Cruise round-up

by Steve Hartridge

Holland America falls for New England and Canada

Holland America Line’s Zaandam and Nieuw Statendam will cruise along North America’s east coast in 2022, for a series of six- to eight-day “Canada & New England Discovery” departures. Both ships will cruise the region between May-October, from Boston to Montréal or Québec City, taking in stops including Bar Harbor, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax and Saint John. The Itineraries, showcasing the fall colours, will feature scenic cruising through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Saguenay Fjord.

Zaandam will sail on nine-day repositioning cruises along the Atlantic Coast between Montréal and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in May and October, while Niue Statendam will cruise from Québec City to Fort Lauderdale in October on a 14-day voyage.

In addition, A new 24-day cruise, departing August 3 on Nieuw Statendam, will sail round-trip from Boston, and circumnavigates Iceland, making six calls around the country. There will be additional visits to Greenland, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Canada and New England cruise-only pricing starts at $799pp, double occupancy, with taxes, fees and port expenses additional.

Guests who book 2022 Canada & New England cruises by April 19 2021, can receive up to $2,300 in amenities, including a free Signature Beverage Package, prepaid gratuities, free Signature Dining Package and 50% reduced deposits.

MSC plans UK Virtuosa performance

The newest ship in the MSC fleet will be deployed to sail a series of UK cruises this summer.

The recently delivered MSC Virtuosa will offer short breaks and week-long summer sailings around the British Isles, departing from Southampton starting May 20.

It will replace MSC Magnifica to spend the season summer sailing ports such as Portland, Liverpool, Greenock and Belfast.

One of the most environmentally-advanced ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet, its features include 10 restaurants and 21 bars, a 945-seater theatre and the Carousel Lounge at the aft of the ship with live productions and shows every night, five swimming pools including an extensive magrodome pool and a 1,000sqm aquapark, a Spa, and what the cruise line says is the largest shopping area at sea with 1,168 sum of retail space with 11 boutiques and 250 different brands.

Four-night-night sailings start from £499pp and seven-night sailings start from £849pp. Further details and prices of shore excursions will be made available when sales open.

The sailings are available to UK residents only, both vaccinated and unvaccinated at the present time (non-vaccinated guests will be required to show proof of negative test done within 72 hours prior to embarkation).

Sales open for the cruises on April 1, when details and prices of shore excursions will be made available.

MSC Virtuosa was previously scheduled to serve itineraries in Northern Europe out of Germany; MSC Seaview will replace her. Booked guests and travel agents will be contacted directly.

Cunard sails the British Isles

Cunard is operating a series of UK sailings on board Queen Elizabeth this summer.

The cruises - which the company is calling 'voyages' - will be round-trip from Southampton and will run between July and October 2021.

They will comprise of 10 British Isles scenic cruising and three special Sun Voyages, lasting between three and 12 nights and "sailing to wherever the sun shines brightest".

British Isles Voyages include scenic sailings along coastlines such as The Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage site, Cornwall and Scotland, including the Isle of Arran, Mull of Kintyre and Sound of Mull.

Four voyages will make various port calls, including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle as well as a maiden call for Cunard’s fleet to the Welsh port of Holyhead.

Four-night scenic British Isles Voyages are priced from £599pp for a Balcony Stateroom, while a 10-night British Isles Voyage starts at £1,299pp for a Balcony Stateroom.

Seven-night Sun Voyages are priced from £899pp for a Balcony Stateroom. The above sailings on Queen Elizabeth will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only with the definition of “vaccinated” being a minimum of seven days following the second dose.

Swan Hellenic says bookings 'buoyant'

Swan Hellenic says its has seen "buoyant bookings" for its cultural expedition cruises, particularly those to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, UK and Northern France, the Scottish Islands and Antarctica.

The operator says Its Antarctic Polar Solar eclipse inaugural cruise is already fully booked and its all-new fleet of three five-star cu-class expedition ships at Helsinki Shipyard is proceeding on schedule.

Two new 5-star polar PC 5 ice-class expedition cruise ships arriving in November 2021 and April 2022 will each accommodate 152 guests in 76 spacious staterooms and suites, the majority with large balconies. A larger PC 6 ice-class vessel accommodating 192 guests in 96 staterooms and suites in the same distinctive comfort and style as its sister ships will be arriving year-end 2022.

Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito commented: “Small expedition ships coupled with further afield destinations are considered well placed to lead the resurgence in cruising. We’re delighted to have inspired a diverse spectrum of curious minds in such numbers and look forward to welcoming them aboard to see what others don’t”.

Irish Ferris to cross the Channel

Irish Ferries will compete with P&O Ferries and DFDS on the busy Dover and Calais route for the first time this summer.

The operator, part of Irish Continental Group, will transfer its Isle of Inishmore ferry on to the route, with services beginning in June.

It says the frequency of service will depend on the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions but would adjust its timetable as demand and circumstances allow.

Irish Ferries is also adding a new ship, Blue Star 1, to its fleet, which will sail on the Roeselare to Pembroke route.

Great Rail Journeys adds Christmas markets river cruise

Great Rail Journeys has launches a Christmas Markets of the Rhine river cruise for 2021.

The no-fly cruise will take in some of Germany’s most renowned Christmas markets, including visits to Rüdesheim, Bonn and Cologne.

The cruise is aboard MS Amadeus Silver II, described as a five-star 'floating hotel'.

The five-day Christmas Markets of the Rhine cruise is priced from £825pp and includes 11 meals, a Christmas themed gala dinner, plus draft beer and wine included with dinner.

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