Thursday, 31 March 2011

Follow Prince Harry, says Hurtigruten

Prince Harry is currently in Spitsbergen preparing to take part in the first section of a charity hike to the North Pole, accompanying four wounded soldiers on a 200-mile (320km) trek aimed at raising money for British veterans' charity. http://walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/

Further north than Siberia, Alaska and most of Greenland is the archipelago of Svalbard. Spitsbergen is Svalbard’s largest island. The island is renowned for its magnificent fjords, calving glaciers and impressive mountains.

Follow in Harry’s footsteps with a voyage in Spitsbergen with Hurtigruten and experience a landscape of breathtaking fjords and gigantic glaciers, all set before a magical backdrop of jagged mountain peaks.

A six-day Polar Encounters voyage departs on 27 or 31 July and 7 August on board MS Fram. During the voyage passengers will visit Barentsburg, North West Spitsbergen National Park, Liefdefjorde and the Monaco Glacier, Moffen Island, Ny Alesund (the northernmost permanently inhabited Arctic Research Station on earth) and much more. Landings take place on polar circle boats to get even closer to the nature. Priced from £2,393 per person to include four night’s full board on the ship, one night’s B&B accommodation in Longyearbyen, return flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen and transfers. Flights from Heathrow to Oslo are extra and can be booked by Hurtigruten, with prices from £445pp (includes one night in Oslo hotel).

For more info, visit
www.hurtigruten.co.uk or the UK's leading adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Swan Hellenic's Summer Bargain

Don’t miss out on Swan Hellenic’s 14-night ‘Rivers and Vineyards’ cruise this summer at the new lower fare of £1,375 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin). If you enjoy a fine glass of wine, then this is the cruise for you: not only does the itinerary offer a superb programme of wine-tasting across some of Europe’s most famous vineyards but guests will also be joined on board by guest speaker Christopher Campbell, Managing Director of Rothschild Waddesdon Wine, who will share his knowledge on wine varieties, regions and much more.

The price includes flights from London, transfers and a 14-night cruise departing Lisbon (Portugal) and calling at Oporto (Portugal), Gijon (Spain), Bilbao (Spain), Bordeaux (France), St Peter Port (Channel Islands), St Malo (France), Rouen (France) before arriving at Portsmouth; meals, entertainment and gratuities on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, plus inclusive shore excursion programme and onboard lectures from a team of renowned guest speakers. Price is based on a June 8 departure.

For more information, see www.swanhellenic.com or the adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Mum’s The Word on a Fred Olsen Cruise!


Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines always likes to celebrate an important occasion - and to make things extra special for guests, whatever the season. And, with Mother’s Day fast approaching, the ships are all planning ways to pamper mothers on board on Sunday April 3.

The specific Mother’s Day offering will vary from ship to ship, but includes giant cakes in the restaurants, emblazoned with ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, special lunch menus, celebratory cocktails in the bars and champagne packages, all designed to make mums feel appreciated.

Balmoral (above), harking back to an old tradition, will be offering Simnel Cake (most often associated with Easter, but it actually has long associations with Mothering Sunday), as well as special prayers in the day's church service.

Boudicca’s Mother’s Day activity includes a delightful enhanced tea, with musical accompaniment from the Rosario Trio, while, on Braemar, the mixologists have created a wonderful cocktail, Mum’s Fizz, a delicious blend of sparkling wine, vodka, cranberry juice and mint, garnished with soft fruit – a snip at £3.95. There is also a Mother’s Day celebration package – a half bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne, and strawberries (with or without cream) for £21.25.

The Fred Olsen fleet will be in these exotic locations to celebrate Mother’s Day:

Balmoral – cruising between Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Salalah (Oman).

Boudicca – cruising between Santa Cruz de la Palma (Canary Islands) and Lisbon (Portugal).

Braemar – in port, Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

Black Watch – in port, Mykonos (Greece).

Find out more about Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines at www.fredolsencruises.com or contact the specialist cruise agents of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Royal Caribbean's Big 2012 Deployment


Royal Caribbean International has unveiled its 2012 Europe cruise and cruise-tour season, upping the ante with no less than 12 ships in the region. This will include two Freedom-class ships, the largest and most ground-breaking in the line’s fleet to sail European waters.

Highlights for the 2012 Europe season include:

Independence of the Seas (above) positioned year-round from Southampton.

New for 2012, Amsterdam will debut as a home port.

New for 2012, Serenade of the Seas will make its European debut from Barcelona.

Brilliance of the Seas will operate a new series of Northern Europe itineraries out of Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

Mariner of the Seas will add new Holy Land cruises and seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Rome

Liberty of the Seas will offer new five-night Western Mediterranean itineraries

Maiden calls will be made at Aarhus (Denmark), Klaksvik (Faroe Islands) and Leknes (Lofoten, Norway). Itineraries as short as three nights or as long as 16 will all be available.

For the third consecutive year, Independence will be positioned year-round in Southampton, primarily operating on an alternating series of 14-night “Mediterranean Treasures” and “Italian Mediterranean” programmes, but three 10 and 11-night Canary Islands itineraries will be available in October and November. Independence will also offer one three-night sailing, overnighting in Paris (port of LeHavre) in May and a four-night cruise spending the night in Cork.

For more info, see http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/ or call the UK's cruise specialists, The Cruise Line on 0800 008 6677.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Oceania's New 7-Day Med Cruises


Inspired by strong response it to its new seven-day itineraries for 2012, Oceania Cruises has created two 7-night departures in the Mediterranean this autumn, timed to take in the autumn foliage in Tuscany and the French Riviera.

The new “Tuscan Charms” cruise sails from Barcelona on October 29, calling into Civitavecchia (the port for Rome), Provence (Marseille), Monte Carlo, Portofino, Livorno and Sorrento/Capri en route, with an overnight in Livorno to allow for extensive visits to Pisa, Florence and Cinque Terra. Fares start at £1,518 per guest, based on two sharing and including all meals, soft drinks and bottled water.

