Top Christmas gift ideas for people who love cruises

Chris Frame’s book A Photographic History of P&O Cruises contains some rare photos and is a must for any cruising buff. Photo: Supplied French line Ponant has just released its list of destinations for 2016.

Windstar is expanding its itinerary to Iceland in the new year.

If you’ve left buying Christmas presents for that keen cruiser in your life a little bit late, here are a few last-minute ideas that might help. Apart from actually springing for a cruise, which would be lovely – and at the time of writing there are still spots available on cruises sailing from Australia over the Christmas period – most cruise lines offer a service that allows you to send a gift to someone who will be at sea.

Princess Cruises’ onboard gifts include flowers, wine, Norman Love chocolates, Princess-branded bathrobes and hats, as well as vouchers for Lotus Spa treatments, the casino, gift shop and more. Phone 1300 551 853 for more details – you’ll need the passenger’s full name, cruise departure date and ship name.

P&O Cruises’ range of onboard gifts include the Special Occasions Package, which contains a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial, dinner at Salt grill for two people, Ernest Hillier boxed chocolates and a $50 onboard credit for $179; phone 13 24 94 at least seven days before your lucky cruising friend’s departure date.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara also offer a similar service.

Travel books are usually very well received and give our brains a change from flicking through hundreds of websites. They can be a practical guide, such as the info-packed Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships (the 2016 version is available at bookshops and online at amazon苏州美甲美睫培训学校 and bookdepository苏州美甲美睫培训学校) – this book is just as useful for first-timers as well as seasoned cruisers. Rick Steves’ Mediterranean Cruise Ports guide receives rave reviews and it is regularly updated online (store.ricksteves苏州美甲美睫培训学校).

Lonely Planet publishes more than 500 travel guides to 195 countries (shop.lonelyplanet苏州美甲美睫培训学校 and Fodor’s produces 300 travel guides to 7500 destinations (fodors苏州美甲美睫培训学校/guidebooks).

Maybe your cruising friend or family member is also a bit of a history buff? Maritime historian Chris Frame has written several books about Cunard’s liners and his most recent publication is A Photographic History of P&O Cruises, which showcases some rare photos from the P&O archive. Find out more at chriscunard苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

While on the maritime history theme, a friend recently recommended a shop in Sydney’s Rocks area called The Bottom of the Harbour Antiques. It sells all sorts of shipping memorabilia – an original ship’s bell or diving helmet just might be the perfect present for a specialist collector – posters and postcards are more affordable (phone 02 9247 8107). Happy shopping! MEET THE CREW

NAME Tusitala Sola, from New Zealand

POSITION Food and beverage director, Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas

MY JOB I’m responsible for the day-to-day management and guest service delivery for all food and beverage venues and services.

A TYPICAL DAY… starts with a meeting with each of the operational managers to discuss the day’s events, offerings and services. I also keep a careful measure of the number of people who dine at each of our restaurants each day, so we can ensure we’re adequately stocked and staffed at all times. I visit each of the venues daily and also spend time in the office, planning and organising future food and beverage operational needs.

FAVOURITE CRUISE MOMENT Helping in a rescue situation at sea when a freighter encountered trouble in Taiwanese waters.

FAVOURITE PORTS OF CALL Sydney, Auckland, Hobart, Dunedin, Tauranga, Phuket (Thailand), Okinawa (Japan).

INSIDER TIP You must try the Chops Grill Luncheon Hot Pot. Be adventurous.

Chops Grill and Izumi are musts, but be quick as they book out early. TIP

Travel Aware is a new app that connects travellers with overseas emergency services and embassies at the touch of a button. It can also translate emergency questions into the local language; $3.99 for Apple and Android phones includes future updates. See NEWS

Ponant’s desirable destinations

French cruise line Ponant has just released a lavish brochure featuring an enticing range of itineraries for sailings between September 2016 and May 2017. The brochure details a selection of 62 luxury voyages, 28 designated as expeditions, with itineraries that include Japan, Vietnam, Australasia, Java, Borneo, Tahiti and the Melanesian islands, east and west coasts of South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Antarctica. Ponant’s ships are visiting South Africa for the first time, cruising from Cape Town to Durban, visiting the rarely visited Scattered Islands in the Mozambique Channel, and on to the idyllic islands of the Seychelles archipelago. The brochure is available through travel agents or via email (reservations419论坛[email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校), and as an e-version at

Set sail with Windstar

Windstar, which now boasts a fleet of six boutique sail and 212-passenger motor “yachts”,  is expanding its itineraries for 2016. New itineraries include six in the Caribbean, visiting Puerto Rico and the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao); two to Iceland; year-round cruising in Tahiti; and cruises to Morocco and southern Spain. There will also be food and wine cruises in France, Spain and Morocco. All Windstar cruises feature a (complimentary) Private Event, such as an after-hours tour and dinner under the stars in the magnificent Celsus Library of Ephesus, a party on a private beach on Isla de Coiba, and a private concert in the photogenic Blue Church in Seydisfjordur. See your travel agent or download the online version at http://forms.traveltheworld苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛/brochures/WIN_2016Atlas.pdf

Princess 2017

Princess Cruises has released its program of cruises to Europe for 2017, including the inaugural sailings of the cruise line’s newest ship, Majestic Princess, which launches in April 2017. The season features six ships sailing to 119 destinations from the corners of the Mediterranean to the northernmost tip of Europe. Passengers can choose from 64 itineraries on 153 cruise departures, visiting 27 countries. Majestic Princess will sail maiden European cruises with five- to 28-night Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona, Athens and Rome, until it repositions to China. See http://苏州美甲美睫培训学校princess苏州美甲美睫培训学校 [princess苏州美甲美睫培训学校]. DEAL OF THE WEEK

Travelrite’s escorted fly/cruise/stay package from New York to Paris includes an eight-night cruise onboard Queen Mary 2, four nights’ accommodation each in Paris and New York, two in London, sightseeing in all three cities and return flights from Australia to New York, returning from Paris. The 20-day trip is available for July 20 and September 4 departures, from $8995. Phone 1800 630 343, see travelrite苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛. MORE DEALS 

BOTANICA WORLD DISCOVERIES The specialist garden travel operator is offering a free cabin upgrade worth $3190 a couple on bookings of its 11-day British Isles, Castles, Gardens, History & Birdlife cruise. Hosted by well-known gardening expert Monty Don, the cruise sets sail from Edinburgh to Portsmouth on May 27. From $11,995, offer valid until December 31. Phone 1300 305 202, see

AURORA EXPEDITIONS Add a four-night stay at Ramada Eco Beach Resort for just $100 when you take a Kimberley cruise from Broome to Darwin (or vice versa). The resort is an hour’s drive south of Broome; offer valid until December 31.

Phone 1800 637 688, see auroraexpeditions苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

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