Cunard Line Celebrates 175th Anniversary Year in 2015 with Special Cruises

Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in Sydney, Australia.  In 2015, she will meet sister ship Queen Victoria Down Under in Sydney to celebrate the company’s 175 years of service.  Photo Courtesy of Cunard Cruises
Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in Sydney, Australia. In 2015, she will meet sister ship Queen Victoria Down Under
in Sydney to celebrate the company’s 175 years of service. Photo Courtesy of Cunard Cruises

In 2015, Cunard will commemorate the 175th year of the company’s founding, and the global voyages will celebrate this significant milestone in style. This festive time will include several Cunard Royal Rendezvous events during the World Voyage itineraries: Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth will depart Southampton together on 10 January; on 12 March, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will meet in Sydney; and on 3 May, all three Queens will return from their World Voyages to Southampton.

Cunard’s 2015 World Voyages and Exotic Cruises Programme will feature voyages from eight days to 127 days aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Plus, passengers will have the option to combine itineraries into and out of Sydney, Australia across two ocean liners to create customised World Voyage options with a land portion in between. Passengers have the opportunity to visit South Africa or the South Pacific, to circumnavigate Australia, and to discover Japan and Southeast Asia. Together, the ships will visit 82 unique destinations in 46 countries, from major cities to less visited locations.

The programme opens for pre-registration today and opens for sale on 5 September at 5:00am PT.

“Cunard continues its tradition of being the world voyage leader,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “We have completed more circumnavigations and taken more passengers on this incredible journey than any other cruise line. And no other ships are welcomed around the world as warmly as the Cunard fleet. Our ships’ arrivals into port attract well-wishers in the thousands – on the water and ashore – it is part of the magic of the Cunard world voyage experience.”

Queen Mary 2
With four maiden calls and an enhanced East-West loop including New Zealand, flagship Queen Mary 2 kicks off her exciting 113-night World Voyage from Southampton and will visit 38 ports of call in 21 countries.

Destination highlights will include celebrating Chinese New Year in Sanya, China; travelling through the Suez Canal; extensive cruising of New Zealand’s Fjordland and iconic city waterfronts; Sydney Harbour; and an East-West loop that includes Auckland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Maiden calls will include Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), Bitung (Indonesia), Sanya (China) and Sihanoukville (Cambodia).

Overnight calls will include Sokhna, Dubai, Hong Kong, Auckland and Cape Town.

Regional Voyages provide passengers the opportunity to enjoy Cunard’s exclusive World Voyage experience in a shorter time frame, ranging from eight to 24 days with fares starting from $1,599, and will include:

20-day Southampton to Dubai – includes an overnight in Sokhna and Dubai
14-day Dubai to Singapore
8-day Singapore to Hong Kong
19-day Hong Kong to Sydney – includes an overnight stay in Hong Kong
13-day Sydney to Sydney – includes an overnight stay in Auckland
24-day Sydney to Cape Town – includes an overnight stay in Cape Town
15-day Cape Town to Southampton
Full World Voyage fares for Queen Mary 2 start from $16,399.

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria’s 103-night Pacific Exploration itinerary will visit 33 ports in 21 countries, including two Panama Canal transits and two Transatlantic Crossings. Additional options include a South Pacific cruise starting in Los Angeles or San Francisco, visiting Sydney, and then returning to Los Angeles. Guests will also have the chance to view other city waterfronts such as New York, Sydney Harbour and Auckland with one overnight call in Sydney.

Queen Victoria will make five maiden calls during her World Voyage: Akaroa (New Zealand), Bora Bora, Puerto Limón (Costa Rica), Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua).

Exotic Cruises range from eight to 27 days, with fares starting from $1,499, and will include:

13-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
17-day Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco
15-day Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
21-day Los Angeles to Sydney
19-day San Francisco to Sydney
27-day Sydney to Los Angeles – includes an overnight stay in Sydney
19-day Los Angeles to New York
15-day Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
12-day Fort Lauderdale to Southampton
8-day New York to Southampton
Full World Voyage fares for Queen Victoria start from $12,699.

