When Australian-based superliner Dawn Princess cruises out of a Singapore dry dock in May after a multi-million-dollar refurbishment it will offer Australia’s first beer-and-wine festivals at sea and a new whisky menu.
To be held twice during every cruise of more than seven days, the new offering will see the top deck transformed into a mini-festival showcasing regional beers and wines.
The renovated Wheelhouse Bar will offer a menu of 56 whiskies, including five local tipples.
The first chance to experience the new-look Dawn Princess will come on a 12-night cruise from Singapore to Fremantle departing May 25, with calls in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Fares start from $949 per person twin-share.
Phone 132 488 or visit www.princess.com.
Port Stephens boasts the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere.
A new package from Moonshadow Cruises and Sand Dune Adventures will enable travellers to experience two of Port Stephens’ leading attractions by combining a 1.5-hour dolphin-watch cruise with an hour of quad biking and sandboarding on the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere.
The two activities can be done on the same day or within a seven-day period. A number of upgrades are also available, including extended quad-biking time and switching to a whale-watching cruise.
The deal is valid for bookings made before May 31 and is priced at $132 for adults and $76 for children aged 7-14 (children under-7 are not permitted).
Contact Sand Dune Adventures on 02 4033 8808 (www.sandduneadventures.com.au) or Moonshadow Cruises on 02 4984 9388 (www.moonshadow.com.au).
Archaeological highlight … the Library of Celsus at Ephesus.
Archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels will explore one of the greatest sites of the ancient world this year on a series of idyllic yacht expeditions to Turkey’s famed city of Ephesus.
Guests will also explore the mountain-top sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda, the monumental Temple of Apollo at Didyma, and Priene, idyllic in its hillside wooded setting.
Archaeology apart, these expert-led gulet cruises also include time for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, sunbathing, admiring the scenery or pure relaxation.
An eight-day itinerary is priced from about $4265 per person twin-share ex Bodrum with departures June 6 and September 5.
A different way to explore Dubai’s waterways … by genuine Thai long-tail boat.
The Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa has imported a genuine Thai long-tail boat to offer in-house guests and others quite a different way of exploring the sites lining Dubai’s extensive waterways.
The vessel can carry up to 10 people and will do several journeys each day between the resort’s private jetty and the Dubai Marina.
A one-way ticket costs about $26 (about $12 for a child), a return ticket about $44 (about $21 for a child).
sanctuary.jpg — Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer … sailing the mighty Yangtze River.
Travel into the heart of China along the great Yangtze River on board Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer and marvel at the beauty of the Three Gorges.
Cruise between Chongqing and Yichang on a choice of three- or four-night sailings, with visits to Fengdu, Shennong Stream and the Three Gorges Dam Project.
There are savings of 25 per cent to be had until June 30, with prices beginning at about $1450 per person twin-share.
Phone 03 9536 1831 or visit www.sanctuaryretreats.com.
The ancient Blue Mountains rainforest near Katoomba has become an outdoor art gallery, showcasing 31 creations from around the world at the fourth annual Sculpture at Scenic World 2015, which continues until May 10.
There are also artist-led workshops for children as part of the popular Sculpture for Small People series held every Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets include entry to the exhibition, unlimited rides plus entry to the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. Prices: adult $35, child $18, family $88 (two adults and up to five children under 14), concession $32.
One of Melbourne’s most historic hotels — The Victoria Hotel in Little Collins Street — has added contemporary comforts and style to its heritage character and charm, with a major upgrade of all rooms and public areas.
The hotel — which is now part of Accor’s Ibis Styles portfolio — was established in 1880 by a former Premier of Victoria, James Munro, as the Victoria Coffee Palace, ‘teetotaller’ alternative to the rowdy, bawdy pub accommodation on offer elsewhere in Melbourne during the late 19th century.
A special advance-purchase deal is available. Book 20 days in advance and get room rates starting from $98 per night.
Phone 1800 331 147 or visit www.victoriahotel.com.au.
La Belle Époque … a relaxing way to tour Burgundy.
European Waterways is offering high-season specials on selected hotel-barge journeys in France, Holland and Scotland between May and August, with savings up to $1380 per cabin.
The six-night ‘A Taste of Burgundy’, on board the 12-guest La Belle Époque, for instance, is priced from $5260 per person twin-share.
The itinerary includes chateaux visits and a Chablis wine tasting at one of Burgundy’s distinguished wine cellars. The cruise also includes a chauffeured transfer service to and from Paris.
Phone 1800 828 050 or visit www.gobarging.com.
Receive a free cabin upgrade when you book a Blue Lagoon cruise package on board Fiji Princess through ecruising.travel.
Pay from $3079 per person twin-share ex Sydney for a Hibiscus Deck cabin on a seven-night cruise and receive an upgrade to an Orchid Deck cabin, a saving of $510. Price includes return airfare ex Sydney.
Activities include a traditional Fijian Lovo meal, dinner under the stars on a private beach, nightly local entertainment, guided snorkelling safaris, glass-bottom boat excursions, Fijian cooking lessons, guided walks and picnics.
Book by May 31 for travel before March 31 next year.
Phone 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel.
Dramatic isolation … Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge.
Book a three-night ‘Remarkable Retreat’ package on Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge and receive a fourth night free.
Pay from $3300 per person twin-share, including all dining, an open bar with premium beverages, an in-suite bar, signature guided experiences and airport transfers.
Also includes a bonus epicurean hamper of Kangaroo Island specialties, a $50 treatment voucher to use at the lodge’s Southern Spa and a $50 Bespoke Experience voucher to use on tailored private activities.
Valid May 1 to September 30. Book by May 31 and receive a complimentary suite upgrade.
Phone 02 9918 4355 or visit www.southernoceanlodge.com.au.
Get special deals on Broome and The Kimberley Holidays’ four-night ‘East Kimberley Essentials’ package.
Pay from $1995 per person twin-share ex Melbourne or Sydney ($1595 ex Perth).
Stay in Kununurra, the gateway to the East Kimberley, visit Lake Argyle and the historic Durack Homestead, cruise down the Ord River at sunset and fly over the ancient Bungle Bungle Range.
On sale until May 14.
Phone 1300 357 057 or visit www.broomekimberley.com.au.
Save 20 per cent on a three-night stay in a two-bedroom unit at Piermonde Apartments, near the Cairns Harbour foreshore.
Pay from $239 per night, including free wifi up to 250MB per day.
Features mountain views, large rooms, rooftop BBQ area and sundeck.
Valid for sale and travel until May 31.
Phone (07) 4042 6500 or visit www.piermondeapartments.com.au.