by Charlotte Flach
Viking Cruises has added a collection of Great Lakes itineraries for 2022, including a variety of sailings between Toronto and Duluth.
Designed specifically to reach the Great Lakes region, the Viking Octantis will remain in the Great Lakes until early October 2022.
Viking Octntis is the first expedition cruise ship to be introduced by Viking Cruises under its Viking Expeditions brand and will accommodate 378 guests in 189 staterooms and showcase a modern Scandinavian design.
During Viking’s inaugural 2022 season, the company is operating four new itineraries in the Great Lakes. These are: Undiscovered Great Lakes, an eight-day journey from Thunder Bay to Milwaukee; the eight-day Great Lakes Explorer which sails the reverse from Milwaukee to Thunder Bay; Niagara and the Great Lakes, an eight-day sailing from Toronto to Milwaukee, and Canadian Discovery, journeying from New York to Toronto.
On the cruises guests will have the chance to see the thundering Niagara Falls, glide in a kayak through the UNESCO Biosphere of Georgian Bay, marvel at the metropolis of Toronto or learn about the Anishinaabe indigenous heritage of the Thunder Bay area.
A second expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris, will debut later this year and will join the Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes for the 2023 season. This will be accompanied by a new 15-day voyage, a 15-day Great Lakes Collection sailing from Toronto to Duluth.
“Our expedition ships were designed with the Great Lakes in mind,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “This region has been historically underserved by cruise lines, and we are delighted by the warm and enthusiastic reception we have received from the local communities.”
“With our first season now underway, we are pleased with the strong demand among our guests and look forward to introducing even more curious travellers to these fantastic destinations in 2023.”
Two new routes from Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten Norway will introduce the two new offerings, the Svalbard Express and North Cape Express, next year.
The Svalbard Express will launch on June 3, 2023, just one month ahead of the company’s 130-year anniversary, while the first North Cape Express will depart on September 26, 2023.
An upgraded extension to the traditional Coastal Express, the two new itineraries will offer a significantly different experience: half-or full-day port visits; cooking classes; wine, beer, champagne, and whisky tastings; a food centre; a cocktail bar; and onboard entertainment.
Dining options will include an à la carte restaurant with tasting menus, all-day dining, afternoon tea, and takeaway service. The food centre will feature both cooking demonstrations and classes, and picnic and culinary excursions will be available, another first for the company.
Both itineraries are now available for purchase. Rates for the North Cape Express and Svalbard Express start at £2,415 and £3,641pp respectively.
Standard fares are full board including drinks with meals, afternoon tea, and much more, while Suite fares, start at £7,236 and £11,942pp, respectively, also include à la carte dining, an exclusive drink package, turn-down service, and access to the Suite lounge.
Cruise industry seeks partnership with governments to reach decarbonisation goals
Cruise industry leaders have called on governments to help achieve net-zero carbon cruising by 2050.
Convening recently in Genoa at the industry's first European Summit devoted to decarbonisation of cruise, cruise leaders asked governments to join in the effort by creating the right regulatory framework and investments to match the industry's commitment to accelerate development and delivery of sustainable maritime fuels and technologies.
Cruise lines are investing significantly in research projects and new innovative technologies aimed at improving their environmental performance. New vessels are however only one part of the equation, and the industry will need access to adequate infrastructure and supply of sustainable fuels to achieve their objectives.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises and Global Chair, CLIA said: “The cruise industry shares a vision with European governments of a sustainable blue economy. The industry is stepping up and can deliver on our promises. Clear support from decision makers is needed to ensure that the right infrastructure is developed and is accessible, and that the right incentives can guarantee the development and delivery of sustainable maritime solutions.”
Marie-Caroline Laurent, CLIA’s Director General in Europe, said: “The cruise industry has already taken firm and robust measures towards achieving its decarbonisation goals and, collectively, is committed to deliver. The cruise industry is powering European maritime industry innovation and is critical to help the EU to deliver the necessary step change towards decarbonisation. It is essential that we now need a clear legislative framework to encourage the investment and innovation that will be required for industry to achieve the 2030 EU Fit for 55 objectives and ultimately our 2050 ambitions.”
Mr Vago said during the conference that port infrastructure had been identified by CLIA as another very important area where public finance investment is essential. Cruise lines have committed to use shoreside electricity (SSE), where offered by ports, and 66% of the global fleet will be equipped to connect to SSE by 2027. Only a handful of cruise berths provide SSE in European ports, while the European Union goal is for all main ports in the continent to be equipped by 2030.
Ms Laurent concluded that the industry efforts are key to its future in Europe, as the sector has a vision to become the most sustainable form of tourism, reducing emissions at sea and in ports, fully implementing the concept of circularity for waste.
Agents can win luxury cruise with Scenic
The Scenic Group is offering one agent and their guest the chance to sail the Arabian Peninsula on board new luxury superyacht cruise, Emerald Azzurra.
The winning agent will join an eight-day ‘Gems of the Arabian Peninsula’ luxury sailing this December departing from Doha and sailing to Sir Baniyas Island, Abu Dhabi, Khasab, Fujairah, Zighy Bay and Dubai. The prize includes flights and transfers and the voyage is worth over £3,500pp.
To be in with a chance of winning agents simply need to make a new booking on a new Middle East ocean cruising itinerary with Emerald Cruises before July 31 2022 – the 11-day Gems of the Arabian Peninsula with Doha and the nine-day Delights of the Arabian Gulf currently include 35 per cent savings and a free drinks package. Agents will be automatically entered into the prize draw and the winner will be contacted once the competition has ended.
Emerald Azzurra will be joined by sister yacht Emerald Sakara in February 2023, with itineraries to the Seychelles, Mediterranean and Middle East, on sale now.
Renowned soprano to join Seabourn cruise
Sarah Brightman, the world’s best-selling Soprano and Godmother of Seabourn Encore, will appear in an “Intimate Evening of Music and Conversation”. She will perform during Seabourn Encore’s seven-day Aegean & Turkish Treasures itinerary, sailing roundtrip from Athens August 14-21, 2022.
Brightman will entertain one performance in the ship’s Grand Salon, followed by an intimate conversation about her singing, theatrical career and musical accomplishments. In January 2017, Brightman served as godmother of Seabourn Encore and named the ship in a ceremony in Singapore.
The Seven-Day Aegean & Turkish Treasures itinerary starts from £3,799pp in a Veranda Suite, inclusive of return economy flights from the UK to Athens, departing on August 14 and returning on August 24 2022. Rates are subject to change.