Queen Elizabeth
In 2015, Queen Elizabeth will sail a 112-night Western Circumnavigation itinerary that will visit 38 ports in 26 countries, including her sail past Gallipoli on 24 April 2015 to commemorate ANZAC Day and the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign of World War One.

In addition, passengers will travel through the Panama Canal and Suez Canal and under the Golden Gate Bridge, and visit the iconic city waterfronts of New York, San Francisco, Sydney Harbour, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Overnight calls include San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong and Instanbul.

Queen Elizabeth will make one maiden call to Yorkeys Knob (Queensland).

Regional Voyages range from 8 to 22 days with fares starting from $1,499, and will include:

11-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
8-day Southampton to New York
21-day New York to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
18-day New York to Los Angeles
18-day Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
15-day Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
22-day San Francisco to Sydney
15-day Sydney to Yokohama – includes an overnight stay in Sydney
16-day Yokohama to Singapore
10-day Singapore to Dubai
20-day Dubai to Southampton – includes an overnight stay in Instanbul
Queen Elizabeth will make one maiden call to Yorkeys Knob (Queensland).

Regional Voyages range from 8 to 22 days with fares starting from $1,499, and will include:

11-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
8-day Southampton to New York
21-day New York to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
18-day New York to Los Angeles
18-day Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco – includes an overnight stay in San Francisco
15-day Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
22-day San Francisco to Sydney
15-day Sydney to Yokohama – includes an overnight stay in Sydney
16-day Yokohama to Singapore
10-day Singapore to Dubai
20-day Dubai to Southampton – includes an overnight stay in Instanbul
Full World Voyage fares for Queen Elizabeth start from $15,499.

All fares quoted are per person, based on double occupancy.

World Voyage Land Tours include:

The Wonders of Middle Earth: Three nights in New Zealand visiting the glow-worm caves of Waitomo and The Hobbit movie set

Cape Town & Safari: Two nights including game drives in the Aquila Game reserve

Hong Kong and a Taste of China: Three nights including a tour of The Peak and a glimpse of the Terracotta Warriors at Shennzhen

San Francisco: Two nights including a Redwood tour, a visit to the artist district in Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge

Traditional Singapore: Three nights including a city tour and afternoon tea at the Raffles Hotel

Sydney – Tall ships and Beaches: Three nights including an 1850s tall ship harbor cruise and a wildlife park visit

Enhanced Benefits Programme
Passengers who book their 2015 World Voyages and Exotic Cruises adventure before 28 February 2014 will receive an On Board Credit of up to $3,000 per stateroom on Full World and Liner Voyages, and will also receive a reduced deposit.

In addition to On Board Credit, World Club members will receive additional savings of up to $2,000 per person for bookings made before 28 February 2014.

White Star Premier Package
Cunard introduces the White Star Premier Package for Full World Voyage guests and offers roundtrip Economy airfare credit, pre-cruise hotel, transfers, White Star Luggage service, additional On Board Credit, Internet and pre-cruise World Concierge Services. Princess Grill and Queens Grill Suite guests who purchase the White Star Premiere Package will be upgraded to Business Class airfare credit and executive car transfers. The White Star Premiere Package starts from $4,300 per person.

For more information and to book a 2015 Cunard World Voyage and Exotic Cruise aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273 or visit www.cunard.com.

American Safari Cruises eyes Hawaii

Submitted photo

By Michael Coleman

Hawaii bound vacationers have an extra incentive to book an inter-island yacht cruise aboard American Safari Cruises’ 36-guest Safari Explorer. To celebrate its inaugural season in Hawaii, the line is offering guests a $150 per person travel credit for reservations made through July 29, 2011.

