GREAT CRUISE ES­CAPES

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

FLOWER POWER: Gar­den and cul­ture op­er­a­tor Botan­ica is of­fer­ing free economy flights, air cred­its and deals on busi­ness-class up­grades for a range of 2018 tours and cruises; for best of­fers, book by July 31 for next year’s 21-day Gardens & Art of Por­tu­gal and Spain, de­part­ing April 27, or an 11-day gar­den and his­to­ry­themed cruise of Bri­tain, de­part­ing May 29. More: 1300 305 202; botan­ica.travel.

HAVE AN ICE DAY: Aus­tralian-owned Chimu Ad­ven­tures has a col­lec­tion of Antarc­tica ex­pe­ri­ences for hardy trav­ellers that in­cludes camp­ing on ice, moun­tain climb­ing and skiing in the icy con­ti­nent’s re­mote in­te­ri­ors; itin­er­ar­ies are also built around ex­plo­ration cruises in the wake of Sir Ernest Shack­le­ton and Sir Dou­glas Maw­son. More: chimuad­ven­tures.com.

BE AN EARLY BIRD: Buy a lux­ury river cruise in Europe for next year with Scenic and pay 2017 prices; a lim­ited time ap­plies for ad­vance book­ings. There’s also a fly­free deal to Europe year-round for stan­dard suite book­ings on cruises of 11 days or more and solo pas­sen­gers can save 50 per cent off the sin­gle sup­ple­ment on se­lected de­par­tures. Book now and pay for the jour­ney in full by May 31 this year for fur­ther dis­counts, such as $600 a cou­ple on cruises of 11 days or more or $300 a cou­ple for 10 days or less. More: 138 128; scenic.com.au.

HA­VANA, AHOY: Un­til Novem­ber 4, Royal Caribbean’s Em­press of the Seas has cruises of four or five nights to Ha­vana, Cuba, from Tampa, Florida, in­cor­po­rat­ing stops in Key West and Mex­ico’s Cozumel. It’s a Cuban­themed fi­esta aboard, too, with spe­cial menus at Cafe Royal and salsa music and danc­ing in the Boleros Latin Lounge. More: 1800 754 500; roy­al­caribbean.com.au.

SNEAK PEEKS: Avalon Wa­ter­ways has re­leased its 2018 “Pre­view Brochure” with an of­fer of hol­i­day cred­its up to $2800 a cou­ple on de­par­tures in Europe and South­east Asia on book­ings made by April 4 this year. Cred­its can be ap­plied to in­ter­na­tional flights, a sec­ond cruise, a Mono­grams city break, or a cash cut on a book­ing. The pro­gram cov­ers more than 30 itin­er­ar­ies on rivers in­clud­ing the Danube, Rhine, Moselle and Main and a new eight-day Tulip Time cruise from Am­s­ter­dam. Also in­cluded are Mekong and Ir­rawaddy voy­ages. More: 1300 230 234; aval­on­wa­ter­ways.com.au.

MEKONG MAGIC: The 2018 Ever­green Tours brochure has ex­tra eight-day sail­ings aboard the 68-pas­sen­ger RV Mekong Nav­i­ga­tor be­tween March and Novem­ber; cruises can be linked with re­gional tour­ing in Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia. Fares for the voy­age start at $2595 a per­son twin-share with a two-for-one flight of­fer if booked by Septem­ber 30 this year. More: 1300 383 747; ev­er­green­tours.com.au.

BARGE AHEAD: To cel­e­brate the cen­te­nary of the ex­clu­sive eight-pas­sen­ger ho­tel barge L’Art de Vivre, Euro­pean Wa­ter­ways has 10 per cent off se­lected cruises this year in France’s Bur­gundy re­gion. More: 1800 828 050; go­b­arg­ing.com.

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