John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine.com Dec.2016

JP Hang Loose in Hawaii.jpgJohn Pond Cruise and Travel articles appear every week in print in:
The Spectator Group of 4 newspapers circulated throughout Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Every month in The Jewish Report, Sydney and Melbourne Editions.
The Sydney Standard Monthly throughout Sydneys premier suburbs.
Every quarter in The Retiree Magazine Nationally and GO55 Newspaper nationally.
Also 1000 word cruise and travel report weekly in The Retiree Weekender and GO55s Weekender. John Pond article appear in more publications and websites than any other, aimed at the over 50 self funded retirees, especially directed at 4 and 5 star travellers.

Macao Light Festival 2016 (3).jpgMACAO SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON FESTIVE SEASON.  Macao is rolling out the red carpet and reach for the stars at a number of colourful festivals and family events leading up and during the 2016 festive season. Some exciting events to grab the spotlight in the former Portuguese enclave include:

Macao Light Festival 2016 – Treasure of Light (December 4-31), Macao’s version of Sydney’s annual Vivid where many of the streets, lanes, squares and historic buildings are the focus of video mapping projections, glittering light installations, interactive games as well as a music and light shows.

Macau Shopping Festival (December 3-31), a bargain hunter’s delight there many stores of Macao – large and small – take part in an expanded shopping festival, complete with lucky draws and giveaways.

The festival – http://www.iffamacao.com/en/ – will be highlighted by a number of industry screenings, major awards and workshops. Prepared by: Macao Government Tourism Office, phone (02) 9264 1488 or www.visitmacao.com.au or www.macaotourism.gov.mo

Train -Melb Limited.jpgCruise Melbourne to Sydney and ride two historic trains, the ‘Melbourne Limited’ and the famous ‘Spirit of Progress’  

Celebrating a golden age when travellers journeyed by rail and sea, a new, five-day ‘Melbourne Limited’ tour in April, 2017, will see guests sail from Melbourne to Sydney aboard the modern Golden Princess and return on two shiny, immaculately preserved trains – the ‘Melbourne Limited’ and famous ‘Spirit of Progress’, with carriages dating back to the 1920s. The hosted cruise and rail tour offers a rare chance to experience two locomotive-hauled heritage trains on a high-speed express service in Australia and is also a rare offering from Melbourne which will appeal especially to rail and cruise lovers in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia and other nostalgic Australians keen to ride the rails of history.

train loco.jpgThe short break adventure begins in Melbourne on April 19, 2017, with a two-night cruise to Sydney aboard Princess Cruises’ 17-deck Golden Princess. Launched in 2001, the spacious ship boasts nine restaurants and cafes, four pools, nine jacuzzis, a 750-seat theatre and a lounge and nightclub suspended spectacularly above the stern of the ship. Golden Princess also offers Broadway-style stage shows, poolside movies, a huge spa sanctuary and wrap-around Promenade Deck that allows passengers to walk safely to the tip of the bow – perfect to witness the spectacular entry to Sydney Harbour.  On day five, guests will begin their rail adventure back to Melbourne by boarding the gold and Indian red ‘Melbourne Limited’ train at Sydney’s Central Station. The 52-year-old 42101 locomotive with its distinctive, bulldog nose will haul five cars dating back to the 1920s and 30s including compartment and rowed seating, a buffet car and a lounge car. The locomotive and carriages are considered to be amongst the finest and best preserved heritage railway stock in Australia. Including 10 meals, on-train commentary and the services of a Cruise Express Tour Manager, the five-day ‘Melbourne Limited’ rail and sail tour is available from $1990 per person, twin-share, or from $2490 for solo travellers. Flights to and from Melbourne are additional. Visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au

Money TIPS.JPG

TIPS INCLUDED – FARES STAY THE SAME.  Service charges to be included for Australia and New Zealand sailings. 

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have just unveiled a new “streamlined” fare structure, under which gratuities for stateroom attendants and dining room staff will be included in cruise prices.

The move means clients will pay a single inclusive cruise fare incorporating all main meals, accommodation, kids club, entertainment and activities. Passengers will continue to have the option to provide a discretional additional gratuity.

“Guests will see no change to the published price of cruises via any Royal Caribbean point of sale, including website, advertising and call centre pricing,” the company said.

The change means free gratuities will no longer be available as one of the perks included in the Go Big, Go Better, Go Best promotion. The all-inclusive fares apply to new bookings effective 12 December 2016 onwards, on sailings departing on or after 15 January 2017. 02 Christmas tree constructed from 103 recycled computer monitors.jpgGIVING BACK TO MOTHER EARTH THIS CHRISTMAS AT GRAND HYATT MACAU

Grand Hyatt Macau, one of my favourite hotels, once again decks its halls with a series of eco-friendly trees for the holiday season. For the second consecutive year, Grand Hyatt Macau has turned the most iconic symbol of Christmas into a call for action to save the planet. The eco-friendly Christmas campaign is part of the ongoing efforts by the hotel to help make the holiday season more sustainable. By reusing everyday items to fashion their Christmas trees, and therefore reducing the amount of material that ends up in landfill, the hotel hopes to encourage and inspire guests and visitors alike to do the same.

