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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Here Comes the Fun and Sun: Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises Arriving Soon

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The arrival of five superliners gives Australians five more reasons to look forward to summer!

September 2013, Sydney: – Five world-class Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises superliners are making their way Down Under for a sizzling 2013-14 cruise season. The combined fleet will keep adventurous travellers happy with a selection of 73 cruises available throughout Australian, New Zealand, Asian and South Pacific waters; and dock-masters in Sydney busy with a total of 59 turnarounds in Sydney Harbour.

First off the mark is Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas, which departed Vancouver earlier this month and arrives in Sydney on 5 October to start her seventh consecutive Australian season. She will be followed closely by Radiance of the Seas on 11 October. Arriving on 23 October is Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Solstice, Australia's youngest superliner epitomising 'modern-luxury'. The largest and most innovative ship in the region, Voyager of the Seas, returns to her Sydney home port on 7 November. Celebrity Millennium calls on Sydney on 20 November on her way to Asia.

"It is full steam ahead for an even bigger Australasian cruising season this year. We are offering a total of 73 cruises and are looking forward to welcoming over 210,000 guests on our five luxurious superliners – 10% more than last year," says RCL Australia & New Zealand Commercial Director, Adam Armstrong.

"Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises now offer the newest, biggest, most modern and amenity-rich cruise ships sailing from Australia. As Australians have become more 'cruise savvy' we have responded to their evolving demands by bringing a superior fleet to deliver a calibre of cruise holiday that you couldn't previously experience in local waters. We're especially pleased to welcome back Australia's largest ships, Voyager of the Seas and Celebrity Solstice for their second seasons.

"We continually look for ways to improve our guests' experiences. This season we introduce the Barbie Experience At Sea on Royal Caribbean ships and a host of new itineraries; whilst on Celebrity Cruises, we've introduced a new craft cocktail selection, Xbox At Sea and iTake movie workshops for teens."

New itinerary highlights this season include the chance to sail to the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia and Fiji for the first time on Australia's highest rated premium cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice; a shorter 11-night itinerary to New Zealand; additional 2- and 3-night Sampler cruises; and a 15-night New Year cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas which uniquely combines ports in Queensland and the South Pacific islands for the very first time.

"Bookings for this season show the continued popularity of multigenerational cruising –kids, parents and grandparents travelling together. Our South Pacific cruises are particularly popular for travelling families.  More people are also turning to cruising as a way of seeing their own country, for instance on a Tasmanian,  Queensland or Round Australia cruise, and these itineraries remain ever popular with overseas guests," says Mr. Armstrong.

CLIA Australasia General Manager Brett Jardine, said: "This summer season will see a wide range of ships sailing our waters, so it will really demonstrate the many different styles of cruise holidays now available locally. Cruising is a year round industry for Australia now, but a busy summer season like this will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy."

Royal Caribbean International remains Sydney's largest cruise line this coming summer, offering more cruises and carrying more guests than any other cruise line in the 2013-14 season. Royal Caribbean International was also recently voted 'Best Australian Based Cruise Line' at the National Travel Industry Awards.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Deal: Take a Luxury Cruise Around Italy For Less With APT



 

 
 Images L to R: M/Y Variety Voyager; Sundeck Bar on the Variety Voyager; and Venice.

 

  

Take a Luxury Cruise Around Italy For Less With APT

Book APT's 11-day Bella Italia Luxury Small Ship cruise aboard the M/Y Variety Voyager and pay $6,495 per person, twin share, a saving of $1,000 per couple. The cruise sails from Rome, around the coast of Italy, taking in the Lipari Islands and Sicily, to Venice.

Highlights include the chance to visit Sorrento and Capri, cruise the Amalfi coast, explore ancient Italian villages and sample the country's gourmet cuisine and outstanding local wines.

Included are 29 meals, local guides, shore excursions, onboard lectures, beer, wine and soft drinks with lunches and dinners and all port charges, and tipping.

The offer is subject to availability and bookings must be made by 30 November 2013. Terms and conditions apply.

