Cruise news

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SH Vega sets sail on maiden voyage

The naming ceremony for Swan Hellenic’s second ice-class cultural expedition cruise ship has taken place at Helsinki Shipyard.

SH Vega is now on her way to Norway and her first cultural expedition cruise of the Arctic, an 11-day exploration of the Svalbard Archipelago, departing Tromsø on July 20, 2022.

Providing five-star accommodation for 152 guests in 76 spacious staterooms and suites, the vast majority with large balconies, SH Vega is operated by an onboard team of 120 to provide the highest levels of personal service.

The ship has set sail from Helsinki to Tromsø, Norway, for a season of maiden cruises exploring the Arctic, from the Svalbard Peninsula and Iceland’s landscapes to Greenland, the Northwest Passage and Northern Canada. Then, come late autumn, she’ll make her way down the U.S. East Coast over 12 days, taking in everything from New York, Norfolk and Charleston to Miami.

From November, she’ll be offering a range of 11 to 21-day cultural expedition cruises of Antarctica through until March 2023, when she sails up the West Coast of Africa to the Canary Islands and Western Europe, also immersing guests in the Celtic lands of Britain and Ireland on the way to her second Arctic season. This will end with a crossing from Greenland to Nova Scotia, followed by the Caribbean and then Brazil in October 2023.

Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito, said: “I would like to congratulate everyone at Helsinki for their superb work in creating this wonderful new ship. We are delighted with the quality of their work, creating another unique presence on the waves, and very much look forward to taking her first guests to see what others don’t, exploring the Arctic in exceptional comfort and style.”

SH Minerva and SH Vega will be joined early next year by the slightly larger SH Diana, which is already under construction at Helsinki Shipyard.

New Insider Experience on European Waterways

European Waterways has introduced enhancements to its tour of artist Rosa Bonheur’s preserved studio.

One of the newest “Insider Experiences” on the company’s Upper Loire and Western Burgundy cruise, the Bonheur excursion now includes lunch in the private salon of the artist’s château. Guests will then join the owner for a private tour of the studio, untouched since Bonheur’s last painting session 120 years ago, to learn more of the artist’s intriguing life.

Bonheur is admired, not only for her remarkably realistic portrayal of animals, but also because of her accomplishments in what was a male-dominated field. She was the first female artist to win France’s Legion of Honour in 1865.

European Waterways is also offering 10% off the regular cabin price on the August 28, 2022 departure of luxury barge Renaissance, valid when booked by August 8. Based on two people sharing, the cruise fare is now £5,571pp, which is £619 off the £6,190pp price.

Among other highlights of the classic Renaissance cruise is a private tour and cooking demonstration at the Château de La Bussière, also known as the “Fishermen’s Castle” for its collection of artifacts and artwork that illustrate different fishing techniques throughout history.

“The private Bonheur studio tour is just one of many ‘Insider Experiences’ to be found among European Waterways’ diverse luxury hotel barge cruises throughout Europe and the U.K.,” said Derek Banks, the company’s Managing Director.

“Depending on the cruise, we offer private wine tastings, private and sometimes exclusive tours, and even meals with the aristocracy that include lunch with a baroness and dinner with a countess!”

Uniworld publishes sustainability report

Uniworld has announced a host of new sustainability initiatives in line with The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) five-year sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right.

Uniworld’s strategy, headed up by new Sustainability Officer Julie Higgins, includes 11 sustainability goals such as reducing 50% of food waste by 2025, increasing use of local and organic food products by its supply chain by 2025, carbon neutrality by 2030 or sooner, eliminating single-use plastic, switching to renewable energy, and offering guests sustainable tourism experiences in the form of MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences, designed to engage and give back throughout their river cruising journey.

The recent Impact Report from TTC details Uniworld’s progress against the How We Tread Right Goals relating to sustainable food production, travel experiences, responsible consumption, and more.

“Our mission with Uniworld’s sustainability goals is to create a positive change through action with science-based targets, tackling everything from food waste reduction, supporting developing destinations and using local suppliers,” said Julie Higgins, Sustainability Officer for Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.

“It is now clearer than ever that travel providers and travellers must take responsibility and acknowledge the role that each of us plays in helping to make travel matter.”

New ships for Explora

Explora Journeys will increase its fleet from four to six vessels.

EXPLORA V and VI will feature a new generation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines that will tackle the issue of methane slip and will also be equipped with industry first environmental technologies and solutions. Hydrogen fuel will allow the vessels to run on ‘zero emissions’ in port, with the engines turned off. The two newbuilds will come into service in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, said: “ This transition to zero emissions operations for the maritime industry is the biggest challenge that we will ever face, and this will only be achieved by everyone playing their part – by investing in research and development and through significant investment both by companies but also governments.”

Celestyal trials Freedom Fare to UK market

Celestyal Cruises is trialling a brand new ‘Freedom Fare’ in the UK offering Greek island touring cruises from £199pp.

Trialled exclusively in the UK market and valid on all 2022 sailings booked between now and August 31, 2022, the Freedom Fare includes onboard accommodation, dining, entertainment, taxes and gratuities, with the option for guests to create their own cruise experience from an a la carte menu of add-ons such as drinks packages and excursions.

The Freedom Fare is available on the following 2022 sailings:

  • Three-night Iconic Aegean from £199pp

  • Four-night Iconic Aegean from £293pp

  • Seven-night Idyllic Aegean from £541pp

  • Seven-night Eclectic Aegean from £431pp

  • Seven-night Three Continents from £541pp

  • Seven-night Steps of Paul from £731pp

  • 10-night Christmas cruise from £869pp

  • Eight-night New Year cruise from £737pp

  • 18-night Christmas and New Year cruise from £1,357pp

Guests wishing to upgrade to the all-inclusive fare which includes drinks, and two excursions can do so from £50 which works out at just £12.50pp per night.

Leslie Peden, Chief Commercial Officer for Celestyal Cruises, said: “Our new Freedom Fare not only offers an even more affordable Greek Island getaway, but it provides guests with greater freedom of choice when it comes to what they want from their holiday.

“We are piloting the Freedom Fare in the UK and, if it proves popular, which I’m sure it will, the aim is to roll it out across all our markets by the end of the year.”

APT provides accommodation for Ukranian refugees

APT is providing temporary accommodation for Ukrainian refugees in the Netherlands on its ship Capella.

APT has given exclusive use of the 135-meter ship to the Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht Municipality until January 30, 2023 to help support relief efforts. For the next six months the river cruise vessel will be permanently docked in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, and Capella’s 91 cabins will provide safe residence for up to 182 Ukrainians who have fled the conflict with Russia.

In addition to providing accommodation for the displaced, APT has also been supporting Ukrainian victims through fundraising efforts. APT has donated more than £11,500 to the World Food Program and Global Development Group’s Ukraine appeal.

In partnership, these non-profit organisations have set up an emergency relief appeal to provide food assistance for people fleeing the conflict inside Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. The food assistance operation is expected to help provide food and clean water to the two million refugees who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, including Poland, Romania and Moldova.

APT is also working in partnership with the German non-profit Friedensdorf International, or Peace Village International, which provides medical attention to children living in war zones.

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