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Picking the right cruise can be a tricky process. From small sailing ships to mega cruise ships, how do you know what is right for you?

Here are a few of our personal suggestions and tips to get your started.

Who is travelling? A couple, a family? Perhaps a solo traveller?

Most cruise lines cater for all sorts of traveller, but in fairness some are better suited than others to particular guests. We like Royal Caribbean for families as they cater extraordinarily well for children of all ages. If travelling solo, consider a cruise line such as Holland America or Norwegian Cruise Lines, where single travellers are welcomed aboard with special single cabins and events.

Budgeting?

The million-dollar question. Our biggest tip is this: While all-inclusive lines such as Seabourn Cruises, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas Cruises on the face of it are more expensive than others, they are all suites (amazing space compared to a regular stateroom), include all your drinks onboard including mini bar set up of your choice, and in the case of Regent Seven Seas, they include your Shore Excursions. Speciality dining is often included in nearly all cases, so by the time you add up a few cocktails, that bottle of wine over dinner etc, often the cost is worth it for a stress free journey and no nasty credit card bill at the end.

What size ship is best? Those floating hotels are somewhat daunting!

Ask what you want out of your holiday. Are you seeking exploration ashore, with extended time in port? If so, go for a “mid size” or small ship experience. Often smaller ships can get into ports the big ones cannot, and getting ashore can be a little easier. We love Holland America Line (max 2650 guests) and Windstar Cruises (max 310 guests) for 5 star service coupled with excellent itineraries and time ashore.

If a myriad of dining options, incredible nightlife and shows, a few sea days lazing by the pool or enjoying spa treatments floats your boat, then you would love the larger ships, offering such variety we doubt you will have a second to get bored. Celebrity Cruises are our pick for gorgeous ships and innovation.

When is the best time to book?

Earlier is better. Yes, these days the cruise lines may bring out a late special, but there is no guarantee of this, and by the time they release a special, it may be the last cabins or suites they are trying to fill, and they may not be in the best location. By booking early, you get a much wider choice of your stateroom. Often when a new itinerary or season is released, this is the time the cruise lines will entice you to book early with discounts on onboard offers.

Now a little info on some of our favourites...

Holland America Line: 5 star traditional mid size cruising

✓ 5 star, mid sizes ships (no more than 2650 guests onboard)
✓ Traditional cruising experience with modern touches
✓ Around-the-world sailings offered
✓ Extensive dining options and enrichment programs

Why we love Holland America Line:

Stepping onboard a Holland America Line ship gives you a sense of warmth and comfort. Colours and fabrics are rich, giving you a sense of what traditional cruising is all about. No gaudy or tacky lighting or unexplainable art pieces, just the right balance of tradition and modern. Dining is exceptional, and service is unobtrusive and professional. Staterooms are of a good size, with comfy beds dressed in high standard linens.

Windstar Cruises: 5 star yacht style cruising

✓ Options to travel on masted sailing ships or all-suite yachts
✓ Intimate ships sail to destinations bigger ships can't 
✓ Attentive service, with a passenger-crew ratio of 1.5 to 1
✓ Casual atmosphere with fine dining

Why we love Windstar Cruises:

Windstar brilliantly combines style with the romance of ocean travel. Smaller vessels get into the ports that the big ships cannot, making for often quicker access to the cities and ports you are visiting. Think casual onboard but with the fine dining and service you would come to expect from a 5 star line.

Seabourn Cruise Line: 6 star luxury

✓ Features exotic itineraries
✓ All inclusive
✓ Outstanding reputation for service

Why we love Seabourn Cruise Line:

Seabourn have a knack of combining soft adventure travel with elegance. Our favourite destination for Seabourn is Antarctica, where you can explore ashore with a team of experts, but be welcomed back into warm, 6 star luxury. Being all inclusive removes the worry for what your drinks bill will be by the end of the cruise – enjoy welcome champagne, your mini bar stocked with your preferences, and an open bar throughout the cruise. To top it off, tipping is not expected, nor included. Pay a bit more and treat yourself.

Silversea Cruises: 6 star luxury

✓ All-suite, all-inclusive cruise line
✓ Adventure ship goes beyond traditional luxury
✓ Itineraries blend exotic ports and mainstream locales
✓ Stellar service and cuisine onboard

Why we love Silversea Cruises:

Silversea give us a lot of reasons to love them – from popular Mediterranean cruises through to small ship expedition opportunities in unique destinations such as the Kimberleys, the Galapagos Islands and Russia, enjoy all suite luxury and explore. And the all-inclusive drinks onboard including fine wines, champagne, your choice of what your mini bar is stocked with does not hurt either. Yes, you will pay a bit more than the ‘mainstream’ cruise lines, but it is worth it.

Avalon Waterways:

✓ Suite class ships feature floor-to-ceiling, retractable windows
✓ Shore Excursions included and local wines with dinner
✓ Cruises great rivers in Europe and Asia 

Why we love Avalon Waterways:

We feel the Avalon Waterways river experience is the best one for Kiwis. Most river companies include of course your meals, wine with dinner, shore excursions, as does Avalon, but what makes them different is each day there is free time to do as you wish. You may do a guided tour in the morning, then you may choose to stay in the village and make your own way back at your leisure, rather than go back for lunch, and feel you have to join the next tour. You can sit back in a towns piazza with a local lunch, enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine, and relax. Avalon also offer free bikes onboard many of their vessels to enjoy your own exploration, just adding to the reasons why we believe Avalon Waterways is a great way to cruise.

 

submitted by -- Gayle

Viking has been voted the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the Readers' Choice Awards, 2017.

In these annual awards, Viking was recognised twelve times from 2002 to 2017, and has scored in the top of the list every year since the river cruise category was introduced.

Readers submitted millions of ratings and thousands of comments as part of the 30th annual Readers' Choice Awards survey, and Viking was rated higher than any other river cruise line. Also, after only two years of operating ocean cruises, Viking was again named one of the Best Ocean Cruise Lines. 

 

submitted by -- Gayle

River cruises offer you a more intimate cruise holiday, as river cruise ships are typically smaller, allowing for fewer passengers and more attentive service. And, with smaller ships, you will always find yourself in the heart of your destination. To find out more about the top river cruise lines, and what to expect from each of them, check out the information below.

APT Cruising - APT is one of Australia’s leading luxury river cruise operator. They take in destinations throughout Europe and Russia, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Alaska and Asia.

Viking Cruises - Viking River Cruises’ offers a spectacular way to explore the waterways of the world, as Viking is synonymous with luxury vessels, impeccable service and innovative itineraries.

Uniworld River Cruises - As the world’s only authentic boutique cruise line, Uniworld river cruises offer the highest level of quality, service and comfort, covering 20 countries worldwide.

Avalon Waterways - Avalon Waterways continually sets a new standard in river cruising, offering sophisticated river cruise experiences and unique getaways on board state-of-the-art vessels.

Tauck - Tauck combines all-inclusive, personalised service, with virtually every river cruise expense included, and signature experiences, meaning they offer the ultimate in river cruising.

Travelmarvel offers great value for money on worldwide cruise & tour experiences, as well as the reassurances of travelling with a respected tour operator, APT.

Pandaw River Cruises  - The largest luxury river cruise line in Asia, with ten ships exploring four countries. All of Pandaw’s ships are designed and finished as replicas of colonial river steamers. 

Aqua Expeditions - Aqua offers two exceptional cruising locations in luxurious cabins. This is the way to explore either the Mekong or the Amazone in absolute luxury, with all food, shore excursions and drinks taken care of!

River Cruise Destinations 

River cruises offer you the chance to see exotic lands and historical cities like you’ve never seen them before. From winding medieval streets and elegant architecture, to steamy jungles and bustling marketplaces, with a river cruise you will get closer and see more than ever before. Explore your next destination by river – book your next adventure with one of our Cruise Specialists today.

Danube River - The Danube River crosses Germany, Serbia, Austria, Hungary and Romania, flowing past fairytale castles, Gothic cathedrals, vineyards and unspoiled hamlets.

Rhine River - Starting in Switzerland and flowing through France, Germany and The Netherlands, the romantic Rhine River is lined with mighty fortresses, magical palaces and ancient cities.

Mekong River - Cruise along the Mekong River, through Cambodia and Vietnam, and experience diverse towns, cities and temples, as well as a world of indescribable beauty and charm.

Amazon River - The Amazon is home to an unforgettable array of sights, sounds and cultures, and a river cruise is the perfect way to discover the mysteries and beauty of this vast region.

