6 JULY 2015
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For July month we concentrate on rivers cruises for the most part.
With the August BTN expects to offer the latest sea going ship deals and a review of Vision of the Seas by Wendy Long, the editor’s retired assistant, who with husband Peter, is just back from 12 nights in the Mediterranean. They had a fine holiday on one of RCCL’s smaller ships.
Last month leading river cruise company Scenic officially rebranded and celebrated with a trip on the Thames from London’s Charing Cross pier for the travel trade and media. It is just a pity that they could not bring one of their own boats up the river during a delivery voyage. Nothing wrong with the Silver Sturgeon (the name grated for some) but it is not the same as the Scenic ‘Space Ships’.
Scenic is the up-market sister company to Emerald, launched last year as a quality 4-star operation. Scenic is one grade up with three alternative dining arrangements, butler service and a full courtesy bar.
The rebrand represents one of the most significant milestones in Scenic’s history and sees a new creative direction for the travel company, which has seen rapid global expansion in the recent years.
Scenic is rolling out its new look across all platforms including print advertising, website, social media, and a 140-page brochure, 5-star in itself.
With this July issue of CRUISE NEWS, BTN features ON TOUR Porto and the Douro Valley, new for Scenic in 2016.
Nichola Absalom, Brand Manager, commented: “The purpose of this project was very much to revitalise the brand on a global level and to continue to drive business growth. We want to be more than a travel company; we want to become a global luxury lifestyle brand. To do this we need to go beyond what people want to buy from us and explore what people want to do through us and, of course, people want to see lots of amazing things, they want to see wonder.”
Scenic Tours, as was, started out 29 years ago when Australian founder Glen Moroney travelled the Great Ocean Road for the very first time. The company is still based in Newcastle, NSW, but also has office in the very centre of Sydney. For the UK the base is Manchester.
Nichola spoke as the ship glided under the Tower Bridge: “Everyone at Scenic is a curator of wonder and each staff member has a role in creating wondrous moments for our guests. Our cruises and tours don’t just happen by magic, there’s an art in what we do. We are very much a handcrafted business, from how our chefs prepare a dish to the intricacies of the designing of our journeys. Our journey designers who go to the nth degree to create wonderful experiences for our guests, and who are so much more than product managers.”
Commenting on what is next for Scenic, Nichola said: “Next year is going to be big as we further develop our global product offering. We have five new ships launching in three new destinations, which is our most diverse year yet in terms of new destinations.”
On Saturday QM2 left Liverpool on its first ever crossing the Atlantic from Cunard’s original home port. It was sold out.
What made the departure even more interesting was it commemorated 175 years since the founding of the company and the 4 July 1840 departure of its first ship, Britannia, to Halifax Nova Scotia, Samuel (later Sir) Cunard’s home town. QM2 will follow the route (seven days rather than 30), and then head south to Boston before New York and a traditional arrival.
CRUISE SHOW DEALS
Business Travel News readers can take advantage of a £2 offer for any of the three regional cruise shows scheduled for this autumn.
NEC, Birmingham: 12-13 September
Manchester Central: 26-27 September
SECC, Glasgow: 10-11 October
This is a big saving as the tickets are £10 on the door. Book now and quote 'E1' to claim the discount – you can book online by clicking here www.cruisingshow.co.uk/index.php or by calling
0871 620 4024. Offer ends 15 August 2015.
RIVER CRUISE DEALS
If you use the Berlitz “River Cruising in Europe” by Douglas Ward please note the ratings top out at 500. With sea going vessels it is 2000.
The following is just a selection from the large number of offers available through now until the end of the 2016 season. All the prices are for doubles and some companies have available single occupancy deals. BTN recommends a visit to the web sites for the lated prices and selection.
AMA 14 September, 7-night luxury river cruise, Amsterdam to Basel. Book ahead for a late summer sailing from Amsterdam to Basel on board the luxurious river cruiser AmaCerto (rated 1275 by Douglas Ward) for £1,799pp including return flights from London, transfers, all meals on board, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, daily tours and excursions, free use of on-board bicycles and free wi-fi. AmaWaterways, freephone 0808 256 8422. www.amawaterways.co.uk
BRAEMAR (rated 1275 by Douglas Ward) is a proper ocean going ship operated by Fred Olsen Lines (who are also into river cruises) which with its shallow draft can navigate some rivers. Starting at Dover 1 August the ‘French River Cruise’ includes the cruising Loire River, overnight stay in Nantes, cruising Garonne and Gironde rivers, overnight stay in Bordeaux, and a final call at La Rochelle (from La Pallice), before returning to Dover arriving on 9 August 2015. Prices start from £899pp, based on an inside twin-bedded cabin, and includes all food and entertainment on board, and port taxes. www.fredolsencruises.com
CRUISECO EXPLORER (Douglas Ward’s latest book only covers Europe, less Russia) has on offer a 7-night luxury cruise on board in a French balcony cabin between Mandalay and Prome, including on-board gratuities, all meals, local beers, soft drinks and wine is served with lunch and dinner. The 11-day trip includes deluxe hotel accommodation with two nights at the 5-star Mandalay Hill Resort in Mandalay and two nights at the 5-star Chatrium Hotel in Yangon. Sightseeing with expert local guides and all transfers is included and meals as specified in the itinerary. Main deck is £3,095 and upper deck £3,315. Inclusive of return Economy Class airfare from London. www.go.cruising.co.uk/the-cruise-people-ltd/burma-luxury-river-cruising-uk
EMERALD WATERWAYS launched in 2014 as Europe's latest river cruise line, has been very well received by the cruise market and travel trade. The all new ships include swimming pools that become cinemas in the evening. "Danube Explorer" gives guests the chance to soak up Europe's cultural treasures at leisure. From Passau to Budapest visiting destinations in historical Linz, Wachau Valley in Melk and Vienna, "Danube Explorer" gives guests time to savour the sights. From £1,395pp departing April 2016.
MOVENPICK MS HAMEES (Douglas Ward’s latest book only covers Europe, less Russia) is back and promoted by leading Nile cruise specialist, Discover Egypt, with itineraries on the epic 600 miles between Cairo and Luxor on the River Nile. Philip Breckner of Discover Egypt commented “traditionally this has been one of the more sought after itinerary and we are pleased that we re-introduce the Nile long cruises for 2015 and have now published the 2016 dates.” For this year there is avialabilty on a 10-night cruise departing 18 September starting in Cairo. Included is the splendid Denderah Temple dedicated to Hathor the goddess of love, music and fertility. This 10-night cruise has prices starting from £2,185 per person. Included is return Economy flights from Heathrow, transfers in resort and the full board cruises with guided excursions. www.discoveregypt.co.uk
SCENIC is a long established product with a reputation for providing unforgettable luxury cruise holidays. All the new ships include a Vitality Pool, Sun Deck, wellness centre and Panoramic deck. "Unforgettable Douro" is an enchanting experience, showcasing the best of Portugal from Porto (see ON TOUR). Enjoy breathtaking sights in Entre-os-Rios, Regus, Salamanca and Pinhão. From £2,495pp departing 16 April 2016. www.scenictours.co.uk
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