Big Fat Cruise Wrap

It’s been a mighty big week in cruising, with deals, ships, parties and more. Catch up here.

Crystal + Travel Weekly make history


First cab off the rank is a big of a horn-tooting from us, and a thanks to everyone who tuned in to our very first live webinar, where our Magazine Editor Tara Harrison had a one-on-one chat with Crystal Senior Vice President & Managing Director Karen Christensen.

If you missed the webinar (and the codeword to win a cruise for two) then catch up here.

Explore Extraordinary Worlds in Seabourn Sale

Seabourn Sojourn

Seabourn has made it even more attractive to explore the world in ultra-luxury style with onboard spending money and air credits on offer to destinations around the globe in 2017 and 2018.

On sale until June 13, 2017, the “extraordinary worlds” promotion includes onboard spending money of up to US$1000 per suite, reduced deposits, and air credit to the value of A$600 per person on select sailings between June 2017 and September 2018.

Guests who book during the sale period will receive complimentary upgrades from ocean view suites to verandas, with upgrades also available up to three veranda suite categories higher depending on availability and fare paid.

Cruises are available in Alaska, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and New England, including an 11-day cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles on Seabourn Sojourn. Departing October 3, 2017, fares start from $5999* per person twin share for a veranda suite.

Silversea’s new Silver Muse introduces Zàgara Beauty Spa

silver muse spa

Silversea has announced details of the new, innovative Zàgara Beauty Spa on board its flagship, Silver Muse, which launched on Monday.

Zàgara melds its beautiful Italian heritage with a 360 mind and body philosophy to evoke awareness and nurture well-being. The Zàgara concept encourages guests to create their own spa experience.

From the Mood Room, where music, video and lighting is personalised, to a selection of infused treatment oils and teas, each detail has been handpicked to deliver a luxurious escape.

These elements complement a menu of services that feature first-time treatments featured on board Silversea, including: the technology-driven range of BIOTEC facials; the Amethyst Crystal Sound Bath Healing Treatment; the ELEMIS Thousand Flower Detox Wrap; and a barber shop offering exclusive men’s facial and shaving services.

Calling at 34 countries and 130 ports in 2017 alone, Silver Muse will redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious all-suite accommodations that are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse, will expand Silversea’s fleet to nine ships and will, once again significantly raise the bar in the ultra-luxury cruise market.

Crystal Mozart’s First Voyage of 2017 Sets Sail

Following a sold-out inaugural season as the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers,” Crystal Mozart once again graces the Danube with her elegant luxury and enchanting itineraries. The first and largest of the Crystal River Cruises fleet sailed from Vienna yesterday on a 10-day journey through Austria, Germany, the Wachau Valley, Hungary and Slovakia, marking the start of her 2017 sailing season.

Crystal’s most valued travel partners were treated to a series of preview sailings prior to Sunday’s departure, as the company hosted 156 travel professionals aboard Crystal Mozart for unprecedented back-to-back Sales Awards Galas, celebrating the top performing agents of 2016.

“Our travel partners are our most valuable assets when it comes to sharing the Crystal Experience with discerning travelers, and hosting them on board for our annual awards gala is not only a well-deserved incentive, but also helps them continue to grow their expertise with first-hand knowledge of what sets Crystal apart,” says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez.

Passions III to visit new Reef sites

Passions III

New diving and snorkelling sites will be accessible on the Great Barrier Reef with the launch of Passions III in Cairns this month.

Passions of Paradise has unveiled its 25m reef vessel which was designed and built over three years to be one of the fastest commercial sailing catamarans in Australia.

Chief Executive Officer Scotty Garden said Passions III would cruise at 15 knots, with a maximum speed of 19 knots allowing it to access two of the Cairns company’s 25 outer Great Barrier Reef moorings on a day trip.

“Passions III has a second deck, two large spaces for sun lounging and a modern luxurious interior with a larger galley and bar and plenty of room for 100 passengers to comfortably move around.

“The purpose-built boat will allow Passions of Paradise to tailor each day on the Great Barrier Reef to the wind conditions ensuring a comfortable trip with ideal dive and snorkelling locations.

“Passions III will visit a range of moorings including Flynn, Milln and Moore Reefs to the south of Cairns and Norman and Hastings Reefs to the north.”

A revamped Passions of Paradise logo, website and new uniforms also will be launched with Passions III giving the company a new look for 2017.



