All aboard – what’s new in cruising

Go exploring in the Kimberley on a Ponant cruise – Philip Schubert

There’s so much happening on the cruise scene as passengers, crew and cruise lines get ready to ride the waves again.

Here’s a round-up of cruise news that will see cruise lovers packing their bags in anticipation.

Holland America Line HAL, cruising, Rotterdam

The Rotterdam is Holland America Lines newest vessel

Holland America Lines’s new Rotterdam

Holland America Line’s new Rotterdam is on its 14-day maiden voyage from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Following the transatlantic crossing, the 2668-guest Rotterdam will spend from November to April on its inaugural Caribbean season, with all sailings roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

Cruises range from six to 11 days and span the entire region on southern, eastern, western and tropical itineraries. Guests looking for a longer getaway can embark on a Collectors’ Voyage — combined back-to-back itineraries that offer an in-depth exploration covering more than one area.

Every Caribbean cruise includes a call at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private Bahamian island. This quaint sanctuary has evolved into a playground for cruise guests and features the finest beaches; two-story villas and private cabanas; delicious dining venues like Lobster Shack; and a variety of fun-filled tours for nature lovers, adventurous travellers and explorers.

The new ship has the 270-degree surround screen World Stage, Rudi’s Sel de Mer restaurant and Grand Dutch Cafe. The ship introduces the Half Moon Bar, an immersive experience looking at the history of Holland America Line and cruising through the lens of a cocktail. Rotterdam is the seventh ship to bear the name for Holland America Line.

European Waterways, river cruising

La Bella Vita, European Waterways

European Waterways  launches Opera Cruise 2022

Cruise and opera lovers are in for a treat with the launch of the La Bella Vita Luxury Hotel Barge opera cruise.

Groups can charter the company’s La Bella Vita luxury hotel barge during July and August 2022. Unique among the company’s many memorable cruises, the Opera Cruise treats guests to front row seats at performances of some of the world’s best-known operas at the Arena di Verona open-air Amphitheatre, a venue that is internationally famous for its large-scale productions.

Guests have a choice of CarmenNabuccoAidaTurandot, and La Traviata, among others, based on departure dates.

Guests will also “walk in the footsteps” of some of history’s greatest composers.

In the village of San Pietro in Volta, for example, they will tour the famous Teatro La Fenice, where composers such as Rossini and Verdi premiered their works. Another excursion will take guests to the popular Teatro Comunale, an Italian landmark since its first performance of Gluck’s Il Trionfo di Clelia in 1763. Some of Wagner’s earlier works, including LohengrinTannhauser, and Tristan und Isolde, were performed here, too.  Another highlight is a visit to the Renaissance city of Mantua, home to Verdi’s opera Rigoletto, which features the “licentious” Duke of Mantua.

La Bella Vita charter prices are based on the number of passengers in the group.

Ponant’s Le Laperouse cruising in the Kimberley – Philip Schubert

Ponant and the 2023 Kimberley Expedition Season

PONANT has released sales for the highly anticipated 2023 Kimberley Expedition season for one of the company’s most popular expeditions for both adventure and beauty.

Offering multiple departures between April and October 2023, the enormously popular 10-night ‘Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ itinerary journeys between Broome and Darwin showcases the wild and grandiose landscapes of the Kimberley on board PONANT’s Le Lapérouse or Le Soléal, both of which will be sailing throughout the season.

Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ has been incredibly popular, and the 2023 Kimberley season is expected to sell very quickly with unrelenting demand as there have already been a high number of pre-registrations.”

Highlights include visiting the Hunter River inhabited estuarine crocodiles; discovering the King George River on a Zodiac® excursion and reaching the majestic Twin Falls, the highest in Western Australia; and a visit to Collier Bay to explore Montgomery reef. Sailing along one of the most spectacular coasts in Australia, the Kimberley’s falls, savannah, and tidal phenomena promise never to disappoint.

Environmentally friendly, fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and complete with lounges designed to be largely open to the exterior, PONANT’s modern, purpose-built, intimately sized ships offer a unique sailing experience, offering unparalleled comfort and luxury for exploring the region. Le Soléal provides 95% balcony accommodation while Le Lapérouse offers a balcony or private deck area for all accommodation. Both offer a selection of world-class dining options, open bar*, a spa and an outdoor swimming pool.

Early bookings will see savings offered at up to 30%* with travellers encouraged to plan now for their long-awaited Kimberley adventure.

Click here to view all 2023 dates.

Bookings can be made via preferred travel agents or with a PONANT consultant on 1300 737 178 (Australia), 0800 767 118 (New Zealand) or via email at [email protected] 

Photographing a seal, Paradise Harbour, Antarctica by Matt Horspool.

Aurora Expeditions Set to Return to Antarctica

Australia’s award-winning adventure travel company, Aurora Expeditions, will resume operations in Antarctica, commencing its voyages from Punta Arenas, Chile from January 2022.

In celebration, Aurora Expeditions, that was awarded World’s Leading Polar Expedition Operator at the World Travel Awards 2020, is offering travellers some unbeatable offers for the upcoming Antarctica 2022 season.

