Hurtigruten Expeditions Launches African Cruises

Hurtigruten Expeditions is responding to guest demand for more warm water destinations by adding the West Coast of Africa and its unique archipelagos – the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde – to its ever-growing list of new destinations. The 13-day itinerary includes four countries: Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal, with MS Spitsbergen based out of Dakar, one of Africa’s most bustling cities.

The expansion follows the cruise line’s recent launch announcement of year-round expedition cruises to the Galapagos Islands starting early 2022. Besides its first-ever African expedition cruises, Hurtigruten will also introduce a series of itineraries to the Canary Islands and Madeira for the 22/23 seasons.

“2022 will be one of the most adventurous years for Hurtigruten Expeditions. We will start the year by launching our Galapagos operations in January, and at the end of the year, we will introduce our first African cruises. We are very excited about expanding to new unique destinations, which complements our Caribbean and South American expedition cruises and strengthens our global position,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen. 

“We know our guests want to explore many different parts of the globe, and our ambition is to offer the world’s most exciting destinations that can best be explored by our small ships. With the Bissagos Islands and Cape Verde, we offer a truly unique and off-the-beaten-track destination that is perfect for an expedition adventure like no other,” said Lassesen. 

Hurtigruten Expedition’s first-ever African adventure will depart on November 27, 2022, and will be the first in a series of expedition cruises to visit Cape Verde and the Bissagos Islands. One of the world’s most untouched destinations, the Bissagos Islands will offer guests a combination of distinctive wildlife and diverse landscapes as they enjoy four days exploring the 88-island archipelago that is home to hippos, dolphins, crocodiles, sea turtles, manatees, and 500 species of birds.

Guests will explore Cape Verde and the Bissagos on board the extremely popular MS Spitsbergen, the best small cruise ship in Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice awards 2018. With fewer than 200 guests, the small expedition cruise ship entered service in 2016, providing an intimate and exclusive setting onboard. The ship also features Hurtigruten Expedition’s signature state-of-the-art Science Center. The industry-leading Science Program includes a wide range of Citizen Science research projects that guests are encouraged to participate in during their trip.

Cape Verde offers a distinctively different scenery compared to the Bissagos. Hurtigruten Expedition’s itineraries spend four full days visiting ports and destinations that no other cruise ships include. The ten rugged volcanic islands that make up the country boast a unique blend of African and Portuguese influences. Besides colonial churches, palatial mansions, and old forts in many of the cities and towns spread out across the archipelago, the islands are also a birdwatcher’s haven with many migratory and endemic species crisscrossing the islands. Other wildlife includes whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.

The itinerary also includes a day in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa. All cruises out of Dakar include land-based adventures as part of the itinerary. Before departure, guests will explore the impressive island of Gorée, where they will experience the colorful colonial houses, baobabs, and palm trees and immerse in the dark history of this former slave island. A city tour of Dakar is included on the disembarkation day, where guests will experience the charming multi-faceted city while discovering its historical moments and driving along the corniche.

Hurtigruten Expedition’s new African cruises will depart Dakar on November 27, December 9 and 21, 2022, and January 2 and 14, 2023.

While the Canary Islands and Madeira are known tourist destinations among European travelers, Hurtigruten Expedition’s cruises will show a different side of these islands, focusing on great hiking, national parks, and cultural walking tours. Wildlife includes whales, dolphins, and various birds. Madeira is also home to endemic and invasive plant species, with one optional excursion allowing guests to identify and remove invasive species with a local naturalist. The five 10-days sailings to the Canary Islands and Madeira in November 2022 and January through March of 2023.

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Posted in Cruise News, Hurtigruten

UK’s holiday bucket list longer than ever before

Royal Caribbean has revealed the ultimate holiday bucket list for 2021 and beyond, spanning 16,357 miles, taking 11 years to complete and costing a total of £35,790. A survey shows nearly half of UK holidaymakers’ bucket lists are longer than ever before since the pandemic, making it clear the UK’s zeal for holidays and experiences is greater than ever before.

The survey, commissioned by Royal Caribbean and coinciding with the cruise line’s global return to sailing, discovered the ultimate bucket list destinations for UK travellers includes Australia, Canada, Alaska, and the balmy islands of Barbados and The Bahamas. Seeing the northern lights, cruising in the Caribbean, and reaching the top of the Eiffel Tower are some of the most popular experiences holidaymakers are looking forward to today. However, half admit their itinerary is ‘increasing all the time’ and 70% are concerned they won’t ever complete it all.

Ben Bouldin, vice president, EMEA, Royal Caribbean International said: “Having had so much time without holidays, UK families have missed making memories with their loved ones. Royal Caribbean cruises are a great holiday option for those wanting to complete several adventures in one trip. Without even leaving our ships, guests can surf, sky dive, rock climb and go head-to-head with friends and family on the first bumper cars at sea. All of these incredible experiences are on board Anthem of the Seas, which is sailing the British Isles this summer.”

The bucket list survey results have been released on the heels of the return of the action-packed Anthem of the SeasEarlier this month, the chart-topping cruise ship departed from Southampton for the first time in six years and marked a celebratory moment for the cruise line’s return to sailing in the UK after 20 months. Anthem is welcoming guests on a range of summer cruises around the British Isles to charming ports such as the vibrant city of Liverpool, England; the home of maritime heritage, Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Kirkwall, Scotland located off the enchanted Orkney Islands.

