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Friday 11 October 2019

Win a Luxury Cunard Cruise valued at $5000

Explore southern Australia aboard the luxurious Cunard Queen Elizabeth. Win this 7-night cruise. No passport required. Hurry. Closes 16 October.

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Monday 7 October 2019

Spring into savings with Star Clippers

October 2, 2019
Spring is finally here. And to celebrate, for a limited time only, Star Clippers are offering big savings and bonus perks for any Thailand, Cambodia and Borneo cruise. Save up to 30% when you book, plus alone category upgrade and up to 400 Euros (approx $AUD 650)spending credit per couple.

Solo traveler? Great. Star Clippers have a treat for you too. On any 7-night Phuket Round-Trip and Singapore to Phuket cruises, Star Clippers will waive the single supplement. With great perks on offer in some of the hottest travel destinations, the only thing left is to decide where to go.
Borneo Eastbound
Start your journey Borneo Eastbound journey in Singapore on 5th October 2019. After a day of explorations, Orchard Road shopping sprees, botanical gardens, and a Singapore Sling (or two), board your Star Clippers tall ship. Leave cosmopolitan Singapore behind for two exciting days at sea. Climb the rigging, steer the ship, or relax on the deck lounges. On 8th October, arrive in Kuching, Malaysia. This historic waterfront city is a cultural hub, with theatre, poetry reading and live music all waiting to be enjoyed.

On 11th October, arrive at former fishing village Bintulu, Malaysia. The area offers exceptional juggle trekking and picturesque walks. Climb to the top of the hill for views of the South China Sea. Visit Miri, the second-largest city in Sarawak on October 13th for wildlife, shopping and historical monuments, including the Unity Tower and San Ching Tian Temple. Head to Brunei for the day visiting Bandar Seri Begawan, the biggest water village in the world, before heading back toward Malaysian island, Palau Tiga for snorkelling and kayaking.

On 15th October, enjoy fiery sunsets, music and rich culinary delights in Kota Kinabalu - the perfect finish to your Borneo Eastbound sailing.
Borneo Eastbound | Star Clipper | 10-nights | From AUD $4,250
Ko Saumi – Ko Saumi
Embark on a round-trip adventure from Ko Samui to Ko Samui on the 11th April 2020 to explore some of the region’s most beautiful locations. Starting in the Ko Samui discover the city’s vibrant party scene and wellness culture. From there, head to Ko Pha Ngan, famous for Full Moon parties and white sand beaches. On the 13th April, hike on Ko Wua Ta Lap to one of the most spectacular views in Thailand. If hiking doesn’t appeal, kayak around the island instead.
Stop off in Koh Tao (Turtle Island) on the 14th April for swimming and coral reef explorations. Swimming with turtles never gets old. After enjoying their company on Koh Tao, head to Ko Talu for more turtle encounters. This island is a popular nesting location for turtles. On 16th April, visit Pattaya for nightlife and floating markets. Discover sixteen different beaches on Ko Samet and Buddhist temples, windsurfing and Thai massages on Ko Mak.
On 19th April, leave Thailand behind for a few days and venture to Sihanoukville and Koh Rong in Cambodia. From pristine beaches to jungle walks to fine dining, Cambodia has a lot to offer. Return to Ko Samui on 22nd April for some R&R or late night dancing on the beach.
Ko Samui – Ko Samui | Star Clipper | 11-nights | From AUD $4,730
Phuket – Singapore
Lush scenery, coconut groves and stunning beaches await in Phuket, Thailand’s largest island. On 15th February, set sail with Star Clippers from Phuket to Ko Miang – Similan Islands known for its exceptional diving opportunities. Continue the underwater adventure at Pha Nga Bay and Ko Hong. Both are known for stunning ocean swims, and Ko Hong for its large internal lagoon.
On 18th February, head for Ko Adang, part of the Butang Group of islands, for secluded island explorations. Say goodbye to Thailand and hello to Penang, Malaysia, the “Pearl of the Orient”. From Buddhist temples to squash courts, Penang has something for everyone. Needing a little more spice in your life? Head to the spice trade city of Malacca before finishing your Star Clippers journey in the metropolis of Singapore.
Phuket – Singapore | Star Clipper | 7-nights | From AUD $2,975
As one of the premier cruise lines in the world, Star Clippers offer guests exceptional service, attention to detail and specialist knowledge in their sailing destinations. Rather than a regular charter, the Star Clippers tall ships offer an exclusive setting for your sailing holiday.

