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Saturday 27 December 2014

Bergen to Barcelona aboard VIKING STAR

Sail on the world's newest and most unique all balcony ship!

An epic 15 day journey of contrasts on the world's newest ship that includes select excursions, beverages and port lectures.  You will feel very much like an explorer, not just a tourist.  Let the voyage commence!

Departs: 5 August 2015
Includes: Return flights, 2 nights stay Bergen, 14 night cruise, 3 night stay Barcelona
Ports of call: Bergen, Haugesund, Southampton, Le Havre (Paris), Cherbourg, A Coruña, Porto, Lisbon, Cádiz (Seville), Malaga (Grenada), Barcelona (overnight).
Package from: $10,199 pp twin share

Find out more

ms Astor Tilbury to Sydney

Join this unique and exciting voyage on the lovely ms Astor as you sail all the way from London to Sydney!

Extensively refurbished in 2010, Astor is fully stabilised and air-conditioned with accommodation for just 600 privileged guests. The unique size of Astor offers an intimate country house style allowing you to enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being among a select number of guests and to be pampered by the very attentive crew.
  • Inclusive:  Your package includes your flight to London, hotel stay and voyage to Australia
  • Discover:  The man made wonder of the Panama Canal
  • Explore:  Three delightful ports in the Caribbean including St Lucia with its famous 'pitons'.

Find out more

Tuesday 23 December 2014

History of P&O Oriana

 The Oriana was the first cruise liner purpose built for the British cruise market. She is specifically designed to operate world voyages and embodies the classic lines, comfort and ambiance of the traditional ocean liners of yesteryear. She was the fastest cruise liner built for 25 years and has an operating speed of 24 knots.

Like her predecessor, Oriana celebrates in her name the two great Elizabethan eras. The first Oriana in the P&O fleet entered service in 1960, for Orient Steam Navigation Company, her name connecting Queen Elizabeth I with our own Elizabethan era with Queen Elizabeth II. Early references to the name Oriana appear in 16th century romances where she was a British princess, heroine and poetic huntress. So virtuous was this literary figure that contemporary courtiers chose 'Oriana' as a title to honour Queen Elizabeth I. Today's Oriana honours her namesake predecessor (Oriana built in 1960) and continues to honour in her name the two great Elizabethan eras.

Design and Construction (1995):

She was built by Meyer Werft Ltd, Papenburg, Germany in 1995.
After a lengthy campaign, P&O Cruises were permitted to allocate the new Oriana with the call sign 'GVSN', which is the same call sign as her predecessor namesake (the Oriana built in 1960). One of her main designers, Robert Tillberg, spent a lot of the time onboard Canberra investigating the needs of British passengers and including as many features of Canberra possible into Oriana's design. The Oriana's single funnel is designed to have a resemblance to Canberra's twin funnels. She also has a single deck of balconies reserved for Suites, Mini-suites and Staterooms to cater for the growing desire for balconies onboard.

When she entered service Oriana was one of the largest cruise ships in the world, and also the largest ship built in Germany since 1914. Since then tonnages have boomed as the economies of scale dictate that a larger ships generates more profit. Nowadays most new cruise ships have a GRT of around 100,000 tonnes or higher.

The Oriana was named in a lavish ceremony in Southampton on the 6th April 1995 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

P&O Cruises era (1995 – Present): She then set sail on her maiden voyage on the 9th April 1995 which was a cruise from Southampton to Scandinavia. Since then she has enjoyed a successful career with P&O Cruises and throughout the spring, summer and autumn, Oriana sails to the Mediterranean, Baltic, Scandinavia and the Caribbean. January to March each year sees her undertaking her annual World Cruise, calling at nearly 30 ports of call and taking 90 days to complete.

The Oriana currently holds the Golden Cockerel trophy for the fastest ship in the P&O Cruises fleet. Previously held by the S.S. Oriana (1960) it passed to S.S. Canberra after that Oriana's retirement in 1986. On Canberra's final cruise in 1997 the Golden Cockerel was handed over to the new Oriana when both ships were anchored off Cannes and sent boats out to perform the handover.
In December 2006 a £12 million refit was undertaken on the Oriana in Bremerhaven, Germany. During the refit she was reflagged from the British Red Ensign to the Bermuda flag in order to enable Weddings at Sea to be held on board. Also a new Oriana Rhodes restaurant, designed by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes was introduced. Created in what was formerly 'The Curzon Room', the 96 seater restaurant has been introduced due to the success of the Arcadian Rhodes restaurant on fleetmate Arcadia. Other modifications included the extension of the popular Lord's Tavern bar, festooned with cricket memorabilia and refurbishment of the children's play areas. In addition all of her cabins have been restyled to include one of four new colour schemes, new curtains, carpets, beds, linen and duvets.

Today she continues to sail for P&O Cruises and remains a firm favourite with the British cruise market.

History of P&O's SS Himalaya

SS Himalaya in Manila 1962

Back in 1945 P&O had ordered its first new passenger liner of the postwar period. The Himalaya finally emerged in 1949 and was a splendid ship and the fastest and largest ship P&O had ever owned until that time. She had a top speed of 25 knots.

Design & Construction (1945 - 1949):

She had been ordered in March 1945 and she was built by Vickers Armstrong Ltd, Barrow in Furness. Her keel was laid on the 26th February 1946 and she underwent sea trials in August 1949. She was delivered to P&O on the 1st September 1949. She was the first liner equipped with a Weir evaporating plant for distilling water. She was named after the Himalaya mountains.

P&O Himalaya under the Sydney Harbour Bridge

P&O Years (1949 - 1970):

She sailed on her maiden voyage on the 6th October 1949 from London (Tilbury) to Bombay via Suez. The Himalaya was a contemporary of Orient Line's Orcades and these ships marked a gradual coming together of the new liners of each company in the postwar era. She was a record breaker and cut the UK to Bombay passage by 5 days and reduced the overall voyage to Australia from 38 days to just 28 days. Indeed the six ships worked closely together on their Australian service with their sailing schedules organised so that sailings alternated between P&O and Orient. Thus they formed a Southern Dominions "Big Six" fleet.

On the 30th August 1956 an explosion occured in a domestic refrigeration chamber when she was in the Mediterranean bound for Australia. Four crew were killed and 12 injured.

In January 1958 P&O and Orient services to Australia were extended across the Pacific in a joint service marketed as Orient & Pacific Line. The Himalaya inaugurated the operation and sailings continued from Sydney to Auckland, Suva, Honolulu, Vancouver and San Francisco. On the 12th January 1959 she departed London on a round trip of 79,000 km (49,250 miles) to Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Japan and Singapore, which in the process opened the Orient & Pacific Lines US / Japan service. In winter 1959 / 1960 she was refitted and air conditioned in the Netherlands.

In May 1960 her management and operation was transferred to P&O-Orient Lines. In October 1960 Stephen Bradley, who had abducted and killed an 8 year old son of the first Sydney Opera House lottery winner, was taken off the London bound ship at Colombo and flown back to Sydney by Comet airliner to face trial.

