Cruise Wrap: Carnival’s Queensland commitment, Silver Moon undergoes sea trials + MORE


Get set for Travel Weekly‘s famous Cruise Wrap! And by famous, we mean our editor’s mum prints it out and sticks it on her fridge.

Carnival’s commitment to QLD

Carnival Cruise Line has launched its latest round of sailings from Brisbane featuring almost 50 cruises on offer from June 2022 thru March 2023.

Upon her arrival into the new cruise terminal on the Brisbane River, Carnival Spirit (pictured above) will be the newest and largest ship homeported year-round from Queensland.

She will offer a wide variety of itineraries featuring some of Sunshine state’s best destinations such as Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland as well as farther-flung destinations in the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea.

Silversea’s Silver Moon undergoes sea trials, as cruise line welcomes Roberto Bruzzone and releases episode two of SALT podcast

Silversea’s new ship, Silver Moon, is one step closer to welcoming the cruise line’s guests, having successfully carried out her sea trials between 8 August and 20 August.

Carrying a reduced crew of approximately 320 due to precautionary health protocols, the ship journeyed between Fincantieri’s shipyards in Ancona and Trieste, Italy, undergoing a week-long dry-dock period in the latter. With a delivery date set for 30 October, Silver Moon will become the second ship to join Silversea’s ultra-luxury fleet in 2020, following the delivery of Silver Origin on June 3.

Silversea Cruises has also appointed Roberto Bruzzone as the company’s new senior vice president of marine operations.

Commencing 1 September, Roberto will report directly to Silversea‘s President and CEO, Roberto Martinoli, and will be responsible for the marine and technical operations of the fleet. He will also oversee newbuilding and refitting activities, as well as handle the technical procurement and crew management functions.

In other Silversea news, episode two of the cruise line’s SALT podcast is out now on Spotify and iTunes. The latest episode features Fejsal Demiraj, co-founder of the RRNO Foundation and a chef at Noma, who shares the culinary soul of his ancestral homeland, Albania. Demiraj is joined by RRNO co-founder Nikolin Kola and an unforgettable couple named Sofo and Dhurata.

CLIA gears up for packed season of online events 

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is planning a packed season of virtual events for its travel agent members, creating online opportunities for education and training involving many of the world’s top cruise brands.

Running through to December, CLIA will offer a busy calendar of cruise line webinars and a series of special-focus events on topics including river cruising, luxury cruising, and ports and destinations.

The program includes:

  • Winter Webinar Series, until September 1
  • Luxury Cruise Showcase, September 14-17
  • Virtual River Cruise Showcase, September 23
  • Spring Webinar Series, September 29 to November 17
  • Cruise Port & Destination Showcase, December 1-10

The events are exclusive to CLIA members and are offered in partnership with CLIA cruise lines.

Reservations now open for Crystal Esprit voyages in 2023 through early 2024

Travellers now have more than three years of choices to aboard boutique yacht Crystal Esprit, as Crystal Yacht Cruises opens reservations for the yacht’s 2023 and early 2024 itineraries.

On the roster of predominantly schedule-friendly six-, seven- and eight-night voyages are idyllic islands, chic rivieras and ancient civilizations found in the Seychelles, Greece, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Croatia and more, with itineraries designed to offer immersive experiences in each region.

From January 2023 through March 2024, the 62-guest, all-suite, butler-serviced yacht – named the 2019 Best Small-Ship Cruise Line by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler – will sail 58 enriching itineraries that will entice history buffs, underwater adventurers, foodies and cultural savants alike.

MSC says thank you to healthcare heroes 

MSC Cruises has announced that it is launching a special global discounted cruise fares programme applicable to the end of 2021 for all front line and back-office healthcare professionals globally as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for their ongoing contribution to fight the global pandemic and let them know that when they’re ready, they can enjoy a much-deserved holiday with their loved ones.

Princess Cruises extends pause of operations in Australia

Due to the continued progression of COVID-19 and related decisions of various governments, health authorities, and airlines regarding travel restrictions, Princess Cruises is extending its pause in cruise operations in Australia through 12 December 2020 which includes cruises throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Travel partners become marine biologists for a day with Royal Caribbean

Five of Royal Caribbean International’s valued Queensland travel partners became marine biologists for a day on 30 August, when they were treated by Queensland DSM Erin King to an unforgettable whale-watching expedition.

Gold Coast-based “Humpbacks and Highrises” hosted the group aboard a zodiac, and as well conducting scientific work collecting skin samples from the water and listening to whale song through an underwater hydrophone, the team were privy to a high-octane display of tail-slapping and whale “mugging” – when whales approach and swim around a vessel – giving the lucky group a rare chance to see them up close.