“Italian Treasures,” from Rome to Venice, departs on November 5, calling at Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Corfu, Bari and Dubrovnik. Guests also enjoy an overnight aboard ship in Venice at the end of the cruise. Fares start at £823 per guest, based on two sharing and including all meals, soft drinks and bottled water.

The cruises are on board Oceania's luxurious, 684-guest Insignia – an intimate ship with open-seating dining in four gourmet restaurants, all with no surcharge, luxurious public rooms, sumptuous accommodations, and warm, attentive service.

For more info, see www.oceaniacruises.com or contact the UK's leading luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd

Majestic Line's 'Wild' New Itinerary


Boutique Scottish cruise operator The Majestic Line has launched a new “wild” itinerary for 2011, responding to customer requests for a more remote experience: Inlets and Islands of Wild Argyll, a 6-night cruise from Holy Loch, sailing on August 13 and 27 and September 3.

Majestic is one of the world’s smallest sea-cruising companies, with only two vessels sailing the Argyll coastline on the West Coast of Scotland, each carrying 11 guests on board. With their seventh season approaching, more than half the guests are repeat customers, hence the company is keen to provide exclusive new experiences to keep tempting previous guests back on board.

Every night, the boats anchor in secluded bays where sun-downer drinks will be served on the outside stern deck to a sunset over the hills and sea, prior to being served a sumptuous dinner from a menu sourced locally from the sea and land.

The latest itinerary has been chosen for its beauty, tranquility, natural environment and wildlife and the opportunity to go ashore for a walk or visit a remote historical monument. There is a choice of many delightful stopovers and anchorages, but the decision on which to visit will depend on wind direction and tide and will be at the discretion of the skipper. Kintyre and Ailsa Craig are the most weather dependent. The cruising area is also rich in wildlife and the stopovers will visit places where it is most likely to be seen, but for obvious reasons they cannot guarantee particular sightings.

For more info, visit http://www.themajesticline.co.uk/ or contact the adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Big Savings on Grandeur

Here's another eye-catching bargain to start the week: join Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas for a seven-night Spanish Mediterranean fly/cruise from just £699 per person (based on two people sharing an ocean-view stateroom) this summer.

The price includes return flights from London Gatwick, transfers and a seven-night cruise departing Palma De Mallorca and calling at Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga and Gibraltar, before returning to Palma; all meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Price is based on a July 17 departure.

For more info, see www.royalcaribbean.co.uk or contact the specialist cruise agents of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Uniworld's Fabulous New River Cruiser


Uniworld Boutique River Cruises have christened their latest vessel, SS Antoinette at the Port of Amsterdam, bringing a new class of super-ship to the world of river cruising.

In a first for the industry, the Antoinette boasts unique conservatory balconies in its top deck suites and staterooms. Each has a full open-air private balcony that, with a touch of a switch, raises the glass to create a completely enclosed conservatory, ensuring a connection with the open air and the river’s scenery, whatever the weather.

There are many other innovative features designed not only for the guests’ ultimate comfort and enjoyment, but also to ensure it is among the most environmentally friendly ships in river cruising.


The swimming pool, designed with stunning blue mosaic tile, is enclosed and provides the perfect place for a quiet nap, an invigorating swim or a place to simply watch the passing scenery as the entire area is enclosed in glass with floor-to-ceiling windows that open up. On the Sun Deck, guests can enjoy the Leopard Lounge and the elegant L'Orangerie, an indoor/outdoor dining venue. Both venues’ ceilings and windows can collapse on demand if the ship needs to pass under a low bridge. There is also a 22-seat cinema with Dolby Surround sound, the first movie theatre on any river cruise ship.

The Antoinette has just begun her inaugural season on Uniworld’s popular ‘Castles along the Rhine’ itinerary. Prices for this 8-day itinerary start from £1,850 and include accommodation in a category 5 room, shore excursions with local guides, all meals with complimentary European wines, beer and soft drinks during dinner, return flights, UK private car door-to-door transfers, and airport transfers on arrival and departure day.

For more info, see http://www.uniworldrivercruises.co.uk/ or the river-cruise specialists of cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Silver Shadow's Big Makeover


Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow has a fresh new look thanks to a major renovation completed during the two weeks that the ultra-luxury ship spent in dry dock in Singapore, before returning to service this month.

As with the refurbishment of sister ship Silver Whisper last year, the enhancements echo the sophisticated contemporary design themes and warm colour palettes of Silversea's newest ship, Silver Spirit. Some of the highlights of Shadow's makeover include:

New Look for Suites: All carpets, headboards, curtains and veranda furniture were completely replaced. The sofas and chairs feature new upholstery. Each suite has a new mattress custom-made exclusively for Silversea. The mattress features an individual spring system with a soft and firm side that can be reversed to suit each guest's preference. There is also a new pillow-top that covers the mattress when configured as a queen-sized bed.

The larger suites (Owner's, Grand, Royal and Silver) have also been outfitted with a new state-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen home audio system.

Refreshed Public Areas: La Terrazza, the Bar, Panorama Lounge, Reception area, Card Room and Conference Room received new upholstery, carpeting, curtains and wall treatments. New carpet was laid in the Observation Lounge. The Spa features new wood flooring with new tiling and wall décor in the treatment rooms. The Restaurant's hardwood floor was completely reconditioned and polished and the chairs dressed in new upholstery. An upgraded sound system was added to the Show Lounge, Panorama Lounge and La Terrazza. New carpet was installed in all corridors, landings and staircases.

Upgraded Outdoor Spaces: The jogging track features all-new synthetic turf, and the pool area has been outfitted with new deck furniture, plus a new sound and light system for evening entertainment and outdoor shows. The pool itself has been upgraded inside and out with new tiles. A large awning was installed over the outdoor dining section of La Terrazza, along with new outdoor furniture. And the Pool Grill, sporting a new awning as well, will become The Grill for evening dining, featuring the popular new Black Rock cooking concept that debuted aboard Silver Spirit. At the new outdoor restaurant, guests will enjoy an interactive dining experience that lets them cook prime meats and fresh seafood on heated volcanic rocks at their table.

