John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 19 Aug 2016

Insider J.jpgThe Inside Scoop on Indochina  Asia travel specialists Insider Journeys have revealed that sales to Indochina destinations have grown year on year, with Laos small group journey sales up a significant 23% and Cambodia up 9%.

Managing Director Paul Hole attributes this growth to Australian travellers better understanding the depth of experience and beauty within Indochina.

“Indochina has so much to offer, with stunning scenery, fascinating culture, historic relics and ruins, and a renowned cuisine,” explains Hole.

“Our travellers have a seemingly insatiable appetite for new experiences. In response, we’ve increased our travel options and the destinations we cover across Indochina to provide continually more engaging experiences for our passengers. We’re introducing Vietnam.jpgmore options to visit lesser known places like Cambodia’s newest ‘in destinations’ – Kratie, Kampot and Battambang. “Travellers are also starting to see Indochina as offering premiere beach options, especially in the resort locations near Danang and Hoi An in Vietnam, and Sihanoukville in Cambodia. “We’ve seen increasing interest in touring and cruising in the Mekong Delta as small boat river cruising offers a unique opportunity to gain greater access and deeper insights into a traditional way of life along Asia’s most iconic waterways, witnessing a way of life that has remained relatively unchanged.”

 Insider Journeys is offer 15% off any Small Group Journey to Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos booked by 31 September, for travel prior to 31 December 2016.Visit:

Celebrity Millennium.jpgCELEBRITY CRUISES OFFERS MORE FOR LESS  Throughout the month of August, modern luxury cruise brand Celebrity Cruises is giving travellers even more reasons to experience amazing Asia. Oceanview stateroom reservations and above on sailings departing from November 2016 through to June 2017, will receive a free Classic beverage package and US$300 onboard credit per stateroom.

Celebrity Millennium offers a range of sailings from Singapore and Hong Kong to some of Asia’s most incredible destinations, and after her recent US$8 million refurbishment she feels brand new. The 2,000-passenger ship now features a new roof top terrace which hosts the new Taste of Film program – where guests are treated to movies under the stars paired with matching food inspired by the exotic destination the film is set in. Celebrity Millennium now also features the brand’s signature Italian steakhouse, Tuscan Grille, plus the Solarium and all of her Suites have been refreshed with new fittings and soft furnishings, making her a modern and elegant vessel to explore Asia. Fares start from AU$1849 visit, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.

Silversea waiter.jpg SILVERSEA $170 MILLION FLEET REFURBISHMENT  Silversea, the leading ultra-luxury cruise line, is delighted to announce the biggest fleet-wide refurbishment plan in its history, worth US$170 Million.  This investment is not aimed at simply maintaining Silversea’s self-imposed high levels of excellence. “We are thrilled to be moving ahead with these major refurbishments and look forward to welcoming guests aboard and sharing our unique vision of ultra-luxury cruising, both in terms of service and physical environment”, said Manfredi Lefebvre, Chairman of Silversea. “We pride ourselves on being the reference when it comes to ultra-luxury cruising and this investment reflects our long-term commitment in this regard toward our ships, our guests and our crew”.

Silverseas -Silver-Whisper.jpgSilver Whisper, host to the iconic World Cruise, will undergo a refurbishment that will take place by the end of 2016, and has been largely influenced by feedback from World Cruisers, proving that Silversea guests truly are at the heart of the company operations.  This also ensures that 2017 World Cruisers will get to experience a top coat of luxury, and be the first guests to help massage the fresh feel into the understated glamour that the brand has become synonymous with. Silver Whisper’s communications hub is set for a major overhaul with the addition of two satellite antennas, vastly improving Internet speeds on board and enabling guests to take full advantage of the new, interactive TVs and on demand movies available in every suite.

The refurbishment programme extends to Silver Wind during her dry dock scheduled for October 2016. Once again, refurbishment of furniture and furnishings, technology upgrades that include interactive TVs and on demand movies complete the contemporary, yet understated levels of luxury in every suite. Visit or contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand).