To book call 1300 278 278 or visit www.aptouring.com.au or see your travel agent.

 

Exclusive Australian Cruise: Murray Princess meets Cunard Queen

Murray Princess
A unique journey around southern Australia by rail on the Indian Pacific, cruising the Murray River on the Murray Princess paddlewheel and four nights sailing from Adelaide to Sydney aboard Queen Mary 2 is now available from cruise specialists ecruising.travel

The adventure begins on March 5, 2014, with two days travelling from Sydney to Adelaide in Gold Class on the Indian Pacific, including all meals and beverages as well as a whistle stop tour of Broken Hill.

After disembarking the train you will have a night in Adelaide before travelling to the historic riverside town of Mannum to board the PS Murray Princess, an elegant inland paddlewheeler purpose-built for the Murray River.

Cruising downstream from Mannum you will moor at Mundarra with its active nocturnal wildlife for entertainment and a tour of historic Murray Bridge the next morning. The vessel then travels up-river through massive river gorges and past 90-metre cliffs before stopping at River View Lodge where a smaller vessel departs on a backwater wildlife cruise.

Then there's a coach back to Adelaide to join the elegant Queen Mary 2 and spend four nights sailing back to Sydney. Enjoy the luxurious Cunard five star services with gourmet meals, numerous lounges and bars and endless activities on board.

ecruising is selling this exclusive package from $3309 per person, which includes meals, beverages and gold class accommodation aboard the Indian Pacific, one nights accommodation at the Sebel Playford Adelaide, three nights' accommodation with meals on the PS Murray Princess, four nights' accommodation and all meals on the Queen Mary 2, transfers, port charges and government taxes.

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


Discover the World from Brisbane on Princess Cruises in 2014


Princess Cruises will establish its biggest ever presence in Queensland next year with a raft of new cruise itineraries set to launch Brisbane as a gateway to the world.

The cruise line has announced a series of new Princess Cruises' options to sail roundtrip from Brisbane to destinations from the South Pacific to South America making a cruise holiday even more accessible to Queensland holidaymakers.

Combined with Princess Cruises' existing offerings from Brisbane, the new options will mean that Queenslanders can sail roundtrip from their doorstep on cruises ranging from 7 to 104 nights.

The new roundtrip voyages for 2014 from Brisbane now on sale are:

Australia and New Zealand 35-night cruise on Dawn Princess sailing April 15, priced from $4499* and with shore tour highlights including Yarra Valley wine tasting and Maori cultural performances in Auckland
Hawaii, Tahiti and South Pacific 41-night cruise on Sea Princess departing April 7, priced from $5799* and includes visits to the reefs of Bora Bora and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
104-night World Cruise on Dawn Princess departing May 20, priced from $18,999* visiting a range of ports in South America as well as favourite cities like New York, Rome, Singapore and Athens.

The new cruises join a range of shorter Brisbane roundtrip itineraries on Sea Princess including:

Fijian Jewels 11-night itinerary sailing January 22, priced from $1099* with visits to New Caledonia, Fiji and Vila
New Zealand 14-night voyage departing February 2, priced from $1399* with calls to picturesque Akaroa, and vibrant cities including Wellington and Auckland
Queensland and Great Barrier Reef 7-night cruise departing May 18 priced from $999* with visits to the Whitsunday Islands and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

Princess Cruises Executive Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Jan Swartz said the new itineraries from Brisbane opened up a whole new world for the cruise line's Queensland passengers.

"With a growing number of Queenslanders choosing to holiday at sea, Princess Cruises' Brisbane sailings are the perfect way to see the world," Ms Swartz said.

*Fares are per person, twin share, subject to availability.

 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Silversea Launches New 2014 Brochures

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Unveiling its 2014 Voyage and 2014 Adventure brochures, Silversea reinforces its reputation as an innovator in the luxury cruise market.  The brochures reveal Silversea's commitment to discovering new and secluded harbours and creating life-enriching experiences.  Silversea sails to all seven continents in 2014 and has over 200 sailings visiting over 500 destinations.

