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Far East Australia & World Cruises The Travel & Leisure Magazine November 09

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Cruises in exotic Far East and Australasia waters are growing in appeal as more cruise lines send their showboats to China and other Oriental locations. Sara Macefield reports on cruising in the East …

Cruises in exotic Far East and Australasia waters are growing in appeal as more cruise lines send their showboats to China and other Oriental locations. Sara Macefield reports on cruising in the East and looks at another fast-growing sector – world cruises.
This feature appeared within the November edition of The Travel & Leisure Magazine 2009.
The Travel & Leisure Magazine is the ONLY travel or holiday focused magazine that offers
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Each edition is packed full of ideas on destinations to visit and explore, travel experiences to be enjoyed, and leisurely days and evenings to be planned – plus give-aways and competitions.Variety is a key strength, with ideas to suit all budgets and tastes.This variety ensures that each edition is bound to offer something of interest for everyone.

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  • 1. Orient Steering Cruises in exotic Far East and Australasia waters are growing in appeal as more cruise lines send their showboats to China and other Oriental locations. Sara Macefield reports on cruising in ■ Many cruises start or end in Sydney the East and looks at another fast-growing sector – world cruises FAR EAST ■ Seabourn is among cruise most common ones tend to take in the coast of T he Far East is a tantalisingly lines with Far East-based ships Vietnam – a fascinating area to explore by ship exotic option for passengers and one of the Asian destinations seen as hold- wanting to spice up their holi- ing the most potential for cruising. days and cruise off the beaten Alternative routeings between the two Yachts of Seabourn track. Few places on earth can cities can include calls at the oil-rich sultanate rival this region’s rich kaleido- of Brunei; Sabah, on the tropical island of scope of colours and experiences; from ancient Borneo; Manila, the bustling capital of the dynasties and age-old traditions to gleaming Philippines; the idyllic Thai island of Koh skyscrapers and futuristic designs that make up Samui, famous for its beautiful beaches; and some of the world’s most striking cities. the cities where the cruise starts or ends to real- the tropical holiday isle of Hainan, known as This is the perfect place to escape the ly make the most of this exciting destination? China’s Hawaii. crowds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean Some cruises which start and finish in and absorb the contrasting countries and cul- Where can you go? Hong Kong cover the same territory, but oth- tures of a region that still holds that special With more holidaymakers waking up to the ers sail northwards from the city, calling at appeal. appeal of cruising in the Far East, cruise lines Taiwan and Japanese cities including Kobe, The beauty of cruising through Asian have been quick to increase the range of sail- Yokohama and Nagasaki before finishing in waters is that you can visit several places in ings they offer. the Chinese powerhouse of Shanghai – which one trip without having to endure arduous The result is that there has never been a is also a starting point for some cruises. overland journeys. bigger choice of cruises through Asia and the Other voyages from Singapore offer a dif- Stay on a ship, soak up the views and rel- surrounding area with companies such as ferent flavour by sailing to Indonesia and call- ish the chance to truly get away from it all on Princess Cruises adding more itineraries and ing at exotic islands such as Java, Bali and deserted islands or in tiny villages. others such as Yachts of Seabourn, Costa Komodo, famous for its deadly giant lizards, Getting to the Far East may take longer Cruises and Royal Caribbean International known as Komodo dragons. than flying to Europe or the Caribbean, but the basing ships there. Asian-based cruise line Such sailings can include calls in Malaysia, huge range of flights to the main cruising Star Cruises has five ships offering voyages of notably at the capital Kuala Lumpur and the departure points of Hong Kong, Singapore two to five nights to Malaysia, Thailand, historic Dutch trading port of Malacca. and Bangkok has made it much cheaper and Singapore and Hong Kong. easier than it used to be. The route between Hong Kong and ASIA, AUSTRALASIA And you don’t have to restrict yourself to Singapore is probably the most popular and AND BEYOND simply taking a cruise. It’s easy to combine travellers can choose to sail north from Hong Cruise passengers keen to venture further voyages with land-stays as part of a longer Kong or south from Singapore. afield can take longer cruises through south- holiday across Asia. It takes around two weeks to cruise between east Asia to India, the Middle East or even the Alternatively, why not spend a few nights in the two cities and itineraries can vary, but the Mediterranean. 26 The Travel & Leisure Magazine November/December 2009
  • 2. all ABOARD FAR EAST, AUSTRALASIA & WORLD CRUISES Princess Cruises Another option is to sail from the Far East to Australia and enjoy a completely contrast- ing range of destinations on lines such as Silversea, Regent Seven Seas Cruises or Princess Cruises. Such voyages tend to take two weeks, call- Star Clippers/Andy Lovering ing at various Asian ports such as Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Bali before reach- ing Australia and stopping at Darwin on the north coast, the gateway to some of the coun- ■ Star Flyer in Thailand try’s most beautiful, remote Aboriginal lands. Then it’s simply a case of sailing down Cruise tips Australia’s east coast. Passengers can experi- ence one of nature’s great wonders, the Great ● Far East cruises run year-round, but Barrier Reef, during stops at Cairns, Port choose your time carefully to avoid Douglas or Airlie Beach. monsoons.The best choice of cruises From there they may get the chance to wit- tends to be in winter when more ness the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands, ships sail to the region. and the modern city of Brisbane before end- ● Remember that some of the must-see ing the cruise in Sydney. sights in Asia involve a lengthy Taking to the sea is an ideal way to explore overland journey, and sometimes even Australia as its main cities and tourist attrac- require an overnight stay. tions are on the coast and travelling by cruise ● On world cruises, if you only want to ship gives passengers the chance to combine do a segment, study the itinerary these with the islands of the South Pacific and carefully to ensure you don’t spend New Zealand. too many days at sea – unless you Other popular stops in Australia on such Fred Olsen Cruise Lines want to, of course! sailings include Melbourne and Hobart in ● Onboard activities are worth Tasmania, while New Zealand ports of call considering on world cruises as these include Christchurch, Dunedin, the Fiordland will add more variety on the days at National Park, Napier, Picton, Tauranga and sea.The bigger the ship, the more Auckland. ■ Fred Olsen’s Balmoral in Shanghai facilities it will have. In Polynesia stops at idyllic outposts such as Bora Bora, the islands of Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, November/December 2009 The Travel & Leisure Magazine 27
  • 3. ■ P&O’s Aurora in Hong Kong P&O Cruises and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands also feature. serve of the very rich who had the money, as called “grand voyages” which take a similar One-ship cruise line Paul Gauguin Cruises is well as the time, to spend on such adventures. amount of time and visit all the places you based in the region all year, offering sailings But not any more! Potential globe-trotters would expect such as Asia, Latin America, through several South Pacific islands and call- are increasingly realising that a world cruise Australasia or Africa – but only cover two- ing at New Zealand on longer itineraries. does not have to be a once-in-a-lifetime thirds or so of the world. occasion. These cruises normally depart in January, WORLD CRUISES Nowadays there are more ships and more returning in March or April. When it comes to spending time at sea, world long voyages than ever before. Being able to P&O Cruises and Cunard Line have tradi- cruises are still the ultimate thrill. choose shorter sectors instead of the whole tionally offered world cruises from Being able to wave goodbye to British sailing means passengers can buy into a world Southampton, but lines such as Fred Olsen shores for two or three months at a time and sail cruise even if they can’t afford the whole and Saga Cruises also offer long voyages from across the globe to some of the world’s most thing. British shores. inaccessible places carries a premium cachet. A true world cruise is one that circumnavi- P&O has also increased the number of At one time, such voyages were the pre- gates the globe, but there are plenty of so- world cruises it offers. Customers can choose from four different sailings between September 2010 and January 2011, while Far East, Australia & World Cruise facts Yachts of Seabourn is offering its first world cruise next year. Sample cruises Lines such as Crystal Cruises, Princess Yachts of Seabourn (0845 070 0500; www.seabourn.com) is offering a 14- Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises also night voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore, via Vietnam and Thailand on offer global voyages. January 30, 2010. Prices start at £3,399, excluding flights. A 12-day sailing from Sydney to Auckland is offered by Princess Cruises (0845 Mix of destinations 3555 800, www.princess.com) on January 28, 2010, from £2,612, including flights. World cruises and long voyages generally call P&O Cruises (0845 678 0014, www.pocruises.com) is offering a 94-night at around 30 ports, including a mix of tried world cruise on its ship Arcadia, departing Southampton on and tested destinations and offbeat locations January 10 for 34 ports in 23 countries. Prices start at £8,406. – some of which are only accessible by ship. They tend to last between 80 and 110 days Princess Cruises Other useful cruise contacts and are split into segments ranging from Crystal Cruises (020 7287 9040, around 12 nights to 30 nights – the so-called www.crystalcruises.co.uk) “line” voyages that sail from one point to Cunard Line (0845 678 0013, www.cunard.co.uk) another. The most popular one is generally Fred Olsen Cruises (01473 746175, www.fredolsencruises.com) Australia or New Zealand. Holland America Line (0845 351 0557, www.hollandamerica.co.uk) Some world cruises depart and return to Oceania Cruises (0845 858 0827, www.oceaniacruises.co.uk) UK ports such as Southampton or Dover Orion Expedition Cruises (020 8545 2617, www.orionexpeditions.com) while others sail from ports including Miami, Paul Gauguin Cruises (020 7434 0089, www.pgcruises.co.uk) Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and New York. Regent Seven Seas Cruises (02380 682280, www.rssc.co.uk) Those departing from the UK tend to sail Royal Caribbean International (0844 493 4005, www.royalcaribbean.co.uk) to Australia via the Mediterranean, calling at Saga Cruises (0800 096 0079, www.saga.co.uk/travel) ports such as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Spirit of Adventure (0800 015 6984, www.spiritofadventure.co.uk) Sydney. An alternative route could be sailing Star Clippers (0845 200 6145, www.starclippers.co.uk) south from Europe to South Africa and return- Star Cruises (0845 201 8913, www.starcruises.com) ing via Latin America and the Caribbean. Silversea Cruises (0844 770 9030, www.silversea.com) Passengers who book the full voyage often Swan Hellenic (0845 246 9700, www.swanhellenic.com) enjoy extra benefits, with lines such as Voyages of Discovery (0845 018 1808, www.voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk) Silversea and Crystal offering free shore-side activities and selected excursions. Make sure you check out the website of the Passenger Shipping Association, Other perks include onboard spending which represents all the main cruise lines, at www.discover-cruises.co.uk credits and a free hotel stay on the eve of departure. TL 28 The Travel & Leisure Magazine November/December 2009
  • 4. CRUISE news CRUISE CLIPS Mickey cruises over to Dover Long-haul holiday firm D Qantas Holidays has on your Mickey Mouse ears and take to ■ Disney Magic. introduced a wide range of the high seas because next year Disney Inset: Goofy with cruises to its brochure that is coming to town – or rather Disney young cruisers can be combined with other Cruises is! travel arrangements in the For the first time ever, the company will offer cruises from the UK on one of its ships, Disney Magic, which will be based at Dover. In total, the ship will spend five months in Europe, from April to August, mainly sailing Princess Cruises from Barcelona. But it will spend most of June and July at ■ Down Under cruises added Dover from where it will offer four 12-night Northern European Capitals itineraries through Far East and Australasia. It the Baltic Sea to St Petersburg, calling at other now offers more than 75 cities such as Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. voyages with Costa Cruises, Passengers preferring to cruise the Princess Cruises, Holland Mediterranean can opt for one of Disney Magic’s America Line and Yachts of 10 and 11-night sailings from Barcelona calling Seabourn. at destinations such as Malta, Tunis and Naples. Disney Alternatively, they can choose its seven-night Green-fingered cruise Barcelona-Dover cruise in June or eight-night passengers can join a one- return voyage from Dover to Barcelona in July. “We are thrilled to bring the ship back and week Springtime in Norway Disney claims its Baltic cruises will combine look to make the 2010 season in the cruise with Fred Olsen Cruise the region’s rich history, culture and folklore with Mediterranean even better with new destinations Lines aboard its ship, Balmoral, its own unique family-friendly ambience that will and more one-of-a-kind Disney experiences for during which the celebrity help to bring each destination to life. our guests.” The last time a Disney cruise ship sailed in ● Prices for the Northern Europe Capitals cruise Europe was in 2007 when it offered with Disney Cruise (020 8222 2856, Mediterranean voyages. www.disneycruise.disney.go.com) start at “The response from guests was overwhelm- approximately £2,299 and include dining, enter- Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ingly positive,” said Disney Cruise Line president tainment, character experiences and “select” Karl Holz. onboard activities. ■ Join Alan Titchmarsh aboard Balmoral Island hop Scotch L speaker will be celebrity uxury Scottish isles cruise gardener Alan Titchmarsh. ship Hebridean Princess, Online travel agency which the Queen hired for Cruise.co.uk is offering a her 80th birthday celebrations, special package with two talks is to offer a new range of exclusively arranged for its themed sailings next year. Hebridean Island Cruises customers from £599. Hebridean Island Cruises is known for offering upmarket Get in tune on a musical cruises through the highlands and sea voyage with Hurtigruten, islands of Scotland and hopes to ■ Hebridean Princess which is offering onboard attract more customers with addi- concerts and a performance tional special-interest cruises as in Oslo’s new opera house as well as the line’s first guest ting seabirds, eagles, different through the Argyll lochs and to part of a six-night sailing from speaker, nature expert Tim Earl. species of fish, wild deer and some lesser-known Hebridean Tromso to Bergen and Oslo He joins two Hebridean even orchids, in wildlife sessions islands, plus a return to Northern on January 4, costing from wildlife voyages next summer on deck or on forays ashore. Ireland and the Isle of Man and £1,230. and will give passengers an Other new additions include the introduction of a Hebridean invaluable introduction to spot- sailings along the Firth of Clyde, Surprise mystery cruise. November/December 2009 The Travel & Leisure Magazine 29

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