Solo travellers who have been thinking about taking the plunge into an extraordinarytravel adventure in 2022 are being offered no single supplements for cabins on select Antarctic Expeditions between January-March*.

“Aurora Expeditions is thrilled to be returning to Antarctica and getting back to what we do best in our 30th year of operation,” commented Monique Ponfoort, CEO of AuroraExpeditions.

“We are seeing increased demand for remote wilderness travel, and we know travellers will be looking to get out of their comfort zone and push their personal boundaries more than ever before,” added Ponfoort.

“We wanted to celebrate our return by giving our guests the opportunity for some extraordinary savings, particularly for solo travellers, who join our voyages alone but travel and build lifelong connections with a small group of like-minded companions,sharing their passion for the natural world and a lust for adventure.”

Alongside the no solo supplement offer, Aurora is also offering 15% off all Antarcticavoyages from January-March 2022*. For more information visit

American Queen Voyages

New triple back-to-back American Queen Voyages

The newly rebranded American Queen Voyages is offering great discounts.

There are savings of US$4616 per couple on an epic 3100km riverboat journey through nine USA states in 2023 from New Orleans in the south to Pittsburgh in the north.  No deposit is required until January 2022.

The new 22-night ‘Grand Heartland of America’ package combines three seven-night cruises to create an extended and memorable journey along the fabled Mississippi and Ohio rivers all the way from Louisiana to Pennsylvania.

The spectacular journey along two of America’s greatest rivers is a bucket-list adventure, with landscapes, weather, cultures and accents changing dramatically.

Along the way, guests can experience the river towns, colonial mansions, music centres, art galleries, wineries, Civic War reminders and Huckleberry Finn stories penned by legendary American writer, Mark Twain.

American Queen Voyages’ newly released, 22-night ‘Grand Heartland of America’ package – is available for two sailings in June and September, 2023, aboard the classically elegant, 166-guest paddlewheeler, American Duchess.

The package begins with a one night, pre-cruise hotel stay in New Orleans, near the source of the mighty Mississippi, followed by a 21-night cruise north through heartland USA all the way to Pittsburgh.

The grand journey takes in legendary lands of bawdy blues, southern belles and drawls while onboard, guests will feel transported back in time to an era of leisurely and romantic travel as they enjoy the sweeping panoramas, storybook American towns and deep blue lakes. While American Duchess flaunts the appearance and opulence of the American Victorian era, it is also equipped with all the modern amenities.

To book, call Cruise Traveller, on 1800 507 777 or visit

Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Edge, cruising, cruising in Sydney

Celebrity Edge has inspired a record breaking launch for Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises announces record-breaking 2023/2024 season launch 

Celebrity Cruises set a new record during its 2023-24 season launch with bookings quadrupling previous local launches. This is partly due to the mounting excitement around the brand’s signature Edge Series ship, Celebrity Edge, heading to Australia and New Zealand for the 2023/2024 season. Featuring a unique outward-facing design and onboard experiences never before seen at sea, Celebrity Edge appeals to guests seeking a whole new level of luxury, with more than a third of the bookings going into the most luxurious room categories AquaClass and The Retreat.

“We’re thrilled that the moment has finally arrived, not just for Celebrity Cruises, but for our guests, travel partners, and the future of cruising in our region. Bringing Celebrity Edge to our waters will be a complete game-changer, offering a luxury cruise experience never before seen in this part of the world. Celebrity Edge redefines the cruise experience in so many ways; she’s a luxury boutique hotel serving up Michelin-star dining, approaches wellness through a holistic lens including industry-first health and fitness offerings, further elevates the suite guest experience through The Retreat, and basically rewrote the rule book on ship design. We know for certain that guests will not be disappointed,” said Tim Jones, Vice President and Managing Director of Celebrity Cruises Australia and APAC.

The brand’s signature Edge Series ship will offer an array of 6- to 13-night itineraries from early December 2023 through to April 2024, designed to immerse guests in the spoils of the stunning coastlines of Australia and neighbouring New Zealand, along with the tropical South Pacific.

Oceania Cruses, Regatta, As

Oceania Cruises’ Regatta sails 13 Alaska cruises ranging from seven to 20 days

Oceania Cruises unveils its Europe and North America Collection for 2023

Oceania Cruises recently unveiled its 2023 Europe and North America Collection of voyages. Featuring seven ships sailing 179 itineraries, which call on more than 260 ports, this new collection is the line’s most expansive and diverse offering to date.

Featuring 30 to 50 per cent more time in port than premium cruise lines, this new collection of itineraries features 190 overnight/multi-day stays in both marquee and boutique ports of call along with hundreds of evening and late-night departures, all of which afford guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history, culture, and cuisines of the destinations.

Charting the alluring coastlines of the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia, Alaska, Canada, and the Colonial Americas, each voyage is a masterpiece of exploration that reveals iconic cities, off-the-beaten-path villages, and dramatic, unspoiled natural wonders.

“These new voyages are ideal for discerning travellers seeking to re-discover the world,” stated Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises. “Whether they are retracing familiar paths or setting off to uncharted territories, they will find endearing smiles, enthralling cultural elements, and fascinating culinary experiences.”