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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Spice up your life on Ecruising’s The Culinary Dream through Asia journey


Foodies and gourmets, rejoice, and get ready to satisfy your epi-curious itch on Ecruising's ultimate gastronomic odyssey – The Culinary Dream through Asia Rail and Sail journey.

Departing on 27 February 2019, this mouth-watering 24-night itinerary takes in some of southeast Asia's most celebrated food destinations as well as a 2-night train trip aboard the iconic Eastern & Oriental Express, hosted by celebrity chef, Luke Mangan, and a 15-night cruise from Myanmar to Indonesia.

Your journey begins in Singapore where you will have 2 nights to explore the city's famous Hawker stalls at your leisure, before boarding the Eastern & Oriental Express. Over the next 3 days, join Luke for a series of tours and cooking demonstrations as he shares his passion for Asian cuisine, and immerse yourself in the tranquil scenery of rural Malaysia and Thailand, before arriving in Bangkok on 3 March 2019. Highlights en route include stopovers in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar in Malaysia's Perak Province, visits to Thailand's notorious River Kwai Bridge and the Thai-Burma Railway Museum, a bicycle tour through Thai rice paddies and cooking classes.

From Bangkok, you'll fly to Yangon in Myanmar where you spend one night before boarding Silver Discoverer on 5 March 2019 for an exciting 15-night Silversea Expedition – taking in India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands and a semi-circumnavigation of Sumatra and Java.

One of India's most remote territories, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are slowly opening up to tourism and the cruise offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about the Islands' indigenous tribal communities. Relax and explore some spectacular beaches or, if you are feeling more energetic, snorkel with an astonishing array of sea creatures including snappers, Napoleon wrasses, moray eels, nudibranchs, eagle rays, stingrays, star fish, lionfish, and many more.

Entering Indonesian waters, cruise highlights include a stopover in Banda Aceh on Sumatra's tip, with its solemn monuments commemorating the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami; an immersion into the traditional farming and fishing lifestyle of Indonesia's picturesque Simeulue Islands; astonishing demonstrations of agility from the Nias Islands' famous stone jumpers; and a visit to a traditional matrilineal Minangkabau village in West Sumatra's lush highlands.

Also on the itinerary are visits to Java's UNESCO World Heritage site of Ujung Kulon National Park; the awe-inspiring volcano of Anak Krakatoa rising dramatically from the Sunda Strait; the stunning Karimunjawa Marine National Park with its 27 islands surrounded by dazzling corals; the Great Mosque of Sumenep built in 1763; and the active volcanos of Mount Semeru and Mount Bromo in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

Disembarking in Bali on 20 Mach 2019, spend the final 3 nights of your journey discovering the unique and exotic flavours of Balinese cuisine. Visit the famous Gianyar Night Market, indulge in a traditional Megibung dining experience and try your hand at making local dishes at a Balinese cooking class, before flying home to Australia on 23 March 2019.

Departing on 27 February 2020, prices for Ecruising's 24-night The Culinary Dream through Asia Rail and Sail journey start from $15,359 per person twin share, including all accommodation, return economy class airfares from Australia, transfers, and all meals and selected beverages aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express and on board Silver Discoverer.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Norwegian Jewel comes home after massive refurbishment


Norwegian Jewel’s Second Local Season Underlines Norwegian Cruise Line’s Ongoing Investment in and Commitment to the Asia-Pacific Region



Fresh from a multi-million-dollar, bow-to-stern refurbishment Norwegian Jewel has returned Down Under, arriving in Sydney over the weekend for the official commencement of her 2018/19 local cruising season.

Norwegian Jewel underwent refurbishment last month as part of the company’s Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program, reaffirming the company’s commitment to elevating the standard of excellence across the fleet. Local and international guests alike will experience the spectacular transformation during Norwegian Jewel’s second Australia and New Zealand season, in which she will take in the beauty of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific before travelling back to Asia to embark upon several sailings in the region.

Norwegian Jewel’s entrance into the local market in 2017 has been a game changer for the Australasian cruise sector, due to the brand’s unrivalled freedom & flexibility, world-class dining, award-winning entertainment, immersive itineraries, extensive on-board activities and wide range of accommodation options - from solo studios to interconnecting rooms and balcony suites, to the exclusive The Haven by Norwegian®.

“Local cruisers have really embraced Norwegian Jewel, and with thanks to our valued trade partners, bookings since her first Australasian season have exceeded all expectations. 2018/19 will be Norwegian Jewel’s second local season – with a third already confirmed for 2019/2020 – reflecting Norwegian’s long-term commitment to strengthening our presence in Australasia,” Steve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

“Norwegian Jewel’s return to local waters also enables us to showcase to local cruisers and the industry Norwegian’s commitment to the continued enhancement and elevation of its fleet as part of our Norwegian Edge® program. We’re delighted to be the first to be able to show off her re-designed staterooms, refurbished restaurants, bars and lounges and new-look public spaces to our expanding local market. The Australian hit ‘Velvet’ will also be making its debut at sea onboard Norwegian Jewel, with this headline show being another exciting first for our region,” continues Mr Odell. “Norwegian Cruise Line’s consistency of product offering across the entire fleet is unrivalled, making Norwegian Jewel a wonderful local showcase for our many international cruise offerings, including Hawaii and Europe.”

Azura main dining room (supplied)

Guests aboard Norwegian Jewel can truly ‘feel free’, with no set dining times, no pre-assigned seating and no strict dress codes. Onboard amenities include 16 high quality dining options, unrivalled for a ship of her size, ranging from Teppanyaki and sushi to French, Italian, Brazilian and pub classics, as well as a choice of 15 bars and nightclubs, boutique shopping, a library and video arcade. Outdoors, there are swimming pools, hot tubs, jogging tracks, a basketball and tennis court, as well as the Mandara Spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

With Norwegian renowned for award-winning entertainment, Norwegian Jewel returns with two new Broadway-quality shows for guests, ‘Rock You Tonight’, packed with 70s hits from the likes of Queen, Journey and The Who, and exclusive Australian hit musical ‘Velvet’, featuring disco classics, circus acrobatics and cabaret. The refurbished ship also boasts two new venues - The Pit Stop, an All-American vintage-inspired bar; and late-night hotspot, Bliss Ultra Lounge.

During her 2018/19 season, Norwegian Jewel will embark upon scenic Australia and New Zealand voyages, including a 16-day itinerary departing Sydney on December 20, visiting Eden, Burnie, Akaroa Napier, Tauranga and Auckland. In January, Norwegian Jewel will set sail on a 13-day Australia and South Pacific voyage where she’ll visit some of the most beautiful ports in the world including Isle of Pines, Lifou and Airlie Beach. February 2019 sees Norwegian Jewel heading to Southeast Asia, and in March she will depart Singapore on a 12-day adventure exploring exotic ports including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi en route to Hong Kong.

For more information or to book a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line, please contact a travel professional; call Norwegian in Australia on 1300 255 200 or in New Zealand on 0800 969 283; or visit www.ncl.com



Saturday, 1 December 2018

Seabourn - the last word on luxury at sea




Words: Ian MacTavish

Not many of us live right beside the sea. My wife and I certainly don’t. But you’d have to be a long way from any coastline to be unaware of the growing numbers of lovely large white vessels moving in and out of ports around the world.

With their decks buzzing with excited passengers looking forward to a short or long cruise they represent the fastest growing sector of the travel industry.

Cruising has never been more popular and the corners of the world served by sea-lanes have opened up for so many in the last twenty years.

The lure of the oceans.

Any cruise has a number of immediate attractions over land-based travel.

You don’t have to pack and unpack. No need to book in and out of hotels, or find transport every other day. You have a very short walk to all you want. Food. Drink. Pool. Deckchair. Spa. Dancing. Casino. Theatre.

After sunset, after a sleep, you see a new part of the world, a fresh discovery, appearing over your balcony rail every morning.

To top it off there is the romance of the sea ... something so reassuring in the humming and the gentle movement of the hull beneath you.



Which size cruise fits you?