In 1963 she was refitted by R & H Green and Silley Weir Ltd in Tilbury for one class operation with 1,416 passengers. On the 21st November 1963 she set sail from London bound on her first one-class voyage to Australia. In 1966 her management and operation transferred to P&O Lines.

The Final Years (1970 - 1974): 

P&O SS Himalaya 28000 tons
Official P&O postcard

In the 1970s she was primarily occupied on a long programme of cruises from Australia and New Zealand with a shorter period cruising from Southampton in the Spring, the two linked by "positioning" voyages. On the 27th March 1973, she arrived in Southampton with 1,400 passengers of whom no less than 950 were women on a World Discovery tour organised by the Australian magazine "Women's Weekly". In October 1971 her management and operation were transferred to the P&O Passenger Division. 

On the 30th October 1974, she arrived in Sydney at the end of her final commercial voyage. She was retired from service and sold to Mitsui & Co. who in turn sold her to Tong Cheng Steel Manufacturing Co. Ltd for scrapping. She arrived at Kaoshiung, Taiwan on the 28th November 1974 and demolition commenced in January 1975. A sad end to a fine ship.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Silversea Cruises in Indonesia


Experience the cultures, customs and cuisines of Indonesia on this nine day voyage on board Silversea's Silver Wind.

Commencing in Benoa, Bali on 15 January 2015, Silver Wind will spend a night in port, to allow guests time to explore the tropical island's beaches, terraced rice fields and surrounding volcanoes.  Guests can also experience the unique Balinese traditions, celebrated widely among villagers.  Silver Wind will then continue her journey to Lombok, an island rich in temples and beautiful landscapes.

Continuing her journey through Indonesia, Silver Wind will also stop at Probolinggo, a city on the coast of East Java, and Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city where the battle for independence began.  Guests will then overnight in Semarang, a bustling city in Java, serving as a gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur and the mountainous interior of Central Java.  Semarang is built on tradition, and is filled with colonial architecture and a lively Chinese quarter, providing guests with many hidden corners to explore.  Silver Wind will spend her final night in Singapore, where guests can explore the vibrant cultures and experience Singapore's mouthwatering food, before disembarking on 24 January 2015.

Prices are per person starting from AU$4,750 in a Vista Suite double occupancy.  Silversea fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ships; and all gratuities.

This voyage is subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Singapore Sling for FREE* with Portuscale Cruises

Portuscale Cruises continues to celebrate the return of M/V Funchal to Australian waters next summer by releasing a special FLY FREE* to Singapore offer on their 17 Day Singapore to Newcastle or 20 Day Singapore to Geelong cruise when booked by 30 September 2014. In addition, guests will receive the Advantage Saver Fares of up to 15% savings per person* on top of the Fly FREE offer! Click here, to download a copy of the Portuscale Cruises Fly Free to Singapore flyer.

Flying from either Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth to Singapore for FREE*, guests will board M/V Funchal for a journey of cultural discovery taking in the sights and sounds of Semarang and Komodo Island in Indonesia to the welcoming smiles of the people of Dili (Timor Leste), and Port Moresby in PNG before disembarking in Newcastle or Geelong.

Days at sea will be relaxing and sociable with many facilities including five bar lounges, classic onboard activities, engaging lectures and after dinner entertainment or guests can simply read a book by the outdoor pool whilst enjoying a cocktail or two. Dining will be a highlight where no dinner menu is repeated and the bread will arrive at your table freshly baked from the oven.

At the end of the day, retreat to a choice of nine cabin categories, which include an ensuite bathroom, hairdryer, bar fridge, safe, flat screen TV and depending on the category chosen, it may also include a sofa and coffee table.

“Portuscale Cruises offers unforgettable cruises aboard its classic ship, the M/V Funchal, and unique destination focused itineraries, a variety of shore excursions taking in the history and culture of the destination”, says Discover General Manager Sales and Product Roger Condon. “A voyage with M/V Funchal is unlike any other,” continues Condon, “as she offers classic accommodation and modern conveniences, whilst retaining her old world charm, and gives passengers the opportunity to explore ports rarely visited by mainstream cruise ships”.

*Conditions apply. Please contact Discover the World for full terms and conditions.

The 17 Day Singapore to Newcastle cruise starts from $3,610 per person twin share or the 20 day Singapore to Geelong cruise from $4,155 per person twin share based on Cat 1 inside cabin. Fares are inclusive of the Advantage saver discount, onboard gratuities, full port charges and all government taxes. Enquire for additional cabin categories.

For bookings, to request brochures or for more information, please contact Discover the World on 1800 221 625 or email

For more information or images on Portuscale Cruises, please contact Olga Korobko, General Manager Marketing on 02 9959 3696 or email

Source: Portuscale Cruises

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Azamara Club Cruises “Buy One get One Half Price” promotion


ONLINE cruise specialists are utilising the current Azamara Club Cruises "Buy One get One Half Price" promotion to package up some fantastic cruise holidays with return airfares and pre-cruise accommodation included.

The sale applies to a selection of popular Azamara Club Cruise voyages, including the 14-night cruise aboard Azamara Quest from Singapore to Bali, now costing from just $4989 per person twin share, which includes a 25 percent cruise discount per person.

Fly to Singapore on February 1, 2015 for two nights at the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel conveniently located in Marina Square close to shopping malls, restaurants and the vibrant Marina Bay area.

You will join Azamara Quest on February 3 and sail towards Thailand with a stop at the popular beach destination of Koh Samui and a two night stay in bustling Bangkok. From there you will travel to Indonesia with port stops in Semarang in Java, Celukan on the north side of Bali and the sleepy beach island of Lombok before your final destination of Bali.

The package includes return economy airfares from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, two nights hotel accommodation, 14 nights cruise accommodation with all main meals and standard beverages, one complimentary AZAmazing Evening Event on the cruise, entry to Singapore Flyer, transfers in Singapore  and port charges and government taxes.

The package from Adelaide costs from $4679 and from Perth starts from $4979 per person twin share.

Available for sale until September 30, prices may vary due to the airfare component, for more details contact on 1300-369-848 or visit

Friday 1 August 2014

More Northwest Passage News – Other Cruise News: Prestige Cruise Holdings’ Vancouver-Montreal Cruises – Titanic II An Unlikely Prospect

by Kevin Griffin
Last week Crystal Cruises surprised the market with news that it would sail its 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity through the Northwest Passage from Seward to New York in 2016. This week, we bring you a reminder that the World of Residensea’s 43,524-ton residential ship The World has already done this, having transitted from Nome to Nuuk in 2012 without the publicity a cruise ship generates. And speaking of passages from west to east, two Prestige Cruise Holdings ships, the 30,277-ton Regatta and 28,803-ton Seven Seas Navigator, will be cruising from Vancouver to Montreal this autumn via Alaska and the Panama Canal. And finally, as Clive Palmer’s companies run into more legal problems in Australia, completion of his Titanic II becomes an even less likely prospect.
More Northwest Passage News
Last week we brought the news that Crystal Cruises was planning to send its 1,090-berth Crystal Serenity through the Northwest Passage from Seward to New York in 2016.
Le Soleal - Compagnie du Ponant
Le Soleal – Compagnie du Ponant

