BIG NEWS ABOUT BIG SHIPS BOUND FOR OZ
CROWN PRINCESS will soon claim the title of the largest cruise ship ever to be based year-round in Australia.
The 113,561-tonne, 3,080-guest ship will make history when it debuts in its new homeport of Sydney in October 2024, offering itineraries that include the brand’s longest world cruise to sail roundtrip from Australia – a 113-night global voyage.
Crown Princess is the headline act in Princess Cruises’ new 2024-25 program which features round-Australia voyage options from five different cities as well as the maiden Brisbane season of the 2,670-guest Diamond Princess, the largest Princess ship ever to be based in the Queensland capital.
The program also includes the line’s first roundtrip cruise from Hobart – an 18-night voyage to New Zealand on the Royal Princess.
Guests may also choose to extend their stay in our southernmost state, with two options to take a four- or five-night cruise to and from Hobart.
Between them, the three ships will offer 117 departures from two- to 113-days between October 2024 to September 2025. They will sail from seven different ports for the first time: Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle (for Perth), Hobart and Auckland.
“Over the past season we’ve seen more and more Australian guests making up for lost time travelling, choosing our longer, life-changing journeys to maximise their holiday in style,” said John Padgett, President, Princess Cruises.
IT’S THE KEEL DEAL FOR SHIP CEREMONY
A SELECT group of travel advisors were invited to a special keel laying ceremony in Germany recently as work began on a new ship.
The second ship in Silversea’s Nova class, the 728-guest Silver Ray is expected to enter service in summer 2024, joining her sister ship, Silver Nova.
Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s President and CEO, was among the attendees as a commemorative coin, bearing Silver Ray’s silhouette, was placed under a pre-assembled module as a symbol of good luck.
“In addition to being two of the most sustainable ultra-luxury cruise ships ever launched, the Nova class ships will introduce an asymmetrical design and a horizontal layout for the first time in our cruise line’s history, as well as all-new public venues that are among the most spacious at sea,” said Ms Muckermann.
SPECIAL SAILING WILL MARK SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY
VIKING HAS announced a special river sailing for those wishing to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.
The new 12-day voyage will visit destinations in England and France, honouring the historic Second World War milestone.
With departure dates running from March through November 2024, the ‘Paris & D-Day 80th Anniversary’ cruise from London to Paris will commemorate Operation Overlord and the historic battles of Normandy, which served as the catalyst to the liberation of Western Europe from German occupation.
“Many of our guests, particularly those with family members who served in the armed forces, have a keen interest in World War II history,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
“In keeping with our commitment to offer experiences for The Thinking Person, we are pleased to unveil this special voyage that commemorates the 80th Anniversary of D-Day—one of the most significant milestones in modern history.”
In London, visit the Churchill War Rooms, where the D-Day landings were prepared, and Bletchley Park, the home of the Second World War codebreakers.
After four days in England, guests continue to Paris to embark on an award-winning Viking Longship.
Sailing roundtrip from Paris, guests may explore Giverny and visit the beautiful gardens and charming farmhouse where Claude Monet lived and worked, trace the footsteps of Joan of Arc in Rouen, visit the Pegasus Memorial Museum and walk the hallowed ground at Normandy’s Commonwealth Cemetery and Second World War beaches.
ISLAND GETAWAY WILL BE A BEACON FOR FAMILIES
DISNEY CRUISE Line will welcome guests to a new family-friendly destination in The Bahamas for the first time next year.
Lighthouse Point is located on the island of Eleuthera and promises to be a celebration of Bahamian culture, but with a commitment to conservation at its core.
At least 90 per cent of the destination’s electricity will come via an onsite solar array, the pier was designed to avoid the need for dredging and elevated walkways will help limit impact on the landscape.
Visitors can relax at the expansive family beach on the east side of the island, which will be centrally located near market-style dining, recreation and other facilities.
Children aged three to 12 can play at a themed kids’ club under the care of highly trained Disney Cruise Line counsellors. It will also include a splash pad inspired by undersea creatures from The Little Mermaid.
North of the family area will be an adult-exclusive beach, complete with a dedicated dining area for convenient access to food and drinks throughout the day, plus six private cabanas available for hire. Another beach will offer 20 premium family cabanas, including four doubles that accommodate larger groups and offer massage services.
A Bahamian art and culture pavilion featuring special programs and local artists will provide opportunities to learn and celebrate the traditions and natural beauty of The Bahamas.
Additional activities will include a covered gaming pavilion, a volleyball court and gaga ball pit, watercraft and bicycle rentals, and nature trails for hiking and biking. A collection of Port Adventures developed in partnership with local tour operators will take guests beyond Lighthouse Point to explore the rich culture and beauty of Eleuthera.
Lighthouse Point will open for guests on select sailings in summer 2024.
THINGS ARE GOING TO GET EXOTIC NEXT YEAR
IT WILL be a season of firsts for one cruise line having announced their Exotic Itineraries Collection for the 2024/25 season.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will make inaugural calls to destinations in Bahrain, Cook Islands, Egypt and Japan. The line will also celebrate the debut of Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Sky in Asia.
With this new season of itineraries from October 2024 through December 2025, NCL is expanding its voyages to Antarctica, South America, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand by 37 per cent.
“Our guests are craving longer, immersive and more unique itineraries that take them off the beaten path,” said Harry Sommer, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.
Notable itineraries include NCL’s maiden call to Bahrain, its first dedicated Middle East sailing. Guests can enjoy a seven-day cruise on Norwegian Sun from Doha to Dubai, departing April 12, 2025.
An overnight stay in Abu Dhabi provides travellers with more time to explore the culturally rich destination. In addition, the voyage includes visits to Dammam, Manama, Dubai and Sir Bani Yas, the largest natural island southwest of Abu Dhabi.
Also happening for the first time, NCL will call to Akita during Norwegian Sun’s 12-day roundtrip sailing from Tokyo, embarking on October 23.
She will be joined in region by Norwegian Spirit, who will embark on a new repositioning voyage from Australia to Asia on December 7, followed by her first voyage in Asia on December 21.