Saturday, 24 April 2010

FRANK'S FAVOURITES: Cruising, Snow, New Zealand, Istanbul, Solomon Islands


IF you've a special-occasion celebration coming up, or simply want to say a unique Thank You to that unique person in your life, cruise with them out of Sydney Harbour in November next year for "two nights to nowhere" on a 5-star liner that most can only dream about finding themselves aboard.

Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas super-liner will become one of the talking points of Sydney when she visits in November 2011, and on November 18 (2011) she'll sail at ten o'clock at night through the city's harbour lights for 2-nights of 5-star indulgence – that through will start from just $469pp twin-share, which is $280pp below some-previously advertised prices.

And it will include all onboard dining from a choice of 5-star restaurants, grills and cafés, port charges and taxes, and even onboard gratuities – making for one of the grandest 2-nights you've ever had, and one of the best-priced.

Go onto and book this amazing package online; ecruising is the only Australian cruise company to offer this facility, and also accepts online bookings for all other ships of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: As Radiance of the Seas cruises off the NSW coast, guests will have a choice of activities ranging from the indoor/outdoor Country Club with golf simulator, 9-hole Miniature Golf Course, a Day Spa and Fitness Centre, Solarium, Rock-climbing Wall, Youth Facilities, Kids Waterslide, Basketball/Volleyball Court, Pool Tables, a Casino and a range of Themed Bars and Lounges.

The 2500-passenger Radiance of the Seas will be the first "21st century superliner" to visit Australia, and will offer more open space than any other cruise ship of her size, including acres of glass windows for picture-perfect viewing.


For the official opening weekend (12-14 June) of the snow season at Falls Creek, management of Altezza 1570 apartments is going to include a mouth-watering platter of local produce for its guests on the Saturday night.

Plus children will be able to choose from dishes such as lamb casserole with creamy mash and beans, or sticky chicken wings with rice and snow peas... followed by homemade ice-cream sundaes.

The tariff for the long weekend begins from $60 per person per night based on six sharing one of the Altezza 1570 two bedroom six share, self-contained well-appointed apartments.

Long weekend guests will be offered the platter which will include smoked trout, potted rabbit, Milawa chesses, marinated olives, crudités and homemade breads. And for dessert Sticky Fig puddings, homemade vanilla bean ice-cream and citrus caramel sauce.

A Peak Season special for Altezza (Italian for altitude) guests between 13-28 August is a fully catered dinner party on whichever night they deem appropriate.

The tariff begins from $101 per person per night (for 5 or more nights) and the dinner served in the apartment could include an entree-local sample platter  followed by a choice of main meal – Confit of Duck Leg with buttery cabbage, roasted potatoes and quince glaze, or melt-in-the-mouth Lamb Shanks with creamy mash, green beans and salsa verde.

Deserts will include Sticky Fig puddings, homemade vanilla bean ice-cream and citrus caramel sauce.

Children can order from a delicious menu and be fed before or with the adults
A sample menu for kids includes a choice of lamb casserole or sticky chicken Wings. Followed by homemade ice-cream sundaes!

For more information contact Falls Creek Central Reservations 1800 033 079


EXPERIENCE some of New Zealand's best gardens in the peak of their summer finery by sea – joining a 14-day Garden Cruise with Wings Away Travel and Cruiseland in February and March next year aboard the 70,000-tonne mega-liner Dawn Princess from Melbourne.

And for those whose partners may be more keen on golfing than gardening, there's an alternative golfing shore-program to fulfil their interests as well.

The Garden Tour will include visiting the finest gardens in Auckland, Tauranga (Hawke's Bay,) Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin with local gardening identities, and will be fully-escorted by Wings Away Travel and Cruiseland's Maree McClelland.

Highlights will include world-famous rose gardens, a Heritage Wintergarden, a bird garden, the so-called "kiwi fruit capital of the world" orchids, a native plant garden and topiary nursery, a private landscaped garden, Larnach Castle's gardens, a Chinese Garden and Hawke's Bay Wine Country and gardens.

Dawn Princess will also cruise Milford Sound, and have 6-days at sea in which to enjoy such onboard facilities as the adults only Princess Sanctuary.

Prices start from just $2,930pp twin-share or from $4,250 sole occupancy, and including 14-days premium cruising from Melbourne back to Melbourne, all onboard meals and entertainment, a $100pp onboard credit, taxes and gratuities, and garden tours and sightseeing.

Freecall 1800 800 640 or visit for full details

ADDITIONAL SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: Dawn Princess features a traditional International Dining Room, four Anytime Dining restaurants, a 24-hour buffet and has two Specialty dining venues (cover charges apply here.)

There are seven bars and lounges, a patisserie, ice cream bar, pizzeria, a hamburger and hot dog grill, and daily traditional afternoon tea.

Other facilities include four pools, five whirlpool spas, a spa, gym and fitness area, nine-hole putting course, virtual golf simulators, jogging track, shuffleboard and centre court and art exhibitions.


FAR Horizons has a unique coach and ferry tour you won't find on the shelves of any travel agency – a 2000km journey from Rome to Istanbul following an   historic route travelled as far back as the 3rd century BC by soldiers, crusaders, preachers, bandits, merchants, peasants… and tax-collectors.

The 22-day fully-escorted tour departs for Rome on March 31 2011, and travels through Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey to Istanbul – known to the early Romans as Constantinople – along a path created by the Romans to join the western and eastern parts of their bourgeoning empire.

Just 16 guests on this small-group tour will find themselves amid remnants of the original stone-paved dual-carriageway road, tombs and catacombs from Roman and early Christian days, medieval hilltop towns, Albania's Skanderbeg Castle and Macedonia's ruins of Heraclea – founded by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, and Alexander's own birthplace in Pella.

Other discoveries will include historic staging posts, mosques, a Byzantine fortress, and Edirne – formerly Adrianopolis, the last capital of the Ottomans.

In Istanbul there's a visit to the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, St Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, the vast bazaar, and a boat ride on the Bosphorus.

Price starts from $17,950pp twin-share including return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, all meals, a Far Horizons escort throughout, local guides, and entry fees.

For a detailed itinerary phone 1800 083 141 or visit


THE Solomon Islands has opened an Australian marketing office in a move to attract more Australians to its shores.

Tropics Tourism and Marketing has been chosen to lead the push to get more Australian holidaymakers to the islands, which are particularly renowned for their diving, but which have many other attractions as well, ranging from its cultural diversities to historic Pacific War sites and jungle-trekking.

Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau General Manager, Michael Tokuru sahs he says the opening of the marketing office as an exciting move forward for the Solomons. "More and more Australia are travelling to the South Pacific, and the Solomon Islands want to be part of this growth," he said.

"We're only a 3-hour flight from Brisbane, and we have so much to offer with our pristine diving and eco-tourism travel experiences… we're looking forward to welcoming more Australian visitors to our shores in the coming months.".

For information about holidaying in the Solomon Islands, phone toll-free 1300 713 132 or visit