Brine and dandy

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CORAL Princess Cruises has re­leased its Kim­ber­ley and Across the Top of Aus­tralia brochure, in­clud­ing 2009 and 2010 dates and rates for Coral Princess’s most pop­u­lar cruise, a voy­age ex­plor­ing the re­mote Kim­ber­ley coast be­tween Broome and Dar­win. The 10-night Kim­ber­ley cruise vis­its Kuri Bay, home of the South Pa­cific pearl in­dus­try, and ven­tures ashore to view the Brad­shaw paint­ings and the tow­er­ing King Ge­orge Falls. There is an op­tional he­li­copter flight over the Mitchell Plateau as well as ex­cur­sions into se­cluded gorges and to rock­pools per­fect for swim­ming. The cruise ex­plores the Buc­ca­neer Ar­chi­pel­ago, made up of 800 is­lands, and in­cludes a Zo­diac ride through the Hor­i­zon­tal Wa­ter­fall. This year, Coral Princess is ven­tur­ing into the Kim­ber­ley by both land and sea, with a new 24-night Kim­ber­ley Cruise and 4WD Ex­pe­di­tion, com­bin­ing the 10-night cruise and a four-wheel-drive tour through the Kim­ber­ley. Coral Princess Cruises

Sheer magic: A small boat ad­ven­ture on a Kim­ber­ley cruise op­er­ates two ships in the Kim­ber­ley: the Oceanic Dis­cov­erer (max­i­mum 72 pas­sen­gers) and the Coral Princess (48 pas­sen­gers). The 10-night Kim­ber­ley cruise starts at $6450 a per­son aboard

