Monday, 31 October 2011

Oceania's 2012 European Collection


Oceania Cruises, the distinctive premium line that operates four mid-sized luxury ships with a strong culinary emphasis, has launched its 2012 European Collection offering 7 night voyages for the first time.

The Collection features more than 40 cruise itineraries in the Mediterranean with 13 new port calls, in the Black Sea, Scandinavia, Russia and the British Isles, and inaugural European itineraries from the company’s new ship, Riviera, due to launch next April.

Special launch offer cruise-only fares start from £348 per person, based on two sharing an inside stateroom on the company’s Aegean Marvels voyage, sailing November 1 from Istanbul to Athens onboard Marina.

The new European Collection includes Mediterranean sailings on board Riviera (above), which will spend the entire inaugural season in Europe, and sister ship Marina (launched January 2011), as well as Oceania's R-class duo, Nautica and Regatta. Cruises are 7, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 21 nights’ duration, and guests enjoy complimentary dining in the four speciality restaurants, entry to the renowned Canyon Ranch Spa Club, butler service in all suites and complimentary bottled water and soft drinks throughout the ship.

For some of the best booking offers, be sure to check out luxury cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd on this link.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Whale Sharks with Zegrahm in Mozambique

In March of 2012, one of our favourite eco and adventure-cruising lines, Zegrahm Expeditions, will celebrate a first as they visit the coast of East Africa on an inaugural tour. This Mozambique Odyssey visits Tanzania and South Africa aboard the spacious 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey.

The World Wildlife Fund is partnering with Zegrahm on this exceptional journey, which includes a visit to Quirimbas National Park, co-created and expanded by the WWF and now the largest marine protected area in the Indian Ocean and Africa. Quirimbas was once the poorest province in Mozambique but now has the country’s highest growth rate thanks to the park.

WWF’s involvement ensures that local communities and park authorities alike share both the benefits and the responsibilities of managing the park on land and at sea. Guests on this expedition will see just how much support is needed—the park protects over 750,000 hectares of coastal forest, mangroves, and rich coral reefs including the abundant marine life, sea turtles and hundreds of fish species.


In the middle of Zegrahm’s journey, cruise to the beautiful beaches of Punta da Barra, where passengers will have the opportunity to see whale sharks, which are present year-round in this area, and there’s a good chance of seeing manta and devil rays, loggerhead and green sea turtles, and even bottlenose dolphins. Snorkel and swimming excursions among this incredible marine life will be very high on the agenda.


For more info or to book, be sure to check with the UK's adventure cruise experts of The Cruise Line Ltd on this link.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Oceania Gets With The Theme

Distinctive premium cruise Line Oceania Cruises is introducing themed cruising for the first time in 2012.

The new `Signature Sailings’ include 10 voyages exploring culinary, wine, music and health & wellness themes. Guests will enjoy seminars, hands-on classes, concerts and wine tastings. Depending on the voyage, Chef Jacques Pépin, up-and-coming jazz musicians and noted editors will be among the special guests.


Jacques Pepin Cruise
Master Chef Jacques Pepin has served as Oceania's executive culinary director for eight years. On this sailing, he’ll be sure to hold court in Jacques – his first namesake restaurant – as well as in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center leading Q&A sessions, cooking demonstrations and signing books.

Spring Music Fest
A broad range of jazz styles will be featured. Six guest musicians, including four headliners, will perform individual main stage shows, in addition to more casual jam sessions. There will also be special dance sets and dance instructors.

Oceania Club Reunion Cruise
Two sailings, and Oceania's loyal past passengers will be the guests of honour for these special reunion cruises, which include memorable surprises both onboard and ashore.

Italian Wine Immersion Cruise
Highlights include lectures, tastings and special Wine Bars, where guest experts and special musical performers will create the perfect vibe to explore and experience great wines.

Vitality & Wellness Cruise
In addition to healthy eating and fitness tips, guests will gain insights on enhancing their mental wellness to live life to the fullest. Spinning, yoga and Pilates classes are also offered at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub and gourmet Canyon Ranch spa cuisine is available.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Caribbean Winter for Independence of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has announced that Independence of Seas will be based in the Caribbean for the 2012-13 winter season and return to the UK for the summer season in April 2013.

Independence
will depart on a trans-Atlantic voyage from Southampton on November 22, 2012, and arrive at Port Everglades on December 5. The hugely popular ship is re-locating to the Caribbean for the winter season, offering UK and Irish guests six and eight-night sailings in the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Since its launch in April 2008, Independence has been the largest and arguably the most innovative cruise ship in Europe and has proved a big hit for ex-UK sailings. This will be her first venture to the Caribbean in that time.


For bookings, be sure to check this link with cruise specialist agents The Cruise Line Ltd (or call 0800 008 6677).

Costa’s Newest Flagship Set For Arabian Nights

Costa Cruises eye-catching new flagship, Costa Favolosa, will be sailing in the exotic seas of the Arabian Gulf this winter, offering seven-night cruises with two days in Dubai, one-day stopovers in Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (UAE), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Khasab (Oman) and ending with a further overnight stay in Dubai.

This “Jewels of the Emirates” cruise season, which runs from
December 16 to April 6, features an itinerary reminiscent of A Thousand and One Nights, with a tantalising mix of past and present, unspoiled oases and stunning futuristic architecture, dune surfing, mosques and skyscrapers. This year’s route also features the additional port call of Khasab (Oman), which boasts towering cliffs and deep blue waters.

For booking, be sure to visit the Costa Favolosa section of specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd (0800 008 6677) on this link.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Luxury Goes Exploring With Regent

Demonstrating the line’s claim that ‘luxury goes exploring’, Regent Seven Seas Cruises has revealed their new programme from November 2012 to June 2013 featuring new ports of call, new itineraries and unique and adventurous sailings as they launch the latest edition of their impressive Cruise Atlas.

