Start planning now for a world cruise in 2017

The weatherman tells us this bank holiday weekend sees the end of meteorological summer.

The cruise lines tell us it’s time to start thinking about booking a world voyages – not just next year, but beyond that. Start saving now …

P&O Cruises reach their 180th anniversary year in 2017, when both Aurora and Arcadia will make circumnavigations.

The 104-night eastward voyage on Aurora leaves Southampton on January 9 and will travel almost 30,000 nautical miles, visiting 35 destinations in 21 countries. As well as sailing under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge (above) and entering Sydney Harbour, the ship will transit both the […]

Passengers can compete to be stars as Princess Cruises launch The Voice of the Ocean

 

TV talent show The Voice is to make its debut at sea, with cruise ship passengers groomed for stardom and judged by their fellow guests.

The Voice of the Ocean is to become a feature on 11 Princess ships, starting with Regal Princess in October.

Contestants will be picked during karaoke session auditions and assigned a mentor from the entertainment teams.

Up to nine finalists will compete on stage during the last night of the cruise.

 

A SURVEY of UK passengers shows they are paying no more for their cruise holidays now than they were four years ago.

Around half (49%) the people questioned […]

Fred’s fabulous four line up in Bergen

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines celebrated a historic gathering of its fleet this week with the Four Bs in Bergen. Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch sailed into Norway’s second city for a day of celebration and festivities.

It was the first time the quartet – from a company proud of its Norwegian heritage – had been together anywhere in the world.

The ships arrived in convoy in the early morning sunshine and formed up into diamond formation for their evening departure.

Passengers were welcomed by a marching band and locals in Norwegian national costume. During the day they were entertained by an […]

Carnival invests €30 million in new cruise terminal for Barcelona

Barcelona, the busiest cruise port in Europe, is to get a new passenger terminal, with an investment of €30 million from Carnival Corporation. Construction work is expected to start in 2016 and the new facility is scheduled to open in time for the 2018 summer cruise season.

Barcelona currently has four cruise terminals – one operated exclusively for Carnival brand ships – on its main breakwater jetty. There are two more closer to the city centre, next to the World Trade Centre building.

The new building, which is likely to handle passengers travelling with Cunard, P&O Cruises and Princess, as well as […]

Crystal takes cruise world by surprise with ambitious expansion plans

Even the keenest Crystal ball-gazer would have had problems anticipating last night’s sensational announcements from Crystal Cruises.

Rumours of expansion have been circulating for months, starting soon after Edie Rodriguez took over as company president and reaching fever pitch when the company was bought from its Japanese owners by Hong Kong financiers Genting.

Some cruise industry pundits were sceptical, saying they had heard it all before and they would not believe it until they saw it. They will now be eating their words – Crystal is to build not one, but three new ocean ships. Not only that, it is expanding […]

Cruise liner QM2 adds room for single passengers, more pets, and extra balconies

Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 is to be fitted with extra accommodation for passengers and their pets.

During a dry-dock refit next year, the vessel will be given 30 new balcony cabins for passengers travelling in Britannia Club class, and 15 single staterooms for passengers travelling individually, either as part of a larger family group or sailing solo.

QM 2 is the only cruise liner with kennels and these are frequently fully booked for passengers’ dogs and cats on Transatlantic crossings. Ten new kennel places will be created – taking the total to 22 – and a lamp-post and a US-style […]

How will Caribbean cruising be changed when ships can take passengers to Cuba?

I wrote this piece in February for publication in World of Cruising magazine. After this week’s announcements from MSC Cruises and Carnival’s fathom brand, it seems more appropriate than ever.
 

Just imagine waking up one morning to the news that a new island had suddenly appeared in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Not one of those barren volcanic outcrops that occasionally surface off the coast of Iceland, but a fully-functioning community, with a history and culture all its own. Ancient ruins from another era, a thriving industry producing potent alcoholic drinks, and even an exotic nightclub with a the most over-the-top song and dance show […]

Obama trade thaw opens Cuba door for MSC Cruises and Carnival’s fathom

As President Obama strives to earn a place in history by lifting the restrictions on trade between the US and Cuba, news comes this week of two cruise lines that will soon be visiting the island.

MSC Cruises were first off the starting blocks, announcing that 2,120-passenger MSC Opera will be operating 16 seven-night cruises from Havana this winter.

The newly-refurbished ship, which has just gained an extra 197 cabins, will be in Cuba from December to April and its itineraries include visits to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel in Mexico, as well as overnight stays in Havana.

MSC avoids the […]

Traditional lion dance celebrates keel-laying for Princess Cruises’ China-bound ship

A Chinese lion dance marked the keel-laying of Princess Cruises’ third Royal class ship in the Italian shipyard where sister ships Royal Princess, Regal Princess, and P&O Cruises Britannia were built.

The 3,600-passenger vessel will follow rival Quantum of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, to be based in Shanghai when it is launched in summer 2017 and will have a number of features tailored for the Chinese market.

The ceremonial placing of the first 500-ton section of the ship in dry dock at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard near Trieste was also celebrated with a blessing by a Catholic priest. Julie Benson, […]

Northern Delights – but don’t sleep through your chance to see the Aurora Borealis

The Northern Lights are on every traveller’s bucket list. It doesn’t matter that – apart from on the rare occasions when they can be seen from the UK – a winter journey into the frozen Arctic is a pre-requisite for a sighting. The journey might be arduous, but the reward makes even a fleeting glimpse worthwhile.

We’ll put ourselves through many privations for the privilege, but let’s face it, there can be fewer more comfortable ways of travelling in search of the Aurora Borealis than by cruise ship. Which is what I did earlier this year on Saga Pearl II. […]