Thursday, 31 January 2013

Lindblad's Iceland & Greenland Spectacular

Lindblad Expeditions will mark the fifth anniversary in 2013 of its flagship National Geographic Explorer, the line’s 148-guest state-of-the-art expedition ship, with seven new itineraries that will connect guests to incredible places, cultures and people around the world – including a pair of special expeditions that combine spectacular destinations and an array of world-renowned special guests to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society.

Circumnavigation of Iceland
: This is a rare opportunity to discover riveting geography in its totality. This multi-faceted expedition creates a cohesive narrative of the amazing geological extremes. Cruise among magnificent icebergs in Jokulsarlon, and spend a day on the Arctic Circle spotting rich birdlife. Kayak into fjords and serene bays, and go hiking on spectacular and remote stretches of the coast. Explore Europe’s largest ice cap and discover the lava-sculpted landscapes of the Westman Islands. Soak in hot springs, and see boiling mud pots and the thundering Godafoss Waterfall. Go whale-watching on the shores of Iceland and its surrounding isles. Cap off the adventure with a soak in Reykjavik’s famous Blue Lagoon. Joining the voyage is Andrew Evans, National Geographic travel writer and author of the Bradt Travel Guide: Iceland. Departs July 10 for 10 days/8 nights on National Geographic Explorer, with rates beginning at $7,990 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.

Along the Viking Trail – From Iceland to Greenland: Follow in the wake of legendary explorers as you discover the dramatic landscapes and rich traditions of Greenland and Iceland. Explore Iceland’s western fjords by Zodiac; kayak among the magnificent icebergs of East Greenland; and hike amid charming northern hamlets. Along the way, get immersed in Nordic history on visits to fascinating Viking sites and settlements with our experts. Explore Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital city, and discover the wild western coast of Iceland. Venture to two remarkable sites on the Viking Trail, settled by Erik the Red 500 years before Columbus. Joining the voyage is author and adventurer Tim Severin, one of the last traditional-style explorers. Departs July 18 for 12 days/10 nights. Rates begin at $9,620 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.
Arctic Quest - Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic: Venture deep into the far reaches of the Arctic, where we will trace the rugged fjords of Greenland and navigate the mouth of Canada’s legendary Northwest Passage. Glide between soaring icebergs at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord, spot polar bears on the pack ice, and watch for a wide variety of whales, from minke and killer whales to the rare narwhal. We will explore Uummannaq, site of Greenland’s impressive mummy find, and visit the historic Inuit village of Sermermiut, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get up close to massive glaciers, and hike the wild islands that dot Canada’s northern shores. Joining the voyage is Henning Thing, Ph.D. in arctic wildlife ecology. The 17-day expedition departs July 27 and August 10. Rates begin at $16,160 per person based on double occupancy. 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's adventure-cruise specialists.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Holland America's No-Fly Fjord Special

Plus, upgrade to an ocean view room from £599 and receive free parking!

Holland America Line is offering a seven-night luxury no-fly Norwegian Fjords cruise from just £499 per person this summer. Departing from Dover on May 4, this price includes seven nights’ full board accommodation on MS Ryndam in an inside stateroom, with ocean view staterooms  available from £599, including free parking in Dover. 

This round trip takes in some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery and fascinating ports. From Dover, sail to the maritime town of Bergen, before heading to Flåm, deep in the heart of Aurlandsfjord. From there, visit Ålesund and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding archipelago, before continuing to the hiking paradise of Eidfjord and cruising through the scenic Hardangerfjord.

Whilst at sea, guests can take advantage of the Culinary Arts Centre, which features cookery demonstrations, as well as sampling the Ryndam’s choice of elegant restaurants and lounges and being pampered at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon.

This offer is based on two sharing an inside stateroom on Holland America’s 'Norse Legends' cruise, departing Dover on May 4. 

For bookings, follow this link to the Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Hapag-Lloyd's Northwest Passage Adventure

This August, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will be offering a rare Northwest Passage itinerary on the only 5-star expedition vessel in the world, the MS Hanseatic. The cruise will be guaranteed bilingual, departing Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, on August 16 for a 24-night voyage cruising north of the Arctic Circle and ending in Nome, Alaska, on September 9. It is one of the most famous sea routes in the world and has been both a myth and challenge for centuries.

The Hanseatic premiered the Northwest Passage for Hapag-Lloyd in 1994. Since then, both the line's expedition ships, Hanseatic and Bremen, have successfully cruised through the Passage 12 times. In summer 2009,  both ships met there for the first time, travelling in opposite directions.

This year's Hanseatic journey starts in Greenland and crosses Disko Bay, where guests can observe the bizarrely-shaped icebergs. The ship will then cross the Canadian Arctic, the heart of the Northwest Passage. Thanks to its shallow draught, Hanseatic is able to sail close to the coast, giving guests box seats for viewing the rugged and icy panoramas of the shores. Guests will be thrilled to encounter caribou, polar bears, musk oxen, bald eagles, and whales, while taking full advantage of the many Zodiac landings to explore the impressive glacial coasts along the route.

