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Saturday 31 December 2016

MSC next-generation Meraviglia-plus ships announced

MSC Cruises announced today, they are commencing in earnest on the construction of their next-generation Meraviglia-plus ships. Two options were previously confirmed, during Meraviglia’s Coin Ceremony on 1st February 2016 and today 22nd December 2016, MSC Cruises and STX France announced this contract has come into force, with delivery of the Mega-ships due in 2019 and 2020.

MSC Cruises and STX France have agreed on all the ship specifications and now construction can commence in earnest to meet the required timings. The two next-generation ships – the largest ships ever built for a European cruise line and the second largest globally – will be delivered in October 2019 and September 2020, respectively.

Lynne Clarke, Managing Director of MSC Cruises Australia, appreciates the great achievement, “We continue to deliver our future plan, with the commencement of the two ‘Meraviglia-Plus’ ships. Up to eight more ships are planned to be built in France at STX through until 2026 in an unprecedented €9 billion investment plan.”

The MSC Cruises “Meraviglia-Plus” class is the next-level generation of ships for all seasons, at 331 meters-long. Thanks to innovative maritime technology, together with their “Meraviglia” class sister ships, they will be the only ones in their class able to call at all world cruise ports.

The two “Meraviglia-Plus” ships’ interior 111 meters long promenade will feature an LED sky screen ceiling measuring 95 by 6 meters, beaming out visual events and vistas around the clock to create a unique atmospheric experience for guests.

Cirque du Soleil will again bring its unique brand of world-class shows exclusively to MSC Cruises two Meraviglia-Plus ships in a purpose-built dining and entertainment venue in the aft lounge.

“Meraviglia-Plus” ships will also feature a unique cultural experience for guests at sea, with the first-of-its-kind classic and contemporary fine art museum. This industry-first feature will enable guests to experience masterpieces from around the globe in collaboration with the world’s premier cultural centers, classic and modern art museums as well as public and private art institutions.

Additionally, the “Meraviglia” and “Meraviglia-Plus” ships will feature the latest STX France’s ECORIZON and other next-generation environmental technologies. Among other things, they will result in air emission levels that are already in line with all upcoming 2020 regulatory requirements.

Additional information

Summary of delivery schedule for MSC Cruises’ “Meraviglia” and “Meraviglia-Plus” cruise ships:
May 2017 : MSC Meraviglia
March 2019: MSC Bellissima
October 2019: “Meraviglia-Plus 1” (name still to be announced)
July 2020: “Meraviglia-Plus 2” (name still to be announced) 

Explore the new world of MSC Meraviglia today with cruises on sale for departures from June 2017. 7 nights cruising starts from $AU699pp or $NZ769pp visit or for full details.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Thomas Keneally to join Silversea World Cruise sector

Silversea Cruises, the world’s leading small-sized cruise line, renowned for its opulent levels of service is pleased to announce its newest guest enrichment lecturer, acclaimed Australian author, Thomas Keneally. Joining an Australian sector of the incredible World Cruise 2017, from Melbourne to Bali (Benoa), guests have the unique opportunity to delve deep into thought provoking enrichment lectures with Keneally, while experiencing a multitude of wondrous destinations and the unparalleled service Silversea guests are accustomed to.

Keneally is the critically acclaimed Australian novelist, playwright, and essayist, publishing more than 30 novels and screenplays. Keneally is an Officer of the Order of Australia and has received an array of national and international accolades including the Booker Prize in 1982 for his novel, Schindler’s Ark, which was later adapted into the Steven Spielberg directed Academy Award winning film, Schindler’s List.

Amber Wilson, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific said,

“We are absolutely thrilled to have one of Australia’s most distinguished novelists, Thomas Keneally aboard Silver Whisper in February 2017. Guests will have the opportunity to attend fascinating and stimulating discussions with the highly regarded author where he will cover personal stories and experiences.”

Departing Melbourne on 09 February 2017, guests on this 13-day voyage will also experience the stunning scenery of the southern coastline of Australia, before sailing into the tropical wonderland that is Indonesia.

World Cruise 2017 is an exclusive 116-day ocean voyage from San Francisco to Monte Carlo aboard Silver Whisper. This extraordinary travel adventure will encompass 62 unique destinations in 25 countries, with numerous late-night and overnight stays allowing ample time to take in all the amazing sights, sounds, and flavours of beautiful cities, great wine regions, and architectural spectacles both old and new.

For more information 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

Sunday 18 December 2016

2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook and Cruise Travel Trends Forecast

The global headquarters of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, detailing a steady pace of cruise travel interest and significant investment in the industry. CLIA, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, is also predicting the top eight cruise travel trends that will have an impact on the industry in the coming year. 

Increase in cruise travel is expected to continue throughout 2017, with an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to sail in 2017, a strong surge from 15.8 million just 10 years prior (2007).

More ships will set sail in 2017 as well, with CLIA reporting that cruise lines are scheduled to debut 26 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2017 for a total investment of more than US$6.8 billion in new vessels*.

From 2017-2026 the industry is expected to introduce a total of 97 new cruise ships totalling an estimated investment of US$53 billion through 2026*.

“The cruise industry is responding to global demand and we are highly encouraged by both the short-term and long-term outlook,” CLIA global President and CEO Cindy D’Aoust said.

“From technological advancements and deployment of new ships to new ports and destinations around the world, the industry continues to respond to desires of today’s travellers resulting in steady growth and strong economic impact around the world.”

Cruise industry expenditures generated US$117 billion in total output worldwide, supporting 956,597 full-time equivalent employees who earned US$38 billion in income in 2015.

As part of the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, CLIA has forecast the top eight cruise travel trends that are set to have the most impact on the cruise industry this coming year.

New Generation Takes to the Water – A recent study found that younger generations—including Millennials and Generation X — will embrace cruise travel more than ever before, rating it as better than land-based holidays, all-inclusive resorts, tours, holiday house rentals, or camping.

Travel Agent Use Increases – CLIA is forecasting that travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travellers and cruise lines in 2017. Today, there are more than 25,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 in 2010. CLIA also found that cruisers report high levels of satisfaction with their travel experience when assisted by an agent. 

River Cruise Demand Increases – River cruises offer travellers a unique and intimate travel experience. Due to demand, CLIA cruise line members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships with 13 new river cruise ships on order for 2017, an increase of about 7 per cent.

More Private Islands on Cruise Itineraries – As more cruise lines introduce private island destinations, travellers are responding and booking these itineraries. In 2017, cruise lines offer ports on a total of seven private islands.

New Cruisers Will Take to the Sea – Interest in ocean cruising is projected to remain strong in 2017.

Drivable Port Locations in Favour – The cruise industry offers a variety of small and large market port location options across the United States and internationally. Citing the advantages of myriad

Locations, seven out of ten (69 per cent) non-cruisers believe the greatest benefit is cost savings and three-quarters (74 per cent) of cruisers like the convenience of driving to a cruise ship.

Lure of Celebrity Chefs – Cruise travellers are embracing specialty dining and will continue to consider cruise dining experiences based upon celebrity chefs.

Demand for Expedition Cruises – According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel is growing at a record pace and CLIA is reporting that cruise expeditions are seeing the impact. In fact, itineraries for Antarctica regularly sell out.

For more information on CLIA’s 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, please visit .

For more information, visit or follow Cruise Lines International Association on CLIA Facebook and Twitter pages.

* This represents the entire cruise industry, not only CLIA cruise line Members

Studies, reports and methodology available at

Wednesday 14 December 2016

World's fourth largest ship makes Sydney homeport debut

Royal Caribbean's record-breaking Ovation of the Seas has arrived in her hometown of Sydney, marking a momentous occasion for Australian cruising.  The newest, largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship to ever call Australia home ushers in a new era of holidays for Australians – known as SuperCruising.

