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
Source

Look here for great deals on Princess cruises!

Be Insured

Posted on Monday, March 24, 2014 | 0 comments
Travel insurance can be one of those things which goes forgotten in the excitement leading up to a cruise. Although cruising is, relatively, an extremely safe way to travel, things can go wrong and one of the most likely scenarios is that someone will get sick onboard.

The Sydney Morning Herald recently told the tale of a passenger who was hit with a $1700 bill after falling sick and spending time in the ship's medical centre. She assumed that Medicare would cover her whilst on a domestic cruise, but this is often not the case- be warned! Cruise line operators have spoken up to say that there is not an expectation to have Medicare providers onboard, and in fact many of their medical staff are foreign and do not have provider numbers. This is due to cruise ship employees being contracted on a global basis in this global industry.


Always ensure that you are insured before getting onboard, even for a domestic cruise! Did you know that you can get insurance along with your cruise from our consultants at Cruise Sale Finder? This can be done by talking to the consultant while or after booking, and also via the below online form which will generate a quote.



Next time you cruise, make sure you are covered!

Shine Bright Like A Diamond

Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2014 | 0 comments
Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess spends a lot of time cruising in Japan, and is booked to sail from Tokyo during the northern summer season of 2014. She was built in Japan, and offers some of Princess's most intriguing and unique itineraries. To prepare for the coming season, the ship is undergoing an extensive refurbishment in dry dock in Singapore.

Japanese-centred renovations and additions will include an extensive new Japanese bath area, the largest such facility at sea. The 8,800 square foot complex will include gardens, a hydrotherapy pool, a mist sauna and dry sauna and natural materials to make a serene and relaxing area. There will also be a new sushi restaurant called Kai Sushi, similar to but bigger then the one on Sun Princess. Sushi will not be all that's available, the restaurant will also offer sashimi, seafood cocktails, matcha ice cream and sake.



There is plenty more in store for the new-and-improved Diamond Princess. The duty-free boutiques will be remodeled for a luxurious shopping experience and the buffet Horizon Court area will be upgraded to include action stations for live cooking, expanded seating and great new decor. Additional staterooms will be installed during the refurbishment, along with new furnishings and decor in the public areas. The hull will also be given a fresh paint.

Princess Cruises hopes that the new additions and improvements on the Diamond Princess will make it appeal even more to Japanese and other Asian cruisers, allowing them a few home comforts and habits whilst on holiday. The new Diamond Princess will be back in action in April.

Have a look here for great deals on Diamond Princess cruises!

Seuss At Sea

Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2014 | 0 comments
Carnival Cruise Lines has a new entertainment experience which will appeal to both children and the more nostalgic of adults. Dr Seuss has some timeless and beloved stories, and like Disney Cruise lines with Disney and Royal Caribbean with Dreamworks, Carnival plans to bring the characters to life onboard their ships.

Not familiar with the good Doctor? Dr. Seuss, a.k.a Theodor Seuss Geisel, was an American writer, poet and cartoonist who was best known for the children's books he wrote and illustrated. His imaginative rhymes and silly, nonsensical style are a phenomena which have inspired feature films, multiple television series and a broadway musical. He is a literary legend when it comes to children's books, and his birthday has been adopted as the national Read Across America day. Dr Seuss died in 1991.


Carnival recently announced their plans which will roll out over 2014 and 2015 on all 24 ships. Activities are set to include a Green Eggs and Ham character breakfast, a character parade, themed arts and crafts and story times. Carnival has expressed that they aim to make the events appeal to both parents and young children, and to provide opportunities for families to spend time together. The long-running appeal of Dr Seuss is great for this as parents will remember the stories and characters from their own childhoods.

The good news for Australasian cruisers is that the Doctor is coming Down Under, although not until sometime in 2015 for the Carnival Spirit. The Carnival Legend, however, starts her seasonal residency in Sydney in September this year, and will arrive with Dr, Seuss already in situ.



Have a look here for Carnival cruises!

Rule, Britannia! Britannia, Rule the Waves.

Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014 | 0 comments
Britain may no longer rule the waves, but she will reclaim some of them with the launch of P&O UK's newest ship in March 2015. The Britannia, whose hull has been floated and is now being fitted out, will be the biggest British ship afloat. She will carry up to 3,600 passengers and offer a modern yet classically British cruising experience to passengers from the UK and elsewhere.


P&O has a long seafaring history, with 175 years of maritime heritage. The ship will proudly reflect this in several ways- not least of which is her name. "Britannia" is a name borrowed form two previous ships connected to P&O, one built in 1835 and another in 1887 which marked the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria and also of the company. This new Britannia has a lot to live up to! The ship will embrace her British heritage also with a 94-metre Union Flag painted on her bow, and include a nod to the company's Coat of Arms with a rising sun motif on her funnels.


The updated interior will hide some great features including a cookery school by celebrity chef James Martin, a range of specialty restaurants by the likes of Marco Pierre White, and the biggest spa and retreat in the P&O fleet. The ship will boast a TV studio which is also a cinema and a venue for demonstrations and game shows- an exciting new multi-purpose space. These along with four pools, thirteen bars, modern and pretty cabins, classic P&O favourites like the Crow's Nest and a one million pound art collection on display will make the Britannia a great place to holiday. More details to come.

Check here for some great deals on P&O UK cruises!

Malaysia Developments on the Horizon

Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 0 comments
Malaysia is not usually listed on many mainstream itineraries and is often overlooked by cruise lines and their big ships. However, this beautiful southeast Asian nation is under the spotlight as a new development is planned which will put it on the cruise map for sure.