Yangtze River - Experience China’s landscapes, vibrant culture and architecture on a Yangtze River cruise. Cruise through the cradle of China and soak up some of the most spectacular scenery.

Volga River - Discover the soul of Russia along the shores of the Volga River. Take in the rich culture of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and discover the people who embody this proud country.

Nile River - Discover the dynasties of Kings and Queens, monumental legacies and rural Egypt, as you drift slowly down the River Nile, taking in 5,000 years of history as you do so. 

Kerala River - Cruise the beautiful rivers, canals and lakes of India’s southwest tropical coast, the Kerala backwaters. A truly unique experience beckons you – it will be unlike anything you ever imagined.

Why River Cruising?

Cruising isn’t just about sailing over vast expanses of ocean – some of the best cruise experiences can be found in the winding waterways of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Even if you’re a cruising veteran, a smaller river cruise ship, barge or river boat will grant you a completely new and unique experience, and here is why:

See the World’s Great Cities: Paris, Vienna, Budapest, St. Petersburg.... So many cities and towns were developed along rivers, and on a river cruise ship you can arrive in the heart of your destination without even leaving the ship. You will often dock right in the heart of town, mere steps away from charming squares, beautiful cathedrals and vibrant market places.

New Scenery – All Day, Every Day: Fairytale palaces, towering gorges, tiny villages... on a river cruise you will experience ever- changing scenery close up and at eye level. Your proximity to the shore means that colourful hillside villages, picturesque castles and ancient ruins are within view from all areas of your intimate ship.

A More Intimate Experience: Smaller vessels mean fewer passengers, more attentive service and a more intimate cruise holiday. On a river cruise you never have to wait in long lines to get on or off the ship, you’ll never have to tender into port and you’ll never spend long hours wave watching on a vast ocean.

Fantastic Cuisine: Dining on rover cruises has come a very long way. Most river cruise lines now feature fresh, local produce and foods from the regions you are visiting, giving you yet another cultural experience to add to your river cruise tick list.

Travel with Ease : In your river-view stateroom, just unpack once and then relax in comfort as you cruise along the smooth river. No matter which cruise you choose, you can always go at your own pace. So, whether you choose to go on a group guided tour, or do it on your own – it’s all at the pace of your liking. Easy! 

Call us today to talk to one of our Cruise Specialists : 0800 110 108'

submitted by -- Gayle

Luxury cruising is all about comfort and convenience as well as those little extras that transform a cruise into the trip of a lifetime and make passengers feel special. Whether that means returning from an excursion to find a chilled towel and exotic fruit drink waiting for you, or having your dust-covered shoes whisked away to reappear at your stateroom door 30 minutes later looking like new, luxury is a special way to cruise.

Is luxury cruising your style? Then take a look at our list of the top 10 cruise ships, in no particular order, offering five-star accommodation.

1. Seabourn Quest

With only 450 passengers, Seabourn Quest epitomises luxury on the high seas with all-suite accommodation, daily restocked mini-bars, open bars serving premium wine, champagne and spirits, gourmet cuisine, a retractable aft marina and fabulous spa. The new Seabourn Encore, which will accommodate 600 passengers, is set to join the fleet in December 2016.

2. Seven Seas Mariner

With 700 guests on-board, the Seven Seas Mariner from Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ was the world's first all- suite, all-balcony ship, offering its passengers unprecedented comfort and views from their rooms. The Seven Seas Mariner features lots of luxury inclusions with its main drawcard being unlimited shore excursions. As well as replenished minibars, open bars and personalised service, penthouse suites provide a butler service, an iPad and Hermes toiletries. Their newest & most luxurious ship to sail the seven seas, Seven Seas Explorer, will launch this year.

3. MS EUROPA

This 5-star-plus* flagship awaits you with first-class service, luxurious spaciousness and the highest standards of cuisine and comfort. As you travel to the world's most thrilling destinations, enjoy a stylish cruise in the company of a small group of no more than 400 guests. Simply perfect in each and every moment. That is how it feels when the luxury to which the multiple award-winning EUROPA owes its unrivalled exclusivity accompanies you over the oceans.

4. Riviera

A trip on the Riviera feels like a trip on your own private luxury yacht, with designer décor and stunning suites providing you with a special intimate vacation to exotic destinations around the world. Featuring gourmet cuisine curated by world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin, this 1,250 passenger occupant cruise ship
from Oceania Cruises is home to the only hands-on cooking school at sea, the Culinary Centre, where well- known master chefs offer excellent cooking classes. Art lovers are catered for by the Artist Loft program and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub has great treatments.

5. The Gauguin

M/S Paul Gauguin is the flagship of Paul Gauguin Cruises and showcases the magnificent beauty of Tahiti and surrounds. The 332 passenger small ship offers spacious suites and staterooms, some with butler service & more than 70% with private balconies, and has an on-board water sports marina, three dining venues and a spa. A troupe of Tahitians known as Gaugines and Gauguins are employed as cruise staff, entertainers and storytellers.

6. S.S. Antoinette

Expect nothing less than the royal treatment on-board the luxurious S.S. Antoinette. The 443-foot, 154- passenger from Uniworld River Cruises is a one-of-a-kind "Super Ship" and dubbed "the most luxurious river cruise ship in the world". The SS Antoinette features a range of exclusive services and facilities that cannot be found on any other river ship. Look out for the 22-seat cinema with Dolby Surround Sound, sheltered public spaces on the top deck, a pool and adjoining hot tub, and a 10-foot Baccarat crystal and sapphire blue chandelier that once hung in New York's famous Tavern on the Green can be found in the two story foyer.

7. Crystal Serenity

The Crystal Serenity is consistently ranked as one of the best cruise ships in the world and it’s not hard to see why. With a capacity of 1,070 passengers, the Crystal Serenity sparkles in the luxury cruise market with extras such as free Wi-Fi to all guests for 60 minutes a day, Medi-Spa services, Etro toiletries and an impressive enrichment program. Spectacular international cuisine can be found in the elegant restaurants throughout the ship, including celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa's, Silk Road. The penthouse's bathroom features incredible Italian marble mosaics, heated flooring, and a TV embedded in the vanity. Bridge tournaments are held regularly on the ship and have a big following. The new 62-passenger luxury yacht, Crystal Esprit, launched in December 2015 as part of the cruise line's expansion plan.

8. Silver Spirit

Silversea’s Silver Spirit features stylish surroundings with spacious, ocean-view suites complete with full marble baths and mostly private verandas. The Silver Spirit's personalised butler service is the highlight of the on-board experience with a staff to guest ratio of nearly one to one. Lavish deck parties featuring all the trimmings are held on-board where chefs spend the day preparing a feast of roast suckling pig, carved meats, shrimp and crab leg cocktail, pasta, salads and an array of mouth-watering desserts.

9. Scenic Jasper

Scenic Jasper holds 169 passengers and is the newest in the chic fleet of Scenic space-ships cruising European rivers. Luxury suites feature sun lounges that are perfect for soaking up those views. Electric bicycles take the hard work out of cycling and the sunken Riverview terrace at the front of the Sun Deck remains open when passing under low bridges.

10. SeaDream II

With 112 passengers cared for by 95 crew members, SeaDream II from the Sea Dream Yacht Club provides a luxurious yachting experience for cruise lovers with its intimate size and passenger numbers. As well as stylish staterooms, passengers can sleep under the stars on Balinese Dream beds on the all-teak deck and peek below the sea from glass-bottom kayaks. Gourmet cuisine with selections like lobster filet mignon, and chocolate soufflé are on offer along with a raw food, gluten free & vegetarian menu. 

Talk to one of our cruise specialists today - 0800 110 108

 

submitted by -- Gayle

Best Cruises for Kids:

  1. Royal Caribbean. Ships: Anthem, Harmony, Allure and Oasis of the Seas

  2. Norwegian Cruise Line. Ships: Norwegian Escape, Breakaway, Getaway and Epic

  3. Carnival Cruise Line. Ships: Carnival Vista, Breeze, Dream and Magic

  4. Disney Cruise Line. Ships: Disney Dream, Fantasy and Magic

  5. Princess Cruises. Ships: Regal, Royal, Ruby, Crown and Emerald Princess

Despite great strides made by cruise lines in accommodating children on-board in recent years, choosing the best cruises for families with kids is still complicated. Where once it was a struggle to find ships that were kid-friendly, the challenge now is wading through the bevy of activities, kids clubs, family cabins and child-themed bells and whistles many ships offer to determine which cruise ships are best for your youngsters.

