Monday, 24 May 2010

FRANK'S FAVOURITES: Seadream, Dubrovnik, Fiji Meimei, Europe Christmas, Hawkesbury Luxury,


IF you are a quick decision-maker, and will be in Europe this coming Northern Summer with a spare week up your sleeve, you can give yourself 7-nights aboard the world's highest-rated boutique motor-cruisers through the Greek Islands at savings of up to 61%.

SeaDream I and SeaDream that each carry just 112 guests served by 95 crew, will sail these bargain-value offerings on select dates between June 19 and September 28 with prices including all onboard 5-star dining, wines with lunch and dinner, beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks from the bars, nightly cocktail gatherings, use of power and sail watersports equipment (in ports where permitted,) mountain bikes for shoreside excursions, a 30-course golf simulator, gratuities and port charges and taxes.

And prices that were originally advertised from US$9327pp twin-share are now from US$3926pp. This is for a 7-night sailing on June 19 this year from Athens to Dubrovnik by way of Mykonos, Santorini, Sifnos Island, Itea, Parga, a transit of the Corinth Canal and a night aboard in Dubrovnik.

A reverse sailing from Dubrovnik to Athens on September 11 this year at the same price visits the same ports plus Kusadasi.

Other heavily-discounted 7-night voyages through the Greek Islands depart these same ports plus Venice and Istanbul on select dates between July 3 and September 25; bookings need to be made and paid by June 1 2010.

For full details see travel agents or check-out


BEYOND Travel has just released a last minute special, a saving of $3000 per couple on the small group tour " Croatia and Slovenia By Land and By Sea" from Dubrovnik which includes a seven-day cruise through the Dalmatian Islands aboard the new Pape Prvi boat.

The savings is valid on the group's June 10 departure if you book by May 31.

The 18-day package which begins with two nights in the Croatian capital Zagreb, is a fully escorted tour with an English guide. The itinerary includes a visit to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, excursions to the Istrian Peninsula, Mostar and Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kotor and Budva in Montenegro.

The cruise is in a category C cabin and highlights of the voyage include a visit to the UNESCO –listed Plitvice Lakes, three nights in Dubrovnik and stops in Hvar and Korcula, the supposed birthplace of Marco Polo.

This special offer is priced from $4400 per person twin share and includes cruise, accommodation and meals, sightseeing and transportation, gratuities, return transfers and visitors tax and port charges.

For more details contact Beyond Travel at 1300-363-554 or email


Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji is having to expand the newly introduced Meimei Nanny Service due to its unprecedented success as an affordable childcare service unique to the resort.

The Meimei Nanny Service was introduced on April 1, 2010, with a staff of six nannies who, by April 10, were fully booked on a daily basis well into the future.

Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji General Manager, Peter Hopgood, says he had an inkling that the service would be popular, but results have been incredible.

"The feedback has been extraordinary. Parents love the concept of having a meimei (nanny) look after their children whilst on holidays, so that they can enjoy timeout in the Bebe Spa or by the pool, but they also love the meimeis and the care and cultural education that their children receive," he said.

"Most importantly though, the best feedback we are getting is from the kids – they just love their meimeis," Mr Hopgood said.

The Meimei Service was introduced to provide holidaying parents with affordable child care, eight hours a day from as little AUD$4 per hour, and is being expanded immediately, with recruitment taking place to employ another 12 meimeis in time for the June school holidays.

The Meimei Nanny Service provides daily personalised care and entertainment as part of a package which gives kids aged 6 months to 12years four consecutive days of care for up to eight hours per day for AUD$135.

The service is provided as one-on-one care for children aged 6 months to 2 years and two children per nanny for children 3 years and over.

The Meimei Service is designed to not only be fun for kids but also educational, with the children participating in traditional Fijian arts and crafts, fishing and basic language lessons.

The Meimei Service is also supported by the Outrigger kids clubs, Little Riggers for 3-7 year olds and Beach Riggers for 8-12 year olds, which run three sessions a day and provide a range of fun, age appropriate activities and cultural experiences.

For additional information visit


Fly free to Europe to join APT's November 21 and December 3 departures of its 15-day river cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest, featuring Europe's Christmas markets.

The price is from $6675 per person, twin share which includes cruising, meals and exploring 17 cities and villages along the way, including the markets of Regensburg, Passau, Prague and Nuremberg. Air fare taxes of $800 are additional.

APT also has a $300 a couple discount on its 10-day Christmas Time Cruise which includes seven days cruise as well as Prague. It has five departures between November 27 and December 20. These are priced from $3515, or $3365 with the saving.

Contact: call 1300 229 804, visit or see a travel agent.

FOOTNOTE: Every December, Germany's most famous Christmas Market, in Nuremberg's Main Market Square, opens its stalls to visitors from all over the world.

The Old Town is dressed in Christmas regalia for Christkindlesmarkt that's steeped in centuries of tradition. The tempting aroma of mulled wine, sweet roasted almonds and gingerbread permeates the area, creating an unforgettable atmosphere as around 200 stallholders present their traditional wares at stalls festooned in red-and-white cloth… and earning the market the monicker of 'Little Town from Wood and Cloth'.


STEAL a night away from work and the kids, and take advantage of a mid week stay with friends at the Boat House on Hawkesbury, just an hour and half north of Sydney.

The Boat House is offering an exclusive mid week winter package deal for four people: including one night/two full days accommodation, pre-arranged water taxi transfers, a gourmet 3-course meal prepared on-site by esteemed caterer Manuel Affarian, and a bottle of premium Australian red wine.  Price is $1,500 GST inclusive and is available until August 31, 2010.

"The Boat House combines a beautiful waterfront location with all the comfort of a stylish home," says owner, Loretta Pearson.  "Just a short drive up the freeway, its a million miles from care and ideally suited to a short winter getaway."

Boasting a snug and cosy fireplace, plenty of space to escape with a good book plus an indoor heated swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna, the Boat House has everything you need to beat the winter blues and enjoy time away with friends," says Pearson.

As evening approaches and the temperature begins to plummet, guests can relax in the knowledge that a restaurant grade meal is on its way.  Renowned local caterer Manny Affarian will arrive to prepare a sumptuous 3-course gourmet meal that's sure to delight and will set the dinner party table, serve the meal and clear up afterwards allowing guests to adjourn and relax in front of the fire with a bottle of red and good friends for company.

"Life couldn't get much better than that," said Ms Pearson.

Guests can also enjoy the Boat House's impressive array of facilities including: private river frontage and jetty, massive entertainment deck with heated Jacuzzi, heated indoor pool, fully-equipped kitchen, separate library area and full size billiard table.  Guest suites all boast queen sized beds, ensuite and spa bath with water views or a private courtyard in which to sit and relax.

A wicked mid week indulgence at the Boat House presents only one'll never want to leave!

For availability enquiries or to make a booking phone: +61 2 9985 8505 email: