Friday, 28 February 2014

Bilbao Eyes Major Growth

We like to be on the ball here at World of Cruising, and our recent Three Of A Kind feature in our Jan/Feb edition highlighted the growing cruise influence of three Spanish ports on the Costa Verde, A Coruna, Bilbao and Santander.

Hot on the heels of our great feature by ports expert Susan Parker comes news from the Port of Bilbao that they are forecasting a 25% increase in cruise visitation this year at the same time as they are inaugurating a splendid new cruise berth.
The new quay for this spring (artist's rendering, above) will be 354 metres long with a 12m draft and will be built alongside the existing quay at a cost of €13.8m. On completion, the port will be able to accommodate an impressive 1,000m of berthing space for cruise ships

Based in the suburb of Getxo, the berths are located within walking distance of the city’s smart marina and just 1km from the nearest of Bilbao's many EU Blue Flag beaches.

MSC Cruises, Iberocruceros and Pullmantur are all continuing to use Bilbao as a turnaround port this year while Celebrity Cruises will be a first-time visitor as its Celebrity Constellation makes seven overnight calls in the course of the season.

In 2013, some 44 ships and 57,000 cruise tourists visited the Basque Country last year, with the bulk of passengers hailing from the UK (33%), Spain (20%), the US (19%) and Germany (5%).  
Bilbao city centre - which boasts the stunning Guggenheim Museum - is a 20-minute drive away, as is the International Airport. 
Shuttle buses are usually provided for trips to the beach and the nearby Vizcaya Transporter Bridge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 
The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Pandaw Feature Burma, Vietnam & Cambodia

Travel to the Far East is booming this year as holiday-makers seek out increasingly exotic destinations, and river-cruises are proving especially popular, hence Pandaw River Expeditions are highlighting their great range of options to Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2014.

Operating a fleet of 12 luxurious river-vessels, Pandaw explore many destinations still largely undiscovered by the European traveller, with many areas accessible only by river. The elegant vessels are designed with the shallowest drafts on the rivers, allowing them to access parts of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers in Burma and the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam that other ships aren’t always able to reach.

Finished in hand-crafted teak and brass, the unique vessels are designed as replicas of the original colonial river steamers and offer the highest passenger space ratio of any ships in the region, sea going or river, with a crew to passenger ratio of 2:1.

Every Pandaw river expedition includes a superb range of intrepid shore excursions to local - and often inaccessible - communities, and all shore excursions are included within the expedition price, as well as a range of locally sourced and international food, all drinks and gratuities. 
Guests are able to dine in open-air dining rooms on deck on most expeditions and, in the evening, enjoy cultural performances from local performers and musicians. Pandaw operates cruises in Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia from June to April.

Their seven-night Mekong cruises cost from £1,095 per person based on two people sharing, including all food and drink, gratuities and all shore excursions.

More info: call 0203 287 6113 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Princess Unveil All-Inclusive Packages

Princess Cruises has broken the mould of modern, big-ship cruising by announcing an ‘all inclusive’ package on one of its UK-based ships for the first time.

The offer, which forms part of the Princess Cruises 2015 Europe programme, will be available on 10 sailings in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe on board Caribbean Princess (above). The 3,000-passenger ship will set sail from the UK during spring and summer next year and include a fully inclusive drinks package for all guests who book within the special promotional period.

Other 2015 highlights include a reduced deposit of £99 per person on all Europe cruises and an increased number of sailings across the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

The cruise line has also revealed that Royal Princess, which was launched by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge last year, will return to the UK for spring and summer 2015. The ship will sail out of Southampton for a series of British Isles round-trips, including calls at Liverpool, Edinburgh and Belfast. She will additionally tour the Baltic on a 12-night tour in June of next year, including visits to Copenhagen, Stockholm and St Petersburg.

Paul Ludlow, Princess Cruises managing director UK and Europe, said: “2015 is all about choice as our Europe-based ships will make 150 departures and visit over 120 destinations. European cruises are booming in popularity and as such we’ve provided something for everyone, including destinations and packages to suit a wide range of tastes and budgets.

“It is particularly fitting that Royal Princess will sail round-trips of the UK, as it will give people across the country the opportunity to welcome a ship that was so warmly received here last year."

