Hurtigruten Expeditions adds 7 new Arctic adventures for 2023

Hurtigruten Expeditions expands its 2023 Arctic Summer season with seven brand new adventures – taking guests closer to the local people and communities, and deeper into the wilderness of the north.

Spanning 11 to 19 days, the new departures from June to September 2023 will take in some of the most spectacular areas beyond and above the Arctic circle on board the small-size expedition cruise favourite MS Maud.

“We are thrilled to further expand our Arctic expedition cruise offering by introducing MS Maud on a series of best-of-the-best itineraries, handcrafted by our team of experts and based on our almost 130 years of Arctic experience. Working closely with the local communities, our small-ship expedition cruises take you where the big ships can’t, closer to the people and nature of the north,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions’ CEO Asta Lassesen.

These new itineraries will depart from either Dover, United Kingdom, or Reykjavik, Iceland, and will take guests to Greenland, Svalbard, the British Isles, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.

With the addition of MS Maud to the Arctic region summer 2023, Hurtigruten Expeditions will offer a wider than ever-selection of Arctic expedition cruises – with five different ships exploring the Arctic.

Local connections

Hurtigruten Expeditions’ local connections, combined with the small sized ships, a fleet of zodiacs, and hand-picked Expedition Team of experts in science, adventure, history, photography and more, secures a unique way to explore wildlife, volcanoes, glaciers, and the world’s largest fjord system.

“From engaging encounters with the local communities to the vast wilderness and rich wildlife, our small-ship expedition cruises unlock one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the most unique areas of our planet. While exploring, our guests and crew not only create local value, but contribute to science projects that are vital to understanding and preserving the areas for future generations of explorers,” said Lassesen.

Hurtigruten Expeditions founded expedition cruising with the launch of the first small-ship expedition cruise ships to the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard in 1896. Today, Hurtigruten Expeditions is the world’s largest and leading expedition cruise line, with a fleet of small custom-built ships exploring destinations such as Galapagos, Antarctica, South America, West Africa, and the Arctic – where Hurtigruten Expeditions will see a total of five ships exploring the Arctic in 2023.

The new MS Maud Arctic adventures for 2023 includes:

  • Two “True Arctic Expeditions” –unique combination of Iceland, the wild east coast of Greenland, Svalbard archipelago and the rarely visited Arctic volcanic island of Jan Mayen. The 17-day cruises depart and arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland. 
  • One 20-day epic “Greenland summer explorer” expedition cruise. With 20 days and a flexible itinerary to explore icebergs, fjords, wildlife and communities along Greenland’s spectacular west coast – including north of Disko Bay.
  • Two Iceland Circumnavigation expedition cruises, that takes guests on a 11 day deep-dive from Reykjavik to some of Iceland’s most incredible sights – including crossing of the Arctic circle.
  • Two 12-day Island Hopping in the North Atlantic expedition cruises that explores Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, and British Isles. Being the first and last adventures of MS Maud’s 2023 summer season, they either depart or conclude in Dover.

The expedition cruises can also be extended with 2-4 days land adventures in Iceland.

Hurtigruten Expeditions is widely recognized for a push for more sustainable cruising. Like all Hurtigruten Expeditions’ small-sized expedition cruise ships, MS Maud features a state-of-the art Science Center, and a large fleet of zodiacs for landings and exploring nature and wildlife. Hurtigruten Expeditions’ industry-leading Science Program includes scientists on every cruise on every ship, and a wide range of Citizen Science research projects that guests are encouraged to participate in during their expeditions.

In addition to The Explorer Lounge, which spans two decks with full floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and 270-degree spectacular views, MS Maud features vast outdoor open decks, outdoor hot-tubs, a panoramic sauna, gym, and flexible dining options including more locally inspired and -sourced food, as well as plant-based options.

About HRX, including

Recently, battery-hybrid-powered MS Fridtjof Nansen, was rated “the safest and most sustainable cruise ship in the world” by Scope ESG Analysis, the leading European provider of ESG analysis in their first ever in-depth assessment of 400 cruise ships.

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Posted in Cruise News, Hurtigruten

Princess Cruises Unveils Next Generation Ship – Sun Princess

sun princess princess cruises

Princess Cruises has unveiled details of its new and bespoke ship, Sun Princess. As the brand’s largest-ever ship, Sun Princess will accommodate 4,300 guests and boasts stunning views, innovative entertainment venues, multi-storey dining rooms and next level stateroom accommodations. Returning the venerable “Sun Princess” name back into operation, the ship remains true to the smooth clean lines and design aesthetics inspired by the Seawitch icon.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard and scheduled to debut in February 2024, the 175,500-tonne vessel is the largest Princess ship ever constructed and embraces Italian heritage by featuring the brand-iconic Piazza and new feature ‘The Dome’, a cutting-edge entertainment space inspired by the terraces of Santorini. Sun Princess will also feature the exclusive Princess Medallion that will extend Princess’ leadership position in delivering exceptional personalised experiences.  Princess is unique in the ability to deliver incredible cruise ship amenities typical of the largest ships in the world while delivering personalised service found on the industry’s smallest ships.