Royal Caribbean is one of the investors in the Melaka Gateway project, an undertaking which will involve the building of a new cruise terminal, a theme park, a hotel and many more attractions. The 900 metre long cruise dock will accommodate up to three ships and will have direct connections to the rest of the Melaka Gateway area and the city of Melaka/Malacca.

Proposed development

Lying behind the man-made modern glory of the proposed gateway is the city of Malacca which offers a delightful contrast. The city centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its years of Portugese, Dutch and British rule have given it a rich history and culture. It has many beautiful old churches, plentiful museums and traditional markets.

Malacca

Keep an eye on this exciting new cruise destination! It is expected to be completed in 2025.

RCI Can't Resist the Allure of Europe

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 | 0 comments
Royal Caribbean's Allure and Oasis of the Seas are the behemoths of the seas. The world's largest cruise ships, they offer so many activities, shopping and dining options, entertainment venues and rides that a passenger would be hard-pressed to see and experience everything in a week-long cruise even with no port stops. They certainly make for an amazing holiday, and Royal Caribbean is spreading the love in 2015 to allow European cruise lovers to get onboard the amazing Allure of the Seas right in their own backyard.

Barcelona

The Allure of the Seas was delivered from Finland in 2010, and next year it will return to its homeland to sail out of Barcelona for five moths. She will be preceded by the Oasis of the Seas who will pop across the Atlantic for a micro-season in Autumn 2014, testing the waters.

Allure of the Seas

The Mediterranean itineraries for the Allure will include big ports in Spain, France and Italy. Week-long cruises can depart either Barcelona or Civitavecchia, and also stop at Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles, La Spezia, and Naples. From the beaches of Palma and the lavender fields of Provence to the bustling streets of Rome and street performers of Barcelona, a week on the Allure of the Seas in the Mediterranean will be a trip worth remembering.

See here for great deals on Allure of the Seas cruises!

Navigator of the Seas Unveiled- Great Things Ahead

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The Texas-based Navigator of the Seas has just come out of dry-dock where it was treated to an extensive makeover. Emerging fresh-faced and rejuvenated, the ship is a sign of things to come Down Under. Australia-based Voyager of the Seas is set to undergo a similar makeover in October in an effort by the cruise line to update and enhance every ship and bring them into line with the newest Royal Caribbean offerings.



Updates to the Navigator included expanding the dining options with the addition of severall specialty restaurants. Among these is one being debuted on the line, a Mexican eatery called Sabor which offers traditional and modernised Mexican dishes and of course, cocktails. The much-loved and new-and-improved Chops Grille will also be available, along with Japanese and Italian restaurants.



Popular concepts which have been introduced on the Oasis-class ships have been installed in the Navigator, such as digital signage solutions, WiFi available everywhere and the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery. The Champagne Bar has been re-designed as the signature R Bar. New entertainment has been introduced in the form of the FlowRider surf simulator and a giant screen by the pool for movies and shows. Inside staterooms will benefit from the introduction of Virtual Balconies, a Quantum-class innovation which is being put into action first on Navigator of the Seas. These consist of screens in inside cabins which act as virtual windows, displaying real-time views of the ocean and ports.

We in Australia and New Zealand are looking forward to seeing these exciting Royal Caribbean concepts and updates in our Voyager of the Seas! Roll on October. Have a look here to see great deals on Voyager of the Seas cruises.


Get Romantic with Captain Stubing

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 | 0 comments
Valentine's Day is coming, and we cruise lovers could all do with some tips on how to successfully romance our significant others. Who better to impart these than Gavin McLeod? Better known as Captain Stubing of the Love Boat, he has prepared a video for all those clueless romeos who need some ideas this February 14th and beyond.

The charming if somewhat kitschy video relates the Captain's best tips for treating that special someone right, including such gems of wisdom as "try some cooking" and "leave your phones at home." The wealth of knowledge comes from McLeod's ten seasons on the Love Boat, an immensely popular series filmed on various Princess ships in the 1970s and 1980s. 



In a further effort to spread the love, McLeod as Captain Stubing has recently announced that he will be making an appearance in Australia on the 7th and 8th of February. There he will oversee a vow renewal ceremony on a Princess ship, and then travel to New Zealand to oversee another on the 12th of February. This will only be the actor's second visit Down Under since the Love Boat filmed an episode in Sydney in 1981, and it is fitting that he is returning to spread the love amongst cruisers.

Have a look here at some romantic Princess cruises!

Make Way for a Regal Princess

Posted on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | 0 comments
Amongst the several exciting new ships arriving in 2014 (including the amazing Quantum of the Seas) is Princess's latest offering, the Regal Princess, which is scheduled to launch in May. The Regal Princess is a sister ship to the Royal Princess which was christened by Duchess Kate last year, and will share many of the features which have already proved a hit with passengers on the new ship.



Princess fans can look forward to a larger and better atrium with added casual dining options, the line's biggest-yet top deck pool complete with water and light show, balconies on all outside staterooms, a promenade deck, a glass-bottomed SeaWalk and plenty of the old favourites besides. The ship will hold up to 3,600 passengers and 2,000 crew.

 The Regal Princess's inaugural voyage will take place in the Mediterranean, departing Athens, and will sail there for the summer before she makes her way to her winter port in Fort Lauderdale. From there she will make trips to the various islands of the Caribbean.

See here for deals on the wonderful Regal Princess cruises and be one of the first to experience this fun new ship!