We have our eyes not just on the road. But also the air and the sea. The newly launched cruise news roundup is your weekly guide to the must-know in the cruise industry.

MSC Bellissima launched

MSC Bellissima, MSC Cruises’ second Meraviglia Generation ship, and fourth next-generation cruise ship to launch under the Company’s EUR 13.6 billion (USD 15.6 billion) investment plan, has departed to complete her sea trials. Once she returns to Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St Nazaire, France, she will receive her finishing touches ahead of her glittering Naming Ceremony in Southampton, UK on 2 March 2019.

Following her official naming, she will navigate to the Mediterranean, where she will spend her inaugural season, calling weekly at popular destinations including Barcelona, Spain, Naples, Italy and Valletta, Malta.

Alaskan voyages

Luxury cruise line Cunard has announced today that it will spend a full season in Alaska from June through to September in 2020 on the newly-refurbished ship, Queen Elizabeth. Cunard is making its long-awaited return to Alaska in May 2019, after a twenty-year break. The success of the 2019 programme has led to Cunard doubling the number of voyages in the region for 2020.

This expanded programme will offer ten roundtrip sailings departing Vancouver, ranging from nine to twelve nights, plus one very special cruise to San Francisco including an overnight stay on Independence Day. Guests will have the opportunity to take in the breathtaking beauty of Alaska with its landscapes and magnificent wildlife whilst enjoying the very best in luxury onboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

Each Alaska voyage will feature stunning destinations along the Northwest Pacific coast of Alaska and British Columbia including Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka and more. In addition, the voyages offer more than 120 excursions to choose from including the awe-inspiring scenic cruising in the narrow waterways of the Inside Passage, the Hubbard Glacier and Sawyer Glacier’s twin fjords, Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm.

Return of The London Cruise Show

Olympia London will welcome the return of Europe’s biggest cruise showcase, The London Cruise Show on 16-17 February 2019. Whether it’s the offbeat destinations, once-in-a-lifetime expedition voyages or small specialist ships, The London Cruise Show is the perfect place for visitors to start their next cruising expedition. Packed full of information and inspiration, The London Cruise Show will unite the best specialist operators and holiday providers all under one roof.

Famed as Europe’s biggest cruise showcase, the event is designed to inspire, offering insight into what’s new for a cruise in 2019 and beyond. With the biggest collection of world-leading cruise lines and specialist operators on hand to answer those all important questions, visitors are given the unique face-to-face opportunities with the very best in the industry. Cruise Critic, Aurora Expeditions, Radisson Blu, Star Clipper and Oceania Cruises are just some of the many key partners who have signed up to exhibit at the show.

“Inform the next generation of cruisers for 2019”

Matt Gatfield, event director at The London Cruise Show, said: “The London Cruise Show is a fantastic place to discover what’s new in one of the most important pillars of the travel industry. Our thriving community of specialists alongside our new to cruise theatre will no doubt inspire and inform the next generation of cruisers for 2019 and beyond.”

Introducing the New to Cruise Theatre, the show will also integrate a host of free talks from a range of cruise lines and travel experts aimed at beginner cruisers. With cruising becoming the fastest growing sector in the travel industry, innovative tailored cruises are more important than ever to future travellers. Designed as an introduction to cruise, The New to Cruise Theatre will be the place for any new cruisers to listen and be part of aspirational talks and seminars, providing visitors with a choice of luxury, adventure and expedition, sail, ocean, river, family, gourmet and all-inclusive cruising options.

Cruise book coming soon

CLIA UK & Ireland today announced that it will launch a brand new ‘CLIA Cruise Book Club’ in 2019. As part of the Cruise Book Club, CLIA will give a recommendation each month to its travel agent members on a book that highlights a destination that is visited by cruise ships.

The first book recommendation is “The Perfect Couple” by Elin Hilderbrand. The story is a mystery/thriller and is based in Nantucket, an isolated island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, perfect for guests who are soon to be cruising to New England.

“Books are a great selling tool for travel agents”

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said: “Books are packed with knowledge and can offer a great insight into destinations that the reader may have never been to. Books can teleport you to a world you can visualise so clearly in your mind that you almost feel like you’re there. For these reasons, we believe that books are a great selling tool for travel agents.

“Along with the CLIA accredited training courses and unique resources, the Cruise Book Club has been created to support travel agents in selling cruise and we hope the book club will inspire travel agents to learn about cruise ports and destinations across the globe.” The CLIA Cruise Book Club will launch in January 2019 on www.cruiseexperts.org.

Explore the multicultural mosaic of Europe

Guests looking to explore the fjords of Norway, castles of the British Isles, flavours of Italy and beaches of Greece can choose from six Holland America Line ships to discover a wide range of ports and regions on cruise itineraries for the 2020 Europe season.

In addition to transatlantic crossings to and from Europe, the ships will span the entire region on itineraries from seven to 35 days, including the Baltic; British Isles; French and Spanish rivieras; Iberian Peninsula; Iceland; the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, including Norway and the North Cape. Istanbul, Turkey is back on the schedule with seven overnight visits, and Veendam will offer several distinct and unique European itineraries.

“European cruises are incredibly popular because they are the most affordable and convenient way to visit more cities and countries in one seamless vacation,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “With an expanded season and six ships offering itineraries that cover the entire region, our guests have a wide selection of cruises that showcase the best of each country with the most enriching and immersive experiences.”

Roundtrip sailing options from a variety of port cities make for a convenient cruise vacation. Guests can embark at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Boston, Massachusetts; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; and Copenhagen, Denmark. Cruises also sail between Barcelona, Spain, and Venice or Civitavecchia.

To offer more in-depth experiences in some of Europe’s most popular cities, Holland America Line has scheduled overnight calls at 13 ports, including Antwerp, Belgium; Amsterdam; Barcelona; Dublin, Ireland; Funchal, Madeira; Istanbul; Lisbon, Portugal; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Reykjavik, Iceland; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Venice; and Valletta, Malta.

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