Friday, 28 November 2014

New production shows light up Silversea stages

All-new, musical experiences are coming to the stages of Silversea Cruises' five ships. The new production shows will feature live acts complemented with musical tracks recorded exclusively for Silversea by renowned artists such as the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Seven different shows, featuring rich costuming, imaginative set designs, and special visual effects, will spotlight the talents of an international ensemble of accomplished vocalists, known collectively as The Voices of Silversea.  Besides the main Show Lounge, guests will also enjoy the singing talents of The Voices of Silversea when they perform duets and cabaret-style shows in more-intimate settings throughout the ship.

Guests sailing on Silver Cloud's recent voyage from Rome to Funchal have already been  treated to a sneak-preview selection of some of the new shows, all of which have been produced for Silversea by London-based Luna Rossa Productions. The entire entertainment program will then roll out fleetwide.

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cunard offer drinks on the house for selected December and January cruises

Passengers who book a selected Cunard pre-Christmas or post-New Year cruise on board Queen Mary 2 or Queen Elizabeth will be able to enjoy inclusive drinks throughout their time on board up to a value of $9 per drink ($12 per drink for Grills Suites passengers) as they explore our exquisite bars and lounges while celebrating the festive season in style.

This exclusive offer is available on the following cruises:
Experience the Big Apple on a seven day Transatlantic Crossing on board Queen Mary 2, departing Southampton on 15 December, and take in some last minute shopping before flying back to the UK. Balcony Stateroom Cunard Fares (including flights) are from £1,499 per person.

Alternatively treat yourself to a New Year’s break by flying to New York and sailing home to Southampton on board Queen Mary 2 on 3 January. Balcony Stateroom Cunard Fares (including flights) are from £1,479 per person.

Or see in the New Year in style on board Queen Elizabeth during an elegant four night cruise from Southampton to Hamburg on 6 January. Balcony stateroom Cunard Fares are from £569 per person.

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Now we are six – Oceania adds another ship to its fleet

Ocean Princess
Name-changer: Ocean Princess, soon to become Oceania Cruises' Sirena
Oceania Cruises is to grow again – with the addition of a ship bought from Princess Cruises for $82 million (£52 million). The vessel, currently sailing as Ocean Princess, is virtually identical to Oceania’s Insignia, Nautica, and Regatta – all were originally built for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises.

The 684-passenger ship joins Oceania in March 2016 when it will be given a $40m (£25.5 million) refurbishment in dry dock at Marseille before being re-named Sirena.

The work includes fitting Oceania’s trademark speciality restaurants, Toscana and the Polo Grill, along with a coffee shop and cook-to-order grill at the Gerrace Café.

Sirena is expected to carry her first Oceania passengers in late April 2016.

The announcement of the deal came from Oceania’s new owners, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, who completed the takeover just days ago. Kevin Sheehan, president and CEO of Norwegian, said it was his company’s belief in the Oceania brand and its commitment to the “growing base of loyal guests” that were the rationale behind the decision.

Kunal S Kamlamni, president of Oceania, said Sirena “opens up an entire array of new itinerary options.”

In addition to the former Renaissance ships, Oceania also operates two larger newbuilds, Riviera and Marina, carrying 1,250 passengers each. The line’s total capacity will grow to 5,236. The newly-enlarged Norwegian group, which also includes Regent Seven Seas, now totals 21 ships with a combined capacity of approximately 40,000.

Princess still operates another ex-Renaissance ship, Pacific Princess, which is also believed to be for sale. P&O’s Adonia is almost identical, and the other two – all built between 1998 and 2001 at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique yard in France – are sailing as Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey.

Azamara is likely to be making its own announcement about expansion very soon, but insiders believe the line – owned by Royal Caribbean International – is going for a newbuild rather than buying a “pre-owned” vessel.

Sanctuary Retreats cuts fares for four cruises on Myanmar's Chindwin River

Sanctuary Retreats is offering 20 per cent off the four cruises on the Chindwin River in 2015 which are part of their longer ‘Exploration Cruises’ programme.  These 10 night cruises on the Chindwin exclusively provide access to some of Southeast Asia’s least-visited sites such as Mawleik, Kalewa and the caves of Po Win Taung in Monywa and will begin in July 2015.  The offer must be booked before 31st January 2015.

