Thursday, 28 February 2013

Cunard Offers New York Stays

A classic Atlantic crossing on the world’s only ocean liner, Cunard's Queen Mary 2, has been made even more attractive and ‘must-do’ with the inclusion of New York City stays. Two-night New York stays, from only £99 per person in the four-star Grand Hyatt Hotel, now mean that the May 13 crossing from Southampton is available with the two-night stay for an amazing £1,299 per person, including $80 onboard spending money per person.

The Atlantic crossings involved are:

2 Night Stay pp
Voyage pp

It’s not just the sheer impressive nature of Queen Mary 2 which makes her one of life’s ‘must-do’ experiences. Her size and scale are combined with exceptional service, sumptuous furnishings, superb dining, a spa unlike any other at sea, the largest Library at sea, the only Planetarium at sea and lavishly appointed staterooms. A genuine transatlantic liner, she offers luxury in a classic setting that is surprisingly modern.

Added to all of this is the arrival or departure and stay like no other, in a city like no other.  

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

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Sushi Maestro On Board With Crystal

One of the world’s greatest culinary artists, Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, is visiting his luxury cruise partner, Crystal Cruises, this summer to teach, mingle, dine and cook for guests. The famed sushi maestro, and mastermind behind the line’s exclusive Silk Road and The Sushi Bar restaurants, will join Crystal Symphony’s 12-night Rome to Istanbul Black Sea voyage beginning July 13. 

Accompanied by Fumio Hazu, the Sake Master behind Nobu’s exclusive, 140-year-old sake brand, the two will showcase their expertise during several intimate gourmet experiences, including:

  • Two Omakase or Chef’s Choice dinners in Silk Road, limited to just 70 guests and featuring some of Nobu’s finest dishes and connoisseur items such as white sturgeon caviar and Hokusetsu “Musical Sake”.
  • Sake tasting sessions, including insight into Hazu’s unique “live” sake brewing processes which include playing Japanese music to bottles for three years to create a smoother taste from vibrations.
  • Live cooking demonstrations during which Nobu will share the secrets behind his renowned dishes.
  • Silk Road and The Sushi Bar appearances during regular dinner hours to welcome guests and enhance the enjoyment of their meal.
  • Cookbook signings and photo opportunities throughout the voyage.

Crystal’s Nobu-cuisine restaurants, the only ones of their kind at sea, feature his personally-trained chefs, signature dishes, Nobu sake and his own line of dinnerware. Complimentary and open almost every evening of every cruise, the restaurants offer mouth-watering dishes that are also available via room service in Crystal’s butler-serviced Penthouse accommodations.

The 12-night “Bounties of the Black Sea” itinerary starts in Rome’s port of Civitavecchia and visits Sorrento, Sicily, Constanţa, Odessa (overnight), Yalta and Sochi before finishing with an overnight in Istanbul. All-inclusive “Book Now” fly/cruise fares start from £4,148 per person, if booked by February 28. 

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

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

More Discounts From Holland America

With the winter weather still biting, Holland America Line is offering up to £1,750 off the brochure price of sunshine cruises this Spring. Luxury Mediterranean fly-cruises start from less than £58 per person per night, whilst Caribbean fly-cruises are on offer from less than £155pp per night, each including flights, transfers and full board accommodation.

11-night Mediterranean fly cruise from just £629:
This cruise on board MS Ryndam in April includes an outbound flight from London Heathrow to Barcelona with British Airways, transfer from airport to ship and an 11-night full board cruise. After setting sail from Barcelona on April 23, the ship calls at Palma de Mallorca in the sunny Balearics and then on to historical Alicante in Valencia. The next highlight is Motril and the Moorish city of Granada, then a full day to explore Gibraltar. The ship then continues to the bustling fishing port of Portimao on the Algarve, cultural Lisbon and then La Coruna on Spain’s Atlantic coast, before sailing back to British shores and disembarking in Dover. This price is based on two sharing an inside stateroom.

9-night Eastern Caribbean fly-cruise from just £1,393:
HAL is offering this fly-cruise on board the elegant MS Eurodam this March from just £1,393 per person. Departing from London Heathrow on March 8, this price includes return flights with British Airways, a pre-cruise hotel night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, transfers and a seven-night Caribbean cruise on a full-board basis. Departing from Fort Lauderdale, the cruise calls at Grand Turk, with its glorious beaches and diving, the old-fashioned Spanish style San Juan in Puerto Rico, St Thomas (home to the famous pirate Blackbeard and the attractive pastel hued capital of Charlotte Amelie) and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, Holland America’s very own private island before returning to Fort Lauderdale. This price is based on two sharing an inside stateroom (upgrade to ocean view for just £20 per person).