Talk to your friends. We did because we seemed to be the last to take to the seas.

We listened to stories of the latest megaliners, fabulous craft the size of villages, with thousands of people and unbelievable facilities.

Some of our mates love large hotels. Huge spaces, bars everywhere, the buzz of crowds. But we’ve always liked intimate, boutique gems and that steered us towards the company known for it’s smaller ships.

OK you may miss out on water slides or surfing pools, but on a ship with less than 300 suites you can go into smaller ports, and mingle with a compact selection of like-minded travellers.

Thinking smaller for bigger rewards

Seabourn is right at the top of the luxury cruise lines.

No point in hiding. We found it among the most expensive.

But wow, what an experience!

Not only did we not want for anything, but the levels of personal service and the added touches were also above and beyond anything we had experienced before. The ratio of crew to guests is one of the highest.

Even in the space of ten days, we got to know by name most of the crew serving us day by day. They come from all over the world and cheerfully give you an interesting insight into their backgrounds. They remembered many of our preferences such as seating for meals and favourite snacks. 

Seabourn Encore: Pool deck.

How Seabourn defines luxury.

We met the Cruise Director on the second day out and had a couple of conversations with him. He had been with the company for 27 years, starting as an onboard entertainer. We asked how his systems work so well; his most telling statement was: “We make things personable. We encourage guests to chat with us and each other. Temporary friends maybe, but it generates an atmosphere you won’t find on a larger ship or hotel”

That’s how it is. Intimate, informal and individual.

Crewmembers are always ahead of you, anticipating what might make your day even better.

In your chosen bar, the barman remembers your favourite drink, and it appears. No need to run up a tab or settle up on the last day. It’s all included.

Need another bottle of champagne in you suite’s fridge? It’s all included.

Choice of some of the world’s fine wine at dinner. It’s all included.

An evening concert and dinner ashore. All included

Feels so gooooood!

Comfort you take for granted. Our suite’s ensuite had twin basins, a separate shower and bath (a tub on a softly swaying ship is a great experience), piles of fluffy towelling and shelves filled with products from Molton Brown of London.

A huge bed. Balcony, fridge, lounges and a table for dining in, which we did one night, each course brought as it was prepared.

The restaurant meals are amazingly good, especially at Restaurant2, which we made sure we booked as soon as we boarded.

My wife is tapping me on the shoulder to mention The Spa. It’s mainly a girl thing, and they deserve every hour of it. Emerging radiant, she says nowhere has treated her so well. The sheer choice of luxurious pampering is amazing. Just look at the brochure.

How to sum up the Seabourn Experience.

We haven’t been on all the ships at sea. But it is difficult to imagine anything that could top our Seabourn adventure.

For us it was sunshine, sipping and sightseeing in a Mediterranean summer. You might choose quite another part of the world. The oceans await you. Your horizons may be very different. But I bet onboard you’ll fall in love with what we did.

All in all, we did many things we had done before but with a level of perfection thanks to the sparkle of the Seabourn team. With their proven tradition of ultra-luxury, we would step onboard any of their ships, anywhere in the world in a heartbeat.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Silversea sailing to Cuba

#Silversea #ThisIsSilversea

Departing from the United States for the first time in Silversea's history, the voyages are now available for reservation.


Ultra-luxury cruise leader Silversea has launched a new collection of voyages to Cuba, enabling guests of all nationalities to discover the remarkable destination. Departing for Cuba from the United States for the first time in the cruise line's history, the 17 voyages will unlock authentic experiences for Silversea's guests, showcasing the best of the country through immersive land excursions in various destinations.

Available to book now, five voyages will immerse Silversea's guests in the country's delights in 2019:

·        Silver Wind will inaugurate the collection of voyages to Cuba when she sets sail on 14 February 2019, on a 7-night voyage from San Juan to Fort Lauderdale. The itinerary will include visits to the Cuban cities of Havana and Santiago de Cuba, and the Bahamian island of Bimini.

·        Silversea's recently lengthened Silver Spirit will depart San Juan on a 10-night voyage on 22 February 2019. An overnight in Santiago de Cuba will be complemented by calls in Cienfuegos and Havana, as well as stops in George Town, Key West and Bimini, before finishing in Fort Lauderdale.

·        Departing San Juan on 31 March 2019, Silver Wind will unlock Santiago de Cuba and Havana on overnight calls, as well as Cienfuegos, on a 10-night voyage. The itinerary will also incorporate George Town in the Cayman Islands and Bimini.

·        Also aboard Silver Wind, a 9-night round-trip voyage from Fort Lauderdale - departing 10 April 2019 - will call in Santiago de Cuba overnight and Havana, in addition to Bimini, Nassau and Port Canaveral.

·        Concluding the selection for 2019, a 14-night sailing aboard Silver Whisper will depart Fort Lauderdale on 22 November 2019. The round-trip voyage will feature a visit to Cienfuegos, plus overnight stays in Santiago de Cuba and Havana, offering ample time for guests to experiences the local way of life. The itinerary also includes calls in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize City and Key West.

In 2020, another 12 voyages are scheduled to unlock authentic Cuban culture for Silversea guests. These voyages will be opened for bookings in the near future.

Silversea guests will be treated to a host of carefully curated people-to-people experiences, designed to enable travellers to delve deeper into Cuba's stunning natural beauty and a number of the country's cultural and historical highlights. Following is a small sampling of shore excursions in each of the offered destinations, with additional bespoke experiences to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Havana

In the Cuban capital, guests will have the chance to learn about key landmarks on a panoramic driving tour, escorted by a knowledgeable local guide. They will be able to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Havana on a walking tour, with rum and cigar demonstrations and tastings. They'll also be able to cruise along the waterfront in vintage 1950s American cars; be enchanted by the Latin rhythms and captivating dancers of the iconic Tropicana Cabaret; savor inspired musical performances at La Zorra y El Cuervo, the city's legendary jazz club; and travel beyond the city to the World Heritage-listed Viñales Valley, renowned for its stunning landscape and tobacco cultivation.

Santiago de Cuba  

Often described as Cuba's cultural capital, Santiago de Cuba impresses with its wealth of interesting attractions, from colorful colonial buildings, churches and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed fortress to eclectic museums, and charming parks, gardens and UNESCO World Heritage-listed old French coffee plantations. Guests will have opportunities to connect with local culture at historic sites of interest, gaining insight into the Cuban Revolution and the Spanish-American War. They'll also be able to delve into the Cuban traditions surrounding tobacco and rum, and much more.

Cienfuegos

Situated on a gorgeous natural bay, the breathtaking beauty of Cuba is on full display in Cienfuegos. Originally home to French settlers, the city offers a culturally diverse charm, highlighted by a World Heritage-listed city center that brims with elegant, neoclassical buildings. From here, guests can embark on an exploration of UNESCO World Heritage-listed colonial Trinidad, with its cobbled lanes and striking architecture; experience a local cultural community project and the first and only art gallery in the mountains; or marvel at the cascading waterfalls, natural pools and lush mountains of El Nicho, a pristine park named after its signature waterfalls.

"Since opportunities have opened for Americans to enjoy travel to Cuba, we have eagerly awaited this moment," said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea's CEO. "Cuba is a remarkable island and we are delighted to offer our guests the opportunity to discover the most authentic sights, sounds and flavours of its culture, as they connect with its people on thoughtfully orchestrated voyages."

Adam Armstrong, Silversea's managing director for Australia and New Zealand says: "We are thrilled to announce the addition of Cuba to our 2019 and 2020 voyage collections. Cuba is arguably the fastest growing destination in the Caribbean, and one that many luxury travellers are eager to explore, knowing that they can be uniquely enriched by a fresh perspective on the people, traditions and natural wonders of this island nation."

Aboard Silversea ships, guests enjoy ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine, and the personalised service of a butler. Enriching the experience are such all-inclusive amenities as complimentary premium wines and spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks served throughout the ship; an in-suite bar, stocked with guests' preferences; an in-suite 24-hour dining service; and unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi.

