Get Cruising!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Royal Caribbean's New Features On Worlds Largest Cruise Ship: Symphony Of The Seas

Royal Caribbean International has announced the incredible new features debuting on Symphony of the Seas, the cruise ship taking the title of world's biggest when it launches in March 2018.

The new features will join the line-up of Royal Caribbean' exclusives – such as robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar; the iconic AquaTheater showcasing high-flying, high diving performances; and the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea - all set in the unique seven-neighborhood concept of the award-winning Oasis-class ships.

New additions include:

Ultimate Family Suite – this two-level interactive suite will debut eye-popping features, including an exclusive slide from the kid's only bedroom down to the living room below, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table and hidden nooks for chilling.  There's also a separate 3D movie theatre-style TV room, complete with popcorn machine and a library of video games across multiple gaming systems. A 212 square foot wrap-around balcony touts a bumper pool table, a climbing experience and a full-size whirlpool. The Ultimate Family Suite spans 125 square metres accommodating a family of up to eight in two bedrooms. Guests in the Ultimate Family Suite will also have their own personal Genie to take care of their every need while enjoying all the services and premium amenities of the Royal Suite Class. The suite joins the wide variety of contemporary suite accommodations available throughout the ship, from the Loft Suites to the multi-room Owner's Suites.

The world's largest laser tag arena - for thrilling live action adventure at sea, guests can gear up for an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience like no other. State-of-the-art technology and special effects will transform Studio B into the world's largest and ultimate laser tag arena as family, friends and foes battle over the fate of the last planet in the galaxy.

Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – spanning the length of the ship's Boardwalk, this vibrant sports bar and arcade will be the place to watch the "big game" from around the world across 30 big-screen TVs. It's also set to be a hot spot for families to enjoy wings, burgers and craft beer on draft, as well as friendly competitions of Ms. Pacman, Star Wars Battle Pod, Ice Skeeball and other popular games

Sugar Beach candy and ice-cream shop with colourful candy-packed walls and tempting ice cream and toppings galore will also offer family-friendly activities for aspirational bakers.

Hooked, Royal Caribbean's first New England-style seafood restaurant, featuring fresh seafood and a robust raw bar complete with oysters shucked to order will be located at the front of the ship in the Solarium. The new restaurant will be added to an already diverse lineup of more than 20 specialty and complimentary restaurants across the ship's seven neighborhoods.

El Loco Fresh will offer mouth-watering made-to-order tacos, burritos and other popular Mexican fare. The open-air restaurant will seat more than 100 guests in the Sports Zone. The cruise line's signature culinary favourites, including Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park with its American seasonal menu, Park Café and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, also will introduce refreshed designs and new menu specialties on Symphony, offering guests the widest choice and variety of dining options.

"Flight" – a historical satire on the evolution of air travel that ends with homage to the famed Wright Brothers will join headliner and Royal Caribbean favourite, "Hairspray" in the Royal Theatre.

"HiRo" – will debut in the iconic AquaTheater open-air amphitheatre, offering serious wow factor with high-flying diving and acrobatics.

"1977" - high-tech ice-skating show in Studio B will bring guests to London on the eve of the Queen's Silver Jubilee when her Crown Jewels are stolen in the heist of the century.

Puzzle Break – located in the Youth Zone, this new experience will see teams race against the clock, learning to work together towards a common goal to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

Redesigned check-in experience - eliminates lines and bypasses the counter. The new process will leverage a combination of facial recognition, bar codes and beacons to make boarding fast and frictionless.  Guests will check-in via the brand's new mobile app and seamlessly upload their security "selfie" to create their onboard account from the comfort of home. Upon arrival, guests will go through a security screening and then head straight to their stateroom where their key will be ready and waiting. In addition to mobile check-in, Symphony will feature all of the pioneering and award-winning guest technology the brand is known for, including VOOM – the fastest internet at sea, state-of-the-art wayfinding and virtual balconies.

Symphony of the Seas will claim the title of the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in April 2018 for her inaugural season in Europe. The architectural marvel will accommodate more balcony staterooms overlooking the open ocean and legendary Boardwalk and Central Park neighbourhoods than her popular sister ship Harmony of the Seas.

