Cruise Through Christmas

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2011 | 0 comments
by notmargaret Flickr Creative Commons

Do you want a Christmas outside of the ordinary? Almost all large cruise lines operate right through the holiday, making it easy to have a tropical Christmas.

by Richie Diesterheft Flickr Creative Commons

There are a few valid reasons why some might balk at the idea of a cruise ship Christmas- no snow, unless you're in Alaska or Antarctica, no home-cooked meal, no huge family gathering. A Christmas aboard is likely to be a long way from the traditional way of celebrating the holiday, and if those things are your priority then maybe a Christmas cruise is not for you.

However, it certainly has it's advantages. No cooking, no dishes, the most relaxing Christmas you'll ever have. As for snow- you could try an Alaskan cruise, but as an inhabitant of the southern hemisphere used to visiting the beach on Christmas day, I can vouch for the fact that Christmas is still Christmas in summer! The ships do get into the spirit of the holiday, with decorations galore, faux snow falling in the Grand Atriums of Princess ships, midnight services on Cunard's Queens, and holiday decorations and santa visits across most of the lines- festivities are designed to include all religions. Pacific-based P&O line will get into the Aussie Christmas spirit this year with a crew vs. passenger game of beach cricket on Christmas eve.

Christmas on Cunard's Queen Victoria
by slideshow bob Flickr Creative Commons

Family is a big factor in Christmas for many people- why not bring them all along? A cruise will give you a relaxing holiday together rather than just one day filled largely with driving, cooking and cleaning up- can I reiterate once more, there are NO dishes for you to do on a cruise ship.

If you are cruising over Christmas/Hanukkah/Thanksgiving, make sure to be extra friendly to the crew who are working and away from their loved ones. Apart from that, have a lot of fun and enjoy a break from the craziness of the silly season!

Try out Cruise Sale Finder's advanced cruise finder to find a Christmas cruise for 2011 or 2012!

Christmas carols aboard the Pacific Sun

Author: Ryan Posa+

Royal Princess Keel Laid

Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2011 | 0 comments
by Bruce Tuten Flickr Creative Commons

Princess Cruises' newest ship is well and truly underway after a keel-laying ceremony in the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. The keel-laying is the exciting beginning of the shipbuilding process for Princess, whose President and CEO travelled to Italy for the ceremony.

The Royal Princess will join the fleet in Spring 2013, and a sister is planned for her- these 2 ships marking a new class of ships, whilst still adhering to the tried-and true Princess style. Notable new features are to include a glass-enclosed walkway jutting out over the water from the top deck on the starboard side, with a glass-floored bar balancing it to port. Also new to the line will be an adults-only pool and cabana complex.

The original Royal Princess joined the line in 1984, christened by the Royal Princess Diana herself, and is now sailing as the Artemis for P&O Cruises. This newest Royal Princess is to commence sailing in spring 2013- these ships certainly aren't built in a day!

Author: Ryan Posa+

Seabourn Luxury

Posted on Monday, October 24, 2011 | 0 comments
Seabourn Cruise Lines has again been named the best small-ship cruise line of the year by readers of the Conde Nast traveller, a luxury travel magazine. It is the second year in a row for the line, and it has been included in the magazine's top luxury travel choices for 17 consecutive years.

2011 has been a year of growth for the line, with a 3-ship expansion being completed, these being slightly larger than the original ships but still considered small and intimate at 450 capacity. Seabourn is known for it's luxurious small-ship cruises, with everything from alcohol to gratuities included. Understated and elegant, every room is a suite and the wine selections are of impeccable quality. Smaller ships means more ports are available to Seabourn ships and the service is personal and intuitive.

The Seabourn Legend
by JeanBaptisteM Flickr Creative Commons

Seabourn is a great choice for those willing to pay for the absolute best in cruising, so why not treat yourself and try it out? Click here to book cruises on the Seabourn Pride, Quest, Legend, Sojourn, Spirit or Odyssey.

Author: Ryan Posa+

Fremantle Port

Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 | 0 comments
Fremantle is a port city 30 minutes from the larger Perth, and is where cruise ships to the area dock. From Fremantle's Passenger Terminal, you can visit Fremantle, Perth and experience a bit of Australia's west coast. Perth is the largest city in western Australia and is very remote relative to other cities of it's size, with the largest nearby city being Adelaide, over 2000 km away.

The Queen Mary 2 docked at Fremantle
by Leo Zaza Flickr Creative Commons

The cruise terminal in Fremantle is directly in the CBD, meaning it is easy to get buses, trains and ferries, and there is a free Perth-Fremantle bus. Fremantle is definitely worth some of your time, and if you have only a few hours why not spend it there rather than travel further afield? The port city is known for it's arty and eclectic atmosphere and residents, and is easy to explore by foot, so try bit of strolling and people-watching! It's Cappucino Strip is full of restaurants and cafes where you can watch the world go by.