When adding a dream destination to their bucket list, UK holidaymakers are keen to ensure it has picture-perfect landscapes, activities, excursions, and opportunities to explore different cultures and delicious food. Just under half (49%) consider ticking off activities and experiences on their travel list as one of their biggest life goals. And as such, 56% said they always take into consideration how they can live out their bucket list when booking a holiday.

Ben Bouldin added: “Our research shows that the average UK holidaymaker has around 12 must-do experiences on their bucket list; with this list growing all the time, they will want to ensure their next getaway packs in as much adventure as possible. Royal Caribbean has a huge range of once-in-a-lifetime onboard experiences and adventures in every destination for families and friends to enjoy together.”

Island hopping in Greece, seeing Mount Fuji and swimming with dolphins are also among the nation’s top 20 bucket list activities. Many of those polled would also like to walk the Great Wall of China, travel on the Orient Express, stay in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives, and take in the views from the Empire State Building.

Sailing with a fully vaccinated crew, Anthem’s limited summer itineraries to the British Isles are open for bookings and only available to UK residents 18 years and older who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and children under the age of 18 with negative test results.

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Names Newest Ship Seven Seas Grandeur

Regent Seven Seas Cruises today announced the name of its highly anticipated new ship as Seven Seas Grandeur. Embodying a 30-year legacy of perfecting luxury travel, the sixth member of the Regent fleet is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2023. Jason Montague, president & CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, revealed the name in an exciting video, which also unveiled the ship’s beautifully reimagined design of Compass Rose, the cruise line’s signature restaurant.

“The culmination of a 30-year heritage of perfection, Seven Seas Grandeur is the latest evolution in luxury cruising. Her refined style, matchless elegance and breath-taking beauty will exceed all expectations of our discerning guests,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “We are immensely proud that by the end of 2023 we will have welcomed a sixth member to the world’s most luxurious fleet. It’s a testament to the expanding demand for luxury cruising that the Regent brand is driving thanks to our perfectly sized ships offering unrivalled space at sea.”

Seven Seas Grandeur will host only 750 guests and have a gross tonnage of 55,254, providing among the highest space ratios and staff to guest ratios in the industry. She is a sister ship to Seven Seas Explorer®, the most luxurious ship ever built and Seven Seas Splendor®, the ship that perfects luxury. 

Further details about Seven Seas Grandeur’s suites, restaurants, amenities and onboard experiences will be revealed at RSSC.com/Seven-Seas-Grandeur leading up to her 2023 debut, with her inaugural season unveiled and open for reservations on September 22, 2021.

Compass Rose – A Unique Dining Experience Reimagined

Designed by the multi-award-winning Studio DADO, Seven Seas Grandeur’s elevation of luxury travel begins with the cruise line’s signature speciality restaurant Compass Rose, the menu of which allows guests to uniquely curate their own dining experience on every visit.

Restaurants on board all Regent ships are exquisite, but for Seven Seas Grandeur’s Compass Rose we wanted to create a space that was truly a feast for the eyes,” said Yohandel Ruiz, founding partner, Studio DADO. “This new design of Compass Rose will pique guests’ curiosity and sense of wonder before they have even set foot in the restaurant, and go on to delight with a sumptuous, personalised meal in dramatic and

beautiful surroundings. It’s a dining experience that they will regale friends and family with time and again.”

The captivating new design of Compass Rose starts outside the restaurant, with a delicate, cascading waterfall sculpture imbuing tranquillity and fashioned with laser-cut metal and hand-blown glass. Once inside, guests will be greeted by a canopy of interwoven crystal and wood-edge illuminated trees arching overhead, giving the impression of dining in a beautiful and enchanted forest.

As the sun goes down and dinner is served, guests will be awe-struck by the floor to ceiling illumination of the thousands of individually placed crystal-faceted leaves which are encrusted on the kaleidoscope of pillars and branches enveloping the restaurant. A star-dusted view of the ocean is also provided by hundreds of twinkling lights surrounding the windows.

Adding to the atmospheric dining experience will be a custom-designed mural by Confluent Studios. Crafted with gold-leaf and Verre Eglomisé, the mural will depict the flora and fauna at the forest’s edge making the restaurant appear endless.

Ruiz continued, “Our goal was to create a space that is magical and transformative which, much like Compass Rose’s menu, has the potential to delight guests with something new each time they dine.”

Providing more choice than cruise travellers will have experienced before, Compass Rose offers a tantalising mix of new and familiar items on every visit. Guests are able to design their very own entrée from preferred sides, sauces, pastas and main features such as Black Angus filet mignon, New Zealand lamb chops, Maine lobster tail and king sea scallops. The restaurant also has daily changing specials, as well as a wide  vegan and vegetarian menu.

