Monday, 30 September 2013

AMA's Christmas River-Cruise Crackers

Christmas market river cruises are now big business in Europe, and there are a wide variety of ways to enjoy the festive period along the Rhine and Danube, soaking up the best of the river-cruise style as well as the ideal way to visit these Markets.

Take this little selection from AMAWaterways...

AMA's Christmas Time cruise is a 7-night sailing between Nuremberg and Budapest on 13 departure dates from the end of November throughout the festive season. The cruise takes in the world’s largest Christmas market in Nuremberg, the festively decorated stalls of the Old Kornmarkt's in the medieval city of Regensberg and the “royal” Christmas markets at the Thurn and Taxis Palace, where craftsmen can be seen making their goods. In Passau, guests enjoy an optional tour to Salzburg, the 'Sound of Music' city, with its numerous festive markets and tourist attractions, and on to Melk, to visit the magnificent baroque Benedictine Abbey.

In Vienna, guests have the opportunity to see some of the numerous Christmas markets in Austria's capital, including the 60 traditional Christmas market stalls at the Imperial Schönbrunn Palace. The cruise concludes in Budapest, festively decorated for Christmas, and an illuminations cruise past the city after a farewell dinner on board enables guests to see the city at its finest.

Departing on December 2, the Christmas Time cruise costs from £1,639pp (including a saving of £355pp), with free return UK flights, all meals, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, complimentary daily excursions, free Wi-Fi and free use of on-board bicycles. The same cruise on December 16 costs from £1,649pp, saving £504pp including free return flights from the UK.

Other 2013 Christmas Market cruises depart on November 25, 27 and 30, and December 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14, 18, 21 and 28 (excluding free flights offer).

Christmas also comes early on the Danube where AMA are giving free flights with bookings for their December 23 Christmas on the Danube sailing. The cruise, from Budapest to Vilshofen, visits some of Europe’s most picturesque cities and towns at their most festive, including Vienna, Passau, Melk and Bratislava. It costs from £1,719pp (saving £506pp), including free flights, all meals (with Christmas meals and events), wine with lunch and dinner, complimentary daily tours, free Wi-Fi and free use of on-board bicycles.

Departing on December 18, take a magnificent 14-night journey through five countries along Europe’s main waterways, spend Christmas in the medieval city of Nuremberg then overnight in Amsterdam for New Year when the sky is lit up by a magnificent display of fireworks. AMA's Magnificent Europe at Christmas Time cruise costs from £2,789p (saving £974pp), and also includes free flights, all meals (with Christmas meals and events), wine with lunch and dinner, complimentary daily tours, free Wi-Fi and use of on-board bicycles.

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

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Saga’s 3-in-1 Voyage To The Cape

Saga Cruises have lined up a spectacular voyage to Africa's southern Cape that can be undertaken in any one of three voyages, of 48 nights, 26 nights or 24 nights, and is customisable to suit most diaries and budgets.

Cosmopolitan Cape Town, Ghana’s tropical rainforest and Senegal’s Salt Lake are just three of the highlights on the "Voyage to the Cape" cruise, which also visits many lesser-known ports along Africa’s dramatic west coast.

Guests can sail on Saga Pearl II from Southampton on January 7 for 48 nights or consider two shorter options – a return from Cape Town on February 2 or flying out to Cape Town on January 31 and then return to Southampton on February 24.

Better still, it is possible to book the shorter voyages with the option of a three-night stay at the four-star Winchester Mansions, Cape Town's iconic beachfront hotel on the Sea Point Promenade, from £399 half board.

Cruise price: 48 nights from £6,263; 26 nights from £3,827; or 24 nights from £3,653.

All three options include return chauffeur service to the airport, travel insurance, all meals, 24-hour room service, entertainment, all gratuities and unlimited luggage allowance.

Ports of call: Funchal, Madeira; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria; Freetown, Sierra Leone; San Pedro and Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Takoradi and Tema (for Accra), Ghana; Cotonou, Benin; Sao Tome, and Principe; Luanda, Angola; Walvis Bay, Namibia; Cape Town; Saint Helena; Cadiz; and Lisbon.

