Big Fat Cruise Wrap

We love a midday Cruise Wrap, although it’s more of an early afternoon wrap because we were late and unorganised this morning.

Cunard will add fourth ship to its fleet 


Luxury cruise brand Cunard today announced it is adding a fourth ship to its fleet. This investment is part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally.
Carnival Corporation & plc – the world’s largest cruise company and parent of the Cunard brand – has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri S.p.A., 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.
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.



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.

Carnival Corp NEWS: Launch of Digital Streaming TV Channel + Mobile Apps with Original Games

In the latest innovative developments to its proprietary O·C·E·A·N experience platform that was announced in January at CES 2017 – which will make its world debut in mid-November on Regal Princess from Princess Cruises – Carnival Corporation is announcing the launch of:


  • World’s first over the top (OTT) digital streaming channel from a travel provider for completely free access on land and at sea to compelling, immersive and experiential travel content for viewers across the globe.
  • Available for download on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku, and will be available for guests on more than 60 of the company’s ships.
  • Features a slate of more than 100 acclaimed “Ocean Original” episodes produced by Carnival Corporation.


  • A portfolio of original mobile games and in-person interactive experiences that expands gaming into new categories by providing the opportunity to play anytime, anywhere, for cruise guests and consumers alike.

Silversea and Fincantieri Announce Plans to Lengthen Silver Spirit

Luxury travel innovator Silversea has unveiled plans for its first-ever ship lengthening. The turn-key transformation of Silver Spirit will take place early next year at the Palermo shipyard of Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one by diversification and innovation.

Starting in early March, Silver Spirit will be lengthened by inserting a prebuilt 49-foot-long midsection housing 6 Silver Suites, 26 Veranda Suites and 2 Panorama Suites. Technical upgrades will also be implemented.

As the ship’s extensive redesign takes its inspiration from the innovations of the line’s new flagship, Silver Muse, creative dining concepts will be incorporated, and stylish décor enhancements will be made to existing suites and throughout the public spaces and outdoor areas, providing an increased level of comfort and spaciousness.

“Based on the wonderful feedback from guests sailing aboard our beautiful Silver Muse, we believe the comprehensive makeover we have planned for Silver Spirit will enrich the on-board experience and be equally appreciated by guests.

They will see many of Silver Muse‘s innovations and elevated comforts embodied by our reimagined Silver Spirit” said Christian Sauleau, Executive Vice President of Fleet Operations for Silversea Cruises.

Silver Spirit offers a lively, convivial atmosphere for cosmopolitan travellers who enjoy a greater variety of shipboard diversions, yet crave the personalised service and authentic and “up-close” experiences for which Silversea is known. Silver Spirit is a true definition of Silversea’s heritage, with a modern edge.

Amplifying everything that matters: public and personal space, beautiful interior design, superior service, gastronomic cuisine and world class wine, she remains small enough to visit both secluded and iconic ports.

Crystal River Cruises Welcomes Crystal Mahler at Handover Ceremony in Germany


Crystal River Cruises, The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line, officially welcomed Crystal Mahler to its award-winning fleet today in Germany during a handover ceremony held at MV WERFTEN Shipyard.

The second “Rhine Class” river ship was received by Crystal’s newly appointed President and CEO Tom Wolber and was then christened by godmother Laruen Barfield. Barfield is an American volleyball star who has led teams to victory since her professional career began in Europe in 2012, and is currently playing for reigning German champions SSC Palmberg Schwerin, a team sponsored by MV WERFTEN.

Crystal Mahler joins Crystal Mozart and sister “Rhine Class” ship Crystal Bach, which embarked just last month, as part of the Crystal River Cruises fleet that was recently named “World’s Best River Cruise Line” by the readers of Travel + Leisure.

Sailing seven, 11 and 16 day voyages along the Rhine and Danube Rivers, she will call in medieval towns and modern hubs in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Netherlands and Hungary. Two additional “Rhine Class” ships, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, will join the fleet in 2018.

Silversea announces refurbishment plans for Silver Whisper and Silver Wind

Luxury travel innovator Silversea has announced plans for Silver Wind and Silver Whisper to undergo a refurbishment program in some areas of the two ships.  The transformation of these two ships will be accomplished in December 2017.  The project is part of the elegant fleet-wide refurbishment program launched at the end of 2016, with new announcements to come soon.

Silver Whisper will undergo technical improvements that will increase the already excellent level of guest satisfaction.  The refurbishment will also incorporate a significant redesign of public areas, many of which will take inspiration from Silver Muse’s décor, and will be reflected in carpet replacements and upgrades for La Terrazza restaurant, as well as the Observation and Panorama lounges.

Silver Wind will also be upgraded in a similar format, taking inspiration from Silver Muse.  Public areas will receive stylish enhancements, including the reupholstering of chairs and new carpets for the casino, and a new floor upgrade in the spa and beauty salon based on the inspiring concepts of Silversea’s flagship, Silver Muse.

New river cruise and tour package to Portugal with Riviera Travel

Douro Elegance onboard in Portugal

A cruise on Portugal’s vineyard-lined Douro River on a new, five-star ship for European river cruise line, Riviera Travel, forms the centrepiece of a new fly, cruise and tour package from Australia to Portugal in April, 2018.

Riviera Travel – new to the Australian cruise market – has partnered with local holiday packager, Cruise Traveller, to create an exclusive, 20-night fly/cruise/tour package that showcases the rustic vineyards, cobblestone streets, baroque churches, ancient forts, terraced hills, medieval villages and the world’s oldest wine region – the Douro Valley – that have made Portugal an increasingly popular, off the main tourist trail destination for Australians.

Cruise Traveller’s new 20-night ‘Portugal Perfection’ package combines a six-night, overland tour of Portugal with Back Roads, hotel stays in Lisbon and Porto and a seven-night Douro River cruise aboard Riviera Travel’s new, luxury, 126-guest river ship, Douro Elegance – launched in March this year.

Royal Caribbean reimagines cruising with new “Come Seek’ brand campaign

Global cruise line Royal Caribbean International has launched an intelligent new brand campaign in Australia and New Zealand, setting the brand apart from competitors by inviting consumers to ‘come seek’ the Royal Caribbean difference.

The ‘Come Seek’ campaign will launch with a 30 second TVC in NSW and Queensland during primetime evening viewing on Monday 25 September, and will be followed by a 360 degree brand campaign rollout incorporating a mix of outdoor, press, digital and social amplification.

‘Come Seek’ was inspired by Royal Caribbean’s US and UK positioning, and the localised campaign was created for the Australasian market by the cruise line’s long-standing brand and creative agency partner, Hulsbosch. The campaign was delivered across multiple channels by Blue449, Royal Caribbean’s media agency.

Princess Cruises Enhances New Zealand Program Across the ditch


Princess Cruises has today announced phase two of its popular Across the Ditch Program.  As the leader in trans-Tasman cruises, additions to the program have been designed to further immerse guests in New Zealand culture and cuisine.

Launching on Princess’ New Zealand cruises this summer, the enhanced program will continue to offer uniquely New Zealand experiences through a series of interactive and engaging onboard and shore activities. Among the list of new additions, the admired Matariki Festival will be expanded to offer guests more opportunities to learn about Maori heritage and participate in traditional customs from authorised, local ambassadors.

Over the next 12 months, 50 new shore tours will be rolled out through the program. These include: a Piha bush and beach eco tour in Auckland, a Te Puia Thermal Reserve, Maori arts and Agrodome tour in Tauranga, a Canterbury Station, Mt Sunday, and Lord of the Rings sights tour in Akaroa, and an Oamaru and Moeraki Boulders tour in Port Chalmers.

Viking launches new Alaska cruise extensions


Viking Cruises has announced two new cruise extensions to its popular 11-day “Alaska & the Inside Passage” ocean itinerary. Guests can now choose to maximise the value of their overseas flight and enjoy additional days pre or post their cruise to explore more of Alaska’s unspoilt wilderness and indigenous culture with either a three-day extension to Anchorage or the more in-depth six-day Denali Explorer with Anchorage & Talkeetna.

The six-day “Denali Explorer with Anchorage & Talkeetna” cruise extension travels deep into the Denali National Park to learn about some of the park’s residents – moose, caribou, Dall sheep and more. Guests will enjoy a scenic journey to Anchorage on board an impressive dome railcar, visit Lake Hood – the world’s largest seaplane base, and the Alaska Aviation Museum, take in awe-inspiring views from atop Mt. Alyeska and a two-night stay in First-Class Denali Park Village (or similar).

Royal Caribbean Celebrates 10th Birthday in Australia with 40 per cent off

To celebrate its 10th year cruising down under and the launch of the summer cruising season, Royal Caribbean has launched a spectacular birthday sale offering savings of up to 40 per cent on a range of international and local itineraries, priced from just AUD$449. Plus kids travel from just AUD$69 per day.