Regent is once again raising the bar on its already extensive all-inclusive offering, adding a 1-night pre-cruise hotel package on ALL of its 2013 cruises. The new 2012/2013 itineraries can be viewed online now at www.rssc.com and are already available to book as of this month. All past guests will automatically also receive a copy of the new Atlas.


Highlights of the programme include:


· Seven Seas Voyager sailing a new 17-night cruise from Hong Kong, with visits to Hiroshima (Japan) and Inchon (S Korea), as well as overnight stays in Keelung, Osaka and Beijing and a two-night overnight stay in Shanghai, departing February 27, 2013. Fares for a Deluxe Balcony suite start from £7,679 per person.


· Seven Seas Voyager sailing a new extended ‘World Voyage’ from the Mediterranean through the Indian Ocean, Asia and Australia, exploring the wonders of Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea. Ranging from 7 to 143 nights, guests can choose an individual sailing, an extended combination of sailings, or construct their own combination. Fares for a Deluxe Balcony suite on a 54-night sailing from Bali to Singapore start from £20,239 per person.

· Seven Seas Mariner returning to South America, offering a selection of single voyages of 12, 14, 22 or 24-night voyages that can be combined to create longer cruises or a 72-night full circumnavigation of the continent.

For the latest info and to book, see this link with luxury cruise experts The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Dolphins, Whales and Basking Sharks

Here's another great early-booking offer, with a great saving on a Noble Caledonia voyage to the Isles of Scilly, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

Wildlife fans in particular will want to make note of this out-of-the-ordinary expedition cruise, which explores our coastal waters to observe the marvellous seabird and marine life around some untouched coastal wilderness areas, with a flexible schedule that allows the captain and expedition team to take advantage of the unexpected, whether it be a sighting of dolphins or any unusual event.

In just eight days, passengers will get the chance to stroll along the leafy lanes of beautiful Tresco in the Isles of Scilly; visit the neighbouring islands of Bryher and St Agnes; land on uninhabited Great Saltee Island with its huge colony of gannets; and explore the bird colonies of little known Les Sept Iles by Zodiac.

On Lundy Island, guests will enjoy the antics of the puffins and, later in the day, sail around Grassholm, one of the world’s largest gannetries. No coastal cruise in this region would be complete without a visit to the Channel Islands, and this island adventure continues with calls at two of the most attractive, Alderney and Sark.

Exploration of these protected coastal waters will be made all the more enjoyable by the use of Zodiac landing craft, similar to those used by Jacques Cousteau. Zodiacs enable passengers to land in remote places, providing for an unusual perspective and make the otherwise inaccessible readily available. The expedition staff have a wealth of local knowledge, having undertaken numerous expeditions around Britain and Ireland. The experienced team lead the way and also provide evening round-ups of the day’s events and briefings on board.

This 8-day expedition cruise to the Isles of Scilly, Ireland and the Channel Isles is on board the charming little MS Island Sky, sailing from May 18-25, 2012, and costing from £2,195pp. And here's the special offer: book by October 28 and save
£100 per person.

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

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

New Ship for Paul Gauguin Cruises

The best thing about deadlines is that they are fixed, immovable, and they get the job done. The worst thing about deadlines is they are fixed, immovable - and new stories crop up the minute a deadline has passed.

That was certainly the case with the latest edition of World of Cruising magazine (our Autumn issue - see it here). No sooner had we gone to print with issue 52 than Paul Gauguin Cruises announced a new ship for 2012, MV Moana.

The current Tahiti-based one-ship South Seas operation has been offering the Paul Gauguin for five years now, a deluxe one-off adventurer in this blissful region.

But now they are stepping things up with the acquisition of the sleek, 90-passenger Le Levant (above) from La Compagnie du Ponant, which will get a major makeover next year and then offer a greatly-enhanced range of cruises under the Gauguin banner, including the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Moana will begin operations in December 2012, starting with a winter season in the West Indies and Latin America before repositioning to the Med for the summer. She will offer an upmarket choice for the destinations, and add to Gauguin's reputation for a distinctive, niche style.

Diane Moore, president of Paul Gauguin Cruises, said: "We are monumentally proud to add a second ship to our Pacific Beachcomber portfolio and Paul Gauguin Cruises family. This is an incredibly huge branding achievement for the growth of our cruise line and I look forward to welcoming fans of The Gauguin onboard our latest addition."

The 332-passenger Paul Gauguin is currently undergoing a $7million refurbishment and will be back in business in January.

Beat The Winter Chill With Fred Olsen

An ideal post-Christmas getaway is Fred Olsen's Braemar’s 15-night Caribbean fly-cruise, departing on January 5, 2012, an exciting itinerary that includes a late-night stay in the colourful and vibrant Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba. You also fly from London Gatwick or Manchester to Barbados on exclusive, fully-escorted Fred Olsen charters.

The cruise starts with an overnight stay in Barbados (above), then visits Bonaire and Aruba, Montego Bay in Jamaica, and on to Santiago de Cuba, the island’s former capital. The cruise also visits the Turks & Caicos Islands, Tortola and Antigua, with a scenic journey through the Grenadines, en route back to Barbados for the return flights.

Prices start from £1,394 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside twin cabin, Grade I, and include flights and transfers, all meals and entertainment on board, and port/airport taxes. Olsen is also offering some attractive Canary Islands cruises this winter, representing excellent value.


One such cruise is Balmoral’s 13-night cruise departing from Southampton on December 8. The cruise first visits Madeira, calling at the capital Funchal, then visits the Canary Islands of La Palma, Tenerife, La Gomera and Gran Canaria. The final port of call is Portugal’s vibrant capital city, Lisbon.


An additional attraction on this cruise is a theme of ‘History of the British Royal Family’ as part of the line's award-winning onboard enrichment programme, Vistas. The programme covers a comprehensive range of topics, from wine-tasting and gardening to antiques and photography, hosted by experts in their relevant fields. The expert hosting the Royal Family theme is David V. Thomas MVO, the former Crown Jeweller, who was responsible for the care and conservancy of the Crown Jewels from 1991 to 2007, as well as the personal collections of Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Prices for this cruise start from £737 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade I, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes.


