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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