Virgin Voyages Reveals the Name of Fleet’s Fourth Ship

WHAT: First came Scarlet Lady, a name chosen to honor one of Virgin Atlantic’s flagship aircrafts. Next were Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady, two sister ships with names that celebrate women’s strong, fierce, and independent spirits. These beautiful vessels are helmed by two beautiful and diverse mermaids to match. 

With all three ships in the water by the end of this summer, Virgin Voyages is delighted to welcome our fourth Lady Ship to the fleet: Brilliant Lady. 

WHY: Like Brilliant Lady’s predecessors, Virgin Voyages was extremely thoughtful when selecting a name that would boldly stand alongside her sister ships. We sought out a name that exemplifies our brand’s values and ethos, the truest representation of our mission to “Create an Epic Sea Change For All.” As our goal has always been to create a bright and radiant experience for our Sailors — much like the sparkling seas Brilliant Lady will sail on — it was only appropriate that our fourth ship name reflect that.

Brilliance — which means both radiance along with exceptional talent and intelligence — was purposefully chosen for the duality of its meaning. On every sailing, Virgin Voyages’ ultimate goal is to leave our Sailors with a glowing review and having enjoyed one of the best vacations of their lives.

In naming the ship Brilliant Lady, we also aimed to highlight the powerful intelligence of women across the globe. Brilliant Lady represents the smart, thoughtful, boundary-pushing minds of women around the world — unafraid of owning their intelligence, aware of their importance, and confidently in touch with their own sense of self worth.

WHERE/WHEN: Brilliant Lady’s mermaid, destinations and itineraries will be announced soon, but until then, Sailors can set sail the Virgin way aboard Scarlet Lady from Miami (available now) on Valiant Lady starting May 15 from Barcelona, and on Resilient Lady starting August 14 from Athens. 

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Posted in Cruise News, Virgin Voyages

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines unveils first new-look fleet reunion with Fleet in Funchal celebration for 2023

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has today unveiled the first reunion of its new-look fleet, with all four of its smaller ships to come together in Funchal, Madeira, in November 2023.

It will be the third fleet reunion to be held by the cruise line, and will see the four ships, Bolette, Borealis, Balmoral and Braemar, set sail on four separate cruises, hand-crafted specially to allow them to come together at the garden island of Madeira for the Fleet in Funchal celebration.

The occasion will be marked with a quayside fiesta, and the cruise line plans offer guests the chance to explore the rest of the fleet while they are in port.

Guests looking to join the celebration can enjoy £200 per person to spend on board, or £400 when booking a suite.

Fred. Olsen’s Fleet in Funchal sailings are as follows:

Bolette’s 15-night T2328 ‘Spain & Portugal with Fleet in Funchal’ cruise, departing from Southampton on 29th October 2023. Prices start from £2,099 per person.

Itinerary: Southampton, England – La Coruna, Spain – Cruising by Tower of Hercules – Cádiz, Spain – Tarragona, Spain – Valencia, Spain – Cartagena, Spain – Málaga, Spain – Funchal, Madeira – Southampton, England

Balmoral’s 15-night L2324 ‘The Canary Islands with the Fleet in Funchal’ cruise, departing from Southampton on 30th October 2023. Prices start from £2,099 per person.

Itinerary: Southampton, England – Cádiz, Spain – Las Palmas, Gran Canaria – Santa Cruz, Tenerife – San Sebastian, La Gomera – Santa Cruz, La Palma – Funchal, Madeira – Lisbon, Portugal – Southampton, England

Braemar’s 15-night M2327 ‘Discovering Cultural Morocco with the Fleet in Funchal’ cruise, departing from Dover on 30th October 2023. Prices start from £2,099 per person.

Itinerary: Dover, England – Gibraltar – Cádiz, Spain – Tangier, Morocco – Casablanca, Morocco – Agadir, Morocco – Funchal, Madeira – Leixões, Matosinhos, Portugal – Dover, England

Borealis’ 14-night S2323 ‘The Azores with The Fleet in Funchal’ cruise, departing from Liverpool on 1st November 2023. Prices start from £1,999 per person.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores – Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores (overnight stay) – Funchal, Madeira – Lisbon, Portugal – Leixões, Matosinhos, Portugal – Liverpool, England

For more information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Fleet in Funchal sailings, visit fredolsencruises.com/four-freds-in-funchal 

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Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Msc Cruises Opens Sales For 2024 World Cruise With A Brand-New Itinerary

MSC Cruises has today opened sales for the MSC World Cruise 2024 with a stunning, brand-new itinerary from the cruise line aboard MSC Poesia, set to depart 05 January 2024.

