Cruise wrap: P&O’s ‘The Big Laugh’ line-up, seven new river cruise ships for Viking, Norwegian’s new training facility + more!

Cruise wrap: P&O’s ‘The Big Laugh’ line-up, seven new river cruise ships for Viking, Norwegian’s new training facility + more!

The cruise industry has been busy this week! This wrap is practically overflowing with launches, deals and all manner of cruise news.

European Waterways waives single supplement on select cruises


As solo travel soars in popularity, European Waterways is enjoying record bookings among outgoing single travellers and is waiving the single supplement fee on more than 40 departures in 2019.

The cruise regions include Burgundy and the Canal du Midi in France, Venice and the Po Valley in Italy, the rugged Highlands of Scotland, and a tulip cruise in Holland. Eligible cruises are available from April through July 2019, with savings of up to $3,520. The special offer cannot be combined with other offers and additional restrictions may apply.

Fly free to Canada with Travelmarvel in 2020

Travelmarvel Brewster-Glacier-Adventure-Ice-Explorer

Book now and save with premium tour operator Travelmarvel’s exclusive fly free deal to Canada & Alaska in 2020, when two guests book our Highlights of the Rockies & Alaska Cruise for 2020.

Available early, due to overwhelming demand, this 17-day journey explores the unparalleled natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies before boarding a Holland America Line Cruise through Alaska’s iconic Inside Passage. This is a travel adventure not to be missed, starting at $6,995 per person twin share, including a special fly free offer and an early payment discount. All other Canada & Alaska holidays enjoy 2 for 1 airfares.

Aqua Expeditions announces 30 per cent summer rates offer for Aqua Mekong ‘Green Season’ Cruises

Aqua Mekong Exterior View - High Resolution (2)

Class-leading boutique luxury cruise line Aqua Expeditions has announced a special Summer Rates offer aboard award-winning Aqua Mekong expedition river cruises in 2019 and 2020, taking travellers on a grand journey of Cambodia and Vietnam on one of the world’s legendary waterways, the Mekong river.

The Summer Rates offer is a 30 per cent discount on regular rates for chosen departures from 3 May to 13 August 2019 and 1 May to 6 August 2020, priced from USD2268 for a 3-night Discovery Cruise, USD3024 for a 4-night Explorer Cruise and USD5292 for a 7-night Expedition Cruise. All rates are per person twin-share and all-inclusive.

P&O Cruises reveals all-star line-up for ‘The Big Laugh’ 2019

P&O Cruises Australia has announced a star-studded line-up for its second annual biggest comedy festival at sea onboard Pacific Explorer in June 2019.

Thirteen big-name comedians, including Tom Gleeson, Dave Hughes, Dave Thornton and Mel Buttle will perform 32 shows and a combined 1,500 minutes of jokes during the jam-packed three-night cruise departing Sydney on June 8, 2019.

P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the festival continues to build on the cruise line’s already extremely popular comedy entertainment offering.

MSC Magnifica‘s maiden call to Sydney 

Serge in kitchen

Following her maiden call in Auckland, New Zealand on her 118-night World Cruise from Genoa, Italy, MSC Magnifica reached Sydney on 18 March receiving a warm welcome.  This visit from MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, The Gulf, South America and South Africa, marks the second time MSC Cruises has brought one of its cruise ships to Australia, with MSC Orchestra having visited in 2015.

In honour of the maiden call to this stunning harbour, MSC Cruises organised events throughout the day to welcome guests. MSC Cruises invited key media and travel agents to allow them to familiarise themselves with the unique MSC Cruises experience.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announces plans for new state-of-the-art staff training facility

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has announced plans for the development and construction of the Norwegian Cruise Line Center of Excellence, a new state-of-the-art shipboard team member training facility near Manila in the Philippines.

The 18,580-square-metre Center of Excellence will serve both new and existing shipboard team members across the Company and will provide training for various onboard service areas.  The world class training campus will enable the Company to fully immerse trainees in their coursework, reduce onboard training time and further improve upon the already industry-leading service levels.

The facilities have been designed to provide trainees with realistic work and living experiences aboard a cruise ship, which will include replicas of staterooms, a shipboard galley, a casino floor, a full-service bar as well as safety and security training areas.  Slated for 2020 completion, the centre will provide annual training for as many as 8,000 shipboard team members each year.

Partners dive free with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji

Diving Boat 2

Dive at amazing, remote and different Fiji dive locations every day and have your partner dive free with Captain Cook Cruise Fiji and Viti Water Sports,  ‘Partner Dives Free’ deal. The deal is on sale until 30 April 2019 and is available for all three, four, seven and eleven -night Fiji cruise passengers onboard small ship, MV Reef Endeavour.  Dives start from only $294 for a two-tank dive package and partners dive free.

