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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

P&O Cruises | This Week's Top Deals




P&O Cruises has some terrific short cruises of between three to six nights on offer as part of this week's best deals.
 
The top three picks for deals on P&O Cruises this week are:
 
*Make a gourmet getaway onboard Pacific Jewel when she sails from Sydney on a three-night food and wine cruise on March 31, 2017.  Fares for the roundtrip cruise start at $349* per person quad share, representing a delicious saving of more than 50 per cent on the brochure fare.
 
*Laughing has never been so easy with savings of more than 70 per cent available on Pacific Eden's three-night comedy cruise, sailing roundtrip from Adelaide. Departing on March 17, 2017, fares on the cruise start at $329* per person twin share.  
 
*P&O Cruises will set sail on its first-ever cruise to Tasmania's Dark Mofo festival in June. Sailing roundtrip from Sydney on Pacific Jewel on June 13, 2017, and spending two nights in Hobart, the cruise incudes priority passes to Dark Mofo as well as entry to the famous Museum of Old and New Art. Fares on the six-night cruise start at $448* per person quad share, a saving of 40 per cent on the brochure fare.
 
*Subject to availability, conditions apply. Fare includes accommodation, main meals onboard, entertainment and most onboard activities.

For bookings or more information visit pocruises.com.au, call 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.

 

Monday, 13 February 2017

In search of the Northern Lights - Aurora


Image: Pixabay (Noel_Bauza)

What Are The Northern Lights

The Northern lights are a natural bright light display in the sky that simply sway, curl, flicker and move elegantly, beautifully lighting up the dark sky. This magical display is caused by the electrically charged particles from the sun that had entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

With the insane amount of chemistry above the Sun's surface, electrons and protons are often thrown towards the earth by the solar wind. And since the Earth’s magnetic field is weaker at both North and South poles, the particles tend to reside there and collide with gas particles, emitting what we call as the Aurora.

The North Pole has the Northern lights which is also known as the Aurora Borealis and the South Pole as Aurora Australis.

Image: Pixabay (sharonang)

The colours that is often displayed are greens, pinks and even shades of red, yellow, blue, violet have been noticed. These phenomenal lights appear in many different shapes and forms, from patches, scattered clouds to streams, rippling curtains, or shooting rays that are simply awe-inspiring.

Why the different colours? It is all due to the altitude and oxygen molecules and ions at the time. The most common colour is a pale yellowish green that is created by oxygen molecules located about 100 km above the Earth’s surface. The red auroras for example are more rare and are formed by high altitude oxygen over 300km high. The lights of the Aurora can extend from 80 km to as high as 640 km above the surface.

Image: Pexels (Pixabay)

Where Can You See The Northern lights

The dazzling Northern lights can be seen above the magnetic poles of the Northern Hemisphere. But don’t forget, there is also a Southern Hemisphere that equally showcases an amazing sight to behold.

The Northern lights can be seen as far south as New Orleans. However the best place for the Northern lights are in the North Western parts of Canada, Southern parts of Greenland & Iceland, Northern part of Norway and Siberia, typically the Scandinavia region. The lists goes on, each with their unique viewing spots. The aurora is more visible at higher altitudes, closer to the poles.

You can see other great places to see the Northern Lights here.

The Southern lights has less viewing destinations but the display is equally as impressive. The oval light display around the South pole can be visible around Antarctica, South of New Zealand and Tasmania.

Image: Pixabay (Robzor)

There are many flights that take you right to the Aurora lights destination and would not require much travel. But for those that seek more, there are polar cruise tours that cover flights as well as expedition trips visiting notable attractions along the way. From majestic whales to mountain ranges, to husky dog safaris, and uncharted wilderness. There is just so much flexibility with travel nowadays.

Winter is typically the best time, and viewing from small communities, far away from light pollution would be much greater. There are many apps and resource websites that can predict the light displays, so make sure to do your research to avoid missing out on this spectacular exhibit.

The Aurora lights can occur at any time throughout the day, but it is more visible at night.

The main obstacles to see the lights is cloudy skies, and the full moon as it emits too much light making the aurora not visible to the naked eye. Inland gets a general better view.

Either country has beautiful and unique angles on the Auroras, no photos will essentially be the same. And don't let the lights be the main attraction to the trip, there are so many more activities to do in the region that the trip would be worth traveling to.

