The New Wave Of Cruise Experiences
Thirteen experiences you didn’t know you could have on a cruise.
Today’s cruising boom is good news for everyone, from aficionados who love setting sail to those ready to give a new vacation style a go. And as cruising’s popularity grows – approximately 27 million people stepped aboard in 2018 – cruise lines have diversified. It’s all about variety these days, not just in ship size – ranging from intimate, 60-passenger yachts to next-level, 6,000-person megavessels – but in style too. You can sip coffee on your balcony as you float down a European river, go searching for wildlife on an expedition ship, or get lost in a floating city at sea. Itineraries are also more creative: Culinary academies and wellness centers on board, for example, pair well with surprising shore excursions, from hiking up mountains to attending orchestra concerts. These 13 experiences are offered by cruise lines that participate in Virtuoso Voyages – an exclusive program that offers complimentary benefits and perks to travelers who book cruises through a Virtuoso travel advisor – and they’ll make you think twice about what you can do on your next sailings.
Welcome to the new era of cruising, where almost everything goes.
1 – Explore Marine Life From Inside A $3 Million Submarine
Realize your James Bond fantasies with a trip on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Esprit, a 62-passenger yacht that touts a three-person submersible as one of its water-based activity options. (Jet Skis, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are also at the ready.) A pilot takes two passengers at a time on explorations up to 1,000 feet below the surface, including on a seven-day, Dubrovnik-to-Venice sailing. The Esprit is an ideal vessel for scuba divers and snorkelers, and its slim size means it can call on smaller ports, including the yacht marina in Kotor, Montenegro; Croatia’s walled city of Dubrovnik; and all the way north to Venice.
Departures: Multiple dates, July 7, 2019, to August 30, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $125 shipboard credit. Submersible experience, $350.
2 – Set Sail With Your Pup In Tow
Crossing the Atlantic on Cunard’s eight-day, New York City to Southampton sailing is slow travel at its finest – rest, relaxation, and enrichment, from tango lessons and yoga sessions to fi lm screenings and music recitals. Share the adventure with your four-legged BFF on the 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2, which has an onboard kennel for 24 pets. Like their owners, cats and dogs receive VIP treatment, including a portrait session, fleece coat, and “turndown service” of freshly baked biscuits. The pet lounge and play area welcome animals from both sides of the pond with a Liverpool lamppost and an NYC fire hydrant.
Departures: Multiple dates, June 7 to December 15, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include private port transfers in New York City and London and an onboard specialty-dining credit.
3 – Get Your Daily Cardio In
You’ve worked too hard to let your fitness routine slide for a week. Do as much (or as little) as you like with AmaWaterways, the river-cruise line that stables bicycles for shore excursions and employs dedicated wellness hosts to lead core and circuit training classes on board. On the new, 196-passenger AmaMagna, which debuted in May and is twice as wide as most European river ships, cruisers can log a mile on the top-deck walking track, take a stretching class in the Zen Wellness Studio, hydrate at the juice bar, or get a massage. Disembark on an eight-day, Vilshofen-to-Budapest Danube River sailing to bike along the river or hike to a castle.
Departures: Multiple dates, June 2 to December 29, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include an onboard host and welcome reception and a guided tour of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace.
4 – Discuss World Affairs With A Career Diplomat
There’s nothing like sailing with an astronaut, scholar, government official, or filmmaker to vanquish the shuffleboard-and-buffets cruising stereotype. Seabourn raises the intellectual bar with its Seabourn Conversations series, featuring notable guests who don’t just lead onboard lectures, but engage with fellow passengers over meals and excursions as well. Ashok Sajjanhar – India’s ambassador to Sweden and Latvia and president of the Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi – will educate guests on the 599-passenger Seabourn Ovation during a 19-day, Dubaito-Singapore cruise with stops in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.
Departure: December 2, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion in Mumbai.
5 – Stay Out LATE Without Fear Of Missing The Boat
Azamara Club Cruises pioneered overnight port stays, letting guests revel in the local nightlife in addition to the standard daytime scene. The boutique cruise line is amping up its after-dark experiences with a new series of exclusive evening shore excursions, such as taking in an acrobatics performance in Valencia, Spain. On an 11-day, round-trip-from-Athens sailing on the 702-passenger Azamara Pursuit, travelers can attend a traditional Jewish folk music performance by a klezmer group at Jerusalem’s Ashdod Performing Arts Center. It’s part of an immersive, three-day stop in the holy city that includes visits to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.
Departure: September 4, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion to Jerusalem.
6 – Finally Figure Out The Difference Between A Julienne And A Brunoise Cut
Make tasty use of your time at sea on Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger Marina or Riviera ships by enrolling in a cooking class or three at the onboard Culinary Center. Kick things off with Slice: Mastering Chef Knife Skills to learn the basics of mise en place before trying your hand at making pasta or grilling. The 12-day, Rio de Janeiro-to-Buenos Aires voyage on the Marina offers a balanced diet of cultural excursions in Paraty, Brazil; beach time in Punta del Este, Uruguay; and food and wine tours in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
Departure: December 7, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include prepaid gratuities.
7 – Celebrate Your Anniversary With A Polynesian Blessing Ceremony
Cast away to the South Pacific for the most memorable of occasions aboard the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin Cruises. During an eight-day, roundtrip from Papeete sailing through the Society Islands – full of archaeological sites, lagoons fit for snorkeling, and white-sand beaches – local onboard hosts know as Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins can bless couples in a traditional Polynesian ceremony by reciting a love poem, singing, and after a Champagne toast, wrapping celebrants in a traditional patchwork tifaifai quilt. They’ll also teach you how to say “I do” in Tahitian, dance island-style, and make a basket out of pandanus leaves.
