The critics might have been screaming from the rooftops that cruising was dead, but if the forward bookings for 2022 and 2023 are anything to go by, it is set to come back stronger than ever.
Each to his own, if you don’t want to cruise again – look away – but if you are thinking about taking to the seas, rivers or oceans of the world, you’d better get cracking.
We have compiled some news from the cruising industry to help make you choose where, what and on which ship you want to travel on. All aboard!
Celebrity Apex to make its debut
Celebrity Cruises has announced the long-awaited debut of Celebrity Apex, the second ship in the Celebrity Cruises’ award-winning Edge Series. Celebrity Apex will set sail in the Aegean from June this year.
Bookings will open on March 31 for the luxurious seven-night itineraries visiting spectacular destinations such as Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini, Limassol, and Cyprus, which will begin June 19.
The ship’s onboard experience will be exceptional, featuring the exclusive The Retreat® with its stunning accommodations with a team of butlers, a private restaurant, and an exclusive lounge and sundeck to rival any high-end resort. Think modern two-storey villas with plunge pools and staterooms with verandas – all curated by the award-winning Kelly Hoppen. The Magic Carpet® will be in demand for cocktails or dinner -one of 29 restaurants, bars and lounges including the new Craft Social Bar with globally-inspired menus crafted by Michelin-starred chefs bring the flavours of the world straight to the plate.
The return to Greek waters marks a ‘homecoming’ for Celebrity Cruises, back to the country where it first took to the water. Celebrity Apex will sail with all crew and guests above the age of 18 vaccinated against COVID-19, and those under the age of 18 with negative PCR test results.
A new era for Emerald Cruises
A new era has begun for Emerald Waterways and Emerald Yacht Cruises – they have now merged under one name – Emerald Cruises.
The new website allows cruisers to choose their cruise of choice, whether a river cruise or a yacht adventure, compare vessels, itineraries and book online.
Emerald river cruises have been operating since 2014 to great acclaim, and the company’s first foray into ocean cruising will come in January, 2022.
That is when the five-star luxury yacht, Emerald Azzurra, will set sail. This glamour superyacht will carry just 100 guests on spectacular itineraries on the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Black and Red seas.
Emerald Cruises has seven deluxe Star-Ships, with Emerald Luna, the eighth ship, to launch later in 2021.
PONANT goes big in the Kimberley
French-flagged PONANT has announced that the company will offer 26 departures to the Kimberley in 2022. That is on top of the 19 departures that will run in 2021. The 10-night Australia’s Iconic Kimberley itinerary between Darwin and Broome will operate between March and September 2022. Guests can choose between two of PONANT’s eco-sensitive small luxury expedition ships, the 264-guest Le Soléal and the 184-guest Le Lapérouse. Aboard Le Lapérouse all accommodation includes a balcony or private deck area while on Le Soléal 95 per cent of cabins have a balcony.
Both offer a selection of world-class dining options and bars, plus a swimming pool. They are the only ships in the Kimberley to do so and essential in a region where saltwater crocodiles abound.
Whichever ship you choose, it will be a wonderful and luxurious base to return to after the exquisite Kimberley explorations at places like King George River and Twin Falls, Montgomery Reef, Vansittart Bay, Swift Bay, Hunter River and Mitchell Falls, Talbot Bay, Raft Point, Lacepede Islands, the Horizontal Falls, or the Gwion Gwion rock art.
With bookings coming in thick and fast, you had better ‘aller vite‘ (go fast!). View the list of departures HERE.
Viking cruises into Spring
Europe in Spring is a kaleidoscope of colours, with warm spring days the perfect climate for a raft of festivals. Book now for a European jaunt in spring 2022 or 2023 with Viking’s portfolio of river and ocean cruises to carry you to iconic cities and world-class events and festivals.
The Netherlands comes alive in spring, with one of the best places to soak up the splendour of the new season, Keukenhof Park in Lisse. Known as the ‘Garden of Europe’, imagine seeing around seven million tulips and 800 tulip varieties. These blooms turn the park into a rainbow of colours. The Dutch celebrate some of their biggest and most important holidays in spring. Dress in orange and help the locals celebrate their king with street markets, live music and brightly decorated boats on King’s Day on 27 April.
