Keen to cruise


Cruise ships lined up during COVID  

When can Australians plan to cruise internationally again? 

This week, the Australian government announced that cruise ships would not be allowed in Australian waters until June 17. This is an extension of the original ban and will mean cruise ships have been banned from Australian waters for 15 months. There is no guarantee this won’t be extended further. On the bright side the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, did add that the restrictions “can be amended or repealed if no longer needed”.

Meanwhile many of the cruise companies are putting out itineraries for the future. If you s like to plan a year or two ahead talk to your travel agent. Terms and conditions have changed since pre-COVID .

Travel and cruising will be more complicated  here are some points to consider:

  1. Stay local for your first cruise – make the most of the travel bubble. If you do need to get home it will be quicker and easier than if you are on the other side of the world.
  2. Consider the type of ship. Plenty of deck space, high passenger to space ratio and fewer passengers could be more appealing than ever before.
  3. Consider your cabin – balconies will be in greater demand than they once were.
  4. Book late. Cruise companies are likely to offer plenty of great deals as the borders open and cruising starts again. Same with air fares.  
  5. Check your travel insurance. You may need to go over this with your travel agent as the terms are being modified all the time – pandemics have changed it all. 
  6. Know what the cancellation terms are.
  7. Make the most of your travel agent’s knowledge and experience – we have been keeping ourselves up to date during lockdown!    Phone  9968 1600 or email us

Business as usual? Our future plans

July 2020

A letter to our friends and customers…

You may be wondering what the future holds for travel.  Australians are not completely free to travel, neither internationally nor domestically. Many express their lack of confidence in travel and the timeline for relaxing travel restrictions is unknown.

Recent events with second-wave infections in Victoria have shown recovery can be ephemeral.We would like you to know that it will be Business As Usual for Travel Choice/Mosman Cruise Centre for the foreseeable future.Biba, Carol and I are committed to providing you with continuing service despite the present difficulties.

Travel at crossroads

But currently our business is at a crossroads.We have had no income for the past 4-5 months and there is none in sight for the coming 12 months. Our full order book for 2020 has now been emptied as bookings are moved to 2021 and even later! In this situation we must cut every possible cost to keep our business alive.

This means meeting unavoidable costs as we preserve our AFTA membership and ATAS accreditation and IATA registration. Also connectivity to international and domestic booking channels and maintaining our booking record system and insurances is crucial. As is our internet and phone and website.

Closing shop, but not business

However we may have to let go our premises because rent is an expense we can eliminate. That saving is a key part of our being able to continue while we have no income. We are looking at moving out in early August.

This is an early warning to lessen the shock and to ensure you know the business has not closed even if the shop is unoccupied.

We will let you know with another email when we have made our final decision.

If you have paid a deposit or have a fully paid booking with us you can rest assured that your credits are held with the travel operator(s) concerned.
We are not holding your funds, we keep complete records of your bookings including all payments and credits on file.

Y our comments and suggestions at this unusual time are welcome so please contact us. We will always be glad to hear from you and we look forward to assisting you again soon with your future travel plans.

Thank you

Martin, Biba, Carol
9968 1600
0418 484 60

Stranded ships, stranded people – the humanitarian solution

3 cruise ships in a row in the Bahamas

The coronavirus has taken over our lives alarmingly rapidly. It has taken over our media and facts and myths are being given equal weight. 

Around 9,000 hapless passengers are stranded in about a dozen cruise ships around the world. At time of writing 19 cruise ships are ‘stranded’ off the Australian coast. Some ships were on round the world voyages and had been at sea long before coronavirus struck. Health policies and border restrictions are changing daily and meanwhile these passengers and the thousands of crew who serve them are being demonised. Ships are still being denied entry to ports around the world and cruise companies are working round the clock to find a solution. Two of the ships that are carrying Australians among their passengers are Holland America vessels the Rotterdam and the Zaandam – both vessels tried to disembark passengers and crew and were being excluded from ports around the Americas for weeks until today (April 3) when they have been allowed to disembark in Florida.

A statement from the President of Carnival says “[Ruby Princess] followed to the letter all of the formal health clearance processes that were active at the time – meaning that all travellers arriving from an overseas port were treated in exactly the same way whether they arrived by air or sea”.  (Cruise Weekly April 2)

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia is calling for repatriation of crew – and this appears to have been heard.

These travellers could have been any one of us who love to travel and to cruise – these are the unlucky ones, caught up in an unprecedented disaster. It is easy to pass a problem on to others, to deny responsibility, to blame someone else. There’s been a lot of buck passing between the Federal government and the Department of Home Affairs – notably some unhelpful comments on air by Peter Dutton – the state governments, the health authorities and border security. It is to be hoped that it is not much longer before the situation is resolved humanely.

Cruising contributes around $5billion to the national economy each year and 20,000+ people work in the industry. Will Australia turn away the ships when this over? 

Corona Virus: what you need to know

Mouth Guard with city street in background

The media is full of news, information and misinformation about this virus which is currently at the forefront of most people’s thoughts.
For the latest on what the smart traveller website is advising click on this link.  This will lead to you to travel updates and travel advice on destinations and also to the Cruise Line Information Association health policy which all CLIA ocean member cruise lines are required to follow. 
To find out about the virus you can check the Australian Department of Health’s Corona Virus (COVID-19) Factsheet
There is a health information hotline you can call and a health direct hotline. 
Health Direct will also provide you with important information. 

Silversea’s ‘Silver Muse’

Nudged against the wharf in Sydney’s White Bay, ‘Silver Muse’ looks quite at home as she readies herself for her next cruise, departing 17 Jan at 6pm.
Launched in 2017, ‘Silver Muse’ carries 596 passengers and has 400 crew – with service an absolute priority – butler service is included in every category.
Perfect for the 40+ wanting sophistication and luxury and interested in exploring the world – Silversea visits over 1000 ports – more than double of other cruise lines. An added bonus is that with these passenger numbers, disembarking for excursions in smooth and quick – as is re-embarking. 
As from January 2019 all meals in all venues are included (reservations will be necessary for the smaller venues) and the wine list includes Australian wines. 

Check the Cruise Finder for upcoming cruise on this ship – and then contact us if you would like to know about availability on a specific cruise – or other info. 

When you need a visa

This is something which is constantly changing. If you arrive at an airport or destination point and you don’t have the necessary visa it can mean no holiday so it is very important to get it right.

On the plus side more and more countries are relaxing visa regulations or allow tourists to apply for e-visas or waivers, even extending the length of time tourists can stay. The e-visa scenario has however opened up a new venue for scammers and the unwary traveller can find themselves paying much more than they need to when their online search turns up an unofficial e-visa website. So if you decide to take this path be wary. You can check on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smartraveller website to find the link. When you book your travel with us we can do this for you.

True North: Luxury adventure cruising

True North docked in Sydney

Today we took a ship’s tour of ‘True North’ while it was docked near Sydney’s  Gladesville Bridge. ‘True North’ is a unique ship. Designed to access shallow coastal waters and registered in Australia, it carries just 36 guests, and six adventure boats, it explores parts of northern Australia and the waters of Indonesia and around Papua New Guinea where other ships cannot go. It really is a one-off.

We were impressed with the cabins, the public rooms – and the food – but above all the staff, who were enthusiastic and dedicated, clearly loving their work and enjoying the passengers.

Itineraries include adventure cruises along the Australian coast, Kimberley Wilderness Cruises, adventure cruises in Indonesia leaving from Darwin, adventure cruises departing Cairns and in the future a cruise that will take in the Solomon Islands. Activities are planned for every day – there is no sea time, and activities include scenic walks, helicopter flights (the ‘True North’ has it’s own helicopter), snorkelling, diving, exploring nature, fishing and more.

All this is not done on a budget and the cost of joining a ‘True North’ cruise is at the top end. If you would like to know more contact us by email or call 2 9968 16

Antarctica: which cruise is right for you?

Every year more ships carrying more passengers make their way to Antarctica. Visitors will be up around the 59,000 mark in 2019/20, a long way from 1966 when just 57 tourists made the first trip.

Ships are now being designed just for the purpose of travelling to the land of the South Pole and they too have come a long way from the early Russian research vessels which were not known as luxurious – or for their ability to stabilise in rough seas.

For a rundown of the ships visiting Antarctica in the next season there is a really comprehensive article published in the Fairfax press last weekend and written by David McGonigal, author of several books on Antarctica, and veteran of over 100 voyages to the region.

One of the strangest looking vessels with some of the most innovative features is Aurora Expeditions Greg Mortimer, the video below will show you just how and why.

Cruising with a conscience


Hurtigruten Polarys at sea
The Norwegian line, Hurtigruten, which is both a cruise ship company and local ferries, has announced that it has successfully tested its biofuel. The ship Polarlys has been testing the fuel for some weeks and Hurtigruten’s aim is to lead the way in making sustainable choices.

Couple on board ship in Norwegian FjordsIn 2015 we cruised on Hurtigruten from Bergen to Kirkennes in Norway and back to Bergen. As a way to see the coast of Norway it is probably one of the best. The ships dive in and out of the fjords carrying cargo and passengers to local communities. Meanwhile those who are simply travelling, have the opportunity to explore local communities, food and customs and to visit places they would otherwise not be able to see. One of the highlights of our trip was the dog sledding, another the midnight concert in a Arctic cathedral in Tromso.

Silversea is another cruise line with a conscience. They have recently launched a fund to support conservation in the Galapagos Islands. The fund will build on the cruise line’s current strategy of aiming for a positive impact on the natural and economic environment of the Galapagos, including its contribution to the Floreana Island Ecolological Restoration Project. Silversea will launch a new ship Silver Origin in 2020 built with a ‘dynamic position system’ which enable it to position over delicate seabed ecosystems to prevent the anchor damaging precious coral and incorporate freshwater purification systems to convert seawater into drinking water. They will also drastically reduce the use of plastic on board.

It is to be hoped more cruise lines will see that the way of the future is keeping our environment sustainable.

New ships, new sailings 2019/20

Silver at Sea

Silver Dawn is the 10th vessel of the luxury Silversea Cruise line. It will be launched in 2021 and the inaugural itineraries have just been announced.
The  596-guest vessel will depart Civitavecchia (Rome) on 22 September 2021, spending her inaugural season in the Mediterranean, before crossing to Fort Lauderdale.

Silver Dawn’s inaugural season will include the following itineraries:

  • Civitavecchia (Rome) to Venice—22 September–1 October 2021
  • Venice – Piraeus (Athens)—1 October–13 October 2021
  • Piraeus (Athens) to Barcelona— 13 October–23 October 2021
  • Barcelona to Lisbon—23 October–2 November 2021; and
  • Lisbon to Fort Lauderdale—2 November–15 November 2021.

New Princesses

Princess have taken delivery of Sky Princess, the fourth Royal-class ship for Princess Cruises.
This is the 17th ship Fincantieri has built for Princess at Monfalcone.
Sky Princess is the first vessel with Sky Suites, named because of their   enormous balconies.
4,610 passengers will be accommodated in 1,830 cabins with 1,411 crew. 
New Princesses to come are Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess, to be delivered in 2020 and 2021, respectively.