Cruise Ships

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? 

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. 

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.
.

How cruising has changed – but travel agents still feature

“Most group travel, most cruises, many complicated itineraries and even the majority of lodging reservations still are booked through travel agencies” according to Douglas Quinby of PhoCusWright, a travel industry research company who is quoted in a recent SMH Traveller story on The Decade in Travel. However cruising has changed hugely in the last ten years. I often write about a new ship that has just been, or is about to be, launched.
Ten years ago cruising was not a choice many travellers considered. In the 1970s the industry began to recover from the decline caused by the increased availability of air travel when Cunard introduced one-class travel across the Atlantic and provided entertainment that made the 4-day trip an experience in itself. In the 1980s bigger ships with more facilities were built but as cruising moved into the 1990s ships were built to cater to different markets. Today we have cruise ships that are built to cater for families or for discerning couples, we have ships that are built for expeditions and ships, like Oasis of the Seas, that are floating cities with parks and wave pools and much more. If we in the industry are flat out keeping up to date with what the cruise companies are offering, it is no wonder the traveller who wants to cruise chooses to go with a cruise travel agent.