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ISSUE 53 SPRING 2017

from the

The sky’s the limit

Viking Cruises’ newest ship Viking Sky

UnCruise Adventures

The perfect antidote to crowds and queues

Dr amatic polar encounters Cruising heats up in the world’s coldest places

PRESENTED WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF:


SA ON LE

2018

38

CRUISE TOURS & GRAND VOYAGES

EUROPEAN CONNOISSEUR

CRUISE TOUR

SEVILLE TO LONDON 16 Nights | 9 June 2018 • • • • •

2 night pre-cruise hotel stay in Seville 12 night cruise aboard Aegean Odyssey 2 night post-cruise hotel stay in London Transfers between overseas airport, hotel & ship A taste of France, Portugal and England’s West Country

CABIN

Premium Inside Standard Outside

FARES FROM

$5,400* pp $6,184* pp

GRAND AEGEAN & EGYPTIAN EXPERIENCE

FLY FREE^

ATHENS TO ATHENS

20 Nights | 10 October 2018 • Return economy airfares (ex Australia to Athens return) • 2 night pre-cruise hotel stay in Athens • 1 night hotel stay in Delphi • 17 night cruise aboard Aegean Odyssey • Transfers between overseas airport, hotel & ship • Tour of Classical Greece, the Greek Islands & Egypt’s Pyramid and Sphinx CABIN

Premium Outside Premium Outside

+

BROCHURE OUT NOW!

FARES FROM

$11,850* pp $12,495* pp

THE MEDITERRANEAN | GREEK ISLES | BRITISH ISLES | NORWAY | FRANCE | SPAIN | MOROCCO | ICELAND *TERMS & CONDITIONS: All fares in Australian dollars, per person, twin share based on lowest available category & including promotional savings, onboard gratuities, air & port taxes (correct as of 15 August 2017). +Obstructed view. Valid for new bookings only. All Cruise tour & Fly Free offers are capacity controlled and can be withdrawn or modified at any time without notice, and subject to availability at time of booking. Cancellation penalties & conditions apply. ^Airfares, cruise & accommodation prices based on specified booking classes, airlines, routings & departure dates. Valid for flights to/from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth. Prices based on payment by cash or cheque only. Travel agent service fees not included. Voyages to Antiquity reserve the right to change, correct errors, withdraw from sale any or all fares, itineraries, excursions & fees. For full terms & conditions visit www.voyagestoantiquity.com.au or visit your local preferred Travel Agent.


Welcome The world’s coldest places are now among the world’s hottest cruise destinations. In the Arctic and Antarctic new routes are opening up as ice packs retreat, giving unprecedented access to ships of all sizes—ranging from boutique adventure ships to luxe megayachts complete with mini-submarines. Cruising a polar region is the adventure of a lifetime and now there’s more itineraries to choose from across more cruise lines than ever before. It’s a similar story in the Asian region, where guests looking for cultural adventures will find improved ports and new itineraries that include the best of local traditions, tastes and entertainment. Enjoy!

02 Cover Story: Cruising the polar regions

A visit to the Arctic or Antarctic is the ultimate journey, and you’re now spoilt for choice as more ships cruise to polar regions on more itineraries than ever before.

08 Cruise Line Profile: Enrichment and exploration Regarded by the travel industry as the modern pioneers of

02

expedition cruising, Lindblad has led the way for adventure travel for over five decades and it’s not stopping now.

13 Popular Port: Mediterranean quest

A cruise along the 200-kilometre, sun-blessed Mediterranean coastline of the French Riviera provides the perfect seductive journey, with glamorous cities and romantic villages.

19 Mid Ship: The sky’s the limit

The Nordic style and design of Viking Cruises’ newest ship Viking Sky make it a perfect match for the cultural delights and

13

dramatic fjord scenery of a Norwegian cruise.

24 Cruise Region Focus: Orient calls

Asia is now the fastest-growing cruise region in the world, which is great news for cruise-hungry Australians looking for new experiences in Japan, China, South Korea and Malaysia.

28 Small Ship: A most uncommon adventure

With one of the biggest small ship fleets in the business, UnCruise Adventures offers the perfect antidote to crowds and queues—as well as amazing destinations.

24

31 Passenger Review: Silver Discoverer

Indulgent, exciting and memorable—Cruiseco’s Carolyn Mackley indulged on a 5-night cruise on Silversea’s expedition ship Silver Discoverer.

Front cover image: A special animal encounter in the Arctic Circle. See our story on pages 2–6 for more information. From the Bridge is produced by Cruiseco in cooperation with Edge. For more information about Edge, visit www.edge.agency or phone 02 8962 2600. All listed fares are subject to availability and are correct at time of printing.

SPRING 2017 1


Seabourn Quest cruises Antarctica

2 SPRING 2017


Cover Story | FROM THE BRIDGE

CRUISING HEATS UP IN

THE WORLD’S COLDEST PLACES When choosing the adventure of a lifetime you’re now spoilt for choice as more ships cruise to polar regions on more itineraries than ever before. WORDS: BRIAN JOHNSTON

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F

or travellers with a love of cruising, a visit to the Arctic or Antarctic represents the ultimate journey. The polar regions have a dramatic history of exploration and maritime adventure, and promise up-close encounters with remote, ice-encrusted landscapes. Along with an abundance of opportunities to spot wildlife, from Svalbard polar bears to Antarctic penguins or Alaskan bald eagles, the very inaccessibility of the Arctic and Antarctic also makes them a good match for cruising. Unlike mainstream cruise destinations, there’s simply no other way to visit—unless you’re Bear Grylls. What’s more, the harsh but spectacular environment provides a feeling of hardcore adventure without an explorer’s pain, since cruise ships supply considerable luxury here at the cold ends of the earth. It’s no surprise, then, that there is rising interest in polar cruising. Over 40 ships, ranging from luxe yachts to converted icebreakers, now visit the Antarctic each year, disembarking some 30,000 guests. Only ships carrying a maximum 200 guests are allowed to make landings in this fragile environment. However, annually thousands of other guests now glimpse the white continent, as larger ships from the likes of Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line sail by. An impressive number of new ships will be cruising both polar regions soon. Lindblad Expeditions has a new 100-guest ship this year and one next year, and luxe line Ponant, which matches remote locations with French fine dining and understated chic, has announced four new ice-class expedition ships from 2018. Mid-2018 will also see the arrival of Crystal Cruises’ new ship Crystal Endeavor. Announced as ‘the world’s largest megayacht’, she’s upping the ante in luxury adventure by carrying a mini-submarine and a helicopter. Silversea, meanwhile, is redeploying its newly refurbished Silver Cloud to its expedition fleet from November. Among her itineraries will be a Classic Antarctica cruise in February 2018 that visits the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands, with Zodiac excursions to visit penguin and elephant seal colonies, and to get up close to Paradise Bay’s spectacular glaciers and icebergs. Ponant now has 16 seasonal departures to the Antarctic, including a new Journey in Southern Lands cruise, taking in remote southern Atlantic islands such as Tristan da Cunha and Nightingale Island. The Falklands, South Georgia and the South Shetlands are popular ports of call on Antarctic cruises. 4 SPRING 2017

The polar regions have a dramatic history of exploration and maritime adventure, and promise up-close encounters with remote, ice-encrusted landscapes. Hot air ballooning in the Arctic with Quark Expeditions

Ponant offers luxury Antarctic expeditions on Le Boréal

Fly-cruise options are becoming more common to these islands, saving sailing time and potential seasickness on rough seas. The retreat of ice in the Antarctic is pushing sailing limits, especially in the Ross Sea south-east of New Zealand. Smaller expedition companies now visit Mawson’s Huts, where the approach was formerly blocked by icebergs, and the Bay of Whales, home to Roald Amundsen’s base, and further south than most ships have previously ventured. Also in that region, the subantarctic islands, with their vast colonies of seals and penguins, can be visited with upmarket companies such as Ponant. The melting Arctic ice pack is also permitting new destinations for cruising. In 2012 the fabled Northwest Passage across >

Emperor penguins are an Antarctic favourite


Cover Story | FROM THE BRIDGE Silver Explorer’s guests trek Antarctica

ANTARCTICA: VISITING CRUISE LINES

A humpback whale makes a splash in the Antarctic

Antarctica XXI, APT, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, G Adventures, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic, Noble Caledonia, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises, Quark Expeditions, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea, Star Clippers.

CRUISE ITINERARY Ponant’s 10-night Emblematic Antarctica return cruise from Ushuaia on Le Boréal departs December 4, 2018. Ports of call include Ushuaia, Drake Passage, Neko Harbour, Paradise Bay, Pleneau, Port Charcot, Port Lockro and Weddell Sea. Fares start from AU$13,630 per person, twin share.

SPRING 2017 5


FROM THE BRIDGE | Cover Story

CRUISE ITINERARY Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic’s 9-night Circumnavigation of Iceland return cruise from Reykjavík on National Geographic Explorer departs June 29, 2018. Ports of call include Flatey Island, Ísafjörður, Siglufjörður, Akureyri, Húsavík and Djúpivogur. Fares start from AU$15,450 per person, twin share.

northern Canada opened up for the first time to a large cruise ship, and the journey has since become almost a staple, tackled by mainstream companies such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Crystal Cruises. Now attention has turned—at least among small ship companies—to Russia’s Northeast Passage. As a result, it’s now possible to link back-to-back cruise itineraries together for a full circumnavigation of the Arctic. Quark Expeditions, meanwhile, has its gaze on the Kennedy Channel between Canada and Greenland; it hopes ice conditions will soon allow a successful crossing. In the summer of 2017, Quark had its biggest season in the Arctic with some 20 itineraries. It’s far from alone, however. Ponant now has 15 Arctic cruises, Lindblad Expeditions has eight, and many small adventure companies are offering new routes. Big-ship companies are increasing their Iceland visits too. In August 2018, for example, Holland America Line’s MS Zuiderdam will spend eight days in Iceland as part of its

ARCTIC: VISITING CRUISE LINES G Adventures, Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic, Silversea, Ponant, Quark Expeditions.