Karen Christensen, Silversea's General Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing in Australasia, explains what guests can expect from the new collections as the cruise line prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

 

"For 2014, we have added new itineraries and 12 new ports to our Classic Fleet.  Our World Cruise 2014, which sets sail on 6 January 2014 from Los Angeles to Barcelona, is a major highlight, visiting five continents, 29 countries and 54 ports over 113 days.  Also, Silver Spirit's circumnavigation of South America will be another epic journey not to be missed," says Christensen.  

 

Christensen explains that, although the Mediterranean and Northern Europe remains Silversea's biggest sellers, there is an increasing interest in destinations such as Myanmar, South America and northern Asia.  However, expedition cruising is the cruise line's fastest growing market segment.

 

Silversea's new 2014 Adventure brochure features a complete list of the extraordinary expedition voyages available aboard Silver Explorer and the new Silver Galapagos.  In 2014, Silversea's expedition fleet will explore five continents and 234 of the world's unique destinations.  

 

"We are very proud to launch our expedition vessel, Silver Galapagos.  Accommodating only 100 passengers, guests will be able to explore the remarkable Gal├ípagos Islands like never before, whilst travelling in the utmost style and elegance.  Guests can also choose from a new range of optional land packages, giving our guests the opportunity to experience South America's ultimate highlights, including Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca & Puno and the Amazon," says Christensen.

 

"Over the years, our fleet has grown to eight magnificent vessels, yet I am pleased to say that Silversea has retained its family values.  Silversea still has fewer guests and a higher staff to guest ratio, therefore we can tailor our service to our guests' individual needs.  There's luxury and then, there's Silversea - anyone who has been onboard one of our ships will know exactly what I mean." 

 

"For guests who enjoy the finer things in life, luxury continues to set Silversea apart.  We offer a personal butler service in every suite onboard, not just the top suites.  We even have personal butlers onboard all our expedition vessels, which is very special," says Christensen.

 

The brochures are available in digital and print formats, and can be viewed online at Silversea.com by clicking the E-BROCHURE link.

For more information and a brochure contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea. com

 


Friday, 20 September 2013

Azamara upgrade offer


Nothing beats sailing to the far reaches of the world in the warm comfort and experienced hands of Azamara Club Cruises®. Well, maybe one thing… getting a really great deal. This month we have a choice of two AzAmazing Upgrade offers...now which one to choose?
Double Upgrade Offer* 
There’s no better way to take in breathtaking worldwide destinations and ocean sunsets then from your very own private balcony. For a limited time only receive a Verandah Stateroom for the price of an Interior, and experience a voyage where spectacular views are only ever a few steps away.
With a range of sail dates available and countless captivating destinations to choose from including Europe, The Far East, South and Central America, The West Indies and the West Coast of America you’re sure to find the perfect voyage.
To receive your complimentary double stateroom upgrade, simply book any of our select 2014 voyages before 30 September 2013.
Asia Upgrade Offer* 
Experience the exotic beauty and ancient mystique of Asia onboard Azamara Journey with another fantastic upgrade offer. Book select 2013-14 Asia voyages and receive a Club Oceanview stateroom for the price of an Interior. Offer ends 31st October 2013.
With longer stays in port and more overnights you’ll have time to get beneath the surface and explore what makes each place unique. Back onboard enjoy world class cuisine, personalised service and beautifully appointed staterooms. And with two AzAmazing upgrade offers now available there has never been a better time to book your next Azamara voyage.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Royal Caribbean: Two of its largest and most innovative ships, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas sailing Asia again in 2014


Two of Royal Caribbean International's largest and most innovative ships will sail in Asia again in 2014, calling at some of the most enticing and exciting destinations.

With so many exotic and enticing destinations in Asia it can sometimes be difficult to see all you want to see, while still travelling in style and comfort. That's where Royal Caribbean International comes in!

"Royal Caribbean now offers the two largest and most modern cruise ships sailing in Asia: Mariner of the Seas and sister ship Voyager of the Seas, which also sails in Australia during the southern summer. In 2014 they will offer a range of over 70 cruises," said Adam Armstrong, commercial director, Royal Caribbean International.