Other planned highlights (weather permitting): a visit to a former whaling base on Herschel Island; a landing in Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, including a visit to the wreck of the Maud, in which Roald Amundsen conquered the Northwest Passage; zodiac landings in Peel Sound, the Franklin Strait and Larsen Sound; and a stop in Barrow, Alaska, the most northern city in the world.

The voyage-only fares lead-in at £13,210 per person, based on double occupancy for an outside cabin. 

For bookings, follow this link to the Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Crystal's Film & Theatre Voyage

From Monroe to Gleason and Mostel to Burton, Crystal Cruises is planning a red carpet line up for its November 2 Film & Theatre voyage, presented in partnership with the award-winning Centre Theatre Group of Los Angeles. This cruise, rich with Old Hollywood immersion, features more than a dozen performers and industry speakers with material created just for Crystal, including a special spotlight on one of the industry’s most glamorous, and legendary, figures: Marilyn Monroe.

While Crystal Symphony sails along America’s colonial coast from New York to Miami, the celluloid highlights include:

Legends Brought to Life on Stage
· Internationally acclaimed Marilyn Monroe tribute artist Susan Griffiths will bring her uncanny talent to sea for the first time ever with a new live cabaret show created exclusively for Crystal, Marilyn – Memories, Music and Magic.
· Crystal favourite Jim Brochu returns with Character Man, his newest tribute to some of Broadway’s greatest character actors such as Jackie Gleason and Zero Mostel.
· LA’s Troubadour Theatre Company, or “Troubies”, will perform multiple commedia dell’arte productions onboard, including a satirical Shakespeare-meets-cinema-disco musical theatre performance of Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream.

Dinner with Marilyn
A multi-course dinner in the ship’s intimate Vintage Room featuring extraordinary wine pairings will be hosted by “Marilyn Monroe” (Griffiths) and Marilyn fan club president, Greg Schreiner, sharing tales of Tinseltown and the star’s life.

Red Carpet Beauty Tips
Leading red carpet make-up artist William Squire will present celebrity beauty secrets for guests’ everyday lives and onboard photo opportunities, including ways Marilyn hid flaws and enhanced her beauty to create her signature style - and how her look still influences style today.

Famous Fashions
Original costumes from some of Hollywood’s greatest films will be showcased in a special musical theatre production created just for Crystal, featuring Broadway veteran Karen Morrow and other special guests.

The Silver Screen
The ship’s recently-redesigned Hollywood Theatre will feature movie marathons of classic and recent films, including some of Marilyn’s greatest hits, with Turner Classic Movies film historian Jeremy Arnold providing fascinating behind-the-scenes commentary.

The 14-night East Coast and Caribbean cruise starts in New York on November 2 and visits Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville (maiden call), Turks & Caicos, Curaçao and Aruba before finishing in Miami. All-inclusive fly/cruise fares start from £3,803 per person if booked by February 28.

Crystal’s award-winning entertainment offerings include a range of venues and performances, from cabaret nightclub to piano bar saloon; acclaimed productions to headline entertainers, and sophisticated enrichment activities to in-room Blu-ray-viewing, for all world travellers.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line. The UK's cruise specialist

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Holland America’s 140th Anniversary Specials

To celebrate Holland America Line’s 140th anniversary, the cruise line has announced the MS Rotterdam will be sailing eight brand new itineraries this autumn, including a new ex-UK trip departing from Harwich.

The 1,404 capacity ship will offer a mixture of 10, 11 and 14-night cruises through Spain, Italy, the French Riviera, Dalmatian Coast, Turkey, Greece and the Holy Land. Cruise-only prices start from just £669 per person, with fly/cruise prices starting from £1,039pp for an inside stateroom.

The new itineraries include overnight stops in a multitude of exciting cities, from Istanbul and Lisbon, to Barcelona and Venice. Whilst on board, guests will also be able to benefit from Holland America’s wealth of restaurants, cooking classes in the Culinary Arts Centre, IT classes in a Windows Digital Workshop or the blissful Greenhouse Spa & Salon.

Some of the new itineraries are:

14-night Iberian Explorer
This round-trip from Rotterdam departs on September 14 and calls at La Coruña in Spain, Leixoes (Porto) and Portimao in Portugal, Gibraltar, Malaga and Cádiz, as well as stopping overnight in Lisbon. The cruise then pays one last stop in Vigo before returning to Rotterdam. Prices start from £893 cruise only or £1,363 including return flights to Athens, transfers and 10 nights’ full board accommodation.

10-night Western Europe Adventure
Departing from Harwich on September 29, this voyage calls at La Coruña before heading to Leixoes and making an overnight stop in Lisbon. The cruise then heads to Cádiz, Gibraltar and Malaga, before docking in Barcelona. Prices start from £999 cruise only or £1,239 including a flight back to London from Barcelona, transfers and 10 nights’ full board accommodation.