All of the hotels “trees” are made from 100 percent recycled material, but this year, in the true festive spirit of giving, the whole Grand Hyatt Macau team has contributed to the campaign by collecting items to build two additional trees – a tree made of shoes and a tree made of handbags.

Hyatt  Mac 1 “Come Back La” speciality at Beijing Kitchen - Poached shrimp skewer with mixed vegetables, Sichuan peppercorn and chili.jpgOther highlights include: “Dining from the kitchen” at mezza9 Macau.  Fusing quality and freshness with highly-skilled chefs, mezza9 Macau elevates the concept of the buffet to a new level by preparing everything to order, meaning dishes can be tailored to your specific needs and desires. In addition to its wide range of dishes and ingredients, mezza9 Macau is also offering a range of specialty items including pan-fried foie gras, Fo Tiao Qiang, whole tuna fish and selection of premium meats for the festive season and is not to be missed.

“Come Back La” at Beijing Kitchen, Chef Jason Sun has prepared a range of authentic and regional specialities from Chengdu, Chongqing and Wuhan which combine hot and spicy flavors which will delight and challenge the palates of lovers of spicy cuisine. Dishes include poached beef tripe, shrimp skewers and deep-fried bullfrog with six choices of chili sauce available.

Grand Countdown. Welcome 2017 in the most decadent way possible with the grandest New Year’s Eve party of them all. The Grand Hyatt Macau New Year Countdown Party offers guests an evening of decadence and delight with music, dancing, entertainment and free-flow Champagne in a stunning setting. Discover the thrill of #LivingGrand. For enquiries or reservations, please contact +853 8868 1908 or email to macgh.festive@hyatt.com

  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.

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PHOTOS

Macao Festival

Melbourne Limited

RC Tips Included

GRAND HYATT MACAO

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine Nov. 2016

ncl_Jewel_Aerial_Horz_2.jpgNorwegian Jewel’s Australian debut   Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Norwegian Jewel, set to call local waters home from 12 November 2017. During her November 2017 to March 2018 season, Norwegian Jewel will undertake 15 incredible sailings around the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia, visiting iconic Australian ports from Tasmania to Darwin, before making her way to Singapore.

“We are literally counting the days until Norwegian Jewel begins her Australian season, and we can’t wait to showcase our ‘Feel Free’ style of cruising to the local market. The range of accommodation, dining, activity and entertainment options on board is phenomenal and we’re anticipating high demand, and excitement, among experienced local cruise fans and first-time cruisers,” said Steve Odell, Managing Director for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Australia. “We’re looking forward to introducing Australian passengers to NCL’s remarkable repertoire of entertainment at sea, which includes cirque, magic and comedy performances as well as Australia’s own award-winning dance production Burn the Floor, which will set the ship’s stage alight on board Norwegian Jewel,” he added.

Portraits Steve Odell.Norwegian Jewel will feature seven Sydney round-trip itineraries, including a five-day ‘Tasmanian Sampler’ departing 12 November, which is an ideal option for first-time cruisers keen to test the waters and gain first-hand experience of NCL’s unique ‘Feel Free’ cruising style.

Other highlights include a nine-day voyage taking in regional gems such as Eden, Kangaroo Island and Tasmania’s Burnie, departing 14 December 2017, and a series of ten to 16-day Australia & New Zealand itineraries departing between November 2017 and February 2018. These itineraries will take in fabulous destinations such as the striking Milford Sound and the spectacular Bay of Islands. Come February 2018, Norwegian Jewel will embark upon an 18-day adventure from Sydney to Singapore, visiting ports in far North Queensland, Darwin and Komodo Island, among others.

Packed with activities for all ages, Norwegian Jewel boasts a casino, eight complimentary restaurants, six specialty dining venues with a la carte and set-menu options, as well as cafes, a bake shop, 24/7 pizza delivery service and myriad specialty bars and lounges including cabaret, champagne, beer and whiskey, sake, mojito and the requisite poolside bar for lazy at-sea afternoon cocktails.

Mr Odell noted that passengers joining cruises remaining in Australian waters don’t require a passport, while for those exploring international waters a passport with six months’ validity is required.

Recently, the line was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the eighth consecutive year, as well as “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the fourth time and “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” for the third straight year by the World Travel Award.

PONANT - Le Lyrial (11).jpgPONANT Cruises with No Single Supplement   Designed for solo travellers – PONANT releases an extensive range of destinations and voyages with no additional pricing for those seeking single travel.

Select from 34 PONANT cruise itineraries spanning both Northern and Southern hemispheres with voyages that include Brazil, Indonesia, Panama, Vietnam, Portugal, the Canary Islands, Australia, Scandinavia, Melanesia and more.

Also available, three themed voyages for those that enjoy classical  music – Chopin and the Music of Spain, a Tribute to Maria Callas, and a brand new voyage with members of the Vienna State Opera cruising between Venice and Civitavecchia (Rome) on Le Lyrial.

Onboard, creature comforts prevail. Enjoy French luxury and ambiance, and experience the difference small ship cruising offers. Cool off in the swimming pool, enjoy spa therapy to ease tired muscles or simply as a pampering indulgence. An inclusive Open Bar provides guests with the chance to share the day’s experiences with new found friends over a beer, wines, champagne or, perhaps, a cocktail. Later, the choice of fine cuisine, the flavours complimented with world-class wines.

