Regent Seven Seas Cruises Reveals Seven Seas Splendor Suite Details

In anticipation of the newest cruise ship joining its fleet, Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced in January details of the Regent Suite on Seven Seas Splendor, the largest and most elegant suite ever built on a luxury ship. The lavish Regent Suite sets the tone for all 14 other suite categories on Seven Seas Splendor. Now, Regent has revealed additional details of all guest suite categories, further establishing Seven Seas Splendor as the ship that will perfect luxury when she debuts in February 2020.

Luxury is found in intricate details, exquisite finishes and enormous balcony space. More than 46,000 square-feet of Italian marble will adorn Seven Seas Splendor — more than an acre of marble — including the marble-detailed bathrooms in each of her 375 guest suites. Nearly 52,000 square-feet of balcony space is found on the all-balcony vessel — larger than the size of an American football field and averaging 138 square feet of balcony space per suite. Approximately 500 crystal chandeliers will illuminate the ship’s interior.

Distinctive Suites

The Master, Grand, Splendor and Seven Seas suite categories represent the 32 Distinctive Suites on board Seven Seas Splendor. Guests in Distinctive Suites enjoy personalised butler service, guaranteed dining reservations and customised pillows and bath products, among other amenities. These suites are designed to blend comfort and luxury, focusing on impeccable details, exquisite high-contrast materials and lush jewel-toned accents. The suites are designed by Studio Dado, Tillberg Design, and Total Solution Interiors.

Master Suite. This two-bedroom oasis is styled like an elegant Park Avenue palace, replete with rich woods and highlighted by touches of aubergine. Located at the aft of the ship on decks eight and nine allowing for unobstructed views of the horizon, the four Master Suites measure between 1,895 and 2,108 square-feet and boast an expansive living area, exquisite bar for entertaining, spacious balconies up to 994 square-feet, and two full ornate marble and stone bathrooms.

Grand Suite. The Grand Suite features striking emerald design accents perfected by rich grey, brown, and cream tones. Ranging from 1,277 to 1,836 square-feet, the Grand Suite features an expansive private balcony, two majestic baths, and living areas with rich stone mosaics, exotic woods and curated furniture based on haute couture fashion. Craftsmanship is foremost on display with bespoke detailing, and an upholstered leather wall in an intricate stitch pattern serves as the backdrop for the bedroom. With ample space, the suite features a living room with a wrapped-leather floor-to-ceiling bar — ideal for entertaining.

Splendor Suite. Ranging in size from 821 to 918 square-feet, the one bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom Splendor Suites are designed with calming hues of cream, grey and brown, and plush furniture. It features a dining table for in-room service, spacious closet, and an elegant marble and stone-detailed bath.

Seven Seas Suite. This sanctuary offers more than 800 square-feet of exquisite space, and exudes a cosmopolitan apartment feel with a soothing colour palette complimented by plush furnishings. The suite flows effortlessly from living room to dining area to bedroom, with sliding glass doorways leading to a spacious private balcony. A magnificent marble bathroom sits adjacent to the oversized bedroom and large walk-in closet.

The Penthouse, Concierge, Superior, Deluxe Veranda and Veranda suite categories are purposefully designed to maximise ocean views that can be enjoyed from the solace of a large private balcony. Along with the heavenly comfort of Elite Slumber beds, guests enjoy spacious closets, plush bathrobes and slippers, an included mini-bar stocked daily, and many other prime amenities.

Penthouse Suite. Conjuring elegance from floor to ceiling and complete with personalised butler service, the 55 sapphire-inspired Penthouse Suites come in three categories that range up to 642 square-feet, with an entertainment centre that separates the living room and bedroom. Sleek sliding glass doorways in both the bedroom and living room lead to an oversized balcony with comfortable outdoor furnishings. Even the smallest of luxury details are included such as lined jewellery drawers to designated spaces for designer handbags. A perfected luxury from Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Splendor’s sister ship, can be found in the closets. Penthouse Suites on Seven Seas Splendor will include larger expansive walk-in closets designed with two entries from the bathroom and living room. In addition, bathrooms have been designed for additional storage and counter space.

Concierge Suites. Concierge Suites are highlighted by a soothing colour palette of creams and blushes that inspire serenity and comfort. This 464 square-foot suite aboard Seven Seas Splendor comes in two categories and is purposefully designed to maximize ocean views, with the custom-crafted Elite Slumber Beds facing the private balcony, allowing guests front row access to stunning ocean scenery.  Skilled master craftsmen adorn headboards with the finest shagreen leather, and furniture is upholstered with the most elegant Italian fabrics. Guests who stay in a Concierge Suite or a higher category suite enjoy a free one-night pre-cruise hotel package.