11-night French Riviera and Italian Adventure
Starting with an overnight stop in Barcelona on October 9, this cruise visits Marseille (for Provence), Monte Carlo, Ajaccio in Corsica, Livorno (for Florence and Pisa), La Goulette (for Tunis and Carthage) and Valletta in Malta. Passengers are then Italy-bound, with stops in Messina and Naples, before disembarking in Civitavecchia (for Rome). Prices start from £999 cruise only or £1,499 including an outbound flight to Barcelona and return from Rome, transfers and 11 nights’ full board accommodation.

11-night Dalmatian Coast and Greek Explorer
This voyage departs Civitavecchia (Rome) on October 20 and heads straight to Dubrovnik before stopping for a leisurely overnight stay in Venice. The cruise then journeys to Ravenna (for San Marino), Split in Croatia and Kotor in Montenegro. After that, the last few days are spent in Greece, exploring Corfu, Katákolon (for Olympia) and Nafplion, before disembarking in Piraeus (Athens). Prices start from £999 cruise only or £1,591 per person including an outbound flight to Rome and return from Athens, transfers and 11 nights’ full board accommodation. 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's leading cruise-agent specialists.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Voyages Of Discovery Celebrate Chelsea Flower Show

The highlight of the horticultural calendar, the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show, celebrates its centenary year in 2013 and Voyages of Discovery is inviting passengers to be part of the festivities on the British Isles and Chelsea Flower Show cruise, available from £1,299 per person (based on two people sharing).

The 12-day cruise is in partnership with the RHS and features a full selection of shore excursions to some of the UK's finest gardens including La Seigneurie Gardens (St Peter Port, Guernsey), the Eden Project (Cornwall) and the grounds of Cawdor Castle (Invergordon).

The highlight of the cruise, though, will undoubtedly be the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where green-fingered passengers can explore a wide range of spectacular gardens – including 16 show gardens – and a range of floral exhibits. NADFAS Guest Speaker, Joanne Kidd (Lecturer in Creative Studies, Design and the Historical Background to Plant Materials and Gardens) will also share her knowledge and passion for all things green with passengers on board the cruise.

The British Isles and Chelsea Flower Show voyage departs from Portsmouth on May 14 and calls at St Peter Port, Fowey, Waterford, Dublin, Kirkwall, Invergordon, Greenwich and Dover before returning to Portsmouth. The price includes transfers, all onboard gratuities, service charges and port taxes, a comprehensive Guest Speaker programme and all meals and entertainment.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's adventure-cruise specialists.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

AMA's Spring Offers

There is always something special about a spring-time cruise, and AMA Waterways have some great offers for Holland, Belgium, Provence and the Douro in Portugal. Plus they have a special guest aboard in October. Read on for details...!
Cruise through Europe’s tulip fields, saving £400
AMA's week-long 'Tulip Time' cruises reveal the beauty and history of the Dutch and Belgian waterways in springtime, sailing past colourful tulip carpets, through green countryside dotted with world-famous windmills and visiting the great medieval cities of Antwerp and Ghent. Departing on March 25 and April 1, 8, 12 and 23, the luxury cruise costs from £1,199 per person, saving £400pp. 

Luxury Provence river cruise, saving £324pp
Departing on April 12, this week-long voyage embarks in Arles, the setting for many of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces, and cruises to Lyon through Provence’s legendary wine regions. The cruise costs from £1,795pp, saving £324pp. Additional departures June 28 and July 26.

Portugal’s Enticing Douro, saving £450pp
The Douro is one of Europe’s most pure and unspoiled rivers, with deep cleft gorges, lush vineyards, and sleepy fishing villages. AMA's 7-night 'Enticing Douro’ cruise departs on March 26 and offers a round-trip from Porto, making daily port calls along the route to picturesque towns and villages and places of interest, enabling guests to immerse themselves in local culture and traditions. The sailing costs from £1,395 per person, saving £450pp.

Strictly river cruising, with Ann Widdecombe

Strictly Come Dancing star, novelist, TV presenter and former MP Ann Widdecombe will talk about her life and career in presentations and book signings during a week-long cruise down the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel, departing on October 15. Guests can sail in her company from £1,975pp.

For bookings, follow this link to  the The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's luxury river cruise specialists.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Quark's Spitsbergen Expeditions

Quark Expeditions are renowned for their high-quality Polar explorations, and they have two notable expedition programmes this summer that journey around Spitsbergen, the largest island within the Svalbard archipelago, with Zodiac to get up close to the coastline and animals with their onboard experts. 

What is also great about these cruises are the opportunities to get to grips with wildlife photography and filming. Quark always carries experts to help spot the animals as well as advise on photography of these wonderful creatures. A photographic journal is also produced by Quark over the course of the journey and given to travellers on a DVD upon return.

The "Spitsbergen Explorer" is the classic Arctic adventure, taking in colonies of sea birds, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes, plus the animals already mentioned as the ship sets sail from Longyearbyen exploring the coastline north and south. As well as the sights, the sounds are something to behold and something that doesn’t often spring to mind, particularly that of the walrus. The slightly longer "Spitsbergen Circumnavigation" programme circles the whole of this remarkable island and, with continuous light prevailing in the summertime, wildlife can be viewed whenever adventurers are awake.