The 2015 cruises will go on sale on March 11 at 3pm. The complimentary drinks package and £99 deposit are available on all 2015 cruises booked before June 30.

Caribbean Princess

The Caribbean Princess will spend the summer (Apr-Sep 2015) on ten sailings from Southampton to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, with the complimentary drinks package on all bookings made between March 11 and June 30, 2014.

Programme highlights include:

  • Four 14-night Mediterranean Adventurer cruises, sailing round-trip from Southampton to the Western Mediterranean.
  • One 14-night North Cape and Summer Solstice departure in June which sails north to the Arctic Circle during the peak Midnight Sun period.
  • One 7-night Scandinavia cruise, departing from Southampton via Copenhagen.

Prices start from just £979pp.

More info: visit or call 0843 373 0333. 
The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

It's Whisky Galore With Hurtigruten!

Whiskey Galore was a classic Ealing comedy film hit back in 1949, starring Basil Radford and Joan Greenwood, but specialist Norwegian operator Hurtigruten might have their own real-life version of the idea this summer.

Their expedition ship MS Fram is currently loaded with two barrels of 21- and 25-year-old single malt whisky, which it is transporting from one end of the world to the other - a process that is said to refine the noble Scottish drop even further. After crossing the Antarctic Circle, the ship will head north to Greenland and Spitsbergen, with en-route stops scheduled in Scotland, where the whisky was first produced.

The topic ‘Whisky and its origin’ is also covered in two voyages on-board Fram in April and May. Both start in the Norwegian city of Bergen with the 12-day “British Isles in the Spring” (sailing April 24) journey covering Scotland, Ireland and England, while “The Viking Route” (May 13) lasts 13 days, and visits Scotland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Both journeys are accompanied by Scottish lecturer and whisky expert Bernard McGee, who will share his knowledge of single malt scotch whisky and arrange some tastings during the voyage.

Prices for ‘The Viking Route voyage start from £2,474 per person, based on two people sharing an inside cabin on full board basis. Flights and transfers are available for an additional cost.

More info: call 020 3582 6642 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Star Clippers Feature Panama Canal Transit

We have already noted this year is the 100th anniversary of the great Panama Canal, and various cruise lines are featuring special opportunities to enjoy a Canal transit to honour the occasion.

The latest comes from tall-ship sailing specialist Star Clippers, who are offering two opportunities to sail through what’s been designated one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Both sailings will be on the four-masted Star Flyer (above) as part of either a 14-day or a nine-day Caribbean cruise, in November.

The two Panama Canal voyages are as follows:

  • Star Flyer sails from Barbados to Balboa on November 9, calling at the Grenadines, Grenada, Venezuela, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Cartagena and the San Blas archipelago, before entering the Canal as far as San Cristobal. The cruises costs from £2,795 for 14 nights, including full board on the ship and port taxes. Flights are extra.
  • Star Flyer then returns to her winter cruising base of Cienfuegos, Cuba, departing Balboa on November 23, sailing into the Canal and then calling at ports in Colombia and the Cayman Islands as well as Casilda in Cuba (for the historic city of Trinidad). This voyage costs from £1,765 for nine nights, including full board on the ship and port taxes. Again, flights are extra.

More info: call 0808 231 4798 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Arctic's The 'Hot' Destination

Travel experts and many major publications globally have declared Arctic destinations among the most desirable places to head for in 2014, and this summer season to regions north of the Arctic circle looks like being a bonanza year.

It is why we at World of Cruising have made it our Adventure Cruising focus for the forthcoming new edition (publishing Mar 15), with our adventure-cruise expert Steve Newman producing a round-up on the myriad of options.

Polar adventure experts Quark Expeditions are also predicting an exceptional year for Arctic tourism, with increased accessibility and tour options, plus greater awareness of polar destinations and activities all grabbing the attention of adventure-hungry travellers, and they have flagged up Iceland and Polar Bear safaris as the particularly 'hot' topics.

Iceland has made several top tourism destination lists recently, including The Guardian’s Where to Go in 2014 guide. The volcanic island has earned the nickname ‘Hollywood of the North’ thanks to several films shot there recently, including Oblivion, Prometheus, The Secret Life of Walter Misty and upcoming releases Interstellar and Noah.

