Cruise lines launch 2014 plans

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It’s more than likely you are still looking forward to your 2013 holidays, but cruise lines have been busy this week releasing details of what’s new for 2014 – several of them with more ships than ever sailing from a growing number of UK ports. Here are some of the highlights of announcements made during the past few days:
P_O_Cruises_logo25.jpgA total of 269 cruises visiting 218 places, including 17 maiden calls, in 77 countries. Itineraries include Norway and Iceland, the Baltic, Iberia, Canary Islands, Mediterranean and Caribbean, plus three world cruises. More short break cruises – some 35 – than ever before.
For the first time, fly-cruises in the Mediterranean; Ventura will disappear from the UK and after a Caribbean season during winter 2013-14 the ship will operate seven and 14-night cruises from Venice and Savona in Italy, visiting Croatia, Greece, Corsica and Montenegro. Cruise-only fares start from £499, flights – from London, Birmingham and Manchester – from £250
Discovery cruising on Adonia, the smallest ship in the fleet, which will sail up the Garonne to the heart of Bordeaux, and along the Guadalquivir into Seville. On Baltic itineraries the ship will transit the Kiel Canal and other smaller destinations include Sorrento and Portofino on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Mandal and Rosendal in Norway, and Portree on the Isle of Skye.
Theme cruises: Strictly Come Dancing on four cruises during the year, aboard Oriana, Oceana, Azura and Aurora. The 30th anniversary of P&O’s classical Music Festivals at Sea will be marked on an Oriana cruise to the Baltic, Aurora to the central Mediterranean and Adonia to the western Med.
Freedom dining (as opposed to fixed seating at set times, which P&O refer to as “Club Dining”) will be introduced on Arcadia from December this year and comes to Oriana in May and Aurora in December 2014.
cunard-logo225.jpgCunard’s 2014 programme includes 167 ports and 13 maiden calls, including first-time visits to Mytilene, Greece; Skagen, Denmark; St Tropez, France; St Peter Port, Guernsey; Kirkwall and Invergordon for Queen Victoria, and Elba, Italy; Kotor, Montenegro; Volos, Greece; Bodrum, Turkey; Toulon, France; La Goulette, Tunisia and Palermo, Sicily for Queen Elizabeth. As announced earlier, Queen Mary 2 will operate a number of special Transatlantic crossings to mark its 10th birthday, including two visits to Halifax, Nova Scotia, birthplace of founder Samuel Cunard.
Thomson Cruises225.jpgThomson Spirit will be operating out of Harwich, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and, for the first time, Liverpool, with cruises beyond the Arctic Circle to Spitsbergen added to familiar favourite destinations such as the Norwegian fjords, Amsterdam and Ireland.
The 15-night Arctic Affair cruise leaving Newcastle on July 12 2014 takes the ship further north than it has ever sailed, visiting Ny Alesund and Longyearbyen as well as more familiar ports in the fjords.
Also new for summer 2014 will be five adult-only cruises. Itineraries include North Cape Discovery, Baltic Beauties, Wonders of the Fjords, Baltic Flavours and Mediterranean Explorer.
royalcaribbean_logo225.jpgRoyal Caribbean International, who are spending more than £200 million on enhancements to the ships in their fleet, will once again have Independence and Adventure of the Seas – which between them can accommodate up to 8,200 passengers – operating from Southampton, and Brilliance of the Seas in Harwich.
Independence plans some shorter sailings such as three and four-night cruises to Le Havre for Paris and Zeebrugge for Bruges, plus a six night cruise to France and Spain, and an eight-night cruise to Norway, as well as the familiar 14-night Mediterranean voyages to the Med and 11 and 12-night trips to the Canary Islands.
From May 2014, Adventure of the Seas will return to a series of seven to 16 night cruises around the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, plus shorter sailings which include a four-night trip to Belgium and France.
Brilliance of the Seas will visit operate 12-night itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland, and to the Baltic Sea.
celebrity-logo225.jpgCelebrity Eclipse – recently voted best large ship by readers of Cruise Critic UK, will return to Southampton and Celebrity Infinity will be back in Harwich.
Among the Eclipse itineraries will be a 14-night Scandinavia and Russia cruise which goes out of its way to visit Le Havre on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Infinity will once more feature a series of “immersive” wine cruises, including an appearance by TV’s Oz Clarke.
Details of Celebrity’s new entertainment programmes, which promise a late-night burlesque show and “edgy” comedian – hinted at last week when CEO Michael Bayley visited London – are still awaited.
Bayley also promised to chase a Michelin star rating for a Celebrity restaurant. Unlike cruise lines which have imported chefs who have already won stars, he is considering opening a pop-up outlet in New York or London to get round Michelin rulings about only accrediting land-based establishments.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:36+00:00 21 March 2013|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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