Cruise to choose: 10-day Holland and Belgium river cruise from Amsterdam to Antwerp or vice versa.
When you think of Norway, snowy peaks and icy fjords spring to mind, but the new season brings milder weather and blossoming trees. Stavanger is a great place to start, with rows of traditional houses and pretty blossoms lit up in the sun.
In Bergen, discover the waterfalls and glacial treks of the nearby Hardangerfjord region, one of the most peaceful places on Earth.
Cruise to choose: 15-day Viking Homelands – a stunning ocean cruise from Stockholm to Bergen or vice versa.
Italy is also alive with colour in spring. Journey to the hills of Tuscany during the months of April and May and you’ll find a swaying sea of red poppies. Or travel to Venice for the Festa di San Marco in April, the feast day of Venice’s patron saint, where Venetian men traditionally present the woman they love with a red rosebud.
Cruise to choose: 29-day Mediterranean’s Iconic Shores – an epic ocean cruise from Barcelona to Istanbul or vice versa.
Britain is perhaps the most spectacular in spring, with flowering gardens, carpets of bluebells, blooming trees and rolling green hills enticing all and sundry outside. Plus the RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place in London from May annually and is a must do on any spring time visit.
Cruise to choose: 15-day British Isles Explorer – traversing the Isles from north to south from Bergen to London or vice versa.
From Paris to Provence, France is a classic Europe Springtime destination. The season is perfect for discovering Paris and the many castles, palaces and châteaux around the capital: Versailles, Chantilly, Vaux-le-Vicomte and their respective gardens. In Normandy, the apple trees are in full bloom and Monet’s Garden in Giverny is well worth a visit as are the lush vineyards, and olive groves of Provence, while the French Riviera sparkles in the sunlight.
Cruise to choose: 15-day France’s Finest – for lovers of everything Français, from Paris to Avignon or vice versa.
Oh Switzerland. It is so stunning in the green season as the sparkling lakes thaw and hiking trails start to bloom after the winter. Visit Zurich in April to enjoy Sechseläuten, the city’s Spring Festival. You’ll see colourful parades and the lighting of bonfires topped with a snowman named Böögg. The legend goes that the faster the fire reaches the head of the snowman, the better the summer will be.
Cruise to choose: 12-day Paris to the Swiss Alps – from Paris to Zurich or vice versa.
Discover Antarctica with Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten has a long history with a rapidly growing fleet of custom-built expedition ships that take modern-day adventure travellers to the world’s most spectacular destinations – from the High North to Antarctica in the south.
A world leader in exploration travel comes with great responsibility, and Hurtigruten runs a responsible, sustainable global operation. Read more about Hurtigruten’s sustainability efforts here.
Since 1893, the Hurtigruten ships have been a hallmark of the Norwegian coast. Now the ships sail to the Arctic and Antarctica, and many destinations in between. On each ship you will find modern facilities carefully blended with true character.
Hurtigruten introduced the world’s first hybrid battery-powered cruise ships, the MS Roald Amundsen, in 2019, and the MS Fridtjof Nansen in March 2020.
Discover Antarctica on Hurtigruten’s ‘Highlights of the Frozen Continent’ 12-day cruise in late 2021 through to 2022 from $7,999 per person twin share.
Along with Hurtigruten’s Book With Confidence offer, you can plan the expedition of your dreams worry-free.
Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime, must-see destination due to its unique and untouched scenery of icebergs and glaciers. Its frozen landscape is teeming with diverse wildlife: penguins, seals, whales and birds.
Sail onboard Hurtigruten’s MS Fridtjof Nansen as the most sustainable choice with one of the lowest CO2 footprints of all expedition voyages to this region.
Flying from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, you’ll board Fridtjof Nansen before crossing the Drake Passage to arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula.
The package includes an overnight stay in Buenos Aires and breakfast, transfers from the hotel in Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires airport before the expedition cruise, return flights in economy class between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, plus transfers between Ushuaia airport and the ship, including a brief tour of the town.
Valid for bookings to 30 April 2021 for cruises departing from November 2021 to March 2022.
