Monday, 28 June 2010

FRANKS FAVOURITES: Middle East Icons, Europe River Cruising, Fast Train, Whale Watching, Cycle Tours


It may not sound the cheapest, but its best-value for money for those interested in the iconic sites of some of the world's earliest civilisations in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Dubai – and the more-so as it will be escorted by one of Australia's most-respected travel industry identities, Adelaide's Phil Hoffmann with the support of local professional guides while sightseeing.

Created for just 15-guests and selling through Middle East travel specialists, International Destinations this 19-day package departs on October 29 with all accommodation 5-star, a 4-night Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan aboard the Nile's new and very luxurious river cruiser, Sonesta St George, and with the extraordinary Abu Simbel temples as a side trip as well.

Phil Hoffman will escort the group from Adelaide and guests from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth will join him in Dubai for the flight to Damascus where sightseeing begins.

Price starts from $12,599pp twin-share (singles $16,600) including return air, twin-share 5-star hotels, a total thirty meals while travelling, the luxury Nile River cruise and deluxe motor-coach touring, and internal flights.

For full details phone International Destinations toll-free 1800 044 519.

THE package begins with two nights in the oldest inhabited city in the world, Damascus followed by Palmyra (Syria,) and then Jordon's Greco Roman city of Jerash, plus Amman and Petra with full days sightseeing ancient ruins, historic oases, medieval castles, bazaars, mosques and museums.

A flight to Cairo for an overnight and a day's sightseeing is followed by the luxury Nile cruise with daily escorted shore-side sightseeing; guests fly back to Cairo for a night, and then to Dubai for a stay at the spectacular Royal Mirage Resort on Jumeirah Beach and visits to forts, museums, mosques, produce markets, and the legendary Gold Souk.


BOOK now through and you'll not only be amongst the first in May next year to cruise aboard Europe's first river "Suite Ship" with two whole decks of all-suite accommodation, but you'll fly there for free to enjoy it.

Avalon Panorama will debut in May 2011 with suites 30 per cent larger than the industry average, and featuring a lounge area for entertaining and in-room dining behind a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic window that offers sheltered viewing – or can be opened to create an open-air balcony feel. has a 14-night cruise along the Danube and Rhine Rivers aboard Avalon Panorama on May 18 2011, with a hotel night pre-cruise in Amsterdam and another post-cruise in Budapest, guided sightseeing tours in ports of call, superb dining, and regional wines with dinners each night.

There is also a night aboard ship in Amsterdam before sailing for Cologne, the Rhine Gorge-Rudesheim, Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau-Linz, Melk-Durnstein, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest where there is another night aboard ship as well as the hotel night post-cruise.

Prices start from $6089pp twin-share for a standard cabin with window, and from $7319pp for a suite with floor to ceiling opening glass window; book and deposit for either before August 31 this year and will give you free return air (including taxes) from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth.

Full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit

FURTHER SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: Avalon Panorama has a spacious Sky Deck for optimum viewing, hair salon, fitness centre, complimentary coffee and tea throughout the day, onboard lectures, activities and nightly entertainment, and headsets are provided for included guided sightseeing.

Staterooms feature flatscreen satellite TV and radio, mini-bar, and hairdryer and safe.

GET ON YER BIKE…                                

Adventure holidays specialists Explore Worldwide have released a range of cycling tours which include explorations in Turkey, Morocco and India.

Typical is the eight-day journey through Turkey's Cappadocia region visiting rock-cut churches, tunnel networks and scenic valleys and villages, and costing $1060.(

Then there's an eight-day itinerary to the Kasbah or Morocco's Draa Valley, the High Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert for $1121.

Another option is a 14-day journey through Kerala in India's south-west riding through tea and spice plantations, along tranquil waterways and enjoying homestays in remote villages for $2116.

All tours are led by a tour leader plus a local guide and include use of a high quality cycle with pannier bags, separate luggage transport, and accommodation with many meals.

Venture Holidays has more information on Explore Worldwide activities at 1300-414151 or visit


RAIL Plus has a great deal on the Thalys high-speed trains linking Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam – get a First Class full fare ticket for the price of a Second Class full fare for travel between now and August 29 if the booking is made before August 17.

As an example, where a first class full fare is $372, the sale fare is $230, the same cost as the second class full fare.

Comfort 1, as First Class is known, offers large reclining seats, free Wi-Fi connection, meal-at-seat service, free newspapers, sockets for laptops, taxi reservation service (additional cost) and access to VIP lounges (Cologne and Brussels stations).

Also known as the "Red Trains", the Thalys trains travel at 320 kph.

Thalys has a range of fare types, with this offer relating only to Full Fare type.

Comfort 1 meals include:
  • Breakfast from 6:00am to 9:00am including beverage, croissants, cheese or cooked meats, fruit salad or yoghurt
  • Snack from 9:00am to 11:45am, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm and later than 9:00pm (beverage, sandwiches, cakes and fruit)
  • Lunch from 11:45am to 2:00pm including choice of drinks, cold starter and mixed platter, bread and dessert
  • Dinner from 6:00pm to 9:00pm including choice of drinks, cold starter and mixed platter, bread and dessert
  • "Welcome drink" offered with a mini sandwich on the route Brussels - Amsterdam, in both ways.
Thalys trains travel from Paris to Brussels in 1hr 25m up to 26 times a day, Brussels to Cologne in 2hrs 32m up to six times a day, Paris-Amsterdam 3hrs 15m up to 8 times a day, Brussels-Amsterdam 2hrs 44m up to 8 times a day and Paris-Colgne 3hrs 15m up to six times a day. There are the same number of return trips each day.

Taxis can be booked from onboard trains arriving in Paris or Brussels on weekdays (not at weekends.) Upon arrival, chauffeurs meet passenger at the Thalys meeting point and an additional surcharge up to 15€ is applied to the taxi price (which is at passenger's own cost.)

For full details see


More than 11,000 prime-moving whales are expected to crowd Port Stephens' 'Humpback Highway' this winter as the local whale-watching cruise industry prepares for record business, with whale-watching packages offering discounts of up to 20 per cent if booked online.

As one of Australia's premier whale-watching sites, Port Stephens has three  cruise operators meeting the growing tourist demand, each scoring close to a 100 per cent sighting rate on every departure during the area's extended whale-watching season from May to November.

Situated north of Newcastle, 2.5 hours north of Sydney, Port Stephens and its marine park sit right next to the migration path of the humpback whales. Dubbed the 'Humpback Highway', the route is used by more than 11,000, forty-tonne humpback whales each year as they migrate north up the coast to breed and then return back to Antarctic waters later in the year.

Shoal Bay Resort and Spa at Port Stephens has a new whale-watching package from $488 per couple or $722 per family of four including two nights' accommodation, breakfast daily and a whale-watching cruise. Call 1800 18 18 10 or visit

Whale-watching cruises at Port Stephens all last between 2.5- 3.5 hours and leave from the marina at Nelson Bay:

Moonshadow Cruises is the largest whale-watching operator in Port Stephens, with the biggest boat featuring underwater video cameras. Whale-watching cruises depart at 10am and 1.30pm daily and cost $60 for adults, $25 for children and $145 for a family of four with a 15 per cent discount if booked online at Call 02 4984 9388.

Tamboi Queen Cruises' leave daily at 10am and 1.30pm and cost $60 for adults and $30 for children with families $150. Book online for a 20 per cent discount – or call 02 4981 1959.

Imagine Cruises' The Imagine catamaran features hydrophones – underwater microphones which allow passengers to hear the whales sing. Whale-watching cruises leave at 10.30am and 2pm daily and cost $60 for adults, $30 for children and $150 for a family of four, with free tea, coffee and biscuits. Call or call 02 4984 9000.

For general information about Port Stephens go to

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Cheaper hotel stays in Paris

Travel briefs w/c June 31 2010. 

John Crook 

Great Singapore sale

There's still plenty of time to flash the plastic and make savings of up to  70%.  An incredible array of stores throughout the city state of Singapore are participating in the great sale which runs through until July 25 2010.  Join the throng of discount savvy visitors who are bargain hunting at must-shop malls including the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa, the iconic ION Orchard, the Mandarin Gallery and plenty of others which are lised in the GSS 2010 official guide,- available at Changi on arrival. 

One of South Australia's greats

Plenty of pre-warning here for those who have an interest in the works of Sir Hans Heysen, whose retrospective is on show at the Queensland Art Gallery.  The exhibition commences July 31 and runs through until October 24 2010.

An Exhibition catalogue is available by visiting   Be warned, with 100 of his works included, there will be unprecedented queues.  On the opening day, that is July 31, there will be a tour led by curator of the South Australian Art Gallery Rebecca Andrews.  Diarise 10.30 on that date.   An hour later Angela Goddard leads another educational tour. Entry is a freebie. 

Use Visa card for chance to win

If you are visiting Hong Kong during the Summer Spectacular you could be a winner of spending credit.  Naturally enough there are terms and conditions applying to this promotion.   

By the way, the Hong Kong Summer Spectacular is on through until August 31 2010.  To participate you will need to be in Hong Kong and using your Visa card, but even before that register with, before arrival. 

Go tiger tracking

Naturally enough the best place to do that is in India. There's a six-day small group escorted tour, with three of those days spent in the Ranthambore National Park.  Cameras at the ready to capture the elusive Bengal tiger, sambar deer, crocodile, sloth bear and more than 300 bird species.  Packages are available costing from $1093 depending on season and includes accommodation, most meals and guided sightseeing activities.  For information and availabilities it's just a matter of visiting or calling 1300 414 151.  Seven departures between October and April 2011. 

Cheaper hotel stays in Paris

It's now possible to enjoy stays in some Paris hotels available for 25% less. This includes the 3.5 star Le Royal and the 3.5 star Jardin le Brea. Try this for size, staying at Le Royal for a four-nights stay at a reduced price of just $378  per person twin share, which is the normal three-night stay.  The Paris stay 4 pay 3 offers are valid for stays from July 15 to August 31 2010.   There are similar price reductions at a number of London Hotels too.  Call 1300 558 987, or go visit  

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  This information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agency.   Block-out periods may apply.   

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Monday, 21 June 2010

FRANKS FAVOURITES: Star Clippers, Classic Cruising, River Cruising, Bali Golf,


Star Clippers, operators of three of the world's largest luxury sailing ships, is offering up to 35 % savings for early bookings on many itineraries in its new 2011 program.

The three ships, Royal Clipper, Star Flyer and Star Clipper, generally operate seven to 12-night night cruises throughout the east and west Mediterranean including the French and Italian Rivieras, the Greek Isles and Turkey, and along the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama, plus Atlantic Ocean crossings of up to 35 nights.

The clippers, which blend the romance and pampered ambience of a private yacht and the adventure of traditional tall ship sailing, often visit many small, exotic ports unable to be reached by larger cruise ships.

The highest (35%) early booking discounts for selected cruises in 2011 with a booking deadline of October 31 this year, include Lisbon/Barcelona, Barcelona/Rome, Rome/Lisbon, Lisbon/Malta, Malta/Athens vv, Malta/Malaga, Malaga/LasPalmas, Lisbon/Monaco and eight Atlantic crossings or segments.

Other early booking discounts across the range of Star Clippers itineraries (more than 70 in the Mediterranean alone this season) vary between 10 and 25%.

Prices for the seven-night itineraries including taxes, all meals and entertainment on board start from $2170 per person.

Next season, Star Clippers is offering ten new ports of call on cruises from Istanbul to Athens and six new Mediterranean itineraries.

For reservations contact your travel agent, phone 1300 362 599, or email ; for more information about the clippers, go to or


Classic International Cruises will begin its seventh annual season Down Under next summer with it's first-ever voyage from Italy to Australia.

Sailing from Rome on November 14, 2010, Athena's 35-night cruise includes 12 days visiting ports in the Mediterranean, including Naples for trips to Pompeii, an overnight stay in Venice, calls at Dubrovnik, Corfu in the Greek Islands and Athens and an extended visit to Port Said in Egypt to allow passengers to see the Pyramids.

Athena will then sail on to Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore before docking in Perth on December 19, 2010, to begin Classic International Cruises' seventh annual program of summer cruises from Western Australia.

The 35-night voyage from Rome to Perth is available from $5995 per person, twin-share (or $171 a day). Single supplements are available at just 25 per cent more in selected cabins.

Athena's onboard currency will be in Australian dollars, meaning there's no loss on currency exchange.

The 600-passenger Athena is a traditional, mid-sized liner boasting an intimate, yacht-like atmosphere, personal, old-fashioned service and fine cuisine as well as traditional wooden deck chairs, marbled reception foyer, pool, fitness centre and sauna, five bars and lounges, nightclub, show lounge, casino, library, boutiques, cinema and two restaurants. And all cabins have a full-sized bath – a luxury only found in suites on the latest superliners.

Once in Perth, Athena will sail a dozen cruises out of the city this coming summer.

Bookings are available via travel agents. For general shipboard information, visit

DISCOUNTS UP TO $4000 ON RIVER CRUISES                     

BEYOND Travel has just released discounts of between $3000 and $4000 per couple on the entire range of Viking River cruises for 2011.

They apply to a range of cruises operating in Eastern and Western Europe, Russia and China for 2011, involving 20 itineraries and over 400 departures, including Russia's three best ships for 2011 the Viking Surkov and Kirov and new for 2011 the renovated Viking Pakhomov.

Included in the discounts is the brand new 11-day  "Passage to Eastern Europe" from Budapest to Bucharest, cruising the Danube River through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, including two nights in Budapest, which is now priced from $2799 per person twin share.

Another is the popular 13-day Waterways of the Czars from St Petersburg to Moscow or vice verse, now on sale from $4599 per person twin share including complimentary return private car transfers. Aboard the fully renovated Viking Surkov, Kirov or Pakhamov, there are 58 departures between May and October 2011.

All cruise prices include all meals, comprehensive shore excursions, complimentary wine with dinner, gratuities and port taxes.

More details from 1300-363 554 or email


THE Bali Garden Beach Resort is now offering clients the opportunity to play a round of golf at Bali's newest championship golfing facility as part of the launch of its new 'Bali Garden Golf Club' concept.

Partnering with the New Kuta Golf Club at nearby Pecatu, the South Kuta-based hotel's new release four-night accommodation packages come inclusive of a round of 18 holes complete with cart and caddy, an après-game aromatherapy session per room and daily breakfast.

Prices for the four-night Bali Garden Golf package lead in at AUD320.00* per person which includes a round of golf for one person per room, a three-hour aromatherapy session per room and daily breakfast for two.

A seven-day night option is priced from AUD574.00* per person which includes two rounds of golf per room and a six hour aromatherapy session per room and daily breakfast for two.

Extra rounds of golf, priced from RPH500, 000 (around AUD60.00), can be easily booked via the hotel.

Opened in 2007 the Ronald Freeman-designed eighty-five hectare eighteen hole New Kuta Golf Club is now one of Indonesia's most prestigious links and regularly hosts some of Asia's most important tournaments including the 2010 Ladies Open Golf Tournament.

*Conditions apply. The offer is valid for sale until 31 March 2011.

For more information, please contact the Bali Garden Beach Hotel via email at  or visit

For more information on the New Kuta Golf Club, visit

Avalon Panorama Suite Ship


John Crook 

Fjord country now at half price

Share the majestic country of Norway  and pay just half the price on a special offer, with stunning mountain scenery, charming locals and keeping the travel budget under control.  For example, take to the 12-day voyage from Bergen to Bergen via Kirkenes and pay from only $5072 for two people, which means an overall saving of $1690 per cabin.

Conditions apply and prices are subject to change and availability, - so the best advice I can offer is to make contact with the operators as soon as you can.  Telephone 1800 221 712 and to catch up on the fine print go visit   Go dog sledding, exploring Viking homes, and participate in wildlife watching.  Nothing quite like it !

Speaking of wildlife

How about this one ?  Here's a chance to track the elusive Bengal tiger, in India's Ranthambore National Park.   It's a six-day small group escorted tour, with three days spent in the park hopefully spotting and photographing these magnificent creatures.   Included in the packages is the accommodation, most meals and guided sightseeing activities.  There are seven departures  between October and April 2011.  At both ends of the tour there's time to explore the old and new parts of Delhi.  Cost is from $1093 per person share accommodation. Seasonal changes to prices apply  For more info and conditions get in touch by calling  1300 414 151 or go visit 

Chocolates, cheeses and raspberries

All within a half hour's drive, or thereabouts. It's destination Bass Highway in northern Tassie. 

Take your choice when departing the Spirit of Tasmania at Devonport. It's a foodies paradise with three must visits on this highway.  The House of Anvers for chocolates, Ashgrove Cheese spotlighting Tasmanian cheeses, and Christmas Hills and Raspberry Farm.  These three iconic fine food outlets offer you their tastes of heaven.  For more info I suggest you contact prior to arrival.

Bike and barge cruising on offer

Here's a way to combine two popular options when exploring Europe.

With these tours you unpack just the once and return 'home' each evening to a first class meal and a comfortable cabin with your own bathroom.  There are discounted departures still available on selected routes in France, Germany, Holland and Belgium.   For example there's an eight-day Seine River Valley cycling cruise in France, from Montargis to Paris and that departs  July 17.  It is  priced from  $1380 per person twin share, when the usual cost is $1680 per person.   Get a detailed itinerary on this or other tours by calling toll free 1800 331 582 or visit   

Europe's first river  'suite ship'

The Avalon Panorama (pictured) debuts in May 2011 with the suites 30 per cent larger than the industry average.  There's a 14-night cruise  along the Danube and Rhine rivers – postcard country. The package includes a hotel pre-cruise in Amsterdam and another post-cruise in Budapest, along with guided sightseeing in ports of call. Terrific dining comes with regional wines at dinner each night. 

Prices start from $6089 per person twin share for a standard cabin with window.  

Book and deposit before August 31 this year and ecruising travel will give you free return air (including taxes) from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. Telephone 1300 369 848 or visit  

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  This information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agency.   Block out periods may apply.   Need a holiday ?  We're archived on

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Geelong is Wrapped with Scarfs

Travel briefs- for w/c June 14 2010. 


John Crook 

Nothing quite like Hobart

To make the most of any upcoming trip to Tasmania,  set aside a few hours in Hobart joining Hobart Historic Tours.  Sandstone buildings, Salamanca Place, Battery Point and some of the characters who once lived and worked in the very heart of Hobart.   Smugglers, brothels and convicts.  There is a range of tours on offer including an old pub tour, a stroll through Battery Point and the Hobart historic walk.  Tour price is $29.50 per person.  For children, aged 8 to 16, it's the price is $14.  Phone  (03) 6238 4222 or go visit 

Big game, big mountains

The very best of everything is in Kwa Zulu Natal  when visiting Durban and the prize selection is at Umhlanga Rocks.    The Oyster Box is listed as one of the Hot Hotels and Hot Spas.   Great place to be headquartered.   This South African location is superbly enticing.  Beautiful experiences, with visits to the battlefields of the Boer and Zulu wars, private game parks to check out  cheetah, lion and the rare black rhino.   Go for it, but first go visit  

The popular Greek island of Santorini

Stay four nights but only pay for three.  No it is not meant as encouragement to do a 'runner',- it's a quite legitimate offer. The deal, valid until September 30 2010,  includes breakfasts.    Accommodation is priced from $2109, two people staying in a Fanari junior suite.

Check out the reduced prices on offer for senior and honeymoon suites. 

A touch of heaven!  Get the full story by visiting or call 1300 853 953.  

It's scarf time on the domestic scene

The National Wool Museum in Geelong is the home of the 2010 Reflections scarf festival, staged from June 18 to July 24.    It features around  250 scarves from all over Australia and as far afield as India and New Zealand. Apart from the exhibition, organisers have also scheduled workshops. However you will need to move swiftly in search of a cancellation, such is its popularity.  For details of the exhibition  and availabilities at the workshops, telephone (03) 5272 4701. 

Venice film festival

It is one of the oldest film festivals in the world, being the 67th, organised by La Biennale di Venezia.  Could be just the place to be, or for those who deplore the crowds, the best place from which to steer clear.  For me there could not be a better reason to be part of the scene. The dates for the festival are from September 1 to 11.  To keep abreast of the happenings pre-festival go visit  

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  This information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agency.   Block out periods may apply.   

Need a holiday ?  We're archived on 


Visual of National Wool Museum, Geelong

Monday, 7 June 2010

FRANKS FAVOURITES: Seadream discount, Historic Sydney, Queen Elizabeth, Tigers, Pacific Dawn



IF you are a quick decision-maker, will be in Europe this Northern Summer and will have a spare week up your sleeve, you can give yourself 7-nights aboard the world's highest-rated boutique motor-cruisers through the Greek Islands at a saving of over 50%.


SeaDream I that carries just 112 guests in 56 staterooms served by 95 crew, will sail a bargain-value Greek Island holiday on September 11 this year with prices including all 5-star dining, wines with lunch and dinner, beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks from the bars, nightly cocktail gatherings, power and sail watersports (in ports where permitted,) mountain bikes for shoreside excursions, a 30-course golf simulator, gratuities and port charges and taxes.


And the price that was originally advertised from US$9327pp twin-share is now from US$4426pp for this 7-night sailing from Dubrovnik to Athens by way of Parga, Itea, a transit of the historic Corinth Canal, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini and Sifnos Island.


Other heavily-discounted 7-night voyages through the Greek Islands depart these same ports plus Venice and Istanbul on select dates between July 3 and September 25; bookings need to be made and paid before July 1 2010.


For full details phone Cruise Specialist Holidays on 1300 79 49 59.






Food-loving city folk keen to explore the closest farm country to Sydney and trace – and taste –  the birthplace of Australia's agricultural industry can join one of a series of Macarthur Farm Fresh Tours through the historic Camden and Campbelltown areas in June and July.


New packages have been released from $419 per couple, twin-share, offering two tickets on the popular, full day gourmet tours plus a night's accommodation, breakfast and welcome drink at the 4½-star Rydges Campbelltown.


The next Macarthur Farm Fresh Tours will run on Saturday June 19, Saturday July 17 and Saturday July 31, 2010.


Launched late last year, the Macarthur Farm Fresh Tour is a gourmet, small coach tour through the hills and dales of the historic Macarthur region around Camden and Campbelltown – a region which became Sydney's earliest food bowl thanks to the efforts of colonial pioneer John Macarthur who settled the fertile area in 1805.


Led by passionate foodie, Margaret Hughes, from Macarthur Food Events, the tour takes budding gourmands to local olive groves, vineyards and vegetable and poultry farms around Camden, Menangle and Picton as well as some of Australia's oldest historic houses. The tours kick off with morning tea at the Campbelltown Arts Centre Café overlooking the Japanese gardens before guests hit the road, enjoying tastings from fresh food producers along the way. A gourmet lunch is served at one of the properties on the route, with the itinerary changing regularly to match the availability of produce and the season.


The Macarthur Farm fresh Tours will run from 9-5pm on Saturday June 19, Saturday July 17 and Saturday July 31, 2010. The $419 Rydges Campbelltown package includes accommodation per couple, twin-share, and breakfast and a welcome drink at Rydges plus two tickets on the tour including morning tea, lunch, food sampling and an information pack.


Package bookings can be made via Rydges Campbelltown on 02 4645 0500 or email or see the 'News and What's On' section of


* The Macarthur Farm Fresh Tour can also be booked on its own for $120 per person including morning tea, lunch, sampling and info pack. Call Margaret Hughes on 0409 248 378.


For general information on the Macarthur region, see





A HOLIDAY package next year that will have you pinching yourself to believe its happening, begins with a night at London's palatial The Ritz Hotel, and is followed by a whole 19-nights aboard the equally 5-star Queen Elizabeth from Southampton to Gibraltar, Port Said, Limassol (Cyprus,) Ashdod and Haifa in Israel, Rhodes, Athens, Malaga in Spain and back to Southampton.


This grand package is selling through from $6219pp twin-share which is a saving of over 50% (or $6470) on previously advertised prices – and for past-passengers on Queen Elizabeth has a further saving of $160pp on this price.


The price includes return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston and Coolangatta, breakfast at The Ritz, all gourmet dining aboard Queen Elizabeth, and a diversity of free shipboard activities and programs ranging from lessons in dancing to computers, guest lecturers, Broadway-style shows, and late-release movies.


Queen Elizabeth sails this 19-night Voyage to the Holy Lands on October 28 2011; for full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit


ADDITIONAL SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: The 2000-passenger Queen Elizabeth has an eclectic variety of dining options from formal to casual, indoors to alfresco on deck, and 24-hour room service. There's also a large range of bars and lounges for all occasions, a theatre with tiered seating and private boxes rising through three decks of the ship, and a sports centre with a diversity of traditional shipboard and other games.


She also has a casino, internet café, library, shopping arcade, a centre featuring memorabilia and nostalgia of Cunard Line ships and prominent past-passengers, and organised activities for children aged 1-12 years.




TIGER TRACKING IN INDIA                                   


EXPLORE Worldwide is offering the chance to track the elusive Bengal tiger through the forests of India's Ranthambore National Park as part of a six-day small group escorted tour.


Three days are spent in the Park, which is known as one of the best places in the world to photograph these magnificent creatures in their natural surroundings. The habitat is also home to sambar deer, leopard, crocodile, sloth bear and more than 300 bird species.


The tour is one of 450 itineraries  the company operates in 120 countries and includes time to explore the old and new parts of Delhi at both ends of the tour.


The packages costs from $1093, depending on season, and includes accommodation, most meals and guided sightseeing activities. There are seven departures between October and April, 2011.


Venture Holidays has more information on Explore Worldwide activities at 1300-414151 or visit







P&O Cruises and renowned Australian chef Luke Mangan have launched their latest joint venture – a new 'Salt Grill by Luke Mangan' restaurant onboard the cruise line's Brisbane-based superliner, Pacific Dawn.


With an open kitchen and stylish decor, the new restaurant is a key addition to the recently re-fitted Pacific Dawn and debuted on her May 29 sailing.


The decision to create the restaurant on one of P&O Cruises' existing ships reflects the enormous popularity of the first 'Salt Grill by Luke Mangan' restaurant, which opened aboard Pacific Jewel in December 2009.


A third 'Salt Grill by Luke Mangan' will operate on P&O Cruises' next superliner, Pacific Pearl, that will be launched in Auckland in December this year.


Announcing the new Luke Mangan restaurant, Sture Myrmell, Vice President Hotel Operations of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said Pacific Jewel's Salt Grill had been a huge hit.


"The restaurant consistently books out for the entire cruise so we turn tables twice for dinner and are also open for lunch on sea days to accommodate passengers who can't get in for dinner. It's a phenomenal response," Mr Myrmell said.


He said the latest Salt Grill would feature a rich silver and blue colour scheme complemented by sandstone and dark wood.  The menu will be similar to Pacific Jewel's, which features Luke Mangan favourites such as crab omelet with miso mustard broth and liquorice parfait with lime syrup. Meanwhile carefully selected wines will be displayed in temperature-controlled units in the restaurant.


"We're particularly pleased to be able to incorporate an open kitchen in the design of Pacific Dawn's Salt Grill, so that our passengers can enjoy all the culinary action as well as great cuisine," Mr Myrmell said.


For more information and bookings see travel agents or contact P&O Cruises on 132494 or


Saturday, 5 June 2010

Seadream Mediterranean Cruise Discount

w/c June 14


John Crook 

A thousand Japanese visitors

Each year more than a thousand Japanese visitors head towards Tasmania and the Ross Bakery, hoping to catch a glimpse of Kiki and Gigi.  The characters of the Japanese land of fairytales, reputedly live in the Ross Bakery.    This is the result of a rumour which has caught on.  On my visit a few weeks ago the streets of Ross were alive with Japanese visitors,- each one, so it's told, have arrived to catch a glimpse of their favourite 'cartoon' characters.   Visit at least,- or stay over for a night or two at the Ross Village Bakery and Inn.  To check availability and rates, call   (03) 6381 5245.   The bakery has been in existence  since 1821, built four years before the famous Ross Bridge.  

Cooking Vietnam style

Hone your culinary skills as a member of students attending a cooking class in Hoi An.   The cooking school is just one of the highlights of a 22-day cultural tour of Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Hanoi and Siam Reap in Cambodia.  The tour is available for sail until 30 June or sold out, for travel between June to October 2010.  Prices start from $6,795 per person twin share and includes free return airfares to Vietnam. Shore excursions, a seven night cruise on the Mekong River, domestic flights and of course that cooking class.  Get into all the facts and details by calling 1800 044 066. 

A quick decision

If you are heading into the northern summer and have a spare week.  Check this one out!

A seven-night cruise  through the Greek islands await.  The cruise is aboard the world's highest rated boutique motor-cruisers and with a saving of over 50%.  SeaDream 1 carries just 112 guests in 56 staterooms, served by a crew of 95. Prices start from US4426 sailing from Dubrovnik to Athens,- the long way around!  By the way the original price for this cruise was advertised from US$9327 per person twin share.  What a saving !  Check it out by calling Crise Specialist Holidays on 1300 79 49 59.   

China and Vietnam

There are eight-night fly, cruise and stay packages to Hong Kong  with a cruise to China and Vietnam.  Travel aboard the Royal Caribbean Lines Legend of the Seas in October this year. The price is unbelievable, down from the originally advertised from $2029, and now available from just $ 1849 per person twin share  That includes return air fares and taxes from Sydney,  two hotel nights pre and post cruise in Hong Kong, four-nights on the  luxury Legend of the seas, with all on board meals and entertainment. Plus, plus plus.    Everyone who buys one of the packages is eligible to participate in the draw.  For more info call 1300 369 848, or visit   

Your chance to help

The National Library which is listed as being yet another wonderful institution in our national capital,- and certainly worth a visit when hitting the high spots of Canberra, seeks your assistance. Check around your place to see if you have any past issues of the Australian Women's Weekly.  This call is to encourage you to go check those areas gathering dust.  If you have copies of the Weekly, call Julie Whiting on (02) 6262 1157.  

That's not all!  The National Library is also seeking previous copies of Australian newspapers. For the latter, go visit for a list of 'wanted' newspapers. 
* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  This information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agency.   Block-out periods may apply. 

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