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

Monday, 25 February 2013

New Special Offer From Hurtigruten

As the snow slowly melts away, the sun ventures back above the horizon and the days get longer, the Norwegians celebrate the return of spring. Thanks to Hurtigruten, it is now possible to save up to £766 on selected departures this Spring. Guests wishing to travel for less can do so on various dates between April 15 and June 4 on the 12-day ‘Classic Round Voyage’, 11-day ‘Norwegian Discovery Voyage’, seven-day ’Classic Voyage North’ and six-day ‘Classic Voyage South’. The offer is valid when booking an unspecified inside or outside cabin, which will be allocated on arrival.

As part of Hurtigruten’s ‘Arctic Awakening’ onboard programme, shore excursions take guests closer to the marine life, migratory birds and coastal animals and allow them to experience the Norwegian spring awakening first-hand. For example, from May 1, why not try a ‘Kayaking in Tromsø’ excursion, where participants paddle along the coast surrounded by an impressive mountain landscape? Other excursions include a trip to the largest seabird colony in Scandinavia on the bird island of Runde and to the national park on the Varanger peninsula, which is home to an overwhelming number of different species of birds.

The theme of the activities on board is ‘Secrets of the Sea’ and guests will get the opportunity to learn different skills, such as how to shell prawns and fillet fish, all under the guidance of local fishermen who come on board especially for this purpose.

Classic Round Voyage - £1,423pp (saving up to £766pp): Priced to include a 12-day voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back on a full board basis. 
Classic Voyage North - £990pp (saving up to £533pp): This price includes a seven-day voyage from Bergen in the South to Kirkenes by the Russian border, on a full board basis. 
Classic Voyage South - £839pp (Saving up to £450pp) – This price includes a six-day voyage from Kirkenes by the Russian border to Bergen in the south, on a full board basis. 

In all instances, flights are extra and prices are based on two sharing an unspecified inside cabin on selected dates between April 15 and June 4 if booked by March 31.

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

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Get Ready For Our Spring Issue!

We're now putting the finishing touches to our Spring issue, with some real treats in store for our readers. Our Cover Story theme for this edition is Into Africa, as our contributing editor Gary Buchanan puts together a special 'cruise-safari' experience through Southern Africa, taking a Silversea voyage around South Africa and Mozambique and then travelling inland to try a river-cruise aboard the luxurious Zambezi Queen (above).

It's a unique and wildlife-filled journey, capped off with a look at the pre- and post-cruise attractions of the port city of Cape Town, but that's only the start of an epic series of distinctive voyages in our latest edition.

From Southern Africa we head to Mexico's Sea of Cortes with American Safari Cruises as our adventure-cruise expert Steve Newman samples this unusual small-scale cruise style, and then it's off to South America with Holland America Line as another top writer, Yvonne Horn, takes readers on a typical voyage 'around the Horn.' Malta is also on our cruise radar, with an in-depth review of this wonderful Mediterranean hot-spot.

We also have the BIG ship stories, and they don't come much bigger this year than Norwegian Cruise Line's new Norwegian Breakaway, with Anthony Nicholas providing a full preview of this outstanding new-build, which is due to debut at the end of April. And then we have a special look at the onboard speciality restaurant of Todd English aboard Cunard's classic Queen Mary 2 and a historic cruising perspective by Peter Newall on the inimitable old-timer SS United States and the ongoing attempts to save her from an ignominious fate.
We also have a bonus for river-cruise fans, with three contrasting river journeys, on three different continents, highlighting all the delights of the deluxe Orient-Express cruiser Road to Mandalay in Myanmar; the European Waterways hotel barge Panache in the Netherlands; and the wonderful new Queen of the Mississippi of American Cruise Lines through the heartland of America.
Of course, our regular columnists are also well to the fore, with the award-winning style of Captain Greybeard (John Honeywell), The Cruise Guy (Stewart Chiron) and Cruise Radio (Doug Parker) adding their unique opinions and insight of the cruise world, alongside the essential World of Spas section, which takes a look at the gorgeous spa offerings of Morocco this time out.
With our regular News, Reader Letters and Passenger Perspective features, it all adds up to the best read on the best holiday choice from the best writers in the business. Be sure to have your subcription up to date - or join our growing band of happy readers - on this link.

Regent's Summer 2014 Collection

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has unveiled its new Summer/Autumn 2014 Collection featuring more than 60 itineraries in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Alaska, New England, Canada and the Caribbean. The luxury line’s three all-suite ships will visit 17 new ports of call, overnight in 19 popular destinations and sail 23 Extended Voyages from 19 to 44-nights. 

Sailings on all European voyages include free business class upgrades for guests booking a Penthouse suite or higher. All Regent sailings also include flights and transfers, all-suite accommodations, gourmet cuisine, premium spirits and fine wines, free shore excursions, gratuities and for those in a Concierge Suite or higher, a pre-cruise luxury hotel stay, at no additional cost. 


