Cruise stops cancelled, routes suspended in face of coronavirus

Check with your cruise line to see what changes may have been made to your itinerary.
Check with your cruise line to see what changes may have been made to your itinerary.

The outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has resulted in multiple cancellations and affected itineraries for ocean and river cruise operators.

Many lines, including Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Cunard, Seabourn and MSC Cruises, have cancelled port calls in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Two cruise ships, Diamond Princess and World Dream, have spent days in quarantine off the coasts of Japan and Hong Kong.

Cruise lines have released new guidelines on boarding restrictions and screening requirements, and some have also banned anyone who holds a passport from China, Hong Kong or Macau, as well as passengers who have visited mainland China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 30 days prior.

Viking has also cancelled its China river cruises through to June 2020 and Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled Norwegian Spirit's visits to Asian ports until December 2020. Check with your cruise line for the latest updates on your sailing.

A new yacht on the horizon

Channel your inner squillionaire aboard the Emerald Azzura.

Channel your inner squillionaire aboard the Emerald Azzura.

Emerald has announced it will build a new 100-guest superyacht, which will be the first vessel launched under the new Emerald Yacht Cruises brand.

Emerald Azzurra has been designed to cruise the Red Sea, Adriatic Coast and Mediterranean. The suites have a modern feel and are very spacious, with balcony staterooms about 28 square metres. Of the 50 suites, 44 have a balcony.

Breakfast and lunch buffets and a la carte dinners will be served in the Reflections Restaurant. The ship has three tenders and a zodiac for shore landings in true superyacht style. A special marina platform is the starting point for water activities, from swimming and paddleboarding to snorkelling.

On shore, EmeraldPlus cultural experiences and EmeraldActive excursions are included, and there are also optional excursions to truly tailor your cruise.

Celebrity Cruises has the Edge

Celebrity Cruises has unveiled plans to introduce some of the new Edge-class features to its Australian fleet.

The news comes as the cruise line prepares to launch Celebrity Apex, its second Edge-class vessel, next month and start cutting steel on its third.

As part of a $748 million fleet-wide revamp, three Celebrity ships, Silhouette, Constellation and Infinity, will be upgraded in 2020. And two Solstice-class Australian ships, Eclipse and Solstice, are scheduled to debut the new look in April and October 2021 respectively, allowing Australian cruisers to get a taste of the Edge-class vessels without heading to Europe or the Caribbean.

Standout features of Edge-class ships are the exclusive spaces created for suite guests, including The Retreat lounge and sundeck and Luminae restaurant. The exclusive spaces have the clean and modern look of a high-end resort.

New river-cruise itineraries for Crystal

Crystal has announced a number of new European river-cruise itineraries for 2022.

The cruises range from seven to 10 nights on board Crystal Bach, Debussy, Mahler or Ravel. All the itineraries feature at least two overnight stays - some as many as four - allowing guests to explore beyond the surface of destinations and venture into the surrounding areas.

New in 2022 are the Treasures of Southeast Europe cruise - featuring maiden ports Vidin in Bulgaria and Giurgiu in Romania - and the Joyous Danube Holiday, a round-trip from Vienna visiting the glittering Christmas markets of the region.

With more seven-night itineraries than ever - including roundtrip options from convenient air-travel hubs Vienna and Amsterdam - many Crystal River Cruises can be sailed back-to-back for those wanting a longer holiday away in 2022.

Cairns port overhaul

A major $20-million makeover of the Port of Cairns will allow the heritage port to welcome bigger cruise ships from April 2020 onwards.

The wharves are being upgraded with mooring and berthing dolphins, and the shipping channel is to be widened and deepened.

When complete, two ships, each up to 300 metres long, will be able to dock at the new port at the same time. This means that even ships carrying upwards of 3000 passengers will be able to pull up in Cairns.

Half of the new port is set to be ready to welcome its first larger ship, the 3605-passenger MSC Magnifica, on 24 March. According to a statement from Ports North, the wharf upgrade project is "running to schedule and is expected to be completed by the beginning of April".

In July, the latest Carnival Australia ship, the 3700-guest Carnival Splendor, will also make her maiden call to Cairns.

Ultimate luxury on Regent Seven Seas' Splendor

The line with "the world's most luxurious ship ever built" has launched its sister ship, Seven Seas Splendor.

The 750-passenger ship is decked out with a $7.5 million curated art collection, more than 500 crystal chandeliers and over 4000 square metres of Italian marble.

The ship is sailing her maiden voyage from Barcelona to Miami and will be christened on February 21 by her godmother, former model Christie Brinkley.

Splendor will then cruise to the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera before starting her inaugural Mediterranean season in the European spring.


Princess Cruises takes World Record

The line has broken the Guinness World Record for the largest multi-location renewal of vows this Valentine's Day week.

The event took place simultaneously on February 11, on the top deck of three Princess ships: Regal, Royal and Crown Princess.

The line had 1202 couples renewing their vows on board with The Love Boat stars Gavin MacLeod, officiating the ceremony, and Jill Whelan, serving as matron of honour, on board Regal Princess which was sailing a seven-night Western Caribbean Valentine's Day cruise.

Europe itineraries for Travelmarvel's new river fleet

Explore the best of Europe by river. Picture: TravelMarvel

Explore the best of Europe by river. Picture: TravelMarvel

Travelmarvel has released the 2021 European itineraries for its new fleet of contemporary-class river ships.

Polaris will launch in April 2020, and Capella and Vega are scheduled for 2021. The vessels have upgraded suites with electronic windows that slide down to create French balconies, new public areas and onboard entertainment.

Highlights of the 2021 European season include the 14-night European Gems (from $5495 per person) and Best of the Balkans (from $5995) itineraries, and a seven-night Rhine & Moselle itinerary (from $2195). The company is also having a fly-free offer and bonus early payment discount for its 2021 pre-release.

Longest cruise ever: Viking Sun comes to Australia

As Viking Sun sailed into Australian waters, she marked the 160th day of her attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the "longest continuous passenger cruise".

The 930-passenger ship called into Hobart on 7 February in the first of seven Australian port visits scheduled on the 245-day Ultimate World Cruise. The ship will return to London on 2 May to meet the Guinness World Record adjudicator. The voyage is double the length of previous world cruise itineraries.