"Asian cruises are a fantastic way to explore many different destinations and cultures all in one trip – and at the same time, travel in comfort onboard a state-of-the-art ship. Plus, you only have to unpack once. Guests of all ages will also enjoy the only DreamWorks Experience in Asia, a wide range of signature Royal Caribbean onboard amenities, and our award-winning entertainment and family programming."

Itineraries range from three to 10 nights in duration and include varied ports of call in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. In addition to roundtrip sailings from five major-city homeports (Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing) both ships offer 'open-jaw' repositioning cruises, which are extremely popular with Australians:

·         Voyager of the Seas sails a brand new 10-night Singapore to Tokyo itinerary on 10 April 2014. This sailing will call at Hong Kong, China; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan, China; and Nagasaki, Japan with fares starting from $989 per person for an interior stateroom.*
·         Voyager of the Seas' second open-jaw itinerary departs 8 October 2014 from Hong Kong and sails for nine-nights to Singapore via Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Ho Chi Minh (Phu My), Vietnam; and Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand, with fares starting from $899 per person for an interior stateroom.*
·         Mariner of the Seas will offer two eight-night open-jaw sailings between Singapore and Shanghai in March and November 2014. Both sailings offer calls at Ho Chi Minh (Phu My), Vietnam; Hong Kong, China; and Xiamen, China, with fares starting from $939 per person for an interior statroom.*

Voyager of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas are among Royal Caribbean's Voyager class of ships and feature iconic Royal Caribbean International amenities such as the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, a nine-hole mini-golf course, full-size basketball and sports court, and the Royal Promenade – a boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques. Both ships also exclusively offer the DreamWorks Experience at sea. Guests can partake in parades, themed activities and other onboard events based on DreamWorks Animation's popular feature-film characters, including Po of "Kung Fu Panda;" Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of "Shrek;" and Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, and the Penguins from "Madagascar." Each ship also is equipped with a 3-D movie theatre playing the latest DreamWorks Animation films.

Voyager of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas will spend the remainder of their (northern) summer season sailing from China (Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong) and Japan (Tokyo), offering itineraries from three- to seven-nights and visiting ports in Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

For additional information or to make reservations, visit royalcaribbean.com.au, call 1800 754 500 or contact your local travel agent.  Travel professionals can call 1300 754 500 or visit cruisingpower.com.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Royal Caribbean International Launches World’s First Instagram Film Festival

Royal Caribbean International has announced that they will host the world’s first Instagram film festival. The cruise company is calling out for entries to the Royal Caribbean InstaFilmFest, inviting everyone to capture their “WOW moments” in 15 seconds of video footage and upload to Instagram via the hashtag #InstaFilmFest. The Instagram competition starts from today, and winners will be announced at a grand finale event in early 2014.



Royal Caribbean’s InstaFilmFest was created to celebrate the moments in life that take your breath away – or even just make you smile. An unforgettable sunset, waves lapping at your favourite beach, indulging in a beautiful meal, a baby’s first steps, the look on the guest of honour’s face at a surprise party – the possibilities for “WOW moment” entries are endless – and not just limited to cruising or holidays.

The Royal Caribbean InstaFilmFest grand finale will take place onboard a Royal Caribbean superliner in Sydney harbour in early 2014. Finalists and VIPs will be invited to the exclusive event, where the finalists’ videos will be shown and the winners will be announced.*

An expert panel of judges will choose the winners, with the judging panel to be announced in late 2013. The winner of this world’s first event will enjoy a cruise to the South Pacific onboard Radiance of the Seas. There will also be a prize for the most popular WOW moment (People’s Choice) - a two night cruise onboard Rhapsody of the Seas. And everyone who votes online for their favourite WOW moment will go into the draw to win a Black Edition GoPro camera.