Contours - South America tour.jpgKnow about South America before you travel there   

Machu Picchu, Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls are iconic attractions visitors to South America flock to but there’s a lot more to see and do across the vast continent. Contours Travel has released a list of six things to know about South America before you travel there.

South America is huge  The continent comprises 13 countries and covers 17.84 million square kilometres. This means you won’t be able to see it all in one holiday. Instead, focus on exploring one area in more depth and more slowly.

Learn a few words of Spanish before you go   Picking up a Spanish phrase book and learning the basic greetings and phrases will put you in good stead with the locals you encounter. Nine of the continent’s 13 countries have Spanish as their official language and even mastering just a few words of the local lingo will help you have more meaningful interactions with the people you meet.

There are a huge variety of walks on offer   South America is home to deserts, mountains, national parks, rainforests, glaciers and ice caps – all of which can be explored on foot. Whether it’s trekking up the Andes in Argentina, exploring the national parks of Brazil, journeying through the spectacular Atacama Desert or discovering one of the six Inca trails around the Sacred Valley near Machu Picchu, walking is a great way to immerse yourself in your surroundings.

You can stay in haciendas that are over 100 years old   When travelling to South America, you don’t have to stay in cookie-cutter hotels all the time. Instead, opt to stay in character-filled haciendas (farmhouses) which dot the countryside in Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and other South American countries. Contours Travel offers an eight-day hike through the Avenue of Volcanoes in Ecuador, with travelers staying in lovingly restored haciendas along the way.

Colombia is the home of the world’s best coffee   Australians love their coffee and Colombia is known for making the world’s finest brew. The climate, topography and tropical Andean forest all contribute to the production of such high quality beans and Australians visiting the region can see the plantation and production of coffee at work, including the harvest, sun-drying and processing. Contours Travel offers a five-day, self-drive ‘Coffee Triangle’ tour:

Australians who book three nights at the luxurious winery resort of Vina Vik Millahue Hotel in Chile will receive a free night at the five-star hotel, Singular Santiago.

Call Contours Travel on 1300 135 391 or visit www.contourstravel.com.au/tours/vina-vik Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.

 

Cuba cars.jpgNORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE RECEIVES APPROVAL TO SAIL TO CUBA

Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises Will Sail a Collection of Voyages in Spring 2017 that include calls on Cuba’s Capital of Havana. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Becomes First U.S. Cruise Operatorto Have Full Portfolio of Brands Approved to Sail to Cuba.

  The company’s first cruise to Cuba will set sail from Port Miami on Oceania Cruises’ Marina on March 7, 2017 with select Caribbean itineraries featuring calls on Havana, including many multiple-day calls to allow guests to explore Havana and its environs.  Seven Seas Mariner, of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet, will call on Havana during two cruises in April 2017. Norwegian Sky will also offer a selection of four-day voyages that will overnight in Havana in May 2017.

Australian cruisers will really benefit from NCL’s addition of mighty ships that will call Australia home during our cruising season next year. JP.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Norwegian Jewel, set to call local waters home from 12 November 2017. During her November 2017 to March 2018 season, Norwegian Jewel will undertake 15 incredible sailings around the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia, visiting iconic Australian ports from Tasmania to Darwin, before making her way to Singapore.

“We are literally counting the days until Norwegian Jewel begins her Australian season, and we can’t wait to showcase our ‘Feel Free’ style of cruising to the local market. The range of accommodation, dining, activity and entertainment options on board is phenomenal and we’re anticipating high demand, and excitement, among experienced local cruise fans and first-time cruisers,” said Steve Odell, Managing Director for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Australia.

“We’re looking forward to introducing Australian passengers to NCL’s remarkable repertoire of entertainment at sea, which includes cirque, magic and comedy performances as well as Australia’s own award-winning dance production Burn the Floor, which will set the ship’s stage alight on board Norwegian Jewel,” he added.

NCL initially returns to Australian shores with the Norwegian Star in February 2017, serving as a prelude to Norwegian Jewel’s inaugural Australian season. Norwegian Jewel will feature seven Sydney round-trip itineraries, including a five-day ‘Tasmanian Sampler’ departing 12 November, which is an ideal option for first-time cruisers keen to test the waters and gain first-hand experience of NCL’s unique ‘Feel Free’ cruising style.

Norwegian Jewel: what’s on board? Refurbished in 2014 to exacting standards, Norwegian Jewel can host up to 2376 guests, enjoying personalised attention from 1069 professional crew.

Packed with activities for all ages, Norwegian Jewel boasts a casino, eight complimentary restaurants, six specialty dining venues with a la carte and set-menu options, as well as cafes, a bake shop, 24/7 pizza delivery service and myriad specialty bars and lounges including cabaret, champagne, beer and whiskey, sake, mojito and the requisite poolside bar for lazy at-sea afternoon cocktails.

Fitness fans will enjoy the on-board outdoor court action hosting basketball, dodgeball, tennis and volleyball, and kids will adore the aqua park, Sapphire pools and age-specific kids’ clubs, while gym enthusiasts can choose from a range of classes, including Zumba and yoga.

Mr Odell noted that passengers joining cruises remaining in Australian waters don’t require a passport, while for those exploring international waters a passport with six months’ validity is required.

About Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 50-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising, which revolutionised the industry by giving guests more freedom and flexibility. Norwegian Cruise Line invites guests to explore the world on one of 14 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed, resort style cruise holiday on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea. Recently, the line was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the eighth consecutive year, as well as “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the fourth time and “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” for the third straight year by the World Travel Awards.

 Seabourn Encore at sea.jpgSeabourne Launches New Ship

Said to be the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, Seabourn has taken delivery of its newest all-suite vessel, Seabourn Encore, during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy.

Seabourn President Rick Meadows said the cruise line had been looking forward to the handover for more than two years. “Seabourn Encore has become a stunning ship that will set a new standard in ultra-luxury cruising,” Mr Meadows said.  “I am very proud of our partnership with Fincantieri, and it has been a great pleasure to work together to transform raw materials into this incredible vessel that will make a great addition to the Seabourn fleet.”

Seabourn Encore will be officially christened at a ceremony in Singapore on January 7, 2017 by international recording artist and world’s best-selling Soprano, Sarah Brightman, before setting sail for Australia.  The ship will arrive in Darwin on January 22, 2017 and cruise the Queensland coast before debuting in Sydney on February 2. It will depart Australia on March 17, returning for its second season of cruises Down Under from December 2017 to February 2018.

  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.

MORE: http://www.cruiseandtravelmagazine.net

 

 

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 28 Oct 2016

 

BLISS.jpgNORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE TO DEBUT NEW SHIP DESIGNED FOR ALASKA CRUISING IN 2018    Norwegian Cruise Line will once again pioneer a new era of Alaska cruising beginning June 2018, as the company has just announced that its next new vessel, named Norwegian Bliss, will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience. Norwegian Bliss will cruise to America’s Last Frontier from Seattle and will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in the Emerald City.

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss is designed with features and amenities to offer guests the ultimate Alaska cruising experience.  At approximately 167,800 gross tonnes and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship will be constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in 2018.

16F3HockenheimB0618JC.JPGSTAMP OF APPROVAL FOR 2016 MACAU GRAND PRIX   This year’s running of the 63rd Macau Grand Prix has received a special stamp of approval – for more reasons than one.

In addition to two events gaining World Cup status, the annual motor sport spectacular is to be recognised with a commemorative stamp issue series, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.

MACAU SKYLINE.JPGFurthermore, the F3 cars of the Theodore Racing team will brandish the “Experience Macao: Your Own Style” motto to help promote Macao as tourist destination during the Grand Prix.

“You can almost sense the excitement as teams from around the world prepare for this annual road race meeting from November 17-20,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand).

“In honour of the 50th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, Macao Post will issue a set of commemorative stamps,” she said. “The set of five stamps feature some of the most iconic winners in the history of the event. In addition, a range of commemorative souvenirs have been produced, including T-shirts, gloves, key chains and leather jackets. The merchandise will be on sale at various points around the circuit during the event to promote the Grand Prix.”

A series of events will be held to encourage widespread participation in the celebrations, including the promotional show at Tap Seac Square, where racing machinery from the Macau GT Cup and Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix will be on display. Entry will be free, allowing residents and international enthusiasts from Australian the chance to get an up-close look at some of the cars and motorcycles which will be out on the Guia road cirtcuit. An exhibition of classic motorcycles will join the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix and Macau GT Cup show on November 12 and 13, as well as take part in a parade around the road circuit on Saturday, November 19. DETAILS: Macao Government Tourism Office Australia and NZ, phone (02) 9264 1488, www.macautourism.gov.mo Macau Grand Prix: http://www.macau.grandprix.gov.mo/gp/63/home/

Curtis Stone in SHARE on Sun Princess.jpgChef Curtis Stone on Princess  Australian holidaymakers will soon have the chance to dine at two Curtis Stone restaurants close to home, with the award-winning chef’s restaurant SHARE featured on two Princess Cruises’ superliners sailing in local waters.

Officially opening SHARE by Curtis Stone onboard Sun Princess in Sydney today, Chef Stone said he was thrilled that thousands of Australians were now enjoying his cuisine at sea.As part of the chef’s exclusive partnership with Princess Cruises, SHARE by Curtis Stone is available on Sun Princess, which is based in Australia full-time, as well as Emerald Princess, which arrives on November 15 for its first Australian season.  Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess, which sails in the northern hemisphere, also features a SHARE by Curtis Stone restaurant. Photo credit: James Morgan.

Cathay -300ER.jpg

Cathay Great Airfares   Asia on Sale: Huge savings to 58 destinations with Cathay Pacific  Low fares with flights from $591* return to China.

If you are thinking about a trip to Asia to see friends and family, or to mix business with pleasure, or simply for a fun and affordable holiday, now is the time to book. Cathay Pacific has put Asia On Sale offering special fares in Economy Class and Premium Economy Class to 58 destinations across Hong Kong, China and Asia and special fares in Business Class to 24 destinations in China. Economy Class fares to Beijing start from as little as $591* return and Business Class from just $3,397 return. With deals this good, they won’t last long so be sure to book quickly.

Cathay Pacific’s Asia On Sale fares are for new bookings made from now until 11 November 2016, for travel between 01 November and 09 December 2016 or between 06 February 2017 and 31 August 2017. Some blackout periods and further terms and conditions apply.

John Pond    Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.