Wave dancers: Coral Princess and $7750 aboard Oceanic Dis­cov­erer. The 24-night Kim­ber­ley Cruise and 4WD Ex­pe­di­tion starts at $12,610 aboard the Coral Princess and $13,910 aboard Oceanic Dis­cov­erer. There are reg­u­lar de­par­tures from Dar­win and Broome be­tween April and Septem­ber. More: 1800 079 545; www.coral­princess.com.au. Up the Ama­zon: Cruiseco is of­fer­ing a 21-night South Amer­ica cruise aboard Spirit of Dis­cov­ery that in­cludes 11 nights ex­plor­ing the Ama­zon. In­cluded in the price are shore ex­cur­sions at most of the dozen ports of call on the cruise, which be­gins and ends in Bridgetown, Bar­ba­dos. The 9500-tonne Spirit of Ad­ven­ture car­ries 350 pas­sen­gers and will set sail on March 24 for Belem in Brazil, then cruise the Rio Para River be­fore en­ter­ing the Ama­zon. Other ports of call are Devil’s Is­land in French Guiana, Paramaribo in Suri­nam, Ge­orge­town in Guyana and Scar­bor­ough in Tobago. From $6880 a per­son, in­clud­ing wines with lunch and din­ner; air­fares ex­tra. More: 1800 225 656; www.cruis­ing.com.au. Cruise plus: Two days ex­plor­ing the trea­sures of Rus­sia’s St Peters­burg are in­cluded in a 24-night com­bi­na­tion cruise-tour in Au­gust. A 10-night voy­age from and to Den­mark’s Copen­hagen through the Baltic states on the 116,000-tonne Emer­ald Princess is fol­lowed by a 12-night es­corted coach tour through Den­mark and Nor­way to Swe­den’s Stock­holm. From $11,149 a per­son, with early­bird air­fares from Cairns and Dar­win; air taxes and fuel sur­charges are ad­di­tional. More: 1300 369 848; www.ecruis­ing.travel. On a plate: Call­ing all food and wine lovers for a gourmet yacht cruise around Canada’s Gulf Is­lands, be­tween Van­cou­ver Is­land and the main­land. Chef Cather­ine Cafiti, who cooked at the 2006 Win­ter Olympics in Turino, Italy, will be pre­par­ing fresh west coast Cana­dian cui­sine such as lob­ster and wild sal­mon paired with wines from the Okana­gan re­gion of Bri­tish Columbia. The pack­age in­cludes pri­vate state­room, all food and drinks, and sea­plane trans­fers from Van­cou­ver har­bour to the Gulf Is­lands. Op­tional ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude sea kayak­ing, power boat­ing, on­shore ex­cur­sions and sports fish­ing. The 35m yacht Yel­lowfin was built in 1943 and re­cently re­stored. From $4034 a per­son with sail­ings from April 10; air­fares ex­tra. More: 1800 446 302; www.sen­sa­tion­al­canada.com. Fair ex­change: SeaDream Yacht Club is lur­ing Aus­tralians with a 15 per cent sav­ing for Mediter­ranean and Caribbean cruise book­ings made by the end of Jan­uary to com­pen­sate for the fall of the Aussie dol­lar against the green­back. Pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive Larry Pi­mentel says Aus­tralia makes up 9 per cent of the com­pany’s mar­ket and the of­fer is in­tended to en­sure that fig­ure grows. Voy­ages on SeaDream I and SeaDream II are allinclu­sive, with com­pli­men­tary bars and wines at lunch and din­ner, nightly pre-din­ner cock­tail par­ties, and free use of a 50-course golf sim­u­la­tor and fit­ness cen­tre. Both ves­sels carry just 55 cou­ples with a crew of 95. Sail­ings in the Mediter­ranean from May to Oc­to­ber and the Caribbean from Novem­ber to April. More: www.seadream.com. Ker­ala in­sight: Ex­plore the back­wa­ters of In­dia’s Ker­ala on the Oberoi’s eight­cabin Vrinda. A three-night voy­age is from $US1940 ($2719) for two, in­clud­ing all meals, ex­cur­sions, trans­fers from Cochin air­port and taxes. More: www.oberoi­ho­tels.com. In the bag: Shop un­til you drop at Sin­ga­pore’s an­nual shop­ping fes­ti­val from June to Au­gust, then kick back on a six-night cruise to Hong Kong aboard Costa Al­le­gra, vis­it­ing Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in Viet­nam. From $2288 a per­son, in­clud­ing air fare to Sin­ga­pore, re­turn­ing from Hong Kong, and overnight ho­tel stay in Sin­ga­pore. The cruise de­parts on dates in May, June and Septem­ber. More: 1300 363 428; www.cruiseabout.com.au. Freight es­cape: A cargo ship gives a dif­fer­ent view of life on the high seas. Stu­dent Flights has a 14-night voy­age on a work­ing freighter ex­plor­ing ports in Italy, Greece, Is­rael, Turkey and Slove­nia. From $1955 a per­son, mul­ti­share. Flights to Mon­fal­cone, Italy, where the ship sets sail and docks, are not in­cluded. The voy­age de­parts ev­ery Mon­day year round but ports of call are sub­ject