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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Crystal Cruises 2020 World Cruise




Luxury line announces details of 25th World Cruise, featuring varied and captivating Southern Hemisphere locales

Embarking on a comprehensive exploration of the Southern Hemisphere from Miami to Rome, Crystal Serenity’s 2020 World Cruise offers travellers a journey filled with tropical havens, ancient treasures and modern marvels.


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Boutique Cruise Ship, Azamara Journey, Returns to Sydney

#cruising



·         Third Australian season and biggest year yet for the boutique cruise line
·         2017/18 season expected to inject $3.5 million into the Australian economy
·         Visit part of line's first ever Australian 'Country-Intensive' voyage

Boutique, up-market cruise line Azamara Club Cruises returns to Sydney at 2pm today when the recently revitalised 690-guest Azamara Journey berths at White Bay for an overnight call, with guests from 17 countries onboard.

Azamara Journey's first visit to Sydney for the summer – part of the line's third season down under – is expected to inject around $1.2 million into the NSW economy during just two days in passenger spend alone, and $3.5 million into the Australian economy throughout the season.

Pic: Tim Faircloth

Journey's arrival in Sydney marks the completion of the line's first ever Australian Country-Intensive cruise, an 18-night voyage from Bali to Australia via the west and south coast for Australia. Along the way, Azamara Journey made maiden calls to Geraldton, Albany, Esperance and Fremantle in WA, as well as Kangaroo Island and Adelaide in SA.

Azamara Journey will offer four Australia and New Zealand cruises during the summer, including the line's first ever World Journey, departing Sydney on 7 March 2018. The 102-night cruise odyssey from Sydney to London will call at 60 ports in 29 countries along the way, including 19 late nights and 13 overnight stays throughout.

2018 will see Azamara Club Cruises mark its biggest year in Australia when the boutique cruise line brings both Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest down under, with Azamara Quest cruising the west coast of Australia in December 2018, making maiden calls at Broome and Exmouth and arriving in time for special New Year's celebrations in Sydney Harbour. Quest will also make the line's first turnaround in Melbourne in early 2019.

With smaller ships that can go places larger cruise ships can't, Azamara differentiates itself by making destinations the star of the show. The line stays longer in port than most larger ships, and offers more immersive itineraries that visit lesser-known ports, attracting an up-market, adventurous clientele.

Azamara Journey arrives into port at 2pm during an 18-Night Australian Country-Intensive voyage from Bali to Sydney, and will remain docked overnight, before departing at 6pm on 8 February 2018 on a 14-night Tasmania and New Zealand voyage.

To make a booking or for further information visit www.azamaraclubcruises.com.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

NCL Norwegian Jewel local season brochure featuring Australia, New Zealand, Asia and South Pacific




Norwegian Cruise Line has recently released its 2018/19 Norwegian Jewel local season brochure, featuring an array of Australia, New Zealand, Asia and South Pacific cruises departing from 17 September 2018 – 4 March 2019. Norwegian Jewel will be returning to our waters for her second local season fresh from a multi-million-dollar bow-to-stern refurbishment as part of the Norwegian Edge™ revitalisation program.

Taking in stunning native destinations such as Cairns, Hobart, Milford Sounds and Tauranga, cruisers can also explore breathtaking sailings to Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and a once in a lifetime Trans-Pacific voyage from Vancouver to Tokyo. New itineraries include a 19-day sailing from Singapore to Sydney; a seven-day sailing soaking up the sights of Tasmania and a 13-day sailing of South Pacific must-sees including ports across New Caledonia and Queensland, returning via Cairns, Airlie Beach and Cairns.

For further information on Norwegian Cruise Line visit www.ncl.com

Monday, 22 January 2018

MSC Cruises introduces MSC Lirica to the UAE with new itineraries to India



A Far-east adventure with MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises introduces MSC Lirica to the UAE with new longer itineraries and calls to India

Geneva, Switzerland – MSC Cruises, the world's largest privately-owned cruise line, is enhancing its range of cruises from the United Arab Emirates with the introduction of a second ship, MSC Lirica. Featuring new extended cruises of 11 night and 14 nights, MSC Lirica will be making her debut in the UAE in November 2018, offering longer itineraries, two overnight stays in Dubai, as well as cruises to India for the very first time. This addition offers guests the opportunity for extended winter cruise holidays, and the chance to discover yet more new and exotic destinations.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises' CEO, expressed his enthusiasm saying: "This will be our seventh season in the UAE and we have seen strong demand for our quality product offering from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A strong Fly&Cruise programme means that guests from all around the world are able to enjoy this popular cruise region. Our modern ships and distinctive, quality cruise experience are an appealing way for holidaymakers to explore the rich and diverse experiences that the UAE can offer."