Sun Princess will sail an inaugural spring/summer season of Mediterranean cruises from February 2024 followed by Western and Eastern Caribbean voyages out of Port Everglades, Florida in autumn 2024.

“Sun Princess is a new and bespoke ship platform, designed to simultaneously embrace Princess heritage while boldly pressing into the future with iconic, elegant and pure lines unique to our brand,” said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. “A show-stopping, first-of-its-kind Dome on the top deck and suspended glass Piazza in the centre of Sun Princess offer innovative designs showcasing expansive ocean views for incredible opportunities to connect with the sea.”

Innovative Guest Experience

Infused with light, the ship connects guests with dynamic views of the world and innovative experiences, with more than 29 dining and bar options. The line’s Piazza spans three storeys, forming an architectural feature offering guests an outward looking suspended space with comfortable seating and areas to enjoy the ocean views in every direction. An impressive LED screen is also showcased in the centre of the Piazza that can be moved and configured to deliver live entertainment programming. Adjacent to the Piazza atrium will be a new coffee shop, Coffee Currents, along with Princess favourites like Crooners Bar, Bellini’s Cocktail Bar, and Alfredo’s Pizzeria.

The other stand-out structure onboard Sun Princess is The Dome. Inspired by the terraces of Santorini, it is a multi-level covered deck and first-of-its-kind glass-enclosed dome to ever be constructed on a cruise ship. During the day, The Dome features an indoor/outdoor pool, and a unique water feature in a comfortable and relaxed space. At night, the pool becomes a stage, and The Dome completely transforms into an entertainment venue with a South Beach vibe, state-of-the-art lighting effects and the ability to deliver stunning aerial performances.

The ships overall interior design embraces the outside and celebrates the romance of the sea, offering outward views from morning to night. With brighter and lighter décor and finishes, Sun Princess delivers more memorable vantage points to take in the stunning destinations and ocean vistas that guests want to experience on a Princess cruise.

Newly Appointed Suites and Staterooms

With 2,157 total staterooms, including 50 suites and 100 connecting rooms, the 21-deck Sun Princess features more outdoor balcony space and all balcony accommodations feature an in-room sofa.

Also launching exclusively on Sun Princess will be a new level of suite accommodations, the Signature Collection. In addition to premium stateroom amenities, Signature Collection suites include access to the Signature Restaurant, Signature Lounge, and Signature Sun Deck, a private area of The Sanctuary.

Club Class accommodations onboard Sun Princess, and all other Princess ships, will now be called Reserve Collection, which are the best-located mini suite staterooms. Within the Reserve Collection will be Reserve Collection Cabana rooms, resort-style staterooms that offer a balcony and private cabana, an extra-large outdoor lounge space. These premium accommodations also include access to the Reserve Collection Restaurant.

In addition to the ship’s stunning design are the sustainable elements being engineered in the vessel. Sun Princess is part of Carnival Corporation’s green cruising focus and is one of 11 new ships in the corporate fleet powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) technology.

The inaugural season for Sun Princess begins in February 2024 with Mediterranean itineraries. The ship’s first three voyages will go on sale at 00:01 on Friday, September 16.  Fares start from £1,789pp for a 10-night Grand Mediterranean voyage, departing 28 February 2024.

This is the third ship to be honoured with the Sun Princess name, adding to the legacy of the first ship sailing from 1974 to 1988 and the second ship sailing from 1995 to 2020. At that time, she had the largest number of balcony cabins, and the cruise line’s first 24-hour cafe.

Posted in Cruise News, Princess Cruises

SeaDream Yacht Club Becomes First Boutique Cruise Line to Debut Starlink

A satellite Internet constellation operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Starlink delivers high-speed Internet connectivity on board SeaDream’s twin luxury yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II.

In operation as part of SeaDream’s $10 million renovation investment, Starlink is the world’s first and largest satellite constellation using a low-Earth orbit capable of supporting high-bandwidth activities such as video streaming, online gaming, video calls, and more. By placing their Starlink constellation in low-Earth orbit, SpaceX can deliver faster Internet than other systems by decreasing the distance that information must travel to reach users.

“I am proud to announce that SeaDream is at the forefront of technology, becoming the first boutique travel line to implement Starlink on board. This innovation optimizes our guests’ experience by putting high-speed Internet at their fingertips—so they can stream their favorite entertainment, work remotely, and connect with friends and family back home,” said Andreas Brynestad of SeaDream.

Brynestad added, “The small size of our yachts provides a distinct advantage, in that we can deliver a larger amount of Internet per-person on board—quite possibly making us the fastest Internet on the seas. In the two short months since introducing Starlink, we have received remarkable positive feedback from guests and crew alike.”

SeaDream Yacht Club’s 56-stateroom twin yachts are highly regarded for their 5-star service, award-winning cuisine, and intimate onboard ambiance, with all activities offered in the open air. Their modernisations include numerous touch-points, with each upgrade designed to align with the desires of today’s luxury traveler. Under the care of renowned European architects and designers, these meticulously crafted renovations provide guests with state-of-the-art technology, functional and enhanced stateroom space, and luxurious lounging areas on all decks.

Posted in Cruise News, Seadream Yacht Club

Set sail with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines from £749 per person and enjoy free drinks or door-to-door transfers included on selected 2023 cruises

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering guests free door-to-door transfers or an all inclusive drinks package on a selection of 2023 itineraries, with sailings starting from £749 per person.

Running from 6th September to 31st October inclusive, guests booking a selected cruise of 16-nights of less can enjoy a free all inclusive drinks package, or, for selected cruises of 17-nights or more, guests will benefit from free door-to-door transfers for up to 200 UK mainland miles to the port.

More than 80 hand-crafted itineraries are featured in the offer, with chances to seek out the mesmerising Northern Lights, explore the volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands and sail the scenic archipelagos of Sweden, with regional departures available from Liverpool, Newcastle, Dover, Southampton and Rosyth.

Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Service at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“We are really proud of our hand-crafted itineraries, and our Journey Planners curate each cruise specially to make sure we are visiting at the best time of year and exploring beyond the typical tourist trails.

“Whether that’s venturing to see the midnight sun in rugged and remote Greenland and Iceland, exploring the wonders and wildlife of the Azores and Madeira or joining the Fredericia festivities when Braemar calls into Denmark next year, I am sure there will be a cruise to tempt you.

“We know these added value packages mean a great deal to our guests. With a drinks package, you can relax in one of our bars or lounges with your favourite tipple as you recharge after a day of exploring ashore.

“All of our cruises set sail from a regional UK port, meaning you can enjoy a stress-free check-in, avoiding long queues and delays and with the option of door-to-door transfers included on selected 2023 cruises, our guests can start to relax and enjoy their holiday from the moment they leave their front doors.”

Highlights included within this offer are:

Borealis’ 25-night S2309 ‘Renaissance Italy, Adriatic & Amalfi Coast’ cruise, departing from Liverpool on 22 May 2023. Prices start from £3,999 per person. Enjoy free door-to-door transfers when booked by 31 October 2022 inclusive.
Itinerary: Liverpool, England –Cartagena, Spain – Livorno, Italy – Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy- Sorrento, Italy – Cruising Amalfi Coast & Capri, Italy – Amalfi, Italy – Cruise Strait of Messina, Italy – Venice, Italy – Zadar, Croatia – Split, Croatia – Cruising Bay of Kotor, Montenegro – Kotor, Montenegro – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Valetta, Malta – Málaga, Spain – Liverpool, England
For more details: 
Visit www.fredolsencruises.com/cruise/italy-adriatic-amalfi-s2309

Braemar’seight-night M2315 ‘Denmark with Fredericia Festivities’ cruise, departing from Dover on 2 July 2023. Prices start from £1,199 per person. Enjoy a free all inclusive drinks package when booked by 31 October 2022 inclusive.
Itinerary: Dover, England – Kiel Canal Transit, Germany – Copenhagen, Denmark – Fredericia, Denmark – Cruising Limfjorden, Denmark – Aalborg, Denmark – Skagen, Denmark – Dover, England
For more details: 
Visitwww.fredolsencruises.com/cruise/denmark-m2315

Balmoral’s 15-night L2317 ‘Rugged & Remote Spitsbergen with the Midnight Sun’ cruise, departing from Rosyth (Edinburgh) on 19 July 2023. Prices start from £2,799 per person. Enjoy a free all inclusive drinks package when booked by 31 October 2022 inclusive.
Itinerary: Rosyth, Edinburgh, Scotland – Åndalsnes, Norway – Cruise Nærøysundet, Norway – Cruising Torghatten, Norway – Cruising Seven Sister Mountain Range, Norway – Cruising Trollfjord, Norway – Cruise Tjeldsundet Strait, Norway – Cruising by Djevelen Tanngard, Norway – Tromsø, Norway – Honningsvåg, Norway – Cruise North Cape, Norway – Cruise by Bear Island, Norway – Pyramiden, Norway – Cruise by Nordenskiöldbreen, Norway – Cruising Tempelfjorden, Norway – Longyearbyen, Norway – Sortland, Vesterålen, Norway – Cruising by Black Glacier, Norway – Cruising Nordfjorden, Meloy, Norway – Kristiansund, Norway – Rosyth, Edinburgh, Scotland
For more details: 
Visit www.fredolsencruises.com/cruise/spitsbergen-with-the-midnight-sun-l2317