For more information, please visit: https://www.silversea.com/cuba-cruises.html

Four new ships for MSC - but smaller


The first of this highly-innovative new generation of ships will come into service in Spring 2023



MSC Cruises and Fincantieri today announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the construction of four ultra-luxury cruise ships for a total value in excess of EUR 2 billion.

The ships, the first of which will be delivered in Spring 2023, will have gross tonnage of approximately 64,000 GT and will feature 500 cabins. The remaining three ships will come into service one per year over the following three years.

The ships will feature the best and latest environmental technology and other cutting-edge maritime solutions at sea. They will also showcase highly-innovative design as well as introduce ground-breaking options for guest comfort and relaxation.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “It is off the back of the great success of our ship-within-a-ship luxury concept that our guests asked us to enter into the ultra-luxury segment, as a natural evolution of the MSC Yacht Club. These ships will be able to offer unique itineraries, thanks to their size, and the guest services will be taken to another level, including our personalised MSC Yacht Club butler service, available 24/7.”

Mr Vago continued, “I am especially pleased to be able to further extend our partnership with Fincantieri through this new order. The award-winning Seaside and Seaside-Evo class have already been recognised as ground-breaking and innovative designs. We are now introducing another new class, which will establish a new standard of ultra-luxury at sea with ships that will showcase the quality and highest standards that are associated with Made in Italy.”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “It is with pride that two great brands – an Italian one and one with a strong Italian DNA -, well-known all over the world, today announce an important construction program. We are extremely satisfied that, to launch a new class of ships in the luxury segment, MSC Cruises has recognized that our design will help them create a new generation of ships that will be cutting edge both in terms of safety and technological content and with particular attention paid to passenger comfort. With this project Fincantieri can count on 53 cruise ships in its order book, confirming its position as absolute market leader”.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Silversea opens 2020-21 bookings with Silver Moon


Highlights of the new itineraries include complimentary flights & transfers on most voyages, the debut of Silver Moon, and greater variation in remarkable destinations around the world.




Silversea Cruises opens bookings to the general public for 191 remarkable new voyages, which will unlock 572 destinations in 84 countries from summer 2020 into winter 2021. Complimentary air and transfers will be included on virtually all of the newly announced itineraries, while a number of other highlights will enable Silversea's guests to travel deeper like never before.

Included for most voyages in the new collection, complimentary round-trip economy-class flights and transfers will simplify the travel experience for guests. The new addition will enable guests to travel the world with complete peace of mind: a smooth end-to-end service will make for a seamless connection; full protection covers guests against unforeseen mishaps; and reservations can be made with ease via my.silversea.com or by calling the reservation team. Also available are business-class air upgrades from as low as AU$699 each way. For guests not utilising the air offer, a generous air credit is available. Exceptions and market-specific conditions may apply.

The new collection of itineraries will enable guests to get closer to the authentic beauty of the world with unprecedented variety, increasing the cruise line's ultra-luxury offering in a number of remarkable destinations. Highlights of the collection will include:

Enhanced options in Northern Europe will comprise four ships and 29 voyages: in Iceland, Silversea will offer more immersive experiences on both classic and expedition voyages, including a 9-day circumnavigation aboard Silver Wind, departing Reykjavik on 29 June, 2020; in the British Isles, extended programs will unlock more incredible experiences, with voyages departing from the iconic Tower Bridge; while an exciting new North Sea Capitals voyage will offer overnights in Oslo, Hamburg, Amsterdam, and London.

New deep travel experiences in Alaska and the Russian Far East, with three ships and 21 voyages from which guests can choose. As in 2019, the cruise line's flagship, Silver Muse, will spend a full summer deployed in Alaska in 2020. Silversea's Silver Explorer will cruise in the Sea of Okhotsk, one of the least visited areas in the Russian Far East, on an 18-day voyage from June 2020.
A return to the Canary Islands on two voyages (departing 16 April and 25 September, 2020) and Istanbul on two different itineraries (departing 30 May and 2 August, 2020). 

Maiden calls in: El Hierro, Spain; Fishguard, Wales; Nordfjordeid, Norway; Siglufjörður, Iceland; Durres, Albania; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; and Patreksfjordur, Iceland.

An increased polar offering, with two ships and 10 voyages and 83 destinations in the Arctic, and 11 itineraries and 26 destinations in Antarctica (including East Antarctica and the Ross Sea). Unprecedented voyages to New Zealand's sub-Antarctic islands and Australia's Macquarie Island (all UNESCO World Heritage Sites) will enable guests to view vast colonies of penguins and thousands of seals; visits to Churchill and Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada, will take guests to the 'polar bear capital of the world' and the home of the world's largest beluga whale population, respectively; and concurrent crossings of the Northwest and Northeast Passages will unlock unique, life-defining experiences.

Greater variety in the Mediterranean with five ships and 54 voyages on offer, including a 37-day, 28-port grand voyage and an extended Grand Prix voyage.
An extended season in the Galápagos Islands.

More overnights than ever before, which will allow guests to spend longer in some of the most amazing destinations in the world. Every voyage over seven nights in Europe and Canada and New England will benefit from an overnight in strategically selected ports.

An additional highlight of the new summer 2020 itineraries, Silversea's Silver Moon will set sail on her inaugural voyage on 6 August, 2020: the ship will depart Trieste, Italy, for Civitavecchia on an 11-day cruise. The sister ship of Silversea's flagship, Silver Muse, Silver Moon will benefit from a number of onboard enhancements. One of five Silversea ships in the region in the summer of 2020, she will cruise in the Mediterranean for her maiden season, until November, when she will cross the Atlantic to Fort Lauderdale.

"For discerning travellers who are in search of rare and authentic moments, these new itineraries offer a unique array of carefully curated, life-enriching experiences," says Adam Armstrong, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand. "With the introduction of free air and transfers on virtually every voyage, visits to over 570 spectacular destinations worldwide, and the debut of our brand-new Silver Moon, this is the perfect time to book a luxury cruise holiday with Silversea to discover the authentic beauty of the world."

Browse Silversea's new collection of voyages for summer 2020/winter 2021: https://www.silversea.com/2020-2021-new-itineraries.html

Monday, 1 October 2018

SeaDream Mediterranean cruises for 2020





SEADREAM Yacht Club has announced a unique new program of sailings in the Mediterranean in 2020 that will mix forever popular major ports of call, together with a fascinating grab-bag of smaller, less-crowded gems on the French and Italian Rivieras, in the Greek Isles, along the Spanish coast and across the Adriatic Sea that are all largely inaccessible to the bigger cruise giants.

And as well sailings range from five to eleven nights, which make them particularly popular in the Australian market, and are designed to also provide SeaDream’s 56-couples (served by 95 crew) with the opportunity of combining two sailings into longer back-to-back voyages without ever visiting the same ports of call twice.

Amongst new ports on these sailings will be Ikaria in Greece that’s one of the world’s “Blue Zones” in which residents enjoy longevity and good health through a diet heavy with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, potatoes, olive oil and antioxidant herbal teas – coupled with a habit of stress-relieving and heart-resting mid-afternoon naps.

Other new Mediterranean ports for both SeaDream I and SeaDream II in 2020 will be Vis in Croatia whose beaches featured in the 2018 movie “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Santa Maria de Leuca on the southernmost tip of the “heel of Italy’s boot,” and Slovenia’s medieval coastal town of Koper that’s rich in history, culture and classic architecture.

And a new port of embarkation and disembarkation from 2020 will be the Maltese capital of Valletta that is recognised as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world and often described as “an open-air museum,” together with another first-time for SeaDream the Maltese archipelago island of Gozo with its Xlendi Bay that’s one of the country’s most popular swimming and snorkelling spots.