Seven Seas Voyager begins the season in Northern Europe with stops in several new ports including Kristiansand, Norway; Murmansk, Russia and Helsingborg, Sweden; overnight stays in Oslo and Honningsvaag, Norway with a return to the North Cape; Dublin, Ireland; Bordeaux, France; and two-night stays in St. Petersburg, Russia. Additionally the line will operate new embarkations in Olso and Amsterdam providing 10 departure points in Europe, the most in company history. Voyager ends the season in the Mediterranean with a 21-night voyage to Bangkok, Thailand. Extended Voyages from 21-40 nights combine the best of Northern Europe, the British Isles, Western Europe and the Med. 

Seven Seas Mariner spends April-November traversing the coastline of the Med, capping the season with a 44-night Extended Voyage from Rome to Miami. Guests will have the opportunity to explore several new ports, including Antibes, France; Argostoli and Syros, Greece; Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands; and Dakar, Senegal. Extended Voyages from 19-44 nights include overnight stays in Florence, Italy; Lisbon, Portugal; and Alexandria, Egypt, plus two-night stays in Istanbul and Jerusalem. 

Seven Seas Navigator will spend May to August in Alaska with 13 seven-night voyages between Anchorage and Vancouver and a 12-night positioning cruise between Vancouver and San Francisco. In the autumn, she returns to New England and Canada for three 10-night cruises between New York and Montreal and a 15-night cruise from Montréal to Miami, ending the season in the Caribbean and the Amazon. Three Extended Voyages from 31-43 days offer coast-to-coast exploration. 

An example of lead-in fares is as follows:

  • Seven Seas Mariner, 7-nights, 12 May 2014, Istanbul to Athens: £2,899 per person (H grade).
  • Seven Seas Voyager, 16-nights, 10 July 2014, Oslo to Copenhagen: £7,449 per person (H grade); 10-nights, 26 July 2014, Copenhagen to Stockholm: £4,949 per person (H grade).
  • Seven Seas Navigator, 7-nights, 21 May 2014, Vancouver to Vancouver: £2,999 per person (H grade); 10-nights, 12 October 2014, New York to Montreal: £4,179 per person (H grade).

The line’s all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner and Voyager were refurbished in 2011 and Navigator in 2012.

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

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Try A Spanish Spring With Fred Olsen

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has some lovely spring cruises in 2013, visiting attractive Spanish and Portuguese destinations, with departures in April, from a choice of southern UK ports. The perfect time to visit the Iberian Peninsula, April is warm and sunny and many lovely cities and beaches beckon.

Boudicca’s cruise ‘Portugal & Spain with Barcelona’ departs from Portsmouth on April 6 for 14 nights. This port is easily accessed by road or rail, and the cruise includes two of the most popular and vibrant Iberian cities, Barcelona and Lisbon. First port of call on leaving Portsmouth is Gibraltar, where a trip to the top of the famous Rock gives stunning views while next is vibrant Barcelona, with its colourful street life and the arresting Gaudi architecture to enjoy. Boudicca then visits Palamos on the Costa Brava, a fishing village since the 12th century, and a popular and attractive holiday resort. 

The pretty island of Menorca is next, with a call at capital Mahon, then it’s on to Portugal, with a call into the lovely Algarve port of Portimăo, with great beaches and fresh sardines at every café. The final call is into Lisbon, cosmopolitan and colourful capital of Portugal, before Boudicca returns to Portsmouth. Prices for this sunny, spring cruise start from just £799 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside twin cabin. 

Braemar also offers a spring cruise to Iberia, of 14 nights, departing from Dover on April 8.  The cruise ‘Spain & Her Islands’ calls first into Lisbon, before moving on to a lovely selection of Spanish ports. First of these is Malaga, on the Costa del Sol; from here, guests can enjoy an optional tour to the magnificent Alhambra Palace in Granada. Next is the ancient port of Cartagena, which has been an important port for over 2,000 years and has some fine Roman remains. 

The island of Mallorca is next, with Braemar calling into the capital, Palma. The old city is dominated by the cathedral, with attractive cobbled streets and narrow alleyways to explore. Don’t miss the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art, with a superb collection of works from Picasso to Dali. Vibrant Barcelona is the next port, a destination that never disappoints, before Braemar begins her return voyage. She calls into Gibraltar, then finally La Coruna, where guests can marvel at the ‘Torre de Hercules’, the world's oldest lighthouse.  The cruise then returns to Dover. 

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

Friday, 22 February 2013

Star Clippers Offers Med History

Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers has announced a series of lectures on Mediterranean history that will take place on two Cyclades voyages on their majestic 170-passenger Star Clipper this summer.