Finally, in addition to enjoying a fresh reconditioning and polishing of teak decks and woodwork, the ship also underwent thorough maintenance on mechanical and propulsion systems.

For more details of the ship's cruises, visit www.silversea.com or contact the UK's leading luxury cruise agents of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Noble Caledonia's Sardinia


From May 27 to June 5, Noble Caledonia have a unique voyage around the wonderful island of Sardinia aboard the 34-passenger Callisto. They will be joined by guest speaker Stephen Phillips, who will bring much to guests' understanding and enjoyment of the region.

Prices start from £3,395 per person based on double occupancy and include return flights from London, nine nights aboard the Callisto on full board, wine with lunch and dinner, shore excursions with English-speaking local guides, services of a cruise director, guest speaker, transfers, port taxes and airport taxes.
The ports to be visited include Cagliari, Alghero, with an exursion to Bosa (above), and Olbia.

For more information, visit www.noble-caledonia.co.uk or contact the adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Oceania's New European Itineraries For 2012

Oceania Cruises has announced its 2012 European cruise collection and, following the launch of two new ships in 2011 and '12, for the first time the company will operate four ships in Europe including Marina (above), which launched in January and sister Riviera, due to debut in April next year.

The 2012 European season includes more than 72 sailings from April through to December. Other exciting firsts include a complimentary hotel stay before every voyage, an overnight stay on every itinerary, more late-night departures and the addition of three seven-night voyages.

Featuring 41 distinct itineraries, Regatta, Nautica, Marina and Riviera will cover the entire continent, calling at 145 different ports of call, 12 of which are new for 2012.

Marina, Oceania's first new-build, will spend most of the summer sailing the Mediterranean visiting classic port like St Tropez and Monte Carlo. From May 12-22, Jacques Pépin, Oceania’s executive culinary director, will join her 10-day Tuscan Artistry itinerary to host cooking demonstrations, lead on-shore market tours and oversee the operations in his namesake onboard restaurant, Jacques. Beginning in June, Marina will join Nautica in Northern Europe, visiting Dublin, Reykjavik, Oslo and Copenhagen.

The 12 new ports of call include Akureyri, Iceland; Cephalonia for Argostoli, Greece; Batumi, Georgia; Cartagena, Spain; Cherbourg, France; Motril for Granada, Spain; Horta, Azores; Qaqortoq, Greenland; La Palma, Canary Islands; Vigo for Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Tasiilaq for Ammassalik Island, Greenland; and Trapani, Sicily.

For more information about the new 2012 European collection, visit Oceania Cruises at www.oceaniacruises.co.uk or call the luxury cruise agents of The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Crystal Expands World Jewish Culture Exploration

With increased participation in Jewish heritage tours, luxury cruise operator Crystal Cruises is expanding its related programming in 2011. Scheduled are over a dozen Crystal Adventures that explore Jewish life, past and present, around the world in or near Mumbai, Miami, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Hamburg, St Petersburg, Rome, Dublin, Jerusalem/Ashdod and Odessa.

Each tour gives an overview of a culture within a culture, while also providing intimate connection with spaces, exhibits, artefacts, traditions and people that bring the international Jewish narrative to life. Among the highlights:

· St Petersburg: Discover how this resilient Russian Jewish community survived Communist oppression, war and hardship to flourish today, as demonstrated through its people, community centres, musi, and an intimate home visit.
· Mumbai: Visit three synagogues ranging from Baghdadi to Bene-Israel congregations.
· Copenhagen: Learn how 99% of Denmark’s Jews survived the Holocaust at the Museum of Danish Resistance.
· Dublin: Take in the social, legal and political contributions of the Irish-Jewish community; see the first dedicated day school and home of Israeli ex-President Chaim Herzog.
· German Concentration Camps: Explore Neuengamme, which housed 100,000 prisoners outside Hamburg, and Berlin’s Sachsenhausen, which became the blueprint for all other camps.
· Rome: Walk through the 2,000-year-old Jewish Quarter of Rome.

While most 2012 excursions are still in development, Crystal is planning a Jewish heritage tour of Shanghai for its 2012 World Cruise.

For reservations, visit http://www.crystalcruises.co.uk/ or contact the UK's leading luxury cruises specialist of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Aqua Expeditions Launches New Ship

Aqua Expeditions announces the launch of its second vessel, M/V Aria, a custom-designed river-cruise ship which will make its maiden voyage up the Peruvian Amazon and into the remote Pacaya Samiria Reserve for the first time in April.

Designed by stellar Peruvian designer Jordi Puig, the boat has 16 luxury outward-facing suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, an on-deck Jacuzzi, an exercise room, dining room and bar, observation deck, an onboard boutique and open-air lounge. The 147ft vessel will offer the rare experience of a 5-star hotel under the stars of the Amazon.

Aqua's combination of gourmet Peruvian cuisine by top chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, celebrated South American wines, a team of talented and experienced Amazon River guides – some of whom grew up in the Pacaya Samiria - and incredible wildlife viewing, turn a trip to Peru into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Aria will operate year-round itineraries up the Amazon River, ranging from three to seven nights. The vessel’s spacious living and sleeping areas, all with panoramic views, allow guests to spot wildlife even when below deck. Daily water-based excursions will also afford close-up encounters with the local wildlife such as the Amazon Pink River Dolphin, the Red Howler Monkey and the Greater Fishing Bat. Other unforgettable experiences include fishing for piranha, spending time with the communities that live on the banks of the river or just watching the Amazon drift by.

