Catch up on Cruising: Latest cruise news in bite size

Fred Olsen comes to New Zealand
The 150-year-old British cruise line company, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, is going from strength to strength as it announces two new Grand Voyages for 2014.

Black Watch will visit New Zealand on a 114-night Australia and South America World Cruise in January 2014.

Its longest-ever cruise, it will also visit Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.

Meanwhile, Balmoral’s 104-night Myanmar, Japan & Hawaii World Cruise will depart 05 January 2014 from Southampton and will include maiden calls to Yangon in Myanmar and Hiroshima, Osaka and Yokahama in Japan.

And a highlight last month saw the 1,350 passenger, Balmoral, become the first cruise ship ever to stop at the Canadian port of Trois-Rivieres in Canada.

Trois-Rivières is a city in the Mauricie region of Quebec, Canada, located on the Saint Lawrence River, about halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

“Trois-Rivières was a really fantastic port of call and we received a great welcome from the local people,” Guy Sharp, Balmoral’s hotel manager, told Cruise Weekly.


Top Deck secrets of Royal Princess
No, it’s not the Duchess of Cambridge again………..

Princess Cruises has leaked details about the new ‘top deck’ features of the Royal Princess.

The 3,600-passenger cruise ship, currently under construction, is set to have an emphasis on outdoor entertainment.

And her top deck will feature a dramatic SeaWalk, as well as pool areas, an evening light show and a larger Movies under the Stars poolside theatre.

Measuring over 18 metres in length, the glass bottomed SeaWalk will extend more than eight metres beyond the starboard side of the ship, and 40 metres above the ocean.

A SeaView Bar will also extend over the ocean for guests to enjoy a cocktail and a fantastic view of the waves.

By the SeaWalk will be the Fresh Water Pools area, with palm trees and two fresh water pools on either side of an island.

The pool area will also have live games and music, and in the evening the poolside island will become a stage to
showcase an interactive sound and light show with dancing fountains.

On some evenings, the island will be transformed into an outdoor dance floor for the Ultimate Deck Party,  with a DJ spinning from two decks above.

Meanwhile the poolside theatre screen will be 30% larger than the ones on other Princess vessels, and will play movies, sporting events and concerts, where guests can lounge on sun loungers, complete with pillows and free popcorn, or while relaxing in the ship’s giant whirlpool spas.


Azamara goes all-inclusive
Azamara Club Cruises is joining the ranks of other high-end cruise lines, offering free alcohol at all its bars.

From early next year, beers, red and white wines and standard spirits will be available throughout the cruise at all ship bars for no extra charge.

Free beer and wine will also be served at lunch and dinner.

Azamara fares will also include gratuities, self-service laundry, port shuttles, concierge services and bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas throughout the ship.

The new all-inclusive alcohol policy will be effective from 27 March 2013 on the Azamara Quest  and 15 May 2013 on the Azamara Journey.

Another attraction, included in the fare, is the introduction of the AzAmazing Evening, a night-time event which will take place onshore at each port-of-call, showcasing the local culture, food and drinks.

Azamara is different from most other cruise lines, as its ships often stay in a pot until midnight, or even overnight.


New name for Adventurer
Polar adventure cruise line, Quark Expeditions, is renaming one of its ships.

From 11 October 2012, Clipper Adventurer will become Sea Adventurer, and all the company’s marketing material for 2013/14 already refers to her as Sea Adventurer.

“This is a name change only and will in no way affect any element of service or amenity in relation to any Quark Voyage,” Quark said in a recent statement.


Crystal’s Laos Adventure
Crystal Cruises is offering a new, optional, Crystal Overland Adventure on Crystal Symphony’s Southeast Asia cruise in March 2013.

The three-night Laos Overland Discovery will depart from the port of Laem Chabang for Bangkok for the first night, then fly to Laos for two nights to witness a Laotian Buddhist almsgiving ceremony; visit sacred temples, a local village, the last royal palace, Hmong night market, and the Buddha-filled Pak Ou Caves before rejoining Crystal Symphony in Ho Chi Minh City.


Croisi-Europe slows down for barge cruising
If you’ve always liked the look of the holiday barges you see wending their way through the canals in France and the rest of Europe, then look no further, as Croisi-Europe is about to launch a Canals of France programme onboard the 24-guest MS Jeanine.