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Posted in Cruise News, Regent Seven Seas

Introducing Ambassador Cruise Line

Did you know there’s a brand-new cruise line in the UK? Ambassador Cruise Line, based in Essex, is the first new British cruise line to be launched since 2010 and the people behind it have a very clear vision of what they are to represent, and ultimately what they will offer their guests. Ambassador Cruise Line promises to offer an authentic cruise experience and, well, for me, that ticks a very large box indeed. Everyone knows I enjoy the smaller more intimate ships, although I do love the big ones too, there’s just something about small-ship cruising that I find so enjoyable. 

Anyway, enough about me, I want to tell you more about Ambassador Cruise Line

Who is Ambassador Cruise Line?

Ambassador’s staff and crew will be the friendliest, and most diverse, in the industry. Guests will make long-lasting friendships both with fellow guests and crew, creating a community at sea.

Ambassador’s extremely experienced management team includes several members who worked previously with Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) led by CEO, Christian Verhounig supported by Chief Commercial Officer, Christopher Coates, CIO, Gary Hides and CFO, Simon Weeks.

Through funds managed by Njord Partners LLP, London, the company is fully equity-financed (no financial debt). The Chair of the Board of Directors is Gordon Wilson who has over 30 years of experience in the global travel industry. This includes his role as the President and CEO of Travelport until July 2019. He is a member of the Supervisory Board of BCD Holdings which owns global corporate travel management company, BCD Travel. He has been appointed to the Chair of the Board of Interactive Investor, the second largest direct-to-consumer investment platform in the UK.

What is Ambassador Cruise Line?

Ambassador sails for the British market from London Tilbury with a focus on premium-value. Ambassador Cruise Line’s first ship, Ambience, will sail from Tilbury in Spring 2022. After completing its inaugural season in Spring 2023, the cruise line plans to extend sailings from additional regional ports including Liverpool and Newcastle on an ex-UK no-fly range of voyages.

Ambassador Cruise Line is adult-focussed and age-inclusive but primarily aimed at the 50-plus market. The cruise line will run a number of multi-generation cruises over the summer holidays.

Ambassador will deliver distinguished cuisine, fascinating voyages on a classic cruise ship, great entertainment, like-minded guests and treasured destinations. The company will deliver a seamless, authentic, and enriching cruise experience.

Where will Ambassador Cruise Line sail?

All departing from London Tilbury, Ambassador Cruise Line’s carefully curated no-fly programme of 33 inaugural year sailings will visit a total of 88 different ports. Featured destinations will include the British Isles, the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltics and St Petersburg, Greenland, the Arctic and Iceland, plus several short break cruises. For the winter months a range of exploration style voyages will sail to the Canaries, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.

When will Ambassador Cruise Line sail?

The maiden season of Ambience will operate between 6 April 2022 and Spring 2023. Ambience’s inaugural voyage will be a short break cruise to Hamburg on Wednesday 6th April 2022.

How will Ambassador Cruise Line look after guests?

Ambassador’s smaller to mid-sized classic cruise ship – Ambience – offers a higher space to guest ratio, making cruising more relaxed and will provide guests with reassurance.

Ambassador’s health and safety mandate will ensure the crew is vaccinated, and only vaccinated guests will be welcomed onboard. The cruise line will also work closely with all destinations to adhere to local health guidelines and requirements.

Treating our guests right is not just about the booking and onboard experience. In accordance with The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, we have insurance cover in place to financially protect all guests booking with Ambassador Cruise Line, for all monies paid either directly or via their travel agent. In addition, we will operate a fully compliant independent Trust Account where guests’ funds are deposited and only released when the cruise departs. Our offer also includes a booking guarantee in the event we are forced to cancel a cruise.

If you want to experience an ex-UK cruise on a mid-sized ship, then why not consider Ambassador? I certainly will! 

You can keep up to date with developments, itinerary release and more by signing up to the Ambassador newsletter.

Sponsored 

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Posted in Ambassador Cruise Line, Cruise News

Disney’s Newest Ship ‘Disney Wish’ Will Unlock Enchanting Family Holidays

When the Disney Wish sets sail on 9 June, 2022, families will discover a mesmerising new world created especially for them: a celebration of Disney’s rich legacy of enchanting storytelling that brings to life the fantastical worlds and beloved characters at the heart of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars adventures like never before. 

Families will embark on a splashtacular adventure with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse aboard the first-ever Disney attraction at sea; revel in a royal celebration during a theatrical dining experience with “Frozen” friends; team up with the Avengers on a Marvel cinematic dining adventure; and travel to a galaxy far, far away in a first-of-its-kind Star Wars experience on board a Disney ship.

“With the Disney Wish, we’re continuing our tradition of delivering the most magical and relaxing holidays at sea, combining legendary service and entertainment with imaginative storytelling and all the care you expect from a Disney holiday,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “Our newest ship will celebrate everything that families love about sailing with us, from the incredible dining experiences and character interactions, to dazzling shows and the crew’s thoughtful attention to detail. We can’t wait to welcome our guests aboard the Disney Wish as we expand the reach of our world-class fleet.”

The Disney Wish will sail its maiden voyage — a five-night cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay — on 9 June, 2022, followed by an inaugural season of three- and four-night cruises to the same destinations from Port Canaveral, Florida. Bookings open to the general public on 27 May, 2021.