Dr Renate Scheiper, a qualified archaeologist and expert in the Mediterranean region, will be on board on August 17 and 24 to give talks to guests in both English and German. Her lectures will be specific to the ports to which the four-masted clipper ship will be sailing, bringing each destination alive. Subjects on the August 17 departure, which sails to Rhodes, Bodrum, the Dalyan RiverSantorini and Hydra, include archaeology, medieval history, mythology and the legend of Atlantis. Prices are from £1,435pp, including full board on the ship, all lectures and port taxes (flights are extra).

On the August 24 departure, which calls at Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Patmos, Amorgos, Mykonos and Monemvasia, Dr Scheiper will discuss the history of Ephesus, St John the Apostle and the monastery on Patmos, and the temples of Delos. Prices are from £1,435pp, including full board on the ship, all lectures and port taxes (flights extra).

As well as Dr Scheiper’s historical lectures, Star Clippers will be offering yoga and culinary-themed cruises this summer in the Mediterranean and the Baltic.

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

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Head For The 'Land Of The Penguins'

Captivated by BBC1’s Spy In The Huddle documentary following penguins and their incredible journeys? Want to see penguins for yourself in Antarctica? A voyage with Hurtigruten to the planet’s last untouched continent allows just that, as the destination is home to millions of penguins. 

There are landings at penguin colonies and the chance to get up close and personal with these interesting creatures. A 10-day ‘Land of the Penguins’ voyage on January 4 or 13, 2014, costs from £4,089pp, including nine nights full board on specialist expedition ship MS Fram, return flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, all transfers and landings. 

International flights and hotels in Buenos Aires are extra and packages cost from £1,692pp. 

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

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Ultimate Antarctica & Patagonia

Luxury cruise line Seabourn has contracted some of the world’s most experienced expedition staff to guide the line’s “Ultimate Antarctica and Patagonia” cruises aboard their Seabourn Quest, during the cruise line’s inaugural Antarctic season of 2013 and 2014.

Example itineraries include:

Holiday Antarctica, Patagonia & South Georgia:
Departing December 11, this 24-day cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires visits Puerto Montt and Puerto Chacabuco (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), Cape Horn and the Drake Passage,  Grytviken (South Georgia) and Montevideo (Uruguay) before reaching Buenos Aires. Prices start from £13,699 per person for fly/cruise, based on two people sharing a suite, fully inclusive of all tips and gratuities, fine dining, open bars and fully stocked mini bar. 

Ultimate Antarctica & Patagonia:
Sailing on January 25, this 21-day voyage from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires cruises to Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, Ushuaia, Cape Horn, Drake Passage and Southern Ocean; Antarctic Experience; Port Stanley (Falkland Islands) and Montevideo. Prices start from £12,299 per person for fly/cruise, based on two people sharing a suite, fully inclusive of all tips and gratuities, fine dining, open bars and fully stocked mini bar.

The Antarctic Experience provides guests with exclusive activities based on real-time reports of wildlife weather and ice conditions. Such experiences include Zodiac landings and expeditions to Antarctic locations, digital photography workshops and opportunities for frequent wildlife sightings from the ship and on shore. 

Beginning November 20, Seabourn Quest will sail on a series of four 21-24 day voyages between Valparaíso and Buenos Aires. They all include days exploring the Chilean coast and fjords, Beagle Channel, Glacier Alley, the breathtaking Torres del Paine National Park, Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands, Montevideo and five days of cruising and landings on the Antarctic Continent in uncompromising Seabourn luxury.

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

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Tauck’s Treasures of South-East Asia

Tauck has announced a new 16-day land and sea exploration of Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore centered around an 11-day cruise aboard the new luxury small ship, Le Soléal. Scheduled to launch this summer in Italy, the 466ft ship has a capacity of 264 passengers and will also be featured on selected 2013 sailings of Tauck’s cruise exploration of Iceland.

Tauck’s new “Treasures of South-East Asia” itinerary will kick-off with an included two-night exploration of Hong Kong featuring accommodations at the Kowloon Shangri-La and guided sightseeing, and it will conclude with a two-night stay in Singapore (also with in-depth guided sightseeing) and accommodations at the Marina Bay Sands.

Between their stays in Hong Kong and Singapore, Tauck guests will spend 11 days cruising aboard Le Soléal with ports of call including Hai Phong, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Throughout their journey, guests will enjoy a wide array of unique experiences highlighting the history and culture of South-east Asia, beginning with a dim sum culinary experience, market visits and other activities in Hong Kong.

In Vietnam, guests will travel on a day trip to explore Hanoi, sail on Ha Long Bay aboard a 
traditional junk, and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son. There will also be a tour of the Cao Dai Temple in Da Nang, an  experience of daily life at a Vietnamese school and a local farmer’s home, and an exploration of historic, sprawling Ho Chi Minh City. Tauck’s guests will also learn about Singapore’s rich multiculturalism during tours of its Chinatown, Little India and Little Arabia neighborhoods, and explore its history during a visit to the Asian Civilisations Museum.