Seabourn announces more voyage cancellations 

Seabourn will cancel additional voyages for three cruise ships in its fleet as a part of its pause in global ship operations.

The announcement applies to Seabourn Ovation, Seabourn Encore, and Seabourn Quest with each ship having a different “effective through” date. Specific details are as follows:

  • Seabourn Ovation: with its operations pause effective through 3 January 2021
  • Seabourn Encore: with its operations pause effective through 6 January 2021
  • Seabourn Quest: with its operations pause effective through 10 May 2021. 

Seabourn is also announcing a revised delivery date for its new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, which is now scheduled for 1 December 2021. The delay is because of shipyard closures at T. Mariotti earlier this year as part of responses to COVID-19, which resulted in disruptions to the overall construction and finishing process for the ship.

Seabourn is continuing to assess the timing to resume operations on Seabourn Odyssey in the Caribbean. As a courtesy to guests booked on December sailings aboard Seabourn Odyssey, final payment will now be due 60 days prior to departure.

Save up to $4,600 with Viking


 Viking has launched a sale on voyages departing in 2021, 2022 and 2023, delivering savings of up to $4,600 per couple when booked before 30 November 2020.

The Explore The Viking Way sale features generous flight credits and incredible savings on Viking’s most popular and iconic river, ocean and expedition cruises. Plus, with the extension of its Risk-Free Guarantee to 30 September 2020, Viking offers travellers the freedom to change their plans up to 24 hours before departure, for any reason.

Azamara’s two-part promotion

Azamara has a new two-part promotion, “Double Upgrade + Double Points,” focused on added benefits for future guests, as well as members of Azamara Circle – the rebranded loyalty program that provides benefits to returning travellers with perks such as suite/loyalty combinability, complimentary internet for Discoverer Platinum members, and an incentivising referral program, among other perks.

With the “Double Upgrade + Double Points” promotion, the brand’s intention is to express gratitude to all guests by introducing the opportunity to receive Double Loyalty Points when booking early. The offer applies to voyages setting sail March 20, 2021 – April 11, 2022, with some exclusions.

Hurtigruten launches exclusive Scandinavian journeys 

The touring range of a choice of escorted small group and independent tours includes six itineraries combining a Hurtigruten voyage with handpicked destinations that give travellers the option to see, do and experience more of Scandinavia.

The touring range includes new Expedition Cruise tours and the popular Follow The Lights escorted small group tour. Covering Northern Lights, Midnight Sun and Spring seasons, the tours offer the best of Scandinavia across the year.

Norwegian Cruise Line updates

Travel Partners $50 Gift Card Incentive:

  • NCL is rewarding travel partners with a $50 gift card incentive for every booking deposited between 1 – 22 September 2020.
  • Alongside this incentive, and in the spirit of their partners first philosophy, NCL is further supporting travel partners with generous and protected commissions, a local contact centre available Monday to Saturday and easy access to BDMs through the Book-a-BDM platform.

Balcony Bonus Sale Launched on 1 September:

  • A new offer, which also sees agents eligible for a $50 gift card for every booking deposited between 1 and 22 September 2020, is NCL’s Balcony Bonus Sale.
  • From 1 September through to 22 September, travel partners can book an Oceanview stateroom on selected April and May 2021 sailings and beyond, and their client will receive a free Balcony upgrade.
  • This offer is combinable with NCL’s Free at Sea Promotion, allowing clients to choose from two free offers including a free beverage package.
  • With NCL’s Peace of Mind policy, guests can cruise safely with enhanced health and safety protocols and a flexible booking policy.

Peace of Mind Extension:

  • NCL has extended its guest-friendly Peace of Mind policy. Guests sailing on cruises booked by 31 October 2020 with embarkation dates from 1 January 2021 to 31 October 2021 now have the flexibility to cancel their cruise 15 days prior to departure and guests booked on 2020 sailings have the flexibility to cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure.
  • In addition, NCL has extended the updates to the final payment policy and schedule, to provide guests with more flexibility. For all voyages through 31 March 2021, guests can provide final payment 30 days prior to embarkation versus the standard 120 days.

Sealink Travel Group releases FY20 financial results 

In what has been one of the most challenging operational environments on record, SeaLink managed to adapt and continue to trade strongly.

Underlying net profit after tax and before amortisation was $37.2 million, up 47.2 per cent on the prior year. The acquisition completion of the TSG business was timely and this part of the business has traded in line with base case acquisition metrics despite the pandemic and contributed strongly to the result.