Some ships are still better for infants than others, and ditto for teens. Not all itineraries are created equal, either. (Alaska and the Caribbean are destinations that tend to be kid-friendly.) To make decisions even trickier, ships vary greatly, not just from line to line but within fleets, making some better than others in terms of on-board activities. We tend to recommend cruise lines' newer ships because the facilities were designed for families from the outset, not just adapted. They also tend to be the biggest ships, offering more space for fun activities, such as bowling alleys, elaborate water parks with massive slides, ropes courses, bumper cars and surfing and skydiving simulators. They're likely to have more dining options, family-specific accommodations and the latest brand-name partnerships.

The ships -- and cruise lines -- that follow are our top cruises for kids. That said, you know your family's tastes and preferences better than we ever could. By no means are they the only ships to consider. Think of them as a starting point as you narrow your choices for an unforgettable family vacation at sea.

1. Royal Caribbean International Ships : Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas

Why: These ships, Royal Caribbean's largest, are ideal for families with kids of all ages, as well as multigenerational family groups. The Oasis-class ships have an impressive selection of family-friendly activities and entertainment -- four fantastic pools, 10 hot tubs, a 3D theatre, rock climbing walls, ice skating rink, two FlowRider surf simulators and a zip line -- and an array of family cabins to accommodate groups of varying sizes. And did we mention the ships' indoor promenades, which feature all manner of parades and special events? Anthem of the Seas takes it up a notch with SeaPlex (featuring bumper cars, roller-skating, video games and more), the first skydiving attraction at sea and the North Star, a London Eye-esque ride that takes passengers in a glass capsule 300 feet above the ocean .

A sizable amount of real estate is dedicated to the kids clubs on all of these ships, and the counsellors are some of the friendliest and most engaging in the business. Parents and grandparents can enjoy adults-only Solariums and a plethora of dining and evening entertainment options. With nursery care, after-hours fun in the kids clubs and in- cabin babysitting, adults can enjoy grown-up time in the evenings while kids play or sleep. (Voyager- and Freedom- class ships are also great choices for families.)

The Program: Royal Caribbean divides kids into Aquanauts (ages 3 to 5), Explorers (6 to 8) and Voyagers (9 to 11). Kids ages 12 to 14 can take part in "open mic" karaoke contests and rock wall challenges, while members of the oldest group (15 to 17) have their own toga parties and sports competitions. Both tweens and teens have access to a separate teen lounge, where they can come and go as they like. The Royal Tots and Royal Babies programs provide interactive classes and activities (when children are accompanied by a parent) for children from 6 months to 36 months old, as well as drop-off babysitting services. In-cabin babysitting is available for children who are at least 1 year old.

Royal Caribbean's kids clubs are among the largest dedicated kids facilities in cruising. The children's section on Oasis-class ships has more than 28,700 square feet and is the largest of its kind. There's a toddlers-only splash pool, an arts and crafts workshop, a video arcade and computer stations. Oasis-class and Quantum-class ships also have a theatre and Science Lab, and teens will love the Fuel teen club and the Living Room, a coffeehouse-style hangout.

Kid-Friendly Features: Plenty of family staterooms and loft suites mean room for the family to spread out. There's even a Royal Family cabin that sleeps eight. The spa offers special treatments for teens. More than two dozen dining options, including casual eateries like a hot dog joint and a New York-style pizza joint, as well as a variety of upscale specialty restaurants, mean no taste is overlooked. Johnny Rockets, the 1950s-style luncheonette, is always a kid magnet (and parents think it's pretty cool, too). Anthem of the Seas features an enormous family-friendly SeaPlex with bumper cars, roller-skating, a circus school, foosball and video games.

Excellent Broadway-style shows in the evenings will keep the older crowd engaged, while the DreamWorks experience offers character breakfasts, parades and meet-and-greets with Shrek and the Kung Fu Panda for little ones. There's a DJ Academy for teens, and budding artists will be thrilled with Royal Caribbean's partnership with Crayola, which brings all the newest and coolest art supplies on-board.

2. Norwegian Cruise Line Ships: Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Epic

Why : Norwegian's casual atmosphere makes it a great choice for kid cruises, particularly for families who don't want to be beholden to strict dining times and venues. Norwegian's newest ships, along with Norwegian Epic, offer all the mega-ship bells and whistles families have come to expect.

The Program: Norwegian's Splash Academy features separate activities for kids’ ages 3 to 5, 6 to 9 and 10 to 12. Children can do arts and crafts, sing karaoke and play video games. Epic's facility has a jungle gym, plenty of room to roam and a cool interactive light-up dance floor. The two-story Splash Academies on Norwegian Escape, Breakaway and Getaway are the line's largest children's spaces at sea, home to high-tech games, a circus school and a small cinema. Entourage is a space for teens 13 to 17, and it has air hockey, video games, plush couches and flat-screen TVs. Entourage turns into a teens-only nightclub at night. Late-night group babysitting is available for a fee. While all ships have parent- child play areas and programming for babies 6 months to 3 years, only Norwegian Escape offers drop-off, extra-fee childcare for very small children in the Guppies Nursery.

Kid-Friendly Features : Popular activities throughout these ships include rock-climbing and rappelling walls, climbing cages, six bowling lanes and impressive water park areas. Epic has a 303-foot-long corkscrew tube and the Drainpipe, a 104-foot tube that empties into a giant funnel. Breakaway and Getaway have five multi-storey water slides, as well as The Plank, an 8- foot walk that extends off the edge of the ship and out over the sea. Escape offers the largest ropes course at sea, as well as the largest water park at sea. All four have two main pools, including a separate kid’s pool.

Norwegian Epic hosts "Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical," a great show for kids of all ages. Epic also has 46 two-bedroom family villas that sleep up to six people, while Breakaway and Getaway have 20 two-bedroom villas. On Escape, the Haven has two-bedroom family suites that sleep up to six passengers, and there are an additional 40 family mini-suites that feature bathtubs.

3. Carnival Cruise Line Ships : Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic

Why : Carnival Cruise Line's Dream-class ships and its newest vessel, Vista, offer an array of on-board fun and do a great job accommodating kids of all ages, with separate clubs for the 2 to 11 set, tweens and teens. The ships offer a terrific variety of family activities and spaces, plus top-notch kids clubs. Families will make good use of two outdoor pools and SportsSquare; a multi-storey IMAX theatre (Vista only); and some of the largest at-sea water parks.

The Program : The fleet wide Camp Ocean entertains cruisers ages 2 to 11 with marine-themes activities and more. Camp Ocean occupies a large chunk of upper-deck real estate, while the tween and teen clubs are separate from the little ones on lower decks. Toddler’s ages 2 to 5 (called Penguins) have sing-alongs and dabble in arts and crafts. Stingrays ages 6 to 8 get to design custom aquariums and take part in Pirate Game Night. Sharks ages 9 to 11 play music Jeopardy, design their own cruise ships and play sports like basketball and volleyball. Circle C pre-teens (12 to 14) and Club O2 teens (15 to 17) have their own spaces, and kids have access to regular dance and pool parties, special teens-only shore excursions and PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

Kid-Friendly Features : A huge draw for kids on all ships is Waterworks, an aqua park with a variety of water slides, sprayers, soakers and even a dump bucket. Kids can play in the pool, as well as SportSquare, an outdoor activity area with a mini-golf course, basketball courts and foosball tables, and the thrilling new SkyRide cycling attraction on Vista. A SplashZone (a tot-friendly section of WaterWorks with water sprayers and room for splashing) for younger kids also is on offer.

Watch movies outside on the Dream-class ships at the Seaside Theatre, a 22-foot jumbo screen. Breeze is home to the Thrill Theatre, a 3D-movie joint with "multidimensional effects" (think seats moving, wind blowing and even water splashing during films). On Vista, a huge Multiplex Lobby screens flicks in both an IMAX Theatre and a Thrill Theatre. Families can cavort on a deceptively scary ropes course or take part in Carnival's "Hasbro, The Game" show, a friendly competition and stage show with games as prizes. The Dream-class ships also have more (and larger) cabin choices for families. Family Harbour, a collection of staterooms that can accommodate up to five cruisers, ups the ante on Vista, with access to an exclusive Family Lounge, free meals for kids at select extra-fee restaurants, one free night at the after-hours group babysitting in Camp Ocean and pint-size bathrobes. Teens are welcome in Carnival's spas. And the first Build-A-Bear workshop for Carnival is coming to Carnival Dream, and the program will be rolled out fleet wide by 2017.

