Jane Archer looks at some unusual itineraries on offer for cruisers in 2014
There comes a moment in every cruiser’s life when they wake up and realise another week sailing the Greek islands is just not cutting the mustard.
That’s when agents must be ready to leap in armed with suggestions that will capture the imaginations of their cruising clients – maybe a Mediterranean fly-cruise for folk who usually sail from the UK or one of Azamara Club Cruises’ destination-rich itineraries for affluent customers.
Come up with something really unusual and you could start wooing non-cruise clients to a life on the ocean wave. Polar bear spotting in the Arctic maybe, or bird-watching in Iceland?
It takes time and research to find alternative itineraries, but leading customers away from the tried and tested invariably means persuading them to part with more cash, which in turn means more money in the bank for you.
That alone makes it worthwhile to spend time checking out the latest batch of brochures to see what’s new and inspiring.
There’s plenty lined up for 2014 – some offering something different in familiar places, others taking passengers to exotic destinations. Here are some of our newbie favourites.
AFRICA AND THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is cutting short its Mediterranean cruise season and instead taking its ships to South Africa and the South Pacific. New sailings include an 18-night voyage from Los Angeles to Papeete on Seven Seas Mariner on November 19, from £5,969 per person, and a 30-night Indian Ocean Odyssey from Dubai to Cape Town on Seven Seas Voyager on November 21, from £9,999. Prices include all flights, transfers, shore excursions, drinks and gratuities.
Crystal Cruises is going off the beaten track on a 21-day cruise from Cape Town to Southampton on Crystal Serenity on March 28 that includes visits to Luanda in Angola, the tiny island republic of São Tomé and Principe, Takoradi in Ghana and Dakar in Senegal. From £7,229 cruise-only including drinks and gratuities.
P&O Cruises is launching its first summer fly-cruises in the Mediterranean to tempt folk who don’t want to spend several days crossing the Bay of Biscay before reaching the sun. Ventura will sail seven-night cruises between Venice and Savona or 14-night voyages round-trip from Venice (pictured below) or Savona between April and October. From £499 cruise-only for a week on April 16.
Voyages of Discovery has a 15-day Black Sea cruise that ticks off the Ukraine favourites of Sevastopol, Yalta and Odessa, but also visits Novorossiysk and Sochi in Russia and Sinop in Turkey. The cruise, from Piraeus in Greece to Istanbul in Turkey on October 8, costs from £2,289 including flights, transfers and gratuities.
MSC Cruises is expanding its no-fly cruise programme with four new seven-night cruises from Southampton on MSC Magnifica that visit Zeebrugge in Belgium, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Le Havre. Departures are on September 17 and 24, and October 1 and 8. Prices were not confirmed as Travel Weekly went to press.
River cruise giant CroisiEurope has a new 10-day holiday combining cruises on the Rhine (Amsterdam to Strasbourg) and Rhône (Chalon-sur-Saône to Arles) on April 22, May 17, June 27 and September 28. From €1,303 (£1,115) cruise-only including a coach transfer and drinks.
Get into gear on Fred Olsen’s Black Watch, which is in Monaco for the Grand Prix and Cannes for the film festival on a 16-night Film Stars and Fast Cars-themed cruise from Southampton to France and Spain on May 17. You’ll also visit mini Hollywood, aka Almeria, home of the Spaghetti Western.
Hurtigruten will be circumnavigating Iceland for the first time in 2014, sailing 10 nights round-trip from Reykjavik on explorer ship Fram and visiting fjords, glaciers, settlements and islands teeming with sea birds including puffins, guillemots and arctic terns. The cruise departs on May 25 and prices start from £3,834 cruise-only.
Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the Seas is visiting St Petersburg for three days, and calling at Tallinn in Estonia, Riga in Latvia, Klaipeda in Lithuania and Frederica in Denmark (a maiden call) during a one-off 14-night repositioning cruise from Stockholm to Hamburg on July 27 2014. From £1,425 cruise-only.
Cunard’s Queen Victoria will be staying in Liverpool overnight on a round-Britain cruise from Southampton on May 23 that’s timed to coincide with 100 years since the maiden voyage of Aquitania from the city on May 30, 1914. From £1,399 cruise only including free car parking, coach transfers or $120 on-board credit.
Thomson Spirit will be boldly going where no Thomson Cruises ship has gone before next year on a 15-night Arctic Affair cruise that visits Ny Ålesund and Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen. The cruise, from Newcastle, departs July 12 and also visits ports in the Norwegian fjords. From £1,380 cruise-only.
Azamara Club Cruises is offering a 12-night Sea of Cortez voyage on Azamara Quest on January 29, 2014, sailing round-trip from Los Angeles in California and visiting Mazatlan, La Paz, Topolobampo, Guaymas, Loreto and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Prices from £2,491 cruise-only including selected drinks and gratuities.
Swan Hellenic has a 23-day Brazil-fest next February, sailing from Buenos Aires to Manaus, the city on the Amazon, and visiting six Brazilian ports along the way including an overnight in Rio de Janeiro. From £4,525 including flights, transfers, shore excursions and gratuities.
Avalon Waterways is launching a 12-day holiday combining three nights cruising the Amazon on the 32-passenger Aria with two nights in Lima and Cusco, and a night each at Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Departures from February 15 to December 6, 2014, with prices from £5,635 including flights, transfers, excursions and most meals.
Hapag-Lloyd has an 18-day bilingual (German/English) cruise round-trip from Nome in Alaska on expedition ship Hanseatic on July 19 that visits the Chukchi Peninsula in Russia and stays four days at little-known Wrangel Island, a nature reserve and Unesco World Heritage Site that’s home to polar bears, seals and plenty of drift ice. From £7,340 cruise-only.
Princess Cruises is sailing the Caribbean in summer for the first time in four years. Caribbean Princess will be based in Fort Lauderdale and offer seven-day eastern and western Caribbean cruises which can be combined into a 14-night voyage. Prices from £682 cruise-only on May 31.
Norwegian Cruise Line is basing Norwegian Jewel in Houston, Texas, from October 2014 to sail one-week western Caribbean cruises that call at Cozumel, Belize City and Roatàn in Honduras. From £314 cruise-only on October 11.
All prices are per person.
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