With this offer, a 10-night Exploration Cruise on the Chindwin River is now available from £2,356 per person based on two people sharing, including suite accommodation, meals, soft drinks and local beer throughout the day, wine with dinner, and the full programme of excursions and experiences.

The ship offers a choice of 6 fascinating itineraries including 3, 4 and 7 night cruises on the Ayeyarwady River with a full choice of excursions and unique cultural experiences. Longer 10 and 11 night itineraries on the Chindwin River to Homalin, the Upper Ayeyarwaddy to Bhamo and sailings between Yangon and Mandalay will begin in 2015.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Crystal Cruises new selection of Boutique Adventures available on its 2015 Asia voyages.

Crystal Cruises has released a new selection of Boutique Adventures which are available on its 2015 Asia voyages. The experiences include dim sum making and mixology in Hong Kong; immersing guests in the day and life of a Shanghainese in Shanghai; and learning how Sumo wrestlers stay in shape in Tokyo.

Crystal’s 2015 Asia itineraries collectively call in Ho Chi Minh City and Chan May, Vietnam; Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Surabaya, Bali, Semarang, Jakarta and Belawan, Sihanoukville,  Pusan, Taipei/Keelung,  Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sanya, Dalian, Xiamen, Yantai and Beijing, Osaka, Aomori, Otaru and Tokyo. Until 2 January, all-inclusive cruise only fares for the 2015 Asia season start from £1,145 per person.

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Christmas Market Cruises with AMAWaterways

Christmas Market cruise, saving £860pp + free flights
Cruise along the Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg, home to Europe’s largest Christmas market, and enjoy fine dining, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, complimentary daily tours and excursions, and accommodation akin to a top hotel. Calling into new destinations each day, the cruise departs on 16 December and offers the opportunity to explore festive Europe and visit some of the finest Christmas markets. The price of £1,499pp includes a saving of £860pp.

Christmas on the Danube, saving £855pp + free flights
Spend Christmas afloat amid luxurious surroundings on a festive sailing along the Danube from Budapest to Vilshofen. Santa will be on board to fill shoes left outside the cabin on Christmas Eve with sweets and delicacies and the crew organise carol singing, festive drinks and dining. Departing on 20 December, the sailing costs from £1,599 pp, including a saving of £ 855pp, with free flights from Manchester and transfers. 

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Cruise ship Saga Pearl II sails to the rescue of injured yachtsman in mid-Atlantic

Saga Pearl II
To the rescue: Saga Pearl II diverts from cruise to aid injured yachtsman

Cruise ship Saga Pearl II made a dramatic rescue in the middle of the North Atlantic last night (Saturday, Nov 22) to bring aboard a seriously injured French yachtsman.
On route to Cape Verde, Captain Wesley Dunlop answered a call for assistance from the Portuguese marine authorities and made a 90-mile diversion to meet the catamaran Coco Jet III.
Nicolas Hauzy, 36, needed 28 stitches after he lacerated his left leg on the drive shaft of his yacht’s engine while cruising from the Canary Islands to Martinique.
Within four hours from the distress call on Saturday afternoon, Saga Pearl II came in sight of the yacht. As darkness fell, Capt Dunlop manoeuvred the ship to allow the catamaran to come leeside, thereby cutting out the wind.
In two-metre swells the yacht drifted close to the ship and Mr Hauzy made a dramatic jump on board the 400-passenger cruise ship.
Capt Dunlop had been expecting to put out a pontoon to allow the ship’s doctor to board the yacht and assess the patient.