For more info, look up this link; for more on adventure cruising and other cruise bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's leading cruise-agent specialists.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cuddle A Panda With Crystal!

OK, we have have seen some pretty amazing shore excursions, and extended shore programmes, in recent years, but this one from Crystal Cruises probably takes not just the biscuit but the whole biscuit tin! It includes an opportunity for passengers to get up close and personal with a baby panda and visit the Dala Llama's summer palace in Tibet on Crystal's China and Japan voyages in April 2014. It's part of a unique new land programme offered with two cruises, and the full details are as follows from Crystal themselves:

Next Spring, seek solitude at the Dalai Llama’s summer palace, soak up the spirituality of Tibet’s holiest sites or learn about Tibetan culture through song, dance - and and yak meat. The mysteries of one of the world’s most isolated cultures will be on full display next spring when ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises offers guests the rare opportunity to add a five-night Extended Land Programme to Tibet on to their Asia cruise. Crystal Symphony’s April 9 Hong Kong to Beijing all-China voyage and April 16 Beijing to Tokyo sailing each offer the add-on both pre and post-cruise. Round-trip from Beijing, guests will fly first-class to Chengdu, China, and Lhasa, a Tibetan city perched at 12,000 feet that literally means “place of the gods.”

Highlights of the journey include:

  • Chengdu’s Giant Panda Research Base, where guests can safely snuggle with baby pandas while learning about the centre’s hugely successful conservation and breeding efforts.
  • Potala Palace, a 7th century UNESCO World Heritage Site, visible from every direction, that served as the Dalai Lama’s main residence until the 1959 uprising.
  • Drepung Monastery, once the world’s largest monastery and home to more than 10,000 monks, seemingly precariously set on a hillside and accessible only by a steep, unpaved road.
  • Jokhang Temple, the spiritual centre of Tibet, enshrining the country’s most precious treasure, the original gold Sakyamuni Buddha statue, dating back 1,300 years.
  • Barkhor Marketplace, the site of many Tibetan protests, as well as a busy commerce centre, striking an intriguing contrast between deeply rooted spirituality and the bustling nature of market economics.
  • Tibetan-style dinner, showcasing traditional song and dance while sampling a variety of yak-based dietary staples, from meat to tea.
  • Sera Monastery, where guests can watch monks prepare for their monastic exams with renowned mock debates in the picturesque courtyard.
  • Norbulingka, another UNESCO site that boasts distinctly Tibetan architecture and has served as the administrative and spiritual centres, as well as the summer palace, for past Dalai Lamas.
  • Jinli Street in Chengdu, an ancient market dating back to the Qing Dynasty, filled with everything from the aroma of spicy barbeque and authentic Sichuan favourites to local artists’ works and traditional lantern performances.

As with all of Crystal’s Extended Land Programmes, luxury accommodation, meals and transportation for the “Timeless Tibet” programme are included in the £4,775 per person, double occupancy fare. Accommodation includes one night at the Sofitel Hotel Chengdu, three nights at the St Regis Lhasa Resort and one night at the China World Hotel Beijing.

Crystal Symphony’s 13-night April 9 cruise visits Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dalian, Xiamen and Beijing, with all-inclusive fly/cruise prices starting from £4,721per person, plus a one-night complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay. The April 16 15-night itinerary calls in Beijing, Dalian and Shanghai as well as Nagasaki, Osaka, Shimizu and Tokyo with all-inclusive fly/cruise prices starting from £5,535 per person, plus a one-night complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay. The cruises offer savings of £1,613 and £1,097 respectively if booked by October 31.

Crystal’s passion for creating exclusive, eye-opening luxury shore-side experiences are cornerstones of its Crystal Adventures programme, helping earn the line top ratings for two decades.
For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising experts.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Oceania's Grand Winter Collection

For those looking ahead to 2014/15, Oceania Cruises has announced its 2014-15 Winter Collection, the largest winter launch in the company’s history. With new ports in Asia, Africa and the Americas, Oceania Cruises’ five ships will visit a diverse array of destinations on five continents. 

