Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Short Breaks With Star Clippers

Not enough time for a full week’s holiday? Tall ship specialist Star Clippers has launched a series of short-break holidays for 2012, with a chance to experience life on board an elegant clipper ship and explore some of Europe’s most beautiful and romantic ports, as well as themed 'extras'.

Mediterranean Treasures, April 23, 2012
Experience the joys of daily yoga and meditation on this well-being themed voyage from Malaga to Rome on the 227-passenger Royal Clipper. Experienced yoga teacher Christel Vollmer, back on board by popular demand, will offer daily classes on the warm teak decks, while as usual, guests can follow a healthy or vegetarian diet if they wish. The ship sails from Malaga to Palma, Mallorca and Mahon in Menorca and the voyage includes two days at sea for maximum relaxation in the spring sunshine. From £999 per person including full board on the ship, all yoga classes, flights and transfers.

Sail from Southampton, May 5, 2012
Join the head-turning Star Flyer on her maiden call to Southampton for a five-night sailing to Hamburg, via Amsterdam, with two days at sea. The ship, with its four masts and graceful lines, is bound to attract a lot of attention in two such important seafaring cities. This package includes five nights’ car parking in Southampton; five nights’ full board on the ship, flight from Hamburg to London and transfer back to Southampton, f
rom £1,045 per person.

A Taste of Italy, departing June 4, 2012
Make the most of Britain’s extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and take to the seas on Royal Clipper on this four-night sailing from Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. The five-night break includes one night in the heart of Rome at the four-star Marcella Royal Hotel, with a welcome bottle of wine and a tour of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. The following day, Royal Clipper sails to Bonifacio in Corsica; Sardinia’s ultra-glamorous Costa Smeralda; pretty Portoferraio in Elba; and back to Civitavecchia. From £1,275 per person, including B&B accommodation in Rome, full board on the ship, flights and transfers.

Venetian Romance, departing July 27, 2012
Enjoy an evening in Venice after the crowds have departed, staying the night before your cruise at the four-star superior Liassidi Palace Hotel, within walking distance of the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square. The holiday includes entrance to the Doge’s Palace and a bottle of wine on arrival. Then, sail in style along the spectacular Giudecca Canal on the magnificent, four-masted Star Clipper, heading out across the lagoon and into the Adriatic, for a four-night adventure exploring some of Croatia’s most fashionable anchorages: Mali Losinj, Hvar and Rovinj. From £1,195 per person, including B&B accommodation in Venice, full board on the ship, flights and transfers.

For more information and booking offers, use this link to visit luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Costa Introduces Voyager In Red Sea

Costa Cruises has announced the arrival of a new ship in the Costa fleet - the Costa Voyager. She will offer guests 416 cabins in total (accommodating 927 guests), including 16 panoramic suites and 12 suites with private balconies. Relaxation and fun will be guaranteed by three restaurants, four bars, a theatre, wellness centre and gym, treatment rooms, sauna and Turkish bath, swimming pool, disco, shopping centre and children’s club (the Squok Club).

Her arrival enhances the Italian company’s versatile fleet of ships, with a range of dimensions and differing characteristics, offering customers a series of brand new itineraries. More specifically, the technical characteristics of Costa Voyager (the former Olympic Voyager of now-defunct Royal Olympic Cruises, and more recently of Pullmantur) make her especially suitable for cruises to the Red Sea, a relatively new destination for Costa and one that will be offered throughout 2012.

Voyager's first cruise was a 15-day journey from Savona earlier this month and, from December 5 to the end of 2012, she will be offering week-long cruises in the Red Sea, departing on Mondays from Sharm el-Sheikh and calling at Eilat (Israel), Aqaba (Jordan), Safaga and Sokhna (Egypt).

For booking details, be sure to check this link for the UK's leading specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Lindblad's Latest Adventure Options

Starting this month, Lindblad Expeditions' Peruvian Amazon expedition will be the first to offer kayaking in the Upper Amazon, providing guests even more accessibility to the lagoons, small tributaries and creeks of this pristine region.

The intimate and stately vessel, the Delfin II, will be equipped with five 2-person kayaks to provide this in-depth experience. Guests will be able to enjoy the signature Lindblad Expedition, a combination of elegant accommodation, knowledgeable experts and uniquely close encounters with the nature and culture of the region.

Or how about this fabulous itinerary: Vietnam & Cambodia — Along the Mekong River, including Angkor and Saigon. Lindblad's 14-day voyage takes in the sublime temples of Angkor Wat, the floating villages and vibrant markets along the Mekong, and the cities of Phnom Penh and Saigon. Sail aboard the new 48‐guest Jahan, with accommodations of a standard not available here before. Rates begin at $7,980 per person, based on double occupancy.

To find out more, see this link to visit the UK's adventure cruise specialists, the Cruise Line Ltd.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Amazing Prices With Regent For 2012

For travellers looking for a truly all-inclusive cruise at unbelievable value in the Mediterranean next spring, Christmas may well have arrived early as six-star ultra-luxury Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced some extraordinary fares on three voyages in 2012.

Sailing on the line’s all-suite, all-balcony vessels Seven Sea Voyager and Mariner, the cruises include free flights and transfers, overnights in ancient cities including Safaga, Haifa and Istanbul, as well as all onboard dining, beverages and gratuities.

And, with the privilege of unlimited shore excursions in every port, these itineraries boast up to 38 free excursions for guests to choose from to further enhance their cruise experience. The fares for a Deluxe Balcony Suite on a 10-night Med cruise now start from just £2,153 per person.

Details of the three voyages are: Seven Seas Voyager, Dubai to Athens (17 nights), departing March 30 and calling at Muscat, Salalah, Luxor (from Safaga), Petra, Sharm El Sheikh, Cairo, Ashdod and Haifa; Seven Seas Mariner, Barcelona to Istanbul and Tarragona to Istanbul, departing April 2 and 30 (10 nights) and calling at Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Rome, Capri/Sorrento, Taormina, Santorini and Ephesus.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Voyages Of Discovery Go Musical In St Petersburg

Enjoy a free exclusive musical excursion in St Petersburg with Voyages of Discovery next summer on a Baltic cruise overflowing with fine art, architecture and history. As an alternative to the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise this destination is emerging as the new must-see holiday hotspot.

