Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Milford Haven's Princess Debut

The Princess Cruises ship Ocean Princess makes her debut in Pembrokeshire today as she arrives in the Milford Haven Waterway, where the fast-growing Port of Milford Haven has been busy preparing to host the arrival of around 680 passengers on a cruise around the coasts of Ireland, Wales and Scotland. 

One of Princess’ smaller ships at 592ft long and 30,000 tons, Ocean Princess has sailed around some of the world’s most exotic destinations and will be at the Port from 8am to 5pm before moving on to Dublin and Rosyth.

Cruise Development Officer at the Port of Milford Haven, Sue Blanchard-Williams, is looking forward to welcoming passengers. She said: “Pembrokeshire is a fantastic port of call with its world famous coastline and some of the richest cultural landmarks in Wales. The ships come because the port is perfectly located for the best that West Wales has to offer. Historic castles, long sandy beaches, wildlife or retail, it’s all right here on our doorstep.”

The Port of Milford Haven is leading the promotion of Pembrokeshire as a cruising destination, providing a fantastic boost to the local economy. In 2012, almost 3,000 cruise passengers came ashore, spending more than £200,000 in Pembrokeshire alone.

Paul Ludlow, Princess Cruises UK director, said: "Princess is known for its great destinations so we’re thrilled we’ve been able to add Milford Haven, another fantastic British port, to our holiday offering. With more than 150 different itineraries to choose from, Princess passengers can cover the globe, with sailings to all seven continents that call at more than 300 ports and destinations around the world.”

The next cruise call at Milford Haven will be on August 7 before the return of Ocean Princess on August 28.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Meet The Vikings With Hurtigruten!

The British Museum is planning a major Viking exhibition in 2014, to ask the eternal question: were they a people hell bent on barbaric raiding and pillaging, or were they forward-thinking philanthropic tradesmen and explorers?

But if you want to visit their homeland to find out more, Hurtigruten’s 12-day ‘Voyage of the Vikings’ in September next year will be the ideal opportunity as it will be lead by British Museum curator and Viking expert, Gareth Williams - the lead curator of the forthcoming exhibition - who will give lectures on-board as well as accompany tours.

The voyage is a round trip from Bergen to Kirkenes, with numerous relevant stops en-route. A Viking Feast is included, of course, where passengers will join the chieftain and his wife in a reconstruction of the largest Viking longhouse ever discovered and will be regaled with stories while enjoying traditional Viking food and drink. Numerous other excursions are also available.

For those who want to truly immerse themselves in Viking heritage, there is also an opportunity to extend your stay to include a visit to Oslo, where you can visit the Viking Museum, home to genuine relics of the Viking age, including an original long boat.
The 12-day voyage departs on September 9, 2014, and costs from £2,282 per person including flights, cabin on a full board basis and airport transfers.

This unique trip features in Hurtigruten’s new Norway brochure for 2014, which is now on sale. A number of new excursions and additional year-round UK flight charters have also been included for the first time. UK Charters were previously not offered in the summer.

Early booking discounts are also available, with up to 25% off selected voyages made by October 31 (subject to availability). Customers booking a ‘Classic Voyage’ before the end of October, for travel in April or August 2014, will also receive £120 onboard credit.

The overall lead-in price for the 2014 programme is £811 per person for the five night Classic Voyage South on a full board basis (excluding flights, but including early booking offer).

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's adventure-cruise specialists.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Trusting Silversea

Last week's news that deluxe all-inclusive line Silversea failed - in epic fashion - their snap CDC sanitation inspection aboard the six-star Silver Shadow (above) has caused major ripples in the cruise world.

The fact one of the luxury cruising fleet could be caught out in this way was the initial shocker, followed by the details behind the case, which included galley crew hastily moving trolleys with food waste items and other dirty leftovers into crew cabins to try to hide them from the CDC inspectors.

The overall episode, which resulted in a score of 82 - where anything below 86 is marked as failing an inspection - has caused many media outlets to question Silversea's viability as a cruise line, amid lurid headlines and the usual array of criticism, much of it from lawyers eager to make a buck or two out of it by persuading passengers to sue (yawn).

Silversea have certainly and unforgivably dropped the ball on this occasion, but there are other facts that need to be outlined about this incident:

  • Had a Silversea ship ever failed a CDC inspection before in the 20-year history of the line? No.
  • Was passenger safety or health compromised by this bungled episode? No.
  • Has the line been honest and up front in admitting what happened? Yes.
  • Have they taken steps to ensure this won't happen again? Yes.

All in all, it is a chastening experience for the line and a real eye-opener for the industry. Failed scores can - and do - happen from time to time, including the Golden Princess in February and even one of the SeaDream vessels in January. CDC inspectations are rigorous and all-encompassing, and every ship is tested on a random basis twice a year, and some failing marks are on distinct technicalities that are highly unlikely that passengers would even notice. 