Amber Wilson Silversea.jpgNEW SILVERSEA BOSS IN Asia-Pacific  Silversea Cruises announced that Amber Wilson is the cruise line’s General Manager for Asia Pacific.  Based in the Sydney office, Wilson will be responsible for the Asia Pacific markets, revenue and the direction of sales and marketing management with the Sydney and Singapore teams reporting directly to her.
“I am thrilled to be joining a company widely acknowledged as being the pioneer of ultra-luxury cruising,” said Wilson. “It is a privilege to have this opportunity to drive the Silversea brand forward and build upon the reputation of luxury and unrivalled service, while strengthening relationships with industry partners in the region.”

With over 17 years’ experience in the travel and cruise industries and a strong commercial background, Wilson has worked across a range of senior management roles in Australia and the UK. Most recently, Wilson held the position of General Manager, Sales & Marketing at Cruiseco.

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REMEMBER WHEN  Passengers used to wear their Sunday best when flying.

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Celebrity Millenium


GM Silversea Amber Wilson

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 12 Aug 2016

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KNOW YOUR CRUISE LINES   There are a great number of cruise lines, but unfortunately, many Australian cruisers are not aware of the subtle, and not so subtle differences. Those who cruise often usually look not only for good value, but more upmarket features. Often the more expensive option offers greater value, with more inclusions – you decide.

NCL -nclBrkwyWaterfrontBoardwalk.jpgNorwegian Cruise Line   Awarded ‘Europe’s Leading Cruise Line’ eight consecutive years in a row by the World Travel Awards, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 14 purpose-built vessels are am   the youngest, most contemporary afloat catering for 1,936 to 4,248 passengers. Norwegian Cruise Line offers unparalleled freedom, flexibility and choice with accommodations ranging from studio cabins specially priced for solo travellers to family suites and luxury accommodation in The Haven, and the greatest variety of restaurants and entertainment at sea – with up to 29 dining options on each ship. Worldwide, the line offers 190 sailings travelling to 65 ports of call in 24 countries – and in 2017, five ships will cruise Europe offering 60 different itineraries.

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“Norwegian Cruise Line’s most popular Europe itinerary among Australians is Norwegian Spirit’s 11-day Rome

ncl SHOWROA7hires.jpg (Civitavecchia) to Barcelona sailing – however with Norwegian Spirit, Epic, Star, Jade and Getaway cruising Europe in 2017, travellers will have even greater choice.”  Highlight itineraries for 2017:

Norwegian Star will sail 15 different European itineraries ranging from 7 to 14 days visiting Spain,

Monaco, France, Italy, the Canary Islands, Morocco, Greece, Croatia and more, with fares starting from AU$656 pp for a 7 day cruise.

From April to October, Norwegian Epic will offer weekly departures from Barcelona sailing a 7 night Western Mediterranean itinerary, starting from AU$659 pp   visit , phone (AU) 1300 255 200

Oceania Cruises NAUTICA_001.jpgOceania Cruises   Acclaimed for delivering the finest cuisine at sea™, Oceania Cruises’ specialty on-board restaurants include classic steak and seafood at Polo Grill, incredible Italian at Toscana, high-end Parisian fare at Jacques, Asian fusion at Red Ginger, al fresco dining at the Terrace Café, casual seafood and BBQ at Waves Grill, daily high tea at Horizons and wine seminars, dinners and tastings at La Reserve. The line also offers exclusive Culinary Discovery Tours™, immersive shore excursions that allow guests to delve deep into each regions’ culinary heritage. Oceania’s six-strong fleet visits over 330 destinations, with 32 cruises across Mediterranean, UK, Scandinavian and Nordic itineraries on offer over the European 2017 Summer – and multiple cusp-season sailings available.

Oceania Cruises’ special offer for early bookings invites guests to enjoy free unlimited WiFi, plus choose from either four free shore excursions, a free house beverage package or shipboard credit. Some of their many cruises include:

10 day Glamorous Riviera Rome roundtrip aboard Oceania Riviera departs 4 June 2017 from AU$3,420 pp Visiting ports including Florence, Portofino, Amalfi/Positano, Monte Carlo, Ibiza and Barcelona, Oceania Riviera’s on-board hands-on cooking school, The Culinary Centre (available on board Oceania Marina and Riviera), provides the opportunity to learn local cooking techniques and recipes, guided by Master Chefs and including classes inspired by the French and Italian destinations visited.

