Thursday, 25 April 2013

Retreat to Isle of Pines: 9 nights in August 2013

This cruise with the pretty Isle of Pines as its centerpiece visits the beautiful French Melanesia region, with three port stops. French food and language meets the friendly Melanesian culture and cuisine in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The Pacific Pearl leaves Sydney on day 1 and has a long haul to Port Vila, allowing passengers to get settled into life onboard and unwind with activities and/or relaxation on the ship. The best part of sea days is doing as little or as much as you wish!

The first port is Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu. This town is set on a busy natural harbour full of local fishing boats, and is home to some wonderful handicraft markets. You can explore yourself or take one of several shore tours both in the city and out in the countryside and villages.

Lifou in New Caledonia is the next stop, and this is one for the watersports lovers. Lifou is spectacular both above and below the water, and is popular with divers and snorkellers. There are also lovely beaches to lie on for those who prefer to remain a bit more stationary! The final stop before the return to Sydney is the Isle of Pines, a paradise of white sand, clear blue water and pine trees. Kato Beach is splendid, with sand like talcum powder.

Isle of Pines
 by Richard Taylor Flickr Creative Commons

Cruise Operator: P&O Australia
Vessel: Pacific Pearl
Ports of Call: Sydney, Port Vila, Lifou, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Wednesday 7th August 2013- Friday 16th August 2013.

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 9 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Wed 7 Aug 16:00
Day 2-4: At sea
Day 5: Port Vila, Sun 11 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 6: Lifou,  Mon 12 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 7: Isle of Pines, Tues 13 Aug 08:00- 16:00
Day 8-9: At sea
Day 10: Sydney, arriving Fri 16 Aug 07:00

About the Pacific Pearl

The Pacific Pearl is a favourite in two countries, being based in both Sydney and Auckland. Introduced into the P&O Australia fleet in 2010 and undergoing refurbishment in 2012 means that she is up-to-date with all of the line's best features. Dining takes place in the beautiful Waterfront main restaurant, at the buffet or casually by the pool. There is also a specialty restaurant, Salt Grill by Luke Mangan which is great for a gourmet date night. All of the usual cruise activities happen on the pearl- pools, spa, loungers, jogging track, bars and lounges and plenty of organised activities from bingo and quizzes to cooking and dance classes. Evening entertainment includes shows in the theatre, drinking, socialising and live music in the bars and there is also a casino.

Pacific Pearl
by Doug Beckers Flickr Creative Commons

Have a look here for great deals on the Retreat to Isle of Pines cruise in August 2013!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Japan Explorer: 8 nights in August 2013

This Royal Caribbean cruise in August is a roundtrip from Shanghai in China, and visits 4 exotic ports over a leisurely 8 nights, so you can get in a nice mix of relaxing by the pool and exploring the delights of Japan!

Shanghai is a huge and bustling Chinese city, and could easily occupy you for a few days before or after your cruise. Once embarked and under way, the first stop is Jeju Island in South Korea, an idyllic isle reminiscent of Hawaii and a favouite for Korean honeymooners.

In Japan, the three ports of call are Nagoya, Tokyo and Beppu. The first two are amongst the country's largest cities. In Nagoya, don't miss the castle with two golden orcas on the roof, and in Tokyo you will find some impressive architecture and a buzzing city of lights, people, sounds and smells.

The final port of call is Beppu, where visitors enjoy the natural hot springs and the views of surrounding mountains. Take a soak before the ship returns to Shanghai over one sea day.

Hot Springs in Beppu
by Fredrik Rubensson Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: Royal Caribbean
Vessel: Mariner of the Seas
Ports of Call: Shanghai, Jeju Island, Nagoya, Tokyo, Beppu
Sailing Dates: August 6th 2013- August 14th 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 8 nights

Day 1: Shanghai, departing Tues 6 Aug 16:00
Day 2: Jeju Island, Wed 7 Aug 13:00- 20:00
Day 3: At sea
Day 4: Nagoya, Fri 9 Aug
Day 5: Tokyo, Sat 10 Aug 11:00- 22:00
Day 6: At sea
Day 7: Beppu, Mon 12 Aug 7:30- 16:30
Day 8: At sea
Day 9: Shanghai, arriving Wed 14 Aug 05:00