Wish Upon A Star

The Disney Wish will feature a brand-new, distinctly Disney design concept inspired by timeless tales of wishes come true. The motif of enchantment — a theme found at the heart of so many beloved Disney stories — will manifest in wondrous ways throughout the ship, from the magical forest setting of the Walt Disney Theatre to storybook-inspired staterooms to the fairytale castle-inspired Grand Hall, where a dazzling wishing star descends from the shimmering chandelier above.

“Daring to dream even bigger, our Imagineers are creating a breathtaking new world of enchantment aboard the Disney Wish,” said Laura Cabo, portfolio creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “This motif provides the perfect platform to infuse Disney storytelling into every aspect of the design, giving the Disney Wish its own unique personality and a completely new look unlike anything else at sea.”

To “Swim”-finity and Beyond

Disney Cruise Line will take fun in the sun to the next level on board the Disney Wish with a brand-new family water attraction and three themed districts that offer dedicated space for families, children and adults alike.

Guests will be immersed in “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” animated shorts aboard the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, AquaMouse. Complete with show scenes, lighting and special effects, and splashtacular surprises, this wild water ride is sure to delight everyone in the family as they zig, zag and zoom through 760 feet of winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks.

Families will have more pools, more deck space and more dining than ever before in an expansive district themed to Mickey and friends. In addition to AquaMouse, the area will feature six pools — spaciously staggered among tiered decks and surrounded by lounge chairs — and a fresh take on quick and casual fare with a festive character twist.

Little ones will delight in an all-new Toy Story-themed district designed especially for families with toddlers and young children. This whimsical water wonderland will include a splash zone, wading pool, family waterslide and smoothie bar.

Adults will indulge in sun-drenched serenity at Quiet Cove, a peaceful refuge dedicated to lounging and sipping on refreshing beverages. Set away from the bustle of family activities, this secluded adults-only district will feature a luxurious infinity pool, poolside bar and chic cafe.

Prepared and Served with Flair – A Culinary Cabaret

With the debut of three brand-new family dining concepts ranging from theatrical entertainment to cinematic adventure to sophisticated elegance, dinner on board the Disney Wish will be so much more than a meal – it will be a chance to interact with favourite Disney stories in exciting new ways that only Disney Cruise Line can cook up.

Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure is Disney’s first “Frozen”-themed theatrical dining experience that will bring the world of Arendelle to life through immersive live entertainment — featuring favourite characters like Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf — and world-class cuisine infused with Nordic influences.

Worlds of Marvel is the first-ever Marvel cinematic dining adventure, where guests will play an interactive role in an action-packed Avengers mission that unfolds around them, complete with a worldly menu inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

1923, named for the year The Walt Disney Company was founded, is an elegant celebration of the company’s legacy, paying homage to the golden age of animation and offering a tasteful tribute to its Californian heritage with dishes inspired by the state’s unique fusion of cultural flavours.

In addition to elaborately themed, upscale restaurants, the Disney Wish will offer a variety of dining options ranging from quick bites, casual dining and 24-hour room service to specialty treats, gourmet cafes and premium dining exclusively for adults.

A Whole New World of Family Entertainment

Disney Cruise Line is combining innovative design and technology to create immersive entertainment environments that will surround guests in storytelling in new and unexpected ways on board the Disney Wish.

The Grand Hall will evolve from a fairytale gathering space into an environmental theatre through the magic of built-in special effects and the first-ever atrium stage on a Disney ship. Dedicated shows and interactive entertainment will come to life all around the hall, putting guests front and centre as they play a special role in the magic.

Luna is a brand-new entertainment hub that will transition from a daytime setting for family fun into an elegant evening venue for adult-exclusive entertainment, offering a variety of live shows and interactive programming throughout the day.

Hero Zone is a futuristic sports arena where physical activity will blend with imagination during action-packed challenges and game show-style competitions for families to take on together.

The Walt Disney Theatre is an opulent show palace that will come alive with original Broadway-style stage productions developed exclusively for Disney Cruise Line.

The Wonderland and Never Land Cinemas are intimate screening rooms that will provide guests more options than ever to watch classic and first-run films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and more.

In true Disney Cruise Line fashion, the Disney Wish will offer a robust menu of world-class entertainment throughout every voyage, including spectacular stage shows, exhilarating deck parties, one-of-a-kind character experiences, fun family activities, contemporary cabarets and more.

Imaginations, Assemble! Cool Clubs for Kids of All Ages

Aboard Disney Cruise Line, kids get to be the heroes of their own Disney stories. With dedicated clubs for every age group and imaginative programming facilitated with the care and expertise of Disney-trained counselors, children will be immersed in Disney storytelling on board the Disney Wish.

Children ages 3 to 12 will enter the captivating worlds of favourite Disney stories in the reimagined Disney’s Oceaneer Club, a real-life wonderland featuring more spaces and stories than ever before. Expertly developed programming combines deeply engaging, enriching activities with special playtime with Disney friends – and when characters stop by, they stay to play, offering uniquely interactive, memorable character experiences exclusive to Disney Cruise Line.