Sailing weeklong or 10-night active, adventure itineraries between Maui and the Big Island from November 2011 through April 2012, the all-inclusive, upscale 36-guest Safari Explorer visits Moloka’i, Lana’i and Molokini.

Guests who book before July 29, 2011 will receive a travel credit of $150 per person or $300 per couple. The credit is intended to help guests defray air costs to the Hawaiian Islands where they will embark on their adventure cruise.

“We are confident guests will be thrilled with the experience of seeing and experiencing Hawaii up close on an upscale yacht,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “This is a brand new vacation option in the Hawaiian Islands, and we hope the travel credit aids in the decision-making process to try an adventure un-cruise in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”

Jacox said the un-cruise defines the active, up close and personal style of adventure travel that makes American Safari Cruises different from other cruise vacations. The Safari Explorer is the only small-group expedition yacht offering overnight cruises in the Hawaiian Islands.

Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands. The unstructured itinerary allows time for seeking wildlife such as Manta rays, dolphins and humpback whales. Outfitted for active adventures, the yacht’s well stocked water sports equipment includes kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling gear, wet suits, sailboats and inflatable skiffs for up-close excursions. Guided snorkeling tours are a highlight throughout the trip.

Two knowledgeable expedition leaders guide hiking and kayaking tours. Bicycles are also available for guest use on Moloka’i and Lana’i.

Exclusive cultural tours have been arranged for guests in Moloka’i including guided hikes, visiting and restoring a family’s ancient taro terraces, “talking story” with native Hawaiians and a private, authentic Hawaiian pa’ina (feast).

The Safari Explorer has an on-deck hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment, a wine library and two large-screen TVs in the main salon. Cuisine is prepared with fresh, local ingredients and the complimentary bar offers premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews. The active spa environment includes a complimentary massage and yoga classes. All staterooms offer Tempur-pedic mattresses, flat screen TV/DVD players and iPod docks. Upper category staterooms feature Jacuzzi tubs and suites have private step-out balconies.

Fares start at $4,995 for the seven-night cruise and $6,495 for the 10-night cruise, both per person, double occupancy. Itineraries feature exclusive excursions and include all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; plus all port charges, taxes and fees.

An all-American crew has a guest-crew ratio of 2 to 1 and includes Hawaii residents who have personal knowledge of the islands.

Seattle-based American Safari Cruises pioneered yacht cruising in Alaska in 1997 and since has expanded into Mexico’s Baja, Columbia & Snake Rivers and Hawaii.

On the web: www.americansafaricruises.com

Gauguin offers 20-night South Pacific hotel/cruise package

Image courtesy Paul Gauguin — The intimate, 332-guest Paul Gauguin, a leader in luxury cruise travel in the South Pacific since 1998, is offering a 20-night hotel/cruise package in January, 2012.

By Michael Coleman

The intimate 332-guest Paul Gauguin, fresh from a $25 million makeover, is offering a 20-night hotel/cruise package January 23, 2012 featuring nine distinctive islands in five South Pacific archipelagos.

The line’s “South Pacific Discovery’’ cruise will call on Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, Cook and Society Islands.

Guests will enjoy three days at leisure in Sydney, Australia’s oldest and largest city, at the Four Seasons Hotel. Guests will then fly to Brisbane to board the Gauguin en route to New Caledonia, Fiji and the Kingdom of Tonga, ending in French Polynesia. The line is offering complimentary air from Los Angeles.

Among the voyage highlights:
Noumea, New Caledonia: This capital city has been named the “Paris of the Pacific” due to its French ambience, heritage and culture; Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji: The largest of the island chain is comprised of high mountains, lush vegetation, plus pristine white-sand beaches; Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji:

Once a bustling trading port, this Fijian village is now known for its geothermal hot springs; Vava’u Tonga: Never colonized by Europeans, this South Pacific nation maintains a strong Polynesian culture. Crystal clear waters and high mountain tops offer unparalleled views of the Tonga islands; Aitutaki, Cook Islands: Consisting of three volcanoes and 12 coral islets, this island offers beautiful coral reefs and a pristine lagoon. Aitutaki is nearly flat, affording ocean views from virtually any point on the island.

The ship will also sail to Taha’a where guests will visit Motu Mahana, Paul Gauguin Cruises’ private island featuring white-sand beaches with swaying palms, crystal-clear waters and gentle breezes. A Polynesian barbeque lunch and local entertainment will be offered; Bora Bora: Guests will have the opportunity to view the famous marine life or relax on a beautiful, private beach off the coast; Moorea: The lush scenery features green vegetation, an abundance of fresh fruit and flowers, spectacular mountain peaks and palm-fringed beaches.

Aboard Gauguin, guests enjoy a relaxed and elegant setting in which to enjoy the amenities of the award-winning, newly refurbished ship. Look for onboard lectures, SCUBA diving lessons, local entertainment and excellent cuisine.

The Gauguin has completed more than 570 South Pacific cruises and has served more than 155,000 guests, including more than 14,000 honeymooners, since its inaugural sailing in 1998.

On the web: www.pgcruises.com

Princess to offer new Alaska tours

By Michael Coleman

Princess has added nine new choices to its lineup of optional land excursions in Alaska this summer giving passengers opportunities for fresh adventures, including discovering how local hunters and trappers live, exploring by ATV, riding a dog cart, visiting a true Eskimo village or learning to cook Alaska cuisine. Image courtesy Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises will debut nine new land excursions for passengers in Alaska this year.

Overall, look for the line to offer 96 choices from easygoing to exhilarating — including cultural tours, nature hikes, kayak adventures and flightseeing tours.

Land excursions operate from each of Princess’ own wilderness lodges — Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge, Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge and Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge — plus additional locales.

While the line will also feature immersive land/sea vacations featuring the state’s “must see” attractions, including Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park, the new land tour package includes:
 
Wilderness Living Adventure & Dog Cart Ride (Denali) — How did the hunters, trappers and woodsmen of old travel and live in the wilderness of Alaska?  This tour provides a look at many Alaskans who make their living in the wilderness near Denali.

Anaktuvuk Pass Adventure (Coldfoot) — Guests can visit a true Eskimo village with this tour to the Nunamiut village of Anaktuvuk Pass.

A Taste of Fairbanks — An evening at Chez World Cooking School will show travelers how to prepare food the Alaskan way.  Whether they fully experience the class with hands-on participation or simply watch the overhead monitors, students will learn the secrets behind Alaskan delicacies such as salmon, reindeer sausage, halibut, crab, moose, and caribou, as well sourdough bread and pancakes.

Susitna River Airboat Adventure (Mt. McKinley) — Travelers can experience parts of the lovely Susitna River that others can’t with this airboat excursion.  

Sea Kayaking at Columbia Glacier (Copper River) — This opportunity to paddle into the massive Columbia Glacier icefield offers an experience that travelers will never forget.  From Valdez participants take a scenic ride to Columbia Glacier for a kayaking expedition up close to the glacier, plus lunch on the beach.

Chatanika Gold Camp & ATV Ride with Dinner (Fairbanks) — Following a hearty dinner at Chatanika Gold Camp, travelers take a 2.5 hour ATV ride along a mining trail used by early miners to access the surrounding gold fields.

Explore Historic Seward (Kenai) — From Kenai, passengers can enjoy a drive down one of the nation’s most scenic highways and past parts of the Iditarod National Historic Trail. At the end of the road at Resurrection Bay is the historic city of Seward, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. 

South Denali 65-Mile ATV Adventure (Mt. McKinley) — An ATV adventure along dirt roads carved out of the wilderness by the area’s first prospectors, this tour takes travelers far into the back-country of south Denali with its cascading waterfalls and scenic wonders.  Participants can also try their hand at panning for gold in Peters Creek.

Scenic Koyukuk River Float (Coldfoot) — It’s not too often that travelers can enjoy a scenic float trip 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle!  This tour takes passengers down the Middle Fork Koyukuk River through the Brooks Mountain Range, where they can relax as their raft floats through the vast wilderness of Alaska and a guide shares the rich history of the region.

On the Web: Princess Alaska Land Excursions

Cruise Guide: NCL to feature series of Bermuda cruises

By Mike Coleman

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has unveiled a series of Bermuda-bound itineraries from five East Coast cities in 2008. It’s the largest such deployment in company history. 

Look for Norwegian Dawn to sail from New York and Norwegian Dream to depart from Boston. Norwegian Majesty, meanwhile, will sail to the island from three cities: Philadelphia, Baltimore and Charleston.

Beginning in mid-April 2008, Norwegian Dawn will embark on a series of seven-day sailings through Aug. 24 and then again from Sept. 28 through Oct. 26. Departing on Sundays, the cruises feature three days in Bermuda at King’s Wharf.

Norwegian Dream begins an inaugural season out of Boston, offering a series of seven-day sailings to Bermuda departing on Sundays from May 11 through Aug. 24, 2008 and again from Sept. 28 to Oct. 26. Norwegian Dream replaces the Norwegian Majesty, which has been sailing out of Boston to Bermuda since 1998.

Norwegian Majesty, meanwhile, will begin sailing seven-day Bermuda cruises from Charleston on April 19, 2008, followed by a five-day Bermuda cruise on June 14, 2008. On June 21, 2008, the ship returns to Baltimore for the first time since 2004 and embarks on a series of nine seven-day cruises from Baltimore to Bermuda, departing on Saturdays. A six-day sailing from Baltimore to Bermuda on Aug. 23, 2008 is scheduled before the ship repositions to Philadelphia. On Aug. 30, 2008, the vessel begins a series of five seven-day sailings to Bermuda from Philadelphia, with Saturday departures.


PGA Tour Partner

Meanwhile, in an effort to drive awareness of NCL golf programs in Bermuda and Hawaii, the line has inked a partnership deal with the PGA Tour.

The three-year agreement also provides NCL the right to use the PGA name in advertising, as well as to share in promotional and tournament hospitality opportunities built around both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.

“In our continuing effort to embrace new and innovative marketing programs, we expect that this partnership with the PGA Tour will let golfers around the world know that you can combine a great cruise vacation with top golf experiences at the best courses in the world on NCL,” said Scott Rogers, NCL’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Headquartered in Miami, with a fleet of 14 ships in service and under construction, NCL also operates NCL America and Orient Lines. The company recently took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Pearl, and is currently building Norwegian Gem for delivery in October 2007.

Cruise Guide: Red-Hot Swedish Icebar Sizzles

 

By Michael Coleman 

icebarserverSTOCKHOLM Sweden – In a city renowned for its legends, a new “hometown hero” is emerging. 

This Baltic playground has long been the domain of iconic figures through the ages from inventor Alfred Nobel and actress Greta Garbo to modern sports legends Bjorn Borg and Annika Sorenstam.

But there’s a new kid on the block – young like the Baby Boom around it – that’s causing quite a stir.

The Absolut Icebar Stockholm, nestled in the lobby of the Nordic Sea Hotel, is this city’s latest attraction. A speakeasy like no other, it’s the world’s first permanent icebar. Its also red hot with locals and cruise passengers alike.

Whether this new icon has the staying power of Nobel, Garbo and the like remains to be seen. In fact, at this stage, it’s like comparing apples and oranges, but since opening in June of 2002 it has proven to be more than just a fashionable trend.

They come the world over to visit the city’s museums, royal palaces and to toast each other’s good fortune in a tiny, climate-controlled space reserved for just 30 patrons at a time. More warm-blooded revelers and the bar, with its all-ice interior, would melt.

Reservations are a must, but once inside there is no time to linger. It’s just 23 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes for a quick drink, a quick photo and a quick exit. 