Mr Onorato continued, "Introducing India to MSC Cruises' Winter 18/19 itineraries demonstrates how our significant investment plan is enabling us to expand our global footprint and establish a presence in a high-potential market, one that we expect to grow considerably over the coming years."

Discover the Delights of India

This year, for the first time, MSC Cruises will offer its guests cruises to India from Dubai. Guests will call at bustling Abu Dhabi, followed by the picturesque Muscat, before crossing the Arabian Sea and calling in Mumbai – the front door to India. Teeming with energy and excitement, Mumbai is a place where cultures collide. Lose yourself in some of the grandest colonial architecture India has to offer, or take a cool-dive into the many bazaars and hidden temples around every corner. The voyage also offers the chance to escape from it all whilst watching the sun go down across the uninterrupted stretch of golden beaches in Goa, as well as the opportunity to discover the hidden gems of Mangalore. From fragrant, bustling vibrancy to utter tranquillity, expect an Indian experience like no other aboard MSC Lirica.

Extended Winter Sun

For those searching for a longer getaway in the winter sun, MSC Cruises' 11-night itineraries from Dubai and Abu Dhabi will provide the perfect escape. There is a range of beautiful beach locations en route. Sir Bani Yas, a unique island beach oasis, exclusive to MSC Cruises on the days it calls, offers guests pristine beaches, water activities and access to the region's largest nature reserve. The Pearl-Qatar, Doha's stunning man-made island, spans a million square metres and is home to beaches, a wide range of shopping and over 100 bars and restaurants. Khasab, Oman is one of the most striking cities on the Arabian Peninsula, where turquoise water cools the warm beaches on the shores of its impressive and historic fort. Manama, Bahrain's charming capital, is a metropolis abuzz with culture and intrigue where modern skyscrapers stand with historic buildings.  See itineraries here.

More time to explore

MSC Cruises is also introducing two overnight stays in Dubai as part of its new itineraries, allowing guests an extended amount of time to explore the delights of this cosmopolitan port. Guests will have the chance to take in the sights of the legendary night skyline, from the luxury of MSC Lirica. Beyond this, MSC Lirica passengers will witness the night sky in Muscat. Watch the sun go down over the domes and minarets of this historic port city – an evening to truly remember.

Shore Excursions for Every Port

MSC Cruises is committed to offering guests a wide range of quality shore excursions to enhance their experience at every port. Booking an excursion through MSC Cruises is stress-free and guests that book excursions in advance will also benefit from a 20% discount.  Some of the highlights of the shore excursions on MSC Lirica include:

·        Dubai - EXCLUSIVE DUBAI: BURJ KHALIFA & LUNCH AT BURJ AL ARAB    

This excursion takes in some of the most iconic symbols of Dubai, from Dubai Mall, to the world's tallest building, the incredible Burj Al Khalifa, to world-renowned seven-star luxury hotel Burj Al Arab, and the man-made, palm-shaped Palm Jumeirah. Take a break from the glamour to visit Dubai's famous gold souk, and experience Dubai's traditional way of life.

·        Abu Dhabi - THE LOUVRE MUSEUM & ABU DHABI EXPLORATION      

Fondly referred to as the "Manhattan of Arabia," this sightseeing tour allows guests many photo opportunities across the city, finishing up at the incredible new Louvre Abu Dhabi, the largest art museum on the Arabian Peninsula.

·        Bahrain - BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT IN A 4X4  

Here, guests 4x4 through the Bahrain International Circuit in the heart of the Sakhir Desert. Take a 4x4 to the limit over man-made and natural obstacles. One for the true adventurer.

·        Muscat - MYSTICAL MUSCAT    

This excursion allows guests to commune with Oman's spiritual and cultural heritage, on a tour from the Grand Mosque, through to old Muscat and the Muttrah Souk, a traditional Omani market. Guests will also stop at the Bait Al Zubair Museum, to discover archaeological finds, as well as viewing the traditional dress and jewellery of Oman.

