Cruise
Adviser

August 2021

King’s landing

Cruise
Adviser

August 2021

In this Issue

Cover

The August 2021 cover of Cruise Adviser, featuring the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, which features in Game of Thrones

In this issue

Find out what's in the latest issue of Cruise Adviser

Editor’s letter

Plus, how to get in touch with the team

News: P&O’s Iona embarks on maiden voyage

Plus, Saga christens Spirt of Adventure

News: Viking floats out its second expedition ship

Plus, getting a taste of life on board Silver Moon

News: Vote in The Cruise 20 awards

Plus, construction of P&O Cruises’ second Excel-class ship begins

Win! A sailing on Fred Olsen’s new ship Bolette

You can head to the Netherlands or Belgium in a cabin for two

News: When do cruises restart?

Details of cruise line restarts, along with each line’s current regulations regarding vaccination, Covid-19 testing and the wearing of face masks

Agent incentives

Encourage a travel agent friend to sign-up to Cruise Adviser and we’ll enter you in a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher

Ports of call: Dubrovnik

The picturesque Croatian city has become so popular with cruisers in the Med it has taken measures to combat overtourism

10 exhilarating bucket list experiences with Aurora Expeditions

Paid partnership: A voyage with Aurora Ex­peditions offers something for all types of expeditioners, from camping on ice in Antarctica to tropical scuba diving

Five amazing spaces on Spirit of Adventure

Janine Kelso was on board Saga’s “five-star hotel that just happens to float” as it made its maiden voyage

Five of the best: unusual sailings

With so many cruises to the same destinations, it can be hard to tell them apart. Here are five that really stand out from the crowd

How to sell: solos

Each issue, cruise expert Jane Archer shares her tips on selling a specific area of cruise. This time, she looks at solos

Trade support directory

The vital contact details for all major cruise lines operating in the UK

Editor’s letter

Progress is being made

It feels like we’ve been on the road back to ‘normality’ for an eternity. It’s true that progress has been slow, and the industry continues to be frustrated by the government’s enforcement of infuriating, ever-changing, overly complicated and – because of testing requirements – expensive travel restrictions.

As Abta argues: “The UK is falling behind our European competitors and the opening up of international travel from the UK is progressing at a snail’s pace – making it extremely difficult for travel agents and tour operators to generate enough income to kickstart a recovery.”

That said, these monthly editor’s letters do help us realise that progress is being made. Since we last wrote to you, international cruise has been given the green light – ending the Foreign Office ban on cruise holidays that has been in place, in one way or another, since July 2020. That is something to celebrate, even in these difficult circumstances.

It also means, there’s plenty to tell you about. In this issue, you’ll find all the latest news – from the new itineraries being launched to the ships being floated out and the naming ceremonies – as well as new hires, incentives and our restarts document. We reveal five amazing spaces on Saga’s new ship Spirit of Adventure, consider how to sell cruises to solos and take a closer close at one of the great cruise ports of call: Dubrovnik.

We hope you enjoy reading.

Vote now

We’d like to celebrate the best cruise has to offer with our second Cruise 20 awards. We want you, our loyal readers, to pick your favourite cruise lines in 20 different categories, from the most environmentally friendly cruise line to the best pizza at sea, as well the best overall lines in both river and ocean. We’ll be announcing the winners in the September issue of Cruise Adviser. Click here to vote.

About

Get in touch

Cruise Adviser is the leading cruise publication for the travel trade. The award-winning magazine contains insightful comment, features, news and advice for those looking to sell cruise holidays. Uniquely aimed at frontline travel agents, two thirds of readers say the magazine has helped them make a sale.

Cruise Adviser is published monthly, and is out on the second Wednesday of the month

To view our 2021 media kit and forward features list, please click hereCruise Adviser is created by Waterfront Publishing. See waterfront-publishing.com for more details.


Contacts

Editorial
Anthony Pearce, director
anthony@waterfront-publishing.com

Design: The Studio
Sub-editing: Nathaniel Cramp

Advertising and partnerships
Sam Ballard, director
sam@waterfront-publishing.com

Bryan Johnson, senior sales manger
bryan@waterfront-publishing.com
020 3865 9338
07532 709 734

Cruise Adviser
Hop Exchange,
Southwark Street,
London,  SE1 1TY

020 3865 9360
info@cruise-adviser.com

News

P&O’s Iona embarks on maiden voyage

The line says its new ship is ushering in “a new era in travel”


P&O Cruises’ Iona embarked on its maiden voyage earlier this month, visiting the Scottish island with which it shares a name.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Iona’s maiden voyage is the start of a new era in travel as Britain’s most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, the first in the country powered by liquefied natural gas, sets sail.

“For this special maiden voyage we wanted to bring guests to the island of Iona which has influenced many aspects of the ship – the sense of space in the SkyDome through to our gin still named Columba [after the sixth-century founder of the abbey on the island], the heather in our Marabelle gin and, of course, the name of the ship.”

Iona departed P&O Cruises’ home port of Southampton on August 7 and the itinerary included scenic cruising around the Isle of Colonsay, Lochbuie, Duart Castle, Tobermory, Bac Mòr, Fingal’s Cave, Sound of Jura, Claggain Bay, Mull of Kintyre and Sanda Island.

Iona’s gin still – created in association with Salcombe Gin – is the first of its kind on a cruise ship. The vessel also boasts the 710 Club, with Gary Barlow as music director, an atmospheric late-night music venue that will offer an opportunity for up-and-coming musicians to get their break.

After an inaugural season of UK coastal cruises Iona will offer holidays to Spain and the Canary Islands from September. Fourteen-night cruises are available from £1,299 per person.

News

Saga christens second new-build Spirit of Adventure

(Ciaran McCrickard/PA Wire)

The ceremony took place ahead of the ship’s inaugural voyage


Saga’s new boutique cruise ship Spirit of Adventure has become the first ship to be named at Portsmouth International Port.

The luxurious vessel was named with a traditional bottle smashing ceremony by Commodore Inga J Kennedy, the recently retired head of the Royal Navy Medical Service.

The blessing took place ahead of its inaugural round-Britain voyage, which set off from Tilbury on July 26.

The ship was due to take to the waters last year after being handed over by the shipbuilder in September 2020, but it remained anchored due to Covid-19.

Nick Stace, Saga’s CEO of Travel, said: “Today has been a long time coming for everyone, so it feels symbolic that the naming of our brand-new cruise ship, Spirit of Adventure will be part of such an historic day for the UK.

“Those who love to travel have waited patiently for it to resume, and what better way to mark a return to the freedom that travel gives us than with the launch of a new cruise ship.”

The bottle – a jeroboam of English sparkling wine from Balfour Hush Heath Estate – was smashed against the hull of the ship to offer a blessing of safe sailing and good fortune.

Commodore Kennedy was chosen to be the ship’s godmother in recognition of the countless hours of service given by medical professionals during the pandemic.

Stace said: “We felt it was important to recognise the outstanding work the medical profession has undertaken during the pandemic and wanted to pay our respects the best way we knew how. Commodore Kennedy has served in the Navy for 20 years and within healthcare for 40 years, so we felt she was the perfect choice for the role and we’re honoured that she accepted.”

The ceremony ended with Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts singing the national anthem.

Spirit of Adventure has 10 passenger decks with 554 all-balcony cabins and a maximum capacity of 999 people.

It features five restaurants, including The Main Dining Room, The Grill, The Supper Club, Amalfi and Khukuri – the only Nepalese dining spot at sea. All are complementary.

Facilities include an observation deck, full wraparound promenade and terrace, a lido, sports court and deck games.

There’s also a 444-seat theatre, a library and a spa with hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam and treatment rooms.

Stace said: “Every aspect has been designed with our guests in mind, from the bold colours and the wraparound promenade through to the numerous restaurants and entertainment facilities.

“Every cabin has its own private balcony with uninterrupted sea views and everything from the chauffeur service to meals and wi-fi are included in the price.”

All guests need be fully vaccinated to travel with Saga Cruises.

Read about our favourite spaces on Spirit of Adventure here

News

Viking floats out its second expedition ship

Viking Polaris is set to debut with sailings to the Arctic in summer 2022


Viking Cruises‘ second expedition ship, the 387-guest Viking Polaris, made its first contact with the water last month as it was floated out. The ship was then moved to an outfitting dock for further construction and interior build-out. After this, it will be delivered at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway.

Viking Polaris is scheduled to debut in summer 2022 with a maiden voyage to the Arctic from Tromsø.