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Norwegian Cruise Line

Macau Grand Prix

Macau Skyline

Chef Curtis Stone

Cathay Airlines

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 21 Oct 2016

 

China VICTORIA KATARINA.JPGMORE AUSTRALIANS BOOK CHINA HOLIDAYS    AUSTRALIA’S continued fascination with China continues to grow with more opting to travel and holiday there than in the previous year.

The number of Australian passport holders visiting mainland China has increased by 14,000 compared so far this year with the same period in 2015, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Helen Wong .jpgFrom January till the end of August in 2016, 297,000 travelled to mainland China for a holiday or business compared with 283,000 over the same months last year (* figures do not include Hong Kong and Macao). “An increase such as this indicates a strong willingness by Australians to see and learn more about the interesting and historically rich country,” said Helen Wong, managing director and founder of leading China wholesaler Helen Wong’s Tours. “While contemporary change has been swift in the major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, a great deal of interest focuses on China’s ancient cultures and traditions, along with a number of scenic natural treasures such as the Yangtze River and the spectacular Three Gorges. “From our brochure, the Yangtze cruises aboard Victoria Cruises are very popular, a trend which is sure to continue with the growth in popularity of cruises.” Details: Helen Wong’s Tours: Phone (02) 9267 7833 or visit www.helenwongstours.com Ponant night.JPEG

PONANT New Brochure    Just released, PONANT’s October 2017 to May 2018 brochure features 45 voyages, carefully created for those who seek the benefits of exclusive compact ship luxury and expedition cruising in the one package. Itineraries include polar and tropical expeditions to Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Antarctic onboard two of PONANT’s luxurious fleet of small ships, L’Austral and Le Boreal. Monique Ponfoort, Vice President Ponant Australasia, commented “The brochure is a comprehensive A to Z of the globe’s finest luxury and expedition voyages – intimate travel experiences from Antarctica to Zululand  and just about everywhere in-between! An extensive range of destinations that include voyages to the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, Costa Rica, Papua, the Bissagos Islands, Polynesia, Myanmar, the Seychelles, Latin America, Japan, and the vast icy wilderness of Antarctica, with voyages spanning 6 nights to a Grand Voyage of 85 nights duration from Vietnam to New Zealand”.

Ponant butler.JPEG“Select from itineraries that offer immersion in Maori and Melanesian cultures, the samurai and Torii of Japan, Borneo’s orang-utans, the wonders of Australia’s own Great Barrier Reef, the mysterious statues of Easter Island, World War II remnants in the Solomon Islands, active volcanoes and the heady appeal of the famed Spice Islands …… I like to think we have something for everyone”. “Or, for a change of pace, totally relax under sail aboard the classic three masted yacht, Le Ponant, with a stylish Caribbean cruise to exotic Martinique and Tobago Cays – perhaps enjoy a Christmas of creole and calypso with a splash of rum.” All in all, very civilised ways to travel from A to Z, each voyage imbued with PONANT’s trademark dash of panache whichever ship, yacht or itinerary selected.

 190924 FXF-liberty-island -POV05-R04.jpg

Statue of Liberty Museum   The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. (SOLEIF),  with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior have recently unveiled the plans for the building of a new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, which is projected to open to the public in 2019.

The new museum—which is the key part of a beautification plan that also includes landscaping and lighting— will give the more than 4.3 million annual visitors to the Statue of Liberty the opportunity to learn about and honor the Statue’s history, influence, and legacy in the world. The current Statue of Liberty Museum, located inside the Statue of Liberty monument, is only accessible to a small fraction of the Statue’s visitors due to the safety upgrades that were put in place following September 11, 2001. “The Statue of Liberty is not just one of the most recognized monuments in the world, but an international symbol of hope that deserves to have her story shared with everyone who visits Liberty Island,” said Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation President and CEO Stephen Briganti. “

190926 FXF-POV04-DIFF-R04.jpg“Lady Liberty is the symbol of everything America is about: freedom, hope, possibility and resilience. It is She that millions of immigrants saw first as they arrived in this country, their hearts full of dreams for a brighter future.

As ‘godmother’ of this new chapter of Lady Liberty’s rich history, von Furstenberg had the idea to create a magnificent mural at the museum’s entrance, an artistic evocation inspired by yet another of America’s most meaningful symbols – the American flag. Each of the fifty “Liberty Stars” will be sculpted into a mural crafted from the original hand-forged iron bars, created by engineer Gustave Eiffel which supported the Statue of Liberty for 100 years and were removed and preserved during her 1986 centennial restoration. The underwriting of each Liberty Star is $2 million.

“With state-of-the-art exhibitions and iconic artifacts including the Statue’s original torch, the new Statue of Liberty Museum will ensure that future generations know, understand, and appreciate all that Lady Liberty represents in America and around the world,” said Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Superintendent John Piltzecker.


Access to the museum will be free with purchase of a ferry ticket to visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Liberty Island will continue to be open to visitors throughout construction of the new museum. Ferry tickets and boat schedules to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are available at www.StatueCruises.com. 

For more information about the Statue of Liberty Museum visit http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/statueoflibertymuseum/

  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.

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PHOTOS:

China cruises popular

Helen Wong (insert

Ponant

Ponant Butler

Liberty New Museum

Liberty New Museum (rendering)

 

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine • 14 Oct 2016 2016

The Tree At Rockefeller Center.jpg

NEW YORK CITY WITH HOLIDAY SPIRIT   The Holiday Season in New York City is one of the most festive times of the year. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that kicks off the season in November to the Christmas Tree lighting in Rockefeller Center and the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, there are countless reasons to visit New York City at the end of the year. In celebration of this year’s holiday season, NYC & Company has produced a new short video to showcase some key highlights at nycgo.com/holidays.

What to see and do: The 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, featuring giant helium balloons, musical performances, marching bands from across the country, and special celebrity appearances kicks off the holiday season on November 24 (macys.com/parade).

The Rockettes kick their way into the holidays as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular returns from November 11–January 2. The production will dazzle audiences with brand new dance numbers, extravagant costumes, and traditional fan favorites, (radiocitychristmas.com).

The New York City Ballet presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, one of the most beloved and anticipated holiday classics, from November 25-December 31 (nycballet.com).

NY Xmas LightsDyker Heights.jpgThe New York Botanical Garden’s cherished ‘Holiday Train Show®’ celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Coney Island’s Cyclone and Wonder Wheel and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge make their debuts alongside 150 iconic building models in the display that features model trains traveling through the miniature city landscape. The show runs from November 19-January 16, (nybg.org).

A classic holiday tradition continues with the 13th Annual St. George Theatre Christmas Show from December 9 – December 11. Just steps from the Staten Island Ferry, this two-hour production features over 100 actors, a live orchestra and numerous holiday standards set in holiday scenes from the North Pole to the surrounding neighborhoods of Staten Island (stgeorgetheatre.com).

The Louis Armstrong House Museum, a national historic landmark, hosts annual holiday tours throughout the holiday season, featuring Louis Armstrong’s voice recording of “’Twas the Night before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas)” from December 1-30 (louisarmstronghouse.org).

Insider Journeys – small group journey travel in Asia   Australia’s leading Asia travel specialist, Insider Journeys has released its latest portfolio of Small Group Journeys, which offers travellers unparalleled comprehensive choice of experiential tours throughout the region.

image006.jpgThe new brochure highlights journeys from a portfolio of almost 1,000 departure dates in 11 countries, across nearly 100 tour itineraries.

To celebrate the launch, Insider Journeys is offering 15% off all 2017 Small Group Journey’s made and deposited before 31 October 2016.

Alastair Scott, Head of Product is proud of the new brochure and its extensive content. “The latest brochure really demonstrates the comprehensive choice available for our travellers. These insightful itineraries are based on the insider knowledge of our exceptional product team and 23 years’ experience,” says Scott.

“We give our clients opportunities for participation in local life. They’re privy to more local insights, with itineraries that provide flexibility and meaningful interactions with local people and fellow travellers that will give them stories that will last a lifetime.”

trips, include the Mekong and Beyond, Myanmar Revealed, Three Gorges Discovery and China Panorama.” 1300 362 777 or visit www.insiderjourneys.com.au.

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Air New Zealand inflight wifi on its jet services in 2017   Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon announced that flights between Australia and New Zealand would be the first to receive connectivity. “Air New Zealand is in the final stages of commercial negotiations with Inmarsat and Panasonic Avionics with internet connectivity to be supplied by Inmarsat’s new global GX satellite constellation and integrated with Air New Zealand’s in-cabin Panasonic Avionics technology. Proving flights will begin in the second half of 2017 and world-class internet services progressively available on Tasman, Pacific Island and long haul jet fleets from the end of next year,” Mr Luxon says. Domestic New Zealand jet services are likely to offer a wifi service from 2018. “Given Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights in the world, and in oceanic areas where there has historically been poor quality satellite service, we have patiently worked with partners until comfortable that a service which meets the high expectations of our customers is available,” he says. “Proving flights on a partner company test aircraft have now given us the confidence to introduce what we believe will be the world’s most reliable inflight connectivity. Customers will be able to use their social media channels, stay on top of emails and browse the internet.

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BRITISH AIRWAYS EARLY BIRDS TO THE UK, EUROPE AND ASIA   British Airways launches early bird special offers on flights from Australia to the UK, Europe and Asia. The offers are available for booking from now until midnight on 30 November 2016. Round trip fares to Asia start from $768* on World Traveller economy class and from $1,374* to the UK and Europe.

Asia – The special fares on flights to Singapore are valid for travel from now until 10 June 2017 on World Traveller economy class fares from $768* and from $1,818* on World Traveller Plus premium economy.

UK and Europe – The special fares on flights to the UK and Europe are valid for travel from now until 31 October 2017 on World Traveller economy class fares from $1,374* and from $3,060* on World Traveller Plus premium economy.

Nicole Backo, British Airways’ regional general manager, South West Pacific, said “For those who would like to benefit from these early bird fares, now is the right time to book. The long travel window means customers can plan their travel well into 2017. Compiled by John Pond.

  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine Cruise Season 7 Oct 21016

Ovation of the Seas - Sydney Harbour 2.jpgRecord Cruise Ship Numbers in Australian Waters   Australia will welcome an unprecedented number of cruise ships this summer, with more than 40 vessels sailing in local waters – including eight ships making their maiden visits Down Under.

