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Friday, 5 December 2008

Cruise Passenger December News

Cruise Passenger News: December

The Australian cruise season is in full swing and many great ships will be seen at our limited berths. It's clear that we need more docking facilities at our major ports; Sydney especially is lacking and can only just handle the number of ships berthing in the cruise season. Many ships would like to spend at least two days in port (which would result in a lot more dollars being spent locally), but cannot due to inadequate port facilities. Highlighting the enormous unrealised potential, a recent report states that the cruising sector directly injected $150.7 million into NSW in the 2007/08 financial year, a 59 per cent increase on the previous year.

The big news is that most cruise lines have or will soon cut their fuel surcharges. Many are guaranteeing their brochure prices in Australian dollars. Prices are very low on cruises from the US in their local waters, although Australian pricing is fairly constant due to the continuing demand. If you are planning a cruise, don't delay booking, as supply is limited and is still great value.

See you on a cruise soon,

John Pond

News Editor, Cruise Passenger magazine

Queen Mary 2

Two Queens in Australia

Cunard has announced that the spectacular Queen Mary 2 and her younger sister, Queen Victoria, will visit Australia in 2010. Both ocean liners will call at Fremantle and Adelaide for the first time, while QM 2 will make her inaugural visit to the Whitsundays. Queen Victoria will pay her maiden calls to Albany and Exmouth in Western Australia. The two ships will also make overnight visits to Sydney, while Queen Victoria will make her second call to Melbourne.


Epicurean Adventurer

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is making Europe even more tantalising in 2009 with the launch of its Epicurean Adventurer Program, in which guests can indulge their passion for fine wines and gourmet foods. Guests will enjoy a host of culinary delights including private wine tastings, special wine and food pairings, cooking demonstrations and unique onshore excursions.

Princess Dawn

Renew vows on 'The Love Boat'

Princess Cruises' romance guru Gavin MacLeod, who starred as Captain Stubing in the hit TV series Love Boat, said thousands of people had either married or renewed their vows with Princess Cruises. The new 'Love Boat', Dawn Princess, will be based in Australia full time and you can renew your vows in special services held on board.


Celebrity Cruises axes Oz and NZ cruises

The line announced plans to discontinue its Australia and New Zealand Millennium cruises previously scheduled for late-2009 and 2010. Millennium stayed in Sydney for two days in November. Celebrity Cruises' US spokesperson said, "Currently, our travel agent partners and guests have repeatedly said they want more options to sail with Celebrity from the US Eastern seaboard, where our brand was founded." Could the real reason be fuel and Australian infrastructure problems including the lack of port facilities?

Popular Apple Isle

Tasmania is about to score its best cruise ship season ever, with more than 50 visits scheduled from early November until early April. The boom season will pump more than $12 million into the state's economy and is proof of Tasmania's growing image as a prime destination for international travellers. Australia's biggest cruise operator, Carnival Australia, said seven of its ships will make 24 calls to four Tasmanian ports over the next six months.

Fuel surcharges dropped

Fuel surcharges dropped

Carnival Corporation has announced that they plan to scrap fuel surcharges on six of the company's brands on 2010 sailings. This will affect international markets on Carnival, Cunard, Costa, Holland America, Yachts of Seabourn and Princess. Currently, Carnival Australia does not impose fuel surcharges on local fares. APT and Scenic will not be applying currency surcharges on any tours deposited by 31 Jan 09 (excludes air and third party). MSC Cruises' Lynn Clarke says the company will honour all brochure prices and there will be no fuel surcharge. Crystal Cruises has reduced most of its deposits and has new improved cancellation policies to boost customer confidence.

SeaDream named world's best

SeaDream Yacht Club's mega motor-cruisers SeaDream I and SeaDream II have been named World's Best 5-star ships in the latest edition of Berlitz Guide to Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships. "The two SeaDream ships really are the ultimate exclusive boutique vessels for sophisticated, independent and well-travelled couples, like having your own private yacht in which hospitality, anticipation and personal recognition are an art form practiced to a high level," said Berlitz author, Douglas Ward. Each SeaDream carries just 55 couples who are served by 95 crew.

Diamond Princess

Princess Cruises' Ship Tour

Princess Cruises is launching its 'Ultimate Ship Tour'. This will give passengers an opportunity to explore the ship's engine control room, medical centre, print shop, laundry, photo lab, bridge and other non-public spaces for an insider's view of areas usually off limits to passengers. The three-hour tour will be offered during some sea days. After its trial on board Ruby Princess, the program, which costs US$150, will be introduced on board all Princess ships.

Sampler cruises

P&O Cruises is introducing themed sampler cruises which offer relaxing gourmet voyages complete with wine tasting, coffee appreciation and cooking classes with signature chefs. Departing from Sydney and Brisbane, they will sail for two nights and three nights in 2009 and 2010, on Pacific Dawn. Princess Cruises is also running occasional sampler cruises on Sun Princess and Dawn Princess. Catering especially to first-time cruisers, they will also appeal to time-poor cruising enthusiasts and special interest groups. Cabins are selling fast; contact your cruise agent for details.


How much for an old Queen?

QE2 was sold for £50 million but the buyer, real-estate developers Nakheel, will spend far more than that before re-opening the liner as a hotel in 2010. QE2 will become the centrepiece of Palm Jumeirah, the palm-shaped fronds of reclaimed land and beach on the Dubai waterfront. Built by the John Brown shipyard in Glasgow, QE2 has clocked up more than 5.6 million nautical miles since her launch in the upper reaches of the Clyde. Sister Cunard liner Queen Mary became a floating hotel at Long Beach, California when she went out of service in 1967.


Farewell, Delta Queen

The last wooden passenger ship cruising the Mississippi has retired to New Orleans. Built in 1924, she has had a long and colourful history. She was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and declared a national historic landmark in 1989.

New cruise terminal for HK

A new cruise terminal is due to open in Hong Kong in 2013 at Kai Tak, site of the old airport.

Deployment in Dubai

Royal Caribbean International has announced its entry into Dubai with the deployment of Brilliance of the Seas in 2010.

Carnival may manage Brisbane terminal

Carnival Australia is in talks with the Queensland government about the possibility of managing a new cruise terminal in Brisbane.

Cairns gets $11m facelift

The Queensland government has announced an $11.2 million facelift for the Cairns cruise ship terminal, which will double the numbers of visiting ships.

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