ON THE HORIZON
About 32 million people worldwide will take a cruise this year, according to the latest report from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and 19 new ships will set sail. Here's a preview of the first big and mega-sized ships to make their debuts in 2020.
Scarlet Lady, the first of three ships planned for Virgin, and Celebrity Cruises' second Edge-class ship, Celebrity Apex, are due to make their maiden voyages just days apart. The 2770-passenger Scarlet Lady is leaving Miami for a Caribbean four-nighter on April 1 while Celebrity Apex, which accommodates 2918 passengers, is heading for Spain and Portugal on an eight-night round-trip from Southampton on April 5. See virginvoyages.com and celebritycruises.com
The 5200-passenger Iona, the biggest ship built for the British market, sets off on its first cruise from Southampton to the Norwegian Fjords on May 14. It is the first LNG-powered ship for both the line and its parent company Carnival Corp – it's also the first cruise ship to have an onboard gin distillery. See pocruisess.com
Enchanted Princess, the fifth 3660-passenger Royal-class ship in the Princess fleet, makes its maiden voyage on June 19, from Rome to Southampton and will be based in the Mediterranean until November. See princess.com
Another UK-based newbie is Saga's 999-passenger Spirit of Adventure, a sister to last year's Spirit of Discovery. Saga's matching ships are exclusively for the over-50s, have 100 single cabins and fares now include just about everything. Spirit of Adventure's maiden voyage leaves Dover for the Baltic on August 21. See travel.saga.co.uk
Coral Expeditions is running four new expeditions in partnership with the Australian Geographic Society to explore remote natural and cultural regions in Australia and beyond over the next two years. They include the 13-night Battles and Beaches voyage on Coral Discoverer through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Bougainville to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, departing on October 23, 2020. These special cruises are hosted by speakers such as Justin Jones, one of Australian Geographic's "Australia's 50 Greatest Explorers of all time". See coralexpeditions.com
THIS TIME NEXT YEAR …
You could be heading off on ecruising's 20-night rail-sail trip that takes in a 14-night cruise on Sea Princess from Singapore to Perth, visiting Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Bali, followed by a three-night train journey aboard The Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney. Accommodation in leading hotels The Fullerton in Singapore and Como The Treasury in Perth, all dining, drinks and a range of excursions from The Indian Pacific, transfers and the flight to Singapore are included in the fare, which starts from $6369. The rail-sail trip departs from Singapore on January 21, 2021. See ecruising.travel
Christie Brinkley's latest role is serving as godmother to Regent Seven Seas Cruises' new ultra-luxe, all-suite ship, Seven Seas Splendor. Brinkley will christen Splendor in Miami on February 21, 2020, and said, "As a woman who strives to inspire other females to achieve their career and personal aspirations, I'm especially proud to be godmother of the first new cruise ship in maritime history to be captained by a female, the trailblazing Captain Serena Melani." During its inaugural season, the 750-passenger Splendor, dubbed "luxury perfected", will sail the Caribbean and Mediterranean. See rssc.com
Aussie celebrity chef Luke Mangan has restaurants on one major local cruise line – which one is it? Last edition's answer: The Danube flows through 10 countries, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine.
Belair's chic modern sunnies are designed with a petite fit for smaller faces and offer superior sun protection with polarised lenses, at a very affordable price. Available in two colours, Crystal Tan (pictured) and Milky Tort (a tortoiseshell frame). RRP $49.95. See cancercouncilshop.org.au
DAVID AND FAYE HARDING, LAKE MACQUARIE, NSW
NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN 28
LAST CRUISE Celebrity Solstice from Auckland to Fiji, Samoa and Tonga then back to Auckland. We had some wonderful experiences on the islands, which we've visited many times.
NEXT CRUISE We are excited about our next cruise, two back-to-back itineraries beginning in Perth in mid-January aboard Sun Princess. The 46-day Indian Ocean cruise goes to Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, Zanzibar, South Africa, Reunion Island, Mauritius and Madagascar, returning to Australia via the southern route. After a few days in Sydney, we'll board Sun Princess for a cruise through Papua New Guinea to the Philippines, Taiwan and Tokyo. We love Japan and will spend a week or so there doing some bullet train excursions before flying home
DREAM SHIP We are mostly Princess cruisers, but we really enjoyed our cruise on Norwegian Star. It has a wonderful friendly crew and great facilities. However, we don't believe we have had a bad cruise yet.
DREAM CRUISE I would love to sail to Antarctica. We have cruised into the Arctic as far as North Cape in Norway and in the south to Ushuaia, the port where most Antarctic cruises depart
DREAM PORT Copenhagen is probably the most interesting; there's plenty to see in the city and the countryside is truly amazing. It's hard to decide though, because places such as Iceland, Russia, Japan, Canada, Alaska and the Americas also have their own unique splendour.
BEST CRUISE TIP Besides just keep cruising till you drop, always pack good walking shoes, a hat, light jacket and spare reading glasses.
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