The marine and tourism division had a strong first half to the year, however many of these businesses were required to be wound down for three months or more during the various state lockdown periods in the second half. Despite this, most marine links to island destinations continued to operate as essential transport links and, in some cases, attracted additional government subsidies.

Operating cash flows were strong throughout the year and the focus on cost control and preservation of cash further strengthened the balance sheet throughout this period, ending the year with lower gearing than the prior year, a cash balance of $120 million, net senior debt of $151 million and gearing of 1.4x net debt to pro forma full-year EBITDA.

MSC Cruises premium drinks for all promotion 

Book a Bella or Fantastica cabin for the premium drinks package included for all guests in the cabin. The Premium Drinks package has a wide range of cocktails, spirits, wines by the glass, beers, sodas & fruit juices, coffee, tea & hot chocolate delights. ‘Premium Drinks For All’ can be enjoyed in all onboard bars, restaurants and buffet. 

Premium Drinks For All is available on departures in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and Caribbean from 27 March 2021 to 2 December 2021.  

The Big Cruise Podcast releases bonus episode

The Big Cruise Podcast promises a “refreshing approach to cruise news, reviews and answers to your cruise-related questions”, according to host Barry Downs.

In the latest bonus episode, Downs chats with Brigita Devries, VP of sales and marketing for Australia and New Zealand at Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises.

Their conversation includes the latest update on the Dream Cruises fleet, resumption of cruising for Explorer Dream in Taiwan, Dream’s health and safety measures, and why you and your clients will love The Palace – Dream’s luxury ‘ship-within-a-ship’ private enclave on board each ship.

They also discuss Crystal Cruises’ series of stringent health and safety protocols across their ocean, river, yacht and expedition fleets, known as Crystal Clean+.

A-ROSA attracts ocean cruisers

Since its restart, A-ROSA has noticed an increase of bookings from guests who would traditionally book ocean cruises but, given the current limitations of ocean cruising, opted for a river cruise instead.

One of these river cruise novices is cruise blogger Fabian Betzendahl, who spontaneously decided to book an A-ROSA Danube cruise.

“River cruising is indeed a great alternative to ocean cruising,” Fabian said. “The benefits of cruising, such as unpacking once and exploring exciting destinations along the way and listening to the soothing sound of water remain the same.

“River cruises also offer ample of choice to engage in indoor and outdoor activities and to indulge in gourmet culinary delights. Generally, I cruise on ocean liners, but I thoroughly enjoyed the pleasures of river cruising.”

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines confirms new ships Bolette and Borealis will take over from classic vessels Boudicca and Black Watch

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines  will retire two classic vessels, Boudicca and Black Watch, as the company prepares to welcome two new ships, Bolette and Borealis, into the fleet.

The two new ships will take over existing itineraries for Boudicca and Black Watch, when cruising begins again with the company’s ‘back in the water’ plan for next year.

When Bolette and Borealis join the fleet it will increase Fred. Olsen’s overall capacity by circa 30 per cent – meaning more guests can enjoy exciting new itineraries. Both vessels carry under 1,400 guests and have new and larger public areas, whilst remaining true to Fred. Olsen’s small ship experience.

Those guests who had cruises booked on the two classic vessels will be among the first to sail on the new ships, with their bookings being automatically transferred onto either Bolette or Borealis. Additional cabins will go on sale in early September.

AIDA Cruises to resume cruise operations with fall and winter voyages

AIDA Cruises has cancelled its previously announced cruises for September and has updated its fall and winter 2020-2021 program to provide its guests and sales partners additional time to plan and book vacations for a safe and enjoyable return to cruise holidays.

As the first ship from the AIDA fleet to begin sailing, AIDAmar will set course on 1 November 2020, for seven-day voyages to the Canary Islands, a popular destination with German vacationers.

AIDAperla will follow on 7 November 2020 and will take over the travel program originally planned for AIDAnova. AIDAmar‘s voyages will start and end in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. For voyages with AIDAperla, in addition to Las Palmas, AIDA Cruises will offer a second departure port with Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

In the Western Mediterranean, AIDA Cruises will resume sailing operations with AIDAstella on 12 December 2020, where the ship will cast off from Palma, Mallorca, on seven-day cruises to some of the most beautiful cities in the Western Mediterranean.

The treasures of the Orient take center stage during the seven-day AIDAprima cruises that will be offered starting 11 December 2020, from Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and from 15 December 2020, from Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).

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