Monday, 8 November 2010

China Tour, Hong Kong Cruise, Fidel's Cuba, Andre Rieu, Europe Rail


TWO days of Hong Kong's legendary New Year's Eve celebrations and fire-works are part of a 21-night fly, cruise and stay package in February next year from Hong Kong to Japan, South Korea, mainland China and back to Hong Kong – and selling from just $4559pp twin-share through

This 3-week package that's nearly fifty percent below originally advertised prices, includes five hotel-nights with breakfasts pre-cruise in Hong Kong, viewing the New Year's Eve Parade that billed as "the Greatest Chinese New Year Parade on the Planet," tours of Aberdeen, Repulse Bay and Kowloon with dim-sum lunch, and a Chinese New Year Fireworks Cocktail Cruise with drinks on board and dinner afterwards at a local restaurant.

There's also a day at the New Year races with return transportation, entry to a box inside the Members' Enclosure and a buffet lunch at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, followed by a full day at leisure for shopping and sightseeing.

P&O's 1200-passenger Artemis then sails on February 7 2011 for Tokyo, Hiroshima, Pusan, Beijing, Shanghai and back to Hong Kong. This luxury, child-free cruise liner features a choice of formal or casual dining, eight bars, an observation lounge, two show lounges, two pools including a lap pool, two Jacuzzis, casino, spa, salon, gym, sauna, library, cinema and nightclub.

This unique 3-weeks-long package that includes return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, ends with a final hotel night in Hong Kong before flying home. For full details phone toll-free 1300 369 848 or visit


TW0 bargain-priced tour packages have been unveiled by leading Asian specialist Helen Wong's Tours to attract travellers to China over the cooler months.

One focuses on the sights and sounds of Shanghai, the more tranquil settings of Suzhou, Hangzhou and the historic village of Wuzhen which, combined with Xian and capital Beijing, make for a fascinating 15-day China Wonders package.

This exclusive package involves departures in February and March and is priced from $2799 pp twin share flying Air China from Sydney or Melbourne, including departure taxes, security charges and fuel charges (subject to change). The other, an 11-day Majestic China program, begins with a China Southern flight to Guangzhou (Canton) with visits to scenic Guilin, Xian, home of the Army of the Terracotta Warriors, and Beijing for a walk along a section of the Great Wall of China.

Tours are in November, February and March and are priced from $2450pp twin share from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, including departure taxes, security charges and fuel charges (subject to change).

For Brisbane passengers the November flight will mark the start of direct services to Guangzhou.

"Including air fare, the price of the 15-day China Wonders package equates to $187 a day, which is good value considering the inclusions," said Helen Wong's Tours marketing manager Jason Sacriz.

"Compared with our deluxe tours at other times of the year, the 11-day Majestic China program works out as a real bargain at $223 a day," he said.

"As with all China programs created by Helen Wong's Tours, guests stay in four-to-five-star hotels with breakfast, with many other meals covered as well as seats to at least two evening cultural shows."

Prices include return economy class air fares to China, domestic flights in China (where specified) as well as transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees and the services of English-speaking guides.

China visas for Australian passport holders and a travel kit with a 424-page Odyssey book on China and Cabin bag are also included in the bargain prices.

Details: Helen Wong's Tours (02) 9267 7833, 1300 788 328 or


Cruise Express has released four new hosted cruise-tours in Europe in 2011 linked with an open-air concert by Andre Rieu in his Dutch hometown of Maastricht in Limburg – the only area of Holland with hills.

The spectacular concert by the famous maestro is a central feature of two ocean and two river cruise tour packages for Australians that Cruise Express will escort in June and July next year.

Cruise Express' new 'European Masterpieces' brochure features luxury cruise holidays in France and through the heart of Europe, the Mediterranean and to Scandinavia and Russia, with short add-on tours through the Rhine Gorge to Maastricht in Holland to see Rieu perform in the historic town square of his home town.

Fly, stay, tour and cruise packages start from $5990 per person, twin-share, for a 15-day hosted trip.

Cruise Express' hosted tour program in Europe in 2011 includes:

- A 15-day 'Scandinavian and Russian Rhapsody' tour from June 13, 2011, including an 11-night Baltic Sea cruise aboard Emerald Princess, a night's accommodation in Copenhagen with a city tour and return flights from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney available from $5990 per person, twin-share, or $7990 for solo travellers.

- A 16-day 'Mediterranean Melody' tour leaving Australia on July 1, 2011, including a 12-day voyage around Italy, Greece and Turkey aboard Ruby Princess, a night's accommodation in Barcelona with a city tour and return flights from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney available from $6990 per person, twin-share, or $8990 for solo travellers.

- A 22-day 'Heart of Europe' river cruise tour from July 2, 2011, including 14 nights aboard River Empress from Budapest  to Amsterdam, including wine with dinner, two nights in Bruges and three in Paris and return flights from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney available from $10,990 per person, twin-share, or $14,990 for solo travelers.

-  A 26-day 'Grand France' river cruise tour from June 4, 2011, including two seven-night river cruises through the south and north of France, a seven-night 'Romantic Chateaux' coach tour with stays in moated palaces, two nights in Paris, almost all tours and meals along the way and return flights from Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney available from $14,990 per person, twin-share, or $19,990 for solo travellers. A shorter 19-day package is priced from $10,990 per person, twin-share.

* A three-day add-on tour through the World-Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge to Maastricht for Andrew Rieu's open-air concert on July 16 is available from $999 per person, twin-share, or $1199 for solo travellers.

For details and a brochure, contact Cruise Express on 1300 766 537 or visit


A JOURNEY into the wild terrain of Sierra Maestra where former dictator Fidel Castro and Chef Guevara once took refuge is part of a 15-day journey covering the length of the Caribbean island of Cuba with Explore Worldwide.

Cuba Libre tour travels by bus and air staying mostly in hotels but also camping in now-deserted hacienda. The package costs from $1811, depending on departure date, and includes meals and entry at various attractions.

Beginning with a couple of days in the capital Havana, the tour travels to Santiago de Cuba in the remote east past the infamous Bay of Pigs and through Topes de Collantes National Park, Trinidad and its well preserved Colonial architecture, the old town of Camaguey to Castro's mountain hideout in the densely-forested eastern tip of Cuba, and Santiago de Cuba also in the remote east.

Travel is in a group of about 14 with an experienced Explore leader, support staff and local guide and the tour is one of  450 itineraries Explore Worldwide operates in 120 countries

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


Discounted rail passes throughout Europe and special prices for railways in most other parts of the world are typical offerings from Melbourne-based International Rail.

The company has exclusive access in Australia to Trenitalia Railway System and is currently offering advance purchase discounts of 30 per cent off standard fares for travel throughout Italy.

Typical is the Rome to Florence journey which is now available for from $51 per person.

 International Rail can also offer 60 per cent off point-to-point tickets with the German Railway System, plus German Rail Passes from $206 per person.

The company has just launched a brand new web site specifically designed for easy use by consumers -

This latest technology will provide an easy-to-navigate on-line booking engine for European trains and electronic ticketing.

The site also includes great planning tools, including train schedules and maps and lots of new products, including European ferry crossings and train station to hotel transfers.

For more information contact International Rail through  or by calling 1300 387 245.