The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Afloat -

SYD­NEY-based writer He­len Hutcheon was pre­sented the 2010 In­ter­na­tional Cruise Coun­cil Aus­trala­sia award for ‘‘out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the cruise in­dus­try’’. She is the re­gional cor­re­spon­dent for Seatrade Cruise Re­view. More: Des­per­ate to get back to: Val­letta, Malta’s cap­i­tal and a World Her­itage site. Top shop­ping se­cret: My favourite jew­eller, Wai Kee in Prince’s Build­ing, Hong Kong Cen­tral. Must visit: The medieval vil­lage of Saint-Paul de Vence near Cannes; take lunch at La Colombe d’Or’s gar­den ter­race restau­rant. DEALS OF THE WEEK Across the ditch: Cel­e­brate the maiden sea­son down un­der of Royal Caribbean’s Ra­di­ance of the Seas on a 14-night Syd­ney to New Zealand round-trip; from $1599 a per­son twin-share for an in­side cabin. De­par­tures Novem­ber 20, De­cem­ber 4, and Jan­uary 15 and 29, 2012. More: 1800 754 500; roy­al­ Per­fect place for in­dul­gence: A cruise ship: at sea you have the time to be pam­pered in all those beauty sa­lons and spas. Ultimate eco-ad­ven­ture: The 2km round-trip hike on Ko­modo Is­land, In­done­sia, es­corted by rangers to guard Alaskan ad­ven­ture: Book now to ex­plore the In­side Pas­sage’s west­ern coves and bays from Ketchikan to Juneau this July or Au­gust; from $1999 a per­son twin-share for seven nights on board Wilder­ness Ad­ven­turer, in­clud­ing all meals, en­ter­tain­ment, port charges and fees. Flights ex­tra. More: 1300 362 599; cre­ative­cruis­ against those dan­ger­ous ko­modo dragons. Stand-out af­ter­noon tea: At cruise ship Crys­tal Sym­phony’s Palm Court, with panoramic ocean views, white-gloved stew­ards and a mu­si­cal trio. Invit­ing culi­nary des­ti­na­tion: The el­e­gant set­ting of the Sil­versea line’s Le Cham­pagne, the only wine restau­rants at sea by Re­lais & Chateaux. In­spi­ra­tional travel nar­ra­tive: Scott Baty’s Ships that Passed. Most mem­o­rable splurge: Ex­quis­ite black silk evening shoes bought from Rodeo Drive dur­ing a Los An­ge­les stopover. Best ex­pe­ri­ence afloat: Com­ing through Syd­ney Heads at the end of a cruise. Ro­man­tic rivers: Book and pay by July 29 for early­bird dis­counts on all Vik­ing River Cruises’ 2012 itin­er­ar­ies, such as the pop­u­lar eight-day Ro­man­tic Danube from $1799 a per­son for se­lected low-sea­son de­par­tures, in­clud­ing all meals, shore ex­cur­sions, com­pli­men­tary wine with lunch and din­ner, gra­tu­ities and port taxes. More: 1300 363 554.

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