Professionals and the young set discover the joys of ocean travel

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 October, 2004, 12:00am

The pleasure of sailing on a beautiful cruise liner, with all the amenities available, is tempting luxury-loving travellers who are discovering the world's great destinations.

A journey to the Caribbean Sea is expected to be a hot pick this season, as this is considered one of the best times of year to visit that part of the world.

Passengers who snorkel or dive can enjoy the rich coral reefs and colourful marine life under a warm, clear sea, while the more adventurous can swim with the dolphins.

A 16-day Caribbean Sea fly-cruise package, operated by Crystal Cruises, will cost between $42,380 and $72,760 on a double occupancy basis.

According to general sales agent Miramar Express, the package includes a round-trip ticket between Hong Kong and the United States. The ship departs on December 7.

On the six-star Crystal Serenity ship, most of the state rooms feature a private verandah and a wide range of amenities, from a casino to golf driving ranges and a spa.

A 16-day Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal package costs from $35,000 to $176,000 (on a double occupancy basis), and also departs on December 7.

Cruise travellers are becoming younger these days as more people pursue new ocean adventures. Besides retired people and those over 50, professionals such as doctors and lawyers in their 40s are coming aboard, according to industry players.

As a leading cruise line in the Asia-Pacific region, Star Cruises offers an array of fly-cruise and cruise-only packages.

A company spokesman said travellers would enjoy world-class dining, entertainment and recreational facilities and services, in addition to the various attractions of Southeast Asia.

SuperStar Virgo, Asia's largest cruise liner, will launch special fly-cruise packages lasting three, five or six days to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Departures are scheduled this month and in November.

Starting from $2,990 per person, the fare includes round-trip tickets between Hong Kong and Singapore plus a cruise vacation on SuperStar Virgo. All passengers are entitled to one free shore excursion.

To mark Star Cruises' 11th anniversary, Star Pisces has a series of special offers. Travellers can enjoy an 11 per cent discount for two-day cruise trips between now and December 16.

Cruising on the ocean brings immense pleasure to many travellers, and ensuring a safe journey is among the top priorities of cruise operators.

Gurkha International Group managing director Nigel Collett said security was a crucial factor on cruise liners because of the threat posed by international terrorism.

'There is also a need to protect passengers, crew and property against piracy and criminals who operate at sea and in harbours,' he said.

Gurkha International is a major supplier of security crew to the cruise industry. The service has more than 900 men and women doing duty on board more than 100 ships.

Mr Collett says their chief duties are to screen passengers, luggage and crew, exactly as is done at airports, as well as protecting all access to the ship and patrolling the ship while in port and out at sea.

For inquiries on the Caribbean holidays, call Lotus Tours on 2316 1308 and for the Southeast Asian holidays, call Star Cruises on 2317 7711.