With a rapidly growing choice of sailings, Voyages of Discovery also make this part of Northern Europe hard to resist with amazing fares and now a free excursion to the world-renowned Hermitage in St Petersburg.

Now included in the price is a magical evening in St Petersburg at the Hermitage for a musical reception reminiscent of a performance during the reign of the Tsars. Whilst the museum is closed, guests are invited to enjoy an in-depth guided tour, a champagne reception and an exclusive performance from the State Hermitage Orchestra concert.

This exclusive offer is now available on the following cruises: Baltic Treasures (from £1,649 per person in an outside cabin), 15-day voyage departing from Harwich and calling at Kristiansand, Copenhagen, Tallinn, St Petersburg (overnight x 2), Gdynia, Szczecin, Sassnitz and transit through the Kiel canal before returning to Harwich. Price is based on June 28 departure.

Timeless Baltic (from £1,599 per person in an outside cabin), 15-day voyage departing from Harwich and calling at Copenhagen, Saaremaa Island (Estonia), Tallinn, St Petersburg (overnight x 2), Gdynia, Szczecin, Sassnitz and transit through the Kiel canal before returning to Harwich. Price is based September 3 departure. Prices for all cruises include meals, entertainment and gratuities on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, plus onboard lectures from a team of renowned Guest Speakers.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Friday, 25 November 2011

G Adventures New Antarctic Cruises

Marking 100 years since Captain Scott voyaged to the Antarctic, 2012 is the perfect year to take a G Adventures cruise aboard the M/S Expedition to celebrate one of the world’s greatest historic expeditions.

G Adventures is offering 10% discounts on a range of Antarctic expeditions for bold travellers looking to explore this region during the cruise season (November to March). Tours must be booked by 30 November 2011 for the 2012/13 Antarctic tours departing between 7 November 2012 and 9 March 2013.

For travellers who don’t want to wait, there are still places available on selected 2011/12 departures, including the Spirit of Shackleton tour. Suitable for history fans, the voyage focuses on the adventurers and legends formed out of the ‘Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration’. The tour’s namesake, Sir Edmund Shackleton, was actually a third officer on Captain Scott’s first quest to Antarctica in 1901, making this journey a pilgrimage for travellers enticed to Antarctica by the dramatic history of its discovery.

Spirit of Shackleton. Trip code: XVSHSX; Price: From £7,189 per person; Duration: 20 days. Next available departure: 11 January, 2012

This journey takes intrepid travellers to some of the world’s most remote wilderness including the South Georgia Islands, Falkland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Visiting historic sites of past explorers, including Sir Ernest Shackleton’s final resting place, this adventure illuminates many of the courageous legends from what is known as the ‘Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration’. There is extraordinary scenery and an abundance of diverse wildlife, including vast penguin rookeries, seal colonies and whale pods.

The 20-day adventure includes 18 nights aboard the Expedition with all meals, one night hotel accommodation in Ushuaia and Ushuaia airport transfer (depending on flight departure details), Zodiac cruises and shore landings with expert expedition team, lecture and educational programs, waterproof boots and Antarctica destination guidebook, Canada Goose expedition jacket for each guest who pays for a Category 5 Suite and expert G Adventures Expedition Guide throughout.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Seabourn's World Cruise Guest Speaker Line-Up

Luxury cruise line Seabourn has announced an exciting line-up of distinguished guest speakers who will join segments of Seabourn Quest’s 109-day maiden World Cruise next year, including award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, jazz legend Arturo Sandoval, Princess Diana’s former chef Oliver Reschrieter and Futurist political analyst Daniel Silke.

The voyage departs January 5 from Fort Lauderdale on a unique eastbound course via South America, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, South-east Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, ending in Venice April 23. From world-renowned musicians and chefs to politicians, historians and international relations experts, the diverse group of personalities will share their expert insights with guests during various segments of the voyage. Space is currently available for guests wishing to book segments.

Segments ranging from 15 to 88 days are available starting at £4,799 per person, based on double occupancy, cruise only, and fully inclusive of all tips and gratuities, fine-dining, open bars and fully stocked mini-bar.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link for the UK's luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Canary Islands New Year or Norwegian Fjords Summer?

Bring in the New Year with Royal Caribbean on board their Independence of the Seas on a 12-night Spain & Canary Islands cruise, and pay just £949 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).

This fab lead-in price includes the 12-night cruise, departing from Southampton and calling at Lisbon, Funchal (Madeira), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Tenerife and La Coruna before returning to Southampton; all meals and entertainment onboard, plus all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Price is based on the December 29 departure.

For more information or to book use this link for specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Or how about planning a summer voyage? You can have fun in the Fjords with Celebrity Cruises aboard their Celebrity Eclipse on an eight-night Norwegian cruise from just £937 per person in May (based on two people sharing an inside stateroom).

This price includes an eight-night cruise departing Southampton and calling at Bergen, Flam, Geiranger (above) and Oslo before returning to Southampton; all meals and entertainment and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Price is based on a May 4 departure.

For more information or to book use this link for agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Crystal Adds More Memorable Guest Speakers

Prominent political and world affairs pundits James Carville, Mary Matalin, former Ambassador Marc Ginsberg and 4-star General Hugh Shelton will square off exclusively onboard Crystal Cruises in 2012, as part of the ultra-luxury line’s hit “Ocean Views” programme. Via discussion panel format, moderated by British foreign correspondent Ken Rees, the big-league foursome will provide fascinating expert insight into hot-button topics of the day, such as the changing Middle East landscape and upcoming 2012 US presidential election.

As a build-up to the debate, scheduled for Crystal Serenity’s 22-night World Cruise segment departing March 31 from Osaka to Los Angeles, all commentators will also present individual lectures in their area of expertise.

“Ocean Views” brings together renowned experts from both sides of the aisle in a moderated debate of global issues and news items, followed by a live Q&A session. New to the 2012 programme is interactive technology that will allow audience members to anonymously share their own opinions during the debate via individual electronic polling keypads.