Image: CC Wiki (Fish & Wildlife Service)

Did You Know?

In Norway, There is a Wolf sanctuary that lets you enjoy the Northern lights with the comfort of a wolf at the same time! Polar Park is a wildlife sanctuary with social wolves raised with the company of humans. Visitors can get close enough to touch and even cuddle them. There is really no better setting for enjoying the Northern lights. Do not try this with a wild wolf tho.

The attraction also informs people about these splendid creatures. That these wolves are critically endangered due to careless hunting and human encroachment.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

New magazine: Blue Mountains Love



On sale Valentine's Day, Blue Mountains Love magazine – a 124-page print magazine – features an interview with local writer/activist Tara Moss, commentary from marriage equality campaigner Rodney Croome and weddings that have taken place across the Mountains. The cover features local lesbian couple Kylie Watson and Tiphanee Athans.

Actively involved in the Blue Mountains LGBTIQ community, Kylie and Tiphanee have put their marriage plans on hold until legislation is passed that gives them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

“I don’t believe the personal opinions or religious beliefs of politicians should impact the rights for adult citizens to have equal access to marriage,” said Tara Moss, who lives in the Upper Mountains village of Blackheath.

The magazine also has a strong destination flare, featuring the best of Blue Mountains accommodation, natural attractions, and has a spread on the quaint Blackheath village.

The Blue Mountains Love team includes public relations specialist Michelle Grima, artist and graphic designer Kara Cooper, and two journalist/editors with social media expertise – Jacqueline Forster and Lisa Doust.

“Blue Mountains Love is a true celebration of love, diversity and all of the clever and creative people that make up our community,” said Editor Lisa Doust. “The four of us are genuinely passionate about the region and our aim is to attract couples seeking a spectacular location in which to celebrate their union.”

Published bi-annually (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter), Blue Mountains Love (RRP $15) will be launched on Monday 13 February at historic Everglades House & Gardens, Leura. The magazine is printed in Sydney and distributed across NSW and the ACT.

Business Class Air Package on Regent Seven Seas Cruises

To further consolidate its reputation as the most inclusive luxury experience™ , Regent Seven Seas Cruises is now offering optional Business Class Air Packages in conjunction with all voyages  departing from April 2017 onwards.




The new Business Class Air Package fares will include: an all-inclusive luxury cruise, return business class flights from all major Australian gateways with preferred airline partners Emirates, Qantas or Singapore Airlines, one night pre-cruise hotel accommodation and transfers between the airport, hotel and their chosen Regent Seven Seas cruise ship.

"Our new Business Class Air Packages are tailored specifically for Regent Seven Seas Cruises' discerning and well-travelled guests. We know the overwhelming majority of our guests fly Business Class and often require hotel accommodation the day prior to their cruise. Now they needn't worry about organising a thing. This is the ultimate way to extend the indulgent Regent experience, ensuring an elite end-to-end experience with personalised attention," said Mr Steve Odell, SVP & Managing Director Asia Pacific at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.




Once on board, RSSC's newly upgraded, opulent vessels, all guests enjoy luxurious, elegant public space and suites, as well as the industry's leading all-inclusive experience, which includes:

·         FREE unlimited shore excursions
·         FREE unlimited WIFI
·         FREE unlimited beverages (including fine wines and premium spirits)
·         FREE fine dining at specialty restaurants
·         FREE pre-paid gratuities
·         FREE open bars and lounges and in-suite mini bar replenished daily

"We pride ourselves on delivering the most luxurious all-inclusive journeys at sea, so extending this takes care of the finer details of our guests' pre and post-cruise travel as a logical step to guarantee an effortless, relaxing holiday Regent-style. Now our guests will enjoy even more value on the most luxurious cruises in the world," he added.

Business Class Air Package supplements start from AU$4,440 for Asia voyages and from AU$6,590 to Europe.

Upgrades to First Class flight are also available. 'Cruise only' options for Australian travellers who prefer to make their own travel arrangements continue to be offered.

For more specific itinerary details or for general information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit www.RSSC.com, email res.apac@rssc.com , call Australia: 1300 455 200, New Zealand: 0800 625 692, or contact a professional travel agent.

 
 

Monday, 6 February 2017

New summer cruise tour to Scotland, Iceland and Norway





Includes exclusive shore tours, luxurious stay in a palace and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - August 2017

The geysers, glaciers and waterfalls of Iceland, the fjords of Norway and the castles of Scotland and The Netherlands combine as part of a new cruise tour to be hosted by Cruise Express this August.