About the Mariner of the Seas

The Mariner of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's Voyager-class ships, and has received the Royal Advantage upgrade in 2012 to bring her in line with the best of the RCL ships. Additions to the ship include ship-wide wifi, flat-screen TVs in all cabins, extra restaurants, big screens by the pool and the digital 'Wayfinder' system which allows passengers to access maps, menus and timetables all over the ship. The ship has all the Royal Caribbean classics including a rock-climbing wall, ice rink and Royal Promenade, as well as rollerblading, mini-golf and many organised classes, quizzes, competitions and other activities during the day. Dining-wise, there is the three-deck main restaurant, Windjammer buffet, Boardwalk Dog House for hot dogs on the go, the Jade asian-influenced buffet, and many specialty restaurants with cover charges. These include Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table and Johnny Rocket's.

Mariner of the Seas' Promenade
by Rennett Stowe Flickr Creative Commons

Have a look here for great deals on the Japan Explorer cruise in August 2013!

Monday, 3 September 2012

South Pacific- 12 nights in August 2013

Spend 12 nights in the South Pacific aboard the Carnival Spirit, Carnival's first ship to be based Down Under. The cruise leaves from and returns to Sydney, stopping at ports in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji along the way. The first port of call is Noumea, capital of New Caledonia. This city is a fusion of European and native Melanesian influences and a beautiful tropical spot! Next is the tiny and uninhabited Mystery Island in Vanuatu, a secluded paradise, then the ship makes its way to Fiji to call in first at Port Denarau, then Suva, the country's capital. Suva is home to the University of the South Pacific, the Fiji Museum and many colonial-era buildings. There is also a great waterfront area with colourful and interesting markets. The final port of call for the cruise is on the way back to Sydney, the small but beautiful Isle of Pines in New Caledonia, where clear water meets the pine-fringed white beaches.

by kyle post Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: Carnival
Vessel: Carnival Spirit
Ports of Call: Sydney, Noumea, Mystery Island, Port Denarau, Suva, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Monday 5th August 2013- Saturday 17th August 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 12 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Mon 5 Aug 18:30
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Noumea, Thurs 8 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 5: Mystery Island, Fri 9 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 6: At sea
Day 7: Port Denarau, Sun 11 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 8: Suva, Mon 12 Aug 07:00- 16:00
Day 9: At sea
Day 10: Isle of Pines, Wed 14 Aug 08:00- 17:00
Day 11-12: At sea
Day 13: Sydney, arriving Sat 17 Aug 06:30

About the Carnival Spirit

The Spirit is to be the first of Carnival's ships to be based in Australia, and has had a few additions to make it more appealing to the Aussie and Kiwi market. These include the thrilling Green Thunder waterslide, an outdoor BBQ area and serenity deck. There are many dining options, with the ususal main a la carte restaurant and casual buffet, and a late-night bistro. The Nouveau Supper Club is the ship's top-notch specialty restaurant option. with a cover charge. For the evenings, there are 12 lounges and bars and a real party atmosphere, as well as the casino. During the day the focus is fun in the sun with pools, mini golf, the waterslides and more.

See here for great deals on the South Pacific cruise in August 2013!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Week Tropique: 7 nights in August 2013

This week-long cruise will take you to the tropics without ever leaving Australia. A round-trip from Brisbane, it visits the tropical north Queensland. The first stop is Airlie Beach in the beautiful Whitsundays, which offers easy access to the incredible Great Barrier Reef. Next is Yorkey's Knob, the gateway to the city of Cairns. There are great swimming beaches to the south and north of the city. The next port is Port Douglas, home to the beautiful 4-mile Beach and close to the Daintree Rainforest. On the way back to Brisbane, you will do some scenic cruising at Willis Island, an external territory of Australia. It is noted for its birdlife.

