GREAT CRUIS­ING ES­CAPES

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Holidays Afloat -

A DE­MAND for longer cruises has prompted P & O to in­tro­duce new voy­ages on Pa­cific Dawn and sis­ter ship Pa­cific Sun next year. Th­ese in­clude a 17-night Bris­bane to Dar­win trip in Au­gust from $3649 a per­son and a 16-night voy­age from Syd­ney to Tonga, Fiji and New Cale­do­nia in Septem­ber from $2203 a per­son. There will also be a 21-night round trip from Auck­land to Tahiti in June from $2754 a per­son. Th­ese cruises are among the 46 from Syd­ney, Bris­bane and Auck­land that P & O will of­fer on the two ships from May 2009 to Jan­uary 2010. Next year’s pro­gram also in­cludes Port De­na­rau near Nadi in Fiji, a new des­ti­na­tion for the cruise line. De­tails are in a jus­tre­leased brochure. More: www.pocruises.com.au. Grand cruise: The lip-smack­ing op­por­tu­nity to sam­ple the 33 grand crus of France’s Bur­gundy re­gion comes with a week-long cruise on the lux­ury barge Napoleon. It takes just 12 pas­sen­gers who will par­tic­i­pate in a week of wine classes, tast­ings and ex­cur­sions. Four lead­ing vine­yards will be vis­ited dur­ing the Ma­con to Di­jon cruise, start­ing on July 20. Pass­sen­gers will travel from Lon­don to Paris on the Eurostar, then take the TGV to Ma­con. Ori­ent-Ex­press is of­fer­ing the trip for the first time from £3510 ($7253) a per­son ex Lon­don, all-in­clu­sive. More: www.ori­ent-ex­press.com. Pad­dle and camp: Pad­dle the sea by day and camp on the beach at night with a seven-day Hinch­in­brook Is­land kayak­ing trip in Queens­land that comes with the chance of spot­ting tur­tles, dol­phins, dugongs and even hump­back whales. From $1695 a per­son, in­clud­ing kayak­ing equip­ment, guides, most meals, camp­ing gear and trans­port from Mis­son Beach. Avail­able to Oc­to­ber 26. More: www.es­cape­travel.com.au. Take to the air: Creative Cruis­ing has a 13-night fly-cruise linked with Sun Princess’s Syd­ney to Tahiti voy­age in Oc­to­ber; from $2579 a per­son. There’s also an 18-night re­turn cruise in Novem­ber from $3199. Both in­clude one-way flights, trans­fers, port charges and taxes. Sun Princess will sail from Syd­ney on Oc­to­ber 21 for New Cale­do­nia, Tonga, the Cook Is­lands, French Poly­ne­sia and Tahiti (where there’s a night at the Radis­son Plaza Re­sort). The re­turn cruise de­parts on Novem­ber 1 af­ter a two-night stay at the Radis­son and will visit Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji on the way to Syd­ney. More: www.cre­ative­cruis­ing.com.au. Dawn awak­en­ing: A month-long Pa­cific cruise from San Fran­cisco to Syd­ney on Dawn Princess is avail­able from $5799 a per­son, in­clud­ing flights from Syd­ney and a night at the Grand Hy­att in San Fran­cisco pre-cruise. The ship sails on Septem­ber 24, visit­ing Hawaii, Christ­mas Is­land, French Poly­ne­sia, the Cook Is­lands, Amer­i­can Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand’s Auck­land, Welling­ton, Christchurch, Dunedin and Fjord­land Na­tional Park, ar­riv­ing in Syd­ney on Oc­to­ber 24. For sale to Au­gust 2. More: www.ecruis­ing.travel. Royal show: Queen Mary 2 will make its sec­ond visit to Aus­tralia on Fe­bru­ary 26 when it sails into Syd­ney as part of a 90-day voy­age from Fort Laud­erdale in the US, visit­ing 26 ports in 24 coun­tries. Fol­low­ing its maiden visit this year, Queen Vic­to­ria will make three calls here next year: Ho­bart (Fe­bru­ary 17), Syd­ney (Fe­bru­ary 19-20) and Cairns (Fe­bru­ary 23) dur­ing an epic 107-night trip. De­tails of Cu­nard’s 2009 pro­gram are on its new web­site. More: www.cu­nard­line.com.au. Take a dive: Cruise West’s flag­ship, the 120-pas­sen­ger Spirit of the Oceanus, will op­er­ate three itin­er­ar­ies ex­plor­ing the reefs and ship­wrecks of the South Pa­cific in 2009. Pearls of Poly­ne­sia, Is­land Sanc­tu­ar­ies and Leg­ends of the Pa­cific, which will run from Jan­uary to March, are tar­geted at scuba divers. Book be­fore June 13 and there’s a $US600 ($640) a per­son dis­count and an ad­di­tional sav­ing of $US200 if paid by that date. The 12-night Pearls of Poly­ne­sia cruise, which sails be­tween Fiji and Papeete, is from $US5399 a per­son, cruise only, with the dis­counts. More: www.trav­elthe­world.com.au. River rush: River cruis­ing in Europe is rid­ing the crest of a wave, with de­par­tures of­ten booked out well in ad­vance. Har­vey World Travel has 15 and 21-day flight-in­clu­sive river cruises that travel from Am­s­ter­dam in The Nether­lands to Bu­dapest in Hun­gary. The 15-day cruise, on an APT ship, is from $6575, in­clud­ing flights, all meals and wines with din­ner, trans­fers and tip­ping. For de­par­tures in March or Novem­ber 1-22, 2009. The 21-day trip com­bines the cruise with six nights in Paris and Prague and there’s a bonus two-night Asia stopover with ac­com­mo­da­tion and trans­fers. From $9825 a per­son ex Aus­tralia. This also in­cludes a num­ber of events such as a cham­pagne mu­sic recital at Hun­gary’s Bu­dapest Opera House and guided walk­ing tours. Flights are from Syd­ney, Melbourne, Bris­bane, Ade­laide or Perth to Bu­dapest or Am­s­ter­dam and re­turn. More: www.har­vey­world.com.au. Take a cut: Princess Cruises is of­fer­ing sav­ings of up to 50 per cent on Dawn Princess’s South Pa­cific cruise de­part­ing Syd­ney on Novem­ber 23, visit­ing the Loy­alty Is­lands, Van­u­atu, Fiji and New Cale­do­nia. From $1895 a per­son; bal­cony cab­ins from $2635. More: www.dawn­sun­princess.com.au. Free air: Free flights to Ar­gentina are on of­fer from Cruiseco, plus dis­counts of up to 27 per cent, on Dis­cov­ery’s 108-day marathon cruise be­tween South Amer­ica, Antarc­tica, the Falk­land Is­lands, South Africa, In­dia, North Africa, the Mediter­ranean and Har­wich on Eng­land’s east coast. The full cruise, de­part­ing Ushuaia on Fe­bru­ary 8, is from $27,250 a per­son with flights. For those with less time, it can be bro­ken into 58-day sec­tors from $14,995 a per­son. More: www.cruis­ing.com.au. Barry Oliver

www.theaus­tralian.com.au/travel/dd

Make an en­trance: Cu­nard’s Queen Vic­to­ria in Syd­ney Har­bour on its maiden visit; it will make three calls in Aus­tralia next year

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