GREAT RIVER ESCAPES

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Afloat - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

Zoom the Zam­bezi: Bench In­ter­na­tional is of­fer­ing sav­ings of up to $420 a cou­ple on a three-night voy­age on the Chobe River be­tween Botswana and Namibia aboard the lux­u­ri­ous cruiser Zam­bezi Queen; game-view­ing ex­cur­sions are in­cluded and the voy­age now starts at $1865 a per­son twin-share for departures from March to June; re­duced rates for sin­gles from $2295. More: (02) 9290 2877; bench­in­ter­na­tional.com.au. Waltz the Danube: Sea Cloud Cruises has a seven-night mu­sic-themed cruise on the Danube over Easter aboard River Cloud II; de­parts Vil­shofen, Ger­many, on April 17 for Bu­dapest, call­ing at river­side towns in Aus­tria and Slo­vakia. High­lights in­clude two nights in Vi­enna dur­ing the OsterKlang mu­sic fes­ti­val and an on-board con­cert by stu­dents of Ham­burg Univer­sity of Mu­sic. More: 1300 583 572; sea­cloud.com. French bred: Uni­world has an­nounced the launch of ‘‘su­per ship’’ SS Cather­ine; the river cruiser will run seven-night itin­er­ar­ies through Bur­gundy and Provence from Avi­gnon to Lyon, with fares from $3695 a per­son twin-share, cov­er­ing port charges, taxes, gra­tu­ities, al­co­holic bev­er­ages and guided ex­cur­sions; departures from March 30 to Novem­ber 9. More: (02) 9028 5199; uni­world­cruises.com.au. Fit for an em­press: April 2 is lift-off date for a 17-day fly-cruise hol­i­day fea­tur­ing a cen­tre­piece seven-night cruise aboard Amer­i­can Em­press, billed as the most el­e­gant river­boat in the Pa­cific North­west; this Fron­tiers, Pi­o­neers and Vine­yards jaunt in­cludes re­turn flights from Syd­ney, Bris­bane or Mel­bourne to the US; two nights in Beverly Hills; overnight train trip from Los Angeles to Port­land, Ore­gon, aboard the Am­trak Coast Starlight train; a night’s stay in Port­land; and three nights in Las Ve­gas. From $5989 a per­son twin-share. More: world­wide­cruise­cen­tres.com.au. See­ing green: Ever­green Tours’ 2015 Euro­pean river cruise deals in­clude free flights and a guar­an­tee of 2014 prices; Emer­ald Sky and Emer­ald Star will launch this April. More: ev­er­green­tours.com.

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