The launch will feature a record-breaking 86 voyages for the company, 44 of which are new itineraries and include 19 all-new Grand Voyages ranging from 24 to 71 days, and 15 Around the World Combination itineraries as part of Insignia’s epic Around the World in 180 Days cruise.
All 2014-15 Winter Collection voyages include launch fares and free airfare. Guests who book a Veranda stateroom or higher category by December 31 will enjoy the added value of free pre-paid gratuities, free unlimited Internet and early booking savings of up to £3,225.
Kunal S. Kamlani, the line’s president, explained: “The Winter Collection truly spans the world with new and diverse itineraries, plus 16 new ports of call in South America, Africa, China, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the Caribbean and Hawaiian Islands. As always, our goal is to bring our guests the world at a tremendous value, which is why we’re offering free pre-paid gratuities, as well as unlimited Internet for veranda staterooms and above, to those who reserve a sailing by year’s end.”
Riviera in the Caribbean 
Riviera offers 12 itineraries exploring the Caribbean for the winter 2014-15 season. The new seven-day cruise, Colorful Caribbean, stops in Honduran city of Trujillo, a new port for Oceania. The new 14-day sailing, Sunny Getaways, stops in three new ports: Santa Marta, Colombia; El Guamache (Isla Margarita), Venezuela; and Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Several new 10-day itineraries visit the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and the new 12-day Holidays in the Tropics spends the holiday season calling on beautiful islands that include St Barts, Antigua and Barbados. With the exception of the ever-popular Mayan Mystique, all itineraries are new.
Marina in Paradise
Marina begins the season in Rio de Janeiro with two South American voyages, including the new 16-day Southernmost Wonders that sails around the southern tip of the continent. The remainder of the season will mostly be spent in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand with nine new voyages ranging from 10 to 18 days, including overnight stays in Easter Island, Bora Bora, Tahiti and Nuku Hiva. The season ends with a fascinating 16-day voyage, Americas Adventure, from Lima to New York through the Panama Canal.
Nautica from Africa to Asia
Nautica returns to Africa and Asia with eight itineraries ranging from 15 to 35 days, stopping in ports from Cape Town to Beijing and Dubai to Tokyo. Guests can explore Africa on the South African Holiday, a 15-day cruise that visits Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth, two new ports for Oceania in South Africa. The 30-day Safaris, Temples & Jewels visits exotic ports from Cape Town to Singapore with overnight stays in both cities as well as the Maldives. Nautica then begins five cruises exploring Asia, ranging from 16 to 35 days, which showcase ports throughout China (above), Japan and south-east Asia, including two-night stays in Shanghai and Rangoon and one-night stays in Bangkok, Saigon, Hanoi, Tokyo and Beijing.
The Panama Canal & South America on Regatta
Regatta begins her season with a new 16-day Panama Canal sailing, Festive Panama Canal, which stops in Corinto, Nicaragua, a new port, followed by the popular 10-day Mayan Mystique cruise in the Western Caribbean. Another new Canal cruise, the 18-day Bridge of the Americas, travels from Miami to Lima, followed by three South American voyages that explore the natural beauty of Peru and Chile, the vibrant cultures of Argentina and Brazil and the exotic wonders of the Amazon. Regatta completes the season with two cruises in the Eastern Caribbean, followed by a final Panama Canal transit from Miami to San Francisco that stops in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, another new port for Oceania.
Around the World with Insignia
After a Caribbean and an Amazon cruise, Insignia departs from Miami for the company’s first ever Around the World in 180 Days voyage, a star-studded, port-intensive cruise setting sail round-trip from Miami on January 10, 2015. This extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime voyage circumnavigates the globe visiting five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call.
All New Grand Voyages
With the Winter 2014-15 launch, the company unveils 19 new Grand Voyages ranging from 24 to 71 days blending multiple itineraries for in-depth exploration. For example, Regatta’s 71-day South American Odyssey is a round-trip from Miami, crossing the Panama Canal to Peru, sailing through the Chilean fjords and around the southern tip of Cape Horn, and spending two nights in both Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Nautica explores the East on Imperial Explorer, a 46-day voyage from Cape Town to Hong Kong showcasing the best of Africa and Asia.
These voyages feature launch fares and the additional value of Exclusive Prestige Package amenities. Depending on the length of the voyage booked, guests will receive a one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay, laundry service and round-trip transfers. For bookings made by December 31, these voyages also offer free pre-paid gratuities and free unlimited Internet for all stateroom and suite categories. 

