sara_p.jpgCasual cruise line Ocean Village may be about to disappear at the end of 2010, but it’s not going to go quietly.
Although one of the line’s two ships will be transferred to new ownership in Australia later this year, the original Ocean Village will continue to provide “cruises for people who don’t do cruises” for another year.
A TV advertising campaign featuring the voice of Sarah Parish (right), star of BBC series Mistresses, launches next week to push the ship’s winter season in the Caribbean, with fares starting at £599 a week for two-week cruises from Barbados.
And next summer’s final Mediterranean season has been announced: seven different itineraries will include five ports which have not been visited by the ship before – Messina in Sicily, Marmaris in Turkey, La Spezia in Italy, Cagliari on the south coast of Sardinia, and Toulon in France.
Fares start at £699 for a week in the eastern Med, including flights, and there’s a £200 discount for passengers who prefer to arrange their own flights.
With an average age of 45, Ocean Village passengers are a good 10 years younger than the cruising stereotype.
There are no formal dress codes, no set dining times and no fixed seating plans and no end of choice. By day, passengers can chill out beside one of two pools and relax in the hot tubs on deck. Ashore, they can opt to join activities from yachting and quad biking to swimming with dolphins.
By night, there are up to eight bars to choose from and four onboard restaurants, including celebrity chef James Martins’ Bistro and 24 hour buffet dining.
There’s a dedicated youth team offering a supervised ‘Base Camp’ for kids, and a night nursery, meaning Mum and Dad can make the most of the nightly entertainment – everything from tribute acts, live bands and urban dance shows to acrobatic laser spectaculars out on the open decks.
And if he’s a popular success this year, no doubt Basil Brush will be back, along with Bagpuss and Paddington Bear, to keep the kids happy.