Viking’s first expedition ship, Viking Octantiswhich is identical to Viking Polaris – is due for completion in early 2022 and will operate in Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes.

Chairman of Viking, Torstein Hagen, said: “We are now one step closer to our launch of ‘the thinking person’s expedition’, with new voyages that will allow our guests to explore the ends of the world and closer to home – in comfort.

“We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Fincantieri, who has helped us build the world’s most beautiful ocean ships and are now helping us perfect expedition cruising. We look forward to welcoming guests on board Viking Polaris and Viking Octantis next year.”

The new Polar Class 6 ships will be able to accommodate 378 guests in 189 staterooms. They are small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St Lawrence River, while large enough to provide stability in rough seas. The ships will include public spaces created specifically for expeditions: The Hangar, which permits the launch of small excursion craft; The Laboratory, where an onboard team of resident scientists will work on a mix of studies; and The Aula, a panoramic auditorium at the stern.

The ships will harbour a fleet of Zodiacs for expeditions, plus two-seater kayaks, rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and two six-guest submarines.

All staterooms will have a Nordic Balcony – a sunroom that can convert into an outdoor viewing platform. Elsewhere on the ships, there will be an Aquavit Terrace and Pools, the Nordic Spa and Fitness Centre and Explorers’ Lounge.

Esteemed explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be named as godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively, at the ships’ naming ceremonies. Arnesen became the first woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole in 1994, while Bancroft was the first woman to ski to both poles. They both became the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001 and co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water, an initiative that helps engage and empower people to create a more sustainable future.

News

Getting a taste of life on board Silver Moon

Jane Archer reports on Silversea’s new ship which has finally entered service in Greece


Silver Moon – the first Silversea ship designed around the line’s new SALT food and culture programme – has finally been christened in Piraeus, Greece, by its godmother Gaia Gaja from the Italian Gaja winery.

Silver Moon was delivered in October 2020 but only entered service in mid-June this year, offering a summer series of cruises around the Greek Isles, as cruising started to reboot after 15 months on hold due to Covid-19.

In looks and feel (think: elegant hues of browns and creams topped off with eye-catching artworks), it’s a sister to Silver Muse, which launched in 2017, with the same 596-passenger count.

However, a lot of venues are new to cater for SALT (Sea and Land and Taste), an initiative that encourages passengers to learn about other cultures though their cuisine that was conceived by chief commercial officer Barbara Muckermann to cater for the ‘boomer’ generation of cruisers who want to tick off experiences rather than sights.

The SALT Kitchen (confusingly a restaurant) serves a different menu each day featuring dishes from countries being visited (chicken lakani and lamb stifado were among offerings on our cruise in Greece), while a SALT bar serves local and regional cocktails. It’s a popular venue but small, so passengers have to be quick to get in for a pre-dinner cocktail. “It’s a victim of its own success,” admitted Muckermann.

In the SALT Lab, which is actually the kitchen, up to 18 passengers at a time get to prepare local dishes, while learning their origins. There are two classes a day on sea days, one while in port, and it is complimentary with no plans to start charging.

Muckermann said initial feedback from SALT is “excellent”, with the SALT Kitchen quickly becoming the ship’s most popular restaurant, overtaking the more traditional Atlantide, the all-time favourite across the fleet.

Away from SALT, several venues that debuted on Silver Muse have been moved or redesigned. The Arts Café, a bright Art Deco-style coffee and light bites hangout has relocated to a larger space, while Dolce Vita, a large and impersonal lounge on Silver Muse, has been remodelled into a more intimate pre-dinner drinks haunt.

La Dame, an extra-cost fine-dining French restaurant tucked away inside Silver Muse, is in a new location with ocean views and is twice the size, with 66 covers instead of 33. The Connoisseurs Corner has gained an outdoor area with cushioned sofas and a faux fire where smokers can puff away in comfort.

Muckermann said Silver Dawn, which launches in November, will be identical to Silver Moon but hinted at a new spa experience called Otium that will take pampering to a “new level of indulgence”. Both Otium and SALT will also be on Silversea’s two new Evolution-class ships launching 2023 and 2024.

News

Construction of P&O Cruises’ second Excel-class ship begins

The LNG-powered Arvia is being built in Germany and will be delivered in December 2022


Construction work has started on P&O Cruises’ second Excel-class ship, Arvia, in the Meyer Werft shipyard in Warnemünde, Germany.

The ship is scheduled to be ready for delivery by December 2022.

The first component of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered ship, the floating engine room (FERU), has arrived in the shed where Arvia will be constructed. The ship will weigh around 12,000 tons at a length of 140m and 42m wide.

Arvia, which means ‘from the seashore’, is set to feature a high ropes experience named Altitude Skywalk, plus Altitude Minigolf, a swim-up bar and a new plant and fish-based restaurant.

It will offer a maiden season of Caribbean fly/cruise holidays from its home port in Barbados. Itineraries will run from January to March 2023, including port calls at La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Curaçao, Martinique, St Kitts, St Lucia and St Maarten.

A time-lapse video of the floating engine room has been uploaded to P&O Cruises’ YouTube channel.

The ship comes after the launch of P&O’s first Excel class ship, Iona, which was officially named in a virtual ceremony in June and set sail for its first passenger voyage earlier this month.

Vote

Introducing The Cruise 20 awards

We’d like to celebrate the best cruise has to offer with our second Cruise 20 awards. We want you, our loyal readers, to pick your favourite cruise lines in 20 different categories, from the most environmentally friendly cruise line to the best pizza at sea, as well the best overall lines in both river and ocean. We’ll be announcing the winners in the September issue of Cruise Adviser.

Click here to vote.

Competition

Win! A sailing on Fred Olsen’s new ship Bolette

Bolette

Here’s your chance to win a cabin for two on Fred Olsen’s new ship Bolette on either its five-night Netherlands & Belgium City Break sailing on November 2, 2021, or its four-night Amsterdam City Break itinerary on December 2, 2021.

Enter your details below to be in with a chance!

Enter the competition

* indicates required

Terms & conditions:
Prize: Netherlands & Belgium City Break November 2, 2021 (five nights) or Amsterdam City Break (four nights) December 2, 2021 on Fred Olsen’s new ship Bolette
Accommodation includes cabin for two
You must be a travel agent in the UK to enter
All entries will be entered into a prize draw to decide the winner
No correspondence will be entered into
Prizes are not exchangeable or refundable and there is no cash alternative
Email address will be required as the details of the cruise will be email to the winner. Entrants will be subscribed to the Cruise Adviser mailing list.
The judges’ decision is final
The prize winner will be informed of their win by August 31, 2021.
News

When do cruises restart?

Details of cruise line restarts are below, along with each line’s current regulations regarding vaccination, Covid-19 testing and the wearing of face masks. This information is updated regularly; you can find all the latest cruise news here.

A-Rosa

A-Rosa River Cruises has now restarted cruises on the Rhine/Moselle/Main, the Danube and the Douro.

Due to hygiene and health protocols, more staff are required and, because of quarantine regulations for international crew members, some are experiencing delays in taking up their roles. As a result, cruises will not resume on the Seine in 2021 and cruises on A-Rosa Flora have been suspended until August 21.

In addition, the German Foreign Office is currently warning against travelling to the French region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, so all cruises on A-Rosa Stella have been suspended until August 21.

Regulations: Before departure, all guests (six years and older) require proof of a negative PCR test (maximum 72 hours old) or rapid antigen test (maximum 48 hours old, no self-test) or a complete Covid-19 vaccination (14 days after last vaccination dose) or recovery from Covid-19 (proof of a positive PCR test at least 28 days, max. six months old). Guests should take a sufficient number of medical masks and the line recommends carrying FFP2 masks, as in some regions they are compulsory. More information here.

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways has restarted European river cruises on the Douro, Danube, Rhine and also in France.

The remaining restart dates for their vessels are: AmaSerena and AmaLucia (Rhine, August 14); AmaBella (Danube, August 15); AmaLea (Danube, August 16); AmaVida (Douro, August 17); AmaCerto (Danube, August 21); AmaPrima (Rhine, August 24); AmaVerde (Danube, August 29); AmaViola (Danube, September 6); AmaCello (Rhône/Saône, September 16).

Guests impacted by European sailings suspended from July until October 31 will be contacted directly. All Mekong River cruises through Vietnam and Cambodia have been suspended until November 30.  

Regulations: Guests must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days (in the case of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca or 28 days for Johnson & Johnson) prior to their sailing date. We also recommend all guests, regardless of vaccination status, take a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and bring documentation of a negative result with them on their sailing, as a precautionary measure.