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

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Berlitz Crowns New Top Ship

In the new 2014 edition of Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships, author Douglas Ward crowns Europa 2 the top-rated ship – the first new ship to claim the title in 14 years – knocking her older sister off the pedestal. Other ships that have held this honour in the 29-year lifetime of the Guide - the seafaring equivalent of the Oscars - include Royal Viking Sea (now Albatros), Royal Viking Sun and Sagafjord
The app version of this much-anticipated ‘bible of cruising’, Berlitz Cruise Ships 2014, is already out, ahead of the UK’s National Cruise Week, September 21-29, and the full paperback and ebook formats will be published in the UK on October 1.
Available for all Apple devices, the App (below) is the perfect cruise planning tool. Its 285
hard-hitting reviews help every cruise-goer, whether solo, senior, family or first time cruiser, to choose the right ship. The internationally accepted Berlitz rating system takes into account a remarkable 400 items based on personal experience. Highlights include:

  • A new No.1 ship for the first time in more than a decade.
  • 285 ocean-going ships are rated and reviewed by the world’s foremost cruise authority, Douglas Ward.
  • 5 completely new ships debuting in the 2014 edition.
  • Lots of full-colour photography, including interior shots of many ships.
  • Filter and search options help cruisegoers choose a vessel and voyage according to their needs, criteria include: cuisine, entertainment, accommodation, size of ship and many others.
  • A detailed FAQ section with knowledgeable and reliable answers.
  • A comparison of the cabin facilities, food and dining services.


Only two ships have achieved the score required to be in the most exclusive 5-star+ category, Europa and the recently introduced Europa 2, both from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
It’s the first time since 1989 that two ships belonging to the same company (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) have achieved a 5-star+ rating – previously Royal Viking Sea and Royal Viking Sky (Royal Viking Line).
Small is beautiful according to the ratings in the 2014 App, with 11 out of 12 top-rated 5-star+/5-star cruise ships being Small or Boutique-sized vessels. Of the top 10 Large Resort Ships, five belong to Celebrity Cruises, while The three top-rated Large Resort Ships are all Cunard Line ‘Queens’, Queen Mary 2 (Grill Class), Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.
Seabourn dominates success in the combined Small and Boutique Ships categories, with
six vessels out of the top 20, namely Seabourn Quest, Odyssey, Sojourn, Legend, Spirit and Pride.
In the highly regarded Small Ships category, five of the top 10 are Silversea vessels, while SeaDream have two of the top three in the Boutique category.
Quirky fact: The seven top-rated 4-star cruise ships (not including 4-star+) all begin with the letter A: Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, Artania, Adonia, AIDAblu, Aurora and Amsterdam.

The complete rankings of the top five ships in the four size categories (with a maximum of 2,000 points) are:

Top 5 Large Resort Ships (with more than 1,750 passengers)

Queen Mary 2 (Grill Class) 1673pts
Queen Elizabeth 1585
Queen Victoria
Celebrity Reflection
Celebrity Silhouette

Top 5 Mid-size Ships (751 – 1750 passengers)

Crystal Serenity 1714pts
Crystal Symphony 
Asuka II

Top 5 Small Ships (251 – 750 passengers)

Europa 2 1860pts
Silver Spirit
Silver Whisper
Silver Shadow

Top 5 Boutique Ships (50 – 250 passengers)

Hanseatic 1765pts
SeaDream I
SeaDream II
Sea Cloud
Sea Cloud II

Commenting on the new champion, author Ward said: “Europa 2 is a stunningly spacious, top-notch informal ship for sophisticated cosmopolitan travellers and their families - the benchmark in contemporary cruising. The choice of dining venues and types of cuisine are excellent and the service is attentive and friendly but unobtrusive. It all adds up to the very best informal cruise ship available today – unless you own a private motor yacht.”


Douglas Ward is the world’s top authority on cruising and cruise ships, with more than 45
years of experience and over 5,900 days at sea. He continues to spend up to 200 days per year aboard cruise ships, inspecting and evaluating their facilities and service.