Silver Muse, the new ultra-luxury cruise ship built by Fincantieri for Silversea Cruises, was presented yesterday at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Sestri Ponente, Genoa.

The official delivery of the ship will take place this morning, Monday, April 03 2017.

Guests attending the ceremony included His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, who blessed the ship, Giovanni Toti, Governor of Liguria, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the Chairman of Silversea Cruises, and Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

At 40,700 gross tons and the capacity to accommodate 596 passengers on board, Silver Muse represents an evolution of Silver Spirit, delivered in 2009 by Fincantieri in Ancona, and redefines the ultra-luxury ocean travel experience, while maintaining the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations which are hallmarks of the Silversea experience.

Majestic Princess Arrives as Newest Jewel

Majestic Princess Handover Ceremony

Carnival Corporation & plc has taken delivery of Majestic Princess from shipbuilder Fincantieri at an official handover ceremony at the shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

Princess Cruises’ first international luxury ship tailored for the China market, Majestic Princess will start her inaugural season in Europe before embarking on a repositioning cruise, themed the Silk Road Sea Route journey, to Shanghai where she will begin her first homeport season in July.

After the successful handover from Fincantieri, the 143,000-tonne Majestic Princess will sail on a preview cruise (March 31 to April 4) before departing on her inaugural voyage on April 4, 2017, exploring the Adriatic Sea on a five-day cruise from Rome.

Following her maiden cruise, Majestic Princess will tour Europe, offering her 3560 guests a chance to experience the ship on 7-, 14-, 21- and 28-day cruises departing from Rome, Barcelona or Athens.

On May 21, Majestic Princess will embark on the “Silk Road Sea Route”, a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage she will visit a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China.


Silversea Expeditions, has recently launched the first of two new 7-night Galápagos itineraries. The 100-guest, all-suite Silver Galapagos will operate the alternate itineraries which are approved by the Galápagos National Park Service, both departing on Saturdays.

Departing from Baltra for the first time this week, the new North Central itinerary showcases the best of the Galápagos Islands en route to San Cristóbal.

In addition to a newly added circumnavigation of Isla Daphne Grande (Daphne Major), the voyage explores Bahia Darwin and El Barranco in Genovesa; Galapaguera Cerro Colorado and Punta Pitt in San Cristóbal; Bahía Gardner (Gardner Bay) and Punta Suarez in Española; El Edén, Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre and Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz; as well as Bahía Sullivan, Seymour Norte, Rábida, and Plazas Sur.

Highlights of the voyage include: climbing Prince Philip’s Steps to see a thriving sea bird colony; hiking up the sides of an extinct volcano; and admiring the antics of Red-footed and Blue-footed Boobies.

The new Western itinerary from San Cristóbal to Baltra is enhanced by new points of interest such as Cerro Dragón and Playa Las Bachas in Santa Cruz and a circumnavigation of Roca León Dormido (Kicker Rock).

The voyage will also visit Punta Vicente Roca, Caleta Tagus and Bahía Elizabeth in Isabela; Post Office Bay, Islote Campion and Punta Cormorant in Floreana; Los Gemelos, Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre and Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz; Bartolomé, Playa Espumilla, and Punta Espinoza.

Highlights of the voyage include spotting pelicans and penguins along rocky shores, swimming with green sea turtles, sea lions and manta rays, and hiking through fragrant forests of palo santo “incense” trees.


Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it will further extend its offering of weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba through 2018, with 33 new voyages.

The all-inclusive Norwegian Sky will begin her 2018 Cuba cruise season in March, sailing four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami, with  32 of the cruises to include an overnight stay in Cuba’s historical and culturally-rich capital of Havana, as well as a call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.

These new cruises will begin on March 26, 2018 and are in addition to the previously announced 30 calls that Norwegian will offer through December 2017. Along with the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can provide, guests sailing on Norwegian Sky will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program.

Another Legendary Season for Carnival Cruise Line Down Under

Travel Agent Hobart Tour on Carnival Legend

With the Australian summer cruise season coming to a close, Carnival Cruise Line is preparing to farewell Carnival Legend after her third summer of fun down under.

The 88,500-tonne superliner is currently on her final sailing of the season – a five-night Tasmania cruise –  with the cruise line taking advantage of a beautiful day in Hobart to show off the ship to a group of Tasmanian travel agents (pictured).

