Cruise wrap: Windstar’s new initiative, Avalon’s special guest, big sales campaigns + more!

Feeling out of touch with the main movements in the Australian cruise space? We’ve got you covered with all the big news in this wrap.

Windstar Cruises reveals details of $250 million Star Plus Initiative

Windstar Cruises Star Plus Initiative infinity pool

Windstar Cruises has revealed news about its award-winning $250 million Star Plus Initiative at the recent Seatrade Cruise Global event – 360 degree “views” and vibrant renderings of what guests will experience on the line’s three renovated vessels: Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride.

Windstar will take half of its fleet and renovate each ship in succession. Work on the ships begins in October 2019 and ends in November 2020. The total capacity of the expanded ships will be 312 guests, with additional staff hired to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5 to one guest-to-staff ratio.

The ships’ new engines will meet and exceed new global International Maritime Organization (IMO) limits – one of the requirements being the engines produce no more than 0.5 per cent sulphur content.

In addition, the new engines are designed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, supporting the company’s goals of traveling with a softer environmental footprint.

Bookings to be directed to Windstar Australia on 1300 749 875 or at


Avalon invites travellers to ‘book a novel’ holiday in 2020

Avalon Waterways has announced it will be offering an exclusive new Author Cruise, hosted by the author of the number one New York Times bestselling Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon.

From the German Black Forest of fairy-tales to the historic canals of Amsterdam, Avalon Waterways and Gabaldon invite travellers to disappear in the magic of the Rhine River, while offering the chance for Outlander fans to gain insider insight into their favourite author.

Departing 9 June 2020, this one-off, week-long cruise – set onboard the Avalon Expression – delivers cruisers to the heart of Europe to explore all the towns and cities along the Rhine, while enjoying panoramic views and spectacular castle-lined backdrops day and night.


Carnival announcements: Ready Steady Fun sale, Cloud 9 Spa and accommodation brought to Australia, Splendour water-slide name revealed

Carnival Cruise Line has launched its Ready Steady Fun sale, giving Aussies the incentive to book their next fun adventure with savings of up to $500 per twin cabin plus $49 per person deposit. PLUS, book by 30 May 2019 and get a free cabin upgrade within room category.

Carnival ready, steady, fun sale

Families and couples looking for a fun holiday on board Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor can cruise to some of Carnival’s most stunning destinations in the picturesque islands of New Caledonia. Take up this incredible offer between 6 May and 27 June 2019 for select sailings between 9 May 2019 and 30 December 2020.

For more information on the Ready Steady Fun sale, click here.

To book, visit your travel agent, visit or call 13 31 94 and quote promo code RD5 (terms and conditions apply).

Cloud 9 Spa and accommodation brought to Australia

Carnival Splendour Cloud 9 Spa

Carnival Splendor, set to become the newest and largest ship home-ported year-round in Australia, will bring the ultimate in relaxation, with the introduction of the Cloud 9 Spa and accommodation to local waters.

Spanning two decks, Cloud 9 Spa features more than a dozen treatment rooms, exclusive spa staterooms, a thermal suite and thalassotherapy pool, as well as an expansive gym and fitness centre.

Unique to the Australian market, Carnival Splendor features over 60 exclusive spa staterooms and suites that offer guests private access to the spa, complimentary access to the Thermal Suite and Thalassotherapy Pool, two yoga or Pilates classes and special spa packages and discounts.

These staterooms and suites also offer additional in-room, spa-related amenities and décor in harmony with the relaxing theme of Cloud 9 Spa.

Carnival Splendour water-slide name revealed after customer contest

Carnival Splendour new waterslide

Carnival Cruise Line has selected the winning name for its new green waterslide that will be featured onboard Carnival Splendor upon her arrival into Australia in December 2019, following a state-wide competition: Green Lightning.

For more information about Carnival Splendor’s arrival and to book, click here.


CLIA announcements: Cruise berth putting Lyttelton on the map, Masters Conference sets sail for Tasmania

New Zealand’s first ever custom-built cruise ship facility is now officially set to be opened by the Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) in November 2020.