6 SPRING 2017

30-night cruise from Copenhagen to New York. It then calls in at three ports in Greenland and cruises glacier-studded Prince Christian Sound. Iceland is particularly seeing a surge in visits. Among many itineraries is a 9-night circumnavigation of the island, round trip from Reykjavik in July 2018, on Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Explorer. Highlights include the immense Látrabjarg cliffs with their incredible seabird colonies, the remote Westfjords, and a snowmobile adventure on the Vatnajökull icecap. Among other northern polar destinations attracting more cruise arrivals are Greenland, Norway’s Svalbard islands (which are noted for large populations of polar bears) and the Russian Far East, which has scenery to rival Alaska and wildlife such as bears and musk oxen. A few big cruise lines such as Princess Cruises visit briefly on Japan itineraries, but expedition companies such as Silversea and Ponant have a more comprehensive focus. In another notable trend, cruises to both the Arctic and Antarctic are getting more adventurous. Some are targeting the family market, while others are courting younger age groups and the active with shore-excursion activities such as snorkelling, skiing and even hot-air ballooning. Seabourn has even introduced kayaking cruises to the Antarctic for close-up encounters with icebergs and sea life. Journeys on ice have never been so cool. n

Among other northern polar destinations attracting more cruise arrivals are Greenland, Norway’s Svalbard Islands and the Russian Far East. You might spot polar bears when cruising the Arctic

CRUISE ITINERARY Holland America Line’s 30-night Jewels of the Baltic and Viking Passage cruise from Copenhagen to New York on MS Zuiderdam departs August 14, 2018. Ports of call include Hamburg, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Reykjavík, Ísafjörður, Akureyri, Warnemünde, Berlin, Kiel, Seyðisfjörður, Ålesund, Paamiut, Qaqortoq, Nanortalik, St John’s and Halifax. Cruiseco’s package fares start from AU$11,395 per person, twin share and include International Economy Class airfare from Australia to Copenhagen, returning from New York; 1-night pre-cruise stay at the Radisson Blu Royal, Copenhagen, including breakfast; 2-night post-cruise stay at the Martinique on Broadway, New York, including breakfast; and port charges, government fees and air taxes. Book with a Cruiseco travel agent by November 30, 2017 to receive an exclusive US$300 bonus onboard credit per stateroom.


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CRUISE DEPARTS 16 APRIL 2018

Beijing (Tianjin)

Interior from

$4,854 PP* Yellow Sea

Oceanview from

$5,728 PP* Shanghai

Balcony from

Interior from

Kobe

•Jeju • Nagasaki

••

Kochi

ASTOR

fly, cruise, stay and tour

Shanghai

$5,577 PP*

Oceanview from

Tokyo (Yokohama)

Balcony from

Xiamen

$6,451 PP* $7,729 PP*

Kagoshima

••

Tokyo (Yokohama)

Taipei (Keelung)

Hong Kong

Shimizu

Western Front Anzac Centenary 45 night

Shimizu Kobe

Seoul (Inchon)

East China Sea

$6,872 PP*

CRUISE DEPARTS 1 APRIL 2018

Miyazaki (Aburatsu)

Dalian

•Naha, Okinawa • • Ishigaki

Kaohsiung

Fremantle - Tilbury (London) - Paris 12 March - 26 April 2018 Embark on a voyage of a lifetime from Fremantle to Tilbury aboard CMV Astor. On your journey, be captivated by fine French colonial buildings, coastal dunes, fascinating old cities, Medieval streets, historic sites and opulent culture. During the tour, you will visit the key Australian battle fields in Belgium and France. Includes a special opportunity to be part of Anzac Day Centenary Commemorations at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretoneux.

INCLUSIONS: - 39 night cruise from Fremantle to London (Tilbury) aboard Astor - 6 night Western Front Anzac Centenary Tour^ from Tilbury to Paris, includes:

Northbound Voyage via South Africa

United Kingdom LondonTilbury

9,060* * $10,060

Interior Guarantee~ from

Paris Portugal Lisbon Casablanca Morocco Canary Is

Oceanview Guarantee~ from

$

(prices per person, twin share)

Namibia St Helena Is Walvis Bay

South Africa

Reunion Is

Durban

Cape Town Mossel Bay

Mauritius

Australia Fremantle

• Daily breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners • Services of professional Historian and experienced coach driver • Anzac Day Dawn Service • Entrance fees and transportation to Villers Bretonneux Dawn Service • One-way Economy Class airfare from Paris to Australia • Port charges, government fees and air taxes

*Prices are in AUD per person twin share, based on the lead-in cabin/accommodation category and include all savings/ discounts, port charges, government fees, air taxes, and are correct as at 12 July 2017. Include cruise, accommodation, one-way Economy Class airfare to Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth or Brisbane) including air taxes, tour, & transfers, as specified. Prices are subject to change due to fluctuations in charges, taxes & currency. Single supplements apply for solo travellers. Gratuities are not included and are payable on board. Offer is valid for a limited time only, unless sold out prior, is capacity controlled, subject to availability/change and can be withdrawn at any time without notice. Itineraries subject to alteration without notice. Packages do not include additional accommodation/ service not previously stated in the itinerary and made necessary due to flight schedules. ~Cabins on guarantee basis will not be assigned until closer to the cruise departure date. +Excludes specialty restaurants. ^Relevant to Western Front Anzac Centenary Tour: Attendance passes will be required for the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux and will be issued by DVA. For more information and registration, please visit the DVA website. Agents may charge service fees and/or fees for card payments which vary. Prices are governed by the terms and conditions listed in the current CMV brochure December 2016. Cancellation fees & conditions apply.


New ship National Geographic Quest will cruise Alaska and Central America

ENRICHMENT

and

EXPLORATION

Over five decades at the forefront of adventure travel, and Lindblad continues to lead. WORDS: RODERICK EIME

W

hen anyone mentions adventure and expedition cruising, the first name to come to mind is invariably Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic. Regarded by the travel industry as the modern pioneers of expedition cruising, the New York-based company celebrated 50 years since its groundbreaking first tourist cruise to Antarctica. Since then, Lindblad has partnered 8 SPRING 2017

with the National Geographic Society (from 2004) and expanded its operations to 13 ships and dozens of unique itineraries in every corner of the globe. The stalwart cruise line, among the best expedition leaders in the business, has always boasted adventurous itineraries and industryleading enrichment programs. So much so that when any new contender enters the realm of expedition cruising, Lindblad is the benchmark by which it needs to measure itself. In 2013, Lindblad acquired the Orion Expedition Cruises along with luxury vessel National Geographic Orion. Built in Germany in 2003, it became the newest vessel in the

fleet at the time. Since then, the 2005-built National Geographic Endeavour II has been acquired for full-time Galapagos duties. Each accommodates around 100 guests only. Just this year, Lindblad proudly launched the first of its two newbuild vessels in many years, with National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture set to replace the much-loved pair of National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion on itineraries in Alaska and Central America. Built at the same US shipyard as the vessels they will replace, the identical pair will also accommodate 100 guests (up from 62) as well as introduce greater comfort and more


The Observation Deck provides the best view of each sunset

Cruise Line Profile | FROM THE BRIDGE

Guests can hike in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

The onboard lounge makes the most of the view

Spot the endangered scarlet macaw

amenities. Six sets of cabins will be connected, allowing families and groups to mingle in private, while a designated mudroom is added for expedition gear. Based on decades of experience, all Lindblad vessels are designed for exploration and guest enrichment and as such come equipped with all the goods for making this happen. There are Zodiacs, kayaks, paddleboards, snorkelling equipment, and even underwater video cameras and hydrophones— all of which enhance guests’ understanding and knowledge of the delicate environments in which they travel.

The ‘clean slate’ design of Lindblad’s two new ships means the many lessons learned over the year, and the many years of feedback from delighted guests, have been applied to the construction. Cabins range in size from 13–17 square metres across five categories and three decks. Step-out balconies are available in 22 of the 50 larger cabins, along with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors for superb viewing and lots of natural light. Dining on National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture will follow the same format with a large, single-sitting,

Based on decades of experience, all Lindblad vessels are designed for exploration and guest enrichment and as such come equipped with all the goods for making this happen.

unreserved space where you can share a meal with expedition leaders and gain some bonus insights. As onboard all Lindblad ships, food is consistently fresh, healthy and delicious, made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients wherever possible. Weather permitting, some meals will be served on the expanded sundeck. These two new vessels herald an exciting growth phase for Lindblad - National Geographic and will prove to be an exciting addition to the fleet. They’ll be sure to attract—and retain—a whole new genre of travellers who have come to expect a splash of luxury with their expedition. Additionally, National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture will takeover the popular expedition cruising grounds of Alaska and Central America. Costa Rica features high on the list of nature lovers and scientists > SPRING 2017 9


THERE’S NO TIME TO BE BORED

in a world as beautiful as this. The world is a stunning work of art, and on your Uniworld cruise, you’ll experience the picture-perfect highlights while traveling onboard our unique boutique ships. With more than 80 Exclusive Excursions, ultra-inclusive amenities, and the most professionally trained staff on the rivers, it’s no wonder we’ve earned the distinction of the most awarded luxury river cruise line ever.


Cruise Line Profile | FROM THE BRIDGE

Many cabins on National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture feature floor-to-ceiling sliding doors

Specialist guides make the experience even better

Keep an eye out for whiteheaded capuchin monkeys

Thinking travellers and students come from all around the world to see rare flora and fauna like birds, monkeys, sloths, big cats, amphibians and even insects. Watch the red-capped manakin perform its mating dance

because the little republic has a strong environmental record and a stable government that understands the value of sustainable tourism. Thinking travellers and students come from all around the world to see rare flora and fauna like birds, monkeys, sloths, big cats, amphibians and even insects. Lindblad’s 7-night Costa Rica and the Panama Canal itineraries run annually from November to March, transiting the famous 80-kilometre technological achievement that links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. From there the ship voyages to Costa Rica where the tiny, but renowned, Manuel Antonio National Park awaits with 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds.

