Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has unveiled its 2023/24 cruising programme with more than 100 hand-crafted sailings and the introduction of new Journey Navigators across its fleet of smaller ships.
The programme includes opportunities to witness Norway’s Langfoss Waterfall in spring, explore the Azores and visit Lapland in the summer months.
image : Aurora Restaurant on Borealis (c) Fred.Olsen
Trips range from two to 93-nights, with regional departures from Liverpool, Newcastle, Rosyth, Southampton, Dover, London Tilbury and Belfast. The programme also features the return of a fly-cruise programme, with Braemar based in the Caribbean for the winter months.
The new brochure unveils Fred. Olsen’s new Journey Navigators – Nature Scouts, Culture Curators, Maritime Guides and Entertainment Hosts. Guests who book a 2023/24 sailing can enjoy up to £250 per person to spend on board or up to £500 when booking a suite. Those who book a 2023 cruise but also want to travel this year, can take advantage of 10% off any new booking for 2022.
Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Planning and Destination Experience Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:
“This has been such an exciting programme to curate. Our smaller ships allow us to offer special experiences for our guests and we’ve been creative with our itinerary planning to shine a spotlight on this. We will be cruising scenic waterways that are out of reach for larger ships, including the Kiel Canal, the Seine and Loire. Braemar is also set to repeat her record-breaking feat of transiting the ultra-narrow Corinth Canal – an experience not to be missed. We also know that guests want authentic experiences ashore so we are developing a programme to support this. In Madeira, for example, rather than simply visit the world-famous gardens, guests can meet with a local orchid expert for a garden tour, including that of a family-run orchid farm. Guests will find our new Journey Navigators on-board each of our ships to bring to life the Joy of the Journey and all that is great about being at sea from holding stargazing events out on deck, to tours of the Bridge to celebrate our maritime history.”
Highlights of Fred. Olsen’s 2023/24 programme of cruising include:
Bolette’s 14-night T2318 ‘Summertime in Lapland and Scandinavia’ cruise, departing Newcastle 1st July 2023. Prices from £2,099 per person.
Itinerary: Newcastle – Turku, Finland – Cruising Turku Archipelago – Oulu, Finland – Kemi, Finland – Holmsund, Sweden – Sundsvall, Sweden – Stockholm, Sweden (overnight stay) – Cruising Stockholm Archipelago – Aarhus, Denmark – Newcastle
For more details: Visit T2318 ‘Summertime in Lapland and Scandinavia’
Bolette’s 15-night T2327 ‘Volcanic Islands of the Canaries, Azores and Madeira’ cruise, departing Southampton on 14th October 2023. Prices from £2,099 per person.
Itinerary: Southampton – Praia da Vitoria, Portugal – Ponta Delgada, Portugal (overnight stay) – Santa Cruz, La Palma – Santa Cruz, Tenerife – San Sebastian, La Gomera – Funchal, Madeira – Southampton
For more details: Visit T2327 ‘Volcanic Islands of the Canaries, Azores and Madeira’
Borealis’ 10-night S2322 ‘Touring Southern Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar’ cruise, departing Liverpool on 22nd October 2023. Prices from £1,399 per person.
Itinerary: Liverpool – Lisbon, Portugal – Cruising Mouth of River Tagus, Portugal – Gibraltar – Málaga, Spain – Cádiz, Spain – La Coruña, Spain – Cruising by Tower of Hercules Lighthouse, Spain – Liverpool,
For more details: Visit S2322 ‘Touring Southern Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar’
Braemar’s 14-night M2401 ‘Latin America Civilisations’ fly-cruise. Flights from London Gatwick/Manchester, departing from Havana, Cuba 2 January 2024. Prices from £2,699 per person.
Itinerary: Havana, Cuba (overnight stay) – Progreso, Yucatán, Mexico – Cozumel, Mexico – Colon, Panama – Cartagena de Indias, Colombia – Santa Marta, Colombia – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba – Havana, Cuba (overnight stay)
For more details: Visit M2401 ‘Latin America Civilisations’
Balmoral’s seven-night L2411 ‘Mighty Waterfalls and Norwegian Fjords’ cruise, departing Newcastle 26th April 2024. Prices from £1,099 per person.
Itinerary: Newcastle– Cruising Lysefjord, Norway – Cruising Hardangerfjord – Eidfjord– Cruising Maurangerfjord and Furebergfossen– Cruising Åkrafjord and Langfoss Waterfall – Bergen– Cruising Nordfjord – Olden – Cruising by Hornelen – Åndalsnes – Cruising Romsdalfjorden and Isfjorden - Newcastle
For more details: Visit L2411 ‘Mighty Waterfalls and Norwegian Fjords’
For more information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ new 2023/24 programme, visit fredolsencruises.com/just-released. Book online, call Reservations on 0800 0355 242 Mon to Fri, 8.30am to 6pm; Sat, 9am to 5pm, or contact your ABTA travel agent.
image (c) Fred. Olsen: Braemar going through the Corinth Canal
Havila Voyages newest passenger ship, environmentally friendly Havila Castor, will operate the classic coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes.
Havila Castor's energy-efficient hull design was created to handle the varied Norwegian coastal weather.
image (c) Havila Voyages
The ship has the world's largest passenger ship battery pack with 6.1 megawatt hours (MWh) meaning the ship can sail emission-free for up to four hours.
"We have a state-of-the-art ship with large cabins and stylish Nordic design that our passengers will be able to enjoy to the fullest” (CEO Bent Martini.)
Martini explained, "Our ships are the most environmentally friendly passenger ships to sail the classic coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenesand. Havila Castor will be the first ship to sail into the world heritage site of the Geirangerfjord silently and emission-free." He went on, "The ship's propulsion is a combination of natural gas (LNG) and the battery pack, so reducing CO2 emissions by up to 30 % and NOX emissions by 90c%. This means that ships of Havila Voyages are the most environmentally friendly ships that sail the coastal route. Our investment in climate, environment and sustainability is more than just words. We will deliver from day one on the requirements that were set in the contract with the Ministry of Transport”.
Havila Castor is also built for climate-neutral fuel alternatives such as hydrogen and ammonia. With current technology, gradual blending of biogas will further reduce CO2 emissions. As well as reduced emissions, other properties include heat recovery from sea and cooling water as well as a food concept that includes food sourced from short-haul and local producers. The menu on board changes during the sailing to reflect the areas in which Havila Castor sails.
Martini explained, “Our goal is to cut food waste on board and we have a unique food concept which, among other things, means that we do not have a buffet. There has been a lot of positive feedback regarding menus. We are very much looking forward to getting the ship on the route along the Norwegian coast on the maiden voyage”.
Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism and Investment, The Honourable Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, was joined by Royal Caribbean Group Vice President of Government Relations, Americas, Russell Benford, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Royal Caribbean Group to bring thousands of job opportunities to the people of Antigua and Barbuda in June.
Minister Fernandez said, “Royal Caribbean is one of the iconic brands that is part of the foundation of cruise tourism in the Caribbean and this initiative will not only see a huge cadre of our tourism professionals become gainfully employed while being ambassadors for our country, but will further strengthen the partnership between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Royal Caribbean. It’s a win-win solution for all of us.”
The Minister also spoke of the Government’s careful and successful management of the coronavirus pandemic that gave Royal Caribbean the confidence they could hire the services of citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, "knowing our people are vaccinated, fully trained and possess the skills needed to add value to Royal Caribbean’s operations. The relationship between Royal Caribbean and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda goes back well over 30 years,” said Benford. “We have supported each other through the most challenging times and signing this agreement demonstrates the strength of our partnership and will result in boosting the tourism economy.” He added, “I take this opportunity to congratulate Minister Fernandez as well as our entire team involved in moving negotiations forward that will benefit the people of Antigua and Barbuda. This is a good day for the travel industry.”
