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A P R I L 2020

A love letter to cruise The latest news, comment and analysis amid the coronavirus pandemic – plus a celebration of this wonderful industry

1 edition. £2.3m in revenue A single issue of Explore, a publication created for Advantage Travel Partnership by Waterfront, generated more than 600 bookings*. Find out about creating your own loyalty magazine by emailing






Explore Issue One

December 2016

MARCH 2018



*Source: Travel Weekly, November 2017

Jeannine Williamson joins CroisiEurope in the heart of Prague, before exploring the lesser-known Elbe en route to Berlin PLUS 10 OF THE BEST WILDLIFE CRUISES EXCLUSIVE RITZ-CARLTON INTERVIEW CRUISE & MARITIME VOYAGES IN AMSTERDAM







April 2020 | Forward EDITOR’S LETTER

To rebuild the industry we must celebrate it CRUISE ADVISER

Each month, in this space, we invite you to explore our latest issue, highlighting the merits of the beautiful destination pictured on our cover and the cruise lines that sail there. In recent months we’ve featued destinations as diverse as Antarctica, Mexico and Norway – but this issue, with borders closed, ships drydocked and aircraft grounded, things look a little A love letter different. As we write in our love letter to cruise on p18, to cruise cruise has experienced such growth that its continued rise seemed assured. What has happened instead is unthinkable. With a number of cruise ships caught up in the Covid-19 pandemic, whether through staff and guests catching the virus while on board, or vessels facing logistical nightmares getting guests back on land as ports deny them entry, the industry has become a very visible representation of the pandemic. Rebuilding consumer confidence in our industry is not going to be easy – but together we can do it and make sure cruise returns stronger than ever. To make sure that happens, we need to be shouting from the rooftops about why this is the most fantastic kind of holiday. In this issue, therefore, you’ll find a news section dedicated to stories covering the changing landscape of travel (beginning p5), including a comprehensive list of cancellations and suspensions (p12), but we also want to encourage you to celebrate cruise holidays, which is why we’ve kept many of the original features planned for this edition, from Mekong river cruises to the midnight sun in Norway and Jane Archer’s How to Sell column, this time on luxury travel. It’s a strange time, but it’s also an opportunity to celebrate this wonderful industry, its people and its opportunities. We believe it is crucial during these troubling times to remember what it means to travel and why we do it. We hope you find this issue useful but also uplifting – take care and we will see you all again soon. THE ONLY DESTINATION FOR THOSE SELLING CRUISES

APRIL 2020

APRIL 2020 CA-46

The latest news, comment and analysis amid the coronavirus pandemic – plus a celebration of this wonderful industry

How we are helping you during the pandemic

Across Waterfront Publishing titles, which include cruise adviser, our aim is to report, reassure and rebuild. That is: report news as it happens, reassure the trade, and help to rebuild confidence in the industry. To facilitate that we have:

• • •

Launched a new weekly email for Cruise Adviser, The Cruise Digest, which is out every Wednesday Launched a blog on covering the latest developments Produced a guide to cruise line cancellation policies

We will be inviting industry leaders to share their thoughts on what the future of tourism looks like, to pressure the government to take urgent measures to protect the travel industry, and to educate and reassure agents. As the government now advises those who can to work remotely, we have produced this special digital-only version of the April cruise adviser and will be doing the same for May to ensure it is not landing in empty shops.



CRUISE ADVISER is brought to you by Waterfront Publishing

Publisher Sam Ballard Publisher Anthony Pearce

Senior sales manager Bryan Johnson 020 3865 9338 Sales manager Rory Collins 020 3865 4815 Graphic design Matthew Coles Sub-editor Nathaniel Cramp Waterfront Publishing 12-18 Hoxton Street London N1 6NG 020 3865 9360 Digital CRUISE ADVISER is published 11 times a year by Waterfront (registered no: 08707515). All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

----Waterfront Publishing is an award-winning independent magazine publisher based in central London. It creates print, mobile and online media and provides editorial, design, proofreading and marketing. Trade magazines Waterfront has two in-house magazines: Cruise Adviser, a multi-award winning cruise magazine, and Solus, the only travel trade publication dedicated to solo travel, both of which are aimed at travel agents. Waterfront also produces ABTA Magazine on behalf of ABTA, the Travel Association. The magazine forms the centrepiece of a range of ABTA publications including an ABTA Magazine World Travel Market special edition; a series of ABTA Magazine destination and trend supplements; ABTA Golf and the ABTA Country Guides. In October 2019, ABTA Magazine won Trade Publication of the Year at the Travel Media Awards. Contract publishing Waterfront offers contract publishing services and has produced magazines for Travelzoo; Emerald Waterways, the Cruise Lines International Association, UK and Ireland (Clia); Cruise & Maritime Voyages; The Travel Village, JV Pastor Groupe and Advantage Travel Partnership. The Studio In September 2018, Waterfront launched a new creative agency. The Studio by Waterfront specialises in design solutions across print, web and social media. The Studio offers a tailored approach for all clients, with copywriting, proofreading and design elements available. It has produced advertising for the likes of Saga, the Egyptian Tourism Authority, Royal Caribbean International, Visit Miyagi and Azamara Club Cruises and has provided proofreading services for Reed Smith, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Widgety and AMA Marketing & Media Relations. Trend forecasting In summer 2019, Waterfront Publishing formed a joint venture with Globetrender, a trend forecasting agency dedicated to the future of travel. It specialises in forward-looking, consumerfacing editorial, as well as trend reports, research and consulting services for the travel industry. See

April 2020 | Forward

Contents FORWARD 3

Editor’s letter


News The latest developments in the world of travel as the Covid-19 pandemic causes unprecedented disruption


Q&A: Clia Clia’s Andy Harmer answers some of your pressing questions about the effects of the pandemic on cruise


Picture page Cruise lines such as P&O Cruises and Saga celebrate the NHS and CMV performs a remarkable mid-ocean guest transfer


Comment: Love letter to cruise We’re blessed to work in this industry – and we must celebrate it in order to rebuild it, writes cruise adviser copublisher Anthony Pearce


Interview: Coral Expeditions We talk to Ian Morris, naturalist and expert guest lecturer for Coral Expeditions, about meeting the Aboriginal communities of Australasia

How to Sell: Luxury, p35; below, the everbreathtaking lanscapes of Norway, p28



Temple run Claire Boobbyer sails on the vibrant Vietnamese delta on the brand new vessel Victoria Mekong on a slow journey upstream to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh



White nights James Litston joins Viking in search of the midnight sun on a sailing to the ever-beautiful Norwegian fjords


Directory All the cruise line contact details in one place Email to share your thoughts

How to sell: Luxury Cruise expert Jane Archer shares her tips for selling high-end cruises




Cruise line cancellation policies on p12


Cruise guests still at sea as Ashford asks countries for “grace and compassion” Holland America Line president delivers heartfelt appeal as ports refuse access Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford has accused countries of turning their backs on thousands of people “left floating at sea” after cruise ships were denied access to ports. In a video message, he called for “compassion and grace” after four people died and eight people tested positive for Covid-19 on the Zaandam. As March 30, 76 guests and 117 crew on board have influenza-like illness, while a number of healthy patients had been transferred to Rotterdam. There are believed to be a number of British guests on board both ships. Zaandam and Rotterdam have been granted access to pass through the Panama Canal, but Ashford added: “We need confirmation from a port that is willing to extend the same compassion and grace that Panama did, and allow us to come in so our guests can go straight to the airport for flights home. “We have seen a notable and steady decline in cases of the last 48 hours, which shows the immediate actions

we took have helped contain spread. However, there are also 1,167 healthy guests and 1,130 healthy crew across these two ships,” he added. Both ships are travelling towards Florida, but the state’s governor, the Republican Ron DeSantis, said on Monday that guests cannot be “dumped” in his state, dismissing those on board as mostly “foreigners”. Coral Princess is also heading to Florida after being refused disembarkation in Brazil; Princess Cruises confirmed to cruise adviser that there are 374 British guests on board. In a statement, Princess said: “Despite continued efforts from consulates, Anvisa [the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency] has denied the disembarkation of Coral Princess guests, including those with confirmed outbound flights.” It added: “There remains no known risk of Covid-19 onboard.” Meanwhile, Cruise & Maritime Voyages performed a remarkable mid-ocean transfer between two of its ships, Columbus and Vasco da



