Cruise

Cruise Wrap: MSC’s Mediterranean return, Silverseas’ new expeditions + MORE

This week’s Cruise Wrap is one of our longest yet, with enough information to fill the Pacific Ocean. Or maybe just the Tasman Sea. It will fill your kitchen sink, at least.

MSC returns to service in the Mediterranean 

MSC Cruises has announced that flagship MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica will resume operations in the Mediterranean starting from 16 and 29 August 2020 respectively, offering guests who are residents in Schengen countries the opportunity to discover five different destinations during a seven-night cruise.

The two ships will be the first to implement a new comprehensive health and safety protocol that has been approved by the relevant national authorities from the countries that the ships will call along their East and West Mediterranean itineraries this summer.

Silversea unveils new collection of expeditions for 2021/22 + adds to online marketing toolkit for agents 

Silversea Cruises has revealed a revised collection of 157 new expedition voyages. The new voyages will be departing from January 2021 to July 2022.

The new offering includes itineraries in the Galapagos aboard new ship Silver Origin, the unprecedented Deep Antarctica expedition and the first-ever ultra-luxury fly-cruise to Antarctica, a 51-port Arctic grand voyage, and the world’s first-ever expedition world cruise, among other experiences.

Also included in Silversea’s new collection of expedition voyages for 2021/2022 are 10 voyages in Northern Europe, with five sailings departing from various ports in the British Isles and two voyages to the Norwegian Fjords; a wide selection of in-depth expeditions in Australia’s Kimberley Region, as well as Southeast Asia and Melanesia; seven exceptional voyages to the South Pacific Islands; a variety of options in South America, including two spectacular itineraries to the Chilean Fjords; and the chance to discover Alaska and the American West Coast; and more.

The line has also enhanced its online suite of marketing resources and sales tools for travel advisors.

Named Marketing Central, the revamped platform will enable travel advisors to grow their businesses, offering access to tools that have been designed to make selling Silversea easier.

Marketing Central provides a one-stop-shop for all marketing needs including simplified access to a robust inventory of assets, the latest incentives and fares available to travel advisors, and more.

Marketing Central is located within our Travel Professional Center, My.Silversea.com

New easy and flexible way to book Crystal Cruises + Crystal Clean+ 2.0 protocols for river fleet

Crystal’s new relaxed and flexible booking terms for its river and expedition journeys are now available through Australia’s leading small ship cruise specialists, Cruise Traveller.

Available until September 2, 2020, Australians can book any Crystal ocean, river or expedition cruise through Cruise Traveller without any down payment, with a reduced deposit of 15 per cent (normally 25 per cent) only required 90 days later.

Final payment deadlines for Crystal journeys have also been relaxed and 100 per cent refunds of deposits are now also available for cancellations prior to standard schedules, with administration fees waived.

The new, flexible booking terms – as well as special discounts – are available on a special new fly, cruise and stay package offered exclusively by Cruise Traveller to help Australians celebrate the 2021 festive season. The 17-night ‘Fireworks and Fjords’ package will see guests pampered with fine dining, attentive service, included beverages, an unforgettable Christmas dinner at sea – with carols and all the trimmings – and a unique and exciting New Year’s Eve party on Sydney Harbour.

The line also announced the expansion of its Crystal Clean+ safety and health protocols to the sister ships of Crystal River Cruises.

The Crystal River Cruises’ initial set of Crystal Clean+ protocols, considered the 2.0 version of Crystal’s already stringent health and safety policies, were developed with the latest data from health experts to meet the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 and will be continually evaluated and adjusted as new information becomes available.

U by Uniworld announces big plans for 2021

Next year, U by Uniworld will welcome guests with completely new, first-of-its-kind experiences. U is reimaging the river cruising industry with four itineraries throughout European hot spot cities and idyllic river towns, as well as a dynamic range of new inclusions from offshore excursions to airport transfers, and themed cruises tailored to the curious spirit of the U traveller.