  • Marvel Super Hero Academy is a high-tech Avengers headquarters where young “recruits” will train to be the next generation of Super Heroes with the help of their own heroes, like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
  • Fairytale Hall is a royal trio of activity rooms where princesses and princes will let their creativity shine at Rapunzel’s Art Studio, read and act out stories at Belle’s Library, and test newfound icy powers at Anna and Elsa’s Sommerhus.
  • Walt Disney Imagineering Lab is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for kids to discover the secrets of world-renowned Disney Imagineers — the creative masterminds behind Disney theme parks, resorts and cruise ships — with hands-on activities and inventive experiments.

For the littlest cruisers ages 6 months to 3 years, It’s a Small World Nursery will offer babysitting services in a whimsical environment inspired by the beloved Disney attraction of the same name.

Edge (ages 11 to 14) and Vibe (ages 14 to 17) are trendy hangouts where tweens and teens will chill and play in their own way, with dedicated programming designed to engage the unique interests of these age groups.

A Trove of Untold Treasures Exclusively for Adults

Adults aboard the Disney Wish will escape, relax, dine and play in more ways than ever with exclusive venues and entertainment tailored just for them, featuring elevated interpretations of Disney stories through sophisticated theming that ranges from subtle inspiration to full-scale immersion.

For the first time on a Disney ship, guests will embark on a space-jumping tour of the Star Wars galaxy at Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, a high-end bar styled as a luxurious yacht-class spaceship. This richly themed, immersive experience will be reserved for adults every evening, offering interactive tasting experiences and signature beverages inspired by destinations such as Batuu, Tatooine and Mustafar.

Aboard the Disney Wish, guests will savour gourmet meals and exceptional beverages at Palo SteakhouseEnchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement and The Rose, an upscale suite of epicurean excellence exclusively for adults, inspired by the elegant icons of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Beauty and the Beast.”

  • Palo Steakhouse is an evolution of the Palo restaurant that Disney cruisers know and love, now combining the relaxed sophistication of authentic Italian dining with the classic refinement of a modern steakhouse in a genteel setting inspired by Cogsworth, the tale’s majordomo-turned-enchanted-clock.
  • Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement will offer the most luxurious dining experience on board, featuring a gourmet menu crafted by three-Michelin-starred Chef Arnaud Lallement. This romantic and intimate venue will evoke the dazzling spirit of the film’s candelabra maitre d’, Lumiere. 
  • The Rose is a chic lounge at the entrance of Palo Steakhouse and Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement. Inspired by the fateful flower at the heart of the story, The Rose will be an idyllic setting for a pre-dinner aperitif or after-dinner cocktail.

Senses Spa is a tranquil oasis offering indulgent spa and beauty treatments, drawing on the serenity of natural elements to promote pampering and relaxation. The spa will feature private treatment rooms, lavish spa villas, and steam and aromatherapy rooms, while the reimagined Senses Fitness will offer state-of-the-art exercise and wellness facilities. 

Other adult-exclusive spaces on board the Disney Wish will include the Quiet Cove pool district; a variety of gourmet cafes, relaxed bars and upscale lounges; and more.

Artful Accommodations Where Dreams Do Come True

With an all-new look and feel steeped in enchantment and inspired by dreamy Disney stories, every stateroom on board the Disney Wish will be a luxurious, peaceful retreat designed with ample room for families, plenty of storage and upscale amenities. Most will feature Disney Cruise Line’s signature split-bathroom concept for utmost comfort and function.

Most of the ship’s 1,254 staterooms will offer an ocean view — including 877 (70%) with a spacious verandah — and there will be 451 connecting doors that adjoin rooms to accommodate larger families.

The Disney Wish will elevate the concierge experience with more than double the number of premium concierge staterooms and suites, including Disney’s first-ever staterooms located above the bridge, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal breath-taking ocean views overlooking the bow of the ship. An exclusive lounge with private sun deck will be the perfect place for concierge guests to relax, sip a cocktail and enjoy a premium level of dedicated service throughout the voyage.

The Disney Wish will also debut four royal suites – richly adorned, lavishly appointed suites that accommodate up to six guests and feature extravagant details and first-class amenities. These include a pair of two-story suites, the first of their kind within the Disney fleet, which will feature stunning statement pieces like an elegant spiral staircase and a spectacular two-deck-high stained-glass frieze.

Into the Unknown – Expanding the Disney Cruise Line Fleet

The Disney Wish is the first of three new Disney Cruise Line ships to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany through 2025. All three ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons, will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. 

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Azamara To Resume Sailings in August With Greek Itineraries

Azamara has announced that Azamara Quest will return to the high seas beginning August 28, 2021 with five back-to-back Country-Intensive Voyages and one classic Mediterranean sailing; each seven-days in length and a total of 18 late-night stays in port, including Santorini, Rhodes and Heraklion, Greece.

“Over the past year, our team – ship to shoreside – continued to connect with our guests and travel partners. Our biggest takeaway is the desire everyone has to sail again, and we are excited to share that we can finally make this dream come true,” said President of Azamara, Carol Cabezas. “There’s no better way to return to service than in a country Azamara knows best, Greece. Our return to sail wouldn’t be possible without the support from Honorable Minister Harry Theoharis, the local government and port authorities, and we are extremely grateful for welcoming us back into this beautiful and culturally rich destination.”  