For full details see your favourite travel agent or visit www.seadream.com; prices include SeaDream’s award-winning cuisine, drinks with meals and from the bars, power and sail water-sports, use of SeaDream onboard golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and even crew gratuities.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Crystal Cruises’ 2021 ‘Ancient Dynasties & World Wonders’ World Cruise Open For Booking


Luxury travellers can choose full 139-day journey or selection of segments




Crystal's 26th annual World Cruise is now open for booking to all luxury travellers. The "Ancient Dynasties & World Wonders" voyage embarks from Miami to London on January 5, 2021, sailing an epic 139-day route through the Caribbean, Hawaiian Islands, South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, the Far East, the UAE and the Mediterranean, featuring transit of the Panama Canal, visits to Egypt's mysterious Valley of Kings, and the winelands of Western Europe. The full World Cruise also offers guests alternate embarkation and disembarkation cities and dates, allowing greater flexibility while still affording all full World Cruise benefits. Segments of 12-21 days are also now available for booking, with focused itineraries along the gulfs of Oman and Aden; Southeast Asia and Vietnam; springtime in Japan; and the Arabian Gulf across the Bay of Bengal.

"We are delighted to present the world's most discerning travellers with one of Crystal Cruises' most extensive World Cruise journeys ever," says Crystal's Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Australasia, Karen Christensen. "Whether guests choose the complete 139-day odyssey or any combination of segments, they're in for the journey of a lifetime, as a Crystal World Cruise is truly something special."

Named for the diverse array of destinations, cultures and monumental sites to be explored on the journey, the "Ancient Dynasties & World Wonders" World Cruise offers travellers equally tremendous value and exceptionally enriching experiences on board and ashore. Guests can choose to sail the complete itinerary from Miami to London (January 5 to May 24, 139 days); from Los Angeles to London (January 21 to May 24, 123 days); Miami to Rome (January 5 to May 12, 127 days); or Los Angeles to Rome (January 21 to May 12, 111 days). Guests booking any of these full World Cruise options enjoy special benefits and amenities, including a welcome celebration dinner aboard Crystal Serenity in Miami or in Los Angeles, "As You Wish" shipboard spending credits of up to US$2,500 per guest; complimentary private car and driver transfers between the ship and airport; a gala dinner World Cruise Extravaganza Event; an exclusive shore-side event; special World Cruise-themed onboard events; and specially curated gifts.

For More Information

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact your travel professional, or Crystal's Sydney office on:

1300 059 260 (Local Call Australia)

0800 600 108 (Toll Free New Zealand)

Or visit Crystal's website: www.crystalcruises.com

Join the hundreds of thousands who subscribe to the Crystal Insider blog, follow Crystal Cruises' Facebook page and @crystalcruises on Twitter and Instagram, and engage in the conversation with #crystalcruises.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Silversea world-first, 7-continent World Cruise 2020





. The leading ultra-luxury cruise line will enrich its pioneering 62-port itinerary with a selection of once-in-a-lifetime events, shore-side excursions and expedition-style embellishments. Over 140 days, Silversea's Silver Whisper will take guests closer to the authentic beauty of the world, unlocking unique experiences in the most spectacular destinations between Fort Lauderdale and Amsterdam.

Pushing the boundaries of ultra-luxury cruising, Silversea's World Cruise 2020 will be the first time guests will be able to step foot on all seven continents on a world cruise. In 2020, the groundbreaking voyage will incorporate many 'soft expedition' features, including an extraordinary 3-day Antarctic experience, in which guests may well witness penguins, seals, whales, and other species in their natural habitat. Led by a team of nine qualified specialists – including marine biologists, a geologist, a naturalist, an ornithologist, a glaciologist, and more – Silversea's guests will explore the final continent on Zodiac® excursions, landing for shore-side adventures, before learning more about this spectacular region through onboard lectures and workshops from industry-leading experts. Guests will also unlock a special range of immersive travel experiences in the South Pacific, accompanied by a team of nine expedition experts.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Dream Cruises expanding to Australia

source: Cruise Weekly


DREAM Cruises will operate outside of Asia for the first time in 2019/2020, with parent company Genting Hong Kong yesterday unveiling a series of 21 seven- day Australasian voyages for the newly transformed Explorer Dream (CW breaking news).

The 1,870 passenger vessel, currently sailing with sister brand Star Cruises as SuperStar Virgo (pic above), will undergo a US$30 million makeover next year prior to the down under deployment, which will offer cruises in Australia and New Zealand to its Asian-sourced passengers, according to Genting Hong Kong executive chairman, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.

The refurbishment will incorporate all new food and beverage options combining the best of “East meets West”, a Crystal Life Spa, and Dream Cruises’ signature The Palace private luxury enclave with 50 suites and butler service.

“Explorer Dream will offer another option for our Asia-based guests to expand their travel horizons with new rail/cruise and fly/cruise opportunities to see the world,” Kok Thay said.

Prior to her Australian season, the ship will homeport in Shanghai and Tianjin during the northern summer of 2019, cruising to Japan, Russia, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The local deployment will include six Barrier Reef voyages calling at Mooloolaba, Brisbane, Newcastle and Gladstone; eight Tasmania and Melbourne cruises calling at Port Arthur, Hobart, Burnie, Melbourne, Philip Island and Eden; and seven New Zealand itineraries cruising to Wellington, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Napier, Bay of Islands, Akaroa, Picton and Gisborne. The Genting chief said the move would help accelerate the company’s vision to “develop Dream Cruises into Asia’s global cruise line”.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

SeaDream first ever cruises to Cuba


SEADREAM Yacht Club has had amazing reaction to its first-ever program of sailings in Cuba from early January to April of next year, with all eight of its 7-day voyages already between 80- and 90-percent sold out.

And Australians have been amongst the keenest to book, with company Vice-President Jannicke Rognstad saying our interest has not been surprising, as we have always been to the forefront in sailing SeaDream's voyages to new and off-the-beaten-track destinations.


The mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II that carries just 112 guests and 95 crew will open the inaugural Cuba season on January 26 2019 with 9-days from San Juan in Puerto Rico, to Cienfuegos via the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Eight 1-week sailings will follow, visiting hideaway ports few holidaymakers have ever had an opportunity to experience, each sailing embracing Trinidad, Cayo Largo, Isla de Juventad, Maria la Gorda, a day at sea, and a day and overnight in Havana.

Along the way there'll be visits to one-time pirate haunts where divers still treasure-hunt today, two of the world's finest beaches opposite grand hotels and these beaches both gay-friendly and clothing-optional, ports famed both for their wildlife and exceptional seafood dining, the walled city of "Old Havana" founded in 1519… and Santiago de Cuba where Bacardi Rum was created in 1862.

Plus for classic car buffs, the streets of Cuba are something of a rolling museum of tens of thousands of American cars from the 1950s, the result of a grudge by the late-leader Fidel Castro who banned new-car imports from the USA from the 1950s to the 1990s, and today imported car prices still way beyond the reach of most Cubans.

For itineraries and prices of SeaDream Yacht Club's Cuba sailings from January to April 2019, visit www.seadream.com/cuba or see travel agents.


[] CUBA'S streets are today a rolling museum of classic American cars from the 1950s, a continuing result of late-leader Fidel Castro's four-decade long grudge-ban on cars from the USA.

[] SEADREAM II will make the company's first-ever sailings of Cuba from January to April 2019.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Silversea savings



Silversea Cruises is offering its guests a 10% special single supplement on selected cruises, available on bookings made before 31 August 2018. This special offer applies to a selection of cruises in Asia, Antarctica and the Galapagos.

In addition, guests can also enjoy 20% off when booking a second suite until the end of August 2018. This applies to select voyages in Asia, Antarctica and the Galapagos.

Suites strictly limited. Terms and Conditions apply. For more information please visit the Silversea website www.silversea.com


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Pacific Aria’s drydock and refurbishment


P&O Cruises' Pacific Aria has entered has entered her 12-day dry dock in Singapore and will soon emerge sporting several stylish new touches.

A key highlight of the refurbishment will be the refresh of popular late night hotspot, The Dome, with the venue set to take on a contemporary nautical theme featuring dark navy blue and white hues, drapes and soft lighting. Overlooking the bow of the ship, The Dome is one of the best places to relax during the day.

The makeover will also include new, modernised décor in the kids zones (Turtle Cove, Shark Shack, HQ and HQ+) and a revamp of the ship's 28 suites and 120 balcony cabins to include new carpets and outdoor furniture. In total, 10,528 square metres of new carpet will be laid throughout the ship.