4. Disney Cruise Line Ships: Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic

Why : Disney ships are ideal for families with kid’s ages 4 to 11, as Disney has the best facilities, dining schemes and programs for this age group. Disney Cruise Line has done a lot more to accommodate tweens and teens -- but its ships still hold the most appeal for the younger set. We prefer the line's biggest ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, and the completely refurbished Disney Magic, though Disney Wonder can be a great choice, as well.

The Program : Disney takes a separate-but-together approach to its kids programming, mainly to accommodate siblings and friends traveling together. The Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab allow children ages 3 to 12 to access the same spaces but with programming geared toward each younger and older children. (The age groupings are suggestions, not requirements, and children may participate in any of the activities offered.) On all three ships, the Oceaneer Club offers several themed play areas, including Andy's Room (from "Toy Story"). On Fantasy, you'll find Monsters Academy (inspired by "Monsters, Inc."), while on Magic you'll encounter Marvel's Avengers Academy, a S.H.I.E.L.D. command post where kids can interact with the Avengers through a virtual game. A new addition to Dream is a replica of the Millennium Falcon from "Star Wars." Here, young ones can play pilot in a cockpit and learn lightsabre techniques from a Jedi Master.

The Oceaneer Lab has an Animator's Studio and a mini sound studio. On Dream and Fantasy, you'll find Magic PlayFloors that allow kids to use their feet to play interactive games. There is a for-fee nursery available to care for little ones, ages 6 months to 3 years. These ships also have a kids club, Edge, dedicated entirely to tweens ages 11 to 14, with video games, karaoke and computers. The teen club, Vibe (for cruisers ages 14 to 17), has modular furniture and a coffee shop feel.

Kid-Friendly Features : Mickey's Pool, for the youngest cruisers, is on one side of the ship, and an adults-only pool is located on the other, with Donald's Pool in the centre for families or general use. The popular AquaDuck waterslide is a big hit with families on Fantasy and Dream, while the AquaDunk thrills on-board Disney Magic. On Fantasy and Magic, the AquaLab has sprayers and geysers perfect for the smallest passengers. Other great facilities include the Walt Disney Theatre, which features live shows featuring favourite Disney characters; the Buena Vista Theatre, which screens first-run movies; and D Lounge, which presents interactive activities for kids and parents.

The bath-and-a-half in most staterooms allows folks to shower in one while someone else is using the toilet in the other. Castaway Cay, Disney's private Bahamian island, is one of the industries nicest. Disney's ships also hold a cool "Pirates of the Caribbean" deck party, complete with fireworks and Jack Sparrow rappelling off the ship's funnel. Disney Fantasy celebrates Star Wars Day at Sea (through spring 2017). All three ships feature the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where children are transformed into princesses, pirates, knights and sea captains.

5. Princess Cruises Ships : Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Ruby Princess, Crown Princess and Emerald Princess

Why : Princess' ships include expansive programs, facilities and accommodations for parents and children. Princess' newest and largest ships, Royal and Regal Princess, have even more great additions for families, including expanded kids club spaces, more dining options, a batting cage and laser shooting range, a bigger pool deck with a water and light show and poolside cabanas.

Further, as part of the expansion of its partnership with Discovery Communications, Princess is revamping the youth spaces on several of its ships to include lively, modern decor. Although only some ships are receiving physical renovations, the programming itself, which includes fun and educational activities -- think science experiments and destination-immersive pursuits -- has rolled out fleet wide.

The Program : Dubbed Camp Discovery, the rebranded kids' clubs include The Treehouse (formerly Pelicans) for ages 3 to 7, The Lodge (formerly Shockwaves) for ages 8 to 12, and The Beach House (formerly Remix) for ages 13 to 17. In addition to activities that inspire learning, children, tweens and teens will find story time, video game tournaments, movie nights, Skee-Ball play, scavenger hunts and themed parties on the agenda.

Kid-Friendly Features : On Grand-class ships (Ruby Princess, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess), there are two large pools that are suitable for families (Calypso Reef and Pool and Neptune Reef and Pool), and there's a splash pool dedicated to kids. Royal and Regal Princess have outdoor play areas with a jungle gym for kids ages 3 to 7, and another for teens with a teens-only hot tub and space for outdoor parties.

Movies under the Stars is the line's huge outdoor movie theatre that plays poolside features on the top deck after the sun sets. The 300-square-foot screen broadcasts kid- and teen-friendly movies, as well as fun-for-the-whole-gang blockbusters, and live sporting events and awards shows. Another cool offering: Parents are welcome to attend the Jr. Chef@Sea Program, a hands-on chef-led cooking class that takes place in a shipboard kitchen, alongside their budding-chef kiddos.

Princess offers an Adventures Ashore tour program with shore excursions appropriate for families. Plus, the line's Discovery at Sea program features special excursions and activities inspired by programming such as Shark Week. For example, families can embark on a search for Big Foot on select Alaska sailings (a la "Finding Bigfoot") or enjoy "Shark Week" programming in cabin TVs.

Information courtesy of Cruise Critic Family cruising review

 

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The world of Viking Cruises keeps expanding, yet there are some destinations and some journeys that will forever remain on the list of favourites. Take a look at their current top selling ocean and river cruises. Some have already become familiar favourites, while others are recent additions to their exciting cruise offerings.

Their inspiring new ocean itineraries are walking off the shelves, and even more so with a choice of AU$1,000 Air Credit per couple or $1,000 Shipboard Credit per couple.

Plus their fly free river cruise offers makes it a very easy decision to choose Viking, and we know their Business Class return to Europe at AU$4,995 per person is appealing to many guests who think of travelling to Europe in 2018.

The sooner you book, the greater the availability, so secure the holiday of their dreams now at an amazing price.

THEIR TOP 3 SELLING OCEAN CRUISES

  1. IN SEARCH OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS - London to Bergen or vice versa. 13 Days, 2 Countries | Jan - Mar 2019 - from AU$9,095 per person PLUS $1,000 Air Credit per person.
  2. VIKING HOMELANDS - Stockholm - Bergen or vice versa. 15 Days, 8 Countries | Apr - Sep 2018 - from AU$9,649 per person PLUS $1,000 Air Credit or Shipboard Credit per couple.
  3. IN THE WAKE OF THE VIKINGS - Bergen to Montreal. 15 Days, 6 Countries | Sep 2018 - from AU$10,895 per person PLUS $1,000 Air Credit or Shipboard Credit per couple.

TOP 3 SELLING RIVER CRUISES

  1. GRAND EUROPEAN TOUR - Amsterdam to Budapest or vice versa. 15 Days, 4 Countries | Mar - Oct 2018 - from AU$7,295 per person PLUS FLY FREE TO EUROPE.
  2. LYON & PROVENCE - Avignon - Lyon or vice versa. 8 Days, 1 Country | Mar - Nov 2018 - from AU$3,295 per person PLUS Fly for $995 per person
  3. RHINE GETAWAY - Amsterdam to Basel or vice versa. 8 Days, 4 Countries | Mar - Dec 2018 - from AU$3,495 per person PLUS Fly for $995 per person

Talk to us about your next cruise holiday. Viking has a huge selection of cruises across their Ocean and River portfolio. They're a privately-owned company offering river and ocean cruises, aimed at more experienced travellers with an interest in geography, culture and history. If this sounds like you get in touch with us today!

Call 0800 110 108 or email info@mondotravel.co.nz

 

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Excitement was in the air on 16th August at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, as Royal Caribbean International marked the official start of construction of its next generation of ship – dubbed the Quantum Ultra class.

In line with tradition, a ceremony was held for cutting the first piece of steel where the ship was officially named Spectrum of the Seas.

Set to debut in 2019, Spectrum will be the next evolution of the cruise line’s groundbreaking and high-tech Quantum class, and will join sister ships, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas

The new ship is destined to be based in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will feature unprecedented experiences and amenities.

“Today is a very special day in the development of our new Quantum Ultra ship, Spectrum of the Seas. We are now one step closer to delighting our guests in Asia Pacific with this remarkable ship,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Spectrum will be a leap forward in vessel design and guest experiences that will provide travelers with ample opportunities to create unforgettable memories.”  