The Experiences of Discovery theme will fuse other renowned experts together on four additional sailings throughout 2012, including international economics expert Robert Warne, counter-terrorism analyst Farhana Qazi, former LA Times editor Shelby Coffey, Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin and Major General Pat Brady.

The March 31 “Great Northern Adventure” on Crystal Serenity (above) starts with an overnight in Osaka, Japan, before calling into Petropavlovsk, Russia; Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Seward and Ketchikan, Alaska; Vancouver and Victoria, Canada; and San Francisco and Los Angeles/San Pedro, California. “Book Now” prices (if booked by December 31) start from £9,358 per person, including return economy flights, overseas transfers, 22 nights in a deluxe stateroom with picture window with all meals and soft drinks, port taxes and a $1,000 shipboard credit.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's leading luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 21 November 2011

New Entertainment Venue for Splendour

London, 21 November 2011 – Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas will reemerge from its extensive revitalisation with the transformation of the elegant and popular Centrum into an exciting entertainment venue.

With its sweeping views and central location on the ship, the Centrum will become a new chic and sophisticated venue featuring a range of daytime activities, nightly entertainment and aerial performers. The Centrum’s Champagne Bar also will be unveiled as a new venue – the R Bar – featuring a sophisticated 1960s vibe, complete with signature cocktails.

Throughout each sailing, guests can gather in the Centrum to enjoy performances from musicians and singers or take a spin on the dance floor at themed parties such as the popular ‘Disco Inferno’ dance party. It’ll also play host to a variety of interactive daytime activities including chef demonstrations, dance classes, game shows, Nintendo Wii competitions, towel folding demonstrations and the popular ‘Captain’s Corner’ where guests can spend time with the Captain.

Lisa Bauer, senior vice president, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International said: “The revamp of the spectacular 60-foot high Centrum found onboard the Vision-class ships brings new life to a popular gathering space by incorporating innovative technology and vertical entertainment elements to what was already the place to be and be seen. Guests sailing onboard Splendour of the Seas will be in for a multi-sensory experience that puts them at close proximity to amazing aerial performers from multiple viewpoints in a sophisticated and glamorous atmosphere.”

Bringing the Centrum’s new entertainment offerings to life is the latest in sound and light technology. The glass lifts facing into the Centrum will feature large LED panels across their entire length providing a spectacular backdrop of moving visuals five decks high. During the entertainment experiences, the space comes alive with a series of aerial acrobatic performances blurring the lines between artful choreography and state-of-the-art technology.

The R Bar offerings will feature a return to the classic drinks all served in unique glassware with surprising garnishes. The venue’s resident mixologist will create drink specials to complement each evening’s theme and aerial spectacular.

To learn more about Splendour's revitalisation and to see the latest webisode, visit

Antarctica With Exodus

Exodus Expeditions are offering an in-depth exploration of Antarctica, combining the best of the Western side of the peninsula with the less visited, more remote, Eastern side. This is a remarkable adventure visiting both sides of the Peninsula as guests spend three days sailing along the west coast, along fjords and past icebergs, enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales.

Weather permitting, the trip aims to visit magnificent spots such as Cuverville Island, Wilhelmina Bay and Orne Harbour, before passing through the Antarctic Sound to the wild and remote east coast of the Peninsula in the Weddell Sea. The epitome of the Weddell Sea is massive tabular icebergs, and watching these imposing and majestic bergs glide silently past the ship is a remarkable experience.

Guests will explore islands and continental shores, hoping to visit Brown Bluff Hope Bay and Paulet Island (above), whose residents include Chinstrap and Adelie penguins in huge numbers.

For more information and booking details, check out, or, for more on Antarctic expeditions and adventure cruising in general, see this link for the UK's adventuring sea-going specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Darts & Football Stars Aboard Fred Olsen

Guests joining award-winning Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ 35-night Caribbean voyage aboard Boudicca in January will find themselves in the prestigious company of three major celebrities from two of Britain’s favourite sports, darts and football.

The stars are ex-footballer and former manager of both Spurs and Arsenal, Terry Neill, along with former darts champions, Keith Deller and Cliff Lazarenko, who will be entertaining guests throughout this cruise as part of the exclusive onboard enrichment programme, Vistas.

Boudicca departs from Southampton on January 19 for an Atlantic crossing broken by a call into the Canary Island of Tenerife before beginning her odyssey of the Caribbean islands. Her ports of call are a roll-call of idyllic destinations – the islands of Barbados and CuraƧao, then Cartagena in Colombia, and Colon in Panama, before reaching Montego Bay on the colourful reggae island of Jamaica.

The next port is a highlight of the cruise – an overnight stay in Havana, Cuba, a port steeped in history and romance. Two more Caribbean islands complete this part of the itinerary – Turks & Caicos, and the tiny island of St Maarten – before Boudicca begins her return voyage to Southampton, broken by a last call into Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

Prices for this star-studded Caribbean voyage start from £3,479 per person, based on two adults sharing an outside twin cabin, Grade ‘D’, including all meals and entertainment on board, as well as port taxes. There is no extra charge for taking part in the Vistas programme.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's leading cruise agent specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Voyages of Discovery's New Cruise "From Ceylon To Siam"

Encounter all the magic and mystery of Asia onboard a brand new itinerary, From Ceylon to Siam, the latest addition to Voyages of Discovery’s winter cruise programme.

The new voyage showcases the best of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia and, from just £1,349 per person, guests will have the chance to explore South-East Asia’s most stunning natural wonders and cosmopolitan city streets. Voyages of Discovery even go to the trouble of organising guest visas upon arrival, a privilege independent travellers will be envious of. But you'll have to be quick - the cruise departs on December 2!

The price includes return flights from the UK and a 17-day voyage departing from Columbo (Sri Lanka), overnight, and calling at Yangon (Myanmar; for a 2-night stay), Phuket (Thailand), Penang (Malaysia) and Port Kelang (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) before arriving at Laem Chabang (Bangkok, Thailand); meals, entertainment and gratuities on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, plus onboard lectures from a team of renowned Guest Speakers.

Follow this link to find out more at luxury cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd.

Friday, 18 November 2011

P&O To Feature More 'Sampler' Cruises In 2012

P&O Cruises has pioneered a series of two, three and four-night voyages in recent years, and will offer more of these 'sampler' cruises than ever before in 2012.

With 13 sailings of four nights or less, these breaks provide unbeatable value for money, with prices from just £239 per person. The cruises also enable passengers to visit up to three European cities in one short break.

Each morning provides a new destination and, after a busy day exploring, passengers can enjoy P&O's stylish silver-service dining, West End-style shows and a world class spa, as well as a number of bars, pools, lounges, restaurants and casino. For families, children are also well looked after by the fully-inclusive childcare programme.

A two-night cruise on board Azura departing December 2, 2012, is priced from £249. It departs from Southampton and calls at Bruges (from Zeebrugge). A three-night cruise departing September 15 is priced from £349 and takes in Bruges and Le Havre, while a similar voyage on Oriana (exclusively for adults), departing June 16, is priced from £359.

All prices are per person and based on two adults sharing an inside cabin on a full board basis.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Now THAT'S How Cruise Awards Should Be Done

Having given the so-called British Travel Awards a major kicking recently for their laughable selection of Cruise Awards, it was refreshing to see the Cruise Critic UK Awards come out this week with a sane, sensible and highly credible approach to pretty much the same thing.

Using their own in-house editorial experts, led by extremely knowledgeable editor-in-chief Carolyn Spencer-Brown, they have 25 individual awards - from the obvious things of Best New Ship and Best For Kids to Best Itineraries and Best Buffet - and all have the ring of authenticity and genuine cruise know-how.

In full, the 2011 award winners are:

Best New Ship - Carnival Magic
Best New River Ship - SS Antoinette (Uniworld)
Best For Luxury - Seabourn Cruise Line
Best for First Timers - Ventura (P&O Cruises)
Best Line for Kids - Royal Caribbean
Best Itineraries - Cunard Line
Best for Adventure - Star Clippers
Best River Cruise Line - Viking River Cruises
Best Value for Money - Voyages of Discovery
Best for Fly-Cruises - Thomson Cruises
Best for Dining - Oceania Cruises
Best Buffet - Marina (Oceania Cruises)
Best Alternative Restaurant - The Verandah (Cunard's Queen Elizabeth)
Best for Entertainment - Cunard Line
Best for Healthy Cruising - Celebrity Cruises
Best Suites - Marina (Oceania Cruises)
Best Cabins - Holland America Line
Best Shore Excursions - Noble Caledonia
Best Guest Speakers - Voyages to Antiquity
Best for Honeymooners - Princess Cruises
Best for Wine Lovers - Celebrity's Solstice-Class
Best Cruise Ship Bar - The Glass House (P&O's Azura)
Best UK Port of Call - Newcastle
Best UK Departure Port - Southampton

All the category winners come fully explained with the 'why' of their choice and some useful info on the award-winner, and categories like Best Value and Best Suites are extremely relevant to today's cruisers (are you taking note, BTA?).

The categories like Best Bar and Best for Wine-Lovers are just plain fun, and the choice of Newcastle as best UK port of call is sure to start some earnest debate on the subject (as well as rewarding a go-ahead port authority - for my money, Lerwick in the Shetlands would be hard to beat as they simply work so hard to attract ships and provide a unique port experience, but that's a very minor quibble).

Do I agree with all the selections? No, but then you probably would struggle to get any two major cruise experts to agree anyway as there is so much that's subjective about these types of awards (as well as so much choice these days).

I probably wouldn't have given Cunard Best Itineraries as their ships are all so big there are many ports they CAN'T visit (unlike, say, Crystal, Silversea or even someone like Orion Expedition Cruises, whose itineraries are truly eye-catching), while I also think there are many other better contenders for Best Alternative Restaurant than QE's Verandah.

Ideally, I'd also like to see more categories to highlight the major differentiation these days between the large mega-ships and the smaller, more boutique types (for instance, how do you compare a new ship like Carnival Magic against the tiny-by-comparison Seabourn Quest?).

But that is really just nit-picking as against the big beefs I have with the comparable cruise section of the BTA. All in all, the Cruise Critic UK awards are a laudable and highly worthwhile exercise, and all the winners are to be congratulated.

For the full story, go to this page on Cruise Critic UK and click on the necessary link to see the Winners.

Fred Olsen Sign Up Explorer Tim Severin

Explorer, author and historian Tim Severin is the latest illustrious name to join Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Vistas programme as a special guest speaker. Perhaps best known for his Viking Series of historical novels, Tim’s new association with the cruise line is especially appropriate given the company’s Norwegian heritage.

During a spectacular career, Tim has: retraced the footsteps of Sindbad the Sailor, sailing from Muscat to China; steered a Bronze Age galley to seek the landfalls of Jason and the Argonauts and Ulysses; ridden the routes of the first Crusader knights across Europe to the Holy Land; travelled on horseback with nomads in Mongolia to research Genghis Khan; traced the origins of Moby Dick amongst the aboriginal sea hunters of the Pacific; and sailed a leather boat across the Atlantic from Ireland to Newfoundland, recreating the route taken by Irish monk St. Brendan the Navigator. One of his most recent quests has been to identify the ‘real’ Robinson Crusoe.

This eminent explorer and author will feature on ‘East of Suez: History and Culture,’ a sector of Black Watch’s 2012 World Cruise’. Departing from Southampton on January 11, this 32-night voyage covers the cruise as far as Singapore. Ports of call are Gibraltar, Cueta, Valletta, Port Said, then a transit of the Suez Canal, Sharm el Sheikh and Safaga. Tim will be joining in Safaga and stay aboard for the visits to Salalah (Oman), Mumbai (for an overnight stay), Cochin, Port Blair (Andaman Islands) and Singapore.

Prices start from £2,379 per person, based on two adults sharing an outside, twin cabin, Grade ‘D’. The cost includes return flights from Singapore to London and transfers, accommodation and all meals and entertainment on board, as well as port and airport taxes. There is no extra charge for taking part in Vistas activities.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Northern Lights & Midnight Sun with a Pool and Balcony

Hurtigruten has announced that MS Finnmarken, which has been chartered in Australia for two years, is to return to sailing the Norwegian Coast from February 16. As one of the operator’s newest and largest ships, she will sail the traditional coastal voyage route from Bergen to Kirkenes, replacing MS Nordlys for a short time and then MS Nordstjernen, which will head to Spitsbergen.