Among the flotilla will be the largest ship to visit Australia – Royal Caribbean’s 167,000-tonne Ovation of the Seas as well as the youngest and most luxurious ship ever to cruise here, the boutique Seabourn Encore, which will arrive in Australia just two weeks after it is officially named in Singapore.

HAL ms Maasdam in Norwegian Fjord.jpgDetailing the upcoming peak cruise season, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Commercial Director Brett Jardine said a record 41 ships from CLIA member cruise lines would be based in Australia or visiting local waters between October 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017, compared to 38 ships over the same period last year. Between them, the ships will make almost 900 calls to ports around Australia over that period – up 10 per cent on last year’s port calls numbers. With more than half the ships (23) offering return cruises from our shores, we will be able to take advantage of almost 400 roundtrip itineraries from local ports, a 20 per cent rise on last summer’s offerings.

P&O Cruises Five Ship Fleet.jpgThe start of the cruise season which started on October 1 coincides with the beginning of the local cruise industry’s first ever Cruise Month promotion, which will see cruise lines offering great deals through cruise specialist travel agents. Highlights of the peak summer period include:

  • The first international ship call for the summer season when Celebrity Solstice returns to Sydney on October 8
  • The first maiden ship call for the summer season when Holland America Line’s Maasdam debuts in Sydney on October 20
  • The inaugural Australian season of the largest Princess ship to sail from Australia this summer, the 3082-guest Emerald Princess, making her first Australian call in Fremantle on November 8, followed by Melbourne on November 13 and Sydney on November 15.
  • The inaugural visit of the largest ship to visit Australia, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, arriving in Fremantle on December 6 to make the first of six maiden calls following her launch earlier this year
  • The Australian debut of the ultra-luxury Seabourn Encore arriving in Darwin on January 22 and sailing down the Australian coast to reach Sydney on February 2 and Melbourne on February 4. In all she will make nine maiden Australian calls
  • The first Australian visit of the luxury Azamara Journey, arriving in Darwin on February 8, the first of 12 maiden calls
  • The debut of the 92,000-tonne Norwegian Star which will make seven maiden Australian calls commencing with Darwin on January 29
  • The maiden Australian visit of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Europa 2 which will debut Down Under with her call to Hobart on December 26, making 13 inaugural calls around the country
  • The inaugural visit of Oceania Cruises’ Sirena which will arrive in Sydney on March 6, 2017 and make eight maiden calls to local ports
  • A Royal Rendezvous of Cunard’s remastered flagship Queen Mary 2 and her younger sister Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on February 25
  • Queen Mary 2’s first ever visit to Tasmania with calls to Port Arthur on February 27 and Hobart on February 28
  • Royal Caribbean’s first call to Wollongong with a visit by Radiance of the Seas on October 30
  • The first ever round trip cruise to South America from Australia – an 84-night cruise by Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess departing Sydney on January 11, 2017.

What a great season we have to look forward to, JP.

Emerald Princess .jpgEmerald Princess Begins Her Journey Down Under    The biggest Princess Cruises’ ship to sail local waters this summer – the spectacular 3082-guest Emerald Princess – is now on her way down under after departing from Southampton.

Making the first of seven maiden Australian port calls in Fremantle on November 8, Emerald Princess will cruise via Melbourne on November 13, arriving at her new Sydney homeport on November 15.

Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the ship’s arrival would take the cruise line’s Australasian capacity to a record 11,800 berths across five ships during the 2016-17 cruise season.

“We’ve been basing ships down under for 15 years but the debut of Emerald Princess in the Emerald City will make this a summer to remember for Princess. With five of Princess’ 18 ships cruising local waters this summer, Australia ranks as the cruise line’s biggest market outside the United States,” Mr Allison said.

In exciting news for Australian holidaymakers, Emerald Princess will offer Award-winning Chef Curtis Stone’s new restaurant, SHARE as well as Princess’ new Salty Dog pub, serving up the Ernesto Burger – rated the best burger at sea – and gourmet small dishes developed with renowned US chef Ernesto Uchimura, combined with whisky flights. The superliner’s arrival will also set the stage for the debut of some great new entertainment offerings including the much-anticipated onboard musical Magic to Do from Oscar and Tony award-winning Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz.

Also on board are eight showrooms and lounges, two nightclubs and four swimming pools as well as signature Princess offerings such as the child-free Sanctuary, poolside Movies Under the Stars and the luxurious Lotus Spa.
Emerald Princess will spend her inaugural five-month season of cruises from Sydney sailing on 13 roundtrip cruises to destinations in the South Pacific, New Zealand and around Australia.  

Ponant Austral Fjords.JPEGFor more information visit www.princess.com, call 13 24 88 or see your licensed travel agent. Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.  MORE: http://www.cruiseandtravelmagazine.net

 PHOTOS:

Ovation of the Seas

Holland America Line’s Maasdam debuts

Emerald Princess

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine • Macao-India 23 Sept 16

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MACAO NEW LUXURY HOTELS PAMPER   One of my favourite places to visit, tourists to Macao, in particular the Asian city’s neon-lit Cotai Strip, can indulge in some additional pampering thanks to the opening of two new resorts.

The Wynn Palace Cotai and The Parisian Macao – have brought about an increase in the number of dining and day spa options.

Step inside the plush Wynn Palace Cotai and you are sure to be impressed by the large scale – and colourful – floral sculptures of a carousel and Ferris wheel, custom-designed for the hotel by world-renowned designer Preston Bailey who created the same tributes for the Wynn Palace in Las Vegas.

Fine dining centres on a quintet of restaurants, of note Andrea’s which offers a blending of Chinese dishes and cocktails, and the SW Steakhouse, where the steaks and seafood are served in an elegant dining room which features a surprising theatrical experience every 30 minutes.

At the hotel’s intimate end is Sushi Mizumi, where the fresh seafood handcrafted by well trained chefs. As is the case at the original Wynn Macau, located on the Macao peninsula, guests will be able to dine on exquisite Cantonese cuisine at the Wing Lei Palace within an imperial-inspired setting.

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Visit The Parisian Macao, a mere 10-minute walk from the Wynn Palace, and the first eye-catching feature is the replica of the Eiffel Tower which not only offers a bird’s eye view of Macao but, on the sixth floor, houses La Chine, a Chinese restaurant with an emphasis on offering mouth-watering dishes in a romantic Paris-like setting.

Other dining options to greet visitors include the signature Lotus Palace, the Brasserie with its authentic French flavours, and Le Buffet with its appealing European themed marketplace.

The former Portuguese enclave retains a heritage built on five centuries of east-meets-west values and characteristics which have achieved UNESCO World Heritage protection. Details: Macao Government Tourism Office, (02) 9264 1488 or visitmacao.com.au

 INDIA AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT   India is home to some of Asia’s most spectacular landscapes as well as some of the most incredible –yet little known – experiences.

Filled with deserts, spice hills, tranquil backwaters, thriving cities, dramatic forts and snow-capped Himalayan peaks, India an unparalleled kaleidoscope of remarkable experiences. It’s also home to incredible safaris and luxury desert glamping.

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According to Insider Journeys’ Senior Product Manager, Eric Finley, India has had a long history of luxury tented camps, and with wildlife to rival any African safari, it is fast-emerging as a leader in the luxury safari stakes. “As the land of the Maharajas, Rajasthan not only has forts and palaces befitting a king or queen, but is also home to India’s wild treasures within splendid national parks and sanctuaries,” says Finley.

Chhatra Sagar, Rajasthan. Chhatra Sagar is a lush oasis in the heart of Rajasthan. The camp owes its existence to the vision of nineteenth century noble Thakur Chhatra Singh of Nimaj, who turned once dry scrubland into a verdant paradise by creating a vast reservoir.

Keen not to detract from the natural beauty of the site, permanent construction was banned and instead luxe safari-style tents were built to house his many guests. With so many visiting nobles and dignitaries, Chhatra Sagar soon become legendary for opulent parties, exotic dinners, high teas and, of course, its luxurious tented accommodation. Each one faces east, allowing spectacular views over the lake. The camp is famous for its evening birdwatching walks, where guests can observe some of the 200 species found on the lake.

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Manvar Desert Camp, Rajasthan. Manvar Desert Camp, sitting majestically amongst the sand dunes of the Thar Desert, prides itself on beauty, tranquillity and solitude. While there is no shortage of five star resorts in India, few blend so seamlessly into their surroundings or have the same dedication to protecting local heritage, culture and wildlife as Manvar Desert Camp.

After a busy day of birdwatching and wildlife spotting, guests can retire to one of Manvar’s thirty opulent safari tents. Set back a staggering 6km from the main resort, they offer guests a true taste of the wilderness without compromising on luxury; each room is kitted out in heritage fabrics, teak furniture and ensuite bathrooms.

Khem Villas, Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan. From the porch of your lavish tent, it is not uncommon to spot crocodile, jackals, hyenas, desert fox and jungle cats amongst the camp’s wild grasslands. Yet the real highlight of a stay at Khem Villas is the chance to spot the elusive Bengal Tiger. With twice daily trips from the resort, you have every chance of seeing these magnificent big cats in the wild.

After a day in the jungle, guests can retire to their well-appointed tents. Chic, comfortable and full of rustic charm, each tent is built using natural local materials like bamboo, to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding grasslands.

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Osian Desert Camp, Rajasthan. For a truly authentic tented camp experience, head to Osian Desert Camp in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. Osian was once a key trading post on the silk route between the 8th and 12th centuries, and the resort carefully recreates the original fortress-style layout and authentic feel.

The highlight of a stay at Osian is of course a safari, and the resort offers both camel-back and jeep varieties to spot desert wildlife, as well as village safaris to see local life. After a day amongst the dunes, dinner is served in the fortress-style main camp, with traditional entertainment like Rajasthani dancing and music laid on for guests.

image001.jpgA stay at a luxury desert or safari camp is a must-do while in India and can be arranged as part of a private tour, or as an extension to one of Insider Journeys’ popular India small group journeys.

A stay at Manvar Desert Camp is included on Insider Journeys’ 14-Day Highlights of Rajasthan Tour. Insider Journeys is offering 10% off all Small Group Journey tours and a selection of private travel itineraries booked and deposited by 30 September 2016.

Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to availability, changes of terms and conditions may apply.   MORE: http://www.cruiseandtravelmagazine.net

 PHOTOS:

Wynn Palace Hotel/Casino Macao

The Parisian Hotel/Casino Macao

India Osian Desert Camp

India Tours with Insider Journeys

India Wildlife

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