Tuesday, 17 January 2012

SeaDream Amazon - Italy Lake Tour - Burma River Cruise - HAL Baltic - US Parks


IF you got a nice bonus in your Christmas pay packet, SeaDream Yacht Club's 5-star SeaDream II is sailing two extremely rare voyages in February and March of this year – the first is 20-nights from Bridgetown in Barbados in the Caribbean on February 13 to the-once notorious Devil's Island in French Guiana, and then a dozen ports on the Amazon River in Brazil and Colombia to Iquitos in Peru, and the second is 20-nights back to Bridgetown on March 4.

And both sailings are now exceptionally priced for last-minute sale from US$16,619pp twin-share including all 5-star gourmet dining, wines with lunch and dinner, drinks from the open bars, use of a 30-course golf simulator, power and sail watersports (in ports where allowed,) onboard gratuities, government charges and taxes; air fares are additional.

SeaDream II carries a maximum of just 112-guests in 56-staterooms served by 95-crew, with open-seating dining indoors or on deck and with dress requirements at dinner Smart Casual only; for full itineraries and other details see travel agents or visit www.seadream.com


CAROLINASUSI Italia Tours has a 15-night escorted tour of Italy's Northern Lakes District this European Spring that's purely for gourmets and garden lovers, shopaholics and serious sightseers, photographers – and the just plain-curious.

Limited to just 20-guests escorted by Carolinasusi's Australian owners, this unique tour will venture from the streets of Romeo and Juliet's Verona to the bar in Varese in which the cocktail Apollo 11 was created 40-odd years ago on the night  "a man named Armstrong walked upon the Moon," to the villas of the rich and famous of the 1920s and '30s, dining with a renowned local chef, and unspoiled little towns and market villages that larger coaches cannot access.

By contrast there'll be the chance to explore Vicenza (including its Teatro Olimpico that opened in the 1580s as Europe's first theatre,) Venice and its boutiques for designer clothes… and in little Marostica the possibility to dine in one of Ernest Hemingway's favourite restaurants.*

Or try a coffee with traditional hazelnut, almond, cinnamon and vanilla biscuits, chocolates in more ways than you thought possible, cruise postcard-perfect lakes, wander historic gardens, sip wines from centuries-old family vineyards.

The May 21 tour is priced from $6895pp ex-Milan including 15-nights twin-share, breakfasts and most dinners, lunches in alpine and lakeside venues, coach touring, lake cruises, villa entries, walking tours of Verona, Vicenza and Venice, a rack-railway trip and Australian escorts assisted by local professional guides.

Details on www.carolinasusi.com.au or phone 1800 770 599.

 * The restaurant today still serves his favourite dish: vegetables marinated in olive oil and lemon juice and baked with sausages and pork.


THE worldwide boom in river cruising has reached the unspoiled country of Myanmar (Burma) where Australians can now explore this exotic, culturally intact country aboard luxury, colonially-styled river boats as part of new fly/cruise packages.

Cruise Express is offering an 11-night package that features an eight-night cruise along Burma's beautiful Irrawaddy River between Prome and Mandalay aboard the boutique, 64-passenger Orient Pandaw, which is air-conditioned and handcrafted in brass and teak. Along the way, passengers will visit spectacular gilded pagodas, Buddhist monasteries, unspoiled villages, markets and schools and other community projects supported by international tourism companies and river cruise passengers.

Available from June,2012, to April 2013, the new package includes return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth, one-night's deluxe accommodation pre-cruise in Yangon (Rangoon), the eight-night cruise including all meals, soft drinks, local beers and spirits, two-nights deluxe accommodation after the cruise in Mandalay, daily breakfast on land and extensive sightseeing with local guides along the way.

The 11-night package is available from $4999 per person, twin-share.

Call Cruise Express on 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au for details.

CRUISECO has coupled Earlybird Airfares with exclusive prices aboard the premium ships of Holland America Line, to create four super-value fly, cruise and stay holidays between May and September 2012 that range from 10- to 30-nights across regions as diverse as the Mediterranean, Egypt, Black Sea and Russia, the Baltic, North Sea and North Cape.

And prices begin from as low as just $4210pp twin-share for 10-nights from Civitavecchia (Rome) on September 5 2012 to seven ports in Italy, Monaco, Spain and Tunisia and back to Civitavecchia, including a 2-night hotel stay in Rome and return airfares from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Even a 30-night Black Sea & Holy Land package is priced from only $9050pp twin-share, with a departure on September 17 2012 from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome) by way of 19-ports in Greece, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Egypt, Israel and Croatia, with a 2-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Barcelona, 2-nights post-cruise in Rome and return airfares from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Other packages include a Mediterranean 20-night fly, cruise and stay offer from Civitavecchia return on July 7 from $5725pp twin-share, and 29-nights fly, cruise and stay from Tilbury (London) to Amsterdam on May 28 2012 visiting ports in the Baltic, Russia and North Cape and priced from $7615pp twin-share.

Cruiseco can also arrange optional pre/post cruise tours and transfers; for fully detailed itineraries of these four unique packages, and the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise-specialist travel agent, go to www.cruising.com.au.


TOUR operators Globus and Cosmos have formed an exclusive partnership with US National Parks giving them the opportunity to contribute to the preservation of America's pristine wilderness, whilst also treating their passengers to unique experiences.

Through the recently introduced GoParks! scheme, the Globus family of brands makes a charitable donation to the US National Parks Foundation on behalf of every Australian passenger who visits a park on one of its tours.

In return, Globus and Cosmos have access to accommodation within America's most spectacular national parks including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon as well as special tour experiences such as a four-wheel drive adventure through Monument Valley with a Navajo guide.

During Cosmos' 13-day National Parks and Canyon Country tour, travellers stay overnight in World Heritage-listed Yellowstone National Park.

Priced from $1399* per person twin share, the trip also includes visits to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park as well as an overnight stay on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Globus' 14-day Western Explorer visits Bryce Canyon, Zion and Yosemite national parks as well as the Grand Canyon, where travellers stay overnight in a national park lodge, waking up to one of the seven wonders of the world the next day. The tour is priced from $2699* per person twin share.

More than 20 Globus and Cosmos tours take advantage of the initiative, which has raised substantial funds for restoration projects during its first year.

*Prices subject to availability, conditions apply. For full details and conditions see travel agents or visit www.globus.com.au or www.cosmostours.com.au