At the time we said that Canada’s Northwest Passage had seen many new operators come into play in recent years, but until 2013 with small ships of below 10,000 tons.
The largest cruise ship to have done this so far was Compagnie du Ponant’s 10,944-ton Le Soléal in 2013.
However, Christopher Wright of Mariport Group in Canada brought to our attention the fact that the 165-residence condominium ship The World had already done the passage in 2012, with about 200 passengers plus her crew of 260.
So here is a revised list of the largest ships to have transitted the Northwest Passage, or which are planning to do so:

The World, which bills itself as “the largest privately owned residential yacht on earth,” stopped at either end of the Northwest Passage, in Cambridge Bay August 30 and in Pond Inlet on September 5.
The World at Cambridge Bay (Photo courtesy of Nunatsiaq Online)
The World at Cambridge Bay (Photo courtesy of Nunatsiaq Online)

As we said last week, while the first commercial cargo ship did not transit the Northwest Passage until 2013, passenger ships have been doing it for thirty years now. Of these, The World is definitely the largest to date.
Meanwhile, from the other end of the world, Gerd Wilmer of Landmark Travel, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ agent in Australia, reminded us that Hapag-Lloyd’s Bremen and Hanseatic are classed German Ice Class E4, which equates to Ice Class 1A Super rather than just 1A as we indicated last week.
Prestige Cruise Holdings’ Vancouver-Montreal Cruises
This autumn sees two cruise lines owned by Prestige Cruise Holdings offering interesting extended cruises from Vancouver to Montreal by way of Alaska and the Panama Canal.
Oceania Cruises’ 684-berth Regatta leaves Vancouver on August 19 for a 39-night cruise that takes her to Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Victoria, Astoria, San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Chiapas, Puntarenas, Cartagena, Norfolk, New York, Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, Corner Brook, Quebec and Montreal, where she arrives on September 27.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Navigator
Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Navigator

A couple of weeks later, Regent’s all-inclusive 490-berth Seven Seas Navigator leaves Vancouver, on September 1 in her case, for a shorter 31-night cruise that takes her to Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Victoria, Astoria, San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Chiapas, Puntarenas, Cartagena, Grand Cayman, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Norfolk and New York, Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, Saguenay, Quebec and Montreal, where she arrives on October 2.
The similarities in port calls stem from the fact that the two lines share a common itinerary design group.
Both ships will again be offering similar cruises in 2015, so guests are able to plan well in advance.
Titanic II An Unlikely Prospect
In April 2012, a century after the loss of the 46,328-ton Titanic on April 15, 1912, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced that he would be building a replica of that long-lamented ship, which had hit an iceberg at speed and sank in the course of her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
Last week came news from Australia that Citic Pacific and Sino Iron, Palmer’s partners in two iron ore mining projects near Cape Preston, Western Australia, were suing him in Queensland Supreme Court for what they allege is wrongful use of Citic funds.

This comes after Palmer’s May victory in the West Australian Supreme Court that saw him win a claim for about $400 million in royalties from Citic.
Citic Pacific have now accused Palmer of paying cheque 2046, for $10 million on the Cape Preston port administrative account at National Australia Bank, to Cosmo Development Pty Ltd, and cheque 2073 for $2.167 million to Media Circus Network Pty Ltd, neither of which companies have anything to do with the running of the associated port at Port Palmer.
Palmer denies illegal use of the funds, claiming that he had the right to use them for whatever use he wanted as they were paid in return for service provided by his subsidiary Queensland Nickel at Townsville. Palmer had purchased Queensland Nickel in 2009. It had been agreed however that the account itself could only be used for “the day-to-day expenses of operating, maintaining and repairing” the port.
The $10 million cheque was paid on August 8 and the smaller one on September 2, just before the last Australian election, when Palmer formed the Palmer United Party, himself won a seat as a member of parliament and three of his followers won seats in the Australian senate.
All this brings to mind the Australian billionaire Sir Alan Bond, who won the America’s Cup for Australia back in 1983, the first time in 132 years it had been won by anyone other than the New York Yacht Club. Bond had also been an owner of Queensland Nickel. At his peak, he paid $53.9 million for the Van Gogh painting “Sunflowers.” In 1992, Bond’s empire collapsed and he ended up spending four years in jail for the wrongful use of an astonishing $1.2 billion of funds that were siphoned of from 53%-owned Bell Resources into Bond Corporation before the latter went bankrupt.
Although Palmer’s Blue Star Line signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling in May 2012 to build the Titanic II in Nanjing, no order has ever been placed. Two months later, however, in July 2012, Palmer’s Asia Pacific Shipping Enterprises contracted with CSC Jinling for four 64,000-ton bulk carriers to carry nickel ore from New Caledonia, Indonesia and the Philippines to Queensland Nickel’s refinery in Townsville.
All four ships were for delivery this year.
In May, Blue Star Line announced that delivery of the Titanic II would be delayed from 2016 to 2018. The company was forced to use the name Blue Star, as Cunard still owns the right to use and does use the White Star Line name. White Star was the operator of the original Titanic.

While some money has been spent o this project and Deltamarin has been paid to come up with a concept for the 21st century, present events make it seem less likely that this unlikely project in the first place will ever be completed.
(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)

Monday 7 July 2014

Quick Getaway Asia Cruise with Voyager of the Seas

THOSE looking for a quick overseas getaway close to home should check out the latest package from cruise specialists  Save more than $1000 per person on a seven-night  Asian fly/cruise package,  including a five night cruise on board Voyager of the Seas.

Spend two nights in Hong Kong staying at the centrally located Marco Polo Hong Kong hotel, where you have the chance to visit the many attractions Hong Kong has to offer using the complimentary 24-hour MRT pass and a 360 Cable Car experience ticket. Your Hong Kong visit also includes a return Airport Express ticket, the most convenient way to get to the airport in only 21 minutes.

The round-trip cruise departs Hong Kong from the recently opened Kai Tak cruise terminal on September 17 and includes visits to Okinawa in Japan and Taipei (Keelung) in Taiwan.

Now priced from $1999 (was $3349) per person twin share, it also includes return economy airfares from Australia,  two nights hotel accommodation, five nights cruise accommodation in a promenade stateroom with all main meals, port charges and government taxes.

Available for sale until September 10 but pricing is subject  to change due to airfare component. For more details contact on 1300-369-848 or visit


Tuesday 24 June 2014

River cruise ship sinking avoided

The MS Britannia, a 110m river cruise ship operated by Nicko Tours, has narrowly avoided disaster after taking on water through a large hole in the stern during a cruise on the  IJssel River in Holland.

