Catch up on Cruising: Latest cruise news in bite size

On Safari in Alaska
Wilderness adventure cruise company, Innersea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises are set to add a unique new ship and itinerary to their programme.

The replica Victorian 88-guest steamer, Safari Legacy, offers a Heritage Adventures programme in Alaska, Oregon and Washington but this time with a completely different style of cruising from their other itineraries.

The company prides itself on its ‘un-cruise’ programmes, where, instead of visiting ports, guests can hike, kayak and generally maximise their time in the wilderness.

But the recently refurbished Safari Legacy will cruise in a more traditional way, focusing on historic towns in southeast Alaska and along the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Guided tours, museums and historical sites will be included in the itineraries, giving passengers a chance to meet local people and historians.

A highlight of each voyage will be the Living History programme where the Alaskan Gold Rush Trail and famous explorer expeditions will be brought to life by local guest speakers and character re-enactments.

The ship’s inaugural cruises will start with two 11-night Gold Rush Legacy cruises between Seattle (Washington) and Juneau (Alaska) departing 11 August and 22 August 2013.

These voyages will sail from September to November and March to May with week-long cruises on the Columbia and Snake rivers, a roundtrip from Portland, Oregon.

Highlights include sailing up the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls, Richland, Walla Walla, Washington wine country, The Dalles and Astoria. There will also be a tour of the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center, a jet boat ride into Hells Canyon, and a private wine-tasting.

In summer 2014, the ships returns to Alaska for a full season of seven-night cruises between Juneau and Ketchikan.

Fares include entry fees to museums and national parks, all onboard meals, fine wine, spirits and microbrews, and a complimentary massage.


Whale watching with North Star
Australian adventure cruise experts, North Star Cruises, is set to debut its much-anticipated 10-night Discovery Cruise, Whale Sharks of Cenderawasih Bay.

The cruise, departing this October, has been brought forward a year, following a recent government permission grant.

The ship, True North, purpose-built for access to remote areas, will depart October 18 and the itinerary includes return chartered flights from Darwin to Sorong to meet True North, as well as cruising through the Raja Ampat archipelago and visits to Wayag Island, Ayau, Amsterdam Islands, Manokwari, Puripi, Wairundi, Roon Island, the Cenderawasih Marine Park (for whale sharks), and the Auri Islands.


National Geographic’s New Itineraries
Educational explorer cruise company, Lindblad Expeditions, is offering five new itineraries in 2013 on their 148-guest ship, National Geographic.

The new 2013 voyages include a 38-day Epic South America – Jungle Rivers, Rain Forests & the Colonial Coast cruise; a 10-day Circumnavigation of Iceland; a 12-day Along the Viking Trail – From Iceland to Greenland adventure; a 17-day Arctic Quest: Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic cruise; and a 16- day Circumnavigation of the Baltic Sea.


Reflection on the water
Celebrity Reflection’s official launch is on track for October this year.

She is the newest ship in the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet and will sport all the features of Celebrity Solstice with a few add-ons.

There will be half an acre of real grass on the upper deck in the Lawn Club, an AquaSpa, and AquaClass Staterooms, along with free dining at the Mediterranean themed specialty restaurant Blu.

She will also debut a two-bedroom Reflection Suite, as well as Celebrity’s new 41 square-metre ‘Signature Suites’, with three-metre high floor-to-ceiling windows and a sliding door leading to a large veranda with a whirlpool.

She will also boast The Hideaway, an intimate, quiet space to relax in, as well as several other Celebrity specialties such as the Lawn Club Grill, The Alcoves, The Porch, and The Art Studio.


Pacific Pearl’s new look 
Pacific Pearl has emerged from dry dock this week with a new look.

Ten new inter-connecting cabins will allow families and groups of friends to travel more easily together. They will be configured as quad-quad, twin-quad, or twin-twin beds, to suit the different needs of groups.

Another highlight is the installation of the New Zealand Natural Ice Cream Parlour!

Minor refurbishments also took place in the Marquee, Mix and Orient Bars, as well as the ship’s mini-suites and balcony cabins.

Finally, new carpets have been laid throughout the whole ship.


Five-star Uniworld launches 2013 brochure
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has just released its latest brochure for 2013.

There are six new itineraries and massive savings if you book early and pay in-full.

Discounts of up to NZ$4,870 per couple are on offer if you pay in full before 31 October 2012. This discount applies to the 22-day Grand European Highlights trip, from Belgrade to Basel, with departures from May to September 2013.

Alternatively, if you pay your deposit before 31 July, you can save up to NZ$1900. This discount applies to the 13-day Splendours of Italy cruise or the 11-day Enchanting Christmas and New Year’s Cruise from Passau to Budapest.

The other new itineraries focus on Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the river cruise company’s first-ever river cruise in Italy.

There’s also a White Christmas cruise, where you can spend Christmas Day on the River Beatrice.

Other highlights include a new ship in Portugal and Spain and “multigenerational departures” for families wishing to cruise during the school holidays.

John Molinaro, Uniworld’s general manager for Australia, told Cruise Weekly that the new brochure was already extremely popular.

“We have been doing extremely brisk business since we put the brochure online, and we’re really excited about the buzz it’s been generating.”

He added that prices had marginally increased but pointed out that all gratuities were included in the fares.

To help celebrate the launch of the new brochure, Uniworld is running a photo competition on its Facebook page, offering the winners a two-person 15-day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, including fares.


Late booking savers with Crystal
If you’re looking for a last minute holiday cruise deal, Crystal Cruises is offering really good discounts for bookings in late 2012.

Almost a dozen Mediterranean, South Pacific and trans-ocean voyages onboard Crystal Serenity, and Crystal Symphony will feature special extras including US$2,000 per couple penthouse savings on Serenity’s cruises for the 25 Aug; 6, 18,
30 Sep; 12, 24 Oct; and 5, 17, 28 Nov 2012.


Cunard’s Queens in Australia
For the first time in the same season, three of Cunard’s iconic ships are set to visit Australian shores in 2014.

The Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 will arrive during February and March 2014 and will make a total of 16 calls at Australian ports in this time, including Sydney and Brisbane.

The visits are part of Cunard’s world voyage programme (set for release this week), which includes three full world voyages as well as a series of shorter eight-night sectors.

These visits reflect the increasing popularity of cruising in Australasia, says Cruise Weekly.

The tickets will go on sale in early September.


Norwegian Cruise Line’s stingray and snorkelling adventures
Norwegian Cruise Line has some exciting add-ons to its programme on the Cay, the cruise line’s 250-acre private island in the Bahamas.

The Great Stirrup Cay on-land programme is now offering a Stingray Encounter and Fate of the Fancy Snorkel Adventure.


AMA Waterways art donations
A local French children’s charity has been the recipient of the generosity of AMA Waterways.

The cruise line has donated the entire art collection from its recently renovated ship, the AmaDagio, to Kiwanis International, based in Avignon in southern France.

The charity will auction the artworks off to raise money for local children’s charities.

Luis de Sousa Marques, the AmaDagio’s hotel manager told Cruise Weekly the ship’s former art collection included a number of high quality paintings.

“We thought it was a wonderful opportunity to make a positive contribution to the local community,” he adds.


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