20 day Trail of the Vikings London roundtrip aboard Oceania Nautica departs 15 July 2017 from AU$10,750 pp

Visiting ports including the lands of the midnight sun, the icy caps and rolling hills of Denmark and Iceland and the famous hospitality of the Scottish and Irish in Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin, the recently refurbished Oceania Nautica features four open seating restaurants, eight lounges and bars, a world class fitness centre and spa, a casino, lavish suites and luxurious staterooms – nearly 70% of which feature private verandas. visit Phone: (AU) 1300 355 200, (NZ) 0800 625 691

Regent Seven Seas Voyager.jpgRegent Seven Seas Cruises   Renowned for setting new benchmarks in all-inclusive ultra-luxury cruising, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ includes free unlimited shore excursions in every port of call, unlimited free WiFi, complimentary fine dining, fine wines and spirits, prepaid gratuities, ground transfers and complimentary deluxe pre or post-cruise hotel stays and Land Programs. The line’s four-vessel fleet includes the highly anticipated Seven Seas Explorer – the Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built, debuted on 20 July 2016.

For most 2017 European Summer cruises departing London, a complimentary three-night pre-cruise ‘Legendary London’ land program, including airport transfer and an optional West End theatre package, is available. Highlight cruises include:

      11 night Discover the Isles ex-London aboard Seven Seas Explorer departs 3 June 2017 from AU$10,730 pp

An incredible exploration of the United Kingdom and its Isles, destinations include Newcastle, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cork and Holyhead with up to 43 free land excursions taking in incredible castles, mighty fortresses, historic churches and cosy villages.      12 night Baltic Odyssey ex-London aboard Seven Seas Explorer departs 14 June 2017 from AU$10,190 pp

Toscana3.jpgVisiting destinations including Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia with up to 56 free shore excursions, such as chocolate making, touring the KGB, sea kayaking, the Russian Ballet and Scandinavian canals – this is truly the Northern European cruise of a lifetime.visit  Phone: (AU) 1300 455 200, (NZ) 0800 625 692

About Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd    NCLH operates a combined 24 ships with approximately 45,000 lower berths visiting more than 520 destinations worldwide. Six new ships are planned across the brands from 2016 to 2020, alongside a range of new itineraries including within the Australasian region.

  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to change.


Balcony Scene

NCL Deck Bar

Owners Suite Bathroom

NCL Showroom Entertainment


Regent Seven Seas

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 5 Aug 2016

NCLJo artFI_07-15-16-2.jpgNCL’s FIRST-EVER SHIP FOR CHINA FEATURE CUSTOM ARTWORK BY TAN PING    World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line Commissions a Renowned Chinese Artist to Paint the Hull of its New Breakaway-Plus Class Vessel for China, Norwegian Joy the artwork to be featured on the hull of its soon to-be-unveiled Breakaway-Plus class vessel Norwegian Joy. Scheduled for release in Summer 2017, with home porting in Shanghai and Beijing, Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship that is purpose-built for the Chinese market.

NCLJoy_FI_07-15-16.jpgA painter, printmaker, and educator, Tan Ping straddles the worlds of both art and design. His abstract paintings and copper plate etchings are in the collections of such renowned museums as The National Art Museum of China; Portland Art Museum, USA; Ludwig Museum, Germany; and The Shanghai Art Museum. Tan Ping also enjoys the distinction of having led and directed a team of designers from Central Academy of Fine Arts to complete the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Image and Landscape Design Project. His subject for Norwegian Joy is the phoenix, an iconic mythical bird believed to reign supreme over all birds of the world.

Australia to America via Paradise with Air Tahiti Nui’s Pacific Loo   Air Tahiti Nui has released a new combination fare offering Australian travellers the ultimate way to travel to the United States with a stopover in Tahiti one way and a seamless non-stop flight home.

Air Tahiti Nui aircraft exterior.jpgThe exciting new Pacific Loop allows guests to make a stopover in Papeete en route to Los Angeles with the convenience and value of one airfare. The return journey is a swift non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Sydney with American Airlines. The journey can also be reversed. For the ultimate Pacific exploration, guests can also take advantage of a stopover in Auckland to combine three countries for the price of one. The Pacific Loop from Sydney to Los Angeles via Auckland and Papeete is priced from $1599* in economy class and from $7999* in business class. Air Tahiti Nui General Manager Australia New Zealand Alan Roman said the combination fare was a great way for Australians to explore the region. visit

PONANT BROCHURE   PONANT has released a comprehensive brochure featuring an extensive range of itineraries exploring the Asia and Pacific regions during 2017 – 2018.