Bolette’s 12-night T2322 ‘Wonders & Wildlife of the Azores & Madeira’ cruise, departing from Southampton on 13 August 2023. Prices start from £1,899 per person. Enjoy a free all inclusive drinks package when booked by 31 October 2022 inclusive.
Itinerary: Southampton, England – Praia Da Vitoria, Portugal – Ponta Delgada, Portugal – Cruising by Santa Maria, Azores – Cruise by Cabo Girao, Portugal – Funchal, Madeira, Portugal – Leixões (for Oporto), Portugal – La Coruña, Spain – Cruise by Tower of Hercules Lighthouse, Spain – Southampton, England
For more details: 
Visit www.fredolsencruises.com/cruise/azores-madeira-t2322

For further information, visit fredolsencruises.com. Book online, call our Reservations team on 0800 0355 242 (Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm), or contact your ABTA travel agent

Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Introducing Robotron – The Ultimate Amusement Ride Exclusively Aboard MSC Seascape

MSC Cruises continues on a path of innovation, today announcing details of the technologically advanced onboard entertainment options on the line’s upcoming ship, MSC Seascape. When she debuts this December, MSC Seascape will feature new and innovative experiences for thrill-seeking guests of all ages. The highlight will beROBOTRON – a thrilling amusement ride that offers the breath-taking thrill of a rollercoaster at sea combined with a personalised DJ music experience. The ship will also feature two brand-new VR experiences and a whole host of other exhilarating high-tech entertainment designed to be enjoyed by thrill-seekers of all ages.

Brandon Briggs, SVP Onboard Revenues at MSC Cruises, said: We are excited to provide guests with endless high-tech entertainment options on board MSC Seascape to meet the desires of adrenaline-seekers looking to experience the latest thrills. ROBOTRON, the first-ever robotic amusement ride to appear on a cruise ship, will create a new standard of fun with an immersive, customized ride experience, unique to each rider. Our additional entertainment options with elements of virtual reality, special effects and simulators will ensure unforgettable experiences that leave guests in awe.”

MSC Cruises is a leader in designing new and innovative experiences and the bar has been raised on MSC Seascape. ROBOTRON is a state-of-the-art robotic arm with an attached gondola that seats three guests – flying them 53 metres above the sea. Riders will have an unobstructed 360° view of the horizon as they hang over the edge of the deck, twist and turn upside down in different directions, and flip upside down.

ROBOTRON will offer a personalised DJ experience where guests are invited to curate their musical journey with colours, music preferences and more. Original theming sets the stage for a pulse-pounding DJ experience. Seated on the mixer, guests will find themselves behind the DJ booth, with the rhythm and bass visualised as colourful patterns, pulses of light and people dancing on a giant video screen all while the robotic arm is bouncing and twisting in tempo. Riders can also select their thrill level, making ROBOTRON both a family-friendly and high-thrill experience

In addition to ROBOTRON, other high-tech entertainment features on board MSC Seascape include:

  • VR 360° Flight Simulator: With all the thrills of an outdoor rollercoaster, this immersive simulator is the ultimate virtual roller coaster experience, complete with VR headsets and impressive special effects. Guests may choose from various worlds in which to dive into a thrill ride like no other.
  • VR motorbikes: Guests with a need for speed will love MSC Seascape’s new VR motorbikes, where players will feel transported into the racing ring, with wind and water effects to complete the experience.
  • MSC Formula Racer: Perfect for car racing enthusiasts ready to get their high-speed fix, this activity will place guests in the driver’s seat for a thrilling racing simulation game with realistic effects that will get guests’ heart rates going.
  • Immersive XD Cinema: The minute guests put on their 3D glasses, they will dive into alternate worlds through this immersive activity, where players will battle it out against zombies, skeletons and more. Only one player can be crowned the victor, so guests will need to prove their sharp-shooting skills against each other for ultimate bragging rights.

MSC Seascape will be launched in New York at a glittering Naming Ceremony on 7 December this year and will then move to PortMiami offering incredible cruises in the Caribbean year-round, with two different itineraries:

  • Eastern Caribbean: Calling at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and Nassau in The Bahamas, San Juan in Puerto Rico, and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic
  • Western Caribbean: Calling at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Cozumel in Mexico, George Town in the Cayman Islands and Ocho Rios in Jamaica

Ahead of her spectacular Naming Ceremony, MSC Seascape will offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience on her inaugural cruise from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, across the Atlantic to New York City, USA.

This 17-night Grand Voyage will take in the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Valencia and Cadiz, before heading out into the Atlantic to begin her crossing. Funchal, Madeira and King’s Wharf, Bermuda act as exciting stopovers en route to New York, the city that never sleeps.

Guests wishing to experience this extra-special cruise and be the first to sail on board MSC Seascape can book now, with prices starting at £129pp.