The 19-night 'Voyage of the Kings' fly, cruise and tour itinerary includes exclusive shore tours during a two-week cruise from The Netherlands to Scotland, Iceland and Norway aboard the new 2650-passenger Holland America Line ship, ms Koningsdam, launched in 2016.

The cruise tour begins on August 3, 2017, with a flight from Australia to Amsterdam for a two-night stay at the baroque-style Engelenburg Castle, a five-star Relaix & Chateaux property surrounded by manicured gardens in the heart of The Netherlands. A visit is also included to another grand, baroque castle at Apeldorn – Paleis Het Loo, also nestled in spectacular parklands.

Cruise Express guests then board the elegant ms Koningsdam in Amsterdam for a 14-night cruise via seven ports in Scotland, Iceland and Norway, with shore tours included at each of the destinations. In Edinburgh, visits  include the Queen's official Scottish residence, the regal Holyrood Palace, and the monarch's own, one-time yacht, Royal Yacht Britannia, as well as tickets to see the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle. At Invergordon, Cruise Express guests will be taken on an exclusive tour into the legendary Scottish Highlands to see the fairytale, turreted castle of Cawdor and the ghostly ruins of Urquhart Castle nestled beside the mythical depths of Loch Ness.




Calls are made at three ports in Iceland – the quirky capital of Reykjavik and the towns of Isafjordur and Akureyri with included tours taking in the tiny country's mighty volcanoes and glaciers, thundering waterfalls, exploding geysers, boiling mud pits and 40-degree, geothermal pools.

The cruise then heads east to Norway for visits to the Art Nouveau town of Alesund and the colourful, wooden houses of Bergen. Cruise Express' exclusive shore tours in Norway will take guests on a cruise along the spectacular, blue-sapphire waters of Hardangerfjord – the world's third longest fjord - and also for a panoramic ride on the Rauma Railway through the alps and below Europe's tallest rock face, the 1000m-high Troll Wall.

After disembarking back in Amsterdam, a final night is spent at the deluxe Sofitel Legend The Grand Hotel with a cruise included along the famous canals.

Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth and 12 full or half-day tours, the escorted, 19-night 'Voyage of the Kings' cruise tour is available from $9990 per person, twin-share.

Call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au


Sunday, 5 February 2017

"The Honeymoon Handbook" from Lonely Planet



Lonely Planet Publishes Its First Honeymoon Handbook

Published this month from Lonely Planet, The Honeymoon Handbook is the essential planning tool for newlyweds to choose and create their perfect "just married" holiday.

The Honeymoon Handbook features more than 25 of the most exciting locations for couples – from Andalucía to Zambia.  It starts with a quiz to determine what kind of trip to take based on what you both love the most, whether it's climbing the Canadian Rockies, touring Tuscany or cruising around Cuba.

Beyond the destination sections, The Honeymoon Handbook also offers safari-, luxury-, island- and family-themed getaway ideas – even "how-to's" on so-called "minimoons" and getting married overseas. Additional features include budget breakdowns and an LGBT-friendly indicator for same-sex couples, rating each location from 1 to 5.  Other featured lists include:

·         Top Five "Familymoons": 1) Réunion; 2) Montana, USA; 3) New Zealand; 4) Cuba; 5) Spain.

·         Top 10 Honeymoon Islands: 1) Corsica, France; 2) Qurimbas Archipelago, Mozambique; 3) Huahine, French Polynesia; 4) Algonquin Island, Canada; 5) Nevis, Caribbean; 6) Tasmania; 7) Praslin & La Digue, Seychelles; 8) Santorini, Greece; 9) Tioman, Malaysia; 10) St Vincent & the Grenadines.

·         Top Five Foodie Honeymoons: 1) Vietnam; 2) Southern Australia; 3) San Sebastián, Spain: 4) Japan; 5) Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

·         Top LGBT Honeymoons: 1) Berlin; 2) Iceland; 3) New Zealand; 4) Cape Town; 5) Argentina.

From budgeting, to the art of compromise, The Honeymoon Handbook provides couples with everything they need to plan their ideal, personalised trip to start their life together on the right foot.

Lonely Planet: The Honeymoon Handbook
Published January 2017
168pp, full colour 210 mm x 165mm
RRP: AUD$29.99


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Celebrate - Celebrity offers fans an exclusive deal




$100 OBC for staterooms* booked on Solstice in the next 100 hours to celebrate 100K Facebook fans

The clock is ticking… To celebrate reaching 100,000 Australian Facebook Fans, Celebrity Cruises is giving away USD$100 onboard credit per stateroom for new Celebrity Solstice bookings made between 5pm [AEDT] Wednesday 1 February 2017 to 9pm [AEDT] Sunday 5 February 2017.*

The offer is valid for all new Oceanview, Balcony, Concierge or Aqua Class bookings on Celebrity Solstice sailings departing between 22 October 2017 and 30 March 2018.  

Fans have just 100 hours to act on the Facebook-exclusive deal, using a special promo code accessed via the Celebrity Cruises Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CelebrityCruisesAUSNZ

For further information or to make a booking, visit www.celebritycruises.com.au, phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.

*Term and conditions: Offer excludes group bookings and bookings in Interior staterooms and Suites, Transpacific sailings and sailings of less than four nights. New bookings only. Further terms and conditions apply, visit www.celebritycruises.com.au for more details.

 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Cruise on the Murray Princess and Discover Adelaide Free


Discover the stunning Murray River and secrets of Adelaide with Australian Holiday Centre's new cruise and tour deal. Book any three, four or seven night Murray River cruise on-board the Murray Princess and receive a free Adelaide City Highlights Tour, with prices starting from only AU$799 per person.

Three, four and seven night historic Murray Princess cruises start with the ship itself. Finished with polished wood and gold trimmings and featuring a winding staircase and two-story full-length windows to view the turning  paddle wheel,  the Murray Princess replicate's the paddle wheelers that first cruised the Murray in the 1800's. Accommodating only 120 passengers, the Murray Princess is filled with character and charm.

Cruises all feature exciting day trips to historic ports and unique on-shore excursions. Follow the food and wine trial for tastings onboard or at several vineyards and cellar doors along the river.

Get up close to the river's 20-million-year-old cliffs and amazing birdlife on the 'Dragon-Fly' Flat Bottomed Boat vessel and led by on-shore guides enjoy nature walks, eco-tours and learn about the thriving ecology of the river.

Join the Captain for a general inspection of the wheelhouse, participate in lively quizzes, play some bocce on the riverbank or relax with some fishing off the ship.

On-board sit back on the open top sundeck or in one of two air-conditioned paddlewheel lounges and enjoy the spectacular scenery of Australia's longest river, as the Murray Princess cruises past towering limestone cliffs and along riverbanks lined with mallee scrub and red gum forests.

Food is a highlight of the cruise with guests enjoying hearty hot buffet breakfasts, two-course or buffet lunches and three-course or buffet dinners.

You can't visit South Australia without experiencing Adelaide itself and better yet for free, on an Adelaide Sightseeing tour.

The Adelaide City Highlights tour takes in Adelaide's main attractions including the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, its university, library, art gallery and museum; St Peter's Cathedral; historic North Adelaide; the Adelaide Oval and Haigh's Chocolates for a factory tour and tastings.

All Adelaide Sightseeing tours feature expert commentary by a local driver and guide and include pick-up/drop-off from selected Adelaide hotels and Adelaide Central Bus Station.

This fantastic deal is valid until 31 March, 217 and valid for travel until 31t March 2018.

The three nights Murray Princess Discovery Cruise travels between Walkers Flat and Murray Bridge and departs every Friday at 4.30pm with Early Booking Saver (EBS) fares starting from AU$799.00 per person, twin share.

The four nights Outback Heritage Cruise travels between Mannum and Blanchetown and departs every Monday at 4.30pm with EBS prices starting from AU$1099.00 per person, twin share.

The seven nights Murraylands and Wildlife Cruise travels between Blanchetown and Murray Bridge and departs every Friday and Monday at 4.30pm with EBS prices starting from AU$1639.00 per person, twin share including a complimentary Barossa Valley tour.

Prices include an Adelaide City Highlights tour, accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks, eco-excursions, onboard presentations, onboard WiFi, the Captain's Dinner and Cocktail Party, live entertainment, use of ship's facilities including a sauna, spa, sun deck, bar, two lounges, restaurant and mini gymnasium, complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or return to Adelaide Airport and secure car parking in Mannum. Private car transfers are also available return from Adelaide CBD and return to Adelaide Airport.

To find out more about the Murray Princess, join Australian Holiday Centre and Captain Cook Cruises for a lunch presentation on March 15, 2017 from 12/noon on-board the Sydney 2000. Tickets are only $30 per person, normally $79.

For further information or cruise and lunch bookings call Australian Holiday Centre on T: 1300 799 342, visit www.australianholidaycentre.com.au or visit them at Shop 3, Skyview Plaza, 551 George St, Sydney.


 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Romance on the Harbour this Valentine’s Day



Celebrate the most romantic day of all, on the world's most beautiful Harbour aboard one of Captain Cook Cruises Valentine's Day Dinner cruises, departing Tuesday 14 February, 2017.

Watch the sunset over the picturesque Harbour this Valentine's Day on one of Captain Cook's, early dinner cruises departing at 5pm. Enjoy a delicious three-course menu and open bar of Tyrrells still and sparkling bottle wine, beer and soft drinks.

5pm dinner departures include the Sunset Dinner, priced from only $85 per person and the Valentine's Dinner priced from $89 per person. 5pm cruises return at 6.30pm.

Be seduced by the spectacular beauty of Sydney at night on one of Captain Cook's 7.30pm dinner cruises. Be spoilt with a scrumptious four-course Valentine's menu and dance the night away to a live band.

7.30pm dinner departures include the Captains Dinner, priced from $155 per person and the Lovers Dinner & Drinks, priced from $159 per person. 7.30pm cruises return at 10pm.

For the ultimate in romance Captain Cook Cruises luxury Gold Penfolds Dinner, on-board the prestigious Sydney 2000, offers it all. Indulge in a six-course degustation menu, Penfolds bin and vintage wines to match each course, priority boarding, cocktail reception and lounge entertainment and an open bar of beer, house spirits and soft drinks.

The Gold Penfolds Dinner cruise is priced from $209 per person and departs at 7.30pm, returning at 10pm.

All dinner cruises depart and return Darling Harbour, King Street Wharf No.1.

For further information visit: www.captaincook.com.au

 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Oceania Cruises Announces Special Limited Time Offers for Best of Europe 2017 Campaign




Oceania Cruises is delighted to announce their new Best of Europe 2017 campaign with special limited time offers on 36 voyages, travelling to over 200 different ports across Europe, including the very best of Northern Europe, the Baltic and the Mediterranean.

Guests looking to book European voyages on Oceania Cruises will benefit from an array of special offers valid until March 31, 2017, including OLife Choice offering FREE Internet, plus choose from any one – FREE Shore Excursions, FREE Beverage Package or FREE Shipboard Credit.

Guests will also enjoy a bonus US$250 to spend onboard and 50% reduced deposits valid on 36 select European itineraries departing from March to December 2017, and ranging from 7 to 58 nights. Some of the spotlight sailings include the 10-day Barcelona to Lisbon voyage departing July 17, 2017, and the 24-day Copenhagen to London voyage departing August 28, 2017.

"With destination-rich itineraries beautifully crafted to help guests enjoy the very best of Europe's magnificent gems, along with offering some of the best on board restaurants, Oceania Cruises creates the perfect blend of cultural, culinary and historical immersion. Featuring overnight and extended stays in many ports, guests can indulge in in-depth exploration and relaxed touring." said Vice President of Sales for Oceania Cruises, Lisa Pile

"Guests travelling on our European voyages will also be treated to the finest cuisines on the high seas, with a range of fine dining options from all around the world. The Culinary Discovery Tours and Culinary Centre aboard Marina and Riviera offer a unique opportunity for food lovers to appreciate the epicurean cultures of local ports," she added.

Featuring some of the most desirable destinations in Europe, Oceania's guests can not only immerse themselves in unique destination experiences, but they will also enjoy a wide selection of culinary offerings on board. Celebrated as the leader in culinary excellence, Oceania Cruises offers the finest cuisine at sea™, corroborated by its recent #1 ranking for its ship 'Marina' in leading global cruise review site and online community – Cruise Critic 2016 Cruisers' Choice Awards.

To book a cruise with Oceania Cruises or to find out more about the European itineraries, please contact a travel professional, call Oceania's Sydney contact centre, Australia: 1300 355 200, New Zealand: 0800 625 691, email res.apac@oceaniacruises.com, or visit www.oceaniacruises.com/special-offers

 

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