"Ovation of the Seas is an absolute game changer for cruising down under. SuperCruising is a holiday experience unlike anything else you can find in Australia – and it can only be found on Royal Caribbean," said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Australia & New Zealand.

"Over the last decade we have committed to bringing the biggest and best cruise ships to our doorstep – and today is the climax of that story. This occasion marks the first time that a cruise line has ever based a brand new ship in this market."

"At 348m long, 18 decks high, weighing in at 168,666 tons and with capacity for 5,000 guests and 1,500 crew, Ovation of the Seas is the fourth largest cruise ship in the world, making her the largest cruise ship to sail Australian waters, and by far the largest ship ever home-ported here."

Ovation of the Seas' 6,500 passengers and crew makes her bigger than the towns of Yamba, Bega and Glenn Innes.

"With that size comes unprecedented variety: more space for relaxation, 18 different dining options, and more of the big unique amenities that Royal Caribbean is famous for, like iFly, North Star and bumper cars. Whether you're an adventure-seeker or looking for some R&R, there is truly something for everyone, all in one magnificent megaliner," Armstrong added.

Ovation of the Seas becomes Royal Caribbean's fifth locally-based cruise ship, joining sister ships Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, and making Royal Caribbean the single largest cruise line operating in Australia this season.

She will deliver significant economic benefits at each of her ports of call.  Her two-day visit to Sydney is expected to inject over $3.3 million in passenger spend alone, while her maiden Australian season is expected to inject more than $35 million into the national economy.

Sunday 11 December 2016

Astor's back for another summer of fun

Fourth season based Down Under and she's still proving popular

The cruise ship Astor arrived safe and sound into Fremantle Port on Friday morning to commence her fourth summer based in Australia.

There is no rest for her though. After 54 nights of sailing from London to Perth, via the iconic Panama Canal, she headed off for a fun-filled weekend off the West Australian coast.

Astor has 16 return itineraries planned from Fremantle this season and then she will head to Adelaide for three return cruises departing from the City of Churches.

This addition to her regular schedule is already proving popular, as are the two relocation cruises to/from Adelaide and Fremantle.

Cruise and Maritime Voyages is proud to be able to base the 620-passenger Astor in Australia again this summer, where she will remain until she leaves Fremantle on her 39-night journey back to the UK, via South Africa, departing 15 March 17.

Astor offers comfortable and traditional cruising and enjoys an extremely high satisfaction rating and return booking rate. Astor offers short cruises for those who are unable to escape their normal lives for too long; return cruises that for many removes the extra financial burden of flights; and overnight in port events where potential passengers can check out Astor's features, or find out first hand what cruising is all about.

Astor's schedule

#Silversea awarded the ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’

Silversea Cruises, the world's leading luxury cruise line, has again been awarded the 'Best Luxury Cruise Line' by Cruise Passenger Magazine at the 2016 Readers' Choice Awards.

Amber Wilson, Silversea's Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, says:

"We are extremely honoured to again be named Best Luxury Cruise Line at this years' annual Reader's Choice Awards.  It is an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to help create incredible travel memories for all our guests, enabling them to sail to all seven continents and explore breathtaking destinations, all in the space, elegance and comfort Silversea is known for."

"I would like to express my appreciation to our guests and key travel partners who voted for us.  2017 is set to be another amazing year, with the new flagship, Silver Muse, set to launch in April 2017, as well as the conversion of Silver Cloud into the expedition fleet.  We look forward to adding to our incredible fleet and continuing to push boundaries and provide our guests with extraordinary voyages, unparalleled experiences and ultra-luxurious services."

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

First images of new #Seabourn Encore

The world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn has unveiled the first images of its newest all-suite vessel, Seabourn Encore, which launched in Marghera, Italy, earlier this month.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, the 40,350-GRT vessel features modern design elements and innovations in keeping with Seabourn’s reputation for understated elegance.

The ship’s 600 guests, who reside in 300 elegantly appointed suites each with a private verandah, are treated to the line’s extraordinary levels of personalised service, with a high staff to guest ratio.

Seabourn Encore will be officially christened at a ceremony in Singapore on January 7, 2017, before sailing to Australia where she will spend almost two months cruising local waters.

When Seabourn Encore arrives down under on January 22, it will be the youngest ultra-luxury ship to visit Australia.

Seabourn Encore will return to Europe in April 2017 to spend the northern summer cruising the Mediterranean.

A sister ship, Seabourn Ovation, will join the fleet in 2018.

For more on Seabourn Encore visit

Seabourn Encore PR

Saturday 10 December 2016

What's so special about Silversea?

Silversea voyages and cruise expeditions sail to over 800 destinations on all seven continents, more than any other cruise line — large or small. Our itineraries include many ports with late-night and overnight departures providing you with more time to experience the local colors and cultures. For those who want to explore beyond the shore, an extensive collection of land adventures offer a convenient, seamless way to extend your travels.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Christmas Cruising Getaway

Hit the High Seas on the Spectacular Norwegian Jewel for a 2017 Christmas Cruising Getaway with Extended ‘Free At Sea’ Offer until 5 February 2017

Swap hosting at home for festivities afloat during the holiday season aboard the iconic Norwegian Jewel – the cruise ship with all-age appeal – set to homeport in Australia during the 2017 Christmas season. Families keen to sample the joys of Christmas cruising can take advantage of Norwegian Cruise Line’s special “Free at Sea” offer representing outstanding value. The offer has been extended for all bookings made before 5 February 2017.

“Rather than spending Christmas tied to the kitchen, cleaning out the guest room, or packing and unpacking on long-haul trips, we’re inviting people to reinvent the holidays and spend it sightseeing, swimming, sipping cocktails, enjoying sumptuous meals and spending quality time with their nearest and dearest aboard Norwegian Jewel during her inaugural season down under,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Australia Managing Director, Steve Odell.

“With decorations, Christmas carols and seasonally-inspired menus on board, our festive season cruises will look and feel like Christmas, but without the fuss,” explained Mr Odell.

“Our unique style of freestyle cruising is all about flexibility and extensive choice, which means that friends and family of all ages will find a dining, pampering, fitness, entertainment and accommodation option to suit on board Norwegian Jewel, making multi-generational travel simple, enjoyable and smooth sailing,” Mr Odell added, “especially with itineraries in local waters.”

Norwegian Jewel’s 13-day Christmas and New Year roundtrip sailing from Sydney to New Zealand visits Melbourne, Burnie, Wellington, Napier, Rotorua, Auckland and the Bay of Islands departing 23 December 2017.

“Free at Sea” entitles guests to enjoy up to five complimentary offers including free beverage packages, specialty dining packages, 250 minutes of Wi-Fi, reduced friends and family rate and shore excursion credit, depending on the accommodation booked. Guests booking ocean view, balcony or mini-suites will enjoy two free offers, while those staying in a suite or The Haven will be treated to all five – worth up to US$2,800 added value.

Multi-Generational Christmas Vacations: Celebrating the festive season on board Jewel

Packed with activities for all ages, Norwegian Jewel can host up to 2,376 guests (and 1,069 crew) and boasts eight complimentary restaurants, six specialty dining venues with a la carte and set-menu options, as well as a bake shop, 24/7 pizza delivery service, myriad specialty bars and lounges, and the requisite poolside bar for lazy at-sea afternoon cocktails.

Renowned for her remarkable repertoire of entertainment at sea, Norwegian Jewel’s Australian guests will be treated to cirque, magic and comedy performances, as well as Australia’s own stunning ballroom extravaganza Burn the Floor, setting the ship’s stage alight during its inaugural local season.

Fitness fans, kids and young adults will enjoy the on-board outdoor court action hosting basketball, dodgeball, tennis and volleyball. Kids will adore the aqua park, Sapphire pools and age-specific kids’ clubs, while gym enthusiasts can choose from a range of classes, including Zumba and yoga. For family members looking to unwind and be pampered, the Mandara Spa and Spa Thermal Suite offer a full range of indulgent treatments designed to relax and rejuvenate passengers.