The simple fact is, with hundreds of ships now in the world cruising fleet, these kinds of failures remain a rarity and it therefore creates headlines when they happen.

Experienced commentator and cruise specialist Ralph Grizzle, otherwise known as the Avid Cruiser, has already posted chapter and verse on what happened, why and how Silversea are dealing with it subsequently, and you can see it on his latest blog on this link.

Silversea CEO Enzo Visone has also posted a full account of what happened and the company's reaction to it on their facebook pages, and you can that here: https://www.facebook.com/SilverseaCruises.

It is a surprisingly fulsome and candid apology, along with a rigorous list of how Silversea will go forward and ensure they rebuild their reputation as one of the finest cruise lines out there.

As a final question, it is something I have already been asked by a number of readers, as well as online on our Twitter account: Would you be happy to sail on Silversea again anytime soon?

The answer is a very simple Yes. Firstly because you can be 100 per cent sure the line is now paying maximum attention to the matter of cleanliness and all CDC matters (as, of course, they should), but mainly, because it is such an aberration, I would be extremely confident you just won't see Silversea slipping up on anything like this again.






 




Exodus Set Sail For Arctic, South Georgia & Antarctic

Adventure travel specialist Exodus Travel is offering some fabulous new Polar cruising opportunities this year and in 2014, with some real highlights for those who like to get really off the beaten cruise track.

Here are three of the best:

An exploration of the wildlife and culture of the Canadian Arctic, coupled with the glaciers and icebergs of Greenland. The islands visited during this expedition range from the largest in the Canadian Arctic - Baffin Island - through to the world's largest, Greenland. With such diversity found in both the landscape and culture among these two islands, this voyage is a unique and exciting Arctic adventure taking place on the Akademik Ioffe

Finnish-built for the Russian Academy of Science, this stable yet manoeuverable ship was designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. First departure is August 4 and prices start from £4,930 per person for 11 days, including accommodation and most meals. 

An expedition cruise in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada visiting Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland, finishing with a jaunt across to France in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon. Starting in the seaside community of Sydney, Cape Breton, Exodus take every opportunity to discover the Maritimes and the potential for amazing experiences both on and off the ship, the Akademik Ioffe

Embracing historical culture, musical talent, a variety of marine mammals and hundreds of thousands of seabirds, this voyage is truly a wildlife adventure. Prices start from £4,000 per person for 10 days, including accommodation and most meals. 

This journey begins sailing east to South Georgia, where Ernest Shackelton is buried under the spectacular ice-crowned mountains. The ship will thread her way through magical fjords to Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour, places so remote they have evolved into astonishing wildlife havens boasting 100,000-plus population of King penguins and chicks on their beaches. The island also supports significant populations of Elephant and Fur seals. 

The voyage continues to the South Orkney Islands and then enters an enchanted world of icebergs and ice-covered mountains, approaching the bays and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula. This trip takes place aboard the Sea Adventurer, which underwent a $13m polar conversion in 1998. Her proud reputation is complimented by her well-appointed elegance, and she comfortably supports 122 passengers. Prices are from £10,850 per person for 17 days, including accommodation and most meals.

For more info, visit www.exodus.co.uk and, for more adventure-cruise ideas, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's leading adventure cruising specialists.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Adonia's New Caribbean & Latin American Voyages

Adonia, the smallest ship in the P&O Cruises fleet, will offer a new Caribbean, Central and South America fly-cruise programme for the first time in spring 2015. The port-rich programme will boast 10 new destinations, including three maiden calls for P&O - Bequia in the Grenadines, Cayenne in French Guiana and Trujillo in Honduras.

With a choice of 11 different itineraries from January 4 to April 4, 2015, the programme encapsulates some of the lesser-frequented, smaller and more intimate Caribbean islands; two of the world’s largest rivers (the Amazon and Orinoco); the rainforests in Central America as well as the popular Caribbean destinations of Barbados, St Maarten, St Lucia and Grenada.

Other new ports of call for Adonia include Colon in Panama, Horta in The Azores, Kingstown in St Vincent, Mayreau in the Grenadines, Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Puerto Limon in Costa Rica.