This summer, Aussies have a choice of four of the youngest, most modern and adventure packed ships from Royal Caribbean sailing from Sydney to the South Pacific, New Zealand and around Australia, including the all new Ovation of the Seastwin sister ships Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas and culinary favourite Radiance of the Seas

For the new to cruise, they can sample the delights of the most modern megaliners sailing down under with a three-night ‘cruise to nowhere’ from Sydney on Voyager of the Seas, departing on 2 February 2018.

Tauck Announces 2020 Oberammergau Land Tours and River Cruises

Passion Play

Tauck has commenced accepting reservations on itineraries to feature the next exciting performances of Oberammergau’s Passion Play in the small Bavarian town in 2020.

In 2020, Tauck will include the Passion Play (or ‘Passionsspiele’, as it is known locally) on two European land tours, ‘Romantic Journey’ and ‘The Ultimate Alps & Dolomites’ and two European river cruises, ‘The Blue Danube’ and ‘The Romantic Rhine’.

Each departure of the two land journeys will include the Passion Play as part of the tour itinerary. Performances will also be featured on selected dates of the two river cruises, and will be limited to 40 guests per-departure due to ticket availability. All guests visiting Oberammergau with Tauck will enjoy premier seating in the best available section of the Passion Play theatre, private tours of must-see sights and attractions in the area, and other exclusive cultural experiences.

P&O Cruises Chicken Confidential competition winner with Luke Mangan

Pacific Explorer_Yvonne Vickers (59) & Luke Mangan with Karaage Kid Burger_Photo Wesley Nel

Avid local cruise-goer Yvonne Vickers from South Sydney has won a cruise for two onboard Pacific Explorer after taking part in P&O Cruises’ Chicken Confidential competition, judged by none other than leading Australian chef and restaurateur, Luke Mangan.

Designed to celebrate the launch of Pacific Explorer’s new al fresco fast-casual dining option Luke’s, the competition gave Australians the chance to design their ultimate chicken burger recipe to feature on the restaurant’s menu for a month.

Yvonne’s winning ‘Karaage Kid’ burger impressed Mangan with its wasabi coleslaw and fried chicken marinated in mirin, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and dipped in sesame seeds for an extra crunch, and is now available at Luke’s until October 4, 2017.

Crystalbrook Collection Purchases Port Douglas’ Reef Marina and Plans Expansion

 Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina wide shot

Australian tourism and hospitality group, Crystalbrook Collection, has today announced its acquisition of The Reef Marina in Port Douglas, which is now to be known as Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, and its intention to invest a further $100+ million into the Marina.

The group has announced that it intends to deliver to Port Douglas a world-renowned superyacht marina, a luxury waterfront 100-room boutique hotel, 50 premium residences and enhanced retail and dining areas.

This will be the fourth development in Queensland for Crystalbrook Collection, which already has three hotels in Cairns under construction with an investment of more than $370 million. The group also owns and operates Crystalbrook Lodge, a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia, and MV Bahama, a 27-metre luxury motor yacht berthed at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina.

P&O Cruises to revolutionise its Guest Experience with Ocean Medallion-Enabled Grand Class Vessel in 2020

P&O Cruises’ guests will be at the leading edge of a global revolution in the cruise experience when the line welcomes its first Ocean Medallion-enabled ship, Golden Princess, to the brand in 2020.

Ocean Medallion is a new enhanced cruise holiday experience that uses a wearable device – powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform – to enable a level of service and personalisation never before considered possible.

The technology, which is expected to be a game-changer for the guest experience, will be launched first on Princess Cruises later this year on Regal Princess in the Caribbean, followed by five additional ships in 2018 including the 2600-guest Golden Princess in Australia.  Additional Princess ships will be Ocean Medallion enabled in 2019 and 2020 including the larger 3000+ guest Ruby Princess which will replace Golden Princess in serving Princess guests in Australia.

Bentours release new Scandinavia & expedition cruising brochure


Bentours reaches a huge milestone in 2018, celebrating 40 years of being the Scandinavian specialists! Bentours are incredibly proud of this achievement and want to celebrate with their valued travellers! Their new 2018-19 brochure includes excellent touring options in the much loved destinations of Norway, Svalbard, Sweden, Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Canadian High Arctic and also Antarctica!

Bentours advises to keep an eye out for their special anniversary brochure or get in early and download here. This brochure has a fresh new look, new itineraries, as well as a Hurtigruten insert that shows off top selling expedition cruises to Norway, Antarctica and much more.


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