Capt Dunlop said: “It was a 
most difficult operation because of the swell and the crew dealt with it very well.
“We had intended to get onto the yacht but when it came right alongside Mr Hauzy made the jump. In an emergency you always plan ahead but very often have to adjust those plans depending on the situation when you arrive on scene.
“Mr Hauzy is a very brave man.”
Mr Hauzy, who was part-way through a year’s sailing trip with his family, said he there had been a problem with the yacht’s hydraulic motor and as he was attempting to fix it his trouser leg got caught in the engine drive shaft.
He said: “I bandaged myself up and put a distress procedure in place because I was worried that I would not be able to take care of the yacht and my family.
“Captain Dunlop is the very best captain I have ever encountered. My worst fear was that I would not be able to board the ship. It was so impressive that a big ship came to my rescue and changed course to come to help a small vessel. I cannot thank the captain and medical team enough.”
The ship’s doctor David Townsend had been prepared to board the catamaran but instead attended the Parisian businessman in the ship’s medical centre.  He said: “It was a severe laceration to the inside left of the ankle, needing 28 stitches.”
Mr Hauzy said: “I was surprised to see such a professional medical set-up on the ship. I did not realise there would be a doctor and nurses on board. I am again very thankful. They said that they had dealt with worse than this!”
The drama unfolded when Saga Pearl II was within 200 miles of Sao Vicente, in Cape Verde. Capt Dunlop made a public announcement to say he had received a message from the Portuguese Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) that a French yacht had reported one of its crew was injured and in need of urgent medical assistance.

As Saga Pearl II was the nearest vessel with a doctor on board, Capt Dunlop took the decision to change course to answer the call.
Passengers were kept informed throughout the operation with a further message from the captain at 6pmstating he had received further information that the passenger had suffered a ‘very nasty gash’ on the leg.  He explained that the plan of action was for two of his crew to board the yacht, exiting from a lower deck shell door, and put out a pontoon for the yacht to come alongside.
Capt Dunlop also gave passengers good notice that he would be turning the ship sideways and reducing speed, explaining that the stabilisers would therefore not be as effective.
During the rescue passengers continued with their formal dinner, the ladies dressed in glamorous cocktail gowns and the men in dinner suits and bow ties.
Mr Hauzy is expected to rejoin his family, including his wife Adelaide and his four children, Tristan, 10, Hadrien, nine, Athenias, four, and Ignace, two, when Coco Jet III arrives in Porto Grande on Monday.

New ports of call for Thomson Cruises and a return to Cuba

From winter 2015, Thomson Dream will showcase Cuba with its new Cuban Revolution itinerary. Cuban Revolution has  two new ports, Santiago de Cuba and Holguin. Beginning its journey in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Thomson Dream will go on to explore the two new Cuban destinations and continue its journey to spend the night in the country’s capital, Havana, before going onto Grand Cayman, and finally making its return journey back to Montego Bay.

For winter 2015 Thomson Celebration will be adding Bequia in St Vincent and the Grenadines as a port of call for its Caribbean Cocktail and Oceans Eleven itineraries. 

Customers on Thomson Dream will for the first time experience the delights of Mindelo in Cape Verde, known for its colourful and animated carnival celebrations as it joins the Beyond the Sunset itinerary. Travelling back towards Palma in April, two new destinations will be included in the Atlantic Adventure itinerary, also on Thomson Dream, with stops in Santiago de Cuba, and an overnight stay in King’s Wharf, Bermuda, a town rich in naval history.

Sailing the shimmering blue seas of the Canary Islands in winter, Thomson Majesty is introducing two new destinations on its Island Explorer itinerary. The itinerary will now stop at Valle Gran Rey in La Gomera and Puerto de la Estaca in El Hierro. 

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Celebrity Cruises announces 2016-2017 deployment

New destinations, more overnight stays for richer experiences, and an effortless way to visit multiple countries in one vacation, are just some of the reasons to sail with Celebrity Cruises in modern luxury-style. Forget the travel wish list that’s sitting idle and simply Go!

Begin an adventure in Celebrity's new port of and then sail to India and discover the vibrancy of Mumbai. Run with the bulls in Pamplona, one of many new “Signature Event Sailings,” or samba down the streets of Rio de Janeiro to celebrate Carnival. With twice as many “double overnights” as the 2015-16 season and 17 new overnight ports, including in the Caribbean, a wealth of destination-rich experiences await. 