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Posted in Cruise News, MSC Cruises

WIN a luxury Fortnum & Mason hamper worth £1,000 with SixStar Cruises

#Adventures and Aperitifs

Welcome to #AdventuresAndAperitifs a delightful collaboration of cocktails and ultra-luxury cruise holidays between SixStar Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises! 

As 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, what better way is there to celebrate than by toasting to three decades of ultra-luxury cruising with the masters of signature cocktails at sea?

This year, Regent Seven Seas Cruises are celebrating 30 years of delivering Unrivalled Experiences™, with every luxury included. To celebrate, the cruise line has curated a collection of unique sailings departing from March to December 2022. To mark 30 years of ultra-luxury cruising with Regent Seven Seas Cruises, sip on their celebratory signature cocktail.

In conjunction with the cruise line’s special collection of 24 sailings, visiting destinations such as Dubai, Chilean Fjords, Berlin and more throughout the year, SixStar Cruises is also taking a deep dive into 30 years of Luxury Cruising Signature Cocktails always available on-board! So that you can get involved with the celebrations, SixStar Cruises is giving you the chance to WIN a Fortnum & Mason hamper worth £1,000! For your chance to win fill in your details here to enter the prize draw. 

I was fortunate enough to receive my own hamper to showcase some of the signature cocktail experiences that you can have on board. it’s not quite a £1000 Fortnum & Mason hamper, but it certainly delighted me when I opened it! If this is mine, imagine what yours could be like! ENTER NOW for your chance to WIN!

 T&Cs

  •  The “Promoter” is SixStarCruises whose registered office is at 110A & 112-114 Market St. Chorley, United Kingdom, PR7 2SL. 
  • The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over except employees of the Promoter and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition. 
  • There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition. 
  • By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions. 
  • Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via https://www.sixstarcruises.co.uk/adventures-and-aperitifs/ 
  • Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. 
  • Closing date for entry will be 12/10/2022. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted. 
  • No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason. 
  • The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation. The promoter also reserves the right to cancel the competition if circumstances arise outside of its control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter. 
  • The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition. 

The prize is as follows: 

  • Fortnum & Mason Hamper Value £1,000 
  • The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prize is not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and the promoter reserves the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice. 
  • Winners will be chosen: at random, from all entries received and verified by the Promote and/or its agents. 
  • The winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 48 hours of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner. 
  • The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected / is delivered. 
  • The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. 
  • The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent. 
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to the Promoter and not to any other party. The information provided will be used in conjunction with the Privacy Policy found on the Promoter’s website or available on request.

AD – This is a partnership post and is sponsored

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Posted in Cruise News, Regent Seven Seas

Norwegian Cruise Line officially welcomes Norwegian Prima

Norwegian Cruise Line has christened its newest ship Norwegian Prima, which made history as the first major cruise ship christened in Reykjavík, Iceland.

The first of six ships in the groundbreaking Prima Class, Norwegian Prima, debuted to more than 2,500 guests who enjoyed an immersive experience in the beautiful Icelandic capital and a christening celebration like no other.

“With her stunning design and unique offerings, Norwegian Prima is in a league of her own,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “As the industry’s most spacious new cruise ship featuring ‘only-available-on-Prima-experiences,’ she is continuing NCL’s legacy of industry firsts. We wanted to launch Norwegian Prima in a location just as special and unique as she is, and Reykjavik’s striking landscape is the perfect setting for such a milestone occasion. We thank the Reykjavik community for welcoming us with open arms.”

At 965 feet (294 meters long) and more than 143,535 tons with capacity for 3,100 guests at double occupancy, Norwegian Prima offers the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any contemporary or premium cruise ship. She also boasts the largest variety of suite categories available at sea as well as a redefined The Haven by Norwegian, NCL’s ultra-premium keycard only access ship-within-a-ship concept. Her variety of recreational activities including the fastest slides at sea – The Rush and The Drop – and the Prima Speedway, the first three-level racetrack at sea, provide guests with adrenaline-pumping moments. Spaces like Ocean Boulevard, the 44,000 square foot outdoor walk way which wraps around the entire ship; The Concourse, which boasts a multi-million dollar outdoor sculpture garden; and expansive pool decks and infinity style pools at Infinity Beach, offer guests a chance to slow down and relax.

“We have been eagerly anticipating and preparing for this special event for several years, so we are delighted to embark on NCL’s next chapter with Norwegian Prima,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “It’s been a joy to see our vision come to life with this landmark christening ceremony, which sets the tone for the unparalleled holidays guests will enjoy for years to come. We are so thankful to our team members and partners worldwide who have made Norwegian Prima a stunning reality.”

