in order to capture more business from other lines.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Ponant and Norwegian Each Order A Ship
Last week, French niche operator Compagnie du Ponant ordered a fifth ship for delivery in 2015. The new ship will sail in Alaska in the summer and in Australia and New Zealand during the Austral summer that coincide with the North American winter months.
L’Austral in Fincantieri’s Ancona Shipyard. The delivery ceremony
The ship will be built by Fincantieri in Italy and will join four others owned by Compagnie du Ponant. The new ship will be a sister ship of Le Boreal (2010), L’Austral (2011) and Le Soleal (2013), with a capacity for 264 passengers each.
Compagnie du Ponant’s niche combines luxury and expedition cruising. Last year it carried 20,000 passengers and had revenue of over €85 million, or about $112 million.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also announced plans for another new ship, giving it three on order. The Miami-based company has exercised an option with Meyer Werft of Germany to build a second 4,200-passenger vessel for delivery in spring 2017.
At 163,000 tons, the new ship will be a sister to the “Breakaway Plus” the line recently ordered for delivery in October 2015 and will be about 10% larger than the Norwegian Breakaway and sister ship Norwegian Getaway, under construction at the same shipyard.
Norwegian Breakaway
Norwegian Breakaway
The new ship will cost approximately €700 million. Norwegian currently operates a fleet of twelve cruise ships.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Princess Cruises Policy To Undermine Other Cruise Lines
Despite Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean having made a number of efforts in recent years to get agents to hold the line on pricing and rebating, Princess Cruises has made a number of changes to its pricing and sales policies that are supposedly designed to improve partner relations.
Among the changes, agents will be able under certain circumstances to offer inboard credits of up to 10% of the fare, funded by the agency, in order to facilitate a sale.
Princess Cruises
The change to Princess’ advertised price policy amends one of its “value add” promotion options so that agents will no longer have to seek pre-approval from Princess to offer the credit, so long as it is offered on a promotion applicable to an approved fare.
According to the US edition of Travel Weekly, Brian O’Connor, vice president of North American sales for Princess, said the change isn’t intended to promote commission rebating, although that might be one result. He said Princess doesn’t condone rebating but concedes that a formal policy forbidding it is virtually unenforceable.
Being more flexible with inboard credits supposedly will make Princess more competitive, O’Connor said.
Princess is also giving its field sales managers the discretion to offer amenity points to win group business away from competitors, rather than having the decision made by yield managers at Princess headquarters, who often turned down such requests.
Also, Princess will provide itemized details about on inboard credits passengers are to receive in the shipboard folio at the start of a cruise, a change to give passengers more transparency.
This move certainly goes against the grain after many cruise lines trying to retain price integrity and restrain travel agents from rebating from their commission to buy bookings.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

Friday, 19 July 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line specials



Save hours on your travel research. Get brochures delivered to your door for free. Digital option too.


FEATURED PROMOTIONS:
Ø  Norwegian Getaway Sailings: Receive $100 onboard credit per stateroom, through July 26, 2013.

Ø  Upgrade and Go: Receive free Balcony upgrades and up to $350 OBC when you book a select cruise, through July 26, 2013.


Ø  Air Credits: Receive up to $1,000 in airfare credits on select sailings.

Ø  The Haven and Suites: Receive up to $300 onboard credit per stateroom for the Haven and Suites fleet-wide for reservations booked nine months or greater prior to sailing, through December 31, 2013.

FEATURED SAILINGS:
Ø  Norwegian Epic: $599 Best Available Inside/person: September 29, 2013; Seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona, Spain with ports of call including Naples, Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; Provence (Marseille), France; Palma, Majorca, Spain
Ø  Norwegian Spirit: $779 Best Available Inside/person: August 3, 2013; 12-night Classic Mediterranean cruise from Venice, Italy with ports of call including Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece; Naples, Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; Provence (Toulon), France; Barcelona, Spain
Ø  Norwegian Breakaway: $599 Best Available Inside/person: September 15, 2013; Seven-night Bermuda cruise from New York, with port of call in Kings Wharf, Bermuda
Ø  Norwegian Sky: $199 Best Available Inside/person: July 22, 3013; Four-night Bahamas cruise from Miami with ports of call including Grand Bahama Island; Nassau, Bahamas; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
Ø  Norwegian Sun: $249 Best Available Inside/person: July 22, 2013: Seven-night Sawyer Glacier cruise from Whittier (Southbound), with ports of call including Hubbard Glacier; Icy Strait Point; Juneau; Sawyer Glacier; Skagway; Ketchikan; Cruising the Inside Passage; Vancouver, Canada
Ø  Norwegian Jade: $599 Best Available Inside/person: December 7, 2013: 11-night Western Mediterranean cruise from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, with ports of call including Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Provence (Toulon), France; Barcelona, Spain; Valencia, Spain; Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily; Naples, Italy 

