Catch up on Cruising: Latest cruise news in bite size

Viking’s record-breaking new ships
Popular river cruise experts, Viking River Cruises, have broken a record for the total number of ships it will have cruising next year – a total of 14 in all.

And they’re set to offer all-inclusive fares too, covering all drinks, meals, daily shore excursions, tips and port taxes.
Two new 95-cabin ships, Viking Jarl and Viking Atla are the latest ships in the 2013 fleet in Europe, sailing passengers from Amsterdam to Basel on the Rhine Getaway cruise.

The two new ships offer a number of up-to-date facilities reflecting current travel trends, including solar panels, premium in-cabin facilities such as heated bathroom floors and mirrors, high-end bath products and Sony HD TVs.

There’s also an array of cabins to choose from – two Explorer Suites, seven two-room Veranda Suites, thirty-nine Veranda Staterooms and twenty-two French Balcony Staterooms.

If you’re looking for space, then you can’t go wrong with the Explorer Suites which are the largest river cruise suites in Europe at just over 41 square meters, boasting a separate living room, bedroom and private wraparound veranda, offering 270-degree views.

Wanting more private outside space to sit and view the scenery ? The Veranda Suites come with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom.

Finally the Veranda Staterooms all have full-size verandas.

And if you don’t want to miss a moment of the amazing scenery around you, there’s a revolutionary new all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace, which brings the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors allowing guests to enjoy the scenery and dine al fresco.

Teresia Fors, managing director of Viking River Cruises, Australia and New Zealand told Cruise Weekly  they expected the new ships to appeal to New Zealand passengers.

“We are already receiving very positive feedback from those who have travelled with us in 2012,” she says.


Celebrity Cruises gets classier
Take the stress out of waiting for your cruise to set sail !

Celebrity Cruises has upped its premium ConciergeClass and is now offering its Concierge guests access to an exclusive pre-departure lounge with complimentary coffee and juices.


Work out with Royal Princess
No, it’s not Kate Middleton but possibly the next best thing !

Princess Cruises’ new ship, Royal Princess, will boast a multi-activity Princess Sports Central facility on Decks 18 and 19.

If you’re not working out in the ocean-view state-of-the-art gym, you’ll be able to work off all the calories from the lovely meals you’ve eaten by playing basketball, tennis, volleyball and badminton.

For golfers, there will be a driving range and there will even be a shooting range !

Lastly, there’s no excuse for not training up for that marathon, as there’s a double-lane jogging track on Decks 17 and 18.


Milestone plans for a new Titanic
Plans for Blue Star Lines’ Titanic II have been released, hailed as a milestone in its creation.

The ship will mirror much of the layout of the original Titanic but with a few more up to date additions, such as escape stairs, service elevators and air conditioning.

Blue Stars’ owner, billionaire Clive Palmer, told Cruise Weekly the plans were an important step in the creation of the Titanic II.

“These plans underline the commitment and progression Blue Star Line has for the Titanic II project,” he says.

The ship’s debut is set for 2016 and will retrace the original Titanic’s first journey.


Windstar’s new itineraries
Luxury yacht cruise company, Windstar, has seven new itineraries in their Voyage Collection brochure.

These include Europe’s West Coast Odyssey, Idyllic British Isles, Gaelic Explorers, Scandinavian Tapestry, Provence & Cote d’Azure, Footsteps of Faith and Casablanca and the Canary Islands.


Will Venice ban cruise ships ?
Environmental damage to Venice’s surrounding waters may spell an end to larger ships visiting the legendary city.

The Italian Government is reviewing a bill which would enable the Venetian City council power over the city’s surrounding waters, and, subsequently, banning the larger ships.

The bill comes about as a result of a UNESCO recommendation calling on the Italians to ban larger ships from entering the San Marco basin and Giudeccia Canal due to the environmental damage they cause.

“The wash churned up by the ships is hollowing out the seabed and gradually turning the lagoon into an inlet of the Adriatic,” says UNESCO’s Angelo Marzello.


Costa’s American recovery
There is good news for Costa Cruises, with North American sales up by 32% from this time last year.

Scott Knutson, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa Cruises, told Cruise Weekly that their recovery is well under way and they are ahead of where they expected to be with sales.

“While effective marketing and strategic pricing have played a part in generating our strong bookings, we believe they are also a result of increased consumer interest and renewed confidence in the Costa brand,” he adds.


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