Fully updated and revised, the Berlitz Cruise Ships 2014 App (£6.99) is available for Apple devices at the iTunes store. In addition, 2014 Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships (752 pages) will be available in book and ebook formats from October 1, both priced £17.99. For further information, visit

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Zegrahm's Sicily Spectacular

Zegrahm Expeditions has become especially well known for their circumnavigations of some of the world’s more fascinating archipelagos and, in 2014, the company is pleased to announce their journey around the Mediterranean’s largest island, Sicily, departing August 29. This 13-day expedition combines visits to the isle’s amazing archaeological wonders with a tasty immersion into the region’s famed food and wine.

Beginning in Malta, guests will explore the 5,000-year-old Tarxien Temples at Hagar Qim and the architectural wonders of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, travellers board the intimate 100-guest Island Sky to trace Sicily’s scenic coastline. Stops include exploring the Greek temples of Agrigento, Selinunte, Segesta, and Morgantina; the Roman theaters and villas of Taormina, Piazza Armerina, and Lipari; and the ornate architecture of Norman-Arab castles and cathedrals in Cefalú, Palermo, and Monreale.

In addition to exploring Sicily’s amazing archaeological legacy, the gastronomical culture here is sure to impress, with a wealth of coastal ingredients and savoury array of fresh, local produce. To better appreciate the local flavours, Zegrahm travellers have the opportunity to stop at several vineyards for wine tastings, participate in hands-on cooking classes, and relish the wonderful cuisine at traditional restaurants throughout the voyage.

Says Zegrahm president Edwin Blythe: “After the resounding success of our first circumnavigation of Sicily in 2011, we are excited to return to this magnificent isle and offer new opportunities for guests to savour Sicilian culture and cuisine. Guests will spend one afternoon cooking with a local chef and another learning how to make pizza at a local pizzeria. Plus, several evenings are free for travellers to dine ashore on their own.”

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

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Britannia's The Name For P&O

P&O Cruises has announced that its new 141,000-ton ship, scheduled to enter service in spring 2015, will be named Britannia.

Speaking today in London, P&O Cruises & Carnival UK chief executive officer David Dingle said: “Britannia is a most fitting name for the newest addition to P&O Cruises, which, with its long and famous heritage, remains Britain’s favourite cruise line. Britannia will capture both the contemporary spirit of P&O Cruises and the spirit of Britain today.

“Today’s Britain is a place of increasing style and sophistication, optimism and excitement. Britannia will reflect that feeling and will mark a new era of growth and success for the cruise industry. It will also underpin P&O's unique commitment to building ships specifically designed to anticipate the tastes of today’s Britain. It will be a modern classic, a ship for this and future generations offering authentic travel by sea in an enduringly contemporary setting.”

Britannia will boost P&O Cruises capacity by 24%. With a length of 1,082ft, it will carry more than 3,600 passengers and, at 141,000 tons, will be 25,000 tons larger than P&O's previous biggest, the 2008-built Ventura.

The new vessel will offer "the best of British contemporary design, with an unprecedented number of passenger facilities. It is being designed throughout by London-based Richmond International, creating “flowing” interiors which have a coherent feel while each area will have an individual identity, look and feel through shape, space and soft furnishings."

The ship will also be designed to both attract both newcomers to resonate and resonate with existing passengers. It will offer the “best of the best”, combining favourite classic features of ships such as Oriana and Aurora, the wide choice and contemporary variety of Ventura and Azura as well as many yet-to-be-announced new concepts in technology and entertainment. Dining options will reflect the continuing rise of British cooking on the world stage.

Following travelling trends and customer research it will also have more single cabins than any other cruise ship, many of them with balconies.
Dingle (pictured right with Captain Paul Brown, Carnival chairman Micky Arison and CEO Arnold Donald) continued: “At the same time, the ship will be our greenest yet and will be designed to deliver much greater levels of operational and environmental efficiency. 
"A new hull form will reduce unit fuel consumption by up to 20%. And, whilst the name Britannia has great historical resonance with P&O Cruises, most importantly, the ship will celebrate the forward-looking Britain of today and the future.”

