Wednesday, 28 October 2009


CLASSIC International Cruises has announced that its flagship, Athena will return to Western Australia and South Australia for the 2010/11 summer to offer the company's longest-ever program here as the only ship to be based in Perth and Adelaide in the 2010/11 season.

The popular 600-passenger Athena will be based in WA and SA from December 18, 2010, to April 3, 2011.

Athena will be the only cruise ship based in WA and SA in the summer of 2010/11, underscoring Classic International Cruises' continued commitment to these growing cruise markets, according to the line's Australian Managing Director, Grant Hunter.

"Classic International Cruises has served Western Australia every summer since 2004 after a decade in which no ship at all was based in WA, and in 2010/11 we will again offer our highly successful formula of traditional cruising, affordable fares, attractive itineraries, fine cuisine and friendly service," he said.

"We first developed the cruising market in WA with the small but popular Funchal and have gone from strength to strength ever since, which led us to deploy our biggest liner, Athena in WA and also SA last year for the first time.

"And our 2010/11 summer season will stretch for four months - our longest season yet."

Mr Hunter said that despite the economic slowdown, cruising had continued to attract record numbers of Australians seeking an exciting, value-for-money holiday.

"Consumers in WA and SA love the fact they can sail with us from their doorstep and our intimate, mid-sized ships keeps them coming back year after year," he said.

Athena's cruise itineraries in 2010/11 will again include Bali, greater Asia, destinations around WA and SA and classic line voyages between Europe and Australia. Details will be released later this year.

Originally a trans-Atlantic liner, the 16,200-ton Athena features a wrap-around promenade deck, traditional wooden deck chairs, a pool, fitness centre and sauna, five bars and lounges, nightclub, show lounge, casino, library, boutiques, cinema and formal and casual restaurants. The onboard currency is Australian dollars.

Cruises on Athena from Fremantle in WA and Adelaide in SA are available from $435 per person, twin-share, for a two-night itinerary.

Bookings via travel agents.  For more information, visit               


THERE's still time to enjoy an out-of-the-ordinary cruise before Christmas to some of the most-desirable – and some of the more-unusual – destinations in the USA, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines' $400m super-ship, Norwegian Star.

And making it all the more enticing, has slashed hundreds of dollars off the price of a 15-night fly, cruise and stay package that embraces this 13-night cruise, and also includes return air and taxes from Sydney or Melbourne, a hotel night pre-cruise in Los Angeles and another post-cruise in Miami, and all dining, entertainment and gratuities aboard Norwegian Star.

Norwegian Star sails out of Los Angeles on November 23 for Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco and Huatulco on the Mexican Riviera, Punta Arenas in Costa Rica, will transit the Panama Canal, have a day in Cartagena in Columbia, a total of six full-days cruising at sea between ports, and finish in Miami.

And prices for this 15-night value package start from as low as $3099pp twin-share, a saving of $750 per person, with even greater savings on some other cabin categories; full details on 1300 369 848 or visit

FURTHER SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: Norwegian Star was purpose-built for Norwegian Cruise Lines' renowned Freestyle Cruising that enables guests to dine when, where and with whom they wish at no fewer than ten onboard restaurants.

There are also thirteen bars and lounges, a casino, cinema and live-show auditorium, spa and salon, a selection of pools and hot tubs including a  children's splash pool, fitness centre, jogging and walking track, outdoor golf driving net, and basketball and volleyball courts.


With Tempo Holidays, book two of the luxury 'explora' lodges in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Atacama (Chile) and Lake Peheo (Patagonia) for next year and receive a free one-night stay at the Casa Porta Estate in Santiago which comes with an open bar, airport transfers plus winery tour and wine tasting.

The deal is for new bookings made before December 31.

The lodges of 'explora' offer sophisticated accommodation in remote environments, according to Tempo Holidays which has four or five-day packages at these properties.

