Asia Cruise Yearbook : Cruise Passenger 57
10 www.cruisepassenger.com.au CRUISE NEWS: WAVE SEASON Words Nahrain John The 2014/15 summer cruising season is set to be the biggest yet. More ships, new destinations and refurbished ports are all on the agenda. Newly refurbished Carnival Legend will kick off the five-month period when she makes her debut in Sydney on September 22. And it promises to be a show-stopping affair: to welcome her arrival, teen sensation Cody Simpson will perform a concert with the Australian Girls Choir on top of the ship. The early start – two weeks earlier than last year – reflects the increase in the number of Australians taking cruises. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia figures show we’re growing at twice the rate of other cruise markets around the world. The number of Australians who took a cruise last year (833,398) was up 20.1 per cent on 2012 figures – and most boarded ships here. To meet growing demand, cruise lines are basing more ships in Australia and including more regional ports in their itineraries. Cruise lines are all set for a bumper summer Down Under. Carnival Legend will be the line’s second vessel Down Under when she joins her sister ship Carnival Spirit in Sydney. Legend arrives fresh from a $20 million “Aussification” makeover during which she received the steepest and fastest waterslide at sea – Green Thunder – and several new dining options. Celebrity Cruises is also doubling its presence here. The 1,814-passenger Celebrity Century will join Celebrity Solstice in Sydney from October 10 for a series of cruises around Australia and the South Pacific. Compagnie du Ponant is making its first visit Down Under, sending luxury expedition ship L’Austral to Cairns on December 27. The 264-passenger vessel will conduct six short cruises here and several trans- Tasman sailings between Melbourne and Auckland. Meanwhile, regional ports in Victoria and NSW will get a boost when M/V Funchal arrives here on Februar y 17. The 40-year-old ship, now owned by Portuscale Cruises, will conduct cruises from Geelong and Newcastle. Funchal will feel practically brand new, having had a $22 million makeover. The vessel has been fitted with two restaurants, five bars, a new wellness and beauty centre and a casino. During her visit she will sail four-, six- and eight-day itineraries travelling to up-and-coming regional ports including Eden, Burnie and Portland. Also visiting Eden this year are Compagnie du Ponant ’s L’Austral and Holland America Line’s Volendam. P&O Cruises will make its debut on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on March 16, when Pacific Pearl arrives as part of a four- night P&OSeaBreak from Sydney. Pearl will also call at Mooloolaba on Queenland’s Sunshine Coast on October 6 as part of a round-trip voyage from Sydney. Th e FLEET IS ON ITS WAY... ■ MSC Cruises is sending its first cruise ship to Australia. MSC Orchestra will visit as part of a 33-night voyage from Dubai, calling at Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle. ■ Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas will return to Australia on December 8 with some exciting new features. These include a FlowRider surf simulator and Izumi Japanese restaurant. ■ Diamond Princess will be in sparkling form when she arrives in Australia on November 16 sporting a new 817sqm Japanese spa added during a recent $30 million makeover. SEASON HIGHLIGHTS Voyager of the Seas in Sydney Harbour; (inset) singer Cody Simpson YOUR SAY Amsterdam Travellersarebeingtoldtheycansave thousands by subscribing to a service that monitors changes to cruise prices after a holiday has been booked and a deposit paid. US company Cruise Fare Monitor claims it uses a little-known US industry policy to cut the cost of fares by alerting passengers about any fare discounts. According to the company, many ocean cruise lines accept that if the price of a cabin drops after a deposit has been paid, travellers are entitled to contact the cruise line and have their fare adjusted to the lower price. However, the policy is rarely used because fare changes are unpredictable and monitoring them can be time-consuming. An investigation by Cruise Passenger found Carnival Cruise Lines’ terms and conditions allow those who have already booked a cruise to change to a promotional fare, but only after cancelling their existing booking. But depending on the amount of notice given, there may be cancellation charges. Let us know what you think at facebook. com/CruisePassenger. SHOW’S OVER FOR OLDIES Onarecentcruisemy friend and I tried to book a shore excursion that sounded great, but we were told: “Sorry, you’re over 65”. In other words, we are too old for some tours. We were shocked. Heather Passenger for I paid for my cruise well before time and then the discounts came and I could have saved nearly $1,000 if I’d waited. Next time I’ll be waiting until the last minute. Maybe they should have some sort of compensation such as discounts for repeat cruisers or repayments in the form of onboard credits. Cruise industry expert Generally cruise lines reward those who book early. If you find a cheaper fare in the marketplace after you have booked, then cruise lines should not be treated any differently from airlines, hotels or even shoe shops, who all want to sell the full amount of their stock to maximise yields. Brett Jardine, general manager, CLIA Australasia Passenger against It’s like anything else you buy. One day it’s dear and the next day it’s on sale. Do you think that you should get a refund when you buy a jar of coffee a week before it goes on special? No. If you don’t like the price, then don’t book the cruise. Cruise Passenger It would be great if all industries would refund money when products go on sale, but ultimately this wouldn’t be great for business. Earlybird cruisers should be rewarded for getting in early. Most cruise lines already offer great earlybird savings that range from free flights to the departure port or thousands off the cost of the cruise. NO ROBOTS, PLEASE Oneofthegreatestthings about being on a cruise ship is the amazing staff way staff manage to remember what we passengers like. It’s so personal. So it’s great that Royal Caribbean’s Quantum staff will have iPads to tell them what passengers like. But such a pity that real personal service looks like becoming a lost art. Jane WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? Iwasinterestedtoreadthe feature in your Autumn 2014 issue about Dubai and UAE. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone visiting stores and souks in UAE mentioned that they preferred to speak to a woman, and ask if there was a woman available to purchase from. If they want to make sales to women, they need to start employing women too. Lorelle GROUNDS FOR COMPLAINT OnarecentcruiseonPacific Pearl I was surprised to find that P&O Cruises charged per item for room service – even for cups of coffee. The costs certainly added up over the 10-night cruise, especially because I enjoy a couple of cuppas in the morning. There should be tea- and coffee-making facilities in every cabin. Jean Tell us what’s on your mind at: cruisepassenger.com.au Facebook Twitter A US company claims you are entitled to a refund if your cruise price drops Cashing in?
ASEAN Yearbook 2015