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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 info@seacloud.com or visit http://www.seacloud.com/en/

 


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Meander through Iceland and Greenland with Silversea

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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 www.silversea.com


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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 celebritycruises.com.au, call 1800 754 500, visit your local your travel agent. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/celebritycruisesausnz.

*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: www.celebritycruises.com.au.

**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: www.celebritycruises.com.au.

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 www.scenictours.com.au.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

AZAMARA INCENTIVES THROUGH ECRUISING


 

CRUISE specialists ecruising.travel 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 ecruising.travel on 1300-369-848 or visit www.ecruising.travel

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: (http://tinyurl.com/mpqh675)


 

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 www.seadream.com

 

(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."

 

HIGHLIGHTS – GRAND VOYAGES

 

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 www.silversea.com

 


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.



THIS WEEK’S STORY

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.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
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  Vesseltracker.com
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 – Photo Christophe Dedieu at Vesseltracker.com
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 www.msccruises.com.au