Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Day three on Fred Olsen's Black Watch with Ramblers Worldwide


Another lovely sunrise  and you can tell we’re getting nearer to Spain as there is warm southerly wind blowing which probably explains why the birders were on the bow of Black Watch this morning.

Our Ramblers Worldwide group leader Pam took quite a few people on a mile walk around the deck at 8 which considering that some of them were still boogying away in the disco into the early hours of  the morning is pretty good going!

Two fascinating talks today on our destinations and walks and some of our group have tried their hands at line dancing and painting.  I have discovered the chocolate café where they serve the most delicious choccies and you can make a selection to go with the wonderful choice of coffees. It’s right next to the library so I can see me changing my book more often!

We arrive at La Coruna tomorrow with temperatures estimated  at 22(C) and 71 (F) and I am looking forward to our walk. It's an Indian night in the Garden Restaurant and we've booked our seats for a curry or two.

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CroisiEurope take Belle de l'Adriatique set to Athens and Istanbul

CroisEurope, Belle de l'Adriatique
Cruising further east: CroisiEurope's MS Belle de l'Adriatique

CroisiEurope is introducing a new Athens-Istanbul itinerary for winter 2014/15 onboard the 200-guest MS Belle de l’Adriatique, which spends the summer based in Dubrovnik. Between November and March the vessel - a cross between an ocean-going cruise ship and a river boat -  will offer an eight-day cruise on the Aegean and Marmara Seas, exploring the incredibly rich culture and heritage of this region. 

Starting in Athens, the cruise will take in Patmos, Kusadasi and Pergamon before finishing in Istanbul. Highlights will include the Acropolis, Cape Sounion and the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits. There will be a choice of excursions available such as the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Patmos, the ancient Greek ruins of Ephesus and Pergamon, and the Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower, Grand Bazaar and Spice Market in Istanbul. On board, a guest lecturer will enhance the guest experience by giving talks about the destinations visited and placing them within historical context.

Prices for this eight-day cruise start from £926 per person for accommodation in an outside cabin with all onboard meals, complimentary beer and wine at lunch and dinner as well as open bar throughout the voyage (not including Champagne, special wines or fine brandies), onboard entertainment and port taxes.

Book a November, December or January cruise before 30 October to receive a discount of £170 per person.


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New ‘Cruise and Walk’ holidays from Ramblers Worldwide and Fred. Olsen



Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, experts in guided walking adventures combining land and sea – and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – continue their successful partnership with the launch of a new wide-ranging choice of Cruise & Walk voyages including a river cruise for the first time.  For 8 years the two companies have been offering holidays to destinations near and far and discovering the world on foot.

All of the prices include all meals, an exclusive welcome party on one evening and a traditional afternoon tea with waiter service on a sea day, walking tours, shore visits, sightseeing programmes and the services of a dedicated tour leader.  Plus up to £40 off for bookings made six months in advance.

A range of extra benefits such as early booking cabin upgrades and drinks inclusive packages are also available on selected sailings. 

New additions to the programme include:

Rivers of the French Atlantic Coast – an 8 night guided walking holiday sailing the Loire and Garonne Rivers and La Rochelle aboard Braemar. 

The Mediterranean and The Adriatic – a 25 night holiday aboard Black Watch embracing some of the most fascinating sights along these coast steeped in a rich and diverse history.

Iberia and North Africa – a choice of 10 and 14 night holidays aboard Braemar, Boudicca and Balmoral, exploring Europe’s Atlantic Coast and the Mediterranean.

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Monday, 29 September 2014

Day two with Fred Olsen and Ramblers Worldwide


It’s so good be back at sea. Sunrise at sea is always magical and so it was this morning as we sailed southwards some twenty miles to the east of Suffolk on Fred Olsen’s Black Watch. The usual joggers and birdwatchers were out from 6.45 and we managed to get a couple of Minke whales off the port bow.

Excellent meal and service in the main restaurant last night so this morning I decided to try breakfast in the Garden Room (Above) which is situated midships on Deck 6.  It offered a self service buffet which was very good and again with great service with coffee and tea.  What was very nice was to meet some of the hotel and bar staff who remembered me from my trip on Boudicca last year.

A mid meeting with our tour leader from Ramblers Worldwide in the Braemar Lounge with coffee and yet more pastries (I’m going to need the walking to burn off the calories.) was followed  a  lunchtime Cocktail of the Day -  Margarita!!   (Tequila, Cointreau and lime juice.)

There is certainly no shortage of things to do on the sea days. In fact there is an overload and many of us couldn’t go to some of the events because they clashed. I’ve had a go at learning Bridge, beginner’s Spanish, learning the Foxtrot and some really good lectures on the ports of call.

Captain’s Cocktail Party tonight and I might take in one of the shows. On the other hand I might just take my drink on to the Promenade Deck and enjoy the evening. See you all tomorrow!



AmaWaterways launches 2015 Europe, Russia, Asia and Africa river cruise brochure



AmaWaterways has launched its 2015 Europe, Russia, Asia & Africa river cruise brochure. Offering 24 itineraries on board 20 ships visiting nearly 30 countries, the  line is introducing three new ships for 2015, Myanmar as a new destination and unique new theme cruises, as well as the return of the line’s popular wine and Christmas markets sailings.

Many of the ships feature a unique twin balcony design, multiple dining venues, offering exclusive `limited edition’ immersive tours, complimentary Internet and Infotainment systems, a heated swimming pool or whirlpool on the Sun Deck and a chef’s table on the newer ships.  

In addition to its regular programme of sailings in 2015  AmaCares, will offer a new way for travellers to give back. In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the line will donate £300 per stateroom onboard its In Celebration of Life cruises on 25 October and 28 October to the American Cancer Society for breast cancer research, prevention and treatment.

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Fred Olsen and a walking cruise.


Well that was a great first evening on board Fred Olsen's Black Watch.  Lovely food and a very nice cabin. I'm on here as part of a walking holiday with Ramblers Worldwide
Everybody is very attentive and the tour leader very helpful.
Now it's about 11 at night after leaving Newcastle and the day has caught up with me so it's off to bed! 
See you tomorrow! 

Pandaw to offer Laos itinerary on new luxury ship the Laos Pandaw


River expedition company Pandaw has revealed its new 10-night Laos Mekong sailing on its newest ship the Laos Pandaw. The itinerary will commence in 1 November 2015 offering Pandaw guests the chance to travel deep into the Laos mountains, traverse rapids and gorges and visit local tribal villages and Buddhist temples along the Mekong River. 

The Laos Pandaw will be the 14th ship to join the fleet, providing just ten staterooms (including one Owner’s Suite) for a truly bespoke five-star experience.  Guests will spend two nights at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang and explore its Buddhist temples, Royal Palace and atmospheric night market. Observe the morning alms attended by a thousand monks before travelling inland to discover tribal villages, swim in jungle pools and traverse rapids and gorges deep in remote Laos jungle. Guests booking before 5 January 2015 can benefit from a 10 per cent early booking saving.

Cruise-only from £1,791 per person based on two people sharing a main deck stateroom, fully inclusive of all excursions, crew gratuities, meals and non-premium drinks. Transfers between ports of embarkation and the international airport at the start and end of the voyage included.

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Virgin Cruises winter late deals from just £699




Seven night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on Norwegian Jade from £699pp
Virgin Holidays Cruises offers seven night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise onboard ‘Norwegian Jade’ from Venice, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Olympia and Venice. Price is per person based on two adults travelling, sharing an inside cabin on a full-board basis with flights from London Gatwick and transfers. Offer is subject to availability and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Based on departures 18 October.

Seven night Orlando Stay and Bahamas Cruise on Carnival Sensation from £699pp
Virgin Holidays Cruises offers three nights at Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando on a room only basis, before joining ‘Carnival Sensation’ for four nights from port Canaveral, calling at Freeport and Nassau. Price is per person based on two adults travelling and sharing an inside cabin on a full-board basis and includes Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick. Offer is subject to availability and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Based on departure date 27 November.

14 night Orlando Stay and Caribbean Cruise on Freedom of the Seas from £1,199pp – FREE All inclusive upgrade

Virgin Holidays Cruises offers seven nights at Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando on a room only basis, before joining ‘Freedom of the Seas’ for seven nights from Port Canaveral calling at Labadee (Haiti), Falmouth (Jamaica), George Town (Grand Cayman) and Cozumel. Price is per person based on two adults travelling and sharing an inside cabin on a full-board basis and includes Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick and car hire. Offer is subject to availability and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Based on departure date 27 November.


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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Seabourn’s UNESCO partnership brings World Heritage on board



Prominent experts on world heritage will be speaking on board Seabourn ships as part of the luxury cruise line’s newly-formed partnership with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Topics including culture, heritage, history and the importance of sustainable tourism in preserving World Heritage Sites will be covered by a host of UNESCO advisors and consultants as a new twist on Seabourn’s enrichment and entertainment programme, Seabourn Conversations.

There are more than a dozen UNESCO speakers scheduled to take part in Seabourn Conversations on sailings around the world during the next 18 months, including Jacinta Nzioka, director of marketing for the Kenya Tourist Board on Seabourn Sojourn (above) from 13 December. Dr. Carol Westrik, author of “The Future of World Heritage” for UNESCO’s 40th anniversary, Dr. Juan Jose Negro, an internationally-renowned speaker on natural heritage and director of the Doñana Biological Station in Spain (Seabourn Quest, 12 May 2015), and Dr. Ray Bondin (Seabourn Sojourn, 31 May 2015), who has extensive experience in the rehabilitation of heritage sites.

To view the full list of scheduled UNESCO guest speakers click here.

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Saturday, 27 September 2014

AmaWaterways offering savings of up to £1,000 per cabin off selected 2015 river cruises


On board AmaWaterways' twin-balconied AmaCerto

To mark CLIA’s Cruise Week, AmaWaterways is offering exclusive savings of up to £1,000 per cabin off selected 2015 river cruises, a free Berlitz river cruise guide for all bookings received during Cruise Week, and free access to airport lounges when flight-inclusive cruise packages are booked.

Rhone & Provence, a 7 night sailing from Lyon to Arles, departing on 3 September 2015, with prices from £2,209 per person, was £2,662pp, saving £453pp (balcony cabin £2,599pp, was £3,146pp, saving £547pp), including return UK flights, non UK transfers, all meals, free-flowing wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, free wi-fi, free use of on-board bicycles and daily tours and excursions. 

Melodies of the Danube, departing on 14 September 2015, a 7 night cruise on board the Berlitz top rated luxury river ship, AmaPrima, sailing from Budapest to Vilshofen. Prices from £2,049pp, was £2,464pp, saving £4,15pp, and balcony cabins from £2,439pp, was £2,948pp, saving £509pp. Prices include return UK flights and non UK transfers, all meals, free-flowing wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, free wi-fi, free use of on-board bicycles and daily tours and excursions. 

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Celebrity Cruises offers during Cruise Week


Offers that include free drinks and gratuities during October and early November are available from Celebrity Cruises during Cruise Week. Applicable to selected 2015 cruises, the offer applies to cruises booked between 1 October and 10 November and can save up to £40 per person per day of the holiday.

Book a Celebrity Cruises holiday between 1 October and 10 November on selected worldwide itineraries sailing between January and June 2015 and receive a free classic drinks package. Guests will receive the classic alcohol package worth up to £30 per guest, per night. The offer is available on sailings of seven nights or more to Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, Australia and New Zealand


For those sailing from the UK or enjoying a European cruise, Celebrity is also offering free gratuities on bookings made between 1 October and 10 November for sailings between April and June 2015., for oceanview stateroom accommodation and above.

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Silversea's 385 destinations for 2016



The 2016 schedule for Silversea's five ocean-going cruise ships will encompass 385 destinations on 177 voyages. Among 19 new ports are Summerside, Prince Edward Island (Canada); Rockland, Maine (U.S.A.); Le Marin, Martinique; Shimizu, Japan; Rijeka and Rab Island, Croatia; Bremerhaven, Germany; Ullapool, Scotland; and Kalmar, Sweden. Other classic fleet highlights include:

Venetian World Cruise: Departing Fort Lauderdale on the 5 January, this 115-day sailing will visit 51 destinations in 31 countries. It will follow a westward path through the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific. Guests will explore Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, and Bora Bora before sailing to New Zealand, Australia, and Asia. 

Circle South AmericaSilver Spirit departs on the 15 January on a 66-day roundtrip Grand Voyage from Fort Lauderdale. Highlights include a crossing of the Panama Canal, two days cruising Chile's majestic fjords, a three-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, plus multi-day calls in Buenos Aires and Callao (gateway to Lima and Machu Picchu).

South Africa:  Silver Cloud (above) offers a trio of 10-day voyages showcasing South Africa's east coast with convenient roundtrip departures from Cape Town in February. The sailings (1603 - 1605) include calls in Port Elizabeth, Durban, East London, Maputo, and an overnight stay in Richards Bay.


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Friday, 26 September 2014

Oceania Cruises: CLIA Cruise Week offers

                       

Oceania Cruises is offering £120 ship board credit for all bookings made for any of its worldwide cruises, on board its five mid-sized luxury cruise ships during CLIA Cruise Week, from 27 September – 5 October. The credit is applicable per stateroom and is redeemable in the ships’ boutiques, bars and spa. The company is also offering guests the opportunity to fly from regional airports throughout the UK for a supplement from just £49 per guest.

Oceania Cruises is known for specialising in sourcing the finest ingredients, which are served in six speciality restaurants on board the two newest ships, the 1,250-guest Marina and Riviera, both built to specification with epicureans in mind.

Current offers include:-

11 October, Barcelona to Venice, 10 nights £2,066pp, saving £879pp
Save £879pp off a spectacular cruise around the coastline of Italy and Croatia on board the food-lovers cruise ship, Marina, with the only hands-on cookery school at sea and six fine dining restaurants. 

22 October, Istanbul to Athens, 7 nights £1,276pp, saving £590pp
Spend a week cruising the eastern Mediterranean on board the newest ship in the Oceania Cruises’ fleet, the 1,250-guest luxury cruise ship Riviera (above) and save £590pp. 


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Balcony cabins on Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossings from just £799pp including flight – Sale ends 30 Sept!



Cunard has just launched a ‘New York Sale’ with balcony cabins on Queen Mary 2 available until 30 September 2014 for just £799 per person, including the outward or return Transatlantic flight.

For this special fare, passengers can and enjoy seven nights on crossings between October 2014 and January 2015.

Flying out to New York ahead of the ship will create the opportunity for festive shopping in the run-up to Christmas or the January sales, with no weight restrictions on luggage or jet-lag to worry about on the leisurely voyage back to the UK. Or sail from Southampton and enjoy five 25 hour days over the week at sea before making that New York arrival past the Statue of Liberty.

Westbound from Southampton to New York

•12-19 November 2014 M427B
•15-22 December 2014 M432

Eastbound Sailings from New York to Southampton        

•28 October – 4 November 2014 M425A

•19 – 26 November 2014 M429
•3 -10 January 2015 M502

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First pictures of P&O's newest cruise ship, Britannia, in her red, white and blue Union Flag livery



It’s been a long time coming, from the first unveiling of the artist’s impressions, to the start of painting initiated by two of the most senior executives in the cruise world - from both sides of the Atlantic. But the dramatic Union Jack bow of P&O’s Britannia is finally complete and ready to be shown off in all its red, white and blue glory.

At 94 metres long, it is the world’s largest contemporary version of the Union Flag and it has taken 420 litres of paint to complete - 320 litres of red and 180 litres of blue. Plus another 160 litres to create the bold P&O logo at the very front of the ship.

Florida’s richest man, Micky Arison - chairman of P&O’s parent company, Carnival Corporation - and David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, started the paint job three weeks ago. A team of workers finally completed the job yesterday while the vessel was back in dry-dock for a few finishing touches.


The £500 million ship, under construction at a shipyard in north-east Italy, will arrive in Southampton in March, ready for a spectacular christening ceremony and a sold-out 14-night maiden voyage to the Mediterranean.

Pictures by James Morgan









Silversea expedition cruises will visit 500 destinations in 2015


Silversea's three expedition ships, Silver ExplorerSilver Discoverer, and Silver Galapagos, will collectively explore more than 500 destinations on 95 expedition cruises. Included among 88 inaugural calls are Gough Island, St. Helena; Lizard Island, Australia; Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles; Ko Phra Thong, Thailand; and South Cinque Island, Andaman Archipelago.

Silver Explorer's schedule retains its expedition cruises to Antarctica, South and Central America, the British Isles, Northern Canada, Greenland, and Arctic Norway. New itineraries include a 12-day expedition to the White Sea sailing roundtrip from Tromso on 11 June, and an 18-day journey focused on Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, sailing roundtrip from Kangerlussuaq on 22 August.

Silver Discoverer's six expedition cruises along Australia's Kimberley Coast from March to May highlight an exotic programme that encompasses Africa, New Zealand, Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Russian Far East, and remote Alaska. On the schedule is a new 15-day, Phuket-to-Male sailing departing 2 December to explore Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Plus, on the 17 December, the ship departs Male on a new 17-day expedition to the Seychelles, Maldives, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Highlighting this voyage is an inaugural visit to Aldabra, an amazing raised coral atoll that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Silver Galapagos will again operate year-round voyages exploring the pristine and biologically diverse islands of the Galápagos.



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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Veranda Suite upgrades and exclusive National Cruise Week reduced fares from Seabourn


From 27 September to 13 October 2014 Seabourn will be offering customers complimentary upgrades to Veranda Suites and up to £500 off per person for National Cruise Week.
Complimentary upgrades to a Veranda Suite are included on sailings to destinations including the Adriatic and Greek Isles, the Mediterranean and Istanbul. Seabourn is also offering reduced fares on a range of European itineraries on bookings made on Veranda
Join Seabourn Odyssey on a seven-day Adriatic and Greek Isles cruise-only from £2,999 per person (based on two people sharing a Veranda suite, upgraded free of charge from an Oceanview Suite).
Price includes a seven-day cruise departing from Venice, Triluke Bay (Croatia), Dubrovnik, Kerkira, Nydri, Katakolon and Monemvasia before arriving into Piraeus. Price is based on 29 August 2015 departure.

Price applicable on bookings made between 27 September and 13 October 2014.

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Day four of the captains' favourite ports in association with CLIA.


Miami, USA – Captain Alessandro Galotto, Carnival Cruise Lines

“Miami is one of my favourite homeports as it not only offers warm, sunny weather all year-round but also a breathtaking view on arrival and departure.  The giant skyscrapers that line downtown Miami, the million dollar mansions along the coastline and the world-famous South Beach all come into view when sailing in and out of Miami.”
   


Cape Town, South Africa – Captain Christopher M Turner, Holland America Line

“The unique outline of Table Mountain with the ‘tablecloth’ laid and curling at the edges, as the view of Cape Town (Kaapstad) rises around Table Bay.”


Hong Kong – Captain Geir-Arne Thue-Nilsen, Seabourn

“One of my favourite city skylines is in Hong Kong.  To see the colour and light reflections from the sea is truly a beautiful sight.”




Caribbean sunshine with a Celebrity Cruises back to back sailing


Pack your bags for a Caribbean adventure this winter and enjoy warm sunshine and golden sands with Celebrity Cruises. Take advantage of Celebrity Cruises’ back-to-back offer and make the most of the Caribbean this November. Join Celebrity Summit on a 16-night fly/cruise from £1,535 per person (based on two people sharing an interior stateroom).

Price includes return flights from Heathrow, transfers, one night pre-cruise hotel accommodation and a 14-night cruise departing from San Juan and calling at St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands), Basseterre (St.Kitts), Roseau (Dominica), St. George’s, Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas), San Juan, Bridgetown  Castries (St. Lucia), St John’s , Philipsburg and a return to Charlotte Amalie  before sailing back to San Juan for the flight home; meals and entertainment onboard the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.   Price based on 7 November departure.

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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Set sail with the CLIA for Cruise Week




Cruise Week sets sail this Saturday (27 September) with a destinations theme highlighting the huge choice of places to visit on a cruise holiday, together with the experiences to be enjoyed both on board and ashore.

Research shows that destination remains the number one reason for people choosing a cruise holiday, with 1.73 million Brits taking a cruise in 2013. Cruise Week, organised by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), provides an opportunity for the travel industry to promote the benefits of cruise holidays and aims to encourage more people to consider a cruise for the first time.

Cruise Week will demonstrate the breadth in the choice of ship, style of cruise and destinations - from ships carrying just 100 passengers to floating resorts, from family holidays to expedition cruising and from worldwide destinations stretching from Antarctica to the Zambezi River.

Holidaymakers, cruise line staff ashore and on board, travel agents, ports and destinations around the world are being encouraged to post pictures on social media during Cruise Week featuring their favourite destinations, using the #lovecruise hashtag.

Andy Harmer, director of CLIA UK and Ireland, said: “It is our seventh year of celebrating holidays through Cruise Week and with destinations being the key reason people choose a cruise holiday, we wanted to focus on the huge choice of places to visit around the world either on an ocean or river cruise. A cruise holiday offers a mix of experiences whether that's for families, couples or solo travellers and the service provided is hard to beat."

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From Greece to Australia - more of CLIA captains' favourite ports

Day three of  CLIA cruise ship captains talking about their favorite ports.


Symi, Greece – Captain Nikos Charlaris, Louis Cruises

“As you glide into the long, natural harbour at Symi, you feel like you have slipped back in time. Perhaps the prettiest harbour in Greece, tiers of neo-classical mansions, owned by sponge fishing millionaire and shipping magnate are set in an amphitheatre bay overlooking crystal clear waters. The harbor has been a protected architectural site since the 1970s, which means it keeps its authentic and peaceful feel.”
Sydney, Australia – Captain David Pembridge, P&O Cruises

“The most spectacular sail-in in the world must be Sydney. In the early morning, before dawn, the ship sails from the turbulent waters of the Tasman Sea through The Heads into the calmer waters of Port Jackson. The unspoilt shores of the harbour are only faintly visible in the twilight as she turns to port to commence the passage through the navigation channels that will bring her into the heart of the city.
“Early morning ferries and adventurous yachtsmen criss-cross ahead of her as she continues towards the outline of Bradley's Head, sitting dark against the lightening sky. As dawn approaches, the turn to starboard around Bradley's Head brings the moment for which all of the watching passengers and crew have been waiting; the fantastic city skyline, the iconic Opera House and the vast span of the harbour bridge come into breath-taking view and welcome all on board to another wonderful visit to this magnificent city.”