Ted Lange, the actor who played cheeky bartender Isaac on the enduringly popular '70s series The Love Boat, was in Sydney this week to celebrate the return of Princess Cruises' Pacific Princess to our shores next year. Not the original Pacific Princess that starred in the show and made the line's first round-trip cruise from Australia, but the 670-passenger model – the baby of the fleet – which itself has strong ties to this region.
"Pacific Princess was christened by Gabi Hollows, founding director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, in Sydney in 2002," said Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises' senior vice president Asia Pacific. "The ship spent much of her time in the early years operating in the South Pacific region, so Sydney was the natural choice for her christening."
Pacific Princess' first cruise of the 2020-21 season is a round-trip from Sydney to New Zealand, departing on December 21, 2020 and marks the 45th anniversary of the Love Boat cruise.
Princess Cruises will have a record line-up of six ships cruising Down Under during the 2020-21 season, including two of its biggest, newest ships, Majestic and Regal, further cementing its position as Australia's biggest cruise line. Bookings opened on July 12 for Pacific Princess' program, which includes an epic 90-day roundtrip voyage from Sydney around South America and a special 21-night sailing to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Isaac won't be onboard but you can toast Love Boat memories with the cocktail named after him – a fiery "love potion" that channels his famous red jacket. Cheers!
BEYOND THE SEA
Small-ship line Azamara is renowned for its "destination immersion" cruises and shore tours and it is now adding pre- and post-cruise land programs to its itineraries. Three- to six-day land tours will be run by acclaimed travel companies such as Cox & Kings and are part of an extensive new collection of more than 1700 shore experiences. Azamara's land packages come in several categories and include tours led by local experts, transfers to and from the ship or airport and on the tours, and Tour Director services to coordinate the connections. See azamaraclubcruises.com
Indian river cruise company Adventure Resorts and Cruises (ARC) is launching seven-night voyages on the scenic Kerala Backwaters in southern India, a new alternative to short stays on houseboats. ARC will offer 36 sailings onboard the nine-cabin RV Vaikundam from Cochin to Alleppey and vice versa, from October 2019 to April 2021. The vessel is a converted, traditional rice barge and will visit remote villages along Kerala's tropical rivers and lakes. Highlights include meeting local craftsmen, visiting an elephant shelter and seeing dance performances and fares include daily excursions. See adventurerivercruises.com
The world's first hybrid-powered expedition ship, Hurtigruten's Roald Amundsen, set sail on its maiden Arctic season this month. The 500-passenger ship is propelled partly by battery power and is designed to reduce fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 per cent – without compromising on state-of-the-art onboard technology and expedition equipment. It is named after polar pioneer Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage, and the ship will undertake a 23-night Northwest Passage expedition in August. Other itineraries include South and Central America and Antarctica. See hurtigruten.com.au
Celebrity Cruises' newest ship, the 100-passenger Celebrity Flora, set sail two weeks ago in one of the world's most bio-diverse marine reserves. Where is it?
Last week's answer: Princess Cruises
Aesop's beautifully packaged Departure collection contains seven travel-sized versions of its signature aromatic products to keep your face and hands hydrated, and breath clean and sweet. The kit includes hand balm and a soap-free wash, face cream, moisturising mask and spray mist, an alcohol-free mouth wash and cardamom-infused toothpaste. Perfect as a bon voyage present for a traveller friend, or as a treat for your next trip. RRP $65. See aesop.com
ANNE-MARIE POPE, FADDEN, ACT
NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN 7
LAST CRUISE In April-May this year, I took a round-trip from Athens on Voyages to Antiquity's Aegean Odyssey that included a four-day land tour of Greece. The cruise visited the islands of Crete, Mykonos, Delos, Karpathos, Santorini and Rhodes. The trip was heavily focused on the history of Greece and the islands we visited, with visits to archaeological ruins on the islands and in mainland Greece. This is my ideal holiday as I have a master's degree in history and I love exploring archaeological ruins.
NEXT CRUISE A river cruise on the Nile from Aswan to Cairo, then an ocean cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon.
DREAM SHIP It would have no more than 300 passengers; I usually travel solo and I'm not keen on crowds. Small ships can also get into ports and rivers that large ships cannot access, and provide the opportunity to visit different sites and cities with (usually) fewer crowds.
DREAM CRUISE My ideal cruise is on a small ship, for about 10-14 days, with a group of like-minded people who enjoy visiting sites of historical significance; but one that also provides the chance to discover the food and wine of the countries being visited.
DREAM PORT Santorini – it encompasses ancient history, fabulous views and the opportunity to indulge in excellent Greek food and wine.
BEST CRUISE TIP Don't overpack, and embrace new locations, experiences, food, wine and people. Life is for living!
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