Guests will find the largest range of staterooms at sea aboard Norwegian Jewel, with options ranging from cost-effective inside staterooms to balcony staterooms, which will allow guests to enjoy superb views and private outdoor areas. Interconnecting rooms and multiple-bedroom suites are also available for families looking to stay together.

Australian families in the market for a truly indulgent experience – or seasonal celebration - will adore Norwegian Jewel’s ultra-exclusive ‘The Haven’, home to the line’s most exclusive suites and villas, with a private courtyard, spa, pool and deck area, as well as dedicated concierge services.

To book a cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian’s local hotline, Australia: 1300 255 200, New Zealand: 0800 969 283, email or visit

P&O Cruises Named Best Family Cruise Line

P&O Cruises has finished the year on a high with the news that the cruise line has been named Best Family Cruise Line in Cruise Passenger’s annual Readers' Choice Awards.

The nod from Australia’s only dedicated consumer cruise magazine follows another ‘Best Family Cruise Line’ award earlier in the year from the readers of leading family publication - Out & About with Kids.

With shiploads of family friendly innovations on the horizon and family groups making up almost one third of guests, P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the cruise line was thrilled with the award.

“As the nation’s homegrown cruise line, we’ve been helping Australian families holiday at sea for more than 80 years so it’s really wonderful to hear that we’ve been named as the best family cruise line by Cruise Passenger readers, topping off a big year of family accolades,” Mr Myrmell said.

“Cruising is only going to get more exciting for families in the New Year with the arrival of our first top deck waterparks on our Brisbane-based superliner Pacific Dawn and latest ship Pacific Explorer, which will sail from Sydney from June 2017, as well as Australia’s first virtual reality experience at sea as part of an exclusive partnership with Sony.”

P&O’s five-ship fleet caters to families of all types and sizes with triple, quad and interconnecting cabins; the P&O Edge adventure park at sea offering adrenaline-inducing activities such as rock climbing and zip-lining; kids’ clubs catering to children from the age of two to 17; late-night babysitting and exciting onboard activities from movie-making to Lego.

For more information visit

Saturday 3 December 2016

Kids Sail Free in Carnival’s Family Friendly Summer Sale

Proving why it’s the world’s leading family cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line has announced that kids will sail for free as part of its family friendly summer sale.

On sale until December 9, 2016, the third and fourth guests in a room will cruise for free on select sailings from Sydney in 2017.

Fares start from $549* for a three-night Weekend Sampler cruise on Carnival Spirit departing Sydney on February 24, 2017, adding up to just $1098 for a family of four – a saving of more than $1000.

South Pacific cruises are also available with an eight-night cruise to New Caledonia on Carnival Spirit departing Sydney on May 9, 2017, priced from $999* per person for the first two guests, with the total for a family of four adding up to just $1998 – a saving of almost $2000.

Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Australia Jennifer Vandekreeke said the cruise line carried more families than any other cruise line and was proud to put the fun into family cruising.

“Australian families have embraced our fun and free-spirited holidays at sea and we're thrilled to be able to offer even more families the opportunity to experience a Carnival cruise with the Kids Sail Free offer,” Ms Vandekreeke said.

Carnival’s locally-based ships Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend offer an array of family highlights including:

Carnival WaterWorks™ on the top deck, including the jaw-dropping Green Thunder waterslide – the steepest and fastest water slide at sea – and Carnival’s Twister Waterslide™

A fun new line up of family-friendly entertainment including Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea, 80s Rock’n’ Glow theme nights and life-sized Hasbro, The Game Show classics including Trivial Pursuit and Cluedo

A variety of family-friendly destinations from longer Pacific Island holidays to short escapes close to home including Tasmania and Moreton Island, as well as cruises to New Zealand, Singapore and Hawaii

Scores of interconnecting rooms and quad-share rooms with flexible configurations that include the option of a king bed for Mum and Dad, with two singles for the kids

Free supervised youth programs for children aged between two and 17, as well as a late-night program of activities. Unlike many other cruise lines, all of Carnival’s youth programs are available on port days

Seuss at Sea™ including a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends; a special selection of classic Dr. Seuss books, toys and themed activities; showings of beloved movies such as “The Cat in the Hat” and the Seuss-a-Palooza Parade™ of characters

Family-friendly comedy shows and early broadway-style Playlist Production performances in the main show lounge, featuring the likes of Epic Rock and 88 Keys

Free 24/7 pizza and ice cream

A miniature putt putt golf course and multi-purpose sports courts, plus table tennis

Early dining for young families in the main restaurant and supervised kid’s only dinners in the International Food Plaza

For more information visit

*subject to availability, conditions apply

Monday 14 November 2016

Celebrity Solstice $11 Million Modern Luxury Makeover

Australia's highest rated ship returns better than ever, boasting a brand new Tiffany & Co. boutique

Celebrity Solstice is already Australia's highest rated* cruise ship, and today she arrives in Sydney more stunning than ever following a multimillion-dollar makeover - including Australia's first Tiffany & Co. store at sea.

Australians will be amongst the very first guests to experience the new and improved Celebrity Solstice. The Sydney-based ship offers even more modern luxuries to revitalise the bodies, minds and spirits of her guests – and a holiday onboard is eleven million times more fun.

"We've added more of the things that Australian guests love," says Adam Armstrong, managing director, Celebrity Cruises Australia.

"Throughout the ship, guests will find new features and fresh touches that have been carefully designed with luxurious, modern travel in mind. We've invested so significantly in Celebrity Solstice, home-ported in Sydney between October and April, so our Australian guests can feel relaxed, refreshed and revitalised after a holiday onboard, and leave feeling like a million dollars," Armstrong concluded.

Highlights of Celebrity Solstice's revitalisation include:

Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. will sail on Celebrity for the first time. You'll find the distinctive Tiffany Blue Box®—which has contained gifts befitting life's most important occasions for almost two centuries—in a special boutique exclusively on Celebrity Solstice. The legendary jeweller will offer its exclusive designs, the ultimate symbols of style and taste, with tax-free and duty-free savings.

Lawn Club Cabanas

Six brand new alcove-style cabanas border the real grass lawn for additional seating and relaxation space. Guests can adjust the cabanas to their preferred view throughout the day, whether it be out to sea or towards the outdoor movie screen, and enjoy service from a private butler, chilled towels and fresh fruit ice-blocks to cool off on hot summer days

A new outdoor cinema and 'A Taste of Film'

A large movie screen has been added to The Lawn Club where guests can watch movies in the open, sitting on real grass in the middle of the ocean – it's an experience only Celebrity Cruises can provide. In addition, Celebrity Solstice will offer a gastronomic and cinema adventure, "A Taste of Film" which pairs big-screen movies that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests' taste buds. Celebrity Solstice will feature 'The 100 Foot Journey' and 'Chef'.

Sushi on Five:

Celebrity's hotly anticipated newest dining experience takes the place of Bistro on Five and feature an expertly crafted à la carte menu, curated by sushi chef Yoshikazu "Yoshi" Okada. Sushi on Five will offer hand-rolled sushi, fresh tableside grated wasabi, house-made soy sauce, Asian-inspired cocktails, Japanese beers and premium sakes, plus an array of mouth-watering starters and entrees.

Photo Gallery:

Guests can now have easier access to keepsakes of their time onboard. Celebrity Solstice's Photo Gallery received a full modern luxury makeover – out are the traditional panel display of printed photos and now the ship has 25 state-of-the-art touch screen kiosks, where guests are able to use facial recognition technology to view their professional photos taken throughout their cruise and purchase a variety of photo formats. Guests are able to download their purchased photos direct to their mobile device at any time during their cruise, and instantly share their cruise memories with friends and family back home via social networking, email or messaging.