Adam Armstrong, Commercial Director, said: “Royal Caribbean is thrilled to announce that we are hosting the world’s first Instagram film festival. Royal Caribbean has a huge online community - fans love connecting and sharing their experiences with us and each other through social media. When we heard about Instagram’s new video function, we realised that this was a perfect opportunity to do something fun. The Royal Caribbean InstaFilmFest campaign highlights just some of the onboard WOW moments that Royal Caribbean’s guests experience everyday like rock climbing, ice skating, cupcake decorating, delicious meals or just simply chilling out. We can’t wait to see all the WOW moments which our guests and the Instagram community share via the hashtag #InstaFilmFest.”

Royal Caribbean has two superliners and one megaliner based locally from October 2013 for the summer cruise season – Rhapsody of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. The ships sail to an array of exciting ports in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific until April 2014.

Royal Caribbean ships are “designed for WOW”, featuring innovative onboard experiences that cannot be found on other cruise lines – such as rock climbing walls, speciality dining restaurants, DreamWorks character parades, cupcake decorating classes, surfing simulators, an ice skating rink and much more.**

Royal Caribbean’s InstaFilmFest is part of a new brand campaign which celebrates WOW moments. The “Designed for WOW” marketing campaign represents the biggest local marketing investment by Royal Caribbean in the Australasia region to date. A microsite has been created to anchor this fully integrated campaign which spans across online and offline channels both above and below the line. Royal Caribbean is proud to be working with Hulsbosch, an award winning strategic brand and design company specialising in the travel sphere, and Circul8, an innovative and dynamic social media agency, on this project.

Useful Links

InstaFilm Fest Microsite: instafilmfestival.com.au

Royal Caribbean AU & NZ Instagram: instagram.com/royalcaribbean_aunz

Royal Caribbean AU & NZ Facebook: facebook.com/rciaustraliaandnz

Royal Caribbean AU & NZ YouTube: youtube.com/rciaustraliaandnz

For more information about Royal Caribbean International, visit: RoyalCaribbean.com.au

For more information about Hulsbosch, visit: hulsbosch.com.au

For more information about Circul8, visit: circul8.com.au



*For full competition terms and conditions, visit: www.instafilmfestival.com.au

**Facilities vary per ship.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Costa Concordia refloated. Now vertical and ready for scrapping.

After a marathon 19-hour operation, the Costa Concordia is now upright.


Shortly after 4am Tuesday (local time), a foghorn rang out on Giglio Island and the head of Italy's Civil Protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, announced that the ship had reached vertical and that the operation to rotate it was complete.

Applause rang out among firefighters in the tent where Gabrielli and other project engineers made the announcement.

Officials said there was no apparent pollution in the waters around the ship as a result of the operation.

Follow the whole story at news.com.au

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Myanmar: rare opportunity to sail in style into the former Burma

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WITH mysterious Myanmar (the former Burma) sizzling near the top of the 'hot list' of places to visit as it now opens its doors to tourists after being "closed" for four decades, SeaDream Yacht Club has a unique half-dozen opportunities to visit aboard its luxury 5-star SeaDream II in November and December this year.

And it includes staying aboard in capital Yangon (Rangoon) for up to 2.5 days to avoid hotel and shore-side meal costs while sightseeing this photographer's paradise.

The mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II will sail from Singapore on November 25 this year for 13-days to Yangon and onwards to Phuket in Thailand, and a second 13-day opportunity sailing on December 8 from Phuket to Yangon and back to Singapore  – including visits to eight popular as well as smaller and lesser-visited ports and islands in South East Asia, and with prices (inclusive of 5-star dining with wines and bar drinks) starting from US$8044pp twin share.

Alternatively these two-week itineraries can be split into two 6-day or 7-day sailings beginning or ending in Yangon, and which each include a night aboard SeaDream II in Yangon and are priced from US$4189pp twin-share.

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SeaDream II has just 56 staterooms for a maximum 112 guests served by 95 crew. Prices include all 5-star dining, drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, nightly cocktail gatherings, use of a fitness centre and 30-course golf simulator, power and sail water-sports where permitted, gratuities and port charges and taxes.