ADDITIONAL HOT DEALS:
Alaska
Ø  Norwegian Sun: $249 Best Available Inside/person: July 22, 29, 2013; August 5, 12 2013; Seven-night Alaska cruise from Whittier to Vancouver, Canada
Ø  Norwegian Jewel: $499 Best Available Inside/person: July 27, 2013; August 3, 24, 2013; Seven-night Alaska cruise roundtrip from Seattle
Ø  Norwegian Pearl: $529 Best Available Inside/person: July 28, 2013; August 4, 18, 2013; Seven-night Alaska cruise roundtrip from Seattle
Bahamas & Florida
Ø  Norwegian Sky: $249 Best Available Inside/person: July 26, 2013; August 2, 9, 2013; Three-night Bahamas cruise roundtrip from Miami 
Bermuda
Ø  Norwegian Dawn: $629 Best Available Inside/person: July 26, 2013; August 2, 9, 2013; Seven-night Bermuda cruise roundtrip from Boston
Ø  Norwegian Breakaway: $599 Best Available Inside/person: July 28, 2013; August 11, 18, 2013; September 15, 22, 29, 2013; Seven-night Bermuda cruise from New York 
Caribbean
Ø  Norwegian Pearl: $329 Best Available Inside/person: November 5, 2013;  Seven-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Miami 
Europe
Ø  Norwegian Star: $799 Best Available Inside/person: August 5, 14, 2013; Nine-night Europe – Baltic cruise roundtrip from Copenhagen, Denmark 
Hawaii
Ø  Pride of America: $1,149 Best Available Inside/person: July 27, 2013; August 17, 24, 31, 2013; Seven-day Hawaii cruise roundtrip from Honolulu
The deals are available on select departures and do not include government taxes and fees.  They can be booked by contacting a travel agent or Norwegian reservations at (866) 234-0292.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Second Passenger Travels Complimentary With Cruiseco


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For a limited time only, Cruiseco passengers making a new booking to travel onboard a Uniworld charter*, can take advantage of an unbeatable offer, with the second passenger travelling on a complimentary basis. *This offer is available exclusively on two cruises: Uniworld's Venice and Po River cruise, departing on 6 October; and Uniworld's Portugal, Spain and the Douro River Valley, departing on 20 October 2013.

Amber Wilson, Cruiseco's National Marketing Manager, explains that Uniworld's river cruises are widely regarded as one of the best ways to discover Europe.

"Uniworld's river cruises travel into the heart of European cities, giving guests easy access to the best of what Europe has to offer. They can admire the views from the luxury of their room, explore the cities and countryside, sample a variety of local wines from village vineyards and feast on traditional dishes prepared using the finest ingredients."

"For guests who have always dreamt of a European getaway, this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of a great saving before cabins sell out. This is a perfect opportunity for travellers who have always wanted to travel to Europe in style, to take advantage of great savings," says Wilson.

This seven night cruise onboard a luxury Uniworld river cruise includes: all meals onboard; fine wines, beer and soft drink with lunch and dinner; selected tours in each port; captivating local entertainment; and onboard gratuities. Book now to receive this special offer.

*The special offer applies to the below Uniworld cruises. Terms and conditions apply. This offer is subject to availability and change.

Venice and the Po River: Departs 6 October 2013

Cruise Venice and the Po River for seven nights aboard the River Countess.

First passenger from $4,075 and second passenger cruises FREE* based on per person twin share, cruise only.

Portugal, Spain and the Douro River Valley: Departs 20 October 2013

Visit Portugal, Spain and the Douro River Valley for seven nights aboard the Queen Isabel. First passenger from $4,095 and second passenger cruises FREE* based on per person twin share, cruise only.

