Relax on the ocean wave

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2011, 12:00am


Full schedules and options for next year have been announced by major cruise lines, with more regional destinations and long-range voyages departing from Hong Kong than in previous years.

There will be three- to seven-night excursions to neighbouring ports, such as Keelung in Taiwan, Sanya in Hainan and Hanoi in Vietnam, by cruise lines such as Costa and Royal Caribbean.

Programmes of two to three weeks to ports further afield are also available, and some offering two or three nights in destinations such as Hanoi or Bangkok before moving on by cruise lines such as Azamara Club and Holland American line.

Designed for those with deeper pockets and more time on their hands, Silversea is offering a new series called Grand Voyages. Tailored to travellers who hate to rush, they will run from 24 to 64 days.

'Our Grand Voyages are perfectly suited to the traveller who has the time and passion to indulge in travel on a grand scale,' says Steve Odell, Silversea's senior vice-president for Britain, Europe and Asia-Pacific. 'You can explore the most desirable ports of the Mediterranean for 27 days or visit Rio in time for Carnival on a 64-day circumnavigation of South America.'

Itineraries will run from Asia and Australia to the Mediterranean and South America. A highlight will be Silversea's World Cruise aboard the Silver Whisper. Departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the United States in January, this 115-day cruise will stop at 45 ports in 27 countries, with overnight stays in 13 ports of call.

Not to be outdone, Crystal Cruises has announced an expanded series of themed cruises.

One third of its cruises next year will have themes, running from expert thinkers from various fields holding panel discussions to big bands and ballroom dancing, emerging artists, wine and food festivals, film and theatre, golf, motivational talks by American football players from the National Football League, how-to classes in floral design, creative learning with an expanded curriculum of music, language, computer, fitness, and other enrichment classes, a President's Cruise and Crystal Society, with a reunion of veteran Crystal cruisers.

'Many travellers love spending their vacation indulging in a special interest or meeting others with similar passions,' says Bret Bullock, vice-president of entertainment.

'On Crystal's Experiences of Discovery cruises, sophisticated explorers can expand their knowledge and connect in a luxury environment.'