Today marks the beginning of P&O Cruises and Cunard Line's 2014 World Cruises going on sale. The brochures have long been printed, posted and stacked on shelves, and in little over 48 hours we will be able to get our mitts on all the best deals as they trickle open the bookings process.
So, what are we looking forward to with the 2014 World Cruises?
First of all there's the ships.
Cunard are world renowned for circumnavigating the globe. Queen Mary 2, with her vast size, imperial feel and traditional, high-class standards never fail to impress. Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, the twin-like sister ships, are more modern ships, but still offer a traditional, British Empire feel. Cunard offer the ultimate in large ship world cruising luxury, and though this is nothing new, it still excites us.
P&O Cruises have gone with a variety of ships for this years World Cruises. Adonia is the ship that stands out for me. She is much smaller than a the rest of the P&O fleet, but this means access to more intimate ports — that larger ships can't get to — and a more exclusive atmosphere onboard, all wrapped in P&O's traditional, yet modern, British approach to cruising. With Aurora and Arcadia also sailing around the world they are also offering an adult-only mid-sized ship and a family-friendly P&O favourite.
World Cruises aren't limited to a full round the world in 80 days experience, in fact most people tend to book a World Cruise Sector, meaning you get to pick a section of the itinerary with the destinations you would like to visit. So, what's exciting for 2014?
Any sectors departing from or arriving in Southampton are always popular, with San Francisco to Southampton and Southampton to Cape Town the pick of the bunch according to Dave Mills, our renowned Head of Commercial.
There is a fantastic trip from Southampton to Hong Kong which I would love to go on. The adult-only Adonia takes in Cairo, transits along the Suez Canal before visiting diverse and intriguing destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, Manila and Hong Kong — that's more culture in one cruise then many people would come across in a lifetime!
Another trip which really stands out to me is Southampton to Rio onboard Queen Victoria. The opportunity to visit Rio, Montevideo and Buenos Aires in style, before a relaxing cruise home.
These exotic 2014 World Voyages go on sale from:
There are some fantastic early booking benefits to entice you, if getting your preferred cabin and dining times aren't enough, which include:
If cruising around the world or visiting some unique destinations is on the agenda for 2014, then now's the time to take to book a cruise, especially with the new Vantage Fares offering the best value that P&O Cruises and Cunard Line have ever boasted.
Here's the full selection of 2014 World Cruise deals.
As mentioned earlier this summer celebrity chef appearances onboard cruise ships are becoming more and more popular. To showcase this P&O Cruises, Britain's favourite cruise line, have put together a programme of ship visit from two of Britain's favourite chefs and the country's favourite wine expert.
P&O Cruises have been synonymous with food for years and currently boast restaurants from the former three Michelin Star Marco Pierre White and the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin Star, Atul Kochher. The ship also have only recently broke ties with the quintessentially British, TV chef Gary Rhodes. But what is the point of boasting restaurants from world-class chefs, unless they will actually be making onboard appearances?
Well, P&O Cruises have finally given us a list of dates that these two fabulous chefs will be onboard their ships. They are a wide variety of itineraries that range from world cruise sectors to Med cruises, and each chef will be onboard the ships for four days at at time. Though these are all longer itineraries as opposed to the mini cruises that have boasted guest appearances including Derren Brown in the past, it means as part of your holiday you will have ample opportunity across the four days to meet these great characters, watch their skills in action and taste their creations.
Marco Pierre White will be gracing six of P&O Cruises' fleet in 2012, visiting the White Room and showing off his skills in his usually fiery demeanor, no doubt. The three Michelin star chef only handed back his stars when he swapped the kitchen for a more behind the scenes role as a restaurateur, but as we often see with his TV appearances, he skill's have not lessened for it. Between April and October next year he will make two four-day appearances on the Ventura, plus one four-day appearance on each of the Adonia, Arcadia, Aurora, Oceana and Oriana.
Marco Pierre White's dates onboard:
Atul Kochhar is probably the most renowned Anglo-Indian chef out there. He made his way to a Michelin star and four great restaurants by combining British and Indian influences and creating contemporary cuisine. Kochhar boasts one of P&O Cruises' most renowned new venues, Sindhu, exclusive to the Azura. Showing off his latest creations from his regular trips to India and love of British fare, Kochhar will be making four separate four-day visits to the Azura in 2012.
Atul Kochhar's dates onboard:
If that isn't enough for you, or you are more interested in finding the right tipple to accompany the already fantastic food on your cruise, then why not join the charismatic and clearly eccentric wine expert, Olly Smith, onboard the Azura. The Glass House is his baby and has fast become a signature of Azura's excellence. Olly Smith personally selects all the wine for this superb venue and has also put together taster menus, with food and wine flavours perfectly matched. His infectious love of fermented grapes and his unquestionable knowledge of all things vino will keep you entertained and leave you ready to take on the vast choices on offer from Waitrose to boutique wine cellars.
Olly Smiths's dates onboard:
These visits may not necessarily tempt you into a cruise, but if you weren't sure of the entertainment and food onboard, this news should settle your nerves. For those who have already booked, then the demonstrations, tastings and chance to meet these three fab Brits will surely entice you away from your sun lounger.
Now, if only they would get the Hairy Bikers onboard — because that definitely would get me onboard!
In the first of a series looking at classic cruise ships here is one of P&O Cruises' and Britain's most famous ships. From cruise liner to war hero, the P&O Canberra will live on in people's memories for years to come.
The SS Canberra still remains one of P&O Cruises' most popular and famous ships. After starring life as an Ocean Liner, transporting passengers from Southampton to Australia, she was converted into a cruise ship and even served a stint during the Falklands War.
P&O commissioned the SS Canberra to operate between Great Britain and Australia in 1957, with the ship coming into service in 1960. With air travel gaining popularity and the the closure of the Suez Canal the route became unprofitable and in 1974 the Canberra was given a refit and adapted to cruising. Once converted to cruising the SS Canberra became one of P&O Cruises' most popular ships through to her eventual retirement in 1997.
One of the most remarkable features of her design was the turbo-electric propulsion system. As opposed to being mechanically coupled with her propeller shafts, as was then standard, her steam turbines drove large electric alternators which powered electric motors and in turn drove the ship's propellers. They were the most powerful steam turbo-electric unties ever installed on a ship and gave her a speed of approximately 27 knots. She was also the first British passenger liner to use AC as power onboard. Canberra's innovative power and propulsion system became the blueprint behind cruise ship design during the '90s, over 30 years after she entered service.
The engines may have been ahead of her time, but they weren't the reasons for her popularity. Though she was already proving a popular ship within the P&O fleet, her status as a war hero after being deployed by the MoD as a troopship in 1982 made her a living legend. The Canberra, nicknamed the Great White Whale, transported the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines to the Falklands islands and was sent to the heart of the conflict, anchoring in San Carlos Waters on 21 May as part of the landings by British forces.
During the conflict the Canberra sustained minimal damage and rumour has it Argentine pilots mistook her for a hospital ship, meaning she escaped the worst attacks. Once the conflict was over she was used to repatriate Argentine soldiers.
On her return to Southampton, SS Canberra was given a rapturous welcome and after a lengthy refit she returned to service as a cruise ship. Her new war hero status made her incredibly popular with the British public which led to sales being elevated for years to come. In 1997 her age and running costs caught up with her and she was eventually retired from cruising and sold of the ship breakers for scrapping.
P&O Cruises have today (1st June 2011) announced plans for a new, innovative cruise ship and the largest ever built for the British public. Will their latest super liner take the name of this classic ship?
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