There’s never been a better time to think about luxury
Plus, NCL and MSC add more US sailings
Plus, Viva Cruises to offer expedition cruises from 2022
The British cruise line introduces new flagship, Bolette, and sister ship, Borealis to its ranks ready for a summer of staycations
Plus, Variety signs Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency
Plus, Riviera offers free Covid tests
From private sundecks and freshly-prepared sushi to astrological cocktails and an acre of lawn at sea, a cruise is the best way to holiday in the UK
The latest industry offers and appointments
Janine Kelso takes a look at what makes luxury travel, including profiles of the latest luxury ships and the most luxurious suites at sea
Live the high life on board these sumptuous cruise ships with this treasure trove of unforgettable luxury experiences
Each issue, cruise expert Jane Archer shares her tips on selling a specific area of cruise. This time, she looks at luxury
What is luxury? According to Amanda Norey, head of marketing and distribution at Tradewind Voyages, it is “exceptional service and dining, elegant cabins with sea views plus every element of your voyage taken care of by a well-trained and welcoming crew”. If all these elements come together, she argues, all the customer needs to do is enjoy.
We asked a number of high-end cruise lines what they consider luxury to be. Each came back with a different answer, but the same signifiers featured across the board. There are many different elements, but we believe that the four pillars of the luxury experience are: elegant interiors, exclusive experiences, exceptional service and an abundance of space.
The Scandi modernism of Viking may be totally different to the grandeur of Regent, but the results are the same: guests enjoy their surroundings, feel relaxed and taken care of. In the age of Covid-19, that’s more important than ever. Truly, what is more luxurious than the ability to unwind fully?
Data released by cruise.co.uk found that demand for extended sailings had increased by 10 per cent this year compared to 2019. It revealed that clients are bookings voyages of three weeks and over to destinations across the world, often with hotel stays and tours either side of the sailing, allowing guests to make the most of their time away. We’re seeing this trend across travel – after a year or two without, customers are planning a special, all-out holiday next year or in 2023, often taking the whole family with them.
It means there’s never been a better time to think about luxury – which is why we’ve produced this special issue. In it, we round up the most exciting new ships, best luxurious experiences and fanciest suites – plus, Jane Archer shares her walk-through guide. We hope you enjoy reading, and good luck selling.
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.
Anthony Pearce, director
Design: The Studio
Sub-editing: Nathaniel Cramp
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Coalition calls on all corners of the travel industry to get involved and support the activities of the day
Trade bodies from across the travel industries are coming together for a day of action on June 23 to put pressure on the UK government to support a safe return to international travel in time for the peak summer period.
#traveldayofaction will be calling on the UK government to:
Organisers and supporters of the cross-industry day of action include Abta, Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association, BAR UK, UKinbound, the Business Travel Association, Advantage Travel Partnership, TTNG, and the other 11 Members of the Save Future Travel Coalition, with other industry organisations welcome to join.
The bodies are calling on all corners of the travel industry – every airline, airport, tour operator, travel agent, supplier and partner – to get involved and support the activities of the day.
The day of action will involve an organised lobby at the Houses of Parliament – which would see MPs meet with a large number of their constituents at Westminster on a single day. There are also plans being developed for events across other parts of the UK, targeted at the Devolved Administrations. The event is intended to generate and attract national media attention and will also seek to gain traction on social media.
The day of action will take place just ahead of when the government is expected to decide on the next steps for international travel, with an announcement scheduled for June 28. The government will be reviewing both the traffic light list and also the requirements, measures and systems in place for international travel. The day’s activities will start from 12.30pm, allowing people time to travel to London for the day.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, said: “These next weeks will be critical for the travel industry. We have been working together since the start of the pandemic to make the sector’s case on what the industry needs to get through this crisis and return safely to international travel. We’re in a situation where the government is curtailing overseas travel but isn’t providing tailored support for the travel industry. The longer this goes on the more jobs, livelihoods and businesses are at risk.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK said: “The UK is falling behind other countries, including many of our competitors in Europe, when it comes to restarting our aviation and travel sectors. With the success of the vaccine rollout, it is vital the government takes steps to capitalise on the progress that has been made, otherwise we face doing severe long-term damage to the economy and the competitiveness of our world-leading aviation sector.
“Quite clearly the time has come for every corner of our industry – from aviation to inbound and outbound tourism and business travel – to come together if we are to have any hope of getting international travel properly up and running in time for the main summer weeks. Failure to do so would be truly catastrophic with so many tens of thousands of jobs hanging in the balance.”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive officer of Advantage Travel Partnership said: “We all need to be pulling together towards this one single date, so it has the greatest media and political impact. It is imperative the industry speaks with one clear voice to demand action from the government urgently on the safe recovery of travel and tourism. Not only are we trailing behind other countries on opening up travel, we are trailing behind every other British industry which has had the benefit of conforming to the domestic road map outlined by the government. This is tantamount to woeful neglect and we as industry intend to redress the balance and get government to back us as we strive to save jobs and businesses.”
Gary Lewis, CEO of The Travel Network Group said: “We urge our members and the wider outbound travel industry to get behind the day of action on June 23. The march on Westminster is in response to the shocking, illogical announcement from the government which effectively cancelled travel for the foreseeable future and went against the expectations set in the Global Travel Taskforce report.
“Until people can travel freely, and the travel industry is able to get back on its feet, we need the government to provide direct financial sector-specific support which we have been calling for since summer 2020. Our industry employs over 221,000 people and contributes £37.1 billion to the economy but our calls for support and clarity have not been met. We hope that the government takes notice of the day of action and acts on the industry’s demands before further damage is done.”
Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound said: “Inbound tourism is the UK’s third largest service export industry worth £28.4 billion to the UK economy and employing nearly half a million people, but our sector is struggling to survive and is in desperate need of support. We’re calling on our members and the wider tourism community to get involved in this day of action. Every conversation and engagement with your local MP on this day will have an impact and will help put pressure on the UK government to take action to support our industry.”
More information on the day and how to get involved will be published on abta.com/traveldayofaction.
The two lines unveil more itineraries as their relaunch gathers pace
Norwegian Cruise Line has added extra US sailings to its programme as part of its relaunch plan.
The extra voyages will set sail this summer from New York; Los Angeles; Port Canaveral, Florida; and Miami.
The line also announced that its newest ship Norwegian Encore will replace Norwegian Bliss in Alaska this summer, leaving from Seattle to call at the ports of Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, while offering guests dramatic views of Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier.
Norwegian will return to Miami this summer with Norwegian Gem to cruise seven-day itineraries to the Caribbean from August 15, and four-day voyages to the Bahamas from November.
Now on sale are extra itineraries from New York to Bermuda starting from September 26 on Norwegian Breakaway; a cruise from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera on October 24 with Norwegian Bliss; and a sailing from Port Canaveral to the Caribbean on November 13 on board Norwegian Escape.
“With these additional itineraries, we’re providing travellers with more opportunities to set sail from some of their favorite homeports and to some of their preferred destinations,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.
“We are very excited to sail in the US again, and to sail first with our latest beautiful ship Norwegian Encore. We’re able to reintroduce her to our guests and invite them to experience her world-class offerings, as she makes her debut in Seattle and Alaska.”
Norwegian’s Peace of Mind cancellation policy remains in effect for anyone sailing on cruises embarking until October 31, 2021, allowing guests to cancel their cruise 15 days before departure.
All crew and guests must be fully vaccinated to embark on voyages up until October 31, 2021.
Meanwhile, MSC Cruises is also to resume cruising from US ports this summer following CDC approval.
MSC Meraviglia will kick off the restart on August 2, with three and four-night cruises from Miami to the Bahamas. From September 18, MSC Meraviglia will add seven-night cruises from Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean. MSC Divina will resume cruising from Port Canaveral on September 16, offering three, four and seven-night cruise options to the Bahamas and Caribbean, including stops at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
MSC will reveal additional itinerary details for cruises on board MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina, as well as health and safety measures and guidelines for guests. Cruises will welcome both vaccinated and non-vaccinated guests.
The line’s new Edge-class vessel, Celebrity Beyond, launches in spring 2022
Celebrity Cruises has revealed the wellness options that will be onboard Celebrity Beyond, the line’s next Edge-class ship.
The new vessel, which launches in spring 2022, features new AquaClass SkySuites, an onboard wellness programme led by industry experts, a partnership with Gwyneth Paltrow’s modern lifestyle brand Goop and classes by the F45 Training.
The spa, designed by Kelly Hoppen, features eight different relaxation rooms and offers more than 120 treatments.
“Wellness is so fundamental to our philosophy that we continue to build and grow a truly special onboard experience where it is woven into every aspect of the guest journey from the stateroom to the spa,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president of Celebrity Cruises. “And, because we’re doing all of this at sea, which is incredibly therapeutic in itself, it becomes a wonderful wellness journey unlike anything in the world.”
“In true Celebrity Cruises fashion, we have chosen to work with best-in-class partners in every category to deliver a holistic programme designed to improve the wellbeing of the guest’s mind, body and spirit,” said Brian Abel, Celebrity’s Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations. “The response to our AquaClass offerings has been phenomenal and we know this new programme, designed for modern travellers, will exceed all expectations.”
AquaClass Sky Suites
The AquaClass Sky Suites, new to Celebrity Beyond, feature floor-to-ceiling ocean views, private balconies and access to special areas of the ship.
Some of the wellness amenities included in the AquaClass Sky Suite experience are:
Wellness and fitness
In collaboration with OneSpaWorld, Celebrity Cruises is to introduce the first-at-sea ‘Women in Wellness’ programme, bringing together some of the wellness world’s leading minds and practitioners to curate spa treatments, mind-body wellness activations, fitness classes and stateroom TV programming.
The women include:
The first Celebrity Beyond cruise will sail out of the UK on April 27, 2022. The 10-night Western Europe cruise will call at Bordeaux, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Seville, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain.
New ship Seaventure will operate Arctic and European itineraries from next year
Viva Cruises is to start offering expedition cruises from 2022 on board its first expedition vessel.
The 164-passenger Seaventure will operate Arctic, North and West European itineraries from April to October 2022. The cruises will depart from Bremerhaven, Dublin, Edinburgh, Tromsø and Reykjavík and all offer 10 per cent travel agent commission.
Example itineraries include ‘Coastal Magic’, a seven-night round-trip from Dublin, departing on April 16, 2022. Seaventure will take passengers along the Irish coast to Belfast, across to northern Scotland and on to Edinburgh.
One of the highlights of Seaventure’s 2022 programme is ‘Eternal Ice of the Arctic’ – a 24-day voyage round-trip from Bremerhaven in Germany, with two departures in July and August. The sailing will go to the Shetland Islands and on to Greenland. Passengers will have the chance to see glaciers and icebergs in Disko Bay as well as spot humpback whales.