·        Qatar – DESERT SAFARI AND RELAX AT THE BEACH

To understand Qatar's singularity, a trip through its surrounding desert is a must. Experience an exhilarating ride as across the rolling sand dunes, and end up at Gulf Adventure camp; an oasis of tranquillity located in the Arabian desert, kissed by the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf.

·        Goa - CROCODILES, MANGROVE & RIVER CRUISE  

Here, guests will discover Goa's verdant landscape on this one-of-kind river cruise. Head down to the mangroves where the Cumbarjua River flows; the impressive birdlife and freshwater crocodiles are a sight to remember.

·        Mumbai - OVERLAND TO THE TAJ MAHAL      

Over the course of three days, this tour takes guests through Mumbai, New Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra – home to the breath-taking Taj Mahal – and Cochin. With two nights in luxury hotels, experience an express tour through some of India's most famous and memorable landmarks.

·        New Mangalore - Jain & Udupi Temples

This tour takes guests to visit the famous Jain temples of Mangalore. From the 15th Century Moodbidiri temple, to Udupi's Krishna Temple, these ancient temples are a unique immersion into India's heritage. 

A Grand Adventure!

For those seeking even more adventure, the Grand Voyages offer a unique opportunity to traverse the historic Suez Canal. MSC Lirica departs Venice, Italy on 2nd November and arrives in Dubai on 18th November.

MSC Lirica is offering cruises starting from either Dubai or Abu Dhabi starting from just $1,139pp*. Totally refurbished as part of MSC Cruises' €200 million Renaissance Programme, MSC Lirica represents the height of style and comfort at sea. This modern ship will offer fine dining options with the best of Mediterranean and International cuisines, exclusive, world-class entertainment, unparalleled family facilities, luxurious pampering and wellness and accommodation to meet every need.

MSC Splendida will also be based in the UAE for Winter 18/19 offering 7 night cruises with two embarkation ports – Dubai on Saturday and Abu Dhabi on Sunday. MSC Splendida features the MSC Yacht Club. Designed for the most discerning guests who desire exclusivity and privacy but with a world of choice. The MSC Yacht Club is an innovative "ship within a ship" design concept, as it offers an entirely self-contained area on the foredecks of the ship providing sweeping sea views with a range of private facilities including a pool, solarium and a dedicated restaurant. 

For any further detail on the updated itineraries from MSC Cruises, please visit: msccruises.com.au

Saturday, 20 January 2018

MSC Cruises: I do like to be aboard the Seaside





Cruise expert, Roderick Eime, travels to Miami to inspect one of the newest and largest cruise ships in the world. The MSC Seaside has certainly set tongues wagging.

 "Ugly!"
"Is that a ship or an office block?"
"Too big!"

These were some of the frank comments on my Facebook page when I posted pictures of the brand new MSC Seaside from when I attended its public debut in Miami last December.

Now, I get that not everyone likes a ship this big and it's certainly not my usual choice when it comes to cruising, but I was intrigued with this vessel, particularly as it was the first in a brand new class of advanced technology ship from this ebullient Italian family-owned shipping and cruise line.

MSC Seaside brings to 14, the number of modern (and modernised) cruise ships in the world's largest privately-owned fleet. She is the first in a new class of vessel and part of MSC Cruises' rapid expansion plans that include the 5714-passenger MSC Meraviglia, which entered service in June last year and the forthcoming 200,000GRT, LNG-powered World Class, due on the water beginning 2022. MSC Cruises certainly adheres to the motto 'big is beautiful' with more and bigger launches planned over the next few years. Her sister ship, MSC Seaview, is due this year and will embark on Mediterranean cruises.

First off, there is no getting away from the size of the 323m long, 72m high MSC Seaside. She will carry more than 5000 guests in luxury, feed them in 11 separate dining venues, relax them in 20 bars and lounges, cool them in 6 pools and entertain them in a 1000-seat theatre.

But as if prepared for our scrutiny, MSC is at the forefront when it comes to new, environmentally-friendly technology. Power-saving LED lighting is widely used throughout the ship. All waste water is filtered and recycled, resulting in zero effluent discharge to the sea. Scrubbers are installed to neutralise the most harmful of exhaust gas emissions.

"We build our ships to exceed all the most stringent regulations," CEO Gianni Onorato told me when our little group cornered him in the exclusive Yacht Club bar, "The sea is our environment and all of us at MSC bring a personal commitment to protecting it."

It could be argued that despite her size, the environmental impact per guest is less than many of the current (regular sized) cruise ships with older, less sophisticated technology.

