The new expedition vessel is named after the world-renowned conservationist, Sylvia Earle, and she will be on board for a special nine-day sailing to Baja California and the Sea of Cortez in 2022
Plus P&O Cruises reveals Arvia features
From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates
Each issue, cruise expert Jane Archer shares her tips on selling a specific area of cruise. This time, she looks at river
The new expedition vessel is named after the world-renowned conservationist and she will be on board for a special nine-day sailing to Baja California and the Sea of Cortez in 2022
Aurora Expeditions is offering a unique opportunity to meet and explore with world-renowned marine conservationist, biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr Sylvia Earle on a forthcoming voyage to Baja California.
Dr Earle was the first female chief scientist of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998 and was named by Time magazine as its first ‘Hero of the Planet’ the same year. She will be the special guest on a nine-day sailing in and around Baja California and the Sea of Cortez between May 4 and May 12, 2022 on board her namesake, the new ship Sylvia Earle, named in honour of her long-standing ocean conservation efforts.
Dr Earle has a deep personal connection to the Sea of Cortez, a Unesco World Heritage site which was nominated as the first Hope Spot by Mission Blue, her own conservation alliance which has created a global network of 136 marine protected areas to date. Guests will enjoy fascinating once-in-a-lifetime onboard talks by Dr Earle about the significance of climate change, before joining her on immersive excursions by land and sea in the Gulf of California.
Aurora Expeditions and the new Sylvia Earle ship will support Mission Blue’s efforts with wildlife mapping, location photography and video – above and below the water – and ‘Citizen Science’ projects run by onboard expedition leaders to support marine research.
“By travelling with Aurora Expeditions on Sylvia Earle, I feel it is an incredible opportunity for people to learn about these extraordinary marine habitats in situ, and as a result, become ambassadors for protecting them,” says Dr Earle.
“Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is ocean, it is our life support system and we need to learn everything we can about it,” she adds. “I see great synergies in working closely with a company that shares my vision for the future and which is, from the top down, passionate about the marine environment.”
Aurora Expeditions is planning voyages to other key ‘Hope Spots’ including Costa Rica (Golfo Dulce); Panama (Coiba Island); Raja Ampat (Coral Triangle and Misool Private Marine Reserve; the Northwest Passage; Svalbard (Spitsbergen), and Canada (Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reef).
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
Advertising and partnerships
Sam Ballard, director
Bryan Johnson, senior sales manger
020 3865 9338
07532 709 734
London, SE1 1TY
020 3865 9360
Maritime minister Robert Courts delivered the “much appreciated news” to the All Party Parliamentary and Ports Group
UK cruise lines will be able to restart domestic sailings from May 17, the maritime minister has told a group of MPs.
Robert Courts was appearing at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group (APPMPG).
On Twitter, the group said he had announced “the reopening of the domestic cruise market in England”.
It added: “From repatriation procedures and risk mitigations to Covid-19 protocols and the domestic vaccination programme, a great APPMPG session [with] Robert Courts who delivered some much appreciated news.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said that the return of domestic cruises would be aligned to the reopening of domestic tourism and indoor hospitality.
Last month, it was confirmed that holidays will resume no earlier than May 17, as the government laid out its roadmap for exiting lockdown.
A DfT review into how to allow inbound and outbound travel to restart will report on April 12. Domestic cruises were outlined as the first step in the sector’s reopening by the Global Travel Taskforce in autumn.
According to The Independent, Courts told MPs that the government is working with the home nations to ensure the return of UK-wide domestic cruise.
A DfT spokesperson said: “We are committed to restarting cruise travel when it is safe to do so and we are working closely with the sector to prepare for a safe and successful restart.
“The restart of domestic cruises in England will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors.
“As set out in the prime minister’s roadmap, the earliest possible date for this step is May 17.”
Andy Harmer, director, Clia UK and Ireland, said: “We strongly welcome the announcement that cruise will be included alongside the restart of other domestic tourism in the UK. The industry has been working with the government over the last year on health protocols which put the safety of our passengers and crew first. Many of these protocols have already been tested successfully where cruise has been able to operate elsewhere in Europe.
“The industry has long planned a phased restart for cruise, with domestic cruises representing the first stage of this plan. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Government, including through the Global Travel Taskforce in order to ensure the safe restart of international cruise in time for the summer season.”