Gama, after it was denied access into Thailand. Columbus is now undertaking a 7,842 nautical mile voyage directly back to the UK with 907 guests, including 602 British nationals, and 619 crew members on board. The voyage includes a technical call in Colombo, Sri Lanka then travels via the Suez Canal with a final technical call, before arriving back in Tilbury on April 13. Cuba offered a haven to the Braemar, the Fred Olsen ship, after several other Caribbean countries declined to let it dock. Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, said it wanted to “reinforce healthcare, solidarity and international cooperation”. The communist country, which has recently sent doctors to Italy to help fight the spread of Covid-19, has been accused by some of running a PR exercise, but guests, who have since been flown back to the UK, have expressed their gratitude. Continues p6

April 2020 | Forward

Guests ‘floating at sea’


Continued from p5

Abta criticises lack of government action on travel regulation

“Thanks once more to the people of Cuba for their generosity and humanity,” wrote one guest, Steve Dale, on Twitter. “Hoping to come back here one day when we’ve all forgotten about #Covid19.” “The worst thing has been being in limbo, not knowing what is going to happen next. We have been sailing around in circles for the last week, really,” another guest Clive Whittington told Reuters before disembarkation. “Whether the Cubans took us in to get brownie points or not, we are very grateful.” According to the trade organisation Clia, around five per cent of cruise ships around the world still have passengers on board. Andy Harmer, director of Clia UK & Ireland, said: “A handful of ships are in process of concluding their voyages. Our cruise line members are singularly focused on the health and safety of those on board, including bringing the ships safely back to port as soon as they can to ensure the safe and smooth return of passengers to their homes. “Flight restrictions and port closures have created some logistical challenges. However, the industry and individual member lines are addressing these issues as quickly as they can.” This week, the government announced a £75m airlift operation to rescue hundreds of thousands of British nationals stranded abroad because of the pandemic. The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, announced the government had reached an agreement with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan to help repatriate Britons from places where commercial airlines were no longer flying. However, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said: “We were promised a new strategy on repatriations today, but for the hundreds of thousands of Brits stranded abroad and their families back home – it was just more of the same.”

Abta has warned that customers with cancelled holidays will face lengthy delays in getting their money back if travel firms are forced into bankruptcy. The association has urged the government act now, with governments in France, Belgium, Denmark and Italy having all introduced changes to EU rules. Abta has written to the prime minister as well as other ministers urging immediate action to avoid damage to the UK travel industry. Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “The global pandemic has put enormous financial strain on tour operators and travel agents, with businesses seeing a collapse in sales while facing immediate repatriation costs and refund demands for cancelled holidays on a scale that is unmanageable in the short term. “These businesses are themselves waiting for refunds from hotels and airlines and without this money, they simply do not have the cash to provide refunds to customers within 14 days. “Existing regulations are entirely unsuited to deal with this situation. We want to avoid the scenario of normally successful travel businesses employing tens of thousands

of people facing bankruptcy, resulting in holidaymakers having to wait many months for refunds through Government financial protection schemes. “We are proposing some simple, temporary changes to regulations to buy more time for companies to keep trading, while ensuring customer rights are protected. Many European countries, including France, Belgium, Denmark and Italy, have already announced similar regulatory changes to preserve their travel industries and protect customers.” In a statement from Abta, the company proposed the following temporary amendments to the Package Travel Regulations: • That the 14-day window for refund payments should be extended to a four-month period • That government should confirm the ongoing protection of refund credits. • That where suppliers (eg hotels or airlines) cannot or will not refund tour operators, there should be an emergency government consumer hardship fund to help fulfil refund payments




Saga’s new collection of all-inclusive boutique cruises aboard Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure is now on sale. Featuring destinations across the Mediterranean, Norway, the Baltic and the Canary Islands, you’re sure to find the perfect 2021 itinerary for your customers. Book online at or call 0800 074 8021

Saga’s holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s, but a travel companion can be 40+. NTA-SC4350.








For further information or to make a booking, please call

020 7399 7601 or visit

ABTA No.V8548

© 2020 Crystal Cruises, LLC. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas.

April 2020 | Forward STAFF

Agencies start furloughing A number of travel agencies, including Hays Travel, are taking advantage of the government’s recently announced Job Retention Scheme The travel agency, which is the UK’s largest, has furloughed the majority of its workforce following. The company took on 2,300 former Thomas Cook staff after taking over the leases to all 553 of its shops following the travel giant’s collapse last September. It also recruited 200 additional staff for its head office in Sunderland. Of its 5,700 staff, 2,500 work in retail across 650 branches in the UK. The company said it had taken “all measures available to protect our industry and jobs”. Tui UK is to furlough 11,000 staff in the UK, including almost 4,500 retail agents. Managing director Tui

UK and Ireland Andrew Flintham said: “It is imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions and also look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty. We are a fantastic business and we look forward to taking people on holiday again soon.” Kuoni parent company Der Touristik UK will retain its staff during the coronavirus pandemic, including the 70 workers it made redundant on March 20. Derek Jones, chief executive, said: “All valued staff who left the business last week would immediately be brought back into the

business and then furloughed. “The chancellor’s lifeline on Friday has meant we can now protect as many of our team as possible,” he said. “There has not been much to cheer about recently but we can at least be happy that these staff have a little less to worry about for the next few months.” Premier Travel has furloughed the majority of its shop staff with a core team now working from home. The agency, which has 25 high-street branches across East Anglia, has furloughed 67 of its 100 agency staff.


Travel industry unites with #OneTravelIndustry The travel trade media in the UK & Ireland is uniting behind the #onetravelindustry movement, to bring competing media businesses together with one common goal during the coronavirus crisis. Titles including ABTA Magazine, CRUISE ADVISER, Cruise Trade News, Selling Travel, Travel Bulletin, TravelMole and TTG are working together to stand behind the industry, at a time when the sector faces its biggest ever threat. All the brands will be using #onetravelindustry to showcase best practice, tips and experiences from across the travel industry to share how companies large and small are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. The group will also share each

others’ content under the hashtag, to ensure the widest exposure possible for the learnings and advice to come out of the crisis – demonstrating ‘one travel media’, uniting behind one travel industry. Each business has been informing their readerships of the unfolding crisis and supporting the industry since it began and will continue to do so, separate to the campaign. The travel media signatories, each committing to promote best practice in travel for #onetravelindustry, are: Steve Hartridge, editorial director, BMI Publishing Chris Pitchford, CEO, Real Response Media



Jeanette Ratcliffe, publisher, Travel Bulletin Graham McKenzie, managing director, TravelMole Daniel Pearce, CEO, TTG Media Sam Ballard and Anthony Pearce, directors, Waterfront Publishing

April 2020 | Forward AID

Cruise ships offered as floating hospitals

Carnival Corporation are among the cruise operators to offer their ships to governments for use during the Coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, Carnival said that its cruise line brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia, will be made available to “communities for use as temporary hospitals to help address the escalating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare systems around the world”. On Twitter, Tony Roberts, vice president UK & Europe, Princess Cruises, wrote: “With the continued spread of Covid-19 expected to exert added pressure on healthcare facilities, Princess Cruises (and other Carnival brands) are calling on governments and health authorities to consider using cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities.” A spokesperson for Saga Cruises said: “Our cruise ships are currently in Tilbury Docks as we have temporarily suspended cruise operations. In

these unprecedented times it is important that we all pull together and provide any support that we can – as individuals and as companies. “We would be very happy to have a conversation with the government about the use of our ships if it would help expand the capabilities of our amazing NHS. There are, however, no current plans to use our ships in this way.” Mike Hall, Cruise & Maritime Voyages marketing director, said: “CMV is always prepared to offer assistance based on humanitarian needs. Currently, CMV ships Magellan and Astoria are moored in Tilbury. Magellan has 726 cabins and Astoria 277 cabins.” Labour councillor Steve Liddiard, who represents the Tilbury St Chads ward, told the BBC: “I understand this has been happening in a number of countries and if things get that serious – and we hope it won’t – then it sounds like a wonderful opportunity. “Specific facilities would be needed such as piped in oxygen and I don’t

know how practical that is on a cruise ship. Hopefully the costs of providing the ships could be met by the NHS, but let’s hope that it doesn’t get to that.” In Italy, MSC Cruises has offered its ships as floating hospitals. Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), which is part of MSC Group, has converted its ferry Splendid into a floating hospital to assist patients with Covid-19 and those convalescing in Italy’s hard-hit Liguria region. GNV started working on the project together with classification society RINA in early March, in coordination with Italy’s Liguria Health System and Civil Protection. The vessel can be quickly adapted to meet future needs of the region as the Covid-19 emergency evolves. Stationed at Ponte Colombo in Genoa’s Ferry Terminal, Splendid currently offers 25 beds in single cabins, although it is possible to equip additional cabins up to a total of 400 beds. The floating hospital also features a heliport and dedicated areas for healthcare personnel and crew.