Two departures (June 14 and 24) are available for the Spitsbergen Explorer, with prices starting at £3,170 per person, based on accommodation in a triple cabin. The expedition lasts 11 days touring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Spitsbergen and includes accommodation on the very comfortable Sea Spirit, all meals and snacks, Zodiac landings, expert presentations and guiding, photographic journal and transfers. Similarly, the Spitsbergen Circumnavigation includes the above but lasts 13 days, with prices starting at £4,120 per person based on accommodation in a triple cabin. Departures for the latter are July 4 and 16.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's adventuire-cruise specialists.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Grab A Crystal Deal

Between now and February 28, savings of up to £1,629 per person are available on a selection of Crystal Cruises’ 2013 itineraries, with prices starting from just £1,918 per person for a seven-night all-inclusive luxury cruise in northern Europe. These savings are available on the following 12 cruises:

  • April 21: 11-night cruise from Barcelona to Venice on Crystal Serenity visiting Monte Carlo, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Sicily and Trogir. All inclusive prices from £2,825 per person (saving up to £1,151).
  • May 2: seven-night cruise from Venice to Rome on Crystal Serenity visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Taormina and Sorrento. All inclusive prices from £2,128pp (saving up to £627 per person).
  • May 9: nine-night cruise from Rome to Istanbul on Crystal Serenity visiting Sorrento, Taormina, Santorini, Kusadasi and Canakkale. All inclusive prices from £2,437pp (saving up to £1,029).
  • May 23: 12-night cruise from New York to Reykjavik on Crystal Symphony visiting Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax and St John’s. All inclusive prices from £3,332pp, including one-night pre-cruise hotel stay in New York (saving up to £1,482).
  • June 8: seven-night cruise from Dover to Copenhagen on Crystal Serenity visiting Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Oslo and Helsingborg. All inclusive prices from £1,918pp (saving  up to £932 per person).
  • June 24: 10-night cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen on Crystal Serenity visiting Tallinn, St Petersburg (2 nights), Helsinki and Berlin. All inclusive prices from £2,893pp (saving up to £1,629).
  • July 6: seven-night cruise from Istanbul to Rome on Crystal Symphony visiting Kusadasi, Mykonos, Sicily and Sorrento. All inclusive prices from £2,050pp (saving up to £923).
  • July 20: 10-night cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen on Crystal Serenity visiting Tallinn, St Petersburg (2 nights), Helsinki and Berlin. All inclusive prices from £2,890pp (saving up to £1,629). 
  • July 25: nine-night cruise from Istanbul to Rome on Crystal Symphony visiting Canakkale, Kusadasi, Valletta, Sicily and Sorrento. All inclusive prices from £2,680pp (saving up to £1,015).
  • July 30: 10-night cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm on Crystal Serenity visiting Berlin, Helsinki, St Petersburg (2 nights) and Tallinn. All inclusive prices from £2,890pp (saving up to £1,629).

Included in the cost of the cruise are return scheduled flights, overseas transfers and accommodation in a deluxe stateroom with picture window with all meals and soft drinks, selected alcoholic beverages, port taxes and gratuities.

For bookings, follow this link to the Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Celebrate India Day With Voyages of Discovery

Celebrate India’s independence on India Day (January 26) and book a cruise to Asia from a bargain £2,019 per person with Voyages of Discovery.

Passengers on board the 17-day "Tales of India & Arabia" voyage will be able to visit the birthplace of Ghandi in Porbandar and explore the UNESCO listed Elephanta Caves near to the colourful city of Mumbai before sailing to Sri Lanka.

Tales of India & Arabia departs from Dubai (UAE, overnight), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Khasab (Oman), Porbandar, Mumbai (overnight), Marmagao, Cochin (overnight), Tuticorin and Colombo (Sri Lanka, overnight).

Price is based on a December 3 UK departure and includes return flights from a major UK airport, all overseas transfers, all on board gratuities, service charges and port/airport taxes, a comprehensive Guest Speaker programme and all meals and entertainment on board.

For bookings, follow this link to the Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's adventure-cruise specialists.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Hurtigruten Launches Amazing Excursion Programme

Fancy exploring ice caves inside the Longyear Glacier? Or riding a ‘Dog Cart’, a dog sled on wheels? Or perhaps snowmobiling in the Arctic Desert? All this and much more is now possible with Hurtigruten’s new short-break land programme to Spitsbergen. Developed in conjunction with its subsidiary company, Spitsbergen Travel, two, three and four-night trips are available every day in March, May, October and December.

Three excursions are included in each short break and all are centred around Longyearbyen, the closest place to the North Pole. Each month brings different experiences, from the return of the sun in March to the Midnight Sun in May, the emerging Arctic winter in October and the full darkness and Northern Lights of December.