Aqua's commitment to protecting the Amazon and its wildlife has also been integral in the construction of the Aria. The boat uses fuel-efficient motors with low carbon emissions, has an on-board water purification facility to ensure river water is used wherever possible and a meticulous waste management system.

A three-night Amazon Discovery Cruise starts from £1,609 per person, based on two people sharing, on a full-board basis. This price includes all excursions, beverages (soft drinks, house wine and beer), transfers to and from Iquitos (if arriving on recommended flights) and entrance to the Pacaya Samiria Reserve.

For more information, visit http://www.aquaexpeditions.com/ or contact the adventure-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Royal Caribean's New North-East Programme

Royal Caribbean International has announced new 2012 Canada, New England and Bermuda sailings. The new programme includes more shorter sailings, new itineraries and longer port calls in Bermuda, providing holiday-makers with more choices from the region than ever before.

Enchantment of the Seas’ summer programme will debut an entirely new programme of six-night Bermuda and eight-night Bermuda & North-East itineraries, sailing from the ship’s year-round home-port of Baltimore. Explorer of the Seas will begin a new seven-night round-trip itinerary in September and October from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, featuring three days in Bermuda, as well as five and nine-night Bermuda and Caribbean itineraries in the spring and summer. Jewel of the Seas will offer sailings from Boston on a round-trip, seven-night Canada itinerary. Bookings for these cruises are now open.

Enchantment's six-night Bermuda itineraries will call at Kings Wharf, Bermuda, for three days, while the eight-night Bermuda & North-East sailing will overnight in Bermuda and also call at Boston and Newport, Rhode Island. Explorer will maintain five-night Bermuda and nine-night Bermuda and Caribbean round-trip itineraries from Cape Liberty during the spring and summer months. A special 10-night Bermuda and Caribbean sailing on August 30 will add St. Thomas as a port of call. In September and October, Explorer will then repeat seven-night Bermuda itineraries, featuring three days in Bermuda. The nine and 10-night Bermuda & Caribbean itineraries will open for sale later this month.

Jewel of the Seas (above) will continue to operate its popular series of seven-night Canada round-trip itineraries from Boston, with calls at Portland and Bar Harbor; St. John, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Children and adults alike can bounce to their hearts’ delight on Enchantment's bungee trampoline or race to the top of the iconic rock-climbing wall. Voyager-class Explorer features an ice-skating rink, full-size basketball court, in-line skating track and the Royal Promenade, which spans almost the entire length of the ship, lined with boutiques, restaurants, bars and lounges. Jewel has a 10-storey glass Centrum, offering views of the unfolding coastline, and self-levelling billiard tables. On every ship, guests enjoy the cruise line’s award-winning entertainment and innovative amenities that are exclusive to Royal Caribbean. Younger guests can join the complimentary Adventure Ocean kids and teen programme, with activities from 9am until late.

For more information, visit http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/ or contact specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spotlight On The European Arctic

This year, adventure cruise company Aurora Expeditions celebrates its 15th season of exploring the European Arctic. This exciting kingdom of the polar bear is best discovered on board Aurora's Polar Pioneer, a small ice-strengthened ship that takes a maximum of 54 passengers and has the flexibility to reach places larger ships can’t.

On an expedition to the Arctic with Aurora, passengers can stretch their legs on mountain walks and tundra whilst searching for reindeer, musk ox or an Arctic fox. Zodiac cruises will bring passengers up close to walrus, whales, seals and polar bears. For the more daring, they also offer an exciting range of adventure activities, including sea kayaking and polar scuba-diving.

Jewels of the Arctic - August 10 and September 2 (14 days, from AU$7,655 including ship accommodation, all meals onboard, all shore excursions, lectures, medical services, port charges and taxes)


This adventure combines the best of Spitsbergen and Greenland, with a taste of Iceland. Cross from Spitsbergen’s rugged north-west coast over the Greenland Sea to fantastic icebergs and the fairytale landscape of granite spires rising 2,000m above the fjords. Be welcomed by local Inuits and learn some of the trade secrets of their culture.


Spitsbergen Odyssey – July 11, 21 and 31 (11 days, from AU$6,080, including ship accommodation, all meals onboard, all shore excursions, lectures, medical services, port charges and taxes)

Explore the home of the polar bear. There are no open-sea crossings on this discovery voyage where you’ll find deep fjords, mysterious desert mountains and seals and whales in the Arctic pack ice. This voyage offers the best chance for finding polar bears and features wildflower walks, trapper camps and historical remains of whaling stations. Avid divers will love the inaugural Arctic scuba dives, which begin on this voyage on July 31


For more information, visit http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/ or the UK's leading expedition cruising specialists The Cruise Line Ltd.

Paul Gauguin's Big Spring Sale

Paul Gauguin Cruises has launched its Spring Sale offering fabulous savings of up to £4,850 per couple on sailings throughout July and August. This offer is valid for new bookings made between now and May 31.

In July and August, the MS Paul Gauguin will sail four seven-night Society Island cruises round trip from Papeete; a ten-night Tuamotus & Society Islands cruise round trip from Papeete; an 11-night Cook & Society Islands cruise round trip from Papeete; and a 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands cruise round trip from Papeete.


Prices start from £2,998 per person fly-cruise, based on a seven-night Society Islands voyage departing August 20, including return scheduled flights, transfers, seven nights in an ocean-view stateroom with all meals, soft drinks, selected alcoholic beverages and gratuities.

For further information, visit http://www.pgcruises.com/ or contact the UK's luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Go-Barging Availability in May and June.

Just in from European Waterways, owners and operators of Europe's premier fleet of all-inclusive hotel-barges cruising the enchanting inland waterways of Europe, are these availabilities in May and June. Each departure date is a Sunday and the cruise is for 6 nights.

