CMV's 1150-passenger Vasco da Gama ship arrives for summer season

SHIP SWAP

Sometimes it's hard to keep up with the movement of ships from one fleet to another. P&O Cruises recently announced that it is selling Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria to Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), to make way for the incoming 2636-passenger Pacific Adventure and 3000-passenger Pacific Encounter in 2020 and 2021 – which are now sailing for Princess Cruises as Golden Princess and Star Princess.

Pacific Dawn's last cruise for P&O will be on February 8, 2021, from Melbourne to Singapore, and Pacific Aria will follow the same route on April 9, 2021. Once in Singapore the two ships, will be updated with CMV's livery and will then head to Northern Europe, where they will join six other CMV ships.

By the end of 2021, when Pacific Encounter has joined P&O, the line will have a total capacity of about 9000 passengers. CMV's fleet capacity will also increase to about 9000, an increase of 30 per cent, with the addition of Pacific Dawn and Aria.

CMV's 1150-passenger Vasco da Gama, which arrived in Sydney on December 1 for its first three-month season, is the former Pacific Eden, which sailed as Statendam for Holland America Line for 22 years until P&O took it over in 2015.

Pacific Dawn, under its new name, will cruise year-round from Tilbury (London) alongside Columbus while Aria will be deployed in CMV's German branch, TransOcean, with Vasco da Gama and replacing Astor, which sailed out of Western Australia for several years. Astor is being renamed Jules Verne for CMV's French operation. All crystal clear now?

POLE POSITION

Crystal Cruises' nine-night voyage from Barcelona to Rome, departing on May 22, 2020, is timed to take in the 78th Annual Monaco Grand Prix – in grand style. Crystal Serenity will be in Monaco for two days, so guests can experience the Saturday qualifying and Sunday F1 racing events with exclusive VIP Belvedere hospitality, usually preferred by the Automobile Club Monaco VIPs. Perks include reserved shaded spots, open bar with champagne, three-course lunch, a visit to the Pit Lane, seats in the higher part of Grandstand L and panoramic views of Monaco Port. See crystalcruises.com

SHOWTIME ON NORWEGIAN JEWEL

Norwegian Jewel is back for its third Australasian season, having undergone a multimillion-dollar refurbishment at the end of last year. The popular summer visitor is sailing a series of 10- and 12-night itineraries between Auckland and Sydney until February 28, 2020, when it heads to Tahiti on a 21-day repositioning cruise to Hawaii and then Alaska. Norwegian Cruise Line is renowned for its award-winning entertainment and Norwegian Jewel returns with two spectacular shows, Rock You Tonight, packed with '70s hits, and exclusive Australian hit musical Velvet, featuring disco classics, circus acrobatics and cabaret. See ncl.com

HUTRIGRUTEN TO THE RESCUE

When Canadian company One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) sailed into troubled waters in recent weeks, cancelling several Antarctica itineraries, Norwegian company Hurtigruten stepped in to offer a "compassionate fare" to affected passengers. Hurtigruten has now helped more than 150 travellers and is dealing with many more enquiries. Damian Perry, managing director Hurtigruten Asia Pacific, said, "Our core values are caring about the environment, cultures, oceans and people. We believe it is the right thing to do for travellers and agents and to help rebuild trust in our industry." For OOE-related enquiries, call 1300 322 062.

CRUISEQUIZ

How many countries does the River Danube flow through? Last week's answer: 30 million people worldwide took a cruise.

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CONSTANT CRUISER

ALAN & MARJORIE STONEHAM, WOY WOY, NSW

NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN 10

LAST CRUISE Before the cruise we're now sailing on – 12 days from Cairns to Wewak, Papua New Guinea, on Coral Expeditions' new ship Coral Adventurer – we cruised from Sydney to Port Douglas on Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess in October. We enjoyed spending a day in Brisbane; the city is easy to navigate and great for shopping. Cairns and Port Douglas were the other main highlights.

NEXT CRUISE In February 2020 we are doing an eight-day round trip to Tasmania from Sydney on Majestic Princess. We've visited Tassie many times and are looking forward to seeing friends from when we lived in PNG who are now in Hobart. If there's time we'll re-visit Hobart's Botanical Gardens, the Cat and Fiddle Arcade and the Cascades Female Factory historic site. The Wall in the Wilderness, a permanent art project at Derwent Bridge, is also fascinating.

DREAM SHIP Coral Adventurer, because it's small (it carries a maximum of 120 passengers) and goes to places other ships pass by. It offers an excellent range of cultural shore tours plus activities such as snorkelling and scuba-diving.

DREAM CRUISE Both of us would like to return to PNG and sail from Wewak to Darwin with Coral Expeditions next October. Marjorie's dream cruise would be to the UK, to visit family connections in Scotland; for Alan, it's the South Pacific.

DREAM PORT Rarotonga in the Cook Islands; its remoteness and culture are really appealing.

BEST CRUISE TIP Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a really interesting place. Make sure you see the night markets and the National Palace Museum.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CRUISE

Send 250-word submissions for Constant Cruiser to sally.macmillan@traveller.com.au. Use the same format as right and attach a high-resolution photo of yourself. All published contributions receive a $50 voucher from Travelgear.com.au

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