Big Fat Cruise Wrap

Big Fat Cruise Wrap

This cruise wrap is the one of the best we’ve ever done. We also ate an entire tub of vegemite for breakfast – so overachieving all round this morning.

Sydney welcomes Norwegian Jewel and Seven Seas Voyager on the same day

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In a show of its increasing commitment to the region, two of three Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ (NCLH) brands crossed paths in Sydney Harbour for the very first time yesterday. Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Norwegian Jewel and Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ (RSSC) Seven Seas Voyager were both in port, representing more days in the region for NCLH ships than ever before.

Seven Seas Voyager was in Sydney to commence her 14-day ‘Paradise Down Under’ sailing taking in Melbourne, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Rotorua and the beautiful Bay of Islands before arriving in Auckland on March 6. Next up in Australian waters for RSSC will be Seven Seas Mariner, fresh from her complete refurbishment.

Norwegian Jewel was in Sydney to kick-start her final Australian itinerary, an 18-day ‘Australia & South-East Asia’ sailing, following a hugely successful inaugural season. During the sailing she will visit Newcastle, Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin before heading to Indonesia to take in Komodo, Bali and Semarang, arriving in Singapore on March 10. In November 2018, Norwegian Jewel will return for her second homeporting season in Australian waters, fresh from a multi-million dollar bow-to-stern refurbishment, undertaking a further six roundtrip cruises from Sydney.

Acclaimed Australian Chef, David Thompson Hosting Aqua Mekong 2018 Cruises

Aqua Mekong - High Resolution

Guests booking Aqua Mekong cruises in 2018 being hosted by acclaimed Australian Chef, David Thompson, will be able to take advantage of 30 per cent savings on normal cruise prices for these special June and August departures.

The four-night cruises from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh from 22 – 26 June and 3 – 7 August will include exclusive hosted components with David, who has been Aqua Expeditions’ Consulting Chef with Aqua Mekong since its inaugural cruise in October 2014, including:

  • Customised Market Tours – Travel with David to local markets to learn about locally grown and harvested ingredients, so essential to the freshness of Aqua Mekong’s dishes.
  • Master Cooking Class – Attend a cooking class or kitchen tour hosted by David as he walks guests through his secrets of recipe planning, preparation and execution.
  • Interactive Q&A with the Chef – Find out how the dynamic international food scene is transforming the way David designs his latest visions of culinary creativity.

Seabourn Ovation to host distinguished speakers during maiden season was part of Seabourn conversations program

Seabourn Ovation Wintergarden Suite (70)

Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, is continuing to intrigue, inform and enlighten guests with the upcoming season of Seabourn Conversations aboard Seabourn Ovation, scheduled to launch in May 2018.

The line’s newest ship will offer the popular onboard enrichment program throughout its maiden season in Northern Europe, hosting distinguished speakers and personalities from a variety of fields to offer perspectives on the world we live in today. Seabourn Conversations are enjoyed by guests across the entire Seabourn fleet of ultra-luxury ships on all sailings.

For the full schedule of speakers participating in Seabourn Conversations in 2018, visit the Seabourn Conversations website.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Navigator returns to Australia

NAV Penthouse Suite

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ (RSSC) Seven Seas Navigator, one of the world’s most lavish all inclusive ships at sea, will again visit local waters – including Sydney today – as part of her 19-night Auckland-to-Perth ‘Australian Adventure’ cruise.

Having begun her voyage in Auckland on 6 February, Seven Seas Navigator will call on Rotorua, Napier, Picton, Christchurch, Dunedin and spectacular Milford Sound in New Zealand, making her way across the Tasman to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Lincoln and then across the Great Australian Bight to Esperance before reaching her final destination of Perth (Fremantle).

This is just one of several regional sailings RSSC is undertaking in 2018, increasing its days in local waters by over 30 per cent compared to last year.

Celebrity Cruises plants more than 30,000 new trees in partnership with Galapagos National Park

Birds Eye View Front Celebrity Flora

Celebrity Cruises has teamed up with Galapagos National Park to plant more than 30,000 trees on Santa Cruz Island in Los Gemelos, helping to conserve this pristine archipelago that’s home to flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world.

With the goal of inspiring guests and collaborators to dive-in to conservation efforts within the region, the public private partnership (PPP) signed in 2014 was made possible over the last three years with the support of 14,300 guests, crew and community at large, far exceeding goals by 150 percent. The efforts reinforce Celebrity’s commitment to the region and the shared passion of guests who sail onboard.

