Cruise news: Wine cruises, designer creations and more

This week in the cruise industry, South Africa ups its game and improves infrastructure while boutique cruise line Emerald Waterways offers one to the oldest wine region.

Luxe love

Luxury cruise line Cunard has announced the team of designers recruited to create the interiors for its eagerly anticipated new ship.

Creative director, Adam D Tihany is working with Simon Rawlings (David Collins Studio), Terry McGillicuddy (Richmond International) and Sybille de Margerie (Sybille de Margerie Paris). Cunard’s fourth ship, which is set to join the fleet in 2022, is yet to be named but will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

“Bring to life our vision of creating a truly world class ship”

Simon Palethorpe, president, Cunard, said: “The calibre of talent we have brought together for this project will bring to life our vision of creating a truly world class ship. Working alongside the legendary Adam D Tihany, the team is working hard to ensure that every aspect of our new ship is exciting and forward-looking, yet unmistakably Cunard.”

While design details of the new ship are still under wraps, Cunard confirmed a theatre, entertainment spaces and the outside deck space.

French interior studio, Sybille de Margerie Paris, whose projects have included Mandarin Oriental Paris and Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, will be responsible for the retail spaces, the spa and the flagship event space the Queens Room. This will also be Sybille de Margerie’s first ship interior.

The new ship will be the 249th vessel to sail under the Cunard flag and will bring the luxury line’s fleet up to four for the first time since the 1980s. She joins Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and the flagship Queen Mary 2.

Water baby

Windstar Cruises is set to surprise travellers with the opportunity to splash ashore with their “wet landings” – a mode of entry to tiny ports without a dock. Guests can (and are encouraged to) jump into and swim in the actual ocean from the Watersports Platform found on every ship.

The boutique line delivers the ability to navigate waterways where larger ships simply cannot. These ships sail close to the water offering a complimentary Watersports Programme operated from the back of each Windstar ship with “wet” landings made by inflatable boat to hidden tropical shores; active excursion options on and in the water including Signature Expeditions in Alaska that launch kayaks and Zodiacs from the ship.

Wine on board

Emerald Waterways has introduced a one-off speciality cruise to take travellers to one of the oldest wine regions this summer.

The eight-day ‘Director’s Cruise along the Douro’ programme will see guests joined by Emerald Waterways’ MD Colin Downing along with wine expert, author and broadcaster Susy Atkins.

Starting August 2019 the intimate Emerald Radiance Star-Ship will set out from Porto and along the Douro River, enjoying picturesque views across its terraced vineyards during harvest time and plenty of opportunities to sample the local delicacies along the way before returning to Porto (Portugal).

Highlights of the cruise include an excursion to Mateus Manor for a wine tasting, a chance to explore the medieval streets of the Spanish city of Salamanca and classic Portuguese cafes, plus a gala dinner hosted by Downing and Atkins. For those seeking a more active experience there’s also the option to join a guided canoeing excursion along the Sabor River.

South Africa takes to the cruise world

Cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global tourism industry and more and more South Africans are also enjoying holidays on sea. More than 100,000 passengers from South Africa already cruise annually on MSC Cruise ships, which operates a six-month season to various destinations in the region from its regular Durban port-of-call. MSC offers regular cruises from Durban and Cape Town.

This year saw MSC Cruises increase the size of its ship for the current South African season to cater for the increased demand from passengers. The current liner, the MSC Musica can carry 3,223 passengers, some 550 more than the previous ship, the MSC Sinfonia.

In the next few months, Durban is planning to build a brand-new dedicated world-class R200-million-plus green and energy-efficient terminal, which will be able to handle embarkation and disembarkation from two vessels at the same time.

The terminal will have a positive impact on local tourism as it will attract larger vessels and more leading cruise liners to the country, and due for completion next year.

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