April 2020 | Forward


“The cruise sector is proven to be resilient” Clia UK boss Andy Harmer speaks to cruise adviser about how the organisation is helping its members and the industry as a whole face the coronavirus pandemic During these trying times many are turning to Clia, the cruise industry’s association, for answers. Whether that’s cruise line members wanting to move as one industry, or travel agents seeking advice about moving bookings and avoiding outright cancellations. We spoke to Clia UK boss Andy Harmer to find out more. cruise adviser: What is Clia doing to help the trade during the pandemic? And to calm industry nerves? Andy Harmer: As our colleagues across the cruise industry and the communities we serve are facing a challenge that is unprecedented in scale, it’s important that Clia can provide continuous updates to our travel agent members. As a global organisation, Clia monitors factual updates and data from around the world to share with our colleagues and partners within the travel trade. Our main platforms to share such information are the Clia social media channels, cruiseexperts. org, and our weekly newsletters. Through weekly videos, social media posts and our newsletters, we aim to provide messages of support as well as important updates from Clia and our cruise line members. Agents can find the latest Clia statement and FAQs on the ongoing Covid-19 situation on cruiseexperts. org and, and we are currently working on new website resources which will provide useful information including videos, facts and figures, and industry updates. What are agents reporting back? Like many sectors, travel agents have been looking to the government

for support. The government’s announcement that it would support employers and employees has come as very welcome news to many businesses and individuals. Clia has been making clear to the government our support for specific, practical measures to alleviate pressure on the travel trade community – including making temporary changes to existing Package Travel Regulations. Why was a 30-day suspension decided on, as opposed to longer or shorter? We can look at the 30 days as a check-in point. All Clia cruise line members have announced full and voluntary suspensions of worldwide operations, as we work to address this public health crisis. We will use this time during the temporary suspension to continue to focus on our public health protocols and policies. What does the industry need to do to survive? The cruise industry is a strong, close-knit community and it is because of this collaborative culture that our sector has proven to be resilient in the face of previous global challenges. Make no mistake: this current situation is affecting all of us. Whether you are a crew member working onboard ship, or your role is shoreside in ports, or with travel agencies, we all rely on each other to give our customers the best travel experience possible. Travel agents are vital to the cruise industry – around 75 per cent of cruise holidays are booked through travel agents – and we are



committed to seeing agents through this crisis, just as we are our member lines. How do we rebuild consumer confidence in cruise? Clia has a longstanding member health policy that requires screening of all embarking passengers and crew to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Clia’s ocean-going members implement outbreak prevention and response measures and their ships must be fitted with medical facilities and shipboard medical professionals available around the clock, 24/7, to provide initial medical care in the event of illness and to help prevent disease transmission. The cruise industry’s already strict protocols have been strengthened across the board as the world has learned more about the challenge faced, under the guidance of international health authorities. We will continue to play our part informing the public – both our loyal customers and those who are new to cruise – of the extremely high level of health and hygiene measures that exist on board ships for their protection. While it’s easy to focus on one industry because of its high profile in travel and tourism, this is a situation that goes well beyond any one industry. We know of no other form of entertainment or travel that has the reporting requirements or the screening protocols in place year in and year out, outside a global health crisis. Follow our blog at coronavirusliveupdates

April 2020 | Forward CANCELLATIONS

As cruise lines suspend sailings across the world, below are details of temporary changes to cancellation policies*. You can see more here and on our live blog A-Rosa

A-Rosa River Cruises has temporarily suspended all its cruises on the Danube, Rhine, Rhone, Seine and Douro up to and including April 14, 2020. In a statement A-Rosa said: “We are currently liaising with all our tour operator and travel agency partners to provide them with all the latest information for their customers. We are offering free re-booking to a later date in either the 2020 or 2021 season and guests will receive an additional on board credit of €50 per person. They will also receive a special discount of 30 per cent off a future A-Rosa cruise.”


AmaWaterways has suspended operations until May 31, 2020. Guests who were booked on a cruise that is being cancelled have the option of receiving a future cruise credit, equal to 115 per cent of the value of all services purchased through AmaWaterways, or receiving a full monetary refund. The future cruise credit is applicable on all European or Mekong River cruise sailings any time before December 31, 2022.

APT Touring

APT Touring has announced it is suspending cruises until May 31, 2020. APT said its future holiday credit is equal to 100 per cent of the value of the booking if paid in full. If not paid in full, the deposit will be held in credit with no fees. Credit is valid for travel on any APT or Travelmarvel tour or cruise up until the end of 2021. Credit can be used for multiple bookings if desired for the original traveller. Credit can be partly transferred to a person accompanying clients on the alternative trip. It is not transferable to another person, nor is it redeemable for cash.

Azamara, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Silversea

Royal Caribbean Cruises, which operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea, has suspended cruises until May 12, 2020. In a statement, the company said: “Given global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has decided to extend the suspension of sailings of our global fleet. We are working with our guests to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience. We are also working with our crew to sort out the issues this decision presents for them. “We expect to return to service on May 12, 2020. Because of announced port closures, we expect to return to service for Alaska, Canada and New England sailings on July 1, 2020.”


Celestyal has suspended all cruises between now and April 30, 2020. The company will recommence sailings on May 1, 2020. In a statement, the line said: “For all named and fully paid guests impacted by this temporary suspension, Celestyal will offer the choice of either a future cruise credit valued at 120 per cent of original booking value or a refund of original amount paid. “Guests will have until the end of December 2021 to use their credit against any of our itineraries. Anyone that has not used their credit within the specified period, will automatically receive a refund equal to the original amount paid to Celestyal.”


CroisiEurope has postponed all cruises until April 15, 2020. In a statement the line said: “Our passengers who are impacted by these changes will receive full credit and be able to apply this credit to a cruise at a future date and, in addition, receive a voucher for £150 per person for a future cruise (booked on individual basis). “For all new bookings made between March 16 and May 1, 2020 for all departures until August 31, 2020, our passengers may cancel free of charge up to 30 days from their departure date (excluding booking fees and any ancillary charges).”

*correct as of April 2, 2020



April 2020 | Forward Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Cruise & Maritime Voyages has suspended all cruises until April 24, 2020. All affected passengers will be offered an future cruise credit voucher of 125 per cent of the value of their cruise, plus added value benefits. This credit voucher can be used against the best deal of the day including the current 2021 buy one get one free offers and 2020 late saver deals.


Crystal has cancelled ocean voyages up to and including the May 3, 2020 (Crystal Serenity) and May 18, 2020 (Crystal Symphony) departures. Crystal has cancelled river voyages up to and including the April 23, 2020 (Crystal Bach), April 24, 2020(Crystal Debussy), April 25, 2020 (Crystal Mahler) and April 24, 2020 (Crystal Ravel) departures. Crystal has cancelled Crystal Esprit’s voyages up to and including the April 26 departure. Crystal is offering a 100 per cent refund of cruise fare, port charges, taxes, and fees paid, and any air and hotel packages booked through Crystal. Or, a future cruise credit equal to 125 per cent of the cruise fare paid – valid on any Crystal experience (Ocean, River, Yacht or Expedition) embarking until December 31, 2022 – along with a refund of port charges, taxes and fees, and air and hotel packages booked through Crystal. If guests are unable to redeem the future cruise credit by December 31, 2022, they may request a refund of the original cruise fare paid.

Cunard & P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises and Cunard have suspended any new cruises until May 15, 2020. P&O is offering all guests impacted by the suspension a 125 per cent future cruise credit, which must be used by the end of March 2022.

Emerald Waterways/ Scenic

The Scenic Group (Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises) has suspended all river cruise operations until April 30, 2020. For guests whose river cruise departures are within this period of suspended operations, the Scenic Group is offering the choice of either a future travel credit valued at 125 per cent of the booking, or the option of a refund to the value of the amount paid. Guests choosing a future travel credit will have up to 24 months to travel on a Scenic Group river cruise. Guests with a departure on or after June 1, 2020 can transfer their booking to an alternate departure without penalty up to 30 days prior to departure.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line

Fred Olsen Cruise Line has suspended its operations until May 23, 2020. Brabant, the line’s river ship, will resume its itineraries from April 23, 2020. The line has updated its Booking Reassurance Guarantee, so that it extends to all cruises departing in 2020. Guests can transfer to any 2020/21/22 cruise by giving at least 14 days notice prior to departure.

G Adventures

G Adventures has suspended all tours until May 31, 2020. This excludes the Norwegian expedition departure – Norwegian Arctic Encompassed – on May 29, 2020. Any traveller booked on a tour departing between those dates will be eligible for a 110 per cent travel credit of all land services, including pre or post nights and transfers, which can be used on any tour departing within the next two years.