 Swimming Lagoon at Airlie Beach
by Kevin Gibbons Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: P&O Australia
Vessel: Pacific Dawn
Ports of Call: Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Yorkey's Knob, Port Douglas, Willis Island (scenic cruising)
Sailing Dates: Sat 10 Aug 2013- Sat 17 Aug 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 7 nights

Day 1: Brisbane, departing Sat 10 Aug 14:00
Day 2: At sea
Day 3: Airlie Beach, Mon 12 Aug 07:00- 16:00
Day 4: Yorkey's Knob, Tues 13 Aug 09:00- 18:30
Day 5: Port Douglas, Wed 14 Aug 08:00- 18:00
Day 6: Willis Island (Scenic Cruising), Thurs 15 Aug 10:00- 11:00
Day 7: At sea
Day 8: Brisbane, arriving Sat 17 Aug 06:00

 About the Pacific Dawn

The elegant Pacific Dawn was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and is recently out of drydock with the addition of the MIX cocktail bar, specialty restaurant Salt Grill, a giant LED screen and interconnecting cabins for families. Dining happens in the main restaurant or casual buffet, or even by the pool with hamburgers, hot dogs and the like fresh off the grill. For a cover charge, try asian flavours at La Luna or the amazing menu designed by Luke Mangan at Salt Grill. Keep busy day and night with pools, dance and other classes, competitions and games, a spa and gym and numerous theatres and bars.

See here for great deals on the Week Tropique Cruise in August 2013!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise in August 2012

by Ethan Oringel Flickr Creative Commons

See Alaska's glaciers without freezing on this cruise with Princess! Alaska's summer temperatures are temperate and can be warm, but you can still get up close and personal with these frozen ice rivers. Departing from Vancouver, the first stop is Ketchikan, the southernmost port in Alaska. The quaint town is built on steep hillsides. Next up is Juneau, the state capital and a beautiful city tucked away in the Gastineau Channel. After a visit to former gold-rush town Skagway, the glaciers begin with scenic cruising at both Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord. Both of these have incredible glaciers on display as well as wildlife including whales, dolphins and sea otters. The cruise finishes at Anchorage (Whittier) in the spectacular prince William Sound.

Operator: Princess Cruises
Vessel: Island Princess
Ports of Call: Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park (Scenic), College Fjord (Scenic), Anchorage.
Sailing Dates: Departing Wed Aug 1 2012, arriving Wed Aug 8 2012

Cruise Itinerary:

Length of Cruise: 7 nights

Day 1: Vancouver, departing Wed Aug 1 16:30
Day 2: At sea
Day 3: Ketchikan, Fri Aug 3 6:30-14:00
Day 4: Juneau, Sat Aug 4 08:00-21:00
Day 5: Skagway, Sun Aug 5 07:00-20:30
Day 6: Glacier Bay, Mon Aug 6 06:00-15:00
Day 7: College Fjord, Tues Aug 7 17:30-20:30
Day 8: Anchorage (Whittier), Wed Aug 8, arriving 00:30

About the Island Princess:

This lovely ship has a high percentage of balcony staterooms, so many passengers can enjoy the glaciers from their own balcony! The Island Princess is roomier than other ships in her class,  and is packed with entertainment and dining venues. The Scholarship@Sea programme is a Princess favourite, with enrichment programmes and lectures- the Island Princess even has a demonstration kitchen and ceramics lab complete with kiln for the chefs and craftspeople! You can elect traditional or Anytime dining in the main dining room, or there are numerous casual options- the buffet, a patisserie, a pizzeria, the Bar and Grill or free room service. There are also a few specialty restaurants onboard. As well as the enrichment, pools, spas, sports, bars and evening shows and music will keep you well entertained!

Have a look here for great deals on the Voyage of the Glaciers in 2012!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sunshine Melodies: 9 Nights in August 2012

Pacific Jewel
by Lee Gilbert Flickr Creative Commons

See some South Pacific paradise on this Sunshine Melodies cruise in August. If you're a southern hemisphere dweller, escape the winter and see some gorgeous parts of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. The first stop is 3 days into he cruise, so you will be well and truly chilled out when you arrive! Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu, and is a pretty city set around a natural harbour. The markets are a highlight here- for handicrafts, fresh produce and food.The next port of call is Lifou, one of New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands. Lifou is known for it's golden beaches, and for those who are sick of sunbathing, at the northern end of the island is a tiny white building that is a base for snorkelling in some of the most amazing underwater vistas in Melanesia. The final stop is the Isle of Pines, also off the coast of New Caledonia. The bright white sand here, backed by charming pine forests, makes it a vision of the tropics- and you can take this home with you when you return to Sydney!