A choice of 14 and 28-night cruises starting and finishing in Barbados are available from £1,599 per person for a Vantage Fare. The 16 and 18-night transatlantic repositioning cruises are also available at the start and end of the season from only £1,349 per person for a Vantage Fare. A full list of cruises, with flights, include:
 

  • A 19-night Caribbean Transatlantic cruise (D501) from Southampton to Barbados, departing January 4, 2015. Vantage fares from £1,499pp
  • A 33-night Caribbean Transatlantic, Amazon and Orinoco cruise (D501A), from Southampton to Barbados, departing January 4, 2015. Vantage fares from £2,779pp
  • A 15-night Amazon and Orinoco cruise (D502), round-trip from Barbados, departing January 22, 2015. Vantage fares from £1,599pp
  • A 29-night Amazon, Orinoco & Eastern Caribbean cruise (D502A), round-trip from Barbados, departing January 22, 2015. Vantage fares from £2,579pp
  • A 15-night Eastern Caribbean (D503), round trip from Barbados, departing February 5, 2015. Vantage fares from £1,699pp
  • A 29-night Eastern Caribbean, Costa Rica & Honduras cruise (D503A), round-trip from Barbados, departing February 5, 2015. Vantage fares from £2,679pp
  • A 15-night Costa Rica & Honduras cruise (D504), round-trip from Barbados, departing February 19, 2015. Vantage fares from £1,699pp
  • A 29-night Costa Rica, Honduras & Eastern Caribbean cruise (D504A), round-trip from Barbados, departing February 19, 2015. Vantage fares from £2,679pp
  • A 15-night Eastern Caribbean cruise (D505), round-trip from Barbados, departing March 5, 2015. Vantage fares from £1,699pp
  • A 31-night Eastern Caribbean & Transatlantic cruise (D505A), from Barbados to Southampton, departing March 5, 2015. Vantage fares from £2,649pp
  • A 17-night Transatlantic cruise (D506), from Barbados to Southampton, departing March 19, 2015. Vantage fares from £1,349pp


For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's leading cruise-agent specialists. 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Fred Olsen's Worldwide Focus

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has brought together its superb offering of world cruises and longer voyages for 2014/15 in a single brochure of ‘once in a lifetime’ cruises. 

The ‘Grand Voyages 2014/15’ brochure features Balmoral’s epic 104-night ‘Around the World with Burma, Japan, Hawaii & Latin America’ cruise in 2014, and Black Watch’s 114-night ‘South America and Australasia World Voyage’, visiting Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East – Fred. Olsen’s longest-ever cruise. Also featured are itineraries for 2015, with each ship cruising in a different direction, to some of the world’s most exciting destinations. 

Balmoral's ‘Far East Explorer’ is a sailing of 119 nights – beating the 2014 record as the longest-ever cruise! – departing from Southampton on January 4, 2015. This voyage takes in Malaysia, Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand. It visits a total of 51 different ports, including Abu Dhabi (UAE), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Nagasaki (Japan), Beijing (China), Utheemu (Maldives) and Athens (Greece).

Black Watch sets sail on her ‘South American Discoverer’ cruise of 69 nights from Southampton on January 6, 2015, visiting 25 ports, including Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay), Callao (Peru) and Cartagena de Indias (Colombia.)

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's cruising specialists.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Grab A Regent Bargain

It's definitely bargain time again this week, and the latest round of special offers come from luxury all-inclusive line Regent Seven Seas, who have a series of well-priced deals for some late-summer and early autumn voyages.

Take your pick from this fabulous selection of four Mediterranean cruises:

Rome to Venice

On Seven Seas Mariner, 10-nights sailing August 29. New price from £3,149 per person based on two people sharing an H category suite (subject to availability). Highlights: Rome, Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Capri, Taormina, Valletta, Kotor, Dubrovnik and Venice (overnight), with up to 35 free excursions PLUS a 1-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Rome.
 
Rome to Monte Carlo
On Seven Seas Mariner, 7-night cruise sailing October 17 now from £2,332pp based on two sharing a G category suite (subject to availability). Highlights: Rome, Capri, Amalfi, Porto Vecchio, Florence/Pisa, Portofino, St Tropez and Monte Carlo with up to 33 free excursions PLUS a 1-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Rome.

Venice to Rome
Also aboard Seven Seas Mariner, this 10-night voyage sails on October 31 and is now priced from £2,599 pp based on two sharing an H category suite (subject to availability). Highlights: Venice, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Valletta, Taormina, Capri, Florence/Pisa, Monte Carlo, Portofino and Rome, with up to 36 free excursions PLUS a 1-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Venice.

Rome to Barcelona
On November 10, Seven Seas Mariner sails a 10-night cruise that is now priced from £2,551pp based on two sharing a G category suite (subject to availability). Highlights: Rome, Florence/Pisa, Ajaccio, Genoa, Monte Carlo (overnight), Provence, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia and Barcelona, with up to 52 free excursions PLUS a 1-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Rome.

And, as with all Regent voyages, it is all included, with free flights and transfers, free pre-cruise hotel stay, free shore excursions, all-inclusive on board (with no supplements for alternative dining and all drinks complimentary) and all gratuities included.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

When Bloggers Meet!!

It was a surprise for two of our regular bloggers when our arch-contributor Steve Newman met guest blogger Danielle Fear, aka Cruise Miss, for lunch on Cruise and Maritime Voyages' MV Discovery yesterday when the ship was berthed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne prior to leaving on her latest cruise to Norway and the North Cape.