Upon arrival at the remote Osa Peninsula, National Geographic Quest anchors and guests go ashore to explore the much larger Corcovado National Park where horseback riding, hiking, swimming and animal spotting occupy the day. The park is Costa Rica’s jewel as much for its beautiful scenery as natural preservation. National Geographic described it as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity”. Furthermore, within the park is the largest primary forest on the American Pacific coastline—a rare sight anywhere in the world, let alone Latin America. Guests will quickly understand why this vanguard adventure travel company has earned and maintained its enviable reputation. n

CRUISE ITINERARY Lindblad Expeditions - National Geographic’s 7-night Costa Rica and the Panama Canal cruise from Panama City to San José on National Geographic Quest departs January 6, 2018. Ports of call include Panama City, Colón, Gatun Lake, Panama Canal, Coiba Island, Golfo Dulce, Manuel Antonio National Park and Herradura. Fares start from AU$8,240 per person, twin share.

SPRING 2017 11


THE ONLY THING YOU’LL FORGET IS THE DAY OF THE WEEK

CIVITAVECCHIA Dubrovnik (ROME) Kotor

Kiriwina Island Alotau

Skagway Juneau

GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK

Naples

Cairns

Ketchikan

Corfu Piraeus (Athens)

Gladstone Brisbane

Katákolon (Olympia)

VANCOUVER

10-DAY MEDITERRANEAN DREAM 21 Apr 2018

$2,499

ms Koningsdam RO U N D RTR IP :

CIVITAV ECCHI A

(R O M E)

Pinnacle Grill Dinner

Interior Stateroom from

7 Dec 2018

$1,699

ms Nieuw Amsterdam

per person*

15-DAY AUSTRALIA & MELANESIA

Interior Stateroom from

22 Sep 2018

Signature Beverage Package

SYDNEY

7-DAY INSIDE PASSAGE

Interior Stateroom from

Choose from 600+ cruises and receive our best offer of the season including:*

Airlie Beach

INSIDE PASSAGE

Santoríni

Kitava Conflict Islands

reduced FARES FOR 3RD/4TH GUESTS

$3,149

ms Noordam

per person*

50% Reduced deposit

per person*

RO UN DRTRI P:

RO U N DRT R IP:

VA N CO U V E R

SY DNEY

Bonus offer for Suites

Receive the above plus us $200 onboard spending money!

*ALL PRICES STATED ARE PER PERSON, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY AND INCLUDE TAXES, FEES & PORT EXPENSES and discounts. CRUISE ONLY. Fares correct as of 21 Aug 2017. Fares listed are in Australian Dollars. Explore4 offers are per stateroom based on double occupancy, for 1st and 2nd guests sharing a stateroom and excludes 3rd/4th guests, except as provided herein. Offers are based on Promo(s) KA/KC/JB/NX/NP/UU, are available for new bookings only are not combinable with any other discounts and are not transferable or refundable. Offers are applicable on select 2018–2019 sailings. Subject to availability. Signature Beverage Package has a daily limit of 15 beverages. Pinnacle Grill dinner: Guests receive one complimentary dinner per person. Free or Reduced fares for friends & kids is based on sharing a stateroom with 1st and 2nd guests. Suite offer: Onboard Spending Money is US$100 per guest. For full offer terms and conditions, please refer to hollandamerica.com/Explore4. Offers are capacity controlled and may be modified or withdrawn without prior notice. Other restrictions may apply. Explore4 HA019.2 offers end 17 November 2017. Ships’ Registry: The Netherlands.

SUPER GRAND SALE

16 Elegant Ships

SAILING YEAR-ROUND MEDITERRANEAN AND CARIBBEAN & SEASONALLY ARABIAN PENINSULA, SOUTH AMERICA, NORTHERN EUROPE, SOUTH AFRICA

GRAND MEDITERRANEAN 6 INTERARIES TO CHOOSE FROM

France

GENOA (Portofino)

MARSEILLE (Provence)

VENICE

Croatia DUBROVNIK

Italy NAPLES (Pompeii)

MAHON (Menorca, Balearic Is.) Spain

BARI

CAGLIARI MESSINA (Taormina)

FREE TRANSFER

VALLETTA Malta

14 NIGHTS from

$1,927pp*

Albania SARANDE Greece KATAKOLON (Olympia) PIRAEUS (Athens)

Mediterranean Sea

WEEKLY DEPARTURES EVERY SATURDAY & SUNDAY

MYKONOS

GRAND NORTHERN EUROPE EXPLORE THE FJORDS & BALTICS USA

Norway

Atlantic Ocean

HELLESYLT/GEIRANGER FLAAM BERGEN

North Sea Denmark

MIAMI (Florida)

ST PETERSBURG Russia

STOCKHOLM Sweden

COPENHAGEN

KIEL (Lubeck) Germany

TALLINN Estonia Baltic Sea

14 NIGHTS from

$2,351

DEPARTS EVERY SATURDAY (ex. KIEL) & SUNDAY (Ex. COPENHAGEN)

pp*

COZUMEL Mexico

Caribbean Sea

NASSAU Bahamas

14 NIGHTS from

$1,417pp*

Cayman Islands GEORGE TOWN OCHO RIOS Jamaica

SAN JUAN Puerto Rico PHILIPSBURG St Maarten


Villefranche sur Mer sparkles with Mediterranean charm

Popular Port | FROM THE BRIDGE

Quest

Mediterranean A cruise along the 200-kilometre, sun-blessed Mediterranean coastline of the French Riviera provides the perfect seductive journey, with glamorous cities and romantic villages. WORDS: BRIAN JOHNSTON

W

ith some of Europe’s oldest settlements, delightfully pretty towns and pine-scented coastlines draped in bougainvillea and pastel-painted houses, the French Riviera has seduced 19th-century artists, 20th-century movie stars and modern billionaires alike. A glamorous visit could start in its largest and oldest city, Marseilles. Billion-dollar redevelopments that culminated in the title

of European Capital of Culture for 2013 have bequeathed it a rejuvenated old town and impressive Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations. Tall houses and Byzantine-style churches rise around Marseilles’ 2,600-year-old harbour, lively with morning fish vendors. The city has a worn Mediterranean beauty and is embraced by sandy beaches and limestone rock formations, while offshore lies romantic

island-bound Château d’If, where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned. Eastward lies the port of Cassis, which might be the prettiest town in Provence. Jaunty yellow and orange houses overlook a blue harbour afloat in painted wooden boats. Coastal paths meander towards Calanques National Park, whose white cliffs plunge into a sapphire sea. Some itineraries will allow time for kayaking or exploring on foot. Next is Sanary-sur-Mer, a quintessential fishing village punctuated by a church spire and Romanesque tower, and quieter than other Riviera ports. Sniff your way around market cheeses, watch fishermen unload their catch, or snorkel in gin-clear waters. >

Visit the picturesque port of Cassis

Explore Calanques National Park near Cassis

SPRING 2017 13


FROM THE BRIDGE | Popular Port

Cannes is the place for indulgence

Saint-Tropez steals the limelight

The presence of movie stars, artists and musicians still encourages a hedonistic lifestyle and great dining. Next, Toulon headquarters the French navy and is an energetic, multicultural town with great seafood restaurants. Fishing village Saint-Tropez steals the limelight, however. It shot to fame in the 1950s thanks to Brigitte Bardot, and the presence of movie stars, artists and musicians still encourages a hedonistic lifestyle and great dining in shady old-town streets. Shore excursions will take you inland to Provence’s vineyards, medieval villages or splendidly ruined Château de Grimaud for shimmering gulf views. Stroll the ancient seaport of Antibes

Cannes, renowned for its film festival, is the place to indulge in brand-name shopping, a waterfront cocktail or a sashay along chic Croisette promenade. Its teetering old town slides downhill to a harbour afloat in luxury yachts. Alternatively, explore medieval Grasse, the centre of the world’s perfume industry. Antibes is another ancient seaport; its stroll-worthy sea fortifications are medieval and its best sight is the Picasso Museum. A rummage through Place Nationale flea market might produce upmarket finds such as Sèvres teacups.

It’s love at first sight for many visitors to Italy’s Portoferraio, with its picturesque harbour and local wines providing the perfect backdrop for boutique shopping. Villa of San Martino, once the summer residence of Napoléon Bonaparte and now transformed into a museum, is a worthy stop when you’ve had your fill of the ocean. Many Mediterranean cruises, like Seabourn’s 7-night itinerary on Seabourn Quest, call in to Nice: a fine spectacle from a ship’s deck as you approach its sweeping beach. A ruined castle hunkers on a crag and the sea is kingfisher blue. Stroll the Promenade des Anglais before plunging into old-town alleys or poking through market stalls and fashion boutiques. Then sit at a café in the sun and watch the well-heeled world go by: the French Riviera at its best. n

CRUISE ITINERARY Seabourn’s 7-night Monte Carlo to Rome cruise on Seabourn Quest departs April 18, 2018. Ports of call include Monte Carlo, La Joilette (Marseille), Saint-Tropez, Ajaccio (Corsica), Portoferraio (Elba), Nice and Portovenere. Fares start from AU$4,799 per person, twin share in a Veranda stateroom.

14 SPRING 2017


MUSIC CRUISES 2018 CRUISECO’S THREE ENTICING 2018 MUSIC CRUISES ARE FILLING QUICKLY – ENQUIRE TODAY 7 night cruise Cruisin Country 8 departs Sydney aboard Radiance of the Seas on 9 October 2018, fares now start from $2,645^ per person. Headline acts include John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Gina Jeffreys, Tania Kernaghan and James Blundell. In its eight consecutive year, the 7 night Rock the Boat 2018 featuring The Romantics, Foreigner, Ross Wilson, Russell Morris, Shannon Noll and the Eurogliders will depart Sydney

return on 21 October 2018, aboard Radiance of the Seas with fares starting from $2,655^ per person. Cruise N Groove “Elvis Meets the Legends” will be a once in a lifetime experience. With over 30 live acts, Cruise N Groove 2018 features a line-up of the best Elvis tribute artists showcasing Elvis through the years. Departs 6 November from Sydney return, aboard Radiance of the Seas the South Pacific via Isle of Pines, Mystery Island and Noumea, with fares starting from $2,645^ per person.

^Fares are per person, twin share in Australian dollars including Earlybird discounts. Fare includes all meals (excluding specialty restaurants), entertainment and on board gratuities, port charges and government fees. Subject to change, due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency.

