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Cruise W E E K L Y

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Post-flood Europe set to stabilise Most river cruises are returning to normal operations after weeks of disruptions caused by severe flooding. Several June cruises on the Danube, Rhine, Main and Elbe rivers were affected by floods across Central Europe this month, with some departures cancelled, other itineraries altered, and passengers shifted to other ships.

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Companies are reporting a slow recovery as the clean-up of riverside towns and cities continues and locks re-open. Austria’s Altenworth lock, which was closed for repairs and prevented ships from reaching Budapest, is expected to operate again by Friday. For the rest of this week, however, passengers must be transferred by coach or moved to alternative vessels. APT had three cruises affected, with the Amadolce, Amabella and Johann Strauss stranded on the other side of the lock outside of Vienna. Australians on the 20 June and 22 June sailings were accommodated in hotels and taken on sightseeing tours before meeting their ships at other ports two days later. APT does not anticipate any further amendments to any cruises. Scenic Tours has Scenic Pearl scheduled to cruise through the Altenworth lock on the day it reopens, and Scenic Diamond the next day. “We will remain in constant contact with the river authorities as we approach 28 June to monitor the lock opening,” the company said on its website. Uniworld reported the highest number of ship swaps, different embarkation ports and modified land touring programs - further details are available on the company website.

HAL sits in the Directors chair FIVE totally original stageshow productions will be created by New York firm RWS and Associates Entertainment especially for the Holland America Eurodam & Westerdam ships. The cruise line has engaged the Emmy-award winning RWS, who are famous for producing shows for theme parks, to write, design and choreograph the shows aboard the two liners’ newly renovated theatres. Each of the stageshows will see producers, directors, choreographers, dancers and stateof-the-art technology directly from Broadway employed to be included in the productions.

Did You Know? Avalon Waterways ♦ You could post 1,408 of your favourite cruising Polaroid photos on one floor-toceiling, wall-to-wall Panorama window. If each passenger did this on their Suite window, they could view 92,928 photos. ♦ The average European river cruise ship balcony is used 150 hours per year (and that’s being generous). The open-air balcony on Avalon’s Suite Ships can be enjoyed 8,760 hours per year - at any time of the day, in any weather condition. ♦ Each suite bathroom is large enough to fit 1,512 folded, luxury bathrobes. Bathrobes are available on all of Avalon’s European ships.

New directors at P&O/Cunard THREE new directors have been named in senior management positions at P&O Cruises and Cunard in the UK, replacing Peter Shanks and Carol Marlow, who are set to depart the organisation in Sep (CW 06 Jun). Among the incoming will be Jeremy Tait, who will join on 01 Jul as the new insight director for both companies, leaving his current role in the insurance industry. Joining P&O Cruises’ as the new marketing director will be Chris Edgington, moving across from the Gala Coral Group, while his counterpart at Cunard will be soon-to-be former senior director global communications at TripAdvisor, Angus Struthers. “These three key senior appointments will help us to evolve and strengthen our brands and customer experiences still further,” Carnival UK chief commercial officer Gerard Tempest said of the new appointments. “Cunard Line and P&O Cruises are brands which have shaped British cruising over the last 175 years and are amongst the most famous cruise brands in the world. We have a unique heritage to preserve,” he added.

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cruise W E E K L Y

Tuesday 25 June 2013

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Orion aims to discover new species National Geographic Orion will offer passengers the chance to explore the undersea world – with or without getting wet. Cruise Weekly visited Lindblad Expeditions’ New York office to meet president Sven Lindblad on the eve of the 2014 brochure release and found a man enthusiastic about showing Australians the wonders of their

Recipe of the Month

Tahitian Tuna Tartare This week’s recipe comes from Aranui Cruises

Ingredients • 500g of red tuna fillet, diced • 2 diced tomatoes • ½ diced cucumber • ½ diced green bell pepper (capsicum) • ½ diced green bell pepper • ½ piece diced ginger • 2 teaspoons minced garlic • 3 pieces minced pickles • 1 teaspoon capers

Sauce • Juice of 4 Tahitian limes • Salt & Pepper • 1 teaspoon sesame oil • ½ teaspoon chili sauce • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation In a bowl gently mix fish and vegetables, then sauce from lime juice, seasoning, chilli, sesame and olive oil. Put mixture in fridge for 30 minutes. Then serve into 4 portions.

undersea backyard. “The ocean is the last frontier, it’s really not very well explored, and I’m excited to expose people to these undiscovered areas,” he said. “With our new ROV [remote operated vehicle] that descends up to 1,000 feet [300 metres] underwater, we’ll be bringing back imagery of places you or I or any scuba diver can’t go to. “Most divers stay above 100 feet, so I imagine we’ll find new species down there.” The US$250,000 tool will be installed on the company’s recently acquired National Geographic Orion in time for its South Pacific and Antarctic voyages next year, with the collected data to be shared with the scientific community. Passengers can watch the images, broadcast live on several screens in the ship’s lounge, with commentary by a naturalist using a video microscope. Underwater microphones will also transmit the sounds of marine mammals. More active participants can dive and snorkel on the cruises. Lindblad said his favourite area in the Pacific was Indonesia – beyond Bali. “I’m fascinated by Australians’ relationship with Indonesia, why so many think it’s a cheap place not worth visiting,” he said. “If I lived in Australia I’d go there every weekend – it has some of the most interesting landscape, culture and history of anywhere in the world.” The company’s new 64-page brochure, released this week, details 25 expeditions reaching more than 100 destinations. The second and third departures of the newly named ship are full, but cabins remain on the inaugural sailing. Destinations include the Great Barrier Reef, Melanesia, Micronesia, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Spice Islands, Antarctica’s South Georgia & Falkland Islands, and the Kimberley. See to request a brochure or call 1300 361 012.

New cruise terminal in Belfast A NEW cruise terminal is to be built in the Northern Ireland capital of Belfast. Approx £7m will be spent on the facility, which will be constructed in an area of the city known as Titanic Quarter. The city hopes to build on a growing industry which saw 45 ship visitations and 75,000 passengers visit the city last year on voyages.

Aquarius to homeport in BKI STAR Cruises will relocate its 51,300 tonne Superstar Aquarius from Taiwan to the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu for a six month homeport deployment from Nov this year. The placement will see the ship become the first to be based in Kota Kinabalu for a season. A series of four-night sailings to Brunei and Sarawak will depart each Sun, with singlenight “high sea” experiences operated for the remainder of each week.

Banana Coast terminal opens HONDURAS’ President Porfirio Lobo Sosa was the guest of honour at the official opening ceremonies for the country’s first dedicated mainland cruise terminal this week. The US$30m project was completed earlier this year, with Holland America’s Ryndam to become the first to dock at the facility in Nov.

Cruise reputation plain sailing RECENT global incidences of a partially sunk cruise vessel in the Costa Concordia, engine fires on Carnival Triumph, Grandeur of the Seas amid others, and illnesses onboard others have done nothing to discourage passengers from taking cruises as a holiday option, according to a recent survey commissioned by travel technology firm Amadeus. The poll found cruise pricing was the number one consideration for potential passengers, with one third of those surveyed saying they could be persuaded to take a cruise instead of a normal land-based holiday.

P O R T H O L E SOMETIMES, events in the movies can be based on real life. A message in a bottle that survived for 97 years underwater is about to go on display at a museum in the town of Harsens Island in the US state of Michigan. It was found by Dave Leander of the Great Lakes Dive Center, who at the time was on the hunt for buried treasure in the St Clair River near downtown you do. The message on the note was from two young women who attended the Tashmoo amusement park, with the simple inscription of “Having a great time at Tashmoo”.

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cruise W E E K L Y

Tuesday 25 June 2013

River cruise combination trip A NEW 10-day itinerary combining two popular sailings on the Rhine and Rhone rivers in Europe has been released by Croisieurope. Launching next year, the combination cruise will start in Amsterdam and travel through Germany and France, with the company releasing four departures on 22 Apr, 17 May, 27 Jun and 28 Sep next year.

Un-Cruise expands in Mexico SMALL-SHIP cruise operator Un-Cruise Adventures has released four new itineraries in Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, set to commence operation from Dec, to be operated on the 64-passenger Safari Voyager, which is currently under renovations. The four itineraries will consist of three cruises, each one week long, with two leaving San José del Cabo and one from Guaymas, in addition to a two-week voyage in between.

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Adam Armstrong meets his new Godmother

ROYAL Caribbean International commercial director Adam Armstrong last week came face to face with superstar songstress and Quantum of the Seas Godmother Kristin Chenoweth during her recent Australian tour. Following her Sydney performance, attended by Cruise Weekly amid several hundred of Chenoweth’s screaming fans, Chenoweth took the time to meet post-show with her new friends from Royal Caribbean. “It was a dream come true to perform the special material that I created just for my Australian tour at Sydney’s Opera House and it was a thrill to have special guests of Royal Caribbean in the audience,” Chenoweth said following the show. “I am so excited to be godmother of Quantum of the Seas and hope to see lots of my Aussie fans on board when she launches in the US next year”. The diminutive yet dynamic performing superstar is pictured above with Armstrong.

MV Reef Endeavour nearly repaired and ready to go ALMOST six months after Cyclone Evan hit Fiji’s west coast, Captain Cook Cruises’ flagship Reef Endeavour is putting the finishing touches on a “forced” refurbishment. At anchor in Nadi Bay when the cyclone hit on December 17, a skeleton crew had little chance against the huge wages that battered its sides and broke several windows in the lower deck dining room. Luckily no-one was hurt and no passengers were on board, but the D-deck dining room was a write-off along with the 10 nearby family cabins, and carpets and soft furnishings in the rest of the vessel. But the 17-year-old vessel was back in service a few weeks later and a steady refurbishment took place bit-by-bit. All upper deck cabins and suites were refitted with new carpets and bedding, and were re-painted along with their bathrooms. When I joined the ship for the May 5 Four Cultures Discovery cruise around the islands of Vanua Levu, the dining room had just reopened following a long and frustrating wait for carpet to be delivered and laid (passengers had been dining either in the Yasawa Lounge and on the open pool deck in good weather). Workers were also on board with strict instructions to get the top Sun Deck in ship shape order (with new astro turf and sun lounges) within a few days. Rain held up that procedure by a few days, but the sun deck was ready for passengers by the May 12 departure and the longwaited dining room furniture (especially-made Fijian mahogany tables) were expected in place by early June.