The Treasures of South-East Asia journey is priced from $9,990 per person (double occupancy, plus air), with southbound departures scheduled for October 28 and November 19, and a reverse-itinerary, northbound departure slated for November 8. Each departure is virtually all-inclusive, with all shore excursions, gratuities, port charges, airport transfers, luggage handling, onboard alcoholic drinks and much more built into the price.

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

Monday, 18 February 2013

Saga's New Offerings

Visit glorious horizons this spring or summer and save up to 30% on a range of exciting itineraries with Saga Cruises, onboard the stylish Saga Sapphire or Quest for Adventure. Voyage to the breathtakingly tranquil Fjordlands, to the Mediterranean’s treasured gems, the Baltic’s fairytale cities or to Ireland’s cherished landscapes. 

Save £1013 per person on the Sapphire’s Wonders of the Mediterranean:
Cruise departs from Southampton on April 14 for 22 nights, starting from £2,399 per person, on a voyage through thousands of years of civilization. Discover the treasured cities of Lisbon, Hvar and Valletta, bask in the sunshine paradises of Corfu and Gibraltar and sail on to explore the unforgettable 'floating city' of Venice. This voyage also visits Santiago de Compostela and Cartagena in Spain, Majorca and Minorca, and Sibenik in Croatia.

Save £355 per person on the Sapphire’s Fjord and Splendours:
This cruise departs from Southampton on May 21 for 7 nights, starting from £899 per person, to discover the tranquillity of Norway’s legendary and breathtakingly beautiful Fjordlands. Cruise right into the heart of the fjords, revealing picture-postcard views of lakes, glaciers, waterfalls and mountains, and discover the beautiful village of Flam, the port town of Stavanger, the lesser known village of Skjolden and the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bergen.

Save £422 per person on the Sapphire’s The Emerald Isle:
Departing from Dover on July 27 for 8 nights (from £999 per person), this action-packed cruise around Ireland reveals many of the Emerald Isle’s attractions. Enjoy the ‘craic’ in Dublin and discover this vibrant city’s historic buildings and famous Ha’penny Bridge before stopping off in Belfast to explore the sights and walk along the mysterious Giant’s Causeway. Soak-up the rugged landscapes of Sligo, Glengarriff, the charming fishing port of Killybegs, and immerse yourself in the lively character of Cork.

Save £663 per person on the Quest for Adventure’s The Cities of the Inland Sea:
This cruise departs from Dover on June 9 for 15 nights, starting from £1949 per person. From the resplendent architecture of St Petersburg’s buildings and palaces to the cultural offerings on show at the revived and unified Berlin, it journeys to the Baltic’s most fascinating and diverse cities. Discover the colourful metropolis of Amsterdam, Stockholm’s immense history, the fairytale streets of medieval Tallin and the inspiring spires and architecture of Copenhagen. This voyage also explores the historic and breathtaking cities of Helsinki, Visby (Estonia) and Oslo. Depart from Leith on June 7 for an extra two nights free of charge.

With so many great value extras included in the price of a Saga cruise, savvy travellers can set sail for less. All cruises include travel to and from the port, travel insurance, port taxes and visas, all meals, including 24-hour room service, and all gratuities on board. Travellers on the Saga Sapphire will also benefit from VIP chauffeur service. 

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

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Cunard's Behind Closed Doors

For those intrigued about what goes on behind doors marked ‘Crew Only’ or for those who are just plain curious on how an ocean liner ticks, Cunard has just the thing. Adding to its comprehensive range of on board activities, the company is now offering Behind the Scenes Tours. Led by senior officers, the tours offer passengers unprecedented access to private areas such as the Engine Control Room, Butchers Shop, Bridge, Medical Centre and mooring deck.

Participants will see everything from how 15,000 litres of used cooking oil is recycled to how more than 5,000 lines of consumable products, from shower gel to beef joints, are ordered and stocked. During the tour, passengers learn first-hand about the many provisions required to manage Cunard Line’s ocean liners.

Tour stops include:

The Bridge The Captain and navigational officers will greet guests and give a tutorial of all the dials, buttons, radars and navigational charts that help them safely helm Cunard’s Queens.

Royal Court Theatre Guests will inspect more than 3,000 costumes in the costume store, and light and sound engineers give hands-on lessons in operating the stage equipment.

Galley and Provisions Guests will catch a glimpse of the complex logistics of moving provisions around the world in containers, picking them up in different ports mid-voyage, and accommodating up to 11 tons per day on board. The tour includes stops at the food stores, Butchers Shop, freezers and the galley.