Pacific Aria's finishing touch will be the Southern Cross livery emblazoned on her hull, now a signature feature of P&O's fleet.

The dry dock is the ship's first since she joined the P&O Cruises fleet in November 2015.

Friday, 3 August 2018

SeaDream Mediterranean includes Monaco Grand Prix

SEADREAM Yacht Club has an exceptional sailing in the Mediterranean in May of next year that is not only for 9-days rather than a usual seven, but three of those days will be on the French Riviera – including being there for the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.

SEADREAM I at Portofino in Italy, one of the most
popular of her tiny ports of call in the Mediterranean.

The 112-passenger mega motor-cruiser SeaDream I will sail from Rome’s port of Civitavecchia next May 18, visiting ports in Sardinia and Corsica and on the Italian and French Riviera’s, and arriving in Nice in France on May 27.

She will be on the French Riviera for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26, and will offer a package covering transfers and entry for those who are interested, the price for this being additional to the voyage fare and yet to be announced.

The 9-day sailing is priced from US$6348pp twin-share, including SeaDream’s award-winning cuisine, drinks with meals and from the bars, power and sail water-sports, use of the onboard golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and even crew gratuities.

For details including SeaDream’s other enticing Mediterranean and also Caribbean sailings this year and in 2019, see your favourite travel agent or visit www.seadream.com

(SeaDream I’s 9-day Mediterranean sailing next May 18 from Civitavecchia will include Port Cervo, Portovenere (the Cinque Terre) and Portofino in Italy, Bonifacio and Calvi as well as Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Villefranche-sur-Mer in France, and finally Nice.)

Saturday, 16 June 2018

MSC Seaview is named in glittering ceremony in Genoa, Italy



  • The striking ship has been designed for the Mediterranean to create a very special connection between guests and the ocean
  • Godmother Sophia Loren cut the ribbon on her 13th MSC Cruises ship
  • MSC Seaview became the third MSC Cruises ship to be launched in just 12 months 
The newest addition to the ever-growing MSC Cruises fleet and new flagship MSC Seaview was christened in true MSC style in the presence of a suite of stars, VIPs, key travel partners and international media as well as top management from MSC Cruises and its parent company MSC Group. Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group's founder and executive chairman as well as the ship owner, attended together with the Aponte and Aponte-Vago families.

The christening ceremony was hosted by Italian TV star, Michelle Hunziker who welcomed to the stage 'father of Italian blues' Zucchero Fornaciari. TV star Lorella Cuccarini hosted a special moment on stage and Italian children's choir Piccolo Coro Dell'Antoniano performed as the UNICEF ambassadors, to acknowledge the important partnership that seeks to improve the lives of children and their families in developing countries and those affected by crises. Also taking to the stage was Matteo Bocelli, son of the world-famous Andrea Bocelli.  Matteo Bocelli sang during the Officers' Parade, an important tradition to honour the crew from the ship.

Finishing off the traditional proceedings, Godmother Sophia Loren cut the ribbon to launch the bottle of champagne to name MSC Seaview.

Also present at the ceremony was Ramon Freixa, the Spanish two Michelin-starred chef who has now extended his partnership with MSC Cruises to develop his first restaurant at sea on board MSC Seaview. Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi attended his second MSC christening along with other stars such as Spanish model and actor Jon Kortajarena, Brazlian presenters and actors Giovanna Ewbank and French television personality Ariane Brodier.

Described as a game-changing cruise ship, the vision was to create something truly unique that would enable guests to enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean sea. The ship is designed to enhance the enjoyment of the open water and sunshine, specifically intended to cruise in warmer climates and to create a very special connection between guests and the ocean.

Most cruise ships are planned and engineered to offer entertainment, dining and other experiences inside the ship whilst MSC Seaview is designed to bring guests to the outside of the ship to the open decks and walkways. Featuring the highest ratio of outdoor spaces of any MSC Cruises ship every element of the ship enables guests to enjoy the outdoors in every aspect of their life on board, from cabins and suites with outdoor spaces such as terraces and balconies, eating and drinking in true Mediterranean style "al fresco" through to outdoor fitness and luxury spa cabanas in the open air.

MSC Seaview is the 15th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the third ship to come into service just 12 months under the Company's industry-unprecedented €10.5 billion investment plan.

MSC Seaview commenced her maiden voyage from Genoa on June 10 offering six embarkation ports in the Western Mediterranean including the popular ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Cruise & Maritime Voyages itineraries for new ship launch






Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) today announced its new ship Vasco da Gama will sail from Singapore to London and London to Sydney in 2019 before launching its inaugural Australian cruise season. Passengers can choose from a range of options along the routes of up to 55 nights with bookings open from Thursday 17 May 2018.

The ship's exciting 44-night Maiden Voyage from Singapore to London will include Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Jordan, Egypt and the iconic passage through the Suez Canal. The cruise will continue to Israel and around the best of the Mediterranean, finishing with Morocco and Portugal before docking in London. Guests wanting more can stay aboard and disembark in Amsterdam (Netherlands) or Bremerhaven (Germany).

Vasco da Gama's 53-night Inaugural Southbound voyage will depart London on 9 October 2019. The Southbound cruise includes 16 ports of call in countries such as Morocco, Barbados, Mexico and New Zealand before arriving in Sydney.

"Our special Southbound voyage will appeal to cruise devotees and discerning travellers alike; we've had unprecedented interest in the new Vasco da Gama from our customers and agents since announcing the acquisition in March," said Dean Brazier, Managing Director of CMV Australia.

"Passengers will have the opportunity to transit the Panama Canal and cross the equator in an experience reminiscent of the grand days of cruising – but with all the mod cons of a contemporary ship.

"Vasco da Gama offers two gorgeous pools, the state-of-the-art Jade Wellness Centre and Spa, a two-tiered theatre, and five inviting bars and lounges. Six dining venues feature cuisine from around the world – The Grill's succulent steaks are expected to be a hit with passengers, and the 'Chef's Table' will provide a degustation menu plus an insight into the workings of the galley.

"The ship's country club ambiance will be suited to couples, groups and solo travellers wishing to explore some of the most fascinating cities in the world while enjoying the comforts of a quality cruise – all among good company. These voyages should be on everyone's bucket lists and we expect them to sell-out quickly," said Mr Brazier.

CMV has launched a 'SELL & SET SAIL' promotion for travel agents. The winner and a friend will spend five nights aboard Vasco da Gama during its inaugural Australian Season in 2019/2020.

The agent who books the highest number of cabins on Vasco da Gama's Maiden Voyages or Inaugural Southbound Voyages by 30 June 2018 will be selected. Register at CMVAustralia.com/SailFree.

Vasco da Gama compliments CMV's Astor, which has been in the Australian market for six years. The new ship will offer more onboard facilities and increased passenger capacity with CMV's hallmark personalised service, while the Astor will maintain its appeal as a boutique and intimate cruising experience.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages will acquire Pacific Eden from P&O Australia in April 2019 and the ship will be dry docked in Singapore before beginning its maiden voyage on 23 April. The vessel will be refreshed while in Singapore and undergo its Vasco da Gama 'makeover' (named after the famous Portuguese explorer and navigator).

London to Sydney cruise-only fares start from AU$6,899 per person twin share for an inside cabin (53 nights), which includes up to AU$2,200 free on-board credit per cabin – for bookings made up until 31 July 2018 – to allow guests to experience even more of the new ship. Singapore to London cruise-only fares start from AU$5,399 per person twin share (44 nights).

Vasco da Gama will be deployed and dedicated to both the German and Australasian cruise markets. During the European summer (May-October) the ship will operate under CMV's German brand, TransOcean Kreuzfahrten, homeporting from both Bremerhaven and Kiel; and during the Australian summer season (December-March) will sail from Fremantle and Adelaide.