ICE CAVING, EXPLORE INSIDE A GLACIER - Adventure lovers can now wander through the heart of a glacier, using headlamps to make their way into the meltwater channels under the glacier. Fascinating formations of ice and stone create an experience that will take everyone’s breath away (available in March).

RIDE A DOG CART – Travel like a local in Longyearbyen! It is possible to drive a ‘Dog Cart’ with six huskies up front. As the snow has gone, the huskies take to pulling a sled on wheels to show off the local scenery (available in October).

Sample Short Break packages include:

RETURN OF THE SUN, ICE CAVING AND MORE – March 2013, from £811pp: March is high season in Spitsbergen and the sun returns to the far north after a long winter. Experience the characteristic blue light during dawn and dusk and the Northern Lights during the hours of darkness. This break includes a 45km snowmobile safari in the Arctic Desert and through narrow valleys, ice caving in the heart of the Longyear Glacier and a wilderness evening at a local camp to share experiences from the area with the hosts. Priced from £811pp, including two nights B&B accommodation and all three excursions. Three nights from £927pp and four from £1030pp. Flights are extra.
ENDLESS ARCTIC SUMMER NIGHTS – May 2013, from £696pp:
Come May, the days last for 24 hours so the Midnight Sun can be experienced. However, the country is still covered in snow so it’s possible to enjoy the best of both seasons. This break includes a 45km snowmobile safari in the Arctic Desert and through narrow valleys, a dog sledding trip with the opportunity to drive it and a wilderness evening at a local camp to share experiences from the area with the hosts. Priced from £696pp, including two nights B&B accommodation and all three excursions. Three nights from £721pp and four from £810pp. Flights are extra.
CRYSTAL CLEAR AND COLOURFUL – October 2013, from £696pp:
In October, the darkness slowly returns and the light changes to blue again with the chance to see the Northern Lights. During October, the northernmost Blues Festival takes place in Longyearbyen and this can be enjoyed whilst staying in the town. This break includes a boat trip powering out over the Isfjord on a 26ft open Polarcirkle boat to get to all the right places for the best views, a ‘Dog Cart’ ride with the opportunity to drive it and a wilderness evening at a local camp to share experiences from the area with the hosts. Priced from £484pp, including two nights B&B accommodation and all three excursions. Three nights from £533pp and four from £576pp. Flights extra.
MAGICAL DARKNESS & NORTHERN LIGHTS – Dec 2013 (inc Christmas), from £696pp:
During December, the polar night transforms Spitsbergen into a magical corner of the world – the only light sources are the soft lights of the settlements, the twinkling stars, the dancing Northern Lights and the moonlight, which makes the ice and snow sparkle. This break includes a 45km snowmobile safari in the Arctic Desert and through narrow valleys, a dog sledding trip with the opportunity to drive it and a wilderness evening at a local camp to share experiences from the area with the hosts. Priced from £602pp, including two nights B&B accommodation and all three excursions. Three nights from £648pp and four from £695pp. Flights extra.
For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's adventure cruising specialists.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Free Wi-Fi With Regent

Among the welter of deals in what is called the 'Wave' season for cruise bookings in the early stages of the New Year, there's a really interesting one that caught our eye from the all-inclusive luxury line of Regent Seven Seas.

Regent have already published some pretty eye-catching savings for a number of cruises this year and, as they already come with free flights, shore excursions, gratuities and most drinks on board, it is hard to imagine what else they could add to make themselves more attractive. But they have.

So, just in time for the 'Wave' season promotions, guests making a brand new booking on any of Regent's selected voyages from today through to March 31 will receive FREE INTERNET access for the entirety of their voyage. The special promotion is valid on the following 2013 sailings on two of their ships:

Seven Seas Mariner 
24 April: Mediterranean Odyssey, Istanbul to Barcelona, 10-nights 
1 June: Italian Interlude, Venice to Rome, 10-nights 
28 June: Aegean Sojourn, Venice to Athens, 10-nights 
29 August: Venetian Dreams, Rome to Venice, 10-nights 

Seven Seas Voyager 
6 October: Mediterranean Melody, Rome to Monte Carlo, 7-nights 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Try Yoga Under Sail

Tall ship specialist Star Clippers is offering guests a new opportunity to enjoy free daily yoga and meditation on board a yoga-themed cruise on graceful Star Flyer along the coasts of Costa Rica and Nicaragua next month. 

Under the direction of yoga teacher Melanie Camp, the programme will include two daily sessions out on the ship’s sun-warmed teak decks under thousands of square feet of billowing sails – the ultimate relaxing environment for body and soul, enhanced by the fresh sea air and the lush, tropical scenery. Each class is open to all guests and suitable for all levels, with no prior experience required. All classes and lectures are optional and run alongside the ship’s regular activities. 

For guests who want to follow a healthy or vegetarian diet during the sailing to complement their yoga practice, Star Clippers’ breakfast buffets feature an abundance of fresh, seasonal fruits, and guests can select from a variety of salads at lunchtime and vegetarian options at dinner.

