Cruis­ing In­no­va­tors and pi­o­neers of the cruise in­dus­try.

From transat­lantic cross­ings to new tech­nol­ogy, we look at the in­no­va­tors and pi­o­neers that have helped shape the cruise in­dus­try.

Virgin Australia Voyeur - - NOVEMBER - Words NATASHA DRA­GUN

TIME­LESS TRANSAT­LANTIC

Its fleet may be small — just three ships, the Queen Mary

2, Queen Vic­to­ria and Queen El­iz­a­beth — but what Cu­nard lacks in size, it more than makes up for in style. One of the cruise in­dus­try’s great­est pi­o­neers, the line of­fered the first pas­sen­ger ser­vice across the At­lantic. It held the ti­tle of pro­vid­ing the fastest ocean route be­tween Eu­rope and Amer­ica for more than three decades, and has fea­tured the week-long jour­ney for

178 years. While count­less other lines now show­case the transat­lantic ex­pe­ri­ence among other itin­er­ar­ies, the Cu­nard flag­ship Queen Mary

2 re­mains the only ves­sel in ex­is­tence op­er­at­ing solely as an ocean liner. When you’re on board, Cu­nard con­tin­ues to stand out for its gra­cious touches that hark back to the golden era of cruis­ing, from its proper af­ter­noon tea through to grand din­ners and even for­mal themed balls.

Cu­nard’s three ships do not come with over-the-top en­ter­tain­ment op­tions — you won’t find climb­ing walls or zip-lines — but the com­pany has al­ways been a trend­set­ter when it comes to ad­vanced ameni­ties and guest com­forts. The line pi­o­neered the use of nav­i­ga­tional and elec­tri­cal lights on ships, as well as the in­tro­duc­tion of suites and even the cre­ation of play­rooms for chil­dren. When the Queen Mary 2 de­buted in 2004, she had the largest li­brary (and ar­guably big­gest dance floor) at sea, and her plan­e­tar­ium may be the only one of its kind on a cruise ship. www.cu­nard.com.

EN­RICH­MENT

One of the world’s most luxe cruise lines, Sil­versea is also one of the in­dus­try’s most en­light­en­ing. The on-board guest en­rich­ment across the bou­tique fleet goes well be­yond the stan­dard lec­tures from nat­u­ral­ists and ma­rine bi­ol­o­gists, with the brand call­ing upon global lead­ers to in­spire pas­sen­gers be­tween ports. In 2019, for ex­am­ple, Sil­ver Whis­per's world cruise will host the likes of au­thor Paul Th­er­oux, pho­tog­ra­pher Steve McCurry, philoso­pher Alain de Bot­ton and Condé Nast Trav­eler writer So­phy Roberts. www.sil­versea.com.

SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY

Po­nant, a truly up­scale French cruise op­er­a­tor, is well known for en­vi­ron­men­tally fo­cused tours around the Arc­tic Cir­cle. And, come 2021, the line will make travel to this del­i­cate part of the world even more eco-friendly, thanks to the de­liv­ery of its rev­o­lu­tion­ary elec­tric-hy­brid ice­breaker. Op­er­at­ing on both elec­tric and liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas, the ‘clean ship’ will have al­most zero emis­sions, yet will still fea­ture all the ca­pa­bil­i­ties re­quired to cope with ex­treme re­gions in both hemi­spheres. www.po­nant.com.

WELL­NESS

There are plenty of top cruise lines of­fer­ing on-board yoga, health­ful smooth­ies and daily work­out classes. But Blue World Voy­ages promises to take the trend to new lev­els when it de­buts in May 2019. The com­pany’s tagline is all about “ac­tive life­style cruis­ing for peo­ple who are pas­sion­ate about sports, fit­ness and well­ness”, and this should trans­late into ev­ery­thing from the largest sports deck at sea — re­plete with hi-def sim­u­la­tors plus a func­tional train­ing cen­tre — to a float­ing sea­wa­ter lap pool. Port calls will re­volve around cy­cling, kayak­ing, golf, run­ning, hik­ing, yoga and med­i­ta­tion. www. blue­world­voy­ages.com.

LUX­URY

As its ships of­fer ev­ery­thing from pri­vate in-suite but­lers to feng shui-in­spired spas and cui­sine by renowned Ja­panese chef Nobu Mat­suhisa, Crys­tal Cruises has been voted the ‘world's best’ more than any other cruise line. In 2020, the brand will ex­pand with the 200-pas­sen­ger megay­acht Crys­tal En­deavor, the largest pur­pose-built po­lar class ship at sea, re­plete with warmed bath­room floors and heated stor­age ar­eas for dry­ing clothes. Then, in 2022, the fleet will en­joy an ad­di­tional dose of style thanks to the de­liv­ery of the line’s first Di­a­mond Class ship, with space for about 800 guests in all-suite ac­com­mo­da­tion. www.crys­tal­cruises.com.

TECH­NOL­OGY

Royal Caribbean has long been a leader when it comes to in­no­va­tions that can make the guest ex­pe­ri­ence more ef­fi­cient — and fun. It puts your cruise at your fin­ger­tips with a handy app that pro­vides de­tails on ports, lets you book shore ex­cur­sions, and even con­nects you with AI bots to or­der a drink from the bar — to be de­liv­ered by a waiter who will be us­ing ge­olo­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy to find you. There are equally am­bi­tious plans for the line’s fu­ture — think vir­tual re­al­ity head­sets that trans­port you to an iza­kaya in Tokyo when you bite into your sushi, and ar­ti­fi­cial-re­al­ity screens that will al­low you to change your in-cabin out­look at the swipe of a but­ton. www.roy­al­caribbean.com.

CLOCK­WISE FROM ABOVE LEFT The Lido pool deck on the Queen El­iz­a­beth; Crys­tal Cruises’ de­con­structed cheese­cake; Royal Caribbean In­ter­na­tional’s Bionic Bar; Blue World Voy­ages of­fers yoga and other well­ness ac­tiv­i­ties. OP­PO­SITE PAGE Po­nant are known for their ecofriendly tours.

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