Mooring Deck Guests learn the purpose of the anchor winches, windlasses and other critical machinery on the most forward part of the ship.

Medical Centre Guests tour Cunard’s floating hospital and meet the medical staff that keeps everyone on board healthy and well.

Burma Road Guests tour the only main crew passageway to run the entire length of the ship and get a behind-the-scenes look at where the crew and officers socialise after work. Interestingly, the main working alleyway on Cunard ships is known as ‘Burma Road’ to reflect the hustle and bustle as members of the crew go about their business.

Waste Handling Room – Guests observe Cunard’s round-the-clock waste handling operation, and learn the differences between five waste-sorting streams: hazardous, recyclable, suitable for incineration, food waste and suitable for donation.

Available on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, Cunard’s Behind the Scenes Tours last three and a half hours and cost $120 per person. Currently, one tour with a maximum of 16 guests is available per voyage and can be booked on board through the Tours Office. 

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

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Discover The Irrawaddy With Zegrahm

Zegrahm Expeditions is pleased to present an intimate look at Myanmar, a country once shrouded in mystery and now an up-and-coming adventure travel destination. While some have described Myanmar as a time-warped country, travellers will see the contrast of the bustling cities of Yangon and Mandalay with the peaceful serenity and timeless landscapes of villages along the Irrawaddy River.

Zegrahm began offering travel to Myanmar more than 10 years ago with the belief that the company could do more to help the people of Myanmar by travelling to the country than by not going at all. Each visit makes a point to take visitors to the less glittering parts of the region to see how the people, particularly the children, go about daily living. Additionally, the 15-day itinerary features an archaeological exploration of Mrauk U, the medieval capital of Myanmar; meeting the women of the Chin tribe, who have traditional face tattoos unique to this ethnic minority group; and a 7-day cruise of the Irrawaddy River. 

The expedition is being led by Gary Wintz, a renowned Asia expert who has lectured at esteemed institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia and the National Geographic Society. Wintz has been visiting Myanmar since 1977 and has made more than 60 visits to the country since that time.

Myanmar Revealed: Life Along the Irrawaddy River takes place January 2-16, 2014, and is priced from $13,980 per person. 

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

Friday, 15 February 2013

Ponant's Asian Collection

Boutique French cruise line and five-star expedition specialist Compagnie du Ponant has just opened bookings for its brand new Asian Collection itineraries for the winter season 2013-14. From modern empires to ancient kingdoms, passengers are invited to discover Asia’s treasures and explore the diversity of a mysterious and captivating continent.

For the first time, Le Soléal (132 staterooms and suites), the latest addition to the fleet this July, will be sailing for Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives. During the cruise, Ponant invites passengers to discover Asia in a more intimate way: mooring as close as possible to the shore to grant unrivalled access to protected sites whilst offering first rate comfort, elegance and 5-star service. Guests onboard will include experts, historians and lecturers ready to share their passion with the passengers.

A comprehensive programme of shore excursions will include some of the world most outstanding UNESCO World Heritage sites, and all 17 Asian itineraries promise to offer much more than a cruise: a genuine travel experience. Sample cruises include:

Leaving Otaru, Le Soléal sets out to discover Japan’s kaleidoscope of traditions, beliefs and way of life. From Kanazawa to Hiroshima via Busan, the 8-day cruise ends in Osaka, the new beating heart of Japan. Departure, October 15, from £1,882 per person. 

The 12-day Hong Kong-Singapore cruise takes in the most important sites and exceptional landscapes of Vietnam, with excursions including a junk boat trip to the heart of the majestic and mysterious Ha Long Bay, the discovery of Hanoi, Saigon and the Imperial City of Hue, or sailing down the Cai River. Pre and post-cruise excursions are on offer for those who want to explore Hong Kong and Singapore. Departure October 30, from £3,298 per person. 

Bali, Gili Islands, Komodo, Brunei and Borneo...this 14-day cruise ventures into the very heart of Indonesia, from wild Sarawak to Sandankan, home of large congresses of orangutans, traditional villages and the cosmopolitan port of Makassar. Departure January 4, 2014, from £3,081 per person.

Departing on a 9-day voyage from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo via Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, Le Soléal calls at Penang (first British trading post in the Far East in the 19th century), Phuket, Trincomalee and Hambantota, on a cruise rich in discovery. The itinerary exceptionally includes four days in Yangon to explore the Shwedagon Pagoda, Bagan temples, Mandalay, the cultural capital, and the former royal city of Amarapura. Departure March 14, 2014, from £3,036 per person.

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

Thursday, 14 February 2013

G Adventures’ New Polar Expeditions

Demand for repeat expedition visits has led G Adventures to launch two new itineraries to the southernmost continent on board its expedition vessel M/S Expedition. Both itineraries are featured in G Adventures’ new 2013 Polar Expeditions brochure, which is available now. 