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Turkey deal from MSC Cruises

Christmas treat:
Why worry about serving up the perfect festive turkey, when you could visit it instead? Relax this Christmas with an 11-night eastern Med sailing aboard MSC Fantasia. Departing 16 December from Genoa, the ship visits Katakolon, Heraklion, Rhodes, Izmir, Piraeus, Valletta, Messina, Civitavecchia  and Genoa. Prices start at £969 per person, including return flights from London with British Airways and transfers.

A  two-week trip around the Caribbean aboard MSC Cruises’ MSC Divina – and grab a free upgrade to a balcony cabin. Operating out of Miami, the 14-night Caribbean itinerary departing 13 December calls at Philipsburg, San Juan, Great Stirrup Cay, Miami, Falmouth, George Town, Cozumel, Great Stirrup Cay, and Miami. With free upgrade a balcony cabin, prices starts at £1,289 per person including return flights to Miami with British Airways from London and transfers.

Prices are based on two sharing unless stated. Remember that kids cruise free with MSC Cruises (paying only flights and port taxes).

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Start the New Year in style and head to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises

Beat the January blues and soak up the sunshine in Mexico, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Grand Cayman and sip local rum in Jamaica with Celebrity Cruises. Join Celebrity Silhouette on a nine-night Western Caribbean fly/cruise from £1,529 per person (based on two people sharing a balcony stateroom). 

Price includes return flights from London Heathrow, transfers, one night pre-cruise hotel accommodation and a seven-night cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale  and calling at Cozumel, George Town, Falmouth and Labadee (Haiti) before returning to Fort Lauderdale for the flight home; meals and entertainment onboard the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Price based on 10 January UK departure. 

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Avalon Waterways offers high-speed rail connections

Luxury river cruise company, Avalon Waterways has introduced rail travel options to connect with its wide choice of European river cruise packages for 2015 offering customers even more flexibility and choice. 

Customers who prefer not to fly or would like to travel in a more relaxed way can now tailor-make their holiday by choosing train travel or a combination of flight and rail with city stopovers.  An extensive network of rail options is now available to Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Zurich and Vienna.

Working with e rail operator Voyages-sncf UK, Avalon Waterways is offering high-speed rail options with Eurostar, TGV Lyria and Alleo.  Although Avalon currently works with Eurostar, the rail services from Paris to Basel and Zurich with TGV Lyria as well as from Paris to Frankfurt and Munich with Alleo are completely new to the cruise programme.  Both rail companies offer spacious and comfortable single and double decker trains with Christian Lacroix designed interiors, panoramic windows and a generous passenger baggage allowance.

The 13 day ‘Upper Rhine to the City of Music’ cruise has the flexible option of train travel on the outward journey from London St Pancras via Paris to Zurich with onward coach transfer to join the ship at Basel. The return includes the option of train travel from Vienna via Zurich and one hotel night in Zurich before enjoying the train journey via Paris to the UK.  Prices from £2,943 per person.*

The 13 day ‘European Splendour’ cruise has the similar flexible option of train travel on the outward journey from London St Pancras via Paris to Zurich then overnight in a Zurich hotel before joining a train to Vienna.  The return includes the option of train travel from Amsterdam via Brussels to London St Pancras.
Priced from £2,852 per person.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Seabourn to offer exclusive tours to World Heritage sites as part of UNESCO partnership

As part of Seabourn’s newly formed partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the cruise line is offering excursions to over 160 World Heritage sites around the globe including a number of exclusive Discovery Tours only available on a Seabourn cruise.
Example Discovery Tours include: The Great Barrier Reef, Cairns: Travel by luxury reef boat to the world’s richest marine habitat, accompanied exclusively by a UNESCO guest speaker and a marine biologist. Guests will enjoy talks on the reef’s history, complex ecosystems and conservation projects as well as one-on-one discussions throughout the day. 

Taj Mahal and Jaipur mid-cruise journey: The five day mid-cruise exclusive experience includes a visit to the world famous Taj Mahal. Considered to be the greatest achievement of Indo-Islamic architecture, Seabourn guests will enjoy guided visits to the iconic palace at both sunrise and sunset. The Discovery Tour will also include visits to the charming town of Agra, Jaipur and its regal city palace as well as the bustling city of Delhi.

