{ GREAT CRUIS­ING ES­CAPES }

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Afloat - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

Homeport heaven: Book­ings open on Wed­nes­day for Queen Mary 2’s first NewZealand cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion. The 12-night voy­age de­parts Syd­ney on March 7, 2013, and cruises to Mil­ford Sound, Christchurch, Welling­ton, Auck­land and the Bay of Is­lands be­fore re­turn­ing to Syd­ney, with a pos­si­ble ex­ten­sion to Perth. Book be­fore July 31 to re­ceive a free din­ner, and grab early­bird fares be­fore De­cem­ber 31; from $3329 a per­son twin-share, and $5259 a per­son twin-share with Perth ex­ten­sion. More: 1300 766 537; cruise­ex­press.com.au. Fly free to Europe: Book be­fore July 29 for a 28-night round-trip cruise from Southamp­ton to the Black Sea on Saga Ruby, de­part­ing Oc­to­ber 4, and get free re­turn flights to Lon­don (exSyd­ney, Mel­bourne, Bris­bane, Ade­laide and Perth); from $6647 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing on­board din­ing, nightly en­ter­tain­ment, trans­fers, gra­tu­ities and taxes. More: cruis­ing.com.au. Paris-to-Ve­gas party: En­joy a 30-night hol­i­day, in­clud­ing four nights in Paris and a 17-night cruise on Hol­land Amer­ica Line’s MSRyn­damfromBarcelona to Florida, be­fore spend­ing four nights in Las Ve­gas; from $4899 a per­son twin-share, de­part­ing Syd­ney, Mel­bourne or Bris­bane on Oc­to­ber 25. In­cludes all ship­board main meals (ex­clud­ing spe­cialty restau­rants) and most on­board en­ter­tain­ment. More:1300 887 590; cruisea­way.com.au. Rolling rivers: Book by July 31 for a seven-night Vik­ing Spirit river cruise through France de­part­ing Novem­ber 18; from $1299 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing main meals with wine, en­ter­tain­ment and guided tours. More: 1800 044 066; trav­e­las­so­ci­ates.com.au.

Queen Mary 2 will sail into Auck­land Har­bour in 2013

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