 

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Polar Code: MS BREMEN becomes one of the first passenger ships in the world to receive the Polar Ship Certificate

  • It will be mandatory for ships operating in the polar regions to have the certificate from January 2018
  • The extensive preparatory phase lasts two years
  • All other ships in the fleet will receive the certification in future

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 4-star expedition cruise ship, the 155-passenger MS BREMEN has become one of the first passenger ships in the world to receive the Polar Ship Certificate which will be mandatory for ships operating in the Polar Regions. Following a two-year long phase of intense preparation, finally, the Polar Code certification has been awarded. All of the other ships in the fleet are also due to meet the requirements of the Polar Code by the Arctic season in 2018.

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) – adopted by the International Maritime Organisation – contains regulations concerning the ships’ construction, equipment and training and their crews that intend to operate in the polar regions. Issued by the classification society DNV GL, the Polar Ship Certificate confirming compliance with the Polar Code will be mandatory for all ships from January 2018. The Polar Code is intended to increase the safety of ships and pay greater attention to environmental protection.

“The Polar Code will improve the safety of navigation in polar waters significantly. We have taken a pioneering step in certifying the BREMEN and paved the way for the other ships in the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to comply with the Polar Code. I am happy to have contributed”, says Captain Thilo Natke, who oversaw the certification process for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Natke prepared a Polar Water Operational Manual that will, in particular, familiarise younger officers with the ship-specific particularities of navigating in ice.

Certain technical modifications have to be carried out on board the ships in order for them to meet the requirements of the Polar Code. For instance, fire lines located on deck were fitted with additional insulation and an additional ice spotlight was installed when the BREMEN was in dock in October 2016. A wide range of extra equipment has also been sourced in order to ensure the survival of passengers and crew members in potential emergencies in the Polar Regions. During 2017, as part of their routine dry-dock periods in the shipyard, the other ships in the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ fleet will also be brought in line with the criteria of the certificate in order that they meet the requirements of the Polar Code at the latest by the Arctic season in 2018 and are able to operate in the regions successfully.

BREMEN will be operating three international cruises during the 2018/2019 season, including sailing to the North East Passage in the summer of 2018.

For more information on Hapag Lloyd, call one of our cruise specialists today - 0800 110 108.

 

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Part of Marriott International, the Ritz-Carlton hotel group is set for a new departure: with the promise that they will provide one of the most luxurious experiences it will be possible to have at sea, the chain is set to launch three lavishly appointed cruise ships from 2019.

Measuring 190 metres and seemingly designed to resemble privately owned superyachts, the vessels will accommodate up to 298 passengers and feature 149 suites, all with balconies. The most desirable residences of all will be two 138sq metre duplex penthouse suites, designed by Ritz-Carlton in collaboration with cruise-ship design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden. Facilities expected on each ship will include a restaurant offering a culinary concept designed by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg; a spa; and a panorama lounge and wine bar, which will host live entertainment.

Although complete itineraries are yet to be released, the hotel group says they will offer “a uniquely curated destination experience… that includes both overnight and daytime ports of call.” Trips will last between seven and 10 days and will serve expected destinations such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as Colombia’s Cartagena and other intimate, exclusive destinations, such as Capri and Portofino, that are usually inaccessible to larger cruise ships. Announcing the initiative, Ritz-Carlton president and COO Herve Humler said: “The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world.”

No word has been given on package prices as yet, but reservations will be possible from May 2018 onwards. As exciting as the launch will be for the brand’s many fans, the company’s claim that it makes Marriott International the only provider of luxury accommodations both on land and at sea doesn’t seem entirely accurate.

Though a much more discreet offering, The Wellesley hotel in London’s Knightsbridge also operates the 56m MY The Wellesley superyacht. Already in service, the ship accommodates just 12 guests and features an arsenal of high-spec toys including jet skis, water skis and diving equipment.

In the Maldives, Four Seasons hotel group operates the Four Seasons Explorer, a three-deck catamaran that offers three-, four- and seven-night cruises in the Maldives as well as a leisurely way of transiting between Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru (or Four Seasons’ recently launched Voavah exclusive-use private island).

In Italy, Borgo Santo Pietro hotel has launched its superyacht Satori. It features just five guest rooms (best is the master suite with its freestanding walnut bathtub); mahogany bar and dining area with open-view kitchen and 200-bottle wine cellar. At night, an outdoor cinema can be set up on deck.

In Oman, Six Senses Zighy Bay has just launched its 90m dhow Dhahab. Accommodating just six guests in three cabins, it features multiple dining areas and two sun decks, and will provide three-day itineraries (from $22,000) that explore the coast of Musandam, remote fishing villages and little-visited fishing spots.

Aman Resorts, meanwhile, already offers intimate voyages aboard the 52m hand-crafted Indonesian phinisi Amandira - five-night tours of the spectacular Raja Ampat marine area are popular; Alila Hotels’ 46m Alila Purnama also provides tours of this region.

Source: Telegraph

 

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22 June 2017: Today, the ceremonial keel laying took place for Celebrity Edge in Saint-Nazaire, France setting the foundation for the ship's innovative new structure. 

An 875 ton block was lifted in the air and a lucky coin was placed in the dock before the block was lowered into position. With the solid foundation in place, the building blocks can be joined together to create the ship of the future. 

Leaders from both Celebrity Cruises and STX France were at the event to celebrate the next stage of the ships evolution.  

Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., making her first sailing December 16, 2018. 

Bookings are now open so contact one of our travel specialists if you'd like to be one of the first onboard!

 

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Royal Caribbean invites the world to experience a first of its kind underwater adventure through the lens of Snapchat Spectacles. From June 21 to June 25, Royal Caribbean’s Snapchat channel will immerse viewers in a one of-a-kind underwater adventure thanks to a custom-designed scuba mask dubbed “SeaSeekers.” 

The mask was custom engineered by the cruise line for use with Snapchat Spectacles. It allows the wearer to snap while underwater and will give those above the surface a unique perspective into the intriguing underwater world of marine life. Fans can #SeekDeeper by following @RoyalCaribbean on Snapchat. 

“The SeaSeeker will enable all adventure-seekers to get a front-row seat to the thrilling adventures found underwater in a way that has never been possible before,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer Royal Caribbean International. “We’ve even taken the added step of applying for a patent for the SeaSeeker mask so that we can bring it to our guests exclusively.”

“Snapchat continues to be a favourite channel for curious travellers and is the ideal platform for this first-of-its-kind undersea exploration.”

The three dives will feature incredible underwater adventures seen through the eyes of three well-known divers. In Cozumel, Mexico marine wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa will give viewers a rare glimpse into the annual migration of Whale Sharks. 

Marine Biologist Gabriela Nava and co-founder of the organization Oceanus, A.C. based in Mexico, will then take viewers to see a coral reef restoration project where she and her team have been working to restore the local reefs. 

In Belize, fans can follow along as free diver Ashleigh Baird visits the Great Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole that is believed to be the largest of its kind.

Fans can follow along on Royal Caribbean’s Snapchat channel or by searching on other social platforms by using #SeekDeeper.

 

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It seems all of the cruise lines are flexing their muscles to see who can manufacture the greatest and most imaginative cruise ship, and French expedition cruise company Ponant is certainly getting in on the diversion.

Ponant are launching the first-ever underwater lounge at sea that will unquestionably heighten the experience of the sea.

Blue Eye, a shiny, multi-tactile space where guests can see, hear and for all intents and purposes touch the passing nautical life in the ocean, will be divulged on the brand’s four new Ponant Explorers: Le Bougainville, Le Dumont-d’Urville, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain.

On board each ship, guests will have the capacity to head underneath the water line to the Blue Eye lounge. There are two substantial glass viewing windows proposed to look like the eyes of a whale that let guests find the marvels of the dark blue sea, computerised screens that venture live pictures filmed by three submerged cameras, marine surroundsound in view of sounds in inside a three-mile range of the ship, and couches that vibrate in amicability with the ocean.

Sarina Bratton, who founded Australia’s Orion Expedition Cruises and moved on to Ponant to help internationalise the France-based business, emphasised Blue Eye was unique, inclusive and complimentary.

“It allows all guests to indulge in the subaquatic world, not just a few passengers in a submarine or a helicopter,” she said, referring to other luxury expedition yachts with these extra-fee features. But she added: “We welcome other companies’ new ships as the luxury expedition market cannot be sustained with 20 and 30 year old vessels.” Bratton said to Cruise Critics.