Finnmarken (above) is currently undergoing a thorough refurbishment to be in peak condition when she resumes services. She is typically one of the favourite ships among Hurtigruten guests, the only one in the fleet with a pool and with balcony cabins. The ship has 283 cabins and 639 beds in all.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's leading adventure cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Silversea's New Entertainment Programmes

Silversea Cruises has announced the launch of a totally revamped onboard entertainment programme, created exclusively for the company's ships by Choozi Entertainment. In a move away from traditional production shows, the new concert-style concept will feature an outstanding cast of classically trained vocalists and musicians performing a lively celebration of music, from Motown and opera to pop and rock.

The new shows feature a unique blend of music that follows the decades and offers Silversea guests distinct choices in their entertainment options.

The entertainment offerings are currently debuting aboard Silver Cloud, with additional shows opening in November on Silver Whisper, Silver Wind and Silver Shadow. The programme will also be rolled out to Silver Spirit in March 2012.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link on the UK's leading luxury cruise travel specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Avalon's New Mekong River Adventures

Luxury river cruise specialist Avalon Waterways has announced the delivery of a new river cruise ship, the Avalon Angkor, as it launches a dedicated Vietnam, Cambodia & China brochure with a fascinating choice of river cruises and tours in the region.

The new brochure will go on sale on November 24, including a tour of Vietnam & Cambodia with a Mekong river cruise as well as two China tours, including a Yangtze River cruise. Tour and cruise departures are from April 2012 to March 2013.

Due for delivery in 2012, Avalon Angkor (above) has been specially designed to be the first ship in the industry to cruise all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, avoiding more than 7 hours travelling time by coach. Built by local craftsmen with a colonial design, the boat is the first Avalon vessel to be launched outside of Europe but will feature all the modern amenities the company is renowned for.

Accommodating just 32 guests in 16 deluxe staterooms over two decks with a Sun Deck, this small and intimate ship will feature the standard spacious 172sq ft staterooms as on all Avalon ships. The floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors provide an open-air experience without losing any space in the stateroom and are the best way to enjoy the passing scenery.

All Avalon cruises are fully packaged with flights, transfers, airport taxes, port charges and gratuities, as well as a private door-to-door transfer service (within 75 miles of your chosen international airport), local guided sightseeing and a full board cruise with complimentary wine served at dinner.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out the UK's luxury river cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

P&O'S Green World Tours Expansion

Following on from a successful first season, P&O Cruises is adding a number of new options to its Green World Tours programme for 2012. This also comes after the programme received an Environmental Initiative Award for its notable contribution to advancing the environmental aspect of cruising.

Green World Tours are a range of charitable and responsible tourism-based shore experiences designed to support the towns and communities visited on longer itineraries, as well as giving the passenger a unique experience ashore.

The first Green World Tour was in November 2009 and tours are now operated by P&O in 16 destinations worldwide. The tours vary in price and are non-profit making. Some include a donation while others just cover costs, and passengers are free to donate as they choose.

Tours are offered on some longer itineraries, such as Oceana’s 24-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise departing February 26 (including a call in Ashdod), and all world cruises. In 2012, Arcadia, Aurora, Oriana and Adonia are offering world voyages of between 87 and 109 nights in duration, with shorter sectors available. Tours are offered in ports of call including Limon, Bali, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Port Kelang (Kuala Lumpur), Phuket and Port Elizabeth.

Green World Tours are also offered to various wildlife centres and charitable projects, such as the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre in Laem Chabang and the Cats and Dogs Rescue Centre in Koh Samui.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's leading specialist cruise agents, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Maiden Voyages of the MS Caledonian Sky

Noble Caledonia have acquired the MS Caledonian Sky, sister ship to their MS Island Sky, to sail an inaugural series of voyages for them from May to July next year, including The British Isles, Iceland, Norway and Russia's White Sea.

Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and 16 suites will have private balconies.

For those familiar with the Island Sky, she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, The Club on the Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck, with wonderful views from ceiling-to-floor windows.

For more info, check out or consult the UK's adventure Cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Friday, 11 November 2011

P&O Double Ex-UK Winter Sailings

P&O Cruises has doubled its ex-UK capacity next year from one ship to two as both Oceana and Oriana will sail from Southampton throughout winter 2012/13 on cruises of two to 35 nights in duration.

Oceana’s second year of winter cruising from Southampton also includes, for the first time, two short cruises for Christmas and New Year. These voyages offer the chance to spend Boxing Day in Copenhagen or New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam, for some authentic festive celebrations whilst being away for only four or seven days.

Oriana will offer seven ex-UK sailings, including a 10-night Baltic cruise in December calling in at popular Christmas market destinations such as Copenhagen and Hamburg; and a 12-night Canary Islands cruise in late January to ports including Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Casablanca.

This is in addition to the four grand winter World Cruises from January to April 2012, round-trip from Southampton, including Azura’s maiden world cruise.

For more details and booking info, be sure to check out the P&O Cruises section of leading UK cruise agents, The Cruise Line Ltd, on this link.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Maiden Baltic Cruises for Star Flyer

One of our favourite cruise experiences, the blissful tall-ship style of Star Clippers, is branching out in 2012 with their 170-passenger Star Flyer sailing in the Baltic for the first time during summer 2012, offering a wide variety of voyages from two nights to 11 nights.

The highlights include:

· Special offer: A five-night voyage from Southampton to Hamburg, via Amsterdam, departing May 5, from just £999 per person, including five nights’ full board on the ship, five nights’ parking at Southampton, transfers to Hamburg airport and a return flight to Heathrow, with a private taxi transfer from Heathrow to Southampton to collect parked vehicles.

· A series of two and three-night mini-cruises out of Hamburg and Warnemunde, a German port with a great sailing tradition, to coincide with the 2012 Sailing Parade of tall ships. From £465pp for two nights in Warnemunde on August 10, including port taxes (flights extra).