Superior Suite. Spacious and chic, the 464 square-foot Superior Suite is filled with light and peaceful serenity that comes with expansive ocean views. Its two categories feature a grand balcony, spacious sitting area and residential-like walk-in closet.

Deluxe Veranda and Veranda Suites. The two-category Deluxe Veranda and Veranda suites on Seven Seas Splendor are up to 361 and 307 square feet respectively, placing them among the most spacious entry-level suites at sea. They feature a warm island manor feel and boast curtains that separate the bedroom, with vanity and sitting area outfitted with a plush sofa, a coffee table large enough for in-suite dining, and a large desk space.

Observation Lounge

In addition to suite designs, Regent has also announced the interior design of the Observation Lounge on board Seven Seas Splendor. The Observation Lounge inspires the feeling of an enchanting English garden. Incorporating a light and airy colour palette, the Observation Lounge’s centrepiece is a unique and stunning whimsical chandelier comprised of hand-painted porcelain flowers, peonies and roses. Traditional English architectural moulding adorns the walls and are coloured in neutral hues to create a contemporary, elegant setting. The furniture adds to the tranquil nature of the space through its soft curved forms and lush upholsteries inspired by the fluid forms of flower petals. Specially commissioned art by Gorman Studios incorporates hand-painted English roses and flowers on glass screens to reflect the look of porcelain chandeliers.

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Posted in Cruise News, Regent Seven Seas

Carnival Becomes First Cruise Line To Keg And Can Its Own Private Label Kraft Beers

Capitalising on the success of its shipboard breweries, Carnival Cruise Line has partnered with Lakeland, Fla.-based Brew Hub to become the first cruise line to can and keg its own private label beers crafted by its in-house brewery team aboard Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista.

The agreement – the first of its kind between a craft beer manufacturer and a major cruise line – was announced on Sunday 17th March at an event aboard Carnival Magic at PortMiami.

The three beers, which are based on recipes developed in-house by Carnival’s brewery team, are now available in 16-ounce cans and on tap across its 26 ships and at all private destinations. The beers include:

ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat – an unfiltered wheat beer with flavours of orange and spices.

ParchedPig West Coast IPA – the embodiment of a traditional West Coast India Pale Ale, this hoppy, intense beer is loaded with bitterness with a bright flavour profile and distinctive aroma of citrus and pine.

ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale – highlighted by its rich amber colour and notes of toasted caramel and biscuit, this beer is well balanced, smooth and highly drinkable.

Since introducing the first North American brewery at sea in 2016, Carnival has served nearly 300,000 pints of its private label craft beers to its guests. Much like breweries on land, Carnival’s brewery team has also taken advantage of seasonal products and created unique brews like a Miami Guava Wheat and Pumpkin Spice Ale. A brewery will also be featured aboard Carnival Panorama when it debuts in California in December 2019.

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Posted in Carnival Cruise Lines, Cruise News

Solent Hotel & Spa – Cruise & Stay Package

The Solent Hotel & Spa is approx. 25 minutes away from the port of Southampton and it’s the ideal option for a pre-cruise stay. I know, I had the pleasure of sampling this stunning property recently and I would highly recommend it.

The hotel offers a specific cruise & stay package which is perfect if you prefer to drive to and from the port. The cost is £199 per night for a signature double room (or twin room) for 2 people and includes breakfast, transfers to and from the port, use of the spa and pool facilities, and parking at the hotel for up to 15 days.

Anyone that has booked port parking for the duration of a cruise knows how expensive this can be and that is exactly why I am recommending the Solent Hotel & Spa package.

My transfers were well organised, the hotel did everything for me, and when my taxi was in the designated pick-up area, the driver called to let me know he was there.

I had a double room on the second floor, and it was stunning. The bed was comfortable and came with a pillow menu. There was a coffee pod machine, kettle, large seating area with desk, flat screen TV and in the wardrobe, I found a robe and slippers. The bathroom housed the most powerful shower I’ve ever used, it was incredible. The décor was beautiful and little touches such as the ceramic dish in which to place hot hair straighteners were very welcome. I even found a pint of fresh milk in my fridge.

The entire property is gorgeous, and the interior has a woodland lodge-type feel to it, emphasised by the wood burning fires in the reception area. There’s a large swimming pool and spa area, which as I mentioned can be used by those booked on the cruise & stay package. On site, you’ll also find a bar and restaurant in the main building (there’s also the Lodge at Solent which is opposite the main hotel).

Breakfast included everything you’d expect from a 4-star property. There were cooked options, various pastries, fresh fruit, cereal and more. They were also offering a breakfast special of smoked salmon.