Quark president Hans Lagerweij explained: “Iceland has always been recognized as a prime destination for Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) viewing, but our ‘Iceland Experience’ package has become an incredibly popular choice for an add-on among photographers and those in search of an authentic cultural experience.” said Lagerweij.

Climate change concerns and the melting of polar ice caps have also resulted in increased interest in Arctic wildlife. “Spitsbergen is one of the greatest places on earth to observe polar bears in their natural environment,” said Lagerweij. “Demand is great and we now offer three Spitsbergen expeditions of varying lengths, each with ample opportunity to observe and photograph walrus, polar bears, reindeer and other species indigenous to the increasingly popular Svalbard archipelago.”

Lagerweij also notes that options like kayaking are skyrocketing in popularity, as these activities allow tourists to explore Arctic coastlines and waterways in a guided, safe manner. He added: “2014 is shaping up to be a record year for travel in and around the Arctic Circle, as travellers and mainstream media are eager to explore and share their adventures at the top of the world. This year, we expect to welcome aboard more old friends and new passengers than ever before.”

More info: visit or call 0808 120 2333.
The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Spend A Year At Sea With Crystal!

If, like us, you find getting away for the odd week or two a bit of a struggle, consider this little gem from luxury cruise specialists Six Star Cruises - a full YEAR'S cruise.

Yes, that's right, not a month or even a World Cruise (which usually spans three-plus months), but a full 365 days at sea, in the lap of luxury.

And who would do such a thing, do we hear you ask? Well Crystal Cruises, of course, masters of the worldwide tour and doing things in the ultimate style.

So, as part of its Fifth Anniversary Celebration Sale, Six Star Cruises is offering the chance to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime, year-long voyage aboard the Crystal Symphony, with no expense spared.
Yes, of course it's expensive, but it's a year at sea on a truly luxurious, all-inclusive ship!

Setting sail in 2015, the Symphony departs from Singapore and spends the winter and early spring exploring South-east Asia and China’s most memorable ports. It uses the remainder of spring to take in the spectacular West Coast highlights of Alaska, and North and South America before crossing the Atlantic to spend the summer in Northern Europe.
It then heads back across the pond to arrive in North America just in time to experience Canada and New England in the autumn. The final portion of this epic journey takes cruisers down the East Coast to spend autumn and winter in the Caribbean before coming to an end in Rio de Janeiro.

To make this incredible sailing even more special, Six Star Cruises is offering complimentary chauffer airport transfers to start and end the cruise in true style. There is no booking fee and all customers will be helped expertly through all stages of their booking by one of Six Star's award-winning Cruise Concierge – luxury cruise experts who will tailor the passengers’ voyage precisely to their needs.

Passengers booking this truly spectacular voyage before the end of February can also take advantage of some reduced prices. To spend a year at sea on the Crystal Symphony in a balcony stateroom costs just £122,996, while a spacious Penthouse is available for £262,876. For the ultimate in opulence, passengers can enjoy a Penthouse Suite for £350,425. All prices are per person, based on two people sharing and include port taxes.

More info: call 0808 202 6105 or visit
The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Try A Gulet Cruise With Saga

Gulet cruising is a signature Turkish experience and features small-ship style with a real up-close-and-personal taste of the local culture and cuisine.

And now you can unwind on an authentic gulet cruise, passing beautiful bays and golden beaches, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast with Saga Holidays this summer.
Their holidays travel in a flotilla of up to three boats, where life on board is friendly and relaxing, with the captain and two crew taking care of guests.

Gulets are two-mast wooden sailing boats, refined for modern holiday-makers’ comfort by providing eight en suite cabins with air-conditioning. The former fishing or sponge diving boats each have a different character and décor to make the sailing experience totally unique.

Mealtimes are a special experience on this all-inclusive option. Guests can tuck into local produce, in Turkish meze style, while dining on the deck overlooking the sea. A free bar is open from 9am to midnight, serving local alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

The round-trip from Marmaris via Ekincik Bay allows plenty of time to explore towns and villages or join walking tours. Of course, for those who would prefer to laze on the beaches, they will be spoilt for choice.

The 7-night gulet cruises cost from £949 per person, departing Gatwick from May to June and September and October. The price includes travel insurance and cancellation cover, return flights, full board, free bar open 15 hours a day, two excursions and a Saga tour manager.

More Info: call 0800 0923082 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Orbital Launches Croatia Coastal Cruises

The Dalmatian Coast is looking to be one of the 'hot' destinations of 2014 for its amazing port experiences, plus the stunning shoreline of Croatia and Montenegro. And, with that in mind, Orbital Travel, have announced a new 7-night Dalmatian coastal voyage to its cruise programmes.

The spectacular unspoilt Adriatic coastline boasts more than 1,000 islands, a number of peaceful bays and stunning national parks. This part of the Adriatic, known as the Dalmatian coast, stretches from the northern coast of Croatia all the way to the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro.

The Orbital cruise begins and ends in the picturesque medieval city of Dubrovnik and showcases the region’s stunning scenery; stopovers include the beautiful islands of Mljet, Korkula, Vis and Hvar, the medieval cities of Sibenik, Trogir and Split, and the beautiful Kotor estuary in Montenegro.

Cruises are on board the MS Belle de l‘Adriatique, which offers a relaxed and intimate atmosphere with excellent food and the opportunity to spend free time on board, as well as experiencing the local culture and cuisine. 
Departures are between April and October and prices lead in at £1,325 per person, including flights, transfers and 7 nights all-inclusive on board.

More info: call 0333 123 7147 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Royal Caribbean's Bahamas Escape

Fed up with the wet, miserable British winter weather? Of course you are - and so are we, hence the latest offer to arrive in our Inbox has us all day-dreaming of escaping to the sunny climes of the Bahamas. And, if you can go next month, you're in for a treat.

It comes from arguably THE sunshine specialists, Royal Caribbean themselves, and promises a great winter sun cruise - with a significant saving.

Sailing from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, the cruise features the best of the Bahamas and a stop in Florida before returning north for the flight home. And guests can enjoy all this with £100 off per stateroom if booked by February 28.

The eight-night cruise featuring Explorer of the Seas visits the Bahamian capital of Nassau on the island of New Providence and then Royal Caribbean's private island of Cococay before heading to the mainland for a call at Port Canaveral in the Sunshine State.

On board, guests can also scale the heights and enjoy amazing views 200ft above sea level on the incredible rock-climbing wall, or, for a more relaxed experience, can spend time at the solarium and indoor pool. All this is available from £1,175 per person (based on two people sharing an interior stateroom).

The price includes flights from London Heathrow; a pre-cruise hotel stay, transfers and the 8-night cruise; meals and entertainment on board; and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
Price is based on a March 21 departure. 

More info: call 0844 493 2061 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Norwegian Plan A Bigger Haven

Norwegian Cruise Line have revealed the first real details of their forthcoming Breakaway-plus ship, the Norwegian Escape, which will make its debut in late 2015, and the headline item is an eye-catching expansion of their exclusive Haven concierge area, which provides a more deluxe cruise experience within the ship.

The 163,000-ton new-build - currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany - will be larger than current flagship Norwegian Epic but also have key features of the recently introduced Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway duo, plus all-new spaces and interactive experiences. Where the Escape will be based, and her itineraries, will be announced in mid-March, when it will also be open for booking.

Although it boasts a full 4,200 berths, The Haven will offer 95 of its upmarket suites, an increase of 31 from Breakaway and Getaway, which in turn had added to the Epic's 60. They include four Haven Deluxe Owner's Suites (pictured, above), at more than 1,300sq ft each, even larger than the 932sq ft versions on Getaway and Breakaway.

There are also The Haven Two-Bedroom Family Villa, The Haven Courtyard Penthouse and The Haven Deluxe Spa Suite. Like its sister examples, the Escape's Haven will also be by keycard-access only and also includes a private restaurant with outdoor terrace, lounge and an enhanced courtyard area with retractable roof enclosing a pool, two whirlpools, sauna, spa treatment rooms and sun deck. 

The Haven’s other benefits include priority embarkation and disembarkation, platinum keycard, butler and concierge service, in-suite espresso/cappuccino machines, gourmet treats delivered each evening and plush bathrobes, slippers and oversized towels. All suites will feature pillow-top mattresses and fine linens from The Bliss Collection by Norwegian.