Departures: Multiple dates June 8 to December 28, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion in Moorea.
8 – Spend All Day At The Spa
Bookending stops in Sint-Maarten, Dominica Saint Lucia, Antigua, and Saint Bart’s, four of the 11 days on Regent Seven Seas Cruises 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer’s roundtrip from Miami journey are spent at sea, offering prime time to find some inner peace in the ship’s Canyon Ranch Spa. This at-sea outpost mirrors the famous destination retreat, with yoga classes, seaweed wraps, hot stone massages, reflexology, and hydrotherapy features ranging from saunas to cold rooms. Between oxygen facials and pedicures, check out the ship’s impressive art collection, including several Picasso’s, or learn about the healthful secrets of Mediterranean cooking in the Culinary Arts Kitchen.
Departure: January 8, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion and lunch in Saint Bart’s
9 – Learn How To Steer A Sailboat
Sixteen sails bound to four masts help power the 360 foot Star Flyer clipper ship, one of three throwback vessels in the Star Clippers fleet. Nautical culture meets luxury aboard this 17- passenger vessel, which has two swimming pools on its teak decks. Friendly deckhands, who hoist the sails manually each time the ship leaves port, offer knot-tying classes, ship-maneuvering lectures, and demonstrations on navigating with a sextant – a tool to measure angular distances at sea. Test your newfound skills on a 15-day, Barbados to Panama voyage, which visits Grenada, the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), and Colombia and culminates in a sailor’s dream transit through the Panama Canal.
Departure: November 23, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion and lunch in Saint George’s, Grenada.
10 – Turn Your Expedition Photos Into Professional Masterpieces
Go beyond VSCO and your smartphone’s filters: The fully equipped Photo Studio aboard Silversea Cruises’ 254-passenger (200 in polar waters) Silver Cloud offers master classes in composition, editing, and Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop programs. High-tech printers encourage shutterbugs to create postcards and panoramic prints, regardless of whether they were taken using an iPhone or a DSLR. Photograph the wildlife that inhabits the bottom of the earth on a ten-day, roundtrip-from-Ushuaia expedition to Antarctica. The ship’s resident photo manager will coach passengers on adjusting shutter speeds so they can capture images of seabirds in the Drake Passage, penguins on the South Shetland Islands, and otherworldly icebergs in the Antarctic Sound.
Departures: Multiple dates, December 10, 2019, to January 20, 2021. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $300 shipboard credit per person.
11 – Read Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn On The Mighty Mississippi
The sense of freedom and possibility brought to life in Twain’s iconic novel can still be found on Ol’ Man River, and you’re likely to experience both during American Queen Steamboat Company’s nine-day cruise from New Orleans to Memphis. On board the 436-passenger American Queen, an authentic paddlewheel riverboat, watch the Mississippi roll past from the ship’s decks, read a classic tome in the Mark Twain Gallery, and take in a show in the Grand Saloon. Along the way, holiday themed events and excursions reveal the history and heritage of the U.S. South. See NOLA’s ceremonial lighting of bonfires on the levee, learn how to perfect buttery biscuits in the Natchez home of award-winning chef Regina Charboneau, and more.
Departure: December 15, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception; contact your Virtuoso travel advisor regarding an additional, soon-to-be-announced amenity.
12 – Travel Back In Time On The Nile River
From the hand-built pyramids at Giza to tranquil Nile excursions aboard a traditional felucca sailboat, travelers will revel in the ingenuity of past centuries during their time in Egypt. Seven of the 12 days on Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s round-trip-from-Cairo itinerary are based on the elegant 82-passenger River Tosca. Egyptologist-guided excursions decode the colossal statues of Memnon, the mummified remains of King Tutankhamun in his Valley of the Kings tomb, and the hieroglyphics adorning temples from Luxor to Aswan. Changing pace, ride a felucca and take tea at the hotel where Agatha Christie set Death on the Nile. Go now, while tourism is growing, but before the masses return.
Departures: Multiple dates, September 28 to December 28, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $200 shipboard credit per person.
13 – Get Cooking With A Celebrated Chef
The James Beard Foundation ships out its award-winning chefs and sommeliers on culinary-themed Windstar Cruises sailings, which include cooking demos, beverage pairings, and market tours. Gain firsthand knowledge by joining a talented chef and beverage expert on a ten-day, San Diego-to-Vancouver sailing aboard the 212-passenger Star Breeze, which plies the U.S. West Coast with stops in Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The chef will host a wine-paired dinner, lead a shopping trip, and provide a cooking demonstration. Work off the meals while exploring the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
Departure: May 5, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a custom-curated shore event.
Original Article from Virtuoso Traveler July 2019 issue
Are You a Cruiser? Ten Questions to Ask
A floating hotel has something for everyone. Don’t believe it? Just consider these ten questions.
Cruising. Perhaps you long ago slammed this particular porthole shut, with vague ideas about buffets, crowds, and tired cabaret shows. But lately you’ve been hearing friends rave about their recent cruises, and you’re getting curious.
Whether you’re interested in glacier trekking or pool lounging, exploring secluded islands or city streets, spending days on vineyard tours or in spas – if you can name it, there’s a ship for it. And the best parts of cruising remain the same, regardless of sailing style or destination: You only need to unpack once, and the views are ever-changing.
Not quite convinced? The following questions will help you determine whether you should set sail. (The answer is yes.)
1 – Are You a Foodie?
Top chefs have expanded their empires to include the world’s waterways, and new ingredients await discovery in each port. Here’s a taste of what’s on board.
Wine lovers will savor Uniworld’s eight-day Bordeaux vineyard cruise aboard the 130-passenger River Royale, with cellar tastings in Saint-Émilion, a Sauternes-paired lunch, visits to farmers’ markets in Libourne, and bicycle rides through the back streets of Bordeaux.
Crystal Cruises’ annual Food & Wine Festival sailings feature guest chefs and sommeliers, cooking classes, and more. A roundtrip Los Angeles journey aboard the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity takes in the flavors of Mexico with stops in La Paz, Ensenada, and Mazatlán.
2 – Do You Want to See It All?
Sailings that encompass vast regions and whole seasons can write your life’s next chapter.
Spend nearly five months aboard Silversea’s 382-passenger Silver Whisper. In 2019, the line’s 132-day world cruise takes in 31 countries and 52 ports. From snorkeling on Moorea to sampling wonton soup in Hong Kong and strolling San Sebastián, Spain’s historic Old Town, this is one trip that truly earns the moniker “voyage.” (Have less time? Select one of its roughly two-week routes that’s right for you.)
Also for 2019, Crystal Cruises’ 85-day journey on the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity will visit more than 15 countries. Explore the natural wonders of Australia and Africa, isles of the South Pacific, and top cities such as Sydney and Barcelona.
3 – Do You Prefer to Venture Off the Beaten Path?
Set sail to ports at the edges of civilization, and cruise rivers deep within Land Rover country.
Game-spot from the comfort of your stateroom during four days with AmaWaterways aboard the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen, as you navigate Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
4 – Are You a Night Owl?
Stay up late for chic theme parties, people-watching, and fun shows.
Azamara Club Cruises throws a White Night Party on its sailings, transforming outdoor decks into glamorous dancing and dining venues.
5 – Do You Like to Spread Out?
The most lavish and lovely accommodations come with endless blue views.
Cunard’s five Duplex and Grand Duplex suites on the 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2, on two levels joined by a sweeping staircase, feature two master baths and a private gym. To go all out, combine all five into one 9,000-square-foot mansion.
6 – Do You Like the Great Outdoors?
Natural encounters let you heed the call of the wild.
Join wildlife icon Jean-Michel Cousteau aboard an Aqua Expeditions vessel on the Amazon and Mekong rivers. Take guided kayak tours along quiet jungle routes to talk conservation and ecosystems, and enjoy relaxed onboard chats about Cousteau’s top photo and videography tips.
7 – Is Vacation Actually a Perfect Time to Get Healthy?
Superior spas, mindfulness, and wellness menus for self-care at sea.
Seabourn’s Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program takes health at sea to a new level. Meditation and yoga programs address physical, social, and spiritual well-being; seminars cover topics such as anti-inflammatory foods, healthy aging, and mindfulness. Dr. Weil himself joins some sailings each year.
8 – Are You Seeking Cultural Immersion?
See destinations through the eyes of locals and respected experts
Explore Madeira’s capital of Funchal on an exclusive Virtuoso Voyages excursion on board Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger Riviera during a round-trip Barcelona sailing. Ride a cable car to the hilltop village of Monte, where you can take in the churches and palaces before trying out the carros de cesto, wicker toboggans that zoom you down the hill to Livramento. You’ll also visit a wine cellar to savor the nuances of the island’s famous sweet elixir, and relax over a wine-pairing lunch at Belmond Reid’s Palace hotel.
Sail French Polynesia with Paul Gauguin Cruises to delve beyond its beautiful shores. Onboard hosts include an archaeologist who specializes in the ancient ceremonial structures of the Marquesas and an art historian with no fewer than seven books published on the cruise line’s namesake.
9 – Are You a Thrill Seeker?
Sky-high adventures via new technologies and old-fashioned daredevilry.
Star Clippers’ 227-passenger Royal Clipper is still the world’s only five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship – and you can climb one of those masts, with a provided safety harness, of course, to take in the views over the vessel’s 42 billowing white sails.
10 – Do You Appreciate the Finer Things in Life?
From white-tie evenings to well-dressed breakfasts in bed.
Renowned for its commitment to the golden age of cruising, Cunard’s 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2 has a formal dress code in the main dining venues – which most guests are eager to embrace. Each sailing typically features three formal nights, such as a masquerade ball or Roaring Twenties–style dance.
On Silversea’s ships, each cabin has dedicated butlers who are trained through the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.
Guide to Cruise Line On board Gratuities
Figuring out how much to tip and who to tip while on a cruise can be confusing, even if you are a seasoned cruiser. Some lines automatically charge gratuities to your onboard account, others include them in your cruise fare, or have a special promotion where you get FREE gratuities. It seems that every cruise line has a different amount they charge and where those gratuities go.
Here is a break down of cruise line on board gratuity charges with some of the top cruise lines
Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises includes gratuities in its fares.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line charges $13.99 per person per day for guests in standard rooms; and $15.99 per person per day for guests in suites.
All of the gratuities collected go to Carnival’s shipboard staff. According to its website, the amount is spread between its housekeeping team, dining team, and alternate staff.
Carnival recently announced that it would start charging 18 percent, up from 15 percent, on the automatic gratuity it charges for onboard beverages and a la carte dining outlets.
Celebrity Cruise Line
Celebrity charges $14.50 per person per day for those in standard accommodations; $15.00 per person per day for Concierge Class and AquaClass guests; and $18.00 per person per day for those in suites.
