GREAT CRUISE ESCAPES
The glamorous godmother: The launch of MSC Cruises’ Preziosa in Genoa this weekend by the line’s so-called godmother, Sophia Loren, will consolidate the Italian familyowned company as the world’s third-largest passenger line, behind Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. MSC now has an annual capacity of 1.45 million passengers across its 12 ships. Preziosa is the fourth Fantasia-class ship and there are launch specials in May and June, including Emirates fares from Australia. More: 1300 028 502; msccruises.com.au. Galapagos in style: Silversea Expeditions has introduced multipleday soft-adventure land excursions to complement voyages to the Galapagos Islands aboard its 50-suite Silver Galapagos, set to debut in late September. Guests can choose trips in style to the Amazon, Puno and Lake Titicaca or to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes. Silver Galapagos will sail each Saturday on seven-day roundtrip voyages from Baltra Island, following a western or north central route. More: 1300 306 872; silversea.com. Cool yule: Cruise Express has a 15-night escorted sub-Antarctic flycruise package aboard the expedition vessel Orion. Flights depart Australian ports for Auckland on December 19, overnight at Hilton Auckland and then hop aboard a 14-night Christmas and New Year voyage to Dunedin via the remote and wildlife-rich isles of the sub-Antarctic, including World Heritage-listed Macquarie Island. All-inclusive, with flights, at $9700 a person, twin-share ex Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne or $10,100 from Adelaide and Perth. More: 1300 766 537; cruiseexpress.com.au. Ready, set, cruise: Celebrity Cruises has a 123 Go! Sale covering free extras on selected cabin category bookings made by April 15 for worldwide sailings between June 2013 and March 2014 (excluding Celebrity Xpedition). Passengers can choose beverage packages, onboard credits or a gratuities offer. More: 1800 754 500; celebritycruises.com.au. Return to Singapore: Cruising the picturesque Malacca Straits and two nights at Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotel are included in a 12-night fly-cruise package aboard Diamond Princess departing Singapore on November 4. Book by April 1 for a special of $2879 a person twin-share, including return economy airfares from Sydney or Melbourne. More: ecruising.travel. North to Alaska: A free week in Hawaii is the lure for Cruise 1st’s Alaska package. Departing May 9, the deal includes a flight to Honolulu and seven nights at a well-located Waikiki hotel before flying to Seattle to board the five-star Celebrity Solstice for a seven-night roundtrip cruise. The holiday includes one night post-cruise in Seattle and return flight to Australia. From $3299 a person twinshare ex Sydney; $3599 ex Brisbane; $3549 ex Canberra; $3699 ex Adelaide; $3899 ex Perth; or $4299 ex Melbourne. More: cruise1st.com.au. Ice maiden: Seabourn has contracted highly experienced expedition lecturers and guides for the line’s Ultimate Antarctica and Patagonia cruises aboard Seabourn Quest during its first season on ice. The team includes naturalists, scientists and political and historical experts. On November 20, Seabourn Quest will sail on a 21-day voyage between Valparaiso (Chile) and Buenos Aires, including the Chilean coast and fjords, Beagle Channel, Glacier Alley, Torres del Paine National Park, Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands, Montevideo and five days of cruising and landings in the Antarctic. There’s also a 24-day cruise departing December 11 that includes two days around the sub-Antarctic wildlife refuge of South Georgia Island. More: 132 402; seabourn.com. Ahoy, junior sailors: Cruise Guru now has the family-friendly Disney Cruise Lines live on its site. Check availability, fares, pick your cabin and confirm a cruise to, say, Alaska or the Caribbean. More: 131 303; cruiseguru.com.au.
MSC Preziosa will be launched by Sophia Loren this weekend