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Luxury expedition cruise meets Outback rail on Australia’s Deserts, Reefs & Rainforests

September 21, 2017 Cruise No Comments Email Email

A great Australian expedition cruise combines with an outback rail adventure on this 21-night exploration that includes a journey to Darwin on the legendary Ghan train and an 11-night sailing on Ponant’s fabulous Le Lapérouse.

‘Australia’s Deserts, Reefs & Rainforests’, the latest offering from Cruise Traveller, lets you finally tick The Ghan off your bucket list! There’s a lot more as well, including some sensational deals for single travellers.

‘Australia’s Deserts, Reefs & Rainforests’ includes three-night stays in Darwin and Cairns.  The cruise you’ll take is Ponant’s celebrated Australian Chairman cruise. It’s themed as a food and wine voyage – so expect exceptional cuisine as you discover the wonders of the Coral Sea.

Aboard Le Lapérouse, experience the Blue Eye lounge, the world’s first underwater ship lounge. Located two to three metres below water level within the  hull, this brilliant Ponant innovation captures the vision and acoustics of the sea. Observe the vivid underwater world through two giant curved portholes as you listen to the sounds of the ocean, transmitted via hydrophones. It’s a fantastic marine experience like no other.

Newly built and set to launch in June 2018, Le Lapérouse flies the French flag, often an indication of fine cuisine! This is a boutique ship, just 92 elegantly designed cabins and suites, with large windows and lounge areas opening onto the outside.

‘Australia’s Deserts, Reefs & Rainforests’ begins with a flight to Adelaide, where you’ll be transferred by private car to one of the city’s top, five-star hotels to spend the night. Next day after breakfast, time to embark on The Ghan train. Travel on The Ghan is in Gold Service, either Gold Single or Gold Double, for one of the world’s most famous railway journeys, with a range of off-train excursions at key stops, which include Alice Springs, Marla and Katherine.

‘Australia’s Deserts, Reefs & Rainforests’ begins on 19 January 2019. It costs from A$10,995 for a balcony cabin aboard Le Lapérouse, twin-share per person, and A$14,215 for a suite. That price includes flight from Brisbane or Melbourne to Adelaide. Prices for departures from other Australian capitals are: from Sydney or Adelaide, A$10,650 balcony and A$13,870 suite; from Perth A$11,335 balcony and A$11,675 suite. There’s a sensational singles deal in a Single Deluxe Balcony cabin, costing from A$12,195.

The Ghan train’s Gold Twin is a comfortable sleeper cabin featuring private en-suite facilities and upper and lower berths that convert to a three-seater lounge by day. Gold Single is a compact sleeper cabin with a bed that converts to a seat by day. Shower/toilet facilities are shared and located at the end of the carriage.

Gold Service is a far cry from the original Ghan (named after the pioneering Afghan camel trains) which started in 1929. In those days, flash floods sometimes brought the train to a halt and the driver shot wild goats to feed passengers. Old-timers wouldn’t believe the amenities aboard today’s train! Travelling Adelaide to Darwin on a two-night journey, you’ll dine in the beautifully appointed Queen Adelaide restaurant. Australian wines, beers, base spirits and non-alcoholic beverages are included.

In Darwin, enjoy three nights accommodation at the Hilton Darwin, including breakfast. Plenty of time to take in the sights and feel of Australia’s most northerly capital before flying to Cairns, to be transferred by private car to your Cairns hotel for a three night stay in glorious Tropical North Queensland.

Your 11-night expedition voyage aboard Le Lapérouse begin in Cairns, sails to Lizard Island in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, visits Hardy Reef to experience superb marine biodiversity (50 kilometres north-east of the Whitsunday Islands) and calls at Brisbane and Sydney. Le Lapérouse stops at equally fascinating but far less-known tropical sea gems: Willis Island in the Coral Sea, Percy Island and Musgrave Island.

Zodiac outings and shore visits with your expedition team are included. You’ll have plenty of opportunity for swimming, snorkelling and just taking it easy on unspoiled isles, complete with white-sand beaches and crystal clear water. This is your chance to discover the Queensland coast with qualified marine and biological experts.

All meals aboard ship (from dinner on day of embarkation to breakfast on day of disembarkation) are included. So is the Captain’s welcome cocktail and a gala dinner. Le Lapérouse has an open bar, for pouring wines, house champagne and alcoholic drinks (except premium brands; list available upon request). Evening entertainment and events are covered too; so are park entry fees to protected areas. There’s even 24-hour room service.

The luxury continues right to the end, when you’ll be transferred by private car from the port in Sydney to airport for your flight home.


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