Other updates include an expansive Art Gallery featuring a dedicated auction location with contemporary art lining the freshly renovated space, while suites received modern luxury enhancements such as lavish new patio furniture added to the balconies.

This summer cruise season, the newly revitalised Celebrity Solstice offers a series of picturesque itineraries with calls to the green natural oasis of New Zealand, the exotic escape of Indonesia, and to sought-after destinations across Australia.

Fares start at AU$1529 for a balcony stateroom on a seven-night South Pacific Getaway cruise, departing from Sydney on 13 April 2017. The cruise will call at the pristine island of Lifou in the Loyalty Islands and vibrant Noumea in New Caledonia, before returning to Sydney. Guests who book before 30 November 2016 will enjoy savings of up to $400 per person, and up to US$300 onboard credit per stateroom, plus Oceanview bookings and above receive a free Classic Beverage Package, as part of Celebrity's Global Cruise Sale.

For more information about Celebrity Cruises or to book a cruise, visit, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.

Monday 7 November 2016

World's largest cruises ships meet at sea

Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the new Harmony of the Seas, struck a chord over the weekend, greeting each other at sea for the first and possibly only time. In a meeting of unprecedented proportions, the three record-breaking sisters came together to celebrate the U.S. arrival of Harmony of the Seas on the eve of the ship's debut in her new permanent homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Oasis-class ships are architectural and engineering marvels, boasting industry-changing and unexpected onboard experiences. Each ship features seven themed neighbourhoods – a distinctive feature of the Oasis-class ships – and a number of spectacular amenities, adventures and thrills, including the lush and tranquil Central Park with nearly 12,000 plants and trees, FlowRider surf simulators; a thrilling 25 metre long zip line that races guests nine-decks in the air, luxurious multi-level loft suites with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, the outdoor AquaTheater that hosts dazzling high-diving, aquatic and acrobatic performances, a Boardwalk with a hand-carved carousel, and The Rising Tide Bar, the first moving bar at sea.

The newest and youngest of the three ships, Harmony of the Seas, officially claimed the title of world's largest cruise ship, beating her sisters by a mere 30 centimetres in length and nearly 1,700 gross registered tons. The ship features a bold lineup of new thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, including VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. Harmony combines the iconic seven neighbourhood concept with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities and offerings that will appeal to guests of all ages. From The Ultimate Abyss, a dramatic 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway's hit musical Grease, sophisticated dining in venues ranging from Jamie's Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Royal Caribbean's whimsical restaurant Wonderland, which is a unique culinary adventure for the senses, and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for everyone onboard Harmony of the Seas.  

The world's largest cruise ship now joins her sister ships Oasis of the Seas homeported in Port Canaveral, and Allure of the Seas homeported in Port Everglades, sailing from the east coast of Florida. Harmony offers seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, providing new adventures from the islands of the Caribbean to the shores of Mexico.

For further information or to book a Royal Caribbean cruise, visit, phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.

Friday 4 November 2016

MSC to feature new ports in 2017

Starting in April 2017, MSC Cruises will add inspiring new destinations to its itineraries. Exotic must-see locations will include Sarande, Kingstown and Riga. Bookings are available now for exciting new locations.Starting in April 2017, MSC Cruises will add inspiring new destinations to its itineraries. Exotic must-see locations will include Sarande, Kingstown and Riga. Bookings are available now for exciting new locations.

A call at Sarande, on the East Mediterranean, will feature on the MSC Poesia itineraries from 9th April 2017 to 28th October 2017. Sarande is a major port and resort town at the southernmost point of Albania, on the coast opposite Corfu.

Situated on one of the most beautiful stretches of Albania’s coastline, Sarande is the latest must-see Mediterranean destination on the MSC Poesia. The gorgeous beach and wonderful blue sea are only the start of its attractions. Despite being one of the most modern cities in the region, it boasts a wealth of historic gems for visitors to explore, as well as sites of outstanding natural beauty.

Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is situated close to Sarande. The current archaeological site includes an impressive Roman amphitheater, a Byzantine Basilica, a Roman temple with mosaic floor, a carved lion's gate and numerous constructions built throughout history.

Prices for the MSC Poesia 7 night cruises at Sarande start from $879 per person (NZ$969) *Based on departing Venice on 22 & 29 April 2017.

Visits to La Romana are replaced with a call at Kingstown, the capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, on the MSC Fantasia. Journeys on these Southern Caribbean itineraries will be from 25th November 2017 to 7th April 2018. St. Vincent is part of the Windward Islands, in the eastern Caribbean. It is home to tropical valleys and mountains, hummingbird and hibiscus.

The capital of Kingstown offers the animated fruit, vegetable and fish markets, dramatic coastal views from historic Fort Charlotte, and the luxuriant Botanical Gardens (oldest in the Americas).

Nearby Soufriere features a volcano and the 60ft waterfall of Baleine. Scenic drives lead travelers through the verdant Mesopotamia Valley, to the Montreal Gardens full of tropical flowers.

MSC Fantasia will visit Kingstown in the Caribbean
Prices for MSC Fantasia at Kingstown, 7 night cruises, from $989 per person (NZ$1089) *Based on departing Fort de France on 25th November 2017.

One day at sea is replaced with Riga, Latvia, on the MSC Magnifica. Journeys will be from 13th May 2017 & 24th May 2017.

Situated at the mouth of the River Daugava, Riga is Latvia’s capital and largest city. It is an industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre. The city includes a historical centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Prices for the Riga MSC Magnifica, 11 night cruise, start from $2049 per person (NZ$2269) *Based on departing Copenhagen 12th May 2017.

All new MSC Cruises destinations offer scenic getaways and fascinating attractions.

Further information about Sarande is available at the MSC Cruises web site:

For our wide range of cruise itineraries and special prices, visit: or call 1300 028 502 (in Australia) or 0508 4278 473 (in New Zealand)

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Australia Day Celebrations on special Murray Princess Cruise

Celebrate historic Australia Day on a special four night Murray Princess Australia Day cruise and enjoy Australia Day festivities while discovering the real history of the outback. The four-night cruise departs Monday 23rd January, 2017.

The Australia Day cruise features the popular four-night itinerary combined with Australia Day fun and games including Two Up and thong throwing and a special Captain's Australia Day Buffet Dinner.

On-shore excursions include a guided walking tour of Swan Reach and a visit to the Swan Reach Museum.

Learn about Aboriginal history at the amazing Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve - one of Australia's most significant archaeological sites and enjoy a guided boardwalk tour of ancient rock carvings.

Fall in love with the animals at a visit to a Native Wildlife Shelter and experience a fun and very Australian Woolshed Show.

Experience the excitement of cruising through Lock 1 at Blanchetown and enjoy some cellar door tasting and a tour of the vineyard at Burk Salter Boutique Winery.

Wildlife lovers can spot an abundance of nocturnal wildlife on the riverbank and birdwatchers can spend endless hours spotting a wide variety of river birds.

Plant life is also thriving and led by on-shore guides guests can enjoy nature walks, eco-tours and learn about the thriving ecology of the river.

Guests can sit back in one of two air-conditioned paddlewheel lounges and enjoy the amazing views as the Murray Princess cruises past towering limestone cliffs, and along riverbanks lined with mallee scrub and red gum forests. They can even watch the working paddle wheel through a spectacular two-story glass window in the Paddlewheel Lounge.

Food on board the Murray Princess is a highlight of the cruise. Guests will enjoy a hearty hot buffet breakfast each morning, a two-course or buffet lunch each day and a three-course or buffet dinner each evening. There is a spectacular Captain's dinner and dance, a special Captain's Australia Day Buffet Dinner and even an Aussie-style campfire barbecue dinner and bush dance on the river bank.

The four night Australia Day cruise departs from Mannum at 4.30pm on Monday 23rd January, 2017 and Early Booking Saver fares start from only $1076 per person twin share.

