Cunard's majestic ocean liner Queen Mary 2 has hosted many well-known guests over the years and recently featured as the setting for a new Steven Soderbergh movie. Let Them All Talk (its working title) stars Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Gemma Chan, Lucas Hedges and Dianne Wiest, and quite a few passengers as extras.
While we'll have to wait for the announcement of the movie's local release date, Cunard fans are in for a treat this summer. The 2080-passenger Queen Elizabeth arrives in Australia in December – in time to spend Christmas at sea on the way to New Zealand – for a record 101-day season.
Cunard senior vice-president Simon Palethorpe said Queen Elizabeth's 2020 deployment reflected the importance of the Australian cruise market to Cunard as well as Melbourne's growing attraction as a cruise hub. The Victorian capital will be the ship's home port for two months, for cruises to New Zealand, South Australia and Tasmania; QE's Sydney departures include a new 14-night cruise to Papua New Guinea, featuring Cunard's maiden calls to the Conflict Islands and Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands.
Queen Mary 2 will also be sailing in local waters in March, visiting eight ports from Darwin to Sydney and across to Fremantle as part of its 99-night world cruise from Southampton.
Shorter sections of the world voyage are available, too; for example, 17 nights from Hong Kong to Sydney, departing February 18; 22 nights from Singapore to Sydney, departing February 13; and 18 nights from Fremantle to Cape Town, departing March 14. See www.cunard.com
Bookings are now open for APT's 79-day voyage from Reykjavik to Istanbul aboard its award-winning small ship, the 114-passenger MS Caledonian Sky. Visiting more than 80 ports in 18 countries, this all-inclusive European coastal expedition will depart on June 13, 2021. There will be no sea days; late-night departures and overnight stays in cities such as Bordeaux and Seville will maximise the time spent in each port. APT operates small-ship cruises in South America, northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Japan, the Baltics, Indian Ocean and the Kimberley region. See www.aptouring.com.au
ART IN PROVENCE
Soak up scenes in Provence portrayed by artists such as Van Gogh and Cezanne on the boutique, eight-passenger hotel barge Anjodi next year. European Waterways is offering three seven-day sailings between Avignon and Marseillan, departing June 28, July 5 and October 25. Derek Banks, European Waterways' managing director, said: "The Anjodi cruise is the perfect way to appreciate art, be it the culinary creations served at the dining table each evening, or the marvellous Roman architecture and sweeping natural vistas that have inspired artists for centuries." See www.europeanwaterways.com
PONANT FOR SOLOS
Luxury expedition line Ponant is waiving the single supplement on more than 90 cruises in 2019, 2020 and 2021, in a welcome move for many solo travellers. The selection of cruises spans the northern and southern hemispheres with voyages that include the Bijagos Archipelago, Latin and Central America, the Caribbean, Seychelles, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean, Iceland, Alaska, the Persian Gulf, Madagascar, Polynesia and Antarctica. Ponant's fleet of stylish new ships accommodate from 184 to 264 passengers and cruises range from four to 17 nights. See www.au.ponant.com
Is it true that all cruise ships have casinos onboard? Last week's answer: The Volga River
Flying, air-conditioning, sun and wind take their toll on all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Aesop's new Seeking Silence Facial Hydrator is formulated with natural, antioxidant-rich ingredients that are designed to calm irritated complexions and reduce redness – ideal for all climates. RRP $60 for 60ml. See www.aesop.com
KATHRYN RYAN, AVOCA BEACH, NSW
NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN Nine
LAST CRUISE A seven-night Mediterranean Cruise on MSC Divina. Ports visited were Civitavecchia (Rome), Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Marseille and Genoa. Each town was amazing in its own way. We took the initiative and used local hop-on, hop-off buses and our trusty feet to explore each port's castles, cathedrals, bull rings, laneways, waterfronts and shops. My favourite stops were Palma de Mallorca (Rafael Nadal's hometown) and Valencia in Spain.
NEXT CRUISE I'm looking at a Pacific Island cruise next because my first visit was in 1976 and it's time to return.
DREAM SHIP It would definitely have great entertainment, amazing food, friendly staff and plenty of activities to keep sea days busy. A window or balcony to welcome the sunrise each morning is also essential.
DREAM CRUISE It's a toss-up between a Hawaiian island cruise or a Caribbean cruise.
DREAM PORT Mykonos in the Greek Islands. I cannot go past walking along the promenade in front of the clearest, bluest water I have ever seen and wandering the lanes between the sweet little white houses with coloured roofs.
BEST CRUISE TIP Find a sun lounger, put your feet up and be waited on hand and foot. Don't sweat the small stuff – airlines have flight delays, cruises have rough seas and missed ports. Always treat the ship's staff well. They are working very hard to make your cruise enjoyable and they deserve our respect.
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