The Shipping News: Celebrity Cruises 2018-19 itineraries

Celebrity spotting

Celebrity Cruises has rolled out its itineraries for the 2018-19 season, with its ships visiting 77 countries and 282 ports, including overnight stays in more than 40 destinations. Celebrity Silhouette will home port in Southampton for the first time from mid-2018, offering sailings to the Norwegian fiords, Scandinavia and Russia, Iceland, Ireland and the Mediterranean. Celebrity Eclipse becomes the first ship to home port in Dublin from April to June 2018, before moving to Amsterdam. Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Reflection will both wander the Mediterranean, while Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Infinity will sail Alaska.

Phone 1800 754 500. See celebritycruises.com.au.

Into the spirit

Cunard has partnered with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to offer certified wine and spirit courses on Queen Mary 2's westbound trans-Atlantic crossings and world voyages, which will then be rolled out on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth later this year. Guests between Southampton and New York can embark on a five-day course that provides a hands-on introduction to wine for beginners. World voyage guests can participate in a 12-day course that explores major grape varieties, wine styles and wine regions, as well as key classifications and labelling terminology.

Phone 13 24 41. See cunard.com.

Better Belize it

AdventureSmith Explorations has announced new itineraries in Panama and Belize. This year, the nine-day Pure Panama cruise on the 62-guest Safari Voyager explores the Pearl Islands, Darien rainforest and Panama Canal before sailing among some of the 360 Caribbean islands of the country's Guna Yala region. In 2018, a new Belize to Tikal cruise on National Geographic Quest explores the reefs, rivers and Mayan ruins of Belize and Tikal National Park in Guatemala. Both ships carry kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and snorkelling gear for close-up encounters with reefs and marine wildlife.

See adventuresmithexplorations.com.

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Canadian canal

Le Boat has long been Europe's largest self-drive boating company, but it is breaking out its first North American base in 2018 on Ontario's Rideau Canal in Canada. The World Heritage canal opened in 1832 and runs for 202 kilometres through 47 locks between Kingston and Ottawa. The company will base 16 Horizon cruisers in Smiths Falls and expects to expand to 35 cruisers during the next five years on holidays that take in scenery, settler history, water sports and bird-watching. Le Boat launches in Canada in May 2018 but will begin taking bookings shortly.

Phone 1800 118 940. See leboat.com.au.

Adventurous move

Polar cruise specialist Quark Expeditions is giving its ship Sea Adventurer a multimillion-dollar makeover and technical upgrade, and will relaunch it in mid-June this year as Ocean Adventurer. Refurbishment of the 132-passenger ship will add six new twin cabins and three suites, new bathrooms in every cabin, and upgrades to the main lounge, dining room, gym and existing suites. Ocean Adventurer will sail in-depth itineraries to Spitsbergen, some concentrating on polar bears and photography, as well as cruises to Greenland, Iceland and two new itineraries in the must-sail polar destination of the moment, the Northwest Passage.

See quarkexpeditions.com.

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