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Azamara and its guests in Greece in August,” says Honorable Minister Harry Theoharis. “We fully support the line’s return to cruising in the Aegean waters and we are sure that all of its passengers will have unique experiences in our beautiful destinations.”

Voyages will open for booking on May 11, 2021. With the health and safety of guests and crew being the top priority for the return to sail, Azamara has made the decision to require all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated no later than 14-days prior to departure. Once the sailings open for booking, the upmarket cruise line will reveal protocol guidelines led by the Healthy Sail Panel, to reassure guests a healthy return to service.  

With travel requirements remaining unconfirmed throughout most of Europe, all sailings aboard Azamara Journey® and Azamara Pursuit® will be suspended until September 2021. Current Azamara Quest sailings through October 2, 2021 are also suspended, with the new Country-Intensive voyages beginning August 28, 2021. Guests impacted by summer suspensions will be offered a number of flexible options to rebook or request refunds for current reservations.  Guests looking to book these new voyages and other Azamara cruises can still take advantage of Azamara’s “Cruise with Confidence” benefits, offering flexibility for fully paid reservations booked by May 31, 2021 for sailings through April 30, 2022. 

Greece Highlights:    

Medieval, ancient wonders of Rhodes, Greece:  Known as the Island of the Knights, guests can visit ancient wonders including the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 

Stunning architecture and ruins of Heraklion, Greece: The fourth largest city in Greece, guests can explore Heraklion’s architectural marvels including The Bronze Age Palace of Knossos, an ancient palace with ruins dating back to the early Minoan period.

Volcanic splendors and stunning sunset in Santorini, Greece: Santorini was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. Travelers can sail the caldera or discover the ancient ruins of Akrotiri by day and soak in the sunset views from Azamara Quest, as nightfall descends upon the island.

Ancient Delos and beautiful beaches of Mykonos, Greece: Step back in time to mythological Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and historic UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests can explore the hidden corners and captivating coastline of Mykonos by 4X4 or caique, a traditional wooden boat. 

A blend of old and new in the coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus: Travelers can visit the last divided capital of the world, Nicosia, shared by Cyprus and Turkey. Byzantine landmarks, tales of the Crusades, or ventures into the countryside to explore the fruit orchards, olive groves and vineyards await.

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Posted in Azamara, Cruise News

Viking Takes Delivery Of Newest Ocean Cruise Ship

The Viking Sky in Lofoten, Norway, on its way to the North Cape. Just before midnight the rain stopped, the midnight sun appeared, and so did the Viking Sky. It was a truly exceptional moment.

Viking today announced it took delivery of Viking Venus, the company’s newest ocean ship. The delivery ceremony took place this morning when the ship was presented at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy. Viking Venus will now make her way to the United Kingdom, where she will be officially named on 17 May 2021 by her ceremonial godmother, Anne Diamond, the esteemed British journalist and broadcaster. The ship will then sail spring and summer departures of the England’s Scenic Shores itinerary.

“We are especially proud to welcome our newest ship to the fleet this year. Many of us have stayed close to home for months, so this is an especially important milestone as we begin to get back out into the world again,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “We look forward to celebrating the naming of Viking Venus by her esteemed godmother, Anne Diamond—and to welcoming our UK guests back on board next month.” 

For more than a year, Anne Diamond has been a key figure on Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, Viking.TV Viking.TV went live in March 2020, in the early stages of the pandemic, and was conceived as a way to build community, stay connected and share positive experiences while people are staying home, rather than travelling. Every Thursday since the launch of Viking.TV, Anne has interviewed a wide spectrum of significant figures with relationships to Viking, including world-renowned cellist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma; Xander Parish, OBE, principal ballet dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre; the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon; the Duke of Devonshire; explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison, OBE; former PBS MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton, OBE; Downton Abbey’s “Mrs. Patmore,” actress Lesley Nicol; polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft; NASA astronauts Dr. Anna Fisher, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan and Dr. Richard Michael Linnehan; classical musicians Alma and Helen Deutscher; legendary actor, broadcaster and writer Sir Michael Palin; celebrity chefs Eric Ripert, Andreas Viestad and Ainsley Harriott, MBE; bestselling authors Jeffrey Archer, Claire Cook, Robert Harris and Paul Schneider; and Kyle MacLachlan, Sofia Helin and Alexander Eik, the lead actors and the creator of the new US PBS MASTERPIECE series, Atlantic Crossing.

Today’s news follows Viking’s recent announcement that it is restarting operations with a collection of new itineraries in England, Bermuda and Iceland beginning in May 2021. All of Viking’s new Welcome Back voyages are available exclusively for vaccinated guests, in accordance with local entry rules in many of the destinations that will welcome Viking ships—and as a complement to the Viking Health & Safety Programme, which was designed to protect guests and crew even while the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is still moving forward.

Viking Venus is the newest ship in Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet of identical sister ships. Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” Viking’s ocean vessels have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can host 930 guests; the ships feature all veranda staterooms, Scandinavian design, airy public spaces and abundant al fresco dining options.

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Posted in Cruise News, Viking Cruises

Cunard Unveils Summer At Sea luxury UK Voyages Including Special Sun Voyages Sailing ’Wherever The Sun Shines Brightest’

Cunard is offering UK guests the opportunity to spend this summer at sea, with a series of UK voyages on board Queen Elizabeth.  Voyages will be round-trip from Southampton, between July and October 2021, and comprise of British Isles scenic cruising and special Sun Voyages, sailing to wherever the sun shines brightest.


Ten British Isles Voyages and three Sun Voyages, lasting between three and twelve nights, are available. Guests will be able to experience the most luxurious summer at sea enjoying exquisite fine dining, the on-board spa and spectacular entertainment while having the opportunity to see the UK’s coastline from a unique vantage point.


British Isles Voyages include scenic sailings along Britain’s coastline including The Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO world heritage site, Cornwall including Land’s End and Scotland including the Isle of Arran, Mull of Kintyre and Sound of Mull. Four voyages will make various port calls, including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle as well as a maiden call for Cunard’s fleet to the Welsh port of Holyhead.


Four night scenic British Isles Voyages are priced from £599 per person for a Balcony Stateroom, while a ten night British Isles Voyage will start at £1,299 per person for a Balcony Stateroom. Seven night Sun Voyages are priced from £899 per person for a Balcony Stateroom.


Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: “Cunard’s Summer at Sea luxury UK voyages are a truly unique way for guests to have a much-needed break this summer. With international travel not yet fully opened up we’re delighted to offer these voyages exclusively for British guests to experience a staycation unlike any other, as they relax in Cunard luxury knowing we will take care of everything.


“Guests can sail along some of the most stunning coastlines anywhere in the world, as Queen Elizabeth provides a unique vantage point, or sail on one of our Sun Voyages where the destination is unscripted and is guided by studying the weather forecast and heading to where the sun shines brightest.”


Given the advanced progress of the UK vaccination programme, and strongly expressed preference on the part of our guests for this limited series of UK coastal cruises, these sailings on Queen Elizabeth will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only. All other voyages on sale currently do not require guests to be vaccinated.  
All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and wellbeing measures to protect everyone on board on these cruises. These have been developed with guidance from our global medical and public health experts

and scientists and in close coordination with UK government agencies. These protocols include enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing and the wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship. Crew will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board. Our protocols are subject to change, as we will continue to work with our experts and with government bodies to ensure all of our practices evolve in line with latest advice, with our primary focus always being to protect the health and wellbeing of our crew and guests and the communities we visit.

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Posted in Cruise News, Cunard Cruise Line, No Fly Cruises

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Prepares For July Restart With British Isles and Scenic Sailings

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has today unveiled a brand new ‘Welcome Back’ programme of cruises to showcase the best of the British Isles this summer, with scenic-only cruises and those with ports of call featured aboard its smaller ships.

The 11-cruise programme includes departures from Dover and Liverpool, with scenic sailings taking in the best of the British Isles, including the Shetland and Orkney islands and the Isles of Scilly.

New ship Borealis will be the first of the fleet to set sail, with a three-night scenic ‘Maiden Voyage’ from Liverpool on 5th July, with Bolette to depart on a three-night ‘Maiden Voyage’ from Dover on 16th August.

Peter Deer, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“We are so excited to be unveiling these new summer cruises today. So often overlooked, our British Isles are home to some of the most wonderful wildlife, and so much spectacular scenery that is best enjoyed from the water.

“With this selection of shorter sailings, guests can dip their toes back into cruising and enjoy all that they love about being on board with us, before we all begin to venture further afield again. 

“This is an incredibly important milestone for our business, and we can’t wait to welcome our guests on board our new-look fleet this summer.”

Highlights of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ summer sailings include:

Borealis’ four-night S213 ‘Scenic British Isles & Summer Wildlife’ no port cruise, departing from Liverpool on 8th July 2021. Prices start from £549 per person. Enjoy up to £75 per person to spend on board. 

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Cruising by Neist Point Lighthouse – Cruising by Kilt Rock & Mealt Waterfall – Cruising Loch Broom –  Cruising by The Small Isles – Cruising Loch Hourn – Cruising by Dutchman’s Cap – (Bac Mòr) & Fingals Cave – Cruising Sound of Mull – Cruising by Duart Castle – Liverpool, England

Borealis’ five-night S215 ‘Scenic Orkney & Faroe Islands’ no port cruise, departing from Liverpool on 17th July 2021. Prices start from £699 per person. Enjoy up to £100 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Cruising by The Needle, Orkney, Scotland – Cruising by Old Man of Hoy, Hoy, Orkneys – Cruising by Marwick Head, Orkneys – Cruising by Fair Isle – Cruising by Sumburgh Head, Shetlands – Cruising by Cape Enniberg – Cruising Kalsoyarfjørður – Cruising Leirvíksfjørður & Djúpini – Cruising by Vestmanna cliffs, Streymoy – Cruising by Gásadalur – Cruising by Mykines – Cruising Gáshólmur, Tindhólmur & Drangarnir – Cruising by Hestur & Koltur – Liverpool, England

Bolette’s five-night T217 ‘Touring Scenic Orkneys & Shetlands’ cruise, departing from Dover on 24th August 2021. Prices start from £799 per person. Enjoy up to £100 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Dover, England – Lerwick, Shetland Islands – Kirkwall, Orkney Islands – Dover, England

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Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, No Fly Cruises

P&O Cruises Offers Ultimate Escape UK Cruises This Summer

P&O Cruises is offering a series of short breaks on flagship Britannia this summer and week-long cruises on new ship Iona. These cruises will depart from Southampton between June and September, sailing around the UK coast, “where the sun shines brightest.”

