North to Alaska, the rush is on
HOLLAND America Line has unveiled its 2008 Alaskan program with 156 cruises from May 3 to September 21 on eight ships (three from its home port of Seattle in the US and five from Vancouver in Canada). The program includes the option of shore excursions such as flightseeing over the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, helicopter glacier tours at Skagway, dog sledding, fly fishing and wildlife watching. More: (02) 8296 7072; www.traveltheworld.com.au.
Alaskan combo: Creative Cruising has combined a seven-day Norwegian Sun Alaskan cruise with a week-long coach and rail tour of Canada’s Rockies and four nights in Vancouver. The 17-night package, available on a range of dates from May 11 next year to August 31, is priced from $8039 a person ex Sydney (also available from other state capitals). More: 1300 362 599; www.creativecruising.com.au.
Hot and cold: Another Alaskan option is Carnival Spirit’s Fire and Ice fly-cruise package. From $5895 ex Australia, the 24-day deal combines two days in Hawaii with a 19-day cruise followed by an overnight stay in Vancouver. The itinerary can be reversed, departing Vancouver for Honolulu. More: (02) 8296 7050; www.traveltheworld.com.au.
At the double: Hop aboard not one but two luxury cruise ships on a 19-day package exploring India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Departing Australia on April 11, the trip includes nine nights in hotels (with breakfasts) as well as a six-night cruise aboard The World and three nights aboard the MV Vrinda. From $15,749 ex Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Transfers include a flight from Mumbai to Cochin. More: 1800 044 066; www.travelassociates.com.au.
Dream gets cheaper: Travel Creations has slashed the price of a one-week cruise on the luxurious SeaDream I (110 passengers, 95 crew), which leaves Athens for Rome on October 13, visiting some of the Mediterranean’s more unusual ports (tiny Hydra in the Greek Islands, where transport is by foot, horse or donkey, for instance). Includes an overnight stay in Sorrento and a day in Capri. From $US4847 ($6040) a person, $US5000 a couple less than the original price. Air travel extra. More: 1300 550 727; www.travelcreations.com.au.
Silver service: Silversea’s 44-day Fort Lauderdale to Hong Kong cruise aboard the up-market Silver Shadow has been devised to give passengers more time at sea and unusual ports of call. It’s luxury all the way with complimentary drinks, including champagne, ocean-view suites (80 per cent with a veranda) and marble bathrooms. With an early booking discount the cruise, departing January 16, starts at $US23,438 a person with a $US500 onboard spending credit to use in the ship’s spa or boutiques. More: (02) 9222 2708; www.silversea.com.
On the wild side: Aurora Expeditions and the Australian Geographic Society are showcasing the Kimberley’s rugged coast in three 11-day West Australian cruises in June. Two start and end in Broome while another departs Broome but travels the length of the Kimberley, concluding in Darwin. Experts will explain the landscape, wildlife and Aboriginal history. Priced from $6200. More: 1800 637 688; www.auroraexpeditions.com.au.
Simply Med: Last-minute deals are being offered on seven-day Mediterranean cruises from September to November. MSC Lirica’s round trips from Genoa, Italy, visiting France, Spain and Morocco, are priced from $1200 a person. MSC Orchestra’s cruises to and from Trieste, Italy, visiting Greece, Turkey and Croatia, and MSC Opera’s cruises to and from the same port, visiting Greece and Croatia, are both priced from $1400 (air fares extra). There are several date options for each cruise. More: 1800 007 131; www.cruiseabout.com.au.
Nile file: A four-night Nile cruise is featured in Explore Holidays’ nine-day Treasures of the Nile tour of Egypt visiting the Great Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and the temples of Luxor. Priced from $2199, including flights in Egypt. More: 1300 73 1012; www.exploreholidays.com.au.
Mexican waves: Icy margaritas could be the order of the day for Norwegian Star’s eight-night Mexican Riviera fly-cruise. The round trip from Los Angeles sails to Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallartas and the beaches of Cabo San Lucas. From $3099 a person ex Sydney, $3179 ex Brisbane and Melbourne, $3450 ex Adelaide and $3591 ex Perth. Departures from September to March. More: 1800 007 131; www.cruiseabout.com.au. Barry Oliver
Get with the program: A Holland America liner cruises the glacial passages of Alaska