Fares include accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks, eco-excursions, onboard presentations, onboard free Wi-Fi, the Captain's Australia Day Buffet Dinner, live entertainment, use of ship's facilities including a sauna, spa, sun deck, bar, two lounges, restaurant and mini gymnasium with complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or secure car-parking in Mannum.

For Further information and bookings please contact:

T: 1300 729 938 from within Australia or +61 9 8202 8697 from Overseas



Thursday 6 October 2016

SeaDream scores top spots with Berlitz

SEADREAM Yacht Club's SeaDream I and SeaDream II have been awarded  the top two Boutique Passenger Vessel placings in the prestigious 2017 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships – the so-called "bible of world cruising." 

The Guide is researched and written by Douglas Ward who, with more than 1,100 cruises behind him, is considered the world's top authority on cruising and cruise ships. For each year's edition, Mr Ward takes into account hundreds of separate items based on personal cruises, and portside visits and re-visits to ships during the year.

Mr Ward scored SeaDream I a total of 1,754 points out of a possible 2000 points in his year 2017 Guide that's just been published, and SeaDream II a total 1,750 points, and noted the SeaDream twins' reputations for being "beautiful, intimate and with excellent food."

President of SeaDream Yacht Club, Bob Lepisto said the company was honoured and delighted to once again be so highly distinguished in the world-renowned Berlitz Guide.

"We thank Mr Ward and his publishers," Mr Lepisto said. "And I add my own thanks to our colleagues at sea, and those in our offices around the world who have all contributed to our continued success."

SeaDream I and SeaDream II each carries a maximum of just 112 guests in 56 staterooms, served by 95 crew. Included in sailings aboard the mega motor-cruisers are wines with lunches and dinners, premium drinks from the open bars, power and sail water sports where locally permitted, mountain bikes for shore expeditions, an onboard golf simulator and fitness centre, and port charges and taxes

For more information about SeaDream I and II, see travel agents or go to

Record Breaking Cruise Season Kicks off with the Return of Australia’s Favourite Cruise Ship, Celebrity Solstice

The arrival of Australia's highest rated cruise ship*, Celebrity Solstice to Sydney on Saturday 8 October signals the official start of a bumper international cruise season for Australia and New Zealand, as well as the biggest ever local season for RCL Cruises Ltd with a capacity increase of 15 per cent, year on year for the company's trifecta of cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

"This summer, our three cruise lines and seven ships based down under will sail 101 itineraries, carrying over 300,000 guests who will inject more than $208 million in passenger spend alone in Australian ports," said Adam Armstrong, managing director for RCL Cruises in Australia and New Zealand.

Sydney itself will see an injection of more than $144 million into the local economy, with 76 calls to the port by 6 ships.

With around 15 per cent of the international RCL Cruises Ltd fleet now based in Australia and New Zealand between October and April, this season will see the company introduce two new ships, spend $11.25 million refreshing another, as well as offer a whole host of new and unique itineraries on a range of cruise ships to suit every taste.

"This is undoubtedly our biggest and most exciting season to date.  And nothing will be bigger than the debut of Royal Caribbean's all-new Ovation of the Seas. She represents not only a whole new way to cruise, but a new holiday category entirely – what we've dubbed supercruising. This is truly going to blow Australia away!"

Ovation of the Seas cost USD$1 billion to build, weighing in at 168,666 GRT with capacity for close to 5000 passengers, making her by far the largest, the newest and the most technologically advanced cruise ship to ever call Australia home.

She'll depart Singapore on 30 November and reach the Australian coast for the very first time in Fremantle on 6 December, before calling in Adelaide, Hobart and Sydney. Once she arrives at her new southern hemisphere home port of Sydney on 15 December, she'll offer seven roundtrip itineraries to New Zealand, the South Pacific and Australian destinations, plus a repositioning cruise to Singapore departing in February 2017.

Ovation of the Seas joins the South Pacific Sisters - twin sisters Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas - along with Radiance of the Seas sailing out of Sydney. Together, the biggest ships in the Southern Hemisphere will offer 65 voyages around Australia, the South Pacific, New Zealand and Asia.

Twin sister megaliners, Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas will be dedicated to the South Pacific this coming season, offering twice the fun thanks to recent US$180 million revitalisations. Until Ovation of the Seas arrives, Explorer of the Seas boasts the title of largest ship in Australia and both the South Pacific Sisters are packed full of fun for families of all shapes and sizes. They boast an array of features that can only be found on Royal, like the twin FlowRiders, ice skating rinks where the young and young at heart can test their skills and virtual balconies for real time ocean views in interior staterooms. As well as calling to idyllic destinations like Vanuatu and New Caledonia, the South Pacific Sisters will make almost double the calls of any other cruise brand to island favourite, Fiji.

Nicknamed the "culinary ship" for her rich variety of onboard dining options, Radiance of the Seas is set to make waves this season. She'll make the industry's first ever passenger cruise ship visit to Wollongong on the South Coast of NSW on 30 October 2016, plus she will make maiden calls for the cruise line to the idyllic islands of Tonga; Vava'u on 12 December 2016 and Nuku'alofa on 13 December 2016.

Legend of the Seas returns to her Brisbane homeport for her second and final season down under in November. Only two sea days from the South Pacific, she'll primarily offer voyages to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, before bidding farewell to Australian waters in February 2017.

After kicking off the 2016/17 cruise season this weekend, Celebrity Solstice, will make her way to Singapore for an extensive $11.25 million revitalisation. Sailing her fifth consecutive local season, the modern luxury ship will return in November with stunning new features including "A Taste of Film" cinema experience under the stars, new Lawn Club cabanas, an authentic Japanese sushi restaurant and an all-new digital photo gallery.

Celebrity Solstice will offer a range of new ports and itineraries during her seven month season, including her maiden debut to the tranquil coastal NZ town of Picton on 10 April 2017, as well as a record three overnight calls to the picturesque harbour town of Tauranga in New Zealand.  She will also introduce a new Great Barrier Reef itinerary for the first time, departing Sydney 13 March 2017. 

Rounding out the season will be the maiden arrival of boutique cruise brand Azamara Club Cruises' second ship, Azamara Journey, which will her debut in February 2017, first arriving to Darwin on 8 February 2017 as part of her Asia repositioning and then to Sydney on 20 February 2017. She'll make the cruise company's maiden call to Kaikoura, New Zealand's whale watching capital, on 13 March 2017, and will remain in the region until late March, offering two Australia & New Zealand sailings and a return Asia repositioning voyage.

Fresh from an all-encompassing make over which left no space untouched, Azamara Journey's recent revitalisation saw the addition of new venues and technologies, a beautiful redesign and rework of her suites and staterooms, a complete refresh of all public spaces and pervasive wi-fi throughout.

For more information about or to book a cruise, visit, or, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.

* Celebrity Solstice is the highest rated ship in Australia according to the Berlitz Guide and was awarded Best Cruise Ship – Domestic 2015 at the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards.


Friday 30 September 2016

SeaDream's taste of the Mediterranean's good life


IF you'll be in the USA come early next January and know you'll have a few spare days up your sleeve, fill them in with an unforgettable 4-day start to 2017 aboard the world's highest-rated boutique motor-cruiser, SeaDream I on a big-discounted round-trip sailing from Bridgetown, Barbados in the Caribbean.

Departing on January 3, the price of this 4-day sailing has been slashed from US$4624pp twin-share to just US$2223pp twin-share.

You'll visit the uninhabited Tobago Cays with their green turtles and coral reefs (and doubtless recognise where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed,) Union Island dubbed "the Tahiti of the West Indies," Port Elizabeth that's home to the famed "Mac's Lobster Pizza," and tiny Mayreau where crew will host SeaDream's exclusive Champagne and Caviar Splash in a picture-perfect secluded bay…

Included will be wines with lunches and dinners, premium drinks from the open bars, power and sail water sports where locally permitted, mountain bikes for shore expeditions, a no-charge onboard golf simulator and fitness centre, and port charges and taxes.

