Monday, 7 June 2010

FRANKS FAVOURITES: Seadream discount, Historic Sydney, Queen Elizabeth, Tigers, Pacific Dawn



IF you are a quick decision-maker, will be in Europe this Northern Summer and will have 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 a saving of over 50%.


SeaDream I that carries just 112 guests in 56 staterooms served by 95 crew, will sail a bargain-value Greek Island holiday on September 11 this year with prices including all 5-star dining, wines with lunch and dinner, beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks from the bars, nightly cocktail gatherings, power and sail watersports (in ports where permitted,) mountain bikes for shoreside excursions, a 30-course golf simulator, gratuities and port charges and taxes.


And the price that was originally advertised from US$9327pp twin-share is now from US$4426pp for this 7-night sailing from Dubrovnik to Athens by way of Parga, Itea, a transit of the historic Corinth Canal, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini and Sifnos Island.


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 before July 1 2010.


For full details phone Cruise Specialist Holidays on 1300 79 49 59.






Food-loving city folk keen to explore the closest farm country to Sydney and trace – and taste –  the birthplace of Australia's agricultural industry can join one of a series of Macarthur Farm Fresh Tours through the historic Camden and Campbelltown areas in June and July.


New packages have been released from $419 per couple, twin-share, offering two tickets on the popular, full day gourmet tours plus a night's accommodation, breakfast and welcome drink at the 4½-star Rydges Campbelltown.


The next Macarthur Farm Fresh Tours will run on Saturday June 19, Saturday July 17 and Saturday July 31, 2010.


Launched late last year, the Macarthur Farm Fresh Tour is a gourmet, small coach tour through the hills and dales of the historic Macarthur region around Camden and Campbelltown – a region which became Sydney's earliest food bowl thanks to the efforts of colonial pioneer John Macarthur who settled the fertile area in 1805.


Led by passionate foodie, Margaret Hughes, from Macarthur Food Events, the tour takes budding gourmands to local olive groves, vineyards and vegetable and poultry farms around Camden, Menangle and Picton as well as some of Australia's oldest historic houses. The tours kick off with morning tea at the Campbelltown Arts Centre Café overlooking the Japanese gardens before guests hit the road, enjoying tastings from fresh food producers along the way. A gourmet lunch is served at one of the properties on the route, with the itinerary changing regularly to match the availability of produce and the season.


The Macarthur Farm fresh Tours will run from 9-5pm on Saturday June 19, Saturday July 17 and Saturday July 31, 2010. The $419 Rydges Campbelltown package includes accommodation per couple, twin-share, and breakfast and a welcome drink at Rydges plus two tickets on the tour including morning tea, lunch, food sampling and an information pack.


Package bookings can be made via Rydges Campbelltown on 02 4645 0500 or email or see the 'News and What's On' section of


* The Macarthur Farm Fresh Tour can also be booked on its own for $120 per person including morning tea, lunch, sampling and info pack. Call Margaret Hughes on 0409 248 378.


For general information on the Macarthur region, see





A HOLIDAY package next year that will have you pinching yourself to believe its happening, begins with a night at London's palatial The Ritz Hotel, and is followed by a whole 19-nights aboard the equally 5-star Queen Elizabeth from Southampton to Gibraltar, Port Said, Limassol (Cyprus,) Ashdod and Haifa in Israel, Rhodes, Athens, Malaga in Spain and back to Southampton.


This grand package is selling through from $6219pp twin-share which is a saving of over 50% (or $6470) on previously advertised prices – and for past-passengers on Queen Elizabeth has a further saving of $160pp on this price.


The price includes return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston and Coolangatta, breakfast at The Ritz, all gourmet dining aboard Queen Elizabeth, and a diversity of free shipboard activities and programs ranging from lessons in dancing to computers, guest lecturers, Broadway-style shows, and late-release movies.


Queen Elizabeth sails this 19-night Voyage to the Holy Lands on October 28 2011; for full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit


ADDITIONAL SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: The 2000-passenger Queen Elizabeth has an eclectic variety of dining options from formal to casual, indoors to alfresco on deck, and 24-hour room service. There's also a large range of bars and lounges for all occasions, a theatre with tiered seating and private boxes rising through three decks of the ship, and a sports centre with a diversity of traditional shipboard and other games.


She also has a casino, internet café, library, shopping arcade, a centre featuring memorabilia and nostalgia of Cunard Line ships and prominent past-passengers, and organised activities for children aged 1-12 years.




TIGER TRACKING IN INDIA                                   


EXPLORE Worldwide is offering the chance to track the elusive Bengal tiger through the forests of India's Ranthambore National Park as part of a six-day small group escorted tour.


Three days are spent in the Park, which is known as one of the best places in the world to photograph these magnificent creatures in their natural surroundings. The habitat is also home to sambar deer, leopard, crocodile, sloth bear and more than 300 bird species.


The tour is one of 450 itineraries  the company operates in 120 countries and includes time to explore the old and new parts of Delhi at both ends of the tour.


The packages costs from $1093, depending on season, and includes accommodation, most meals and guided sightseeing activities. There are seven departures between October and April, 2011.


Venture Holidays has more information on Explore Worldwide activities at 1300-414151 or visit







P&O Cruises and renowned Australian chef Luke Mangan have launched their latest joint venture – a new 'Salt Grill by Luke Mangan' restaurant onboard the cruise line's Brisbane-based superliner, Pacific Dawn.


With an open kitchen and stylish decor, the new restaurant is a key addition to the recently re-fitted Pacific Dawn and debuted on her May 29 sailing.


The decision to create the restaurant on one of P&O Cruises' existing ships reflects the enormous popularity of the first 'Salt Grill by Luke Mangan' restaurant, which opened aboard Pacific Jewel in December 2009.


A third 'Salt Grill by Luke Mangan' will operate on P&O Cruises' next superliner, Pacific Pearl, that will be launched in Auckland in December this year.


Announcing the new Luke Mangan restaurant, Sture Myrmell, Vice President Hotel Operations of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said Pacific Jewel's Salt Grill had been a huge hit.


"The restaurant consistently books out for the entire cruise so we turn tables twice for dinner and are also open for lunch on sea days to accommodate passengers who can't get in for dinner. It's a phenomenal response," Mr Myrmell said.


He said the latest Salt Grill would feature a rich silver and blue colour scheme complemented by sandstone and dark wood.  The menu will be similar to Pacific Jewel's, which features Luke Mangan favourites such as crab omelet with miso mustard broth and liquorice parfait with lime syrup. Meanwhile carefully selected wines will be displayed in temperature-controlled units in the restaurant.


"We're particularly pleased to be able to incorporate an open kitchen in the design of Pacific Dawn's Salt Grill, so that our passengers can enjoy all the culinary action as well as great cuisine," Mr Myrmell said.


For more information and bookings see travel agents or contact P&O Cruises on 132494 or