Australia prepares for whopper cruise summer
Australia will welcome an unprecedented number of cruise ships this summer, with more than 40 vessels sailing in local waters – including eight ships making their maiden visits Down Under. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia says a record 41 ships from its member cruise lines will be based in Australia or visiting local waters between October 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017, during which time they are expected to make almost 900 calls to ports around the country. With more than half the ships offering return cruises from our shores, Aussies will be able to take advantage of almost 400 roundtrip itineraries from local ports. Among the flotilla will be Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, the largest ship to visit Australia, and the boutique Seabourn Encore, the youngest and most luxurious ship to ever cruise here.
European Waterways celebrates Holland’s famous tulips
In celebration of Holland’s tulip season, European Waterways is offering special deals on its Holland spring itinerary bookings made by 30 November 2016. With its panoramic windows, and large sundeck for viewing the colourful tulip season, luxury hotel barge Panache is the ideal way to experience Holland. In addition to the fields of tulips, passengers will enjoy a six-night itinerary featuring Holland’s artistic, cultural and historic gems such as excursions to the Keukenhof Gardens, Aalsmeer flower auction, a tour of Royal Delft factory where fine porcelain is made, the Frans Hals Museum, the historic city of Leiden, and much more.
ecruising’s east coast escapade
ecruising.travel’s exclusive new cruise tour package includes a 12-night escorted land tour from New York City down south along the east coast to Miami and a 10-night round-trip cruise aboard Celebrity Equinox. Commencing with the land tour in NYC on 21 April 2017, guests will experience many of the east coast’s best highlights, including Washington D.C, Williamsburg, Roanoke, Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains, Memphis, New Orleans and Orlando, before arriving in Miami and cruising onwards to Caribbean ports such as Grand Cayman, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire as well as Key West in Florida.
World Expeditions’ Antarctic odyssey
World Expeditions is offering huge savings on its Ross Sea Explorer voyages to Antarctica. As one of the cruise line’s most adventurous voyages, the 32-day itinerary follows the paths of the early explorers Amundsen, Shackleton, and Scott, offering a rare insight into the history of their expeditions as well as unique wildlife encounters, including the King penguin colonies. There are two Ross Sea Explorer voyages; the first will depart Ushuaia, Argentina on 13 January, followed by a departure from Bluff, New Zealand on 15 February.
The Ross Sea has just become the world’s protected marine park, and is one of the last unspoiled ocean wilderness areas on the planet. It covers more than 1.55 million square kilometres of ocean, and is home to unparalleled marine biodiversity and thriving communities of penguins, seals, whales, seabirds, and fish.
Azamara’s epic world cruise
The countdown is on for Azamara Club Cruises’ 102-day World Journey, in which the recently revitalised Azamara Journey will complete an epic voyage from Sydney Harbour Bridge to London Tower Bridge. Departing Sydney on 7 March 2017, the once-in-a-lifetime voyage will visit 60 ports in 29 countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, and The Netherlands, before concluding in London on 17 June 2018.
Hurtigruten has confirmed its order of two new hybrid powered expedition ships, named after the two most influential Norwegian polar pioneers, Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, scheduled for delivery in 2018 and 2019. Featuring state-of-the-art Scandinavian design, the ships will be the world’s first expeditionary ships sailing fully electric, with sustainable hybrid technology, and will feature expansive observation platforms on several decks, a special pool deck with infinity pools, Jacuzzis and bars, and three restaurants. Partnering up with Polar specialists Bentours, Hurtigruten’s itineraries will offer guests extraordinary travel experiences and a tailor-made touch to unique destinations.
Crystal launching new river yachts
Crystal River Cruises will welcome two new river yachts to its fleet, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, just in time for the European spring in 2018. The two vessels will embark on their maiden voyages throughout the picturesque waterways of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. The new itineraries will feature seven-day voyages, at least two overnight stays on most sailings and visits to some of the region’s oldest and most fascinating river villages. Crystal Debussy will sail along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers between Amsterdam and Basel, visiting some of Germany and Switzerland’s most picturesque locales, while Crystal Ravel will offer a varied selection of itineraries along the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Danube Rivers, embarking from Vienna, Budapest and Basel and calling in historic locales in Germany, as well as Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Silversea’s new culinary offerings
The world’s leading luxury cruise line, Silversea Cruises, is set to launch an exciting new culinary experience aboard its new flagship, Silver Muse. Launching in April 2017, Silver Muse will feature eight restaurants on board, offering guests extensive dining options. Highlights will include the elegant French Relais & Châteaux restaurant La Dame, traditional Italian restaurant La Terrazza, Asian fusion Indochine, Japanese restaurant Kabuki, and proven favourite Hot Rocks, where guests can cook their selection of meat, fish and vegetables at their table, on top of 400-Degree-Celsius lava stone.
Royal Caribbean wins big
Royal Caribbean International has been voted Australasia’s Leading Cruise Line at the prestigious World Travel Awards Asia and Australasia. The coveted title is determined from votes cast by travel and tourism professionals throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, as well as the general public. The award adds to a long list of accolades for the cruise line in 2016, including the dual award from the National Travel Industry Awards for Best Domestic Operator and Best International Operator, as well as the esteemed Cruise Critic Australia Editors’ Pick Awards for Best for Families, Best Entertainment, and Best New Ship, for the brand new Ovation of the Seas.
World cruise trifecta with Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises is offering an unprecedented trifecta of world cruises for 2017, setting sail to exotic ports around the world, including South America, the Arctic Circle and Alaska. In early January, Sea Princess will depart on her inaugural circumnavigation of South America from Australia, on an 84-night Circle South America cruise, visiting 28 ports across 18 countries, including calls to Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Uruguay. Her second overseas experience will follow in May on an epic 104-night world cruise in the first voyage from Australia to the Arctic Circle. Cruising via the Middle East to Europe and the UK, she will call at the Lofoten Islands, Tromso, Honningsvag and Akureyri in the Arctic Circle before visiting North and South America and the Pacific Islands on her return to Australia. Also setting sail in May 2018 will be Golden Princess, embarking on a 75-night Circle Pacific itinerary to China and Japan before heading to Alaska. Highlights include an overnight stay in Vancouver on Canada Day to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the confederation before heading to San Francisco for Fourth of July fireworks over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Azamara goes wild for conservation
A leading World Wildlife Fund (WWF) conservation expert will present a series of insightful lectures onboard one of Azamara Journey’s Australia and New Zealand voyages during her maiden season. Azamara Club Cruises formed a global partnership with WWF earlier this year, pledging a commitment to help ensure the long-term health of the oceans, not only through reducing Azamara’s global footprint, but also by raising awareness about ocean conservation to guests. WWF senior species conservation expert Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf provides leadership for the WWF Arctic Program on polar bear conservation issues and will join Azamara Journey’s 15-night Australia & New Zealand voyage, departing Sydney 19 February 2017, as part of Azamara’s brand-new WWF Guest Speakers Series.
Happy Birthday Norwegian Cruise Line
This year marks fifty years since the M/S Sunward made her first voyage from Miami to the Caribbean on 19 December 1966, signifying the birth of Norwegian Caribbean Line (NCL). Today, the company known as Norwegian Cruise Line, is a leading global cruise brand with 14 purpose-built contemporary ships sailing to more than 300 destinations – including, in 2017, to Australia and New Zealand for the first time in 15 years, with Norwegian Star visiting in February and Norwegian Jewel arriving in November to be based in Australasia year-round. To celebrate 50 years of innovative freestyle cruising, Norwegian is inviting its guests, travel professionals, partners, team members and future guests to share fifty years of memories via the company’s #NorwegiansFirst50 Anniversary Campaign, by contributing their own NCL photos and stories to the photographic online timeline. Australians who share their memories using the site, will have the chance to win a cruise for two in a Balcony Stateroom. Those who wish to sail aboard Norwegian Cruise Line during its official 50th anniversary month, can select from 46 cruise holidays departing during December 2016.
The Strand Cruise gets into theme
New river cruise operator The Strand Cruise is offering a series of themed sailings, including three- and four-night itineraries between the ancient cities of Bagan and Mandalay in Myanmar. On 13 February, The Strand Cruise will welcome on board eight classical musicians, including artists from the famous Opéra de Paris and Orchestre de Paris, for an intimate four-night musical cruise along the Ayeyarwady River. The classical music voyage will be the first in a series of themed trips with The Strand Cruise in 2017, including cruises hosted by experts in music, cuisine and photography. A reinvention of the legendary style of its iconic sister hotel, The Strand Yangon, the new, exclusive 28-cabin ship delivers a genuine luxury cruise experience with access to many private moorings close to landmarks along the river. Highlights include an exclusive mooring overnight at Ava, allowing guests exclusive access to the beautiful temple of Maha Aungmye Bonzan. The Strand Cruise is also the only operator on the river to offer visits to the iconic U-Bein bridge on both north- and south-bound itineraries.
Tonga to welcome Royal Caribbean for first time
For the first time ever, Royal Caribbean will be calling at the Kingdom of Tonga as its brand new destination featuring in the upcoming 2016/17 cruise season. Radiance of the Seas will call at the Tongan ports of Vava’u on 12 December and Nuku’alofa on 13 December 2016 as part of a 13-night itinerary, sailing the South Pacific, Fiji and Tonga. The two new destinations will bring a host of unique experiences to passengers, with the opportunity to explore the islands further with a range of optional excursions, including whale-watching and snorkelling in Vava’u and a cultural tour in Nuku’alofa. Departing Sydney 3 December, the voyage will call at the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia, Lifou in the Loyalty Islands, Suva and Lautoka in Fiji, as well as Tonga, before arriving in Auckland.
P&O Cruises serves it up for Australian Open
P&O Cruises has announced an ace line-up of legendary tennis talent and tennis-themed onboard activities on its popular Australian Open cruise from Sydney, in January 2017. Australian Grand Slam champion Ken Rosewall will share his tips on the international tennis event and offer photo opportunities as Pacific Pearl cruises from Sydney to Melbourne, while Wimbledon and Olympic Doubles champion Todd Woodbridge of the famed ‘ Woodies’ duo will host an exclusive breakfast in Melbourne as part of a tournament of onboard events lined up for the cruise. The five-night roundtrip cruise from Sydney includes two days’ admission to all the action at Melbourne Park as well as a volley of tennis-themed activities onboard including trivia, table tennis championships and Wii tennis tournaments. The Australian Open will also be screened live on the ship’s giant screen for guests to watch in poolside style during their cruise, while the Men’s and Women’s Australian Open trophies will also be onboard.
Explore Aeolian Islands with Peter Sommer Travels
Archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels has revealed its new gulet cruise itinerary, exploring the stunning Aeolian Islands in Italy. Launching in the northern summer of 2017, the seven-day voyage explores the magnificent volcanic archipelago off the north coast of Sicily. Hosted by historian and archaeologist Dr Michael Metcalfe, the cruise will offer a great combination of the Mediterranean’s beautiful scenery with fine local food and wine, and fascinating ancient history. Renowned as a relaxed and luxurious retreat for Italy’s rich and famous, the islands are also home to archaeological sites from the ancient cultures of Southern Italy, each one with its own vibrant identity. Highlights include the spectacular food and wines of verdant Salina, the volcanic Stromboli, with its smoking crater, hiking trails and fiery lava flowing down to sea, the sparsely populated Filicudi with its Bronze-age village, and the islet of Basiluzzo where guests will enjoy a restful morning of swimming, kayaking, reading, sunbathing and exploring the local Roman heritage.