Princess Cruises has launched its worldwide 2012-13 season, including its biggest ever Australian summer deployment with four ships offering 61 different cruises in local waters.
In a first for the cruise line, almost 600 cruises have opened for bookings simultaneously around the globe, with Australians able to take advantage of some of Princess' best-ever early booking fares.
Prices for an 11-night cruise to Fiji from Australia start from $1,699* per person twin share, while fares for a seven-night Alaskan Inside Passage sailing start from $799* per person twin share.
The eleven programs now on sale include Alaska; Asia, Africa & India; Australia & NZ; Canada & New England; Caribbean; Europe; Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific; Mexico and Pacific Coast; Panama Canal; South America & Amazon and World Cruises.
The 2012-13 Australia and New Zealand program includes the return of Sea Princess for a second summer season sailing from Sydney, with Sun Princess sailing from Brisbane from October 2012 to April 2013 as well as Sydney and Fremantle, and Dawn Princess cruising from Melbourne and Sydney. Meanwhile, Diamond Princess will sail on six cruises between Sydney and Auckland over the summer, adding Wellington and Picton to create a longer 14-night itinerary.
New cruise options include a 33-night cruise around Australia and New Zealand on Sea Princess, two 40-night sailings to China and Japan in spring and autumn and a special 11-night cruise on Dawn Princess from Sydney to northern Queensland to coincide with the phenomena of the total solar eclipse in November 2012.
The warmer months will see Princess offering a range of South Pacific cruises from Sydney and Brisbane, each featuring up to four ports of call in Fiji – more than any other cruise line.
TOURING specialist Beyond Travel has announced discounts across the board on their escorted tours through Croatia's mainland, the Dalmatian coast and its neighbouring countries, for departures in 2011.
There are discounts of up to $1500 per couple on the 'Best of Croatia and Dalmatia Cruise' package which includes a four night cruise aboard M/S Pape Prvi from Dubrovnik to Split with port visits to Mljet, famous for its huge salt water lakes and national park, Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo, and Hvar, rich in historical and cultural heritage. You will also visit Split, the Plitvice Lakes region and the capital Zagreb.
Now priced from $2800 per person twin share there are two departures in June and two in October.
For those looking for an extended holiday, the 16-day journey "From Greece to Dalmatia" travels from Athens to Dubrovnik and Zagreb and costs from just $3463 per person.
All escorted tours include accommodation and daily breakfast, transportation by a high quality air conditioned coach, comprehensive sightseeing with an English speaking tour director and return transfers.
The award-winning, ultra-luxury cruise liner, Paul Gauguin, will offer a rare voyage from Australia to Tahiti next Australia Day, with Cruise Express offering half-priced fares as part of an all-inclusive, fly/cruise package just released.
Normally based in Tahiti, the five-star boutique Paul Gauguin will sail from Brisbane on January 26, 2012, for an exotic 17-night 'South Pacific Discovery' cruise to French Polynesia via ports in Fiji, New Caledonia, Tonga, the Cook Islands and the spectacular Tahitian islands of Bora Bora, Moorea and Taha'a, described as amongst the most beautiful islands on Earth.
At Bora Bora, guests will relax on Paul Gauguin Cruises' private white beach with free bar service, volleyball and snorkelling, and at the cruise line's private islet of Motu Mahana near Taha'a, passengers will be treated to a lavish barbecue lunch with full complimentary bar service.
The 322-passenger Paul Gauguin offers ocean views from every cabin – with 70 per cent of cabins having a private balcony - as well as three, surcharge-free dining venues, deluxe L'Occitane bathroom products, luxurious European linen and robes, and a retractable watersports marina at the rear of the ship which opens when anchored to offer passengers kayaking, snorkelling and windsurfing.
Cruise Express' package includes the indulgent 17-night cruise – only the second time Paul Gauguin has sailed from Australia since her launch in 1998 – as well as a flight from Tahiti back to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne plus selected beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks and beverages onboard the ship, free room service and in-room mini bar.
The fly/cruise package is available from $6674 per person, twin-share, which is half the normal cost.
LOVE was in the air on P&O Cruises' Pacific Jewel recently, when the ship provided the setting for the cruise line's first onboard wedding ceremony.
South Australian couple Gary Graham and Sue Marcelis tied the knot on Pacific Jewel in Sydney Harbour – and then sailed off on a 10-night honeymoon cruise with their wedding party of 10 guests.
It was the first onboard wedding as part of P&O Cruises' new Ceremonies at Sea program that was launched late last year.
It was Sue's sister, a travel agent, who suggested that she and Gary be married on a P&O Cruises' ship.
"Everything was organised and we didn't have a worry beforehand," Sue said after their honeymoon cruise. "The venue was beautiful and it all went very smoothly.
"Our sailaway under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and out of Sydney Harbour was fantastic – it just added to the occasion."
Ceremonies at Seas wedding ceremonies are available aboard P&O Cruises' ships in port in Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Fremantle on embarkation day and are performed by a marriage celebrant. Vow renewals and commitment ceremonies can also be performed, and can be done at sea by the Captain or a senior officer.