Managing director Jackie Haworth-Charlton said it had been a frustrating time waiting for weather to clear and deliveries but all internal work and refurbishments were complete. The ship’s glass bottom boat, one tender and the rear hydraulic platform were also washed away in the cyclone and makeshift replacements are being used while the others are on order. The ship is looking good and smart new lounge furniture has replaced the somewhat dated lounges, chairs and coffee tables in the Yasawa Lounge and the old sun lounges on the outside decks. Future plans include creating two additional sets of inter-connecting cabins to make a total of six; currently the ship has four suites (with bedroom, sitting room and two bathrooms); four sets of interconnecting cabins, 40 staterooms and 10 family cabins, the latter with two lower berths and two Pullman bunks. Ironically the ship had only just completed a mini-facelift when the cyclone hit in December, ship’s purser Florian Haber said. The line has recently changed the names of its longer itineraries to better reflect what each offers – I took the newly-named Four Cultures Discovery Cruises (circumnavigating Vanua Levu) and had previously taken the Colonial Fiji Discovery Cruise which visits the former capital of Levuka on the island of Ovalau and the 180° Meridian on Taveuni Island. The newest itinerary, an 11-day cruise to the Lau Island Group on October 22, is sold out and another is scheduled for April next year.

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cruise W E E K L Y

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Po, Po, Po your boat by: Louise Goldsbury GENTLY down the lagoon, Uniworld’s River Countess shows off Venice to 90 guests, among the first to experience this new itinerary. Meanwhile, arriving on an evening flight, I step from the airport to a water taxi for a 007 Bond-style speedboat transfer to the ship. By the time I reach the dock, the Countess is waiting at one of several Venetian locations where it will stay for the first two and last two days of the trip. The Po is not your usual river cruise – there are fewer ports and more coach trips than the average European waterway. Half the time is spent in one city; the other half on a quiet river that is prone to both high and low water levels. I have my doubts, but am swayed by the decadent novelty of using a small ship as a floating boutique hotel in Venice. Also, the lack of sailing days might suit people who aren’t big cruisers, or couples who can’t agree whether to do Italy by boat or bus. I’m relieved to find the coach trips are only an hour (the longest is 1 hr 45 minutes) to four inland destinations: Padua, Ravenna, Bologna and Verona. Padua is home to the Scrovegni Chapel and Giotto’s frescoes, as well as St. Anthony’s Basilica, which has an unusual display of the saint’s preserved tongue. In Ravenna, a guide escorts us around UNESCO heritage-listed buildings, churches and amazing 6th-century mosaics, followed by a ‘slow food’ feast at a restaurant in town. We explore beautiful Verona’s cobblestone streets, pausing at

Water taxi from Rialto Bridge

Romeo’s home and Juliet’s balcony and a Roman ampitheatre. At a pasta-making demonstration in Bologna, we learn about the city’s famous ragu (called Bolognese sauce everywhere else in the world) and the biggest mistakes made by dodgy Italian restaurants. An authentic lunch is then served in the family-run cucina. The best experiences, however, happen in Venice, where local guides lead small groups through the maze of alleys to more peaceful districts, as well as the buzzing tourist attractions. Uniworld passengers get to skip the queue at the spectacular Palazzo Ducale (Doge Palace) and enjoy an exclusive evening in St Mark’s Basilica. Open after hours, just for us, we arrive at the church at sunset in a fleet of water taxis and, after a moving lecture by a local historian, we have time to see St Mark’s relics and the crypt without the crowds - it’s a privilege that blows us away. On most days and evenings, we have plenty of free time for shopping, museums, cafés and bars. The quirky Dutch Captain Richard Martin greets us every time we come back from shore excursions and takes us on several scenic cruises around the Venetian Lagoon, helping us feel at home for the week. Uniworld still has some cabins available for Po river cruises this season. The single supplement is waived on selected departures. See

River Countess’ glam restaurant

Cruise Weekly is Australia’s favourite online cruising publication. In production since 2007, Cruise Weekly is published each Tuesday, with a further travel industry update each Thursday. Cruise Weekly is free and is sent to subscribers via email as an Adobe Acrobat PDF document. Sign up for a free subscription at PO Box 1010, Epping, NSW 1710 Phone: 1300 799 220 Fax: 1300 799 221

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Venice view from the sun deck

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CW for Tue 25 Jun 2013 - Euro floods update, Lindblad brochure, P  
CW for Tue 25 Jun 2013 - Euro floods update, Lindblad brochure, P