For details of SeaDream II's Myanmar and other Asia and northern Australia sailings from October this year to April 2014, see travel agents or visit www.seadream.com

(Prices do not include air fares to ports of embarkation and disembarkation.)
                                                                

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

More ships for Viking River Cruises


World's Leading River Cruise Line Seeing Unprecedented Demand;
Will Launch 14 New Viking Longships® Next Year

Amid record levels of consumer interest in river cruising, Viking Cruises (www.vikingrivercruises.com.au) today announced it has increased its order for additional Viking Longships, bringing the total number of new ships launching in 2014 from 12 to 14 vessels. The increased order reflects the popularity of river cruising as the fastest growing-segment of the travel industry and the leadership position of Viking, the world's leading river cruise line. By the end of 2014, Viking will have introduced a total of 30 new ships in a three-year period – the most rapid fleet expansion program the cruise industry has ever seen. The 14 new ships in 2014 will sail Viking's most popular itineraries in Europe.

                  "We are working hard to match supply with demand, and with these new builds, we have the best designed, newest and most extensive offer of ships on the rivers – more than double all our competitors combined," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "More than ever, travellers want experiences that bring them closer to the destination, which is why we continue to design ships and itineraries with destinations and enrichment as the focus."

                  Over the last few years, river cruising has grown at an average annual rate of approximately nine percent*. Within this segment, Viking has grown at a much faster clip than its competitors – an average of 22 percent* per year, compared to the estimated four percent* annual growth of other river cruise lines.

                  In March of this year, Viking set a world record with the inauguration of 10 new Longships for the 2013 sailing season in a first-of-its-kind simultaneous christeningceremony in Amsterdam. This made way for its most successful sailing season, with more than 90 percent of all available staterooms sold during the spring andsummer months and record sales for the holiday sailings. Customer satisfaction is also central to Viking Cruises' growth, specifically in attracting repeat travellers. In fact, for the 2011 sailing season, 97 percent of Viking passengers rated their experience as "above expectations."

Named "Best New River Ships of 2012" in Cruise Critic's® Editors' Picks Awards, Viking Longships integrate patent-pending design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These new features include a revolutionary new all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco. Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships have a patented layout that allows for two Explorer Suites – the largest river cruise suites in Europe – as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom; 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas; and 22 French Balcony Staterooms. Additionally, all Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.

For more information, visit http://www.vikingrivercruises.com.au/longships-feature/ or contact teresia.fors@vikingrivercruises.com.

*Source: Cruise Lines International Association, Inc.; http://www.cruisemarketwatch.com/growth/ Jan 28, 2013

 

Monday, 9 September 2013

New port of call for SeaDream: Macau


For the first time the former Portuguese enclave of Macau will be a port of call for luxury cruise ship SeaDream II.

Petite by today's standards and rated world's Number 1 in the boutique category by the respected Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, this lavish 4300-tonne mega yacht will make the historic visit in March 2014 during her 13-day Asian voyage.

Macau was chosen as an overnight port for its fascinating Portuguese-infused characteristics and the fact that it was easily accessible by a ship of the SeaDream II's compact measurements, which are identical to sister ship SeaDream I.

 
That's SeaDream in the foreground! Look closely.

Like on many other cruise programs she is able to reach such interesting ports as Macau normally bypassed by larger cruise ships.

"To have a cruise ship of SeaDream II's calibre call on Macau speaks volumes for the appeal of city as a genuine port of call, perhaps for future small cruise ships to visit," said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macau Government Tourist Office (Australia and New Zealand).

"Macau's mix of east-meets-west, old-meets-new features makes for a fascinating visit for the 100 or more cruise ship passengers," she said.

"To sample and see elements of Portugal in the midst of Asia makes for a unique experience, very different from the other ports on this cruise.

"It will be our aim to ensure those who visit return to spend more time in what is a very special part of Asia."

The SeaDream II Asian voyage begins in Bangkok on March 2 with calls on Ko Chang/Ko Kut in Thailand, Sihanoukville in Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in Vietnam for an overnight stay, Nha Trang also in Vietnam, Sanya on China's Hainan Island, Halong Bay (Vietnam) and Macau, ending in Hong Kong.