The ship also continues Norwegian's unique Studio staterooms for solo cruisers, with 82 located within another keycard-access complex. Each Studio has a full-size bed, window to the corridor and separate areas for toilet, sink and shower, plus access to the private Studio Lounge.

More info: call 0845 201 8900 or visit
The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Madeira's Floral Delight

Madeira's annual Flower Festival is one of the horticultural highlights of the year, on a par with Bloemencorso in the Netherlands each year and the annual Battle of the Flowers in our own Jersey.

But the Madeira version is best visited by ship and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering the chance to visit Funchal, Madeira, during its annual floral spectacular on board Braemar’s10-night ‘Sunshine, Shopping & Spring’ fly-cruise, which departs from Santa Cruz, Tenerife, on May 3 and returns to Harwich on May 13.

The Flower Festival, which is held every May when the flowers are at their best, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Madeira, filling Funchal with a riot of colour and scents. This enchanting and beautiful festival showcases the island’s most wonderful gardens and flower displays, as well as playing host to a parade – with vibrant costumes and traditional dance – a flower market and other activities, including the making of flower carpets in the streets, prizes for the best shop window, classical music concerts and variety shows.

The cruise takes guests to Funchal on May 7, where they can explore this exquisite ‘Garden Island’ and soak up all that its celebrated Flower Festival has to offer – glorious sunshine, the finest flower displays and an abundance of local traditions, festivities and celebrations. 

Prices start from £675 (£539 cruise-only) per person, based on two adults sharing a twin-bedded, inside cabin, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, flight and airport/port dues. Guests can also choose to upgrade to the ‘all-inclusive’ drinks package for just £10 per person, per night.

More info: call 0800 0355 242 or visit 

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Seabourn's Easter Med Extravaganza

For those looking for a luxury Easter experience, ultra-deluxe Seabourn Cruise Line is featuring some great-value Mediterranean voyages that have definitely caught our attention here at the World of Cruising office.
And, while we will all be hard at work here (sadly), anyone who fancies a memorable voyage, in high style - and at a great price - would be well advised to read on.
The three Med fly-and-cruise itineraries all feature some of the region's most spectacular ports, while the special offers include complimentary suite upgrades and signature Seabourn experiences. Take your pick from:
The 12-day Mediterranean Mosaic
Departing April 5 on Seabourn Quest, from Barcelona to Athens, this voyage calls at Valencia, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, Messina, Iraklion, Rhodes, Bodrum and Ermoupolis, before reaching Piraeus (for Athens). Cruise prices start from just £2,899pp (cruise only) or £3,459pp (with flights included) and include a complimentary upgrade to a Veranda Suite.

12-day Mediterranean Island Quest
This voyage departs April 17, also on Seabourn Quest, from Athens to Barcelona and calls at Kusadasi, Cesme, Mykonos, Rethymnon, Valletta, Trapani, Propriano, Monte Carlo, Marseille and Barcelona. It costs from £3,449pp (with flights included) and also includes a complimentary upgrade to a Veranda Suite.

10-day Mediterranean Magic & Rome
Departing May 13 on Seabourn Sojourn, this cruise sails from Barcelona to Athens, with the ports of call being Barcelona, Palamos, St Tropez, Ajaccio, Civitavecchia, Sorrento, Messina, Mykonos, Platis Gialos and Piraeus (for Athens). Prices start from £2,879pp (cruise only) or £3,269pp (with flights included) and again include a complimentary upgrade to a Veranda Suite.

The programme will also feature an array of Shore Excursions, where guests can enjoy unique access to onshore events, including an evening concert at the Ephesus Odeon Theatre.

More info: call 0843 373 2000 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Farewell Season For Celebrity Century

Back in 1995, the all-new Century marked a distinct upmarket arrival for the fledgling Celebrity Cruises (formerly Chandris Lines). Next year, the Celebrity Century will leave the fleet - but not before a ' farewell season' of special events, including a newly introduced “President's 'Celebration of the Century' Cruise,” during a year featuring a record number of ports of call and 17 new destinations for the brand. 

The farewell season will also feature exclusive onboard programming and special offers before Century sails off to new owners in April 2015.