Guests at the christening ceremony were treated to a show-stopping performance by popular Icelandic group and 2021 “Eurovision Song Contest” fan favourites, Daði og Gagnamagnið (pronounced “Dah-they Oh Gack-no-Mak-ne”), before Norwegian Prima’s very own godmother, Katy Perry took to the main stage to officially name and christen the vessel with the ceremonial champagne bottle break across the ship’s hull. The three-level Prima Theater & Club stage was then transformed into a whimsical backdrop where guests enjoyed a powerhouse performance of some of Perry’s chart-topping hits including “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Roar,” and “Firework.”

“It was so much fun to sprinkle some fairy godmother dust on Norwegian Prima and send her on her way to sail the high seas,” said Katy Perry. I always appreciate a family vacation and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I was happy to wish all the vacationing guests a happy bon voyage!”

Prior to the Christening ceremony, guests were surprised with an authentic Icelandic experience at the HARPA cultural center. Attendees were treated to a captivating LED light show by Artist Olafur Eliasson as well as performances by Icelandic singer-songwriter Bríet who joined the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in an awe-inspiring show. 

Norwegian Prima will depart on inaugural voyages to Northern Europe from the Netherlands, Denmark and England beginning 3rd September, 2022, before making her way to the U.S. She will then sail voyages to the Caribbean from New York City, Galveston, Texas, and Miami in October and November before settling into her homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., and Galveston, Texas for the 2023 and 2024 cruise season.

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Posted in Cruise News, Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrates Float Out of Norwegian Viva

Norwegian Viva Norwegain Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) yesterday announced that Norwegian Viva, the second of six vessels in its ground-breaking Prima Class, floated out from her drydock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera (Venice), Italy, marking a major construction milestone and the first time the new vessel touches water.

To celebrate the occasion, a commemorative coin was welded into Norwegian Viva in a traditional maritime ceremony, presided over by Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line and Antonio Quintano, shipyard director of Fincantieri.

The float out signifies the completion of external works and painting of Norwegian Viva, including the striking hull artwork designed by Italian graffiti artist Manuel Di Rita, commonly known as “Peeta.” Construction now continues on Norwegian Viva’s interior fittings and guest accommodations before she is officially delivered to the cruise line and commences sailing in 2023.

“The float out of Norwegian Viva has been much anticipated and it’s an incredibly proud day for us all,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of NCL. “As our nineteenth ship and the second in our innovative Prima Class, Norwegian Viva continues to represent our ongoing commitment to giving guests the best holiday experience imaginable. With Norwegian Viva’s name meaning “to be alive”, and her motto being ‘Live it Up’, we simply cannot wait to put this into practice and welcome guests on board soon for the vacation of a lifetime.”

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Posted in Cruise News, Norwegian Cruise Line

Cruising The Olsen Way – French Riviera aboard Bolette – Part 4

The sea day, a time to relax and recharge, and find out what’s happening onboard! Earlier in the cruise, I’d spotted something in the Daily Times called Deck Tennis, and I was intrigued. There are no nets on Deck 9 to stop a ball going overboard, so what on earth is it? I had to go up and investigate. In short, it’s the same set up as tennis but you play with a rubber ring, as opposed to a bat and ball. I still can’t quite get my head around it and I would have joined in, but the people already playing were spending more time reaching to pick the ring off the floor than they were catching it and having a game. No offence, people! I won’t repeat what one gentleman said to his wife (under his breath so she didn’t actually hear him) but I got the vibe that he wasn’t impressed with her Deck Tennis skills…

There was always plenty to do on sea days, so you could either pack your day out, pick and choose, or simply sit back and relax. There were quizzes, kitchen creations, shuffleboard, Baggo, live music, table tennis, Pilates, you name it, it was happening. One thing I am really annoyed at myself about is not joining in on the flower arranging class. Now, this is not something I’ve ever done before nor have I ever wanted to do it, but I kept looking at it in The Daily Times. When I finally decided to go, it was the day of what would be a formal evening and they were making corsages. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to go full throttle and try arranging a nice bouquet, so I missed out on that, but I will do it on my next Fred. Olsen cruise if it’s offered. I think it was £30 per person, but you get to keep your creation and if possible, you can take it home with you at the end of your cruise.

Good morning, Gibraltar! Oh, how nice it felt to see that rock! We didn’t have long here, it was literally a disembark, grab what you wanted and run back kind of call. I made the poor choice (and I know better!) of doing the trek into town in my flip flops! And I don’t just do part of Main Street, I must go all the way to the top because that’s where my favourite shop is. By the time I got back to the ship, my little feet were on fire. I did enjoy being back in Gib, though. Not much had changed there. I think Gibraltar for many is one of those places that you either love or hate and for me, personally, I love it. There’s quite a bit to do if you’ve never been before and several years ago, I had a superb dolphin watching tour there.