Scottish Highlander, on the Caledonian Canal - 8th May, 29th May or 12th June. Fantastic scenery in the Scottish Highlands: http://www.gobarging.com/scottish_highlander.html

L’Impressionniste, Lower Burgundy Canal – 15th May or 22nd May. Perfect route for fine wine enthusiasts: http://www.gobarging.com/impressionniste.html

La Belle Epoque, Upper Burgundy Canal – 22nd May. Classic Burgundy cruising, Chablis wine tastings, beautiful villages, etc: http://www.gobarging.com/la-belle-epoque-barge

Renaissance, Western Burgundy & Upper Loire – 22nd May. Really luxurious vessel, interesting route: http://www.gobarging.com/renaissance.html

For more information, visit www.gobarging.com

Zegrahm Expeditions Offers a New Take on Ireland

Zegrahm Expeditions has become a leader in small-ship island circumnavigations and, this August, the adventure travel company will circumnavigate Ireland on an expedition that is not being offered by any other tour operator. Linking together a combination of places in the country that independent travellers couldn’t easily access on their own, this 14-day voyage combines charming villages, wondrous birdlife, historic landmarks and incredible geologic features. This trip is led by a team of experts, including two of the company’s directors along with several Irish and United Kingdom natives, two of which hail from the Emerald Isle itself.

Among the many highlights of this expedition, travellers will:

Explore the geological masterpiece of Giant’s Causeway—40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns of varying heights that line the coast and descend like a staircase into the sea.

Embark on an iconic drive that encompasses some of the world’s finest scenery from Sneem to the market town of Kenmare, best known as the Ring of Kerry

Zodiac cruise to the private island of Skellig Michael, once home to 9th-century Irish Christian monks, and now home to one of Europe’s best-known, but least-accessible monasteries—also a World Heritage Site.

Tour (and taste!) the Old Bushmills Distillery for a look into region’s best-known elixir
.

Visit to Donegal’s Belleek Pottery studio to view artisans hard at work on traditional and contemporary tabletop, decorative, lighting, and jewellery pottery pieces.


Admire the skill and mastery of blowing, cutting, and engraving crystal ware at the renowned Waterford Crystal Gallery
.

Raise a pint with fellow travellers and locals alike at several of the many pubs that dot the country.


“We pride ourselves as a leader in small-ship cruising and this expedition is the perfect example of how we can tie together so many unique stops into one itinerary. Plus, with all the activities offered on this voyage, there really is something for every traveller,” says Zegrahm Expeditions’ President, Jon Nicholson.

This expedition, aboard the 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey, departs August 14, 2011. Ideally timed for a summer vacation, Zegrahm offers family and friends travelling together a savings of 10% for four or more people and 15% when you travel with eight or more. To learn more about this itinerary, visit: http://www.zeco.com/ or contact the adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Crystal To Go All-Inclusive in 2012

This is some pretty surprising - but very welcome - news from Crystal Cruises that should make them even better value from spring 2012. Here is their official press release:

Crystal Cruises is enhancing its already expansive host of luxury services and amenities. Effective spring 2012, holidays on the award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will include free fine wines and premium spirits in all restaurants, open bar service in all lounges and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff. The complimentary gratuity amenity includes butler service and service in all of Crystal’s fine specialty restaurants and sushi bar.

“Our ‘All Inclusive’ is an evolution of Crystal’s luxury services and responds to the desires of today’s upmarket cruisers,” says Gregg Michel, president of Crystal Cruises. “As many lines throughout our industry have itemised their services for additional charges, Crystal is maximizing the guest experience by eliminating additional transactions -- further enhancing the ease and luxury of a Crystal cruise. We believe this service will offer greater convenience, simplicity and comfort.”

The new benefits begin with each ship’s first Trans-Atlantic cruise next year: Crystal Symphony’s “Beyond the Sea” sailing from Miami to Lisbon on March 19, 2012, and Crystal Serenity’s “New World to Norway” voyage from New York to Dover on May 8.

A complete list of 2012 Crystal itineraries are available on www.crystalcruises.co.uk and all are ready for wait-list.

Since its inception, Crystal Cruises has added to its experience each year with more and more complimentary amenities, services, workshops and dining opportunities.

Always included at no additional cost are: all non-alcoholic beverages such as bottled water, speciality coffee drinks, soft drinks and fresh juices; all meals, including dining in speciality restaurants that feature the cuisine of Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio; high tea; ice cream and frozen yoghurt bar; gym, steam, saunas and whirlpools; numerous fitness classes such as Spinning and group Pilates Reformer instruction; golf lessons with PGA pros; Walk-on-Water weighted vests and Nordic Pole walking equipment; Yamaha keyboard classes; Berlitz language classes; paddle tennis; dozens of computer/technology classes; art classes; Crystal Visions lecture series, featuring Crystal Visions lecture series featuring distinguished speakers; award-winning entertainment; in-stateroom movie and CD rentals; film screenings in the onboard cinema; dance lessons; dedicated junior cruiser facilities; early embarkation luncheon; welcome champagne; comfortable shuttles to town; pillow menus; self-service laundries; twice-daily housekeeping with nightly turndown service; and 24-hour room service.

Penthouse accommodations also include personal butler service, pressing, stocked bar and other amenities and services.

All guests enjoy Six-Star service from European-trained waiting staff, concierges who belong to the prestigious “Les Clefs d’Or,” and sommeliers certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history.

For more info, visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk


Oceania Cruises Achieves Record Sales

Oceania Cruises exceeded its previous record of single day bookings on Wednesday 16th March by nearly 25 percent as reservations opened for the first cruises on board Riviera, the line’s new 1250-guest luxury cruise ship, due to debut in April 2012.

Riviera will be a sister ship to the recent Marina, Oceania’s first new-build, which launched in January. The two ships join the existing fleet of three mid-sized, 685-guest upper premium cruise ships, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.

The record bookings coincided with the simultaneous launch of the line’s 2012 European Collection of sailings, operating April through December.

The 2012 highlights include the first sailings on Riviera, a free deluxe hotel stay before every Europe voyage, an overnight stay on every itinerary, more late-night departures, the addition of the line’s first seven-night voyages and 12 new ports of call.