To book whilst cabins are still available, or to find details of your local Cruiseco agent, please visit www.cruising.com.au.  
  

Monday, 15 July 2013

Kai Tak moves from jumbo jets to megaliners as Hong Kong embraces surge in cruising




from Roderick Eime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has long been recognised as one of the world's most dramatic ports. Embraced by towering hills, the vast stalk-like cityscape rises high into the low clouds along the narrow edge of foreshore that supports a population of around 7 million.

With the imminent opening of the gleaming new Kai Tak cruise terminal on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong harbour, Australians will soon have a new way to experience one of their all-time favourite travel destinations.

Opened in 1966, the current OceanTerminal is limited to ships of around 100,000 GT and 10m draft, while the new Kai Tak cruise terminal will permit two 360m vessels of up to 220,000 GT to disembark and clear 5,400 passengers and 1,200 crew at a rate of 3,000 per hour.

In a test of the terminal's capability, Royal Caribbean's 311m, 138,279 GT Mariner of the Seas was the first mega luxury cruise liner to dock at the two-berth terminal in June this year, with the event hailed as a success.

"Kai Tak was the site of our legendary airport (closed in 1998) and is now turning a historic page by connecting Hong Kong with the rest of the world through the seven seas," Commissioner of Tourism Philip Yung said to AFP. “With the addition of this new facility, Hong Kong is in full gear to receive mega cruise ships"

Ships' masters should also be pleased with the simplified berthing procedures at Kai Tak, which is much closer closer to the eastern harbour exit.

Mariner of the Seas arrives for Kai Tak's inaugural berthing (HKTB)
The terminal will deliver passengers directly to the East Kowloon waterfront and commands spectacular views of Victoria Harbour. It is within easy reach of a number of key attractions including Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, Kowloon Walled City Park, Chi Lin Nunnery / Nan Lian Garden, Lei Yue Mun Seafood Bazaar. Also located nearby is Festival Walk. This shopping complex is just 10 minutes away and houses many of the world's best-known brands. Quickest airport access is 10 km by road to Kowloon Station Airport Express Line where departing passengers can also check-in.

Currently around 50,000 Australians visit HK every year cramming into the city's busy hotels, running at an occupancy rate approaching 90 per cent. Cruise passengers from all markets spent almost HK$75million in 2012, up nearly 6 per cent from 2011, not counting those who embarked or disembarked their cruise in HK. It is likely that HK's overall tourism arrivals will exceed 50 million n 2013 if the current 16% growth rate is maintained.

The opening of the new terminal signals HK's intention to transform the city into a major regional cruise hub which will likely spike the city's tourism figures yet further, so it remains to be seen whether HK's already near capacity hotel market will cope with the new influx.

The next arrival at Kai Tak is RCCL's Voyager of the Seas on 15th October, followed by Diamond Princess and Superstar Aquarius.

Official HKTB site

<< For further information on attractions and ideas for visiting Hong Kong, see the HKTB Official Travel Site

Regent Orders A Fourth Ship – Other Cruise News – Queen Mary 2 Completes 200th Atlantic Crossing – MSC To Double Its Ex-UK Fleet Next September


by Kevin Griffin

Last week came the news that Regent Seven Seas Cruises had finally ordered its long-anticipated fourth ship, a 738-berth 54,000-tonner that will have a passenger space ratio of more than 73 gross tons per passenger. This compares to the new record of 80 tons per passenger on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2, introduced this May. Elsewhere, Queen Mary 2 completed her 200th North Atlantic crossing this weekend and has now carried about 500,000 Transatlantic passengers. Meanwhile, MSC Cruises will double its ex-UK presence in September 2014 with the addition of the MSC Magica to the UK-based MSC Opera and has announced a new UK boss.