I think I mentioned the buffet briefly in a previous post, so I’ll come back to that now and share a few pictures of what was available. I felt like it was never closed, it was a continuous operation from morning until night, and the selection was fabulous! I don’t really know where to start on telling you what there was, but to give you an idea, there was one station that was available every night and it included burgers, hot dogs and usually tacos. You could have stir-fry, curry, fresh meats and cheese’s, soup, lasagne – you name it and at one point or another, they had it. The seafood buffet also made an appearance and that was nice, but not as nice as the garlic prawns I had one day – they were heaven! In fact, I spotted them on my way to the Poolside and thought a few prawns won’t spoil my fish and chips, I just couldn’t walk past them and I’m glad I didn’t. I also really enjoyed the chicken quesadillas, and I had a chicken stir-fry at one point that was also delicious. The stir-fry is cooked to order and in front of you, so you can pick and choose what you want in it.

As the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations began before we disembarked, we had a little country fayre-type event on the Lido Deck. There were various stalls, including the human fruit machine, face painting, name the teddy and so on. All the money raised was to be donated to the RNLI and I think Bolette raised something in the region of £2000.

Not forgetting the cake decorating competition, which was hilarious! The sync between the crew was just brilliant. The competitors were the Captain, Ents Manager, Chief Engineer, and the Hotel Manager. I’ll put my hands up and say that I didn’t give the Captain my vote, it went to the Hotel Manager. Not sure he was too thrilled by second place because he threatened to take the stabilisers in! He had plenty of jokes, I liked him!

For the purpose of research, I also documented some fabulous cakes in the Bookmark Cafe…

Before reaching Southampton, there were 2 more things I had to do, and one was to go back to Colours & Tastes. I’d spotted the new menu by chance as I passed one morning on my way to Guest Services, and I had to try it. This time, it was coconut fried shrimp with green mango salsa to start, followed by Indonesian chicken satay with peanut sauce. I was so happy! I loved the fact the skewers for the chicken were lemongrass, so there was so much flavour in every bite. For dessert, this time, I tried the five-spice pear with chocolate sorbet and peanut brittle. I enjoyed every meal I ate on Bolette, but this one was my absolute favourite.

The dreaded ‘day before the day’ had arrived and once I’d finally sorted myself out with some packing, I took time to wind down with a Traditional Afternoon Tea in The Observatory. I’ve tried this several times when sailing with Fred., but this time it was a little different, and I liked it! I get the impression (but forgot to double check) that the menu for this must also change now and I don’t recall it ever changing previously. I only say this because the captain was on the next table and the tea he asked for, the waitress had to go and get from the Bookmark Café. The ladies he was having afternoon tea with said that’s not on the menu, to which he then realised it wasn’t and said they must have changed the menu. So don’t hold me to it, I was just eavesdropping on another conversation, as you do. Anyway, the set-up is the same as it has always been – white gloved service in a sectioned off area with soft live music. It was lovely. I had a lower level of four sandwiches, middle level of petite cakes and pastries and the top level was clotted cream, butter, and jam. It was all very nice; I particularly liked the chargrilled chicken sandwich and the egg sandwich. When I asked for a scone, a plate of 6 arrived! 2 plain, 2 fruit and 2 cheese – that was new to me. They were warm, light, and delicious!!! I think out of the 3, the cheese one was my favourite. I enjoyed all of this alongside some loose leaf wild Roobis tea.

And just like that, it was all over! If I could have stayed onboard, I would! My first impression of Bolette – I loved her! I felt comfortable and at home from the second I stepped onboard and in a strange sort of way, I felt like I knew the ship. I rarely took a wrong turn and within just days of being onboard, I felt like I’d been there forever. I’ll always miss ‘my girls’ but having so many aspects onboard Bolette that were familiar, seeing so many friendly faces and then clicking on to the fact that Jupiter was watching over us, it all just felt so right. I’m already looking forward to seeing her again and hopefully at some point cruising on Borealis, but my lovely Balmoral must have some love, too! Braemar’s still too busy relaxing her propellers in Rosyth, so she’ll have to wait until last! 😉

Until next time, Fred.! #TheOlsenWay

Press trip – I was a guest of Fred. Olsen on this sailing.

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Cruising The Olsen Way – French Riviera aboard Bolette – Part 3

It’s time for port days and our first was Alicante. I had booked the ‘Alicante & Elche’ tour. The sun was shining, I’d been given a packed lunch to take with me and it was time to head ashore. Emilio was our guide, and he was excellent! I wish every tour guide could be like him. We visited a public garden, which was stunning, but the jewel in the crown was El Huerto del Cura (the Priest’s Garden). It’s probably the most impressive private garden I’ve ever seen, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the space in which I was standing. The Mediterranean and tropical plants are arranged to create an atmosphere of tranquillity, and they did just that. If I lived near the gardens, I’d probably visit every other day in the summer months. Everything felt so still and relaxed, well, they did until the peacock made itself known and started screaming from the top of its beak! But there were ducks, turtles, other little animals and then just this fascinating mix of plants and flowers. It was fabulous.