Find out more at www.fredolsencruises.com or contact the UK's leading cruise specialist agents of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Gota Canal Cruises with eWaterways

The Göta Canal is one of the most remarkable waterways in the world and one of the communication links between Sweden's two largest cities, Gothenburg and Stockholm. There are also three vessels which still ply this historic Canal with cruise passengers.

The Juno, originally launched in 1874, is now the world’s oldest registered ship with overnight accommodation. Travelling down Sweden’s canals on this boat is like stepping into another world. Renovated in 2003, the 29 cabins are nostalgically luxurious and tastefully fitted with brass details and handsome textiles. The bridge deck boasts a covered aft deck offering a perfect view in both sun and rain.

Departure dates: 6, 15, and 24 June; 2, 10, 26 July; and 3, 11, 20 and 29 August. Starting price £1,058 per person including all taxes – flights not included.

For more info, look up www.ewaterways.co uk or the specialist luxury and river-cruise experts of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Big Bands and Ballroom with Crystal Cruises

With classic dance moves currently taking centre stage on “Strictly Come Dancing”, Crystal Cruises has expanded its live Big Band and Ballroom Dance theme cruises for 2012. Guests will feel like stars themselves as they swing, cha-cha and tango across the Atlantic accompanied by two old-school favourites: the Glenn Miller Orchestra on Crystal Symphony’s 19th March Miami-Madeira-Lisbon voyage, and the Artie Shaw Orchestra on Crystal Serenity’s Barcelona-Canary Islands-St Maarten-Miami cruise on 9th December.

Whether a dancer or just toe-tapping listener, guests will be surrounded by live 17-20-piece orchestras with vocalists, plus complimentary daily dance sessions, including: Professional group dance lessons for all levels of experience; Advanced dance workshops for more proficient dancers; Twice the usual number of professional dance instructors; Extra Ambassador Hosts to lead women without dance partners; and Dancing both in the afternoon and late into the evening.


“Book Now” prices (if booked by October 31) start from £1,862 per person for Symphony’s 10-night 19th March voyage and from £2,290 per person for Serenity’s 12-night 9th December voyage. Price includes complimentary return economy flights, overseas transfers and accommodation on an all-inclusive basis including all meals, complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff.


Crystal's entertainment offerings include a range of venues and performances, from cabaret nightclub to piano bar saloon; acclaimed productions to headline entertainers; and sophisticated enrichment activities to in-room Blu-ray-viewing.

For further information, visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk or the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Aurora Expeditions Expand Antartica Season

Expedition cruise company, Aurora Expeditions has released their exciting new 2012/13 Antarctica programme, with a 10 per cent early-booking discount.

With 20 voyages encompassing the highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Weddell Sea, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, this season is set to be their biggest ever as the programme has a variety of new features, including a choice of two ships, with the addition of Akademik Shokalskiy.

The increased capacity also allows for a greater variety of voyage lengths (8 to 20 days), and more opportunities for adventure activities, with kayaking offered on 16 voyages.


With the successful uptake of the Fly & Sail options, Aurora have increased these in 2012/13, allowing passengers to see more in a shorter amount of time, and cutting out one sea crossing. These voyages will include either a flight in from Santiago or Punta Arenas in Chile, or a flight out from King George Island or Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Prices for the 2012/13 Antarctic season start from $6,365 per person, based on a triple cabin for an 8-day cruise.


Bookings made before December 31 will receive the 10% early bird offer (valid on the first 15 bookings on each voyage only; direct bookings only and not valid in conjunction with any other offer).


For more info, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or the UK's adventure cruise experts of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hurtigruten Launches New 2012 Brochure

Fancy kayaking silently in the fjords against an impressive mountainous backdrop? Or learning prawn-shelling skills from local Norwegian fishermen? These are just two of the activities available in 2012 as part of Hurtigruten’s new ‘The Spring Awakening’ onboard programme, which runs from 15 March to 31 May.

For next year, Hurtigruten is focusing on the different experiences the four seasons offer in Norway as they each offer something unique to enjoy. In addition, for 2012, Hurtigruten will be offering a range of packages that include flights from Stansted for added value, plus an extended Opera Voyage for those who like something a little different. The Spring Awakening programme aims to enrich the voyage with onboard activities and new land excursions.


It takes guests closer to the teeming life in the ocean, the migratory birds and the inhabitants of small communities. It includes activities such as fishermen coming on board and presenting skills such as shelling prawns with the guests, on board lectures and, for something a little different, during the spring a saxophonist plays on deck. In addition, customers can now enjoy a new excursion ‘Kayaking in Tromso’ which offers the chance to paddle in the waters off the coast of Tromso and enjoy the views and get closer to the marine life. Hurtigruten use stable, double sea kayaks and no experience is needed. Priced from £129pp.


For those with music as a passion, Hurtigruten has extended its annual ‘Opera Voyage’ from four days to 12 where, alongside the set programme of concerts, additional concerts ashore can be added to make even more of the journey. The voyage features soloists and musicians from the National Norwegian Opera and provides an extra dimension to a winter sailing.

In addition, optional concerts can be added in impressive arenas such as the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, the North Cape Plateau and the Lofoten Cathedral, making this opera voyage a magical and memorable journey. Priced from £1,232 per person for a 12-day voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, it departs on 6 January including 11 nights full board on the ship, a tour leader and various concerts (based on two sharing).


Flights are not included and can be added from £400pp (price valid for bookings made before 31 December). For those looking for great value and direct flights, Hurtigruten’s 2012 flight inclusive packages from Stansted to Bergen are available on selected dates in April, May, September and October. The flights will combine with the 12-day Classic Round Voyage, which travels from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. Packages will include flights, cabin on full board plus transfer arrangements and prices lead in at £1,801pp if booked by 31 December.


For more info, visit www.hurtigruten.co.uk or adventure cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Tight squeeze! Minerva In The Corinth Canal

Here's a fab Photo of the Day - Swan Hellenic’s boutique little ship MV Minerva gave passengers a REAL close-up of the famous Corinth Canal in Greece this week as she squeezed carefully through on her Aegean Sea voyage.

With only 350 passengers, Minerva boasts a real country house ambience on board, and is renowned for her off-the-beaten-track itineraries and ability to go where other ships can’t. And there are certainly not many who can transit this Canal these days!


For more info, visit www.swanhellenic.com or the UK's leading cruise specialists of the Cruise Line Ltd.

Viking Unveils the Crown Jewel in Russian Cruising

To meet the growing demand for travel to Russia and exceed the expectations of today’s traveller, Viking River Cruises is setting a new standard with their Russian fleet: fully refurbishing each vessel from bow to stern and creating new and inviting interiors — spacious staterooms, elegant dining rooms and comfortable lounges.

The final ship to be fully refurbished is the Viking Rurik, which will launch in 2012 and offer two-room Suites that are an impressive 405sq ft, as well as spacious Junior Suites and 60 Staterooms with full verandas. The completion of this ship also marks the full transformation of all four vessels in Viking’s Russian fleet.


To commemorate the Viking heritage and Russian history, the four ships will be renamed after Rurik and his family, Helgi, Ingvar and Truvor, who were the original Russian explorers. Rurik, a leader of the Vikings in the 9th century, ventured along the rivers of what is now Russia and founded the Rurikid Dynasty, which ruled over Russia for many centuries. Specially designed to cruise Russia’s great waterways, Viking ships are built for around 200 guests, offering a more intimate holiday.


Comfort and quality, along with stunning river views in every stateroom, ensures there is no more relaxing or rewarding way to discover Russia than on board these beautiful ships.


For more info, visit www.vikingrivercruises.co.uk or the river cruise experts of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Unlock Your Past On A Genealogy Cruise

Tracing your family tree has never been more popular and, with so many different options available, your family history is just waiting to be discovered. Voyages of Discovery hopes to spark more interest in people’s ancestries by inviting guests onboard two cruises, Trade Routes to Bombay and Tales of India & Arabia, to start their genealogy journey sailing the high seas.

This winter MV Discovery will be joined by genealogy experts Paul Blake and Maggie Loughran, heritage event organisers with over 20 years’ experience. Both Paul and Maggie will be on hand to help passengers delve into their family history through guest lectures on a wide range of fascinating historical topics and via hosted workshops at sea and in port.


Continuing the historical theme, guests can take part in Discovery's 'Antiques Seashow' with resident antiques expert David Barby (above). Famous for his appearances on Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip, David invites passengers to come prepared with photos of relics and heirlooms to offer his valuations.

Unravel your past and sail on Voyages of Discovery's Trade Routes to Bombay - save up to 55% and get away on a 15-day cruise from as little as £899 per person.

Price includes return flights from London, transfers and the 15-day voyage departing from Safaga (Egypt) overnight and calling at Massawa (Eritrea), Salalah (Oman), Muscat (Oman) and Porbandar (India) before arriving at Mumbai (India), overnight; meals, entertainment and gratuities on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, plus onboard lectures from a team of renowned guest speakers.

Price is based on a November 14 departure. Or choose to sail next March on Tales of India and Arabia from as little as £1,399, saving up to 30%.


For more info, visit www.voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk or the adventure cruise experts of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New Oceania Late Offers

How's this for a great little pair of special offers this week from upmarket Oceania Cruises and their fabulous new ship Marina (above)?

2nd November: Sands of Time 12-night Europe/Asia cruise, from £1,199
For an exceptional cruise through some of Europe and Asia’s most iconic destinations, Oceania is offering a saving of £1,061 per person on board their brand new luxury ship Marina. The sailing from Istanbul to Athens can now be booked from just £1,199 per person for an inside stateroom, PLUS a $1,000 onboard credit. The voyage embarks in Istanbul and continues to Ephesus, Rhodes, Limassol, Haifa, Jerusalem, Crete, Patmos and Volos before disembarking in Athens.

14th November: Splendid Escapes, 10-night Athens to Rome cruise, from £1,499pp
This magnificent sailing through some of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful and historic islands on board Marina is now from £1,499 per person, based on two sharing, including a $1,000 onboard credit/stateroom, all meals and complimentary soft drinks and bottled water.


For more info, visit www.oceaniacruises.com or the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

MSC Launch New Aurea Suites

MSC Cruises' acclaimed spa and well-being offerings are to be further enhanced by the launch of its stunning new Aurea Suites. This deluxe accommodation will be available on board MSC Fantasia from November 5 and on MSC Splendida from November 13. Aurea Suites will also be found on MSC Divina, the company's newest flagship that will join the fleet from next May.

Named after the ships' state-of-the-art Aurea Spa and located on the prestigious upper decks, the Aurea Suites comprise 28 luxuriously appointed cabins, each formerly part of the deluxe MSC Yacht Club offering.

Guests who book an Aurea Suite will receive a superb wellness and spa package which includes a welcome cocktail at the spa bar, unlimited access to the Thermal Suite (Turkish bath, spa bath, sauna and relaxation room), a personal appointment with an Aurea Spa doctor, a 30-minute relaxing facial treatment and, last but not least, a solarium session. A stay in an MSC Cruises' Aurea Suite will be a one-of-a-kind experience.


Aurea Suite prices start from £1779 per person on Fantasia and from £1229 per person on Splendida, both for an 11-night cruise including flights.


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

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Silversea Reveals Itinerary for World Cruise 2013

Silversea Cruises have revealed some tantalising details of World Cruise 2013, an epic 115-day journey from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale aboard Silver Whisper, sailing on January 5.