One of the new itineraries explores the abundant wildlife of the Falklands and South Georgia, where travellers this early in the season will be among the first to make landfall. The other itinerary heads to the Weddell Sea, retracing the journey made by Shackleton onboard Endurance and taking in views of spectacular tabular icebergs.Also featured in the new brochure is a programme of  expeditions during the Arctic summer, ensuring lovers of polar bears are also catered for.

All expedition cruise fares include a number of zodiac landings, accommodation and meals onboard, and lectures and daily recaps. Example itineraries from the new Polar Expeditions 2013 include:  

The Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea – 15 days travelling from Ushuaia, traversing the Drake Passage and exploring the Weddell Sea and South Shetland Island, priced from £5,149pp, departing December 7. 

Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Islands – 22 days travelling from Buenos Aires “the Paris of the Americas” to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica before traversing the Drake Passage to Ushuaia, priced from £5,579pp, departing October 17. 

Realm of the Polar Bear – Eight days travelling from Longyearbyen to the Svalbard Archipelgo and Spitsbergen before returning to Longyearbyen, priced from £2,299pp for departures in June and July.

For more info, look up and, for more on Polar expedition cruising, follow this link to The Cruise Line Ltd, the UK's specialist adventure-cruise agents.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Sail The Amazon With Voyages of Discovery

Cruise the Amazon with Voyages of Discovery on board new ship MV Voyager and be immersed in Brazilian culture on the 14-day 'Portrait of The Amazon' voyage, including witnessing the ‘Wedding of the Waters’ in Santarem, where the crystal clear waters of the Tapajós meet the muddy Amazon. Guests can also enjoy the views of the rainforest and its spectacular wildlife on this amazing voyage.

A Portrait of The Amazon departs from Recife and calls at Natal, Fortaleza, Devil’s Island (French Guiana), Santarem, Boca De Valeria and Manaus (overnight) and starts from £1,999 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin and a March 12 UK departure).

Alternatively, join the 17-day 'Amazonian & Caribbean Explorer' cruise to explore white-sand freshwater beaches and get up close and personal with giant water lilies and exotic wildlife along the world famous Amazon. Highlights of the trip include spectacular performances inspired by the famous Boi Bumba festival in Brazil and a visit to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Aruba.

This voyage departs from Manaus on March 24 and calls at Parintins, Alter do Chao, Macapa, Devil’s Island, Trinidad, La Guaira (Venezuela), Aruba and Montego Bay (Jamaica, overnight) and is priced from £2,199 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).

Fares for both cruises include return flights from the UK, overseas transfers, all meals, entertainment, the guest speaker programme on board the ship and all onboard gratuities. Cabin number may not be allocated at time of booking.

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

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Hurtigrten's Short-Break Programme

Fancy a break in Norway where there is no need to go to bed as daylight shines continuously and the ever-changing scenery is mesmerising morning, noon and night? Hurtigruten has launched a new summer short-break programme, tying in with the Midnight Sun and new flights from Gatwick to Tromso, launched by Norwegian. A selection of five and six-day flight-inclusive breaks is now available, offering the opportunity to experience a range of new summer excursions such as a Midnight Sun kayaking trip and evening hiking.

With just a few days away, time is short and these breaks are designed to make the most of both daytime and night-time. New excursions make it possible to go kayaking or hiking at night (which is actually still daylight) so there is no excuse to miss anything on your short break!

  • Sea Kayaking - £161pp – Experience the calm waters of Norway by kayak, paddling the coast with rugged mountains as the background.
  • Midnight Sun Kayaking - £187pp – with fully trained guides, explore the arctic marine life by the light of the midnight sun.
  • Mountain Hiking - from £122pp - full day, half day and short evening options are available, designed to suit different levels of hikers from the experienced keen to spend an entire day on the mountain to couples and friends who prefer an easier hike.
  • Guided Trip to the Polar Museum - from £110pp - Includes a tour of Tromso to learn about its part in polar expeditions and a visit to the Polar Museum.
  • Birdwatching at Lake Prestvannet - from £84pp - Learn about the birds at Lake Prestvannet nature reserve, including the red-throated diver.
  • Jeep Safari to Sommaroy - £180pp (based on four persons) – this half-day trip includes a journey passing mountains, fjords, reindeer and birds and the chance to do some fishing, see beaches, birdlife and maybe meet local fishermen.
Sample packages:

In to the Arctic Summer (Bergen-Tromso), from £1,075pp: Available on 19 selected dates between April 5 and September 6, this five-day voyage includes highlights such as Alesund, Geirangerfjord, Trondheim and sailing through the Lofoten Islands. Prices include return flights from Gatwick, three night’s half-board on the ship, one night’s B&B hotel in Tromso and transfers.
Lofoten - The Scenic South (Tromso-Bergen), from £1,075pp: Available on 24 selected dates between April 3 and September 11, this five-day voyage includes highlights such as sailing through the Vesteralen Islands, an Arctic Circle crossing ‘baptism’, Trondheim and Kristiansund. Prices include return flights from Gatwick, three night’s half-board on the ship, one night’s B&B hotel in Tromso and transfers.
Land of the Midnight Sun (Tromso-Kirkenes-Tromso), from £999pp: Available on 14 selected dates between April 13 and September 14, this five-day voyage includes highlights such as Honningsvag, the gateway to the North Cape, Kirkenes and Vardo. Prices include return flights from Gatwick, three night’s half-board on the ship, one night’s B&B hotel in Tromso and transfers.

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

Monday, 11 February 2013

Six Top Tall Ship Experiences In 2013

Few experiences in modern cruising can match that of sailing in classic tall-ship style, with the wind billowing the sails and the chance to lounge in the bowsprit net. With that in mind, sail-cruise specialists Star Clippers have compiled their Top 6 for 2013.

Valentine’s Day in the Caribbean 
Hold hands on a deck-top sun-lounger at midnight watching the twinkling stars in the inky sky high above, lay side by side in the bowsprit net with the waves skimming below, or spot dolphins together at dawn from the decks of a magnificent clipper. The world’s largest full-rigged sailing ship, Royal Clipper, offers some of the most romantic experiences at sea and, for Valentine’s Day 2013, will be in Martinique as part of a 7-night Grenadines cruise. The seven-night sailing departs Barbados on February 9 and costs from £1,390pp, excluding flights.

Transit the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a 50-mile engineering marvel linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, slicing through the mountainous, serpent-like country of Panama. Experience a full Canal transit through the many locks of this magnificent waterway on board the 170-passenger square rigger, Star Flyer, as she repositions from her summer cruising area in Europe to Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica, and vice versa. Because of her grace and beauty, and small size in comparison to other Canal traffic, she is always the focus of much attention during the transit. A 14-night voyage from Panama to St Maarten via the Canal, Cartagena, Aruba, Curacao, the British Virgin Islands and St Barths, departing March 30, costs from £2,610pp, excluding flights. 

Learn to Paint and Sketch
Try the French and Italian Rivieras or, new for 2013, the beautiful Croatian coastline for the chance to take expert art classes under sail. Both of these themed cruises are led by British artist Richard Nichols, who specialises in seascapes and coastal scenes. Daily ‘Art Afloat’ workshops include tuition in a variety of media and the cruise price includes an artist's backpack containing sketchbooks, paper, watercolours, brushes and pencils. The seven-night Art Afloat cruises cost from £1,599 per person for the French Riviera, on board Star Clipper, departing April 27 and including flights to Nice, transfers, full board on the ship, all art equipment, daily tuition and welcome cocktail party. 

Tall Ships Parade in Hamburg
From May 9-12, Hamburg hosts the world's largest sailing festival, during which 1.5 million visitors descend on the 800-year-old port to view the magnificent Tall Ships Parade, an assembly of some of the world’s most stunning sailing vessels. Star Flyer will be in Hamburg harbour for all three days of the event, including the grand arrival and departure parades of tall ships, historic ships, cruise ships, sailing and motor yachts and other vessels. There will be a water ballet performed by tug boats, a firework display and a culinary festival set up all along the harbour front. A three-night stay on board for the Hamburg port party costs from £690pp, including all meals on board and sailing excursions during the event (flights extra).

St Petersburg
Summer cruises in the Baltic mean long, light evenings and the opportunity to sit up on deck at nearly midnight and see the sun finally slip briefly behind the horizon. Experience white midsummer nights in St Petersburg, when the sun only sets briefly in the early hours of the morning. The city’s White Nights festival, or Beliye Nochi, lasts from June 11 to July 2, during which time there are concerts and festivals, and the bridges over the Neva River open all night to let boats through. The magnificent four-masted Star Flyer overnights in St Petersburg on her summer Baltic itineraries; a 10-day voyage round-trip from Stockholm departing June 4 costs from £2,270pp, excluding flights.

Christmas 2013 in Costa Rica
Imagine spending Christmas Day with scarlet macaws soaring over the forest canopy and howler monkeys swinging through the trees, before sitting down to a traditional Christmas lunch in the bay of Golfito on board Star Flyer. This magnificent clipper spends Christmas 2013 cruising the coastline of Costa Rica, stopping at deserted islands for sunbathing and snorkelling and in harbours and ports along the way to allow guests time to explore the national parks, go horseriding along deserted beaches or strolling along the sands. The seven-night sailing costs from £1,305pp excluding flights, departing December 22. 

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