"We're excited to introduce Symphony of the Seas, our boldest composition yet, offering the best of Royal Caribbean with some new surprises for our guests to create a vacation that adventurers of all ages can enjoy together," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We set out to create a new level of vacation adventure and deliver the ultimate escape for families of all shapes and sizes. Symphony will introduce the most cutting-edge, customizable, and digitally-enhanced experiences in the Royal Caribbean fleet."

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, Symphony of the Seas will set sail in April 2018 kicking off a summer season in the Mediterranean calling on ports in Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. Beginning 24 November 2018, the adventure-packed ship will make Miami, FL her year-round home, sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages from the state-of-the-art new Terminal A at Port Miami. Symphony of the Seas will span 16 guest decks, encompass more than 230,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,500 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,774 staterooms.

For more information about Symphony of the Seas, visit


MSC updated Caribbean itineraries

MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe and South America, has announced updated Caribbean itineraries. These updates have come due to the recent tragic weather events that have affected populations as well as individual destinations across the region, including Philipsburg (St Maarten), Road Town (British Virgin Islands), and Roseau (Dominica).

MSC Cruises remains committed to the Caribbean as a destination, with the continued operation of four ships over the next months, and the introduction of a fifth ship, MSC Seaside, from December. MSC Cruises has been working closely with officials, governments and other entities in the affected areas of the Caribbean in order to make an appropriate assessment about both existing destinations and those being introduced. Additionally, it will continue to work hand-in-hand with relevant parties to monitor and assess on an ongoing basis the availability of destinations that are not currently accessible.

In the meantime, guests sailing in the Caribbean aboard MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia and MSC Seaside will experience an updated array of alternative Caribbean destinations for their cruise holiday. Highlights of updated itineraries, by ship, are as follows:

MSC Divina

MSC Divina, on the three Eastern Caribbean itineraries departing from Miami on 30 September, 14 October and 28 October and that formerly included Philipsburg (St Maarten) and San Juan (Puerto Rico), will now cruise the following West Caribbean itinerary:

·        Miami/Florida (USA)
·        At sea
·        Montego Bay (Jamaica)
·        George Town (Cayman Islands)
·        Costa Maya (Mexico)
·        At sea
·        Nassau (Bahamas)
·        Miami/Florida (USA)

Starting with the itinerary departing from Miami on November 11, on 7-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries, MSC Divina will now call at St John (Antigua and Barbuda), instead of at Philipsburg (St Maarten).

For MSC Divina long-cruises departing from Miami in January and February 2018:

·        Departing 03 January 2018: the ship will call at Oranjestad (Aruba) and Willemstad (Curaçao) instead of at Road Town/Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and Basseterre (St Kitts & Nevis)
·        Departing 25 January 2018: San Juan (Puerto Rico) will replace Philipsburg (St Maarten)
·        Departing 15 February 2018: the ship will call at San Juan (Puerto Rico), Bridgetown (Barbados) and Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe) instead of at Philipsburg (St Maarten), Road Town/Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and St John (Antigua and Barbuda)

MSC Fantasia: 25 November – 31 March 2018

On the 7-night itineraries from Forte de France (Martinique) and Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe), MSC Fantasia will now call at La Romana (Dominican Republic), instead of at Road Town/Tortola (British Virgin Islands), and at Basseterre (St Kitts & Nevis), instead of at Roseau (Dominica), while spending an additional day at sea instead of calling at Philipsburg (St Maarten).

MSC Seaside: 23 December – 17 March 2018

On her Eastern Caribbean itineraries departing from Miami, MSC Seaside will now call at St John (Antigua and Barbuda), instead of at Philipsburg (St Maarten).

Furthermore, the itineraries of MSC Opera and MSC Armonia, serving the Caribbean from Havana (Cuba) remain unchanged and will continue to call at attractive destinations including Montego Bay, Georgetown and Cozumel.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

30-Day Countdown to Norwegian Jewel’s Inaugural Australian Season

Norwegian Cruise Line is set to begin its inaugural Australian season from Sydney in just 30 days, as Norwegian Jewel sails into Sydney Harbour for the first time on November 12 before embarking on a five-day 'Taste of Tasmania' cruise departing the same evening.