If you would like to make the short trip into Perth, you won't be disappointed. Sunny and cheerful, Perth is a relaxed city as befits it's location on the west coast. Cottesloe Beach is a favourite place to visit for sand and sea, as is Rottnest island, a short ferry trip from the city. If you have kids to entertain, there is Perth Zoo and Adventure World, a fun park with 30 different rides.

by Percita Flickr Creative Commons

If you would like to escape the city for a bit and see some of the western Australia landscape, Perth is surrounded by National Parks. Day trips can include Serpentine National Park, an hour from Perth and less from Fremantle, a beautiful park with waterfalls and bushwalking trails. There is also Walyunga National Park to the north of Perth, encompassing a section of the Swan River Valley and popular for white-water canoeing, bush walking and bird watching.

For more information about the Port of Fremantle, click here.

Author: Ryan Posa+

Melbourne Port

Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | 0 comments
Melbourne is a delightful city to visit- a more sedate city than Sydney, it is low-key, centralized making it easy to walk around, and a very livable and visitable place- it has a more European feel than most of Australia's other cities, and is truly international.

by Fernando de Sousa Flickr Creative Commons

Cruises to and from Melbourne dock at Station Pier in Port Melbourne. There is a tram station here which makes it simple to get into the city centre.

Once in the city, Melbourne has a "Greeter" service which is an amazing idea and used in several other countries worldwide. Here you can book (Must be 3 days in advance a volunteer local to give you a half day orientation of the city, for up to 4 people. This will be tailored to your interests, and is completely free, and in english or several other languages, depending on availablity. What a great way to see the best of Melbourne!

Melbourne also has stunning Botanic Gardens, and Federation Square in the city centre is a cultural hub with theatres, art galleries, restaurants and more. Take in a show or just relax at a cafe and watch the world go by.

Distinctive Federation Square Buildings
by Sebastian Bergmann Flickr Creative Commons

If you are in Melbourne for a while, the best way to visit all it has to offer may be an iVenture card- the See Melbourne Attractions Pass. With this, you can visit the renowned Melbourne Aquarium, see the city from the Eureka Skydeck and take a River Cruise amongst other things. Definitely worth getting one if you will have time to use it!

For more information about the Port of Melbourne and cruises departing from there, click here.

Author: Ryan Posa+

Sydney Port

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Sydney, or Seedney as you may hear the locals refer to it, is Australia's largest city and is a stop or departure/arrival port for many south pacific cruises. Sydney is located in Sydney Harbour, and is a bustling city both on the water and onshore. It is ranked as an Alpha+ World City, and is known as the "Emerald City" due to it's sparkling harbour.

Cruise ships in Sydney dock at Circular Quay, which is very centrally located, making it a breeze to explore the city from your ship.You'll have you choice of transport- ferries, water taxis, taxis, trains and buses.

Circular Quay
by edwin.111 Flickr Creative Commons

Circular Quay is flanked by the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, two major landmarks of Sydney. If you'd like to catch a show at the Opera House, look here for what's on when.

Also within easy distance of the Quay are the Royal Botanic Gardens, 30 hectares of gardens right in the middle of the city. It is home to an amazing collection of plants and wildlife including many Australian natives. Also close by is Observatory Hill Park where you can find great views of the city.

View from Observatory Hill
by MD111 Flickr Creative Commons

A great way to see some of the city and harbour is to take the famous Manly Ferry, a 30 minute trip to Manly on the northern shore. Not only will you see the sights, you will arrive in Manly, a seaside resort/suburb located on a peninsula and surrounded on 3 sides by water. It is a very laid-back part of the city with a surfer atmosphere, and has many beaches including several long surf beaches on the ocean side.

For more information on the Port of Sydney and cruises departing from there, please click here.

Author: Ryan Posa+

Brisbane Cruise Port

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Brisbane, capital of sunny Queensland and close to the Gold Coast and Surfer's Paradise, is a popular cruise port. There are two cruise ship wharves- Portside Wharf, an international-standard cruise terminal, and the Multi-User Terminal which is further down the river and accessible by the bigger ships which cannot go under the Gateway Bridge.

Brisbane and it's Winding River
by brewbooks Flickr Creative Commons

To the city centre, the options from the Multi-User terminal are taxis or arrangements (e.g shuttle buses)made by the cruise line. From the Portside Wharf, you can take the ferry from a nearby ferry terminal and see the city from the river, or a cruise line or public shuttle.

