Climbing New Zealand’s Mount Maunganui: A spectacular view from the summit

MSC Splendida cruise, Middle East: Treasure trove of history along the Arabian Peninsula

Cruise New Zealand: See Great Barrier Island’s dark sky sanctuary and Maori culture

Cruise, New Zealand to Australia: The boutique-feel Azamara Quest sails across the Tasman in style

Azamara Quest in the Bay of Islands, NZ. Photo: Azamara When it comes to flying I’m an early morning person, but for the start of an ocean voyage there is something intensely romantic about an evening departure. Sailing across the inky waters of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour is a delightful experience, but the sight of Devonport’s […]

Cruise news: Virgin Voyages says ‘hello sailors’

Virgin Voyages’ Richard’s Rooftop. A month after opening bookings for Scarlet Lady’s inaugural Caribbean season in 2020, Virgin Voyages’ sales are going “incredibly well”, according to Tom McAlpin, Virgin Voyages’ president and CEO. He said, “We have been overwhelmingly pleased with the warm welcome we’ve received from our sailors. We crafted our itineraries based on […]

Silver Muse Darwin to Cairns cruise: The Silversea cruise ship with every imaginable luxury

Lunch on the terrace on Silversea Muse. Photo: Supplied Wendell is late with our orchid. This is very un-Wendell-like. From the moment we meet, Wendell has been the most punctual, helpful, courteous, friendly, well-dressed butler I’ve had the pleasure to know. The fact he is also the first butler I’ve have known should not diminish […]

Cruise Norway, Lofoten Islands: Breathtaking Arctic scenery and ancient Viking culture

Lofoten needs to be seen to be believed. Basking within the icy flourish of the Arctic Circle is a jagged shoal of islands harbouring a secret. Happiness lives in this wild place, a calm contentment and sense of belonging nurtured by respect for 1000-year-old traditions. The Lofoten Islands wallow off northern Norway. This warm-hearted Gulf […]

Norwegian Jewel cruise: Where there’s no formal dress code and you can dance the night away

The pool deck on Norwegian Jewel. Tony and Vicki are dancing again. It seems they can’t help themselves. Almost every song the talented duo Spoken Two play, the loved-up couple in their 60s are up there, up there, up there on the dance floor in Bliss Ultra Lounge, strutting their stuff. They quickly become everyone’s […]

Cruise ship tips: Compensation and what happens when things go wrong

Two cruise ship passengers were left behind in the Bahamas in February. You’re on a cruise, so what could possibly go wrong? Apart from stubbing your toe in the spa or not tipping the housekeeping staff and failing to get a towel monkey on your bed? Well, some things can go wrong. Some down to […]

The six best cruise ports for shopping: Where to go in Taipei, LA, Dubai, Singapore, Hamburg and Hong Kong

Bugis street Market in Singapore. Photo: Shutterstock If you imagine cruise shopping is all about overpriced knitwear and dodgy wood carvings, then it’s time to venture beyond the frequently dismal offerings of cruise terminals and nearby shops, set up to relieve unwary passengers of unwanted currencies rather than supply them with interesting artworks or quirky […]

Cruise Thailand: A Peregrine shore excursion to Koh Yao Yai proves to be a blissful escape

Riding a fishing boat towards Koh Yao Yai. Photo: Peregrine/Damien Raggatt Our pick-up is a wooden fishing boat of jaunty colours and a coughing engine that takes us across a blue bay just beginning to sparkle in the early-morning sun. Spray flies up over the bow and soaks my unsuspecting fellow passengers, but the response […]

Celebrity Edge cruise ship’s Magic Carpet is an engineering marvel

Celebrity Edge arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Photo: Michel Verdure Celebrity Edge arrives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Another innovative new feature of Edge is Magic Carpet, a 90-tonne platform the size of a tennis court that is cantilevered over the ship’s starboard side. Painted tangerine, it moves up and down the side of the vessel […]

Cruising: How to spend more time onshore and less time onboard

In Hong Kong, the rack-railway ride up Victoria Peak, a trip out to fishing village Aberdeen and seaside Stanley, or an excursion to Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island are classic shore excursions. Photo: Supplied Forgive the cruise companies. When you’ve spent hundreds of millions on a new ship, it’s only natural to sing the […]

Cruising: Princess Cruises celebrates three new ships in one day

Sky Princess on Sydney Harbour. Photo: Supplied While chatting with Majestic Princess’ Captain Dino Sagani in Trieste’s famed Caffe degli Specchi, it becomes clear that he is something of a celebrity in his home town. The cafe’s manager is an old friend, people stop to greet him at our table and others stroll by and […]

Viking Cruises, Viking Sun: A dream ship for devotees of Scandi aesthetics

The viewing lounge aboard Viking’s Star Explorer. Viking has a fleet of six identical ocean-going ships. Photo: Eric Laignel THE SHIP Inside Viking Sun’s all-Scandinavian gift shop there’s a coffee table book entitled Nordic Style: A Celebration of Scandinavian Life. Its theme encapsulates the Viking Sun itself, an adults-only, casino-free, 930-passenger Norwegian cruise ship. It is […]

How to get to the Marquesas islands, French Polynesia: Sailing the most isolated archipelago on Earth

Aranui 5 visits the Marquesas Islands every three weeks. “The whole area was packed with human heads … they lay side by side, grinning in all directions, with big, empty eye sockets, seeming to sniff the jungle air with fleshless nostrils.” Thor Heyerdahl, Fatu-Hiva, Back To Nature. It’s the night before I visit the tiny […]

Cruise ship etiquette and tipping: The 15 rules of cruising you need to know

Women often have a couple of cocktail outfits they’re dying to wear, and a cruise is the perfect opportunity, particularly on ships like Cunard’s iconic Queen Mary 2 (pictured). Photo: Christopher Ison A first-time cruising friend once announced: “I just embraced the dagginess! And went with the flow”. Not a bad idea really when you […]

Holland America Line’s new Nieuw Statendam Pinnacle-class ship has Oprah Winfrey’s magic touch

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam. Photo: Supplied It’s not often that you see a godmother of a new ship so exuberant and gleeful as Oprah Winfrey when she christened Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam in February. “I’m a godmother!” the starr declared in front of a select group of friends, family, fans and Holland America Line VIPs […]

Five easy steps to choosing the right cruise

Joel Katz, managing director Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, says picking your ideal cruise can be daunting. Joel Katz is the managing director of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia. He has cruised to destinations around the world and experienced ships across the full spectrum of the cruise industry. See cruising.org.au STEP ONE Don’t worry about […]

Indonesia’s Komodo Island is one of the world’s most beautiful cruise destinations

Pulau Padar island, inside the Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Photo: Shutterstock I’ve always wanted to see Komodo dragons. They loom the size of dinosaurs in television nature documentaries, slobbering and chomping on buffalo haunches. Breathless narrators tell you how their saliva is poisonous, and how they’ve been known to drag villagers off to their doom […]

Pacific cruise Crystal Symphony: See Bora Bora, Aitutaki and other Pacific ports you’ve only dreamt about

Crystal Symphony offers low-key luxury. Photo: Ian Schemper Papeete isn’t the loveliest town in which to embark on the loveliest of cruises, but it has a certain raffish charm. It makes me think of Somerset Maugham’s short stories set in the South Pacific, where foreign misfits slowly unravel amid seamy ports, oppressive humidity and lurid […]

Paddling Bay of Islands in a Maori war canoe: What could possibly go wrong?

The azure waters of the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Photo: Alamy I’m often drawn to canoeing and kayaking when perusing a ship’s shore excursion menu, despite evidence confirming I have no ability. Who wouldn’t get excited about dolphin kayaking at Byron Bay or paddling through the Aurlandsfjord in Flam, Norway? Yes, enormously enticing but […]

Queen Elizabeth cruise ship: On board the successor to the QE2 that now calls Melbourne home

PHOTOS: The Queen Elizabeth’s pool deck. Photo: Supplied The ship’s main restaurant, Brittania. Photo: Supplied The Garden Lounge. Photo: Supplied Traditional English games like bowls and croquet on the games deck. Photo: Supplied The two-storey library on board. Photo: Supplied The ship features more than 700 balcony rooms. Photo: Supplied Steakhouse at The Verandah, one […]

Seven Seas Explorer: Trans-Atlantic voyage from Miami to Lisbon on ‘the most luxurious ship ever’

The Regent Seven Seas Explorer. The view of the endless horizon from the two-bedroomed Regent Suite aboard Seven Seas Explorer is awe-inspiring. As it should be. First, because this suite is directly above the captain’s bridge so there’s an uninterrupted vista of the mighty Atlantic ocean. And second, because it costs $US11,000 a night to book and […]

Tahiti, Bora Bora: French Polynesia to New Zealand cruise includes Conrad Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort

An aerial view of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Photo: Alamy Even though seemingly at least half of the developed world hankers, vainly in the main, to one day visit it, French Polynesians can be a little disdainful of their most famous piece of paradise perfection. “Boring Boring” they love to irreverently refer to it. Privately […]

Trondelag: Norway’s quiet achiever

Trondheim, Norway. Photo: Alamy Our small ship has negotiated the glittering chain that is Norway’s Trondelag archipelago in the Norwegian Sea, threading through myriad islands, islets and skerries to sail into the elongated Trondheimsfjorden. Visions of Norway generally conjure lacy fiord landscapes or Arctic Tundra, but Trondelag, and its capital Trondheim, wedged into the heart […]

Trump bans cruise ships departing from the US from travelling to Cuba

A cruise ship arrives in Havana. Photo: AP The Trump administration on Tuesday ended the most popular forms of US travel to Cuba, banning cruise ships and a heavily used category of educational travel in an attempt to cut off cash to the island’s communist government. Cruise travel from the US to Cuba began in May 2016 […]

Why are so many cruise ships registered in the Bahamas?

Many cruise ships are registered in the Bahamas. Photo: Shutterstock The regulations that apply to ships are determined by the country where they are registered. Some countries have stricter regulations, such as the US, which supplies the cruise market with the majority of its customers. A ship registered in the US is governed by United […]

Why you should pay the extra for a balcony room on a cruise ship

Once you’ve had a balcony all to yourself, there’s no going back. Photo: Alamy The cabin on my very first cruise had a small porthole window, so high up that I had to stand on the bunk bed to look out to sea. I loved my little window on the world, but I’m sorry – […]