For full details see travel agents or visit; SeaDream I carries a maximum of just 112 guests served by 95 crew.

[] IT'S unique Champagne and Caviar Splash will be a feature of SeaDream I's 4-day Caribbean sailing from Bridgetown, Barbados next January.

Friday 23 September 2016

Silver Muse maiden voyage - get aboard

Silversea's new flagship, Silver Muse, is set to redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations.  Igniting the start of an exciting 2017 Mediterranean cruising season, Silversea has tailored Silver Muse's maiden voyage to sail one of the most sought-after stretches of the European coastline.

Departing Monte Carlo, Monaco on 19 April 2017, Silver Muse sails west towards Spain.  The vibrant city of Marseille is the first port of call, where guests can be immersed in the countries rich history and culture, before exploring Barcelona, Spain.  Here guests can view ancient and modern architecture and relax on the sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. Guests also have the option of a variety of shore excursions ranging from a relaxing day of golf, to soaring to new heights on a helicopter tour of the city.

The voyage continues toward Italy's picturesque coast, stopping at the beautiful ports in Sicily, Amalfi, Sorrento and Rome.  Here guests can savour a delightful array of traditional Italian food, and bask under the hot Italian sun.  Guests return to the enchanting French Riviera, disembarking in Nice, on 03 May 2017, where a guided tour of the Old City awaits to conclude the truly luxurious Silversea experience.

Soak up the ambience and award-winning gastronomic pedigree of what is surely the most comprehensive dining experience at sea. Eight superb restaurants mean more choice than ever while our unrivalled culinary excellence raises the bar in offshore dining.

As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus offer, guests can save 10% on the published fare when booked and paid in full before 31 October 2016. Prices are per person based on double occupancy, in a Classic Veranda Suite:

·         Published fare starting from AU$10,950
·         Early Booking Bonus fare starting from AU$9,855

Silversea fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary onboard champagne, wines and spirits; and one hour of complimentary WiFi per day for each guest and unlimited WiFi for the ship's top suites (Medallion and higher categories) 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

Monday 19 September 2016

Cruise Bites: September 2016

Crystal have added a 3-person submarine to their fleet, so you can now take your cruise underwater. When Scenic and Crystal launch their new state-of-the-art expedition ships, both will feature these craft that can dive to over 100m. True.

The once impassable Northwest Passage welcomed its first full-size cruise ship when Crystal Serenity took a leisurely 32 days to sail from Alaska to New York. It’s on again for 2017.

No longer a best-kept-secret, New Zealand will see a record number of cruise ships including the largest ship to sail there, RCCL’s 167,000 tonne Ovation of the Seas. A total of 33 ships will make more than 600 port calls.

RCCL’s Ovation of the Seas will be the largest ship ever to visit Australia, eclipsing Cunard’s QM2 by 20,000 tonnes. The ship can fit almost 5000 passengers and will homeport in Sydney this summer.

Launched in May this year, the massive, 4000 passenger Carnival Vista will feature not only the first IMAX at sea, but a water park, an aerial bike ride and a brewery located in the onboard Red Frog Pub. Burp!

Passengers aboard the brand new Aranui 5 can indulge in an ancient Polynesian art by having an authentic tattoo by native artists during port stops in the remote Marquesas, considered the birthplace of this unique body art.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

CMV’s Columbus to set off around the World

And she's coming Down Under on her historic journey

Cruise & Maritime Voyages' (CMV) newest addition to its fleet, Columbus, will embark on a 121-night World journey in January, 2018. This amazing itinerary is the major highlight of CMV's 2017/2018 cruises from Britain.

Columbus, which is part of the same fleet as the premium cruise ship Astor, which will call Australia home this summer for a fourth consecutive season, will depart from London (Tilbury) January 5, 2018.

Announcing the new programme, Grant Hunter, Chief Executive of CMV Australia said: "The success of the Round the World cruise for another of our fleet, Magellan, told us that cruise-goers want these types of amazing itineraries. So, that's what we're providing, with the newest member to our fleet, Columbus. Plus, we're pretty excited to be showing her off at ports around the world."

Columbus will visit four continents, three oceans, 40 ports of call, including Tahiti, Auckland, Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai and will transit both the Panama and Suez on her world journey.

Sectors of varying lengths will also be available for separate purchase, allowing passengers to select their favourite ports to start and their journey.

Mr Hunter said: "She was built for deep sea ocean cruising and we believe that Columbus is still the ideal ship for this epic circumnavigation of the globe. Her expansive lounge and deck areas offer style and comfort in which to sit back and see the world."

To commemorate the occasion, CMV is offering some amazing fares. Fares for the whole 121-nights start from AUD$13,879pp, which is the equivalent of around AUD$114 per day. Free twin cabin upgrades for early bookers. This fare is based on two people sharing a twin cabin and includes delicious full board cuisine, afternoon teas and late night snacks, Captain's Cocktail parties, deck parties, self-service tea and coffee between 6am and midnight, big show entertainment, cabarets and classical interludes, daytime activities, leisure facilities, guest speakers, arts & crafts, porterage of luggage port to cabin and port taxes.

There are also 150 cabins available on board Columbus for solo travellers, with just a 25 per cent supplement on the equivalent category twin share prices as CMV continue to avoid penalising independent single travellers.

For details of this and other CMV cruises, visit:

Saturday 20 August 2016

2017 World Cruise – Ancient Wonders & Modern Marvels

Sail aboard Silver Whisper for its epic World Cruise 2017, an exclusive 116-day voyage from San Francisco, to Monte Carlo, and 62 ports in between. This incredible voyage offers guests the opportunity to experience the diverse cultures from 25 different countries, on five continents, all the while experiencing the unbelievable elegance and luxury Silversea is known for.

Departing San Francisco, California, on 6 January 2017, Silver Whisper journeys through the majestic isles of Hawaii and across the International Date Line to explore the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. The voyage then continues to the forested island of Bali and the vibrant cities of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, before setting course for the rich terrains of India, the ancient ruins of Arabia, and the captivating treasures of the Mediterranean.

Guests sailing aboard the full 116 days of World Cruise 2017 will enjoy a variety of special amenities and events, for example: a gala Bon Voyage reception; dinner and overnight stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco; transfers (between airport, hotel and Silver Whisper); a US$4,000 Onboard Spending Credit (per double-occupancy suite); complimentary laundry service; and commemorative gifts.

As an added benefit to World voyage, an exclusive 3-night voyage aboard Silversea's new flagship Silver Muse is on offer. Guests will be among the first to experience Silver Muse and her exciting innovations, exquisite décor and handcrafted suites sailing from Nice to Rome, from 3 May to 6 May 2017.

Prices are per person, starting at AU$81,989 in a Vista Suite, based on double occupancy. Silversea fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary onboard champagne, wines and spirits; included gratuities. In addition, Silversea is enhancing its offering in 2017 with complimentary dry cleaning service and free unlimited WiFi for all full-cruise guests.

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

Follow Silversea on Twitter, Facebook and the Silversea Blog.

Friday 19 August 2016

Holland America Line deploys ms Maasdam to Australia this October

New ship and new exotic itinerary for Australian cruisers

Holland America Line's ms Maasdam will be deployed to Australia this October joining ms Noordam for sailings around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific throughout 2016 and 2017. It will be the first time the 1,259 capacity vessel has visited local shores.

In a brand new itinerary for Holland America Line, ms Maasdam will be departing on 22 November 2017 for the inaugural 31-day Pacific Explorer. This will be a highlight of ms Maasdam's stay, with the itinerary taking guests on a journey to some of the region's most beautiful destinations such as Tauranga, Nuku'alofa, Moorea and more. There will be no shortage of pristine landscapes, crystal clear waters and cultural experiences on the month long sailing, and overnight stays in many ports will ensure cruisers have ample time to explore and experience them all.

