Cruising is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the coastline, cuisine and culture of Europe – and the broad range of cruise lines and itineraries on offer means there’s a cruise to suit everyone, from families and couples to solo travellers and seniors across the spectrum of cost-effective to luxury travel.
According to CLIA Australasia, in 2015, 101,419 Australians undertook ocean cruises in Europe – up 8.4 per cent on the previous year.
“When Australians travel to Europe they are wanting to experience multiple countries and cultures. Cruising allows you to do just this, with the ease of unpacking just once, and the benefits of avoiding multiple internal flights, custom checks, and travelling in comfort and style between destinations,” said Steve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
“Currently, the Mediterranean – including the Greek Islands and coastal cities hugging the Aegean and Adriatic seas – is the leading long-haul cruise destination for Australians, while Northern Europe – including Norway, the Baltics and Russia – is becoming increasingly popular,” Mr Odell added. CLIA Australia’s 2015 Source Market Report reveals 71,459 Australians cruised the Mediterranean in 2015, and 29,960 cruised Northern Europe.
New European itineraries have just been released for the 2017-18 season for Norwegian Cruise Line, the leader in premium- contemporary freestyle cruising; Oceania Cruises, the leader in upper-premium culinary cruising; and all-inclusive luxury leader Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
European itinerary highlights for the 2017 season include:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Awarded ‘Europe’s Leading Cruise Line’ eight consecutive years in a row by the World Travel Awards, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 14 purpose-built vessels are among the youngest, most contemporary afloat catering for 1,936 to 4,248 passengers. Norwegian Cruise Line offers unparalleled freedom, flexibility and choice with accommodations ranging from studio cabins specially priced for solo travellers to family suites and luxury accommodation in The Haven, and the greatest variety of restaurants and entertainment at sea – with up to 29 dining options on each ship. Worldwide, the line offers 190 sailings travelling to 65 ports of call in 24 countries – and in 2017, five ships will cruise Europe offering 60 different itineraries.
“Norwegian Cruise Line’s most popular Europe itinerary among Australians is Norwegian Spirit’s 11-day Rome
(Civitavecchia) to Barcelona sailing – however with Norwegian Spirit, Epic, Star, Jade and Getaway cruising Europe in 2017, travellers will have even greater choice.”
Highlight itineraries for 2017:
- Norwegian Star will sail 15 different European itineraries ranging from 7 to 14 days visiting Spain, Monaco, France, Italy, the Canary Islands, Morocco, Greece, Croatia and more, with fares starting from AU$656 pp for a 7 day cruise.
- From April to October, Norwegian Epic will offer weekly departures from Barcelona sailing a 7 night Western Mediterranean itinerary, starting from AU$659 pp
Acclaimed for delivering the finest cuisine at sea™, Oceania Cruises’ specialty on-board restaurants include classic steak and seafood at Polo Grill, incredible Italian at Toscana, high-end Parisian fare at Jacques, Asian fusion at Red Ginger, al fresco dining at the Terrace Café, casual seafood and BBQ at Waves Grill, daily high tea at Horizons and wine seminars, dinners and tastings at La Reserve. The line also offers exclusive Culinary Discovery Tours™, immersive shore excursions that allow guests to delve deep into each regions’ culinary heritage. Oceania’s six-strong fleet visits over 330 destinations, with 32 cruises across Mediterranean, UK, Scandinavian and Nordic itineraries on offer over the European 2017 Summer – and multiple cusp-season sailings available.
Oceania Cruises’ special offer for early bookings invites guests to enjoy free unlimited WiFi, plus choose from either four free shore excursions, a free house beverage package or shipboard credit.
- 10 day Glamorous Riviera Rome roundtrip aboard Oceania Riviera departs 4 June 2017 from AU$3,420 pp
Visiting ports including Florence, Portofino, Amalfi/Positano, Monte Carlo, Ibiza and Barcelona, Oceania Riviera’s on-board hands-on cooking school, The Culinary Centre (available on board Oceania Marina and Riviera), provides the opportunity to learn local cooking techniques and recipes, guided by Master Chefs and including classes inspired by the French and Italian destinations visited.
- 20 day Trail of the Vikings London roundtrip aboard Oceania Nautica departs 15 July 2017 from AU$10,750 pp
Visiting ports including the lands of the midnight sun, the icy caps and rolling hills of Denmark and Iceland and the famous hospitality of the Scottish and Irish in Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin, the recently refurbished Oceania Nautica features four open seating restaurants, eight lounges and bars, a world class fitness centre and spa, a casino, lavish suites and luxurious staterooms – nearly 70% of which feature private verandas.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Renowned for setting new benchmarks in all-inclusive ultra-luxury cruising, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ includes free unlimited shore excursions in every port of call, unlimited free WiFi, complimentary fine dining, fine wines and spirits, prepaid gratuities, ground transfers and complimentary deluxe pre or post-cruise hotel stays and Land Programs. The line’s four-vessel fleet includes the highly anticipated Seven Seas Explorer – the Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built, debuted on 20 July 2016.
For most 2017 European Summer cruises departing London, a complimentary three-night pre-cruise ‘Legendary London’ land program, including airport transfer and an optional West End theatre package, is available.
- 11 night Discover the Isles ex-London aboard Seven Seas Explorer departs 3 June 2017 from AU$10,730 pp
An incredible exploration of the United Kingdom and its Isles, destinations include Newcastle, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cork and Holyhead with up to 43 free land excursions taking in incredible castles, mighty fortresses, historic churches and cosy villages.
- 12 night Baltic Odyssey ex-London aboard Seven Seas Explorer departs 14 June 2017 from AU$10,190 pp
Visiting destinations including Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia with up to 56 free shore excursions, such as chocolate making, touring the KGB, sea kayaking, the Russian Ballet and Scandinavian canals – this is truly the Northern European cruise of a lifetime.