Catch up on Cruising: Latest cruise news in bite size

Summer season starts today !
Summer is here and the 2012/13 cruise season starts with the first international ship arriving in Sydney today.

Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas has already docked in Sydney this morning, heralding six months of summer cruise ships in Australasia.

And New Zealanders can look forward to seeing the Queen Mary II sailing her inaugural circumnavigation of New Zealand this summer.

Royal Caribbean will carry over 200,000 passengers on four vessels over the summer period, and two of the biggest cruise ships ever to be based in Australia, Voyager of the Seas and Celebrity Solstice, will also visit.

Carnival Australia will also have a strong presence this summer with 19 ships carrying 325,000 passengers, with a record 14 ships based in Australasian waters for all or some of the 2012/13 summer season.

And Holland America Line’s Oosterdam and Seabourn Quest will also make maiden calls in the region.

Carnival Australia’s CEO, Ann Sherry, told Cruise Weekly that passenger numbers were expected to increase by 5% from last year.

“We’ll be visiting more Australian ports than ever before, with 27 different towns and cities set to welcome our ships over the coming months,” she added.


Get on your dancing shoes with Crystal
Big Band and Ballroom dancing fans have a dance extravaganza coming their way.

Guests onboard Crystal Serenity’s Big Band and Ballroom Dance voyage in March 2013 can dance into the dawn with the ship’s Ambassador Host dance partners.

There will be three times as many host dance partners on this particular voyage, increasing from the usual four aboard every sailing, to 12.

The voyage will also have double the amount of dance instructors as well as the famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.

The voyage will sail out of Miami on 31st March 2013 for a ten-day voyage to Lisbon.

Bret Bullock, Crystal’s VP of Entertainment told Cruise Weekly that Big Band and Ballroom dancing is becoming more and more popular.

“[It’s] hotter than ever now, and our music cruises are always among our most popular voyages, packed with fun,” he said.


Celebrity backs a big cause
Celebrity Cruises is set to make a special effort to honour employees who have been touched by breast cancer.

The cruise-line is making four of its staff Godmothers to Celebrity Reflection.

Celebrity has been linked with the breast cancer cause since 2008 when it held an event onboard Celebrity Solstice to raise funds for breast cancer screenings for low income women.

The cruise company is also an official corporate partner of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The four employees, Jovanka Goronjic, Megan Mathie, Helen O’Connell and Rosey Rodriguez, all work for the cruise line in different ways.

Goronjic and Mathie work onboard the ships’ AquaSpa and Hot Glass Show. Goronjic has supported her mother through breast cancer and Mathie is currently supporting her sister and mother through the illness.

Meanwhile O’Connell manages Community Relations for Celebrity and came through breast cancer in 2009, and Rodriguez is manager of the company’s Special Events team and on 08 June of this year, was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer.

“The breast cancer cause is one we’ve adopted across the Celebrity brand, and one with deep meaning for each of these women and their four predecessors,” Richard Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises, told Cruise Weekly.

“These ladies are not only inspiring in their professional lives, but in their personal lives, as well, with each of them devoted to their own and our company’s interest in doing all we can to find a cure for breast cancer,” he added.


SeaDream in Australasian waters
Fans of mega-yacht sailing will be happy to know that SeaDream II will be sailing in Australasian waters early in 2014.

Normally, New Zealanders and Australians have to fly to the Caribbean or the Amazon to sail on the luxury yacht but that  will change when the yacht makes its maiden call in Darwin on 25 January 2014, halfway through a sailing to Bali to Cairns (18 January to 1 February).

Other ports of call on the 15-night cruise include Indonesia’s Satonde Island, Komodo Island, Larantuka, Kupang and Dili (Timor-Leste), and after Darwin, it visits Seven Spirit Bay, Cape York, Lizard Island, Low Island, Port Douglas and Cairns.

The next 14-night sailing, departing from Cairns on 1 February, returns to Bali via five ports in Papua New Guinea and three Indonesian islands.

The mega-yacht will offer 18 Asian itineraries up to April 2014.

President of SeaDream, Bob Lepisto, told Cruise Weekly he was “thrilled” with the new itineraries, which have already opened for bookings to past passengers and travel agents.

“We are venturing off to Asia and Northern Australia based on the interests of our loyal guests and our sincere feeling that these unique new voyages will also be very attractive to new guests.”


Sojourn’s world cruise
If you’ve always dreamt of going on a world cruise then take a look at Seabourn’s 116-night world cruise on Sojourn in 2014.

The voyage will stop at 53 ports across 20 countries, departing LA on 04 January 2014 and concluding in Venice on 01 May.

Highlights of the cruise include the first-ever Sojourn world-cruise stops at Bunbury, Geraldton and Exmouth in Western Australia, as well as Geelong in Victoria, and Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island.

Sojourn will also overnight in many of the world’s greatest cities, such as Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong and Mumbai.


Star Chef for Crystal
Keen foodies will be happy to know that Crystal Cruises has scored a gourmet chef on its Koalas and Kiwis Food and Wine-themed cruise in January 2013.

Renowned chef, Luca Fantin, of the five-star Bulgari Ginza Tower Restaurant, Il Restaurante in Tokyo, will be joining the cruise alongside culinary master Chef Damien Pignolet, wine expert Eugenio Jardim, and Master Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, with the four presenting a series of complimentary, on-board culinary enrichment programs about the area.

Crystal’s vp of Food and Beverage Operations, Toni Neumeister told Cruise Weekly that Australia and New Zealand are fantastic destinations for foodies.

“We’re thrilled to welcome such a high caliber of food and beverage experts aboard to underscore the tremendous flavor of the itinerary, Neumeister added.

The 12-night cruise will depart on 17 January 2013.


P & O gets a British-style makeover
Construction of P & O’s newest ship is about to start in Fincantieri this month and the ship’s interior will have a distinctly British style when it launches in 2015.

The company is hiring the British design firm, Richmond, to oversee the interior design of the 3,000 plus passenger ship.

The Richmond firm has left its mark on The Langham hotel in London, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, and and the Fairmont Montreux Palace in  Switzerland.

“They will imbue the ship with a cohesive personality which works across all the public areas,” P&O UK md Carol Marlow told Cruise Weekly.

“Richmond’s designs will add an elegant and timeless Britishness to appeal to everyone who steps on board and will facilitate an excellent evolution of the P&Oness our passengers know and love,” she added.


Celebrity’s handover
Celebrity Cruises now has five Solstice Class ships, with the delivery of its newest and fifth ship, Celebrity Reflection, this week in Germany.

She will have one more deck than other Solstice class ships and the first to have Aqua Class and Reflection Class Suites.

She will also be able to accommodate over 3,000 passengers, 150 more than other Solstice class ships.

After the formal handover to various officials, including Celebrity president, Michael Bayley, and the ship’s captain, Nicholas Pagonis, the ship went on a two-day debut cruise, ending today in Amsterdam.

Reflection will now debut three Mediterranean sailings before heading across the Atlantic for her first Caribbean season.

Her naming ceremony will take place on 01 December in Miami.


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