Around the world voyages from MSC Cruises have consistently sold out since the line introduced its first World Cruise in 2019, and the latest round-the-world itinerary follows a stunning new route that includes 52 amazing destinations in 31 different countries.

Embarking the ship for a spectacular 121-day voyage in the ports of Civitavecchia/Rome, Genoa, Marseille or Barcelona (on 4, 5, 6 or 7 January 2024 respectively), guests head off for their first destinations, then for almost four months, will be led on an itinerary of unforgettable experiences around the world.

The cruises begins off with some of the main highlights in the Mediterranean Sea including stops in France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, an overnight in Haifa, Israel and day visit to Cairo via Port Said/Alexandria, Egypt. Guests will then transition through the world-famous Suez Canal to the stunning Red Sea where sights of the ancient world await in Luxor and Petra.

After an overnight stay in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the ship heads south to the crystal waters of African jewels of Zanzibar, the Seychelles and Mauritius before heading to mainland Africa for a tour of South Africa – Durban, Port Elizabeth, and an overnight stay to see everything Cape Town is famed for, including the striking Table Mountain.

Next, the ship crosses the South Atlantic Ocean to South America for something truly special – exploration of the Brazilian Amazon. Sailing up the mighty Amazon River as far as Manaus, guests will find themselves in the heart of the world-famous Amazon rainforest. In Brazil guests will also be treated to calls at Salvador de Bahia and Belém, as well as an overnight stop in Rio de Janeiro, with plenty of time to soak up the sun on Copacabana beach and the famous nightlife.

Next up, experience the brightest pearls of the Caribbean: Saint Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Dominican Republic and The Bahamas, including MSC Cruises’ private island, Ocean Cay, en-route to North America.

Here, overnights in Miami, Florida and New York City await, before continuing north to Nova Scotia and Quebec in Canada. On the way back home, the stunning destinations continue with some of Northern Europe’s finest cities plus Greenland and Iceland.

2024 World Cruise Highlights:

Some of the highlights of this incredible voyage around the world include:

  • Luxor, Egypt: Travelling back in time to discover marvels of the ancient world, guests will discover Karnak, monuments, temples and tombs, including the impressive sight of Karnak, one of the largest ancient religious sites known anywhere in the world.
  • Petra, Jordan: Guests will not want to miss a chance to experienceJordan’s most valuable treasure with a fascinating ancient city and world-famous for its wonderful colour of rock from which many of the city’s structures were carved.
  • Zanzibar, Tanzania: White sands, turquoise watersand a rich cultural backdropare only some of Zanzibar’s exquisite features, all to offer a quintessential tropical island paradise experience. Guest may also opt for a visit of the Stone Town, the heart and soul of this African jewel, and for those looking for an adventure, they can head to the Jozani-Chwaka National Park to enjoy the the wild vegetation and meet its famous Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, an endangered species found only here.
  • Port Victoria, Seychelles: Arriving to the tranquil paradise of Seychelles, guests will discover Port Victoria, the small but vibrant capital of this country composed of 115 islands dotting the Indian Ocean. Located on Mahé, one of the archipelago’s largest and most important islands, Victoria offers an insight into Creole culture, all through bustling markets, tranquil botanical gardens and beautiful colonial buildings before discovering the island’s beauty –  lush forest, tea plantations and stunning beach like Mahe Beach.
  • La Possession, Reunion: Rarely visited by cruise ship,theexclusive destination offers unique sights, including Circus of Salazie the remains of a majestic volcanic caldera. Instead of geysers of lava, extinguished centuries ago, guests will find an explosion of life, where marvels of nature live side by side with small towns scattered throughout a lush forest. For a chance to still discover active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise offers two volcano craters, the Dolomieu and the Bory, which filled with lava in 2007.
  • Cape Town, South Africa:  The city offers the best of South Africa’s natural and cosmopolitan attractions, from the world-renowned wine producing regions, to the exquisite natural beauty of Table Mountain National Park with panoramic views over the mountains, city and both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. A pleasant and relaxing day might involve browsing the shops and restaurants at Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, or relaxing on Camps Bay’s beach.
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Between an azure sea and forest-clad mountains, the city’s streets and buildings have been moulded around the foothills of the mountain range that provides its backdrop, while out in the Guanabara bay there are many rocky islands fringed with white sand. It is also the perfect opportunity to explore the Brazilian Amazon with pristine rainforest and eclectic wildlife.
  • Salvador de Bahia, Brazil: The city has an electric feel from the moment guests arrive – in the great cultural and historical centre of Brazil, Afro-Brazilian heritage is strongest and this is where capoeira, candomblé and samba de roda were created. Guests can expect a vibrant beach life, modern skyscrapers and plenty of favelas, without missing the traditional heart of Salvador.
  • Belém, Brazil: The eastern gateway to the Amazon region stands as a destination in its own right. Guests will be delighted by this rewarding city enriched with streets and parks shaded by mango trees, the pastel facades of once-decadent mansions now fading in the tropical sun.
  • Manaus, Brazil: The Amazon’s largest city is a memorable destination right in the middle of the jungle as guests have the perfect opportunity to explore the Brazilian Amazon. Manaus is best enjoyed as the starting point to the incredible Amazon adventure, right in the heart of the pristine rainforest and eclectic wildlife.
  • Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, The Bahamas: The flourishing marine reserve and MSC Cruises’ private island destination, once a former industrial sand extraction site, now offers uninterrupted ocean views, crystal clear waters and soft sandy beaches. The Ocean Cay MSC shore excursions will allow visitors to explore, discover, relax and enjoy nature’s beauty at it’s very best, all through snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddle boarding.
  • New York, United States: The vibrant city is undoubtedly the place to visit, whether guests wish to wander through the patchwork of neighbourhoods in Manhattan, hidden gardens next to postmodern skyscrapers,orhead to the iconic Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. From Broadway shows to world-class museums, the bustling theatre and art scene in New York City can not to be missed,
  • Nova Scotia, Canada: Offering colourful harbour fronts, sandy beaches and impressive historical landmarks, scenic wilderness hiking trails, Nova Scotia is a great destination for any kind of traveller. Located in the province of Nova Scotia, the city of Halifax offers everything from history, the sea, and music.
  • Quebec, Canada: There is no place like Quebec – guests will have the opportunity to soak up the lively French-Canadian Culture, whilst walking along the fortified walls of Old Québec, known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Québec. Stunning scenery can be discovered through the Montmorency waterfalls or Jacques-Cartier National Park.
  • Reykjavik, Iceland: Reykjavík, the world’s most northerly capital, is a small but exciting port city rich with Viking museums, shops, and a lively atmosphere. This destination boasts a range of nearby attractions including a geothermal blue lagoon, stunning waterfalls, and blissful lakes.

Benefits when booking:

15 shore excursions and a Dine & Drink package are included in each booking, as well as 30% off all laundry. Additional excursions and packages can be booked both in advance and during the cruise.

MSC Voyagers Club members will benefit from a 5+5% discount if they book by 4 May 2022, plus triple membership points that will be added to the account straight away, meaning members can enjoy all the added privileges right away.

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Posted in Cruise News, MSC Cruises, World Cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line announces cruise industry’s first NFT collection

 Norwegian Cruise Line has announced it will sail into the Metaverse with the launch of the cruise industry’s first collection of NFTs, adding to the Brand’s legacy of pioneering firsts.

NCL will open for auction and sale a collection of six NFTs to celebrate the launch of the Company’s cutting-edge Norwegian Prima Class at 2pm on Wednesday, 13th April, 2022, at on NCL’s soon to launch online NFT marketplace. The NFT art pieces were created by Manuel Di Rita, widely known as “Peeta,” the Italian artist who designed the hull art on the record-breaking Norwegian Prima and her sister vessel Norwegian Viva. 

The first of the six art pieces will be auctioned at the starting rate of USD$2,500, with the remaining NFTs sold for prices beginning at USD$250. The winner of the auction will also be awarded a balcony stateroom on one of Norwegian Prima’s U.S. inaugural voyages, setting sail from NCL’s beautiful new PortMiami terminal located in Miami, the Cruise Capital of the World.

The first piece in the NFT collection resembles the captivating hull art on Norwegian Prima and provides the buyer an opportunity to own a piece of the beautiful Norwegian Prima for years to come. The additional five NFT pieces showcase some of the innovative 3-D designs often depicted in Peeta’s works and will be featured aboard Norwegian Prima including the ship’s three-level Penrose Atrium.

All proceeds from the NFT auction and sales will be donated to Teach For America. Teach For America finds, develops, and supports a network of leaders who expand opportunity for children from classrooms, schools, and every sector and field that shapes the broader systems in which schools operate.