The second LNG-powered Excel class ship is set to arrive in December 2022 and is designed to appeal to all ages
P&O Cruises’ new Excel class ship Arvia will feature Altitude Skywalk high-ropes, minigolf, a swim-up bar and new restaurant Green & Co featuring Mizuhana.
Arriving in December 2022, the ship is designed to appeal to all ages, P&O Cruises said as it unveiled new renderings.
Guests will be able to choose from two different adventurous Altitude Skywalk high-ropes courses while suspended 54m above the ocean. Altitude Minigolf, comprising nine minigolf challenges and another P&O Cruises first, will be located below.
A swim-up bar and infinity pool with views of the ship’s wake will also be part of the on-deck experience.
SkyDome is a pool by day with dining and entertainment by night, including aerial performances, theatre productions and blockbuster movies al fresco on SeaScreen.
As well as entertainment, Arvia will feature 12 restaurants plus a further eight more casual places to eat.
Green & Co featuring Mizuhana with a “plant and fish-led” menu has been especially developed for Arvia. Mizuhana sushi bar will be within Green & Co.
Also on board is 6th Street Diner, informal by day, but with a sophisticated night-time vibe, featuring retro seating, atmospheric lighting and jukebox and serving all-American flavours including speciality fried chicken and waffles with bourbon mascarpone.
P&O Cruises’ signature restaurants Epicurean, Sindhu, The Glass House, The Keel & Cow and The Olive Grove, already across the fleet, will feature on Arvia.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Arvia is the latest evolution in the P&O Cruises experience, embodying the newest trends in travel, dining and entertainment, and will be the epitome of a sunshine resort sailing year-round to the warmest climates.
“New restaurant Green & Co featuring Mizuhana will have a plant-led menu, reflecting the latest trends in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian dining, while Altitude Skywalk and SeaScreen will entertain all ages.
“Arvia’s extraordinary features maximise views of the ocean, seashore and destinations from everywhere on board, while guests enjoy the next generation of onboard entertainment.”
The 185,000-tonne ship, which is 345m in length and boasts 16 guest decks, will also be home to Ocean Studios cinema, 1,300 square metres of shopping and the Oasis Spa and Health Club.
The Oasis Spa boasts new treatments exclusive to Arvia – two couples’ suites, each with a hammam and steam room, a therapeutic cool room, a restorative salt sauna and an invigorating Kneipp Walk, which combines a pebble foot massage with hot and cold water treatments to stimulate circulation and boost vitality.
Similar to its sister ship Iona, Arvia will be powered by liquefied natural gas as part of P&O Cruises’ ongoing commitment to sustainable travel. Building of the ship is already underway at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.
From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates
A-Rosa River Cruises has suspended all Rhine and Danube sailings suspended up to March 28. Sailings in France and on the Douro in Portugal are suspended until further notice.
AmaWaterways has suspended sailings until April 30.
They are automatically issuing a future cruise credit equal to 115 per cent of the value of the funds received for all purchased services through AmaWaterways, redeemable on any AmaWaterways river cruise in Europe, Asia, or Africa (including Egypt) up to December 31, 2023. These FCCs are transferrable at any time prior to December 31, 2023 with the original owner’s written authorisation.
APT Touring has suspended all tours and cruises until April 30.
Avalon Waterways has suspended cruises until April 30.
All 2021 and 2022 bookings come with their Peace of Mind Travel Plan, which gives guests the ability to move their booking to another destination, brand or date until 2023.
Azamara has cancelled all sailings until June 30.
In January, Royal Caribbean Group announced it was selling the Azamara brand to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm.
Carnival Cruise Line has suspended cruises in North America until May 31.
Carnival Miracle cruises from San Diego and San Francisco are suspended until further notice.
Voyages aboard Carnival Liberty (September 17-October 18) and Carnival Sunshine (October 11-November 13) are cancelled to accommodate drydock work.
Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Valor and Carnival Victory/Radiance won’t return to service until November.
The launch date for Mardi Gras has been put back to May 29.
European itineraries for Carnival Legend have been cancelled until October 31.
All Australian cruises on Carnival Splendor and Carnival Spirit have been cancelled until June 28 and September 12, respectively.
Celebrity Cruises has cancelled all sailings until April 30, including the May 1 transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Apex.
All cruises in Asia, Australia and New Zealand are cancelled for the entire 2020-2021 cruise season, while South America sailings are also cancelled until April 7.
All May to October Europe and transatlantic cruises on Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Constellation are also suspended.