Melanie Camp brings many years of teaching experience, having earned her certification in the Barkan Method and her Yoga for Seniors and Yoga Therapy certification at Duke University Integrative Medicine. She teaches in Fort Lauderdale and has conducted yoga retreats in locations as diverse as Utah, Peru and Morocco. Melanie is also is the author of Artful Yoga, a book of yoga tips featuring her original oil paintings. 

The cruise departs Puerto Caldera on February 24 and calls at San Juan del Sur; Playa del Coco; Santa Rosa National Park; Samara; Puerto Carrillo; the National Reserve of Curu; and Isla Tortuga. From £1,250 per person, excluding flights. 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

More Oceania Offers

It's the New Year, so the cruise offers are rolling in thick and fast. Here are the latest from Oceania Cruises, with some great savings on a selection of exotic voyages. 

February 2: Caribbean hideaway, 10 nights £1502, saving £1266 
Escape the British winter and spend 10 nights cruising the Caribbean on board the new, food-lovers cruise ship, Riviera. The 1250-guest, mid-sized luxury ship will be sailing a round-trip cruise from Miami to the British Virgin Islands, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Barts, including a $500 shipboard credit per stateroom. 

February 26: 16 nights Australia/New Zealand, £3589, saving £1975
 This 'Splendours Down Under' cruise is on the 1250-guest Marina, renowned for its culinary excellence, wine pairing centre and hands-on cookery school. The sailing of New Zealand’s south-eastern coastline concludes in Australia, to call into Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney. 

March 10: 25-night Oriental Grand Cruise, £3222pp, saving £3441pp
 Cruise from Beijing to Bangkok in the spring, visiting Korea, Japan, Taiwain, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand on board Oceania's mid-sized Nautica, now with a $500 shipboard credit per stateroom. 

March 28: Caribbean Hideaways, 10 nights £1809, saving £959
 Cruise the Caribbean islands of Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Barts on board Riviera, and receive a $300 per stateroom credit to spend in the ship’s bars, spa and boutiques. 

April 20: 19-night cruise with a Panama Canal transit and £1692pp saving
 Oceania's long cruise from Miami to San Francisco, on the mid-sized Regatta travels through the Caribbean Sea and along the west coast of Mexico via a magnificent Panama Canal transit, including a $500 per stateroom credit to spend on board. 

May 9: Gatweay to Alaska, £1749pp, with £1028 saving 
Cruise from San Francisco along the west coast of the USA and Alaska, to arrive into Vancouver 9 nights later, on the 650-guest Regatta, and including a $500 per stateroom credit to spend on board.

All fares include return UK flights, all meals, no supplement for speciality dining, complimentary bottled water and soft drinks.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Noble Caledonia's Galapagos Adventures

Following on from yesterday's blog about G Adventures' latest offerings in the Galapagos, here is another very timely story of the same destination, this time from Noble Caledonia.

Named after the giant Galapagos tortoise (above), this remote group of islands, 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, are considered some of the most wondrous islands in the world. It was Charles Darwin who put them on the map. True, the islands were discovered some 300 years earlier, but Darwin’s five-week stay during his world expedition altered the course of human thought and history. 

One of the most amazing aspects of the Galapagos is that, even today, the archipelago is much the same as in Darwin’s time, a veritable ‘Garden of Eden’. Largely unspoiled by development, it is a place where fascinating and diverse wildlife is both abundant and fearless of man. Here you can swim with dolphins and Galapagos penguins, walk amongst giant tortoises, watch basking marine iguanas and be endlessly fascinated by the colourful and exotic birdlife. The isolation and late discovery by humans, along with a historical lack of predators, has set the stage for a unique environmental experiment and developed into perhaps the greatest showcase for evolution to be witnessed anywhere.

Today, there are a number of vessels cruising around these islands ranging in size from six to 600 passengers, but Noble Caledonia have chosen two very special vessels operated by their associates and experts in Galapagos cruises, Metropolitan Touring, who have almost 60 years experience of providing guests with unique and quality travel experiences. Isabela II and La Pinta are perfect for those who prefer a small, superior vessel, a highly experienced expedition team, small groups ashore and an environmentally friendly programme.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's adventure cruising specialists.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

G Adventures’ Galapagos Upgrades (And Savings)

G Adventures has upgraded its fleet of vessels in the wonderful Galapagos islands for 2013 to meet an increase in demand to visit the remote islands - and also has 15% off a selection of trips on its new vessels with durations of six, seven and 10 days when booking by January 31 for travel commencing before March 31.

Each of the new vessels caters to a slightly different market. The Daphne ‘G3’ is the most affordable option, the San Jose ‘G5’ is a comfort-level vessel and the Queen of Galapagos ‘G8’ provides a top-of-the-line deluxe experience.