Oceania president Bob Binder explained: “The tremendous response we received from our travel agent partners and loyal guests was outstanding. They demand quality and value and we strive to exceed their expectations, so they, in turn, surpass ours with their support.”

For more information, visit OceaniaCruises.co.uk or contact the UK's leading luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Celebrate the Royal Wedding In Style

If you missed out on buying Kate’s see-through dress at £78,000, don’t despair. Cruise & Maritime Voyages have two cruises departing on the Royal Wedding Day (April 29) at a much cheaper price, starting at just £199pp. Celebrations include a Royal Banquet onboard on the evening of the departures. CMV also plan to have large TV screens on hand at the Cruise Terminals in both London and Hull, from where the ships are due to depart.

Marco Polo is scheduled to depart from the London Cruise Terminal at Tilbury late in the afternoon on April 29 for a three-night Bulbfields Weekend. A big screen has been ordered for use in the terminal. Thanks to Kate & William, you will not have to use up any of your leave - both Friday and Monday are Bank Holidays!

Prices start from just £199pp and the cruise starts by sailing down the Thames as you toast the Royal couple before visiting Amsterdam for Queen’s Day celebrations and then Antwerp on your special cruise.

Alternatively, if you live in the North, you can depart from Hull on Ocean Countess, again on the afternoon of April 29, on a six-night cruise to the Norwegian fjords from £399pp. Large TVs will be set up in the check-in area to enjoy the celebrations on the Wedding Day before passengers sit back and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of mountains and waterfalls on a Norwegian exploration.

Prices are per person based on two people sharing an inside cabin, while a third person sharing pays only £99, regardless of cabin grade.

A £6pp/night fuel supplement applies to these departures. Gratuities at £5pp per night will be added to passenger accounts.

For more information, visit http://www.cruiseandmaritime.com/

AMA Waterways Offers - Save Up To £867pp

AmaWaterways have cut the cost of a 7-night luxury river cruise through Holland's spectacular bulb-fields, departing on April 1, to £1,299pp, saving £624pp (was £1,923). The spring flowers are at their best from mid-March through to mid-May, and this is the perfect time to discover the beauty and history of the Dutch and Belgian waterways. Prices include all meals, champagne breakfasts and wine with dinner; free Wi-Fi and free use of onboard bicycles and daily excursions.

A 7-night cruise on May 1 and 7 along the Rhine and Moselle, from Amsterdam to Luxembourg visiting Cologne, enjoying wine-tasting in Rudesheim, passing half timbered towns and villages, castles andvineyards, can now be booked from £953pp, saving £867pp (again including all meals, wine with dinner, free Wi-Fi, use of on board bicycles and daily excursions).

Departing May 14, there are savings of £348 off a 7-night Rhone River cruise from Arles to Lyon, with prices from £1479 per person (was £1827). The sailing cruises to Avignon through beautiful wine-growing regions producing grapes for famous wines as Beaujolais, Côte du Rhône and Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Or try a June 3 river cruise along the Rhine and Moselle, again on the Luxembourg-Amsterdam route, from £956pp, saving £871pp (was £1827).

For more information, contact http://www.amawaterways.co.uk/ or the river-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Try Moorish Heritage With Sea Cloud II

For pure spectacle, it doesn’t come much more eye-catching and, indeed, genuinely original than Sea Cloud Cruises’ fleet of luxury tall ships. And Sea Cloud II is featuring a great-value 8-day “Moorish Heritage” cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona calling at cultural cities such as Seville, Granada and Valencia from just £1,596.

The voyage departs from the Portuguese capital on May 4 and also calls at Portimao on the Algarve and Motril in Southern Spain (for access to Granada and Seville), as well as Palma de Mallorca.

Some say this is a more intellectual cruise as the trips revolve around pleasant social gatherings with a casual and relaxed informal lifestyle of the 64 guests on board. But what you really have here is customised travel at the luxury level which has been consistently refined over the years.

For more information, visit http://www.seacloud.com/ or check with the luxury and adventure-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Hurtigruten Launches Free Flights Offer

To celebrate the launch of BMI’s new direct service from Heathrow to Bergen, Hurtigruten is offering free flights on a limited number of departure dates in April for its Classic Round Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, plus additional savings off the brochure cruise-only price of up to 22%. Prices lead in at £1544 per person, including full board and free flights.

The offer is currently available on April 16 (covering the Easter break), April 27 and 30 departures on either Trollfjord of Midnatsol, two of the leading ships in the fleet. The popular UNESCO destination of Geirangerfjord will have just opened up for the summer, allowing the Hurtigruten ships to sail into it, which is an experience many people wish to enjoy.

The Classic Round Voyage calls at more than 30 ports of call as it travels north and on the return journey, with many of the ports that were visited at night on the way up being visited during the day on the way back, so there really is the chance to enjoy everything.

CLASSIC ROUND VOYAGE WITH FREE FLIGHTS – From £1544 per person including 11 nights full board voyaging from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the far north and back, plus free flights from London Heathrow (based on two sharing).

For more information, contact the UK's adventure-cruise specialists of the Cruise Line Ltd or http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Crystal Showcases Emerging Artists on Alaska Voyages

Whether you’re addicted to X Factor or a patron of the arts, it’s always exciting to discover new talent. For this reason, Crystal Cruises is treating guests to its own performance series of high-calibre “Emerging Artists” during its new Alaska season, which kicks off in May.

Through its partnership with The Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, seven “Experiences of Discovery” theme cruises from May to August will feature a total of 22 gifted young artists, including members of the San Francisco Ballet, accomplished composers and songwriters, students from Juilliard School and the Berklee College of Music and an “America’s Most Talented Kid” TV show contestant.

