GREAT CRUISE ES­CAPES

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

Sil­ver linings: Sil­versea’s Sil­ver Cloud will fea­ture a se­ries of new en­hance­ments from next month. A stem-to-stern re­fur­bish­ment has been tak­ing place, in­clud­ing re­freshed decor and art­work, up­grade of the Re­lais & Chateaux res­tau­rant Le Cham­pagne and re­mod­elling of other din­ing out­lets. All suites will have mat­tresses cus­tom-made for Sil­versea ships and re­vamped en­suites with a glassen­closed ‘‘rain­for­est shower with sit­ting area’’. More: (02) 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872; sil­versea.com. The wow fac­tor: Royal Caribbean is hold­ing a Global WOWSale from to­mor­row to Oc­to­ber 17, which in­cludes in­duce­ments such as bonus on­board cred­its of up to $200 a cabin and half-price de­posits on all world­wide sail­ings of three nights or more from Jan­uary next year. There will be three Royal Caribbean ships based in our re­gion this sum­mer. More: roy­al­caribbean.com.au. Big-ship bo­nanza: MSC Cruises is set to hold a 48-hour sale for nine of its ships, with seven-night Mediter­ranean sail­ings on MSCS­plen­dida start­ing at $354 a per­son twin­share or about $50 a day. Book­ings for 11-night Grand Voy­ages aboard MSC Div­ina, launched this year by the Ital­ian line’s god­mother, Sophia Loren, will start at $554 a per­son twin-share. The two-day sale goes live at 9am (AEDT) on Oc­to­ber 16. More: msc­cruises.com.au. Plan ahead: Avalon Wa­ter­ways has early­bird deals on its Europe river cruises next year or book se­lected April de­par­tures by Novem­ber 27 and add a re­turn air­fare from Aus­tralia from $1635 a per­son. And if you book any Avalon Wa­ter­ways 2013 Euro­pean cruise of 11 days or more by De­cem­ber 15, there’s a sav­ing of $300 a cou­ple. More: 1300 230 234; aval­on­wa­ter­ways.com.au. Hello, sailors: Cruiseabout sug­gests novice sailors could get a taste for cruis­ing on a three-night out­ing on Pa­cific Pearl, de­part­ing Sydney on De­cem­ber 14. The of­fer starts at $2199 for two adults and two chil­dren (aged 2-11) shar­ing an out­side cabin and with all the usual ship­board in­clu­sions. Cruiseabout also has good-value deals on a 12- night Pa­cific Dawn cruise from Bris­bane to Fiji, Van­u­atu and New Cale­do­nia, de­part­ing Bris­bane on De­cem­ber 15. More: 1300 450 133; cruiseabout.com.au. Free and easy: Book by Novem­ber 30 for a free re­turn air­fare deal from Ade­laide, Bris­bane, Mel­bourne, Perth or Sydney to join Trav­el­mar­vel’s river cruises be­tween Am­s­ter­dam and Bu­dapest next year. The spe­cial of­fer ap­plies to nine itin­er­ar­ies, in­clud­ing small-group land jour­ney ex­ten­sions to re­gions in Italy, Croa­tia, France, Switzer­land, Liecht­en­stein, Aus­tria, Ger­many, Hun­gary, Slo­vakia and The Nether­lands. More: 1300 300 036; trav­el­mar­vel.com.au. Lux­ury in the Kim­ber­ley: Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises is of­fer­ing a 20 per cent dis­count for book­ings made dur­ing Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber on four Kim­ber­ley Coast cruises aboard the ex­clu­sive 18-pas­sen­ger Kim­ber­ley Quest II dur­ing the March-Septem­ber sea­son next year. A 10-day Ad­ven­ture Quest re­turn from Broome starts at $7920 a per­son, twin-share (usu­ally $9900). More: 1300 156 035; kim­ber­leyquest.com.au. Clip­per odysseys: Lux­ury 170-pas­sen­ger clip­per ship Star Flyer will re­turn to the Baltic next year af­ter a bumper in­au­gu­ral sea­son this year. Di­verse new itin­er­ar­ies have been added, in­clud­ing four-night ‘‘taster cruises’’ from Am­s­ter­dam to Ham­burg in May and Ham­burg to Os­tend in Au­gust. More: 1300 362 599; cre­ative­cruis­ing.com.au. Ca­lypso cruis­ing: MSC­Cruises is also of­fer­ing Caribbean voy­ages in early 2013 from $469 a per­son twin-share for seven nights ex Fort Laud­erdale aboard MSC Lir­ica. Ex­clu­sive to Aus­tralian pas­sen­gers is a Caribbean Ca­lypso fly, stay and cruise pack­age de­part­ing Fe­bru­ary 8, fea­tur­ing a 14-night sail­ing and re­turn flight to Miami with one-night stay be­fore the cruise. From $4417 a per­son, twin-share, de­pend­ing on de­par­ture port in Aus­tralia. MSC Cruises has a pol­icy of free voy­ages (only port fees are charged) for chil­dren un­der 18 years if shar­ing with two adults. More: 1300 028 502; msc­cruises.com.au. Big-wave sea­son ahoy: Carnival Aus­tralia is pre­dict­ing a record sum­mer of cruis­ing ahead down un­der with 19 ships from its fleets sched­uled to make 310 calls to Aus­tralian ports and carry a record 325,000 pas­sen­gers. The Oc­to­ber-April sea­son will fea­ture the Aus­tralian de­but of Carnival Spirit, which will be based here full time, as well as maiden vis­its from two other ships un­der the Carnival Aus­tralia um­brella, Hol­land Amer­ica’s Oos­ter­dam and the ul­tra-lux­ury Se­abourn Quest. Sea­son high­lights will in­clude the re­turn of Cu­nard flag­ship Queen Mary 2, which will make its maiden cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of New Zealand on a round-trip voy­age from Sydney in March. More: 133 194; carnival.com.au.

Bar­gain voy­ages are on sale aboard MSC Cruises’ Div­ina, launched this year by the Ital­ian line’s fa­mous god­mother, Sophia Loren

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