MS Jeanine will launch in Europe in April next year and one of her many itineraries will include seven-day barge cruises between Burgundy and the Saone.

Other barge itineraries are The Doubs Valley, in the heart of a region of natural and architectural heritage; The most  beautiful stops from the Doubs Valley to Burgundy; Changes of scenery and emotions from the Côte d’Or to Saône-et-Loire; France’s most beautiful river banks  between Burgundy and the Saône Valley; and The most beautiful landscapes of Alsace/Moselle from Strasbourg to Xouaxange.


Hebridean’s Royal Crown stays in Europe
Hebridian Island Cruises is doing it again.

The British small ship cruise company has had such a successful year cruising on European rivers, that it is bringing back  Royal Crown European River Cruises in 2013.

“Following its successful inaugural year, Hebridean will offer cruises to the Main for the first time along with cruises to the Rhine and Danube,” a statement from the company said.

The 79-guest Royal Crown has an art-deco and art nouveau-inspired interior and her facilities include The Restaurant, Lounge with bar, Front desk, Wellness and Fitness Centre, Beauty salon, Business Lounge and Library, Signature Shop, and the Lido deck with Lido bar.

Royal Crown will offer a choice of five itineraries next year, commencing on 08 June, including a seven-night Cruising the Rhine voyage, visiting Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg Speyer, Kaub, Koblenz, Konigswinter, Cologne and  Amsterdam; as well as a seven night Cruising the Rhine and the Main voyage which visits  Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Remagen, Frankfurt, Miltenberg, Würzburg Bamberg, and Nuremberg.

Other itineraries featured include a seven-night Cruising the Danube journey from Nuremberg to Budapest; the seven-night Cruising the Danube Budapest roundtrip and the seven-night Cruising the Danube Budapest to Regensburg voyage.


Norwegian’s early Getaway
Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Getaway is set to launch three months earlier than expected.

The 4,000-passenger ship, which will now launch in late January 2014, will be home-ported in Miami where she will sail year-round on seven-night East Caribbean trips.

Norwegian Cruise Lines will modify the itineraries of their other ships based in Miami.

These include the Epic, which from 2nd February 2014, will sail from Miami on a Western Caribbean itinerary.

Other modifications will see Norwegian Sun depart Miami on her 10 and 11-day Southern Caribbean itineraries a day later than scheduled, on Mondays and Thursdays; and  Norwegian Pearl,  which had been scheduled to depart Miami on Sundays will be chartered from 19 January to 21 March 2014.

NCL also said that it will add four new seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries on 21 March, 28 March, 04 April and 11 April 2014.


Silversea’s three ships come sailing by
Corfu was the scene of an historic event last week, which saw three Silversea ships all in the same port on the same day.

Silver Cloud, Silver Whisperer and Silver Spirit were all there as part of their sailing itineraries.

Silver Wind and Silver Spirit were both on seven-day sailings in the Greek islands, while Silver Cloud was on a 12-day Mediterranean voyage from Venice to Barcelona.

“For Silversea, Corfu will always carry special significance as the port that hosted an important milestone in the company’s own unfolding story,” Silversea told Cruise Weekly.


Silver Cloud’s makeover
Silverseas’ Silver Cloud is about to be refurbished this month.

Cruise Weekly reports that among other improvemenst, her lobby will be refreshed with an updated colour palette of warm earth tones that will be carried through most areas of the ship with the installation of stylish new carpets, wall treatments and artwork in the corridors, staircases and public spaces.

The Panorama Lounge will also get new furniture, carpet, curtains and reconditioned wood flooring; whilst the vessel’s dining options will also be enhanced during the work, with Le Champagne scoring an upgraded entrance design, new wine displays, a redesigned seating layout, and new wood flooring, fabrics and window treatments.

La Terrazza is having its buffet area completely remodelled and new banquettes installed along the walls, offering greater seating flexibility, including more tables for two.

And The Restaurant will be refreshed with new window treatments, chairs and reconditioned hardwood flooring, while The Grill will also be installed onboard as the existing Pool Bar and Grill area is expanded with additional seating and  a large overhead awning, and the removal of the central stair unit, which will be replaced with a curving corner staircase.


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