The ship will farewell Sydney tomorrow, setting sail on a 19-night cruise to Hawaii, ahead of a season of Alaska cruises.

During the 2016-17 season, Carnival Legend carried more than 50,000 guests on a variety of itineraries ranging from 3-5 night short cruises in local waters to longer 7-12 night cruises around the South Pacific, as well as the ship’s first visit to New Zealand’s South Island during a 10-night voyage in January.



Star Cruises, “The Most Popular Cruise Line in Asia”, announced the new homeport deployment of SuperStar Gemini to Laem Chabang at a launch event on 28 March at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Center.

SuperStar Gemini will be based in Laem Chabang International Terminal beginning 17 December 2017 through to 27 April 2018.

During her deployment, SuperStar Gemini will embark on 3-night cruises to Sihanoukville and Ko Samui, departing every Sunday, 2-night cruises to Sihanoukville, departing every Wednesday, and 2-night cruises to Koh Kong Island, departing on every Friday.

In the future, guests can also look forward to the launch two new “Global Class” cruise ships as part of the Star Cruises fleet. Designed for worldwide cruising, each ship will measure 201,000 gross tons and contain 5,000 lower berths. Delivery of the “Global Class” series of ships will commence between 2020 and 2021.

Fares frozen for 3 years on Patagonia trip

Australis -4

The huge and rarely visited Condor Glacier in Agostini Sound will be a highlight of a new, four-night ‘Patagonian Explorer’ itinerary that the new expedition ship – the 210-passenger Ventus Australis – will offer from Ushuaia in Argentina to Punta Arenas in Chile when the ship debuts on January 2, 2018.

Passengers will be able to see the glacier up close on zodiacs and also watch out for the Andean condors which gave the glacier its name.

To mark the debut of Ventus Australis, Australis has indefinitely frozen fares for the next two summer seasons at the same level as those for the current 2016/17 summer season.

Australis is also offering a 10 per cent discount to passengers who combine two four-night cruises to create an eight-night exploration of the spectacular mountain and glacier-lined fjords of Tierra del Fuego, the Magellan Strait and Beagle Channel.


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Mauritius drops mandatory testing requirement

Another day another bloody beautiful destination becomes more accessible for rebound travel. We love to see it!



Travel Agents

CTM completes acquisition of 1000 Mile Travel Group

Shout out to Corporate Travel Management, who have successfully doomed us to having Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles stuck in our head for the foreseeable future.




Vanuatu says Welkam back to Aussie visitors as first flight lands in Port Vila

Pack your suitcase because international travellers no longer have to quarantine upon entry to Vanuatu!




ATSB report sparks overhaul in Qantas’ safety instructions following passenger injuries

Australia’s transport safety authority raised concerns over the clarity of Qantas’ safety instructions after six passengers were injured evacuating a plane via an escape slide.




Aurora partners with education platform & expands into French-speaking markets

It’s berets and baguettes all ’round at the Aussie expedition company’s office today, while Travel Weekly makes do with a simple pairing of Jam Fancies and Aldi tea.




Tourism NZ celebrates first Matariki public holiday with music colab

New Zealand has scored a new public holiday for the Māori New Year, marking its first national holiday to recognise and celebrate mātauranga Māori.




This island is tipped to be the next coveted Italian destination

Are you done with Rome? Do you find Positano passé? You’re going to want to check out this little slice of Italian paradise… before everyone else does.




Marriott to implement minimum wage bump earlier than expected

Not only were the staff chuffed that they’ve gotten a pay bump, but receiving it earlier as well must have them over the moon.




REVIEW: Visit literal Paradise in the Maldives

by Chloe Noel De Kerbrech

Imagine an island with shimmering teal waters and perfectly white sand. Imagine an island you never want to leave. Actually, stop. You don’t have to imagine any of this because we found it.




Cairns welcomes Coral Princess’ maiden call

Crew members were also chuffed to be there, so much so that they learned the Cairns-Can, which is like the French can-can but with much more Four X Gold involved.



Travel Agents

TravelManagers market supplier day goes ahead after two years of delays

Agents and suppliers spent a whirlwind day catching up at a special market event, though that’s not to say they bonded over fresh produce, at least, that we know of.




Bonza begins search for customer facing ‘legends’

Do you love giving safety briefings to a metal box full of people who are clearly not listening? Boy have we got news for you.