Monday, 25 January 2010

FRANK FAVORITES: French Winelands, Renault Eurodrive, Surfers Paradise, Historic Alaska, Japan Snow


A WEEK aboard the world's highest-rated boutique motor-cruiser from Amsterdam to Bordeaux, and 6-nights through the French Winelands on a deluxe hotel barge, are the focus of a unique fully-escorted 21-day fly/cruise for just eight couples (or couples and singles) in July next year.

As well there'll be two nights in Amsterdam with a day's tour of the "windmill village" of Zaanse Schans and the famous Alkmaar Friday cheese market, a night in Bordeaux with a day-tour of local wineries, and two nights in Epernay for a day sightseeing and tasting in the Champagne and Reims wine regions.

And this unique fine-cruising, dining and sightseeing package, is rounded-out with return Business Class air from Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, and 5-star hotels in Amsterdam, Bordeaux and Epernay.

The 7-night sailing on the 112-passenger SeaDream I visits the French port of Honfleur, Jersey in the Channel Islands, the-once notorious pirate base of Saint-Malo on the French north-west coast, Belle Ille in the Brittany Islands, and ancient La Rochelle, before reaching Bordeaux; drinks from the open bars, and wines with meals are all included throughout the week.

After Bordeaux guests transfer to Dijon in Burgundy from where the just-9-cabin hotel barge Esprit sails to Ouges, Brazny, Seurre, Chalon, Chagny and St Leger with daily escorted (large and small) winery tours and tastings and select other historic sightseeing, including in Epernay. Meals aboard Esprit include regional wines and there will be three gourmet dinners ashore.

Prices start from $31,400pp twin-share ex-Sydney or Melbourne, $31,360 ex-Perth including all meals, transfers, guides, entries and gratuities; phone 1800 083 141 for a brochure or visit


Renault Eurodrive has made self-drive holidaying in Europe in 2010 the best value ever for those who take up its Early Bird offer and book before March 31 for collection any time up to December 31 this year.

Its offering these canny holidaymakers prices actually lower than last year, seven free days use on top of 21-day bookings, free delivery and return at eighteen French cities and airports, and fifty per cent off reduced fees in eight European countries and Great Britain – but warns of the genuine need to get in early as cars are limited and some models run out as the year progresses.

Prices are now down to as little as $1399 for 21-days use of an economic 2-door Renault Twingo, plus the additional 7-days use… and for past customers as far back as 2005, Renault Eurodrive will throw-in a further three days free.

All Renault Eurodrive's vehicles are brand-new ex-factory and come with full insurance that includes no-excess in 42 countries, no limit on the number of kilometres holidaymakers want to travel, and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Thirty-eight models to suit every need include budget 2-door, mid- and family-size sedans, coupes, luxury and estate sedans, and 7-seat people-movers.

No delivery or return fees apply at 19-depots in France, while at 14-other cities and airports in Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland there's 50 per cent off already discounted delivery and return.

The Renault Eurodrive lease program has been operating since 1955 with many models covered by Renault's Five Star Safety rating; see travel agents, phone toll-free 1300 55 11 60 or visit


Iconic 4.5-star Surfers Paradise resort, Towers of Chevron Renaissance, has just released enticing Easter rates for one and two bedroom fully self-contained apartments.

Stay between April 1 and 11 in a one bedroom apartment for four nights for $923 or seven nights for $1,419.

Alternatively, stay in a two bedroom apartment and save up to 24 per cent for four nights at $955 or up to 33 per cent on a seven night stay at $1,475.

Towers of Chevron Renaissance offers three separate towers of luxury with one, two and three bedroom self-contained apartments with stunning hinterland, canal or ocean views and just a few minutes walking distance from Australia's most famous surf beach.

Resort facilities include Beaches in the Sky, a series of lagoons, indoor and outdoor lap pools, sauna, spa, barbecue and lawn areas five levels above the main thoroughfare. There is also a games room, gymnasium and private movie theatre.

Holiday deals are also available from April 12 until June 24 on all room types ranging from $608 for three nights in a one bedroom apartment up to seven nights in a two bedroom superior apartment for $1372 representing a saving of 29 per cent.

Three bedroom apartments between April 12 and June 24 are only $968 for three nights and $2,063 for seven nights.

Additional room types and lengths of stay are available and all rates are subject to availability.

For further information on enticing Queensland holiday deals visit or phone Discover Queensland on 1300 788 553.


A 7-night fly/cruise package to Alaska's most colourfully historic frontier and goldrush towns and settlements in May of this year, is selling through Cruiseco from just $3490pp twin-share, including return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The 4-star Norwegian Pearl will sail from Seattle in America's Washington State on May 23 to cruise the famed Inside Passage, Juneau at the mouth of Gold Creek and considered one of America's most beautiful state capitals, and Skagway that was the gateway to the Klondike and still has its rustic goldrush boardwalk streets, frontier shopfronts and historic steam railway.

Norwegian Pearl will then cruise Glacier Bay, visit the quaint village of Ketchikan that today is still less than 5km long and just three blocks wide, and sail to Victoria on Vancouver Island that's home to the world-famous Butchart Gardens, Saanich Peninsula Wineries, and is dubbed The Garden City.

Norwegian Cruise Line's famed Freestyle Cruising is a feature aboard Norwegian Pearl, allowing guests to dine when, where and with whom they wish; the ship has no less than ten restaurants, fourteen bars and lounges, three pools, the first bowling alley at sea, a rock-climbing wall, Broadway-style nightly entertainment, and a 24-hour fitness centre.

There's also a jogging track, tennis court and basketball court, child and teen programs, games arcade, casino, beauty salon and shops. For full details phone 1800 225 656 or visit for details of the nearest of Cruiseco's 170 cruise-specialist travel agents Australia-wide.

More and more skiers and boarders seeking a once-in-a-lifetime powder adventure head to Hokkaido on the northern Japanese island.
 The favourable exchange rate and discounted accommodation currently offered by SkiJapan Travel, has seen the volume of snow enthusiasts return to the  big  numbers of two winters ago.

 After Chinese New Year (when seats on planes are more available) there will be  easier access to affordable, week-long, accommodation and ski lift ticket packages at Niseko, the most popular Japanese powder playground.

Anyone who books a five night stay in Yuki Yama self-contained, western-style, Apartment in the heart of Niseko from 6 March 2010 will be offered two additional nights free of charge.
A seven night package with a six day all mountain Niseko ski lift ticket and transfers from Chitose (Sapporo) Airport costs from $893. The Yuki Yama Apartment complex is located six minutes from the Ace Family lift and is surrounded by restaurants and bars. Each ample-sized apartment has broadband internet access and satellite TV.
SkiJapan Travel can also source well-priced airfares to Niseko via Sapporo and stopover packages at major cities such as Tokyo.
For more details contact SkiJapan Travel on 1300 137 411 or