Hurtigruten has suspended its global expedition cruise operations until April 28, 2020 and its Norwegian coastal cruises until April 19, 2020. All guests booked on cruises between March 12 and June 30, 2020 can rebook their cruise for free on any coastal or expedition sailing between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021. Rebooked cruises will receive a 10 per cent discount on top of the 100 per cent cruise fee. If clients booked their flights through Hurtigruten, the voucher also covers flights. Vouchers are valid until July 1, 2021.

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises has suspended all cruises until April 16, 2020. In a statement the line said: “All customers affected will be proactively notified and automatically issued a full refund.”



April 2020 | Forward MSC

MSC Cruises has suspended all sailings until May 29, 2020. MSC Cruises UK & Ireland is offering guests affected by the cancellations a future cruise credit of 125 per cent to be used on a future cruise through to the end of 2021.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania & Regent

The three Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings brands have suspended operations until May 10, 2020. “The safety, security and well-being of our guests and crew is our highest priority. With the Covid-19 coronavirus impacting communities around the globe, we have enacted a voluntary temporary suspension of cruise voyages across our brands effective immediately,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We understand the inconvenience that this disruption may cause our guests and travel partners during these quickly evolving and challenging times, and we appreciate their understanding as we partner with local, state, federal and global agencies to combat the spread of Covid-19.”

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin has cancelled sailings up until the end of April. Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering a future cruise credit valid for 18 months.


Ponant has suspended cruises until May 7, 2020. In a statement, the line said: “New bookings made on sailings departing in 2020 will only require a 10 per cent deposit. Guests may cancel up to 30 days prior to departure without penalty. Additionally, for new bookings on 2020, 2021 and 2022 sailings, guests may cancel up to 90 days after confirmation and receive a full refund or a future cruise credit. For existing bookings, final payment is relaxed by 30 days. For example, if final payment was due 60 days before departure, it is now due 30 days before.”

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has suspended operations until May 10, 2020. The line has extended its Cruise with Confidence offer to departures up to July 31, 2020, allowing guests to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing. They will receive a future cruise credit to the value of the cancellation fee. The line has also extended their offer of a 60-day final payment date. For cruises departing between August 1 and October 15, 2020, guests can cancel up to 30 days before sailing and receive a future cruise credit to the amount of their cancellation fee.

Riviera Travel

Riviera has suspended all holidays until April 23, 2020. In a statement, the company said: “If our mutual customers are departing before this date you will receive a email asking you to contact our reservations team on 01283 744370 to discuss their options. With the situation changing all the time we are monitoring it closely and will update further accordingly.”


Saga has suspended its ocean cruises onboard Saga Sapphire and Spirit of Discovery until May 1, 2020. Guests booked during this period are being offered a future cruise credit to the value of the cruise plus 25 per cent. This means that if passengers choose to amend a booking to a future date, they will receive the full amount paid for the cruise, plus an extra 25 per cent that will be transferred to that booking. Alternatively, they can receive a voucher for this amount to be redeemed against any future Saga cruise. This future cruise credit will last for a period of 24 months.If for any reason passengers are unable to use the future cruise credit, Saga will automatically issue a refund equal to the original amount paid for the cruise when the voucher expires. Alternatively, Saga can issue a refund in full, equal to the amount paid.


Seabourn has cancelled all cruises due to depart up until May 14, 2020. Seabourn guests on impacted voyages will receive a 125 per cent refund of the fare paid in the form of a future cruise credit, which can be applied toward any future cruise through December 31, 2021



April 2020 | Forward Titan

Titan has suspended all tour and cruise departures until April 30, 2020 and has said it will provide “flexibility” on departures in May and June. The company said in a statement: “Under this new policy, all clients due to travel with Titan up to the end of June 2020 will be given the option to postpone their departure or transfer onto another holiday from September 2020 until December 2021, subject to availability, with no cancellation fee, land or airline penalties.”


Uniworld has suspended all European itineraries until April 23, 2020, offering booked guests the opportunity to move their reservation to another itinerary in 2020 or 2021. They also have the option to receive a future cruise credit, which is eligible for the next 24 months. All Egypt itineraries have been suspended until May 1, 2020. In a statement, Uniworld said: “If you have a booking on one of these suspended voyages, please know that you may rebook your travel dates to any 2020 or 2021 cruise or receive a future cruise credit eligible to be used during the next 24 months.”


Viking has suspended all ocean and river cruises until June 30, 2020. In a statement, the Tor Hagen, the company’s chairman said: “For those guests whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, we are offering the choice of a future cruise voucher valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid. “Guests will have 24 months to use their future cruise voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise. For additional flexibility, if you are unable to use your voucher, we will automatically send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires. These future cruise vouchers will also be fully transferable.”


Virgin Voyages has delayed its showcase tour and inaugural season until July 15, 2020 with its maiden voyage taking place on August 7, 2020. The company is offering various options for those already booked – from full refunds and voyage credits to “extra special bonuses for those who book future sailings”.


Windstar has temporarily suspended its operations. The pause begins with cruises embarking on March 14, 2020 and includes those through to April 30, 2020. Guests on cancelled cruises receive the choice of a Future Cruise Credit valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Windstar Cruises or a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking. Guests have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their future cruise credit. In addition, Windstar has launched a new Travel Assurance Booking Policy, which is applicable to new and existing cruises departing through December 31, 2021. Travellers who cancel a cruise booking up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit to be used on another Windstar departure within one year of the issue date of the credit. The offer is for cruise fares only.



April 2020 | Aft



Pictures from around the world of cruise 1. Princess Cruises lit up Sky Princess while off Great Isaac Cay in the Bahamas on March 16 with the message: We Will Be Back. The cruise line has paused all cruises for 60 days as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The suspension covers departures between March 12 to May 10 across the company’s 18-ship fleet. Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “It is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world.” 2-4. Two of Cruise & Maritime Voyages’s cruise ships, Columbus and Vasco da Gama undertook a “unique passenger transfer and repatriation operation involving 239 passengers” off the coast of Phuket, Thailand In a statement the line said that “despite representations and last-ditch mercy pleas to the Thai authorities, the Port of Phuket remained closed to cruise ships along with all other ports in Southeast Asia and the wider Indian subcontinent rendering an air repatriation not an option. Permission had however been granted by the local port authorities to take on provisions and bunkers off the coast of Phuket before the ships’ onward voyages.” Columbus was operating a fourmonth Round the World cruise carrying 1,020 guests before its voyage curtailment in Semarang, Indonesia, while Vasco da Gama was operating a northbound voyage from Fremantle and Singapore via the Suez Canal to Tilbury carrying 839 guests before its voyage curtailment. CMV added






April 2020 | Aft “this unique repatriation operation was a huge logistical challenge for our officers and crew involving the transfer of over 500 pieces of luggage, 239 passengers and the transfer of provisions all undertaken by tender.”


5-6. P&O Cruises and Saga paid tribute to NHS staff with these light displays on Britannia and Spirit of Discovery as the nation came together on March 26 to celebrate nurses, doctors, cleaners and other frontline staff. The Saga ship is among those touted as possible floating hospitals. “We would be very happy to have a conversation with the government about the use of our ships if it would help expand the capabilities of our amazing NHS. There are, however, no current plans to use our ships in this way,” A few nights before P&O Cruises lit up Azura with the message ‘we’ll meet again’. The line’s president Paul Ludlow said: “A travel company is nothing without the loyalty of its customers and P&O Cruises is nothing without the loyalty of its guests, both guests who have been cruising with us for many years and guests who have yet to sail with us but have made the decision to book a holiday with us in the future.”


7. Marella Discovery 2 completed a TUI smile while carrying out routine manoeuvres before anchoring in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The smile measures at 12 nautical miles high, and 16 nautical miles wide. Captain of Marella Discovery 2, Jason Ikiadis, said: “Myself, first officer Cosmin and our bridge team worked together to trace the TUI smile as we wanted to do something that would make both our customers and teams smile as a thank you for supporting us during these unprecedented times. “We’ll be ready and waiting to set sail with our customers soon.”