For further information, customers can contact their travel agent or register their interest at CMVAustralia.com/Register. To begin selling the cruises, agents can contact their local CMV Sales Representative.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Silversea orders Silver Dawn


She will be the third ship of the Silver Muse class




Silversea Cruises has awarded Fincantieri with an order for another ultra-luxury cruise ship, with delivery scheduled for Q4 2021. The contract is valued at over €320 million (AUD$507.3 million).

Named Silver Dawn, the new vessel will be a sister ship of Silversea's flagship, Silver Muse, which was launched from the Fincantieri shipyard of Sestri Ponente (Genoa) in April 2017 and was welcomed with great acclaim by guests. Silversea has therefore committed to constructing a new ship that will share Silver Muse's ultra-luxury qualities.

The order of Silver Dawn comes just months after the cruise line signed a contract with Fincantieri for the construction of Silver Moon, another sister ship to Silver Muse, which is due to be delivered in 2020. Part of the cruise line's expansion plan, the fleet's eleventh ship – the third ship in the Muse-class series – will strengthen the strategic musification of Silversea's fleet.

Silver Dawn will benefit from the same sense of intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodation options that characterise all Silversea vessels. Providing superlative comfort and an enhanced on-board experience, she will unlock authentic travel experiences for Silversea's discerning guests in the world's most spectacular destinations.

"Following the extraordinary success of Silver Muse, we are delighted to announce Silver Dawn as the eleventh ship to join the Silversea fleet," comments Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea's Chairman. "Silver Dawn will bear the same hallmarks of quality that guests currently enjoy on our 6-star ships. We look forward to welcoming guests aboard in November 2021. It was my father's dream to grow Silversea to at least a 12-ship fleet; today, we are one step closer to fulfilling his vision".

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: "It is a great satisfaction for our Group to see an ambitious project like Silver Muse establish itself on the market and get the highest appreciation from an exclusive and demanding customer like Silversea, that today confirms his trust in us. Thanks to this partnership, based on the quality of the product, our leadership position in the cruise sector is further strengthened, not only from a technological point of view, but also for the commercial ability to find the best agreement with the shipowner".

Fincantieri has built 82 cruise ships from 1990 to today (59 from 2002), while another 44 are currently being designed or built in the Group's yards.

www.silversea.com

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Asia's Dream Cruises heading Down Under





Dream Cruises is working to build up the Australian market to allow it to bring a Global Class vessel to local waters in 2021.

At 204,000 tonnes, the Global class would be larger than the 168,666-tonne Ovation of the Seas, which currently holds the title for the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Australian waters.

Dream Cruises are aiming to bring the ship down under in 2021 and firm deployment plans would have to be ready by 2019.

Sydney and Melbourne have been pinpointed as potential ports for the Global class, with Dream Cruises emphasising it would have to be a major city which could support the ship’s capacity for up to 9,000 people, including crew.

Dream Cruises would target a mix of Australian guests and fly-cruise, anticipating a split of 50-60% local cruisers and the remaining from international passengers.

Construction is underway on the first of two Global class ships on order with shipyard MV Werften, with delivery slated for late 2020 and 2021.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Windstar Cruises - New Sommeliers, Beverage Experts and Beverage Package Enticements on Star Collector Voyages



Windstar Cruises Announces Sommeliers on Four Ships, Beverage Experts on James Beard Culinary Cruises and Beverage Package Enticements on Longer Star Collector Voyages

Small ship cruise line, Windstar Cruises has hired a team of Sommeliers to serve guests on sailings in 270 ports around the world.

These new wine experts provide a major guest enhancement as the northern Summer cruise season begins and builds on the trend for ongoing fleet-wide enhancements to Windstar's wine, beverage and culinary programs in 2018.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

MSC Cruises announces MSC Bellissima's deployment to Asia in Spring 2020




MSC Splendida arrives in Asia after completing maritime Silk Road sailing

On the occasion of MSC Splendida's arrival in Chinese waters, MSC Cruises, the world's largest privately-owned cruise line, announced that MSC Bellissima will be deployed in Asia in Spring 2020. She will become MSC Cruises' newest flagship for the region. MSC Bellissima, MSC Cruises' second Meraviglia-class ship, is currently being constructed at STX France's shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and is due to first come into service in March 2019.

Following her inaugural season in the Mediterranean next summer, MSC Bellissima will bring a range of cutting-edge innovations to China and Japan, including the longest LED Sky Screen at Sea at 80 metres long encompassing a stunning 96 metre long Mediterranean-style promenade, designed to become the social hub of the ship. Guests will be able to enjoy brand-new and exclusive to MSC Cruises Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows every night as well as next-generation MSC Yacht Club, with new features and luxurious accommodations spanning three decks, private facilities and butler service round-the-clock. MSC Bellissima will be among the biggest and most innovative cruise ships deployed in the region.

While MSC Bellissima will be mostly based in Shanghai to serve the Chinese home market, she will also offer a number of sailings from Japan with a number of Asian sailings for guests wanting to discover this popular region from the comfort and style of an MSC Cruises ship.

Speaking at an official meeting with Mr CHEN Qun, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises' CEO, commented: "MSC Splendida does not mark the end of our ambitions in China and Asia overall. This market is a global priority and we are committed to serving it with our very best ships and product. For this reason, I'm delighted to announce that MSC Bellissima will homeport in Asia as of Spring 2020, marking the next step of our growth in one of the world's most appealing cruise markets."

MSC Splendida has completed her Maritime Silk Road sailing, which has taken her from Dubai, UAE, to Shanghai, China. During her season in Asia, she will also operate mostly out of Shanghai as well as Yokohama, Japan. With 137,936 GRT, MSC Splendida is one of the largest, most modern cruise ships currently operating in the Asia region. She features 1,637 cabins, 76% of which come with a balcony and can accommodate up to 4,363 guests.

Prior to her arrival in Shanghai, MSC Splendida went through an extensive overhaul process to renovate her interiors, install new as well as upgrade the onboard experiences. MSC Splendida now features an exclusive selection of Asian and Western cuisines in three new restaurants: the signature hot pot restaurant Sea Pavilion by the acclaimed Chinese chef Jereme Leung globally recognised for his contemporary interpretation of Chinese cuisine; the Hong Kong style Dim Sum & Teahouse; and the Butcher's Cut, a popular American-style steak house on board MSC Cruises' fleet.

MSC Splendida is also now equipped with the latest evolution of MSC for Me, MSC Cruises' digital innovation programme bringing the very latest advances in customer-centric technology to guests at sea. The holistic and guest-centric programme is focused on connecting guests to their desired holiday experience through cutting-edge technology that is specially engineered to meet their every need, regardless of how they prefer to use technology when travelling. MSC for Me provides guests with smart features geared toward a fully optimized holiday experience. These include a dedicated app to help guests tailor their holidays at any point on their journey, whether they are booking their excursions prior to embarkation or a specialty restaurant whilst relaxing by the top-deck pool. This will improve the overall guest experience, while also freeing up more time to enjoy one's holiday at sea.

MSC Splendida is due to arrive in Yokohama on 27 April, where MSC Cruises will also celebrate its ten-year anniversary in Japan.

MSC Splendida further information here

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Norwegian Cruise Line takes delivery of Norwegian Bliss


Norwegian's newest ship debuts in Europe before commencing her inaugural tour around the U.S. and her official christening ceremony in Seattle, Washington

Bernard Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft, Captain Karl Staffan Bengtsson, Andy Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line

Today, Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 168,028-gross-tonne Norwegian Bliss, from Meyer Werft during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany, marking the conclusion of an 18-month building period. In attendance were executives from Norwegian Cruise Line, including Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer, Harry Sommer, executive vice president of international business development, Robin Lindsay, executive vice president of vessel operations for the 16-ship fleet, representatives from Meyer Werft including Bernard and Tim Meyer, managing partners of the German-based shipyard, and the ship's captain and hotel director. Before cruising to Southampton, England to begin her transatlantic journey on April 21, Norwegian Bliss will showcase all she has to offer to her first guests during a two-day European inaugural preview cruise hosted by Andy Stuart and Harry Sommer.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Royal Caribbean Welcomes World's Largest Cruise Ship




Royal Caribbean International's Symphony of the Seas departs from Saint-Naziare, France for her new homeport in Barcelona, Spain.