I would stay at this property again in a heartbeat. It was hassle free and I enjoyed the ease of the transfers between the property and the port. Just to highlight again, you can leave your car at the hotel for up to 15 days and this is INCLUDED in the package cost. I did some additional research and it’s approx. £130 to leave your car at the port of Southampton for 12-nights – this package really is incredible value for money.

If you stay here at any point, please let me know your thoughts.

I stayed at the Solent Hotel & Spa as a guest to review the Cruise & Stay package – all views are my own.

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Posted in General Cruise Articles

Crystal Expedition Cruises Announce Crystal Endeavor’s 2021 Deployment

Crystal Expedition Cruises has announced the complete line-up of far-reaching 2021 itineraries for its luxury expedition yacht Crystal Endeavor. On expedition voyages of 10- to 28-nights, the polar class yacht will explore destinations legendary and unknown, remote and remarkable throughout Antarctica; Japan; the Russian Far East, Aleutian Islands and Alaska; Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania; Indonesia and the Indian Ocean; Norway and the United Kingdom; Western Europe; Canary Islands and Atlantic; and South America. In late February, Crystal announced that Crystal Endeavor will also sail the elusive Northeast Passage in 2021.

The complete roster of Crystal Endeavor’s 2021 itineraries and voyage highlights can be viewed here. Every voyage on Crystal Endeavor will focus on the bio-diversity, active adventure and natural and cultural history of the destinations, with expert expedition guides aboard. Some travel to extreme destinations rarely visited – from the Arctic to Antarctic – like New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands; Christmas Island; and the Aleutian Islands west of Alaska. Others offer unique access and new perspectives on popular locales, like prime dock positioning in the heart of Bangkok at Khlong Teoi, downtown Ho Chi Minh City and across from the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh’s port of Leith.

A bevy of natural and cultural wonders punctuate the journeys, including dozens of UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Japan’s Shiretoko National Park, Vietnam’s Imperial City of Hue, Australia’s Turquoise Bay and Ningaloo Reef, and New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. Numerous opportunities for wildlife observation abound in the Aleutian Isles, Tasmania, Indonesia, the Northeast Passage, Antarctic Peninsula and beyond. The expeditions will offer experiences, climate and terrain that are suited perfectly for the boldest travellers, with opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, snorkelling, diving, helicopter and Zodiac tours, and encounters with majestic wildlife, depending on the region.

On board, guest expedition guides, scientists and destination experts will further illuminate the journey with engaging presentations and seminars focusing on the unique nature and history of the region.

At all times, itineraries and ports of call are subject to the Captain’s discretion based on prevailing weather and ice conditions and government permits. Wildlife sightings and wilderness highlights on any itinerary cannot be guaranteed.

Crystal Endeavor’s 2021 expeditions will be open for booking on March 13, 2019.

The 20,000-GRT Crystal Endeavor will accommodate just 200 guests with elegantly casual, expansive public spaces; all-suite, butler-serviced guest rooms; Michelin-inspired dining options including Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma & Sushi Bar; full-service Crystal Life Salon & Spa and state-of-the-art Fitness Center. Expedition-specific amenities and spaces will enhance guests’ experience, including designated “mud rooms” and helicopter lounge.

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Posted in Cruise News, Crystal Cruises

Explore The World With Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines In 2020/21

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced that, in 2020/21, its fleet of five smaller, more intimately-sized ocean and river ships – BalmoralBraemarBoudicca and Black Watch, plus river cruise addition, Brabant – will be visiting no fewer than 277 destinations in 90 countries, across six continents, covering 104 areas of scenic cruising, on 170 different itineraries. Complementing the UK departure ports of Southampton, Dover, Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh (Rosyth), Fred. Olsen will also be offering an expanded programme of exotic fly-cruises in 2020/21.

Fred. Olsen’s new 2020/21 itineraries will be released to its Oceans loyalty club members from 5th March 2019, and will go on general sale from Monday 11th March 2019.

Fred. Olsen’s new 2020/21 ocean cruise programme will feature 144 different itineraries, including the following nine maiden calls: Beppu, Hiroshima, Kochi and Nagoya, in Japan; Fakarava and Raiatea, in French Polynesia; Savusavu, in Fiji; Ha Long Bay, in Vietnam; and Surabaya, in Java, Indonesia.

Fred. Olsen will also be building on the success of its dedicated European river cruise ship, Brabant, with the launch of its new 2020 cruise programme. Guests can discover the beauty of the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers on 26 tempting itineraries – including Luxembourg for the very first time, where few other river ships venture – with all the hallmarks of Fred. Olsen’s warm, welcoming style of cruising.

In 2020, Brabant will be visiting 43 ports of call, in 13 countries, covering 14 areas of scenic cruising – including five brand new areas. This includes 10 maiden itineraries, and 10 maiden calls: Trier and Nierstein, in Germany; Grevenmacher and Remich, in Luxembourg; Cetate, Galati and Drobeta-Turnu Severin, in Romania; Donji Milanovac, in Serbia; Enkhuizen, in The Netherlands; and Vukovar, in Croatia.

In its 2020/21 ocean programme, Fred. Olsen will be offering guests more ‘scenic’ cruising than ever before. An important part of a well-balanced itinerary, scenic cruising is rated as highly as the ports of call – and sometimes even higher. As well as its signature ‘Norwegian fjords’ experiences, Fred. Olsen will also be taking guests to discover the untouched beauty of three new areas of scenic cruising, on Balmoral’s 34-night L2026 ‘American Waterways in the Fall with New York’ voyage, from Southampton in September 2020: Cape Cod Canal, the Hudson River and the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal.

Closer’ cruising remains at the fore of the Fred. Olsen experience throughout 2020/21. By making the most of its smaller-sized ships, Fred. Olsen can sail right into the heart of the destination, where many larger vessels cannot reach. Notably, shallow-drafted Braemar will be repeating its best-selling transit of Greece’s Corinth Canal – which spans less than 25 metres at its narrowest, lowest point – on its unforgettable 25-night ‘Corinth Canal & Greek Islands’ itinerary, from Southampton in April 2021.

Another key theme for Fred. Olsen’s 2020/21 cruise programme is ‘Community & Way of Life’, which focusses upon ‘authenticity’ and taking guests ‘closer’, to experience the real world. Boudicca’s inaugural 14-night D2101 ‘Authentic Japan’ fly-cruise from Tokyo in January 2021 is one such example, where guests will experience a range of in-depth shore excursions, including watching a Geisha perform authentic dances to traditional Japanese music, taking part in an authentic tea ceremony, or connecting with the heritage of the Samurai on a trip to Tokyo’s Kamakura, the historic home of this fearless warrior caste.

Black Watch’s 32-night W2031 ‘Idyllic Islands of the Caribbean’ adventure from Liverpool in November 2020 takes in lesser-known parts of this fascinating diaspora, and those visited by fewer tourists, such as Mayreau in the Grenadine Islands, which has a population of under 300.

In addition, Fred. Olsen’s ‘Scenery & Wildlife’ themed cruises in 2020/21 highlight the very best flora and fauna that the planet has to offer. Boudicca’s 14-night D2029 ‘African Wildlife Adventure’ from Cape Town in December 2020 will give guests the chance to go in search of lemurs and chameleons in their native Madagascan habitat; in South Africa, they can seek out the ‘Big Five’, on unmissable safari adventures from Port Elizabeth and Durban. Balmoral’s 10-night L2014 ‘Icelandic Wonders & Wildlife’ itinerary, from Edinburgh (Rosyth) in June 2020 takes in the thundering waterfalls of Godafoss and Gullfoss, and offers guests the opportunity to search for humpback whales along the Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest fjord.

Fred. Olsen will also be operating more of its ‘Five-Night’ cruises. These provide the perfect opportunity for a short break, or the chance to try Fred. Olsen for the first time, offering the full ‘Fred. Olsen experience’ of destination exploration, ‘closer’ scenic cruising, and friendlier onboard service. Guests can choose to see the best of Norway in only five nights on Balmoral’s L2015 ‘Five-Night Fjordland Discovery’ from Edinburgh (Rosyth) in July 2020 – taking advantage of this Scottish port’s strategic location and close proximity to Norway – along with Braemar’s maiden M2022 ‘Delights of Devon & Cornwall’ short getaway in August 2020, calling at St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth – for an overnight stay – and Plymouth.

Another key theme at Fred. Olsen is visiting destinations at the optimum time of the year, to maximise guests’ enjoyment. Examples of Fred. Olsen’s ‘Best Time To Goitineraries in 2020/21 include: Black Watch’s 10-night W2016 ‘Authentic Flavours of Portugal’ cruise, from Liverpool in June 2020, which coincides with the evocative ‘Feast of St. Anthony’, also known as the ‘Sardine Festival’; Black Watch’s W2012 ‘Canaries & Portugal with the Funchal Flower Parade’ sailing, taking in the city’s awe-inspiring floral spectacular; and a first for Fred. Olsen, Boudicca’s 28-night D2030 ‘Discovering Asia with Singapore at New Year’ fly-cruise, sailing from the Seychelles in December 2020, where guests can enjoy the fun and fanfare of the New Year’s celebrations in this vibrant Asian capital.

Other highlights of Fred. Olsen’s new 2020/21 ocean cruise programme include:

– Black Watch’s nine-night W2010 ‘Mystery Cruise’, from Liverpool in April 2020 (adult-only, 18+), where only the Captain knows where the ship is heading!

– In April 2020, all eyes will be on the Madeiran capital of Funchal, as the entire Fred. Olsen ocean fleet reunites for the third time, to celebrate ‘Four Fred.s in Funchal’! This follows on from Fred. Olsen’s hugely successful ‘Captains in Cádiz’ celebration in September 2018, when the fleet came together to mark Fred. Olsen’s 170th anniversary in shipping.

– Black Watch’s 14-night W2023 ‘The Fjords of Greenland’ adventure, from Liverpool in August 2020, taking in the sensational scenery of Iceland and Greenland. Guests will get the chance to glide past the rugged peaks and mighty glaciers of Prins Christian Sund – rated the best scenic cruising experience by Fred. Olsen guests. Sail among giant creaking icebergs on a boat tour to the Qooroq Ice Fjord, or step back in time on a visit to Nanortalik’s Open Air Museum.

– Balmoral’s nine-night L2102 ‘Winter Fjords with Shetland‘ cruise, from Southampton in January 2021, where guests can experience the Norwegian fjords at a very magical time of year. Take the Flåm railway to ascend into the fjordland when the scenery is likely to be frozen and snowy white. Guests can also attend the world-renowned ‘Up Helly Aa’ Viking festival. Held in Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, on the last Tuesday of January, ‘Up Helly Aa’ Day involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a replica Viking ship.

– Boudicca’s 14-night D2102 ‘Vietnam, Hong Kong & Singapore’ fly-cruise, via Hong Kong in January 2021. In Vietnam, visit historic Ho Chi Minh City, take a boat trip within the rocky islets of Ha Long Bay, delve into the history of the Nguyen Dynasty Emperors on a tour to the country’s former capital city, Hue, as well as overnight stays in vibrant Singapore and Hong Kong.

– Balmoral’s L2107 and L2108 ‘In Search of the Northern Lights in Eight Nights’ sailings, from Newcastle in March 2021 – a new range of itineraries providing the ideal introduction to cruise for new guests…and even more so if they get to witness the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis!

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Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Cunard Announces Voyages for Winter 2020/2021

Cunard has today unveiled its winter 2020 – 2021 programme with exciting new destinations and more variety than ever before that will see the famous fleet, including the world’s only ocean liner Queen Mary 2, visit incredible places across the globe.

From November 2020 to May 2021, Cunard’s three ships will travel 139,000 nautical miles, calling at 94 destinations in 38 different countries, including three maiden calls to Hualien, Miyakojima and New Plymouth.

From San Francisco to Sydney and Auckland to Cape Town this latest itinerary blends world-class cities with smaller, less well-known, destinations, offering the opportunity to truly understand and experience the culture of a destination. Trips range from short two-night breaks to a 108-night world voyage with each journey delivering a refined and immersive experience, for every guest.

Cunard has undertaken more world voyages and sent more ships across the world than any other passenger line, making Cunard a true expert in world voyages. In fact, the concept of world cruising was invented by Cunard in 1922, when the elegant Laconia completed the first ever continuous circumnavigation of the globe by a passenger liner, taking in 22 ports in 130 days.

In 2021, Cunard’s iconic flagship, Queen Mary 2, will embark upon a classic voyage of global exploration, taking in such diverse regions as Southern Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australia, Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean. Queen Victoria sets sail on a western circumnavigation of the globe that is packed full of ‘must-do’ experiences, while Queen Elizabeth will carry out a programme of exotic voyages that offer richer, deeper and more regionally-focussed itineraries.

Queen Mary 2 will again undertake her classic East-West Voyage to Australia and Asia. The beginning of the voyage is routed via South Africa and the Indian Ocean to Australia. From there Queen Mary 2 will head north to Hong Kong and on to Singapore via Vietnam. She then travels through the Malacca Straits across the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. The final leg of the voyage is the return to Southampton from Dubai, which is routed via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea. Shorter voyage options exist, ranging in length from one to three weeks and can be combined in many ways allowing guests to create the ideal travel experience from and to the iconic city of their choice.

The 2020 – 2021 winter programme for Queen Mary 2 will also feature various transatlantic options. In addition to the iconic seven-night Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton, guests will also be able to enjoy the splendour of the Caribbean at Christmas, including calls to St Thomas, St Kitts, Barbados, St Lucia and St Maarten.

Queen Victoria’s winter deployment begins with her celebration of Christmas and New Year in December 2020, followed by a classic western circumnavigation via the Panama Canal. The world voyage can be taken as a round trip from either Hamburg (112 Nights) or Southampton (108 nights).

The circumnavigation will begin by crossing the Atlantic to Florida via Bermuda, followed by a Trans-Panama segment. Queen Victoria will then cross the Pacific via Hawaii and Samoa to New Zealand. From there she will take in Sydney, Australia’s Gold Coast and Great Barrier Reef before travelling to Hong Kong via Darwin and Vietnam. Following the visit to Asia, Queen Victoria will return to Southampton via Singapore, the Indian Ocean and South Africa.

In December 2020 and early 2021, Queen Elizabeth offers a series of round trip voyages from international ports that offer deeper, richer and more regionally focused itineraries. In between these home-ported deployments will be exotic grand voyages that capture the imagination and spirit of adventure in travel lovers across the world.

Queen Elizabeth will also feature three brand new destinations and four over night calls, including Auckland, Wellington, Hobart and Singapore. The more focussed series of destinations presents deeper, richer and more regionally focussed plans that will take in New Plymouth (New Zealand), Hualien (Taiwan) will also take port in Miyakojima (Japan), during its famous ‘Cherry Blossom’ season.

In addition, Queen Elizabeth will operate four roundtrip voyages from Melbourne and four from Sydney, covering the popular regions of South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. New in 2021 is a pair of “open-jaw” New Zealand voyages, travelling from Sydney to Auckland and from Auckland to Sydney. These can be taken individually as 12 or 13 night voyages, or combined into a longer 25 night Sydney round trip that offers the full experience of nine different New Zealand ports, two ports in Tasmania as well as a day in Melbourne.

Programme Highlights

Queen Mary 2:

36 voyage combinations ranging from 3 to 113 nights

Over 47,000 nautical miles

37 ports

22 countries

Overnight stays in Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, and three days in Cape Town

Transits the Suez Canal

34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Victoria:

36 voyage combinations ranging from 2 to 112 nights

Over 41,000 nautical miles

39 ports

24 countries

Overnight stays in San Francisco, Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Cape Town

Includes scenic cruising in the Panama Canal

25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Queen Elizabeth:

82 voyage combinations ranging from 2 to 39 nights

Over 49,000 nautical miles

46 ports

10 countries

4 maiden calls for Queen Elizabeth

Overnight stays in Auckland, Wellington, Hobart, Singapore and Hong Kong

Scenic cruising in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Posted in Cruise News, Cunard Cruise Line

TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures Of The Golden Pharaoh Presented By Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises, known for its destination focused cruising and culturally enriching experiences, announces it will be the presenting sponsor of the London leg of the TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh world tour.  Produced by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and IMG, the exhibition features the largest collection of Tutankhamun’s treasures ever to travel outside of Egypt, and will open at the Saatchi Gallery on 2 November 2019.

The London engagement, presented by Viking Cruises, will be the third stop on the exhibition’s 10-city world tour following residences in Los Angeles and Paris, and is part of the celebrations for the 100th year anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.  It will be the first time that 60 of the 150 original artefacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb will be seen in the UK on their first journey outside of Egypt.  At the conclusion of the tour, the artefacts will go on permanent display at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is supported by exhibition proceeds.

Egypt is a popular destination for Viking guests from the UK.  Viking’s ‘Pharaohs & Pyramids’ itinerary sails between Luxor and Aswan.  Guests follow in the wake of pharaohs along the banks of the Nile River as Viking’s expert Egyptologists provide insights into one of history’s greatest civilisations.  The itinerary includes the fascinating city of Cairo, with a visit to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, and a trip to the Giza Plateau to behold the Great Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaur.  In Luxor, guests visit the Valley of the Kings, where ancient pharaohs were entombed deep in the hillsides, and the Valley of the Queens, the resting place of pharaohs’ wives. Viking also offers ‘Privileged Access’ to the tomb of Queen Nefertari, an exquisitely preserved tomb only a few visitors have the chance to see.

One of Viking’s cultural partners in the UK, Highclere Castle, was the seat, 100 years ago, of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who famously discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 with his archaeological colleague, Howard Carter.  Now the country home of the Earl and Countess of

Carnarvon and the setting for Downton Abbey, Viking guests enjoy privileged access to Highclere Castle on the ‘Cities of Light’ and ‘Paris & the Heart of Normandy’ cruises.

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Posted in Cruise News, Viking Cruises

PONANT Supports The Aldabra Clean Up Project

PONANT is continuing its environmental commitment by providing support to the Aldabra Clean Up, an exemplary and tangible project to combat plastic pollution, preserve the Aldabra atoll in the Seychelles and raise global awareness.

The French line is working alongside the Aldabra Clean Up Project to eliminate the tons of plastic waste that has washed up in the Aldabra atoll.  A UNESCO World Heritage site and the world’s second largest coral atoll, this atoll is home to unique species, including 150,000 Aldabra giant tortoises. But, despite its isolation and protection, this site has not escaped the threat of marine plastic pollution. By becoming its main sponsor, PONANT is continuing its environmental commitment and allowing the Aldabra Clean Up Project to achieve the level of resources needed to make this major project viable, while providing its expertise to closely monitor the implementation of operations.

A project to raise awareness of environmental issues

In addition to the clean-up programme that will start on 22nd February 2019, and which is as ambitious as it is complex in its implementation, this project also seeks to educate and raise awareness among the communities of the Seychelles and worldwide about the importance of environmental protection. To achieve this the project will promote positive measures to substantially reduce the pollution which is severely affecting these unique sites. To this end, the team of the Aldabra Clean Up Project will carry out scientific research to quantify the threats that plastics impose on these precious island ecosystems. This will be followed by an awareness-raising campaign targeting the global population on the environmental challenges in the oceans.

PONANT: an actor committed to responsible tourism

For more than 30 years, PONANT is deploying its efforts to address a subject that is very dear to it: respect for the marine world. From the conception of its certified Clean Ship vessels to its shore visits, everything is done to reduce the impact on the environment. Beach clean-up campaigns are also organised with passengers to raise their awareness and transform them into veritable ambassadors for the responsible tourism the company is keen to encourage.

About the Aldabra Clean Up Project

In May 2018 the Aldabra Clean-Up Project was launched at the Royal Society in London and the State House in Seychelles. The project is a collaboration between The Queen’s College, Oxford and the Seychelles Islands Foundation. It brings together Oxford postgraduates and committed Seychellois volunteers to achieve an ambitious goal – the cleaning up of Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean, which is badly affected by plastic pollution.

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Posted in Cruise News, Ponant

12 New Ports Of Call For Princess Cruises In 2019

Princess Cruises has announced 12 maiden ports of call for this year, complementing the 380 destinations the line currently sails to across all seven continents.

For British guests there is the opportunity to make an inaugural visit to Rockland, Maine, directly from the UK via a 24-night Canada & New England voyage sailing roundtrip from Southampton. The cruise departs in September on the 2,670-guest Sapphire Princess as part of the ship’s full Southampton season from April to October.

Two UK destinations will feature for the first time. The 3,080-guest Crown Princess will make the opening visit to Portland in Dorset in April as part of a Western Europe Passage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Southampton. The ship will then start a five-month season of round Britain sailings before heading back to Fort Lauderdale in September via Portland once again.

Two further Portland visits will take place during the year with the first by the 2,000-guest Sea Princess in July during a world cruise. The 670-guest Pacific Princess will then visit in September for a British Isles sailing. As part of this sailing Pacific Princess will drop anchor at Portree, on the Isle of Skye, the second UK maiden destination.

Pacific Princess will also make inaugural stops to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in both April and December. The December visit forms part of a 14-day Caribbean Connoisseur cruise, which will also see the ship make a maiden visit to Mayreau, the smallest inhabited island of the Grenadines, on New Year’s Eve.

Pacific Princess will make one further new stop at Jamestown, on the island of St Helena, in the South Atlantic. The April visit is part of a 111-day world cruise that sails from Los Angeles and takes in the likes of Australia, Singapore, Brazil, South Africa and Mauritius.

Finally, Japan features a total of six new ports, all on the 2,670-guest Diamond Princess. They comprise the locations of Gamagori, Himeji, Miyako, Niigata, Wakayama and Takamatsu.

The 12 maiden ports of call for Princess Cruises are:

  • Rockland, Maine, USA – Originally a ship-building village, the town is now known for its lobster festival and the most photographed lighthouse in America. Guests can explore the many art museums or take a scenic tour to the coastal village of Kennebunkport, home to the Bush estate and former summer White House
  • Portland – Situated along the southernmost part of the Dorset coast, this natural harbour will offer excursions to Stonehenge and Salisbury. Guests can also visit the nearby attractions of Abbotsbury Swannery, a sanctuary for 600 swans on the site of an 11th-century monastery and the 1,000-year-old ruins of Corfe Castle
  • Portree, Isle of Skye – Known for its rugged landscapes and picturesque fishing villages, shore excursions include eagle watching at Ben Tianavaig, exploring the geographical contours of Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls, as well as medieval Munvegan Castle and Eilean Donan Castle on the largest and northernmost islands in the Inner Hebrides
  • Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe – Situated between Antigua and Dominica, this butterfly-shaped island is known for botanical gardens on Basse-Terre and the dramatic rock formations at Castle Point. Shore-based activities extend to kayaking through the mangroves and discovering the natural sanctuary of Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Nature Reserve
  • Mayreau (Saline Bay), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – The smallest inhabited island of the Grenadines, Mayreau is relatively untouched and includes white beaches and crystal blue seas. Guests can swim and snorkel in the clearest water imaginable at Mayreau Gardens, a coral reef formation location between Mayreau and nearby Tobago Cays
  • Jamestown, Saint Helena (Overseas British Territory) – A volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, guests can explore the picturesque capital which includes the oldest Anglican church in the southern hemisphere, St James Church, as well the historic High Knoll Fort and Napoleon’s original tomb and his last residence, Longwood House, now a museum
  • Gamagori, Japan – A city on Mikawa Bay in central Japan, guests can explore the nearby tiny uninhabited island known as Takeshima which is designated a national treasure, Okazaki Castle and Miso Brewery, as well as the Flower Lagoon at Laguna Ten Bosch
  • Himeji, Japan – Houses the centuries-old Himeji Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site widely considered to be Japan’s most beautiful surviving castle. Other nearby attractions include Mount Shosha, the site of Engyoji, an atmospheric temple with a history of over 1,000 years
  • Miyako, Japan – Known for its beautiful coastline and the popular Jodogahama Beach, Miyako Fish Market will also appeal as it sells a wide variety of local fish and seafood. Further afield guests can explore the brilliant blue underground lakes at Ryusen-do Cave, one of Japan’s three greatest limestone caves
  • Niigata, Japan – The largest port on the Japan Sea coast, Niigata is known as the number one rice-producing region in Japan. Tours include the Sasaiwai brewery which has been producing sake in this area over 100 years, the 17th-century Shimizu Garden and the Yahiko Shrine at the foot of the sacred 638m Mt. Yahiko
  • Wakayama, Japan – Located south of Osaka, Wakayama is home to Wakayama Castle, nestled on top of the small hill of Torafusu with beautiful surrounding gardens. The city is known throughout Japan for the region’s ramen noodles
  • Takamatsu, Japan – The largest city on the island of Shikoku, Takamatsu acts as a gateway to the islands around the Seto Inland Sea and is known for Ritsurin Koen Park, one of Japan’s finest landscape gardens and regional culinary specialities include Sanuki-udon

Sample voyages include:

A 24-day Canada & New England voyage, sailing roundtrip from Southampton on Sapphire Princess. Departing September 14, 2019, ports of call include St. Johns (Newfoundland), Sydney (Nova Scotia), Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), New York City (with overnight), Newport, Boston, Rockland, Saint John (for the Bay of Fundy) and Halifax. Prices from £2249 per person, with $100 onboard spending money per person.

A 14-day Caribbean Connoisseur voyage, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Pacific Princess. Departing December 22, 2019, ports of call include St. John, Guadeloupe (Pointe-a-Pitre), St. Kitts, Martinique, Tobago, Barbados, Mayreau, Antigua and Virgin Gorda. Prices from £2018 per person.

A 9-day Japan Explorer Spring Flowers voyage, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo on Diamond Princess. Departing April 2, 2020, ports of call include Gamagori, Osaka, Kochi, Hiroshima, Busan (South Korea) and Sasebo. Prices from £1399 per person.

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MSC Seaside To Star In Feature-Length Documentary On Channel 5 Tonight

MSC Cruises is once again coming to millions of homes across the UK as one of the Company’s newest ships, MSC Seaside, becomes the star of a 90-minute documentary airing on Channel 5. The show, ‘Secrets of the Mega Cruise Ship’ offers viewers a unique behind-the-scenes look at the inner-workings of one of the world most advanced mega-ships, MSC Seaside, hosting over 5,000 guests a week on their holiday to destinations including Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Cozumel, Mexico and Nassau in the Bahamas.

Above deck, the show will give viewers a chance to learn why so many people choose a cruise holiday and highlights some of the ship’s fantastic facilities including 11 unique dining venues, 19 bars and lounges, and award winning nightlife and parties. Below deck the documentary explores everything from show rehearsals and restaurant service to advanced waste disposal and clean water systems, all through the eyes of the 1,500 officers and crew that keep MSC Seaside sailing 365 days a year.

Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director for MSC Cruises UK and Ireland, said, “It is an honour to have this great opportunity to show the British public another of our beautiful ships and all the onboard features we are famous for, whilst also offering a unique behind-the-scenes look at the goings on of one of the world’s most advanced cruise ships. There is no better way to demonstrate how fantastic cruising is than to physically show people, and this feature-length documentary provides a great opportunity to do just that.”

MSC Seaside, launched in December 2017, with a unique and innovative Miami beach condo inspired design. The ship was developed to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the sea, and as a result has a higher ratio of outdoor space per guest than any other ship in the fleet. The first in the Seaside class, MSC Seaside is the sister ship to MSC Seaview which launched in June 2018. MSC Seaside is sailing 7 night itineraries from Miami to the Caribbean which from November 2019 will include MSC Cruises private island Ocean Cay.

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Posted in Cruise News, MSC Cruises
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