The Alhambra, Malaga  (above):  As one of the world’s most beautiful collections of building and gardens, Seabourn guests will enjoy a guided tour of the Royal Palace, Generalife Gardens and the Fortress of Alcazaba. Dating back to the 14th century, 

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Beat the January blues with a Virgin cruise

Seven-night Dubai and the Emirates cruise on MSC Orchestra from £859pp
Virgin Holidays Cruises offers a seven night  Emirates on MSC Orchestra from Dubai calling at Abu Dhabi, Khor Al Fakkan, Muscat and Khasab. Price is per person based on two adults travelling, sharing an inside cabin on a full-board basis and includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow and transfers. Based on 2 January departure.

14-night Orlando stay and Caribbean cruise on Carnival Sunshine from £899pp
Virgin Holidays Cruises offers seven nights at the Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando on a room only basis, before joining Carnival Sunshine for seven nights from Port Canaveral, calling at Cozumel, Mahogany Bay and Costa Maya. Price is per person based on two adults travelling and sharing an inside cabin on a full-board basis and includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick and car hire.  Based on 24 January departure.

13-night New York stay and Eastern Caribbean cruise on Quantum of the Seas from £1,699pp
Virgin Holidays Cruises offers three nights at the Hotel Beacon in New York on a room-only basis, before joining Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, for 10 nights from Cape Liberty, calling at San Juan, Charlotte Amalie, Bassetterre and Philipsburg. Price is per person based on two adults travelling and sharing an inside cabin on a full-board basis and includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow (including free Little Red connections) and transfers.  Based on 20 January departure on.

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Best December cruise deals from Iglu and MSC

Iglu Cruise are offering a range of Mediterranean deals with MSC Cruises in the closing months of this year and early 2015. Prices start at £399pp for 7 nights. Two examples are:
14 December  (7 nights) on MSC Splendina
Ports of Call: Flight from the UK, Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Palermo, La Goulette, Barcelona, Marseilles. Inside cabins from £399. 
6 December (7 nights)   on MSC Armonia
Ports of Call: Flight from the UK, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Puerto del Rosario, Funchal, Santa Cruz de la Palma.  Inside cabins from £429.

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Indonesian islands and Asian cities with Voyages to Antiquity

Voyages to Antiquity offer this cruise beginning with a 3-night hotel stay in Bali, guests will have plenty of time to explore the 'Island of the Gods'. They will also see the Barong dancers, the wood-carvers in Mas, as well as the bathing pools and holy springs of Guning Kawi. Visiting Java highlights the  Borobudur, the Mountain of Statues – said to be the equal of the Parthenon. From there it’s on to modern and historical Singapore for a city tour, then coastal Kuantan in Malaysia.

Sailing up the Saigon river on Aegean Odyssey to the heart of Ho Chi Minh City guests have an overnight stay and then tour the city and its surroundings before moving on to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Guest finally, disembark in the centre of Bangkok for a 2-night hotel stay, enabling them to explore the city before your flying home. 

This 3-week holiday comes with no hidden extras - shore excursions, hotels, flights, gratuities on board. Solo travellers can just add £250! Cruise departs 1 February 2015.  21 days From £2,995pp

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Veranda Suite upgrades on Seabourn sailing with Troubleshooter Lord Digby Jones

Seabourn is offering Veranda Suite upgrades on its 16-day Jewels of India and Arabia sailing in March 2015.   As part of the Seabourn Conversations enrichment programme, guests onboard will be joined by Lord Digby Jones who will be sharing his insight and knowledge during a series of talks.  Lord Jones will be sharing anecdotes from his career in business and politics, spanning several decades. Guests onboard the 16-day sailing will also visit the lively island of Phuket, tropical Goan beaches and cosmopolitan Dubai.

Join Seabourn Odyssey (above) on a 16-day Jewels of India and Arabia fly/cruise from £5,009 per person (based on two people sharing a Veranda suite upgraded from an Oceanview suite).
Price includes flights from London Heathrow, transfers and a 16-day cruise departing from Singapore and calling at Phuket, Cochin, Marmagao, Mumbai, Muscat and Khor al Fakkan before arriving into Dubai for the flight home.  Price is based on 23 March 2015 departure.

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