Brisbane has a lot to offer a cruise passenger- it is a relaxed and fun city in Queensland, the sun'n'surf state! To get a feel for the city, try the River Walk which follows the North Bank for 13km. A great way to stretch your legs after a sea voyage- although that doesn't really apply when your voyage was on a cruise ship! From there, what you do in the city depends on what you enjoy- the Queensland Cultural Centre is in Brisbane, home to some of the nation's leading art institutions. Nature-lovers may prefer the city's riverside Botanic Gardens, South Bank Parklands (this even has an artificial beach) or Roma Street Parklands, all oases of nature in the city.

South Bank Parklands' Artificial Beach
by thienzieyung Flickr Creative Commons

There are bars and restaurants galore, and the Gold Coast with it's amusement parks and beaches is an easy day trip.

Gold Coast
by Cindy Andrie Flickr Creative Commons

For more info on the Port of Brisbane and cruises from there, click here.

Author: Ryan Posa+

Cruise Ships wished 'Bienvenue' in Akaroa

Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | 0 comments
The Canterbury quakes may have damaged the port of Lyttleton, but cruise passengers need not worry- they will still see the region, with their port of embarkation moving to the charming town of Akaroa on the end of the Banks Peninsula. The town and it's inhabitants are looking forward to welcoming the 80 ships which have been diverted due to the quake, and have upped the public services and entertainment, with a temporary visitor's centre, a Town Crier to greet arriving passengers, street performers, extra signage and a free shuttle route.

Ships will anchor offshore and take passengers ashore in lifeboats, where they can opt to stay in Akaroa or take a bus to Christchurch.

by Robert Young Flickr Creative Commons

So what can Akaroa offer a visitor? 84km by road from Christchurch, has a permanent population of less than 1000 but this can swell five-fold in the summer. Populated initially by french whalers, the gallic influence is still very noticeable- streets, cafes and shops have french names, and the cemetery is full of french family names. The town is known for it's lovely colonial architecture, and the activities provided by the Akaroa Harbour- take a yacht for a spin for a few hours, get paddling or slip into a wetsuit and swim with the little Hector's Dolphins.

Hector's Dolphin
by Scott Thompson Flickr Creative Commons

Check here for cruises to Akaroa and elsewhere!

Author: Ryan Posa+

Townsville's Terminal Takes Off

Posted on Thursday, October 6, 2011 | 1 comments
Work has begun on a new Cruise Ship terminal in Townsville, Australia. It will allow more ships to visit the area, and Townsville is hoping for growth in the city as a result of the increased cruise passenger traffic.

premier of Queensland Anna Bligh broke ground for the development, which is expected to take two years.

by Brian Giesen Flickr Creative Commons

So why would you want to stop in Townsville? a city in the state of Queensland, it deserves a spot on your Australian cruise itinerary. It is not as big a city as the other major cruise ports, so easier to get a feel for on a brief visit. Castle Hill Loukout gives a great outlook over the whole city. Townsville offers the best of North Queensland along with the best of Australia's world-class cities: idyllic beaches, a laid-back atmosphere, as well as great shopping and restaurants. If you have a day there, a great option is to visit Magnetic island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville. 2/3 of this island is protected National Park and it will stun you with it's native Australian bush and beaches. Rent a scooter to explore, or use the island as a base for a diving or snorkelling trip.

For Australia Cruises, click here!

Author: Ryan Posa+

Paul Gauguin Expands Horizons

Posted on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 | 0 comments
The Tahiti based Cruise Company Paul Gauguin Cruises has long been known as a small extremely luxurious boutique cruise line. It's ship the MS Paul Gauguin has cruised French Polynesia and the South Pacific since 1998, taking it's small amount of passengers to places where larger ships dare not venture.

The company has recently bought a new ship, a 90-passenger capacity vessel which will be renamed the Moana and will sail an inaugural voyage for the cruise line in December 2012.

This is exciting news for converts of Paul Gauguin's unique style of cruising. The ship, much smaller than most cruise ships which carry thousands, will be placed in the Mediterranean during the northern hemisphere's summer and in the Caribbean and Latin America during winter. It will be able to visit smaller ports that are less jaded by masses of cruise ship passengers, and explore shallower parts that ships with a bigger draught cannot reach.

British Virgin Islands, Caribbean
by Fairphotos Flickr Creative Commons

Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean
by greenmelinda Flickr Creative Commons

Paul Gauguin is a high-end cruise line and has very high staff-to-guest and space-to-guest ratios, all-inclusive pricing, all oceanview accomodation, 24 hour room service and facilities that bring you closer to the ocean such as a 'watersports marina' in it's current vessel which brings you to sea level so you can get in a kayak or go diving, swimming or snorkelling directly from the boat.

This expansion will bring a new way of cruising to the Med and Caribbean, and is an exciting move for cruise lovers- especially those who like to take the road less travelled!

To see Paul Gauguin and other cruises, click here!

Author: Ryan Posa+