During her November 2017 to February 2018 local season, Norwegian Jewel will undertake nine exciting sailings visiting iconic ports around Australia and New Zealand, before making her way to Singapore.  Norwegian Jewel's local Australian season will also include seven Sydney round-trip itineraries.

Other highlight itineraries include a nine-day voyage taking in regional gems such as Eden, Kangaroo Island and Tasmania's Burnie, departing 14 December 2017, and a series of ten to 16-day Australia & New Zealand itineraries departing between November 2017 and February 2018 – taking in breathtaking destinations like Milford Sound and Bay of Islands.

Hosting up to 2,376 guests with personalised attention from 1,069 crew, Norwegian Jewel has an array of on board activities for all ages, including seven specialty dining venues, nine complimentary restaurants, and 15 bars and lounges, as well as a poolside bar for afternoon cocktails at sea.

On board guests will be treated to Norwegian Jewel's award-winning entertainment at sea, including Australia's own dance production Burn the Floor. Outdoor activities will get the heart pumping, while those looking to dial down the pace can enjoy pampering treatments to feel relaxed and rejuvenated at the Mandara Spa and Spa Thermal Suite.

For an indulgent accommodation experience, Norwegian Jewel's ultra-exclusive 'The Haven by Norwegian' is home to the line's most luxurious, well-appointed suites and villas, spas and pools, as well as dedicated concierge services.

From interconnecting rooms for families, balcony suites and villas offering spectacular coastal views, guests still have the opportunity to book and be part of the first local season aboard one of the biggest and best names in international cruising.

For last minute bookings and enquiries, call Norwegian's local hotline, Australia: 1300 255 200, New Zealand: 0800 969 283, email: or visit


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Carnival Cruise Line sails to Melbourne Cup

Race-goers looking to kick off the fun of Melbourne Cup early and turn the iconic day into a fun-filled holiday can set sail on Carnival Spirit Sunday 5 November 2017 and travel from Sydney to Melbourne and back in style.
For 6 nights, passengers will experience a range of racing activities, including tips from racing experts, a fashion parade, sweepstakes and General Admission tickets to Flemington Racecourse, to help make the event more memorable.
A number of extra special guests will also sail to Melbourne, please see an overview below:

Television presenter, Erica Davis, will provide expert fashion tips onboard alongside Melbourne based stylist and boutique owner Trish G.
Queensland Racing Hall of Fame and Melbourne Cup winning jockey, Larry Olsen, as well as legendary race caller, John Tapp, will be onboard sharing their love of the sport and provide tips and tricks for a successful Melbourne Cup.

Larry Olsen, who won the Melbourne Cup in 1987 on a horse called Kensei says, "I'm very excited to cruise with Carnival to the Melbourne Cup this year.  It'll be fantastic to feel the energy onboard ahead of the day, see guests making new friends and bonding over the sport, and share tips with the top Melbourne Cup fans."
For those who've missed the opportunity to sail this year, you can snap up tickets for the 2018 Melbourne Cup Cruise here:

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Cruise Month Sets Sail Down Under with an Ocean of Deals

The world’s largest cruise promotion has begun and with the latest research showing that Australians love to cruise and they love a deal, the nation is bracing for a holiday booking frenzy.

All over the world October is Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) annual Plan a Cruise Month promotion and in its second year, the month-long industry-wide promotion is set to be bigger and better with local and international cruise lines offering a range of promotions to encourage holidaymakers to make their next holiday a cruise.

A recent poll by the world’s largest cruise site, Cruise Critic, found that finding a deal was the next biggest deciding factor for Australians and New Zealanders when booking a cruise, once the destination was decided. Some 40 per cent of respondents in the local poll looked for a deal, nearly 30 per cent focussed on convenient dates, 27 per cent turned to positive reviews and the remaining five per cent listened to family and friends’ recommendations.

“Price is a big deal for Aussies and Kiwis, especially first-time cruisers who aren’t ready to invest in a style of travel they’ve never tried before. But the most important thing is value – remember, a cruise fare includes your onboard accommodation and most of your food, activities and entertainment. Travel agents often have access to special deals so it pays to talk to someone who specialises in cruising and to research cruise websites,” Australia Editor Cruise Critic Louise Goldsbury said.

