Monday, 13 February 2012

Eastern Europe - Star Clippers - Africa Rail Safari - Waikiki - Canada Easter


with David Ellis


EASTERN Europe travel specialists Beyond Travel have introduced a new escorted tour which visits  the main centres of Ukraine, Poland and Hungary as well  as many of the fascinating less-travelled areas.

The 12-day itinerary begins in Kyiv with dinner at a traditional Ukrainian restaurant before beginning a tour which takes in St Sophia Cathedral, the  underground labyrinth of  Perchersk Lavra Monastery, the remains of Hitler's Wehrwolf bunkers and the Smotrych River Canyon.

In Poland touring includes the Old Town at Krakow, The Royal Castle and a drive to Zakapone in the High Tatra Mountains.

The Paris of the East, Budapest is the highlight in Hungary with extensive sightseeing including Heroes' Square, the 14th century Buda Castle, St Stephen's Basilica and the 13th century Matthias Church.

The guaranteed-departure, escorted tour is priced from $2550 per person twin share and includes four and five star accommodation and daily breakfast, transport by a high quality air-conditioned coach, comprehensive sightseeing with an English-speaking tour director and return transfers.

Book and deposit before April 30 and you will receive $200 per couple of Discover More Travel Credits. These can be used for a wide range of additional services booked with Beyond Travel such as sightseeing, flights, hotels or other tours valid for use until 31 December 2012.

There are departures in May until October.

For other escorted tours across Eastern Europe contact Beyond Travel on 1300-363-554 or email


THE clipper ship Star Flyer will sail from Southampton, historic gateway to London and Southeast England's ducal palaces, stately homes and universities on September 1 on a new eight-night cruise to Lisbon calling at ports in France and Spain.

Passengers can add on another six nights cruise (from  $2590) from Lisbon to Malaga, Spain, the birthplace of artist Pablo Picasso and known for its splendid harbour and excellent wines.

Star Flyer will then be based in Malaga for a special series of five, seven-night cruises  (from $3022) to Casablanca and Tangier (Morocco) Cadiz and Motril in (Spain) and Gibraltar, starting on September 15.

The Southampton-Lisbon cruise (from $3455) will mark the end of Star Flyer's heavily booked first season in Scandinavian and Baltic waters. Star Flyer sail from Malaga on October 20 for a 22-night Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean.

All prices include port taxes and all meals and entertainment on board.

In the 2012 European summer, the other two tall ships in the Star Clippers' fleet, Royal Clipper and Star Clipper will operate cruises to some of the most exotic ports in the Mediterranean, including the Greek Isles.

For reservations contact travel agents or Star Clippers on 1300 362 599, email or visit


BENCH International is offering savings of more than $1200 per couple on two departures of its Shongololo rail safari between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls in southern Africa – but you have to book by February 29.

The deal also includes a complimentary sunset cruise on the Zambezi River above the Victoria Falls and a free night with a game drive and all meals at a private lodge in Hwange National Park or Kruger National park.

The offers apply to southbound tours that depart Victoria Falls on  April 2 and October 1 and take 16 days to travel through Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.

The price of $6160 per person is now $5530 and includes sightseeing tours each day and accommodation on the train with breakfast and dinner.

Shongololo has been operating several different African train cruises over the last 12 years. The train travels comfortably and securely during the night and arrives in a different destination each morning with a choice of day tours in air-conditioned mini van.

Shongololo also operates rail safaris from Victoria falls to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, through the desert landscapes of neighbouring  Namibia and soouth to Durban, Cape Town  and Port Elizabeth.

More details from Bench International at 1300-195-873 or visit


THERE'S no need to take three holidays to enjoy three of the Pacific's favourite destinations – Waikiki Beach, Tahiti and Fiji – because with a fly, cruise and stay package with Cruiseco they're all brought together as part of a 17-night cruise aboard super-liner Carnival Spirit as she journeys from Honolulu to Sydney on September 30 this year.

Cruiseco's package includes airfare from Sydney to Honolulu, two nights pre-cruise at the Pacific Beach Hotel across the road from Waikiki Beach with breakfasts and airport/hotel transfers, and then hotel/ship transfers to join Carnival Spirit for her 17-night cruise to Papeete, Moorea, Bora Bora, Suva and Sydney.

Also included in the price, that begins from just $3,395pp twin-share from Sydney*, are all meals aboard Carnival Spirit (some optional specialty dining venues have a small cover charge,) entertainment in the main show lounge that stretches through three decks, port charges, government fees, air taxes and gratuities aboard ship.  

*Prices from other gateways ($3,520pp ex Melbourne, Brisbane; $3,575pp ex Adelaide; $3,660pp ex Perth)

Almost the length of three football fields, Carnival Spirit also has a huge diversity of recreational and sporting activities for guests of all ages to enjoy during her eleven full days cruising at sea between ports.

For more details and the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise-specialist travel agent, go to

Prices are subject to change.  Additional nights are available at the Pacific Beach Hotel, Waikiki Beach pre-cruise from $140pp per night twin-share.

Carnival Spirit has four main dining venues including an outdoor BBQ, two pools and two Jacuzzis, an aerobic area, jogging track, mini golf, sixteen bars and lounges with entertainment and dance areas, two show lounges, a casino, card room, video arcade and a shopping boulevard.

There are also three children's areas, Camp Carnival for 2-5 and 6-8 year olds with organised activities, Circle "C" with movies, dance parties, sports and a video arcade for younger teens, and Club 02 with a video arcade, dance floor and non-alcoholic drinks bar for 15-17 year olds.


A FAMILY of four (two adults & two children  aged 11 years and under) can ski the Canadian Rockies during the coming Easter Holidays from just $8,779 including return Air Canada flights for all to Kelowna (via Vancouver), return transport from Kelowna Airport to Australian-owned and managed Big White Ski Resort, and seven nights accommodation (but you'll pay for only five.)

The stay is in a ski in/ski out two-bedroom unit in Whitefoot Lodge and also includes a six day Big White ski pass for all four members of the family. As well there's complimentary snow equipment hire for the family for the duration of their stay and kids ski for free (one-to-one basis with at least 1 paying adult).

Package is valid for travel 1 - 14 April 2012.  For full details contact Skimax on 1300 136 997 or visit Conditions apply.