Prior to boarding, an online health and contact screening questionnaire will be required and at embarkation, guests’ temperatures will be taken with no-contact infrared thermometers. Guests are required to wear face coverings when moving through interior spaces and medical grade or N95/KN95 masks are recommended. More information here.

APT Touring

APT Touring is hoping to resume tours and cruises from October.

In the meantime, the company is offering 100 per cent future holiday credit (FHC) valid on any of their brands up to December 31, 2023.

Regulations: APT has adopted the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) recommendations and actioned increased health screenings and protocols for all cruises, both on board and prior to boarding, for all passengers and crew. More information here.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways has restarted its European river cruises on the Seine, Rhine and Danube. Sailings resume on the Rhône on August 31 and the Moselle on September 10.

It says: “All 2021 travel bookings automatically come with our Peace of Mind Travel Plan – free of charge. This plan gives guests the ability to move their booking to another destination, vacation, brand or simply a different 2021 or 2022 departure date, no questions asked. For as long as the Covid-19 pandemic is still affecting, travel, all bookings for 2022 travel dates are also covered by the Peace of Mind Travel Plan, extending the ability to move travel dates to 2023.”

Regulations: Proof of a full Covid-19 vaccination is required. There will be reduced ship capacity and social distancing guidelines, plus mandatory health screening, including touch-free temperature-check, for all guests and crew at embarkation. More information here.

Azamara

Azamara is due to begin sailing from August 28 with Azamara Quest. Azamara Journey will operate Mediterranean cruses from October 13.

Regulations: The line says it is collaborating with government health authorities and Clia to develop its boarding screening process and updated health protocols, which are not yet finalised. More information here.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has restarted cruises in North America.

Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Valor, Carnival Legend and Carnival Radiance are due to return to service in November.

Australia voyages aboard Carnival Spirit are suspended until September 12 and Carnival Splendor until September 17.

Regulations: Vaccinated cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to embarkation day and have proof of vaccination. Additionally, fully vaccinated guests must present the negative results of a Covid-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within three days of their embarkation. The line will continue to welcome unvaccinated guests, including children under 12 who are not eligible for a vaccine. The application process has its own set of procedures that must be carefully followed. More information here.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has now resumed sailings in Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska and the Galápagos.

Regulations: All guests and crew above the age of 18 must vaccinated against Covid-19. Those under the age of 18 must have a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of embarkation. More information here.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises resumed operations in June, but following the conclusion of its summer season it has decided to postpone its autumn and winter sailings and will resume operation in March 2022, as per the scheduled programme.

All named and paid individual guests impacted by the postponement of sailings from September until December will have the option of receiving full refunds or applying their deposits to 2022 or 2023 sailings with a 20 per cent bonus value to be applied to their future sailing. 

Regulations: All guests will have to provide proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of embarkation. There will be thermal screening at embarkation and daily contactless monitoring throughout the vessel. More information here.

CroisiEurope

CroisiEurope has restarted most European river cruises, French canal cruises and its ocean cruises from Croatia and Corsica. Cruises resume on the Guadalquivir on August 19 and the Po on August 25.

Until August 31, all cruises qualify for CroisiEurope’s relaxed booking conditions, which include a full refund should the cruise be cancelled by CroisiEurope and moving a booking free of charge to any other departure in 2021 or 2022 more than 30 days prior to departure.

Regulations: Guests will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or rapid antigen test prior to embarkation. More information here.

Crystal

Crystal has resumed sailings with the majority of its ocean fleet. Crystal Esprit’s return has now been delayed until September 27.

Crystal River Cruises will resume from August 29.

Regulations: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and a mandatory test with negative results will be required prior to departure. Guests will also have their temperature checked both prior to boarding ship or venturing ashore and Crystal operates what it calls a “responsive mask policy”. More information here.

Cunard

Cunard has resumed sailing with a series of Staycation voyages from Southampton on Queen Elizabeth.

As a result of continuing global travel restrictions, the line has reviewed their international sailing plans.

All voyages on Queen Elizabeth after October 18, 2021 and on or before March 9, 2022 are now cancelled and will be replaced with new voyages to the Iberian Coast and the Canary Islands.

The World Voyage on Queen Mary 2 from January 3, 2022 is now cancelled and will be replaced with new roundtrip voyages from Southampton to the Caribbean via the Canary Islands and New York.

Queen Victoria will remain out of service until late April 2022 and all voyages between September 10, 2021 and April 29, 2022 have been cancelled. Some of these cancelled voyages will transfer to Queen Elizabeth.

The line will be will be contacting all impacted guests regarding their options.

Regulations: All guests aged 18 and over will be required to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing. All guests aged 17 and below will need to have completed their vaccination course a minimum 14 days prior to sailing or will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to travel. All guests will also require a negative Covid-19 test at the terminal. Appropriate social distancing in line with latest guidance for cruise lines. The requirement to wear a face mask, with no exceptions, in specific areas including the terminal, when moving around indoors on board, and when seated in the theatre. More information here.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has resumed sailing, with Disney Magic operating staycation cruises from UK ports and Disney Dream from Port Canaveral in Florida.

The line is currently preparing Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder to welcome guests once again and will share more information soon.

Regulations: Disney Magic at Sea sailings are for UK residents only. Guests aged 18 and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Guests under 18 must provide proof of a negative PCR test result prior to embarkation. All guests, including those who have been vaccinated, are also required to undergo an antigen Covid-19 rapid test prior to boarding. Daily temperature checks and health questionnaires will be required for all guests during the cruise. Masks are required in public areas. More information here.

Emerald Cruises

The Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises has started a limited number of European river cruises. All other river cruises and land tours have been suspended.

All guests with a booking scheduled to depart between July 1, 2021 and December 31 will receive a Future Travel Voucher (FTV) for the full amount that has been paid to date, valid for travel until June 2024.

Regulations: All guests are required to have received the required dose(s) of an approved Covid-19 vaccine. More information here.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has resumed sailing. New itineraries include a Welcome Back series of British Isles cruises, plus the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, the Balearics and the Canary Islands.

Regulations: All guests must be full vaccinated and will have to wear a face mask when moving around inside the ship and where social distancing is not possible. They have introduced ‘social bubbles’ on board, allowing guests up to five companions with whom they can dine and drink with. More information here.

G Adventures

G Adventures is starting a limited number of tours from this month. All other G Adventures and National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures tours are suspended until September 30.

It says: “Our Book With Confidence policy lets you cancel and rebook a tour closer to the time of departure, giving you added flexibility and peace of mind. Until December 31, 2021, book travel with us departing before December 31, 2022, and you can cancel and rebook up to 14 days prior to your departure date.”

Regulations: Passengers on all trips departing on or after October 1, 2021 will be required to comply with G Adventures’ Travel-Ready policy, which requires either full Covid-19 vaccination with the final dose given at least 14 days prior to the start of the tour or the receipt of a negative PCR test within 96 hours prior to the start of your first welcome meeting. More information here.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line will restart cruises from Greece from August 15, with four sailings from Piraeus on Eurodam on sale now.

Regulations: Holland America Line cruises from Greece will be available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. More information here.

Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten has restarted its Norwegian coastal sailings between Bergen and Kirkenes. Its expedition cruises resume from October 6.

Regulations: Guests must show .  Face masks are required in public areas indoors, except when eating and drinking. More information here.

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises resumed operations with a series of cruises from Southampton and Newcastle. Their international sailings resume from September 3.

It says: “We’ll be as flexible as we possibly can if Covid-19 means your cruise needs to be cancelled. We’re constantly reviewing the latest travel advice around the world and will work with you to take whatever the right action is for your particular circumstances. If you can’t sail due to not being vaccinated, you can change or cancel your booking for free.”

Regulations: Anyone aged 18-years and older will be required to have had both Covid-19 jabs at least seven days before travelling. Guests of all ages must also provide proof of a negative lateral flow test before boarding. More information here.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has restarted with a programme of British Isles cruises on board its flagship MSC Virtuosa departing from its new terminal in Southampton.

They also have updated itineraries in the Mediterranean and across Europe for the summer 2021 season, but until the end of August these are only available for residents of Schengen countries.

Regulations: The cruises on MSC Virtuosa are only open to UK residents. All guests will be tested prior to embarkation, while non-vaccinated guests will also be required to show proof of negative PCR test. There will be regular onboard health screenings, plus reduced capacity to allow for social distancing and face masks will be required. More information here.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has resumed operations from Greece in July, with Spain and Italy following in September.

Itineraries from Seattle have also restarted, with other US and international ports following from this autumn on the following dates. Norwegian Joy (Miami, October 19); Norwegian Breakaway (New York, October 24); Pride of America (Honolulu, November 6); Norwegian Bliss (Los Angeles, November 7); Norwegian Encore (Miami, November 14); Norwegian Escape (Port Canaveral, November 20); Norwegian Pearl (Miami, December 23); Norwegian Jewel (Panama City, January 20, 2022); Norwegian Sun (Hong Kong, January 28, 2022); Norwegian Spirit (Sydney, February 9, 2022).

Regulations: For cruises up to October 31, guests will be required to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding. Parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has launched its SailSAFE Health and Safety Program, which includes enhanced health screening protocols and collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination. More information here.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises will resume cruise operations from August 29, with sailings to Scandinavia and Western Europe on the 1,250-guest Marina from Copenhagen.

It has also announced that Riviera will resume cruises beginning with a sailing from Istanbul on October 18; Insignia will resume sailings with the December 21 Panama Canal voyage from Miami, before the sold-out 180-day Around the World cruise from Los Angeles to New York; Sirena will start sailings with the January 22, 2022 Caribbean voyage from Miami to Panama City.

“This is an exciting day for our guests and team members alike as we begin to prepare another three ships to resume sailing in Europe, the Caribbean, and the eagerly anticipated kickoff of our epic Around the World in 180 Days voyage for 2022,” said Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises.  

Regulations: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least two weeks prior to embarkation, in order to board. All guests will be required to take Covid-19 antigen tests prior to boarding and disembarkation. Face coverings are currently required for guests while indoors and when physical distancing is not possible. More information here.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has restarted with a series of short-break and week-long UK cruises on its ships Britannia and Iona.

Their phased international restart plan continues for the remainder of 2021 and into early 2022. Following the UK summer staycations, Britannia will begin her planned western Mediterranean itineraries on September 25 and Iona will sail from Spain and Portugal from the same date.

Cruises on Ventura are paused until October 3; Azura until December 10; Arcadia until March 27, 2022; and Aurora until April 13, 2022.

Also, due to a lack of availability of charter aircraft on Caribbean routes,all seven and 14-night Britannia fly-cruises which start or end in St Lucia between October 2021 and March 2022 have been cancelled.Caribbean fly-cruise holidays starting and ending in Barbados are still going ahead as planned.

Regulations: The sailings on Britannia and Iona will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only. Pre-embarkation Covid-19 tests may also be required. More information here.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin Cruises is hoping to restart from August 22.

Regulations: All guests will be asked to present proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test at embarkation and will undergo a health check and screening by the ship’s medical staff. More information here.

Ponant

Ponant has restarted cruises around Iceland and in the Mediterranean.

Regulations: All guests must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure and a PCR test will be carried out before embarkation. Wearing a mask is mandatory when moving in all public areas. More information here.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has restarted with a series of Seacations from Southampton on board Regal Princess and Sky Princess. Sailings from Seattle resume later this month and from other US ports from September.

It says: “These resort-style Seacations offer the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy some time off. We believe that these cruises will appeal to both our loyal guests who are eager to get back onboard our beautiful MedallionClass ships and holidaymakers looking to experience Princess for the first time.”

Regulations: The Seacation sailings will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only. More information here.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises restarts with an 11-night round-trip cruise from Southampton on September 11 on board new ship Seven Seas Splendor.

Regulations: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least two weeks prior to embarkation, in order to board. All guests will be required to take Covid-19 antigen tests prior to boarding and disembarkation. Face coverings are currently required for guests while indoors and when physical distancing is not possible. More information here.

Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel has resumed its European river cruises, but all six summer sailings on its ocean vessel, MS Seaventure, have been cancelled.

Regulations: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or to have presented a negative PCR test before travelling. More information here.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has restarted cruises in the Caribbean, the US and Europe, including a series of Ocean Getaways and British Isles Cruises from Southampton on board Anthem of the Seas.

The phased restart of its fleet will run as follows: Ovation of the Seas (August 13, departing from Seattle, Washington); Symphony of the Seas (August 14, departing from Miami, Florida); Harmony of the Seas (August 15, departing from Barcelona, Spain and Civitavecchia, Italy); Independence of the Seas (August 15, departing from Galveston, Texas); Mariner of the Seas (August 23, departing from Port Canaveral, Florida); Oasis of the Seas (September 5, 2021 departing from Bayonne, New Jersey); Liberty of the Seas (October 3, 2021 departing from Galveston, Texas); Spectrum of the Seas (October 5, departing from Hong Kong); Explorer of the Seas (November 7, departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico); Navigator of the Seas (November 19, departing from Los Angeles, California); Quantum of the Seas (December 1, departing from Singapore); Grandeur of the Seas (December 5, departing from Bridgetown, Barbados); Brilliance of the Seas (December 16, departing from Tampa, Florida); Enchantment of the Seas (December 23, departing from Baltimore, Maryland);  Vision of the Seas (January 24, 2022 departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida); Voyager of the Seas (April 24, 2022 departing from Copenhagen, Denmark); Radiance of the Seas (April 29, 2022 departing from Vancouver, Canada); Rhapsody of the Seas (May 23, 2022 departing from Civitavecchia, Italy)

Regulations: The cruises on Anthem of the Seas are only be available to UK residents over the age of 18 who are fully vaccinated. The line will publish more protocols as they are developed. Booked guests will be advised of their specific requirements before setting sail. More information here.

Saga

Saga Cruises has restarted with a series of UK itineraries on board Spirit of Discovery and new ship Spirit of Adventure. International cruises resume from August 29, with a sailing to Tallinn and Copenhagen.

Regulations: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated for Covid‑19 at least 14 days before boarding. The ships are operating at a reduced capacity to allow social distancing and the line has received the independent Shield+ accreditation from Lloyd’s Register. More information here.

Scenic

The Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises has started a limited number of European river cruises. All other river cruises and land tours have been suspended.

All guests with a booking scheduled to depart between July 1, 2021 and December 31 will receive a Future Travel Voucher (FTV) for the full amount that has been paid to date, valid for travel until June 2024.

Regulations: All guests are required to have received the required dose(s) of an approved Covid-19 vaccine. More information here.

Seabourn

Seabourn has restarted cruises in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, with Seabourn Ovation sailing from Greece and Seabourn Odyssey from Barbados.

The remainder of the fleet resumes operations on the following dates: Seabourn Quest (November 7), Seabourn Sojourn (January 11, 2022), Seabourn Encore (April 17, 2022).

Regulations: All guests must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Seabourn is currently finalising its other Covid-19 protocols. More information here.

Silversea

Silversea has restarted cruises in the Greek islands on Silver Moon; the Galápagos Islands on Silver Origin; Alaska on Silver Muse; and Iceland on Silver Shadow.

Their remaining fleet returns to service on the following dates: Silver Spirit (September 3), Silver Explorer (November 10), Silver Cloud (November 14), Silver Whisper (November 17), Silver Dawn (November 19), Silver Wind (November 20).

It says: “As the world opens up, so too will our itineraries. We are looking forward to sailing with you again, and helping you get back to discovering the authentic beauty of the world in unwavering confidence.”

Regulations: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated and are required to take a Covid-19 test prior to boarding. Guests will be required to wear a mask in all indoor public areas, terminals and during shore excursions. More information here.

Titan

Titan has resumed tours and cruises.

It says: “We want to reassure you that the wellbeing of our customers and staff are of the utmost importance. As this is a fluid situation our team is working around-the-clock to ensure all updates are updated as quickly and as accurately as possible to ensure all travellers depart on holiday with confidence, in the knowledge that they are in safe hands with Titan.”

Regulations: A health declaration will be required and will be collected prior to boarding. Guests’ temperature will be checked before boarding using an infrared thermometer, and luggage will be sanitised. There will be a socially distanced boarding process. More information here.

Uniworld

Uniworld has resumed its European river cruises.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment and are beyond thrilled to be back on the rivers,” says Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “Our guests are like family to us, and their safety is our main priority, which is why we’re taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure they’re comfortable when they’re ready to explore the rivers with us again.”

Regulations: All guests on Uniworld cruises until December 31, 2021, are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel. Guests will be required to wear a mask while walking around public area. More information here.

Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises has restarted its ocean cruises with a series of Welcome Back voyages from Portsmouth, Valletta (Malta), Reykjavík and Bermuda. It has also resumed select river cruises in Europe.

It says: “With our new protocol enhancements in place, we believe there will be no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage and we look forward to welcoming UK guests back on board very soon.”

Regulations: All Viking sailings will be available exclusively for vaccinated guests until further notice. They may require a PCR test as part of the embarkation process. Physical distancing measures are in place in public areas on board, and face masks may be required for all guests and crew while moving about, depending on conditions at time of sailing. More information here.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has finally set sail with the Summer Soirée series of cruises along the south coast from Portsmouth on Scarlet Lady. From October the same vessel will be sailing to the Caribbean from PortMiami.

Regulations: All passengers must be over 18 and fully vaccinated at least 14 days beforehand. A Covid-19 antigen test may be required before boarding. The Summer Soirée sailings are for UK residents only. More information here.

Windstar

Windstar Cruises has been restarting cruises in a phased manner, with the majority of its fleet now sailing again. Star Legend returns to Northern Europe from September 4 and Star Pride to the Caribbean from November 3.

Regulations: Proof of a current Covid-19 vaccination at least 14 days before the embarkation date. A free Covid-19 antigen test will be administered prior boarding. More information here.

Incentives

The latest offers from Celestyal, Prestige, Newmarket, Titan and us

Encourage a travel agent friend to sign-up to Cruise Adviser and we’ll enter you in a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher. Make sure they enter your details when asked for a reference name. 

For each new booking to Croatia, Prestige Holidays will give agents a £20 Love2Shop voucher regardless of the value of the holiday or the number of guests travelling. The incentive applies to any new booking made up to August 31, with the travel window open until October 31, 2021.

Newmarket Holidays is offering agents an incentive of £20 per booking, applicable against all 2021/2022 bookings made between July 1 and August 31. Furthermore, agents who make bookings will be entered into a prize draw to win a free place on an A-Rosa fam trip in 2022. 

Celestyal Cruises is offering the chance for one travel agent to win a place on a three-night fam trip around the Greek Islands. The three-night Aegan voyage departs on October 8, 2021 from Lavrion, Athens before calling at Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Heraklion and Santorini, staying in a single cabin, with all meals and drinks, two excursions, port taxes and gratuities included, excluding flights. 

Titan Travel has launched a trade exclusive ‘double bubble’ river incentive, doubling its river cruise booking incentives from £10 to £20 for each new booking throughout July and August 2021. Agents can claim a £20 lifestyle voucher for each new river cruise booking made during the period, while the existing £10 lifestyle voucher incentive will remain in place for all other bookings.

Newsletter

Sign up to Shipshape

Sign up to Shipshape – our revamped weekly newsletter, bringing you the latest cruise news, advice and incentives.

We’ll be bringing you news of short and medium-term developments – for now, mostly coastal sailings in the UK and scheduled European sailings for later in the summer – as well as plans for 2022 and beyond.

We’ll be sharing selling tips – from our expert cruise writers and the cruise lines themselves – as well inspiring features about destinations and new ships. And we’ll be rounding up all the latest incentives, plus news of fam trips.

Sign up here.

Ports of call

Dubrovnik

The picturesque Croatian city has become so popular with cruisers in the Med it has taken measures to combat overtourism


With its picture-perfect red roofs set against the deep blue Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik has become one of the most adored Mediterranean ports for cruisers.

That adulation is both a boon and a bane. On the one hand, it brings more and more cruise ships and passengers to the city. Pre-Covid, some 466 cruise calls were recorded in the first eight months of 2019, up from a total 475 in 2015, which in turn brings port fees and people with money to spend.

On the other hand, the medieval old city, which is about the same size as Disneyland Paris, is too small to accommodate the thousands of tourists and cruise passengers trying to squeeze into its narrow streets each summer (2019 saw some 1.5 million overnight visitors and about 800,000 cruise passengers, according to the Dubrovnik Tourist Board).

When Unesco warned in 2017 that it might revoke the city’s World Heritage status due to overtourism, the authorities acted. In 2019, a limit of two ships and a maximum 5,000 cruise passengers at any one time was imposed. The city has now imposed a tax on cruise ships of between 2,000 and 40,000 kuna (£227 to £4,525), depending on their size, which works out at an average £1.20 a head. It sounds draconian but it should make things more pleasant for everyone.

Pre-pandemic, the lines visiting Dubrovnik included Viking CruisesMSC CruisesSilverseaHolland America LineCroisiEuropeNorwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Celestyal Cruises, with many of these now slowly restarting operations in the region.

Small ships such as SeaDream’s diminutive duo can anchor off the old city harbour and tender passengers ashore, but most vessels dock in Gruž, about 2.5km from the old city. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the port to the city, and there is a steepish hill to negotiate, but it’s a pleasant walk. Alternatively there are always plenty of taxis and shuttle buses.

Taxis take euros, and you can use them in most restaurants and bars, but Croatia’s official currency, kuna, will be needed for the key attractions.

Once inside the pedestrian-only city walls, most first-time visitors make a beeline for the steps that lead to the top of the city walls. It costs about £22 and the full circuit is about 1.5km, but it takes ages because you have to keep stopping to admire the fabulous views over the city’s picturesque terracotta rooftops, turrets and towers on one side and the calm Adriatic on the other.

Another good vantage point is from Srđ mountain behind the town. There’s a cable car to the top (about £19), and you can visit the Homeland War Museum remembering the 1991 conflict with Serbia while there, but most people are content to enjoy the views.

The best way to explore the old city is to just wander the maze of narrow streets, marble-paved squares and steep alleyways, peeking into churches and admiring the beautiful palaces you stumble across here and there. For a cultural fix, there are maritime, modern art and history museums to explore.

For those keen to get an insight into the city’s history, culture and cuisine there are various walking tours, including Game of Thrones-themed outings that take fans to locations where scenes from the programme’s fictional city of King’s Landing were filmed.

Guides take GoT devotees to the 11th century Fort Lovrijenac that guards what was known in the HBO series as Blackwater Bay, and share behind-the-scenes stories at locations such as Pile Gate and the Jesuit Stairs. An optional extension to Viator’s Games of Thrones Tour visits Trsteno Arboretum, which doubled as King’s Landing’s palace garden.

Cruisers back in Dubrovnik for a second or third time and keen for something new to do can take a 15-minute ferry ride from the old harbour to the island of Lokrum, where there’s swimming, snorkelling and a botanical garden to explore, or see the old city from a different vantage point on a kayak tour around the walls.

There are also trips to Cavtat, about 20km south of Dubrovnik, a pretty town with sandy beaches, a picturesque waterfront and plenty of restaurants, while oenophiles can go wine-tasting in the Konavle Valley, an hour outside the city.

Paid partnership

10 exhilarating experiences with Aurora Expeditions

Aurora Expeditions

Mobula rays in the Sea of Cortez

It’s no surprise that many travellers are looking to reconnect with the natural world. So what better than combining a bucket list adventure ­­with the best of nature on Aurora Expeditions?


A voyage with Aurora Ex­peditions offers something for all types of expeditioners, from camping on ice in Antarctica to tropical scuba diving, taking the Polar Plunge and ski touring in a frozen terrain. Transformative and unforgettable, sailing with Aurora Expeditions will encourage you to push your personal boundaries while creating extraordinary memories. 

Plunge wetsuit free into icy waters
Featuring a spectacular, otherworldly landscape studded with incredible wildlife, there is no place on earth like Antarctica. And there’s no experience like the Polar Plunge. A time-worn tradition, this celebrated (optional) rite of passage is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fearless polar travellers. Join the club – jump in to cheers of encouragement from all on board! See more here.

Aurora Expeditions

Scuba diving in Antarctica (Michael Baynes)

Scuba dive in Antarctica
Discover a fascinating underwater world on an Antarctic dive. In 1998, Aurora Expeditions offered a world-first commercial dive trip in the region, and have built on this unique experience ever since. With numerous diving opportunities, we guarantee that no two days will be alike: one minute you could be swimming among tranquil humpback whales, the next uncovering historic shipwrecks. See more here

Try your hand at underwater photography in the Sea of Cortez
Dubbed the ‘Aquarium of the World,’ the strikingly beautiful Sea of Cortez offers some unmissable photographic opportunities for wildlife fanatics – its turquoise waters are teeming with over 900 species of fish (including sharks and seahorses), plus whales, dolphins, rays, sea turtles and sea lions. Not only that, the snorkelling and diving here is among the best in the world. See more here

A kayaker in Port Althorp, Alaska (Liz Gifford)

Kayak in search of wildlife
Jump in a kayak for one of the most exhilarating ways to navigate the Alaskan wilderness. Paddle between icebergs of all sizes, glide past penguin rookeries or just drift while taking in the majestic scenery. You’ll kayak in small groups with experienced guides whose aim is to make sure you see as much as possible, with steaming flasks of hot chocolate on hand for sustenance. See more here

Rock climb the remote, rugged summits of East Greenland
Want to take in views that few people will ever be lucky enough to witness? Experienced climbers will literally be on top of the world when scaling the sheer granite cliffs, peaks and glacial remnants in pursuit of killer views such as Scoresby Sund’s ice-filled fjords. So clip on your carabiners and don’t miss the chance to participate in a thrilling Arctic climbing adventure. See more here

Snorkelling in icy waters

Snorkel the Arctic’s icy waters
Float through crystal clear waters to see the region in a new dimension – watch penguins as they enter and exit the ice, marvel at icebergs and shipwrecks and witness incredible marine life in this solitary world. Led by expert polar diving guides, you’ll wear state-of-the-art kit and be provided with training for the ultimate experience. See more here

Take a ski tour in Antarctica
Forget the well-trodden European slopes, true adventurers get their ski and snowboarding fix on some of the world’s most incredible terrain. You may not have considered it before, but Antarctica offers a range of options for experienced participants: from alpine bowls to long, open slopes and pristine bays filled with floating bergs and breaching whales, you’ll be exploring where few have ventured before. See more here.

Ice camping in Antarctica

Camp on the ice in Antarctica
Fancy a night on the ice? This popular activity gives you the chance to soak up the atmosphere of this unique region, while witnessing the stunning Antarctic night sky with its extended sunset and sunrise. If you’re wondering how you’ll stay warm, you’ll be provided with thermal sleeping bags, although sleeping might be the last thing on your mind as you won’t want to miss a thing. See more here

Follow the footsteps of a polar pioneer
Want to retrace the steps of famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton? Since 2001, Aurora Expeditions have offered guests the chance to repeat his 1916 crossing, by trekking for up to three days across South Georgia. Suitable for those with alpine trekking or mountaineering experience, this extreme adventure traverses glaciated, rugged and remote terrain and is truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. See more here

Aurora Expeditions

A polar bear spotted in the Arctic

Search for polar bears in Wrangel Island
Located in the Arctic Ocean, Wrangel Island is home to the world’s largest polar bear breeding grounds, so if seeing these iconic animals is on your wishlist, here’s where to do it. You’ll be joined by knowledgeable local rangers on the ice or in a Zodiac boat, beneath slopes dotted with polar bear adults and cubs. If you’re lucky, you may also spot ringed seals, walruses, reindeer and arctic foxes. See more here

With the most comprehensive activity programme within the expedition voyage industry, Aurora Expeditions currently have savings of up to 25 per cent on their upcoming seasons. Head to auroraexpeditions.co.uk to find out more.

Ship focus

Five amazing spaces on Spirit of Adventure

Janine Kelso was on board Saga’s “five-star hotel that just happens to float” as it made its maiden voyage


Saga’s new boutique cruise ship Spirit of Adventure made its maiden voyage on July 26 from Tilbury following a glitzy naming ceremony on July 19 at Portsmouth International Port.

Described as a “five-star hotel that just happens to float” by Saga’s CEO for cruise Nigel Blanks, Spirit of Adventure has 10 passenger decks with 554 all-balcony cabins and a 999-person capacity.

Here’s our pick of five showstopping spaces on board the luxury liner.

The Lido
Dramatically backed by the ship’s canary-yellow funnel, the Art Deco-style Lido enjoys a prime position in the centre of the ship and is the main outdoor space.

Surrounded by sun loungers, the inviting 12m pool has a cool retro feel reminiscent of the British seaside. Passengers can tuck into fish and chips, burgers and hot dogs from the neighbouring grill, or grab a 99 from the self-serve ice cream station.

After topping up your tan, there are plenty of shady spots to cool off in, as well as twin hot tubs to retreat to. Continuing the old-world vibes, the traditional games of shuffleboard and deck quoits are also available to enjoy outdoors.

Khukuri House
Spirit of Adventure is home to five restaurants, including three speciality dining spots, where passengers can dine at no additional cost.

The pick, though, is Khukuri House – the only Nepalese restaurant at sea, which pays homage to the large Gurkha community around Saga’s hometown of Folkestone. Serving up authentic Nepalese cuisine, the 74-cover restaurant features striking artwork and colourful furnishings.

Other top dining spots include Amalfi, an Italian restaurant serving up high-end Mediterranean dishes prepared using locally sourced fish and meat bought in port that day.

New for Saga is cabaret-style venue The Supper Club where guests can enjoy live jazz and blues as they dine, staying for entertainment and cocktails late into the night.

Blanks likens the intimate club to world-renowned jazz institution Ronnie Scott’s. He hopes that the addition of sophisticated spots like this one will “challenge the perception” that a Saga cruise ship is a “floating nursing home”.

The spa
Located on the main deck to make it easily accessible, the ship’s swish spa is the perfect spot to relax and indulge with its sumptuous interiors and superlative treatments that use luxurious Elemis products.

Wallow in the 18.5 square metre hydrotherapy pool surrounded by thermal spa beds, or sweat out the stress in the steam room or two saunas (one infrared and one traditional hot stone).

There are six treatment rooms where guests can bliss out with Elemis facials, acupuncture sessions, deep tissue massages or bespoke treatments.

Hairdressing and manicures are also available. Before and after treatments, guests can recline on quartz beds in the relaxation room.

The Playhouse
There are no bad seats in the liner’s plush 444-seat theatre thanks to its clever column-free design, which means that every member of the audience can enjoy an unrestricted view of the stage.

Theatregoers can enjoy West End musicals, film screenings, live music performances and matinee shows on sea days.

“We’re trying to raise the bar with a variety of entertainment,” says Blanks.

Passengers should look out for performances by the ship’s entertainer and former Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts.

The cabins
“Every cabin is slightly different,” says Saga Travel CEO Nick Stace, commenting on the boutique style and unique artwork found in every sleeping quarter.

But what every one of the ship’s 554 outside-facing cabins do have in common is that they all have their own private balconies, including its 109 single cabins.

And at an average size of 20 square metres, Saga is billing them as “some of the most generously-sized cabins on the ocean wave”.  The lavish 80 square metre Forward Suites are the most prestigious accommodation option, homing a walk-in wardrobe and whirlpool tub. They also come complete with a dedicated butler and in-cabin dining from all restaurants.

Five of the best

Stand-out sailings

The intriguing architecture of Basel

With so many cruises to the same destinations, it can be hard to tell them apart. Here are five truly special itineraries


AmaWaterways, Colombia
From December 2023, AmaWaterways will be offering the first cruise to sail Colombia’s Magdalena River, after partnering with South American tour operator Metropolitan Touring. It’ll be an intimate 80-passenger cruise on a custom-built ship that’s heralded to be eco-friendly and luxurious. The 1500km Magdalena River is known for its rich biodiversity and culture and the new ship, AmaMagdalena, will embrace this through a mix of onboard and immersive shore experiences.

Viking, Norway to Switzerland
Travelling from Bergen in the Norwegian fjords to the Swiss city of Basel (or vice versa), this is a river and ocean cruise combo. Both inland and coastal destinations are taken in on this itinerary, exploring the Nordic seas and the Rhine River over 14 days. As well as stops in Norway and Switzerland, there are port calls in Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Germany that take in Unesco World Heritage Sites, the Black Forest and the North Sea.

Great Lakes Cruise Company, North America
The only cruise company to specialise in the area, these ships sail through the five Great Lakes – a series of unique, interconnected inland freshwater lakes in the US and Canada, created after the last inland glaciers melted over 10,000 years ago. The cruises cover a range of places and itineraries across the lakes – Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario – focusing on luxury adventure that combines beautiful scenery with unique destinations.

CroisiEurope, Spain
Croisi’s cruises in Spain explore the rivers of Andalusia (Guadalquivir and Guadiana), taking in some of the most renowned sites in southern Spain from a different angle. Jerez, Cádiz, Granada and Andalusia’s capital, Seville, are visited on these tours that focus on local culture and gastronomy. There’s a selection of port-to-port cruises offered by the company, with itineraries centred around Christmas, New Year and landscapes of Andalusia, lasting six or eight days.

Hurtigruten coastal, Norway
There are plenty of cruises available in the Norwegian fjords, but Hurtigruten stands out for its exploration of these waters. The Original Norwegian Coastal Express has been sailing for almost 130 years with the 12-day itinerary starting in Bergen before sailing up to the Arctic Circle, to the small town of Kirkenes, and back again. The ship stops at 34 coastal communities along its path, with each season providing a completely different experience.

How to Sell

How to sell: solos

Each issue, cruise expert Jane Archer shares her tips on selling a specific area of cruise. This time, she looks at solos


Solo cruisers have traditionally had a rough time, having to fork out almost twice the fare for the privilege of sailing alone. Not any more. Cruise lines are recognising the value of the solo pound and either adding single cabins to new ships or existing tonnage, or putting aside a number of double rooms for those sailing on their own. Some river cruise lines even put on entire cruises just for solos. Pricing has also changed, with the best lines for solos offering either individual single prices or low or no supplements. It’s all long overdue given cruising is a great holiday for lone travellers: they have a ready-made family on board, other people to go ashore with if they are nervous of exploring alone and, best of all, can do what they like – have a lie in, skip the show, take whatever tour they fancy. After all, when you’re alone there is no one else to please. We look at big, small and river ship options for solo travellers.

Liner style

Who? Cunard
Where? Transatlantic crossing
When? May 15, 2022
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £2,599pp including one-way flight

Fifteen ocean-view single cabins were added to the 2,705-passenger Queen Mary 2 during an extensive refit in 2016. This cruise, a theatre-themed crossing from New York to Southampton on QM2, spends six days at sea, giving solo passengers plenty of time to enjoy the shows and workshops being put on by award-winning performers. Price includes $60pp onboard spending money.

British style

Who? Ambassador Cruise Lines
Where? Norwegian fjords
When? April 16, 2022
How long? Eight nights
How much? From £1,099pp

This new UK-based cruise line launches in April 2022 and is aimed at Brits aged over 50. It has set aside 89 cabins for single use with just a 30 per cent supplement on its ship Ambience, a mid-size vessel with a 1,400 passenger count. The cruise, round-trip from Tilbury, calls into fjord favourites Flåm, Olden and Bergen. Price is for a superior inside single cabin.

 

Selling Tip

Don’t refer to singles. Lone or solo travellers are nicer expressions and don’t assume the client is alone (many choose to cruise without their spouse).

Small ships

Small ships can be expensive, but they are great for lone travellers as you see the same people every day, either around the vessel or on tours, so it is easy to make friends. For this section we’ve picked three singles stalwarts; they will be joined next year by Atlas Ocean Voyages, a new all-inclusive expedition line that will be offering six single suites, all with no supplement, starting March 2022 on its first ship, the 196-passenger World Traveller.

Value

Who? Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Where? Norwegian fjords
When? May 15, 2022
How long? Nine nights
How much? From £1,999pp

Fred Olsen might have added two new ships, Borealis and Bolette, that only just squeeze into the mid-size category (each tops 1,300 passengers) but it hasn’t they forgotten its solo client base, with over 100 single cabins set aside across the two vessels. This cruise is on the 1,338-passenger Bolette round-trip from Southampton. Price is for an inside cabin.

 

All-inclusive

Who? Saga Cruises
Where? Norwegian fjords
When? September 19, 2022
How long? Nine nights
How much? From £3,837pp

With more than 100 single cabins each on Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, its new 999-passenger ships, it’s no wonder Saga is a favourite with solo travellers. This cruise, round-trip from Southampton, is on Spirit of Adventure. Price is for a standard single balcony cabin and includes UK transfers, three tours, speciality dining, drinks, tips, wi-fi and travel insurance.

 

Treat

Who? Hebridean Island Cruises
Where? Scotland
When? October 4, 2022
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £6,580pp

Famous as the Queen’s favourite cruise line – because she has chartered the 50-passenger Hebridean Princess twice – Hebridean has 10 single cabins, all individually priced. This cruise, round-trip from Oban, is an island-hopping mystery to all but the captain, who will take passengers to his favourite destinations. Price is for a single cabin and includes tours, drinks, tips and wi-fi.

Selling Tip

Consider organising, and leading, your own ocean or river cruise for solo travellers, with special gatherings and excursions just for your group.

River ships

The combination of small ships, a house party atmosphere and included excursions, taking the worry out of budgeting for trips ashore or going to strange places alone, has made river cruising one of the best choices for clients travelling on their own. Several lines waive single supplements on their lower deck accommodation; some offer dedicated solo cruises now and then with everyone travelling alone.

Go Gallic

Who? Tauck
Where? France
When? July 10, 2022
How long? 10 days
How much? From £4,390pp

With single supplements waived on Category 1 cabins on all European river cruises and discounts on selected departures for lone travellers who want to upgrade, Tauck is a top choice for solo travellers. This cruise, on the Rhône round-trip from Lyon with two pre-cruise nights in Paris, is on the 98-passenger Emerald. Price is for a Category 1 cabin and includes drinks, tips, wi-fi and tours.

Selling Tip

Think beyond cruising and promote the joys of sailing solo to all clients on your database who travel alone

Go Dutch

Who? Saga Holidays
Where? Holland
When? March 23, 2022
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £2,209pp including flights

Saga gets two bites of the cherry when it comes to singles as it caters for lone river cruisers with solos-only sailings like this classic tulip-themed cruise round-trip from Amsterdam. It’s on Saga’s new 190-passenger Spirit of the Rhine river ship. Price is for one person in a twin cabin and includes five excursions, wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner, wi-fi, UK transfers and tips.

Go Douro

Who? Riviera Travel
Where? Portugal
When? April 1, 2022
How long? Eight days
How much? From £2,249pp including flights

This is one of eight dedicated river cruises Riviera is offering for solo travellers on Europe’s waterways next year, all with no single supplement so clients can trade up without breaking the bank. This one, on the Douro round-trip from Porto, is on the 119-passenger Douro Elegance and includes tours to local quintas and a port wine lodge. Price includes excursions and wi-fi.

Directory

Directory

Got a cruise query? Let us assist you. The Cruise Adviser directory provides you with the vital contact details for all major cruise lines operating in the UK – meaning trade sales support is never more than a phone call away

A

A-Rosa River Cruises

Stephen Joyner, head of sales
07738 151711
stephen.joyner@arosa-cruises.co.uk

Amadeus River Cruises

Kirsty Reid, product & sales manager
07551 124543
kirsty.reid@fredholidays.co.uk

AmaWaterways

Jamie Loizou, managing director
033 3305 3902
jamieloizou@amawaterways.com

Ambassador Cruise Line

Lisa Jacobs, head of trade sales
lisa.jacobs@ambassadorcruiseline.com

American Cruise Lines

Kirsty Reid, product & sales manager
07551 124543
kirsty.reid@fredholidays.co.uk

American Queen Steamboat Company

Rupert Thomson, managing director
01223 568904
r.thomson@aqgsa.com

APT Touring

Jessica Shelton-Agar, national sales manager
01494 736147/07584 057341
jessica.shelton-agar@aptouring.co.uk

Aurora Expeditions

Talia Schwartzman, sales executive
+61 2 9252 1033
agents@auroraexpeditions.co.uk

Jay Turner, business development manager, UK and Europe
07841 867125
jturner@auroraexpeditions.co.uk

Australis

Frederic Guillemard, commercial director Europe
+34 93 497 0484

Avalon Waterways

Janet Parton, sales director
020 8315 4545
agencysales@avaloncruises.co.uk

Azamara Club Cruises

Lori Scanella, business support executive
01932 834379
salessupport.uk@rccl.com

B

Belmond

Lucy Clark, divisional director of sales, trains & cruises
lucy.clark@belmond.com

C

Carnival Cruise Line

Luke Smith, head of UK & international sales
020 7378 4660
carnivalsalesuk@carnival.com

Celebrity Cruises

Nicola McNeish, head of sales planning & activation
07919 540017
mcneish@celebritycruises.com

Celestyal Cruises

Jo Reid, UK and Ireland country manager
07368 207881
j.reid@celestyalcruises.uk

Coral Expeditions

Elizabeth Webb, international sales manager
salesmngr@coralexpeditions.com

Cosmos

Janet Parton, sales director
020 8315 4545
agencysales@cosmos.co.uk

CroisiEurope

John Fair, sales director
020 8328 1281
jfair@croisieurope.com

Crystal Cruises

Mick Dupont, head of UK sales
020 7399 7602
mick@cruiseportfolio.co.uk

Cruising Excursions

Kirsty Bachelor, trade sales manager
07784 357977
kirsty.bachelor@cruisingexcursions.com