There have been two previous ships named Britannia connected to the company. The first entered service in 1835 for the General Steam Navigation Company, which went on to become The Peninsular Steam Navigation Company. The second, which entered service in 1887, was one of four ships ordered by the company to mark the Golden Jubilee of both Queen Victoria and P&O itself. 
This Golden Jubilee class ship carried 250 first-class passengers and 160 second-class passengers and had a cargo capacity of approximately 4,000 tons. The young Winston Churchill sailed on this Britannia with his hussar regiment to Bombay in 1888 and then went on to fight on the North West Frontier. 
Britannia was also, of course, the name of the Royal Yacht for 44 years from her launch on Clydesdale in 1953. She is now docked in the Port of Leith (Edinburgh) as a major tourist attraction.
Now see our new Poll question on our home page and let us know what you think about the name for P&O's new ship!

AMA's National Cruise Week Discounts

In keeping with all the fun - and special offers - of National Cruise Week this week (Sept 21-29), AMA Waterways have come up with some tempting offers to sample their luxury river-cruise style either this year or in 2014.

Take your pick from:

Enticing Douro
Sail from the historic city of Porto through the vineyards of the Douro Valley, calling at small towns and visiting port producers along the way. Take an excursion (included) from Bara d'Alva to Salamanca, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Departing March 25, 2014, now from £1,428pp (was £1,662) or April 1, from £1,534pp (was £1,787).

Paris & Normandy
Cruise the Seine for seven nights, calling at Vernon, Caudebex-en-caux (for special excursions to the D-Day beaches), Rouen (for Honfleur), Les Andelys and Conflans, visiting chateaux and beautiful landscapes that inspired great artists such as Monet. Departing November 13 and 20, now from £1,693pp (was £1,974).

Spend seven nights cruising the Rhône, from Arles to Lyon, tasting the Beaujolais wines, exploring Avignon and Arles and admiring the stunning scenery of vineyards, dramatic gorges and lavender fields. Departing November 20, now from £1,693pp (was £1,974).

Enchanting Rhine
Sail between Amsterdam and Basel through the steep-sided Rhine Gorge, exploring towns and cities including Cologne, Rudesheim, Heidelberg and medieval Strasbourg. Departing April 1, 2014, now from £1,480pp (was £1,724); November 9, from £1,587pp (was £1,849); November 16 (on AmaReina) and November 17 (on AmaCerto), from £1,534pp (was £1,787).

Romantic Danube
Cruise from Vilshofen in Germany to Budapest, calling at Passau, Linz (for Salzburg), Melk, with its magnificent abbey, Vienna, and Bratislava. There's an overnight in Budapest, with a cruise of the Danube after dark to admire the glittering lights festooning all the bridges. Departing November 11 (on AmaPrima) or 12 (on AmaSonata), now from £1,534pp (was £1,787).
All prices include the 15% discount; full board on the ship; complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; daily guided tours and excursions; free wi-fi; free use of on board bicycles (excluding the Douro); and port taxes. Travel to and from the ship is extra. The discount applies to the cruise-only price and is based on two adults sharing.

For more details on National Cruise Week, see this link:

For bookings, be sure to see this link for The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruising specialists.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Hurtigruten's 2-For-1 Northern Lights Offer

The Northern Lights have already started to appear in what is forecast by NASA to be one of the best seasons in a decade, due to the solar maximum. 

And anyone booking a last-minute Norwegian Coastal Voyage with Hurtigruten by September can experience this amazing phenomenon at half-price, as two people can travel for the price of one.

Hurtigruten ships sail the iconic coast of Norway, far from the effects of urban light pollution and directly beneath the Aurora Oval (the epicentre of Northern Lights activity), making them one of the best places to spot this natural phenomenon. 

The Two-for-One offer is available for voyage-only prices on 12 different dates departing October to December and for all cabin types except suites. Depart on November 9 for a 7-day Classic Voyage North from Bergen to Kirkenes on the Russian border for just £413 per person (based on two sharing on full board basis). Return international flights and transfers are available for an additional £510 per person.

The offer is valid for bookings made by the end of this month and is not combinable with any other offer.