Crossing the equator four times, the World Cruise itinerary will follow the tropical belt to 52 destinations in 28 countries with overnight stays in several key ports.

The warm-weather journey will explore an array of far-flung cultures and scenic wonders, including New Zealand and Australia's remote west coast; the idyllic isles of French Polynesia; fascinating Asian cities of Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore; and Africa's rarely seen western coast.

Members of Silversea's Venetian Society loyalty club can take advantage of priority reservations to reserve a suite for the entire 115-day voyage -- before it is released to the general public. Silversea is offering the added convenience of a full North America-to-North America circumnavigation. Sailing between Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, the 115-day voyage features additional opportunities to embark or disembark in Fort Lauderdale, New York and Southampton.

The optional extensions are: Fort Lauderdale Embarkation: 16-day Panama Canal Holiday (above) pre-cruise, Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, December, 20, 2012 – 5 January, 2013; New York Disembarkation: Three-day post-cruise leg extension from Fort Lauderdale to New York City, May 1-4, 2013; Southampton Disembarkation: 15-day post-cruise transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton via New York City, May 1-16, 2013. There will also be complimentary transportation to town (most ports).

The company expects to open reservations for World Cruise 2013 to the general public in the next several weeks, when pricing and more details will be available at www.silversea.com or World and Luxury Cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd
.

Have a 'Blue' Christmas with Zegrahm Expeditions

Discover India, the Maldives, and some of the bluest waters on Earth with Zegrahm Expeditions this Christmas!

One of our favourite companies for expedition and adventure cruising, Zegrahm is offering a break from the traditional holiday season vacation. The voyage sails December 17 to January 3, cruising from the Indian ports of Chennai and Kochi to the Sri Lankan harbours of Trincomalee and Colombo, exploring India's Lakshadweep Islands and the northern Maldives. Highlights of the expedition include snorkelling, diving, shore walks, birding with naturalists, and a visit to a 16th-century Palace.


Since the Christmas season is a time to share with family and friends, Zegrahm is also offering a special group discount. Groups of four or more receive a 10 per cent savings on the brochure rate for each member. Groups of eight or more receive a 15 per cent saving. Travellers unable to take advantage of the 2011 voyage can even look ahead to Zegrahm's 2012 voyage, which takes place from December 1-18.


To learn more, visit www.zeco.com or contact the UK's leading adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Quad Berth Expedition

Following recent reports that the price of cruising in the Antarctic is set to rise, adventure travel specialist G Adventures has announced the introduction of its brand new - and better value - quad berths onboard their M/S Expedition.

The new quad berth cabins will be available for the 2012 Arctic and Antarctic season providing more capacity for travellers onboard, welcome news at a time when industry prices are set to rise, due to the recent introduction of new fuel regulations banning the use of heavy oil in this region.

Here's a typical G Adventures Arctic voyage:

Realm of the Polar Bear
Price: £2269pp; category 1A Quad; departure, July 6, 2012; duration, 8 days.
Description: Spot whales and polar bears, explore incredible scenery, brave the Arctic waters swimming, encounter Ny-Ålesund, birdlife and glaciers, discover breathtaking ice-covered fjords, glimpse herds of Svalbard’s many species of reindeer and take in daily lectures.

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

Sunday, 16 October 2011

AmaWaterways Launches New Ship On Rhone

AmaWaterways will launch the debut of its luxury river cruiser AmaDagio on the Rhone next year along with a new season of its 'In Celebration of Wine Cruises' with a President’s Wine Cruise featuring its Provence and Spain itinerary.

The cruise takes place from March 29 - April 5 on the Rhone River from Arles to Lyon and costs from £1645pp (based on two sharing a stateroom,) including port taxes and all meals, but excluding flights.

The specially-crafted 'In Celebration of Wine' itineraries include complimentary wine-themed shore excursions and winery visits, onboard lectures, wine tastings and wine pairings at meals. Highlights of the President’s Wine Cruise also include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Arles and Avignon, the beautiful villages of Viviers, Tournon, Vienne and Trévoux, and excursions to the Beaujolais wine region.

For more info, see www.amawaterways.co.uk or contact the UK's luxury river cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd, on 0800 008 6677.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

NASA Predicts Bumper Winter For Northern Lights

Is seeing the Northern Lights high on your must-do list? Well, this winter could be the year to maximise the chance of seeing them, as NASA predicts that the winter months will see the strongest Northern Lights activity in 50 years.

And what better place to see them than from a Hurtigruten ship, where they are set against the dark night sky, away from artificial light? The Aurora Borealis have increased in intensity since 2007 and will be at their peak in 2012 as the Solar Maximum - the period with the greatest solar activity - peaks around every 11 to 12 years.
NASA are also predicting the Solar Maximum will be stronger than at any time in the last 50 years.

The Northern Lights are at their most active in the late autumn and occur most frequently and at their brightest in a belt some 2,500km from the magnetic pole. Much of the Norwegian coast lies in an area with the greatest activity, especially the high Arctic above the Arctic Circle.

Hurtigruten's six-day Voyage North departs daily between November 1 and December 31, sailing from Bergen to Kirkenes, with the chance to add a range of excursions such as a visit to the North Cape, snowmobiling or dog-sledding. Prices start from £625 per person, including six nights half-board on the ship and no single supplements. Flight packages including transfers are available from £495 based on London departures.

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

Friday, 14 October 2011

Free Balcony Upgrades With Celebrity

Head to the geysers in Iceland, learn how to dance like a Russian or just soak up the sun in the Med, and do it all in the ultimate luxury of a private balcony with a new offer from Celebrity Cruises. Book a holiday on Celebrity Eclipse in 2012 by October 31 and receive a FREE upgrade to a veranda stateroom.

