Azamara in Australia

Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 | 0 comments
The fabulous luxury cruise line Azamara Club has recently unveiled plans to bring one of their boutique ships to Australia. This will be the line's debut down under, the first Australian season for a company which is known for great destination immersion and  wonderful onboard service and entertainment.

The Azamara Quest

The Azamara Quest will kick off 2016 with a two week cruise over Christmas and New Years from Bali to Cairns including ports in Indonesia and Australia. The Quest will then visit a variety of ports in the region with a 10 night cruise from Cairns to Sydney, a 16 night cruise from Sydney to Auckland, a 13 night cruise back to Sydney and a 17 night cruise from Sydney to Bali.

Cruisers in Australia and New Zealand can look forward to Azamara bringing something a little different to the market. The line's small luxury ships are very port-focused, and can visit some places which bigger ships can't. The itineraries include a wide range of ports and will visit Cooktown, Port Douglas, Thursday Island and Port Arthur alongside the more common destinations. They also incorporate destinations into their onboard entertainment, with port-of-call lectures which highlight the history and culture of the places the ship visits. The ship will sometimes stay more than one night in a port to allow passengers to truly explore and get to know the area.

Port Douglas

The only problem with Azamara's excellent destination immersion policies is that you may be torn between experiencing the port and staying on the ship. Better than a high-end boutique hotel, the Azamara offers a more intimate cruising experience than big-ship lines thanks to its small size and limit of 686 passengers. Guests are treated like royalty with 24-hour room service, alcohol available at no extra cost from all the ship's bars, concierge services and a wonderful entertainment roster involving live music, bars and lounges, classes, demonstrations, lectures, poolside parties and more.

Find cruises on both of Azamara Club's stunning small ships here!

Golden Princess Melbourne Debut

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 | 0 comments
Melbourne is getting a bigger slice of the Princess action next year, with the Golden Princess heading Down Under to be homeported in the city between October 2015 and March 2016. It will be the biggest ever ship to be based there and will increase Princess Cruises' capacity in Victoria by twenty percent. What will Melburnians find onboard? This Grand-Class ship has balconies on more than half of the staterooms, four swimming pools, a range of eateries both those included in the fare and those with a surcharge, bars, theatres, sports facilities and much more. Get ready, Melbourne!

Golden Princess- Melbourne Bound

Princess has shown a focus on Australia in the coming years, with a record five ships being based in the country for the 2015-2016 season. All will offer AUD onboard pricing. There will soon be year-round cruising from Western Australia, a boon for western cruise lovers, including a fabulous 46-night itinerary on the Sun Princess from Fremantle to India and South Africa.

Sydney and Brisbane will continue to offer plenty of Princess cruises all year, with the Diamond Princess, Sea Princess and Dawn Princess rounding out the South Pacific fleet. The Australia and New Zealand market is now the second largest for the company, following the mega-market that is the United States. What does this mean? It is only good news for cruisers in the south, as Princess is leading the charge in catering more and more to the customer base here.

Check here for great deals on Princess cruises!

Explorer of the Seas is on Her Way!

Posted on Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 0 comments
Royal Caribbean have some great news for the Australia and New Zealand cruise market! The Explorer of the Seas is being deployed to sail out of Sydney for summer 2015-2016, as part of the company's Australia fleet. She will join her sister ship the Voyager of the Seas to claim the joint title of the biggest ship cruising Down Under.

Welcome, Explorer of the Seas!

The new arrival does come with a sad departure- the Rhapsody of the Seas will leave our waters after its eighth season in 2014-2015 to make way for the new ship. The Explorer of the Seas is much bigger and newer, offering more facilities and more cabins to the growing market.

Farewell, Rhapsody of the Seas!

So, who is this newcomer to the Sydney scene? A Voyager-class vessel, she can accommodate over 3,000 guests along with a team of scientists who make use of her inbuilt atmospheric and oceanographic laboratory. Fun entertainment features include a climbing wall, an ice-skating rink, a mini-golf course and the action-packed Royal Promenade with plenty of shops, eateries and parades. There are 15 bars, clubs and lounges, dining options galore, a roomy theatre with broadway-style shows and much more.

New Explorer of the Seas cruises will soon be up here. Rhapsody lovers feeling a little nostalgic can check out the rest of her itineraries in the South Pacific here!

Celebrity Cruises Releases Australasia Itineraries

Posted on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | 0 comments
Top-rated cruise line Celebrity Cruises has released its itineraries for 2015 and 2016, including a number of exciting cruises in the Australasia region. The company has shown increased interest in the area, basing a ship here during the peak season and sending others down for visits to allow cruise lovers down under to experience the amazing service and innovations that characterise the Celebrity fleet.

Aussies and Kiwis can look forward to the Celebrity Solstice returning for her fourth consecutive summer season, with 16 cruises heading to over 30 destinations in 9 different countries around the Pacific. These will range from 8 to 13 nights and will depart from Auckland, Sydney and Perth. This means that any who want to will have the opportunity to experience this spacious and modern ship.

The Celebrity Millennium will also make an appearance in the South Pacific, calling in at the end of her season in Asia. Those looking for a real adventure might enjoy the trip from Sydney to Honolulu where she will then move to Vancouver to begin her Alaska season. This 18 night cruise will visit many beautiful Pacific Islands on the way across the Pacific.

Celebrity brings something a little different to the Australasia cruise market, and it is for this reason that the Celebrity Solstice has been so well received. The upmarket ships are bright and fresh, departing from the traditional dark wood and colouring. The enrichment programs are extensive, there is an excellent spa cafe dining option and they take bars to a new level with the frozen Martini Bar and offbeat Molecular Bar. Starting from being welcomed aboard with mimosas and sparkling wine, the onboard service is a step up.  The Celebrity Solstice has a Lawn Club are with real grass, where great food is served in a country-club atmosphere from the Lawn Club Grill.