· Seven-night voyages featuring the dramatic Norwegian capital Oslo, which is situated at the head of a long fjord - ideal for sail-cruising. Oslo to Copenhagen, for example, calls at Marstrand, Goteborg, Halmstad and Helsingborg in Sweden; and Kalundborg in Denmark, finishing in Copenhagen. From £1,490 for seven nights, departing Oslo May 26, including port taxes (flights extra).

· Three 10 or 11-night voyages round-trip from Stockholm, with an overnight in St Petersburg. Ports of call on the 10-night sailing departing July 21 include Visby, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, and two additional ports in Finland, Hanko and Mariehamn-Aaland. From £2,120pp for 10 nights, including port taxes (flights extra).

For more info on Star Clippers or booking details, see this link from the luxury cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Paul Gauguin's Special Guest Line-Up

Paul Gauguin Cruises has announced details of an array of 2012 itineraries with special guest hosts appealing to a variety of interests – from cooking and astronomy to marine biology.

These include:

· 11th February: Daniel Baron, winemaker for Silver Oak Cellars will be joining the Paul Gauguin on this seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands sailing.

· 3rd March: Legendary celebrity chef Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for 10 years, will join the 11-night Cook & Society Islands sailing, bringing his culinary expertise on board.

· 2nd June: Joining this seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands sailing is Bill Kramer, an acknowledged expert in solar eclipse prediction mathematics. Kramer will share with guests the opportunity to witness a rare astronomical event on 5th June – the Transit of Venus.

· 23rd June: Celebrated chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, Chef PropriĆ©taire of the two-star Michelin-rated Restaurant Apicius in Paris, will prepare gourmet dishes and offer culinary demonstrations featuring his gastronomic techniques on this seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands sailing.

· 23rd May/11th July/20th November/1st December: World-renowned oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau will join these four sailings, providing lectures with videos of his work and accompanying guests on several dives throughout the cruise.

· 11th July: For music lovers, what is better than opera in the South Pacific? Join American lyric soprano Kristin Clayton, star of the world-premiere of At the Statue of Venus, and renowned bass-baritone Bojan Knezevic on this 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus sailing for an extraordinary opportunity to hear these legendary performers in concert throughout the cruise.

Following her multi-million dollar refurbishment in January 2012, the MS Paul Gauguin will embark on a series of 40 stunning itineraries with prices starting from just £3,933 per person for a seven-night Society Islands cruise including return economy flights from the UK, overseas transfers, a night in Los Angeles and use of a day room post cruise.

For further information and booking, check out this link to luxury cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd.

Silversea Expands Bridge Sailings

In 2012, ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises will offer its most expansive collection of Bridge Sailings ever. Spanning the world from Auckland and Shanghai to Rio and Monte Carlo, 56 voyages will feature a bridge enrichment programme.

Though guests are welcome to play bridge on any Silversea cruise, a Bridge Sailing features a formal programme of contract and duplicate bridge, which is supervised by instructors who are certified ACBL (American Contract Bridge League) Life Masters. All Bridge Sailing activities are completely complimentary and guests can enjoy daily bridge sessions (twice daily on sea days), bridge lectures for both beginning and intermediate-level players, and even opportunities to earn ACBL Master Points. Silversea supplies all bridge materials and hosts the programme in a dedicated Card Room on board.

"Our Bridge Sailings are a great way for players to hone their skills and meet other bridge enthusiasts from around the world - all while enjoying a luxury cruise holiday," says Mike Bonner, Silversea's Director, Sales & Marketing & General Manager UK.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's luxury cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Coffee And Football In Inuit Greenland

Fancy a coffee with an Inuit in their home? Or how about a game of football with the locals? Or the chance to meet local school children? Getting closer to the traditions and culture of the people who live in Greenland is a core focus on a Hurtigruten voyage to Greenland.

Greenlanders refer to their island as ‘Kalaallit Nunaat’ - the land of the people. And, in 2012, Hurtigruten will bring its guests closer to both the locals and the townships for the ultimate cultural experience. In turn, it also aims to give something back by offering the Inuits contact with the wider world, which for some is otherwise unobtainable.

Hurtigruten voyages include visits to Greenland’s small townships and the rare opportunity to gain a first-hand insight into the everyday life of the Inuits. Inuit houses are open for Hurtigruten guests and they are invited by local families to partake in a traditional ‘kaffemik’, the Greenland version of a cup of coffee and learn more about their way of life.

In Uummannaq, there is a welcome by local school children and the chance for them to mingle with guests. When the ship docks in the Ittileq township, guests, crew and locals join together for a traditional football match that sees sport bringing together different cultures.

Hurtigruten offer a selection of voyages to Greenland during the summer months. For example, The Heart of Greenland (from £4,117pp), a nine-day expedition along Greenland’s west coast visiting small settlements accessible only by boat. Available on June 10, 17 and July 1, the voyage includes seven nights full board on the ship, return flight from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq, transfers and lectures by the expedition team. Flights from UK to Copenhagen are extra and can be booked by Hurtigruten. Price based on two sharing and valid if booked by 31 December 2011.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out this link with the UK's adventure cruise specialists, The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 7 November 2011

American Safari Cruises Celebrates Inaugural Hawaii Season

Adventure cruise tour operator American Safari Cruises celebrated its inaugural season in Hawaii on October 26 when the 36-guest Safari Explorer began its first inter-island voyage. The upscale yacht will sail 24 voyages between Maui/Lana’i and the Big Island through May 2012.

The active adventure-style cruising of American Safari is available on seven or 10-night voyages that explore Lana’i, Moloka’i, Maui, Molokini and the Big Island. Itineraries sail between Maui/Lana’i and the Big Island and reverse; a scenic ferry ride also connects guests between Maui and the yacht on Lana’i.

A Hawaiian blessing for the yacht and crew took place on October 25 on Moloka’i. Cultural advisors from Maui, Lana’i, Moloka’i and the Big Island were invited to attend. Traditional Hawaiian protocols are also being arranged at each island to ask permission for entry. Others may choose to walk through ancient taro terraces. Guests will have a chance to help restore the terraces and make poi, a paste made from the root of the taro plant.