The 17-25-year-old participants are all alumni of the Center's renowned Spotlight Awards programme, which nurtures the audition and performance skills of senior school-aged artists from Southern California. The year-long intensive course of study culminates in the Spotlight Awards presentation, with many award-winners invited on Crystal Symphony to showcase their talents in ballet, classical piano, Broadway-style vocals, international dance, opera, jazz and blues.

While sailing amongst ice-blue glaciers and serene wildlife of the Last Frontier, guests will be able to enjoy performances as well as observe a Master Class between artists and Music Centre Master Class teachers/ambassadors. These exclusive seminars will give an insider’s peek at the intensive training professional performers undergo to perfect their art.

Round-trip from San Francisco, the 12-night voyages are set for May 21; June 2, 14 and 26; July 8 and 20; and August 1, calling at Sitka, Juneau, Skagway/Haines, Ketchikan, Victoria, Vancouver and either Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier.

Prices start from £4,188 per person (based on May 21 and June 2 departures) including free return economy class flights, 12 nights in a deluxe stateroom with picture window with all meals and soft drinks and port taxes. In addition, as part of Crystal's "All Inclusive - As You Wish" promotion, guests on this voyage will also receive onboard spending money of $500 per person, which can be spent on shore excursions, spa treatments, alcoholic beverages, purchases in the onboard boutiques, gratuities or Vintage Room experiences.

For reservations, visit http://www.crystalcruises.co.uk/ or contact the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Spring Edition of World of Cruising

The brand new Spring edition of World of Cruising magazine will be out in the next few days, packed full of the very best coverage of the fabulous cruise business.

In Issue 50 (yes, we have now reached the half-century mark after almost 13 years!), we have a headline feature on a serene Canada and New England autumn cruise aboard the deluxe Crystal Symphony, looking at what makes this region so special as well as the truly blissful onboard Crystal style.

We also go to the Norwegian Arctic in the company of Lindblad Expeditions and look at the best places worldwide to see the best wildlife from a cruise ship, courtesy of our arch-blogger and expedition specialist Steve Newman.

For cruise ship reviews, we put the Spirit of Adventure, MS Europa and boutique little Hebridean Princess to the test, while we have a great historic perspective on the Queen Elizabeth (past and present) and also go Land Cruising once again on the magnificent Crimean Express.

As ever, there are your usual range of news, features and views, plus Readers Letters and the essential (and wonderful!) World of Spas with Jo Foley.

And we welcome a brand new columnist in 2011, the great blogger Captain Greybeard, dedicated cruise enthusiast and a great source of travel advice (as well as amusing insights into the cruise business).

All in all, it represents the best read from the best writers with the best presentation anywhere in the cruis-iverse! Make sure you have your copy by subscribing online at www.worldofcruising.co.uk.

Crystal Cancels Mazatlan

Amidst increased reports of violence in Mazatlán, Crystal Cruises are the latest line to cancel calls to the Mexican port town, scrapping its scheduled 4th April visit there on Crystal Symphony. The round-trip Los Angeles “Treasures of Mexico” voyage will now adjust its itinerary to allow guests more time in other ports of call.

The new schedule switches travel days so guests will now have an overnight call in popular Cabo San Lucas, with Crystal being the only cruise line in town for those two days. Subsequent days will provide travellers with a full day in Loreto and a half day in La Paz. Full days in Puerto Vallarta and San Diego are still on the schedule.


“The safety and security of our guests and staff is always our top priority,” says Crystal’s International Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Philip Ordever. “After monitoring the situation in Mazatlán for weeks, we simply feel far more comfortable with other ports of call in Mexico.”

The “Mind, Body, and Spirit” theme of the 31st March to 10th April sailing will remain unaffected, with numerous complimentary classes and presentations still being offered on board throughout the 10-night cruise.

For more information, visit http://www.crystalcruises.co.uk/

Galapagos Islands with Haugan Cruises

Here's a very timely reminder of a great way to visit the Galapagos Islands with one of our favourite adventure cruise specialists.

With six superb state-of-the-art luxury catamarans operating in the islands, Haugan Cruises is owned and managed jointly by experienced personnel from both Ecuador and Europe. Their aim is to give guests a great Galapagos experience at extremely competitive prices and always in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

The pricing includes ALL of the following:

• Top quality bilingual local guide throughout the cruise:
• Dedicated onboard cruise manager
• All meals on board
• Bottled water & sodas
• Welcome cocktail
• Snorkelling equipment
• Free use of all amenities on board (laptops, etc)
• Free trip and planning service for all your needs in the region
• Free airport assistance - Mainland Ecuador (Quito & Guayaquil)
• Free airport assistance - Galapagos Islands
• Free use of airport VIP lounges (Quito & Guayaquil)
• Free transfers between boat and airport
• Free 24-hour helpline for personal assistance for your entire time in Ecuador
• Free International flight confirmation service
• Wetsuit use

For more information, visit www.haugancruises.com or contact the UK's leading adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line.

(Photo courtesy of GalapagosIslands.com)

Big Spring Savings With Oceania

Oceania Cruises is offering savings of up to 50% off selected departures this spring, including sailings on new ship Marina (above), and an onboard credit of $1,000 per stateroom. All prices include meals and complimentary bottled water and soft drinks, but exclude flights.

Wonders of the Ancients, 14 nights from £1,399, save up to £1,835pp PLUS $1,000 onboard credit:

Departing on April 23, Oceania has a magnificent 14-night sailing through some of Europe’s most picturesque and historical regions on the mid-sized Insignia, now £1,399 per person, based on two sharing, and including a $1,000/stateroom credit. The ship embarks in Rome, sailing down Italy’s west coast to Taormina, Sicily, to the Greek island of Zakynthos, cruising the Mediterranean Sea to Alexandria, Egypt, the ancient cities of Jerusalem, Israel and Alanya, Turkey, returning to port in Athens, Greece.