36 months, 4,700 shipbuilders and crew, and one common goal: to deliver the ultimate family adventure. Royal Caribbean International honoured the instrumental project team of Symphony of the Seas during the highly anticipated delivery event at STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship's official delivery from the shipbuilder to Royal Caribbean. The maritime ritual was followed by a celebration of the industry's best, the crew whose hard work and meticulous collaboration came together to create the world's largest cruise ship.

"Symphony of the Seas is the latest example of how our people work to push the envelope of innovation with each new ship," said Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain. "The Oasis Class has been a trend-setting design, but the team has evolved the design to build on that success to provide even more incredible family adventures. We're thankful to have a partner in STX France that is every bit as ambitious as we are about building technologically advanced ships."

"It is a proud and exhilarating moment to welcome a new member to the family. Thanks to our stellar crew and partners at STX France, we now are ready to embark on this new boundless adventure that comes to life on Symphony of the Seas," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Symphony will take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place. This ship is the perfect blend of our greatest hits we know guests love and a lineup of vibrant, new restaurants, activities and unparalleled entertainment – all purposefully designed around vacationers' preferences."

"Today is a day of pride for me, all STX France and sub-contractor teams as we hand over Symphony of the Seas to her owner as the largest cruise ship ever built," said Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France.  "Symphony will leave Saint-Nazaire yard as the ultimate example of our progress-driven spirit and commitment to innovation, which are at the heart of our partnership with Royal Caribbean, who is always challenging us in this direction."

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, the Oasis-class Symphony of the Seas weighs in at 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 72 metres tall and spans 362 metres long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighborhood. One ship, seven distinctive neighborhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn:


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Silver Whisper to undergo refurbishment.



Ahead of her World Cruise 2019, Silver Whisper is preparing to undergo a refurbishment.

Between the 8th and 19th of December 2018, Silver Whisper will go into dry dock in Freeport in the Bahamas, for improvements that will further increase the already excellent level of guest satisfaction.  This exciting announcement follows the opening of sales for Silversea's pioneering 140 day World Cruise, 2020, which will see Silver Whisper travel to all seven continents, including Antarctica, as part of an itinerary that is unprecedented in its variety.

Guests embarking Silver Whisper will benefit from a broad-ranging set of enhancements.  Skilled craftspeople will invigorate many of the ship's public areas, both inside and out, with a fresh décor, including a refresh to all guest suites.  The ship's latest enhancements will be implemented with a similar stylistic motif to the recently delivered Silver Muse, Silversea's flagship, and Silver Spirit, which is currently undergoing a significant renovation.

Inside Silver Whisper, new carpets will be laid in the hallways, main restaurant, casino, card/conference room, main bar and in the theatre.  The main restaurant will undergo a full upgrade, bringing it to an exceptional standard, while Le Dame, another sophisticated dining space, will benefit from new soft furnishings and a polished floor.  The casino and card/conference room will have the soft furnishings refreshed and new furniture.  The Zagara Spa, which was recently introduced to Silver Whisper following its success aboard Silver Muse, will receive an added level of luxury, complete with new furniture and equipment.  In the ship's gym, new state-of-the-art machinery will be installed to optimise the offering of on board wellness facilities.

Guest accommodation will be improved in line with the design of Silver Muse to ensure that ultimate comfort is delivered to travellers.  Nine Terrace Suites on deck five will be transformed into Veranda Suites, offering guests enhanced privacy with their own outdoor retreat.  In addition, 40" flat screen televisions, loaded with innovative interactive media systems, will advance the in-suite entertainment options.  All bathrooms will be revitalised with polished granite surfaces.

Outside, storage space for Zodiac® boats and a crane will be installed, in preparation for the addition of these nimble motorboats ahead of the World Cruise 2020.  As a result, guests travelling aboard Silver Whisper for the World Cruise 2020 will have further opportunities to access remote locations and travel deeper when visiting destinations on this extraordinary itinerary.

From the selection of entertainment available in guest suites to the assigned scents of each space, every aspect of the refurbishment project has been conceived with guest comfort in mind.  Silver Whisper's background music will also undergo a transformation, which will see Silversea partner with Radiopark, a specialist supplier of mood music, in order to enhance the on board atmosphere, offering modern renditions of timeless melodies.

The renovation of Silver Whisper is just part of Silversea's extensive investment in its famous fleet.  With the addition of Silver Muse and the conversion of Silver Cloud to an expedition ship in 2017, and the current extensive renovation and lengthening of Silver Spirit, this is an exciting time in the history and development of Silversea.

For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.com.


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Viking orders Six more Ocean Ships




Viking today announced a new agreement with Fincantieri that could see the delivery of six additional ocean ships by 2027. The new understanding expands Viking's partnership with Fincantieri, raising the company's total ocean ship order and options to 16 – the highest-ever for a shipyard from a single owner. The agreement for the six additional ships, which will be delivered in 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, is subject to specific conditions.

“When we launched our first ocean ship in 2015, we set out to reinvent ocean cruising. We focus on the destination, and we do not cram our ships with gimmicks and waterslides. Our understated, elegant, award-winning ships are designed to simply enable our guests to better explore their destination,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “In our first two years of operation, we have been named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line, and this new order speaks to the positive response we have received from our guests and the industry. As we continue to expand our brand, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration.”

This announcement comes just prior to the naming of Viking's fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun, on March 8 in Shanghai. The ship is currently sailing Viking's sold-out 141-day World Cruise from Miami to London, and its stop in Shanghai will mark the first time one of Viking's ocean ships has visited China. Viking Sun will also be the first-ever cruise ship to be named in Shanghai.

Viking Sun is the newest addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet. The line will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018, which will home port from Sydney to Auckland from December this year. With the arrival of Viking Jupiter in 2019, Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Ten additional ships are now on order for delivery starting in 2021, which will bring Viking's ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 138 747 (Australia) and 0800 447 913 (New Zealand) or visit www.vikingcruises.com.au.



Monday, 5 March 2018

MSC Cruises Northern Europe for 2018




  • MSC Cruises Northern Europe itineraries take you to the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic Capitals & Iceland.
  • Weekly departures every Saturday & Sunday with four ships seasonally
  • Be quick to secure your spot on one of the hottest itineraries for 2018!


Departing Hamburg, Germany on July 29, 2018 MSC Meraviglia takes you on an 11-night journey.  Launched in June 2017, MSC Meraviglia is packed with extraordinary features. Enjoy outstanding dining options and entertainment including the exclusive Cirque du Soliel at Sea. An innovative ocean-view aft lounge, a two-deck "inside promenade" with a 480 square metre LED dome and a spectacular amusement area connected to an outdoor water park, will keep everyone entertained. In the Shetland Islands visit the 17th century town of Lerwick and Scalloway Castle, built by tyrant Patrick Stewart, in 1600 before admiring the peat and heather covered landscapes. Continuing to Iceland you will stop at three ports, Reykjavik for an overnight stay, Isafjordur and Akureyri. From here you will sail to Invergordon in the UK before returning to Hamburg. Priced from $3,099*pp twin share. PLUS your choice of FREE gift- onboard credit, all-inclusive drinks package or WiFi package, if you book by March 15, 2018.

MSC Meraviglia (supplied)

Ranked among the most beautiful destinations in Europe, the Fjords of Norway are a must see on everyone's bucket list. Departing July 14, 2018 MSC Orchestra takes you on a 7-night journey through the fjords from Copenhagen, Denmark. Priced from $2,199*pp twin share for a balcony cabin. PLUS your choice of FREE gift- onboard credit, all-inclusive drinks package or WiFi package, if you book by March 15, 2018.

Departing August 18, 2018, from Kiel, Germany, MSC Preziosa, calls at Bergen, where you will see Sognefjord, the country's longest and deepest fjord and the colourful wooden houses of Bryggen and the fjords of Flaam and Hellesylt/ Geiranger on a 7-night cruise. Priced from $1,427*pp twin share. PLUS your choice of FREE gift- onboard credit, all-inclusive drinks package or WiFi package, if you book by March 15, 2018.