"We're so pleased to be welcoming ms Maasdam to our region for the upcoming season. She's a much loved ship, and one, in fact, that Holland America Line Mariners consistently name as one of their favourites in the fleet," said Tony Archbold, Holland America Line Director of Sales, Australia and New Zealand.

"It's also great news that she'll be back again later in 2017 for the 2017/18 season. With this is mind, we felt it only fitting that the Maasdam be the first of our ships to sail the new Pacific Explorer itinerary. We know our guests are going to be delighted and excited by this culturally rich and spectacular sailing."

In keeping with Holland America Line's tradition of ship themes, ms Maasdam is themed around treasures collected by the merchants of the Dutch East Indies. On board items that reflect the theme includes a golden gilt bronze figure of a Boddhisattva from China's Qianlong period (1736-1795), charts on the walls depicting maritime navigation of the time and a portrait of a nobleman.

As always, cruisers will be delighted by the excellent enrichment, culinary and entertainment initiatives that the line has become so well known for including the Culinary Arts Center, Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Restaurant, Explorations Café and Rembrandt Show Lounge to name a few. Holland America Line's extensive Journeys Ashore™ program will also continue to inform and engage guests at each port throughout their cruise.

2016–17 Maasdam departure highlights

17-day Australia and New Zealand Christmas and New Year from $2,199 pp
Departing 16 December 2016, this festive season sailing from Sydney to Auckland offers an in-depth exploration of the stunning eastern coasts of New Zealand's South and North islands. Making her way to New Zealand via Eden, Melbourne, Burnie and Hobart, ms Maasdam will visit some of the land of the long white cloud's most spectacular places, including Milford Sound, Akaroa and the Coromandel Peninsula.

13-day Australia and New Zealand from $2,899 pp

For those looking for a slightly shorter but still comprehensive exploration of New Zealand, the 13-day Australia and New Zealand sailing is sure to suit. Departing Auckland on 2 January 2017, ms Maasdam will make her way down the eastern coasts of New Zealand with calls including Napier, Wellington and Akaroa before embarking on scenic cruising through the incredible Fiordland National Park. From here, she makes her way across the Tasman to stop in at Hobart, Melbourne and Burnie before sailing into Sydney Harbour for a spectacular end to a spectacular cruise.

31-day Pacific Explorer from $6,999 pp

Departing 22 November 2017 from Sydney, this roundtrip sailing will call in at ports throughout Tonga, Tahiti, the Cook Islands and Fiji. A shorter 22-day roundtrip segment will depart Auckland on 27 November from $5,749 pp.

For more information about Holland America Line, contact a Travel Professional, call 1300 987 322 or visit  


Monday 4 July 2016

Monaco Grand Prix with 5 day SeaDream sailing

IF you're into motor-racing and a taste of the good life also appeals, combine both on the French Riviera in May of next year when SeaDream Yacht Club sails a 5-day return voyage from Nice that includes the chance to visit the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.

SeaDream I sails from Nice on the evening of May 25, has a day and an overnight in St Tropez, Saturday of the race weekend at Cannes and then Sunday at Monte Carlo for either an optional-cost visit to the race final or to go sightseeing, and a final last day in San Remo before returning to Nice.

Sailing price on SeaDream I begins from US$3604pp twin-share including wines with onboard gourmet lunches and dinners, premium drinks from the open bars, power and sail water sports where locally permitted, mountain bikes for shore expeditions, a no-charge onboard golf simulator and fitness centre, and port charges and taxes.

Cost of entry to the Grand Prix is additional and will be announced six months prior to SeaDream's sailing.

SeaDream I has just 56-staterooms for a maximum 112-guests served by 95-crew.

 For more details, call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit
For bookings and further details, see SeaDream specialist Cruise Express

Thursday 30 June 2016

Boutique Line Azamara Club Cruises Offers The Best Of Both Cruising Worlds – Ocean And River

Boutique cruise brand, Azamara Club Cruises is known for its destination immersion, smaller ships that can berth in ports other large ships can't, and a style of cruise that offers more included in every fare. Lesser known, but no less unique, is the fact that Azamara's 686-passenger ships can offer the best of both cruising worlds – ocean as well as river cruising.

Both Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey recently emerged from multimillion dollar makeovers that overhauled the jewel-box ships from bow to stern. They offer a range of unique itineraries with longer stays, more overnights and night touring so guests can experience the authentic culture of the destinations they visit, including those on the banks of some of the world's most famed rivers.

Travellers can cruise the storied River Thames right up to Tower Bridge in London, or visit New Orleans via the mighty Mississippi River. Azamara's ships can sail the Garonne River to Bordeaux in the heart of one of France's prime wine-making regions, and to the dynamic Canadian city of Montreal via the St. Lawrence River.

Or, choose to navigate Russia's Neva River en route to the czarist treasures and grand palaces of St. Petersburg, or the Iberian Peninsula's Guadalquivir River to the Spanish city of Seville, where passengers can explore the charming, historic Santa Cruz Quarter.

The River Liffey flows right through Dublin, and Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest can cruise a part of this waterway to enter the Irish capital. One of Dublin's top attractions, the Temple Bar district, has been developed along the south bank of the Liffey. This neighbourhood is considered the city's cultural heart, with restaurants, lively pubs and outdoor markets lining the cobblestone lanes.

Destinations truly are the hero of Azamara's itineraries on every cruise. Wherever adventure presents itself, Azamara's unique Land Discoveries programs, including Insider Access, Nights and Cool Places and Cruise Global Eat Local, set the brand apart by inspiring guests to think outside the ship by offering special access to museums, iconic and exclusive attractions, hidden gems, tours, intimate meals and more. Azamara's signature AzAmazing Evening events also bring guests a unique cultural experience – which is complimentary on all voyages seven nights or longer.

While destinations are the highlight, what's onboard keeps guests coming back for more. Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest guests receive exceptional and personal service and enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world. More is included in each cruise – such as beverages, gratuities, self-service laundry, English Butler service for suite guests, shuttle transportation to city centres in ports, where available, as well as Azamara's signature AzAmazing Evening Events. 

To experience Azamara's unique hybrid ocean and river cruise offering, fares start from $3,359 for the first guest and just $1,677 for the second guest in an interior stateroom when booked by 31 August 2016, for a 10-night Thailand and Vietnam voyage. Departing Singapore on 30 November 2016, this itinerary lets guests sail Thailand's Chao Phraya River to Bangkok where the ship docks overnight. Here, passengers can tour the Royal Barges Museum, which showcases elaborately carved and decorated teak vessels used only for special ceremonies on the river. The voyage also includes calls to Thailand's famed Ko Samui for some of the world's best beaches as well as an overnight in Ho Chi Minh City, before concluding in Hong Kong.

To make a booking or for further information visit, phone 1800 754 500 or contact your local travel agent. Travel professionals can call 1300 754 500 or visit

Monday 2 May 2016

Included return flights to Asia with Celebrity Cruises

FREE return flights to Asia with Celebrity Cruises #traveldeals

Celebrity Cruises is offering guests free return flights for two repositioning Asian sailings onboard award-winning Celebrity Solstice. This incredible offer will provide free flights for bookings made in Balcony Staterooms or above and is valid for new individual bookings made before 24 May 2016*.

Fares start from $3099 per person in a Balcony Stateroom departing Sydney 8 October 2016. The 14-night cruise onboard the modern luxe cruise ship will make calls to Brisbane, Cairns, the Whitsundays, Darwin and Bali before arriving in Singapore. The free flight offer extends to domestic flights from Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne or Adelaide to Sydney to meet the ship, and home to the same ports from Singapore at the conclusion of the voyage.