Captain's Club loyalty members and holidaymakers can join Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, on the Celebration of the Century Cruise in Asia, a 14-night sailing from Singapore departing on March 8, 2015, and visiting Vietnam and the Philippines. Further special events and exclusive onboard programming will be announced shortly.

From this March to April 2015, Century will visit 77 ports across 32 countries, the most destinations worldwide of any ship in the Celebrity fleet. New exotic destinations include Manila and Boracay (Philippines), Bandar Seri Begawan (Muara, Brunei) and Yangon (Rangoon, Myanmar). Guests can take their pick from culture-rich experiences in Asia, Alaska, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Coast and South Pacific.

Since its inaugural sailing in 1995, guests have enjoyed Century’s ahead-of-its-time design, indulgent Spa and dining experiences, as it was the first ship to have the now hugely popular Martini Bar and Murano, the award-winning speciality restaurant.

As a special incentive for all bookings until April 30, guests can receive up to $200 per stateroom in onboard credit for spa treatments, shore excursions, speciality dining and more. Captain’s Club members can choose between the onboard credit or an exclusive savings offer. And, until February 28, both offers are combinable with Celebrity's 123go! offer.

More info: call 0845 456 0523 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Relive The Sound of Music With Titan

Calling all Sound of Music fans, here is a cruise experience - and an exclusive opportunity - just for you! Titan Travel, in conjunction with their river-cruise partners Uniworld, are offering guests travelling on selected river cruises this summer the unique opportunity to meet and hear performances by Elisabeth von Trapp.

As the granddaughter of the legendary Maria and Baron von Trapp, whose story inspired The Sound of Music, Elisabeth (above) will share the “sounds of music” with guests on a choice of 2014 itineraries for departures from June to September. 

Guests sailing on the 8-day Enchanting Danube itinerary, from Budapest to Passau, will be able to join Elisabeth in Salzburg at the beautiful Mirabellgarten as she performs songs from the famous film. A highlight of the performance will be the chance for guests to participate in a sing-along of “Do-Re-Mi” at the famed garden where the original 1964 scene was filmed. Elisabeth will also be performing a range of Gregorian chants, 12th-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen tunes, some early American hymns and her own original compositions. 

Guests sailing on the 14-day European Serenade and 7-day Danube Discovery and Prague itinerary will also be treated to “the sounds of Von Trapp” with an exclusive on-board performance. 

Prices for the August 3 departure of the Enchanting Danube cruise start from £2,729 per person, including flights, 7-night full board cruise on board the River Beatrice, transfers, excursions with English speaking guides, unlimited complimentary drinks, gratuities, Wi-Fi, taxes and Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service.

More info: call 0800 988 5867 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link. 

New Asian Adventures For Crystal

Those looking for the truly exotic shore excursions, would be well advised to pay attention to the latest range of possibilities from Crystal Cruises, who have just announced a new series of Crystal Adventures for their Asian voyages this year.

From drinks with former headhunters in Brunei to a monk induction ceremony in Myanmar, the ultra-luxury line has crafted an exciting schedule of excursions in this wonderful part of the world. Monasteries, rainforests, royal residences and tuk-tuks are among the 40 new shoreside outings showcasing both off-the-beaten-path port calls and major urban centres in Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan and India. 