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

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Wide World of Swan Hellenic

Swan Hellenic's latest brochure introduces seven new itineraries that encompass a range of exciting destinations, including the Far East, India, Israel and the Black Sea, as well as an inaugural cruise to Japan. To celebrate the launch, Swan is offering an early booking offer of a 5% discount plus up to £200 onboard bar credit per cabin when you book by October 21. Passengers looking to book a cruise on existing itineraries can take advantage of a newly launched autumn sale, offering some fantastic new low fares across all categories of cabin on cruises departing throughout 2014.

The 15-day Black Sea Empires cruise takes guests on a historical journey that commemorates 100 years since ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli. Reflect on poignant reminders of this 1915 campaign as you call at significant ports of call along the way, such as Canakkale, site of a historic battle between Turkish soldiers and Allied Forces. The experience will be further enhanced with fascinating talks on military history by expert Guest Speakers, who will be accompanying the cruise. Other highlights include the Ukrainian city of Odessa, founded by Catherine the Great, and the UNESCO town of Nessebur, famed for its cobbled streets and Byzantine churches. Early booking offer prices for this cruise, departing on April 27, 2015, start at £2,541 per person.

Also new for 2015, The Islands of East Asia cruise reveals a fusion of cultures and takes in the Philippine Archipelago as well as Borneo, Bali, Java, Indonesia and Singapore. See the orang-utans of Borneo (above), sail out of the bustling Hong Kong harbour, discover diverse Indonesian cultures and tribes and visit the Buddhist Temple complex of Borobudur - one of the greatest sights of Southeast Asia. Early booking offer prices for this 22-day cruise, departing on January 24, 2015, start from £4,095.

The 15-day cruise to India and the Malabar Coast explores the diverse land and townscapes of the region, taking in the finest highlights along the way. From the exotic charm of Kerala to the peaceful backwaters of Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin, this inspiring cruise offers a rare insight into Indian rural life. Other highlights include the Pinnawala Elephants of Sri Lanka, the remarkable cave temples and rock carvings of the god Shiva on Mumbai’s Elephanta Island and the impressive Grand Mosque in Muscat. Early booking prices for this cruise, departing on March 15, 2015, start from £2,613.
Discover holy lands as you sail from the Red Sea, through the Suez Canal and into the Eastern Mediterranean on the 15-day Holy Lands itinerary. Explore the Nabatean city of Petra the ‘rose-red city half as old as time’. Half-built, half-carved into the rock and surrounded by mountains, see for yourself why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the Middle East’s most impressive sites. Other highlights include Jerusalem’s sacred Golden Dome of the Rock, Giza’s Great Pyramids and the magnificent Roman city of Ephesus, once a religious centre during early Christianity and where St Paul used to preach. Early booking prices for this voyage, departing April 13, 2015, start from £2,275.

Prices for all cruises include return flights to/from the UK (for fly cruises), gratuities onboard and ashore, all relevant overseas transfers, meals, a comprehensive series of Guest Speaker talks and a programme of tailor-made shore excursions, worth up to £650 per person.

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

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Bubbly's On Ponant For National Cruise Week!

Compagnie du Ponant, the luxury French yacht cruise operator has launched a special VIP offer for National Cruise Week (which starts today), with a special ‘Welcome Aboard’ to all guests booking during this perios, as well as €200 on board credit per cabin booked. This is definitely the right time to add a touch of extra-luxury to your cruise!

The offer will include a bottle of Champagne placed in the cabin upon arrival and a personal welcome note from the Captain, as well as the stateroom credit to spend on board – including on bar drinks, luxurious spa treatments and shore excursions. The credit is per cabin and the offer will be valid for travel until 30 September 2014. Quote VIP NCW on the phone to benefit from the offer, which is available for all Cruise Week bookings from September 21-29.