Launching August 2022, Norwegian Prima’s Christening voyage will depart from Reykjavík, Iceland and will feature a performance from newly announced godmother, global popstar Katy Perry. Norwegian Prima will offer voyages to Northern Europe from Amsterdam; and Copenhagen, Denmark beginning 3rd September; and Caribbean itineraries from Galveston, Texas, Miami and Orlando, Fla. Beginning 27th October

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Celebrity Cruises takes delivery of transformational Celebrity Beyond

Today Celebrity Cruises’ President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo honoured the thousands of engineers, architects, designers, contractors, shipyard employees and Celebrity Cruises teams as the brand took delivery of Celebrity Beyond, the third and most luxurious ship in the fleet’s new-luxury Edge Series®, and a true game changer for the travel industry. The moment was particularly special as it marked the shipyard’s first physical delivery ceremony since the pandemic.

Designed to give guests endless opportunities to disconnect from the world — while simultaneously reconnecting with the world that surrounds them — Celebrity Beyond goes further than imagined possible for a cruise ship, creating a new world of wonder and approachable luxury.  With forward-thinking design by the world’s leading architects and interior designers, culinary excellence from Michelin-starred chefs, world renowned wellbeing partners, exquisite art, luxury brand retailers and Celebrity’s uniquely intuitive service, Celebrity Beyond shatters every preconceived notion of the cruising experience. A floating boutique hotel, Celebrity Beyond exemplifies new-luxury travel and its future at sea.  

As part of the historic moment, Lutoff-Perlo was joined by Royal Caribbean Group’s President and CEO, Jason Liberty, and the ship’s captain, Kate McCue, as they officially took ownership from the shipyard and completed the traditional changing of the flags, hosting a celebratory ceremony onboard Celebrity Beyond while docked in the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The momentous occasion was celebrated alongside other Celebrity Cruises executives, shipyard officials including General Manager Laurent Castaing, and Beyond’s 1,400 crew members from over 60 different countries. 

Celebrity Beyond’s maiden voyage will depart on 27th April, 2022, from Southampton, for a 10-night Western European cruise visiting Bordeaux, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Seville, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain.

She will then offer a variety of Mediterranean journeys including nine-night Italian Riviera and France itineraries and 10-night Greek Isles itineraries through early October, when she then heads to the Caribbean. Voyages are on sale now. 

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines unveils ‘Magical Music of The Beatles’ world cruise from Liverpool in 2024


Fred. Olsen has today unveiled a brand new world cruise for 2024 celebrating the magical music of The Beatles – including a specially-commissioned yellow submarine to offer tours to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Fred. Olsen’s Journey Planners have come together to hand-craft an itinerary that follows – as closely as possible – in the footsteps of The Beatles when they embarked on their 1964 World Tour, with a call into Copenhagen to mark 60 years since the opening night in the city.

More than just day trippers, our guests will find ‘newspaper taxis’ waiting ashore to take them on tours to many of the venues played by The Beatles during the famous tour. In addition, in Australia guests will be able to purchase a ticket to ride aboard Fred. Olsen’s new submarine – of course, painted yellow and aptly named SS Penny Lane – to witness the Great Barrier Reef.

On board, guests will find their very own Cavern Club where they can dance the night away to their favourite Beatles songs, and also a special ‘hill’ out on deck – built from Norwegian wood from our homeland – where guests can sit and enjoy scenic sailings and sunsets.

The cruise is a celebration of Fred. Olsen’s long-standing links to Liverpool, with new ship Borealis homeporting from the city for another year in 2022. The ship will berth almost opposite the statue of the ‘Fab Four’ at The Beatles Pier Head.

Details of the new world cruise are as follows:

Borealis’ 118-night S24BT ‘Magical Music of the Beatles’ world cruise, departing from Liverpool on 30th May 2024. Prices start from £17,999 per person.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Bournemouth, England – Brighton, England – Scarborough, England – Copenhagen, Denmark – Stockholm, Sweden – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Transit Suez Canal – Hong Kong, China – Aukland, New Zealand – Wellington, New Zealand – Christchurch, New Zealand –Dunedin, New Zealand – Cruising Great Barrier Reef – Sydney, Australia – Melbourne, Australia – Adelaide, Australia – Seattle, USA – Vancouver, Canada – San Francisco, USA – Los Angeles, USA – Cruising Panama Canal – New Orleans – USA – Jacksonville, USA – Baltimore, USA – Philadelphia, USA – New York, USA – Boston, USA – Montreal, Canada – Liverpool, England

This sailing has been unveiled ahead of the launch of Fred. Olsen’s 2023/24 schedule, which is set to be released by the small-ship operator at the end of April 2022.