A typical 14-night Mediterranean cruise in September costs from just £1,699 per person and qualifies for the free upgrade offer (based on two people sharing). Departing from Southampton, the voyage calls as Malaga, Nice (Villefranche), Rome (Civitavecchia), Florence (Livorno), Genoa, Gibraltar and Lisbon before returning to Southampton and includes meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. The offer is available on 22 sailings on Celebrity Eclipse from May to October 2012.

In addition, Celebrity Cruises is also offering guests $100 onboard credit per stateroom on any cruise over six nights in 2012 (except Alaska and Galapagos).

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

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Listen Very Carefully, I Will ‘Sail’ This Only Once!

Two stars of the BBC’s much-loved Second World War comedy, ’Allo ’Allo!, Herr Otto Flick of the Gestapo (Richard Gibson) and Private Helga Geerhart (Kim Hartman), are to join two Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ voyages in 2012. Both actors will be lecturing and performing on the theme of ‘Comedy’ as part of the line’s award-winning cruise enrichment programme, Vistas.

They will be taking centre stage on board Boudicca’s 14-night ‘Canaries & Morocco’ cruise in January and on a 25-night sector of Balmoral’s epic ‘New World’ cruise, in March.

Boudicca’s voyage is a 14-night cruise, departing from Southampton on January 5, calling at the islands of Madeira, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote, then Agadir in Morocco and a final call into Lisbon before returning home. Prices start from £1,189 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside twin cabin, Grade ‘H’, and include all meals and entertainment on board, as well as port taxes.

Balmoral’s cruise is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 9 to Southampton, also calling at Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza and Santarem (all in Brazil), then the Cape Verde Islands and, finally, Funchal, Madeira, before reaching Southampton on April 3. Prices for this exciting cruise sector start from £2,684 per person, based on two adults sharing a superior outside twin cabin, Grade ‘B’, and include all meals and entertainment on board, as well as flights from London to Rio and port/airport taxes. There is no extra charge for enjoying the company of Herr Flick and Private Helga!

Find out more at www.fredolsencruises.com or consult the specialist cruise agents of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Royal Clipper Sailing Off Naples

A final look at my cruise experience aboard the beautiful Royal Clipper of Star Clippers...

Well, I'm home again to a wet Northumberland - and how I'm missing the contrast with the sun and style of the wonderful Royal Clipper (as my photo shows!).

She has to be the ultimate in luxury adventure sailing. I could write thousands of words here but your best bet is probably just to go and experience her yourself. Yes, it really is that good.

Steve Newman

For more details, see
www.starclippers.co.uk or the luxury sailing and adventure cruising specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Uniworld's New Vietnam Venture

River-cruise specialists Uniworld are launching an exciting 14-night itinerary to Vietnam and Cambodia on the Mekong River featuring the new River Saigon cruise ship with a limited capacity of just 60 guests. The comprehensive itinerary starts at Ho Chi Minh City, where guests will stay for three days exploring the city and visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels.

From there, guests sail down the narrow canals of the Mekong River stopping off for excursions at small towns and visiting floating markets and homes. The cruise continues down to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, where guests learn about the violent Khmer Rouge regime, as well as a visit to the National Museum.

Guests continue on their cruise up the Mekong towards Siem Reap, stopping off at small towns along the way. At Siem Reap, two days are dedicated to exploring the UNESCO heritage site of Angkor Wat and then there is a short flight back to Hanoi, where guests will stay in the luxury of the Inter Continental Hotel before departing for home. UK prices for this package are still to be confirmed but will be finalised shortly.

The package will include: 7-night Mekong River Cruise in a riverview stateroom onboard the beautiful new River Saigon; 7 nights in centrally located deluxe hotels featuring luxurious accommodations, buffet breakfast, and all services charges; taxes and porterage; fully escorted excursions with English-speaking local guides made up of more than 20 people; 14 buffet breakfasts, 9 lunches and 11 dinners; complimentary wine with dinner onboard, and complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer and local spirits throughout the day; domestic flight from Siem Reap to Hanoi or Hanoi to Siem Reap; all transfers on arrival and departure days.

For more info, see www.uniworldrivercruises.co.uk or luxury river-cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Off Amalfi with Royal Clipper

Continuing the live blog from the decks of Royal Clipper...

Just about a mile off Amalfi (above) and what a superb sunrise. Last night leaving Naples was magical, with the lights on the sails and Vangelis blaring out from the speakers. We lost four sails in the high winds the other night but the ship was so stable you would not have known.

We are waitng for our achorage time and then the tenders will take us ashore to explore. I may also go snorkelling before I leave the ship to head home.

What a fabulous experience this is on board. Or, as an American guest said to me, "Royal Clipper Rocks!"

Steve Newman

To find out more about Star Clippers go to www.starclippers.co.uk or talk to the adventure and luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

The Nostalgic Nile with Bales Worldwide

The late 19th century aristocracy of Europe would delight in cruising along the ancient splendours of the Nile Valley in their private ‘dahabiyyas,’ beautifully crafted wooden sailing vessels that presented the might of the Pharaohs from the vantage point of elegant convenience.

And Bales Worldwide have recreated those halcyon days, travelling with a small select group to witness the ancient treasures of Egypt up close and in a manner thought lost forever by discerning travellers. Avoiding the usual crowds and boats guests have the advantage of an expert guide on hand at all times. Completing the entire journey between Luxor and Aswan (or vice versa), on any of the 4 exclusive Dahabiyyas, also provides the opportunity to truly relax, with 7 nights onboard to fully appreciate this classic journey.

The Nostalgic Nile - Luxor-Aswan from £1,595 (saving up to £600pp)

This 12-day itinerary includes scheduled flights and accommodation on The Amber, a traditional ‘dahabiyya’. Trip includes English-speaking guides on board who will also take care of tipping, private air-conditioned vehicle for transfers, a sightseeing itinerary (including entrance fees), and exclusive ‘dahabiyya’ cruise. Prices are per person based on two adults travelling and sharing on a mixed board basis. Price includes all applicable UK and overseas airport taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Prices are based on December 14 departure date.