While smaller vessels have continued to visit, large cruise vessels have been unable to berth at Lyttelton Port since the February 2011 earthquake. With the new cruise berth in place, LPC will be able to welcome the full range of cruise vessels, including ships that cater for over 5000 passengers and 2000 staff.

Cruise Berth 1 Cruise Berth 2

The cruise berth is currently under construction with piling on schedule, meaning the facility will be open by November 2020 in time for the 2020 and 2021 summer cruise ship season.

Meanwhile, CLIA Australasia has revealed details of its 2019 Masters Conference, with this year’s participants to enjoy a week-long cruise to Tasmania on Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess.

The annual Masters Conference gives CLIA travel agents who have achieved Ambassador status the chance to advance their sales and marketing skills in a conference setting, while also experiencing a CLIA cruise line member vessel first-hand.

US-based sales guru and motivator Scott Koepf will return to oversee CLIA Australasia’s 22nd Masters, taking participants through a series of seminars on topics from hands-on sales skills to understanding marketing, mastering customer service, and even life planning

The conference schedule will involve six three-hour sessions in a format that offers plenty of time to learn as well as ample leisure time to enjoy the ship and port calls.

For full details and bookings, click here.


MSC Cruises releases last call on 2019 cruise sale

Western Mediterranean

The MSC Bellissima is sailing in the Western Mediterranean with seven nights from $744/$829 NZD per person based on 2 November departure.  MSC Seaview, which launched last summer, is priced from $864/$939 NZD per person.

Guests booking MSC Seaview can explore seven different locations in seven nights across three countries. Destination highlights include the beautiful French town of Cannes, bustling Spanish city Barcelona and Italy’s Civitavecchia for trips to the historic Rome.

Eastern Mediterranean

Departing from iconic Venice, Italy offered by MSC Magnifica are priced from $854/$1039 NZD per person based on 10 November departure; MSC Musica priced from $1334/$1439 NZD per person based on 7 September departure; and MSC Lirica $854/$939 NZD per person based on 11 October departure. These ships dock in Santorini, Greece and the historic ports of Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia among others.


New for 2019, guests can embark in Miami, USA for seven and 14-night cruises to western Caribbean destinations that includes two days in Havana, Cuba on board MSC Armonia, priced from $824/$969 NZD per person for a seven-night cruise departing 30 September.

Sail aboard MSC Seaside: priced from $704/$759 NZD per person, seven nights based on 14 December departure.

To see all sales on cruises at MSC, visit or, call 1300 028 502 (AU)/0508 4278 473 (NZ), or visit your local travel agent.


Celebrity Cruises announces partnerships ahead of Celebrity Flora’s debut


With just 65 days until the debut of Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Cruises has unveiled three partnerships for the revolutionary new ship.

These are with world-renowned conservationist-turned-Godmother Yolanda Kakabadse; designer Francesca Bucci of BG Studio International; and University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

One of the most energy-efficient ships of its size in the diverse archipelago, the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will be the first ship of its kind designed specifically for the Galapagos.


Scenic launches ‘Included Flights for All to Europe’ campaign for 2020 European river cruises

To align with the release of its 2020 Europe River Cruising brochure, Scenic is releasing its offer of included flights to Europe all year, in all suites, on all rivers and cruises (of 11 days or longer), in all-inclusive luxury.

Prices include: 15 days ‘Jewels of Europe’, from Amsterdam to Budapest from $6695 per person; the historic ’11 Day Normandy and Gems on the Seine’ from $6645 per person, and the Bordeaux 11-day cruise from $6695 per person.

Contact your local travel agent, or call Scenic on 138 128 or visit


Norwegian Cruise Line releases ‘Free at Sea’ offer

NCL Cruise Line, Pride of America, Nawiliwili, Kauai, Hawaii

Norwegian Cruise Line has released a new offer that provides exceptional value for Australian and New Zealand guests looking to visit Hawai’i onboard the award-winning Pride of America.