Almost 200 passengers and crew, mostly German and Austrian seniors, were safely evacuated.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Azamara Monaco Grand Prix Cruise 2015

 JOIN in the buzz and excitement that comes with the festivities of the 2015 Monaco Formula One Grand Prix through a special fly/cruise/tour package that includes a cruise on board the Azamara Journey now available through

The 10-night tour leaves Australia on May 16, 2015, and begins with a two night stopover in Dubai staying at the luxurious Raffles Hotel. On arrival in Nice you will be transferred by a private helicopter to Monaco, Monte Carlo to spend three nights over the Grand Prix weekend at the Fairmont Hotel. The visit will be at one of the most exciting times of the year in Monaco and promises to be a trip of a lifetime in this exotic part of the world.

Relax on a five-night round-trip cruise from Nice with port visits to some of Europe's most exotic ports including the beautiful Florence/Pisa in Italy, legendary St Tropez, Monte Carlo and Cannes.

This exclusive package is priced from $6319 per person twin share which includes return economy airfares with Emirates from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, five night cruise accommodation on Azamara Journey including main meals with complimentary wine at lunch and dinner, helicopter transfer from Nice to Monte Carlo, daily breakfast at the Raffles hotel and the Fairmont Hotel, transfers, port charges and government taxes

For more information on the ship and itinerary contact on 1300 369 848 or visit


Saturday 26 April 2014

Biggest and smallest cruise ships meet


IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says European cruise ship company MSC Cruises has ordered not one, but two 5,700 passenger cruise liners that will each need 1,500 crew to look after all those passengers – and its put in an option for a further two more of similar gargantuan size it thinks it will need to keep up with continually-growing cruise-holiday demand.


Yet big as they'll be, these two will not be the world's largest passenger ships: that honour stays with Royal Caribbean International whose Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas can each carry 5,412 passengers in double cabins, and a total 6,300 each with some cabins having additional bedding. And each needs 2,400 crew to look after all those passengers.


MSC's two newies, that are yet to be allocated names, will be built in France and will launch in 2017 and 2018.


And at the other end of the scale, two of the world's smallest but most highly-rated boutique passenger vessels, SeaDream I and SeaDream II of SeaDream Yacht Club, each weigh-in at a mere 4,300 tonnes, and carry a maximum of  just 112 guests served by 95 crew.


Our picture shows the difference between those biggest and smallest, with SeaDream I dwarfed at St Thomas in the Caribbean by Oasis of the Seas.


Tuesday 15 April 2014

Golden Princess to operate from Melbourne

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Princess Cruises to base five ships in Australia next year

Princess Cruises has just released details of its 2015-16 Australian program, which will see the first time deployment of the 2600-passenger Golden Princess from Melbourne.

The program will also feature Princess Cruises' first summer season of voyages from Fremantle, doubling the cruise line's WA offering to give the state its first ever year-round cruise program.

Brisbane cruisers will also enjoy a full nine months of Princess sailings in 2015-16.

The record five-ship program will see the Golden Princess and Diamond Princess sailing in Australian waters over the 2015-16 summer, while the Sun Princess will remain in Australia during the winter, joining Dawn Princess and Sea Princess in offering year-round voyages.

Princess Cruises vice president Australia/NZ, Stuart Allison, said the record fleet would increase this year's capacity by 35%, further consolidating Princess Cruises' position as "Australia's biggest cruise line," with Aussies spending more nights on board Princess ships than any other line.

With five of its 18-strong fleet cruising down under, Princess Cruises ranks Australia as its biggest market outside the US - and for the first time all of the vessels will offer A$ pricing as they deliver more than 80 cruises from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Fremantle and Auckland.

More information at

This Cruise Weekly breaking news brought to you by Cruise Weekly.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Seven Princess Cruises Ships Sail Alaska in 2015

Seven Princess Cruises' ships will sail Alaska's spectacular waters in 2015 as part of a diverse program offering Australians the opportunity to explore the best of the 49th state by land and sea.

Priced from $919*, Princess Cruises' 2015 Alaskan offerings include 125 departures calling at more than 14 ports on 10 itineraries ranging from seven-night Voyage of the Glacier cruises through to 10-night roundtrip Inside Passage voyages from San Francisco.

The 2015 program sees the 113,000-tonne Ruby Princess make her Alaska debut, joining sister ship Crown Princess to offer cruises from Seattle. Meanwhile the boutique 670-passenger Pacific Princess will sail on the line's signature Voyage of the Glaciers itineraries for the first time, offering an intimate cruise experience to complement the area's dramatic scenery. The ship joins Grand Princess, Star Princess and Coral Princess on this popular itinerary, which includes two glacier experiences. Rounding out the program, Golden Princess will take over Inside Passage sailings from San Francisco.

Seven-night Voyage of the Glaciers cruises all include a visit to the spectacular Glacier Bay and start from $919* per person twin share.

Monday 3 March 2014

SeaDream your way into Monte Carlo's jetset

IF Monte Carlo conjures up images of multi-million dollar yachts and the rich and famous who indulge such playthings – and dabble at the legendary local Casino on the side –put yourself amongst it all aboard the mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II that sails from here for 7-nights to Rome's port of Civitavecchia on September 27 this year.

After boarding SeaDream early afternoon to a complimentary Champagne Welcome and checking into your stateroom – one of just 56 guest rooms aboard SeaDream II that carries a maximum 112 guests served by 95 crew – take-in your movie-setting surrounds from SeaDream's Top of the Yacht Bar or one of the many other onboard vantage points, before sailing that evening to a string of the dreamiest Mediterranean destinations.

You'll have whole days to explore ports and not leave until late evening from legendary St Tropez on the French Riviera, Calvi on Corsica which boasts some of the Mediterranean's finest beaches (and where Britain's Admiral Nelson lost his eye in battle,) and Portovenere in the heart of the fabled Cinque Terre… the "Five Lands" of Italy where spectacular villages cling perilously to the rugged coast on this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are also days at Portoferraio on idyllic Elba, picturesque Bastia on Corsica and colourful little Porto Santo Stefano in Italy.

This dream-like holiday is priced from US$5026pp twin-share – including all SeaDream II's celebrated 5-star dining, wines with lunch and dinner, drinks from the open bars, sail and power water-sports in ports where permitted, gratuities and port charges and taxes… so you'll have virtually little-need for wallet or purse for the whole week.

For full details see travel agents or visit

Thursday 27 February 2014

Sail the Mediterranean aboard legendary Sea Cloud windjammer

Sea Cloud Cruises is offering savings of EUR 1,800 per person on a 14 night Mediterranean voyage aboard its 64-guest windjammer - Sea Cloud - departing 26 April 2014 from Palma de Mallorca, Spain to Kusadasi (Izmir), Turkey.

Highlights include the pristine Balearic island of Menorca and the Tunisian ports of La Goulette (Tunis), where guests can visit the medina, souks and the ancient site of Carthage, and Sousse – gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kairouan. From there, Sea Cloud will journey to La Valletta, Malta and then the Greek islands of Kefalonia, Syros and Patmos - a pilgrimage site for Greek Orthodox Christians, where guests can visit the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of St John.

Cruise-only fares for a guaranteed double cabin start from EUR 4,495* per person. This includes all meals, from early breakfast to the exquisite four-course dinner menu and five course gala dinners, and drinks including carefully selected wines and beers during lunch and dinner, and a welcoming bottle of Champagne in each cabin.

