This week’s Cruise Wrap is so hefty, we reckon that if each letter weighed a tonne, it would equate to a 4,000-pax ship. However, we’re no mathematicians and we also haven’t made any effort to count each individual letter.
Carnival reveals plans for Mardi Gras atrium
Carnival Cruise Lines has unveiled its plans for the grand central atrium on its Mardi Gras ship (pictured above), set to debut in February 2021.
Spanning decks six, seven and eight with massive 3,000 square foot panels built into the starboard side, the atrium will provide impressive views of the ocean and ports of call.
By day, the space will serve as a place for guests to sit and have a coffee, but by night it will transform into an intimate and immersive venue with a rotation of soon-to-be-revealed experiences.
Silversea Cruises enhances its digital training platform
Silversea Cruises has enhanced its digital training platform—Silversea Academy—to equip travel partners with expertise.
Now accessible to travel partners globally, including those in the United States, Canada, LATAM and Asia for the first time, and enhanced for users in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, the online educational program has been enriched and expanded, and now offers 18 training modules.
The training hub enables travel partners to learn more about Silversea’s variety of product offerings, visited destinations, ships, and itineraries with an interactive and visually engaging learning experience. Each module takes an average of 20 minutes to complete. Travel partners are invited to participate in a quiz at the end of each module and are awarded a certificate upon their successful completion. Moreover, those participating in Australia, New Zealand and Asia will obtain two CLIA accreditation points for each module completed.
Among the training modules now available are ‘Selling Silversea,’ which provides a comprehensive understanding of the cruise line, its intimate ships, and its broad range of visited destinations; ‘Expedition Cruise Expert,’ delivering an in-depth knowledge of the luxury expedition cruise experience; and various modules that cover ships’ public spaces, restaurants, suites, and voyages. Plus, several modules are dedicated to visited destinations, from Africa and the Indian Ocean to South America and more.
To celebrate the launch of the updated and expanded Silversea Academy, travel partners who complete a training module will be entered into a monthly draw, held for three months, for a chance to win a $100 gift card.
MSC Cruises launches Summer 2021 Mediterranean webinar
MSC Cruises has launched their Summer 2021 Mediterranean webinar. The first of a series of webinars to be released, it has been created to give agents an overview of Summer 2021 itineraries in the Mediterranean and the ‘Premium Drinks for All’ promotion.
Highlights include details of two new ships coming into service in the Mediterranean in 2021- MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore.
Departing Genoa, Italy on Thursdays, MSC Virtuosa explores the Mediterranean, Morocco and Portugal. MSC Seashore will sail the West Mediterranean every Sunday from Genoa, Italy. In 2021, MSC Cruises will return to Tunisia with MSC Fantasia calling at Tunis on her 7-night West Mediterranean itinerary.
Crystal updates health and safety protocols to incorporate CLIA guidelines for COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew and more
Crystal has introduced an expanded set of health and safety measures for its Crystal Clean+ protocols to include requirements for COVID-19 testing for guests and crew, mandatory travel insurance, in-port guidelines and more.
The new Crystal Clean + 3.0 protocols build on Crystal Clean+ 2.0, the initial set of enhanced health and safety procedures which the company released in July.
Crystal Clean+ 3.0 guidelines feature updates in the company’s pre-boarding and embarkation procedures, social distancing requirements, shore excursion policy, crew member standards and practices and more. The Crystal Clean + 3.0 protocols are tailored to meet the unique needs of the luxury traveller and incorporate the current recommendations provided by Cruise Line International Association’s (CLIA) to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Cunard announces return to Mediterranean cruises and overnight European stays
Cunard’s new 2021 itineraries on Queen Elizabeth are now on sale.
The ship will chart three to 14-night voyages around Europe before making her way through Asia to Australia to end the season.
The new program will start in Southampton on 27 April and end on 19 December 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.
The 2021 itineraries will feature a series of overnight port calls to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Rotterdam, Singapore and Auckland, with late evening departures from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rotterdam, Aqaba, Colombo and Fremantle.
Prices for a balcony stateroom start at $499.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2023 World Cruise breaks booking record for second year in a row
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has shattered the company’s previous world cruise opening day booking record, with reservations doubling the previous record set by the 2022 World Cruise.
The line experienced the longest waitlist for a world cruise in its history, with all Penthouse Suites and above selling out within a matter of hours when sales opened on September 23.
Regent’s 2023 World Cruise is the line’s longest since 2011 and will explore South America, South Pacific Islands, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Africa and Spain on a 143-night voyage across 72 ports of call.
The journey spans six continents from Miami, Florida to Barcelona, Spain in nearly five months, sailing January 7 to May 30, 2023.
Norwegian’s agent incentive
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has launched a new booking incentive and giveaway for its travel partners in Australia and New Zealand.
The incentive celebrates Norwegian Spirit’s inaugural local season, which sees her heading Down Under for the first time in December 2021.
Travel partners will be rewarded with a $100 gift card for every deposited booking made before 4 November 2020 on any Australia and New Zealand Norwegian Spirit sailing departing from Sydney or Auckland.
Top-selling agents from each of NCL’s business development managers’ districts who sell the most Norwegian Spirit Australia and New Zealand cruises will win an Oceanview Stateroom for two onboard Norwegian Spirit, so they can experience all of her exciting offerings and laidback luxury first-hand, with five cabins up for grabs.
NCL is also offering guests the chance to save up to $500 off their cabin fare on any of Norwegian Spirit’s Australia and New Zealand itineraries, as well as all five choices from NCL’s popular ‘Free at Sea’ offer, including a free beverage package, free shore excursion credit, free specialty dining package, free Wi-Fi package and access to NCL’s ‘3rd and 4th’ guest sail at a reduced rate’ (on select sailings) as part of its Close to Home sale. Latitudes members can save an additional 15 per cent off the cruise fare on all sailings from 1 April 2020 and beyond. These offers are available until 12 October 2020.
New ‘slow travel’ Australian rail and river cruise package launched
To help Australians explore more of their own backyard while international borders remain closed Cruise Traveller has released a unique new ‘slow travel’ rail and river cruise package that star two of our country’s great icons – the Murray River and the Indian Pacific train.
Available nowhere else, Cruise Traveller’s 10-night ‘Australian Paddlewheels and Train Tracks’ package – available from July to October 2021 – features a lazy, four-night cruise along the legendary Murray River aboard the only overnight passenger paddle steamer on the river, the deluxe, 18-guest Emmylou, and a journey aboard the epic Indian Pacific across the outback.
The enchanting and freshly renewed Emmylou paddlewheeler starred in the hit 1983 TV mini-series, ‘All the Rivers Run’, starring Sigrid Thornton, and is still one of the most recognisable and iconic paddlesteamers in Australia.
Four departure dates are available in 2021 – July 11, August 8 and 22 and October 10.
Azamara sees strong demand following 2022-2023 deployment announcement
Azamara is experiencing strong numbers as a result of their recent 2022-2023 deployment announcement and the brand’s resilient loyalty base.
During the first week of opening for sale, the brand experienced three times more bookings for its new voyages compared to last year’s deployment announcement of 2021 and Winter/Spring 2022 itineraries.
The strong demand in their 2022/2023 deployment follows a very successful launch of Azamara’s Double Upgrade + Double Points promotion. Compared to the same time frame prior, bookings increased 55 per cent following the launch of the promotion, demonstrating even more pent-up demand for guests wanting to travel with the brand.
Azamara has revealed that guests continue to show a big interest in their country-intensive voyages, with three of the four most popular destination intensive itineraries being in Northern Europe. Additionally, the top five voyages for guests include the British Open itineraries, which are proving to be most popular for 2022, followed by the Suez Canal Europe to Asia, Dubai World Cup, Scotland Intensive and Suez Canal Asia to Europe itineraries.
Viking’s deal of the week
Viking’s 15-day British Isles Explorer from London to Bergen or v.v is now on sale, priced from $7,995 pp including savings of up to $1,000 per couple when booked before 30 November 2020.
The fare includes 12 guided shore excursions, five-star accommodation, all on board meals including alternative dining venues, wine and beer with lunch and dinner, unlimited wi-fi, 24-hour specialty tea, coffee and bottled water, access to the Nordic spa, self-service laundry and all tipping.
Plus, when you book before 31 October 2020 you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that only Viking’s Risk-Free Guarantee can deliver, with the freedom to change plans up to 24 hours before departure.
World’s newest cruise line announces Cruise Traveller as its exclusive, Australian launch partner to debut world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship
Cruise Traveller has become the exclusive launch partner in Australia for the world’s newest cruise line, Tradewind Voyages, which will next year launch the largest square-rigged sailing ship in the world, Golden Horizon.
To be launched in May 2021 and accommodating 272 guests, the five-masted Golden Horizon will embark on her inaugural world voyage in August 2021, which will include a circumnavigation of Australia from December next year.
Cruise Traveller will open sales for sectors of Golden Horizon’s Australian circumnavigation on 2 November 2020 although registrations of interest can now be made.
From December 2021 to February 2022, Golden Horizon will become a spectacular spectacle when she circles Australia for 72 days. Sectors from 14 to the full 72 days will be available from Bali, Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth via Cruise Traveller.
European Waterways announces the return of its ‘Solo Cruise’ aboard Italy’s La Bella Vita luxury hotel barge for 2021
The solo travel market continues to expand as a new generation of healthier, independent and more confident single travellers “take to the road” to see the world.
European Waterways is addressing this fast-growing trend with the return of its exclusive “solo cruise” aboard Italy’s 20-passenger La Bella Vita, the largest vessel in its fleet.
Spacious and stylish, with all the modern conveniences including en suite, air-conditioned cabins, La Bella Vita is the only hotel barge sailing out of Venice to the Renaissance city of Mantua along the Po River and Bianco Canal.
European Waterways is offering 10 per cent off on all advance bookings for this six-night, all-inclusive cruise, a saving of $793 off the $7,935 single rate.
Celestyal debuts revamped ship
Celestyal Cruises has announced its new flagship, the Celestyal Experience.
The ship’s first sailing of the 2021 season will take place on March 6th 2021, with the seven-night “Three Continents” itinerary visiting Greece (Athens and Rhodes), Turkey (Kusadasi), Israel (Ashdod), Egypt (Port Said) and Cyprus (Limassol).
For a limited period, all-inclusive launch pricing starts at just $699 per person.
Later in the season, the Celestyal Experience will operate the “Eclectic Aegean” itinerary, a seven-night voyage which introduces the historical city of Thessaloniki, the gateway to the land of Alexander the Great, as a new embarkation port. In addition to the highlights of an overnight stay in Istanbul and the breathtaking ‘hanging monasteries’ of Meteora, this exclusive itinerary also includes a visit to the site of Ancient Troy.
The Celestyal Experience has a capacity of up to 1,800-guests in 789 staterooms, 166 of which feature balconies, sea terraces and bridge-view verandas. The Celestyal Experience – which has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment – will offer an intimate onboard guest experience with all the warmth of traditional Greek hospitality.
Sail to the Black Sea in five-star luxury
Explore the imperial city of Budapest before sailing behind the former Iron Curtain on a luxury river cruise in September 2021, along the Danube River to the Black Sea on a new fly, stay and cruise package released exclusively by Riviera Travel River Cruises and their Australian representative Cruise Traveller.
The cruise to the Black Sea is now one of the top-selling journeys for Riviera Travel River Cruises as more cruise lovers seek out alternative itineraries to explore lesser-known European locations and enjoy new experiences away from the tourist hotspots.
Cruise Traveller’s exclusive 17-night ‘Hungary to the Black Sea’ package begins on September 26, 2021, and includes three nights’ pre-cruise accommodation in Budapest, a two-day transport and attractions pass in Budapest, a 14-night cruise along the Danube River from Budapest to the Black Sea and back and return flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth.
Guests who book before December 31, 2020, will receive a free onboard drinks package.
Savings released on new triple cruise packages in 2022 aboard world’s largest sailing ships
Fly free to Europe in 2022 and sail the turquoise-blue waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean on three back-to-back cruises aboard two of the world’s largest sailing ships as part of three new fly, triple cruise and stay packages released exclusively by Cruise Traveller.
Offering savings of up to $8,380 per couple, the three new packages in June and September 2022, will see Australians sail with Star Clippers, which operates three deluxe and modern sailing ships.
The vessels include the elegant, 170-guest Star Flyer and the mighty 227-guest Royal Clipper which is currently the world’s largest fully-rigged sailing ship, with five masts, 42 sails, 1765 square-metres of open deck space and three pools.
Seabourn announces Alaska and British Columbia 2021 season
Seabourn will offer a host of experiences and adventures in Alaska and British Columbia in 2021 aboard the luxurious Seabourn Odyssey.
The ship will take travellers to explore the vast wilderness and beauty of “The Great Land” as it winds its way through the region next summer during a series of 7-, 10- and 11-day voyages in a way that is unique in the market.
The schedule will also feature 10- and 11-day voyages sailing between Whittier (Anchorage), Alaska, and Vancouver. Every voyage will include a spectacular glacier experience at either Hubbard Glacier or Tracy Arm/Endicott Arm. In addition, four sailings will visit the remote Glacier Bay National Park, with narration and insider observations by a National Park Service Ranger to enhance the experience.
Swan Hellenic keel-laying ceremony for SH Minerva
The keel-laying ceremony for the first of Swan Hellenic’s two new ice-class expedition cruise ships has taken place in Helsinki.
This saw the first 347-ton block of the ship – newly arrived from Klaipeda, where it had been outfitted and painted – being set on the keel over coins to bring good luck in accordance with ancient maritime custom.
Swan Hellenic announced during the ceremony that the ship would be christened SH Minerva in honour of the iconic company’s first purpose-built vessel, named after the Roman goddess of creativity and wisdom.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Helsinki Shipyard Inc. CEO Carl-Gustasf Rotkirch and project manager Jonas Packalén, together with Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito, participating via video link due to the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sail with confidence on board A-Rosa
A-ROSA River Cruises has created a short new video to showcase what life is like on board of its ships right now. The two-and-a-half-minute video covers various elements of the cruise experience including pre-departure checks, embarkation protocols, dining, excursions and more.
The perfect training tool for the travel industry and A-ROSA’s trade partners, the video can also be shared with potential customers, to give them confidence to book a future European river cruise.
Costa Cruises announces 2021 itineraries
From April through November 2021 Costa Cruises will further extend its Mediterranean offer with a large variety of options and the convenience of multiple ports of departure.
Also, summer 2021 will see the return of cruising in Northern Europe, one of the most popular destinations among Costa’s guests.
Details of the new itineraries and how to book them will be available shortly at Costa’s website and at travel agencies. Costa is working with national and local authorities in the countries on its itineraries to offer guests a safe and enjoyable vacation experience, through implementation of the Costa Safety Protocol in all the destinations included in the new program for 2021.