Mediterranean beckons in the off season
THE mellow Med: Sail the Mediterranean at leisure when the summer high season is over; book before June 30 to save 25 per cent on selected departures aboard the Star Clipper fleet’s flagship 227-passenger Royal Clipper or 170-passenger sister ships Star Flyer and Star Clipper. Choose seven nights on board Star Flyer departing October 1 (Monaco to Cannes) or October 8 (Cannes to Malaga) from $2350, or a seven-night fly-cruise package on Star Clipper departing September 3, sailing from Athens to the Greek isles and Turkey, from $4869 including return airfares from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide with Emirates. More: 1300 362 599; starclippers.com. Russian rivers: Book a 15-day 2012 river cruise on board the Sergey Kutchkin — the newest ship on Russia’s waterways — from St Petersburg to Moscow, visiting cities and picturesque riverside towns and villages along the way. Spend four nights in Moscow visiting sights such as Red Square, the KGBbuilding, the Kremlin and the Cosmonaut Training Centre. From $8045 a person twin-share, including return flights from Australia, taxes, all sightseeing tours and events, gratuities, meals, complimentary beer, local wines and soft drinks served with dinner. More: 1300 723 642; scenictours.com.au. The Kimberley coast: Enjoy 15 per cent discount on Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises’ seven-day Southern Quest package between WA’s Mitchell Plateau and Broome from June to September; from $7093 a person twin-share including an ensuite cabin, meals, guided land and water excursions, a scenic light-aircraft flight from Broome to Mitchell Plateau and helicopter flight over Mitchell Falls, excursions, whale spotting and fishing. More: (08) 9193 6131; kimberleyquest.com.au. Amazon adventures: The Peruvian Amazon awaits aboard M/V Aria, Aqua Expeditions’ new luxury riverboat. Highlights include Peru’s largest natural reserve, Pacaya-Samiria, in the northern hub of Iquitos, a 75minute flight from Lima. Three, four and seven-night itineraries on board the 16-cabin riverboat feature Aqua Expeditions’ signature Amazon Grill by executive chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, naturalist guides, Amazon wildlife reference library and air-conditioned multimedia room. More: aquaexpeditions.com. Solar special: Witness the rare total eclipse of the sun in November next year from the best vantage point: an area extending from Cairns across a swath of Pacific Ocean. Book a 20-night Honolulu to Sydney voyage on board Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium; from $2251 a person, departing November 2 from Hawaii and visiting American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand, then Sydney, with an excellent view of the eclipse at sea in the South Pacific at about 11am on November 14. More: 1300 766 537; cruiseexpress.com.au. A slice of Sicily: A 15-day Sicily is the Key to Everything cruise on board Aegean Odyssey departs August 26 from Athens to Rome; from $5195 a person twin-share, including free return flights if you book before June 1. Explore history, art and architecture at more than 20 destinations including Athens and Mycenae in Greece, Trapani and Palermo in Sicily, plus Sorrento and Capri on the Amalfi coast. More: 1800 507 777. Sydney sights: Save 25 per cent on Captain Cook Cruises’ Winter Wonderland two-night Sydney Harbour Weekend cruises on selected June, July and August sailings; from $360 a person twinshare, including food and wine, sightseeing, shore excursions, music and dancing. More: 1800 804 843; captaincook.com.au. Sail South America: A 32-night fly-cruise aboard Rotterdam from November 21 covers Santa Marta, Puerto Limon, the Panama Canal and famous Inca sites. Explore ancient culture in Cuzco with a five-night stopover in Lima; from $5969 a person twin-share, including return economy airfares on V-Australia from Sydney to Fort Lauderdale and San Diego. Available for sale until June 30. More: 1300 450 133; cruiseabout. com.au. Amazing Asia: Book before May 31 to receive a free stopover in Singapore on ecruising.travel’s Ultimate Asia 2012 22-night cruise and tour visiting China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, including 12-nights on board luxury Azamara Quest, departing March 6; from $9439 a person twin-share including return economy airfares with Singapore Airlines from Australia, domestic flights within China, five-star accommodation in China and Hong Kong, Englishspeaking guides, all entrance fees, and most meals. More: 1300 369 848; ecruising.travel. Beauty of the Baltic: Explore Northern Europe on an 11-night fly-cruise package on Regent Seven Seas Voyager from Stockholm to Copenhagen departing July 8; from $7999 a person twinshare including return flights from Australia to Scandinavia. More: 1300 766 537; cruiseexpress.com.au.