GREAT SMALL SHIP ESCAPES
While on the Nile: After its recent resumption of Nile trips from Cairo to Luxor after a 15-year government ban, Abercrombie & Kent’s 36-passenger Sanctuary Sun Boat III has won a cruise award from Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism. On shore excursions from the luxury boat, an Egyptologist conducts tours in groups of no more than 15, avoiding site visits at busy times. A&K’s 15-day Egyptian Odyssey program includes a 10-night cruise; check for 25 per cent off selected seasonal departures. More: 1300 851 800; abercrombiekent.com.au. Book a cook: Adam D’Sylva, chefowner of Melbourne’s Coda, will accompany passengers aboard a private eight-night cruise charter on Halong Bay in Vietnam that forms the centrepiece of a 17-night itinerary from Hanoi to Siem Reap in Cambodia; D’Sylva will also conduct cooking classes and prepare special menus, and the program includes a stay at the award-winning Amansara in Siem Reap. From $7939 a person twin-share, including return airfares from Sydney (departing September 14), nine nights’ accommodation with daily breakfasts and selected meals, full board on the cruise and transfers. More: 1300 369 848; ecruising.travel. Shiny and new: Silversea has released details of its 2013 and 2014 Galapagos programs, which cover seven-day voyages aboard its newly acquired 100-passenger expeditionary vessel Silver Galapagos (formerly sailing as Galapagos Explorer II) with all accommodation in ocean-view suites; departures from September. More: 1300 306 872; silversea.com. Free and breezy: Captain Cook Cruises Fiji has a deal for minors five to 17 years to cruise and dine for free, when accompanied by a paying adult, on all its cruises of three, four or seven nights until March 31 aboard the 120-passenger MVReef Endeavour. Book by December 31. More: 1300 863 454; captaincook.com.fj. It pays to plan: Europe river cruise operator Avalon Waterways has announced a range of earlybird deals for next year, including a round-theworld airfare-inclusive package with savings of up to $3236 a couple. Or book a 2013 cruise of 11 days or more by December 15 and save $300 a couple. More: 1300 230 234; avalonwaterways.com.au. Loch and loll: Scottish cruise company The Majestic Line has recently scored a local tourism award for its trips along the coastlines of Argyll and the inner Hebrides; its two vessels are converted wooden fishing trawlers carrying just 11 passengers on three or sixnight cruises. Book ahead for next season — there’s a 10 per cent discount on cruises in April, with the promise of good wildlife viewing. More: themajesticline.co.uk.