Expedition leader Mick Fogg said the sound experience would be a phenomenal natural symphony of whales singing, dolphins frolicking and fish chomping on coral. “With over five kilometres of noise, you’re going to want to turn that volume down, ” he said. “They don’t look like normal cruise ships, ” Bratton said. “But people now expect luxury on an expedition cruise. Luxury expedition is no longer an oxymoron. “

Source: Wheelie Good Cruises

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Earlier this month MSC Cruises — the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa took delivery of MSC Meraviglia, marking the launch of the next chapter of the cruise line’s growth.

MSC Meraviglia is the largest cruise ship entering into service in 2017, and will be the fourth largest cruise ship in the world except for the three gigantic Oasis Class ships from Royal Caribbean International.

At 171,598 GRT and with guest capacity of 5,714 (4,488 at double occupancy), MSC Meraviglia is equally the biggest ship to ever be built by a European ship owner — MSC Cruises — and the biggest to come into service in 2017.

Following her christening ceremony,  MSC Meraviglia will start her inaugural season sailing the Western Mediterranean.

The ship will have the following features:

  • At full capacity, the ship can accommodate 5,714 guests
  • The ship offers 12 distinct dining venues, serving a range of international dining options including five speciality restaurants
  • There will be will be exclusive world-class entertainment with 12 Cirque du Soleil at Sea performances each week
  • 75% of all staterooms have a balcony and family modular connected staterooms can be joined together to accommodate up to 10 guests
  • The ship will be the 5th ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet to feature a Swarovski staircase
  • The ship will feature a Mediterranean-style promenade featuring multiple bars, restaurants and shops, as well as the longest LED
  • Sky Screen at sea which will broadcast atmospheric images and entertainment 24-hours a day
  • Guests have access to 355,209 sq. ft. of public space across 15 public decks
  • The longest LED Sky Screen at sea will broadcast atmospheric images and entertainment 24 hours a day
  • There are 7 different kids clubs including a technology lab and a TV studio for the first time on a MSC Cruises ship
  • The ship will offer more than 20 hours of daily entertainment
  • More than 24 musicians will perform 40 hours of live music each day
  • The ship will have a Star Wars pod and a flight simulator
  • The ‘Himalayan Bridge’ which spans the ship will allow guests to climb 269 ft. above sea level
  • There are 20 bars and lounges on the ship
  • Guests will be able to use a NFC bracelet to unlock stateroom doors, make payments on board and book restaurants and shows
  • Guests will be able to geolocate their children using the MSC Cruises App thanks to Bluetooth Beacons and wearable technology
  • Guests will also be able to embark and disembark from the ship using their bracelet together with their Cruise Card
  • Guests will be able to experience shore excursions in advance using Virtual Reality (“VR”) technology

MSC Meraviglia will home port in Miami, Florida for the 2019-2020 winter

season.

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Seabourn, acclaimed as the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, have enriched the guests experience onboard Seabourn Odyssey with the addition of its signature restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller, and the new mindful living program created by Dr. Andrew Weil.

“The addition of The Grill by Thomas Keller and Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil continue a new chapter in Seabourn’s long history of offering the finest guest experiences in luxury travel,” Seabourn President Richard Meadows said.

“Through our outstanding partnerships with Chef Keller and Dr. Weil, we are excited to expand these programs on Seabourn Odyssey, with a fleet-wide rollout scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.”

Seabourn Odyssey is the third of the cruise line’s four ships to offer The Grill and the second to feature Dr. Weil’s program. The additions follow a dry dock period for Seabourn Odyssey which allowed an array of carefully and thoughtfully designed updates to the vessel.

Some of the main changes on Seabourn Odyssey include:

  • The Spa has been refreshed
  • The Fitness Centre features new equipment
  • All suites have been recarpeted
  • Seabourn’s new bespoke luxury mattresses have been added
  • Newly designed furniture has been placed in a range of suites
  • New carpet, furniture, teak flooring and refinished woodwork has been added throughout the ship.

Inspired by the classic American chophouse, The Grill by Thomas Keller is a alliance flanked by three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller and designer Adam D. Tihany, exclusively for Seabourn.

The Grill is now featured on Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Quest, and Seabourn Odyssey, with Seabourn Sojourn scheduled for opening in late 2017. Seabourn Ovation will launch with the restaurant in May 2018. Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil is a mindful living program that offers guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that assimilates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being.

Created in conjunction with The Onboard Spa by Steiner, Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil will be led by Seabourn Odyssey’s onboard Mindful Living Coach, a certified yoga and meditation practitioner whose role is to inspire and educate guests during the voyage.

Eventually destined for every ship in the Seabourn fleet, Dr. Weil’s program is the first-ever of its kind available at sea.

 

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The final countdown is on for the debut of P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer, and the long anticipated ship’s multi-million dollar transformation is currently in progress in Singapore.

During her drydock, the vessel – formerly sailing as Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess – will undertake a colossal refurbishment which will see the addition of a variety of stimulating innovative features for Australian seafarers.

When she sails from Sydney on her maiden cruise on June 22, Pacific Explorer will wow Australian’s with two of the longest and wildest waterslides ever seen on an Australian-based ship – each stretching more than 80 metres – along with an thrilling waterpark and a barefoot lawn bowling green. Top-deck favourites P&O Edge Adventure Park (https://www.pocruises.com.au/experiences/at-sea/play/po-edge) and the Big Screen will also be mounted during the ship’s dry dock.

Pacific Explorer’s public spaces will get a total facelift, together with its multi-storey atrium, lounges, bars and restaurants, the introduction of the trendy Australian décor and quirky features which have become a trademark of the P&O fleet in recent years.

Keeping with P&O Cruises’ continuing food evolution, Pacific Explorer’s refurbishment will embrace the construction of new dining selections from fast-casual dining at Luke’s (https://www.lukemangan.com/), a new poolside grill by Australian chef and restauranteur Luke Mangan to a traditional Neapolitan pizzeria called 400 Gradi (http://www.400gradi.com.au/), by award-winning Melbourne chef Johnny Di Francesco.

Guests will also be able to dine in the ship’s Waterfront Restaurant, try a taste of la dolce vita in its Italian restaurant Angelo’s (https://www.pocruises.com.au/experiences/at-sea/dining/angelos), indulge your senses in the sultry atmosphere of the pan-Asian restaurant Dragon Lady (https://www.pocruises.com.au/experiences/atsea/dining/dragon-lady) or be spoilt for choice in The Pantry, an international marketplace of nine fresh food outlets popular across the P&O Cruises’ fleet.

The Bonded Store (http://www.wheeliegoodcruises.com.au/archie-rosedistilling-co-pacific-explorer/) the place to unwind and relax with friends will also be added, featuring a cocktail list created in partnership with Sydney-based award-winning Archie Rose Distilling Co, as well as whisky and gin-making classes.

P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said Pacific Explorer was the perfect addition to P&O’s existing four-ship fleet. “Pacific Explorer is the next stage in the evolution of P&O, building on our very popular modern Australian holiday offering with some exciting new features. We can’t wait to show her off to our guests,” Mr Myrmell said.

Pacific Explorer will set sail from Singapore on June 9.

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Leading cruise line P&O Cruises has strengthened its commitment to New Zealand, adding FIVE more voyages to its sailings from Auckland next year.

The cruise line today released full details of its largest New Zealand program yet, with local holidaymakers able to choose from an unprecedented 22 roundtrip cruises in 2018.

With the extension of its latest program, P&O’s superliner Pacific Jewel will now be based in Auckland between March and August 2018, offering itineraries ranging from themed three-night Sea Break cruises, perfect for a weekend getaway, to a 15-night cruise exploring the islands of Polynesia.

The additional five itineraries now on offer in July and August include:

• a 10-night cruise to Tonga departing July 24, 2018 and visiting four ports including Vava’u and Nuku’alofa

• a nine-night cruise to the Pacific Islands, visiting Noumea, Lifou, Port Vila and Mare, departing August 6, 2018

• an eight-night cruise to Fiji departing August 15, 2018

• a three-night comedy cruise departing August 3, 2018

• a three-night food and wine cruise, departing August 23, 2018.

Also on offer is a new four-night comedy cruise sailing one-way from Auckland to Brisbane on August 26, 2018.

Accommodating 1950 guests, the 70,310-tonne Pacific Jewel features almost 200 private balcony rooms and mini-suites, an indulgent spa and a host of great onboard activities including the action-packed P&OEdge Adventure Park. Its many dining options include fine dining at Salt grill by Luke Mangan and contemporary casual eating in the Pantry, a stylish international food market featuring eight fresh food outlets and a bar.

Call 0800 110 108 to speak toone of our Cruising Specialists soon to ensure you don't miss out!

 

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises and the Monaco Government Tourism & Convention Authority have come together again to celebrate the one year anniversary of the christening of the Seven Seas Explorer in Monaco, which was presided over by the Seven Seas Explorer’s godmother, HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco on 13 July 2016. The anniversary celebration recognises the unique link between the most luxurious ship ever built and the most luxurious port of call in the world.

 

Held last night at Bistro Guillaume, the newly opened restaurant of one of Australia’s most popular chefs, Guillaume Brahimi, the celebratory dinner included an impressive ensemble of valued guests and friends of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and the Monaco Government.

 

Steve Odell, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Asia Pacific for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said, “The collaboration between Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Monaco, a Principality renowned for its glamour, prestige and stylish lifestyle, is truly fitting for a brand that sets new benchmarks in cruising luxury. “

He added, “From opulent suites to gourmet restaurants and elegant lounges, the Seven Seas Explorer unsurprisingly lives up to her reputation as the most luxurious ship ever built. Her return to Monte Carlo’s famed Port Hercule, marks the culmination of a successful first year of spectacular voyages on both sides of the Atlantic.”  

Hadrien Bourely, Honorary Consul de Monaco (NSW, NT & QLD) said, “In recent years the Port Authority of Monaco has taken the decision to realign itself with the luxury cruise industry, as such Regent Seven Seas is a most valued partner.  In 2016, Monaco welcomed 191 ship visits, carrying almost 200,000 cruise passengers with 67 percent of the visits falling in the luxury segment.  With HSH Princess Charlene as the Godmother of the most luxurious ship ever built we are thrilled to be welcoming Seven Seas Explorer back to her place of christening. We hope that more Australians will travel to Monaco and experience the perfect combination of our Principality with the ultimate in luxury cruising”.

 

The newest member of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, Seven Seas Explorer boasts one of the highest space and staff to guest ratios in the cruise industry and includes a range of unique features, including a one-of-a-kind 360-square-metre suite, extravagantly designed lounges and showplaces, and lavish gourmet restaurants.

 

For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises or specific itineraries, please contact a professional travel agent; visit www.rssc.com; or call 1300 455 200 (Australia) or 0800 625 692 (New Zealand).

 

Photo caption: Andrew M. Cannon AM- Honorary Consul of Monaco (SA, TAS , VIC, WA), Steve Odell, Senior Vice President, Managing Director Asia Pacific Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings, Lisa Pile, Vice President Sales, Australia & New Zealand, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Guillaume Brahimi, Celebrated Sydney Chef, Alison Roberts-Brown, Regional Director, Australia & NZ, Monaco Tourism, Hadrien Bourely, Honorary Consul of Monaco (NSW, NT & QLD) and Mathew Butterworth.

                                                         

About Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's most inclusive luxury cruise line with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 425 destinations around the globe.  The line’s newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer, entered service on 20 July, 2016 and has been recognised as The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built™. A leader in the luxury cruise segment, the line's fares include all-suite accommodation, highly personalised service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, gratuities, a 1 night pre-cruise hotel package and transfer from hotel to ship for guests staying in concierge level suites and higher. 

 

About Monaco

The Principality of Monaco is an independent sovereign state located between France and Italy on the Mediterranean coast.  Monaco enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, the perfect destination from which to explore the French and Italian Rivieras. Boasting an incredible calendar of events, a wide choice of luxury accommodation and dining experiences, Monaco’s clear cut focus on providing outstanding hospitality excellent is evident. Renowned for the glitz and glamour Monaco remains serious about environmental sustainability under the watchful eye of Prince Albert II and the Prince Albert II Foundation.

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Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, the 3934-passenger Carnival Ho-rizon, will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a water park inspired by the worlds of the children’s author, advises Francis Travel Marketing.

Located on Deck 12, the water park will offer Dr. Seuss-themed slides, tipping buckets, a kiddies splash zone and more. The ship will also feature the Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading and play venue, and popular Seuss at Sea activities like The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time.

Carnival Horizon will make its maid-en voyage 02 Apr 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona.

Speak to your Mondo Travel specialist to book soon - there is no doubt this one will fill fast for fun family holidays.

Source: TABS on TRAVEL

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Have you ever wanted to have a good nosey around a cruise line BEFORE you make your booking?

Well, with Crystal Cruises, you now can!

Through The Crystal Lens is an exclusive virtual reality experience that takes you aboard their award-winning ships and into the fascinating destinations to which they visit.

Look for the 360° video icon on deck plans and destination maps to view exclusive content.

https://preview.crystalcruises.com

 

 

 

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Keen for a new travel adventure? Can you imagine yourself cruising the great rivers of Europe? Gliding past the medieval castles and lush riverbank vineyards on a luxurious river cruise ship as it winds its way through some of the most beautiful sights and delivers you to Europe’s most celebrated towns & cities.

If that sparks the wanderlust in you then now is the time to pick up the brand new 2018 Avalon Waterways’ brochure from your local travel agent and start planning a European river cruise.

Just one year ago this month, New Zealand’s very own Judy Bailey became the godmother of Avalon’s newest ship as she took part in its inaugural cruise and officially christened it; Avalon Imagery II.

The Avalon Imagery II is just one of 12 revolutionary Avalon Suite ships in their European fleet of 15 ships offering casual luxury and amazing travel experiences on the waterways of Europe.  These new ships are so innovative in their design that guests get to experience Europe from a unique and intimate perspective.

If you are a seasoned cruise traveller or if this is your very first voyage, you’ll find the Avalon Waterway’s experience something very special. If you’ve never enjoyed the delights of river cruising, you’ll be sold on the way Europe’s best arrives at your expansive Open Air Balcony.

And that’s part of the Avalon difference - losing a tiny exterior balcony off your room to incorporate the space inside your Panorama Suite and provide floor to ceiling expansive windows that open back to let the outside in. And Avalon’s Panorama Suites have been cleverly designed so the bed faces the view so you wake up to a new European vista every morning.

Avalon Suite Ships are modern and clever in their design, allowing them to feel significantly bigger than others. With two full decks of Panorama Suites offering 30% more space than staterooms on standard river cruising ships, Avalon has allowed for greater comfort along with the views.

And there is an extra incentive for picking up a brochure hot off the press and getting your 2018 booking in early, with great offers available until 6 June this year.

Last year Avalon offered an air credit deal and it was so well received the company has bought it back by popular demand. Depending on the cruise itinerary and departure dates, early bookings will be rewarded with air credits of up to $2,500 per couple on European cruises.

Also new for 2018, Avalon Active cruises will be introduced on the Rhine River. It’s an interactive and energetic option for the more adventurous traveller.

Beginning in Amsterdam, guests can choose an energetic guided running tour, bike rides along the spectacular Rhine, participate in adrenaline fuelled re-enactments of the Roman Games or even climb the steps to Marksburg Castle to experience exceptional views over the river & vistas below. 

After breath-taking excursions through aromatic orchards or vibrant city streets, guests can retreat toward the comfort of their ship. Evenings spent cruising the Rhine, dining whilst surrounded by panoramic views or spotting castles on the hillsides from the sky deck are all part of an Avalon Waterways holiday.

 

Ask your Mondo Travel cruise specialist for the latest itineraries or brochures!

0800 110 108

 

submitted by -- Gayle

When Celebrity Solstice, the region’s highest rated cruise ship*, departs Auckland on 24 April to migrate to warmer climates, she marks the conclusion of an historic cruise season for New Zealand and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The cruise company brought three lines and an unprecedented seven ships to Australia and New Zealand this season, including superliner Ovation of the Seas, which broke all the records when she arrived at Kiwi shores.

Ovation of the Seas cost USD$1 billion to build, weighing in at 168,666 GRT with capacity for close to 5000 passengers and 1500 crew, making her by far the biggest and most technologically sophisticated cruise ship to ever call this region home.

With 17 visits to ports including Dunedin, Picton, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland and Paihia, the inaugural local season has been declared a major success. The 358m long giant has also been confirmed to return here in December 2017 for a longer season.

Adam Armstrong, Managing Director AU & NZ, says that bringing the largest and most advanced vessel drew new crowds to the market.

“What we have learned is that there is a demand for cruises to New Zealand on a large feature-rich ship like Ovation of the Seas, which has validated our decision to invest in this market. SuperCruising has now emerged as an all new category.”

It was also a record breaking season for the cruise line in terms of overall passengers. More than 300,000 guests sailed on seven ships during the 2016/17 summer cruise season.