THIS WEEK’S STORY

Regent Orders A Fourth Ship
Last week Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced that it had entered into a contract with Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard to build a fourth ship. The new all-suite, all-balcony ship will be named Seven Seas Explorer and is scheduled for delivery in Summer 2016.
At 54,000 gross tons and accommodating 738 guests, Seven Seas Explorer will be the largest vessel in Regent’s fleet, and will boast one of the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in cruising.
The new ship is part of Regent’s strategy for expansion in the luxury market. Since purchasing the Regent Seven Seas brand in 2008, its ships have sailed full with industry-leading yields, and expanding the fleet will allow for a greater choice of itineraries.
With the new Explorer, overall fleet capacity will grow nearly 40%, making Regent the world’s largest luxury cruise line.
Seven Seas Explorer will feature spacious and sophisticated designer suites, elegant public areas, six gourmet restaurants, an expansive spa, a signature nine-deck atrium, two-story Explorer Theatre and the many other amenities that can be expected from an upmarket line.
Seven Seas Voyager passing between two rocks (Faraglioni) at Capri
The onboard use of exotic stones and polished woods, designer furniture, rich fabrics and sophisticated lighting, combined with a museum-quality eclectic art collection, will position Seven Seas Explorer in its own sector in ultra-luxury cruising.
The Seven Seas Explorer follows the 28,550-ton Seven Seas Navigator (490 guests), complete by Mariotti in 1999, the 48,015-ton Seven Seas Mariner (708 guests), launched by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in 2001 and the 41,827-ton Seven Seas Voyager (708 guests), completed by Mariotti in 2003.
Riviera at Barcelona on the eve of her christening.
Photo courtesy Peter Knego – MaritimeMatters.com

Further design aspects will be announced later but when they are it will be interesting to see the differences and similarities between the new Regent ship and sister line Oceania’s larger and more recently-built Fincantieri newbuildings, the 66,084-ton 1,250-berth Marina (2011) and Riviera (2012).
Other ships to be delivered in 2016 include Viking Cruises’ second new 47,000-tonner, two new ships for Royal Caribbean, its third Quantum class and third Oasis class ships, and one new ship each for three Carnival brands – Aida, Carnival and Holland America.

OTHER CRUISE NEWS

Queen Mary 2 Completes 200th Atlantic Crossing
Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 completed her 200th North Atlantic Crossing on Saturday, when she arrived at Southampton from New York, from whence she had sailed on Saturday July 6.
Queen Mary 2 is the largest, longest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built, and is now the only ocean liner in regular service. On board for the voyage were keynote speakers presenting talks about the ship, as well as special Big Band performances.
Queen Mary 2 in Liverpool
In the course of Queen Mary 2′s 200 Transatlantic Crossings, Cunard Line has now carried half a million Transatlantic passengers in her.
Outgong Cunard line president Peter Shanks said, “As each year in service passes, Queen Mary 2 becomes even more special and we will continue to celebrate and cherish her milestones and history. Looking at Cunard’s earlier Queens, Queen Mary crossed the Atlantic 1,001 times, Queen Elizabeth crossed 896 times and Queen Elizabeth 2 crossed 812 times.”
To commemorate her 200th Crossing, Stephen Payne OBE, who was responsible for the overall design of Queen Mary 2, presented his own insight into the ship’s construction. “Queen Mary 2 embodies the attributes of a true liner, including reserves of stability and deep draught. Combined with her great size, these attributes ensure that the ship can achieve a level of Atlantic sea-keeping superior to any other liner in history,” said Payne. “No other passenger ship is as much at home on the North Atlantic as Queen Mary 2.”

MSC To Double Its Ex-UK Fleet Next September

MSC Magnifica in Dubrovnik
MSC Magnifica in Dubrovnik
MSC will temporarily double its ex-UK fleet next year when it bases its MSC Magnifica in Southampton for a short series of cruises from September 2014. The 86,600-ton, 2,550-passenger Magnifica will join the 58,600-ton, 1,756-passenger UK-based MSC Opera.
The Magnifica will offer four seven-night, round-trip cruises departing from Southampton and calling at Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Le Havre, with fares starting at £429 per person including free parking or coach transfer to Southampton.
MSC’s announcement comes as it confirms Carnival UK’s former head of sales Giles Hawke will be joining MSC line this November as managing director UK and Ireland.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Royal Caribbean celebrates Christmas in July

Imagine a Christmas that's stress-free, with everything taken care of from Christmas dinner to the decorations and festive activities that also come with an ocean view.  Make Christmas this year a holiday the whole family can enjoy, onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. And the good news is that Royal Caribbean is offering some very special holiday deals for a limited time only, so what are you waiting for?