Sea Cloud made her debut in 1931 and was widely regarded as the most magnificent sailing yacht in the world. Many features of the legendary windjammer are preserved in the luxurious style of the 1930's, creating a unique and impressive backdrop for any voyage.

*Excursions are not included in the cruise-only fare, but can be booked in advance as a package.

For more information on Sea Cloud Cruises and the various sailing adventures on offer please contact Sales Activation Marketing (Sea Cloud Cruises representative for Australia/New Zealand) on toll free 1300 583 5721300 583 5721300 583 5721300 583 572 (Australia) or or visit


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Meander through Iceland and Greenland with Silversea

 Inline images 2

Sail from Reykjavik to Southampton on this 19-day voyage on board Silversea's Silver Cloud.

Silver Cloud's voyage provides guests with a rare opportunity to experience some of the world's most remote destinations, including the unique natural landscapes of Prince Christian Sound, rugged Irish coastlines and the pristine waters of Iceland.

Departing Reykjavik (Iceland) on 13 August, 2014, Silver Cloud will navigate the Prince Christian Sound, where guests will be awed by steep mountains and dramatic glaciers. Silver Cloud will then visit a number of picturesque towns and cities in Greenland, including Nuuk and Qaqortoq, with an overnight stay in Nanortalik, before voyaging back to Icelandic waters. Ports of call include Heimaey and Djupivogur in Iceland, before Silver Cloud sails to Stornoway in Scotland. Taking the scenic route, guests will visit Belfast, Dublin and Waterford in Ireland, followed by the peninsula of Cornwall, with guests disembarking in Southampton on 1 September, 2014.

Prices are per person starting from AU$11,779 in a Vista Suite double occupancy. Silversea's fares include all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus designed by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ships; and all gratuities.

This voyage is subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 8721300 306 872 or visit

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Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises Deals

Celebrity Cruises Invites Guests to "Pick Your Perk"!

Celebrity Cruises launches a new promotion, offering guests the choice of four great cruise perks

In March, Celebrity Cruises is giving guests their choice of bonus addition on their cruise bookings with the 'Pick Your Perk' promotion.*

Valid until 31st March 2014, guests who make a new booking in an Oceanview stateroom, Balcony stateroom, Concierge Class, Aqua Class or Suite on selected Celebrity Cruises world-wide voyages of four nights or longer can choose one of the following complimentary inclusions*:

·   Free classic beverage package for two
·   Free gratuities for two
·   Up to US$300 onboard credit
·   Up to AU$600 Air Savings

when flights are booked through Choice Air (Australian residents only)

This promotion is applicable to selected Celebrity worldwide cruises throughout the fleet of luxuriously modern ships including Celebrity Century, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette. These world class ships sail to incredible destinations such as the South Pacific, South America, Hawaii, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, Alaska and Asia. This offer applies to more than 300 sought after itineraries!

Guests can take advantage of this offer onboard Australia's two highest rated superliners with these deals**:

Celebrity Century South Australia cruise from $1,199 per person in an Oceanview stateroom. Departing Sydney 11th November 2014, this cruise takes in the picturesque Australian ports of Melbourne, Adelaide and Port Lincoln - famous for their stunning views and premium food and wine offerings.

This offer is combinable with the Celebrity Century 'Farewell Promotion'- guests who make a new booking before 31st March on any Celebrity Century voyage departing between April 2014 and April 2015 are also entitled to receive a bonus Onboard Credit valued from US$50 per stateroom for an Oceanview stateroom up to US$200 for suites. ***

Celebrity Solstice South Pacific cruise from $1,799 per person in an Oceanview stateroom. Departing Sydney 18th January 2015, this cruise allows guests to explore the tropical South Pacific islands of Lifou, Noumea, the Isle of Pines and Mystery Island.

For more information or to book, visit, call 1800 754 500, visit your local your travel agent. Find us on Facebook:

*Subject to availability and conditions apply. Offer valid on new bookings from 1st – 31st March 2014 on selected cruises. One choice of inclusion per cruise booking only. Cruises on Celebrity Xpedition & Trans-Pacific & Trans-Atlantic cruises are excluded from offer. Air savings offer available to Australian residents only. Guests must quote the relevant promotional code at the time of booking to redeem their chosen inclusion: Free classic beverage package: PYPB; Up to US$300 onboard credit: PYPO; Free gratuities for two: PYPG; Up to $600 Air Savings: PYPA. For full terms and conditions, visit:

**Berlitz Guide 2013

***US$50 onboard credit applies to Oceanview staterooms and US$200 applies to suites. Terms and conditions apply. Promotion code must be quoted at time of booking for redemption: CNFAREWELLOB. For details visit:

Friday 21 February 2014

Scenic Tours presents new cruising destination for 2015: Bordeaux

Australian leader in Luxury European River Cruising, Scenic Tours introduce the new destination of Bordeaux to its cruise itinerary's for 2015.

Sailing Bordeaux's majestic waterways, Scenic Tours' new program offers unparalleled views of Gothic churches, tree-lined thoroughfares, 18th century merchant mansions and the historic Quartier Saint-Pierre. With no overnight sailing, the itineraries are designed to showcase the very best sites and experiences of Bordeaux on a leisurely sail across the regions' three most famous waterways.

Guests on the 2015 Bordeaux cruises will experience the culture of France's sleepy south travelling to the regions of Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Médoc and Graves, world renowned for producing premium wines from ancient Roman vineyard plantations, Bordeaux's picturesque ports and fascinating architecture, all set against the backdrop of the Atlantic ocean and the Pyrénéés mountains.

The World Heritage listed city of Bordeaux comes as one of many exciting new additions to Scenic Tours' France river cruising programs with new Scenic Enrich and Scenic FreeChoice experiences. Guests travelling to Bordeaux in 2015 will indulge in private soirée within a medieval Châteaux, explore the local villages and taste the region's culinary specialties and agricultural delights and the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Blaye, on board the newest ship the Scenic Diamond cruising the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde Rivers.

Scenic Tours Bordeaux river cruises for 2015 feature the 12 day Bordeaux River cruise program from $6,935 per person twin share and can be combined with Scenic's other iconic French cruises, The Seine and The South of France.

Guests are encouraged to book now as Pre-release special offers will be ending upon full release of the Europe River Cruising Brochure.

