Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will make a 12-night cruise to New Zealand from Sydney in March 2013

The Queen Mary 2 will visit Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, the Bay of Islands and Milford Sound, with fares from $3329.

The cruise will go on sale in Australia/New Zealand on 13 July 2011 – a day ahead of the global launch.

Cunard says the sailing has been sparked by strong bookings for the ship’s planned 2012 circumnavigation of Australia.

As well as the 12-night cruise, there’ll be a 19-night option including a Sydney to Fremantle sector.

Queen Mary 2 will be on a 106-night world voyage, which will go on sale at 10pm on 14 July this year, with pre-registration available from 4 July.

The same arrangement has been announced for Queen Victoria’s 2013 world voyage.

Discounts will be offered on bookings made by 31 December this year.

Please contact Cruise Offers on 1800 616 434 for further information or if you wish to pre-register. For all other cruise enquiries please visit www.cruiseoffers.com.au.

Royal Caribbean to base Voyager of the Seas in Sydney

Royal Caribbean Cruises has just announced that its “megaliner” Voyager of the Seas will be based in Asia and Australasia from 2012 – including a five month season based in Sydney from November 2012.

The 3840-passenger vessel will also cruise in China between June and October 2012, and will be the fifth Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited ship sailing in the region in 2012/13 – alongside Rhapsody of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Millennium.

“There are clear opportunities in the China and Australia markets, which are key areas for Royal Caribbean International’s global development,” said CEO Adam Goldstein at a press conference in Shanghai.

Royal Caribbean Australia MD Gavin Smith said the positioning of Voyager down under “demonstrates our company’s tremendous belief in the future of this region and we are extremely honoured to shape the future of cruising in Australia”.

Voyager of the Seas has 1556 staterooms and will introduce a host of innovations including its ‘Royal Promenade’ indoor main street, an ice rink, skating track, golf simulator and inside cabins with a view.

She will operate 12 New Zealand, South Pacific and Australian itineraries ranging from one to 18 nights, sailing from Sydney and Fremantle.

Royal Caribbean said the cruises were due to open for sale early next month.

Visit www.cruiseoffers.com.au for more information.

Cruise Offers Wins Cunard, Princess & P&O Awards

Cruise Offers and Travelrite International were very pleased to reach the top sales awards for Cunard and Princess (Diamond Agents) and high sales (Sapphire Agent) for P&O. The photo shows the Directors of Cruise offers and Travelrite, receiving their partnership plaques for 2011 with David Clarke and Sally-Anne from the Cunard, Princess and P&O brands. Thank you to clients who have booked with Travelrite or Cruise Offers making this possible.

Left to Right
David Clark, Sandra Walliss, Neville Walliss, Simon Walliss, Shawn Walliss, Nigel Walliss, Sally-Anne Matthews

Ship to capture Spirit of Australia

Carnival Cruise Lines will strip away the American essence of the Carnival Spirit and “Aussify” the vessel ahead of its Australian deployment next year. Recently appointed director of Carnival Cruise Lines, Jennifer Vandekreeke, who is overseeing the launch of the brand in Australia, revealed details of the ship’s new features at a media event in Sydney yesterday. The deployment of the Spirit in Australia will be the first time a Carnival ship has been based outside of the US year-round. Cruises went on sale on Monday 2 May 2011. Vandekreeke revealed that Australian dollars will be accepted on board while restaurants and bars will offer an Australian menu, as well as local beer and wine. Carnival also hopes to bring a cafe culture on board by working with well-known Sydney baristas to train staff. The design has also taken into account Australia’s penchant for “outdoor culture” with a giant water slide, the steepest to feature on a cruise liner, Vandekreeke said.
The Spirit’s first Australian season will start in October 2012,
with eight 12-day cruises to New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Zealand.

Contact Cruise Offers on 1800 616 434 for details.

Celebrity Millennium to cruise in Australia and Asia in 2012

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has just announced the 2012 deployment of Celebrity Millennium, which will operate a series of Asian itineraries, visiting Australia on her way to Singapore during the previously announced down under deployment of Celebrity Solstice.

The 2158-passenger Millennium, which has previously spent several seasons cruising in Australia, will offer repositioning cruises from Hawaii to Sydney and from Sydney to Singapore, with the vessel fresh from an “extensive refurbishment” scheduled for April 2012 which will see the addition of 107 new AquaClass staterooms.

The Hawaii-Sydney sector will coincide with the November 2012 solar eclipse, while the vessel’s newly announced Asian season includes eight 14-night cruises from Singapore and Hong Kong, with ports of call including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Halong Bay.

Millennium’s new 2012/13 Asia itineraries will open for sale on Saturday 09 April.

For all prices and itineraries visit www.cruiseoffers.com.au

Art Festival Cruise on the Sun Princess to New Zealand

Fifty two painters, led by artists Greg Allen, Amanda Hyatt and John Lovett have now returned to Australia after a wonderful two weeks aboard the “Sun Princess” as it cruised to New Zealand.

The tour commenced in Sydney and in the two day trans Tasman crossing the painters settled down to work under the expert tuition and guidance of their selected artist.

Each day at sea began with a painting demo in the Shooting Stars Nightclub which the group had reserved especially for them on their days at sea. After their respective workshops, individual painters were free to continue their painting or, as many did, explore the ship or participate in many of the activities on board.

Day three and the “Sun Princess” had arrived at the Bay of Islands in the north island of New Zealand This was our first land based painting day. A quick trip by ferry to Russell and the three workshops then commenced with each artist selecting a location along the beautiful seashore of this historic town. After lunch the group then enjoyed a brief visit to Waitangi Treaty House before rejoining the ship once again. After all this painting and sightseeing, everyone had worked up quite an appetite for dinner which was admirably attended to in the Regency or Marquis dining rooms.

For the next seven days, the painting group visited towns and cities along the eastern seaboard, including Auckland – a wonderful painting location was selected by the artists at Devonport across the harbour affording magnificent views of the City of Sails, as Auckland is known – Tauranga and a visit to Wai O Tapu thermal wonderland at Rotorua and the art deco town of Napier. The capital of New Zealand, Wellington, completed our last city on the north island before we crossed the strait, which separates the north and south islands.

Our first port of call in the south island was idyllic Christchurch, where the groups set up their painting easels alongside the beautiful Avon River and its historic bridges. In the afternoon a couple of the groups continued their painting in Cathedral Square, the scene of much devastation with the terrible earthquake only a short few days after our visit. Our last port of call in the south island was Dunedin with its Scottish heritage. The day culminated in a visit to historic Olverston House which was widely acclaimed by all

After all of the excitement of painting and visiting in such wonderful surroundings many of the group certainly would have liked more painting time on land. However, these thoughts soon disappeared as the ship sailed through Fiordland in the south west corner of New Zealand. This magnificent scenery was made all the more brilliant under a bright blue sky.

During the next couple of days the group settled once more into their final on board painting workshops, buoyed by the critiques of their paintings by the artists and the wonderful displays of their favourite works of art, for all to see.

A highlight of this time was the group painting by Greg, Amanda and John as they painted a large three sheet painting of the “Sun Princess” as it toured Milford Sound. One of our group kindly donated this to the ship and this was gratefully accepted by the Captain – we hope that this work of art will be on display for all future travellers on the “Sun Princess” to see.

This was first painting workshop / cruise conducted in this part of the world by The International Artist Magazine and Travelrite International and was judged by all as being a great success – a great way to combine their love of painting under the watchful eye of internationally acclaimed artists whilst enjoying the sightseeing of our wonderful neighbouring country.

The 2012 Art Festival Cruise to Queensland is now on sale visit the following link for details.

http://www.cruiseoffers.com.au/Default.aspx?tabid=39&SearchType=2&resultpage=1&DisplayCruiseLine=RC&ShipCode=RH&cruiseid=772760

P&O Cruises launch 2012-13 program including depatures from Melbourne

Departures from Melbourne and more short breaks are features of P&O Cruises massive new 2012-13 program.

On sale from March 31, the new program is P&O Cruises’ biggest ever and features a record 126 voyages between June 2012 and April 2013, with great value fares from $749* per person for a seven-night cruise from Brisbane and $1199* per person for a 10-night cruise from Sydney.

The program offers 24 cruises of less than a week, including more of the themed cruises that have proven such a hit with passengers, such as food and wine getaways and comedy cruises.

Highlights include a three-night Australia Day long weekend cruise from Sydney in January 2013 onboard Pacific Pearl, plus a new four-night Christmas shopping cruise from Sydney to Melbourne in early December on Pacific Sun, with fares on the shopping cruise priced from $649* per person.

The new program also features two new Australian ports of call, with Pacific Sun visiting Port Lincoln and pristine Kangaroo Island in South Australia on a coastal cruise. Fares start from $899 per person quad share for a nine-night cruise from Fremantle to Sydney departing on October 23, 2012.
Meanwhile, P&O Cruises has added Melbourne to its line-up of homeports, with the cruise line returning to the Victorian capital to offer seven summer cruises from late 2012, in addition to regular voyages from Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle and Auckland.

Jenny Lourey, Senior Vice President of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said the new program offered more cruise itineraries than ever before, with destinations ranging from Asia to Tasmania, as well as the Pacific islands.
“Not only do we offer great places to visit, our ships are a destination in themselves. No matter where you’re cruising, the fun begins the moment you step onboard a P&O Cruises’ ship,” Ms Lourey said.

“Whatever your age, our ships offer a great range of features to make your holiday memorable – from spectacular aerial circus acts and great kids’ clubs through to delicious meals at Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill Restaurant and relaxing treatments in the spa.”

The new program also offers travellers front-row seats for the total solar eclipse in November 2012, with Pacific Jewel and Pacific Dawn sailing to the Pacific islands and northern Queensland to ensure the ships offer the best vantage points for the eclipse. Fares start from $799 per person quad share for a seven-night cruise onboard Pacific Dawn departing November 10, 2012.

Meanwhile, Brisbane will see 36 cruise holidays on offer onboard Pacific Dawn and Pacific Sun, including 25 of the popular seven-night cruises to the Pacific Islands or exploring the Queensland coastline. Cruises start from $749 per person quad share for a seven-night Queensland cruise onboard Pacific Sun departing July 8, 2012.
Fremantle will welcome home Pacific Sun for a third season of cruising in 2012, offering a mix of short breaks, Western Australian cruises and longer voyages to Asia between August and October 2012.

Twelve-night cruises to Indonesia calling at Bali and Komodo Island are priced from $1099 per person quad share.

Pacific Pearl will return to Auckland for another season of cruising from New Zealand, sailing five cruises of between three and 15 nights between April and May 2013. Fares start from $1299 per person quad share for a 10-night cruise to the Pacific Islands departing May 8, 2013.

Australian travellers will also have the chance to celebrate the birth of cruise holidays, with two special voyages planned in August 2012 to mark 175 years since the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company signed its first contract to deliver mail by sea and 80 years since P&O Cruises’ first Australian cruise.

Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel will meet in Sydney Harbour on August 22 and set sail in tandem on special heritage cruises, featuring tailored entertainment including a 175th Anniversary Gala dinner, a heritage art display and fascinating guest speakers. Fares on the nine-night Pacific Jewel cruise start from $1199 per person quad share.

For more information, Cruiseoffers on 1800 616 434 or visit www.cruiseoffers.com.au

* Fares are quad share. Subject to availability, conditions apply