All guests who make a new booking on Pride of America voyages departing from September 2019 onwards will enjoy Norwegian’s ‘Free at Sea’ offer – allowing guests the choice of up to five free offers, including a free beverage or specialty dining package, with guests who book in an Oceanview stateroom and above also receiving up to $285 onboard spend.

Guests who book Balcony or above categories will receive Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer, up to $285 onboard spend and up to $355 in shore excursion bonuses.


Coral Expeditions officially launches Coral Adventure

Coral Adventurer_Bridge Deck Suite_5868

Coral Expeditions is celebrating the official launch of its fourth and largest expedition ship: Coral Adventure.

Coral Expeditions’ senior management, key stakeholders and global media guests joined on board to officiate the christening of the newest addition to Coral Expeditions’ Australian fleet of expedition ships. Mrs Quek Peck Lim was named godmother of the new vessel and blessed her launch.

Following a welcome by Senior Master Gary Wilson and Executive Director Paul Chacko from Coral Expeditions, guests were given a walk-through of the ship. Aboriginal Australian leader and performer Dr David Hudson presented a traditional gift to welcome her to the Australian fleet and entertained with Indigenous music during the evening.


Royal Carribean marks construction milestone for Odyssey of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas

Excitement was in the air at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, as Royal Caribbean International marked an important milestone in the development of Odyssey of the Seas.

Scheduled to be delivered in fall 2020, Odyssey received its first block as the keel was officially lowered and put into place.

The keel laying marks an important milestone in the development of Odyssey of the Seas, as it signifies the beginning of the ship’s physical construction. During the ceremony, a 79-ton block was lifted into the building dock with an 800-ton crane.

Newly minted coins were placed under the keel, which then stays in place until the end of construction. Once the ship is nearing completion, the coins are retrieved and presented to the ship’s captain and crew, to be placed on board the ship.

According to maritime tradition, the coins are said to bring luck to the ship during its construction and then to its captain and crew when she is at sea.

Odyssey of the Seas’ deployment and itineraries will be revealed later this year.


Dream Lines hosts Australia and New Zealand famil on board Genting Dream

Clockwise from left – Michael Ferrante (WA News); Brigita Devries (Dream Cruises); Chef Mark Best; Amelia Hungerford (Signature Luxury Travel & Style); Alana Russell (7travel); Harriet Morris (Travel Weekly); Kerry Heaney (Escape; Eat, Drink & Be Kerry); Pamela Wright (Vacations & Travel Magazine); Honida Beram (Cruising with Honey); Megan Singleton (Blogger at Large); Rod Eime (Travel Writer).
Clockwise from left – Michael Ferrante (WA News); Brigita Devries (Dream Cruises); chef Mark Best; Amelia Hungerford (Signature Luxury Travel & Style); Alana Russell (7travel); Harriet Morris (Travel Weekly); Kerry Heaney (Escape; Eat, Drink & Be Kerry); Pamela Wright (Vacations & Travel Magazine); Honida Beram (Cruising with Honey); Megan Singleton (Blogger at Large); Rod Eime (travel writer).

Dream Cruises recently hosted a group from Australia and New Zealand on a five-night cruise from Singapore on-board Genting Dream. The itinerary included visits to Pulau Redang (Malaysia), Sihanoukville (Cambodia) and Laem Chabang (Bangkok).

The group was accompanied by internationally-acclaimed Australian chef Mark Best, who has restaurants on board all three Dream Cruises ships.

Participants were accompanied by Dream Cruises Australia and NZ vice president Brigita Devries and marketing manager Leonie Fraser.


Azamara Club Cruises refurbishing Azamara Quest

Azamara Quest gift shop #1

Azamara Club Cruises has finalised refurbishments to Azamara Quest following her recent Singapore dry dock.

The ship now boasts a number of enhancements, including the removal of the casino – replicating Azamara Pursuit’s ‘The Den’ – a newly designed gift shop, and the addition of six new Ocean View staterooms.

For a full list of 2019 Azamara Voyages, click here, phone 1800 754 500 or contact your local travel agent.


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