The world’s largest and newest sailing ship, Golden Horizon, will take modern-day seafarers from Sydney to Adelaide in January, 2022. Cruisers can then extend the trip with a five-star tour package launched by Australian small ship cruise specialist, Cruise Traveller.
The exclusive new, 21-night ‘slow travel’ cruise/tour package combines a 16-night journey from Sydney to Adelaide via Tasmania aboard the five-masted Golden Horizon and a five-night stay in Adelaide with tours of the city, Adelaide Hills, Hahndorf and the Barossa Valley.
Golden Horizon is the brand new ship from UK-based cruise line, Tradewine Voyages, and will be a head turner wither her billowing sails, traditional wood, gleaming brass and nautical trimmings. Cruise Traveller is the exclusive Australian representative for Tradewind Voyages.
The glorious ship will carry 272 guests in 140 cabins – all with ocean views. She will be powered by the wind 70 per cent of the time. She is the perfect mix of rich sailing heritage and modern luxury. Golden Horizon will feature a fine cuisine restaurant, three pools, gym, library, spa sanctuary, four bars and a marina platform.
Cruise Traveller’s ‘South Australian and Tasmanian Adventure’ starts in Sydney on January 6, 2022, when guests board Golden Horizon for the historic maiden passage. The 16-night voyage to Adelaide will take in 10 destinations in NSW, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia – most of them small and remote islands and places rarely visited by larger ships, or any ships at all.
Destinations include Jervis Bay, Batemans Bay and Eden in NSW, pristine Darlington Bay on Maria Island in Tasmania, Port Arthur and beautiful Hobart. Golden Horizon will then sail to King Island in Bass Strait before heading to Melbourne, Kangaroo Island and Victor Harbour in South Australia, before tying up at the dock in Adelaide.
A five-night stay in a five-star Adelaide hotel follows with a full day tour to the Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf, a full day tour to the wineries of the Barossa Valley and a morning tour of the Adelaide Central Markets with tastings of seasonal produce.
Check out the full details of the cruise HERE.
Oceania’s new Vista
Oceania Cruises introduced the first of the two 1200 guest Allura Class ships to the world in March. Say hello to Oceania’s seventh vessel – Vista. The spectacular luxury vessel will set sail in 2023, followed by a sister ship in 2025.
Vista will feature all the hallmarks of the Oceania Cruises experience that guests have come to expect, as well as introducing several firsts for the brand in the realms of dining and guest experience.
“Oceania Cruises is an innovative and ever-evolving brand. We are always looking over the horizon, and Vista represents our view to the future,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises.
Guests will be wowed by the dramatic and glamorous public spaces such as The Grand Dining Room, which soars almost two decks in height and pays homage to the “beautiful age” of early 20th-century Parisian society through its contemporary interpretation of Belle Époque.
Vista’s nine additional best-in-class culinary experiences, luxurious signature public spaces, and spacious, residentially inspired suites and staterooms will be revealed in May 2021, with her inaugural voyages opening for sale in September 2021.
Vista represents not just a view to the future for the Oceania Cruises brand, but also the unique vision of the company’s thousands of officers and crew who played a pivotal role in the design of the ship, and helped shepherd it from concept to design to reality.
Currently under construction by Fincantieri S.p.A. in Italy, Vista will sail her first commercial voyage in early 2023. Measuring approximately 67,000 gross registered tons, the ship will accommodate 1,200 guests and be staffed by 800 officers and crew, offering industry-leading space and staff-to-guest ratios.
To get an idea what Vista is like, watch this video here.
Extend and explore with Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, the world’s leading luxury ocean cruise line, has experienced an increase in local demand for luxury cruising following record bookings for its 2022/2023 Voyage Collection and a heightened interest in journeys closer-to-home.
“It’s clear both from conversations with our guests and from our recent record booking days that the desire for luxury cruising is as strong as ever. As we sail towards our 30th anniversary in 2022, we have received exceptional feedback from Australian and New Zealand travellers for our newly released sailing collections and value-add offers,” said Steve Odell, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is giving guests even more value for money with the launch of Free Extended Explorations. This new value-add offer allows guests to extend their holiday by up to six nights pre- or post-cruise, at no extra cost. For example, travellers can enhance the 18-night Tokyo to Singapore voyage onboard Seven Seas Explorer® by enjoying a free three-night pre-cruise Vibrant Tokyo land programme, as well as a free three-night post-cruise Discover Singapore land programme – creating a truly immersive, 24-night luxury travel experience.