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Wednesday 2 October 2019

Australia ready for bumper 2019-20 cruise season

Australia is gearing up for a packed 2019-20 cruise season, with new vessels, extended visits and more than 60 ships on offer in one of the busiest summers experienced on the southern seas.

Four CLIA cruise lines will introduce first-time arrivals this year, joining regular visitors, home-ported vessels and one new cruise brand making its debut in Australian waters.

Carnival Splendor arriving later this year to become
the newest and largest ship homeported year-round in Australia

“This summer will undoubtedly be one of the busiest and most diverse cruise seasons we’ve ever experienced in Australia,” said Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz.

“The choice in cruise lines and ships is broader than ever and the range of itineraries offered this year will ensure the economic benefits of cruise tourism are spread far around the country and throughout our region,” he said. “This will be backed by significant infrastructure improvements in regional ports like Broome, Cairns and Eden, making them more attractive to both cruise lines and passengers well into the future.”

New to Australia this year is Dream Cruises which will operate its Explorer Dream in local waters for the first time. Sailing from Sydney, the ship will offer a series of Queensland coastal itineraries before crossing the Tasman for a season of New Zealand cruises from Auckland. It will then return to Sydney for a series of Tasmania cruises before returning to Asia via Cairns and Darwin.

Princess Cruises will have its largest-ever season in Australia with the maiden visit of Ruby Princess, joining Majestic Princess which has returned for her second season. Princess will also offer its Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess. During her first local season, Ruby Princess will make 18 maiden visits to Australian and New Zealand ports.

Carnival Cruise Line also welcomes a newcomer, with Carnival Splendor arriving later this year to become the newest and largest ship homeported year-round in Australia. Sailing from Sydney, Carnival Splendor will join sister ship Carnival Spirit before Spirit relocates to Brisbane in October next year.

Wind Spirit will make its Australian debut (supplied)

Windstar Cruises will bring its four-masted sailing ship Wind Spirit to Australia for the first time next year, arriving in Cairns after a crossing from New Caledonia. The ship will then sail onwards through the Torres Strait and across the Top End to Darwin before heading to Indonesia.

Royal Caribbean International will bring three ships to the region this summer, including the recently modernised Voyager of the Seas and the largest ship to operate in Australia this season, Ovation of the Seas. They will be joined by Radiance of the Seas and together will operate 61 sailings to destinations in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia.

Regent Seven Seas will have three vessels in Australian waters this summer: Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Navigator and Seven Seas Mariner. The trio will offer itineraries to local Australian ports, New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific, with Seven Seas Mariner visiting as part of her 2020 World Cruise.

They will be joined by visiting ships from sister brands, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel and Oceania Cruises’ Regatta, both of which will sail a variety of itineraries to ports in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

The Australia-based P&O Cruises fleet – Pacific Explorer, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria – will offer an extensive season in the region, sailing from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide as part of the line’s year-round presence. Together the ships will make a total of 202 calls to Australian ports.

Other lines with a big presence in Australia this season include Holland America Line which will have three ships in local waters: Noordam, Maasdam, and Amsterdam - the latter on her world voyage. Between them, the trio will make 75 calls to ports around Australia.

Celebrity Cruises returns this year with Celebrity Solstice to offer her eighth season in local waters. The ship will visit several new destinations including Eden on NSW South Coast, Port Vila in Vanuatu and Mare in New Caledonia – a maiden call for Celebrity Cruises.

Azamara will mark its fifth local season with Azamara Journey offering a series of sailings around New Zealand, Australia and Asia. The line will introduce several new South Pacific ports of call on route to Australia, including New Plymouth and Doubtful Sound in New Zealand.

Cunard returns once more this season with Queen Elizabeth based in Australia for a record 101 days from December to March. Sister ship Queen Mary 2 will spend 18 days in local waters visiting eight ports from Darwin to Sydney and across to Fremantle as part of her 99-night world cruise.