OFFER DETAILS:

  • Royal Caribbean is offering up to $200 bonus onboard credit per stateroom on all its cruises departing between 18 - 31 December 2013 of 5-nights or longer

-        For Interior and Oceanview bookings guests will receive $100 bonus onboard credit per stateroom

-        For Balconies and Suites bookings guests will receive $200 bonus onboard credit per stateroom

  • Furthermore, for the 9-night South Pacific and Fiji  Christmas cruise on Voyager of the Seas departing 18 December 2013, Royal Caribbean is offering a free Balcony upgrade. Lucky guests can book a Balcony stateroom for the price of an Oceanview stateroom.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • This offer is for new bookings made between 14 - 31 July 2013, for cruises departing 18 - 31 December 2013 of 5 nights or longer

LEAD FARE:

1. Nine-night Fijian Dream cruise on VOYAGER OF THE SEAS

Prices start from $1,499* per person for an interior stateroom, or $2,199* per person for an Oceanview booking which includes a free upgrade to a Balcony Stateroom. This sailing includes the bonus onboard credit offer, and departs Sydney Wednesday 18 December 2013. Christmas day will be celebrated cruising at sea before returning to Sydney Friday 27 December.

2. Nine-night Tropical delights cruise on RADIANCE OF THE SEAS

Prices from  $1,659* per person for an interior stateroom;  $1,989* per person for an Oceanview; and $2,619* per person for a Balcony stateroom. This sailing includes the bonus onboard credit offer for Christmas cruises and departs Sydney Friday 20 December 2013, with Christmas day spent at sea between Lifou, Loyalty Islands and Isle of Pines, New Caledonia.

3. Five-night Spice of Southeast Asia cruise on MARINER OF THE SEAS

Prices start from $1,039* per person for an interior stateroom; $1,209* per person for an Oceanview; and $1,299* per person for a Balcony stateroom.  This sailing departs Singapore on 23 December 2013, and includes the bonus onboard credit offer for Christmas cruises.

* prices are per person twin share based on the lowest available stateroom

 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Is Cruising Safer Now?


IMO Adopts More Safety Policies

Although cruise ship accidents such as the Costa Concordia are rare, the International Maritime Organization implemented three more safety policies recommended by an operational review conducted after the January 2012 tragedy. All 10 policies from the review have now been included in formal IMO standards specific to passenger ship safety, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The safety recommendations include a policy to ensure that every passenger attends a muster drill, limits to personnel who can access a ship’s bridge, and requirements that ships carry a number of lifejackets in excess of the number of people onboard a ship. “As a result of our relentless focus on passenger safety and comfort and our ongoing mission of continuous improvement in shipboard operations, cruising remains one of the safest vacation experiences available today,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Cruising to Bangkok? Here's a quick introduction

Bangkok Grand Palace

Cruising in SE Asia is following the same kind of growth patterns experienced elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region and Thailand is one of Asia’s busiest tourist destinations with annual arrivals now exceeding 20 million.

Cruise ships sailing in the Gulf of Thailand and visiting Bangkok will arrive at one of two ports.

Klong Toey: not pretty, but at least it's close to the city
Laem Chabang caters to the biggest ships and is around two hours south toward Pattaya, while Klong Toey (also spelled Khlong Toei with variations) is the older port and nearest Bangkok CBD catering to vessels up to the size of Seabourn and Azamara. Your cruise line will most likely have transfers arranged for Laem Chabang, while Klong Toey (KT) is better set up for DIY travellers. Public transport is not really viable at KT and most lines visiting the port will offer shuttles for the short journey into the city.

Bustling Bangkok shopping precinct (TAT)
While most city visitors will want to immerse themselves in Bangkok’s famous retail attractions centred on the Siam Exchange BTS station, there are numerous cultural attractions that should also be on your list. These include the famous Grand Palace, Wat Pho and the King Prajadhipok Museum. Also tucked away near the Siam station is the Jim Thompson House museum and shop. A great stop for really stylish Thai souvenirs, especially quality silk. These locations are best experienced on a basic city tour, while retail is best conducted at your own pace.

Exquisite silk at Jim Thompson House
Smart cruisers starting or finishing their journey in Bangkok will allow a couple days sightseeing and shopping in this frenetic city and Bangkok has a selection of magnificent hotels ranging from historic and opulent to chic and funky. Most can be had for under AUD200 per night. Shoppers should try the new Mercure/Ibis right on Siam while hipsters must check out the wild Sofitel So Bangkok near Lumphini station.

"It's a good idea to stay in Bangkok before or after your cruise or if your ship is in transit,
consider signing up for one of the ship's tours so that you won't be stressed about
getting back to the ship on time.
" - Richard Davey, Mosman Cruise Centre


You'll quickly make friends if you
master the Thai polite greeting
Thai Tips

Be polite and keep your manners mild. Things will go quickly pear-shaped if you lose your cool and yes, there are plenty of things to test your nerve in Bangkok. The Thais are a patient, friendly people, but don’t push it.

Don’t be afraid to bargain when shopping, you might surprise yourself. It’s quite possible to halve the ‘first price’. Look out for tailored suits, fashion and textiles, handbags, jewellery and gadgets. My tip: MBK

Getting Around

You’ve heard the stories about Bangkok’s nightmare traffic but in truth it’s not really any worse than most major cities in the world and the Thais almost never use their horns. Taxis and tuk-tuks are inexpensive and the BTS, subway and Skytrain are a dream. Just do a little swotting up beforehand.

Private cars and drivers are not as expensive as you might think and certainly a relaxed way of doing your own thing. Contact: AF Holidays

Bangkok transport tips (from Tourism Thailand) 

Who Goes There?

Princess, Star, RCCL, Hapag-Lloyd, Azamara, Seabourn, Silversea, Oceania, Cunard and Crystal are just some of the major, big ship lines that include stops at Bangkok. Because of its excellent air-links, the city is also used as a hub for many river cruises (eg Avalon, Pandaw, Heritage Line) that turn around in Siem Reap, Cambodia or Myanmar. Boutique ships are common too with SeaDream and HLK’s Hanseatic sailing up river to Klong Toey.

More info: www.thailand.net.au

Sail in a Balcony cabin with Royal Caribbean upgrade sale




There has never been a better time to book your next Royal Caribbean cruise. Pay for an Oceanview cabin and we will upgrade you to a Balcony. This means you can cruise in a Balcony cabin from as little as $142*pp per night (based on 14 night Australia & Asia Experience on Voyager of the Seas, 24 October 13).

A Royal Caribbean cruise is a great value-for-money holiday as nearly everything is included in the price: main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), most onboard activities, fitness facilities, kids programmes and activities, onboard entertainment and onboard gratuities. Therefore when you board the ship all you need to do is just sit back, relax and enjoy!

The offer is available on selected South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand cruises. For more information and a list of itineraries, please click here.





visit royalcaribbean.com.au
call 1800 754 500
or visit your travel agent



*$142 AUD per person per night applies to the Australia & Asia Experience 14 night itinerary, departing Singapore on 24 October 2013 on Voyager of the Seas. This price is based on twin occupancy and is inclusive of taxes, fees and onboard gratuities (tips). Prices for all other cruise itineraries can be found on our website. Upgrade offer is valid for new individual bookings made in a Balcony cabin only (Lead Oceanview cabin – category H is equal to lead Balcony category D2). Passengers are bound by the terms and conditions in the Royal Caribbean International South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand 2013-2015 brochure. Please click here for full terms and conditions.

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Sapphire Princess cruise to unsual destinations in Asia

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THE opportunity to visit fascinating and rarely visited ports like Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, Nha Trang in Vietnam and Sihanoukville in Cambodia is part of an exciting 21-night cruise from Singapore now being sold through ecruising.travel

The voyage aboard Sapphire Princess departs on November 27 2014 and also makes calls in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Ko Samui and Phuket in Thailand, Bali, Port Kelang and Penang in Malaysia before returning to Singapore.

The stop at Sihanoukville can include a visit to the legendary Angkor Wat Temples, whilst the stop to Port Kelang provides time to take advantage of Kuala Lumpur's fantastic shopping value.

Priced from $4699 the packages also includes return economy airfares from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, airport transfers and two nights at the luxurious Shangri-La hotel in Singapore.

Renowned for its on-board service, Sapphire Princess offers you everything you could need for a relaxing, rejuvenating retreat, including a wide variety of freshly prepared cuisine and innovative experiences and facilities.

Facilities on board include a wine and caviar bar, 24-hour buffet/bistro, Specialty restaurants , theatre, casino, swimming pools, the Lotus spa, gym and fitness area and a range of sporting activities.

More information from ecruising.travel on 1300 369 848 or check-out www.ecruising.travel