Apart from her sheer size, the polarising factor seems to be the radical new prototype design of her superstructure which is intended to provide an atmosphere reminiscent of the famous Miami Beach condos. MSC Seaside will be based year-round in Miami, hence her descriptive tagline "the ship that follows the sun" and her eye-popping appearance.

It's the aft superstructure in particular where twin towers rise above a large pool deck that is just a few floors above the waterline and is part of a low-level promenade that encircles the ship. Two glass elevators provide access between that Deck 7 area and the other main 'Aqua Park' pool area way up on Deck 16. Two glass-floored catwalks and a 40m high 'Bridge of Sighs' give guests a truly breathtaking view of the ocean.

The ship's design also features a wide promenade lined with bars and restaurants on Deck 8, that's likewise designed to put people closer to the sea. MSC Seaside will offer the brand's distinctive entertainment program with innovative, high production value shows as well as a host of new international dining concepts, including the signature Asian Market Kitchen from renowned Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi. Other foodie highlights include a fancy seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay, a good ol' American-style steakhouse, the Butcher's Cut and a chic French bistro, La Bohème.

Guests can count on outstanding facilities for families such as the Lego-themed areas for kids up to 12. Teens can enjoy a wide array of electronic and arcade-style games including a full-scale Formula 1 simulator - that they may have to jostle with eager adults to drive. There's a twin cable zipline across the top deck that is the longest aboard any ship.

MSC Seaside includes the exclusive MSC Yacht Club elevated to a whole new level. The Yacht Club concept has become one of the benchmark luxury offerings throughout the cruise industry and creates a serene 'members only' enclave within the ship with dedicated facilities such as spa, sundeck, restaurant, bar and superb suites with private whirlpool baths.

MSC Seaside will sail from a newly expanded and dedicated terminal in Miami on 7- and 14-night Itineraries that will naturally be Caribbean in nature. Ports of call include Nassau in the Bahamas, Cozumel in Mexico, the Cayman Islands, San Juan in Puerto Rico and St Maarten among others.

Cruising is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of leisure travel, not just in Australia, but all over the world. The choice is yours whether big is your bag when it comes to ship choice, but you can be assured that these new wave of mega-liners from MSC Cruises will provide onboard activities and entertainment like never before at prices everyone can afford and with a firm acknowledgement that with such size comes responsibility for the environment.

For full information and itineraries on all MSC Cruise ships and destinations, see your local cruise specialist travel agent or visit www.msccruises.com.au

The writer travelled as a guest of MSC Cruises

Images: Roderick Eime and supplied.

Images

  • At sea
  • Fireworks
  • Lavish Stage Shows
  • Music in the Atrium
  • Ocean Cay Restaurant
  • The Zip Line
  • Towering scenes aft


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Exclusive Last Minute Savings on a Selection of Silversea Asia Voyages




Silversea Cruises is delighted to offer last minute savings on a fascinating selection of Asia voyages*, on departures from now until 25 April 2018 aboard Silver Shadow.  When booking on participating voyages* by 15 March 2018, guests will receive a one-category upgrade and US$1,000 on-board credit per suite.  For guests who are booking and paying in full by 31 January 2018, they can also look forward to receiving Free Business Class Air.**

Guests can choose voyages ranging from nine to 15 days, which explore an array of exotic locations including Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.  Guests will explore a fascinating contrast of new and old, from skyscrapers towering over stone-carved temples to bullet trains speeding past rice paddies and tea plantations.  Even the most discerning traveller will be fascinated by gilded shrines, floating markets, sampans in mist-shrouded harbours and harvested rice left to dry in the sun.

Amber Wilson, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Silversea Cruises said:

"Asia presents possibilities to the curious traveller and, with a range of new ports and new excursion options in Asia; we provide our guests with truly authentic experiences and offer more choice than ever before.  With our exclusive, bespoke itineraries including a selection of small group excursions, we unlock the deeper experiences in luxury.  Our voyages to Asia deliver 'intimate luxury', creating cherished memories and giving travellers a whole new perspective.  With such fantastic offers available, we encourage our guests to move quickly to secure their place as these voyages only have a very limited availability."