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Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, World Cruise

Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express plans first emission free ship by 2030

Hurtigruten announces its most ambitious sustainability initiative to date; creating solutions for zero emission passenger ships, using the Norwegian coast as the ideal case.

Since the start in 1893, Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express has carried local passengers, goods, and tourists between 34 ports – in what is known as the most beautiful voyage in world.

The company is currently upgrading its existing fleet through what is one of the biggest upgrade programs in European shipping, that will see CO2-emissions cut by 25% and NOx by 80%. The company aims to be a leader in sustainable travel, and Hurtigruten Norway CEO Hedda Felin makes it clear that the goal is zero emissions. 

“We have built our last fossil fueled ship for the Norwegian Coastal Express. When we sail the coastal route for the next 100 years, it will be emission-free, making the world’s most beautiful voyage even more spectacular,” said Hedda Felin.

The Norwegian coast as an ideal location

The Norwegian Coastal Express’ route from Bergen to Kirkenes is an ideal starting point for the development of zero emission passenger ships.

“We as a group have ships sailing all over the world, and we see that the Norwegian coast is an ideal location for this kind of game changing project, where we can benefit from the innovative Norwegian expertise in green shipping,” added Skjeldam.

Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express holds a unique position along the coast as it stops at 34 ports, which means there’s strong opportunities to use future infrastructure for green energy, and several ports plan to expand shore power connectivity. Norway’s strong research and maritime industry and political willingness to support green shipping are positive factors that make the Norwegian coast a perfect fit for this type of initiative.

Research institute SINTEF on board

The Norwegian research instituteSINTEF is on board from the start. SINTEF is one of Europe’s largest independent research organizations, which holds the world’s leading professional environments within green maritime technology and energy systems.

“With this project, Hurtigruten Norway and SINTEF can show the world that green and sustainable passenger ships can be achieved in the near future. Cutting emissions in the maritime sector is by no means an easy feat, and we need ambitious companies like Hurtigruten Norway to take initiatives like this,” said SINTEF President Alexandra Bech Gjørv.

The project includes all aspects of a new ship build program, from design, propulsion, energy and fuel to hotel operations and digital solutions. The goal is that the new ships will be emission-free to both air and sea, and sustainable from a circular economy perspective.As a partner, SINTEF will provide analysis, research and development.

“The first phase of the project has already been kicked-off and consists of a feasibility study, looking at technological and operational solutions for zero emission Hurtigruten Coastal Express ships on the Norwegian coast,” said SINTEF Ocean Market Director Trond Johnsen.

In the next phase, leading maritime industry partners will be invited to participate in taking the project further towards development and qualification of innovative green ship designs and technologies.

“Zero-emission fuels and power systems is an obvious focus area for the project. However, the availability, production cost and energy density of such fuels will require massive cuts in energy usage as well, making energy-efficiency the probable main challenge,” said Johnsen. 

“We are proud to partner with SINTEF Ocean to pioneer the new solutions needed. In order to transform high ambitions into actual results, coupling our knowledge of the coast with SINTEF’s expertise is a key factor,” said Hurtigruten Norway CEO Hedda Felin.

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Posted in Cruise News, Hurtigruten

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Unveils New Highly Immersive Shore Excursion Concepts

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has launched two new shore excursion concepts to further enhance the immersive destination experiences for what the luxury cruise line is known for. The Behind the Design and Eco-Connect tours invite discerning travellers to explore destinations and landmarks from unique and original perspectives.

Behind the Design

Behind the Design tours offer incredible insights about some of the world’s most captivating and brilliant architectural feats such as the Royal Library and the Blue Planet aquarium in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Equinor office building and the Munchmuseetin Oslo, Norway; and the La Villa Mediterranée and MUCEM in Marseille, France. There is a total of 10 Behind the Design tours for the initial launch, which is exclusive to European destinations in summer 2022, with further global destinations expected to be announced later in the year. All offer special, little-known stories and information from knowledgeable guides about the inspiration, reasoning and genius that brought these marvels to life. Other Behind the Design tours being launched focus on sites in Barcelona, Spain; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland; La Coruna, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Sete, France.

Eco-Connect

With over 150 Eco-Connect toursto choose from around the globeguests can engage with local groups and businesses to learn about how they are working to conserve and sustain their surrounding environment. The tours, many of which provide an educational element, offer guests the opportunity to take part in a variety of experiences including sampling organic wine at a sustainable vineyard in Bordeaux, France; helping to create a paradise for sloths to roam in Puntarenas, Costa Rica; or gaining a new appreciation for the diverse flora and fauna around Hue, Vietnam on a hike through the beautiful Bach Ma National Park. Eco-Connect tours span the globe including a wide variety of destinations such as Africa, Alaska, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Northern Europe and South America.

Many of the tours are included as part of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions, with select experiences offering another level of engagement as Regent Choice Shore Excursions, starting at $299 per guest. The new tours are scheduled to roll out across the fleet from spring 2022.

“The new Behind the Design and Eco-Connect tours were created to offer experiences that even the most seasoned traveller has yet to enjoy,” stated Christine Manjencic, Vice President Destination Services, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “We are immensely proud to add these two new touring concepts to our already varied portfolio of incredible destination experiences which include FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions, Regent Choice Shore Excursions, Go Local tours, Gourmet Explorer tours and Wellness tours.”

Behind the Design Tour Examples

Behind the Design: Copenhagen, Denmark

Royal Library & Blue Planet

Browse two radical, modernistic buildings with an architectural historian that will reveal little known facts about their extraordinary designs. The Black Diamond extension to the Royal Library is as revolutionary as it looks. The irregularly shaped monolithic prism is clad in black granite and leans toward the river to capture as much natural light as possible. The building’s significant tilt, wave-like balconies and expanding form as it rises from bottom to top presented a slew of design challenges that the guide will explain. TheBlue Planet may be even more striking as it is the largest aquarium in Europe and resembles a giant whirlpool – a design inspired by the shape of water in endless motion. The building’s exterior is covered in aluminium panels that are reminiscent of fish scales, while the interior curved ceiling evokes images of the baleens of a massive whale. The guide will further elaborate on the technological challenges from constructing the Blue Planet seaside.

Behind the Design: Oslo, Norway

Equinor & Munchmuseet

Discover how two extraordinarily modern buildings have transformed Oslo’s skyline and pushed the boundaries of design. An architectural historian guide will elaborate on the buildings’ advanced technologies and present a rare insider’s perspective of their construction. The iconic Equinor office building consists of five separate rectangular modules stacked on top of each other at different angles, all to optimise daylight and views. Guests will also learn fascinating details about how the atrium’s propeller-shaped glass roof was designed to withstand months of extra weight from snow. Similarly, climate conditions influenced the design of the Munchmuseet, a 13-story museum dedicated to the works of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. It is constructed with low-carbon concrete and aluminium cladding that reflects harsh sunlight and is cooled with seawater. The top of the building intentionally tips forward as if bowing to Oslo in homage.

Behind the Design: Marseille, France
La Villa Mediterranée & MUCEM

Gain an insider’s understanding of the challenges in building two avant-garde landmarks by touring them with an architectural historian. Perched along the waterfront, La Villa Mediterranée was designed to embody Marseille’s deep bond with the sea. Instantly recognised for its prominent cantilevered overhang, this three-level public space also features a conference centre with portholes beneath the sea. As guests will discover, that lower floor presented all sorts of unusual circumstances that pushed the boundaries of architecture. The building faces MUCEM, a national museum devoted to Mediterranean civilisations. Its audacious design includes elements such as tree-like columns, a lacy façade that resembles a fishnet and a slender footbridge that connects it to the towering ramparts of Fort St. Jean. The square-within-a-square shape of MUCEM is classical in one sense but radically different because of the building materials. The concrete filigree that shields much of the structure is particularly stunning.

Eco-Connect Tour Examples

Bordeaux Wines and Sustainability: Bordeaux, France

On this Eco-Connect tour guests will discover how converting to biodynamic and organic farming has further elevated the quality of the esteemed wines at Château de La Dauphine. The first vineyards in the Fronsac region of Bordeaux were planted about 2,000 years ago, so this appellation has a long-distinguished history. Even so, in 2015 the new owners of Château de La Dauphine sought to improve its wines by adopting sustainable biodynamic practices that go far beyond organic pesticide-free agricultural methods. Biodynamic farming takes a holistic, ethical approach that follows the harmonious cycles of nature, specifically the movement of the moon and planets. As guests tour the vineyards, they will learn more about biodynamics and how it affects the terroir and the taste of the wines. The sampling that follows will lend even more insight. The exact wines will be chosen on arrival, but will likely include an elegant, deep-scarlet Merlot.

A Sloth Paradise – Give Back to Nature: Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Visiting a sanctuary for sloths that have been orphaned or injured or lost their habitat due to deforestation, guests will have a close-up look at the animals as they are rehabilitated in hopes of returning them to the wild. Sloths are the world’s slowest animals and spend nearly all-day hanging upside down in trees, rarely travelling more than 125 feet. If their habitat is disturbed or destroyed, the sloths are at great risk. Guests can expect to observe baby sloths and plenty of adults in various stages of rehabilitation. The guide will describe the habits of sloths in the wild and how they easily adapt to the sanctuary environment that replicates a tropical forest. Deforestation is one of the biggest threats to sloths, so to help their cause, travellers may plant a tree in a nearby forest reserve.

Bach Ma National Park Eco-System: Hue, Vietnam

Guests can hike through Bach Ma National Park with a naturalist who will point out and describe the remarkably diverse flora and fauna. As an introduction to the natural wonders, travellers will first browse the exhibits in the visitor centre, which detail the park’s mountainous topography. Bach Ma means “white horse,” a reference to the clouds that ride the wind around the granite summit. As the trail ascends, the forest will become denser and the air cooler. Although the ruins of homes that the colonial French built to escape the summer heat are still visible, most every other sight will be natural. Birds are abundant, including red-headed trogons and scarlet minivets, which are easy to spot because of their bright colouring. A fifth of all the plant species found in Vietnam flourish in the park, and rare orchids may be seen. The summit will afford panoramic views of the mountains, Tam Giang lagoon and Hue.

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Posted in Cruise News, Destinations, Regent Seven Seas

Katy Perry named Godmother of Norwegian Prima

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced today that world famous pop icon and “American Idol” judge Katy Perry will serve as the godmother to its record-breaking and innovative newest ship, Norwegian Prima, debuting August 2022.

As godmother, Perry will not only fulfil the longstanding maritime tradition of blessing and officially naming Norwegian Prima, the first of six vessels in the Prima Class, but she will perform during the christening ceremony before Norwegian Prima sets sail on its inaugural voyages from Reykjavík, Iceland, where the vessel will be the first major cruise ship christened in the Icelandic capital.

A vital and familiar element of any ship launch and dating back centuries, the highly regarded tradition of appointing a ship’s godmother is a fundamental nautical custom during which the selected godmother officiates a ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle on the ship’s bow to bid the vessel and its travellers good fortune.

Norwegian Prima is the company’s most in-demand vessel ever launched, delivering world-class service, thoughtful design, unforgettable itineraries, and an unrivalled guest experience.

While on board, guests can escape to Ocean Boulevard, featuring multiple infinity pools and Oceanwalk glass bridges with breath-taking ocean and destination views, visit Indulge, the Brand’s first-ever upscale international dining open-air marketplace or relax on The Concourse, featuring an outdoor sculpture garden boasting “Instagrammable” installations by famed artists David Harber and Alexander Krivosheiw. Designed by the master architects at Piero Lissoni, the ship’s revamped luxurious centralized suite complex, The Haven by Norwegian will feature 107 staterooms spanning eight decks with a stunning new infinity pool overlooking the ship’s wake and a new outdoor spa with a glass-walled sauna and cold room. Most recently, NCL unveiled its remaining culinary and beverage offerings available on Norwegian Prima and Viva, including the Brand’s first sustainably-focused lounge, The Metropolitan and its ultra-upscale Mediterranean seafood specialty restaurant Palomar.

Launching August 2022, Norwegian Prima will offer inaugural voyages to Northern Europe from Southampton, England; Amsterdam; and Reykjavík, Iceland beginning Aug.12; Bermuda sailings from New York City beginning Oct. 6; and Caribbean itineraries from Galveston, Texas and Miami beginning Oct. 27.

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines unveils brand new programme of hand-crafted sailings for summer 2023

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Summer 2023 sailings
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Summer 2023 sailings

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has today unveiled a brand new programme of cruising for summer 2023, offering a host of scenic sailings, cultural discoveries and calls that coincide with special events ashore.

The new sailings feature the chance to explore the Adriatic’s lesser-known cities of Durrës in Albania, Neum in Bosnia and Koper in Slovenia; witness the Midnight Sun in sailings to Arctic Norway and Spitsbergen; and sail the Amalfi Coast at sunrise and sunset.

Fred. Olsen is already developing an immersive programme of shore excursions for these new sailings, including opportunities to make Pasteis de Nata in Lisbon, the city from which they famously hail, and hike Bergen’s Mount Floyen with a local resident, away from the typical tourist vantage points.

Guests will be able to take advantage of up to £250 per person to spend on board, or up to £500 per person when booking a suite. In addition, on selected July and August 2023 cruises, there is the option to add a third guest from £199 when sharing with two others, plus a number of no single supplement offers for solo travellers too.

The new programme offers more than 40 sailings departing between June and October 2023, with regional departures available from Southampton, Dover, London Tilbury, Liverpool, Newcastle, Rosyth and Belfast.

Members of Fred. Olsen’s Oceans loyalty scheme can take advantage of an exclusive early booking period from today, ahead of the new itineraries going on general sale on Friday (18th March) at 9am.

Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Planning and Destination Experience at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“Our new summer programme really showcases what makes us special, and we have hand-crafted each cruise to really celebrate our smaller ships and the opportunities they allow us to offer our guests. So much has been curated around the best time to visit, whether that’s to witness a destination at its seasonal best, or to coincide with a special event ashore.

“In July, Braemar will call into Fredericia, Denmark, in time for the annual 6th July celebrations, for example, while in October Borealis will venture to Canada in time for guests to witness the spectacular autumnal foliage.

“We know that our guests want to have real experiences when they travel with us, and so we are already curating our tours programme to show guests the very best in the destinations we visit, away from the mass market tours and the large crowds. With us, guests can learn the Flamenco in Seville, rather than simply watching a performance, or can visit the rice fields in Valencia and learn more about how the farmers here helped shape the flavours of the region.

“This is our first programme where we will have all four ships in our new-look fleet sailing, and we can’t wait to welcome guests, both new and returning, on board with us next summer.”

Highlights of Fred. Olsen’s new Summer 2023 programme include:

Balmoral’s 17-night L2316 ‘Experience Spanish & Portuguese Traditions’ cruise, departing from Rosyth (Edinburgh) on 2nd July 2023. Prices start from £2,599 per person, with £250 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Rosyth, Scotland – Leixões, Portugal – Malaga, Spain – Cartagena, Spain – Valencia, Spain – Mahon, Menorca – Cádiz, Spain – Cruising mouth of River Tagus – Lisbon, Portugal – Vigo, Spain – Rosyth, Scotland

For more details: Visit L2316 ‘Experience Spanish & Portuguese Traditions’  

Braemar’s eight-night M2315 ‘Denmark with Fredericia Festivities’ cruise, departing from Dover on 2nd July 2023. Prices start from £1,199 per person, with £250 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Dover, England – Cruising Kiel Canal, Germany – Copenhagen, Denmark – Fredericia, Denmark – Cruising Limfjord, Denmark – Aalborg, Denmark – Skagen, Denmark – Dover, England

For more details: Visit M2315 ‘Denmark with Fredericia Festivities’  

Borealis’ 15-night S2312 ‘Exploring Northern Norway – the Land of the Midnight Sun’ cruise, departing from Liverpool on 4th July 2023. Prices start from £2,499 per person, with £200 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Kristiansund, Norway – Cruising by Torghatten (Hat Mountain), Norway – Cruising by Seven Sisters Mountain Range, Norway – Crossing Arctic Circle, Norway – Tromsø, Norway – Alta, Norway – Honningsvåg, Norway – Cruising by North Cape and The Horn, Norway – Cruising by Devils Jaw, Norway – Bodø, Norway – Olden, Norway – Cruising by Hornelen at sunset – Cruising Nordfjord and Innvikfjord – Kirkwall, Orkney – Liverpool, England

For more details: Visit S2312 ‘Exploring Northern Norway – the Land of the Midnight Sun’  

Bolette’s 26-night T2326 ‘Exploring the Balkans & Adriatic with Venice’ cruise, departing from Southampton on 18th September 2023. Prices start from £4,099 per person, with £250 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Southampton, England – Malaga, Spain – Catania, Sicily, Italy – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Split, Croatia – Zadar, Croatia – Rijeka, Croatia – Venice, Italy (overnight stay) – Koper, Slovenia – Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Cruising Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, at sunrise – Kotor, Montenegro – Durres, Albania – Cruising Strait of Messina, Italy – Cruising by Stromboli, Italy, at sunset – Gibraltar – La Coruña, Spain – Cruising by Tower of Hercules Lighthouse, Spain – Southampton, England

For more details: Visit T2326 ‘Exploring the Balkans & Adriatic with Venice’  

The summer programme comes ahead of the launch of Fred. Olsen’s full 2023/24 brochure, which is set to be released by the small-ship operator in late April 2022.

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Posted in Cruise News, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
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