{ GREAT RIVER CRUISES }

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

East­ern Europe call­ing: Cruiseco has dis­counted pack­ages for May and June, in­clud­ing a 14-night jour­ney aboard River Beatrice de­part­ing May 27 from Prague to Istanbul, and a re­verse itin­er­ary de­part­ing June 10; from $3999 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing shore ex­cur­sions, gra­tu­ities and meals (sav­ing more than $1000). More: cruis­ing.com.au. Mekong magic: Wendy Wu Tours has dis­counts on 13-day Mekong River cruise pack­ages if booked by April 1. The itin­er­ar­ies in­clude a two-night stay in Ho Chi Minh City, then a seven-night cruise vis­it­ing Cai Be, Phnom Penh and Kam­pong Cham, fol­lowed by a three-night stay in Siem Reap; from $2820 (aboard a Pan­daw Cruises ship) or $2995 (the Jayavar­man bou­tique cruiser), in­clud­ing all ho­tel accommodation (with break­fasts), cruise, trans­fers and guides. More: 1300 727 998; wendy­wu­tours.com.au. It pays to be early: Avalon Wa­ter­ways is cel­e­brat­ing the ex­pan­sion of its Euro­pean river cruise fleet with early­bird sav­ings of $1000 a cou­ple on a se­lec­tion of its 2013 itin­er­ar­ies (and $500 off other sail­ings). Avalon has 50 depar­tures on the Rhine, Danube, Main, Moselle, and Seine rivers, plus the Nile, Yangtze and Mekong, and to the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands. Book by June 30 for the dis­count. More: 1300 230 234; aval­on­wa­ter­ways.com.au. Power of one: Book by March 31 to take ad­van­tage of APT’S half­cost sin­gle sup­ple­ments on this year’s 15-day Rhine, Rhone and Moselle river cruises. The 50 per cent off deal, on depar­tures to Novem­ber, cov­ers accommodation, meals and ex­cur­sions; from $8642 a per­son. More: 1300 229 804; ap­tour­ing.com.au. River of gold: Uni­world is ex­tend­ing its 2013 cruises with the in­tro­duc­tion of a new ves­sel, Queen Is­abel, which will sail Por­tu­gal and Spain’s UNESCO World Her­itage-listed Douro River Val­ley. More: uni­world­cruises.com.au. Flower power: Act fast to visit Flo­ri­ade 2012, the World Hor­ti­cul­tural Expo in Venlo, The Nether­lands, which runs from April 4 to Oc­to­ber 7. APT’S itin­er­ar­ies this year in­clude the 15-day Mag­nif­i­cent Europe cruise from Am­s­ter­dam to Bu­dapest; from $7295 a per­son twin-share on Con­certo, with meals, ex­cur­sions and trans­fers. More: 1300 229 804; ap­tour­ing.com.au.

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