In congratulating Royal Caribbean for its service to Caribbean tourism, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO, Colin C. James remarked, “Antigua and Barbuda have enjoyed a strong rebound in cruise arrivals in January and March of this year and Royal Caribbean has been a major part of that. This new partnership will impact hospitality employment opportunities for the destination in a positive way that goes beyond just welcoming cruise passengers to our shores.”
The employment initiative on Royal Caribbean’s ships will commence with a major job fair in St. John’s for nationals and residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Employment opportunities are in positions including the Marine sector - junior seaman, junior engine man, assistant electricians; the Operations Sector - storekeepers, cruise, youth and sports staff, laundry and restaurant attendants, waiters and bakers. In the specialty sector, vacancies are available for positions including in the casino, entertainers and photographers. “This is the tourism industry performing at its finest”, James concluded. The new employees will be Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise guest ambassadors and further strengthen the existing Royal Caribbean partnership.
ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA:
Antigua (pronounced An-tee'ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’da) is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. The twin-island paradise offers visitors two uniquely distinct experiences, ideal temperatures year-round, a rich history, vibrant culture, exhilarating excursions, award-winning resorts, mouth-watering cuisine and 365 stunning pink and white-sand beaches - one for every day of the year. The largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, Antigua comprises 108-square miles with rich history and spectacular topography that provides a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Antigua’s tourism events calendar includes the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, and the annual Antigua Carnival; known as the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival. Barbuda, Antigua’s smaller sister island, is the ultimate celebrity hideaway. The island lies 27 miles north-east of Antigua and is just a 15-minute plane ride away. Barbuda is known for its untouched 11-mile stretch of pink sand beach and as the home of the largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. Find information on Antigua & Barbuda at: www.visitantiguabarbuda.com
Representatives of the Royal Caribbean Group, Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Authority following the signing
images (c) RCI / Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism
Saga’s 2023 river cruise itineraries for new Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine include all inclusive offerings from 2023 and up to 25% off when booked early. Discount included in the pricing below. In addition, the introduction of back-to-back cruises have an extra 10 per cent off and dedicated solo traveller cabins are allocated on every cruise. The change comes as part of a range of updates that will align the customer experience more closely to that of Saga’s ocean cruise proposition. Other new benefits also include the option to book back-to-back cruises, which will be clearly marketed as such and guests selecting them will receive a further 10% off their booking. There is also a simpler pricing model that means early bookers are rewarded with discounts of up to 25% off the full price. If, for any reason, the price should be reduced after a guest books, Saga will automatically give them the difference back as part of its price promise.
Other already excellent inclusions remain in place such as the complimentary door-to-door chauffeur service, travel insurance with up to £5m covid-cover, at least three sight-seeing excursions on all seven-night cruises and up to eight included on longer cruises as well as gratuities. Guests can also feel reassured that everyone on board is required to have both vaccines and booster and covid safe protocols continue to be observed.
Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said: “We know our guests want an exceptional experience and value for money so the ‘Spirit’ river cruises will move to all-inclusive from 2023 and we’re introducing back-to-back itineraries with 10% off and discounts starting from 25% off in response to their feedback. These are in addition to the complimentary chauffeur service, travel insurance and a range of included excursions we already offer. We’ve got a lovely line-up of itineraries too, with plenty of new cruise options on-board the brand-new Spirit of the Danube and Spirit of the Rhine along with some firm favourites. All of this is in addition to an exciting line-up of cruises with itineraries ranging from between seven and 16-nights across the two brand-new ‘Spirit’ ships, which only had their official naming ceremony last month."
New to the 2023 line-up will be:
The Golden Age of Art on the Rhine where guests will cruise the Dutch waterways stopping to view iconic artwork in the world-renowned galleries of Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. Joined on board by famous art-dealer and Antiques Roadshow star, Rupert Maas. Seven nights on board Spirit of the Rhine, departing May 8, 2023 starts from £1,241 per person.
Autumn Colours of the Danube is a beautiful ten-night journey on Spirit of the Danube taking in the seasonal scenery along the famous river, with stops in Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. Prices from £1,574 per person, departing on November 11, 2023.
Art on the Danube takes in Budapest’s Hungarian National Gallery, the Danubiana Meulensteen Museum, Bratislava’s City Gallery and a plethora of galleries in Vienna. The eight-night art-themed river cruise departs on October 27, 2023 on Spirit of the Danube with prices from £1,499 per person.
These join firm favourites:
Flowers on Parade with Charlie Dimmock is a seven-night cruise on Spirit of the Rhine that travels through Antwerp, Utrecht and Zaandam visiting the 17th annual Floralia Brussels flower show, Utrecht botanical gardens, Keukenhof, Haarlem annual flower parade and finishing with a tour of Amsterdam. The cruise departs on April 17, 2023 prices from £1,649 per person.
Gilbert & Sullivan on the Rhine on Spirit of the Rhine starts in Amsterdam with either a culinary walking tour or coach and canal excursion before heading to Cologne for an included city tour, Koblenz, Bingen, Boppard and Andernach, including an optional tour to visit Europe's largest cold-water geyser. The cruise finishes in Dusseldorf with another city tour. All of course accompanied by live performances of the music of Gilbert & Sullivan on board. This seven-night river cruise starts from £1,274 per person and departs on November 13, 2023.
To book guests can visit saga.co.uk or call 0808 258 2031.
Spirit of the Rhine and Spirit of the Danube build on Saga’s boutique design philosophy of its ocean-going vessels, Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery, and offer a luxury cruise experience for customers on Europe’s famous riverways.
With designs inspired by the nature and culture found along the iconic waterways, both ships have been built with guests central to their design. Each vessel has four passenger decks and 91 guest cabins, hosting up to 182 customers and up to 50 crew. Each ship also features the first-class Saga facilities that guests have come to expect, complete with an en-suite bathroom and walk-in shower. There are two different types of cabin available on both ships. All have a clean, sophisticated design with Spirit of the Rhine reminiscent of Saga’s larger ocean ships and Spirit of the Danube based on an Art Nouveau and Danube Delta theme, with elements such as migratory birds used throughout the ship.
image (c) Saga
image (c) Cunard
Inspiring voyages sailing 2023 and 2024, including special maiden voyages on new ship, Queen Anne.
Luxury cruise brand Cunard unveils over 110 international voyages, sailing on its iconic fleet between 23 October 2023 and 14 May 2024, including maiden voyages on new ship Queen Anne.
Across the new itineraries, the four-ship fleet - Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne, will call at 126 ports in 51 countries, with voyages ranging from two-night city breaks to a 108-night world voyage.
Queen Anne is scheduled to call at more than 32 ports during her maiden season, all sailing out of Southampton. Following her maiden voyage to Lisbon, the newest Queen will embark on sailings in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Northern Europe as well as an Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing.
In 2024, Queen Victoria will embark on a 107-night World Voyage, departing Southampton on a full circumnavigation. The ship will sail westbound to North America, including a transit of the Panama Canal onwards to Australia, Asia, returning to Europe via South Africa, visiting 32 unique destinations.
Queen Mary 2, the world’s only ocean liner, will begin her season with an Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing from New York, before setting off from Southampton on a 108-night World Voyage. The liner will sail to the Mediterranean, Asia via the Suez Canal, Australia returning to Europe via South Africa.
Following a fly-cruise season in Barcelona, Queen Elizabeth will relocate to Singapore before starting her Australian residency with a 6-night voyage from Fremantle. She’ll embark on a series of short break and roundtrip voyages from Melbourne and Sydney, including a Christmas and New Year voyage to New Zealand, 10-night exploration of Queensland and a new 14-night voyage calling in the South Pacific.
“Announcing every new programme for Cunard is always exciting, but this year is even more so, as guests will be able to choose itineraries across four magnificent ships in the fleet for the first time since 1999,” said Sture Myrmell, President, Carnival UK. “In the newly announced programme, each ship offers a unique experience with distinct itineraries. With Queen Anne based out of Southampton, Queen Elizabeth out of Australia and Japan and Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 both sailing world voyages, one with a full circumnavigation, the other exploring destinations across the Mediterranean, Asia, Australia and Africa. Our new voyages bring opportunities to explore all corners of the world in luxurious surroundings while enjoying our White Star Service and all the other special touches that make a trip with Cunard so special.”
Please sign up Shine Rewards Club at www.shinerewardsclub.com for further information.
Welcome to The World 2023 & 2024 New Voyages - Key Itineraries Maiden Voyage (H403)
Guests join an illustrious guest list on board Queen Anne’s maiden voyage to Lisbon, celebrating a new chapter of Cunard history. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton on 4 January 2024, this 7-night voyage will offer an overnight port call in which to savour Lisbon’s UNESCO-listed Belém Tower, palaces of Sintra, and the atmospheric nightlife of the Barrio Alto. On her return to Southampton, the newest Queen will be joined by sister ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, marking the first time these three Queens will come together. A fitting end to a voyage filled with celebratory moments. Inside staterooms from £1,299 per person.
Eastern Caribbean (H405)
Guests can take pleasure in all that the newest ship has to offer on this 35-night Caribbean adventure taking in Barbados and St Lucia. Queen Anne departs Southampton 27 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £5,299 per person.
Western Mediterranean (H408)
This 16-night voyage comprises a mix of days at sea and time in port, offering the chance to discover the on board delights as well as the fascinating histories of Lisbon, Cadiz and Rome. Queen Anne departs Southampton 29 March 2024. Inside staterooms from £2,299 per person.
Full World Voyage (V404D)
This 107-night World Voyage provides the opportunty to see the four corners of the world. Destinations including San Francisco and Fiji plus overnights in Hong Kong and South Africa. Queen Victoria departs Southampton 11 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £12,499 per person.
Southampton to Sydney (M403B)
Blissful days at sea provide a relaxing balance between time ashore in Portugal, South Africa and Australia on this 47-night sailing that includes three overnight port calls. Queen Mary 2 departs Southampton 11 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £5,699 per person.
The white sands of the Whitsunday Islands and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Great Barrier Reef are among the natural highlights of this 10-night voyage. Queen Elizabeth departs Sydney 22 January 2024. Inside staterooms from £1,399 per person.
Southern Islands (Q417)
The 10-night round trip from Tokyo transports guests from neon-lit streets to historic shrines, stately castles and natural habitats. Queen Elizabeth departs Tokyo 14 May 2024. Inside staterooms from £1,399 per person.
2023 and 2024 new voyages sailing on Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are available to book from 24 May 2022, Queen Anne’s maiden sailings are bookable from 17 May 2022.
Cunard, luxury British cruise line, is renowned for creating unforgettable experiences around the world. Cunard has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic since 1840, celebrating 182 years of operation. A pioneer in transatlantic journeys for generations, Cunard is world class. The Cunard experience is built on fine dining, hand-selected entertainment and outstanding service. From five-star restaurants and in-suite dining to inspiring guest speakers, the library and film screenings, every detail has been meticulously crafted to make the experience unforgettable. Destinations include Europe, the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia.
There are currently three Cunard ships, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria and a fourth ship, Queen Anne, will be entering service in early 2024. This investment is part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally and will be the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel/ cruise writer & author of 13 books. Credits incl: Daily Telegraph, CNN, Daily Mail, BBC magazines, Country & Town House, The Scotsman, Scots Magazine, Love Exploring, Sunday Mirror, The Sun, Cruise Trade News and many more .....