As the sun broke on May 27th, we found ourselves in Barcelona. I’ve visited here many times and it’s not one of my favourite places. If you’re visiting for the first time or even the second, I’d highly recommend you book a tour. I’ve been there and done that, so I took myself off on foot along Las Ramblas. Although Barcelona itself isn’t on my top 20 list, it’s Mercado de la Boqueria is! I can’t visit this city without stopping off at the market. I rarely buy anything, I just like to look around and see all the fresh fruits and vegetables, the sometimes very peculiar seafood offerings and to smell the fresh coffee. It’s always busy, but the atmosphere is just electric. It’s been open since 1836 and there are over 200 vendors. It’s just off Las Ramblas on the left side of the street. I would say you can’t miss it, but in fact, you probably could – so keep your eyes wide open.

Happy Birthday to me! Yes, our call to Cannes on May 28th marked me being another year older (21 again!). At first, I had full intentions of going ashore and then I thought, no. I’m going to have the day at leisure for myself and take advantage of a quiet ship before my evening meal in Vasco.

I started with a late riser eggs benedict breakfast at the Poolside, and then I found a sun lounger and enjoyed sitting in the sun for about an hour or so. I used to love sitting in the sun, but now I just get restless, so off I went for another ship-based adventure. I came across a room on Deck 7 that’s not on the deck plans and obviously isn’t open for public use, but it was a fair size! I couldn’t see in the windows, but I did have a sneaky look through the squares in the door, but I’m still no further forward. The crew were doing a lot of work on Deck 9 during my cruise, so I wonder if in time we’ll be greeted with additional spaces or features. It’s quite exciting. In fact, Fred. Olsen just released some images a few days ago of the new art space on Bolette, so maybe I am seeing into the future! 😉

In the afternoon I had a hair date with Alberto. During lockdown, I cut my ponytail off twice and still I hadn’t seen a hairdresser. I love having my hair cut onboard, so Alberto worked his magic. It might sound silly, but I’ve never had such a good blow dry and straighten in all my life! That man really is the business, and he ensured my hair was smooth and silky, ready for my Goan cuisine delight. The salon also offers some wonderful views, thanks to its floor to ceiling windows.

In Vasco, you are first served a selection of warm Indian breads and sauces, this is a sign of where your meal is going – in a taste bud explosion direction. Even this is so tasty to the point where I this time couldn’t stop eating it! Next you get your starters, yes, plural – they serve you the entire selection unless you state otherwise. You choose one main course and again, unless you mention it, they also serve all the side dishes. For my main course I went with the xacuti, which was Goan chicken curry, spices, poppy seeds, sliced coconut, and red chilli – it was divine! The side dishes offered are steamed rice, spicy potatoes, dhal, Palak paneer and vegetable pilau. I’m hungry just thinking about it all. Again, it’s only a £15 per person cover charge and it’s worth every penny!

 Our next port was one I’d really been looking forward too, Villefranche! I first visited here in 2008 and until this cruise, I hadn’t been back. It was exactly as I remembered it being. It’s such a beautiful place and not very big, so if you want to have a short explore and then sit and have some local food while watching the world go by, this place is ideal. I was very happy to be back and so pleased the weather held out, as it had been forecast for rain! It’s easy to get to other places from here, such as Monaco, Nice and Cannes, as the local train network is quite efficient. A few people did in fact get the train to Monaco.

Port day numero cinco and we arrived in Bandol. Honestly, I’d never even heard of the place until I looked at this cruise and after doing some quick research online, I decided to book a tour. Titled ‘Cassis & It’s Calanques’ this trip would take us through the Mediterranean countryside, past numerous vineyards and finally, to the fishing town of Cassis. Again, another stunning little harbour area that reminded me a little of Villefranche, only there was a bit more going on there.  

We boarded an Ecological Hybrid Boat and made our way out towards the Calanques National Park. To begin with, it was quite cool and cloudy, but as we reached the first bay, the sun came out and the water suddenly became this intense colour of green. We sailed down numerous canyon-like inlets, one of which had the most beautiful white beach at the end of it! I was so desperate to just jump in and swim, but that wasn’t allowed. Our last spot on the tour was at the bottom of another limestone cliff and the skipper joked that the other Captain likes to think he can get the boat through the crack between the cliffs. We all laughed and then suddenly he was sailing us right in between them – you could have reached out and touched the cliffs, it was a nice end to what had been a visually impressive tour. Before re-joining the little train, we had some free time in the town to explore and grab a quick bite to eat, so that’s exactly what I did. If you visit Bandol, PLEASE do this tour! It really was brilliant!

Back home, it was time to unwind with a day at sea before we arrived in Gibraltar.

Cruising The Olsen Way Part 4 soon…

#PressTrip – I was a guest of Fred. Olsen on this sailing

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