Monday, 27 June 2011

Cruise Fremantle - Queen Mary 2 New Zealand - Istanbul - Fort Lauderdale Cruise - Mount Annan -


CLASSIC International Cruises will next year offer its first-ever line voyage from Australia to Europe via South Africa instead of the Suez Canal, with the traditional liner, Athena making the journey over '40 days and 40 nights'.

The mid-sized, 600-passenger Athena will sail from Perth on April 14, 2012 for Portsmouth in the UK, with the 40-night voyage taking passengers to many destinations rarely visited by Australians, including Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic isles of St Helena, Ascension, the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands as well as Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco and Portugal.

Price starts from $6995 per person, twin-share, with fares for solo passengers in selected cabins just 30 per cent more than twin-fares instead of double.

Classic International Cruises is also offering the chance to sail the first half of the voyage from Fremantle to Cape Town – an 18-night cruise priced from $3575 per person, twin-share, with the solo traveller supplement as low as 30 per cent in selected cabins. The second half of the voyage from Cape Town to Portsmouth, a 22-night cruise, is available from $4220 per person, twin-share.

"A voyage aboard Athena is cruising as it was meant to be, with a sense of the ocean, adventure and nautical traditions, and that special personal touch often lacking in today's hectic age," said Classic International Cruises' Managing Director, Grant Hunter. "Attentive, old-fashioned service and first-class cuisine are the hallmarks of the Classic Cruising experience," Mr Hunter added.

"Up to half of all passengers on our cruises from Australia have sailed with us before; ninety-two per cent rate their Athena cruise as very good to excellent, with the onboard service, dining experience and entertainment singled out for the highest scores."

Originally a transatlantic liner, the 16,000-ton Athena features traditional wooden deck chairs, pool, fitness centre, five bars and lounges, casino, library, cinema and two restaurants. Athena has 276 spacious cabins and each boasts a bath – a luxury only found in suites on the latest superliners.

Bookings and fly/cruise packages are available via travel agents. For information, visit


QUEEN Mary 2 will make a circumnavigation of New Zealand in March 2013 as part of a 104-night world voyage.

The 12-night roundtrip voyage from Sydney will go on sale on July 13, priced from $3329pp twin-share, with the Cunard flagship visiting Auckland, Wellington and the Bay of Islands, sailing the Milford Sound and making a maiden call to Christchurch.

During her 104-night world voyage, the 151,400-tonne Queen Mary 2 will also visit Cairns, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Sydney. 

Announcing the NZ circumnavigation today, Cunard Line President and Managing Director Peter Shanks said the voyage followed already-strong bookings for Queen Mary 2's circumnavigation of Australia in February 2012.

"It's clear from the response to our Australian circumnavigation that Australians and New Zealanders are very keen to cruise on the legendary Queen Mary 2 in their own waters," Mr Shanks said. 

"After our circumnavigation of Australia in 2012, we thought we would try something a little different and sail around the North and South Islands of New Zealand in 2013.  New Zealand is renowned for its stunning scenery and interesting ports and we think Australians will love the chance to enjoy it all from the comfort of Queen Mary 2."

With interest in the New Zealand circumnavigation expected to be strong, limited bookings for the cruise will open at 8am on Wednesday July 13, with two options available: the 12-night roundtrip voyage from Sydney departing March 7, 2013 or 19-nights incorporating the New Zealand circumnavigation and then going on to Fremantle after returning to Sydney.

For more details call Cunard on 13 24 41 or visit  *Fares are per person twin share and are subject to availability; conditions apply.


PETER Sommer Travels has introduced a new tour of Istanbul, uncovering the ancient Turkish metropolis through the eyes of a prominent archaeologist.

The eight-day tour Exploring Istanbul is guided by Jim Crow, Professor of Classical Archaeology at Edinburgh University, who has spent the past 20 years delving into the layered history of one of the world's great ancient cities.

His tour, from September 10-17, 2011, will offer a chance to see such landmarks as the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, as well as other ancient sites Professor Crow has himself been researching.

It visits Istanbul's extraordinary column-filled underground cistern – the  Yerebatan Sarayi – as well as the Hippodrome, the Archaeological Museum and the beautiful church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus.

It also takes a day trip into the country to visit two of Professor Crow's research projects, the great aqueduct of Constantinople, the longest in the ancient world, and the Anastasian Wall, part of the city's outer defences.

The tour also includes a private boat trip up the Bosphorus, as well as a chance to explore Istanbul's lively streets and market areas between the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar.

Peter Sommer is a British archaeologist and BBC documentary maker whose tours are led by experts including archaeologists, historians and travel writers.

The eight-day tour Exploring Istanbul starts September 10, 2011, and costs £1835 per person twin share (approx A$2830) including meals, accommodation, transport, excursions and entrance fees.

For full details and bookings contact Peter Sommer Travels on 0011 44 1600 888 220, email or visit

A WHOLE month of 5-star indulgence aboard Holland America Line's Rotterdam from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego via the empires of the ancient Incas, is selling through Cruiseco later this year from $6660pp twin-share, including return international airfare and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, (add $330 for Adelaide) (add $1,400 for Perth), a night pre-cruise in the Hilton Marina Fort Lauderdale and another post-cruise in the Hilton Resort and Spa San Diego.
And for those who can't take a month away, Cruiseco have the option of a 13-night cruise only from Fort Lauderdale to Callao (Lima) in Peru from just $1998pp twin-share with a night aboard ship in Callao (Lima), or 17-night cruise only Callao (Lima) to San Diego, from an even lower $1748pp twin-share, again with a night aboard ship in Callao (Lima).

Cruiseco can also arrange best-possible airfare and pre- or post-cruise hotel prices on these shorter sections.
The 1400-passenger Rotterdam will sail from Fort Lauderdale on November 21 this year, visiting seventeen ports in the Bahamas, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico.
For details and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies Australia-wide, visit; onboard gratuities are not included in prices on these sailings.  
Rotterdam will transit the Panama Canal, have three days in Callao (Lima), and during ten full days at sea guests will have the opportunity to enjoy Rotterdam's range of lounges and bars, theatre and culinary arts centre, casino, cinema, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis and basketball courts, video arcade, a health spa, beauty salon and a unique company-commissioned collection of paintings, sculptures, textiles and other art works.


MACARTHUR'S Quest Campbelltown motel has released new weekend deals to encourage people to visit the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan, where entry is now free into Australia's largest native botanic garden.

New NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney, Barry O'Farrell, abolished the previous fees when he gained office, saying: "This decision will make it easier for families to access these parklands to enjoy, relax and learn about our natural and unique environment, and to do it more regularly."

Opened in 1988 as part of the Bicentenary, the Australian Botanic Garden has attracted an average 90,000 visitors a year, but this figure is expected to grow significantly with entry to the park now free.

With this in mind, Macarthur's newest accommodation, Quest Campbelltown, has released new weekend deals for their 4.5-star self-contained apartments:

It include accommodation in spacious 4.5-star apartments, a complimentary bottle of local Fussy Grape wine, DVD hire and popcorn on arrival plus use of the on-site gymnasium and BBQ terrace. The package is available from $159 per night for two guests in a studio room, $172 per night for two guests in a one-bedroom apartment, $250 per night for up to four guests in a two-bedroom apartment and $299 per night for up to six guests in a three-bedroom apartment. Conditions apply.

Call Quest Campbelltown on 02 4622 4900 or visit  For information on the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan, call 02 4634 7900 or visit