The four-day package at 'explora' in Rapa Nui in Easter Island (known for the gigantic 'moai' sculptures), for example, is from $2575 per person twin share which includes accommodation with private facilities, 11 meals, open bar, and daily excursions (hiking, horse riding, cycling, museums and archaeological sites) with bilingual guides.

The vast Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth, but is extraordinarily beautiful. Its geological features include the eerie rock formations of Valle de la Luna, the shimmering salt flats which is a major breeding ground for flamingo, and the steaming mud pool of the Tatio Geyser. Then there are the 12th century ruins of an Indian fortress to explore and the Padre Le Paige archaeological museum.

The explora in Patagonia is in the fabulous Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. Dominated by the three imposing granite towers of the Paine Massif, it offers a stunning panorama of snow-clad peaks, glaciers and turquoise lakes.

Contact: agents or Tempo Holidays tel 1300 558 987, see, or


Philippine Airlines has announced new low fares for Australian travellers, offering great savings on existing prices and a perfect excuse to explore the unspoilt tropical isles of the Philippines.

The fares are among the best on offer this decade, with economy flights to Manila available from $900* return from Sydney or $883* return from Melbourne, including all taxes/charges.  They are available long term, expiring in March 31, 2011, and are part of a wider campaign to encourage more Australians to visit the Philippines.

New low fares beyond the capital are also available, with Philippine Airlines offering onward connections to a range of islands and resorts in the archipelago.

Economy fares to Cebu, Kalibo (for Boracay), Tagbilaran (Bohol) and Puerto Princesa (Palawan) are available from $997* return from Sydney or $980* return from Melbourne.

Just eight hours from Australia, the Philippines offer some of the most diverse and unspoilt locations in Asia, spread across 7107 islands in the tropical north Pacific.

They provide a chance to explore remarkable landscapes and cultures without enduring the hoards of mass tourism, yet the resorts and hotels are world-class and offer the warmth and spirit of Filipino hospitality.

Popular destinations include the renowned talc-white beaches of Boracay, the history and energetic culture of Cebu and the vibrant soul of big-city Manila.  Other emerging destinations include rustic Bohol, home to the world's smallest primate, the tarsier, and the pristine island of Palawan with its intricate limestone coastlines, virgin forests and underground waterways.

Philippine Airlines has also introduced new business class fares, priced from $2229* return from Sydney or $2212* from Melbourne.

Asia's first airline, Philippine Airlines operates five flights a week from Sydney and Melbourne to Manila aboard modern A330 aircraft, increasing to seven flights a week from November.

For full details, conditions and bookings, see travel agents or contact Philippine Airlines on 1300 888 725.  For more information on the Philippines visit

*Subject to availability/conditions.  Prices include all taxes/charges.  Available to 31/3/2011.


The  Australian dollar's astronomical  run (against  currencies such as the American dollar and the Japanese yen)  has encouraged even  more skiers and boarders to head to Japan's snow-covered ski areas.

"A strengthening dollar against the yen  is making our packages  even cheaper," said Marcus Williams General Manager  Ski Japan Travel.

"Ski Japan Travel  is selling  packages at  the exchange rate of the day customers pay, so any decrease  in costs such as accommodation, airline  tickets  and ski lift tickets, because  of a more favourable  exchange  rate gets passed  directly to our customers."

An early bird NISEKO Free Nights Offer: Pay  for 5 stay 7 or Pay 10 stay 14 nights in self contained apartments in Niseko, the most popular  Japanese  snow resort located  on the west coast of Hokkaido .

Valid for stays between 6 March - 30 April 2010; skiers or boarders pay for 5 nights and get an additional 2 nights free, or pay 10 nights and get 4 nights free.

A fully inclusive package costs from  $2,349 per person including return economy flights with Japan Airlines and air  taxes, 7 nights accommodation  in a  Full Circle 2 bedroom deluxe apartment  (2 free nights included) , 6 days' Niseko  all mountain lift pass, return airport transfers, airport meet and greet  plus services of Ski  whilst in Nisek

This package  is valid  for stays between 6 March - 30 April 2010

Details from Ski Japan Travel on 1300 137 411 or