After a visit to the Moloka’i Museum and Cultural Center, a Hawaiian pa’ina celebration feast features locally sourced cuisine, including fresh fish and poi, seaweed, Moloka’i sweet potatoes and pork from the imu (underground oven), all staples of the Hawaiian diet. Local musicians join in the celebration along with a kumu hula dancer. On Maui, an early morning tour to catch the sunrise at Haleakala National Park takes guests up 10,000ft for a spiritual sunrise ceremony and stunning views of land, sea and sky.

In the afternoon, guests enjoy drift snorkelling at the nearly submerged crater of Molokini. Off the coast of Hawaii, the Big Island, the yacht spends time searching for dolphins, whales and whale sharks before anchoring offshore for water sports activities. On the second day, a skiff excursion takes guests snorkelling near Kealakekua Bay before going ashore for a bit of history at the place where Captain Cook died. In the afternoon, a local guide escorts guests on a historical walking tour of Kailua and Holualoa, a village filled with art galleries.

Fares start at $4,995 for the seven-night cruise and $6,495 for the 10-night cruise, both per person, double occupancy. Itineraries feature exclusive excursions and include all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; exquisite meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; and all port charges, taxes and fees. An all-American crew has a guest-crew ratio of 2 to 1 and includes Hawaii residents who have personal knowledge of the islands. Pre and post-cruise packages are available on Maui at Hotel Wailea and the Big Island at Mauna Lani.

For booking details in the UK, be sure to check with the adventure-cruise specialists of the Cruise Line Ltd and their American Safari Cruises section on this link.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Royal Clipper's New Voyages

Here are some great ideas for that 'something different' cruise in 2012, courtesy of our friends at Star Clippers.

The superbly elegant five-masted Royal Clipper (above) spends winter in the Caribbean, offering seven, 10 and 11-night voyages from Barbados, alternating between the Windward Isles and the Grenadines, from £1,225pp, excluding flights. The 227-passenger ship will then offer seven and 11-night voyages round-trip from Rome, or between Rome and Venice, during the summer of 2012, cruising the Amalfi Coast and Sicily, from £1,515pp, excluding flights.

Star Clipper, with a capacity of 170, winters in St Maarten, offering seven-night voyages to the Leeward Islands and around the British Virgin Islands from £1,245 per person, excluding flights. The ship will sail the Greek Islands all summer, round-trip from Athens and between Athens and Venice and vice versa. A four-night mini-cruise from Venice starts at £770pp, excluding flights, departing July 28 and calling at popular yachting ports in Croatia.

Special offers for Christmas and New Year: receive €300 per person onboard credit on Star Flyer’s Costa Rica cruises, from £1,770pp excluding flights.; No single supplements on Costa Rica cruises; third passenger occupying a cabin pays only port taxes; 50% discount for children in Costa Rica at Christmas and on New Year cruises on all three ships.

For booking to sure to check with The Cruise Line Ltd on this link

Saturday, 5 November 2011

AMA Go Christmas Market Cruising

During November and December, AmaWaterways is offering the opportunity to cruise Europe’s finest Christmas markets from the comfort of a festive luxury river cruiser. As well as being able to shop for traditional crafts, gifts and decorations, guests on board this winter’s Christmas market cruises will enjoy a festive atmosphere as the ships are decorated with trees, garlands, swags and lights, and festive fun includes carolling performances, hot spiced mulled wine and seasonal entertainment.

Here are two prime examples:

Danube Christmas Market Cruise: This seven-night voyage sails between Nuremberg and Budapest, allowing guests time to browse the markets at Nuremberg, Regensberg, the numerous different markets in Vienna and finally in Budapest, where the ship cruises past the city’s dazzling Christmas illuminations. AmaWaterways has nine departures for this itinerary, which operates in both directions, on November 27 and December 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18 and 19. It costs from £995 (saving £381) per person, including breakfast, lunch, dinner with wine, soft drinks and beer, free wi-fi and use of on board bicycles.

Rhine Christmas Market Cruise: These voyages from Basel and Amsterdam (and vice versa) include the many and varied markets in Freiburg, Strasbourg, Worms, Rudesheim and Cologne, from the medieval themes of French Strasbourg to the pretty market in Rudesheim and the impressive display in Cologne, with more than 160 wooden stalls in the shadow of the magnificent Cathedral. AMA has five Rhine departures, every Saturday from November 26 to December 17 with prices from £1,285 (saving £91).

For more booking details, be sure to contact the river-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd on this link.

Friday, 4 November 2011

British Travel Awards? Baseless Travel Awards, More Like

The British Travel Awards were announced this week, with the usual cruise section being among the many categories to be honoured.

Great, I thought, another chance for the cruise industry to spread its message and for some worthy winners to be acknowledged. And, sure enough, there were FOUR wins for P&O Cruises, one for Cunard (as Cruise Line of the Year), and one each for Voyages of Discovery, Viking River Cruises and Thomson Cruises (the latter for Best Cruise Holiday Retailer; but, er, Thomson Cruises only sell Thomson Cruises).

Having started off fairly enthusiastic about the whole idea, I started to look a bit closer. And then the whole premise totally fell apart. The British Travel Awards? The Baseless Travel Awards would be a better title.

Irrespective of the fact that all the winners were mostly just the BIGGEST operator in their category (while Voyages of Discovery, as good as they are as a 'niche' Cruise Line, were actually one of the sponsors of the awards. Like, they weren't going to get an award?).

You can almost make out an argument for Cunard as Cruise Line of the Year; after all, they have all of three ships, so they just about constitute a fleet. They also sail to large parts of the world. Almost 50% of their passengers are British, so they just about qualify there, too. But when the likes of Disney, Seabourn, Oceania, Carnival, Costa and Celebrity have all debuted brand new ships (whole new designs for Disney and Oceania in particular), and Celebrity have been universally lauded for the continued development of their Solstice-class vessels, you have to think Cunard might struggle realistically to figure in the top three. Heck, I doubt if they would be in the top 10 for most cruise aficianados.

I could almost be happy with P&O as Mainstream Cruise Line of the Year, if the likes of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and NCL hadn't offered newer and more innovative ships and onboard features this year. Oh wait; Royal Caribbean did actually place second in this category. But then Thomson Cruises (another mass-market operator) came in third. Ahead of NCL and Celebrity; and Holland America, Costa, MSC Cruises, Princess, Oceania and Fred Olsen, too, all of whom would have a greater claim here.