A trend that has played into Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ recent success locally is the desire from travellers for more personal space, both onboard and ashore. With the cruise line’s five vessels carrying no more than 750 guests, the perfectly-sized ships offer one of the highest space-to-guest ratios in the industry.
The luxury cruise line is also experiencing a greater demand for closer-to-home sailings around Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Itineraries onboard Seven Seas Explorer are booking fast for her inaugural season in local waters commencing at the end of 2021.
“Seven Seas Explorer will truly deliver a level of luxury never seen before in the region. What sets her apart is her expansive, all-balcony and all-suite accommodation, access to unrivalled personalised service provided by our dedicated staff, and her extremely lavish interiors,” said Mr Odell.
A case in point is the Regent Suite – one of the biggest suites at sea. A massive 412 square-metres, the suite has two bedrooms, a living room and a dining room, two rare Picasso lithographs, an US$250,000 (AU$320,000) custom Steinway piano designed by Dakota Jackson and an in-suite spa retreat.
Seven Seas Explorer will arrive in Sydney in December 2021, and will complete voyages between Sydney and Auckland before heading towards Asia in late January. Guests can discover hidden gems in their own backyard, such as the pristine Whitsunday Islands in Australia, and the exceptional wine region of Hawkes Bay in New Zealand.
See a rare solar eclipse with P&O
Always wanted to see a rare solar eclipse?
P&O Cruises has plans for an extraordinary cruise that will give guests the chance to see one of nature’s most spectacular events – a rare solar eclipse.
Departing Fremantle on April 17, 2023, the once-in-a-lifetime five-night cruise will track over the North West Cape of Western Australia near Exmouth, the only location on mainland Australia where the event can be viewed as a total solar eclipse.
Also known as the ‘king of eclipses’, this solar eclipse will take place at 11.27am on April 20, 2023 and promises to be an unforgettable experience as the moon completely covers the sun for one minute and 16 seconds, creating darkness and making the sun’s fainter corona visible to the naked eye.
There were only five total solar eclipses visible from Australia last century and it has been almost 50 years since Western Australia has experienced one. The 2023 total solar eclipse is particularly special as it will occur as part of a rare hybrid eclipse, a form of eclipse which has not been visible from Australia for almost 1000 years.
P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said the ‘Ningaloo King of Eclipse Cruise’ would give Australians the chance to experience a significant moment in time, with Pacific Explorer positioned off Exmouth to enable guests to enjoy a prime position for the eclipse.
“As the homegrown cruise line, we’re always looking to create new and interesting sailings to iconic events around the country and we think this cruise will be next level,” Mr Myrmell said.
“Not only is North West Cape the only location on mainland Australia where the 2023 ‘king of eclipses’ will be visible, it’s one of only four accessible points worldwide where the phenomenon can be viewed, so we’re very excited to be offering our guests the opportunity to be part of this event.
During the cruise, guests will enjoy special talks from experts on the eclipse and will also be able to take in the beauty of the Western Australian coast, which is known for its unspoilt beaches and dramatic red ochre coastline.
P&O has partnered with the Astronomical Society of Australia, the epitomous professional body representing astronomers in Australia, to create a truly enlightening experience.
Astronomical Society of Australia Vice President John Lattanzio said he was thrilled that P&O Cruises Australia was offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience for seasoned or budding umbraphiles – people that love eclipses and often travel to see them.
“The 2023 Ningaloo King of Eclipse will be a unique spectacle and to view it from a cruise ship will be a magnificent experience. Our members look forward to sharing their expertise on the subject of eclipses and astronomy with P&O’s guests while they sail the west coast.”
The unique cruise headlines P&O’s new season of Western Australia sailings which will feature six round-trip itineraries from Fremantle between April 8 and May 18, 2023.
Guests can register their interest for the Ningaloo King of Eclipse Cruise by visiting pocruises.com.au/eclipsecruise
For more information visit pocruises.com.au, call 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.