Both Crystal Symphony and the recently-redesigned Crystal Serenity will be sailing 14 voyages in the region – twice as many as 2013 – this spring, with Symphony returning in late autumn. In all, Crystal is offering nearly 200 Adventures throughout Asia, with options to book them with Private Car and Driver in most ports.
Excursion highlights include:
  • Bandar Seri Begawan: Be astounded by Brunei’s varied lifestyles, from the Sultan’s Palace - the world’s largest residential palace (above) - to more traditional homes, such as that of an over-water village and a longhouse, where former headhunting Ibans will welcome you with drinks, music and dance.
  • Yangon: Witness the Novitiation Ceremony that inducts 1,000 male “Novices” into Buddhist monk-hood at the Kalaywa Monastery.
  • Kota Kinabalu: Trek the rainforest of Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinabalu National Park; crab fish from a thatch-roofed raft while cruising through mangroves; or learn island traditions such as making robes from tree bark or a Malay bread called roti canai. 
  • Lombok: At Bali’s less-visited sister island, learn about the local craftsmanship of ikat dyed fabrics and pearl production or visit a traditional Sasak village, where men still sleep outside their thatched houses to protect their daughters from being kidnapped into marriage. 
  • Makassar: Travel to a 17th-century king’s traditional adat house for food and dance from local villagers, visit the Dutch East India Company’s Fort Rotterdam or sightsee via pedicab. 
  • Andaman Islands: Tuk-tuk to Britain’s former jail for Indian revolutionaries or learn about local agricultural arts at a spice farm and rubber plantation. 
  • Penang: Stroll the 130-year-old Waterfall Gardens, then enjoy a cocktail at the prestigious Eastern & Oriental Hotel, the precursor to Singapore’s famed Raffles Hotel. 
  • Tokyo: Participate in eastern Asian shodo handwriting and a traditional sado tea ceremony at a Japanese garden or tour sites of more recent history, such as Nissan’s Global HQ and the Cup Noodles Museum.
In addition to the day trips, two new multi-night Overland Adventures are offered from Shanghai and Chan May, visiting Xi-an and Beijing on the first and Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City on the latter.
In 2014, five- to 15-night all-inclusive voyages are available to/from Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagasaki and Shanghai starting from £1,836 per person, cruise only, if booked by February 28.  
More info: call 020 7399 7601 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Navigator Gets Texas-Sized Makeover

When it comes to cruise ship makeovers, all the big companies are busily engaged in making their older ships newer, brighter or even bigger (and sometimes all three!). Now comes news of the completion of a month-long dry-dock revamp for Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, which is primed to resume year-round service from Galveston, Texas, and add some Wow to the Lone Star State.

Part of an extensive fleetwide programme to enhance every Royal Caribbean ship, Navigator will introduce new and enhanced dining options; debut a new FlowRider surf simulator; and offer a glimpse ahead toward the cruise line’s highly anticipated Quantum of the Seas, with new first-at-sea features.

Top of the range is the new FlowRider surf simulator, the centre of attention atop the deck 13 Sports Deck, as well as the debut of Royal Caribbean’s first Virtual Balconies in 81 interior staterooms displaying views of the ocean and destinations. Virtual Balconies were first announced for Quantum of the Seas, which debuts October 2014, and Navigator guests can be among the first to experience this innovation.

Navigator will also feature an expanded line-up of eight different dining options, led by the debut of an all-new modern Mexican specialty restaurant Sabor, featuring a menu of modern Mexican dishes. Diners here also can delight in customised guacamole and salsas, made tableside, as well as an assortment of tacos, quesadillas and burritos, all made with the freshest ingredients. Sabor has a service charge of $25 per guest.

Also on board is the fully revamped and elevated Chops Grille: The New American Steakhouse, which marries contemporary flair to traditional steakhouse offerings. The first among Royal Caribbean’s fleet to offer the new menu, it will feature brand new selections, such as the Veal Chop Parmesan, a Slow-braised Short Rib of Beef with Bordelaise sauce, and a Dry-aged Steak Burger served on a brioche bun and topped with melted gruyere and pancetta. The line's signature alternative dining experience has a service charge of $35 per guest.

The new Izumi Japanese Cuisine (a la carte menu) and delicious classic Italian favourites in Giovanni’s Table Italian trattoria ($15 for lunch and $20 for dinner per guest) are also available, while rounding out Navigator's culinary experiences is the grand, three-storey main dining room, newly renamed Sapphire, the casual-dining Windjammer Café, and complimentary room service from 5-12 a.m.

Other popular concepts from the company's Oasis-class ships have also been introduced, such as new digital signage, bow-to-stern Wi-Fi service, new flat-panel televisions in every stateroom, an oversized LCD movie screen overlooking the main pool, a new Diamond Lounge for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty member guests, and the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for the youngest guests ages six to 36 months. Additionally, the ship’s Champagne Bar has been re-conceptualised into Royal Caribbean’s signature, retro-chic R Bar.

Navigator of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries every Sunday from Galveston, visiting exciting warm-weather getaways in the Caribbean, including; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Falmouth, Jamaica; and George Town, Grand Cayman.

More info: call 0844 493 4005 or visit

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.