Cruise wrap: Virgin Voyages’ commission commitment, Cruise360 sets course for Brisbane + MORE

This week’s cruise wrap could be best described as the Titanic of all cruise wraps. In that it’s huge – not that it will sink.

Virgin Voyages brings ‘First Mates’ program Down Under

Virgin Voyages’ is partnering with Travel the World as its general sales agent (GSA) to begin working with travel advisors in Australia.

Over the coming months, Travel the World will focus on training and registering travel advisors, or ‘First Mates’ as Virgin Voyages’ affectionately refers to them, to do business with Virgin Voyages.

Together, they aim to officially open for business with the Australian travel community by the end of this year.

Virgin Voyages currently has four ships on order, due for delivery in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. The brand’s first ship, Scarlet Lady (pictured above), will sail four-, five- and seven- night sailings to the Caribbean from Miami beginning in April of next year.

The cruise line is currently working with First Mates in the US, Canada and the UK.

In making the announcement at Cruise360 Australasia last Friday, Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin also confirmed the cruise line will offer a base commission of 10 per cent on the entire transaction to Aussie agents, with nothing held back or excluded.

In addition, all First Mates or affiliated organisations can earn a ‘Red Hot Bonus’ paid annually on sailed revenue up to an additional six per cent if they meet certain production thresholds.

Virgin Voyages has also eliminated non-commissionable fares for First Mates, which unlocks the entire booking to be commissionable.

They will earn across the transaction including a more inclusive voyage fare, taxes and fees, add-ons like voyage protection and ‘Shore Things’ (share excursions), spa treatments, ‘Sailor Loot’ (onboard credit), and any voyage enhancing premium package.

Virgin Voyages and Travel The World will host a training roadshow beginning 16 October, during which they will visit Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Cruise360 sets course for Brisbane in 2020

The cruise industry’s peak annual conference, Cruise360 Australasia, will move to Brisbane next year.

At the closure of this year’s Cruise360 in Sydney last Friday, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director for Australasia, Joel Katz, announced the event would move to Queensland in 2020 to help mark the upcoming opening of the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal at Luggage Point.

The conference will be held at Brisbane’s Royal International Convention Centre on Friday 28 August 2020, marking the first time the event has been held outside Sydney in its seven-year history.

Seabourn announces new European journeys

Lucerne, Switzerland (Seabourn Journeys)

Ultra-luxury cruise specialists Seabourn is introducing four new journeys in 2020 to destinations in Europe.

The four newest Seabourn Journeys to launch in 2020 include are the ‘UNESCO Imperial Heritage of Europe’ (10-day pre-cruise or post-cruise), the ‘UNESCO Lakeside Gems of the Swiss Alps’ (six-day pre-cruise or post-cruise), the ‘UNESCO Treasures of Tuscany’ (six-day pre-cruise or post-cruise), and the ‘Venice Simplon-Orient-Express’ (six-day pre-cruise).

Call 1800 929 9391 or visit the Seaborn website for more details.

Silver Moon touches water for the first time

Silversea’s new ultra-luxury cruise ship, Silver Moon, touched water for the first time last week at Fincantieri Shipyard in Ancona, Italy.

A momentous milestone in the eagerly-awaited ship’s build, the float out was marked by a celebratory event and a traditional coin ceremony, held in the presence of top-level representatives from Silversea and Fincantieri, plus VIP guests.

Fincantieri will now begin work on Silver Moon’s interior.

Check out footage of the momentous occasion below:

Viking unveils new Swiss extension

Viking Cruises has unveiled a brand new three-night cruise extension in Switzerland’s Lucerne region.

‘The Alpine Backdrops of Lake Lucerne’ extension can be added to the beginning or end of selected eight-day Rhine Getaway 2020 departures, sailing from Amsterdam to Basel or vice versa, and includes three nights in a first-class hotel in Lucerne, four guided tours, four meals and all transfers, all the while fully escorted by a Viking host.

Guided excursions include a walking tour of the old town of Lucerne, a scenic nature cruise of Lucerne’s famous lake, a trip up Mount Pilatus, one of the region’s spectacular peaks on a cogwheel train, a visit to Einsiedeln Benedictine Abbey, where guests will step inside the Chapel of our Lady to see its Black Madonna pilgrimage shrine, plus a tasting at a Swiss chocolatier.

Priced from $2,399 per person, this extension is available to book today. For more info, contact Viking on 138 747 or visit the website.

Norwegian launches Europe competition for agents

Norwegian Cruise Line has launched a competition giving Australian and New Zealand travel agents the opportunity to win weekly prizes while increasing their Europe product knowledge.

There will be one major and five runner-up prizes to win each week over a four-week period, with a total prize pool value of over $4,000.

The major prize is a $300 Visa gift card and European hamper, which includes delicacies such as stroopwaffles, Lindt chocolate, French wine and more.

The runner up prize winners will each receive a $100 Prezzee gift card, which can be redeemed for over 80 e-gift cards online.

To go into the draw to win, agents need to head to and answer two simple questions. Agents can find all the answers in the latest Fleet brochure and NCL website, both easily accessible through the competition website.

The competition will run until the 23 September 2019. Prize winners will be drawn each Sunday and announced weekly on the competition website every Monday.

Scenic releases 2020/2021 ‘Wild Wonders of Africa’ brochure

Scenic Africa brochure cover 2020-2021

From Cape Town to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya, Scenic has developed a new program of itineraries to showcase the mystery of Africa with its latest brochure release, ‘The Wild Wonders of Africa 2020/21’.