Follow our coronavirus updates at coronavirusliveupdates/ CRUISE-ADVISER.COM


April 2020 | Forward


‘We will be back’ – Cruise Adviser’s love letter to the cruise industy We’re blessed to work in this industry – and we must celebrate it in order to rebuild it, writes Cruise Adviser co-publisher Anthony Pearce Since we launched in 2014, the pages of cruise adviser have been filled with superlatives: the biggest and best new ships, the longest seasons, the most exciting itineraries, the most innovative features. From shipyard visits to christenings and shakedowns, conferences, roadshows and our own events, we’ve watched and reported on the cruise industry as it has surpassed all expectations: a record-number of guests sailed, a record-number of ships were built, and a record-breaking amount of money was invested. By 2018, the number of Britons taking cruises had eclipsed two million, while, through the hard work of travel agents, TV shows such

as Cruising with Jane McDonald, and new and exciting products, the perception and conversations around cruise shifted. To invoke a football analogy, the cruise industry went from being noisy neighbours to title contenders. Even with the challenges presented by Brexit, the weakness of sterling, Trump in the White House and other geopolitical issues, cruise’s continued rise seemed assured. But over the past week, as one line after another suspended operations, and Clia, the industry body, advised the cancellations of cruises for 30 days, the unthinkable happened: cruise ships stopped sailing. It’s been more than four months

since covid-19 (Coronavirus) was detected in Wuhan, China, yet the devastation it has left in its wake has still taken us all by surprise. Very few people predicted that when Diamond Princess was quarantined off the port of Yokohama in early February, a global pandemic was beginning to take hold and would result in the Foreign Office taking measures unprecedented in peacetime, telling Britons not to travel, while the rest of the world would shut its borders. We’re in uncharted waters; none of us know what comes next or how the travel industry, as a whole, recovers from this. Sadly, cruise ships have become very visible representations of the pandemic,

Cruise Adviser’s first cruise, back in 2014 in the Norwegian fjords on a trip with Cruise & Martime Voyages – the image that graced the first ever Cruise Adviser cover



April 2020 | Forward with Westerdam, Grand Princess, Silver Shadow and, most recently, Braemar being caught up in the story. This means that rebuilding confidence in cruise holidays is going to be a considerable task. There is no easy way of out this, no readymade solutions or even past examples to follow. But if there is any industry that can come together and work as one to overcome this, it’s the cruise industry. At what is no doubt the darkest hour for cruise, we’d like to take this opportunity to say that working in this industry is always an honour – in fact, from the boozy mid-week events with travel agents to the, well, boozy cruises with travel agents and incredible adventures all over the world, it often doesn’t feel like work at all. We’re sure many of you will agree. We feel blessed to call many people in this industry our friends – and we can’t wait to see you all again soon. It’s also important during this time to remember what makes cruise such a great holiday choice, and to remind others of that, too. The reasons we love cruise are too numerous to list, but here are a few. The chance to explore a diverse range of destinations, including those such as Alaska, Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands and the Norwegian fjords that are otherwise difficult or impossible to enjoy in the same depth; the unfailingly excellent and diverse range of food on board; the fact you only unpack once; the joys of ex-UK, which, with, no airport security and no luggage limits, is among the most relaxing of all getaways; the intimacy of small-ship and river cruise; and, perhaps best of all, the camaraderie on board, unmatched by any other holiday type. The future, of course, is uncertain, and difficult times lie ahead, but together we can get through this. We’ll leave you with a note from Princess Cruises, lit up on Sky Princess while off Great Isaac Cay in the Bahamas on Monday night, something the whole industry must now shout: we will be back.

The reponses to our social media campaign to celebrate cruise, including Cruise Adviser publishers Anthony Pearce and Sam Ballard on Aurora Expeditions; Denise Hodgson, of traveltheworld2, cruisetheworld2 & redcarpettravel, in Alaska with Holland America Line; Clia’s Charlotte Humphrey on Hebridean Princess in the Scottish Highlands




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To all of our Captains, Officers, crew, guests, team and partners; we’re sincerely grateful for your continued support through these unusual times. We are a business that has always prospered thanks to the loyalty of our guests and dedication of all our Travel Trade partners, and we have never been more grateful to you all for your patience and understanding. You may have heard that we have paused all our ocean sailings until departures from 23rd May. This situation is obviously fastmoving so we will do everything we can to make sure all of you in our trade community are kept up-to-date as we take advice from the government on what’s safe and sensible to do next. We would like to wish you all the very best in what are challenging times for everyone, especially those of us in the travel industry. We are conscious that life has become very hard very suddenly, and that many of you and your customers may be feeling isolated at home. We are looking forward to brighter times ahead and to welcoming you all back on board when the time is right. We’ll keep you fully informed of our plans to ensure we all have something to look forward to. In the meantime, thank you for your support and for sticking with us. Stay safe and keep in touch if you have any questions that we are not answering. We’re here to help in any way we can.

April 2020 | Forward


“We must interact with the land and its people” We talk to Ian Morris, naturalist and expert guest lecturer for Coral Expeditions, about meeting the Aboriginal communities of Australasia When it comes to exploring the farthest reaches of Australia, few companies can compete with Coral Expeditions. The line, which has been operating for 35 years, takes its intrepid customers around the continent and on to Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Whether it’s exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the wildlife or indigenous communities, these are tours that offer something very different to a week in the Mediterranean. Ian Morris, a naturalist so acclaimed that he’s helped Sir David Attenborough on his TV shows, was in London recently and sat down with cruise adviser to tell us about his work. cruise adviser: Would you be able to tell me a bit about yourself and how you came to be working with Coral Expeditions? Ian Morris: I trained as a zoologist

and went into education. I love wildlife and ecology and natural landscapes, so I did an education degree in Canberra and became a science teacher. My first appointment was in Arnhem working with central indigenous students; Arnhem Land is probably Australia’s most intact indigenous community. I did that for a decade and was then asked by the federal government in Australia to become an indigenous ranger training officer because of a big project in the Northern Territory called Kakadu National Park, which hadn’t started at that stage. Now, it’s Australia’s premier park. I did seven years at university and I can hardly remember what they taught me. But I spent my teenage years with Aboriginal communities and that is my best education qualification. That’s why I’m employed these days.

How did you come to be working for Coral Expeditions? My knowledge of indigenous Australia. And it was all a free gift from these older people who are all gone now, so I felt an obligation to carry that on. Because they were the end of a dynasty and they’re gone, and their children and the grandchildren are different. Those old people who taught me wanted me to pass that on, so I do that in a lot of ways, but my main way these days is with Coral Expeditions with groups of passengers as we travel through northern Australia and we meet these people. You also helped set up the itineraries? Coral decided they would like to send one of their two vessels to the Kimberley region and that’s where they got on to me. I had been working in that area with film crews, national



April 2020 | Forward parks and the Navy. I said there are some fantastic places there: you can go safely in among mangroves with crocodiles; you can go sea turtle breeding areas. That means that even the most incapacitated passenger can come and get a first-hand look and if they want to go on land and go and see other things, well, that option is there. I just saw all these beautiful places with nobody there to appreciate them, so I thought if we had the right people in those places that’ll help the preservation. A few times a mining company has put a proposal into the government because nobody is using the land, whereas now people go away with a big awareness of where they’ve been and know how good it is and to fight for it. That makes a difference to Australia and everywhere else – they become ambassadors. What experiences can Coral Expeditions offer that other lines can’t compete with? I don’t know of any other companies that can do what we do. I know a couple of companies that have tried it, but they don’t have the connections. No one was doing Arnhem Land before we came along. I speak about 18 languages and to go into these communities with a bit of language is fantastic, because I can explain a piece of artwork, for instance. If we’re lucky we sometimes get an Aboriginal guest lecturer on board, too. Does tourism benefit the local communities? The tourism industry requires us to interact with both the land and its people. They [Aboriginal communities] are very interpersonal people and having a link with those people when we take a group of guests ashore just opens up doors. It’s been very rewarding both ways. This kind of tourism has been very good for them because it’s at their pace and at a level where they can participate and enjoy. And the tourists get a great insight into who these people are and establish relationships, exchange emails and buy their arts and crafts, which is really beautiful stuff. CRUISE-ADVISER.COM



Temple run Claire Boobbyer sails on the vibrant Vietnamese delta on the brand new vessel Victoria Mekong on a slow journey upstream to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh

April 2020 | Midship The guard quacks menacingly as we approach a roadside incense factory shaded by branches of a jackfruit tree. Gabbing geese blab noisily as their crouching owner, Uncle Do, dips bamboo sticks into a basin of soft, sage-green powder, gently flutters the sticks, and then dunks them into water. Uncle Do fashions 10,000 sticks a day, first grinding sun-dried leaves of the silk cotton (kapok) tree, before drying the splayed colourful clusters on Tiger Island. It’s an important job, explains our guide, Jack: “Incense is the link between the spiritual world and physical world. The smoke is an offering and goes to heaven.” The spiritual world guides daily life in Vietnam and it is more visible than I expected in the Mekong Delta: Gothic spires on Catholic churches rise out of higgledy-piggledy towns, a colourful Buddha statue reigns over mythical figures at a Taoist temple, a riot of twisting pink and green dragons embellish a church of Cao Dai where worshippers pray to Buddha, Christ, Lenin, Victor

Hugo and Shakespeare, and the bows of river barges resemble water creatures with glaring big black eyes to scare spirit monsters of the river. Uncle Do’s holy smoke is being made on Tiger Island, the first of our stops on a new four-night cruise route from Can Tho, 3.5 hours from Ho Chi Minh City, upstream to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh and vice versa. The new Victoria Mekong takes the Song Hau distributary, away from all other Mekong cruise ships, and is the first ‘eco-cruise’ in the delta. Tiger Island, ringed with bamboo, mango and banana, is hemmed in by fish farms where red tilapia in their thousands thrash about in pens. We explore on foot and motorbike rickshaw passing market stalls stacked with chopped watermelon and twitching fish in bowls. The main road is a tribute to nature: framed with mango and jackfruit trees, red hibiscus and pink bougainvillea, bonsai gardens, and coconut husk piles; and one-storey homes bear pretty baby blue fretting embellished with dragon detail.