Ponant, a specialist in soft expeditions and great journeys around the world, has run Antarctic cruises for years and launched a brand new ship, Le Soléal, at the end of June. She is currently cruising the Arctic through the North-West Passage before heading to the Japanese archipelago and South-East Asia this winter. Also included are many themed-cruises, from music and golf to gourmet cuisine, all allied to the world-famous French savoir-faire.
For more on National Cruise Week, see
For bookings, see this link for The Cruise Line, the UK's luxury cruise specialists.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Hurtigruten's NCW Bonus

It doesn’t matter whether you want to search for the spectacular Northern Lights in Norway or camp alongside the penguins in Antarctica, Hurtigruten are offering some amazing prices on selected Coastal and Explorer voyages during National Cruise Week.
The company currently has early booking discounts of up to 25% off 2013 and 2014 voyages, but is offering those booking from September 21-29 an additional 5% off the reduced prices.
Total savings could amount to more than £3,000 off the standard brochure price, depending on the type of cabin and itinerary booked. The 5% National Cruise Week discount alone could save more than £500 per person.
Norwegian Coastal Voyages now from £1,360, including flights
Prices for the 2014 programme now start from £1,360 per person for the five night ‘Classic Voyage South’ on full board basis including flights, a total discount of £311 off the brochure price, for departures between January 1 and March 31. Book in 2013 and guests will also receive a free excursion to the North Cape, Europe’s northernmost point.
Book an expedition and save more than £3,000

Those with an adventurous streak can also make savings on selected expeditions. Join the 'Christmas Expedition 2014' and not only will guests spend the festive period with penguins, seals and whales, but make some great savings as well. The 17-day voyage to Antarctica departing on December 19, 2014, now costs from £5,987 per person – an amazing combined discount of £2,415 off the standard brochure price. The price includes return flights from London and the voyage on a full board basis.

Booking a suite on the same voyage, the cost would be £9,793 per person, including an early booking saving of £3,436 plus additional Cruise Week saving of £515 per person – a total discount of £3,951 off the standard brochure price of £13,744pp.

The offer is valid for bookings made between 21 and 29 September 2013 for coastal voyages departing before December 31, 2014, and expedition voyages departing by February 24, 2015. NB: All prices are based on two sharing a cabin.
For bookings, follow this link to The Cruise Line, the UK's adventure-cruise specialists.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

New Owners for World of Cruising Magazine!

London (Sept 19, 2013). -  Publishing and Database company Real Response Media (RRM) have announced the acquisition of Europe’s leading cruise publication, World of Cruising magazine, from independent operator Robin Maclear of Sussex-based The Cruise Line Ltd. The change of hands follows a prolonged steady growth period for the magazine, which is Europe’s leading cruise publication, having been founded in 1998. Maclear has sold the controlling interest to RRM, and they will continue to develop the magazine’s growth along international lines.

Managing Director Chris Pitchford says: “This is an opportunity to take an existing, well-established niche publication and take it to the next level. There continues to be huge and consistent growth in the cruise market, and no publication has yet fully captured that readership and growth potential. We have significant plans to take the magazine’s existing
high-quality style and extend it to that market in a number of different ways that should be very exciting both for our current readers and the world of cruising in general.”

Pitchford will be partnered by RRM Director Matthew Underhill, who is also Managing Director of Event Live Media, which effectively gives the company both a contract and exhibition publishing arm as well as a magazine publishing business. 

In the past 15 years, World of Cruising has become a major authority on all cruise-related matters, including helping to launch new lines such as Oceania Cruises in the UK and introduce a variety of niche luxury and adventure cruise companies. The magazine has reviewed hundreds of ships and explored destinations from the Amazon to the Zambezi. Columns such as The Admiral have achieved a cult following, while those of Captain Greybeard, The Cruise Guy and Cruise Radio have found a following in the US as well as Britain. The popular online version of the magazine is read from the US to Australia and it has also been published in China, the first cruise publication there.

Says Robin Maclear: “The sale to Real Response Media comes at an opportune time in cruise development and will allow World of Cruising to become the fully independent voice
of cruising worldwide. It has been a pleasure to work with our editor, Simon Veness, and an excellent team of journalists. All of us will continue to play our part in the magazine’s future growth as well.”

The Autumn edition of the magazine has just been published ( and the first edition under RRM’s leadership will be the Winter issue, publishing in January.

Contacts: For Real Response Media, contact Chris Pitchford on 020 8444 6045 or email For Robin Maclear, call 0870 442 6933 or email