RIVIERA TRAVEL AND VOYAGES TO ANTIQUITY

24 NIGHT EUROPEAN CELEBRATION

This unique European celebration of twenty four nights in total will bring a plethora of experiences, not to mention a remarkable list of inclusions; such as Economy Class international airfares from Australia to Oporto, returning from Rome, and transfers between all airports, hotels, ports and stations throughout. Also included is a one night stay at the five star Yeatman Hotel Oporto, including breakfast; seven night cruise aboard MS Douro Splendour from Oporto Return departing 22 August 2018; First Class train journey from Oporto to Lisbon; two night hotel stay in Lisbon*; 12 night cruise aboard MV Aegean Odyssey from Lisbon to Rome; two night hotel stay in Rome*; and all port charges, fees and air taxes UK’s number one tour operator, Riviera Travel will transport guests on a seven night cruise tour from Oporto Return aboard MS Douro Splendour, including specified visits and excursions, coach services and Riviera Travel Cruise Director. With escorted shore excursions in virtually every port of call, the second voyage aboard Aegean Odyssey will cruise from Lisbon to Rome for twelve glorious nights exploring the picturesque Cote dÁzur and port highlights - Portugal, Cadiz, Malaga, Valencia, Monte Carlo, Florence and Rome.

FARES GUIDE Prices start from $12,595 per person. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. *Hotels nominated by Voyages of Antiquity Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.

RETURN BUSINESS CLASS AIRFARE

TO JOIN L’AUSTRAL IN SYDNEY Why not enjoy the luxuries of Business Class air travel to Sydney, to join Cruiseco’s exclusive 14, 26 or 40 night voyage, on her circumnavigation of Australia next January. Guests on the 40 night voyage will visit a total of 25 destinations including remote places such as the tip of Cape York and the isolated community of Thursday Island, on board Ponant’s magnificent yacht-like ambience on board L’Austral. Included return Business Class airfare^ from Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart or Canberra. Darwin guests receive a $1,700 air credit*.

FARES GUIDE 40 night cruise fares now start from $22,499 per person in a Deluxe stateroom. 14 night Sydney to Fremantle voyage departs 25 January 2018, cruise fares start from $8,999 per person. 26 night Fremantle to Sydney voyage departs 8 February 2018, cruise fares start from $14,599 per person. Includes all meals aboard L’Austral; house wine, beers, sparkling wine and non-premium spirits throughout the voyage; port charges and on board gratuities. ^ Included Business Class airfare offer is valid until 10 October 2017. Ask us for current discounts. Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.


CRUISECO EXCLUSIVE

5 NIGHT SHANGRI LA HOTEL STAY; 3 NIGHT EASTERN & ORIENTAL EXPRESS AND 11 NIGHT SILVERSEA VOYAGE Best-value inclusions and an extraordinary level of personal pampering are highlights of Cruiseco’s 2018 Silversea ultimate worldwide Cruising Holidays. For example, immerse yourself in fascinating cultures and ancient traditions as you embark on an inspiring 11 night voyage from Singapore roundtrip aboard Silver Shadow on 11 February next year, via Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Phuket, Yangon and Malacca.

FARES GUIDE Cruiseco’s best value inclusions of return Economy Class international airfare from mainland capitals; 2 night pre cruise stay at the Shangri La Bangkok with daily breakfast; 3 night Rail journey from Bangkok to Singapore on board Eastern & Oriental Express; guided cruise along the River Kwai and visit to the War Museum;

night fly, cruise and stay holiday, now starts from just $13,345 per person, in a Vista Suite. *One hour complimentary WIFI access per guest/per day Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.

Capture the heart of Indochina, and a captivating array of culture, rituals and ruins, cruising the wondrous waterways between the thriving metropolis of Saigon, Vietnam to the serene and slow-paced village life of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Built in the style of a colonial riverboat but with modern luxurious touches, Cruiseco Adventurer will travel where other craft can’t. Carrying no more than 60 passengers amid a relaxed ambience, premium accommodation, local entertainment, enticing cuisine featuring delicious local produce, attentively served by a delightful local crew who are dedicated to providing first class service – this holiday is sure to impress.

Includes return Economy Class international airfare from Australia and air taxes; two nights deluxe accommodation at the 5-star Raffles Hotel dÁngkor Siem Reap; seven night luxury cruise in a Balcony cabin aboard Cruiseco Adventurer with breakfast lunch and dinner as specified in the itinerary; on board soft drinks, local beers and spirits.

Cruiseco and Regent Seven Sea’s new Grand Voyages will explore an incredible myriad of cultures and unforgettable experiences. Each new day will deliver a plethora of luxuries - from the acclaimed cuisine and impeccable services, to the all inclusive beverage policy of unlimited open bar, select cocktails, fine wines and premium spirits at all bars and restaurants. Also inclusive is unlimited shore excursions; no charge for superb specialty dining, free Wi-Fi and included pre-paid on board gratuities.

FARES GUIDE 19 night Tokyo to Vancouver voyage departs 27 April 2019 aboard Seven Seas Mariner. Cruiseco’s 24 night Fly, Cruise and Tour prices start from $16,475 per person. Includes 3 night Sunrise Over Tokyo land/ tour package

66 night Miami to Sydney voyage departs 10 October 2018 aboard Seven Seas Mariner. Cruiseco’s 68 night Fly, Cruise and Stay prices start from $43,980 per person.

NEW 2017 DEPARTURES VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA SAVE $500 PER PERSON

Just released 15 night fly, cruise and stay holidays depart 1, 29 October and 26 November 2017, now starting from just $5,399 per person.

From Japan’s eclectic mix of past, present, and future; Alaska’s rugged wilderness, Africa’s exotic wildlife reserves to the cobbled streets of Havana and Tahiti’s most famous pristine sands of Bora Bora - the greatest challenge, will be deciding which exquisite holiday to book.

39 night Lisbon to Cape Town voyage departs 28 November 2018 aboard Seven Seas Explorer. Cruiseco’s 44 night Fly, Cruise and Tour prices start from $34,725 per person. Includes 3 night Winelands & Wildlife land/tour package

Guided tour of Kuala Kangsar; 3 night stay at the Shangri La in Singapore with breakfast; and an 11 night voyage Singapore roundtrip aboard Silver Shadow And with complimentary beverages, butler service and complimentary WiFi*; private transfers between airport, hotel and ship; port and government charges, hotel, air taxes all included, this value-packed 19

FARES GUIDE

GRAND VOYAGES

JUST RELEASED ASIA TO ALASKA; LISBON TO CAPE TOWN OR MIAMI TO SYDNEY

Also includes extensive sightseeing with expert local guides; transfers to and from ship; on board gratuities; two night stay at the 5-star Caravelle Hotel Saigon; two night luxury cruise on Halong Bay and two night stay at the 5-star Melia Hotel Hanoi. *Includes $500 per person Early Booking Discount, port charges and government fees. Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.

BONUS US$200 on board credit per stateroom - subject to availability at time of booking. All three fly cruise and tour holidays include Economy Class international airfare from Australia; pre and/or post cruise deluxe hotel accommodation private car transfers between airport, hotel and ship; port charges, government fees and air taxes. Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.

VALUE-ADD BONUSES ON

14 NIGHT ‘ITALIAN ALTERNATIVO’ TOUR PLUS TEN NIGHT ROME RETURN VOYAGE Join the five-star Celebrity Reflection on her spectacular 10 night voyage, from Rome return departing 31 August next year via Sicily, Valletta, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens (Piraeus) and Naples. And for all new bookings, Celebrity Cruises have included value-add bonuses* of either a free classic beverage package for two guests including selected spirits, cocktails, wine, beer and soft drinks, shipboard credit of US$150 per person, or unlimited internet access on board. Also included is an exquisite fourteen night ‘Italian Alternativo’ tour from Venice (Mira) to Rome, includes all excursions, first class air-conditioned coach touring; specially selected luxury accommodation; 26 meals; local guides; personal audio system and a hand selected Albatross experience.

FARES GUIDE Cruiseco’s 26 night fly, cruise and stay package prices now start from just $11,750 per person in an Interior stateroom, and from $12,440 per person in an Oceanview stateroom. Also includes Economy Class international airfare from Australia to Venice and return from Rome; 2 night pre-cruise stay at Starhotel Metropole Rome with breakfast; 10 night voyage aboard Reflection

from Rome (Civitavecchia) return; private transfers in Italy; port charges; government fees, on board gratuities and air taxes – all included. Deduct $60pp ex Perth Prices are valid until 31 October 2017. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. *Based on double occupancy in an Oceanview stateroom or higher Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.


LAST CHANCE TO BOOK 2017 MUSIC CRUISES

Two exhilarating 7 night South Pacific escapes aboard Radiance of the Seas from Sydney roundtrip

BRAVO! A Cruise of the Performing Arts – Save $1,000 per person Departs 31 October 2017, featuring no less than 30 acts and artists including international acclaimed Spanish tenor, José Carreras in one of his final performances, will bring home magical memories. Cruise fares start from $1,810^ per person.

CRUISE N GROOVE – special Rates until sold out With an even bigger act to their nostalgic bill with KC & The Sunshine Band, Paul Young, Boney M, Australian music icon Marcia Hines, Paul Young, Cutting Crew and Go West – on a mesmerizing retro 70’s, 80’s and 90’s music festival at sea, for seven nights aboard Radiance of the Seas. Departs 23 October from Sydney return via Isle of Pines, Mystery Island and Noumea, with fares starting from $1,300^ per person. Valid for new bookings only. ^Fares are per person, twin share in Australian dollars including Earlybird discounts. Fare include all meals (excluding specialty restaurants), entertainment and on board gratuities, port charges and government fees. Subject to change, due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency.