On its website, Celebrity says that collected gratuities are shared between stateroom attendants, dining services staff, and housekeeping staff.
The cruise line also adds an 18 percent gratuity to all beverages, spa, salon, and minibar purchases.
Cunard automatically charges $11.50 per person, per day, to passenger shipboard accounts in Britannia accommodations. For passengers in Grill Class accommodations the charge is $13.50.
An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills. A 15 percent charge also applies to spa treatments and services.
All of Crystal Cruises’ sailings are all-inclusive, so gratuities for its staff — housekeeping, restaurant, bar, and Penthouse butler staff — are already included in the cruise fare.
Holland America Line
Holland America increased the cost of its automatic gratuities in October, announcing that it would start charging $14.50 per day per person for all guests staying in standard rooms; and $16.00 per person per day for suite guests, starting in 2019.
Holland America states that 100 percent of gratuities go toward compensating onboard crew members.
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL is increasing its gratuities starting on April 1, 2019. For all sailings after that date (excluding guests booked before on sailings before April 1), Norwegian guests sailing in any stateroom category up to a mini-suite on most ships will be charged $15 per person per day. Those sailing in any suite, Concierge, or The Haven stateroom will be charged $18 per person per day.
Standard guests on Norwegian Sky and Sun, two ships that sail with an all-inclusive price, will be charged $20.50 per person per day. Suite guests will be charged $23.50 per person per day.
Oceania automatically adds $16.00 per person per day for standard guests; and $23.00 per person per day for suite guests.
Oceania also adds an 18 percent charge to all beverage purchases, spa services, and specialty dinners.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
All onboard gratuities are included in Paul Gauguin’s all-inclusive fare.
A discretionary gratuity of $15.50 per guest for suites, $14.50 per guest for mini-suites and club class, and $13.50 per guest for interior, oceanview, and balcony staterooms. This gratuity will be shared amongst those staff who help provide and support your cruise experience, including all waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, and housekeeping staff across the fleet.
A 18% gratuity is added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts, and Lotus Spa® services. This is shared amongst the beverage staff, their support staff and Lotus Spa® personnel.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Gratuities are included in the cruise fare for all of Regent’s sailings. The line also offers another option for guests who want to go above-and-beyond for their crew: donations to the Crew Welfare Fund, which is used for crew events, are welcomed at the Purser Office onboard.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean’s automatic gratuity is $14.50 per person per day for standard guests; and $17.50 per person per day for suite guests.
Gratuities are shared among dining, bar and culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes to enhance the cruise experience.
According to Seabourn’s website, “Gratuities are neither required nor expected on Seabourn ships.”
All gratuities onboard, including all service gratuities except spa, are included in Silversea’s all-inclusive fare.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
When it officially launches in 2020, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer a fare that includes onboard gratuities for all restaurant, bar and housekeeping services, along with multiple dining venues, 24-hour in-suite dining, beverages such as beer, select spirits and wines, soft drinks, coffee, tea and bottled water in-suite and throughout the yacht, onboard entertainment and enrichment, use of the marina-style platform with access to watersports, and Wi-Fi.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking adds a discretionary hotel and dining charge of $15.00 per person per day to shipboard accounts. Those charges are shared among the waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry staff, and others.
That fee does not include Viking’s 15 percent gratuity for bar and deck service.
As part of the lead up to the 2020 launch of its first ship, Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages revealed that all of its onboard gratuities will be included in the cruise fare.
Windstar raised its daily gratuities in January of this year — now, the luxury line charges $13.50 per person per day for gratuities for all guests.
Windstar also adds a 15 percent service charge for bar service.
While it’s important to recognize that gratuities are a primary way of rewarding on board crews that make the experience of sailing special, most cruise lines allow guests to adjust (either increase or decrease) the amount paid in gratuities by going to guest services during the cruise. So you can feel confident that you are paying what you feel is fair.
Gratuity and service fee amounts valid at time of publishing
New Steakhouse Dining Concept Onboard The Three Queens
Cunard Line has announced that the new Steakhouse dining concept in The Verandah is now available across the Cunard Fleet
VALENCIA, Calif., Jan. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Luxury cruise line, Cunard, is announcing its new dining concept, ‘Steakhouse at The Verandah,’ which has become a permanent feature at the alternative dining restaurant on board the line’s three Queens—Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
Taking influence from both sides of the Atlantic, Cunard’s team of chefs have curated a menu showcasing prime USDA gran finished New York strip steak, Main lobster and Alaskan king crab, alongside dishes celebrating British provenance such as Scotch grass-fed, dry aged beef and Salt Marsh lamb rack. Offerings from farther afield such as renowned Waygu beef from Australia are also featured on the menu.
“After the success of the new Steakhouse menu onboard Queen Mary 2 last summer, our team has decided to take the concept across the fleet,” said Josh Leibowitz, Senior Vice President, Cunard North America. “We welcome guests to join us at the new Steakhouse at The Verandah concept for the very best steakhouse at sea.”
In addition to the new menu, a new selection of craft cocktails will be available at The Verandah bar, reflecting contemporary mixology trends from some of the world’s most dynamic cities. The wine selection has also been specifically chosen to focus on ‘steak heroes’ and features classis peppery Syrahs alongside more contemporary juicy Malbecs and rich Chardonnays.
Steakhouse at The Verandah will be open for lunch and dinner for a $25.00 USD per person cost for lunch and a $39.00 USD per person cost for dinner, with some menu offerings requiring a further supplement. Dinner reservations are pre-bookable on Cunard’s Voyage Personaliser or once on board, and lunch reservations are available once on board.
Steakhouse at The Verandah is open on sea days for lunch from 12pm until 1:30pm and for dinner from 6:30pm until 9pm.
Cunard Announces Royal Line-up for Fourth Annual Transatlantic Fashion Week 2019
Seven-night voyage features style innovators Stephen Jones OBE, Stuart Weitzman and Super Model Pat Cleveland
VALENCIA, Calif., Dec. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Cunard has announced a stellar line-up for its fourth annual Transatlantic Fashion Week Crossing, to take place July 28 to August 4, 2019 (M922) on the iconic luxury liner Queen Mary 2. Headlining the voyage will be royal milliner Stephen Jones OBE, shoe maven Stuart Weitzman, and iconic American model Pat Cleveland. Fashion Historian Colin McDowell MBE, author Lindy Woodhead and Burberry vice chairman Rose Marie Bravo CBE will also be joining the line-up of industry innovators. The seven-night crossing will feature runway shows, inspiring talks, bespoke dinners and Q&A’s with the experts on board.
British milliner Stephen Jones OBE is considered one of the world’s most influential milliners of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Described by Vogue as the ‘go-to man when it comes to making headline hats’, he has worked with everyone from Diana, Princess of Wales to Mick Jagger and fashion greats including Vivienne Westwood. Stephen will showcase some of his most memorable pieces in two runway shows onboard and participate in a Q&A session.
Stephen Jones OBE commented, “I am delighted to be involved in Cunard’s Transatlantic Fashion Week next summer, showing my hats on the most majestic ship in the world. I look forward to sharing my insights, tips and future trends to look out for, with my fellow shipmates on board.”
Cunard will also be partnering with the Graduate Fashion Foundation, a non-profit organization which presents Graduate Fashion Week annually to celebrate the creativity of students and graduates within the industry. Previous winners of The Graduate Fashion Week awards include Stella McCartney and Christopher Bailey. Six graduates will be selected by the Graduate Fashion Foundation and Colin McDowell MBE and will have the opportunity to showcase pieces from their collections in a runway show during the voyage.
“Cunard’s Transatlantic Fashion Week onboard Queen Mary 2 is a must-experience event,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP of Cunard North America. “It’s one of our highest-rated sailings because guests get first-hand access to some of the biggest names in the industry.”
Additional details on the industry leaders include:
Stuart Weitzman: An American shoe designer, entrepreneur and founder of his eponymous shoe company, Stuart Weitzman has designed footwear for Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and British royalty. Weitzman will delight guests with a display of his red-carpet shoes, participate in a Q&A and give an inspirational talk on his career.
Pat Cleveland: American fashion supermodel who initially attained success in the 1960s and 1970s, Pat was one of the first African-American models in the fashion industry to achieve prominence as a runway and print model. Pat will be participating in a Q&A about her five decades in fashion.
Colin McDowell MBE: The highly-respected fashion historian and style commentator returns for the fourth time to Cunard and will host interactive talks and workshops.
Lindy Woodhead: Lindy, who worked in international fashion for over 25 years, is the author of War Paint and Mr Selfridge. She will be giving a talk on her career, participating in a Q&A and book signings.
Rosemarie Bravo CBE: During her career, Rosemarie has held leadership positions in several major fashion businesses and is now vice chairman at Burberry, of which she was CEO from 1997 to 2005. During this she signed top model Kate Moss and recruited the designer Christopher Bailey in 2001. Rosemarie will be participating in a Q&A.
Stanley Tucker: With over 40 years’ experience in the luxury menswear business, Stanley joined Burberry in 1997 as SVP of Menswear Worldwide where he was instrumental in developing the menswear business. Stanley will host a men’s styling workshop onboard and participate in a Q&A.
STORM Model Agency: One of London’s most sought-after modeling agencies, STORM will be returning to Transatlantic Fashion Week to strut their stuff in the onboard runway shows.
Cunard Announces New Partnership with the English National Ballet
Cunard Announces New Partnership with the English National Ballet and Invites Guests to “Dance the Atlantic”
VALENCIA, Calif., November 20, 2018 – Luxury cruise line Cunard is proud to announce an innovative partnership with the prestigious English National Ballet for the first-ever “Dance the Atlantic” Transatlantic Crossing on board flagship Queen Mary 2, sailing from Southampton to New York, August 11-18, 2019 (M924).
Guests on the seven-night Crossing will have the opportunity to meet six lead dancers from the British ballet company, including Lead Principal Erina Takahashi and First Soloist James Streeter. Guests will also have the unique opportunity to watch the dancers’ morning ballet class and drop-in on afternoon rehearsals. A highlight of the voyage will be spectacular performances in the ship’s Royal Court Theater, including extracts from the enthralling all-time classic Swan Lake, the poignant contemporary work Dust and the stunningly visual Le Corsaire – demonstrating the huge breadth of the company’s repertoire.
“We are so excited to have the English National Ballet onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 in 2019,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. “For the first time ever, guests will be able to interact with the English National Ballet on the ocean with world-class performances and intimate experiences that will only further enhance the elegance and romance of the Cunard Transatlantic Crossing.”
In another first, dance workshops will run daily throughout the week at sea, offering a special opportunity for guests to learn directly from English National Ballet associates. There will also be Insights talks, offering a fascinating understanding of the dedication and exhilaration of the dancer’s life, along with dance-themed films and documentaries shown throughout the voyage.
“English National Ballet is thrilled to be partnering with Cunard on this exciting voyage,” said Patrick Harrison, executive director of the English National Ballet. “Guests will get to experience the joy of ballet including performances and glimpses of behind-the-scenes. We’re very much looking forward to sharing our art form with the guests on board Queen Mary 2.”
Iconic Vessels Queen Mary 2 and HMS Queen Elizabeth Meet for Royal Reception in New York Harbor
Cunard salutes the British aircraft carrier’s first-ever U.S. visit
VALENCIA, Calif., Oct. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Cunard’s flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 had a rare meeting in New York Harbor on October 25 and paid tribute to British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during the carrier’s first visit to the U.S. The rendezvous between these renowned vessels celebrates the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and their committed alliance.
Luxury cruise line Cunard is a company known for its rich history and significant role in both World Wars. Having deep roots in both England and the U.S., it’s an honor for the brand to welcome the Royal Navy carrier to its U.S. homeport of Brooklyn, New York.
“Cunard launched the first royal mail service route across the Atlantic in 1840, connecting people between North America and the United Kingdom,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. “We continue to sail regularly-scheduled Crossings between the two countries, which makes meeting the Royal Navy on this side of the pond a particularly significant occasion.”
After saluting the aircraft carrier, Queen Mary 2 sailed out to sea to begin a seven-night Transatlantic Crossing to England, the line’s signature voyage. HMS Queen Elizabeth spent the preceding weeks conducting its first trials with the F-35B Lightning II fighter jets onboard and when she departs New York, the 65,000-ton ship will head down the East Coast and conduct the second phase of developmental trials.
Cruises Make Happier Holidays
While Ship’s Crew Does the Work, Guests Get to Relax, Enjoy Special Celebrations, Festive Atmosphere
MIAMI, Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Strange things will be happening on the high seas for Halloween, and Santa Claus will be visiting cruise ships around the world in December. No matter the holiday, cruise lines go all out getting into the spirit with special decorations, traditional food and a plethora of fun activities.
Expect to see your ship done up in black and orange and with goblins and witches wandering around for Halloween; serving turkey with over-the-top trimmings for Thanksgiving; festooned stem-to-stern for Christmas; and becoming the scene for extravagant dress-up parties for New Year’s.
And all you have to do is have fun. No need to entertain, or do the cooking – and cleaning — yourself.
Oktoberfest and Christmas, German style
Experience an Oktoberfest to remember on the high seas with German line AIDA Cruises. The celebration embraces Bavarian tent-style activities from arm wrestling to yodeling. Popular German bands will be onboard AIDAperla and AIDAprima for live performances. Both ships will serve a special Oktoberfest beer brewed in the ships’ own breweries, to be enjoyed while sitting or dancing on benches. Traditional Bavarian culinary fare will include pork knuckle, sausage salad and dumplings. Wearing traditional dress is encouraged.
Christmas and New Year’s sailings bring AIDA Cruises guests to destinations including the Caribbean, Canary Islands, Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. Ships include the brand new AIDAnova, the first ship in the world powered at sea and in port with liquefied natural gas, the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. Advent cruises celebrate with Christmas carol singalongs, Advent calendars, trees and other Christmas decorations and gingerbread. Christmas markets take place onboard, making holiday shopping easy. Goose is served on Christmas Eve.
Celebrating with Pirate Patch and The Grinch
For the month of October, Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its already popular “Frightfully Fun” Halloween programming with even more “spook-tacular” activities. The celebration will include costume contests, trick-or-treating and special holiday versions of live deck parties, trivia, Dive-In Movies, arts and crafts, and bingo. The centerpiece of the fun will be Patch, Carnival Cruise Line’s pumpkin pirate, who will stand guard in the atrium on each ship.
Starting in late November, it’s “Grinchmas Time” throughout the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Though Mr. Grinch may be “a mean one” as part of the line’s exclusive Seuss at Sea program, and decked out in his green “Santy Claus” costume, he’s actually a leader of fun. The young and young at heart can catch a glimpse of the cantankerous curmudgeon as he slinks and slithers throughout the ship, with both scheduled appearances and spontaneous pop-up visits.
Carnival Cruise Line’s 26 ships also celebrate the holidays with ornately decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, mistletoe, caroling and appearances by Santa Claus, as well as traditional food including roast turkey and pecan pie on Christmas Day.
British holiday celebrations on P&O Cruises
Beginning in late November, special Christmas Market cruises visit markets around Europe, giving P&O Cruises guests opportunity to stock up on gifts, ranging from fine Belgium chocolates to handmade artisan gifts from Amsterdam and everything in between.
The seven ships in the fleet will be lavishly decorated with a total of 249 Christmas trees, adorned with twinkling lights and more than 44,000 decorations. Christmas dinners, festive-themed entertainment and holiday-themed films get everyone in the holiday spirit. On the line’s family-friendly ships, Father Christmas comes down the ship’s funnel. Guests can choose Christmas sailings in the Caribbean, Baltic and Canary Islands.
Ultra-luxury celebrations on Seabourn
Guests on Seabourn’s five ultra-luxury ships will celebrate the holidays in destinations around the world. There’s Christmas and New Year’s in Australia and the South Pacific or the opportunity to embrace the spirit in the stark white scenery of Antarctica. Guests on Seabourn Odyssey may spend some holiday time beachcombing in the Caribbean, while those on the new Seabourn Ovation will be exploring Thailand and Vietnam.
On all the ships, Thanksgiving brings a traditional turkey dinner. During Hanukkah and Christmas, the Seabourn ships are transformed into holiday wonderlands with gingerbread village displays and evergreen hangings draping railings and balusters. New Year’s Eve brings a formal party with a memorable toast to 2019.
A holiday wonderland on Princess Cruises
It actually snows in the atrium on Princess Cruises ships, even if you’re celebrating the holidays in the sunny Caribbean or other warm local. Passengers mingle with Kris Kringle, as yuletide carolers sing the classics, and the halls are decked with trees with red ribbons – even the ships’ masts get Christmas trees.
There is opportunity to sip eggnog and make gingerbread houses as a family. Christmas dinner brings a choice of roast turkey or goose with all the trimmings. Special holiday parties take place in the youth and teen centers, with cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer on Christmas Eve.
Princess Cruises also goes all out for Halloween, with various spooky decorations, a Fright Night Party and costume contest and a special scavenger hunt for families. Thanksgiving festivities include the ever-popular turkey calling contest.
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is celebrated with a menorah‐lighting ceremony, themed crafts, festive décor and such traditional delicacies as potato latkes. New Year’s brings a countdown party culminating with a balloon drop and celebratory champagne toast.
Relax during New Year’s Day with college bowl championship games shown on the outdoor movie screen and a football tailgate party with game-day treats.
Holland America Line ships add holiday sparkle
On the ships of Holland America Line, Halloween is celebrated with a pumpkin-carving contest where passengers vote their favorite. Kids go trick-or-treating around the ship (parents can join in, too) as part of the Club HAL program, and some crew wear costumes. There’s also a costume dance party for guests – with awards (candy) given for funniest, most creative, best team and best overall costumes.
Thanksgiving brings fall décor, spiced pumpkin lattes and an impressive turkey dinner capped with a big selection of pies and desserts.
Whether you are sailing in the Caribbean on the newly launched Nieuw Statendam and other ships or in Australia, Asia, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera or Asia, a highlight of Christmas Eve is a tree-lighting ceremony and Christmas carols in the atrium, with one child chosen to throw “snow” at the tree – a cue for the holiday lights to be turned on. There’s also a Christmas Eve concert featuring international crew members singing carols.
On Christmas morning, Santa arrives and kids, ‘tweens and teens receive wrapped presents. Clergy are onboard leading services for Hanukkah and Christmas.
New Year’s Eve is celebrated with a gala ball and champagne toast, followed by a selection of college football bowl games shown on New Year’s Day.
Embracing tradition with Cunard
A transatlantic or other voyage on a Cunard ocean liner is always an occasion, but even more so when the ships embrace the holiday spirit – especially since the line has nearly two centuries of experience in celebrating.
During the season, Christmas decorations include poinsettias and other seasonal flowers. Gingerbread villages are displayed. There’s a festive buffet lunch on embarkation day, and special menus are created for gala dinners on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Children participate in workshops, decorating cookies and gingerbread.
Holiday cruises Down Under
On the ships of P&O Cruises Australia, Halloween gets spooky with decorations, costumes, themed treats and entertainment for kids and adults alike. Dance enthusiasts can learn routines to iconic tracks such as the “Time Warp” and “Thriller,” before showing off their moves at a special Halloween fright night party. Kids will have a ball with activities that include pumpkin and ice-carving, murder mystery games, scavenger hunts, face painting and a junior Monster Mash party. Expect popup appearances by witches and such.
Christmas on the Australian line’s ships embrace the “throw a shrimp on the barbie” spirit. With the warm summer temperatures, guests can stay in their flip flops while enjoying such activities as carolling, cookie decorating and visits by Santa.
Christmas Eve brings a special variety concert and Christmas Day is all about lunch and dinner. On Boxing Day, the ships sponsor Backyard Cricket on a special pitch at sea. On New Year’s Eve there are parties around the ship including on the top deck, with the South Pacific as the backdrop.
Australia Day on January 26, 2019, is another cause for shipboard celebration, with themed entertainment for guests of all ages – including meat pies and other Aussie eats and an Australian national anthem sing off.
Experience the holidays Italian style
Santa Claus comes onboard to personally host experiences, pose for photos and help make memories at Christmastime on ships from Italy-based Costa Cruises, whether they are cruising in the Mediterranean, South America or the Caribbean. A special show production is themed around the holiday and there are gifts for all kids onboard under a traditional tree. Special menus enhance the festive atmosphere and include a touch of Italian classic tastes – such as Italian panettone or pandoro for dessert.
Memorable New Year’s Eve parties bring surprises, and there is opportunity to celebrate on December 31 at the pool, where the giant LED screen broadcasts New Year’s events in various time zones around the world.
Tips for Holiday Cruises
1) Plan ahead. Holiday sailings are popular, so it’s important to book well in advance to get the stateroom of your choice.
2) Splurge on space. Especially if you are bringing the family, you will want room to spread out. Book a balcony and you can feel warm sea breezes in your own space, while you think of your friends and relatives in snowy locales.
3) Leave the bulk of the gifts back home. You don’t want fill your luggage with gifts. Bring one special item for each family member, and plan to open the rest later. Or better yet, seek out surprises in the onboard shops.
4) Bring treats for the crew. These hardworking folks are away from home during the holidays and will appreciate your acts of kindness.
5) Pick up ornaments at each port of call. They’ll help you remember your great holiday experience for years to come.
Cunard Announces 2020 Voyages
Cunard expertly curates travel itineraries for the discerning guest. Voyages that are about the ship as much as the shore, sailing to well-known cities that hold well-hidden secrets, and journeys that we have made iconic and invite our guests to be a part of. Guests arrive in style, discover with distinction, depart with fanfare and sail onwards in unrivaled sophistication. Exploring the oceans aboard a Cunard Queen is like nothing else.
Highlights for 2020 Voyages, by Cunard
Queen Mary 2
♦ Eight 14-night roundtrip Crossings from New York or London
♦ Two 21-night roundtrip sailings, one from New York, one from London, with calls in Canada, Iceland and Scotland
♦ Fourth of July 7-night Independence Day Celebration out of New York
♦ Four 7-night voyages between New York and Quebec
♦ Eight 14-night voyages which begin and end in ports of New York, Quebec, London and Le Havre
♦ Four Baltic voyages, ranging from 9 to 16 nights
♦ Four Norwegian Fjords voyages, ranging from 7 to 12 nights
♦ Three Atlantic Coast / Iberia voyages, ranging from 10 to 12 nights
♦ Two 12-night Iceland voyages
♦ Two 12-night North Cape voyages (with a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights)
♦ Two Western Mediterranean voyages, ranging from 14 to 17 nights
♦ A 12-night British Isles voyage
♦ Roundtrip Tokyo itineraries with varying lengths and destinations
♦ Five Southeast Asia voyages, ranging from 7 to 23 nights
♦ Three open jaw Australia voyages, ranging from 2 to 4 nights
The Grill Suites
During a 2020 voyage, experience the refined luxury epitomized by Queens Grill and Princess Grill Suites.
♦ Deluxe accommodations
♦ Concierge service
♦ Butler service for Queens Grill guests
♦ Dedicated restaurants with ultimate fine dining
♦ Private access lounges
♦ Priority embarkation
and much more
Early Booking Benefits^^
Guests who book before November 30, 2018 will be rewarded with our Early Booking Benefits.
♦ Free Drinks
♦ and Gratuities‡ in Princess Grill and Queens Grill Suites
♦ Up to $2,000 Onboard Credit per stateroom^
♦ Free Upgrades†
Cunard is delighted to bring back Value Fares for the 2020 Summer Program Launch. The Value Fares will feature the following:
♦ Up to 25% off Launch Fares††
♦ 3rd and 4th guests receive up to 50% off††
♦ Reduced Non-Refundable Deposit‡‡
World Club Savings
World Club members will receive a 5% discount off Launch Fares††† on 2020 voyages when booking by February 28, 2019.
Exciting New Insights Program to Alaska with Cunard
Cunard Announces Exciting New Insights Program with Distinct Experts Onboard for Alaska 2019. Experts and authors in Alaskan Native history; fishing and cooking; and ecosystems round out Cunard’s Insights Program when Queen Elizabeth sails to Alaska
VALENCIA, Calif., Sept. 10, 2018 /CNW/ — Luxury cruise line Cunard today announced culturally-rich onboard programming for 2019 voyages as the legendary brand returns to Alaska to offer its iconic experience in ‘The Last Frontier.’
Queen Elizabeth will sail four 10-night roundtrip Alaska voyages out of Vancouver departing May 21, 31, June 10 and 20, 2019 with port calls in Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Victoria. Highlights include scenic cruising through the famous Inside Passage, Tracy Arm Fjord, and Hubbard Glacier.
“For our return to Alaska, Queen Elizabeth will bring Cunard’s iconic luxury experience to one of the most magnificent places in the world,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. “More than our signature Gala evenings and award-winning White Star Service, our team has curated some of the most interesting and engaging speakers to join our Insights program in Alaska. Our guests will have the opportunity to gain a deep understanding about Alaska and its breathtaking landscape, rich cultural heritage and local cuisine.”
Cunard’s new Alaska Insights programming will include:
~ Dr. Rachel Cartwright, an award-winning naturalist with 20 years’ experience in Alaska. Author of “Alaska Cruise Companion: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Inside Passage” and renowned expert on the behaviors of humpback whale mothers and their calves, Dr. Cartwright will offer presentations on the Alaskan ecosystem including whales, marine life and glaciers. Dr. Cartwright will also offer expert commentary live from the bridge during scenic cruising throughout the Inside Passage on all 2019 Alaska itineraries.
~ Alaska Native Voices along with members of the Huna Tinglet tribe, a group native to Glacier Bay and Icy Strait, will offer lectures and workshops about their history, culture, and storytelling while cruising the Alaskan coastline. On all 2019 Alaska voyage, guests will have more opportunity to learn about Alaska’s indigenous people at an information center hosted by cultural heritage guides onboard Queen Elizabeth.
~ LaDonna Rose Gundersen, commercial fisherwoman and cookbook author, will be sharing her experiences and expertise with guests onboard the May 20, 2019 Alaska voyage (Q915B). A fisherwoman in Alaska for more than two decades, Gundersen has made a career out of catching and cooking delicious salmon and other fish using simple ingredients while at sea. She will be joined by her husband Ole Gundersen, a fellow fisherman and accomplished photographer known for his images inspired by life in Alaska.
Other festivities onboard Queen Elizabeth during her time in Alaska will include:
- Live bridge commentary to narrate scenic cruising areas
- Dedicated Alaska in-room entertainment, including Emmy Award-winning documentary series “The Ketchikan Story”
- Complimentary blankets and hot cocoa on deck for taking in the beauty of the Alaska coastline
Cunard will also offer Rocky Mountaineer rail tours pre- and post- voyage in Alaska, which include either three- or five- nights’ accommodation and two full days aboard the train. The expedition travels through a spectacular array of scenery including the glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, winding river canyons, mountain passes and remarkable tunnels.