Cunard Line

Cunard partnership team
0344 338 8656
cunardpartnershipteam@cunard.co.uk

D

Disney Cruise Line

Emma Martin, account executive
080 0171 2317
emma.martin@disney.com

E

Emerald Waterways

Joseph Grimley, director of trade sales
07504 484657
joseph.grimley@scenic.co.uk

European Waterways

Mark Robinson, sales and reservations manager
01753 598555
sales@europeanwaterways.com

Exotic Heritage Group

Marco Rosa, UK representative
07973 876967
marco@plateauinternational.com

F

Far Horizon

Kirsty Reid, product & sales manager
07551 124543
kirsty.reid@fredholidays.co.uk

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Geoff Ridgeon, head of sales
01473 746164
cruise.sales@fredolsen.co.uk

Fred River Cruises

Kirsty Reid, product & sales manager
07551 124543
kirsty.reid@fredholidays.co.uk

G

G Adventures

Stuart Darnley, national sales manager
07964 983842
sdarnley@gadventures.com

Great Rail Journeys

Lindsay Dixon, head of trade sales
01904 527180
lindsaydixon@greatrail.com

H

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Aishling McLoughlin, sales representative UK & Ireland
07852 488471
aishling.mcloughlin@hl-cruises.com

Hebridean Island Cruises

Lisa White, reservations manager
01756 704704
lisa.white@hebridean.co.uk

Holland America Line

Dani Scannella, business development manager
07789 923665
dani.scannella@hollandamerica.co.uk

Lucy Harris, business development manager
07773 043004
lucy.harris@hollandamerica.co.uk

Charlotte Pinkus, business development representative
07585 806471
charlotte.pinkus@hollandamerica.co.uk

Hurtigruten

Anthony Daniels, UK general manager
020 8846 2666
anthony.daniels@hurtigruten.com

I

Intrepid Travel

Joanna Reeve, tailor-made manager EMEA
0808 274 5179
joanna.reeve@intrepidtravel.com

J

Need-a-Cruise by JTA

Dave Green, managing director
0121 508 5567
dave.green@jtatravel.co.uk

K

Katarina Line

Olivera Lesinger, head of UK & overseas
+38 5 51 603 409
olivera@katarina-line.hr

L

Latin Routes

Jessica Dennison, director
020 8546 6222
info@latinroutes.co.uk

Leger Holidays

Ashley Dellow, head of retail sales
01709 385811
retail.sales@leger.co.uk

Lindblad Expeditions

Jacinta McEvoy, vice-president global sales
+1 212 261 9000
jacintam@expeditions.com

Lotus Cruises

Marco Rosa, UK representative
07973 876967
marco@plateauinternational.com

M

The Majestic Line

Louisa Grant, cruise co-ordinator
01369 707951
louisa@themajesticline.co.uk

Marella Cruises

Andrew Isherwood, commercial support team
020 3451 2762
commercial.support@tui.co.uk

Mövenpick Cruises

Marco Rosa, UK representative
07973 876967
marco@plateauinternational.com

MSC Cruises

Victoria Taylor, sales operations manager
020 7092 8182
ukinsidesales@msccruises.co.uk

N

National Geographic Expeditions

Simon Chambers, operations manager
0800 988 3369
sales@fredholidays.co.uk

Nicko Cruises

Rupert Thomson, managing director
01223 568904
rupert@lightbluetravel.co.uk

Noble Caledonia

Agency sales
020 7752 0000
agencysales@noble-caledonia.co.uk

Norwegian Cruise Line

Eamonn Ferrin, vice president of international business
023 8124 5000
eferrin@ncl.com

Oceania Cruises

Lisa Clarkson, national accounts manager
07809 351545
lcarkson@cceaniacruises.com

Agency sales
0345 5051920
agencysales@cceaniacruises.com

P

P&O Cruises

Brodie Hanley-McIntosh, trade channels manager
023 8065 5780
brodie.hanley-mcintosh@pocruises.com

Pandaw

Kirsty Reid, product & sales manager
07551 124543
kirsty.reid@fredholidays.co.uk

Paukan Cruises

Marco Rosa, UK representative
07973 876967
marco@plateauinternational.com

Paul Gaugin

Mick Dupont, head of UK sales
020 7399 7602
mick@cruiseportfolio.co.uk

Pearl Seas Cruises

Susan Shultz, director of sales
+1 203 458 5280
susan.shultz@pearlseascruises.com

Ponant

Nabil Maillard, sales manager UK and Ireland
020 7092 6663
nmaillard@ponant.com

Poseidon Expeditions

Kate Statsenko, senior sales manager
020 3369 0020
kate@poseidonexpeditions.com

Ports Direct

Karl Lapage, managing director
0843 084 3003
karl@portsdirect.co.uk

Princess Cruises

Gemma Withers, sales operations manager
023 8065 6607
gemma.withers@princesscruises.co.uk

Pullmantur Cruises

Simon Chambers, operations manager
0800 988 3369
sales@fredholidays.co.uk

Q

Quark Expeditions

Andrew Schweitzer, business development manager, UK
07857 004191
andrew.schweitzer@quarkexpeditions.com

R

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Caroline Moody, business development executive
023 8068 2283
agencysales@rssc.com

Anna Salter, business development executive
023 8068 2283
agencysales@rssc.com

Riviera Travel

Darren Mussell, agency sales assistant manager
01283 744307
agencysales@rivieratravel.co.uk

Rocky Mountaineer

Steven Harris, regional sales director
07970 519164
sharris@rockymountaineer.com

Royal Caribbean International

Trade support team
01932 834379
salessupport.uk@rccl.com

S

Saga Travel

Trade support team
tradesupport@saga.co.uk

Scenic

Joseph Grimley, director of trade sales
07504 484657
joseph.grimley@scenic.co.uk

Seabourn

Dani Scannella, business development manager
07789 923665
dani.scannella@seabourn.co.uk

Lucy Harris, business development manager
07773 043004
lucy.harris@seabourn.co.uk

Charlotte Pinkus, business development representative
07585 806471
charlotte.pinkus@seabourn.co.uk

SeaCloud

Anja Ringel, vice-president, international marketing and sales
+49 40 3095 9217
aringel@seacloud.com

SeaDream Yacht Club

Natalie Read. sales director, UK
07917 847300
nread@seadream.com

Shearings

Silversea

Sales support
020 7340 0700
salesuk@silversea.com

Star Clippers

Danielle Dudley, UK sales manager
077 6585 2116
danielle@starclippers.co.uk

Swan Hellenic

Mario Bounas, VP marketing
07929 914953
mario.bounas@swanhellenic.com

T

Tauck

UK country manager
080 0810 8020
tauckreservations@tauck.co.uk

Titan Travel

Edwina Coppock, agency sales manager
01293 450726/07834 652135
edwina.coppock@titantravel.co.uk

Touchdown | Travel Industry Services

Robbie White, head of cruise product
020 8607 3805
rwhite@touchdown.co.uk

Tradewind Voyages

Mark Schmitt, head of sales
07553 955047
mark.schmitt@tradewindvoyages.com

Rachel Healy, business development manager
07552 622970
rachel.healy@tradewindvoyages.com

Travel2

Colin Currie, head of sales
07891 257160
colin.currie@travel2.com

Travelsphere & Just You

Sarah Weetman, head of trade sales
07748 843244
sarah.weetman@travelsphere.co.uk

U

Uniworld

Angela Sloan, key account manager
0808 168 9110
angela.sloan@uniworld.com

V

Variety Cruises

Chris Lorenzo, managing director, Seafarer Cruises
020 8324 3114
info@seafarerholidays.co.uk

Victoria Cruises

Tom Antonucci, sales manager
+1 212 818 1680
tom@victoriacruises.com

Victory Cruise Lines

Rupert Thomson, managing director
01223 568904
rupert@lightbluetravel.co.uk

Virgin Voyages

Shane Riley, associate vice president international sales
07979 127099
shane.riley@virginvoyages.com

Viking Cruises

Vodohod

Mario Bounas, VP marketing
07929 914953
mario.bounas@vodohod.ru

Volga Dream

Kirsty Reid, product & sales manager
07551 124543
kirsty.reid@fredholidays.co.uk

W

Widgety

Sandra Barnes-Keywood, head of sales
023 8042 8000 (option 2)
sandra@widgety.co.uk

Windstar Cruises

Anna Perrott, business development manager UK
07593 137135
anna.perrott@windstarcruises.com