In 2021, ‘GenZ on U’ will be introduced, the new family program exclusively for teens and their parents. On six select sailings, these cruises will be the perfect way to celebrate special milestones, graduations, and birthdays, or simply connect as a family with unconventional experiences that both generations can enjoy.

After debuting the successful ‘U in Drag’ and ‘Tattoo on U’ sailings, the next obvious choice: food. U’s first foodie-themed cruise will set sail July 24, 2021 in collaboration with top food influencer Salvatore DiBenedetto, known as The GrubFather (@thegrubfather) who has over 215k Instagram followers and is widely sought after for his food photography and travel inspiration.

In 2021, U will be back and better than ever with its new inclusions: beer and wine included at lunch and dinner, and roundtrip airport transfers. Every U sailing also includes three daily locally sourced meals, two dedicated U Hosts who know the destinations best, local DJ performances on the rooftop lounge, daily offshore excursions, ship-wide Wi-Fi and all gratuities.

Aurora Expeditions launches deposit protection program

Aurora Expeditions has launched its new deposit protection program.

When passengers book and place a new deposit with Aurora Expeditions, their funds are automatically placed into a separate trust fund, otherwise known as an escrow account which means their deposit is secure and protects their funds at this unprecedented time.

The funds it receives from passengers for their future travel are safely held by the Aurora Passenger Trust and used only for payments related to their expedition.

CLIA and members’ third voluntary cruise suspension 

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s ocean-going cruise line members have agreed to voluntarily suspend US cruise operations until at least 31 October 2020.

Carnival to offload more ships

Carnival Corporation has decided to remove a further two ships from its fleet to align it with the expected phased restart of guest cruise operations, while also generating cost savings.

“On July 23, 2020, senior management of the company evaluated these two ships for impairment and concluded their carrying values are no longer recoverable when compared to their estimated remaining future cash flows,” Carnival said in a statement.

“Consequently, and in combination with other ships and notes receivables with recoverability impacted by the current environment, we expect to record non-cash impairment charges during the third quarter of 2020.”

In other Carnival news, more than 17,000 people from around the world signed up to participate in the cruise giant’s Global Scientific Summit in partnership with the World Travel & Tourism Council on COVID-19 last week to hear from 12 public health experts and scientists, sharing their knowledge and the latest evidence-based practices related to the prevention, detection and mitigation of the virus.

The summit covered epidemiology, transmission, screening and testing, therapeutics and practical risk mitigation in three one-hour sessions.

Ponant extends its ‘Serenity Policy’

Ponant has allowed guests more flexibility by extending its Serenity Policy across new bookings on all departures until 30 April 2021.

Ponant’s Serenity Policy for all new bookings for departures until 30 April 2021 include:

  • Reduced deposit now just 10 per cent, instead of 25 per cent
  • Final payment not due until 30 days prior to departure, instead of 90 days
  • Guests can cancel up to 30 days prior to departure and receive a refund OR transfer the full paid amount to a future booking (no fees apply).

Viking unveils new Panama Canal cruises

The Viking Sun in the Panama Canal locks.

Viking has announced two brand-new Panama Canal itineraries are now open for sale, including a one-off, 18-day ‘Panama Canal & Coastal Holiday’ sailing departing 24 December 2021, and two departures of a new 11-day ‘Classic Panama Canal Passage’ voyage, departing 6 and 16 November 2021.

In addition, three new departures of Viking’s popular 15-day ‘Panama Canal & Central America’ voyage have been released for sale, cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale with departures in October, November and December 2021.

Each of the voyages will embark on the 930-guest Viking Star.

Oceania Cruises launches new trade survey + webinar

Oceania Cruises has launched a trade survey to give travel advisors in Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to provide feedback on the cruise line’s latest trade initiatives and tell the line how it can best support them.