All 2022 itineraries of Seaventure will include Viva Cruises’ signature Viva All-Inclusive product: snacks, full board, high-quality alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, mini-bar, beauty products from luxury cosmetic brand Rituals, wi-fi and all tips and gratuities.
Prices for 2022 Seaventure expedition cruises start from €2,205 per person for an outside cabin. An early bird discount of 10 per cent will apply to all bookings made by July 31, 2021. UK travel agents also receive a 10 per cent commission per booking. Agents can request agency contracts and special rates for groups by emailing email@example.com.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines introduces new flagship, Bolette, and sister ship, Borealis to its ranks ready for summer of immersive staycations
Setting sail again after the longest pause in the history of the cruise industry is reason enough to get excited, but to resume with not just one, but two new ships among the fleet makes for an even bigger milestone. And that’s exactly the case for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, which introduces new flagship, Bolette, and sister ship, Borealis to its ranks this July.
The new ships will offer a number of sailings as part of Fred Olsen’s Welcome Back programme this summer, designed to celebrate the very best of the British Isles and its spectacular scenery.
Borealis will be the first to set sail, with a three-night ‘no port’ Maiden Voyage departing Liverpool on July 5, followed by Bolette’s three-night Maiden Voyage from Dover on August 16.
Both ships will sail around the British Isles with no stops, taking in the stunning scenery of the Scilly Isles, the Scottish coast and landmarks such as Fingal’s Cave and Duart Castle. Then, later into July and August, itineraries will begin offering ports of call, to destinations such as Kirkwall and Lerwick.
Guests on board all ‘no port’ scenic sailings will also be joined by experts from marine wildlife charity ORCA. The charity’s team of Cruise Conservationists will spend their days out on deck, helping guests to spot, identify and record data about the marine wildlife they see, as well as holding lectures and Q&A sessions on board.
During the summer months, British waters bring opportunities to spot common Risso’s, and bottlenose dolphins, as well as harbour porpoises and minke whales, with rarer visitors including the humpback whale.
Bolette and Borealis bring a number of new facilities to the fleet, including grand, two-tiered restaurants and theatres, large spas, all-weather pools with retractable roofs and presentation theatres perfect for culinary demonstrations.
“We chose these ships because we knew they would fit seamlessly into the Fred Olsen fleet,” said head of sales, Geoff Ridgeon. “Each carrying less than 1,400 guests, they allow us to continue to offer the small ship experience for which we are renowned, while also allowing us to offer something new.
“Of course, we wanted to put our own stamp on them both, and the team on board have been working exceptionally hard on our refit programme since they joined the rest of the fleet in Rosyth last summer. New carpets have been laid, bathrooms have been replaced and wallpaper has been hung. We have even had part of the ship dedicated to upholstering and soft furnishings.
“We really can’t wait to welcome our guests on board so they can explore for themselves – new ships, new venues, new designs, but the same Fred Olsen experience that our guests know and love. And of course, they wouldn’t be Fred Olsen ships without our famous doodle carpets!”
Win a case of wine
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is offering agents the chance to earn a free case of wine from Virgin Wines. To qualify, all agents need to do is make three bookings by June 30 for any 2021 departures, and register the bookings via the line’s online Travel Agent Centre.
“We know how challenging it has been for agents through the pandemic,” said Geoff Ridgeon. “This is our way of saying a little thank you for recommending Fred Olsen, and for all their support over the past 15 months and beyond.”
For more details on Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, the new ships or the incentive with Virgin Wines, visit fredolsencruises.com/agent
The sailings restart in July after 18 months of limited operations, and demand is high
Hurtigruten will resume its famous Norwegian coastal voyages this July after more than 18 months of limited operations.
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express will operate all seven ships on the legendary sailings between Bergen and Kirkenes.
The company has reported that booking levels are 50 per cent higher than before the pandemic, with particularly strong demand for 2022 small-ship experiences.
Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam said: “The global travel industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. With the safety and well-being of our guests and crew as our number one priority, we are now entering a new phase of our step-by-step return to operations.”
He added: “As vaccines are being rolled out and travel restrictions are lifted, we are seeing a huge pent-up demand and strong booking trends across all markets. When international travel resumes, we will be ready to welcome our guests on board again.”
In operation since 1893, the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express has served as a lifeline for local communities for generations, including throughout the pandemic.
This summer, Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express will be the only company to offer voyages along the Norwegian coast, hosting local travellers, goods, mail and international tourists.
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express CEO Hedda Felin is keen to welcome international travellers when restrictions lift.
“We were born and raised to connect the coastal communities and their people with the world,” she said.
“This summer, we will have the fjords almost to ourselves. And there is no better way to experience the Norwegian coast than with our small ships, close partners and our almost 130 years of local know-how.”
It was recently announced that the entire fleet of Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express ships are being given a large-scale green upgrade by 2023 to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 25 per cent and slash NOx emissions by 80 per cent.
“The world’s most beautiful voyage just got even better,” said Felin.
“We are laying the foundation for introducing new and even more efficient environmental solutions as they are developed.”
Variety Cruises has become to the first cruise line to sign the declaration. CEO Filippos Venetopoulos explains why
In 1949, following the war, our founder Diogenis Venetopoulos – a historian turned tour guide – had a vision to share the world through his eyes, aboard small wooden boats that explored the seas. As a true pioneer in his industry, even then sustainability was at the core of his vision. He was a man that was climate-positive; a man before his time.
Variety Cruises (formerly Zeus Tours) was the first small boat company to share the history of the Greek Islands with the world. As the company and its family tradition enters its third generation of leadership, we remain committed to our promise as pioneers of sustainability, becoming the first cruise line worldwide to join Tourism Declares.
Sustainability has been a key pillar of our company for over half a century. From baby steps that included protecting cultural heritage and visiting Unesco sites, to actively engaging with research on biodegradable materials and protecting sea-life while supporting the health of our oceans, we have always been proactive. Now, given the opportunity to join an organisation that supervises, supports and connects like-minded organisations with the common goal of lowering carbon emissions was a natural collaboration for us. The time, energy and resources invested are positively outweighed by the benefits of the mission.
So, we decided to publicly join Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency not only as a follower, but as a leader within the cruise industry, paving the way with our efforts. We know that we have a long way to go and admit that our industry has contributed in the global increase of carbon emissions; this is why this action is timely and necessary.
Our room for improvement is an opportunity that we choose to grasp. We strive to grow, learn, adapt and foresee how we can remain faithful to our promise. For instance, the pandemic took us a step back in terms of our single use plastic policy in order to protect our guests and team from infection.
Now, as we learn more, we adapt to our sustainability goals and general policy, returning to ‘no single use plastic’ in a series of safe steps. We hereby commit to developing an transparent, practical and functional 12-month plan that will guide the way for lowering carbon emissions, while remaining committed to our additional sustainability initiatives, including no single use plastic and ethical food sourcing.
We hope our commitment will shed light for other operators within the travel industry and beyond to follow. We look forward to joining forces as we take the next steps in monitoring our impact on the environment, with ships running on marine diesel oil, reducing plastic waste via our single use plastic reduction plan, and further developing our beach clean-up initiatives, while adhering to the most stringent policies on waste management. All in all developing a concise plan that will lower carbon emissions and provide a platform for other climate-positive cruise lines to follow suit.
See tourismdeclares.com for more
The ‘Selling Cruise Day’ – named #TogetherAgain – returns to Southampton on November 4
Clia UK & Ireland has announced that its ‘Selling Cruise Day’ will return to Southampton on November 4, 2021. It will be the first full-day, in-person conference the trade association has held since 2019.
The event, named #TogetherAgain, will be dedicated to frontline travel agents, and is aimed at giving them insight and advice from a wide range of expert speakers and panels.
Opportunities to network with colleagues across the industry, including cruise line representatives and partner sponsors, will also be on offer.
A celebration dinner has been arranged for the evening. Venues for both events are currently being finalised.
For more information go to cruising.org
The tour and cruise line will cover the costs of testing required on bookings made until June 30
Riviera Travel is offering free Covid tests for guests booking European river sailings and yacht cruises, departing in July and August 2021.
The tours and cruise company will cover the costs of all testing required under the government’s traffic light system on new bookings made from now until June 30.
Riviera is only operating holidays to green list countries and hopes more destinations will be added to the list in the next few weeks.
The news comes as Riviera has confirmed a £200 price cut on five of its river cruises sailing a Douro, Porto and Salamanca itinerary this summer. Prices now start at £1,939 for its sailings on July 11, 18 and 25, and August 1 and 8.
Riviera will also cover the costs of a PCR test needed to enter Portugal for river cruises in July and August.
Jim Forward, Riviera Travel chief commercial officer, said: “We recognise the current government tests add to the requirements of booking a holiday, so we’re very happy to cover the associated costs. We’ve partnered with The Travel Visa Company who will provide a quick and easy way for our guests to book their required tests, and will be on hand to support throughout the process.
“We’re doing everything we can to get people travelling again and can’t wait to welcome guests on their holidays as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Guests will be contacted four to six weeks ahead of travel to confirm if their departure is going ahead.
Riviera recently added new sailings to its UK programme to meet demand.
From private sundecks and freshly-prepared sushi to astrological cocktails and an acre of lawn at sea, a Celebrity Cruises staycation sailing is the way to holiday in the UK post lockdown
A luxury cruise around Britain’s stunning coastline on Celebrity Silhouette is the perfect way for your guests to leave all of the troubles of the last year behind, sipping a G&T while looking out to sea.
With some staycation firms reporting up to 92 per cent of available dates already booked up for the summer months, a coastal cruise offers the perfect home-away-from home escape.
One of the great benefits of a holiday with Celebrity Cruises is that everything gets taken care of: beautiful accommodation, gourmet food, West End-style entertainment, speedy wi-fi and tips are all included in the price. It means your guests don’t have to worry about a thing – no hastily booked restaurants or nabbing the last car parking spot at the beach.
Guests will have the chance to explore the Jurassic Coastline from Portland, uncover the rich history of Belfast, plus immerse themselves in the creative and cultural hub of Liverpool – essentially multiple staycations in one luxury six-to-eight night trip.
Onboard the ship itself, guests can indulge in some fantastic experiences such as the exclusive open-air hideaway, The Retreat. Available to suite guests only, this luxurious space features a private sundeck and lounge designed by award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE. In The Retreat, every tiny detail is taken care of – whether that’s being handed a fresh towel en route to the pool or a glass of perfectly chilled wine being brought to the table.
The Lawn Club – a half-acre lawn of real grass at sea – is the first of its kind and designed exclusively with relaxation and enjoyment in mind. On a sunny day, it’s perfect for taking a picnic and wiling away the afternoon at sea. If guests are feeling competitive, they might opt for a game of boules or croquet, before kicking back with some live musical entertainment just as night falls.
Augmented reality luxury restaurant, Le Petit Chef – where augmented reality meets luxury cuisine – is a feast for the senses. An animated 3D character appears right on your guest’s plate and prepares each course for a truly interactive, artistic evening.
Guests will find locally sourced and authentically prepared sushi in Sushi on Five – with a menu crafted by expert restaurateur and sushi chef, Yoshikazu “Yoshi” Okada, featuring the complex flavours of handmade sushi rolls and nigiri featuring tuna albacore, shrimp, eel and other fresh selections; and the simplicity of yellowtail, salmon and octopus sashimi.
There are unforgettable wellness experiences in The Persian Garden spa and fitness centre, where guests can indulge in some much deserved ‘me time’ with rejuvenating treatments and restorative massages. A peaceful oasis featuring a range of refreshing aquatic experiences, from billows of aromatic steam to tropical showers and heated loungers, guests will find pure-form yoga, guided meditation and innovative breathing classes are also onboard to help melt away the stress of the last year.
After a year without the joy and spectacle of live performance, guests can finally enjoy West End-style shows, musical masterpieces and dramatic delights that shock, inspire and enchant guests in the onboard theatre, while Zodiac cocktails based on your astrological sign in Sky Observation Lounge will make it a truly special night out.
Celebrity Silhouette will set sail from Southampton on Saturday, July 3, and embark on a series of six to eight-night itineraries around Britain’s coastline. Prices start from £999pp, based on two people sharing a Balcony stateroom, with drinks, wi-fi, tips and car parking in Southampton included for bookings made before June 30.
The health and safety of guests, crew and the places that Celebrity Silhouette will visit remains the first priority for Celebrity Cruises and only residents of England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland are permitted to sail at this time. Guests aged 18 years and older must be fully vaccinated with all Covid-19 vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. All crew members onboard will be vaccinated. Vaccinated guests will also require proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 to 24 hours before the time of sailing. Guests under 18 years of age will need to take an antigen test, at the terminal prior to embarkation. The PCR and antigen tests required will be at the expense of Celebrity Cruises.
To learn more about Celebrity Cruises’ luxury summer staycation cruises, access further information on health and safety protocols or find out the latest Celebrity Rewards opportunities for Celebrity Silhouette bookings, please visit Celebrity’s dedicated trade partner platform, CelebrityCentral.co.uk
Celestyal Cruises is giving agent partners the chance to cruise for free thanks to its popular ‘Sell 3 Sail Free’ booking incentive.
Agents who book three staterooms on any 2021 departure between June 1 and 30 will receive one complimentary double occupancy stateroom for them and a guest on a 2021 three, four, or seven-night Greek Island itinerary of their choice, including an all-inclusive classic drinks, gratuities as well as two select shore excursions.
Itineraries agents can choose from include:
Terms and conditions apply. For further information and reservations call 0800 411 8038 or visit celestyal.com/uk.
Celebrity Cruises is giving agents the chance to win a Celebrity Silhouette staycation every day in June. Agents just need to make a booking to be entered into the daily prize draw.
Celebrity Silhouette will begin six and eight-night sailings from Southampton this July. Guests must have received two vaccinations to board.
Aurora Expeditions has named Jos Dewing as its first UK managing director.
Dewing, who previously led Voyages to Antiquity, has worked in the cruise industry for more than 20 years. He joins Aurora following the departure of Craig Upshall, who has moved to Doha to join the Qatar National Tourism Council.
“I’m honoured and excited to be joining Aurora Expeditions at such a pivotal time of growth as the company moves closer to delivery of its second purpose-built expedition ship, the Sylvia Earle, in October,” he said.
“I’ve had a lifelong passion for the polar regions and responsible, small-ship expedition voyaging and my core values align perfectly with those of Aurora Expeditions. I cannot wait to unlock new and exciting initiatives in the fast-moving UK market, as well as continue to build on the exceptional service already provided to our valued expeditioners and trade partners.”
Aurora CEO Monique Ponfoort added: “Jos is a natural fit for the company and will help grow the brand and further strengthen the success of its existing UK team.
“We are excited to welcome Jos into this new role on our senior leadership team, where he will bring extensive experience and knowledge that will further strengthen Aurora’s position and relationships in the market. The British market has always been important to Aurora Expeditions and, as UK travel restrictions ease, we expect the demand for small-ship and adventure-focused expeditions to remote corners of the world to grow exponentially.
“Brits and Aussies make great travel companions, with an abiding spirit for adventure and mate-ship, and we always look forward to warmly welcoming our UK cousins on board.”
Dewing added: “Aurora Expeditions sets the industry standard for polar expedition travel, and I look forward to working closely with our travel trade partners to develop and maximise sales opportunities for the important UK market, which has seen significant growth in recent years.”
Laura Wilson and Paul Frost have joined Fred Olsen Travel as business development manager and head of tour operations respectively.
Wilson (née Cann) was previously national sales manager for Cruise & Maritime Voyages before the company went into administration last year. Meanwhile, Frost was managing director of the now defunct Holiday Direction.
Janine Kelso takes a look at what makes luxury cruises, including profiles of the latest luxury ships and the most luxurious suites at sea
“Luxury means exclusive, unique experiences and delivering the highest quality of personalised service. APT raises the bar by combining exciting destinations, immersive sightseeing, flexibility and meticulous attention to detail.” Paul Melinis, managing director, APT
“Exceptional service and dining, elegant cabins with sea views plus every element of your voyage taken care of by a well-trained and welcoming crew, so all you need to do is enjoy.” Amanda Norey, head of marketing and distribution, Tradewind Voyages
“Luxury means an all-inclusive cruise that provides seamless and personalised experiences, where guests can enjoy food and drink at their fingertips, West End-style entertainment, unlimited wi-fi and warm and conscientious service by crew.” Rachel Poultney, sales director, Princess Cruises
“It’s more than getting from one iconic destination to another. Onboard guests are treated to excellent service, premium cuisine, compelling scenery and social atmosphere in the custom-designed train carriages.” Steve Harris, sales director EMEA, Rocky Mountaineer
A crop of new luxury ships are set to dazzle the high seas this year. We round-up five of the best.
Ritz-Carlton is poised to debut its first-ever cruise ship Evrima in July 2021 after several shipyard delays pushed back the 2020 launch date. Inspired by private super-yachts, the long-awaited luxury ship has 149 suites with 24-hour room service and spacious ocean-facing terraces. The top-end Owner’s Suites are a cavernous 102 square metres, with whirlpool tubs on the terrace and a separate living room. There’s a spa offering relaxing treatments in ocean-view rooms and five restaurants, including a poolside grill, an Asian-fusion option and SEA specialty dining experience with a tasting menu crafted by Michelin-starred celebrity chef Sven Elverfeld.
One of 2021’s most buzzworthy launches, Seabourn’s first purpose-built expedition ship Seabourn Venture is due to depart from Greenwich in December. The ultra-luxury ship will sail on a series of 10 to 14-day Norwegian Winter voyages in search of the northern lights between December and April 2022, exploring snowcapped mountains and giant fjords. In the summer months, it will sail to the Arctic, Caribbean and South America. The 132-suite vessel will carry two custom-built submarines, 24 Zodiacs, sea kayaks, mountain bikes and e-bikes to enable guests to explore the rugged landscape in style. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences on offer will include snorkelling with whales, snowshoeing and dogsledding.
Sea Cloud Cruises’ long-awaited rigged sailing ship Sea Cloud Spirit will sail its maiden voyage from Rome on September 14, following years of delays. With a capacity for 136 passengers in 69 cabins, 25 of which have their own balconies, this is the third ship in Sea Cloud’s fleet of private yacht-style vessels. Cabins have large windows and are elegantly decked out with dark wood, while facilities include a library, spa, Finnish sauna, steam bath, fitness room and four Zodiacs. It will also achieve a first for a sailing ship with a passenger lift connecting the decks. Like its sibling ships, there’s an emphasis on fresh, organic and locally-sourced food, with a mix of laid-back and fine-dining restaurant options. Future sailings will include France, Spain, Morocco, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean, and the ship’s small size means it can visit smaller ports in Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize and Panama.
Silver Dawn is the 10th ship to be added to ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea’s fleet. Following the delivery of sister ships Silver Origin and Silver Moon in 2020, Silver Dawn is due to be unveiled in November. With eight dining options, the ship will accommodate 596 guests in 298 ocean-view suites, 96 per cent of which will have a private veranda. Silversea promises to deliver a sense of small-ship intimacy, with a crew-to-guest ratio of one to 1.45. The line has revealed that the vessel will feature “pioneering enhancements” that its sibling ships do not have, but details are yet to be revealed. Upcoming sailings include epic South America and transatlantic voyages as well as shorter Mediterranean itineraries.
Launched last month with a glitzy naming event with the ship’s ceremonial godmother, broadcaster Anne Diamond, Viking Venus is the latest vessel to join Viking’s ocean fleet of five small ships. With 465 all-veranda rooms to accommodate 930 guests, the luxury ship offers outdoor dining options and Scandinavian decor. Inaugural voyages began on May 22, with the first of five eight-day round-trip Welcome Back sailings in England. The schedule will eventually include sailings to Iceland and Bermuda, with more to be announced as government restrictions ease. Bookings are open to vaccinated guests only.
Luxury for family
Tucked away at the top of its ship, The Haven by Norwegian is home to NCL’s most luxurious and spacious accommodation. Guests staying in this opulent ‘resort’ will have exclusive access to The Haven Lounge, The Haven Restaurant and The Haven Courtyard and Sundeck, the personal service of a concierge and 24-hour butler throughout the cruise. The most impressive suite on offer is the three-bedroom Garden Villa, described as “a sanctuary of contemporary design”, the area stretches up to 622 square metres, sleeping up to eight guests, and features three full baths, a half bath, private dining area and outdoor terraces.
Silversea has excelled at offering a mix of luxury and adventure. On board Silver Explorer, its ice-strengthened purpose-built luxury expedition ship, guests can enjoy the opulence of the 68 square metre Owner’s Suite while sailing to some of the world’s most incredible destinations. Butler service, dinner at the officer’s table, laundry service and wi-fi are, of course, included.
Featuring two deluxe bedrooms with en-suite baths, living and dining areas, and suite-wide triple Panoramic Balcony-window, Crystal River Cruises’ Two-Bedroom Crystal Suite is among the most impressive on the rivers. This “enclave of excellence” totals 71 square metres in size and comes with a “European-trained butler”.
When the all-suite Seven Seas Explorer launched a few years ago, one room in particular took all the headlines. Described as “the most exclusive address at sea,” the 413 square metre Regent Suite was billed as cruise’s most expensive suite. Made up of two spacious bedrooms, plus living and dining rooms, it offers an ocean-front view from the top deck, plus guests get a private car and driver in every port, private dining in The Study and an in-suite spa. If that wasn’t enough, the room features two rare, original lithographs by Pablo Picasso and a custom Steinway Grand Baroque piano.
With only 62 guests on board and a staff-to-guest ratio of 1.5 to one, Crystal Cruises’ all-suite Crystal Esprit is perfect for those seeking yacht-style cruising with itineraries spanning the Mediterranean, Middle East and Seychelles. The yacht boasts a dazzling array of watersports, including jet skis, scuba equipment and even a two-person submarine! When it comes to accommodation options, the ship’s star attraction is its opulent 48 square metre Owner’s Suite which features panoramic windows, a separate living room and dining area, a bathroom with a bathtub and rain shower, interactive bedside iPads and a dedicated 24-hour butler.
Tall ship cruising
A near replica of the 1913-built France II, Tradewind Voyages’ majestic Golden Horizon is the world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship. Oozing the romance of a historic tall ship, all of its 140 cabins are outside facing, but the Owner’s Suite is the most prestigious option. Accommodating up to four guests, the lavish suite has a dining area and living room with a double sofa bed for guests, a balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en suite bathroom with a shower and bathtub. The 53 square metre nautical-themed suite comes complete with butler service, 24-hour room service, complimentary mini-bar and laundry and daily canapés.
Depart the UK in style aboard Saga’s Spirit of Discovery where there are four individually-designed Forward Suites to choose from, including the 69 square metre Art Deco-inspired Sidney De Haan Suite and the 61 square metre Rose Suite which provides larger seating and dining areas along with botanical paintings by artist Sally Pond. A butler will pamper guests staying in the plush suites, each equipped with a walk-in wardrobe and whirlpool bath. Other benefits for suite-dwellers include a morning wake-up tray, pre-dinner canapés, a private afternoon tea service and in-cabin dining.
Live the high life on board these sumptuous cruise ships with this treasure trove of unforgettable luxury experiences, from once-in-a-lifetime submarine tours to celebrity-endorsed wellness experiences. By Janine Kelso
Submarine tours with Seabourn
Channel James Bond by diving as low as 300m beneath the surface of the ocean in a stunning submarine. Ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn will operate submarine excursions from its expedition ship Seabourn Venture, due to make its inaugural sailing from Greenwich in December 2021. Each of the ship’s two battery-powered subs can carry one pilot and six guests, who sit on swivel seats to soak up 360-degree views of sunken wrecks, reefs and marine wildlife. With undistorted views in virtually all directions, the plush leather-upholstered air-conditioned subs house Bluetooth stereo systems and a champagne chiller for guests to toast their marine adventure.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Celebrity Cruises
Actress and Goop wellness guru Gwyneth Paltrow has joined forces with Celebrity Cruises to become a wellbeing adviser on their next Edge-class ship. The Hollywood star has designed an exclusive wellness package called Goop at Sea for Celebrity Beyond, due to make its debut from Southampton on April 27, 2022. Paltrow says that she and her team are “curating programming and fitness kits” for Celebrity’s wellness experience, but the finer details are still under wraps. Paltrow promises to “bring onboard some of my favourite practices and tools for deepening wellbeing and joy”. Sister ship to existing vessels Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex, the liner will also house a spa with a float room, crystalarium, infrared sauna, hammam, salt room, mist aroma steam room and rainfall room. The ship will also feature Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud’s first at-sea restaurant.
AzAmazing Evenings with Azamara
Azamara’s catchily named AzAmazing Evenings are one-of-a-kind onshore experiences that seek to immerse guests in the local culture after the sun goes down. Tailored to the destination, previous standout evenings have included moonlit gondola rides in Venice; a vineyard tour under the stars in Santorini; watching a Maori performance at Te Papa Museum in New Zealand; and a dazzling acrobatic display in Monaco. The best bit? One of these memorable excursions is included for free on all Azamara cruises except transatlantic crossings and voyages that are less than seven nights long.
Anyone with a passion for gastronomy will love Silversea’s immersive culinary programme S.A.L.T (Sea And Land Taste), poised to make its debut in Greece on June 18, aboard the Silver Moon. Curated by Adam Sachs, former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, the foodie programme encompasses market trips, hands-on cooking demonstrations with local guest chefs, and food-themed shore excursions. Cruisers can tuck into an ever-changing roster of dishes at S.A.L.T Kitchen, a high-end restaurant that adapts its menus to reflect the dishes of each port on the journey – hyped by Silversea as an “industry first”. In the S.A.L.T bar, guests can sip regional drinks to enjoy an authentic taste of the destination.
Culinary Arts Kitchen with Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also cooking up a culinary storm with 16 new two-hour cooking classes aboard Seven Seas Splendor. Courses cater to all experience levels, from beginners to seasoned chefs, and feature hands-on instruction. Tap into trends like street food and plant-based cookery, or learn how to create an unforgettable brunch. Other classes focus on preparing Mediterranean food, French classics and Cuban recipes washed down with a mojito. As well as boasting state-of-the-art workstations, the Culinary Arts Kitchen features floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning ocean views. The culinary programme is part of RSSC’s enrichment series, also featuring lectures spanning a wide range of thought-provoking topics, from wildlife to architecture.
Each issue, cruise expert Jane Archer shares her tips on selling a specific area of cruise. This time, she looks at luxury
Ask six cruise clients what luxury means to them and chances are you’ll get six answers: Small ships, personal space, personal service, all-inclusive prices, destination, choice. Ask another and the answer is likely ‘all the above’. And then, just when you think you’ve got it sussed, the next will say it’s a big ship with a private bolthole, so there’s lots of dining and entertainment but also a quiet place to hang out – what cruise lines call a ship within a ship. The fact is that luxury is in the eye of the beholder and understanding each clients’ interpretation and requirements is vital to succeed in this sector. The good news is that cruise lines have raised the bar over the past few years, offering ever-more sumptuous ships, finding inspiring new destinations to explore and including more in the price, ensuring there is a cruise to suit every luxury aspiration. We look at 2022 options for clients whose luxury ideal is yacht-style ships, all-inclusive prices and big ships with a private gated residence.
Where? Greece and Italy
When? May 14, 2022
How long? 10 days
How much? From £4,681pp including flights
Scenic has taken luxury yachting to new heights with the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse, a stylish all-suite, all-balcony expedition yacht with its own sub and helicopters and almost everything (sadly not the sub or helicopters!) included. This cruise is from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Piraeus (Athens) by way of lesser-known Italian and Greek islands such as Lipari, Kea and Fiskardo.
Where? Western Mediterranean
When? May 4, 2022
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £2,900pp
With their sleek looks, striking interiors, intimate feel and a bar below the water line, Ponant’s new fleet of explorer ships are just the ticket for luxury lovers. This cruise, on the 184-passenger Le Jacques Cartier, takes passengers from Valletta in Malta to Nice via the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Elba. Price includes drinks and wi-fi.
Sell the luxury of having so much included that passengers never have to ask ‘how much?’
For many cruisers, small all-suite ships with just a few hundred passengers, and drinks and tips included are still the classic luxury template. Over the years the concept has evolved as more luxury layers have been added – all-suite, all-balcony accommodation, more dining choice, more included in the price, larger ships (think: the Crystal Cruises duo with close to 1,000 passengers) – but the basic premise of space and personal service has never changed.
Who? Regent Seven Seas Cruises
When? April 1, 2022
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £4,559pp including flights
Regent includes so much in its prices (flights, transfers, excursions, drinks, all speciality dining, tips and wi-fi – even a pre-cruise hotel for higher grade suites) that it is possible to disembark with a nil bill. This island-hopping cruise, round-trip from Barbados on the 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator, ticks off Brits’ favourites including St Vincent, Antigua, Grenada and St Lucia.
When? February 5, 2022
How long? Nine days
How much? From £4,410pp including flights
This cruise is on Silver Spirit, a 608-passenger ship boasting eight places to dine, including the swanky La Dame and Asian-style Indochine, and butlers for all. The itinerary, round-trip from Barbados, calls into the Dutch ABC islands, little Bequia, St Lucia and Grenada. Price is for a Panorama Suite and includes a pre-cruise hotel night, drinks, some speciality dining, tips and wi-fi.
When? March 5, 2022
How long? Seven days
How much? From £3,699pp including flights
French Guadeloupe and Martinique, the spice island of Grenada and Dominica’s lush rainforest are highlights of this cruise around the West Indies on Seabourn’s 458-passenger Seabourn Odyssey. The cruise is round-trip from Bridgetown in Barbados, with St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia rounding off the island-a-day itinerary. Price includes drinks, speciality dining, tips and wi-fi.
Think beyond your cruise clients. Luxury ships easily rival the very best land-based resorts with the added advantage that the view changes every day
Big ships and luxury might not be obvious bedfellows – except for those conversant with the exclusive residences some big ship lines have created. This ship-within-a-ship concept gives luxury lovers the best of both worlds – a stylish floating hotel attended by butlers and with more-inclusive prices, but with all the restaurants, bars and entertainment you’d expect on a modern resort-style vessel just the other side of the key-card entry door.
Exclusive Yacht Club
Who? MSC Cruises
Where? Western Mediterranean
When? May 6, 2022
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £1,919pp
This cruise, round-trip from Barcelona, is on MSC Seaview, a big ship packed with places to eat and non-stop entertainment, and with an exclusive Yacht Club – MSC’s well-honed ship-within-a-ship – where residents enjoy peace, calm, private dining and 24-hour butler service. Price is for a YC deluxe suite and includes drinks, tips and access to the spa’s thermal suite.
Think ship within a ship for clients who want an ultra-luxury cruise without sacrificing on facilities
Who? Norwegian Cruise Line
Where? Eastern Mediterranean
When? May 21, 2022
How long? 10 days
How much? From £4,646pp
NCL offers The Haven, a private space with easy access to all the restaurants and entertainment found on Norwegian’s big ships. This cruise, round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome) on Norwegian Escape, visits Greece, Croatia and Italy and France. Price is for a Haven Courtyard Penthouse suite and includes drinks, a speciality dining package, wi-fi and one $50 shorex credit per port.
Who? Celebrity Cruises
Where? Western Mediterranean
When? May 7, 2022
How long? Nine nights
How much? From £4,199pp
Luxury lovers on this cruise, from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome) on new ship Celebrity Beyond, can stay in two-storey villas or outsized suites, luxuriate in The Retreat, an exclusive outdoor spot with a pool and bar created by designer Kelly Hoppen, and dine in their private restaurant. Price is for a Sky Suite and includes, drinks, tips, wi-fi and $300pp shorex and onboard credit.