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Given recent announcements we have every hope that our guests will be able to enjoy a holiday this summer. After the stresses and challenges of the past year everyone certainly deserves a treat and this series of cruises will provide memorable and much needed UK getaways. Whilst there is still uncertainty about holidays abroad this summer, we are delighted to be able to offer our guests the ultimate escape here in the UK with the reassurance that we will take care of everything. Also, we really will look at the weather forecast each cruise and aim to take our ships where it is warm and sunny.

“As the start of Iona’s very special maiden season, the new Ultimate Escape series of holidays includes a memorable seven night maiden voyage sailing around the Scottish islands. Iona will anchor off Iona, the island after which she was named, with a celebratory extended stay until sunset for magical views of the historic shores.”

Setting sail from Southampton guests will be able to enjoy the ultimate British break on Britannia and Iona – gourmet dining and poolside bites; cocktails and coffees; shopping, spas, shows and endless sea views.

Britannia will offer three and four night breaks and one six night holiday running from June 27, 2021 through to September 19, 2021. Iona offers seven night itineraries running from August 7, 2021 to September 18, 2021. Prices start from £449 per person for a three night break on Britannia. Iona’s seven night maiden voyage starts from £1,199 per person.

Given the advanced progress of the UK vaccination programme, and strong expressed preference on the part of our guests for this limited series of UK coastal cruises, these sailings on Britannia and Iona will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated* guests only.

All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and wellbeing measures to protect everyone on board on these cruises. These have been developed with guidance from our global medical and public health experts and scientists and in close coordination with UK government agencies. These protocols include enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing and the wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship. Crew will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board. Our protocols are subject to change, as we will continue to work with our experts and with government bodies to ensure all of our practices evolve in line with latest advice, with our primary focus always being to protect the health and wellbeing of our crew and guests and the communities we visit. Travel insurance will also be mandatory for all guests.**

Ludlow added: “As we have spent the majority of the last year at home, to be able to have a restorative and relaxing break, sit on deck with a sea view in the summer sunshine and then enjoy an indulgent dinner and show – it’s certainly what we all need this year and we cannot wait to have our guests back on board.”

Example Ultimate Escape itineraries:

Prices for a balcony cabin and subject to availability

Three night cruise on Britannia, from £449

The price includes full board meals and entertainment on board. Departing from Southampton and returning to Southampton with coastal cruising along the south coast of England.

Four night cruise on Britannia, from £499

The price includes full board meals and entertainment on board. Departing from Southampton and returning to Southampton with coastal cruising along the south coast of England.

Iona Maiden – Scottish Islands, 7 nights, from £1,199

Seven night cruise on Iona (G126N) from £1,199 per person. Departing August 7, 2021 the price includes full board meals and entertainment on board. Departing from Southampton and returning to Southampton with coastal cruising to Scotland including the Inner Hebrides and the island of Iona.

Voyage to the sun, 7 nights, from £779

Seven night cruise on Iona from £779 per person. The price includes full board meals and entertainment on board. Departing from Southampton and returning to Southampton with coastal cruising past the Channel Islands and along the coast of France.

The cruises go on sale on Monday March 22, 2021 at 8.30am and will be available to book online on http://www.pocruises.com or telephone 03453 555 111 or through a travel agent.

Dining

Foodies are spoilt for choice on both Britannia and Iona. The Glass House boasts 40 wines handpicked by wine expert Olly Smith and paired with a delicious small-bites menu. There’s fine dining in beautiful surroundings at Epicurean, and authentic Indian food with a British twist at Sindhu as well as Britannia’s Marco Pierre White Cookery Club. The Market Café on Britannia is full of sweet treats by master pâtissier Eric Lanlard (and Epicurean offers his decadent afternoon tea), while The Beach House is a laid-back spot offering comfort-food favourites.

On Iona, good food is an art form. With 30 different places to eat, there are many exciting new dining concepts including The Quays, piazza-style dining with a lively atmosphere and choices including American diner, Mediterranean classics, Asian favourites or traditional fish and chips. The Keel and Cow is a British gastropub serving speciality aged steaks and for a lighter bite the global dishes at Taste 360 offer an exciting new on-deck dining experience which will include authentic dishes from Spanish chef Jose Pizarro.

Entertainment

Guests can enjoy a variety of entertainment from movies to full-scale production shows, live music to impromptu aerial acrobatics. Iona’s entertainment will reach new heights in SkyDome and its retractable stage presenting top acts, live shows and late-night dancing. In the Grand Atrium there will be aerialists and pop-up performances while Headliners theatre will present contemporary shows mixing song, dance and showbiz glamour. Music-lovers will enjoy The 710 Club catching live sets from renowned music and singing talent. Ocean Studios is the place to be for new releases and classic movies.

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Posted in Cruise News, No Fly Cruises, P&O Cruises
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