The ship will also have three days at sea, during which time guests will be able to enjoy the complimentary 30-course golf simulator and fitness centre, extensive library, the optional-cost Thai Spa.

SeaDream prices begin at $US7699pp, twin share (about $A1910) and include five-star dining, select premium brands from the open bars and at nightly pre-dinner cocktails, wines with lunch and dinner, use of an on-board golf simulator and fitness centre, gratuities, and port charges and taxes.

And with a mere 56 staterooms, SeaDream II can only cater for a maximum of 112 guests and 95 crew members.

The ship is rated World's Number 1 in the boutique category by the Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships for its relaxing and casual ambience with smart casual (no need for jackets, ties or formal wear at dinner,) and on-deck dining under shade cloths at breakfast and lunch, and several times each sailing at dinner as well,

Details: Travel agents or visit www.seadream.com

Details on Macau, www.macautourism.gov.mo

Cruise Deal - Celebrity Cruises perks up your next modern luxury sailing with four great offers

Celebrity Cruises is enticing guests to book their next overseas modern luxury cruise holiday now, with four great offers to choose from on more than 290 sailings when booked by Sunday 6 October. If you have been dreaming of a tropical getaway in the Caribbean or Bermuda, discovering breathtaking Alaska or exploring Europe or the US, Celebrity Cruises has a sailing for you, and with the "Pick Your Perk" offer Celebrity rewards you with what you want.
Offer: Book an Oceanview stateroom or above on any Celebrity Cruises sailing in Europe, Alaska, The Caribbean, Bermuda or the US of four nights or longer, departing between 1 November 2013 and 31 December 2014 by Sunday 6 October and guests can select one of four great offers. The four great offers include:
1.       Free Classic Beverage package the first two guests per stateroom receive beers to the value of $5 per serving; spirits, cocktails and wine by the glass to the value of $8 per serving; all soft drink selections, fresh squeezed and bottled juices, premium coffees, specialty teas and non-premium bottled water for the length of the cruise. Server Gratuities are also included, and a Premium Beverage Package upgrade is also available for US$11.50 per person per day.
2.       Free gratuities – all gratuities for stateroom attendant, waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter will be covered for two guests.
3.       Up to US$300 bonus onboard credit – bonus onboard credit can be used for those extra luxuries onboard including spa treatments, shore excursion, duty free shopping and cocktails. Bonus onboard credit amount varies by sailing – four to five night sailings receive US$100 per stateroom; six to nine night sailings receive US$200 per stateroom; and 10 night and longer receive US$300 per stateroom.
4.       Up to AU$600 Air savings – Celebrity Cruises will help cover some of the costs to fly to your cruise. Air saving amounts vary by sail nights and must be booked through Choice Air to qualify – four to five night sailings will receive AU$200 per stateroom; six to nine night sailings will receive AU$400 per stateroom; and sailings of 10 night or longer receive AU$600 per stateroom.
Lead Fare
Fares start from $1,169 per person for an eight-night Alaska voyage onboard Celebrity Solstice. Departing Vancouver, British Columbia on 8 May 2014, this sailing calls at Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan and Seattle (Washington).
Terms and Conditions
·         Offer is valid for new bookings only on Celebrity Europe, Alaska, Caribbean, Bermuda and Pacific Coastal (USA) voyages of 4 nights or longer departing between 1 November 2013 and 31 December 2014. Please note that to be considered a European voyage the cruise must embark and disembark in a European port.
·         New Bookings must be made between Friday, 30 August and Sunday, 6 October 2013 in order to qualify for the offer.
·         Offer consists of choosing one of the following four options a.) Free Classic Beverage Package OR b.) Free Gratuities OR c.) up to US$300 Onboard Credit OR d.) up to $600 Air Savings
·         Offer applies to Oceanview staterooms and above (interior staterooms are excluded).
·         Redemption Process: Consumers/trade must notify Celebrity Cruises at coupons@rccl.com of the option chosen no later than Friday 11 October 2013 otherwise the Onboard Credit will be automatically applied. Changes to option requests will not be accepted after 11 October 2013.
·         Some further terms and conditions apply. Please see www.celebritycruises.com.au for further details.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Berlitz Cruise Guide 2014: EUROPA and EUROPA 2 receive top distinction of 5-stars plus