To book, visit www.balesworldwide.com or the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Capri, Naples and Amalfi on Royal Clipper

More from my live blog from the wonderful Royal Clipper...

Hello again. Very hot here, with a clear blue sky. I hate to think what it's like in summer. The others have gone to Capri for the afternoon but I have always been fascinated by Naples so I will be wandering around here.

We got back from Pompeii late but the ship held lunch back for us. If I have one complaint about this ship it is that the food is just TOO tempting. I am going to have to start Weight-watchers when I get back!

We sail to Amalfi tonight and I am so looking forward to seeing those houses clinging to the cliffsides.

Take care now and have a good night.

Steve Newman

For more on this cruise, see www.starclippers.co.uk or visit The Cruise Line Ltd, the luxury sailing cruise specialists.

Off Naples with Royal Clipper

Day Three of my live blog from the deck of Star Clippers' fabulous flagship Royal Clipper...

Well what a ship this is! Very rough seas but hardly a movement. I went to the marine biology lecture last night and this morning am off to Pompeii (above). Hope to go snorkelling this afternoon.

We also took part in the staff fashion show, so got a great discount on the Star Clippers rugby shirt I was modelling. Have a great day now!

Steve Newman

For more information of this cruise, visit
www.starclippers.co.uk or the luxury sailing cruise experts of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Explore the Sea of Cortez with American Safari Cruises

The newest addition to the American Safari Cruises fleet, the 86-guest Safari Endeavour, embarks on a new Baja’s Bounty adventure cruise from November 2012 through April 2013. Week-long expedition cruises sail round-trip from La Paz, Mexico, to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site & Biosphere Reserve.

In true expedition style, the itinerary is flexible to ensure maximum opportunities to view the array of wildlife found on land and sea. The cruise explores Isla Espíritu Santo, Isla Partida, Isla San Francisco, Loreto, Isla Coyote and Isla San José. Snorkelling with playful young sea lions at Los Islotes is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The region’s culture comes alive on included excursions. A port call in the centuries-old mission town of Loreto includes a guided walking tour exploring the town’s plazas, historical buildings and mission.

In Bahia Agua Verde, guided hikes explore the mainland’s canyons and scenic vistas before joining a local ranchero and his family for a shoreside BBQ dinner enlivened with local music and stories. An excursion to the remote island of Isla Coyote visits the twenty members of the Cuevas family who inhabit the island and make their living as fishermen.

For travellers who want to explore the Sea of Cortés this winter, the Safari Quest will sail week-long 'Aquarium of the World' cruises from November 26 through April 14, 2012. Rates start at $3,995 per person double occupancy.

See more at www.americansafaricruises.com or contact the UK's adventure cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Winds Up On Royal Clipper

Day Two, Part Two of my Live Cruise Blog from the deck of Star Clippers...

Now we really are sailing! The wind has come up big style, so much so that we couldn't land at Ponza and are now heading south in the open sea. The weather is glorious and everybody is on deck, listening to sails cracking and the spars and rigging groaning in the wind.

I tried out the swimming pool, which was great; no need to change, my costume was dry in about three minutes after getting out.


Then it was off to get a coffee and pastry from the bar (which are free) and watch the Italian mainland slip by. There are also some new lines in the clothing shop on board to check out.

Now it's off now to the Tropical Bar, which becomes the heart of the ship after supper.

Steve Newman

For more info on this cruise, see www.starclippers.co.uk or the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Welcome In The New Year With Royal Caribbean

Join Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas (above) for a 12-night Spain & Canary Islands cruise from just £899 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin) this December.

This excellent price includes the full 12-night cruise, departing from Southampton and calling at Vigo, Lisbon, Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Tenerife, Funchal (Madeira) and La Coruna, before returning to Southampton; all meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Price is based on December 29 departure.

For more information, visit www.royalcaribbean.co.uk or the cruising specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd at 0800 008 6677.

Approaching the Island of Ponza

Continuing with my 4-day trip on Royal Clipper, today we are visiting the island of Ponza. The dolphins were amazing off the bow this morning and the breakfast is just as I remember it, simply stunning. Having a choice of teas served in a Chinese replica personal teapot is something else!

The sails have been hoisted and they were a beautiful golden yellow colour as the rising sun bathed them in its light. The crew and the captain are having their meeting behind me, so out of courtesy I am going to sign off. See you tonight!

Steve Newman

For more info on Star Clippers, see
www.starclippers.co.uk or adventure sailing cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd.




Saturday, 8 October 2011

With Royal Clipper, Leaving Rome



Day One of Steve's live blog from Star Clippers' beautiful ship Royal Clipper in the Med

Well, we have just left the port of Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) in darkness, with all sails being hoisted and the evocative music of Vangelis ringing out. The masts were lit and the light bounced off the sails as we left port. It's bit choppy but we are going to sail tonight and I hope the stabilisers work!

Royal Clipper is the largest sailing cruse ship in the world with her 5 masts and we have only 158 passengers on board. Tomorrow we are getting up at 7 to watch the dolphins and we have a water sports day (with all activities provided free of charge).
The food was superb tonight and we were joined by the First Officer at dinner.

See you tomorrow!
Steve Newman

To find out more about this voyage or Star Clippers' ships, see
www.starclippers.co.uk or contact the sail-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Join SeaDream For The Monaco Grand Prix 2012

Luxurious accommodation can be enjoyed aboard the 112-guest mega-yacht, SeaDream I while taking in the one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world in 2012, with fewer than 250 days before the commencement of the 70th Grand Prix of Monaco!

Taking place from May 24-27, the race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes, tight corners and a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. In spite of the relatively low average speeds, it is a dangerous place to race.

