Catch up on Cruising: Latest cruise news in bite size

Get ready to book for Cunard 2014
From Wednesday next week, Cunard is about to open its doors for 2014 bookings on its prestigious cruise liners – Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.

Although famous for their around-the-globe cruises, Cunard is giving Kiwi travellers a chance to sail a little closer to home, on Queen Victoria’s 28-night Sydney to San Francisco voyage, which will take in seven New Zealand ports, as well as Tonga, Samoa and Hawaii.

You can also take other cruise options, all of which give you the chance to embark or disembark at an Australian port:

•    A 17-night sailing on Queen Elizabeth from Sydney to Kobe, Japan, via Papua New Guinea

•    A 15-night Queen Mary 2 cruise from Cape Town to Fremantle, calling at Durban, Mauritius and Western Australia

If you want to go a little further afield, the world cruises are available on a 116-night Queen Mary 2 cruise (which also circumnavigates Australia twice), a 118-night voyage on the Queen Elizabeth (which takes in a maiden call to Japan), and a 116-night South America trip on the Queen Victoria.

If you book a world voyage sector of seven nights or more before 31 December 2012, excluding the Australian circumnavigation, you can get a substantial onboard credit.

Cunard president, Peter Shanks, told Cruise Weekly that world voyages continue to grow in popularity.

“More people than ever before are looking to experience all the world has to offer at outstanding value for money,” he added.


Experience tall-ship sailing with Royal Clipper
Experience sailing across the Atlantic and around the Caribbean on a luxury five-rig, 42-sail ship, Royal Clipper.

Next year, the 227-passenger Royal Clipper will sail on 25 cruises, plus two trans-Atlantic crossings, with the first three months of the year sailing in the Caribbean.

One of the largest ships in Star Clipper’s fleet of three, Royal Clipper is modelled on the 1902 tall ship, Preussen, but unlike its counterpart, boasts state-of-the-art navigation systems and every comfort and luxury you could need.

“For connoisseurs of sail cruising, the 439 foot Royal Clipper offers the ultimate sea-going experience, balancing the grandeur, adventure and tradition of sailing with the superb service, amenities and accommodations of the finest modern yacht. Royal Clipper carries just 227 guests in luxurious style. A full 19,000 square feet of open deck and three swimming pools create a wonderfully spacious and expansive outdoor environment,” says the Star Clipper website

In April, Royal Clipper will sail from Barbados to Lisbon where she will commence her European season, operating mainly seven-, 10-and 11-night cruises taking in Spain, Morocco France, the Amalfi coast, Sicily, Montenegro and Croatia, Corsica and Sardinia.

On 07 November the vessel will sail from Lisbon to Barbados to spend the rest of the year in the sunny Caribbean.


Specialty dining on Norwegian Cruise Lines
Guests on Norwegian Cruise Lines can now buy a special dining package which entitles guests to dine at three popular dining restaurants, the steakhouse, French bistro and Italian restaurants.

The Signature Trio dining package has to be pre-booked prior to sailing.


Sail to remote Papua New Guinea with Orion
Luxury adventure cruise experts, Orion Expedition Cruises, is offering an unusual cultural experience in Papua New Guinea.

The company, which prides itself on being an environmentally-sensitive marine tourism operator, is offering an 11-night Papua New Guinea Cultural Highlights cruise.

Departing in October 2012 and March 2013, guests will be flown by charter flight from Cairns, where they will meet up with the purpose-built luxury Orion in Rabul.

From Rabul the voyage takes guests to the Sepik River & Watam Village, Madang, Tami Islands, Tufi, Kitava (The  Trobriands), Samarai and Kwato Islands, and Alotau (Milne Bay).


All you can drink on Carnival
If you’re worried about your end-of-cruise bar bill, then Carnival Cruise Lines has the answer.

They are offering an all-you-can-drink My Awesome Bar Programme package to passengers over 21 years-old.

This package (US$42.95 pp per day) gives you the chance to drink unlimited wines (by the glass), beer and cocktails.

It’s valid for beverages US$10 or under and for drinks and bottles priced over $US10. The package also gives you 25% discount.

But a word of warning – if you want to book the package, every adult in your cabin must purchase it too.


APT’s Botswana Safari
APT has added a second itinerary to its African cruises, with a three-day Zambezi Queen cruise safari on Botswana’s Chobe River.

In its recently released Africa brochure, APT is also offering a companion-fly-free deal for bookings made before 31 December 2012.

The new brochure has details of 16 itineraries including Cape Town to Cairo with Nile cruising in Egypt.


Sailing up the Nile to Aswan
Thanks to the lifting of restrictions by Egyptian authorities, cruise passengers can now enjoy the pleasure of un-interrupted cruising down the Nile, all the way from Cairo to Aswan.

In the last few years, cruises were banned from sailing the 748 km stretch of Nile between Cairo and Luxor due to security,   safety and water level concerns.

Cruise passengers always had to break the journey up by travelling some of the distance by land but now they can do so without the inconvenience of disembarking and embarking for the land-leg part of the journey.


Steaming ahead
Steamboating is enjoying a boost in popularity with record bookings for 2013 being reported by the American Steamboat Company.

The company reported record-setting bookings in July and its best-ever sales week in the second week of August.

American Steamboat Company CEO, Jeffrey Krida, told Cruise Weekly that a lot of the bookings were due to word-of-mouth recommendations from past guests.

“We are building a new audience of loyal steamboaters, most of whom are seasoned traveller that have travelled with luxury ocean-going and European river brands, and now can’t get enough of the American Queen experience,” he added.


Celebrity’s exotic spa experience
Relax and luxuriate in an array of divine-sounding spa experiences in Celebrity Reflection’s AquaSpa, Persian Garden.

Treatments on offer range from an infrared sauna, an aromatic steam room, a cold room (walls and floor are icy cold at 11 C), a do-it-yourself Scrub and Salt Bar (where guests can craft scrubs from an array of salts, sugars and herbs), and sensory showers (offering either warm, tropical rain infused with mild, fruity fragrances, or an arctic cold mist enlivened with eucalyptus essences).


P & O’s 2014 World Cruises
P & O has released its 2014 brochure with details of two world circumnavigations and cruises in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia.

The Aurora and the Arcadia will both sail the full world circumnavigations, while the Adonia will head to the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia.

Itineraries range from 92 nights to almost four months, with the three ships cruising to a total of 81 destinations.

On sale this Tuesday (4 September), there will be a bonus for people who book on sectors of seven nights or more.

And bookings made by 31 December 2012 will give passengers a free onboard credit amount.

Shorter segments are also available for Australasian clients who wish to embark or disembark at ports in Australia.

Cruises include:

A 15-night Sydney to Shanghai cruise on Aurora, departing 16 Feb 2014. Her full 109-night world circumnavigation
departs 4 Jan 2014, calling at 33 ports in 22 countries including maiden calls to Xiamen, China and Hoi An, Vietnam as well as seven overnight calls to Cape Town, Hong Kong and Dubai. The cruise also has opportunities to break from traditional cruising with fly-cruises and a variety of land tours also available.

A 23-night Los Angeles to Sydney cruise on Arcadia departs 2 Feb 2014.  Her 92-night world circumnavigation, departing 10 Jan 2014, visits 28 ports in 20 countries including Bora Bora, Singapore, Muscat and Cairo.

The two ships will visit a total of seven Australian ports throughout summer.

Meanwhile, Adonia’s Asia Grand Adventure, departing 7 January 2014,  offers a point of difference from its sister ships, treating passengers to a 112-night cruise through 44 ports in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia. The new itinerary features five maiden calls to new ports.


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