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Berlitz Cruise Guide 2014: EUROPA and EUROPA 2 receive top distinction of 5-stars plus

·         For the first time, two ships have been awarded the 5-stars-plus rating
·         The expedition ship HANSEATIC took first place in the "boutique ships" category

The latest edition of the popular "Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships" has awarded the two sister ships in the luxury sector, the EUROPA and the EUROPA 2 of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the highest distinction of 5-stars-plus. This makes both ships global leaders. The expedition ship HANSEATIC was ranked in first place in the top ten "boutique ships" with up to 250 passengers.

Attaining 1,860 points out of a possible 2,000, the EUROPA 2 achieved the highest score. Together with its sister ship, the EUROPA has once again been included in the 5-stars-plus category with 1,851 points. This allowed both luxury ships to claim first and second place amongst the top ten "small ships" with up to 750 passengers. The HANSEATIC improved its score with 1,765 points and, as the only expedition ship to be awarded five stars, is featured in the top ten list of "boutique ships" for the first time. The BREMEN also improved its score with a total of 1,555 points and was awarded the 4-stars-plus rating.

"In the 29-year history of Berlitz ratings, this is the first time two cruise ships are in the exclusive 5-stars-plus-club. No other ships currently achieve such a high standard, which are set by the EUROPA and EUROPA 2 and their crews," says Douglas Ward at the presentation of the Berlitz award to the management of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. "The EUROPA 2 has also achieved the highest score ever in the history of the book. She offers a great space per passenger ratio, much light through the high windows, an excellent and high-class culinary choice and attentive and unobtrusive service," explains Douglas Ward.

"We are especially proud to be global leaders in the luxury sector with both ships," said Karl J. Pojer, chief executive officer of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. "This score is a special distinction for the crews of the EUROPA and the EUROPA 2 who are setting the bar in the sector with their quality and service. It is also a huge 'thank you' to the team in Hamburg and a welcome affirmation of our strategy in the luxury and expedition sectors," explained Pojer.

Author Douglas Ward and his team tested a total of 285 cruise ships around the world and scored them based on criteria such as ship fittings, menus, restaurant quality, service, crew, entertainment and the cruise experience.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' exciting destinations and itineraries, visit www.hl-cruises.com. All press releases and a picture gallery can be found at www.hl-cruises.com/press. For EUROPA 2 images, visit http://www.hl-cruises.com/press/photoarchive/cruises-fleet/ms-europa-2/.

Reservations: Please call +49 40 3001-4580 (English-speaking hotline), send an e-mail to salesteam@hlkf.de or visit www.hl-cruises.com/contact-services for local agents.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Discount on Voyager of the Seas Cruise

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HUGE SAVINGS ON VOYAGER CRUISE

MANY of the most exciting port calls in New Zealand, Australia and Asia are included in a 44-night fly/cruise package which has been reduced in price by nearly $4000 per person by cruise specialists ecruising.travel if you book by October 30.

The cruise onboard  Voyager of the Seas departs Sydney on March 9, 2014, and the price includes all accommodation and meals during the cruise, one way air fares from Tokyo to Sydney and all air taxes and port charges. Priced from $5319 per person twin share.

When Voyager of the Seas departs Sydney she will call firstly at Auckland and then travel down the NZ coast to Tauranga, Napier, Dunedin, and the Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds before crossing to Melbourne. The ship will then make calls at Adelaide, Perth and Port Hedland before a few days at sea on the way to Bangkok for a two-day stay.

After stops at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong the ship will make calls to unusual destinations like Kaohsiung and Taipei in Taiwan and the Japanese city of Nagasaki before disembarking in Tokyo for a two night stay at the Shangri-La hotel.

Voyager of the Seas has a great selection of restaurants, cafes and bars, plus an ice skating rink, rock climbing wall, spa and fitness center, golf simulator and casino.

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