That's the joy of cruising - you never know who you're going to meet and where. Steve and Danielle seem to be gripping on the stairway, even though the ship is docked. Only Lisa Donohoe from the  Port of Tyne Cruise Terminal seems to have her sea legs!

Have you subscribed to the new edition of World of Cruising yet?  Click here if not!


Zegrahm's New Iceland Explorers

Small-ship expedition specialists Zegrahm Expeditions are offering two special new voyages to Iceland in 2014, with the chance to experience the Land of Fire and Ice in extraordinary close-up. 

Since nearly 75% of Iceland can only be reached by ship, travelling aboard the 100-guest, all-suite Island Sky offers an ideal opportunity for personal exploring, with her small size and fleet of Zodiacs allowing guests to get closely acquainted with the sheer cliffs and isolated fjords that larger ships simply can’t access to view the country’s phenomenal bird and marine-life.

Departing on June 13, the 14-day Circumnavigation of Iceland also allows travellers to explore the country in depth. Highlights include exploring the fabled Golden Circle, Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Center; taking an exhilarating snowmobile ride across Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier; and photographing Iceland’s stunning landscapes, from bubbling hot springs and glittering glaciers to soaring volcanoes and plunging waterfalls. This expedition is priced from $10,970 per person.

Alternatively, Zegrahm’s 20-day Across the Arctic Circle: Iceland & Svalbard voyage departing June 24, will spend six full days exploring Iceland before venturing up to Svalbard, crossing the Arctic Circle en route. 

Travellers will receive a great introduction to the wonders of Iceland on this cruise and then be treated to more than a week of true Arctic exploration. Seeking out Svalbard’s iconic polar bears will be the main goal while exploring this Norwegian archipelago. Additional highlights include visits to historic research and whaling stations and opportunities to spot thousands of breeding seabirds such as kittiwakes and puffins. This expedition is priced from $13,970 per person.

For bookings, follow this link to our sponsors The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury adventure-cruise specialists.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Crystal's Far East Extravaganza

Crystal Cruises is expanding its presence in the Far East next year, with a choice of some 34 cruises in the region, and a great-value 'Book Now' bonus for early bookings.

The countries of China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Brunei will all be on the Crystal menu in 2014 and the 34 voyages (compared with just four in 2012), varying from five to 29-nights, offer a host of itinerary firsts and varied options. The Book Now bonus savings can be as much as £1,613 per person for bookings made by August 30.

New for the 2014 Asia season are:

  • Two ships in the region – Both the award-winning Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will be sailing the region in winter, spring and autumn 2014.
  • New itineraries Brand new routes include Crystal’s first-ever cruises that begin or end in Bangkok and a two-week voyage round-trip from Singapore. Bali, introduced as a “turnaround” port in 2013, begins or ends four cruises in 2014 (compared with two in 2013).
  • New destinations Crystal will make maiden visits to Malacca, Malaysia; Lombok, Makassar/Ujung Pandang; and Surabaya, Indonesia.
  • Return to less visited destinations – The expanded itineraries feature calls in ports visited infrequently or not in several years, including returns to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; Jakarta and Komodo Island, Indonesia; Yangon, Myanmar; Koh Samui, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan.
  • China & Japan Focus – For the first time in 5 years, two voyages will explore more of Japan, as well as China, like Crystal Symphony’s Beijing-Tokyo voyage including Osaka, Nagasaki and Shimizu; Shanghai and Dalian; and a complimentary Beijing land package.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Late Med Bargains From Holland America

Holland America Line is offering two UK to Barcelona cruises this August and September with fantastic fly-cruise prices.

Their 11-night European Jewels cruise now costs from just £949pp and departs from Dover on August 10, while the 10-night Western Europe Adventure is now priced from £810pp and sails from Harwich on September 29.  

These offers include scheduled flights from Barcelona to London at the end of the cruise, full board accommodation and are based on two people sharing an inside stateroom on MS Ryndam and Rotterdam respectively. Guests on the Western Europe cruise can also enjoy upgrades to Ocean View Staterooms for just £1.

The itineraries start by sailing out to La Coruna, on the northern coast of Spain, before moving down the beautiful western coast of Portugal taking in Porto and Lisbon. Back into Spanish waters, the ships call at Cadiz before journeying on to Gibraltar and entering the Mediterranean. 

The Western European Adventure cruise also calls in at Malaga whilst the European Jewels itinerary includes a call in Motril, the second highest town in the province after Granada. Guests will enjoy a final day at sea to relax and soak up the sun before arriving in Barcelona.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Star Clippers Return For Monaco Grand Prix


Tall-ship specialist Star Clippers is offering the chance to take in the thrills of the legendary Monaco Grand Prix in 2014 as part of a nine-night cruise-and-stay holiday on the 170-passenger tall ship Star Flyer. Hear the roar of the cars and the cheers of the crowd, smell the burning rubber and soak up the electric atmosphere of the most glamorous date on the Formula 1 calendar!

Star Clippers is offering a one-off voyage incorporating this thrilling event, departing on May 24, 2014, and boarding the ship in Cannes. On May 25, the ship will be anchored off the harbour at Monte Carlo for the day, with general admission tickets included for all guests.

Star Flyer then departs on a voyage around Corsica and the French Riveria, calling at L'lle Rousse, St Florent, Figari Beach, Bonifacio, Porto, Scandola Nature Reserve, Porquerolles, Sanary-sur-Mer and St Tropez, returning to Monaco on May 31, after which two nights at the four-star Hotel Port Palace is included. This is the ideal opportunity to enjoy Monaco after the excitement of the Grand Prix has calmed down and guests will be given a 'Passport to Monaco', offering access to museums, sights and attractions. The adventure ends on June 2 with a transfer from Monaco to Nice airport by helicopter.

Prices are from £2,599 per person, including flights from London to Nice, transfers, full board on the cruise, bed and breakfast in the hotel, Grand Prix general admission tickets, helicopter transfer to Nice, Passport to Monaco and port taxes.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruise specialists.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

AMA's Christmas Classics

AmaWaterways is offering some tempting Christmas market river-cruises this year, with the chance to grab a real bargain for early-bookers.

Departing on November 25, AMA's 7-night 'Christmas Time' cruise costs from £1,589pp, including a saving of £347 and with free return UK flights, all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, complimentary daily tours and excursions, free Wi-Fi and free use of on-board bicycles. The same cruise on December 16 costs from £1,595pp, including flights from the UK, saving £359pp.

2013 Christmas market departures also on November 27 and 30 and December 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 18, 21 and 28 (excluding free flights offer).

Christmas on the Danube
Christmas comes early on the Danube where AmaWaterways are giving free flights with bookings for their 7-night December 23 sailing, saving £359pp. The cruise, from Budapest to Vilshofen, visits some of Europe’s most picturesque cities and towns at their most festive, including Vienna, Vilshofen, Passau, Melk and Bratislava. The cruise now costs from £1,585pp.

Magnificent Christmas cruise

Departing on December 18, this magnificent 14-night journey travels through five countries along Europe’s main waterways, spending Christmas in the medieval city of Nuremberg then overnight in Amsterdam for New Year when the sky is lit up by a magnificent display of fireworks. AMA's 'Magnificent Europe at Christmas Time’ cruise now costs from £2,719pp, saving £684.

All prices include flights, all meals (with Christmas meals and events), wine with lunch and dinner, daily tours and excursions, free Wi-Fi and free use of on-board bicycles. 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury river-cruise specialists.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Holland America's Panama Canal Bonanza

To celebrate the Panama Canal’s 100th anniversary next year, six Holland America Line ships will sail 28 full and partial transits of the Canal throughout autumn 2013 and spring 2014. Ranging in length from 10 to 22 days, the extensive itinerary options provide guests with more ways to experience the Panama Canal than any other cruise line.

From September until April, MS Amsterdam, Statendam, Veendam, Westerdam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam will transit the Canal from six departure cities, including Veendam’s new departure from Boston, going between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The programme's highlights include:

Mexico and Costa Rica transit
Sail on the Zaandam from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale on a 14-night cruise and explore Cabo San Lucas, Santa Cruz, Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; and Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica. A whole day is then spent transiting the Panama Canal from Balboa to Cristobal before the ship moves on to its final port of call, Cartagena, Colombia. Fly-cruise prices start from £2,169pp on a September 19 departure, based on two sharing an inside cabin.
 
Overnight in Panama and private Caribbean island visit
Get an in-depth Panama and Caribbean experience on a 17-night cruise on the Zuiderdam, departing October 1, with fly-cruise prices starting from just £2,439pp, based on two sharing an inside cabin. Sailing from San Francisco, the ship overnights at Fuerte Amador so guests can get an extended experience of Panama City’s sights, sounds and flavour before making a full transit of the Canal itself. The ship then moves on to Cartagena and Half Moon Cay, the line’s private Bahamian island.

Cruise through rare tropical fjord
On February 8, the Veendam departs from San Diego on a 14-day scenic cruise taking in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, one of only three tropical fjords in the world. A whole day is spent transiting the Canal from Balboa to Cristobal followed by a call in Cartagena, before the ship moves north to Fort Lauderdale. Fly-cruise prices start from £2,219pp, based on two sharing an inside cabin.

NB: All fares are per person, double occupancy and do not include government taxes.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.
 
And don't forget you can read a full Panama Canal cruise report in the Summer edition of World of Cruising magazine!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Noble Caledonia's Rare Papua New Guinea Adventure

Noble Caledonia is taking its luxury adventure-cruise style on a rare journey to Papua New Guinea - the final cruise frontier - in February, with the voyage aboard MS Caledonian Sky including the ultra-rare Trobriand, D’Entrecasteaux and Marshall Bennett Islands.

The exotic land of Papua New Guinea is, in the truest sense, the last untouched frontier on earth. With rare wildlife, turquoise seas, tropical rainforest, volcanoes and more than 1,000 tribal groups, it has all the ingredients for a truly memorable expedition cruise. Its secluded forests nurture more than 3,000 kinds of orchids, and the world’s largest butterfly and moth inhabit its rainforests. It is a place of enormously rich cultural diversity.

There is also no such thing as a typical Papua New Guinean as more than 1,000 tribal groups, each with different traditions, are now recognised. On this journey of contrasts, guests will witness an astonishing array of cultural ceremonies, from fascinating villages to the exquisite Tami, Trobriand and D’Entrecasteaux Islands, offering exceptional underwater experiences.

The only comfortable way to explore this vast and intriguing land is by sea and Noble Caledonia are fortunate in having one of the finest and best equipped expedition vessels in the world for their explorations in the 114-passenger Caledonian Sky.

Prices are from £5,595 for the 14-night cruise, sailing February 26, with a £400 saving per person off a limited number of book-now suites.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's adventure-cruise experts.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Un-Cruise Offers New Hawaii Itinerary

This winter, Un-Cruise Adventures’ 36-guest yacht Safari Explorer explores the Hawaiian islands on a new itinerary sailing one-way between Moloka’i and Hawaii, the Big Island or reverse. Week-long 'Luxury Adventure' cruises in Hawaii include activities and tours while exploring four islands - Moloka’i, Lana’i, Maui and the Big Island.

New this season, Moloka’i - a quieter, less-visited island - takes centre stage as the beginning or ending point for the line’s cruises. Exclusive cultural activities are included for guests on the island, with the vessel spending an evening at dock to allow for a full day of activities and cultural immersion.

“Moloka’i is like stepping back in time to the Hawaii of yesteryear,” said Dan Blanchard, CEO and principal for Un-Cruise Adventures. “It’s incredibly scenic and values its culture and heritage, which we’re proud to be able to share with our guests.”

Anakala Pilipo invites guests to Moloka’i’s historic and scenic Halawa Valley for a hike to a secluded waterfall or a relaxing day on his land “talking story,” learning the traditions of his family’s ancient taro patch and a visit to a nearby beach. In the evening, an authentic Pa’ina (feast) at the Moloka’i Museum and Cultural Center features local cuisine, including fresh fish, poi, seaweed, sweet potatoes and other staples of the Hawaiian diet. Local musicians join in the celebration along with a kumu hula dancer.

As a bonus with this beautiful cruise option, all bookings made by August 2 for travel for November to April will receive a $700 per couple travel credit. Rates for the Hawaii cruise start at $3,595 per person, double occupancy, inclusive of premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews, all meals featuring local Hawaiian flavours, massage, yoga, guided tours geared toward small groups, from-yacht activities and equipment, whale and dolphin encounters, transfers, lei greeting, and port charges and taxes.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury adventure cruise specialists.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Around The World In 180 Days With Oceania

Oceania Cruises has announced its first ever 'Around the World in 180 Days' cruise, a star-studded, port-intensive 180-day voyage aboard the 684-guest Insignia, setting sail from Miami on January 10, 2015.

This extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime cruise visits five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call and will feature 11 overnight calls plus four 2-night calls in Cape Town, Yangon, Singapore and Shanghai (above).

Insignia’s 180-day journey begins by visiting boutique ports in the Caribbean then steers south to South America and east to Africa before heading to India, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Hawaii before returning via the Panama Canal to Miami on July 8.

In addition to crossing the equator four times and sailing through all 24 time zones, the 'Around the World in 180 Days' cruise will traverse three oceans and 10 seas, call on 45 islands and offer the chance to visit 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Of the 89 ports visited on this extraordinary cruise, 13 are new to Oceania Cruises, including Corinto, Nicaragua; El Guamache (Isla Margarita), Venezuela; Langkawi, Malaysia; Santa Marta, Colombia; and Xiamen, China.

Guests will also enjoy a one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Miami and free exclusive shoreside events in Walvis Bay, Namibia; Myanmar; Bangkok; Beijing and Honolulu.

Bookings open on today (July 17) and feature two-for-one cruise fares, free Economy Class round-trip airfare and free pre-paid gratuities. Additionally, guests will receive a $2,000 ship board credit per stateroom, unlimited Internet and laundry service, round-trip transfers and free onboard medical service, a first for the industry. Bookings must be made by September 17 to receive the special early booking fares beginning at £25,849 per person.

For bookings, follow this link to our sponsors, The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sanctuary Ananda’s Myanmar Specialities

We are always excited to bring you something new here at Time Spent At Sea and here is a great new river-cruise opportunity from Sanctuary Retreats, with eight enticing itineraries available on the luxurious all-suite Sanctuary Ananda in Myanmar.  

These itineraries include three, four and seven-night ‘Discovery Cruises’ between Bagan and Mandalay as well as a selection of longer and more unusual ‘Exploration Cruises’ allowing guests time to explore the Upper and Lower Ayeyarwady and the shallower Chindwin River. 

Sanctuary Ananda will sail every day on each itinerary and, where possible, guests will experience local transport to reach off the beaten track villages and must-see sights to ensure a true local and unique experience.

Discovery Itineraries include:
Three Nights – Bagan to Mandalay
Setting off from Bagan, this three-night experience includes a visit to some of the most important temples and pagodas in Bagan; a horse-drawn cart visit to Ava, the old imperial capital and archaeological site; Sagaing with its convents, pagodas and silversmiths; and Amarapura to visit textile workshops and drinks at sunset at the mile-long U Bein bridge.

Four Nights – Mandalay to Bagan
This itinerary begins in Mandalay, the cultural capital of Myanmar, and makes its way down to Bagan, the spiritual heart of the country and home to over 2,000 gilded pagodas.  Highlights on the journey include the textile workshops of Amarapura; Sagaing, the centre of Myanmar Buddhist faith; Pakokku with its local markets and traditional shoe factories; and the Sale monasteries

Seven Nights – Bagan-Mandalay-Bagan
This longer cruise is a combination of the three and four-night itineraries but also offers a train ride across the Gokteik Viaduct to Naung Pein and a visit to Pyin Oo Lwin and its Botanical Gardens. There will also be visits to jaggery, lacquerware and brick workshops; the Thone Zu Pagoda with its Nat shrine; and a hike up Mount Popa, an extinct volcano, to see the stunning summit monastery, pagodas and shrines. 

For more info, visit www.sanctuaryretreats.com and, for more luxury adventure-cruise ideas, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's river cruising specialists.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Fred. Olsen Adds Third Solar Eclipse Cruise

Following huge demand for its recently-launched Total Solar Eclipse cruises in 2015 - with both voyages on Boudicca and Black Watch already fully booked - Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has added a third opportunity to witness this rare solar phenomenon on board Braemar.

The new cruise (M1505) will depart from Dover on March 11 for 13 nights and will be positioned off the coast of the Faroe Islands on March 20, 2015, when the longest duration of ‘totality’ of 2 minutes 47 seconds – the best opportunity to view the full solar eclipse – occurs. During its voyage, the cruise will also visit Ålesund (Norway), Leknes (Lofoten Islands, Tromsø (Norway) and Runavik (Faroes), before returning to Dover. 

Prices for this ex-UK cruise start from £1,699 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. Guests can also upgrade to Fred. Olsen’s ‘all-inclusive’ drinks package for just £29 per person per night.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's leading cruise-agent specialists.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Crystal's Antarctica Christmas Cruise

Crystal Cruises is planning a magical winter wonderland holiday with a new Antarctica Christmas/New Year cruise this year. 

In addition to three days sailing Antarctic waters, the December 21 Buenos Aires-Valparaíso voyage on board the award-winning Crystal Symphony sails through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, the Falkland Islands, Drake Passage, Cape Horn and the Chilean Fjords, with multiple excursions to the Antarctic continent. Savings of up to £387 per person are available until August 30 for the unique voyage - the only one of its kind for 2013 and 2014.

Guests can fly, hike and zodiac over and on the icy continent, viewing Air Force homes, penguin breeding grounds and the gorgeous glacial scenery of King George and Ardley Islands. Extremely-limited Crystal Adventures also explore more of Antarctica, a taste of local specialities and an overnight at the Chilean Eduardo Frei Antarctic Base (INACH).

The 18-night cruise is filled with opportunities to explore nature in all ports, from seeing volcanoes, waterfalls, humpback whales and elephant seals to kayaking the Strait of Magellan and visiting working farms in the Falklands and Patagonia. There are also adventures in wine, cuisine and culture in major South American cities. Onboard speakers include an Antarctic expedition author, climate change researcher, shark conservationist and CBS News correspondent.

The cruise starts in Buenos Aires on and visits Montevideo, Puerto Madryn, Port Stanley, Ushuaia (overnight), Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt before finishing in Valparaíso. As the guests’ maritime home for the festive season, Crystal Symphony will be luxuriously decorated throughout, offering abundant space to celebrate with gourmet Christmas feasts, a champagne New Year’s gala, religious services, junior cruiser events (including Santa) and more. 

All-inclusive prices start from £6,627 per person if booked by August 30, with 18 nights in a deluxe stateroom with picture window with all meals and soft drinks, selected alcoholic beverages, port taxes and gratuities. 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

MSC Will Be 'Simply Marvellous' In 2014

MSC Cruises has unveiled an array of new itineraries and destinations for 2014 – with 168 global itineraries, a second ship coming to Southampton, a Bank Holiday mini-cruise, all-year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami and a return to the UAE.

To celebrate the launch of the 2014 brochure and to encourage early bookings, MSC has introduced “Simply Marvellous,” a range of Mediterranean summer cruises starting from just £649 per person including flights, and more than 76 sailings to choose from. The line is also introducing a new and simplified price structure to make it as easy as possible for consumers to understand and choose the type of cabin they want.

"Simply Marvellous" offers also include:

Bank Holiday mini-cruise – next year will see a two-night mini-cruise departing from Southampton to Guernsey from just £179 per person, perfect as a taster for customers who have never cruised before and want to experience the product – or cruise-lovers who want to get away for a bank holiday weekend.

More ex-UK cruises - MSC is sending a second and bigger ship, MSC Magnifica, to Southampton. Magnifica will have four seven-night cruises departing from Southampton and calling in Zeebrugge (for Bruges), Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Le Havre (for Paris). Prices start from £429 per person, including free car parking or free national express coach transfer to Southampton.
 
Year-round Caribbean cruises – For the first time, MSC will have a ship based in Miami for both Summer and Winter season, MSC Divina, offering seven-night cruises in the Caribbean on different itineraries. Plus, following the successful launch on new ship MSC Preziosa, Divina will also welcome two new Eataly restaurants and, for spinning enthusiasts, innovative Aqua Cycling facilities, the latest fitness craze across the US. Prices for a seven-night Caribbean cruise start from just £419 per person, cruise-only.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's leading cruise-agent specialists.

Friday, 12 July 2013

AMA's Free Flights Offer

AmaWaterways is offering free flights with selected wine-themed cruises this November, with opportunities to take part in wine tastings, visit vineyards, hear presentations from top wine experts and enjoy food and wine pairings. The offers save up to £352 per person for a 7-night Danube cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen.
 
The choices in full are:

November 15 & 22: The Enchanting Rhine wine cruise, saving £337pp
Learn as you sip on a 7-night wine appreciation cruise on luxurious river cruiser AmaCello, in the company of expert U.S. wine host Holly Howell, who will guide guests in enjoying and tasting wines. The new price of £1,499pp represents a saving of £337pp. The same cruise on Nov 22 costs from £1,499pp, saving £317pp. 

November 11 and 18: The Romantic Danube wine cruise, saving £352pp
Visit a Heuriger (wine tavern) in Vienna, cruise through the autumn colours of Austria’s Wachau Valley and join in Oktoberfest festivities in Vilshofen. Taste beer and wine in wineries and breweries between Budapest and Vilshofen and, when on board, enjoy presentations from top wine experts on a 7-night sailing on 5-star river cruiser AmaCerto. The new price of £1,499pp represents a saving of £352pp. The same cruise on Nov 18 costs from £1,469pp, saving £342pp.

All prices include complimentary visits to vineyards, beer and wine tastings, themed dinners with wine pairings, daily tours and excursions, wine presentations, as well as free flights, beer and wine with lunch and dinner, free Wi-Fi and use of on-board bicycles.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury river-cruise specialists.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Cuba, Monte Carlo & Palma on Star Clippers Menu for 2014

Tall ship cruise specialist Star Clippers has announced new ports, new destinations and new itineraries for 2014 on board the line’s three head-turning sailing ships, Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper.

In February 2014, Star Flyer (above) will operate a maiden season in Cuba, returning to the island for a second season from November 2014. In May 2014, Grand Prix fans will be able to access the atmosphere of the most prestigious race of the F1 season in Monte Carlo, when guests on Star Flyer will be in pole position in the harbour. Summer 2014 sees Star Clippers sailing a season from Palma de Mallorca for the first time, while new ports of call include Porto and the Scandolo Nature Reserve in Corsica, plus La Sabina in Formentera. 

Another brand new itinerary has been introduced for the 2014/15 Caribbean season, where Royal Clipper will operate a completely new cruise in March 2015, spending a leisurely two weeks sailing the southern Caribbean and skimming the coast of South America on a one-off voyage to Venezuela and the Dutch Caribbean. 

In addition to new destinations and routes, there is more variation in length of cruise than ever before, from a three-night taster from Venice in September to a 21-night transatlantic crossing on Royal Clipper from Barbados to Rome. 

To celebrate the new programmes and new itineraries, Star Clippers are offering up to 20% early booking discount on certain itineraries, with an additional 5% discount for repeat passengers. 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.