Cruising news: Royal Caribbean's Voyager returns with $140 million facelift

Cruising News

APT is ready to resume operations in Myanmar in September. Picture: Shutterstock

APT is ready to resume operations in Myanmar in September. Picture: Shutterstock

APT returns to Myanmar

After a period of unrest in Myanmar, APT Cruises has announced plans to return to the stunning Irrawaddy River with sailings in 2020. The luxury river line has revealed it has continued to pay its local staff while cruises have been on hold, so it is ready to resume operations in September. APT is currently offering free return flights to Yangon on the Hidden Wonders of Myanmar tours of 13 days or less. Highlights include a fly-drive side-trip to Inle Lake and sunset sampan cruises underneath U Bein Bridge, along with visiting up to 12 destinations.

Celebrity chef Luke Nguyen will lead selected departures and share his knowledge of the local culinary traditions in street-food tours and cooking demonstrations.

For now, departures are only available until January 2021, when they pause for the wet season. Prices start at $6395 per person for a 10-night trip.

A new Dawn

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) is expanding with the launch of two new cruise ships - creating a total of 9000 berths in its eight-vessel fleet. In the first half of 2021, P&O Australia's much-loved Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria will be delivered to CMV in Singapore, where they will be updated and renamed.

The vessels will embark on maiden positioning voyages: the former Pacific Dawn will be deployed to the UK and the former Pacific Aria will service sailings for the German market, replacing the Astor.

Meanwhile, the beautifully restored Vasco da Gama has just arrived in Australian waters for our summer season, with sailings from Adelaide and Fremantle. There are currently some amazing deals.

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Voyager arrives

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas has arrived in Australian waters after a $140-million makeover in Singapore. She boasts some exciting new upgrades including The Perfect Storm dual racer waterslide and a laser tag attraction, Battle for Planet Z, as well as a reinvigorated Vitality spa and gym, redesigned kids' and teens' spaces as well as 72 additional inside and balcony staterooms.

Guests can also look forward to using the new Royal Caribbean International app which will deliver a more seamless travel experience. Through the app, travellers will be able to check in for their cruise holiday, view their expenses and make reservations for onboard activities and shore excursions, among other functions.

Voyager of the Seas started her season Down Under with a nine-night South Pacific cruise from Sydney last week. She will sail a six-night cruise to Tasmania in February and several itineraries to Fiji and other destinations in the South Pacific.

In April 2020, the ship will return to Singapore for sailings throughout Southeast Asia for the Northern Hemisphere's summer season.

Relais & Chateaux on Ponant

Luxury line Ponant has partnered with exclusive hotel chain Relais & Chateâux for a culinary cruise offering that will make your mouth water. Relais & Chateâux chefs will join passengers on board three of Ponant's ships to prepare exclusive gala-dinner menus based on produce from the tour regions.

There will also be cooking classes, demonstrations and lectures - and, depending on the itinerary, the chef may also invite a small group of guests to accompany him to local markets to meet the stallholders and producers.

The gourmet cruises are available in September-October 2020 on just three itineraries: the seven-night Treasures of Brittany cruise, from $7350 per person; the 10-night Canary Islands and Cape Verde voyage, from $6490 per person; and a 10-night China and Vietnam sailing, from $7520 per person. The line plans to expand the culinary collaboration to more cruises in 2021.