Luxury line Seabourn also returns with several sailings aboard Seabourn Encore, which will make maiden calls to destinations including Portland in Victoria, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. Sister ship Seabourn Sojourn will visit as part of a world cruise, visiting six local ports including Brisbane and Airlie beach for the first time.

Small-ship luxury operator Ponant will offer an extensive program aboard its 184-passenger Le Laperouse, visiting Darwin, Cairns, Sydney and Hobart. It will also sail an expedition cruise from Hobart to Dunedin in New Zealand via the Sub Antarctic Islands before heading north for a series of Kimberley voyages between Darwin and Broome.

Silversea Cruises will offer its newest ship Silver Muse, sailing between Sydney and Auckland for a number of itineraries that include the north-east coast of Australia, New Zealand and several maiden calls in the South Pacific. It will be joined by Silver Whisper next year as part of its world cruise, which continues to Singapore via ports in Australia and Asia.

Crystal Cruises will welcome its 980-passenger Crystal Serenity to Australia as part of a world cruise of 105 nights. The luxury vessel will arrive in Sydney after a visit to New Zealand and will then sail up the East Coast via destinations including Mooloolaba, Hardy Reef, Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin.

MSC Cruises will welcome its MSC Magnifica in March as part of a world cruise, visiting ports including Hobart and an overnight stay in Sydney before heading north for maiden calls to Cairns and Darwin.

Coral Expeditions will offer its flagship Coral Adventurer alongside Coral Discoverer and Coral Expeditions II, operating a program of itineraries to destinations including the Great Barrier Reef, The Kimberley, Tasmania, Cape York, Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

Other visitors to Australian waters this year include AIDA Cruises’ AIDAaura and AIDAvita, Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa, Hapag Lloyd’s Bremen and Europa, and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Boudicca.

Source: Cruise Lines International Association

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Norwegian Encore now in the water

Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in global cruise travel, has announced that its newest innovative ship, Norwegian Encore, successfully completed another major construction milestone, when she departed the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and sailed down the Ems River towards the North Sea.

On Monday, 30 Sept, 2019, Norwegian Encore began her conveyance to Eemshaven, Netherlands, with initial crew members on board already preparing to welcome her first guests this November. At 335 metres long, with a gross tonnage of almost 170,000 and a guest capacity of 3,998, the ship will be delivered to the cruise line on 30 Oct, 2019. She will be christened by Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Clarkson in Miami on 21 Nov, 2019 and will commence seven-day voyages to the Caribbean on 24 Nov, 2019.

“Today we celebrate a huge milestone for our history-making ship,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Now is when the anticipation truly begins to build. Our partners at Meyer Werft have collaborated with us to bring the industry-leading experiences from the successful Breakaway Plus class ships to Norwegian Encore, making her truly the best in class.”

Taking the brand’s exclusive, stand-out attractions to the next level, Norwegian Encore will feature the world’s longest race track at sea at 335 metres with four high-speed curves extending up to 3.9 metres over the side of the ship; the largest outdoor laser tag arena at nearly 930 square metres with the addition of augmented reality elements; and new immersive escape room and interactive theatre experiences in the 930-square-metre Galaxy Pavilion.

In addition to featuring many of the highly rated restaurants and lounges that have made the Breakaway Plus class one of the most innovative and successful in the company’s history, Norwegian Encore will debut a new elevated Italian dining experience, Onda by Scarpetta, in collaboration with LDV Hospitality. The Tony Award®-winning musical, “Kinky Boots” will headline the world-class entertainment on board, with returning guest favourites “The Choir of Man,” “Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical” and the rocking Beatles cover band of The Cavern Club.

As part of a recent partnership with JUST Goods, Inc., Norwegian Encore will be the first ship in the Company to be plastic bottle free when she debuts. By 1 Jan, 2020 Norwegian Cruise Line will be the first major cruise line to eliminate plastic bottles across its entire fleet, a significant effort towards providing guests with more sustainable options at sea.

Launching this spring, Norwegian Encore will offer seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami beginning 24 Nov, 2019; Bermuda, and Canada and New England itineraries from New York City beginning 22 Apr, 2020; and voyages to the Western Caribbean from Miami beginning 12 Dec, 2020. In the autumn of 2021, she will make her USA West Coast debut and sail to Alaska from Seattle.

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