The new Trade Survey will also help Oceania Cruises to better understand its trade partners’ businesses and gain insight into the resources they need to succeed moving forward.

As a thank you to those taking part, all trade advisors who answer the question “Tell us where you want to travel in 2021” in 25 words or less, will have the opportunity to win a case of premium wine.

To enter, partners must complete the Trade Survey and email their answer to insidesalesanz@oceaniacruises.com by 5pm, 31 August, 2020.

The survey takes about five minutes to complete and can be accessed HERE.

The line is also hosting its fifth webinar as part of its educational series for Australia and New Zealand travel partners.

Taking place on Thursday 13 August, from 1:00pm to 1:30pm AEST, (3pm to 3:30pm NZST), ‘Growing Group Business’ will provide an in-depth overview of the group booking process, and outline the benefits for travel partners and their clients.

During the session, host James Sitters, Oceania Cruises’ business development manager for Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, will also provide insights into the line’s Tour Conductor Credits and other rewards for agents and will share his hot tips on how to find and market to groups.

Register for this webinar HERE. Travel partners are also encouraged to submit questions ahead of each session to insidesalesanz@oceaniacruises.com.

P&O extends cruise pause 

In an acknowledgement of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance, P&O Cruises has extended its pause in operations until 12 November 2020, and also cancelled two long itineraries due to depart in January 2021.

Guests booked on the cancelled cruises will automatically receive an enhanced 125 per cent Future Cruise Credit or alternatively can fill in the website form for a 100 per cent refund.

Seabourn’s upcoming voyage cancellations 

Seabourn Encore – 1st Departure from Venice – Italy

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

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

  • Seabourn Encore: with its operations pause effective through to 25 November 2020.
  • Seabourn Ovation: with its operations pause effective through to 20 December 2020.
  • Seabourn Sojourn: paused through World Cruise 2021, with its operations pause effective through to 24 May 2021.

The brand had previously announced a pause in its global ship operations from 14 March to 20 November 2020, depending on the ship, effectively cancelling all voyages scheduled to operate during that timeframe.

Holland America Line extends its pause of cruise operations

Holland America Line is extending its pause of cruise operations and cancelling departures on all ships through 15 December 2020.

The pause extension affects Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal, South America, Antarctica, Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia and Asia itineraries.

AIDA preps for resumption of cruise operations 

AIDA Cruises is planning to resume its cruise operations with the first ships from German ports at the beginning of September.

The first trips from Kiel will start on September 6, 2020, and AIDAperla will be heading to the Norwegian fjords from Hamburg on September 12, 19 and 26, 2020.

As the current development shows, unfortunately not in all European travel destinations the prerequisites for safe travel are given yet.

Due to the current situation, the company must extend the pause of its cruise season until September 30, 2020, except for the above-mentioned departures from Kiel (starting from September 6, 2020) and Hamburg (starting from September 12, 2020).

Costa Cruises to restart in September + introduces new safety protocol

Following the approval yesterday by the Italian government of the resumption of cruises and the new health protocol, Costa Cruises is planning to restart its operations from Italian ports gradually on September 6, 2020.

The first ship to set sail will be Costa Deliziosa, on September 6, 2020, offering weekly cruises from Trieste to discover the most beautiful destinations in Greece. She will be followed by Costa Diadema, on September 19,  operating seven-day cruises in Western Mediterranean from Genoa.

The line has also announced the introduction of the Costa Safety Protocol, the new health and hygiene protocol designed to guarantee the best holiday experience with maximum safety. Supported by a panel of independent scientific experts in Public Health coordinated by V.I.H.T.A.L.I. (Value in Health Technology and Academy for Leadership and Innovation), a spin-off of the Università Cattolica of Rome, Costa Cruises has worked in line with several global and national health guidelines to develop the protocol.

The protocol include a very comprehensive set of measures and procedures, including the safety of crew members as they return to work on board, the booking process, embarking and disembarking operations in port, life and medical care on board and shore excursions.

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