Featured Voyages*:

V3804: Guests will depart Singapore on 11 February 2018 on an 11-day roundtrip.  Highlights of this voyage include discovering: the largest temple complex in Southeast Asia in Penang; the lure of Phuket's pristine beaches; Yangon's glimmering Shwedagon Pagoda by candlelight; and the cultural mélange of Kuala Lumpur.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$9,300 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

V3805: Departing Singapore on 22 February 2018, guests will enjoy a 9-day voyage to Hong Kong.  Highlights include: immersing in Ho Chi Minh City, a dizzying fusion of busy, bustling, thriving commerce and culture; watching a sunset over the startling Notre-Dame Basilica, made entirely of materials imported from France during the 19th century; before enjoying an overnight in mystical Ha Long Bay.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$8,200 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

V3806: Setting sail from Hong Kong on 3 March 2018, guests will depart on a 10-day voyage to Singapore.  From lush rainforests to urban jungles, guests will see the spectrum of the South Pacific, whilst discovering the beauty and culture of Malaysia and the Philippines.  Highlights include: exploring the Sultanate of Brunei; enjoying a mangrove river safari to see the fun-loving orangutan; visiting a water village in Sandakan; and wandering the cobblestone streets of Old Manila.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$9,000 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

V3807: Departing Singapore on 13 March 2018 on a 12-day round trip, guests will discover cosmopolitan cityscapes and unspoiled seascapes on this captivating journey to Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.  Highlights include: colonial architecture and the world's largest fountain; Buddhist relics and a village of traditional Melakan houses; and the philosophy behind Thai cuisine.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$8,200 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

V3808: Departing Singapore on 25 March 2018, guests will enjoy a 9-day voyage to Hong Kong during which they will discover the epic splendour of Vietnam.  Guests will discover: the natural beauty of Ha Long Bay; the manmade artistry of sacred temples and pagodas; the stunning beat of rice terraces and secluded beaches; and the wonderfully chaotic Ho Chi Minh City.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$8,400 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

V3809: Setting sail from Hong Kong on 3 April 2018, Silver Shadow will depart on an 11-day voyage to Singapore.  From Manila and Coron in the Philippines to Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, the wildlife, heritage, water villages and beaches of the South China Sea will delight all guests travelling on-board.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$9,700 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

V3810: Departing Singapore on 14 April 2018 guests will enjoy an 11-day sailing to Hong Kong.  This voyage, which encompasses visits to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City,and Chan May truly embodies the mind, spirit and soul of the region.  Top chefs from the Peninsula Hotel groups show off their culinary expertise of the region on this voyage, making this journey a trip to Asia that is profound, absolute and delicious.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$9,100 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

V3811: Departing Hong Kong on 25 April 2018, guests will enjoy a 15-day voyage to Tokyo. Highlights include the epic cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Osaka.  Cruise package fares start from AUD$12,600 per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

For those looking for a shorter Asian voyage, a number of segments are also available, ranging from six to eight days. Fares for a six day sailing from Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong departing on 28 March 2018, start from just AU$3,700 per person.

*Voyages and special offers are subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com

**In the case that Business Class air Promotional Flights are not available, a AUD$2,000 Air credit is applicable.


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Cruise1st: New Spice Route with India’s Golden Triangle

 
Explore the exotic wonders of the New Spice Route and India's famed Golden Triangle aboard Sapphire Princess on a 19-night fly-tour-cruise package with Cruise1st.

The package includes return flights from Australia to Delhi on 10th November 2018. After arriving in Delhi, travellers will embark on a six-night/seven-day fully escorted tour of the Golden Triangle, with highlights including Old and New Delhi; the magnificent Taj Mahal and Agra Fort in Agra; and the Palace of the Winds and the City Palace in the 'pink city', Jaipur.

After arriving back in Delhi for a night you will then fly to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a night's accommodation before embarking on your vessel Sapphire Princess for an 11-night cruise taking in famed port stops including Cochin, India; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before arriving in Singapore on 28th November for your return flight back to Australia.

The Sapphire Princess will keep you entertained from morning to night with a multitude of restaurants and bars, nightclubs, entertainment, mini-golf, swimming pools, spa and more. An elegant, traditional afternoon tea is served daily in the main dining room.

Departing from Australia on 10th November 2018, the package is priced from $3,699* per person twin share from Sydney. The package includes all flights, the exclusive fully-escorted Golden Triangle land tour, one-night's accommodation in Dubai and all meals and entertainment onboard the cruise.

For more information call 1300 596 345 or visit www.cruise1st.com.au.

*Terms & conditions apply. Subject to availability. Restrictions may apply. Prices are per person, twin share based on an inside stateroom. Prices and specified hotels subject to change at any time.