Sail with SeaDream I, embarking in Nice on May 26 and guests can then spend May 27 in Monte Carlo followed by five more days of heavenly Mediterranean yachting. After Monte Carlo this itinerary calls on St. Tropez, Portovenere, Viareggio (gateway to Florence), Portoferraio (Elba), and Portofino, with disembarkation on June 2 back in Monte Carlo.

Voyage-only fares lead in at $4,899 per person (plus $427pp govt, port & handling fees) and include: open bar, all meals, wines at lunch and dinner, complimentary champagne, use of recreation and water sports toys, as well as basic gratuities.

For more info, visit www.seadream.com or the UK's luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Experts Enrich Crystal's Autumn Med Cruises

Atlantis...the “Old City”...Constantinople...the modern Middle East conflict. Throughout time, the eastern Mediterranean has been an epicentre of historic significance. This autumn, former Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, historian and National Geographic author Dr Jean-Pierre Isbouts and Persian winemaker Darioush Khaledi are among the distinguished experts helping to illuminate that significance onboard Crystal Cruises’ October 24 sailing through the region.

From Athens to Istanbul, the 12-night Crystal Serenity sailing visits Santorini and Mykonos in Greece; Ashdod, Israel (overnight); Limassol, Cyprus; Iraklion, Crete; and Kusadasi, Turkey. As a Wine and Food Festival cruise, the sailing also boasts an impressive line-up of gastronomic pros sharing their trade

Prices for this 12-night Epicurean Discoveries voyage start from £2,176 per person, including return scheduled flights, overseas transfers, 12 nights in a deluxe stateroom with picture window, all meals and soft drinks, and port taxes.

For further info, see www.crystalcruises.co.uk or the UK's luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

American Safari Alaskan Cruises


American Safari Cruises are rapidly building a fine reputation for their active, adventure cruises, which allow guests the freedom to engage in many activities.

Now, their Alaskan voyages offer even more in this fabulous cruise region, with a range of kayaks and stand-up paddle-boards available for many excursions, while their skiff rides offer the chance to explore the shoreline, wildlife and glaciers in genuine up-close fashion.

All cruises are accompanied by expert naturalists and guides, who lead excursions on land and sea. An enhanced programme of educational presentations are also presented in the salon.

Another highly anticipated part of American Safari's voyages are the meals, with exquisite cuisine that is both innovative and fresh, with seafood and produce purchased locally whenever possible. All meals are served in the elegant dining room, with a complimentary bar.

The cruises also include all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; hand-crafted meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; a massage and all port charges, taxes and fees.

For more info, see www.americansafaricruises.com or the UK's adventure-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Majestic Line New Brochure 2012

The Majestic Line's new brochure is now available for its 2012 cruises with a choice of 12 itineraries exploring the beautiful coast of Argyll on the West Coast of Scotland. The specialist Scottish cruise company provides a unique small boat cruise experience with only 11 passengers aboard its traditional wooden vessels, the Glen Tarsan and Glen Massan.

The Majestic Line is becoming increasingly popular and 2012 is filling up fast; 30 of its 60 cruising weeks are already booked out for 2012 and many others have low availability. The cruise itineraries explore the wonderful islands, tranquil sea lochs and spectacular coastlines of Argyll, a beautiful but remote area which is difficult to access by land, whereas the cruises provide a perfect vantage point from the sea.

The company provides two double cabins for single occupancy on all its cruises at no additional cost. There are still opportunities for single traveller bookings for 2012.

See more at www.themajesticline.co.uk or contact specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

P&O Cruises' New Ship-to-Home Service



P&O Cruises is offering free return travel from home to ship and discounts of up to 20% on 2012 and 2013 bookings made by November 30.

This ‘Early Booking Spectacular’ offers passengers a more inclusive holiday option with no additional travel costs, as domestic flights, coach travel or valet parking (Cruise Connections) will be complimentary on bookings made during this two-month period.

The discounts, of up to 20%, are available on all cruises from the 2012/13 brochure on all seven ships in the P&O fleet. 

To see more, P&O have created a special video, which you can see at

For more information, see www.pocruises.com or the specialist cruise agents of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Hebridean Island Cruises set for Glasgow Cruise Show

Hebridean Island Cruises, operator of the renowned small cruise ship, Hebridean Princess, will be on hand to showcase their 2012 itineraries and talk about the launch of their new dedicated river cruises programme on the Rhine and Danube rivers at The Daily Telegraph Cruise Show, being held at the Glasgow SECC, from 22 to 23 October 2011.

The much anticipated exhibition is designed to showcase the range of different cruises available with Hebridean Island Cruises offering a unique cruise experience on board a ship often compared with an opulent country house. Representatives at the show will be distributing current brochures for both Hebridean Princess and the new Hebridean River Cruises programme. With the recent announcement that Hebridean River Cruises inaugural season will see sailings on the Rhine and Danube rivers during June and September 2012 there is sure to be a lot of interest in stand E7.

For more information visit www.hebridean.co.uk or small ship specialists The Cruise Line.

Crystal's Carnival In Rio

With two Brazil itineraries during Carnival 2012, ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises has announced four new opportunities for guests to experience the legendary Carnival spectacle during the cruises’ overnights in Rio de Janeiro. From grandstand seating and front-row box seats to luxury VIP sky box suites with gourmet goodies, guests have a choice of several fully escorted, reserved seating programmes at the Sambadrome.

There’s even an option to participate first-hand – marching in the parade, dressed in costume and performing with one of the samba schools. Crystal Symphony’s Miami to Rio and Rio to Buenos Aires voyages on February 6 and 20 respectively end or begin on the parade’s two best nights, Sunday and Monday, when 30,000 glamorously-costumed members of the top samba schools thrill crowds with singing, dancing, drumming and colourful floats. All excursion participants (even those in the parade) will be accompanied by experienced, secure guides from beginning to end, with several convenient late-night shore-to-ship shuttles.

Crystal’s Carnival excursions begin at $799 per person rising to $12,999 per person for the VIP box suite package.

For more info, visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk or the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd..