Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas has had a $54m complete makeover, inspired by the design elements of the popular Elements of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, with a bow to stern refresh of furniture, carpets and drapery.
Cabins will be more spacious and intimate, as many three and four berth cabins have been modelled into two berth cabins especially for couples.
What’s more, passengers needing quiet time can now relax in their own cabins with the additional luxury of a flat screen TV and iPad.
Families are well catered for too – parents can enjoy themselves knowing their children are happy in the fully-staffed Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for children up to three years old. Older children will also be kept amused with the large swimming pool and outdoor movie screen !
And food lovers will revel in the new restaurants on offer. New dining experiences include the Chops Grille steakhouse, Giovanni’s Table Italian restaurant and Izumi, a Japanese eatery. The Chef’s Table dining room offers an exclusive private dining room experience which caters for up to 14 guests and offers a five-course dinner with matching wine.
Another highlight is the transformation of Rhapsody’s atrium into a seven-story vertical theatre for evening entertainment. While Crown and Anchor loyalty guests now have their own exclusive-access Diamond lounge.
To top it off, guests need no longer worry about getting lost. Rhapsody has a new way-finding system to help them find their way on-bard, with touch-screen TVs positioned strategically around the ship.
Hapag Lloyd’s Insignia
Hapag Lloyd has added another cruising ship to its fleet !
The Oceania Cruises 684-passenger Insignia has had an overhaul and was re-christened Columbus 2 on 17th April, just before setting sail on her European cruises.
P & O’s Jewel in the Isles
P & O Cruises made a splash in the cruising world, with the arrival of Pacific Jewel at Mare in the Loyalty Islands.
Pacific Jewel became the first passenger ship to take cruisers to the undiscovered Pacific paradise, north of New Caledonia.
“Mare is one of the rare places on Earth that remains truly unspoiled,” Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, told Cruise Weekly.
P & O is scheduled to make five calls to Mare in 2012, including a nine-night Pacific Islands cruise, departing Sydney on 15 July.
A taste of New Zealand
There will be a new flavour to one of P & O’s cruise ships, Pacific Dawn, currently undergoing refurbishment in Australia.
P & O Cruises has signed an agreement with New Zealand Natural Premium Ice Cream which will see one of their ice cream parlours on board the Pacific Dawn. Not only that but passengers can look forward to tasting a new P & O ice cream flavour, specially designed by New Zealand Natural Premium Ice Cream for passengers on P & O Cruises.
The new P & O ice cream flavour will be revealed when Pacific Dawn sets sail on 01 May 2012.
Oriana’s winter lovers’ cruise
P & O Cruises Worldwide is taking winter lovers on its first ever Northern Hemisphere winter cruise in Norway in 2014.
Oriana’s 12-night cruise will depart 13 March 2014 and will include stops in Bergen, Tromso, Alta and Stavanger.
As well as entertainment on board, on-shore excursions are on offer for snow lovers including dog sledding and snowmobiling.
Royal Caribbean in Australasia
Royal Caribbean’s three cruise liners are coming down under in 2013-14, visiting Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific ports.
Voyager of the Sea, Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas will sail a total of 53 itineraries over 55 sailings between Sep 2013 and April 2014.
Itineraries range from two-nights to 18-nights, including popular favourites such as the Round Australia and New Zealand voyages.
Voyager’s second season in Australasia will see her debut four new itineraries and two additional sailings, including a new 14-night cruise from Singapore to Sydney on 24 October and a new two-night sampler from Sydney.
Radiance of the Seas’ season will include a new eight-night cruise to Queensland while Rhapsody of the Seas’ season will feature a new 15-night Queensland and South Pacific New Year Cruise.
Solstice stays longer in Australasia
Celebrity Solstice will have an extended season in Australasian waters in the 2013/14 season, including eight 12-night New Zealand Cruises between Auckland and Sydney.
With her first sailing in early October 2013, Celebrity Solstice will sail 15 times and will include 10 itineraries.
Other highlights include the cruise line’s first South Pacific island cruises sailing roundtrip from Sydney, two Round Australia cruises, an 18-night Auckland to Fremantle cruise and two 18-night Trans-Pacific Hawaii and Tahiti cruises.
Adam Armstrong, commercial manager for Celebrity Cruises Australia told Cruise Weekly “It’s Celebrity’s broadest ever range of local cruises – with a destination and duration for everyone.”
MSC’s one-stop shop
When it comes to choosing all the different cruising options available online, it’s not hard to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice out there. But MSC Cruises has come to the rescue with its own 2012 Signature Series European Packages.
MSC has made it easy to book a cruising holiday by packaging together all the tricky details, such as flights, land tours, accommodation and cruising, with only one point of call for the booking.
Packages include a 14-night Tuscany Discovery cruise, featuring return flight transfers, a seven-night cruise, four-nights land accommodation, a visit to Pisa and dinner with a family in a Tuscan village, for approx $6,380 pp.
Other highlights include a 21-day Celtic Kingdoms and Norwegian Fjords cruise/tour from $7,710 pp, a 27-night Mediterranean and Black Sea Odyssey cruise from $6,800 pp, and a 22-night Treasures of the Mediterranean cruise/tour from $6,820 pp.
The series also include an option for those wishing to arrange their own on-shore experience, a 28-night fly/cruise Baltic and Mediterranean Medley from $8,140 pp.
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