AUTHENTIC ASIA MYANMAR CRUISECO EXPLORER

Cruiseco’s unforgettable fourteen night cruise, between Mandalay and Prome, through a once ‘forbidden land’, aboard the 56 guest custom-built Cruiseco Explorer, offers the ultimate elegance and unobstructed views of the beautiful Myanmar. Her on-board comforts such as a sundeck, bar, restaurant and lounge; provide the ideal balance of spell-binding sightseeing and rejuvenating relaxation. Limited cabins will sell quickly on these stunning 11 night fly, cruise and stay holidays

FARES GUIDE 11 night fly, cruise and stay holidays now start from $5,299* per person. Includes return Economy Class airfare from Australia; two night pre/post cruise stay at the five star Sule Shangri-La Hotel in Yangon; two night pre/post cruise stay at the Mandalay Hill Resort in Mandalay; seven night luxury river cruise starting in Prome (upstream) or Mandalay (downstream); on board main meals including house wine with lunch and dinner; local beers; soft drinks; extensive sightseeing and transfers; breakfast daily, lunch and dinner as specified in the itinerary; on board gratuities, port charges, government fees and air taxes.

Ask us for current pricing on select 2017-2018 departures. *Includes $500 per person Early Booking Discount. Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.

RETURN AIRFARE, SHANGHAI TO SINGAPORE VOYAGE; HOTEL STAYS AND TRANSFERS 18 NIGHTS FROM JUST $233 PER PERSON, PER DAY Step aboard Princess Cruise’s dazzling new 3,560-guest Majestic Princess, and experience a bounty of diverse cultures, mesmerising cities and spectacular scenery, on an unforgettable voyage departing 25 February next year, from Shanghai to Singapore. Singapore voyage; two night post cruise stay at the Swissotel Cruiseco’s 18 night fly, cruise and Merchant Court Singapore, port stay holiday, is now starting in an charges, government fees and air Interior stateroom from just $4,195 taxes. per person and from $4,995 per For additional time, extend your person in an Oceanview with stay in Shanghai or Singapore Balcony stateroom. ask for details Includes return Economy Class Subject to changes due to fluctuations in international airfare, private car charges, taxes and currency. transfers from airport to hotel and Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars. port in Shanghai and Singapore; two night pre cruise stay with breakfast at the landmark Radisson Blu Shanghai New World Hotel offering unparalleled views, 14 night Shanghai to

FARES GUIDE

FLY FREE TO JOIN 31 NIGHT CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF BRITAIN AND ICELAND Cruise for a month from London (Tilbury) roundtrip departing 5 July next year on board Voyages to Antiquity’s Aegean Odyssey. This extraordinary 31 night voyage combines her maiden circumnavigation of the British Isles, Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital of Reykjavik, the Arctic Circle, remote Viking settlements and the Neolithic mysteries of the Orkney Isles. Explore the spectacular landscapes of England and Wales, and across to Dublin, Scotland, Inveraray Castle and the holy island of Lindisfarne. Book early and enjoy a special bonus Fly Free offer from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth, when booking a Premium Oceanview stateroom.

FARES GUIDE Cruiseco’s outstanding-value luxury holiday with bonus Fly Free offer from Australia and air taxes in a premium Oceanview stateroom, now starts from $17,450 per person. All voyages aboard Aegean Odyssey include selected guided shore excursions in every port of call; expert lecture program; complimentary local wines, beer and soft drinks with dinner on board; complimentary transfers on dates of the cruise tour; plus all

the premium comforts of a small ship amid elegant surroundings, port charges, on board gratuities, government fees and air taxes Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.


COMBINATION 29 NIGHT SIX STAR CRYSTAL VOYAGE The Far East combined with Crystal luxury beckons indulgence on Cruiseco’s 29 night voyage aboard Crystal Serenity from Singapore to Dubai via Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE on 28 March next year.

Cruise highlights include an overnight on board ship in Singapore, Phuket, Colombo, Cochin, Muscat and Abu Dhabi plus extended time to explore Mumbai and the endless charm and hidden treasures of Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) with a two night stay on board ship.

And for all new bookings made by 31 October 2017, guests will receive an exclusive US$200 on board credit per stateroom.

FARES GUIDE Cruiseco’s outstanding value is offered from the moment guests depart Australia with included return Economy Class airfare* to Singapore, returning from Dubai; one night pre-cruise stay at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, including breakfast; 29 night combination voyage from Singapore to Dubai aboard Crystal Serenity; 2 night post-cruise stay in Dubai at Burj Al Arab including breakfast; private transfers in Singapore & Dubai between airport, hotel & port; port charges, government fees, air taxes and on board gratuities

This extraordinary package now starts from $21,860 per person in a Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah, inclusive of Crystal’s included select fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and all non alcoholic beverages; delectable gourmet dining and 24 hour room service. *Ex Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.

21 NIGHT ITALY, CROATIA AND GREEK ISLANDS COMBINATION VOYAGE Unpack once on this superb three week combination voyage from Rome (Civitavecchia) Return departing 9 September next year, aboard Norwegian Spirit. Explore the legacy of Rome and enchanting Venice, taking in the natural beauty and historical gems of Croatia’s spectacular Adriatic Coast; to the Greek Island’s sun-bleached ruins and perhaps a visit to Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna.

FARES GUIDE This enticing European sojourn with Cruiseco also includes return Economy Class international airfare from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth; two night pre cruise stay at the Starhotel Metropole Rome with breakfast and 21 night Norwegian Spirit voyage sailing Rome (Civitavecchia) return Cruiseco’s value-packed holiday now starts from $6,320 per person, in an Interior stateroom. Gratuities on board ship; port and government fees and air taxes are also included.

ICELAND AND GREENLAND TRANSATLANTIC Imagine sailing across the Atlantic in the frothy wake of legendary explorers, exploring the familiar charms of the Old World and the delights of the New. Known for its casual elegance and extensive collection of art, the recently renovated five star 1,964 guest Zuiderdam, will depart Copenhagen on 24 August next year, on a remarkable 20 night Viking Passage cruise to New York. She will visit via a host of stunning ports in Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada and extended time in Iceland’s colourful capital of Reykjavik. And for all new bookings made with Cruiseco, guests will receive a wine navigator package plus Bon Voyage bottle of sparkling wine.

Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.

FARES GUIDE Including Earlybird airfare savings and cruise savings of up $1,000 per couple on Cruiseco’s 23 night fly, cruise and stay holiday, prices now start from $8,495 per person in an interior stateroom and from $10,325 per person in a Balcony stateroom Return Economy Class international airfare from mainland capitals, one night pre cruise stay at the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen with breakfast; 20 night voyage from Copenhagen to New York; 2 night post cruise stay at Martinique on Broadway with breakfast, port charges, government fees and air taxes – are all included. Subject to changes due to fluctuations in charges, taxes and currency. Prices are per person, twin share in Australian dollars.


Mid Ship | FROM THE BRIDGE

THE SKY’S

THE LIMIT

The Nordic style and design of Viking Cruises’ newest ship Viking Sky make it a perfect match for the cultural delights and dramatic fjord scenery of a Norwegian cruise. WORDS: BRIAN JOHNSTON

SPRING 2017 19


FROM THE BRIDGE | Mid Ship

This is a beautiful ship, but Viking Cruises sensibly realises it’s destinations that count too.

Viking Sky’s Aquavit Terrace Bar is outfitted in typical Scandinavian style

When Viking Sky was christened in June, its Norwegian owners chose Tromsø for the ceremony. The city in Norway’s far north sits 400 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle, gazes on a snow-capped mountain range and has long looked to the fjords for trade and fishing. This is a city made for celebration too, with 9,000 university students and a sun that glimmers long into its summer nights. In this former land of Vikings, it was an inspired port of choice to launch Viking Cruises’ latest ship. Viking Sky is sister ship to Viking Sea and Viking Star and carries 930 guests. Although Viking Sky avoids making bold claims about luxury, she outdoes some luxury ships in providing uncrowded public areas, stylish decor and all-inclusive fares that cover all restaurants, wine with meals, Wi-Fi access and room service. A shore excursion is included in each port, plus an add-on choice of others. You won’t find the glitz and loud action of megaships on Viking Sky. Rather, you’re invited to relax in the three-storey lounge, with its

bookcases, games tables and occasional live music, or curl up on a sofa in the Explorer’s Lounge with a post-dinner drink and a view of Norway’s mountains. All staterooms feature king-size beds (or twins), private verandahs and a sitting area, along with agreeable luxuries in bathrooms, such as heated floors, gushing showers and anti-mist mirrors. As everywhere on the ship, the design is pared-back, no-fuss Scandinavian in muted colours, emphasising light and natural materials such as birch wood, slate and leather. Public spaces have their moments of extravagance, such as Mario Bellini and Frank Gehry chairs, or the eye-catching infinity pool cantilevered off the stern. This is a beautiful ship, but Viking Cruises sensibly realises it’s destinations that count too. It focuses on day-long stays in port and occasional overnights, and emphasises learning and local culture. Expect regional music and cuisine, and enrichment lectures from experts while on board.

All staterooms feature private verandahs

Onboard art catches the eye

20 SPRING 2017

Guests are mostly on the young side of retired, well-educated and curious about the places they visit. One of Viking Sky’s key cruises is the 14-night Into the Midnight Sun itinerary between London and Bergen by way of the remote Orkney and Shetland islands in Scotland and a bedazzlement of fjords. Your first encounter with Norway could hardly be better: the Lofoten Islands provide some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes. Sheer mountain peaks rise from the sea, cupping verdant farmland that once sheltered the Vikings. The brightly painted houses of cod fishermen overlook windswept beaches under a vast, pale-blue sky scudded with clouds. The colours of Lofoten’s bays are disconcertingly tropical in their intensity. Sailing into ports of call at Tromsø and Molde also provides panoramas of snow-capped peaks, pine-topped islands and shimmering sea. The landscape’s colours seem to have inspired Viking Sky’s light-flooded interior decoration. Sit up on the World Café’s open deck—where chefs might be barbecuing fresh Norwegian salmon—and take in the spectacular whiteand-blue scenery of passing fjords. The World Café is the ship’s buffet dining venue, where chefs produce fresh, quality food in small batches. The locally sourced seafood and fish is especially good, and the sushi and sashimi station a hit. Main alternative The Restaurant offers multi-course meals and regional food tastings, while the Pool Grill and Mamsen’s—which has light, >


ALL

EXCLUSIVE H E L P S Y O U P L A N T H E P E R F E C T G E T A W AY.

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INTRODUCING THE NEW CRYSTAL CRUISES, WHERE ALL INCLUSIVE IS ALL EXCLUSIVE. Join us aboard the illustrious Crystal Symphony® and Crystal Serenity® and discover how The World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line has taken ocean travel to entirely new levels. With a revolutionary collection of uncommon travel experiences that go far beyond all-inclusive luxury, Crystal’s elegant journeys are defined by stunningly stylish ships, epic land adventures and a level of six-star service simply unrivalled in luxury travel today. Sail the seas of Europe, Alaska, The Pacific and The Americas with 7 to 24 day combinable voyages from US$3,711 per person*.

TAKEN CARE OF Acclaimed dining† in up to seven dining venues Unlimited select fine wines, champagne and spirits Gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff Unlimited WiFi

Welcome to the new Crystal®, where all inclusive is All Exclusive.

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TERMS & CONDITIONS: *Book Now Fares are cruise-only, per person, in U.S. dollars, based on double occupancy, apply to new bookings only, and include taxes, fees and port charges. Fare quoted applies to category B2 on voyage 8319. Solo Traveller Fares available on request. †Crystal Cruises offers each guest the opportunity to dine at least once on a complimentary basis in Prego and at least once in Silk Road or the Sushi Bar (Sushi Bar is not available for pre-reservation via PCPC and is available on a first-come, first-served basis). Additional reservations including “walk-in” visits are subject to a US$30 per person fee, subject to availability. Optional dining in the Vintage Room attracts an additional fee. Cruise-only fare does not include land programs. All offers may not be combinable with other promotions, apply to first two full-fare guests in stateroom or suite, are capacity-controlled, subject to availability and may be withdrawn or changed at any time without notice. All fares, itineraries, programs, policies and shore excursions are subject to change and correct at time of printing. Restrictions apply. For complete Terms & Conditions, visit crystalcruises.com/legal. ©2017 Crystal Cruises, LLC. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas.


FROM THE BRIDGE | Mid Ship

Wallow in the LivNordic Spa, which has a warm-water pool, hot tub and ceramic loungers. The bold can also hop into the snow grotto, where snowflakes fall.

CRUISE ITINERARY Viking Ocean Cruises’ 14-night Into The Midnight Sun cruise from London to Bergen on Viking Sky departs July 7, 2018. Ports of call include Greenwich, Edinburgh, Newhaven Harbour, Orkney, Kirkwall, Shetland Islands, Lerwick, Lofoten, Honningsvåg, Tromsø, Kristiansand and Geiranger. Fares in a Verandah stateroom start from AU$10,850 per person, twin share.

The Viking Sky experience encourages interaction

Norwegian-inspired snacks such as split-pea soup or hot waffles with berries—are informal, daytime alternatives. Viking Sky also has two inclusive specialtydining venues: The Chef’s Table for five-course set menus matched with wines, and Manfredi’s for Italian fare such as pastas and a spectacular Florentine steak that scarcely leaves room for the lip-smacking tiramisu. With three days at sea on a Midnight Sun cruise you’ll have the downtime to relax over meals and partake of afternoon tea in the Wintergarden, a lovely, sunny glassed-in area near the swimming pool. It’s also a good time to wallow in the LivNordic Spa, which has a warm-water pool, hot tub and ceramic 22 SPRING 2017

loungers. The bold can also hop into the snow grotto, where snowflakes fall and the skin tingles. Your final destination is Bergen in southern Norway. The ship meanders up its islandscattered fjord, providing another pleasing panorama through the vast windows of the cosy Explorer Lounge. The elegant port city is Norway’s former medieval capital and cultural heart as the birthplace of romantic composer Edvard Grieg, whose house is visited on an optional shore excursion. The dock is a 10-minute stroll from Bryggen Wharf, lined by cheerfully gabled houses and lively bars: a fitting place to celebrate the end of a delightful Norwegian cruise. n

FACT FILE Cruise line: Viking Ocean Cruises Vessel: Viking Sky Maximum guest capacity: 930 GRT: 47,800 tons Entered service: 2017 Facilities: Five accommodation categories, all with verandahs; spa with beauty salon, workout centre, saltwater thermal pool, sauna and plunge bath; restaurants on three decks; and The Theatre, featuring live performances and two movie cinemas.


YOUR 2018 EUROPE DREAMS ARE

READY TO TAKE FLIGHT FREE

ECONOMY CLASS AIR ROUNDTRIP

UPGRADE ASK ABOUT OUR BUSINESS CLASS AIR OFFER ON SELECT 2018 EUROPE SAILINGS

Intimate Ships s Ocean-view Suites s Butler Service s Complimentary Beverages s Menu by Relais & Châteaux s Included Gratuities First Class Air Offer available, for more information or to book contact us today Terms & Conditions apply, visit Silversea.com

BEST DOMESTIC TOUR OPERATOR

2012-2016

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2015-2017

Secluded gorges, tumbling falls and towering rock faces – embark on a fullyinclusive Kimberley Coast Expedition Cruise with APT. With over 40 years of touring in the Kimberley, more people choose APT than any other premium tour operator.

Kimberley Coast Cruise 10 MS Caledonian Sky

To discover more of the Kimberley, go off road

Jar Island Vansittart Bay Bigge Island Naturalist Island Koolama Bay Prince Frederick Harbour Mitchell Falls King George Careening Bay Falls Montgomery Reef Adele Island Buccaneer Doubtful Bay Archipelago Raft Point Talbot Horizontal Falls Bay

BROOME GKCS11R

WA

DARWIN

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New departure added – 16 September 2018

COMPANION FLY FREE* 11 days from $12,295* pp twin share

10 night expedition cruise aboard the boutique, APT-owned MS Caledonian Sky • 10-member Expedition Team • High-powered boat ride through Horizontal Falls • All meals and a range of complimentary beverages on board

*Conditions apply. SEE: kimberleywilderness.com.au/Specials for full conditions. Prices are per person (pp), AUD, twin share and include port charges. Prices are correct as at 21 August 2017. Price based on GKCS11R: 16 September 2018 (Standard Suite – Castle Deck). ALL OFFERS: Limited suites and offers on set departures are available and are subject to availability. DEPOSITS: A non-refundable deposit of $2,000 pp is due within 7 days of booking. Mitchell Falls scenic flight shown in red on map is optional and available at an additional expense. Australian Pacific Touring Pty Ltd. ABN 44 004 684 619. ATAS accreditation #A10825. APT6048


OrientCALLS Asia is now the fastest-growing cruise region in the world, which is great news for cruise-hungry Australians looking for new experiences. WORDS: RODERICK EIME

T

he mystique of ‘the Orient’ has bewitched seafarers for centuries. The ancient, exotic cultures, tastes, smells and spirituality has enticed Western adventurers since the time of Magellan and Da Gama, and the landscape and people have inspired poets and storytellers from Rudyard Kipling to George Orwell. Intoxicating and mesmerising, it’s no wonder that the world’s premier cruise lines are being drawn into the region’s balmy embrace. Since 2013, the number of Asian port calls has doubled, demonstrating both guest and cruise line desires, and world-class infrastructure is being built to accommodate the growing demand. In the last few years alone, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai have introduced space-age terminals exclusively for cruising as they battle it out for the lion’s share of the cruise ship visits. Other top-ranking ports in Asia include Jeju Island and Busan in South Korea, Taipei in Taiwan, Da Nang in Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. This virtual explosion of cruise tourism throughout Asia, driven in part by the growing financial freedom of the Chinese, has created a whole new world of possibilities for Australians looking beyond the commonplace South Pacific and Mediterranean offerings. Spurred on by this new interest, 60 ships from 31 cruise lines, such as Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean are just some of the heavy-hitters sending their ships down our way to connect us with Asia. What’s more, Asia’s regional cruise lines—many of which began as floating casinos overnighting at sea—are now cruising more 24 SPRING 2017

Experience a traditional tea ceremony in Japan

Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki offer culture and reflection, while Osaka is considered a culinary, shopping and entertainment capital. conventional itineraries with shore excursions conducted to familiar formats. Hong Kong’s Star Cruises is a good example of this. As a destination, Japan has always led the region in terms of port calls; Fukuoka (aka Hakata) is the most popular, closely followed by Naha, Okinawa.

Most port calls in Japan are by ships making ‘transit calls’ as part of an existing itinerary rather than start or finish ports, which means that the ships are coming and going regularly, moving from port to port around the many scenic locations of Japan. Of all the countries in Asia, Japan presents arguably the widest choice for shore excursions, and with good reason. As anyone who has been to Japan will tell you, it is among the safest countries in the world to travel. Public transport and civic infrastructure work with meticulous precision, the streets are immaculately clean and petty crime is almost unheard of. For the first-time visitor, any port or city in Japan is a dazzling experience. Despite their tragic 20th-century histories, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki offer culture and reflection, while Osaka is considered a culinary, shopping and entertainment capital, and it is the gateway to the UNESCO-listed city of Kyoto, mercifully spared destruction during World War II. Fukuoka is Japan’s busiest cruise port with sights such as Fukuoka Tower and scenic Ohori Park as well as the Tenmangu Shrines. Kobe, another historic international city, has a superb maritime museum right on the wharf. Apart from Japan, it seems that both local and international cruisers have their hearts set on China, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia in the main, while lesser ports such as Yangon, Colombo and Phuket are gaining popularity, especially with small and mid-size cruise ships. Given that the majority of the current cruise itineraries in Asia are 7-day ‘snapshots’, the opportunity to join a comprehensive, 19-night cruise in and out of Tokyo on Princess Cruises’ > Diamond Princess is one to shortlist.


Cruise Region Focus | FROM THE BRIDGE

Cherry blossom season is magical SPRING 2017 25


FROM THE BRIDGE | Cruise Region Focus Nebuta festival lanterns light up Aomori

Busan’s beautiful Haedong Yonggungsa temple

Diamond Princess cruises Japan

Experience the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing in Tokyo

Since 2013, the number of Asian port calls has doubled, demonstrating both guest and cruise line desires. On this itinerary, Diamond Princess circles around Japan, doubling back on interesting ports like Aomori and Tokyo, and swings west to visit Vladivostock in Russia and Busan in South Korea. This time of year Aomori’s iconic Nebuta festival will be in full swing and giant washi paper lanterns, often created in the shape of mythological figures, will parade the streets each evening. Purchase a traditional dancing costume from one of the local shops to join in the festivities! After cruising onwards to Tokyo and Akita, Diamond Princess returns to Aomori for the final day of the festival, when a two-hour-long fireworks display lights up the waterfront. 26 SPRING 2017

In Sakaiminato, make your way to the observation room at the top of Yumeminato Tower for magnificent 360-degree views. Seafood lovers will enjoy a walk through nearby Sakaiminato Fish Centre, renowned for its large hauls of crab and maguro tuna. Back in Tokyo, it’s a thrill to go shopping in one of the distinctly themed neighbourhoods, like Akihabara where you can indulge your inner geek with gadgets, manga and J-Pop culture. This 19-night exploration of Japanese culture and folklore, with side serves of Russia and South Korea, is a standout itinerary in every sense. But it’s just one of many excellent cruises on offer in Asia today. There’s sure to be many more to come. n

CRUISE ITINERARY Get a taste of Japan on Princess Cruises’ 19-night Grand Japan with Nebuta & Summer Festivals return cruise on Diamond Princess, departing Tokyo on July 27, 2018. Ports of call include Hakodate, Vladivostok (Russia), Aomori, Akita, Sakaiminato, Busan (South Korea), Kochi and Tokushima. Cruiseco’s package fares start from AU$5,690* per person, twin share and include return International Economy Class airfare from Australia to Tokyo; a 2-night pre-cruise stay at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo, including breakfast; and port charges, fees and taxes. * Subject to availability at time of booking. Book with a Cruiseco travel agent by November 30, 2017 to receive an exclusive US$300 bonus onboard credit pe


Stockholm, Sweden

50 NIGHT VOYAGE

DEPARTS 05 JUN 2018

CRUISING SEA PRINCESS® FROM SYDNEY TO SOUTHAMPTON 52 night fly, cruise and stay holiday includes: ► Sea Princess® 50 night World Cruise shorter voyage from Sydney to London (Southampton) ► Private car transfer from Southampton pier to London hotel

FLY, CRUISE AND STAY EUROPE & USA

► 2 night post-cruise stay at the Park Plaza London Waterloo, including breakfast

London

ENGLAND

(Southampton)

Barcelona

Ravenna

Venice

ITALY SPAIN

CROATIA MONTENEGRO

Cephalonia (Argostoli)

PORTUGAL

GREECE

Lisbon

Corfu Salerno SICILY JORDAN Messina Canal Suez OMAN Corfu Aqaba

Atlantic Ocean

Dubrovnik Kotor

for Petra

Equator

Dubai

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES SRI LANKA

Muscat

Columbo Singapore

(Mina Qaboos)

► Private car transfer from London hotel to Heathrow airport

Pacific Ocean

Komodo Island

► One way Economy Class international airfare from London to Australia

South Atlantic Ocean

FLY, CRUISE AND STAY FROM PER PERSON TWIN SHARE $14,510

Brisbane

Indian Ocean

AUSTRALIA

Sydney

BONUS onboard credit: $85 per stateroom^

36 NIGHT VOYAGE

DEPARTS 14 AUG 2018 International Date Line

38 night fly, cruise and stay holiday includes: ► One way Economy Class international airfare from Australia to New York ► 2 night pre-cruise stay at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway, New York, including breakfast

Charleston

Pacific Ocean

Pitcairn Island

COSTA RICA

Scenic cruising

Equator

Limón Quito

FLY, CRUISE AND STAY FROM PER PERSON TWIN SHARE $11,962

BONUS onboard credit: $85 per stateroom^

Raiatea

AUSTRALIA

Sydney

Papeete Auckland

Atlantic Ocean

Key West

Sea Princess (Manta) NEW TAHITI ZEALAND Segment (SYD-SOU) 018_R2_NL

► Sea Princess® 36 night World Cruise shorter voyage from 50 Day New York to Sydney

New York

UNITED STATES

CRUISING SEA PRINCESS® FROM NEW YORK TO SYDNEY

FRENCH POLYNESIA

Miami Panama Canal

PANAMA ECUADOR PERU

Lima CHILE

(Callao)

Easter Island

*Pricing specified is per person, in AUD, in complete twin accommodation, based on lead stateroom available at time of publication, inclusive of all discounts, taxes, fees, and port expenses (which are subject to change). Fly, cruise and stay holidays include one way Economy Class international airfare to or from Australian capitals, all meals and entertainment on board, and port charges, government fees and air taxes which are subject to change. ^Onboard credit is per stateroom and applied to the first two passengers in the stateroom. Onboard credit is non-transferable, not redeemable for cash and cannot be used at the medical centre or casino. Princess Cruises has set aside a reasonable number of staterooms which are available at these fares. Once these staterooms are sold, fares may revert to a higher fare, but may also be discounted. Valid for new bookings and not combinable with any other offer. Subject to availability. Whilst all information is correct at time of publication, offers are subject to change or withdrawal. Guests will be bound by the PR23.7 Booking and Passage Conditions available at princess.com/legal/passagecontract.


A MOST UNCOMMON

ADVENTURE

With one of the biggest small ship fleets in the business, UnCruise Adventures offers the perfect antidote to crowds and queues—as well as amazing destinations. WORDS: RODERICK EIME

T

he peculiar company name of UnCruise Adventures came about when owner and founder of the small ship cruise line, Dan Blanchard, wanted to express a way to separate his particular philosophy of cruising from the vast fleet of massive liners crowding the waterways around his primary area of operation, Alaska. The purpose is, as he puts it, “to break away from the masses ... to engage, connect, and explore unique places, oneself, and with others on a most uncommon adventure.” Positioning himself and his company as something of a maverick, Blanchard has, like so many others, nevertheless followed the lead of industry veterans like Lindblad with

28 SPRING 2017

small ship, inspirational voyages in regions like Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Sea of Cortés, Central America and Hawaii. With a heritage reaching back to 1996 under the name of American Safari Cruises, then InnerSea Discoveries and finally UnCruise, the small ship line has gradually expanded its fleet to eight vessels, many picked in the closure of Cruise West in 2010. Guest numbers range from 22 (Safari Quest) to 88 (SS Legacy) across the fleet with all vessels offering inclusive alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, meals and excursions. Most ships also offer massage and wellness services, fitness equipment and watersport kit like paddleboards, snorkels and kayaks.

One of the standout ships is certainly the SS Legacy, built as a replica of a century-old coastal and river steamship reminiscent of the pioneering era. You could easily imagine James Garner in a big Stetson playing cards and smoking a cigar at any of the tables in the dining room or lounge, typified by ornate wood panelling and period furnishings. The universal theme on board all UnCruise ships is a convivial, relaxed atmosphere with personalised and attentive crew. Forget formalities and kick back in comfy clothes suitable to the conditions. You’ll quickly find all guests are onboard for the same purpose, namely to learn and discover all about the marvellous environment in which you’re cruising.


UnCruise Adventures cruise in tune with the environment

Small Ship | FROM THE BRIDGE Explore Princess Louisa Inlet by kayak

The universal theme on board all UnCruise ships is a convivial, relaxed atmosphere with personalised and attentive crew.

FACT FILE Enjoy meals with a view on Safari Quest

Whether it’s the ancient Polynesian culture of Hawaii, the primary rainforest of Costa Rica or the incredible grey whales of Baja California, these astonishing discoveries will enrich and uplift everyone onboard.

British Columbia’s Yachters’ Paradise, Seattle return cruise Compared to a cruise onboard one of the big ships, the compact Safari Quest is like being on a week-long shore excursion in your own private superyacht with close friends or family. On UnCruise Adventure’s 7-night British Columbia’s Yachters’ Paradise return cruise from Seattle, Washington a maximum of 22 guests will selfishly explore the tiny alcoves

and waterways of British Columbia and the Strait of Georgia, investigating Princess Louisa Inlet by kayak and hiking to scenic Chatterbox Falls, all the while keeping an eye out for orcas, eagles and the rare Dall’s porpoise. Renovated in 2013, Safari Quest is crewed by nine staff dedicated to your enjoyment on board and of the abundant scenic and natural wonders in this special region of the Pacific Northwest. are outfitted with heated bathroom tile floors, private bath with shower, air conditioning, memory foam mattresses, flat-screen TV/DVD and iPod docking station for your own tunes. Safari Quest is a great example of a small ship delivering a big experience. n

Cruise line: UnCruise Adventures Vessel: Safari Quest Maximum guest capacity: 22 Crew: 9 Entered service: 1992; renovated in 2013 Facilities: Four decks offer a salon, bar, library and sun lounge with hot tub and fitness equipment. Yacht is equipped with kayaks, paddle boards, skiffs, hiking poles and hydrophones for listening to below-surface sounds. All cabins are outfitted with heated bathroom tile floors, private bath with shower, air conditioning, Tempur-Pedic® memory foam mattresses, flat-screen TV/DVD and iPod docking station.

SPRING 2017 29


VENICE •

PORTOFINO PORTOFERRAIO (ELBA)

MONTE CARLO ANTIBES

SPLIT

VENICE • • KOPER HVAR • • KOTOR

ROME • (CIVITAVECCHIA)

• TOULON••• • BARCELONA• •

SORRENTO/ CAPRI

AMALFI/ POSITANO

• DUBROVNIK • TIRANA (DURRËS) • CORFU

TAORMINA• (SICILY)

REIMAGINE your next holiday 10 Nights New Zealand Journey

6 Nights Tasmanian Adventure

10 Nights South Pacific Getaway

7 Nights Tasmanian Explorer

Dep 7 Dec 2017

Dep 9 Dec 2017

Dep 13 Jan 2018

Dep 12 Mar 2018 VA N U AT U

AUSTR ALIA

Vila

NEW ZEALAND

Sydney

Wellington Napier

Sydney

Picton Milford, Doubtful, Dusky Sound

Ovation of the Seas

Mystery Island

AUSTR ALIA

Noumea AUSTR ALIA

Melbourne

L O YA LT Y ISLANDS

BOOK NOW

Voyager of the Seas

BEST

Explorer of the Seas

BEST

CRUISE LINE FOR ENTERTAINMENT

CRUISE LINE 2017

Editors’ Picks Cruise Critic Australia

DEPLOYMENT AFTA National Travel Industry Awards

2016

Melbourne

Hobart

Hobart

Explorer of the Seas

Sydney

Wollongong

Maré

NEW CALEDONIA

Sydney

Dunedin

AUSTR ALIA

INTERNATIONAL

Exact itineraries are subject to change at any time. Awarded Best Cruise Operator - Domestic Deployment and International Deployment at the 2017 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards. Awarded Best Cruise Line for Entertainment at the 2016 Cruise Critic Australia Editors’ Pick Awards.


Passenger Review | FROM THE BRIDGE

INDULGENT, EXCITING & MEMOR ABLE Cruiseco’s Carolyn Mackley indulged on a 5-night cruise on Silversea’s Silver Discoverer. Why did you choose Silver Discoverer?

Silver Discoverer had just received a multimillion US-dollar refurbishment and I was lucky enough to be invited on one of the first sailings Silver Discoverer had after her rejuvenation. What were your first impressions?

“Oh, she’s lovely!” were my first words when I saw Silver Discoverer docked in a tiny, in-the-middle-of-nowhere port in Phuket. With her navy blue hull and crisp white exterior it was like we were embarking on our own private yacht! I had read to expect white-gloved service and a flute of champagne upon arrival, and from the moment we were on board she did not disappoint! What are the ship’s standout features?

Silver Discoverer is limited to 120 guests, has all ocean-view suites and plenty of deck space to wander around. It has a lovely pool deck with plenty of seating, a small gym and a day spa next door; the perfect set-up if you wish to do some exercise in the morning and follow up with a massage in the afternoon. There’s also a fleet of 12 Zodiacs which are multipurpose, from unique all-day shore excursions to popping out to a nearby coral reef for some snorkelling! Tell us about your cabin and its features.

We had a View Suite which was approximately 180 square feet in size with a large picture

window. The suite was tastefully decorated, with ample room for storage, a spacious sitting area, flat-screen TV and Bulgari bathroom amenities, as well as the mandatory safe and minibar. All guests received an expedition backpack and drink bottle to keep post cruise (nice touch!) as well as slippers and a bathrobe for use throughout the voyage. What are the dining options on board?

There was a choice of three dining options. The Grill is located by the pool and is open for breakfast and lunch serving burgers, hot dogs, salads and seafood. At night the venue changes to a ‘hot rock’ dining experience where steak and seafood are cooked tableside on a volcanic plate. Lots of fun! Definitely our favourite venue.

The Restaurant is the main dining room. It’s casual, buffet-style for breakfast and lunch, however dinner is a more sophisticated affair with a mix of local and international dishes. Room service is also available. The menu is similar to The Grill and The Restaurant. Meals are brought to your suite by your butler, who takes pride in presenting your order as if you’re sitting in a five-star restaurant. It makes for a really lovely in-suite dining experience. There is also a day lounge where self-service tea and coffee are available, and afternoon tea is served. How would you describe the service?

Immaculate. If I could have packed our butler in my suitcase I would have! The crew on Silver Discoverer offer a very personalised > SPRING 2017 31


The pool deck is the perfect place to relax

FROM THE BRIDGE | Passenger Review

Silver Discoverer is the ultimate expedition ship

Enjoy spectacular sunsets and experiences

The service on board is immaculate

• In-suite dining/room service: available from six in the morning till 11 o’clock at night. • Enrichment lectures by the highly qualified Expeditions Team. • Guided zodiac, land and sea tours, and shore-side activities led by the Expeditions Team. • Gratuities. Who does this type of cruise appeal to?

service. There’s butler service in every suite— always someone on hand to answer questions, open a door, pull out a chair. From remembering the wine we’d enjoyed the night before to leading us to our favourite spot on the pool deck each afternoon, these were the little things that made the service on board truly memorable. What entertainment did you enjoy on board?

The Explorer Lounge plays host to all the shore excursion briefings and educational lectures, and also provides a space for light entertainment at night with a bar, piano player and singer. What was your favourite public area?

The pool deck was definitely our favourite public area on the ship. It was the perfect spot to retire to after a full day of adventure. There’s a little bar you can sit by, as well as table service. It’s great for a casual lunch and a swim, then transforms into a chic night spot to enjoy a cocktail and a yummy dinner. Tell us about your cruise itinerary and shore excursions.

We cruised for six days from Phuket, Thailand to Yangon, Myanmar. Ports of call included Port Blair, Ross Island and South Cinque Island in the Andaman Islands, India. Yangon was my favourite. The city is so vibrant; amazing gilded pagodas, street food that would excite even the most avid foodie. I loved wandering around the markets—the local artists are so talented. Shore excursions were included in each port of call, and were hosted by local guides and 32 SPRING 2017

chaperoned by Silversea Expedition Leaders, which was a very nice touch. We were off exploring every day! I really enjoyed a day of Zodiac rides, guided nature walks and snorkelling on the coral reef just offshore of the remote and uninhabited South Cinque Island. My favourite day was spent visiting Port Blair and Ross Island. Port Blair is a small island town and the capital of the Andaman Islands. The tour consisted of multiple museum tours, which may not excite all travellers but we had a great tour guide who was passionate and well-educated on the region and the history of Port Blair. The afternoon/evening tour of Ross Island was an absolute highlight. We caught the local ferry across the bay and were warmly greeted by a herd of highly inquisitive wild deer and local guides from Port Blair. We wandered through the ruins, which are overrun with vines and banyan tree roots, before taking in a spectacular light and sound show that brought the long-abandoned island back to life by taking guests through the history of the British settlement through to the end of the Second World War. I’m not a history buff but I was completely mesmerised! What was included in the cruise?

• All meals. • Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship: select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees and soft drinks, plus your own tailored minibar which we actually didn’t make use of!

Those wanting soft adventure and enrichment. Silver Discoverer is an expedition vessel that essentially goes ‘off the beaten track’. Our cruise was perfect for nature enthusiasts and history buffs, but also ideal for those with an interest in photography and local culture. Perhaps those with mobility issues should avoid this type of cruise as, although the vessel has lifts, it can be quite a challenge for less mobile guests to climb in and out of the zodiacs. Is there anything else about the cruise that you would like to share?

I’ve cruised on a variety of cruise ships, from megaships to small yacht-like vessels, but the camaraderie you experience on an expedition cruise is truly unique. I still keep in contact with people we met on board, reminiscing on our adventures together and sharing plans for the next one. n

FACT FILE Cruise line: Silversea Vessel: Silver Discoverer GRT: 5,218 tons Maximum guest capacity: 120 Crew: 96 Entered service: 1989; most recently refurbished in 2016 Facilities: Five guest decks featuring 5 suite options, 2 dining venues, Day Lounge, Explorer Lounge, fitness centre, beauty salon and a fleet of 12 Zodiacs.


World Leader of Luxury Expeditions

TRANSFORM

YOUR WORLD FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GREAT EXPLORERS Experience the Arctic on a PONANT luxury polar expedition. Explore the enchanting Baffin Bay, Spitsbergen and Greenland, wonder at majestic landscapes of jagged mountains, grand fjords, shimmering icebergs and growling glaciers, keeping an eye out for wildlife - orcas, walruses, caribou and polar bears in their natural habitat. Uncover rich histories and cultures, learn about Vikings, whalers, explorers, and interact with the hospitable Aleut or Inuit people. Accompanied by our experienced Expedition team, gain valuable insights and enjoy Zodiac® outings in remote locations. Sailing on board the world’s youngest fleet of ice-rated ecologically responsible small luxury expedition ships, each with just 92 to 132 staterooms & suites, you will enjoy an Open Bar and fine food.

Sales are now open on our 2019 Arctic cruises. Book early to save up to 30%*! THE ICELANDIC LOOP: Departs 29th July, 8th, 15th & 22nd August 2019. 7 nights on board Le Boréal or Le Champlain in Deluxe Stateroom from $5,470 pp* BAFFIN BAY SECRETS: Departs 11th & 15th August 2019. 13 nights on board L’Austral or Le Boréal in Superior Stateroom from $15,610 pp* THE BEST OF SPITSBERGEN: Departs 2nd, 9th June & 2nd July 2019. 7 nights on board L’Austral or Le Boréal in Superior Stateroom from $8,950 pp* * Ponant Bonus subject to change based on availability. Ponant Bonus fare per person in AUD based on a double occupancy including safety & port taxes, yield managed, correct at time of printing. Refer to au.ponant.com for T&Cs. Photographs © PONANT Laurence Fischer, Lorraine Turci, iStock, Eric Laignel. ABN: 35 166 676 517


summer specials MS EUROPA 2 presents

Save up to 30 %. Only until 30 Nov 2017!

Experience the vibe of hip cities. Enjoy life on idyllic white beaches. Feel nature on a raft or zip line. Come aboard and enjoy freedom that takes you places on the EUROPA 2. Plenty of me time and unlimited variety for your personal summer dream in 2018!

Keelung

Hong Kong

Kaohsiung

Manila

Our tip:

Discover cultural highlights and favourite destinations!

Malcapuya Island Bohol

e.g. Hong Kong – Singapore

Kota Kinabalu

8 Apr – 22 Apr 2018, 14 days, cruise EUX1808 Hong Kong/China – Keelung/Taiwan – Kaohsiung/Taiwan – Manila/ Philippines – Malcapuya Island /Calamian Group/Philippines – Tagbilaran/Bohol – Kota Kinabalu/Borneo/Sabah/Malaysia – Muara (Bandar Seri Begawan)/Borneo/Brunei – Singapore/Singapore From

€ 6,990 per person

cruise only, double occupancy, in a guaranteed Veranda or Ocean Suite (category 1 or 2) with a 28 m² living area and 7 m² veranda

Muara Singapore

Profile for Traveloscopy Editor

From The Bridge: Issue 53 Spring 2017  

customer magazine for Cruiseco (www.cruising.com.au)

From The Bridge: Issue 53 Spring 2017  

customer magazine for Cruiseco (www.cruising.com.au)

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