Those who book before 28 February 2020 can take advantage of Scenic’s early bird offers, which include:

  • Companion flights included when booking the ‘28 day Ultimate African Expedition’, ‘29 Day Wonders of Africa’ or ‘23 day Grand African Safari’.
  • Saving up to $1,400 per couple when booking any 2020 journey of 12 days or longer.
  • Flying business class from only $4,995 per person when booking the ‘28 day Ultimate African Expedition’, ‘30 Day Wonders of Africa’ or ‘23 day Grand African Safari’.

Contact Scenic on 138 128 or visit the Scenic website for more info.

Carnival brings music therapy to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Thanks to the generosity of Carnival Cruise Line’s guests through the ‘Wiggle for Westmead’ program, the company has donated funds towards a number of vital services at hospital, including both music therapy and the Anaesthetics Virtual Reality Project.

Continuing into its third year, over 10,000 Carnival guests have participated in Wiggle for Westmead, raising over $227,800 which has been allocated to a range of hospital projects since the partnership began.

The latest funding donated by Carnival will contribute towards 12 months of music therapy for the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

To mark the donation, Carnival Cruise Line Australia vice president Jennifer Vandekreeke and Carnival playlist production performers joined the medical director of the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care, Professor Nadia Badawi, in a special performance for patients.

Renowned tribal art dealer to join 22-night Papua New Guinea sailing

Mendam Village (Coral Expeditions)

Coral Expeditions, Australia’s pioneering expedition cruise line, has confirmed renowned collector and expert of New Guinea tribal art, Richard Aldridge, will join the ‘Customs and Craftsmen’ expedition onboard Coral Adventurer.

The inaugural art-themed sailing, departing Cairns on 8 October 2019, is a fully-immersive, 22-night itinerary exploring the remote villages and historic towns of Papua New Guinea, West Papua and the Maluku Islands.

Focusing on art and culture, Aldridge will be offering his expertise as a guest lecturer throughout the voyage.

Evergreen releases South America brochure for 2020-21

Evergreen Cruises & Tours has released its 2020-21 South America cruising and touring brochure with a range of itineraries showcasing the rich tapestry of history, culture, nature and cuisine from mainland South America, the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands and the Chilean Fjords.

The company is inviting travellers to explore natural wonders and uncover fascinating cultures such as the Inca in Peru or the traditional “gauchos” or cowboys in Argentina.

Guest can also discover sights of historical significance such as Machu Picchu in Peru or “the middle of the World” in Ecuador, and indulge in culinary feasts and traditional meals in Lima in Peru, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and in the countryside of Argentina.

Visit the Evergreen website or call 1300 383 74 for more details.

P&O celebrates half-century of cruising to the Melbourne Cup

Fiona Falkiner

It is 50 years since P&O first sailed to the Melbourne Cup, and a half-century on the cruise line is doing it in style with Australian model and media personality Fiona Falkiner (pictured above) leading the ‘Fashion at Sea’ glamour on flagship Pacific Explorer.

As the ship sails to and from ‘the race that stops a nation’, Falkiner will headline P&O’s signature catwalk show allowing guests to see the latest fashion trends at Flemington this year.

The annual ‘Fashions at Sea’ event has been an integral feature of P&O’s Melbourne Cup cruising since the cruise line’s Orcades was the first to sail from Sydney to Australia’s most famous race for thoroughbreds in 1969.

This year, Pacific Explorer will depart Sydney on 2 November for a six-night cruise, with guests to be treated to a stellar line-up of fashion, entertainment and great dining opportunities.

Produced by esteemed Australian fashion stylist Fernando Barraza and choreographer to the stars Amé Delves, the fashion extravaganza features more than 20 local and international designers and brands including Leona Edmiston, Colette by Colette Hayman, Elliatt, Czarina Kaftans, Peter Lang Jewellery and Tina Holy Couture.

With Pacific Explorer sailing from Sydney and Pacific Dawn sailing from Brisbane, P&O Cruises will bring 4,000 racing and fashion fans to Melbourne for the cup.

Pacific Dawn arrives on the morning of the cup to spend two days in Melbourne, and Pacific Explorer will be in Melbourne for three days allowing guests plenty of time for last-minute race-day shopping.

There is also a jam-packed line-up of Melbourne Cup-themed activities onboard. These include hearing from ‘The Voice of the Cup’ Greg Miles, jockey John Letts, and trainers Brian Jenkins Sheila Laxon.

There will also be onboard workshops enabling guests to design their own headpieces hosted by Melbourne’s finest Milliner, Kim Fletcher Millinery, plus all the fun of P&O’s signature seahorse racing event.

Port of Seattle completes biggest cruise season yet, releases cruise economic impact data

The Port of Seattle, celebrating 20 years of serving the cruise industry, welcomes its biggest cruise season yet with an estimated 1,204,170 revenue cruise passengers this year, breaking last year’s record of 1,114,888.

The results of a new economic impact report show that the cruise business is worth almost US$900 million a year, with each homeported ship call contributing US$4.2 million to the state’s economy, supporting over 5,000 jobs.

This year, the Port of Seattle will host the three largest cruise vessels on the West Coast, leading with the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas with 4,180 passengers.

Norwegian Joy is making Seattle its homeport this year and its sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, returns, both double berth passenger capacity.


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