For more information, visit

Sunday 9 February 2014



CRUISE specialists are offering a choice of $1000 per cabin on board spending credit or a free stateroom upgrade on a 30-night fly/cruise /land package, which includes a 24-night cruise aboard the luxurious Azamara Journey, when you book by February 28.
Spend two nights in London at the St Ermins Hotel before the cruise departs on August 20 2014 with several overnight port visits across France including Nantes, Loire Valley, Bordeaux and St Jean De Luz.
There are comprehensive stays in Portugal and Spain as well as a day trip to Gibraltar. Azamara cruise itineraries are designed so all port visits are a minimum of 12-hours and up to 78-hours to ensure guests have adequate time on-shore to experience local cultures and history.
The journey ends with two nights in Barcelona before flying back to Australia, via Dubai.
Azamara Club Cruises provides you with unparalleled service, the finest dining at sea, a spa and wellness centre, exceptional value including gratuities included in your fare and complimentary amenities .
This elegant mid-sized ship has six distinctive dining options to suit all tastes, including two specialty dining restaurants Aqualina - known for its Mediterranean style seafood - Prime C steakhouse - just to name a few.
The itinerary is now priced from $11,899 (was $18,889) per person and includes return economy airfares from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with Emirates, 24-nights cruise accommodation including all main meals, unlimited bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas as well as standard alcoholic beverages throughout the cruise, shuttle services to and from ports (where available), one complimentary AzAmazing Evening Event, a two night stopover at Raffles Hotel in Dubai, four nights deluxe hotel accommodation in London and Barcelona, a Barcelona City Sightseeing tour,  transfers in Dubai and the UK and port charges and government taxes.
For more details contact on 1300-369-848 or visit

Monday 3 February 2014

Azamara Club Cruises’ experiential evenings bring destinations to life again in 2014

Azamara Club Cruises has released a list of the AzAmazing Evenings program for 2014. The concept behind Azamara Club Cruises is that destinations are more than just geography and so the 2014 AzAmazing Evenings program continues to provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy a new range of complimentary, exclusive, authentic and cultural evening events.

These signature events are complimentary and held once a voyage, typically ashore during the evening. On select voyages, the sights and sounds of a region are transferred onboard, where the ship serves as a backdrop for an evening of cultural immersion. Building on its already popular itineraries, organised to coincide with major cultural and world events, Azamara Club Cruises has now crafted historical experiential evening events to make the adventures even more immersive.

For example, during Azamara's "Past to Present: Normandy 70 Years Later" journey which sees passengers storming the beaches of France, guests will also be treated to a D-Day Liberation Party in Cherbourg, exactly 70 years to the day that the landings took place.

"Since its launch, our AzAmazing Evenings programme has been incredibly well-received and is providing discerning travellers unique, tailor-made experiences at intriguing destinations around the world," said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.

Whether enjoying a private three-tenors performance set in a 19th century opera house in Livorno, Italy, or joining in a local Burmese festival, guests will find themselves immersed and living the culture rather than just seeing it during a brief visit.

"After extensive research and collaboration we have created custom events that allow our guests to explore a destination in a way they may have otherwise never experienced – from interacting with locals at a street party or being treated to private access to world-renowned sites" Mr Pimentel said.

AzAmazing Evening events give night access to some of the world's best known historical sites allowing guests to experience moments such as being captivated by a performance in the ancient Roman Odeon theatre of Ephesus or dining like the French aristocracy at the Chateau Giscours in Bordeaux.

Later in the year, guests sailing Azamara Journey's "A Southern Hemisphere Holiday," will enjoy a Plataforma 1, one of Rio de Janeiro's leading samba show houses to see samba's 500-year history come to life in an eye-popping show, complete with caipirinhas, Brazil's national cocktail.

Other AzAmazing experiences include experiencing an Egyptian Moul, when guests call at Safaga, Egypt. This festival is part carnival and part mystical celebration, and includes ritual dancing, chanting, whirling dervishes and circus performers.

"Our guests already come to us because we are providing longer stays and more overnights at fascinating destinations and now they are able to exclusively enjoy these experiential opportunities" Mr Pimentel said.

The full list of AzAmazing Evenings can be viewed here: (


SeaDream your way 13-days from Hong Kong to Singapore

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SEADREAM Yacht Club still has space aboard its boutique 5-star SeaDream II that on a 13-day sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore from March 15 will visit six of the most popular cities, bays and islands in Vietnam, including an overnight in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as lushly-tropical Tioman Island in Malaysia.


By contrast there'll be three full days at sea to relax with such all-inclusive SeaDream facilities as the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, a 30 championship course golf simulator, state-of-the-art fitness centre, a library with over 1000 books, magazines and periodicals, chats with fellow-guests over drinks from the open bars, and plenty of time for leisurely gourmet dining with wines included with lunch and dinner.


And for those who want, there's a Thai Spa that's one of the few onboard services for which costs apply.


Visits in Vietnam include Hai Phong (Hanoi,) Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City (afternoon to following evening,) and Con Dao Island.


Prices begin from US$8544pp twin-share for the 13-nights including all 5-star gourmet dining indoors or on deck depending on weather, power and sail water-sports in ports where permitted, gratuities and port charges and taxes.


For full details see travel agents or visit


(SeaDream II is nearing the end of SeaDream Yacht Club's first-ever season in Asia, Northern Australia and the Pacific, and after arriving in Singapore will sail 7-nights on April 4 to six ports in Malaysia and Thailand and back to Singapore, 13-nights on April 11 from Singapore to Mumbai by way of Malaysia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, and 15-nights on April 24 from Mumbai to Athens.





Silversea’s 2014 Mediterranean cruises


Silversea's selection of Mediterranean cruises enables guests to explore the stunning beaches, glamorous Riviera resorts, idyllic islands, historic harbours, ancient ruins and blue waters of this glamorous European playground.  Silversea is offering over 50 sailings of seven to 14 days from March to November 2014.  Guests can sail from port to port enjoying awe-inspiring vistas from an ocean-view suite. 


In keeping with the luxury cruise line's European heritage, the Mediterranean offers a wide range of destinations and seasonal sailings on several Silversea vessels. Silver Cloud and Silver Wind each accommodate only 296 guests and the flagship, Silver Spirit, only 540 guests. With a guest to staff ratio of almost one to one and a butler service for every guest, it can be difficult to end the journey.


Karen Christensen, General Manager and Director of Sales & Marketing Australasia, explains that the Mediterranean continues to be Silversea's most popular region.


"Our range of cruise itineraries, provide our guests with the most exclusive access to this wonderful part of the world.  Being an Italian company, Silversea is somewhat of an expert at revealing the very best of what the Mediterranean has to offer.  Guests have the opportunity to experience both the 67th Cannes Film Festival and the exhilarating Grand Prix in Monte Carlo on the same voyage, which is a real highlight," says Christensen.


"There are a vast number of itineraries to choose from, therefore whether you want to shop in the maze of colourful souks in Marrakesh, visit the Catedral de Majorca or the Ancient Pompeii, or explore Odessa, the city often called the Pearl of the Black Sea, Silversea can take you there."




Journey Back in Time

17 days on board Silver Spirit, 11 July 2014, Venice to Istanbul


Explore Croatia and Montenegro's vibrant parts before calling at Corfu, regarded as Greece's prettiest island.  Santorini is another contender for that title.  Enjoy a relaxed two-night stay in Istanbul, home to the twin splendours of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, before sailing through the Bosphorus Strait into the Black Sea.


Eurasian Odyssey

49 days on board Silver Cloud, 12 September 2014, Lisbon to Athens


Port-hop around the Mediterranean's most glamorous harbours travelling effortlessly from Portugal to famously sun-drenched locales as St Tropez, Monte Carlo and Cannes.  From the French Riviera, step back in time to explore the ancient cultures of Italy, Malta and Greece before visiting Istanbul's awe-inspiring Blue Mosque.  On Turkey's famed Turquoise Coast, soak up the warmth and dramatic vistas before finishing this journey of a lifetime in Athens. 


