Evergreen Tours to launch new ship the Emerald Liberte in 2017

Australian-owned Evergreen Tours is launching new ship Emerald Liberte on the Rhone and Saone rivers in 2017, its first ship in France. The 138-passenger Liberte is based on the company's existing Star Ships and features their pool and cinema, two dining venues, fitness area and massage room, plus complimentary bicycles for onshore use. The ship will sail eight-day Sensations of Southern France itineraries, onto which can be added four-day city extensions in Nice and/or Paris. A new ship also launches in Portugal in 2017, bringing Evergreen's rapidly expanding fleet to seven ships.

Phone 1300 383 747. See www.evergreentours.com.au.

Australia ahoy

Azamara Club Cruises recently made its first visit to Australia, and the company has confirmed it will return over the next few years, adding 10 new Australian ports to its 2018 itineraries. Azamara Journey will make maiden calls to Exmouth, Fremantle, Bunbury, Albany and Esperance in Western Australia, as well as to Kangaroo Island, Adelaide and the Whitsunday Islands. Azamara Quest also returns to Australia in December 2018 and makes maiden calls to Broome and Geraldton. The ship then sails a 15-night Christmas cruise that includes an overnight in Sydney Harbour for its New Year's fireworks.

Phone 1800 754 500. See www.azamaraclubcruises.com.

Lure of the east

Australian-based Wendy Wu Tours has been operating in Asia for over two decades, and this year has introduced a dedicated cruise brochure, featuring a range of itineraries in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and India. The cruises operate in partnership with cruise companies and use ships such as the new Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer in China, and new Oberoi MV Vrinda for three-day tours of the Kerala backwaters of southern India. Other destinations include the Mekong and Red River Delta in Vietnam and the Chindwin and Irrawaddy​ in Myanmar.

Phone 1300 727 998. See www.wendywutours.com.au.

Passion for fashion

Hapag-Lloyd's luxury ship Europa 2 hosts occasional fashion-themed cruises, and this June is offering another journey centred around fashion and style when German designer Steffen Schraut joins a Mediterranean cruise between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Monte Carlo via Ponza, Corsica, Barcelona, Marseille and the French Riviera. Schraut will present his latest, not-yet-released autumn/winter collection to passengers in an exclusive fashion show. The clothing will be available at a pop-up ship's boutique before being released to the general public. Passengers can also join workshops on makeup and hair styling.

Phone 02 9977 7100. See www.hl-cruises.com.

Flower power

Garden-travel company Botanica World Discoveries has announced its line-up of 2016-17 cruises, including a new small-ship cruise and tour showcasing the spring wildflowers of the Italian lakes, Slovenia and Croatia. Television gardening expert Monty Don will be a special guest lecturer on an 11-day cruise in 2017 that explores famous estates and gardens in the British Isles. And gardening guru Rosemary Alexander will give a lecture and tour of her garden on a new river cruise-tour in France that finishes with three nights in London, timed for the Chelsea Flower Show.

Phone 1300 305 202. See www.botanica.travel