P&O also claimed Best Family Line, which is a worthy award as they do provide great kids' facilities and activity programmes. But Disney are pretty darn spectacular, as are NCL, Carnival, Celebrity and Princess, but none of them even merited a mention (although Thomson - again - did get third place. Thomson - for a family cruise line? Give me a break. Oh, hang on - they were another one of the sponsors, too).

But it was P&O as 'Best Luxury Cruise Line' that really set me off. Luxury cruise line? What, better than Seabourn or Silversea; or Regent or Crystal? Better than Oceania or SeaDream, Azamara or Windstar? I would consider all of Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, NCL, Cunard AND Star Clippers in in any debate about 'luxury line.' Hell's teeth, P&O might struggle to make the top 20!

Does anyone at the British Travel Awards even know what 'luxury' actually means? But then when Titan Travel gets third place in the Best River Cruise Line, you know these awards truly are utterly pointless, an exercise only in acknowledging the big players (and, presumably, getting a lot of money out of them for attending and promotion).

Memo to British Travel Awards: Titan Travel, while they are an excellent tour operator, are not a 'line' of any kind. They have zero ships and only a small river-cruise portfolio (compared to any one of 20 genuine river-cruise lines). It really boggles the mind that anyone swallows this preposterous tosh.

And, if I can debunk the Cruise awards this easily, what credibility do ANY of the BTA's highly-touted honours have? They have 11 different sections and multiple winners in most of them.

So, if anyone actually points out these awards to you and says "They must be good, they are Best Small Niche Tour Operator Mainstream Cruise Line Provider Of The year," you can yawn and say, "Yes, and I'm up for a Nobel Peace prize, too."

Crystal Now On Offer To 2014

Adding to its previously-released early 2013 schedule, ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises has announced 63 more exciting itineraries, filling the rest of 2013, plus early 2014 - the cruise line’s earliest-ever advance schedule announcement.

In all, 269 ports are featured in 75 countries, with more than a dozen maiden calls and 146 local overnights, comprising the May 2013-May 2014 schedule, which will be open for booking later this autumn.

Take a look at these highlights:

· A 7-/12-/9-night Mediterranean route rotation, offering back-to-back combination possibilities with minimal repeat ports.

· 75 per cent of summer cruises lasting seven to ten nights, with more than half weekend departures.

· Two- to three-night stays in 53 different locations, including such stunners as Tokyo, Cape Town and Bali, with the majority of overnights on embarkation or debarkation days.

Crystal Symphony
(above) will spend the summer throughout Northern Europe, followed by a North American autumn, returning to Antarctica for the festive season then traversing the South Pacific and New Zealand/Australia for seven Asian-centric voyages in early 2014.

Crystal Serenity
will be in the Mediterranean from April to December, returning to North America for a Caribbean/Central America holiday before heading westward around the globe for 2014’s World Cruise.

For booking details, be sure to check with luxury cruise specialists The Cruise Line Ltd on this link.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Fred Olsen Sign Up The Osmonds!

Three of The Osmonds, perhaps the world’s best-known pop family, are to perform live on two Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ voyages on Balmoral in 2012.

Wayne, Jay and Jimmy will be bringing a touch of ‘Osmondmania’ to the high seas on L1205, a 14-night cruise of the Western Mediterranean, departing on May 12 from Southampton, and on L1206, a three-night mini-cruise to Ostende and Le Havre from the same port, departing on May 26.

The Osmonds have enjoyed a string of massive hits on both sides of the Atlantic throughout their long career, and have sold millions of albums, with several gold and platinum discs to their credit. Well known for their close harmonies, The Osmonds now perform all styles of music, from barbershop to pop, rock, country and jazz.

The Western Med voyage calls at Lisbon, Almeria, Alicante, Palma, Mahon (Menorca), Gibraltar and La Coruna before returning to Southampton. It also has a theme of ‘Drawing’ as part of the onboard enrichment programme Vistas. Prices for this cruise start from £1,549 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside twin cabin, Grade ‘I’, and include all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes – and, of course, live performances by The Osmonds.

The mini-cruise L1206 is an ideal ‘taster’ for those who are new to cruising, with visits to Ostende and Le Havre before returning to Southampton. Prices for this Bank Holiday Weekend cruise start from £379 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside twin cabin, Grade ‘H’. The price includes all meals and entertainment on board, and port taxes.

For Fred Olsen booking details, be sure to check with specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line Ltd on this link.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

New Voyages To St Helena

A series of new voyages departing in 2012 to the far-flung British outpost of St Helena have been introduced by St Helena Line.

Lying 1,500 miles north-west of Cape Town, the island has a rich history and dramatic natural beauty, and bookings are now being taken for the new 18-night Hideaway Tour, which departs Cape Town on May 7, 2012, on board one of the world’s last working Royal Mail ships, the 128-berth RMS St Helena (above).

Leading the tour will be Colin Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Rhodes University (South Africa), hugely knowledgeable about St Helena – its history and natural environment. Prof. Lewis will offer a special insight into this British outcrop, which was the place of Napoleon’s exile.

After a relaxing five-night voyage on board the part passenger, part cargo ship, passengers will arrive at St Helena on May 12, where they’ll be joined by island residents Basil George and Vanessa Thomas for a fascinating and diverse eight-day itinerary. Highlights include a trip to Napoleon’s last residence, Longwood House (arguably one of the finest Napoleonic museums in the world), plus other sites of historic importance, including Napoleon’s Tomb.

A boat trip, tour of the grounds at Plantation House where the Governor resides, an evening talk from the National Trust of St Helena and a walking tour of the capital, Jamestown, are also included. A Botanical Day will allow the chance to uncover some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna, plus the opportunity to spot the endemic Wirebird. The RMS arrives back in Cape Town on May 25.

The Hideaway Tour costs from £2,765 per person based on two sharing an A deck cabin. The price includes eight nights’ B&B accommodation on St Helena, entry fees and guide costs, all meals on the RMS and some meals in St Helena. Return international flights to Cape Town are not included.

For more booking details, be sure to check with the UK's adventure-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd.