Cruise Wrap: Aurora christens Greg Mortimer, Crystal Cruises welcomes wine-themed sailing + MORE!

Keen to sample some maritime news? You’re in luck! This week’s Cruise Wrap is stacked with four seasons’ worth (and even a saving or two).

Aurora christens ground breaking Greg Mortimer

Aurora Expeditions has celebrated the christening of the highly anticipated Greg Mortimer ship, the world’s first passenger expedition vessel to feature the Ulstein X-BOW.

Joined by officials from Sunstone, CMI, Ulstein, maiden voyage guests and Aurora Expeditions’ expedition team, the ceremony marked the beginning of a new era for the company.

As the first passenger vessel in the world to utilise the patented Ulstein X-BOW technology, an inverted bow design that enables a ship to pierce waves with greater stability than a traditional bow, the Greg Mortimer aims to completely transform the experience of navigating the world’s heaviest seas, particularly the Drake Passage.

The novel-shaped X-BOW created by Norwegian ship designer, Ulstein, absorbs the force of waves more consistently across its surface, drastically improving steadiness and comfort, fuel efficiency and minimises vibrations and disruptions to marine life, Aurora said in a statement.

Crystal Cruises welcomes Henschke for wine-themed sailing

Crystal River Cruises has announced the celebrated winemaking duo of family-owned, Australian winery Henschke will join an October 2020 wine-themed sailing aboard luxury river ship, Crystal Ravel.

Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke and his viticulturist wife, Prue, will join guests as Crystal Ravel sails the picturesque Danube River.

The seven-night voyage, departing 9 October 2020, will sail from Budapest to Vienna through the wine region of the UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley, visiting Melk, Linz, and the vineyards and hilltop castle of Dürnstein.

While onboard, Crystal Ravel guests will be invited to enjoy tastings of specially chosen Henschke wines, as the winemakers share their story of growing some of the oldest vines in the world, in the high country of Barossa’s Eden Valley.

Hurtigruten begins tests on biodiesel

Norwegian expedition cruise line Hurtigruten has begun testing biodiesel, a fuel the company said has the potential to reduce emissions by as much as 95 per cent.

Hurtigruten’s MS Polarlys has been testing the use of biodiesel over the past few weeks with more tests to come, in an important step for Hurtigruten on its journey to becoming emissions-free.

“Biodiesel can, in the long run, potentially give a CO2-reduction of as much as 95 per cent compared to traditional marine fuels,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.

“The industry needs to start making more sustainable choices and Hurtigruten wants to lead the way.”

“We are just at the beginning when it comes to using biodiesel in the shipping industry. We want to move the boundaries and learn more about how this can be used in a bigger scale. This can potentially transform the industry.”

Hurtrigruten is also calling on an international ban to be put in place on the use of “cheap, polluting” heavy fuel oil in the whole Arctic area and along the Norwegian Coast.

Silversea launches fund to support conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands

Silversea Cruises has launched a dedicated fund that aims to preserve the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands.

By supporting a diverse selection of projects each year, the Silversea Fund will strengthen the balance between humans and nature in the Galapagos, as part of a long-term conservation strategy.

In addition to benefiting regional conservation efforts and enhancing their connection with the Galapagos Islands, the fund’s donors will enjoy savings on Silversea’s voyages, as the cruise line will match guests’ contributions in the form of a Future Cruise Credit to underpin its commitment to the cause.

For donations of between US$500 and US$1,000 per suite, donors will receive a Future Cruise Credit in a matching amount that may be applied towards any future voyage aboard any ship in Silversea’s ultra-luxury fleet.

Established in partnership with Galapagos Conservancy—the only US-based organization focused exclusively on protecting the Galapagos’ unique ecosystems and biological integrity—the Silversea Fund for the Galapagos will educate and support the archipelago’s local communities by financing projects related to youth empowerment; education and training; and science, technology and conservation.

The fund welcomes both formal and grassroots project proposals from the Galapagos’ four inhabited islands: San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, and Floreana.

Coral Geographer to feature three new Indian Ocean voyages

Coral Expeditions have released three new itineraries as part of the maiden voyage series of the newbuild Coral Geographer during February, March and April 2021.

The collection of Indian Ocean expeditions will visit Zanzibar, Madagascar, the Cocos Islands, and Christmas Island, on the following voyages:

  • Small islands at the edge of Africa – a 17-night expedition taking in the coastlines of Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania. Departing Mauritius on 17 February 2020, the itinerary showcases frontier islands that stand at cultural crossroads influenced for centuries by Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The cruise concludes in Zanzibar on 6 March 2021
  • Navigating the Indian Ocean – a 19-night voyage from Zanzibar to Fremantle that sails east in a southern arc from the ancient spice island of Zanzibar off the African coast. This is a classic ocean passage allowing guests to settle into the rhythm of the sea and ship. An extensive onboard program is offered, including guest lectures and celestial navigation lessons from a Master Mariner
  • Island outposts of Australia’s West Coast – a 27-night expedition from Fremantle to Darwin that will take guests to the farthest reaches of the Australian territories. The itinerary includes the Abrolhos Islands, where guests may swim with sealions, Shark Bay, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Ashmore Reef.

MSC Grandiosa joins MSC fleet, as steel is cut for first five LNG-powered ships

MSC Cruises has taken delivery of MSC Grandiosa from Chantiers de l’Atlantique, marking the introduction of one of the most “environmentally-advanced ships at sea” into the cruise line’s fleet.

The cruise line also marked another important milestone event with the traditional cutting of the first steel and naming of MSC Europa, by MSC Cruises executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago.

MSC Europa is the first of five LNG-powered cruise ships on order and the first LNG ship to be built in France.

The two events marked another important step forward in MSC Cruises’ long-term commitment to environmental stewardship both at sea as well as ashore.

Carnival launches ‘Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out’ sale

With summer on the horizon, Carnival Cruise Line has launched its ‘Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out’ sale to welcome the warmer weather, offering great rates and up to $500 to spend onboard.

Sail to some of Carnival’s tropical destinations, including New Caledonia and Vanuatu, or cruise into the New Year by discovering the Great Barrier Reef.

Book now to experience all that Carnival has to offer, with 45-plus daily activities, from Carnival WaterWorks, themed nights, live Broadway-style entertainment and 16 bars and lounges, all to enjoy against the backdrop of some of the world’s most beautiful ports.

This offer is available on select sailings between 9 November 2019 and 31 December 2020 onboard Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor.

Save 15 per cent on Strand Cruise’s Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady River cruise

The Strand Cruise on Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady River has recently announced that it is offering 15% off published rates on all sailings between now and the end of the season in April 2020, including departures coinciding with the 2019 Festive season, as well as Chinese New Year, Easter and Myanmar’s annual Water Festival.

The 25-cabin luxury river cruiser will also be waiving all single occupancy surcharges from January 2020 onwards.

Both the cruise and its sister hotel property, The Strand Yangon, are offering 15 per cent off all published rates for travel between now and the end of April 2020 when booking directly online and entering the code GLAM at check out.

Additionally, passengers booking any four-night cruise for travel between now and the end of December 2019 will receive a complimentary 60-minute massage during their cruise.

One opportunity per year to cruise to Esperance’s Pink Lake Hillier

Visitors fascinated with Western Australia’s pink Lake Hillier near Esperance have one opportunity in the next year to see it up close with a cruise to Middle Island off the coast of Esperance on 11 January 2020.

Esperance Island Cruise manager Jaimen Hudson said the company only operates a single cruise to the destination per year because of its distance from the mainland.

“It’s a really special tour and very few people have the opportunity to get up close to Lake Hillier because it’s extremely isolated – it takes about two hours to cruise there from the Duke of Orleans which is 100 kilometres east of Esperance,” Jaimen said.

Travellers can expect to see dolphins, and stop at the campground ruins of Australia’s only recorded pirate, Black Jack Anderson, who used Middle Island as a base.

Touring with Esperance Island Cruise, a full day tour to Lake Hillier costs $320 per person and includes lunch, tea, coffee and water.

Evergreen announces ‘short and sweet’ river cruises

Evergreen Cruises & Tours has launched a new campaign to promote its shorter length tours on the rivers of Europe, which includes the following voyages:

  • ‘8 Day Jewels of the Rhine river cruise, Amsterdam to Zurich’ – from $3,385 per person, with a saving up of to $2,000 per couple
  • ‘9 Day Enchantment of Eastern Europe river cruise, Bucharest to Budapest’ – from $4,370 per person, with a saving up of up $1,800 per couple
  • ‘8 Day Delights of the Danube river cruise, Munich to Budapest’ – from $3,875 per person, with a saving up of up $1,800 per couple.


Leave a Reply


Ukrainian airline scraps heels and tight skirts for comfy suits and sneakers

SkyUp Airlines has given its cabin crew uniform a modern update that ditches tight fit, restrictive clothing and high heels for something a bit more suited to the job.




Intrepid snares majority stake in New Zealand’s Haka Tours and ANZ Nature Tours

The global travel B Corp has kicked off its future growth plans with a 60 per cent slice of not one, but two touring brands.




Clive Palmer offloads Qantas shares in protest of airline’s staff vaccination policy

by Ali Coulton

Looks like the mining magnate has taken a break from tweeting his famous Tim Tam poems to shake his fist at the flying kangaroo’s vax policy.




Guests forced to hide as heritage-listed hotel break-in causes $30,000 in damage

A group of people have broken down the door of a historic Kalgoorlie hotel, terrorising guests and forcing one woman to hide in a wardrobe.




Get excited, because the European Showcase is coming to a screen near you!

With international borders on the verge of reopening and hype around overseas travel at an all-time high, this event couldn’t have come at a better time!




“We can’t live here in hermit kingdom”: NSW to ditch quarantine for international arrivals from 1 November

The big policy shift means that NSW is the only Aussie state to announce quarantine-free international travel.




Royal Caribbean axes Ovation of the Seas’ Aussie sailings until end of March 2022

With no clear pathway toward a resumption of cruising in sight for Australia, the cruise giant has canned its domestic sailings once again.




Qantas to add new routes from Darwin to Far North Queensland

Qantas seems to have a penchant for the Top End at the moment. This time, the flying kanga is boosting connectivity across northern Australia with a couple of new routes.




“Bugger Byron Bay”: Cowra Tourism invites Chris Hemsworth for a visit in delightful new campaign

In this brilliant video, Cowra pulls out all the stops in an attempt to lure the A-lister to stop by, have a “chin wag” and “get on the sauce”. The town even wants to build a four-story statue in his likeness.




Princess Cruises welcomes aboard new president

Princess Cruises has a new president. One could even say the Carnival-owned line has found its prince.




“We have a front-row seat to the climate disaster”: Intrepid CEO urges ScoMo to “go all in” at COP26

The adventure travel company is calling on the PM to commit to at least halving emissions by 2030 and an immediate end to new coal power development. Let’s just hope Prince Charles can convince him to attend.




Air New Zealand to transform Boeing 787 into vaccination clinic for special ‘Jabaseat’ flight

A handful of lucky Kiwis will get their COVID-19 jab in a business-class cabin on Saturday as part of a national push to boost the country’s vaccination numbers.