Grecian Glory, 10 nights from £999, save up to £1,816pp PLUS $1,000 on board credit:

Departing on May 6 on new ship Marina from Venice to Athens, the cruise now costs from £999 per person, based on two sharing, including all meals, complimentary soft drinks and bottled water, but excluding flights.

Jewels of the Aegean, 12 nights from £1,199, save up to £1,854pp PLUS $1,000 onboard credit:

Cruise through the magical Aegean Sea on mid-sized Nautica and save up to £1,854pp. Departing on May 22, the sailing departs from Istanbul and continues into the Aegean Sea cruising the Greek Islands, Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia before disembarking in Venice.

For more details, visit www.oceaniacruises.co.uk or contact the specialist luxury cruise agents of The Cruise Line on 0800 008 6677.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Half-Price Second Passenger With Hurtigruten

Anyone who fancies a trip to Norway with Hurtigruten this year can take advantage of a new offer that is now available this week. Two passengers travelling together can take advantage of a 50% saving on the second person on selected dates between May and October for the Classic Round Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back and both the Voyage North and Voyage South.

With dates throughout the various seasons, this offer also gives the chance to enjoy the warming days of springtime, the Midnight Sun in summer or the autumn as the colours change ready for winter. Prices for a couple travelling in May now start from £1565 per couple, including full board. This offer must be booked by May 31.

A voyage with Hurtigruten offers passengers the opportunity to get closer to the shores, coastline and communities of Norway as the ships call at over 34 ports of call, many of them not visited by the larger cruise ships. The ultimate voyage is the full 12-day trip from Bergen in the South to Kirkenes in the north, taking guests high above the Arctic Circle and back, or there are shorter six and seven-day half -version voyages from Bergen to Kirkenes or vice versa.

Classic Round Voyage – From £2846 per couple (saving £948), travelling on selected dates in May 2011. This 12-day full voyage includes full board on the ship. Flights are extra and can be booked via Hurtigruten (June and July from £3200 per couple).

Voyage North – From £1992 per couple (saving £664), travelling on selected dates in May 2011. This 7-day voyage includes full board on the ship. Flights are extra and can be booked via Hurtigruten (June and July from £2240 per couple).

Voyage South – From £1565 per couple (saving £521), travelling on selected dates in May 2011. This 6-day voyage includes full board on the ship. Flights are extra and can be booked via Hurtigruten (June and July from £1760 per couple).

For more information, visit www.hurtigruten.co.uk/ or contact the UK's leading adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Azamara Unveils New Video Previews

Azamara Club Cruises has launched a series of engaging videos called “You’ll Love Where We Take You.” The series, presented by Azamara Club Cruises’ manager of deployment and destinations Claudius Docekal, provides travel agents and guests with a comprehensive overview of itineraries aboard Azamara Journey (above) and Azamara Quest.

Available at this link, each three to five-minute video offers tips for guests to plan their upcoming holiday. Docekal provides a day-by-day account of the shore excursions and onboard activities available for guests to enjoy and offers personal suggestions of the not-to-be-missed and little-known gems at select ports of call.

“Azamara Club Cruises sails to more than 50 countries and 170 ports in 2011, including many unique destinations that larger ships cannot reach,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “Claudius is one of our most knowledgeable travel experts and provides invaluable advice on what to do and when to do it, to make the most of a day or night in port. With more overnight and late-night stays, Azamara offers guests the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in local cultures and nightlife for a truly unforgettable experience.”

The electronic destination guide is also available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/AzamaraVoyages.

Costa Reports Big Growth In Med For 2011

Costa Cruises is reporting a big increase in its Mediterranean capacity for 2011, with its fleet making 2,800 calls in 92 Mediterranean destinations and almost 9 million passenger movements.

Italian ports will benefit most from the traffic, with almost 4 million passenger movements, some 50 per cent more than last year. Costa’s ships will carry more than one third of the 11 million passengers expected in Italy’s ports in 2011.

After Italy, the Mediterranean countries expected to see the most Costa passenger movements are Spain and Greece – each with more than a million – and France, with more than half a million. Of the 92 Med ports, 21 will be in Italy, 17 in Spain, 11 in Greece and 9 in France.

Costa’s 2012 programme was presented on February 15 this year, almost a year ahead of the cruise departure dates, in its annual brochure: over 250 destinations and more than 130 different itineraries with comprehensive details about shoreside excursions (there are typically 7 to choose from in every port of call) as well as a vast array of shipboard services and amenities .

For more information, visit http://www.costacruises.co.uk/ or The Cruise Line

Oceania Cruises adds South Pacific and Hawaii

New for Oceania Cruises’ 2011/12 winter collection are 27 unique itineraries, of which 16 are totally new, along with new destinations that include Hawaii and South Pacific, including Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga and American Samoa, as well as a return to Australia and New Zealand. Cruise-only fares start from £499 per person (Marina, January 3, 2012, 10-night Caribbean Islands in the Sun voyage).

Oceania Cruises specialises in exceptional cruise experiences with a focus on cuisine, comfort and service, with a wide choice of fine dining restaurants – including speciality dining at no extra charge - on each of their four ships. The brand new (in January) 1,250-guest Marina also adds two speciality restaurants and two private dining venues.

New itineraries include an 11-night sailing around the spectacular and exotic islands of French Polynesia on the 684-passenger mid-sized luxury cruise ship, Regatta. The `Tahitian Breeze’ itinerary departs from Papeete on January 6, 2012, and costs from £1,061pp, including all meals, no supplement for specialtiy dining, complimentary bottled water and soft drinks (excluding flights).

Other highlights include a new Dubai to Cape Town cruise, showcasing Arabia and Africa; popular Amazon River cruise to depart from New York City; a new 16-day South America cruise round-trip from Valparaiso, offering the opportunity to discover rarely-visited Nazca Lines, plus Machu Picchu; and a g
rand 35-day Hong Kong to Athens adventure via the Suez Canal.

For more information, visit http://www.oceaniacruises.co.uk/ or contact the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line.