For a longer journey join MSC Magnifica on a 10-night journey through the Norwegian fjords.  Explore the Fjords of Stavanger, Bergen, the pretty town of Olden and Alesund.  Founded in 1793 and destroyed by fire, today Alesund is one of the great art nouveau towns. Ports of call also include Le Havre (Paris) and Hamburg, Germany. Departing Southampton on July 9, 2018 and priced from $2,199*pp twin share.  PLUS your choice of FREE gift- onboard credit, all-inclusive drinks package or WiFi package, if you book by March 15, 2018.

With weekly departures, you can choose a date to suit, but don't delay to secure your cabin for 2018!  Book TODAY by calling 1300 028 502, www.msccruises.com.au or call your local travel agent and don't miss out.

*Conditions apply. Pick your gift on selected departures only. New bookings only. Onboard credit, based on twin share booking Inside cabin $100pp, Oceanview $150pp, Balcony $200pp. Adult all inclusive drinks package available for first passenger only. All passengers in the cabin must purchase the all-inclusive drinks package. Wifi Streamer package with 340MB up to 4 devices
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Why Australians Have Fallen in Love with Cruising Alaska




Australians are choosing to cruise Alaska in record numbers, as premium cruise line Celebrity Cruises prepares to send three ships to the region for the 2018 summer season to cater to the incredible demand.

"The number of Australians choosing an Alaskan cruise with Celebrity has grown by more than 100 per cent over the past five years – a phenomenal increase which is significantly higher than the industry-wide upward trend for Alaska cruising," said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Celebrity Cruises Australia & New Zealand.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Silversea Silver Spirit in for a long stretch





Silver Spirit - a multi-award-winning cruise ship in Silversea's fleet of nine - has made her final port call before undergoing an extensive lengthening project in Italy. Docking in Dubai on 22 February 2018, the ship completed an eight-night cruise from Mumbai.

Silver Spirit will enter dry dock at the industry-leading Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo on 5 March, where she will remain until 1 May 2018. She will undergo large-scale refurbishment works, which will include the insertion of a prebuilt 15-metre-long (49-feet-long) segment into the ship's midsection, making her the first luxury ship to be lengthened in this manner. With the aim of augmenting the onboard experience for Silversea guests, the project will dramatically enhance each of the ship's public spaces with beautiful interior design, taking inspiration from the cruise line's flagship vessel, Silver Muse.

"Based on the wonderful feedback from guests sailing aboard our beautiful Silver Muse, we believe the comprehensive makeover we have planned for Silver Spirit will enrich the onboard experience and be equally appreciated by guests. They will see many of Silver Muse's innovations and elevated comforts embodied by our reimagined Silver Spirit," says Christian Sauleau, Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations for Silversea.

Enjoyed by the ship's guests and characterising Silversea's superior cruising experiences, Silver Spirit's atmospheric sense of intimacy will not be compromised by the planned enhancements. While some areas will grow in size, evoking the feel of spaciousness and enhancing comfort, special measures have been made to retain the ship's bijou feel. Silversea's trademark level of service will also continue: the improved Silver Spirit will enjoy an impressive crew-to-guest ratio of almost 1:1.

Following a lengthy phase of research, the turn-key transformation of Silver Spirit will amplify everything that matters most to Silversea's guests: dining options will increase in variation and advance in quality; additional suites will enrich the onboard accommodation; stylish décor enhancements will be made to existing suites and the ship's public areas; the pool deck area will be enlarged and reimagined; the addition of a new health and fitness centre will improve wellness facilities; and various other amenities such as the casino, will undergo tasteful transformations.

Following the enormous success of the distinct culinary concepts offered aboard Silver Muse, the dining options on Silver Spirit will be fundamentally reimagined to increase choice and improve guests' experiences: delivering gastronomic authenticity from across the world, Atlantide, Indochine, Spaccanapoli, and Silver Note will be installed to complement the existing Seishin, La Dame, The Grill, and La Terrazza – each of which will undergo refurbishment. Inspired by guest feedback, menus will be altered and refined across the ship's prevailing restaurants.

Elsewhere, new public spaces will elevate the overall comfort of the ship. A new addition to Silver Spirit, the Arts Café - an innovative, modern, multi-faceted area - will stimulate guests' senses on the eighth deck. Offering a relaxed setting for readers and tea/coffee lovers, the Arts Café will display exhibitions and performances. Inspired by Silversea's Italian heritage, Dolce Vita will occupy pride of place on Silver Spirit. It will be an elegant venue in which sophisticated travellers will gather, interact, and make lifelong friends. Cool cocktails will provide the perfect accompaniments to the smooth sound of live piano. Guests also stand to benefit from the installation of the Zagara spa - a blissful sanctuary that proved to be extremely popular on Silver Muse - and a fitness centre that will boast state-of-the-art facilities.

The lengthening project will create 34 new luxury suites, as well as a Balsorano suite – the pinnacle of onboard accommodation, which will be adorned with decorative items that are of personal value to Silversea's chairman, Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio di Balsorano de Clunieres. The best existing suites on Silver Spirit's will grow in their appeal, with the addition of handmade Savoir® mattresses, horse hair toppers, and new HD screens for guests' comfort.

On 6 May 2018, Silver Spirit will commence her service with a seven-day cruise between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Barcelona, calling at Porto-Vecchio, Corsica; Livorno; Portofino; Cannes; and Marseilles. Fares start from AUD$7,800 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Crystal Cruises 2020 World Cruise




Luxury line announces details of 25th World Cruise, featuring varied and captivating Southern Hemisphere locales

Embarking on a comprehensive exploration of the Southern Hemisphere from Miami to Rome, Crystal Serenity’s 2020 World Cruise offers travellers a journey filled with tropical havens, ancient treasures and modern marvels.


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Boutique Cruise Ship, Azamara Journey, Returns to Sydney

#cruising



·         Third Australian season and biggest year yet for the boutique cruise line
·         2017/18 season expected to inject $3.5 million into the Australian economy
·         Visit part of line's first ever Australian 'Country-Intensive' voyage

Boutique, up-market cruise line Azamara Club Cruises returns to Sydney at 2pm today when the recently revitalised 690-guest Azamara Journey berths at White Bay for an overnight call, with guests from 17 countries onboard.

Azamara Journey's first visit to Sydney for the summer – part of the line's third season down under – is expected to inject around $1.2 million into the NSW economy during just two days in passenger spend alone, and $3.5 million into the Australian economy throughout the season.

Pic: Tim Faircloth

Journey's arrival in Sydney marks the completion of the line's first ever Australian Country-Intensive cruise, an 18-night voyage from Bali to Australia via the west and south coast for Australia. Along the way, Azamara Journey made maiden calls to Geraldton, Albany, Esperance and Fremantle in WA, as well as Kangaroo Island and Adelaide in SA.

Azamara Journey will offer four Australia and New Zealand cruises during the summer, including the line's first ever World Journey, departing Sydney on 7 March 2018. The 102-night cruise odyssey from Sydney to London will call at 60 ports in 29 countries along the way, including 19 late nights and 13 overnight stays throughout.

2018 will see Azamara Club Cruises mark its biggest year in Australia when the boutique cruise line brings both Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest down under, with Azamara Quest cruising the west coast of Australia in December 2018, making maiden calls at Broome and Exmouth and arriving in time for special New Year's celebrations in Sydney Harbour. Quest will also make the line's first turnaround in Melbourne in early 2019.

With smaller ships that can go places larger cruise ships can't, Azamara differentiates itself by making destinations the star of the show. The line stays longer in port than most larger ships, and offers more immersive itineraries that visit lesser-known ports, attracting an up-market, adventurous clientele.

Azamara Journey arrives into port at 2pm during an 18-Night Australian Country-Intensive voyage from Bali to Sydney, and will remain docked overnight, before departing at 6pm on 8 February 2018 on a 14-night Tasmania and New Zealand voyage.

To make a booking or for further information visit www.azamaraclubcruises.com.