Royal Caribbean plans to build a private resort on the Lelepa Island, Vanuatu


Royal Caribbean is planning to build a private resort on the island of Lelepa in Vanuatu, along the lines of its properties in the Bahamas (Coco Cay) and Haiti (Labadee) – but with a strong focus on Lelepa's ecology and local community.

The announcement of the new project, which is due to open in 2022, was made by Vanuatu's Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO, Michael Bayley. They said the destination would be created in partnership with the community of Vanuatu to showcase the distinct natural ecological beauty and diverse local culture of the island nation, as well as provide employment and education opportunities.

Perfect Day at Lelepa will be built with sustainability features designed to safeguard the island's ecosystems and will be the first carbon neutral private cruise destination in the world. Cox Architecture, a sustainable, design-focused contemporary architectural firm based in Australia, will serve as the lead architect on the project.

"We believe our destinations should be sustainably designed," Bayley said. "That idea goes beyond simply protecting the ecological features of Lelepa and includes showing respect for the people and traditions that make this a special place."

Bayley added that Perfect Day at Lelepa will have a different look and feel from Royal Caribbean's wildly popular Perfect Day at CocoCay "because our guests around the world all have different definitions for their perfect day — and all of them are right. Our designers and nature have created the ideal South Pacific experience and we expect the results will be stunning." See


Viking has launched six new 2021 departures of its popular river-ocean combination cruises that explore Europe's rivers on a Viking Longship before transferring to one of Viking's state-of-the-art ocean ships to sail in Scandinavia. Itineraries include the 22-day Grand European and Viking Fjords from Budapest to Bergen (or vice versa) and the 15-day Rhine and Viking Shores and Fjords from Basel to Bergen (or vice versa). Fares for the 22-night package departing May 9, 2021 start from $13,890 and include free return economy airfares when booked before November 30, 2019. See


Renaissance Tours has chartered super-luxe motoryacht Crystal Esprit for a 12-day Birth of Civilisation archaeological cruise to Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Jordan, departing Larnaca, Cyprus on November 10, 2020. Led by two well-known Australian specialists, Iain Shearer and Dr Julian Droogan, the cruise is operated in partnership with the Art Gallery of NSW. Highlights include visiting renowned archaeological sites in Israel, including Caesarea, Megiddo and ancient Acre, and the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, scheduled to open in early 2020. See


Construction has begun on Cunard's fourth ship by the Fincantieri shipbuilding group, the same company that built and delivered Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in 2007 and 2010. The as yet unnamed ship will be the 249th in Cunard's 179-year history and is set to launch in Italy in 2022. Cunard's president, Simon Palethorpe, said, "After years of planning and design, we are delighted to see building works commence on our newest ship. It is taking inspiration from the successes of our past, integrating the Cunard spirit with exciting new concepts and ideas." See


Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is located on both sides of which river? Last week's answer: QE2 is permanently moored in Dubai




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LAST CRUISE A nine-night "circle Japan" cruise on Diamond Princess from Tokyo (Yokohama). Unfortunately, a typhoon hit Tokyo on the first day so we embarked late and left Yokohama at four the next morning, missing a call to Ishinomaki. We visited Hakodate, Maizuru, Busan and Hiroshima. Each port offered a great glimpse into Japanese culture and we took ship excursions in Hakodate and Hiroshima. The most memorable and emotional one was Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where the atom bomb was dropped in the Second World War. The museum and tour guide commentary was really thorough and informative.

NEXT CRUISE We have booked a Sydney to Singapore cruise on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth on March 9, 2020.

DREAM SHIP Our favourite ship is Crystal Symphony, which we sailed on from Singapore to Bali. You pay a bit more but everything is included. Boy, what an experience! It is a lovely ship.

DREAM CRUISE We really enjoyed cruising Alaska and Canada with Oceania and a Baltic cruise with Princess – both itineraries offer fascinating ports and cultural insights.

DREAM PORT Liverpool, England. We went to the city on a British Isles cruise and visited the famed Cavern Club and Beatles museum. I saw the Beatles in concert in 1964 at the Sydney Stadium and became a lifetime fan.

BEST CRUISE TIP Book early for best deals and cabin selection and if you're like us, just do some cruises for a complete rest regardless of the port stops. Stay on board and enjoy the facilities when the ship is almost empty.


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