A quarter of those guests – around 75,000 - sailed itineraries that visited New Zealand.  This injected an estimated $40 million in passenger spend alone into New Zealand’s regional economies.

Australians made up the core demographic of cruisers to New Zealand at 60%, while the other 40% saw a number of nationalities including from the US, Europe, UK, and of course Kiwis themselves.

In addition to Ovation, Royal Caribbean Cruises also brought Radiance of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice, and Azamara Journey for a total of 133 NZ port visits. 

Boutique cruise ship Azamara Journey made her maiden voyage to NZ this season bringing its destination focussed style of cruising to our shores, showcasing our beautiful country with the brand’s signature longer stays and more authentic local experiences.

Returning fresh from an all-encompassing makeover, Azamara Journey’s revitalisation saw the addition of new venues and technologies, a beautiful redesign and rework of her suites and staterooms, a complete refresh of all public spaces and pervasive wi-fi throughout. 

The region’s favourite and highest rated cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice, celebrated a milestone sailing her fifth consecutive local season, fresh from a stunning makeover. Additions included the first Tiffany & Co store at sea for the region, beautiful cabanas on the famed real grass Lawn Club, and an outdoor movie screen to host her new film and gastronomic experience, “A Taste of Film” for guests.

Royal Caribbean is reminding travellers to book their 2017/18 season cruises early as spaces sell out fast. Simply contact your Mondo Travel specialist for information on forward itineraries!

 

www.mondotravel.co.nz

T: 0800 110 108

 

submitted by -- Gayle

Carnival Cruise Line has raised a glass to the success of Australia’s first bespoke cruise beer – ThirstyFrog Summer Ale, with almost 200,000 schooners enjoyed at sea since the refreshing craft ale was launched three years ago.

Created in partnership with The Lord Nelson Brewery, ThirstyFrog Summer Ale has proved one of the most popular beers on Australia-based ships Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend.

Celebrating the three-year milestone at a special event at Sydney’s The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel on the United States’ National Beer Day (April 7), Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Beverage Operations Eddie Allen said ThirstyFrog Summer Ale had paved the way for the cruise line to work with similar breweries around the world.

“As a nation of beer lovers, it’s no surprise that ThirstyFrog Summer Ale has been a huge hit on our Australia-based ships Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend.  We worked closely with The Lord Nelson Brewery to create a quality beer that Australians would appreciate and enjoy during a holiday at sea,” Mr Allen said.

“Following the success of Australia’s summer ale, we’ve rolled out similar partnerships with no less than 10 local craft breweries in homeports in the States. And because our guests have such a penchant for craft beer, we’ve even taken the process to sea with the craft brewery on Carnival Vista proving to be a huge hit. We expect similar results when Carnival Horizon debuts with her own onboard brewery.”

ThirstyFrog Summer Ale, which takes its name from the RedFrog pubs featured across Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet, is only available on tap onboard Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend. The beer is a 100 per cent natural ale, which combines Australian and American hops to create subtle malt flavours and floral citrus aromas in a thoroughly drinkable beer, which was designed to capture the spirit of a holiday at sea.

Since the beer was launched on the cruise line’s Australia-based ships in 2014, Carnival Cruise Line has become one of The Lord Nelson Brewery’s biggest outlets in Australia. 

Ask your Mondo cruise specialist about the itineraries!

 

submitted by -- Gayle

Richard Fain, the chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, is willing to bet $5 billion that he can take everything you know about cruising and flip it upside down. Or at least outside in.

On Monday, he and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises - one of three brands in the Royal Caribbean family - announced a new category of ship that, among other transformational design moves, brings stateroom balconies indoors. With a push of a button, the floor-to-ceiling windows of Celebrity Edge-class staterooms retract like a super-sleek garage door, leaving nothing but a simple glass railing between your living room furniture and the crystal-blue sea.

Portholes and balconies are set to become a thing of the past. At least, that's what Fain and Lutoff-Perlo are betting on.

These balconies on-demand are just one of the first-to-market design features raising the price tag of Edge-class ships to $1 billion a piece. Here's what else to expect on these tricked-out ocean liners, which are packed with enough bells and whistles to make even the most fervent anti-cruiser consider a trip on the high seas.

"Infinite" Verandas

By redefining the balcony, Celebrity is able to expand cabins right up to the edge of the ship - almost like an infinity pool. As a result, stateroom floor plans are (on average) 23 percent larger than before, with bathrooms gaining an extra 20 percent of square footage.

A Magic Carpet Ride

Imagine a mini-deck that is the length of a tennis court which hovers off the edge of the ship, moving up and down along a vertical track almost like an elevator. That's the Magic Carpet, a new public space that will serve different purposes at different times of the day - a stylish disembarkation point. a lunch spot with wraparound views, an extension to the pool area (sometimes with a DJ), a fine dining restaurant that's cantilevered over the sea. 

Floating Villas With Private Plunge Pools

Suites have traditionally made up 5 percent of Celebrity's room stock; on Edge ships, they'll represent 12 percent of the accommodations. Included are six duplex villas that shed the traditional décor you'll find on, say, luxury cruise line Cunard's two-floor suites-instead, they have private plunge pools and direct access to the one of the ship's sundecks. Eucalyptus-treated cashmere mattresses from Italy, Bulgari bath amenities, butler service, packing and unpacking support, and a bar that's set up based on your own preferences: They're just a few of the signature amenities for suite guests.

Mobile-Controlled Everything

Wearables are a thing of the past. On the Edge ships, you'll be able to do everything on your phone, from checking in to unlocking your stateroom door or controlling your room's temperature and lighting. It all happens via a proprietary Celebrity app, which also puts the concierge, ship map, and daily event schedule in each guest's pocket.

The Ultimate Adult "Playscape"

The so-called resort deck on the Celebrity Edge ships takes the adult pool concept to a whole new level. The pool itself (The Solarium) is enclosed by a tessellated, glass-like dome for all-weather access. It  leads to a rooftop garden landscaped with sculptural trees and maintained by a dedicated horticulturist so that it can be used for parties (think live music, wine, and blankets) or dinner-and-a-movie nights.

The Bottom Line

Lutoff-Perlo and Fain both talk about the Edge class as an evolution in modern luxury, capable of drawing more affluent younger travelers and converting them into cruisers.

"When you have to sign a contract for $5 billion, your hand shakes. But now that I've seen the design, my hand no longer shakes," said Fain. And Lutoff-Perlo indicated there's more to come. "Every new feature needs to be a must-see, must-have experience-that's true of all these additions, along with several more amazing things we'll be revealing later on," she teased.

Want to get a spot on the inaugural sailing? Bookings are officially open for the first ship's maiden voyage, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Dec. 16, 2018, for a week-long Caribbean circuit.

GET IN TOUCH NOW - Space is guaranteed not to last - Call us on 0800 110 108!

As reported by The Herald and Washington Post

submitted by -- Gayle

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth is to be based in Australia for a record two months to accommodate the growing demand for local cruises on the luxury cruise line's ships.

Seven cruise options offer destinations such as: New Zealand, South Australia, Tasmania, departing Sydney and Melbourne February-April 2019.

The cruises are a major highlight of the Cunard's 2019 World Voyage program due for release mid-March 2017.

 

submitted by -- Gayle

We've often heard people discussing their upcoming cruise and debating whether to try and sneek the odd bottle of alcohol onboard with them.

All we can say is: DON'T!

Much like airlines, cruise companies have cottoned onto the fact that travellers will sometimes go to great lengths to get that bottle of Jim Beam or Smirnoff into their cabin without detection. Over the years, they have uncovered a raft of attempted deceptions ... decanting drinks into mouthwash bottles, having specific containers made up, stashing vodka in makeup bottles and more!

Do you really want the shame of holding up the queue on embarkation day while you are made to hand over your illegal booze? Will you be able to show your red face again that night at dinner?

Not only do you stand a darn good chance of losing the alcohol that's just been discovered, you'll then be forced to pay for your drinks on top of losing your stash! Would have been cheaper to just pay the bar tab and be done with.

While on the subject of drinking, remember that while you can legally drink in some countries at 18 years of age, if you're on a cruise that departs from an American port, you'll be faced with a minimum drinking age of 21!

If you're celebrating a special occasion onboard, you can take your own champagne with you - ask about the corkage fees if you intend to pop the cork in the dining areas!

Lastly, drinking to excess on a cruise is NEVER a good idea ... cruise companies have been known to disembark passengers who have violated their alcohol policies ... everything in moderation!

Happy sailing!

 

submitted by -- Gayle