Or choose the same 14-night itinerary in reverse, departing Singapore on 31 October and including international flights to meet the ship, and domestic flights to either Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne or Adelaide if guests live outside of Sydney at the conclusion of the cruise; all priced from $3349 per person (Balcony).

For more information about Celebrity Cruises or to book a cruise, visit, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.

*Terms & conditions: Applicable to twin share only.  Offer available til 24th May unless sold out prior. Offer is combinable with standard pricing only and will not be combinable with Celebrity Cruises Go Big Better Best promotion or any other offer, price code or promotion. For a list of full terms & conditions please visit -

Saturday 2 April 2016

Mothers Day Special - Cruise with MSC

Make mother's day the gift that keeps on giving and take the whole family on an unforgettable holiday!

Say thank you to your mum, grandmother or wife this year with an MSC Cruise. Spoil your special lady with the gift of luxury, relaxation and indulgence as she sets sail to some of the world's most beautiful destinations.

Take advantage of our special offer leading up to Mother's Day and receive 25% off your second cruise. Call MSC Musica home as you embark on an 11 night adventure to the magical Mediterranean. Departing from Genoa, cruise to Rome, Olympia, Athens, Rhodes, Limassol, Crete and Valletta and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of these magical towns. Plan for the year ahead and book a second cruise to take advantage of this great offer. Why not enjoy the perfect balance of history, culture and relaxation as you discover the stunning sights of Portofino, Barcelona, Casablanca, Canary Islands, Madeira Islands and Civitavecchia. Departing in September 2016, this itinerary makes the perfect school holidays getaway with something for everyone in the family to enjoy. With prices starting from $2,486 per person, for these two spectacular itineraries enjoy great savings while you treat the whole family.  

Our Mother's Day deal is available on range of selected departures throughout summer 2016 and winter 2017 itineraries cruising the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Arabian Peninsula and Cuba.

There is no better way to give Grandma a much deserved break than with our all organised fantastic Fly, Land and Cruise Packages. Surprise Grandma with the trip of a lifetime with a range of packages to choose from. Consider Lawrence returns to Arabia 27 night package, discovering Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain as well as cruising the Suez Canal on board the stunning MSC Fantasia. With transfers, accommodation and return flights already organised for you, this package is the perfect gift to give and an even better one to receive. Starting from $4,799  per person, this Mother's Day, the special ladies in the family will enjoy an experience not to be forgotten.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Ovation of the Seas reveals show-stopping entertainment


New and Imaginative Shows Headline Australia's First New-Build Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean International has today revealed the show-stopping entertainment line-up on board Australia's newest, biggest and most technologically advanced cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. A product of the largest entertainment production operation at sea, Ovation's entertainment will continue the innovative brand's standard of combining talent, technology and special effects with a spectacular selection of stage shows, productions and events that will exhilarate guests' senses and leave them spellbound. On board Ovation of the Seas, unique technologically advanced venues and exceptionally talented performers will come together to deliver unparalleled entertainment experiences each day of a guest's adventure.

Tech-focused Entertainment in Two70

The leading cruise line will deliver an endless landscape of one-of-a-kind entertainment in Two70, a multi-level great room that seamlessly fuses entertainment and technology. The venue affords audiences vast possibilities, with immersive experiences taking place all around the room. With the integration of Vistarama – expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that can be set into any scene, real or imagined, by combining 18 projectors to create an ambient surface over 30 metres wide and over 6 metres tall. In addition, a troupe of six, agile Roboscreens combined with highly trained live performers, music and special effects, gives guests front-row seats to stunningly visual shows that can only be seen while sailing on board Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships, including the spectacular Spectra's Cabaret.

Spectra's Cabaret is a completely original production, created by Royal Caribbean International and Moment Factory exclusively for Two70. This wildly popular show, already a fan-favourite on Anthem of the Seas, features the Maestro and his Agents of Rhythm as they invite the audience to an electric, multi-dimensional cabaret that transports them to invisible realms. Each night, the portal opens for a limited period of time and immerses guests' imaginations into a multimedia show brimming with kaleidoscopic sounds, effervescent colours and dazzling movement. "Spectra's Cabaret" blends live performance and experiential cinema with music from contemporary pop culture. It creates a world seen through the lens of music and technology, all while exploring the deepest recesses of the heart.

Headlining the Main Theatre

Seating 1,300 guests, the magnificent Royal Theater is home to Ovation of the Seas' two new production shows:

The Dream – This thrilling production chronicles the story of a man who is visited by his departed soulmate in a very special dream. His long-lost love has come to help him rediscover his passion for life and gives him the will to pursue his wildest dreams and to find love again. In his slumber, he will confront his deepest and most secret fears and journey on a rite of passage towards his eventual awakening. The unique combination of wonderful storytelling, soulful performances and spectacular production values will surprise and delight audiences time and time again.  This is the biggest adventure of this man's life, and Royal Caribbean audiences are invited to join him on a wild and audacious journey of discovery.
Live. Love. Legs. – The same highly-acclaimed creative team behind the wildly popular "Sequins & Feathers" on Quantum of the Seas has brought its signature combination of talented artists, high-energy performances and remarkable beauty, to deliver another unforgettable theatrical experience. "Live. Love. Legs" brings a collection of incredible aerial acrobatics, next-gen choreography and superb vocal performances that come straight from the Broadway stage. Infusing all the hallmarks of the Sequins & Feathers experience, featuring lavish costumes, jaw-dropping video effects, special musical arrangements, and a dedicated group of international artists, this all-new production on board Ovation of the Seas will reward audiences with a full sensory overload.

With Royal Caribbean, the entertainment doesn't end on stage. Ovation offers guests a line-up of fully produced late-night events and parties. In the ever popular Music Hall, guests are treated to the most exciting live music venue at sea, where travellers can dance till the wee hours of the morning as well as enjoy theme parties such as Groovy Town. Two70 hosts late-night themed parties such as Twist & Shout and Fireworks Party along with the Roboshows that perfectly incorporate live performers and technology.

Australia's very first new-build ship will also deliver entertainment experiences for its youngest guests, with events and activities featuring DreamWorks Animation's popular film characters. From DreamWorks character breakfasts in the main dining room, impromptu 'meet-and-greet' experiences to photo-ops throughout the day and exclusive DreamWorks merchandise – families will have a plethora of options to keep kids of all ages engaged. Guests can also watch the latest DreamWorks Animation films in the ship's movie theatre or on the dedicated DreamWorks TV channel in their stateroom.

Ovation and her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas belong to the Quantum class of ships and are built with the most advanced technology. Ovation of the Seas will introduce unprecedented first-at-sea experiences and amenities to Australia when she arrives in December, including the North Star, an observation capsule that gently rises more than 92 metres in the air to treat guests to breathtaking panoramic views as high as the Harbour Bridge; thrilling skydiving and surfing experiences; Two70 a daily social space which transforms into a multifunctional entertainment place in the evening; and SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity space at sea, which includes basketball, roller-skating, bumper cars, a circus school and more. Dining has also been redefined on board, with each ship offering Dynamic Dining - 18 distinct restaurants with a variety of cuisines to choose from - as well as the industry's most relaxing and luxurious accommodations at sea with the unique Loft Suites and groundbreaking Virtual Balcony staterooms, interior accommodations that feature large digital screens displaying real-time views, ensuring that every room has a view.

Ovation of the Seas will officially launch in April 2016, when she departs Southampton, England for Tianjin, China on a 52-day "Global Odyssey" voyage. On 30 November 2016, she will set sail on a 15-night Singapore to Sydney voyage via Fremantle, Adelaide and Hobart, repositioning to her new home down under for her maiden season.

Ovation spans 18 decks, encompasses 168,666 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,091 staterooms. Media can find more details, images and videos at

For further information or to make a booking, visit, phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.