One of the fastest growing industries down under, the local ocean cruise market has experienced double digit growth over the past decade with nearly 1.3 million Australians taking a cruise each year, according to the latest figures from regional cruise industry body, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia.

With CLIA industry research also finding that more than eight out of ten travellers use a travel agent to plan and book a cruise holiday, CLIA Australasia & Asia Managing Director Joel Katz said using a CLIA accredited travel agent during Plan a Cruise Month was the best way to plan and book a cruise.

“Our latest research shows that one in 19 Australians are taking a holiday at sea each year, highlighting that ocean cruising is increasingly becoming the nation’s holiday of choice and Plan a Cruise Month is a great time to find out what all the excitement is about. Cruising is an easy, fun and great value way to travel, with guests only unpacking once while the world comes to them and even the cheapest cruises including main meals, accommodation, entertainment and transport in the fare. Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a solo sojourn or an all-in family holiday, there is a ship and an itinerary to suit and a CLIA accredited agent is in the best position to match holidaymakers with the right cruise holiday,” Mr Katz said.

For anyone considering their first cruise or keen to book their next, Mr Katz said October was the best time to plan a cruise with great value available across a range of ocean cruises.

From discounts to onboard credit, special cruise deals this October include:

  • Royal Caribbean is offering savings of up to 40 per cent and up to US$100 onboard credit during Plan a Cruise Month
  • Princess Cruises is offering savings of up to $2100 per stateroom on select cruises across Europe, Alaska, Asia, Japan, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific
  • Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a range of add ons for anyone who books a cruise of three nights or longer including a free beverage package, free specialty dining package, shore excursion credit, free wifi and a reduced rate for friends and family
  • Celebrity Cruises is offering a free Classic Beverage Package for two plus US$300 onboard credit per stateroom
  • MSC is offering 50 per cent off for the second passenger on select departures in the Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and repositioning cruises.
  • Plan a Cruise Month takes place each October with CLIA offices around the world working with CLIA accredited agents and CLIA member cruise lines to promote cruise holidays.

Ensuring October is officially becoming known as ‘cruise month’ down under, the month also marks the start of the cruise season in Australia with the first international ships arriving for the summer. This season Australia will see around 60 ships cruising local waters.

For more information about Cruise Month or to find a CLIA accredited agent please visit

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Azamara Club Cruises Announces Expansion Of Boutique Fleet


Boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises has announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

"We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them."

The new addition, Azamara Pursuit, is comparable in size to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. As such, it will also allow visits to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand's commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.

The ship's décor will be updated to match the brand's upmarket position. These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea.

Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October. For additional information please visit

Monday, 25 September 2017

Cunard to add fourth ship to fleet

This investment is part of the company's ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally.

Carnival Corporation - the world's largest cruise company and parent of the Cunard brand - has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri, Italy, to build a new ship that will join the Cunard fleet in 2022.

The as yet unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet, the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.

The iconic cruise brand is going from strength to strength, having seen crowds of more than one million people gather in 2015 to celebrate the company's 175th anniversary.

Cunard has subsequently invested over £120 million refurbishing the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

Alongside an array of exciting new itineraries featuring new destinations and special event voyages for 2018 and 2019, Cunard has also continued to evolve the guest experience to meet the needs of the luxury consumer by introducing new bar and dining signatures, entertainment offerings and brand partners across the fleet.

Simon Palethorpe, senior vice president, Cunard, said: "We have only recently marked the 50th anniversary of one of Cunard's much loved ocean liners, the legendary QE2.

"What better way to celebrate her important role in Cunard's past than by announcing our commitment to Cunard's future with the commissioning of a new ship.

"Cunard offers unrivalled luxury ocean experiences and the new ship firmly underpins our plans to continue our growth across international markets."

Cunard will be revealing exciting details about the new ship during the course of 2018 and through to the ship's launch.

Cunard is a luxury British cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, owned by Carnival Corporation since 1998.

It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015.