by Steve Hartridge
Cunard ups rewards for agent who Shine
Cunard is running its biggest-ever agent incentive to celebrate its return this summer with a series of Summer at Sea luxury UK voyages.
The line will start sailing again from July 19 with a series of British staycations and Sun Voyages, with triple Shine points available on bookings made between April 26 and May 4 2021. Between July and October, 10 British Isles Voyages and three Sun Voyages - between three and 12 nights' duration - will operate round-trip from Southampton.
Cunard Sales Director, Gary Anslow, said: "Our triple points incentive recognises agents for all their recent work, particularly the collaboration which achieved our busiest booking day for a decade: the first on-sale day for our Summer at Sea UK voyages.
"We'd like to reaffirm our thanks to our agent community for all their tremendous work in recent months, including collectively breaking booking records."
Cunard's Winter 2022/2023 programme is also on sale with highlights including two Centenary World Voyages on board Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, inspired by Cunard's pioneering first-ever continuous circumnavigation of the globe by a passenger liner 100 years ago.
Shine points can be redeemed by agents for full or part-payment of a Cunard voyage or a host of other rewards.
Scenic Arctic programme set to eclipse rivals
Scenic has announced the 2022/2023 Arctic programme for its ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse.
The yacht will offer expedition experiences in four new destinations: the Russian Far East, Japan, Northeast Passage and Alaska.
The Arctic & Fjords & Japan, Russian Far East Voyages & Land Journeys brochure, compliments Scene’s existing programme that takes guests to the heart of the Arctic discovering the fjords of Norway, Greenland’s glaciers and the geology of Iceland.
Scenic Eclipse’s unique experiences are made special by two onboard helicopters, a custom-built submarine and a fleet of Zodiacs – enhanced by the insight of the 20-strong Discovery Team that includes geologists, marine biologists, naturalists and glaciologists.
Highlights of the 2022/23 seasons include a 15-day Arctic Islands voyage that will take guests to Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland, among unique scenery and Arctic wildlife that most onboard will hope include polar bear. Prices start from £10,475pp, departing July 11 2023.
Russian Arctic – the Northeast Passage, a 27-day itinerary from Anchorage in Alaska to Tromso, Norway, will take in the polar bear encounters, walrus crowding on ice floes and meeting Chukchi reindeer herders, Inuit fishermen and Russian scientists.
Prices start from £21,140pp departing August 5 2023. Scenic Eclipse is currently offering a 20% Super Earlybird saving on selected voyages for guests who book and pay in full 12 months prior to departure.
Princess has six of the best out west
Princess Cruises' 2022-2023 seasons of sailings to the USA's west coast and beyond will feature six ships, including the cruise line’s newest Discovery Princess.
On sale April 28, 78 departures will be spread over 19 itineraries sailing round-trip from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Crown Princess, Discovery Princess, Grand Princess, Majestic Princess, Ruby Princess and Sapphire Princess will visit 25 destinations in six countries offering the line's 'personalised cruising' Princess MedallionClass Experience.
Options include 28 departures on 11 itineraries ranging in length from three to 10 nights, sailing from either Los Angeles, San Francisco or Vancouver; 29 departures on four itineraries in Mexico, ranging from five to 10 nights; a 10-night Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez round-trip from Los Angeles; a 15-night round-trip cruises visiting Kauai, Oahu (Honolulu), Maui and the big island of Hawaii from three homeports – Los Angeles (Crown Princess and Sapphire Princess), San Francisco (Ruby Princess) and Vancouver (Crown Princess); and a 28-night Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa voyage returns sailing round-trip from Los Angeles on Crown Princess with an overnight stay in Bora Bora and late-night calls in Honolulu, Pipette and Moorea.
Gary Barlow will help Iona Rule the World
P&O Cruises new ship Iona will be officially named in a ceremony featuring a special one-off performance from Gary Barlow, broadcast to a virtual audience.
Dame Irene Hays, DBE, DL, owner and chair of Hays Travel Group, will be godmother to the ship, Britain’s largest, in the ceremony in Southampton on May 16.
The former Take That frontman will perform a short set as part of the event, which will be broadcast to a VIP audience, in his role as music director. His involvement includes overseeing the ship’s 710 Club music venue and curating new talent to perform on board.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “The travel industry as a whole has been paused for over a year and has been devastated by the events of the last 13 months. We are so immensely grateful for the support we have received from travel agents across the UK, all of whom have faced commercial challenges none of us could have imagined.
“With domestic cruising opening up from May 17 and with our series of UK coastal cruises proving very popular this summer, recovery is certainly on the horizon."
Iona will sail her seven-night maiden voyage around the coast of the island of Iona and the Scottish Isles from Southampton on Saturday August 7.
CroisiEurope sails to Canaries and Corsica
CroisiEurope has released details of the 2021-2022 itineraries for its ocean cruise ship, La Belle des Oceans, which will take guests to Corsica and see them island hopping in the Canary Islands.
A seven-night Corsica cruise will sail round trip from Nice, with calls in Ajaccio (overnight), Bonifacio, Porto Vecchio, Bastia and L’Ile Rousse.
Onboard features will include a Corsican-themed evening and lectures on subjects such as the beauty of Corsica, the Corsican patriot, statesman and military leader; Pascal Paoli; the Bonaparte family; and how Corsica became part of France.
Operating between May and October this year and next, prices start from £2,039pp.
The new seven-night cruise around the Canary Islands archipelago will take in six islands, starting with an overnight in Tenerife and calls in El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera and Gran Canaria before finishing with an overnight in Lanzarote. Operating between October and December 2021 (there are currently no departures scheduled for 2022), prices start from £2,175pp.
The seven-deck La Belle Des Océans, which accommodates 130 passengers in 65 spacious ocean-view suites (nine of which have private balconies), was previously Silversea's Silver Discoverer.
European Waterways goes all in in Scotland and on the Thames
European Waterways has a range of luxury hotel barge cruises this summer that promise to take guests far from crowded tourist hot spots.
The all-inclusive cruises, which operate on both the Caledonian Canal Loch Ness and the River Thames between May and October, come complete with a crew and on-board chef.
“With luxury and comfort a key factor, guests can truly escape the crowds in style with just eight to 12 passengers on board, travelling through picture-perfect countryside...all this combined with private (often exclusive) excursions," said Derek Banks, European Waterways’ Managing Director.
The eight-passenger Scottish Highlander and her sister barge, the 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland will traverse the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, with shore excursions taking guests to castles, estates and tours of sites steeped in history. Prices for a six-night cruise, based on two sharing a cabin aboard Scottish Highlander, start from £3,190pp, with a private charter of the whole barge for eight passengers, from £24,500.
History & Beauty Along England’s Royal River Thames:
The eight-passenger Magna Carta will cruise along the prettiest stretches of the Thames, with highlights including Hampton Court, Henley-on-Thames, a visit to Windsor Castle, and a tour of the stately home of Cliveden and its gardens.
Prices for the six-night cruise start from £3,390pp, and £25,200 for a private charter.
Marina to lead restart for Oceania
Oceania Cruises has announced that it will resume cruise operations with the 1,250-guest Marina in August, beginning with sailings to Scandinavia and Western Europe.
Marina will resume her originally published voyage schedule, commencing on August 29 in Copenhagen.
Phased restart dates for the balance of the Oceania Cruises fleet will be forthcoming and itineraries will be evaluated for port availability and adjusted as needed closer to the sailing dates.
“Our guests have been waiting a long time for this moment. We want to not just welcome them back to the Oceania Cruises they remember and cherish, but also to exceed their expectations by elevating the dining experiences and service levels. We’ll be sharing more information about these exciting developments in the coming weeks,” said Bob Binder, President and Chief Executive officer of Oceania Cruises.
Oceania will resume cruising with a "robust" SailSAFETM Health and Safety Programme in place, which the line says provides multiple layers of protection against COVID-19.
It was developed after input from public health and scientific experts including the Healthy Sail Panel and the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council.
CLIA's new expedition guide for agents
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has launched its first ever new-to-expedition cruise guide for agents.
Unveiled at the CLIA Virtual Luxury & Expedition Showcase, the guide covers expedition destinations that include The Arctic, Antarctica, Iceland, Russia, Australia, The Falkland Islands and The Galapagos.
Among the subjects covered are key aspects of an expedition cruise such as ship specifics, onboard activities and entertainment, shore excursions and the main differences from ocean and river cruising.
There is also destination-specific information like an overview of the area, port guides, and top tips for visitors on popular local attractions, sites of interest and weather advice.
Andy Harmer, Managing Director of CLIA UK & Ireland said: “Expedition sailings are a fantastic way to explore off-the-beaten-track destinations and we’re expecting demand to increase as international travel continues to open up.
"Our guide is intended to be a one-stop-shop for agents who are looking to continue selling these sailings or start capturing a growing new market.
The guide is available for CLIA members from cruising.org