Celestyal Cruises has suspended all cruises until April 24.
CroisiEurope are due to resume ocean cruises in early March; river cruises in late March.
Crystal has cancelled all ocean, river and yacht sailings until the end of 2020. Sailings on Crystal Serenity and all river cruise itineraries are cancelled until May; Crystal Symphony until June; Crystal Esprit and Crystal Endeavor until August.
Crystal is providing all affected guests with credits equal to 125 per cent of the cruise fare paid on fully-paid reservations – along with a refund of port charges, taxes and fees paid, and any air and hotel packages booked through Crystal. For guests who have not fully paid, the credit will then be based on the deposited amount. Credits are valid on any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking through December 31, 2023.
For river sailings, guests can move their current 2020 reservation, including all payments made, to an equivalent sailing during the same time period in 2021, with price protection on the cruise fare and port charges – representing a significant value for them. If a guest chooses not to rollover their cruise to a 2021 river sailing, they may transfer their reservation to any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking up to December 31, 2023 at prevailing rates. All monies paid will be transferred to the new reservation.
Cunard has suspended operations until June 4 for Queen Elizabeth; May 28 for Queen Mary 2 and May 16 for Queen Victoria.
Disney Cruise Line has cancelled all sailings until the end of May.
Disney Magic sailings are suspended until August 10. Alaska sailings aboard Disney Wonder departing after May 31 are “under evaluation”.
The Scenic Group is offering booked guests a flexible future travel credit (FTC) valued at 110 per cent of monies deposited on any affected river and cruise booking and 100 per cent of monies deposited on any affected land tours. Guests will be offered a FTC that can be applied to any new or existing booking across the portfolio of brands through to June 30, 2023. The FTC is fully transferrable to another guest. Should a guest be unable to travel by June 30, 2023, they will be given a refund.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has suspended cruises on Balmoral, Bolette and Borealis until July 1; Braemar until spring 2022.
The line has cancelled its entire 2021 river cruise season aboard Brabant in order to focus on its oceangoing operations.
G Adventures has suspended all cruises until April 30, 2021, including the 2020-2021 Antarctic season aboard Expedition.
Holland America Line has cancelled all cruises until June 30.
This will impact cruises departing in May and June on Nieuw Statendam, Volendam and Westerdam, along with the Collectors’ Voyages associated with those cancelled cruises.
Guests currently booked on the cancelled Europe departures will be able to rebook on an equivalent cruise in 2022 at the 2021 fare – with all cash and future cruise credit (FCC) funds moved to the new booking.
If guests decide not to accept a cruise booking in 2022 by April 15, 2021, they automatically default to receive a FCC of 110 per cent of any cash paid on the booking. Guests will retain any other FCC used for the cancelled 2021 booking with all FCC amounts moved to their loyalty account for use on a future cruise booking. FCC is valid for sailings departing until December 31, 2022. For all bookings in 2022, standard cancellation policies apply. A 100 per cent refund is also available.
Hurtigruten expanded its Norwegian coastal sailings to five vessels in January to serve local and freight traffic for residents of Norway.
Expedition voyages are cancelled until May, while voyages aboard MS Roald Amundsen are cancelled until July.
Marella Cruises has cancelled all European sailings until May 16.
MSC Cruises has suspended cruise operations until May 31 for its Caribbean voyages from North America aboard MSC Divina, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Armonia and MSC Orchestra in South Africa until November.
The line restarted limited Mediterranean cruises aboard MSC Grandiosa on January 24. Sailings in Greece aboard MSC Magnifica are now paused until April 29.
Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended operations until the end of May 2021, with a planned restart date of June 1.
Oceania Cruises has cancelled all cruises until May 31.
P&O Cruises has cancelled all international cruises until September. It is scheduled to restart domestic UK cruises in April.
Paul Gauguin Cruises has suspended sailings until June 5.
Ponant has suspended all cruises up to April 2021.
Princess Cruises has cancelled cruise holidays sailing the Caribbean, California Coast, Mexico and Mediterranean until June 30.
The affects the following voyages: Caribbean Princess (seven-night Western and Eastern Caribbean cruises); Enchanted Princess (seven-night Mediterranean & Adriatic, seven-night Western Mediterranean, and 14-night Western Mediterranean & Adriatic Medley); Ruby Princess (seven-night Classic California Coast, seven-night Mexican Riviera, and five-night Cabo San Lucas Getaway sailings).
For guests booked on a cancelled voyage, Princess will offer to move guests to the equivalent cruise in 2022. The rebooking process will have the added benefit of protecting the guests’ 2021 fare on their 2022 voyage. Alternatively, guests can choose a future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 per cent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10 per cent of the cruise fare paid (minimum £25 or a full refund to the original form of payment).
For guests currently booked on a cancelled voyage where there is no matched cruise available in 2022, guests will automatically receive a refundable future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 per cent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10 per cent of the cruise fare paid (minimum £25). Alternatively, guests can request a full refund to the original form of payment.
FCCs can be used on any cruises booked by and sailing by December 31, 2022.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has suspended its global cruise operations until May 31.
Riviera Travel has cancelled all cruises until May 17.
Royal Caribbean International has cancelled all sailings until April 30, excluding sailings from Singapore on Quantum of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas from China.
Saga has cancelled all cruises on Spirit of Discovery until June 27 and the new Spirit of Adventure until July 26.
Seabourn has paused global operations, with Seabourn Encore cancelled until May 28; Seabourn Quest until November 6 for voyages longer than seven days and calling at a US port; Seabourn Sojourn until May 24, including the 2021 World Cruise; Seabourn Odyssey until November 5, apart from seven-day Alaska/British Columbia and Pacific Coast sailings; all 2021 Alaska sailings on Seabourn Ovation are cancelled.
In addition, the line has announced a further delay to its new purpose-built expedition vessel, Seabourn Venture, until December.
Silversea has suspended sailings until the following dates: Silver Cloud (May 5); Silver Wind (November 20); Silver Shadow (May 15); Silver Spirit (May 5); Silver Muse (May 20); Silver Whisper (June 20); Silver Explorer (May 28); Silver Moon (May 4); Silver Dawn (November 9); Silver Origin (May 1).
Titan has suspended all tour and cruise departures until April 30.
Uniworld has suspended all river cruises until April 2021.
Viking has suspended all ocean and river cruises until May 31, 2021.
For passengers booked on one of the canceled sailings, Viking is offering future cruise credit of 125 per cent of the fare paid, or a refund equal to the amount paid. Passengers have 24 months to use their FCC. If passengers opting for FCC are then unable to use their voucher, Viking will automatically send a refund equal to the original amount paid.
Virgin Voyages has postponed the inaugural season of its first ship Scarlet Lady until June 30 and for its second ship, Valiant Lady, until November 14.
Those booked on a cruise that has been cancelled can opt for 200 per cent in future cruise credit (FCC) which can be applied to another sailing, up to $500 in onboard credit, or 100 per cent refund, plus 25 per cent FCC on the value paid to use for a future booking. Bookings made prior to December 10, 2021 for sailings in 2021 and 2022 will be eligible for cancellation up to 48 hours in advance, with a full credit given.
Windstar has suspended all cruise operations. Wind Spirit will resume sailing on June 10; Star Breeze (June 19); Wind Star (June 19); Wind Surf (June 29); Star Legend (July 4); Star Pride (July 14).
Guests on cancelled cruises receive the choice of a future cruise credit valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Windstar Cruises or a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking. Guests have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their future cruise credit. In addition, Windstar has launched a new Travel Assurance Booking Policy, which is applicable to new and existing cruises departing until December 31, 2021. Travellers who cancel a cruise booking up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit to be used on another Windstar departure within one year of the issue date of the credit. The offer is for cruise fares only.
Standfirst here, with author’s name in bold
Each issue, cruise expert Jane Archer shares her tips on selling a specific area of cruise. This time, she looks at river cruise
A river cruise is a river cruise is a river cruise, right? Wrong. Every river cruise is different, even those on the same waterway, because all companies have their own take. Let’s take the Rhine. One cruise might have a history theme, another might focus on gentle sightseeing, another still could go for activities galore. That mix of attractions goes for all rivers. Be it wine, wellness, war, music, flowers, wildlife, there is a river cruise to suit everyone – even families. Agents who take time to successfully match first-time clients with the right river are onto a winner – especially as history shows that having enjoyed one river cruise, customers will check out other waterways in Europe and then graduate to waterways around world. This week we look at three different ways agents can sell the Rhône in France, the Danube, which flows from Germany all the way to the Black Sea, and the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Who? Avalon Waterways
When? August 24, 2021
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £2,438pp
With hikes through vineyards and nature reserves, biking in the Camargue and kayaking in the Ardèche on the menu, Avalon’s ‘Active’ Rhône cruises promise to please even the itchiest feet. The cruise, from Lyon to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, is on the 128-passenger Avalon Poetry II. The price, valid until April 26, includes excursions, tips and drinks with lunch and dinner.
Who? A-Rosa Cruises
When? August 28, 2021
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £1,427pp
A-Rosa not only offers free cruises for children aged 15 and under, but on its Rhône ship, the 174-passenger A-Rosa Stella, a family of four will be allocated a second cabin at no charge. Talk about fab for the family finances. The cruise is fun for all ages, with villages to explore, cycling tours, kayaking and trips into the wild Camargue. Price includes drinks and wi-fi.
Don’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to selling rivers; instead ensure the sales process is nuanced to suit your client’s interests
With its something-for-everyone appeal, the Danube is a gift for agents. Great cities, wonderful scenery, fun activities, history, culture, music, dance, wine, art, architecture, wildlife. You name it, the Danube has it and river cruise lines offer it. Clients can cruise the upper reaches of the river from Germany to Hungary, or sail on through Eastern Europe, visiting Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania as they journey all the way to the Black Sea.
When? June 15, 2021
How long? 12 days
How much? From £5,760pp
This is a lesson in how to do special-interest cruises, with music-themed tours and private concerts most days, and even a chance to sit in on an orchestra rehearsal and attend the opera in Vienna. The holiday combines seven nights on the 130-passenger Joy with hotel stays in Budapest and Prague. Price includes transfers, all tours and concerts, drinks, tips and wi-fi.
Who? Amadeus River Cruises
Where? Lower Danube
When? September 22, 2021
How long? 10 days
How much? From £1,996pp including flights
Binoculars at the ready because Amadeus is off to the Danube Delta, dubbed the Amazon of Europe by the WWF on account of all the wildlife that lives there. The safari into the Delta comes on day eight of the cruise from Vienna to Bucharest on the 164-passenger Amadeus Star, with calls in Bratislava, Belgrade and Svistov. Price includes drinks with meals and wi-fi.
Where? Upper Danube
When? November 13, 2021
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £2,689pp
Experts from Kent winery Chapel Down will be hosting wine tastings, vineyard tours and wine-paired dinners on this cruise from Budapest in Hungary to Vilshofen in Germany. On the 162-passenger AmaCerto, it also includes plenty of wine tastings ashore and ends with a mini Oktoberfest in Vilshofen. Price includes excursions, pre-dinner drinks, wi-fi and drinks with lunch and dinner.
Think beyond age. River cruise does appeal to the over 60s, but it’s a great holiday for 30 or 40-somethings, and even for families
Most Mekong river cruises are seven-night voyages between Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia (or vice versa) that include pre and post-cruise city stays, and deliver shed loads of history, culture and colour. Simply find out what your client likes and tailor the sales pitch accordingly. There are numerous lines to choose from, all offering something different. Consider this cruise also for Asia newbies nervous about going it alone.
Who? Uniworld River Cruises
When? December 8, 2021
How long? 15 days
How much? From £4,499pp including flights
Passengers visit the Cu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, meet a retired VC general and discover the horrors of the Khmer Rouge as Uniworld pairs city stays in Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap with a cruise between the two cities on the 68-passenger Mekong Jewel. The price, valid until March 31, includes tours, drinks, tips, wi-fi and one-way business-class flight.
Think of a river cruise as an escorted tour on water. Clients see a lot of places, as they would on a coach tour, but a floating hotel is a much easier way to travel
When? October 1, 2021
How long? 15 days
How much? From £4,440pp including flights
Menus created by leading Australian chef Luke Nguyen, an exclusive night out at Vietnam House, his restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, and cooking classes await on APT’s foodie-themed cruise-and-stay holidays on the Mekong. The stays are in Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, the cruise on the new 88-passenger Mekong Serenity. Price includes all tours, drinks, tips and wi-fi.
When? October 23, 2021
How long? Seven nights
How much? From £2,680pp
Pandaw’s cruises between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap turn the spotlight on the lives of the people living along the banks of the Mekong. This cruise, on the 52-passenger Tonle Pandaw, includes visits to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, walking tours around villages and trips to temples and traditional workshops. Price includes pre and post-cruise transfers, excursions and tips.