NEW CRUISING GROUNDS
The Pacific islands, New Zealand and Australia continue to be the main focus for ships that belong to Australia-based Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) and P&O Cruises, but more destinations are finding their way onto their itineraries. Next year, P&O has a handful of Indonesian sailings, from Singapore to Sydney on Pacific Explorer, and eight to Papua New Guinea, while CCL is adding the Kimberley,Papua New Guinea and Fiji's Dravuni Island to its 2021-22 season.
Carnival fans are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 3700-passenger Carnival Splendor which from December 10 will cruise regionally year-round alongside sister ship Carnival Spirit..
"This year, we celebrated the incredible milestone of one million guests sailing with us since launching in 2012 and with so many experienced Carnival cruisers, we knew it was time to offer something new and different to spice things up and give guests a reason to continue sailing with us," says CCL's vice president and general manager, Jennifer Vandekreeke.
"We listen carefully to our guests' feedback through surveys, our Facebook page and discussions onboard. That's why when we started hearing a desire for something new, we pulled out the map and looked for locations that are both off the beaten path and right for our brand."
Both Carnival Spirit and Splendor will call at Dravuni island in 2021-22, while the Kimberley and PNG cruises are one-offs – for now. "If they are truly popular and we find there's unprecedented demand, then we'll definitely return," Vandekreeke says.
With ship- and boat-based itineraries consistently ranking among its most popular trips, European active-holiday specialist UTracks is adding five new itineraries to its program in 2020. Cycling is an integral part of the experience. There are two in France (Lyon and Provence Bike and Boat, from March to October, and Burgundy Bike and Barge, June to September); Dutch Tulips by Bike and Boat, from March to May; Peloponnese and Saronic Islands Bike and Sail, from April to October; and Tuscany Bike and Sail (on a tall ship), from September to October. See UTracks.com
EASTERN & ORIENTAL RAIL SAIL
Travel to some of the most intriguing destinations in Asia and the Middle East - including Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India and Dubai - taking in a three-night train trip aboard the classic Eastern & Oriental Express, followed by a 15-night cruise onboard the boutique, 690-passenger Azamara Journey, with stays at three of the world's most luxurious hotels in Bangkok, Singapore and Dubai. Ecruising.travel's 23-night fly/stay/rail/sail package departs Bangkok on April 5, 2020; fares start at $10,959 and include return airfares, accommodation and selected meals, drinks and excursions on the train and ship. See ecruising.travel
NEW PAUL GAUGUIN SHIPS
French luxury-expedition line Ponant is building two new ships for its newly acquired, French Polynesia-based company Paul Gauguin Cruises which currently operates one ship, the Paul Gauguin. The 230-passenger ships will be an evolution of Ponant's expanding Explorer class and are due to be delivered in 2022. "For the first time in the world of cruising, these two new vessels will cut their engines and cease all emissions each day during each stop, for nearly 10 hours per day," says Ponant's CEO, Jean Emmanuel Sauvee. "This project fully matches our philosophy of sustainable tourism." See au.ponant.com
How many people worldwide went on an ocean cruise this year – 10 million, 30 million or 100 million? Last week's answer: 30 years
Do your bit for plastic waste reduction and invest in a travel kit comprised of eight re-usable glass and metal containers, packed in an organic cotton bag. The liquids containers are below the 100mL maximum for air travel restrictions – just fill with your favourite products, or order some ethically-produced goodies from a huge selection at Biome. RRP $34.90. See biome.com.au
DICK GODSON & ANN MILTON, NEWPORT, NSW
NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN
The last cruise we went on was with Cruise & Maritime Voyages [CMV] and comprised a combination of its cruises. They were Adelaide to the UK on the final voyage of the sweet Astor, doing the Australia/UK return sector and then, on the day of disembarkation from the Astor in the UK, we flew straight to Singapore and boarded the Vasco da Gama for its maiden voyage back to the UK. We are now on CMV's Vasco da Gama, which we boarded in October, heading back to Sydney via the West Indies, the Panama Canal, Mexico, French Polynesia and Tonga.
In February 2020 we are cruising on CMV's Columbus from Sydney to the UK via Papua New Guinea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Greece. In January 2021 we are booked on CMV's Magellan for a circumnavigation of South America that includes a trip up the Amazon.
Astor, because of the small number of passengers  and the resulting "family" atmosphere.
Our dream cruise to date was from Sydney to Southampton via the East with multiple stops in Japan – one of the few countries we hadn't visited. However, the South American cruise in 2021 will likely surpass that.
Our favourite port so far is probably Cartagena, Colombia with Buenos Aires a close second.
BEST CRUISE TIP
We try to make sure that we book a cabin with a fridge and a kettle, it makes all the difference. And, of course, a balcony cabin whenever possible.
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