Cunard sets schedule for 2013 world cruises

Cunard sets schedule for 2013 world cruises

By Donna Tunney
InsightCunard took the wraps off of its World Voyage program for 2013, providing early details on itineraries planned for the Queen Victoria and the Queen Mary 2.Both vessels will sail roundtrip from Southampton, England, on Jan. 10, 2013; agents can begin booking the cruises on July 14.Cunard’s Queen Victoria will offer departures from New York, Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco on its way to the South Pacific. The 105-day voyage will call at 34 ports in 23 countries and transit both the Panama and Suez canals.

“North American passengers being able to pick up the Victoria in New York is the real opportunity for U.S. agents,” said Cunard president Peter Shanks. “I think this will be our best seller.”

From San Francisco, the 2,000-passenger ship sails to the South Pacific and New Zealand before arriving for an overnight stay in Sydney. The ship then heads north for an overnight call in Hong Kong via the Great Barrier Reef, Darwin, Bali, Manila and another overnight in Shanghai.

Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India line the Victoria’s route to Oman before a fourth overnight call, this time in Dubai. The final leg of the voyage includes calls in Jordan and Egypt before a Suez Canal transit. That is followed by calls in Rome and Lisbon before the ship completes the trip in Southampton.

The QM2, the line’s 2,600-passenger flagship, will meanwhile cruise to an overnight stay in Dubai on a route that includes calls in Spain, Greece and Egypt as well as a transit of the Suez Canal. After a maiden call in Abu Dhabi, the ship will sail to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam before arriving in Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong for an overnight stay.

After that, the QM2 is off to Shanghai for another overnight stay and then to Australia’s Gold Coast on the way to Sydney. From Sydney the Queen Mary 2 will offer a 12-day loop of New Zealand, including a maiden call in Christchurch in addition to visiting Wellington, Auckland and the Bay of Islands.

The ship will then head westward, heading for Cape Town in South Africa by way of Australia’s south and west coasts, Mauritius, Durban and a maiden call to Port Elizabeth. After two nights in Cape Town, the voyage will explore the African continent with a call in Namibia before returning to Europe for calls in the Atlantic Isles and Spain and journey’s end in Southampton.

Said Shanks: “For the first time in 2012 we’re introducing the loop around Australia on Queen Mary 2, and it’s been so popular with our full world voyage guests and with Australians, too, it made us think long and hard about how we could do something similar in 2013.”

He said a visit earlier this year to New Zealand convinced him that a circumnavigation of that destination was just the ticket. “The people there are so welcoming,” said Shanks.

Together the ships will visit 55 ports of call in 28 countries. Cruise fares for the full voyages start at $19,995 per person, double. Segments are available on both ships.

Meanwhile, the Queen Elizabeth in 2013 also will sail what Cunard calls an “epic journey.” The 2,068-passenger ship will operate a 91-day sailing to the Americas and the South Pacific. It departs from Los Angeles on Feb. 4 for a 36-day Pearls of the Pacific cruise visiting Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa and French Polynesia. Fares are from about $6,200 per person. A shorter segment, 15 days, begins at $2,700.

MSC Splendida Photos and Review

Dawn and MSC Logo

http://cid-79658bb0cf74d1d2.skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?page=play&resid=79658BB0CF74D1D2!2721

The Hyperlink above (should fingers crossed) will take you to our Photos of not only MSC Splendida but also Pompeii, Barcelona, Marseille, Palma and Palmero.

This was our second cruise on an MSC Ship, the first was the MSC Poesia in Nov 2008 and she was Fantastic, so how would MSC latest offering compare?

MSC Splendida, her name puts a lot of pressure on her to deliver from the off, and she certainly did, the decor was tastefully done from the dining rooms (La Reggia/Villa Verde) to the Strand Theater and not in your face over the top style.

Our Stateroom was a cat. 8 with a private balcony, the room was a good size with twin beds pushed together, which was uncomfortable where the beds met and drifted apart, but the beds were very comfy and the linen was changed every day and made down at night. there was a 3 person settee  and a coffee table, but no tea making facility’s. The balcony consisted of 2 chairs and a table and was adequate for taking drinks and sunning yourself, for us this is a must for cruising and offers that bit of privacy.

The main restaurant was very well decorated and the choice of food was huge, main meal times offed a 6 course meal with 3 to 4 choices per course, and had something for everyone’s taste. The level of service was not quite up to the service we received on the MSC Poesia and we put it down to a new intake from Malaysia who were just learning the ropes and the different languages on board a MSC cruise, but over all a good experience was had.

There was always seating available in the bars and live music as well as dancing and quiz shows every night and the waitresses were very attentive and were willing to pass some time having a chat or just offering advise on the cocktails.

The Strand Theater is a fantastic venue and gives out an unbelievable sound quality,  the shows were of a very high standard and were different every night. There were no problems getting a seat right up to lights went down due to the size of the theater and every seat offered a good view.

Main outside pool area

There are 4 pools (one for the Yacht Club members), 9 whirlpools (two for the Yacht Club members), indoor pool and spa and a kids slide and pool, the pools were only luke warm but offered a nice cool off from the Med. Temps. There is always a lounger to be had and if you have trouble finding one just ask the pool attendants hovering around, the bar staff are on hand to get you your cool drinks or ice cream.

As well as the pools there is a large Aurea Spa area, 4D Cinema and a Formula 1 race car simulator.

Problems-

  • Make sure when you depart on the cruise that the Italian Children aren’t on holiday, they run around like little monsters even in the dining rooms, and are very noisy.
  • If you can help it don’t purchase the MSC port to town Transfers 8/15€ per person, local port transfers 3€ each return
  • The self service is only open a certain times of the day so expect a scum to get any food and ignore any ques as they don’t count
  • The self service at night offers a limited selection
  • There is no 24 hour eating/snack outlets

Overall the ship was fabulous and spotlessly clean, the crew were attentive and the  amenities  were very good, food was of a high quality with plenty of choice, i can highly recommend MSC Cruise’s to anyone who likes city breaks and doesn’t mind being one of a few English speakers on board (not including the crew as they all speak English).