Sunday, 16 October 2011

Amazon Cruise - Amalotus Mekong - Last Minute Hotel Deals - Northern Europe Cruise


FAR Horizons is offering an extraordinary holiday package aboard Sea Dream II, with Business Class air from Sydney for two nights each in Santiago in Chile, Bogota and colonial Zipaquira in Colombia, a further two in Barbados in the Caribbean – all with organised sightseeing – then 21-days on the inaugural Amazon cruise by award-winning SeaDream II* that carries just 112-guests, including seven days cruising south to Tobago and Devil's Island then an amazing 14-days cruising up the Amazon River.

On Sea Dream's arrival at Iquitos the tour continues by air to Lima for 2-nights at the 5-star Lima Country Club that's now a National Monument, then to Cuzco for three nights in South America's oldest continually inhabited city, with visits to the Pisac Indian Markets in the Urubamba Valley and an excursion to Machu Picchu on the luxury Orient Express train named Hiram Bingham after the man who discovered the Lost City of the Incas in 1911. 

The tour is fully-escorted by Martin and Auriel Wright, founders of Far Horizons tours in 1976. Price for the full 37-days departing on February 4 2012 starts from $43,500pp twin-share including all meals, five-star or best-available accommodation, sightseeing, and much more; spaces are limited and booking deadline is 31st October. For a fully-detailed itinerary phone 1800 083 141 or visit

*SeaDream II has just been given top rating by the Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships in the Boutique Ships category; SeaDream II includes all 5-star onboard gourmet dining, wines with lunch and dinner, no-charge bars, nightly cocktail gatherings, a 30-course golf simulator, and gratuities. Most other meals and daily sightseeing during the tour are also included.


APT's new 62-suite luxury river ship AmaLotus has begun her career cruising Vietnam's Mekong River.

The vessel is owned and operated by APT, AMAWATERWAYS of Europe and APT's Vietnam partners, Indochina Sails.

"(She) is the most modern and beautiful ship to sail the Mekong River," said APT owner Geoff McGeary.

AmaLotus offers the largest suites on the Mekong, 90% of which have APT's unique twin balconies that give an outside balcony and glass-sided indoor conservatory that opens to create another balcony; she also has two lounges, a library, sun deck with pool and bar, spa, fitness centre and restaurant.

Passengers have a choice of Asian and Western cuisine, regional wine is included with lunch and dinner and soft drinks and local beers and local spirits are served all day.

Eight-day cruises on the Mekong River feature in nine out of 10 fully-inclusive tours in APT's Vietnam and Cambodia 2011-2012 brochure.

The eight-day Mekong River Cruise package is priced from $2995 per person twin share (based on Apr 2 departure), which includes cruise, 21 meals on board the ship, local wine with dinner, local beer, soft drinks and spirits on request, onboard entertainment, APT Tour Director, port charges, transfers and tipping.

Call 1300 229 804, see or see a travel agent.


THE downturn in domestic tourism in Australia has seen more hotels turn to bargaining directly with consumers to fill rooms.

New last-minute deals have been released on Australia's first hotel haggling site,, with properties and consumers able to bargain with each other via the website to strike confidential rates lower than available on other booking sites. Confirmation of bargained rates is received within three hours, often minutes, for accommodation up to three months ahead.

More than 1100 properties around Australia and New Zealand are willing to negotiate with consumers on Ubid4room's no-auction, no-blushing website.

Latest deals on include:

Ballina, NSW North Coast

Stay at the deluxe four-star Ballina Beach Resort, nestled by the beach in lush tropical gardens on the NSW North Coast. Offer the resort less than the already reduced rate of $155 for two per night including continental breakfast.  The full rate is $290 per night.

Gold Coast

Stay in a one bedroom apartment at the 4½-star Towers of Chevron Renaissance on the Gold Coast and offer the hotel a rate less than the already discounted tariff of $215 per couple per night (three-night minimum). The full rate is $500 per night.



HISTORICALLY rich St Petersburg, Estonia's Tallinn, Amsterdam and its interesting network of canals, and Copenhagen with its royal links to Australia are among a host of fascinating ports on MSC Cruises' ever-expanding Northern Europe program.

From the ancient routes of the Vikings to the breathtaking Norwegian fjords and the heritage-listed sites in the Baltic, the leading family-owned cruise line has a range of cruises for Australians looking to alternative programs to the more traditional Mediterranean cruises.
The 2012 Northern Europe program runs from April until October, four-night cruises beginning at $509 per person, twin share – or a little more than $125 a night.

Seven-night cruises begin at $869pp, twin share while 11 nights start from $1489.

For holidaying families, children under 18 years cruise free, providing they share a cabin with two adults, a policy adopted by MSC Cruises on all its cruises (children need only pay port charges). "When you consider the impressive ports of call and how well cruises are priced, the Northern Europe program is an exciting one," said Lynne Clarke, managing director of MSC Cruises (Australia and New Zealand).

"The itineraries provide cruise fans with the opportunity to explore a new region and experience something glorious and wonderful," she said.

Four of MSC Cruises' 11-strong fleet are engaged in the Northern Europe program with cruises ranging from four- to 14-nights.

Prices are inclusive of on-board meals and entertainment, invitations to a Captain's cocktail party and gala dinner, and port charges.

Details MSC Cruises on 1300 028502 or