To book, travellers should quote G12GALAPAGOS15. Here are some price examples:
  • A six-day Voyage Galapagos – South Islands standard-level trip on board the Daphne ‘G3’ was priced from £1,249pp, now from £1,062pp.
  • A seven-day Voyage Galapagos – South Islands comfort-level trip on board the San Jose ‘G5’ was priced from £1,649pp now from £1,402pp.
  • A 10-day Deluxe Galapagos – Northern Islands deluxe-level trip on board the Queen of Galapagos ‘G8’ was priced from £2,599pp now from £2,210pp

For more info, visit; for more on Galapagos adventure cruising, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's luxury adventure cruise specialists. 

Monday, 14 January 2013

A Royal Treat For Kids

Even the youngest passengers will enjoy the many special features aboard Princess Cruises new Royal Princess when the ship debuts in June, as the line has now revealed the amenities just for kids and teens that will wow younger cruisers aboard the new ship.

Royal Princess will offer expanded space for the kids and teens centres that add a new level to the onboard experience for young passengers. All age groups will find more space with dedicated outdoor areas, including a new teen lounge. Toddlers can also join the fun with a special area just for the under threes.

Some of the fun children will find includes:

Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7): The youngest age group will enjoy a great space for group activities like movie nights, a new mini air hockey table, a special area for arts and crafts, and a new indoor play area. In addition, they’ll have a new outdoor play space, which includes toys, games, tricycles and a new playground. These features add to the line-up of popular activities that kids love on Princess ships, including Jr. Chef@Sea, educational workshops, pyjama and ice cream parties, and a kid's Fun Fair.

Shockwaves (ages 8-12): Children in this age group will now have their own dedicated outside area complete with a variety of fun games. Shockwaves kids will really get into games and activities geared for their age, like air hockey, skeeball and exciting game stations. They’ll also find their own lounge with a giant TV, a DJ Booth and arts and crafts tables. Plus kids can hang out and enjoy their own pizza and ice cream parties or kids-only dinners.

Remix (ages 13-17): The Remix area for teens will feature a Princess DJ booth loaded with cutting-edge music where music lovers can create their own playlist, relax or dance to the latest club mix. In addition, there’s a new lounge area, perfect for meeting new friends, with games like table football, skeeball and the latest video games. A brand new outdoor lounge fulfills a request from teens, and offers cool club lighting, contemporary seating, a great new wading pool and, of course, music perfect for parties under the stars. Teens will also enjoy activities specially designed for their age group, including sports competitions, late night movies, hip hop dance classes, teens-only ‘mocktail’ party, formal dinners and the ever-popular video game tournaments.

The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is a new-generation ship currently under construction for Princess. Among the special features on board will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28ft beyond the edge of the vessel; private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio; a pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms. The ship’s 2013 maiden season will include cruises on the line’s signature Grand Mediterranean itinerary throughout the summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises beginning in the Autumn. 

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's cruise-agent specialists.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Photography, Marine Biology and Kids in Nature

Adventure travellers with a passion for marine biology, photography or with young kids in tow can choose a theme cruise catering to their interest this winter as Un-CruiseAdventures (formerly American Safari Cruises) continue to develop their unique style with 10 sailings in the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.

Photography and marine biology theme cruises include an expert guest host on board for the week. Special presentations will be held in the lounge and guests are free to interact with the guest host throughout the week aboard the boat or on excursions. One-on-one time allows for questions to be answered and hands-on help with photography. The new 'Kids in Nature' departures cater to families traveling with children 12 and younger. The expedition team gears the programme to a variety of ages and activity levels with a focus on educating kids of all ages. Hiking excursions, kayaking trips, skiff explorations and snorkelling all provide hands-on learning in a fun environment. Active explorations in nature and wildlife sightings engage all ages.

“Themes bring together people with common interests and this option adds one more benefit for booking these dates,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

2013 Theme Cruises in Hawaii
  • Jan 5: Photography and Whales with Flip Nicklin, regarded as the premier whale photographer in the world.
  • March 9 and 30: Kids in Nature; spring break departures for the whole family.
  • April 6: Photography with Peter West Carey, a professional photographer whose love for travel has taken him around the world.
2013 Theme Cruises in the Sea of Cortés
  • Jan 12: Marine Biology with Rodrigo Rocha Gosselin, a La Paz resident passionate about conservation and nature.
  • Feb 16: Photography with David Julian, a professional photographer with 30 years’ experience capturing the essence of places, people and light with creative vision.
  • March 16: Photography with Ellen Barone, an intrepid traveler, freelance writer and photographer.
  • March 30: Marine Biology with Giovanni Malagrino, an oceanologist and professor of marine biology.
  • March 9 and 23: Kids in Nature; spring break departures for the whole family.
For Luxury Adventures in the Hawaiian Islands, the line’s 36-guest Safari Explorer sails seven-night cruises between Hawaii, the Big Island and Lana’i (or reverse) with two days of activities on Moloka’i. Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands, with explorations of Lana’i, Moloka’i, Maui and Hawaii, the Big Island.

In the Sea of Cortés, the 86-guest Safari Endeavour sails Luxury Adventures round-trip from La Paz in Baja, Mexico. An unstructured itinerary explores hideaways such as Isla Espíritu Santo, Isla San Francisco, Bahia Agua Verde, Los Islotes and Loreto.