Not only is Vietnam’s Delta the “kingdom of the tropical fruit”, according to Jack it’s also the rice bowl of the country, delivering 40 million tonnes of grain each year. I had been tempted to think of Vietnam’s delta as full of quiet and quaint activity but while home businesses tick away amid hidden canals under wild and fragrant greenery, larger channels form major highways. From our cruise we watch barges piled with rice, sand, fruit and veg plough by, dwarfing smaller sampans from which fishermen cast their nets in the early morning light. Floating gas stations have set up shop near a floating market – anchored boats piled high with potato, pineapple and coconuts to lure buyers – and clanking ferries, rammed with motorbikes, the transport mode of choice for Vietnam’s growing middle class, crisscross the river. Cambodia’s Mekong River, by contrast, is quiet: a lush green mantle of forest disturbed only by slim golden pagoda spires. That is until we reach Phonm Penh at sunset;

April 2020 | Midship once a sleepy Southeast Asian capital, it is now rampantly energetic with billboards, construction and a cool line in speakeasies and garden restaurants. Victoria Mekong’s all balcony 35 cabins are huge. There’s a small pool on deck, a spacious, lightfilled lounge, cinema, massage rooms and a restaurant serving up predominantly fragrant Vietnamese cuisine. The purpose-built ship is fitted with solar panels, is plastic-free, recycles river water for drinking and fresh water and glides effortlessly and silently at an emission-reducing six to eight knots per hour, which cuts costs, too, and reduces riverbank erosion by creating no waves. With four nights on the river, the slow travel journey connects buzzing Saigon to Phnom Penh, and features unique off-the-beatentrack highlights – home businesses of Tiger Island, Long Xuyên floating market, and the city’s museum, an enterprise which makes rare, highly prized black silk – worn by Hollywood stars – at Tan Chau, a rare Taoist temple and consultation with a fortune teller; and an optional (plus additional payment) journey through the bird and paperbark forest wonderland at Tra Su.


The cruise includes a welcome drink; breakfast, lunch and dinner; free flow of soft beverages all day (mineral water, soft drinks, tea, coffee); local beers; house wine by the glass during lunch and dinner; drinking water in room and during excursions with complimentary refillable bottle; transfers to/from meeting point/ ship if included in programme; group offshore excursions included in programme; all entrance fees during offshore excursions; transportation during offshore excursions; tour guides services (English speaking) during cruise; onboard entertainment; internet throughout the boat (subject to cellular network signal); additional complimentary room benefits subject to room category; insurance (passenger liability); taxes, fuel, river pilots; local anchorage fees; ship crew gratuities. CRUISE-ADVISER.COM


April 2020 | Midship

The rise of Mekong river cruise Before the coronavirus, cruises on the Mekong were booming. Companies launched itineraries, innovated with interiors, facilities and cuisine, and were exploring little known routes to introduce cruise passengers to the charms of this monumental waterway, lifeblood to many in Southeast Asia. Emerald Waterways’ new ultra modern 84-passenger Emerald Harmony was purpose-built to sail directly into Vietnam’s powerhouse Ho Chi Minh City (other cruises depart from My Tho or Can Tho). APT’s new AmaMekong, with 44 all balcony suites, was designed to sail the lower Mekong and will be the only ship on the river featuring a menu designed by acclaimed Vietnamese-Australian chef Luke Nguyen. The region’s fragrant cuisine is a highlight, too, for Aqua Expeditions’ Aqua Mekong, which will host Australian chef David Thompson, renowned for his Thai food. Vietnamese-owned Lotus Cruises’ Mekong Jewel boasts 34 glamorous suites that “redefine elegance and luxury for the sophisticated traveller, graced with soft lines and rich tones of French colonial design”, according to Lotus marketing manager Stefan Nguyen. Heading into under-explored Laos, Heritage Line’s Anouvong will cruise the Upper Mekong between intriguing, low-key capital Vientiane, former royal capital and Unesco wonder Luang Prabang and the Thai border at Huay Xai. Sales and marketing director Andreas Schroetter describes it as “a gamechanger when it comes to cruise journeys on the upper reaches of the Mekong.” With just 10 cabins, blending Laotian craft and French glamour, Anouvong will take guests to riverside communities, an elephant sanctuary, soft jungle trekking, kayakings. The Upper Mekong will see a second luxury ship with the launch of Lotus Cruises’ Mekong Muse.




White nights

James Litston joins Viking in search of the midnight sun on a sailing to the Norwegian fjords

April 2020 | Midship Not for nothing are Norway’s fjords a bucket-list cruise destination. The country’s indented coastline, deeply scarred by ice-carved inlets, is unspoiled, thinly populated and best discovered by ship – so it’s just as well that I’m here to embark on an epic at-sea adventure. I’m in the celebrated Hanseatic port city of Bergen where, rather appropriately, I’m just about to step aboard Viking Sea. With its Scandinavian styling and homegrown Norwegian heritage, Viking Cruises is the most fitting choice for clients keen to discover the fjords. The company has six ocean ships, all of which offer the same layout, facilities and number of staterooms. I’ve chosen this sailing on Viking Sea as it combines the fjords with Scotland, which means I only need a one-way flight from the UK. Itinerary highlights include the Orkney, Shetland and Lofoten Islands, plus a foray into the Arctic Circle – all hard-to-reach places that promise to make this a genuine voyage of discovery. First up, though, the ship is spending a night docked right here in Bergen, so once I’ve settled into my stateroom there’s plenty of time to explore the town. Shuttle buses are provided, but I opt for the easy, 10-minute stroll down the harbour to the colourful Bryggen neighbourhood. This colourful district of wooden warehouses is filled with shops selling artworks, crafts, Scandi design and patterned Norwegian knitwear. I wander Bryggen’s cobbled lanes of prettily painted clapboard homes, then find my way back to the waterfront for a browse of the farmers’ market. The stalls of local delicacies include seasonal berries and reindeer sausage, although I’m not sure how I feel about the platters of fresh whale steak. Bergen is a popular departure point for Norwegian cruises as it’s a convenient gateway to the region’s Viking history, gorgeous scenery and charming ports of call that mesmerise both under the midnight sun or dancing northern lights. Though Hurtigruten sails CRUISE-ADVISER.COM


April 2020 | Midship year-round, Viking (like most other lines) offers Norway itineraries in the summer, when round-the-clock daylight and gentler temperatures lend themselves to exploring. We set sail on our Into the Midnight Sun itinerary next evening, soon leaving the city behind and heading out among scattered isles. A pod of porpoises surfacing alongside the ship seems a good omen for the coming days and certainly provides a talking point for those lucky enough to have spied them. After supper, I relocate to the Explorers’ Lounge high above the ship’s prow to enjoy a bird’s-eye panorama of the surrounding scenery. It’s an extraordinary experience. We sail through a long, narrow passage that seems barely wide enough to accommodate the ship, passing almost within touching distance of sheer, smooth rock faces dotted with patches of moss. Scattered here and there are summer cabins and isolated farms. It’s 10pm and the sun is still some way from the horizon; the evenings will get brighter still as we journey steadily north. Following advice provided in the onboard Viking Daily newsletter, I get up super-early next morning to catch the scenic sailing into Geirangerfjord. It’s certainly worth the 6am alarm call. This Unesco-listed landscape – carved by the unstoppable power of moving ice – is all towering cliffs decorated with waterfalls and topped with forests of pine. We drop anchor at the head of the fjord and walk ashore via a floating pontoon. As with most ports of call, Viking operates complementary sightseeing excursions that tick off the signature sights from the comfort of a coach. Seeking something more active, I sign up for a Nordic hiking excursion and join a group for the trek up through meadows to a mountain viewpoint. The view is spectacular and I note that Viking Sea – all 47,800 tonnes of it – is dwarfed by the magnificent scenery. No wonder this is considered among Norway’s most beautiful fjords. Back on board later on, I compensate for the early start by CRUISE-ADVISER.COM


April 2020 | Midship treating myself to an afternoon nap in the comfort of my stateroom. Its restful palette of blues, browns and greys reflects the colours of earth and ocean, while blackout blinds ensure a decent sleep whatever the hour. The décor throughout Viking’s fleet is identical, so clients can expect the same Scandi style and only outward-facing rooms on each of Viking’s ocean-going ships. There’s more good design in the public areas, especially in the Explorers’ Lounge where reindeer hides are complemented by cushions in warm tones of berries and bracken. Both here and downstairs in the Living Room are reproduction artefacts that celebrate Viking heritage, while original art (mostly by Norwegian artists), woven blankets in the Wintergarden and smart tableware from quality German and Scandinavian brands add a contemporary air. The brand’s Scandinavian heritage is also evident in Mamsen’s, a Norwegian deli serving pickled herring and freshly baked cinnamon buns. Elsewhere onboard, I snack on Swedish shrimp and smoked salmon sandwiches, or take long, al-fresco lunches on the Aquavit Terrace extension of the buffet restaurant. According to Neil Barclay, Viking UK’s head of sales, this is one of the brand’s key selling points. “Our ocean ships are rich in outside spaces and open-air dining, and the light and airy lounges lend a Scandi-style, home-from-home feel,” he says. “Our Into the Midnight Sun itinerary ticks many boxes on customers’ wish-lists, from rugged mountains and magnificent fjords to some interesting towns and cities. It’s a good switch-sell for customers who have already sailed to the Baltic or Alaska, or who have seen the northern lights and want to experience these landscapes at a different time of year.” Continuing north, we reach the Lofoten Islands – an archipelago linked by bridges – and spend a morning spotting sea eagles soaring above their domain. Here, well into the Arctic Circle, the daylight is perpetual. Even at night, the

Orkney, Bergen and the interior of Viking Star including its exceptional spa



April 2020 | Midship world is fixed in permanent sunset with flaming skies that refuse to dim, making the scenery magically ethereal. It’s incredibly special to behold – a genuine bucket-list moment. Other guests are equally enthralled. Many of us stay up late, walking the decks and taking photographs... although I sure am glad of those blackout blinds when it’s finally time for bed! There’s more of an Arctic feel when we arrive next morning in Tromsø, a lively city surrounded by snowy mountains that are clearly yet to feel summer’s embrace. Considered the gateway to the Arctic, central Tromsø feels like a frontier town with an edge-of-theworld, polar atmosphere. Its old, wooden houses and peak-roofed cathedral make for interesting exploring, but I’m glad to get back to cosy Viking Sea to escape the chill. From here, the ship will sail further north and into the Barents Sea before making the crossing to the Shetlands and Orkneys and on towards Edinburgh and London. I’m looking forward to the next part of the journey for its promise of spotting puffins, whales and ever more gorgeous scenery. It’s the perfect combination of wildlife and wonder – and all the more enjoyable for being experienced in Nordic style.



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SELLING TIP – Break the cost into a per-day price and highlight all the inclusions to show the value


Luxury cruise Jane Archer is the authority on all things cruise. This issue, luxury

Truly all-inclusive




Premium options


The luxury sector has put on a massive growth spurt in the past two or three years, not only building outstanding new ships but also refurbishing existing vessels to cater for travellers looking to splash money on experiences rather than possessions. These people expect space, personal service and

exceptional cuisine as standard. When it comes to cruise, they want small ships with luxurious suites and to be able to relax with friends without waiters hovering with bar bills to sign. While many cruise lines call themselves luxury, only a handful of small-ship companies deliver a truly luxurious service. We look at



options for clients who want so much included in the fare that they can leave after a two-week cruise with nothing to pay, as well as focusing on ultra-luxury lines that charge for excursions, flights and more. The final section spotlights premium lines that offer more affordable luxury by including less in the price.

April 2020 | Midship

Truly all-inclusive Lots of cruise lines claim to be all-inclusive but only three can truly lay claim to the title. Cruise with these lines and you can drink, take excursions, use the wi-fi and dine in a speciality restaurant every night without worrying about running up a big bill. A few items do have price tags but they are all things – spa treatments, diving in a submarine, private tours – that clients can skip without feeling they are having to be abstemious on holiday.

Discovery yacht Who? Scenic Where? Iceland When? July 18, 2021 How long? 10 days How much? From £7,475pp including flights Scenic took its everythingincluded style of river cruise to the high seas when it launched its yacht Scenic Eclipse in August 2019. Flights, tours, drinks, wi-fi, tips – they are all covered. This cruise calls into fjords and towns in search of volcanoes, glaciers, birds and whales as it circumnavigates Reykjavík.

Classic luxury Who? Regent Seven Seas Cruises Where? Mediterranean When? October 27, 2020 How long? 10 nights How much? From £4,399pp including flights Whether passengers

want to explore ashore or share a drink with friends, they can for free on Regent, which includes everything passengers could ever want in the price, including pre-cruise hotels and business-class flights for big spenders. This voyage visits Italy, France and Spain.

Niche sailing Who? Hebridean Island Cruises Where? Scotland When? October 27, 2020 How long? Seven nights How much? From £4,040pp History doesn’t relate whether Hebridean is the Queen’s favourite cruise line because its ship is small (Hebridean Princess holds just 50 guests) or has inclusive fares, but suffice to say, once on board Her Majesty wouldn’t have to put her hand in her pocket for anything, not even trips ashore. This cruise, from Oban to Greenock, visits distilleries and spends a day in Ireland’s Ballycastle.

SELLING TIP – Don’t be put off by the price. Clients wouldn’t be asking for luxury if they couldn’t afford it



April 2020 | Midship

Ultra-luxury Ultra-luxury cruise lines might not include everything in the price, but it’s hard to imagine that will worry clients opting for any of the companies listed here (or SeaDream Yacht Club and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which are other worthy contenders in this category). They have elegant ships, mostly all-suite accommodation, no inside cabins, and enough included in the fare that passengers never have to worry about the cost of drinks or how much to tip.

Go large-ish Who? Crystal Cruises Where? Caribbean When? November 21, 2020 How long? 11 nights How much? From £3,247pp With capacity for almost 1,000 guests, Crystal’s ships are the biggest in the ultra-luxury sector but no less indulgent with their penthouse suites, butlers and feng shui-inspired spas. This cruise ticks off island including Barbados, St Lucia and St Barts. The price includes drinks, tips, speciality dining (two visits only) and unlimited wi-fi.

Intimate luxury Who? Seabourn Where? Caribbean When? November 4, 2020 How long? 12 days How much? From £3,599pp With drinks, tips and all dining included in the price, and all-suite ships

that hold no more than 600 guests, Seabourn offers the heights of luxury. This cruise on Seabourn Sojourn takes in smaller islands including St Barts, St Kitts and the British Virgin Islands. The price includes a £400 per person air credit and 300-minute internet package.

Small ships Who? Silversea Where? Caribbean When? December 23, 2020 How long? 15 days How much? From £5,940pp including flights. Silversea entered the ultra-luxury cruise sector with one ship in 1994, was acquired by Royal Caribbean Cruises in 2018 and now has eight ships and another five on order. This cruise, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, is on Silver Moon, a new 596-passenger ship due to launch in August. The price includes transfers, drinks, some speciality dining, wi-fi and tips.



SELLING TIP – Create a chart showing the cost of flights, drinks and tips to show what they are getting included

April 2020 | Midship

Premium options A growing number of premium lines – those listed here and also the likes of Holland America Line and Saga Cruises – are snapping at the heels of the ultra-luxury lines. Depending on the line, they might have larger ships with inside cabins, the service might not be so personal and their prices won’t include so much, but they are spot on for customers keen to trade up from the mass-market ships but unable to afford ultra-luxury prices.

More inclusive Who? Azamara Where? Croatia and Italy When? October 17, 2020 How long? 10 nights How much? From £2,111pp It’s all about destination with Azamara, which shrugged off its ‘Club’ moniker recently but still includes selected drinks, tips and one Az-Amazing shoreside experience per cruise in its prices. Suite passengers can dine in the speciality dining for free but other pay. This cruise visits Croatia, Malta and Italy.

