Celebrity Cruises Returns To UK With New Southampton Staycations – Other Cruise News: Saga Cruises Plans Summer 2021 Sailings From Tilbury – MSC Virtuosa To Be Based In Southampton – Southampton To Regain Royal Caribbean’s Anthem Of The Seas
by Kevin Griffin
The return of cruising gained much momentum last week, with four major cruise lines – Celebrity, Saga, MSC and Royal Caribbean – all announcing new domestic cruise plans for the UK this summer.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Celebrity Cruises Returns To UK With New Southampton Staycations
Celebrity Cruises announced its long-anticipated return to UK shores recently, as company president and ceo Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, confirmed that its newly-refitted Celebrity Silhouette, will set sail from Southampton this summer, offering new luxury staycations for discerning British guests.
Setting sail from Southampton beginning Saturday, July 3, the new Apex-like Celebrity Silhouette will embark on a series of 6-to-8-night itineraries around the Britain’s coastline.
Guests will have the chance to explore the Portland coast; discover bustling Scottish cities including Inverness, Kirkwall and Glasgow; uncover the history of Belfast; and, immerse themselves in the cultural hub of Liverpool, home of the Beatles.
Celebrity Silhouette will sail with all guests aged 18 and above vaccinated against Covid-19, and those under the age of 18 with negative PCR test results.
Celebrity Silhouette’s return to the UK will be welcome news, not just for UK travellers looking for a luxury staycation to reconnect with friends and family, but also for the British tourism industry.
Celebrity Cruises president and ceo Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said, “We’re delighted to be returning to Southampton after over a year away. We are truly committed to the UK market and can’t wait to welcome guests back onboard.”
From bow to stern, Celebrity Silhouette has undergone a multi-million-dollar refit, designed to add some of the new luxury experiences from the Celebrity Apex series.
Celebrity Silhouette’s new look includes:
• Completely modernized staterooms and suites with additional enhancements for guest comfort.
• The introduction of The Retreat for suite guests, an exclusive open-air hideaway featuring a private sun deck and lounge offering complimentary beverages, gourmet bites, live entertainment, and concierge service, designed by British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE.
• Stunningly refitted restaurants, bars, and lounges where guests can enjoy unparalleled culinary experiences in captivating environments.
• A redesigned spa and casino.
• New designer boutiques featuring designer names.
And, because Celebrity Cruises believes holidays should be effortless from start to finish, Wi-Fi, drinks and service charges are now ‘Always Included’ in every purchase, bringing a wonderful feeling of ‘everything is taken care of’ to life.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Saga Cruises Plans Summer 2021 Sailings From Tilbury
Saga Cruises has now launched its summer 2021 UK cruise programme, with four all-inclusive itineraries to choose from.
Nigel Blanks, ceo of Saga Cruises, said: “We know how much our guests want to get travelling again so we are delighted to be launching our all-inclusive, round-Britain summer cruise itineraries taking in destinations from the Orkney’s to the Norwegian Fjords….”
“The inaugural cruise of our brand-new boutique ship, ‘Spirit of Adventure’ will be a real highlight. Like Spirit of Discovery, she has a spacious feel and every detail has been designed with our guests in mind…”
“I can confidently say that our guests are in for a really exceptional experience and they can board with peace of mind, knowing we take their health and well-being incredibly seriously. We are asking all our guests to have had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine prior to joining our cruises.”
Guests will be able to choose from four all-inclusive itineraries over five travel dates:
“Scottish Highlands and Islands” departing Tilbury on June 27, 2021 aboard Spirit of Discovery for six nights calling at Lerwick on the Shetland Islands, followed by Scrabster and Invergordon before returning to Tilbury. Sight-seeing tours of Lerwick and Invergordon are included. All cabins feature a balcony and prices start from £1,154 per person.
“Great British Isles Adventure” departing from Tilbury on July 11, 2021 aboard Spirit of Discovery for 14 nights, calling at Falmouth, Holyhead, Belfast, Greenock, Ullapool, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Newhaven and Newcastle and disembarking back in Tilbury. Sight-seeing tours of Belfast, Kirkwall, Edinburgh and Newcastle are included. All cabins feature a balcony and prices start from £3,375 per person.
From the “Northern Isles to the Fjords*” departing from Tilbury aboard Spirit of Discovery on July 3, 2021 or July 25, 2021 for six nights, calling at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, cruising Sognefjord in Norway, Lerwick in the Shetland Islands and Stornoway followed by Scrabster in Scotland before returning to Tilbury. Sight-seeing tours of Kirkwall and Lerwick are included. All cabins feature a balcony and prices start from £1,539 per person.
The “Inaugural Cruise” on Spirit of Adventure departing Tilbury on July 26 for 15 nights and heading to Newcastle, Newhaven, Dundee, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Ullapool, Cruise St Kilda, Greenock, Belfast, Douglas, Holyhead, Bristol and Falmouth before disembarking in Dover. Sight-seeing tours of Newcastle, Edinburgh, Belfast and Bristol are also included. All cabins feature a balcony and prices from £3,458 per person.
Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery are both small by today’s ship standards, hosting a maximum of 999 guests each. They have a modern, contemporary look and feel and offer guests the choice of five restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities including the signature Britannia lounge with a dance floor and live entertainment, theatre, salon and sports amenities. Outdoor facilities include an observation deck, impressive wraparound promenade and terrace, pool, games area, sports court and deck games.
These new summer cruises all include a choice of complementary UK travel to and from the port including a private door-to-door chauffeur service up to 250 miles each way, car parking near the port, domestic flights or standard class rail or coach travel.
There are no hidden costs on board either. Saga Cruises come with all dining and house drinks including a selection of wines with lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi, on-board gratuities, fitness facilities, 24-hour room service, sightseeing tours in selected ports, entertainment (from lectures to recitals), porterage of luggage, shuttle buses to nearest town centres and travel insurance with up to £5m coronavirus cover included.
All of this backed up by the Saga Cruise Promise – in the event that a cruise price is reduced guests will be the given the value of the difference back.
Saga is asking all guests to have had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine prior to boarding the ships and the company’s dedicated health and safety team are ensuring rigorous standards are set and adhered to on board.
All prices include travel insurance (coronavirus cover included) and cancellation cover, or a reduction if they are not required
(*In line with Government restrictions, guests will only be able to disembark at British ports. The Fjords cruising is purely scenic)
MSC Virtuosa To Be Based In Southampton
MSC Cruises has announced that it will deploy its latest flagship for British guests to enjoy safe summer sailings around the UK.
MSC Virtuosa will make its maiden voyage on 20 May with guests on board from Southampton as the first of a series of 3- and 4-night mini-cruises before she begins 7-night cruises from 12 June with three embarkation ports in England and Scotland.
All voyages will be for British residents only and for guests of all ages who are either waiting for a Covid-19 vaccine or who have already been vaccinated. All guests will be tested before they embark the ship and non-vaccinated guests will also be required to show proof of a negative test conducted up to 72 hours prior to embarkation.
The range of 4-night mini-cruises will offer a late sailing from Southampton and provide a short getaway for couples or friends in search of a quick diversion. The ship will call at Portland in Dorset, where guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy a perfect day out at the beach. The itinerary will also include two days at sea so that guests can enjoy the incredible array of facilities on board MSC Virtuosa.
From 12 June, holidaymakers can join 7-night sailings that include stops in Portland and Belfast. The same cruises will offer multiple ports of embarkation at Southampton, Liverpool and Greenock (for Glasgow)
MSC Virtuosa was delivered in February and is one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative and environmentally-advanced ships. A member of the “Meraviglia” class, these vessels include an iconic 365-foot long promenade with a stunning LED sky dome as the social heart of the ship.
The 19-deck vessel will offer her British guests of all ages the very best of fine dining restaurants, world-class entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges, boutique shopping, spa and fitness centres, an aqua park and clubs for toddlers to teenagers.
Gianni Onorato, ceo of MSC Cruises said, “We are incredibly proud that we can offer British guests of all ages our very latest vessel MSC Virtuosa for their summer holiday and I’m sure they will have a fabulous time on board with all that this incredibly innovative ship has to offer, as well as being able to enjoy a range of protected shore excursions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”
MSC Cruises resumed its operation in August 2020 following approvals from regulatory bodies throughout Europe for a health and safety protocol designed to protect the well-being of MSC Cruises’ guests, crew and communities its ships visited.
More than 55,000 guests have to date enjoyed safe and responsible cruise holidays including the company’s pioneering protected shore excursions.
MSC Virtuosa was previously scheduled to serve itineraries in Northern Europe out of Germany, and will be replaced by MSC Seaview.
Southampton To Regain Royal Caribbean’s Anthem Of The Seas
Royal Caribbean has announced that its Anthem of the Seas will begin sailing from Southampton on July 7, 2021.
Anthem will offer a combination of 4-night cruises to nowhere in early July and 5- to 8-night British Isles cruises, starting 15th July, that feature visits to destinations such as Liverpool, England, Kirkwall in Scotland and Belfast, Northern Ireland. The new Anthem of the Seas sailings go on sale April 7th.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)