Catch up on Cruising: Latest cruise news in bite size

Queen Mary 2 laps Australia
When QM2 circumnavigated Australia earlier this year, it was such a success that they are going to do it all over again in 2014.

This time, passengers will have the choice of embarking from four different ports, Sydney, Melbourne, Fremantle or Brisbane.In total the QM2 will be in Australian waters for more than a month, calling at eight ports: Fremantle (February 12, March 6); Melbourne (February 17, March 12);Sydney (February 19, March 12);Sydney (February 19, March 14); Brisbane (February 21, March 16); Whitsundays (February 23); Darwin (February 27); Bali (March 2) and Adelaide (March 10).

Cunard Line president and managing director, Peter Shanks, told Cruise Weekly he anticipated strong consumer interest when pre-registrations opened next Tuesday 7 August.

“They clearly love the wonderful blend of heritage and modernity that we offer so we believe the Queen Mary’s second circumnavigation will be just as popular as the first,” he said.

Pre-registrations will close on 17 August with bookings formally opening for sale on 20 August.
•    Roundtrip sailings available from Perth (Fremantle), Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane
•    Fares start from NZD $8,319* per person twin share for an inside stateroom for 22 nights
•    Past Passengers booking roundtrip sectors will receive an on board credit of USD $175 per person (applicable to the first two passengers sharing a cabin) until 31 December 2012

Contact Cruise Factor for your registrations or bookings.


Super Family Cabins for MSC
MSC has recently released its 2012-13 brochure, specifically created for the Australasian market.

Among the goodies, there’s details of 150 itineraries across the world, a new ship, great new family cabins and discounts on single supplements.

The itineraries, onboard a record 13 ships, will cruise to 150 ports including the West and East Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America, South Africa, the Caribbean and the Red Sea.
MSC is upping its already family-friendly facilities with the introduction of Super Family Cabins on MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa, its new cruise liner.

The cabins, sleeping up to six people, will have two interconnecting triple-bed cabins, two bathrooms and two balconies.

Even better, each of the cabins comes at a fixed price, regardless of how many people use them.

Last but not least, there’s a 50% reduction on single supplements for selected cabins and no single supplements at all for suites in the MSC Yacht Club. There’s also no single supplements on selected departures from Genoa and Venice in 2013.


RSC hints at a new ship
Rumour has it there may be a new ship in store for Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Richard Fain, CEO and chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises, hinted to financial analysts last week that there may be a need for extra capacity in order to increase growth and venture into new markets, Cruise Weekly reported.

“We clearly are looking at that sort of thing,” he added.

Although not committing outright, the company has been dropping hints about another ship since the launch in 2010 of its largest megaliner, the 5,400 passenger Allure of the Seas.

He said since they moved Voyager of the Seas into Asia, there has been less capacity in existing markets.


Fuss-free access for Canadian cruises
Cruising is about to become a lot easier in Canada this month, with a new initiative aimed at easing  bureaucracy in customs and immigration.

The Canada Border Services Agency will pilot the Cruise Ship Gateway Strategy from August 12 which will see ‘full clearance’ for vessels in Canada whose first port of call is either Nova Scotia, St John’s, Newfoundland or Halifix.

Once cleared, cruise ships and their passengers will be able to visit other points more easily and without the fuss of customs and immigration.


Will RCI and Costa give Bahrain the thumbs up ?
With increased political stability in the island nation, the Kingdom of Bahrain is hopeful that Royal Caribbean Cruises and Costa Cruises will return to its shores.

Up until now, the cruise companies have postponed their visits due to the political unrest that exploded in the region in 2011.

But Bahrain’s Tourism marketing and promotion acting director, Mohammed Al Subaie told Cruise Weekly the cruise lines were considering returning to the island.

But despite his optimism, there has been no confirmation from either RCI or Costa that this is about to happen.


Elvis Steamboat Cruise
Elvis fans will be all shook up if they miss out on the Elvis-themed cruise with the American Queen Steamboat Company.

But if they get the chance to wear their blue suede shoes on the ten-day holiday from New Orleans to Memphis they won’t be disappointed.

In November 2012, there will be a pre-voyage night in a hotel in New Orleans, a post-voyage stay in a Memphis hotel , and a VIP tour through Graceland.

Shaking their stuff alongside passengers will be top Elvis tribute artists and speakers including long-time Elvis body guard, Sam Thompson, giving an insider’s  view of Elvis’ life.

So don’t risk heartbreak hotel and book your trip now…….


HAL’s Seven Ships
Popular Holland America Line will have seven ships in Europe during the northern hemisphere summer in 2013.

Ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam will sail the seas ranging from the northern tip of Europe to the Black Sea and across the Mediterranean.

Trips from seven to 64 days will include seven maiden ports of call including Alanya, Turkey; Alcudia, Spain; Galway and Killybegs, Ireland; Hydra and Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Sassnitz in Germany.

And new itineraries include a seven-day Turkish Explorer on board ms Ryndam round-trip from Athens, including an overnight trip in Istanbul; an 11-day Mediterranean Odyssey sailing from Rome; the 11-day Adriatic Explorer from Rome to Athens; and an 11-day Ancient Mysteries voyage sailing from Athens and Istanbul.


No reserves for Carnival
We’ve all been on holiday and fumed at the rows of empty ‘reserved’ sun loungers around the pool.

But you’ll be pleased to hear that reserved deckchairs are going to be a thing of the past with Carnival Cruise Lines.

They have decided to do away with the unfair practice by unscrupulous passengers, so if a chair is vacant for more than 40 minutes, the crew will free it up by taking the belongings away, leaving a note for the passenger.

The sure-to-be-popular move was dreamt up by Carnival Cruise director, John Heald, who said it was in response to complaints from passengers.

The new system is to be trialled onboard Breeze and will eventually  be rolled out throughout the whole fleet.


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