Among the seeds sown out of the collaborative project are Scalesias, Cat’s Claw, Galapagos Miconia and Thin-leafed Darwin’s shrub. Reforestation preserves the natural ecosystem in Galapagos and regenerates areas that have been affected by humans and by introduced species. The most planted tree remains the Scalesia trees, as their forests are home to many species of endemic bird, found only in the Galapagos.

Holland America Line introduces Culinary-themed EXC Tours (Shore Excursions) developed in partnership with US FOOD & WINE magazine

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Currently Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises feature FOOD & WINE tours
The long-time partnership between Holland America Line and FOOD & WINE magazine (US) has delivered immersive culinary experiences for more than a dozen years. The collaboration is expanding with a collection of exciting culinary-themed EXC Tours (shore excursions), that explore food, wine and culture in some of the world’s hottest gastronomic locales.

Twenty-three new shore excursions are now available for booking on select 2018 cruises to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Guests have the opportunity to take hands-on cooking classes, go on culinary walking tours, visit wineries, sample street food, explore local hideaways and more.

Australia’s biggest game of hide and seek takes place onboard a megliner socked in Sydney Harbour 

Hide&SeekWinners

Australia’s biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, recently hosted Australia’s Biggest Game of Hide and Seek, with Ben Harrison, age 26, from Hornsby NSW, taking home the AUD$10,000 prize, and a family cruise for four, all thanks to his stealthy hiding techniques.

In an Australian first, Aussies aged eight and over boarded the megaship docked in Sydney Harbour to play a huge version of the iconic childhood game, as part of a unique competition to celebrate 10 years of Royal Caribbean sailing Down Under.

Two games were held – one for adults aged 15 and over and another for kids aged 8-14. Competitors came from far and wide; NSW, QLD, NT, SA, WA, VIC – to seek out the best hiding spots onboard in an attempt to outwit the “Seekers”, Australia’s national Hide & Seek team The Nascondingos, who competed in the 2017 annual World Championships in Italy.

12-year-old Ryan S from Kincup in regional QLD took home the kids’ prize which was a family cruise for four, after hiding from the Nascondingos under a couch. Runner up Benjamin H from NSW is also taking his family on a holiday.

P&O Cruises honours Australian AE1 submarine wreckage in Papua New Guinea

P&O Cruises Pacific Aria in Rabaul 1

During her New Guinea Island Encounter cruise, Pacific Aria sailed near the submerged wreckage of AE1 – the Royal Australian Navy’s first submarine – which was recently discovered near Rabaul, ending a 103-year old mystery.

Becoming the first P&O cruise ship to do so, Pacific Aria sailed within seven nautical miles of AE1’s last known position when it disappeared with its crew of 35 Australian, British and New Zealand sailors on September 1914, during World War I. Now classified as a war grave, the Captain gave a special address and guests had the opportunity to think about the bravery of the young men and the relief of their descendants more than a century on, as the ship sailed by.

Grey nomads keep inheritance and cruise into retirement

More retirees are choosing the top deck of a cruise ship over staying at home or entering an assisted-living centre.

New research from Comparetravelinsurance.com.au show that one in ten people aged 65 and older will go on a cruise this year, and more than 30 per cent said they would consider long-term cruising over staying at home, a retirement village or low-intensity aged care.

This cohort has felt the squeeze – today’s baby boomers are often left caring for their elderly parents whilst their adult children stay home for longer. With meals, cleaning and activities included, wheelchair accessibility and a doctor on board 24/7, it’s easy to grasp why many seniors see year-round cruising as superior to the retirement their parents experienced.

The ABS projects that by 2040, the number of people 65 and over will double to 6.8 million, and Ball says it suggests we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to long-term cruising.

Norwegian Cruise Line announces float out of Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss_MG_1007

Norwegian Bliss, the third of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class, emerged from the Meyer Werft building dock in Papenburg, Germany on Saturday, February 17, representing a major milestone in the vessel’s construction. The ship will remain in the shipyard port for the final phase of construction, until its conveyance down the River Ems towards the North Sea, scheduled for mid-March.

The construction of the ship began in October 2016 with the traditional steel cutting ceremony launching the 12th Norwegian Cruise Line ship to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard. It is the third ship in the Breakaway Plus class, measuring 1,082 feet in length by 136 feet wide, with gross tonnage of 167,800 and accommodating approximately 4,000 guests. Part of the excitement of this float out will be the public debut of the ship’s signature hull artwork designed by world-renowned marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland.

Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including the 180-degree Observation Lounge where guests can enjoy Norwegian’s most expansive views at sea. She will also be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make her debut in Seattle, with cruises beginning May 2018.

Photo credit: Meyer Werft.

MS Roald Amundsen debuted in Norway

MS Roald Amundsen Oclin Hurtigruten

The first live photos of Hurtigruten’s new MS Roald Amundsen have been released as the vessel touched water for the first time during a ceremony at the Kleven Yard in Ulsteinvik, Norway.

The successful launch marks an important milestone in the construction of the world’s first hybrid powered expedition ship, that will be fitted with large battery packs for reduced emissions.

MS Roald Amundsen is the first of Hurtigruten’s two groundbreaking hybrid ships, custom built with green technology to explore some of the most spectacular waters of our Planet. Construction of MS Fridtjof Nansen, due to debut in 2019, is well under way at Kleven Yards where MS Roald Amundsen is now undergoing her final fit out.

The launching saw some special attendance: From the bay outside the yard, guests and crew on MS Lofoten, built in 1964 and Hurtigruten’s oldest vessel, greeted the newest addition to the Hurtigruten fleet.

Tauck Australia announces Air Credit and Bonus Night on Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise

Tauck - Amsterdam Canals at Dusk

Tauck Australia is offering a $500 per person air credit and bonus night hotel stay on bookings made by 30 March for Tauck’s 15-day Amsterdam to Budapest by Riverboat northbound and southbound cruises in 2018.

The 15-day Danube, Main and Rhine cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest – and in reverse direction – will take guests on an amazing journey past grand cathedrals, medieval monasteries, castles and vineyards, travelling through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary, and exploring legendary cities such as Amsterdam, Vienna, Köln, Nürnberg, Bratislava and Budapest.

Tauck’s all-inclusive private shore excursions will take in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic districts of Budapest, Vienna and Bamberg, and the Wachau and Rhine valleys.

In Vienna, there is a choice of visiting Schönbrunn Palace or the Hofburg’s Imperial Sisi Museum and guests will attend a grand Imperial Evening in a traditional palace and tour the famed Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This wonderful journey will also visit Köln Cathedral and Melk Abbey; medieval Regensburg; romantic Rothenburg or Würzburg; Budapest’s Heroes’ Square and much more.

Champagne Cruise itineraries ‘Sparkle’ with Wine Tasting excursions and Gastronomic Adventures

EW_Hostess and Cheeseboard

Hotel barging cruise specialist European Waterways announced that it is enhancing its itinerary in the Champagne region of France to better reflect the cultural and gastronomic traditions of this legendary destination.

According to Managing Director Derek Banks, the company is ‘popping the cork’ for the 2018 season with onboard menus and wine tasting excursions that already include an exclusive tasting at “the cradle of Champagne”, the hilltop village of Hautvillers. It is here that monk Dom Perignon discovered the “méthode champenoise”, the process that produces what are considered to be the world’s best Champagnes and sparkling wines, through a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

European Waterways’ deluxe 12-passenger hotel barge Panache cruises Champagne between Château-Thierry and Châlons-en-Champagne from mid-June to mid-July. It is joined in mid-July by the eight-passenger La Nouvelle Etoile, which cruises the region through mid-August. La Nouvelle Etoile holds the singular distinction of mooring in central Paris, one of the cruise route’s termination points.

Captain Cook Cruises Fiji Sale extended!!!

Relaxing onboard Reef Endeavour Fiji

Captain Cook Cruises Fiji has extended its ‘Three Nights Free Sail’, until 31 March 2018 with travel valid till 31 March 2019. Book any eleven or seven-night Fiji cruise and save up to AUD$1535.00 per person, twin share.

All 11-night Lau and Kadavu Discovery Cruises, seven-night Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands cruises and seven-night Four Cultures or Colonial Discovery cruises are aboard the 130-passenger, fully accommodated MV Reef Endeavour small ship cruise vessel.

The newly refurbished ship can visit parts of Fiji larger ships cannot get to, allowing passengers the unique experience of visiting remote villages, churches and schools and taking part in traditional village sevusevu ceremonies and Meke and Lovo feasts.

As well as being immersed in Fijian culture there is plenty of time for relaxing on white sandy beaches, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding in crystal clear waters and snorkelling and glass bottom boating over amazing coral reefs. The ship is equipped with a hydraulic platform ensuring boarding and disembarking the glass bottom boat is easy.

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