GREAT CRUISE ESCAPES
Buoyant results: The latest State of the Cruise update from the Cruise Lines International Association highlights the growth of Australian cruising, with an increase of 130 per cent in passenger numbers over the past five years. Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry says Australia’s high ranking in the top five international growth markets is ‘‘a further sign of the dynamic nature of cruising in this region’’. Carnival Australia accounts for about 80 per cent of the local market across seven cruise brands. More: carnival.com.au. The top 10: Avalon Waterways has announced an additional two Suite Ships — Avalon Tapestry II and Avalon Tranquility II — will join its fleet in 2015, making a total of 10 such vessels cruising Europe’s most popular rivers; early booking discounts of up to $1000 a couple are available on selected 2015 departures, including 19 itineraries on the Rhine, Seine, Moselle, Danube and Main rivers. Book by June 30 for the discount deals. More: 1300 230 234; avalonwaterways.com.au. Super summer: The luxury windjammer Sea Cloud will cruise the Sporades Islands on an eight-night sailing that includes a private concert amid the ruins of Ephesus. Departs Kusadasi in Turkey on June 30 for Istanbul; from ($5820) a person all-inclusive. More: 1300 583 572; seacloud.com. Dream believers: SeaDream Yacht Club’s northern Europe cruise program from June to August this year includes overnights in harbours along the Baltic coast, through the Norwegian fjords and in St Petersburg, with a range of shore excursions; there are itineraries from seven to 14 days aboard the boutique SeaDream I from $US4124 ($4725) a person twin-share, drinks, gratuities and most extras included. More: seadream.com. Flagging change: P&OCruises World Cruising has revealed it will enhance the livery of its eight-ship fleet, including newly refitted Aurora, by featuring the Union Jack and new blue funnels. The line’s flagship Britannia, which will be the largest cruise ship exclusively for the British market when it launches in February next year, will display the world’s longest version of the flag, at a not-to-bemissed 94m. More: 132 428; pocruises.com. Twice as nice: Cruiseco has announced that its second custombuilt ship, Cruiseco Explorer, is scheduled to start cruises from October 21; the 56-passenger vessel will operate on the Chindwin and Ayeyarwady rivers in Myanmar. More: (02) 9492 8520; cruising.com.au. Scent to sea: Cunard has joined with British perfumers Penhaligon’s to provide in-cabin amenities aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and
JAMES MORGAN Queen Victoria; the royal warrantholder’s Quercus body lotion, shower gel, soap, shampoo and conditioner will be introduced across the fleet this year; the unisex Quercus scent was created in 1996. More: 132 441; cunard.com. Look ahead: Scenic Tours has released its 2015 European river cruise program with a guarantee of 2014 prices for earlybird bookings. New all-inclusive itineraries include picturesque Bordeaux, The Netherlands and the Black Sea; More: scenictours.com.au. Whale tales: Get cruisey with cetaceans and save $200 a couple on an eight-day whale-swim holiday in Tonga; Australia-based eco-operator Majestic Whale Encounters runs trips from July to October to the island of Foa, 40 minutes by air from Nuku‘alofa. The special savings apply to July 31 and August 7 departures. More: majesticwhaleencounters.com. Sail and save: Regent Seven Seas Cruises has new and expanded itineraries for 2014, including French Polynesia and southern Africa. There are also Mediterranean cruises, such as Seven Seas Mariner’s 10-night VeniceRome sailing from September 23, covering ports in Croatia, Albania and Greece. Two for the price of one on selected cruises if booked by March 31. More: (02) 9265 7100 or 1800 251 174; wiltrans.com.au.
Australia is one of the world’s top five cruising growth markets