Cruise Operator: P&O Australia
Vessel: Pacific Jewel
Ports of Call: Sydney, Port Vila, Lifou, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Departing Sunday, August 5th 16:00, returning Tuesday August 14th 07:00

Cruise Itinerary

Total length of cruise: 9 nights

Day 1: Sydney, Sun Aug 5 departing 16:00
Day 2-4: At sea
Day 5: Port Vila, Thu Aug 9 08:00-18:00
Day 6: Lifou, Fri Aug 10 09:00-18:00
Day 7: Isle of Pines, Sat Aug 11 08:00-16:00
Day 8-9: At sea
Day 10: Sydney, arriving Tue Aug 14 07:00

About the Pacific Jewel

The Pacific Jewel joined P&O Australia's fleet in 2009, with the first oceangoing trapeze arena and the largest onboard spa. The famed Salt Grill by Luke Magan specialty restaurant is onboard, as well as P&O's usual flexible dining in the main dining room and casual dining options, inlcuding a self-serve buffet. The Jewel has extensive oceanview spa facilities. There are 8 bars and 4 entertainment facilities, a casino, kid's club, 2 pools and much, much more to keep you and your family busy. The Pacific Jewel's evening entertainment is legendary- broadway-type shows, comedy, live music and dancing. Read more about the Pacific Jewel here.

Book the Sunshine Melodies Cruise here!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

North Europe Cruise: 8 Nights in August 2012

Explore North Europe in style on a luxurious cruise. Leave Southampton in your wake and set forth to IJmuiden, a port city in the Dutch Province of North Holland. St. Peter Port is a small town consisting mostly of steep narrow streets and steps on the overlooking slopes. La Coruna is the second largest city in Galicia in northwestern Spain, second only in size to the port of Vigo in Pontevedra Province. The city is the capital of La Coruna Province. It had been the Galician capital from 1563 to 1982 before that role was moved to Santiago de Compostela. La Coruna is a busy port located on a promontory in the entrance of an estuary in a large gulf (the Portus Magnus Artabrorum of the classical geographers) on the Atlantic Ocean. It provides a distribution point for agricultural goods from the region. The next port is La Coruna the most financially and industrially active part of Greater Bilbao.The final port before returning to Southampton is La Rochelle. The city has beautifully maintained its past architecture, making it one of the most picturesque and historically rich cities on the Atlantic coast. One of the biggest music festivals in France, "FrancoFolies", takes place each summer in La Rochelle, where Francophone musicians come together for a week of concerts and celebration.

Cruise Operator: P&O Cruises
Vessel: Oceania
Ports of Call: Southampton, IJmuiden, St Peter Port, La Coruna, Bilbao, La Rochelle, Southampton.
Sailing Dates: Departs: Fri, Aug 3 2012. Arrives: Sat, Aug 11 2012.

Cruise Itinerary

Total length of Cruise: 8-nights.

Days / Ports of Call / Arrivals and Departures

Day 1 Southampton - Fri, Aug 3 2012 16:30
Day 2 IJmuiden - Sat, Aug 4 2012 10:30 - Sat, Aug 4 2012 17:30
Day 3 St Peter Port - Sun, Aug 5 2012 14:00 - Sun, Aug 5 2012 21:00
Day 5 La Coruna - Tue, Aug 7 2012 09:00 - Tue, Aug 7 2012 17:00
Day 6 Bilbao - Wed, Aug 8 2012 09:00 - Wed, Aug 8 2012 18:00
Day 7 La Rochelle - Thu, Aug 9 2012 09:00 - Thu, Aug 9 2012 18:00
Day 9 Southampton - Sat, Aug 11 2012 07:00

North Europe Itinerary

About the MSC Opera

The public areas of MSC Opera feature a sweeping marble reception area and airy open spaces with walls of windows overlooking sprawling decks and deep blue seas. The 878 cabins, many with private balconies, are roomy, stylish and comfortable. Once onboard the MSC Opera you can enjoy a choice of four restaurants including the stylish L’Approdo or the outdoor Il Patio. Try an espresso at the Aroma Coffee Bar or a refreshing handmade Italian treat at the gelato bar. If you feel like a cocktail and some music, check out Piazza di Spagna (one of the eight bars onboard) or have a dance at the Byblos disco. Take Italian lessons, stop by the Internet CafĂ© or enjoy Wi-Fi in select areas of the ship. Play mini-golf with the kids or enjoy a class at the health club. And when evening comes, join in for an elegant seven-course dinner followed by outstanding entertainment in Opera splendid Teatro dell’ Opera. Read more about the MSC Opera here!

Book the North Europe Cruise here!