Beauty Rich & Rare

23 days on board Silver Wind, 9 August, 19 September 2014, Venice to Barcelona


Wander Venice's grand canals before sailing the sparkling Adriatic Sea.  After rounding Italy's southern coast, savour the cultures and cuisines of Sardinia and Corsica.  Soak up the old-world glamour of the French Riviera and the down-to-earth vibe of Marseilles.  Before finishing in Barcelona, discover Mallorca's gold-sand beaches.


For guests who want to stay a little longer, you can extend your journey by combining two or more voyages and benefit from extra savings.  Life on board a Silversea cruise is intimate and elegant. Silversea Cruises includes complimentary fine wines and spirits, gourmet dining, open-seating restaurants, endless champagne and highly personal service.   


For more information or a brochure contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit


Holland America’s New “Pinnacle” Class – Other Cruise News: New Policy Coming For Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – Cruise & Maritime Takes Over Transocean’s Operations

by Kevin Griffin
This week we have a look at the latest order for Holland America Line’s first “Pinnacle” class vessel in comparison to other ships, particularly the line’s own “Signature” class ships Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, their competitor’s “Celebrity Equinox” class, and the “Costa Luminosa” class, the basic platform of which will apparently be used in the new design. Elsewhere, we have a look at an impending change of marketing policy at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and the takeover of Germany’s TransOcean Cruises by UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages.


Holland America’s New “Pinnacle” Class
Beyond the names of the interior designers, no new information has yet been released on the first of Holland America Line’s new “Pinnacle” class ships, although images have been floating around the Internet for some months now. Originally ordered from Fincantieri in October 2012, along with a 4,000-passenger vessel for sister brand Carnival Cruise Lines, for delivery in 2015, the Holland America ship has now been delayed until mid-February 2016.
The new
Holland America’s new “Pinnacle” Class ship
The new “Pinnacle” class ship (whose name will end in “dam”) will be the first new Holland America ship in more than five years and the largest ship yet built for the line.
With a beam of 115 feet, she would not be able to transit the present Panama Canal locks but she will be able to transit the new wider locks that are now under construction.
This new class of ship will measure 99,700 tons and have 2,660 berths, within striking range of arch-competitor Celebrity Cruises’ 2,850-berth “Equinox” class.
According to sources, while being larger versions of the “Signature” class vessels Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, the new Holland America design is actually based on the platform of the 92,720-ton “Costa Luminosa” class, although with a lower passenger space ratio (the measure of gross tons volume per passenger).
The hull has been lengthened and widened, two more decks added forward and certain other changes made, including lowering the lifeboats, the elimination of the atrium in the Costa design and the relocation of the Tamarind Restaurant from a forward position on the “Signature” class to one aft on the new “Pinnacle” ship.
The relevant comparisons are:
Compared to the “Signature” class (which can transit the present Panama locks), the new class will be 15% larger in volume but carry 25% more passengers. This will mean they will have a passenger space ratio of only 37.5 tons per passenger compared to 41.6 for the existing “Signature” class.
While the lower PSR follows recent industry-wide trends for mainline ships to dip below 40, this ratio does not compare well with her predecessors (it is a reduction of almost 13% on the “Signature” class), nor with the “Celebrity Equinox” class (12% less space per guest on HAL) nor even the “Costa Luminosa” class (8.5% less).
Statendam – Holland America Line
While some might question the use of a Costa platform for a Holland America Line ship this has actually been done before. In the 1990s, Fincantieri built two classes of ship, the two 1,288-berth “Costa Classica” sisters for Costa Cruises (1992/93) and four 1,260-berth “Statendam” class ships for Holland America (1993/96), using the same basic hull design.
These ships have been so successful that all six are still in service with their original owners two decades later.
Meanwhile, a new interior designer for Holland America, Adam Tihany, has joined Bjorn Storbraaten, who designed the public rooms for Holland America Line’s “Signature” class, to ensure that the new “Pinnacle” class will meet the expectations of previous Holland America Line clients, some of whom are questioning whether the new ship, with 25% more berths, will be one step too far in terms of size for Holland America.
Celebrity Equinox
As Celebrity has proven with its “Celebrity Equinox” class, this number of passengers need not be a drawback, although the Celebrity ships have a higher tonnage.
As it happens, the “Pinnacle” class capacity is also within 40 berths of that most famous of existing ships, the 2,620-berth Queen Mary 2, although with a tonnage of 148.528, the Queen Mary 2 offers a very generous 56.7 tons per passenger, more than half as much again as the new “Pinnacle” class.
This increase in ship size has been allowed by the newly-planned locks at Panama, and for those interested this is the comparison of maximum dimensions allowed in the existing locks and the new locks, due to open in 2015:
Existing Panama Canal locks:      963 x 106 feet (39.5 feet maximum draft)
New Panama Canal locks:             1200 x 160 feet (49.9 feet maximum draft)
The new dimensions would even allow passage of ships such as the Oasis of the Seas and the Queen Mary 2, were it not for the fact that the existing bridge at Panama City does not have enough height to allow them to pass underneath. The maximum air draft (height from waterline to topmost part of the ship) for the Panama Canal is limited to less than 190 feet. While Oasis of the Seas and Queen Mary 2 both need well over 200 feet.
New Policy Coming For Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
With the introduction last year of the new internationally-marketed 516-passenger Europa 2 and the redelivery this year of the German-market 684-passenger Columbus 2 to Oceania Cruises, where she will resume service as Insignia, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is about to change the way it markets its fleet from next year.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Europa 2 - Photo Christophe Dedieu at
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 – Photo Christophe Dedieu at
Starting with the new 2015 brochures as they are released, the ultra-luxury cruise ship Europa 2 and 184-passenger expedition ship Hanseatic will be marketed internationally, while the 408-passenger ultra-luxury cruise ship Europa and 164-passenger expedition ship Bremen will be reserved for the German market, reverting to using German only on board.
From its inception, the Europa 2 has been conceived as an international ship, to be marketed with menus, daily programs and announcements (thankfully, very few) being made in both English and German. Likewise, the Hanseatic has a long history of participation in the English-language market, dating back to the time when Radisson Seven Seas Cruises included this ship in its own portfolio.
On the other hand, the Europa and Bremen have always been sold primarily in the German-speaking market, with a limited number of cruises set aside for each ship each year that would be operated in both German and English. These “international cruises” will be dropped.
The 164-passenger expedition ship Bremen
All in all, the English-language market still gains, however, as the two ships dedicated to the international market are the top-rated cruise ships in the world.
The five-star-plus Europa 2 has scored the highest ranking for any ship in the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships, while the five-star Hanseatic is the highest-rated expedition ship in the world.
Cruise & Maritime Takes Over Transocean’s Operations
The market was taken by surprise last week by the announcement that UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages would take over the tour operations of TransOcean Cruises and enter the German market.
Astor – The Hanse Bar
Cruise & Maritime first opened a Munich-based ship management office in early 2013 to look after the logistics for its river ship, the 160-berth Vienna I, under the Signature River Cruise brand.
Under the agreement with Munich-based Premicon AG, Cruise & Maritime assumes immediate responsibility for the charter, operation and marketing of the 600-passenger cruise ship Astor, including her 7,000-passenger summer 2014 program from Kiel, Bremerhaven & Hamburg.
The agreement also includes the charter of four European river cruise ships: the 176-berth Belvedere, 150-berth Bellefleur, 180-berth Bellejour and the 80-berth Sans Souci, operating on the major rivers of Europe.
The 600-passenger cruise ship Astor
The vessels will continue to be marketed as a German-speaking product under the TransOcean brand with distribution channels unchanged, although selected future sailings will now be designated as international.
This news follows the announcement early in 2013 that Cruise & Maritime was opening an office in Sydney to support the charter and operation of the Astor for three winter seasons (November though May) commencing this winter with Australian program based on Fremantle. The Astor has replaced the program that was once operated by the now-defunct Classic International Cruises.
Cruise & Maritime is part of the Greek-based Global Maritime Group and operates two ocean vessels of its own, the 800-berth Marco Polo and the 700-berth Discovery. Combined Cruise & Maritime ocean fleet passenger carryings are projected to exceed 70,000 passengers in 2014 representing a growth of almost 100% since 2010.
(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

Saturday 1 February 2014

MSC Cruises 2-for-1 Caribbean deal aboard MSC Divina

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Starting the New Year with an achievement is a great way to celebrate the summer and in this month's issue of Porthole Cruise USA Magazine, Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff singles out MSC Cruises' MSC Divina, which recently debuted in Miami, as "Best Caribbean Newcomer."

When MSC Divina arrived in Port Miami on November 20, 2013, she became the first Fantasia class ship to sail from North America and the first MSC Cruises ship to offer year-round Caribbean sailings.

Divinely inspired by Sophia Loren, the godmother of the MSC fleet, MSC Divina offers stunning new features, such as two Eataly restaurants - the upscale Ristorante Italia and spectacular regional Eataly Steakhouse fashioned after the famed restaurant in Eataly's Manhattan location - and artisanal marketplace, and is the first ship to offer Aqua Cycling at sea. The 1,751-cabin ship boasts 322,900 square feet of public spaces including 18 bars and lounges, five swimming pools, a bowling alley, gym and exotic Aurea Spa, 4D Theater, a Formula 1 racecar simulator, and a new Segafredo Zanetti gourmet coffee bar.

MSC Divina also features the MSC Yacht Club, an innovative "ship-within-a-ship" concept with 69 suites on board.  MSC Yacht Club guests can indulge in comfort and convenience, from their own personal Butler and 24-hour concierge service to complimentary wines and spirits available any time of the day throughout MSC Yacht Club's exclusive lounges and pool area.

Celebrate this achievement with MSC Cruises HOT money-saving "2 for 1" Caribbean cruise offer.

The special applies to a seven-night cruise aboard MSC Divina on May 3, 2014, price for two people starting from $1049 per couple twin share.

The cruise, which begins and ends in Miami, will call on such popular ports as Philipsburg on the island of St Maarten, San Juan on Puerto Rico and the Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

Price includes meals and entertainment on board, an invitation to attend the Captain's cocktail party and gala dinners and port charges for two adults. As with all MSC Cruises departures year round, children under 18 years will cruise free when travelling in the same cabin as their parents.

Details: MSC Cruises, phone 1300 028502 or visit

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Around the world with Princess Cruises

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Sail to the world's most exotic destinations and only unpack once with the trip of a life time - a 104-night roundtrip cruise from Sydney sailing to 27 countries on board Sea Princess, now available with great incentives from cruise specialist .

Ecruising is offering up to $4000 on-board credit per cabin for passengers who have travelled on a Princess Cruise before and up to $2000 for non-past passengers as a bonus to book this once in a lifetime cruise.

Departing Sydney Harbour on May 22, 2015 you will board your home away from home to travel across southern Australia up to Sri Lanka before cruising to the Middle East and visiting Dubai in the UAE, Oman, Jordan and Egypt.

After traversing the Suez Canal the next stops are Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, England and Ireland. From there continue onto Iceland, New York and head south to the South American destinations of Curacao, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Easter Island in Chile.
Your final destinations are French Polynesia, American Samoa and New Zealand before sailing into Sydney Harbour.

Sea Princess offers guests The Sanctuary, a secluded oasis exclusively for adults. The ship is known in the fleet for being a large ship with a small-ship intimacy, allowing passengers a relaxing experience on-board. Whether you love activity and entertainment or prefer relaxing days at sea, you'll be spoilt for choice with the many activities and facilities on board including theatres, bars and lounges, the lotus spa and fitness centre, movies under the stars just to name a few.

The ship also offers a variety of dining experiences including traditional, anytime, casual and speciality- allowing passengers more freedom and flexibility, as well as a 24-hour bistro.
The cruise is priced from only $19,649 per person twin share for an inside cabin and includes 104 nights cruise accommodation with all main meals and entertainment on board Sea Princess.
For more details contact on 1300-369-848 or visit

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Azamara Quest Europe sailing. Rare opportunity.

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Cruiseco is offering travellers the opportunity to experience the best of Europe on its extensive 37 night voyage, "European Enchantment." Scheduled to depart from Nice on 28 May, 2015, Cruiseco guests will visit 22 of Europe's most enchanting destinations on board the luxurious Azamara Quest.

Laura Clarke, Manager of Special Projects at Cruiseco, says that limited spots are still available on this unforgettable journey through the heart of Europe.

"The Azamara Quest allows guests to travel in pure luxury whilst seeing some of the most magnificent countries the world has to offer. The mid-sized ship matches all the facilities of larger ships, offering guests a variety of onboard dining options, boutique rooms and superb facilities," says Clarke.

"The comprehensive itinerary means that guests are able to visit a vast array of countries and ports and discover for themselves why Europe is so enchanting. With nine overnight port stays and a wide variety of excursions available, guests have plenty of opportunity to properly explore each locale. Travelling in such a unique way is a fun and memorable way to experience this incredible part of the world," adds Clarke.

The European Enchantment will visit 22 ports in 13 countries with a total of nine overnight port stays. Guests will cruise the spectacular Mediterranean before visiting the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal, areas of France, the Channel Islands, England, Ireland, Scotland and six

Baltic countries. Guests will disembark in Southampton on 4 July, 2015.

Your European Enchantment cruise includes: a 37 night cruise aboard the luxurious Azamara Quest; all meals plus gratuities; house wine and beer served with lunch and dinner; bottled mineral water throughout your cruise; full on board programme of entertainment, enhancement and port lectures; transfers from airport to port and port to airport on embarkation and disembarkation days.

Prices per person, based on twin share start from $11,000 for an Interior Stateroom cabin.

To book whilst cabins are still available, or to find details of your local Cruiseco agent, please visit