Silversea's New Addition to Cruise the Pacific

Posted on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | 0 comments
Last week in Singapore, Silversea Cruises christened a new member of its fleet. The Silver Discoverer is the line's third expedition vessel, joining a distinguished line-up of seven Silversea ships. Of the larger fleet, Silver Explorer and Silver Galapagos join with the newcomer to form a trio of adventurous vessels with comfortable luxury interiors and hardy exteriors suited to exciting expedition cruising.

Silversea is a line known worldwide for polished luxury cruises on beautiful, well-appointed small ships which carry between 100 and 300 guests. The boutique cruises allow an intimate atmosphere between guests, the opportunity to visit harbours unreachable by larger ships and personal service for all passengers. Silversea's passengers enjoy butler service, ocean view suites, multiple dining venues, gourmet cuisine, sophisticated entertainment, fine wines, champagne, spirits, beer and specialty coffees served throughout the ship and 24-hour room service, all included in the cruise fare.

The Silver Discoverer joins the fleet fresh from a major refurbishment which has seen her fitted out with plush carpets, upholstery and decorations. All suites have been upgraded with marble detailing in the bathrooms which feature walk-in rainforest showers, in-suite bar set-ups, luxury mattresses and flat screen TVs. Other onboard features include several beautiful gourmet restaurants, a lounge which doubles as a lecture theatre and a swimming pool on deck. A sun deck area has been added for sunny relaxation, and a small spa which offers beauty treatments and massage along with some fitness facilities. 

12 Zodiac boats will allow the ship's passengers to get amongst the wonderful ports the ship visits, and the Silver Discoverer is also equipped with a glass-bottomed boat to see the marine life up close and personal.

In her previous incarnations, Silversea's newest ship has sailed as Oceanic Grace, Oceanic Odyssey and Clipper Odyssey. In her latest she will cruise the Pacific, with itineraries including stops in Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia and the Russian Far East. She will go to places that bigger ships cannot go, making every cruise a true adventure.

Dining: Quantum Class Innovations

Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2014 | 0 comments
Royal Caribbean is preparing to roll out an entirely new class of ships, beginning with the Quantum of the Seas in November 2014. We have previously written about what to expect on this ship, but are excited to share further details on what looks to be an exciting new innovation in eating at sea.

The line recently announced that the dining concept on the Quantum of the Seas and her sister ships will be something entirely new, called Dynamic Dining. Instead of one main restaurant serving all passengers, the ship will have five separate eateries for which costs are included in the cruise fare. Each will offer a distinct menu and style. The American Icon Grill will serve classic comfort food, Chic will focus on contemporary cuisine with fresh ingredients, and oriental flavours will be brought to the table at Silk, a pan-Asian eatery. The Grande is set to be somewhat of a throwback restaurant which recalls the glamour of the ocean travel heyday, with timeless and classic dishes and a formal dress code. Coastal Kitchen will be exclusively for suite guests and fuse Mediterranean cuisine with California produce.

These five restaurants will allow cruisers to mix it up every night- and for more choice, the ship will include many specialty restaurants from the tried-and-true to the brand new. Favourites Izumi Japanese cuisine and the Chef's Table will return, and new additions are slated to include the weird and wonderful experimental dishes of the Wonderland restaurant, an excellent gastropub by chef Michael Schwartz, and an upmarket eatery for the weight watchers which serves decadent treats at under 500 calories a plate. All specialty restaurants will incur a fee on top of the cruise fare.

The highlight of the new specialty offerings onboard Quantum Class ships will be 'Jamie's Italian' by the man from Essex himself, Jamie Oliver. The cheerful chef is known the world over for his "pukka" recipes, laid-back manner and entertaining cooking style. His Italian eatery on the Quantum of the Seas will be his first venture into nautical nosh, however Jamie is no stranger to Royal Caribbean. He holidayed on the line's ships as a child, when his Dad would save up to take the family on a cruise once every three years, and is excited about partnering with the company to bring rustic Italian dishes to its passengers.

Have a look here for more great deals on Royal Caribbean cruises!

Princess Focuses on Australasia and Asia

Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 0 comments
Princess Cruises has recently upgraded its fabulous Diamond Princess, with a view to boosting cruising in Asia. It will have the largest Japanese bath facility at sea, a sushi restaurant, upgraded shopping and buffet area and more. Australian cruisers will be glad to hear that along with increased Asian itineraries, the Diamond Princess will be making her way to the South Pacific to sail from Sydney alongside the Sun Princess!

This move is a part of a greater movement by Princess to cruise from more varied locations, and focus on markets outside the traditional Caribbean and Mediterranean cruising grounds. Princess will add and make changes to their program in an effort to make cruising more appealing to Aussie and Kiwi cruisers, including more round-trip sailings which are the most popular amongst locals and a new five-night sampler cruise for those who want to test out the updated ship.

Asian cruises are also reasonably close to home for Australasian passengers, and Princess is expanding there too. Alongside the Diamond Princess out of Japan, cruising there during the northern summer season will be the Sapphire Princess which will offer more destinations from Singapore than any other cruise line, with 15 roundtrip departures during her deployment. These will call in to seven countries and sixteen ports which include Koh Samui, Langkawi, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur. These exotic itineraries are great for the more adventurous cruisers who have seen all they can of the South Pacific.

Hong Kong

Look here for great deals on Princess cruises!