Diving onboard the Reef Endeavour is operated by Viti Water Sports, a PADI5 Star Dive Centre. Two dives are offered each day in different locations and dive sites are reached by smaller tender boats to access some of Fiji’s amazing and more remote dive locations.

Viking expands European river fleet with launch of seven new ships


Viking welcomed the latest additions to its river fleet, with the naming of seven new river ships during a celebration on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland. Of the seven ships, six are Viking Longships – Viking Einar, Viking Sigrun, Viking Sigyn, Viking Tir, Viking Ullur and Viking Vali which will be deployed on Viking’s most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. The seventh new ship – Viking Helgrim – was inspired by the Longships design and built specifically for the Douro River, bringing the company’s total number of sister ships in Portugal to four.

This launch of new river ships is Viking’s latest milestone as the company continues to expand and dominate industry awards. Just two weeks ago, Viking swept Cruise Critic’s 2019 Cruisers’ Choice Awards with 11 First Place Wins – including the new “Best for River Cruises” category – and just last month the company took delivery of its sixth ocean ship, Viking Jupiter, which will be named in Oslo on June 6. In addition, Viking was again named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, and Travel + Leisure readers named Viking a #1 Ocean Cruise Line and one of the World’s Best River Cruise Lines in the 2018 World’s Best Awards.

Serenade of the Seas to call Australia home 


Australian travellers can choose from four Royal Caribbean megaliners and two home ports from 2020, when the line introduces a brand-new ship to Sydney Serenade of the Seas and delivers Queenslanders with their very own dedicated cruise ship, Radiance of the Seas, home ported from Brisbane’s International Cruise Terminal and located within a stone’s throw of the stunning South Pacific.

Serenade of the Seas – the younger sister to Radiance of the Seas – will sail from Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal for the first time from October 2020 to April 2021, offering 18 dining venues, bars and lounges, as well as a rock-climbing wall, 9-hole mini golf course and three pools. The 2400-guest megaliner boasts Whoopi Goldberg as her godmother plus lounges and bars not seen previously in Australian waters, including the Safari Club, Congo Bar and Zanzibar Lounge.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises launches new limited-time offers

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has launched its Exhilarating Escapes to Asia and the South Pacific campaign.

There are now dozen sailings across Asia, South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, with savings of up to 25 per cent plus a reduced deposit of 10 per cent.

Lisa Pile, vice president of sales for Australia and New Zealand at Regent Seven Seas Cruises, said: “We’re so excited to launch these offers for your clients.

“One of the standout sailings is where guests can sail on board the all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager on a 14-night round trip itinerary departing from Singapore on December 6th 2019, where she’ll visit Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia – all for just $646 per person, per day.

“On top of giving guests access to these great offers for a limited time, the fare also includes all the luxury amenities Regent Seven Seas Cruises is renowned for, such as free unlimited shore excursions, unlimited WiFi, premium beverages, and specialty restaurants, to name but a few.”

For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Exhilarating Escapes to Asia and the South Pacific offers, click here.

*Carnival Cruise Line  Retail Deal*: Great Rates and up to $400^ Spa & Bar Dollars

Carnival Cruise Line has launched its popular ‘Spa & Bar Dollars’ sale, offering couples great rates and up to $400^ onboard credit on a range of sailings across 2019 and 2020. Discover tranquillity and indulge in a massage at the spa onboard or enjoy that Ahhh moment while sipping on an ice-cold beverage at one of the 16 bars and lounges.

Sail to some of Carnival’s most stunning destinations onboard Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor including the picturesque islands of New Caledonia, the palm-lined beaches of Fiji and Vanuatu and Carnival Splendor’s transpacific cruise from Singapore to Sydney.

Score a bargain when booking before 18 April 2019. The offer is available on select sailings between 11 April 2019 and 30 December 2020.

An overview of these great deals can be seen below:


Departing City

ItineraryDurationSail DateInterior TWIN PP FROM*Ocean View TWIN PP FROM*Balcony TWIN PP FROM*Onboard credit per cabin (AUD)^
D946Carnival SplendorSingapore to SydneyAsia & Australia15 nights25-Nov-19$1,299$2,449$3,099$400
D009Carnival SplendorSydneyNew Caledonia7 nights23-Feb-20$849$999$1,249$200
D018Carnival SplendorSydneyNew Caledonia & Vanuatu10 nights27-Apr-20$1,199$1,449$1,799$400
D026Carnival SplendorSydneyNew Caledonia & Vanuatu11 nights22-Jun-20$1,349$1,549$1,949$400


