By Qi Siang Ng
We’ve marked the beginning of a new decade with the introduction of cruises to our travel lineup – a significant step forward in our evolution as a travel and lifestyle brand. The rivers and seas represent a new stage of growth as we strive to enhance the extraordinary qualities that make every Blue Sky Escape special. Our tastefully curated collection of cruises has been selected based on their ability to provide intimate, enriching and luxurious experiences. Here are some of our more exciting departures for 2020.
PONANT – Polar Expedition
Travel to the Far North with PONANT, the only cruise company sailing under the French flag. Guided by National Geographic photographers and naturalists, explore the arctic tundra and say hello to the hardy wildlife that inhabits these frozen lands, from seabirds and walruses to the mighty polar bear. Meet local Inuit communities and learn about their distinct art and culture, as well as how they have adapted to their sub-zero environment. Onboard, attend lectures and sharing sessions from your National Geographic guides, who will share about their experience exploring and documenting the world’s natural heritage. Indulge in the “French Touch” – a uniquely understated and elegant style of service that represents the best of French luxury – and savour the refined taste of French haute cuisine developed by Alain Ducasse’s Ducasse Conseil.
Oceania Cruises – Mediterranean Odyssey
Embark on an odyssey through the cradle of Western civilisation. Admire the shimmering white houses and pearly beaches of Santorini and Mykonos, before exploring Classical Antiquity in historical Crete. Tour the ruins of Pompeii laid waste by the fires of Mount Vesuvius and be awed by the splendor of Istanbul – once the capital of the world.
Sail like royalty onboard Oceania’s luxurious vessels, with access to 24-hour butler service through your voyage. Feast on award-winning custom-prepared meals that have been lauded as the finest in the industry. Besides usual entertainments like live shows and a casino, attend lectures by renowned guest lecturers, a cooking and an art class, or simply retire to the ship’s English-style library stocked with more than 2000 books.
Aqua Expeditions – Amazon Adventure
Cruise the world’s largest river as you set off on an Aqua Expedition through the mighty Amazon. Hosting the world’s largest and most diverse collection of plant and animal life, it is home to one-third of all recorded animal species in the world. Designed by architect Jordi Puig, your elegant vessel – Aria Amazon – features spacious, modern suites and an outdoor jacuzzi.
Explore the Amazon’s tributaries on private speedboats or row a kayak for a more adventurous experience. Fish for piranhas in the Pacaya River and swim in one of the world’s most beautiful natural swimming pools. Cycle to the Peruvian town of Nauta and discover what life is like on the banks of the mighty river. End your day with world-class Amazon-style meals created by Chef Perdo Miguel Schiaffino.
Crystal Cruises – A Waltz Through Time
Explore the Heart of Europe as you cruise down the Danube River. Sojourn through the former lands of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire as you dock at the imperial cities of Vienna and Budapest with their grand architecture and glorious history. Stroll through the pretty little town of Dürnstein and sip a glass of local wine, and cycle and hike through the Bavarian forests near Vilshofen.
Your immersive onshore excursions will be accompanied by enriching lectures and guest speakers who will help you understand the culture and history of the places you visit. Themed cruises offer in-depth experiences like a private tour of the famed Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Enjoy royal luxury with personalised butler, concierge and valet services as well as twenty-four hours in-suite dining as you bathe yourself in the splendour of Central Europe.
AMAN Voyages — Island-Hopping in Indonesia
Set sail for the world’s largest archipelago and explore the mysterious islets and rich biodiversity of Indonesia. Dive into the azure depths of the Halmahera Sea and swim with fishes, dolphins and manta rays among rainbow corals. Follow expert naturalists on a ramble through tiny lush islands and say hello to indigenous wildlife like monkeys, deer, buffalo and the iconic Komodo Dragon.
Experience a traditional seafarer’s life on the locally hand-crafted wooden-hull yachts Amandira and Amanikan, providing an intimate experience and dedicated service with one crew member to every passenger. Learn to dive with a PADI-certified instructor or take advantage of state-of-the-art dive equipment onboard to further probe the ocean depths. In between your adventures, enter a state of peace and wellness as you enjoy a relaxing massage and yoga sessions at sunrise.