More than 150,000 people have dropped in since it opened, proving it may be more than just a novelty in this highly-cultured city.

On the surface, an icebar in Stockholm sounds more like an oxymoron. The Swedes have long cold winters but it hasn’t prevented this bar from enjoying a brisk business through all seasons.

It’s so popular, in fact, that three other Absolut Icebars have since opened around the world – London, Milan, Tokyo – and more are on tap.

The concept is based on a simple, cold-hard premise: Servers will not put ice in your drink as much as they will pour a drink in your ice.

Glasses, like the bar, tables, chairs, benches and other interior sculptures, are made completely of ice from the country’s Torne River. The Swedes claim it’s the purest ice in the world and professional sculptors actually carve a new Absolut Icebar Stockholm every six months.

The visit will set you back $150 kroner (about $22). It includes the use of a hooded silver cape, ski gloves and one complimentary drink from a selection of 18 vodka cocktails. The entrance fee for a non-alcoholic beverage is $105 kroner.

The Absolut Stockholm, a concoction of Absolut peach, pineapple liqueur, orange juice and blue curacao – like the bar for which it is named – is a runaway favorite here.

Cruise Guide: Vibrant cities, nature, await South American cruise guests

By Mike Coleman

The world’s best cruise lines have not only unveiled a host of new ships in recent months, they’ve also introduced a series of global itineraries and that’s good news for savvy travelers.

Over the past two weeks, Cruise Guide has bypassed the obvious – Caribbean and European sailings- to take a closer look at what’s in store for passengers who seek exotic voyages. We conclude our three-part series this week with a look at South America. 

Whether sailing to vibrant, culturally-rich ports or viewing Antarctica as it sails past your porthole, cruise vacations to South America run the gamut. The continent and its 15 countries offer superb cosmopolitan charm and a dizzying array of natural attractions from the world’s highest waterfall (Angel Falls) to the largest river (Amazon), longest mountain range (Andes) and driest desert (Atacama).

Getting there has never been easier as the world’s best cruise lines continue to offer more itineraries than ever before.

Several members of the Cruise Lines International Association, the chief marketing arm for 19 premier cruise lines and some 17,000 North American travel agencies, offer sailings departing from Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, Chile’s Valparaiso and Argentina’s Buenos Aires. Voyages, some of which depart from U.S. ports, range from three to 72 days and typically sail from October through April.

The luxury lines -Crystal, Cunard, Oceania, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea- are sure to take you in style. Crystal visits South America during Crystal Serenity’s world cruise in January, including a 15-day Miami to Valparaiso itinerary, and an 18-day Valparaiso-Buenos Aires itinerary. Highlights include cruising past Chilean Fjords, Cape Horn, and Antarctica’s Palmer Station and Elephant Island.

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 calls in the ports of Rio de Janeiro; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile, during a 26-day segment of her maiden world cruise, which travels from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco, departing January 10.

From December through March, Oceania Cruises’ Insignia sails South American waters with three 10-day cruises from Rio to Buenos Aires calling at ports in Brazil and Uruguay, and four 16-day Buenos Aires-Valparaiso itineraries that cruise the Chilean Fjords and Cape Horn.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner offers a 59-night voyage in January, offered in 11- to 19-night segments. Seven Seas Voyager calls at South American ports on a 25-night world cruise segment from Fort Lauderdale to Cape Town.

Seabourn Cruise Line’s Seabourn Pride, meanwhile, circumnavigates South America on a 72-day voyage starting in January. Seven- to 18-day segments include Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso, Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires to Rio, Rio to Manaus, and Manaus to Fort Lauderdale.

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Wind sails a 16-day Valparaiso to Buenos Aires itinerary in January to the Chilean Fjords and Falkland Islands. Ports include Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, Laguna San Rafael and Punta Arenas, Chile; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Punta del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Perhaps a premium brand line – Celebrity or Holland America – is more to your liking? Look for Celebrity Cruises’ Infinity to feature five South American itineraries in 2007. The 14-night cruises include three that sail between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso, one from Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale, and another roundtrip from Buenos Aires with two nights in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. Holland America Line ships -Prinsendam, Rotterdam, Ryndam and Veendam- offer itineraries from 16 to 66 days, visiting 60 ports on 26 sailings.

If an Antarctica sailing tops your wish list, look for Norwegian Coastal Voyages to offer 19-day “Antarctica and Chilean Fjord” itineraries between Santiago and Buenos Aires from November through February and 21-day “Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica” voyages in October and February.

Additionally, look for the cruise lines to offer a series of optional shore excursions ranging from flight-seeing trips to Antarctica to view penguins, sea lions and marine birds, to Amazon River exploration via native canoe.

Cruise guests may also explore Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, where they can journey through Tierra del Fuego on horseback. Other excursions are being offered in cities including Rio de Janeiro, home to Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain and Botafogo Bay, all located within Rio’s downtown district.

Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Orient Lines, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean are also offering itineraries to what is quickly becoming a cruise destination favored among travelers young and old alike.

Cruise Guide: Silversea, Seabourn unveil golf, insider tip programs

By Michael Coleman

Two of the world’s leading ultra-luxury cruise lines – Silversea and Seabourn – are rolling out exclusive programs that will make the golf lover smile and the adventurer in all of us beam with contentment. 

Golf enthusiasts sailing on the 382-guest Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper can live and breathe the game every day of every voyage in 2006, thanks to the line’s onboard PGA-class golf professionals. In addition to organized shipboard activities, the line’s Silver Links 365 program offers optional golfing excursions, arranged and escorted by the ships’ golf pros, to some of the world’s most challenging and revered courses in all four corners of the globe. 

Seabourn, meanwhile, has teamed up with Conde Nast Traveler to provide the line’s guests with up-to-date information about what’s new, what’s hot and what’s hip in various ports of call, gathered exclusively from the pages of the magazine. 

  

Teeing it up 

Silversea’s escorted, optional golfing excursions vary in price from course to course but include transfers to and from the select golf courses, pull or power-drive carts, green and any applicable caddy fees. Should guests choose to leave their clubs at home, Nike clubs, shoes and golf essentials are available for rental, demo or purchase onboard each vessel. 

The onboard pros will offer a variety of activities both on and off each vessel. During days at sea, look for private instruction in 22′ x 10′ custom-built golf cages, complimentary clinics, demonstrations and putting contests suitable for all ranges, levels and abilities. 

Golfers also have the option to further improve their game by experiencing the latest V1 video-teaching technology. The digital component allows guests the opportunity to compare their swings to some of golf’s greatest legends and the hottest names on tour. 

The lessons also include a VHS video of the session with custom voice-over by the ship’s golf pro. 

  

Hot tips anyone? 

Seabourn’s innovative, complimentary service will be introduced in April, 2006, when the line’s three all-suite ships  Legend, Pride and Spirit  begin their European cruising season. 

Dubbed “Conde Nast Traveler’s Seabourn Insider Tips,” the service will provide what officials are calling “reliable intelligence” about attractions, suggested lunch spots, popular bars, unique experiences, shopping tips and more for those who wish to customize their own port activities through the ships’ onboard concierge. 

The initial editions will include information about 28 European ports of call including Barcelona, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; The French Riviera; Capri, Rome and Venice, Italy; the Greek Isles of Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu; Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; St. Petersburg, Russia and Copenhagen, Denmark. 

The program augments an impressive line-up of services already in place for guests, including Vintage Seabourn, a premium wines pre-purchase package; Seabourn to a Tea, an upgraded menu of rare estate teas; Seabourn’s Personal Shopper, a program which provides luxury cars and specialized shopping guides in various ports; global cell and satellite telephone rental services and the line’s personal valet luggage shipping service.