In the Hawaiian Islands and the Sea of Cortés, guests can be as active as they like and activities include trekking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkelling and skiff excursions. Expert naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea. The unstructured itinerary also allows time for viewing wildlife, such as whales and dolphins.

For bookings, follow this link to the Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's adventure-cruise specialists.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

AMA's Tulip-Time Savings!

Award-winning river cruise line AmaWaterways is offering savings of up to £450 per person on its Tulip Time cruises along the waterways of Belgium and The Netherlands this spring. Sailing round-trip from Amsterdam, this seven-night cruise offers a chance to see the lavish displays of tulips and other cultivated flowers that form dazzling carpets across the flat Dutch countryside from March to May. 

The voyage also visits Volendam and Edam, both famed for their cheese production; Arnhem; Nijmegen; and the city of Antwerp, known for its diamond production and fashion scene. There are tours to the pretty Belgian cities of Ghent and Bruges, as well as Kinderdijk, where the landscape is dotted with windmills. Sample more cheese at Gouda and visit Delft, home of the famous pottery. Finally, visit the legendary Keukenhof Gardens, planted with seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. This year, the gardens have a British theme and a highlight is a vast flower mosaic of Big Ben and Tower Bridge, created from some 60,000 bulbs.

The seven-night cruise on the state-of-the-art, 164-passenger AmaCerto departs March 25 and costs from £1,199 per person (reduced from £1,649), including flights from London, transfers, tours every day, all meals, wine, beer and soft drinks with dinner, complimentary wi-fi and use of the ship’s fleet of bicycles. Other departure dates include April 1, 8, 12 and 23.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's luxury river-cruise specialists.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Oceania's Big Alaska Savings

Oceania Cruises is offering two early-season Alaska sailings with great savings, making them a real bargain for this magnificent part of the cruise world. Take a look at these two offerings and save up to £1,028 on a fabulous voyage.
Gatweay to Alaska, now £1749pp (was £2,777)
Cruise from San Francisco along the west coast of the USA and Alaska, to arrive into Vancouver 9 nights later, on the 650-guest luxury cruiser Regatta. Departing on May 9, this Gateway to Alaska has a saving of £1,028pp, and includes a $500 per stateroom credit to spend on board, plus return flights from the UK, all meals, bottled water and soft drinks. 

Alaskan Fjords & Frontiers, saving £741pp
This magnificent 7-night Alaska cruise on Regatta also benefits from a $500 per stateroom credit to spend in the spa, onboard shops or bars. It sails on May 18 and is now on offer for £1,559pp (was £2,300). Price includes return flights from the UK, all meals, bottled water and soft drinks.

For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Round-the-World Yachtswoman, Tracy Edwards MBE, joins a Fred. Olsen cruise to Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is delighted that Tracy Edwards MBE will be joining Balmoral’s ‘Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar Explorer’ cruise in August 2013, as a host with the onboard enrichment programme, Vistas.

The 12-night cruise departs from Southampton on 11th August 2013, calling first at the attractive and cosmopolitan Portuguese capital, Lisbon, before reaching the pretty Spanish port of Alicante. Castles, cathedrals and churches here date back to the 14th Century and the old quarter boasts some fine baroque architecture. As well as lovely parks and plazas, Alicante has some of Spain’s finest beaches.  The next port is Mahon, on the tiny island of Menorca. There is a large, natural harbour, with restaurants, bars and cafés on the waterfront and some lively nightlife. Explore the narrow streets and visit some interesting boutiques and craft shops – or pay a visit to the Xoriguer Gin Distillery.  On the return journey, Balmoral calls into Gibraltar. More British than Britain itself, visitors here delight in seeing policemen in familiar uniforms, red phone boxes and Union Flags flying everywhere.  Stroll around the old town or take a cable car ride to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.  Alternatively, you can take a boat trip from here and go looking for dolphins.

The last port on this cruise is the historic Spanish port of La Coruna, home to the world’s oldest lighthouse, The ‘Torre de Hercules’. The old quarter has the remains of the original Roman wall and the town has an impressive array of museums and galleries to enjoy.  Balmoral then returns to Southampton.

A special additional attraction on this epic voyage will be Vistas host, Tracy Edwards MBE, who will be speaking on the subject of ‘Great Seafarers’.
Tracy Edwards won international fame in 1989, as the skipper of ‘Maiden Great Britain’, with the first all female crew to sail around the world, in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.’ In 1990, Tracy was awarded ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ and an MBE.  She also competed in the Trophy Jules Verne in 1998, again with an all-female crew.

Today, Tracy dedicates a large amount of her time to youth charities and is also an author, TV presenter and noted motivational speaker.  She will speak to guests aboard Balmoral about her experiences and those who have inspired her.

Prices for this exceptional cruise start from £1,269 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin, Grade ‘I’.  This price includes all meals and entertainment on board and port taxes. There is no extra charge for taking part in Vistas activity.

For bookings follow this link to The Cruise Line. The UK's cruising specialist.