GREAT CRUISE ESCAPES
Royal repast: Cunard’s grand liner Queen Victoria has unveiled a 100-seat alternative dining venue, the Verandah, which replaces Boston chef Todd English’s eponymous diner; the Verandah is modelled on sister ship Queen Elizabeth’s restaurant of the same name and the menu has been created by Jean-Marie Zimmermann, Cunard’s global culinary ambassador, with signature dishes that include a carpaccio of smoked beef with marinated aubergine, quail’s egg and truffle mayonnaise. More: 132 441; cunardline.com.au. On the fly: Cruise Express has an exclusive 13-day Art of the Kimberley fly/cruise package aboard the luxury expeditionary ship Orion that focuses on Aboriginal rock art and includes return domestic airfares from any state capital, two nights’ accommodation with breakfast in Darwin, onboard drinks, fishing trip, helicopter tour of King George Falls and Bungle Bungles sightseeing flight; departs August 14, from $9300 a person twinshare or from $12,900 for single hotel and cabin occupancy. More: 1300 766 537; cruiseexpress.com.au. Sail away: Windstar Cruises has announced the debut of its all-suite yacht, the 212-passenger Star Pride, and details of its 2014 Pride Voyage Collection; next year’s departures, from May 5 to October 21, are now on sale and feature four new itineraries (including the Black Sea) across nine distinctive voyages highlighting small ports inaccessible to large liners through the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Adriatic and along the canals and lagoons of Venice and the French Riviera. More: 1300 950 622; traveltheworld.com.au. Kerala’s water world: Traditional houseboat tours on the expansive waterways of Kerala on the southwest coast of India are on Explore Worldwide’s 12-day small-group adventures (12 to 16 people), from $1153 a person twin-share for nominated departures between August 13 and early 2014; recommended for adventurous travellers, the itinerary includes sightseeing in Kochi, a homestay, a safari in Periyar National Park and a visit to a tea plantation at Munnar hill station. More: 1300 439 756; exploreworldwide.com.au. South Pacific calling: Available until sold out, Coral Princess Cruises, specialist in small-ship expedition cruising, has deals of 25 per cent off selected South Pacific and New Zealand expeditions aboard its 72-passenger Oceanic Discoverer; single supplements have been waived on various voyages, such as a November 23 departure on a 13-night Melanesia expedition to ports in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. More: 1800 079 545; coralprincess.com.au.