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Cruise W E E K L Y

Tuesday 30 July 2013

‘OzAmazing’ Azamara eyes Australia Azamara Club Cruises’ allinclusive ships are skyrocketing in popularity with Australians, with a local maiden visit tipped for 2015-16. Although its two ships have never come closer than Asia, Royal Caribbean’s sister brand counts Australia as its third biggest market after the US and UK. Since it rebranded as Azamara Club Cruises in 2010, the company’s Australian sales have grown by a whopping 480 per cent, so it is understandable why the Aussies are expected to overtake the Brits. “Very soon,” predicts Edie Bornstein, senior vice president marketing & sales, who last week visited Sydney (twice), Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane in six days.

Bornstein told Cruise Weekly that one of its ships would sail in Australia “in late 2015, early 2016”, with Sydney the only port of call she could confirm. “That is our goal and our hope,” she said. Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, which Bornstein calls her “two jewel boxes, our twins”, are positioned to appeal to Australians. “The dress code is casual – you don’t have to dress up, no tie and jacket required – and we have a full open bar,” she said. Fares also include all meals, gratuities, shuttle services, self-service laundry and one evening shore excursion per cruise. “Our itineraries are strategically designed to be combined, so Australians, who tend to travel for long periods, can book two or three back-to-back sailings without seeing the same port twice,” Bornstein added. The 2015 program has 157 consecutive nights with no repeats, she said. Azamara also offers reciprocity status with the loyalty programs of its sister brands Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. “We honour passengers at the same level, even if it is their first time on Azamara,” Bornstein said. “If you haven’t tried it, you should – it’s an ‘OzAmazing experience.” For details, contact a travel agent or see

Erlebnis to become standard

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Book by October 25 2013

CALL 1300 278 278 or visit *Conditions apply. Contact APT for full terms & conditions. Australian Pacific Touring Pty Ltd ABN 44 004 684 619 Lic. No. 30112 MKT11971

Apt will implement its Erlebnis fine dining facility as standard on all Aria and Concerto vessels operating in Europe from next year as part of its new Royal Experience cruise range, with dining privileges included in fares. APT general marketing manager Debra Fox said the facility will see guests enjoy a “worldclass luxurious dining experience”. “Erlebnis is designed to make our guests feel a million dollars,” she added. The 24-seat restaurant featured a glassenclosed kitchen allowing diners to witness their culinary creations taking shape, with the menu to be designed by award-winning APT executive chef Primus Perchtold. MEANWHILE, APT has launched a Fly-Free deal to the USA excluding taxes for bookings on its 13-day New Orleans to Nashville Mississippi River Cruises and land touring range for AprJun departures next year, if booked by 25 Oct. The offer represents a saving of up to $1,870 per couple - phone 1300 278 278 for details.

Taylor Godmother to Orion UNDERWATER film-maker and marine conservationist Valerie Taylor AM has been named as the Godmother to the soon-to-be re-christened National Geographic Orion. The ceremony on the Lindblad Expeditions vessel will take place on 21 Mar in Auckland, with Taylor participating in the ship’s inaugural sailing - a 21-night trip to Cairns via Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands & Papua New Guinea.

Bayonne’s Quantum upgrades ROYAL Caribbean International has received regulatory approval from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to upgrade the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The plan pitched by the cruise operator is to enable the facility to accommodate the firm’s upcoming flagship Quantum of the Seas, which will begin operating at the port from Nov 2014. A new US$70m terminal will be constructed on the site, along with expanded parking offerings and will be jointly funded between the cruise operator and the city of Bayonne. Construction is expected to begin before the end of Aug, for completion by early next year. Upwards of 600,000 passengers annually are expected to utilise the new facility once cruises aboard Quantum of the Seas commence.

White Christmas in Antarctica AUSTRALIANS can enjoy a white Christmas without venturing to the Northern Hemisphere via one of Seabourn’s first sailings to Antarctica which will arrive on Christmas Day. Departing on 11 Dec from Valparaiso, Chile, the 24-day sailing will see guests wake up to the surrounds of Antarctica on 25 Dec. The line’s debut in the region (CW 04 Jun) will begin with four departures to Patagonia and Antarctica on the Seabourn Quest from Nov to Feb next year.

Popular Yangtze price cuts HELEN Wong’s Tours has chopped up to $400 per couple from the price of a selection of popular group tours taking in a cruise on China’s Yangtze River. The reduction is valid for departures in the current 2013-14 brochure packaged with Cathay Pacific airfares, with the guide available to view at An additional $200 can be taken from the advertised price if booked by 30 Aug for departures between 01 Feb - 30 Apr 2014.

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cruise W E E K L Y

Tuesday 30 July 2013

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Exotic earlybird offered by Avalon Avalon Waterways has released a mini-brochure of discounted river cruises in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Couples can save $300 on the Yangtze, Mekong, Amazon, Nile, Mississippi and Galápagos Islands cruises featured in the 2014 Avalon World Collection. One of the highlights of Avalon’s “most exotic” itineraries is its first cruise in Peru – the 11-day ‘From the Inca Empire to the Amazon’, with three nights aboard the 16-suite Aria, priced from $6,099 per person twin share. Other choices include the Mekong, where the Avalon Angkor is small enough to sail all the way to Siem Reap, Cambodia, from Vietnam. This 14-day trip is priced from $3,648 per person twin-share. In China, Avalon offers the newest luxury

P O R T H O L E CELEBRITY Cruises is bringing its luxury dining to land this coming weekend when it operates its own food truck as part of a six week Women’s World Beach Volleyball Tour. Spectators at the first event, occurring at the California harbourside suburb of Long Beach, will be able to enjoy some of the line’s best cuisine, available via the truck. The gourmet van will also showcase the entire range of luxury offerings available on a Celebrity voyage, with prize giveaways to be conducted over the weekend. Some of the items to be made available will include pork spring rolls with white truffle and crab cakes with BBQ sauce - a far cry from corn dogs, sliders, onion rings and burgers you’d normally seek from a US mobile fast food truck. The task set for Celebrity Cruises’ corporate executive chef Rufino Rengifo and manager of restaurant operations Lorenzo Davidoiu is to showcase a cross-section of the offerings on Celebrity’s 94 restaurants across 11 ships to hungry volleyball fans. Celebrity also plans to donate half of everything sold to the American Red Cross.

ships on the Yangtze, the Century Paragon and Century Legend, with tours priced from $3,119pp twin share. According to Avalon, its Asian, African and American holidays provide the same levels of service and luxury as its European river cruises. The Earlybird discount of $300 per couple is available on all 2014 World Collection cruises booked by 30 September, or until sold out. Further savings are available for early payments, additional tour bookings and Journey’s Club repeat travellers. To make a booking or for more information, contact a travel agent, phone 1300 230 234 or visit

Tall ship sinks off Irish coast A DUTCH Tall Ship participating in Ireland’s Gathering Cruise late last week has sunk after striking rocks while sailing in the Sovereign Islands near Kinsale, off the southern coast of the country. The 42-metre Tall Ship, known as Astrid, became caught in 2m swells close to the coast after suffering engine failure, which along with high winds pushed the vessel into danger. Thirty people onboard the 95-year old ship were rescued by Irish Coast Guard helicopters, however no injuries were reported. Investigations are currently underway by authorities in both Ireland & the Netherlands into whether the accident was preventable. The Gathering is a year-long series of events spearheaded by Tourism Ireland globally promoting the country as a tourist destination.

Seabourn joins Egypt bailout ONGOING political turmoil in Egypt has forced Seabourn’s hand, with the line becoming the latest to cancel all remaining cruise visits to the country for this year. Two departures on 05 Oct and 20 Oct to be sailed by Seabourn Legend are affected, along with a 12 Oct voyage on Seabourn Odyssey, with port visits to Alexandria, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and Safaga to now go elsewhere. A Seabourn spokesperson told CW the safety of its guests and crew was its top priority. “We will continue to monitor all ports for future cruise visits and should further adjustments be required, travel agents and guests will be notified”. Seabourn’s decision follows a similar move by MSC Cruises, who will replace Red Sea voyages with trips to the Canary Islands instead.

Crew Profile This week, Cruise Weekly chats with Latvian Liva Lace, the Hotel Manager Personal Assistant on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. How long have you been working on cruise ships? I have been at sea for almost three years now. When did you join Cunard? I joined Cunard’s Queen Victoria in August 2010 and have been working on Queen Mary 2 since September 2012. What is the best thing about working for Cunard? All the various itineraries which our ships offer – every voyage and season is different, so you can go from doing the “classic” Transatlantic Crossings to sailing around the world, all in less than a year. What is your favourite cruising destination? I have seen so many fantastic places around the world that it is difficult to pick one – every port has its own charm. But if I had to point out one of my favourites, it would definitely be Sydney, Australia. Briefly explain what your job entails and what passengers can expect from your services on board. My job as the Hotel Manager’s Personal Assistant is to work closely with all the different departments onboard coordinating groups, media events and in-port functions. I also summarise our Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire results and comments at the end of each voyage. Who is the most famous person you have served? I think it would definitely be George Bush Sr. What is the most interesting request you’ve received from a passenger? A guest brought a shoe down to our Front Desk to ask if we could possibly get our carpenters to fix it. As good as our carpenters might be in fixing different items, this shoe was missing half the sole and all the insides were ripped open – it was more of a job for our incinerator.

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cruise W E E K L Y

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Zodiac 101 - Getting ashore from an expedition ship by: Roderick Eime THE vexing question of Zodiac operations is one of the mostasked questions by prospective expedition cruise passengers and one of the common hand-wringing reasons some travellers decide against expedition cruising. What am I talking about? Read on. What is a Zodiac? The trade-marked, patented Zodiac tender is an inflatable rubber runabout powered by an outboard motor and skippered by a single crewmember who steers by a ‘tiller’ (a throttle/handle attached to the motor). These aren’t something you blow up and play with in the backyard pool. They are militarygrade boats used by commandos in the worst conditions. They are designed for seriously heavy duty operations, are remarkably stable and virtually unsinkable. For ferrying camera-toting tourists on shore excursions, they are way over-specified. Almost without exception, any ship you select for your expedition cruise will be equipped with several of these boats to land guests on beaches, rocky outcrops or tiny jetties too small for the ship to tie-up. It’s a fact you have to face if you intend to go ashore during your cruise. I’ve been in and out of more Zodiacs than I can remember over the last 15 years of adventure cruising and most problems are due to passengers not following instructions or doing something stupid. Operator skill and experience is another factor, although Zodiacs are pretty easy to operate in calm conditions. It’s only when things get rough and windy that the best operators are required. Your selected cruise operator will give all passengers a detailed Zodiac briefing in advance of the first landing, so make sure you are present for that – and pay attention! You’ll get detailed instructions

Zodiac in calm Antarctic harbour

on what clothing to wear, use of the special life jacket (which you must wear) and how the specific ship’s boarding process works. It could be a step-type gangway from the deck or a platform. There isn’t room here to go through the whole operation, but if you are considering an expedition cruise, particularly in the polar regions, you need to be comfortable with this process or you will be a hazard to yourself and the other passengers. Unfortunately not all cruise consultants are able to accurately assess your suitability for Zodiac operations. They are sales people after all and may not have ever been in a Zodiac themselves. In general terms, and taking into account the worst possible conditions, passengers with mobility issues should think carefully about their suitability for Zodiac travel. In many cases, you’ll need to climb a narrow gangway that could be wet and slippery and moving about slightly, then step onto the pontoon of the Zodiac which could also be moving up and down slightly (or a lot!). There are always staff and/or ship’s sailors on hand to assist you and you should never attempt this without assistance. Even you, tough guy. When seated around the pontoon (edge) of the Zodiac, you’ll be snug against your fellow passengers facing inward. Spray, bumps and splashes are common and depending on your operator, the prevailing conditions and the size of the motor, you could be going fast or slow. That said, I did witness one determined ship’s crew land a wheelchair passenger onto a tiny jetty in Greenland to much applause, so it is possible under the right circumstances for almost any person to get in and out. In the end, only you can decide.

Disembarking Zodiac via gangway

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

Boarding Zodiac from shore (wet landing)

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CW for Tue 30 Jul 2013 - Azamara eyes Australia, Avalon, Bayonne upgrade, APT, Tall ship sinks and  
CW for Tue 30 Jul 2013 - Azamara eyes Australia, Avalon, Bayonne upgrade, APT, Tall ship sinks and