CruiseShipDeparting CityItineraryDurationSail DateInterior TWIN PP FROM*Ocean View                 TWIN PP FROM*Balcony                       TWIN PP FROM*Onboard credit per cabin (AUD)^
D946Carnival SplendorSingapore to SydneyAsia & Australia15 nights25-Nov-19$1,364$2,571$3,254$400
D009Carnival SplendorSydneyNew Caledonia7 nights23-Feb-20$891$1,049$1,311$200
D018Carnival SplendorSydneyNew Caledonia & Vanuatu10 nights27-Apr-20$1,259$1,521$1,889$400
D026Carnival SplendorSydneyNew Caledonia & Vanuatu11 nights22-Jun-20$1,416$1,626$2,046$400

Deals on cruise and land tours in South East Asia from Scenic

Monk, Wat Hanchey, Kampong Cham, Cambodia

18 Day Journey along the Mekong, Ho Chi Minh City to Luang Prabang –

The wonders of Indochina are just waiting for you to discover on this exclusive itinerary from Scenic. For those who may have previously dipped their toes into South East Asia, this is a chance to delve that little bit deeper into the intriguing Mekong River. Cruising the Mekong is notched up several levels thanks to our all-inclusive luxury ship. From the moment you embark Scenic Spirit to the second you disembark, you’ll want for nothing. Along the way you’ll uncover floating markets, seek out ancient artefacts and visit initiatives changing the lives of street kids forever. An awe-inspiring sunrise over Angkor Wat helps to farewell Cambodia before you discover the hidden gem that is Laos. Three nights spent in the spiritual capital of Luang Prabang offers a perfect way to round out your time in this sublime part of the world.

From $10,695 per person

14 Day Mystical Irrawaddy, Mandalay to Yangon

From Mandalay to Yangon, the sublime Irrawaddy River and the equally enchanting landscape of Myanmar will accompany you on this adventure of a lifetime. Only recently opened to western travellers, this land of deep spirituality and spectacular treasures will entrance and delight. Experience traditional river village life in Yandabo , let the awe of Bagan wash over you and explore the colonial relics of Magwe and Salay before arriving in the bustling capital of Yangon. The city offers up many surprises including a thriving arts scene and the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda. As the sun sets on an incredible experience you’ll take part in a traditional oil lamp lighting ceremony, an uplifting and magical way to conclude your time in this mystical land.

From $9,395 per person

Latest News

  • Cruise
  • Travel Weekly Features

PROFILE: Julie Rogers MBA, Director of Sales Asia Pacific of Ponant

With increasing interest from Australians in expedition cruises, Julie Rogers MBA, Director of Sales Asia Pacific of PONANT, shares with Travel Weekly the new experiences she is excited about in cruise. Is there any significant increase in Australians/New Zealander’s heading north to the Arctic instead of the Antarctic? We have seen a steady growth in […]

  • Products

Mandarin Oriental takes a dive into swimwear with $360 board shorts

If you were inspired by The Inspired Unemployed’s Liam Moore limited-edition pair of Budgy Smugglers but want a bit more coverage, then here’s your chance. The Orlebar Brown brand has introduced an original design of the Bulldog swim short for Mandarin Oriental hotels – yours for a snip at US$242.25 (AU$360). They have been “designed […]

  • Health & Wellness
  • Luxury

Trisara showcases sustainable dining via wellspring program

Phuket-based resort Trisara is transporting guests from resort to farm to table then back again courtesy of a new limited-time program, Wellspring. The package is a collaboration with Tri Vananda, a US$182 million (AU $270 million) wellness community in northern Phuket, conceived by Montara Hospitality Group, the owners of Trisara. In addition to entitling guests […]

  • Aviation

Emirates SkyCargo expands fleet with five Boeing 777 freighters

Emirates SkyCargo announced an investment of US$1 billion (AU$1.484b) to expand its fleet with an order of five new Boeing 777 freighters. The investment follows a strong performance in the first quarter of the 2024/25 financial year. Emirates SkyCargo expects the new freighters to increase its capacity by 30 per cent. The increase enables the […]

  • Events
  • Tour Operators

ITE HCMC 2024 focuses on sustainable tourism for creating a future

The 18th annual International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) will take place from 5 to 7 September at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center. Under the theme “Responsible Travel, Creating Future”, the expo will highlight its dedication to promoting sustainable tourism practices and showcasing innovative tourism products and services to meet rigorous […]

  • Appointments

Seasoned pro Chris Waite goes out on his own in corporate affairs & communications

Seasoned tourism and hospitality industry corporate affairs and communications professional Chris Waite has unveiled his new consultancy. Drawing on his 25 years of experience across Australia, Europe, and Asia, Chris Waite Corporate Affairs & Communications is dedicated to helping businesses build and safeguard their most valuable asset: their reputation. Waite will focus on delivering results through […]

  • News

Travel becomes the leading retirement priority in latest Equip Super research

A staggering 71 per cent of Australians are prioritising spending their retirement savings on travel, according to a recent survey by leading superannuation fund, Equip Super. Health concerns were ranked as second as the most significant priority in retirement with 56 per cent and spending on hobbies and interests takes the third spot at 54 […]