to cargo re­quire­ments. More: 1300 651 639; www.stu­dent­flights.com.au. Seven in one: Cruise the seven-is­land Ae­o­lian ar­chi­pel­ago north of Si­cily in Italy aboard the 16-passenger Ariva II. Tempo Hol­i­days fea­tures the new eight-day Ae­o­lian Is­land cruise, Seven Pearls, from $2224 a per­son, in­clud­ing air­port trans­fers in Mi­lazzo, where the cruise starts and ends; port taxes, about $35 a per­son, are ex­tra. The cruise op­er­ates ev­ery Satur­day be­tween March 28 and Oc­to­ber 24 (ex­cept Au­gust 1 and 8). More: 1300 558 987; www.tem­po­hol­i­days.com. Is­lands galore: One coun­try, 1000 is­lands, beau­ti­ful beaches and un­spoiled vil­lages is the prom­ise with Con­tiki’s new eight-day Croa­t­ian is­land cruise. High­lights in­clude the so-called party cap­i­tal of Hvar, Marco Polo’s home­town of Kor­cula and World Her­itage-listed Dubrovnik. From $1499 a per­son, land only; de­par­tures from May to Septem­ber. Con­tiki spe­cialises in travel for 18 to 35-year-olds. More: 1300 266 845; www.con­tiki.com.au. Sil­ver lin­ings: Sil­versea Cruises has new itin­er­ar­ies for the 2009 north­ern au­tumn sea­son aboard its re­fur­bished Sil­ver Cloud. Sail­ing from Lon­don to ports in Ice­land, Green­land and Nova Sco­tia, Sil­ver Cloud will also visit north­east Canada and New Eng­land in the US. Fares in­clude all din­ing, wines, cham­pagnes and spir­its, en­ter­tain­ment, lec­tures and gratuities; port charges and flights ex­tra. More: 1300 306 872; www.sil­versea.com. Movie whirl: To cel­e­brate the release of Baz Luhrmann’s movie epic Aus­tralia , Cap­tain Cook Cruises is of­fer­ing spe­cial deals such as an Aus­tralian River Spirit pack­age that in­cludes sav­ings on a three or fournight Mur­ray River cruise with a Barossa Val­ley tour and free Greater Union cin­ema pass. The three-night trip de­parts Man­num ev­ery Fri­day and starts at $700 a per­son, nor­mally $909. The four-night ver­sion starts at $868 a per­son, nor­mally $1133, and de­parts Fri­day and Mon­day. Both in­clude a Barossa Val­ley day tour at the com­ple­tion of the cruise. Valid for sale to Jan­uary 15 for travel to the end of Fe­bru­ary. More: www.cap­tain­cook.com.au. Dutch treat: Flow­ers and wind­mills are the winning com­bi­na­tion with Uni­world’s 10-day jour­ney through the wa­ter­ways of The Nether­lands and Bel­gium. High­lights in­clude a visit to Kin­derdijk to see some of the old­est of The Nether­lands’ 1000 wind­mills, some dat­ing to 1740; an ex­cur­sion to Keuken­hof Gar­dens with thou­sands of tulips, daf­fodils and hy­acinths; a visit to the old town of Enkhuizen and a trip to the Ri­jksmu­seum in Am­s­ter­dam, which houses works by Rem­brandt, Ver­meer and Hals. The cruise, from $1899 a per­son (flights ex­tra), in­cludes ac­com­mo­da­tion in an out­side state­room on the River Em­press, River Queen or River Duchess, with wine at din­ner and eight shore ex­cur­sions. Avail­able March and April. More: www.uni­world­cruises.com.au. On wood: Ho­bart will an­chor down for four days of mar­itime cul­ture and crafts­man­ship from Fe­bru­ary 6 to 9 with the Aus­tralian Wooden Boat Fes­ti­val, fea­tur­ing more than 500 ves­sels of all shapes and sizes. An ex­ten­sive pro­gram of dock­side en­ter­tain­ment is sched­uled plus mu­sic, wooden surf­boat racing and a chil­dren’s boat-build­ing race. Ac­com­mo­da­tion site roam­free.com has a range of deals, in­clud­ing Wrest Point Ho­tel, where rooms start at $205 a night. More: www.roam­free.com. Half the price: Voy­ages of Dis­cov­ery has in­creased its early book­ing dis­counts to 50 per cent on se­lected Euro­pean voy­ages. A 10-day cruise from Nice to Venice, for in­stance, is now from $1884 a per­son, flights ex­tra. De­part­ing Septem­ber 10, the trip in­cludes Santa Margherita, Florence, Rome, Sor­rento and Si­cily. More: (02) 9959 1380; www.voy­age­sofdis­cov­ery.net.au. Game for a cruise? South Africa’s Vic­to­ria Falls, Kruger Na­tional Park and Botswana’s Chobe Na­tional Park are among add-on tours on of­fer as part of Queen Mary 2’s jour­ney from Syd­ney to Cape Town in March 2010. A range of fly-cruise-tour pack­ages from 18 to 25 nights are on of­fer. A cruise-only deal with flight back to Aus­tralia is from $5490 a per­son while the cruise plus tours starts at $5990. More: 1300 766 537; www.cruise­ex­press.com.au. Barry Oliver

Jet-ski­ing from mega-yacht SeaDream II

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