Large ships Who? Celebrity Cruises Where? Italy and the Greek Isles When? October 9, 2020 How long? 10 nights How much? From £1,559pp Celebrity Cruises coined the term Modern Luxury

for its big ships and then created vessels to match. This cruise on the revolutionary 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge, which has designer cabins and suites, quirky restaurants and a Magic Carpet that acts as a disembarkation platform one moment and a bar the next.

Mid-size ships Who? Oceania Cruises Where? Mediterranean When? October 16, 2020 How long? 12 days How much? From £3,879pp including flights Oceania Cruises has ongoing Olife promotions that let clients pick their preferred freebie. Options on this cruise, from Lisbon to Civitavecchia on the 1,250-passenger Riviera, include either six free excursions, $600 cruise credit per cabin, or a complimentary drinks package for each person based on two sharing. The price also includes one free internet login.

SELLING TIP – Sell the many benefits of small ships, such as no queues and personal service



April 2020 | Aft

DIRECTORY Got a cruise query? Let us assist you. The cruise adviser directory provides you with the vital contact details for all major cruise lines operating in the UK – meaning trade sales support is never more than a phone call away


Information missing or out of date? Email



April 2020 | Aft A


A-Rosa River Cruises Simon McDermott, business development manager 07340 719746

Carnival Cruise Line Luke Smith, head of UK & international sales 020 7378 4660 Celebrity Cruises Nicola McNeish, head of sales – planning & activation 07919 540017

Amadeus River Cruises Sukie Rapal, head of river 0800 035 0237 AmaWaterways Jamie Loizou, sales, marketing and digital director 033 3305 3902

Celestyal Cruises Jo Reid, UK and Ireland country manager 07368 207 881

American Cruise Lines Sukie Rapal, head of river 0800 035 0237

Coral Expeditions Amy Sharpe, UK sales manager 020 3934 7170

American Queen Steamboat Company Rupert Thomson, managing director 01223 568 904

Cosmos Janet Parton, sales director 020 8315 4545

APT Touring Jessica Shelton-Agar, national sales manager 01494 736 147/07584 057 341

CroisiEurope John Fair, sales director 020 8328 1281

Aurora Expeditions Talia Schwartzman, sales executive +61 2 9252 1033 Craig Upshall, sales director UK/Europe 07824 305 232

Cruise & Maritime Voyages Lisa Jacobs, head of trade sales 0844 414 6140 Crystal Cruises Mick Dupont, head of UK sales 020 7399 7602

Australis Silvia Vizzoni, business development manager 07506 012 835

Cruising Excursions Kirsty Bachelor, trade sales manager 07784 357977

Avalon Waterways Janet Parton, sales director 020 8315 4545

Cunard Line Victoria Snelgar, business manager – sales operations 07773 253 279

Azamara Lori Scanella, business support executive 01932 834 379



Belmond Yann Guezennec, worldwide director of sales & marketing, trains & cruises 020 3117 1395

Disney Cruise Line Juliet Holden, account executive 080 0171 2317



April 2020 | Aft Heritage Line Joanna Paslawska, sales and marketing 0808 168 1458


Emerald Waterways Lewis Quigley, trade marketing executive 0161 233 1988

Holland America Line James Scott, business development representative 0344 338 8600

European Waterways Mark Robinson, sales and reservations manager 01753 598 555

Lucy Harris, business development representative 0344 338 8600

E-Waterways Joanna Paslawska, sales and marketing 0808 168 1458

Hurtigruten Anthony Daniels, UK general manager 020 8846 2666

Exotic Heritage Group Marco Rosa, UK representative 07973 876 967


Intrepid Travel Joanna Reeve, tailor-made manager EMEA 0808 274 5179


Far Horizon Sukie Rapal, head of river 0800 035 3189


Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Geoff Ridgeon, head of sales 01473 746164

JTA Travel Dave Green, managing director 0121 508 5567

Fred River Cruises Sukie Rapal, head of river 0800 035 3189


Katarina Line Olivera Lesinger, head of UK & overseas +38 5 51 603 409


G Adventures Stuart Darnley, national sales manager 07964 983 842


Latin Routes Jessica Dennison, director 020 8546 6222

Great Rail Journeys Lindsay Dixon, head of trade sales 01904 527 180

Leger Holidays Ashley Dellow, head of retail sales 01709 385 811


Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Aishling McLoughlin, sales representative UK & Ireland 07852 488 471

Lindblad Expeditions Jacinta McEvoy vice-president global sales +1 212 261 9000

Hebridean Island Cruises Lisa White, reservations manager 01756 704 704

Lotus Cruises Marco Rosa, UK representative 07973 876 967



April 2020 | Aft Pandaw Sukie Rapal, head of river 020 8396 7320


The Majestic Line Louisa Grant, cruise co-ordinator 01369 707951

Paukan Cruises Marco Rosa, UK representative 07973 876 967

Manatee Amazon Explorer Joanna Paslawska, sales and marketing 0808 168 1458

Paul Gaugin Mick Dupont, head of UK sales 020 7399 7602

Marella Cruises Andrew Isherwood, commercial support team 020 3451 2762

Pearl Seas Cruises Susan Shultz, director of sales +1 203 458 5280

Mรถvenpick Cruises Marco Rosa, UK representative 07973 876 967

Ponant Nabil Maillard, sales manager UK and Ireland 020 7092 6663

MSC Cruises Victoria Taylor, sales operations manager 020 7092 8182

Poseidon Expeditions Alexandra Prokopyeva, sales and marketing 020 3808 7787


National Geographic Expeditions Simon Chambers, operations manager 0800 988 3369

Ports Direct Karl Lapage, managing director 0843 0843 003

Nicko Cruises Rupert Thomson, managing director 01223 568904

Princess Cruises Natasha Lizardos, sales operations manager 02380 655658

Noble Caledonia Agency sales, 020 7752 0000

Pullmantur Cruises Simon Chambers, operations manager 0800 988 3369

Norwegian Cruise Line Eamonn Ferrin, VP & managing director for UK & Ireland 023 8124 5000


Quark Expeditions Christiane Bach, business development manager +1 416 645 8248


Oceania Cruises Lisa Clarkson, national accounts manager 07809 351 545 LClarkson@OceaniaCruises.Com agency sales, 0345 505 1920 AgencySales@OceaniaCruises.Com


Regent Seven Seas Cruises Caroline Moody, business development executive 023 8068 2283 Anna Salter, business development executive 023 8068 2283


P&O Cruises Brodie McIntosh, trade engagement manager 023 8065 5780



April 2020 | Aft Riviera Travel Darren Mussell, agency sales assistant manager 01283 744 307

Titan Travel Edwina Coppock, agency sales manager 012 9345 0726; 078 3465 2135

Rocky Mountaineer Steven Harris, regional sales director 07970 519 164

Touchdown | Travel Industry Services Robbie White, head of cruise product 020 8607 3805 Travel2 Colin Currie, head of sales 07891 257 160

Royal Caribbean International Trade support team 01932 834 379

Travelsphere & Just You Sarah Weetman, head of trade sales 07748 843 244


Saga Travel Sukina Fagg, national account manager 080 0074 8021


Uniworld Angela Sloan, key account manager 0808 168 9110

Scenic Lewis Quigley, trade marketing executive 0161 233 1988


Seabourn James Scott, business development representative 0344 338 8610 Lucy Harris, business development representative 0344 338 8610

Variety Cruises Chris Lorenzo, managing director, Seafarer Cruises 020 8324 3114 Victoria Cruises Tom Antonucci, sales manager +1 212 818 1680

SeaCloud Anja Ringel, vice-president, international marketing and sales +49 40 3095 9217

Victory Cruise Lines Rupert Thomson, managing director 01223 568904

SeaDream Yacht Club Mark Schmitt, sales director 07904 068 407 Shearings Michael Bowers, national sales manager 01942 823 449

Viking Cruises Andrew Schweitzer, key account manager (south) 07825 986 996 Jenny Wade, regional sales manager (north) 07966 995 012

Silversea Sales support 020 7340 0700

Volga Dream Sukie Rapal, head of river 0800 021 3186

Star Clippers Danielle Dudley, UK sales manager 077 6585 2116


Widgety Sandra Barnes-Keywood, head of sales 023 8042 8000 – opt 2


Windstar Cruises Anna Perrott Business Development Manager UK 07593 137135

Tauck UK country manager 080 0810 8020




Saga’s new collection of all-inclusive boutique cruises aboard Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure is now on sale. Featuring destinations across the Mediterranean, Norway, the Baltic and the Canary Islands, you’re sure to find the perfect 2021 itinerary for your customers. Book online at or call 0800 074 8021

Saga’s holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s, but a travel companion can be 40+. NTA-SC4350.

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