Ponant Broch .JPEG7 cruises onboard the modern luxury expedition ship L’Austral will reveal the highlights of Asia, featuring 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Itineraries include Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Sabah and Papua, plus inaugural voyages to and from Myanmar. In the Pacific region, a further 7 voyages on L’Austral and sister-ship Le Boréal explore from Hawaii to French Polynesia, the Marquesas Islands, mysterious Easter Island, the Solomon Islands and Noumea, as well as the fiords and sub Antarctic islands of New Zealand and the east coast of Australia. A range of itineraries that feature no less than 14 World Heritage sites. Easily accessible departure and arrival points such as Cairns, Bali, Manila and Wellington belie the many rarely-visited remote destinations included in this range of enticing voyages. 5 voyages are designated ‘Expeditions’, appealing to adventurous travellers who enjoy exploring in absolute luxury

Once-in-a-lifetime itinerary options range from exploring the remote islands of the Sub Antarctic to viewing the archaeological enigma of Easter Island’s giant stone Moais and the thousand year old petroglyphs of Fatu Hiva. In Vanuatu and Solomon Islands meet members of the John Frum Cargo Cult, climb an active volcano and snorkel in waters renowned for Second World War wrecks; while Borneo provides the opportunity to see the ‘man of the forest’, our cousin the orang-utan, in his natural habitat.

Be one of few to visit the remote Asmat region of Papua, snorkel in the pristine bio-diverse marine area of Raja Ampat, photograph giant dragons in Komodo, or sail in the wake of famed mariner Captain Bligh when you visit Pitcairn Island and the islands of Tahiti.

Japanese itineraries provide ample opportunity to experience their culture and customs. Monique Ponfoort, Vice President, PONANT Australasia, commented “we encourage you to book as early as possible in order to secure the best possible fares and accommodation options onboard.” For solo travellers, we offer single supplement fares across many voyages, including some cruises which currently have NO single supplement, while others are offered from just 15%.

FLY DIRECT FROM ADELAIDE to CHINA   In celebration of the proposed launch of direct flights between Adelaide and Guangzhou with China Southern Airlines from December this year, Asia travel specialists Insider Journeys have prepared a list of the top reasons for Adelaideans to visit China

China image006 (1).jpgFew places offer travellers the variety of natural experiences that China does. Spectacular landscapes with sweeping views have inspired a multitude of traditional Chinese paintings and even the epic sci-fi movie, Avatar, and continue to transfix travellers. The country’s landscape includes the snow-capped peaks of Tibet, the karst lime formations of Yangshuo and Guilin, dramatic mountainous areas in remote Yunnan and sweeping sand dunes across the Silk Road en route to the ancient city of Kashgar

image005.jpgEating can be a 24/7 endeavour and nowhere more so than China with so much to try. Outside of the often quoted eight styles of Chinese cuisine, which include the numbing and spicy Sichuan cuisine, the sweeter and lighter seafood dishes of Guangdong (Cantonese), and varieties from Hunan, Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, Shandong Anhui, there are also Beijing, Dongbei (northeastern) and Uighur styles to sample. The modern metropolises of Shanghai and Beijing, with their perennial hustle and bustle are a huge contrast to the ancient artefacts and towns waiting to be discovered across the country. The remarkable Army of Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the historic Lijiang in the southwest and ‘Chinese Venice’ Suzhou in the east, the Forbidden City and the hidden hutongs in Beijing are just some of the gems worth exploring. Insider Journeys offers a range of small group journeys and private travel options to China. For details, call 1300 138 755 or visit

Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to change.


NCL – New Ship

Air Tahiti Nui



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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 29 July 2016

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A Great Summer on Royal Caribbean   This coming summer cruise season, Australians can expect big fun in the South Pacific on Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the SeasRoyal Caribbean’s twin sister ships that are dedicated to sailing Pacific itineraries all summer long. Both are newly revitalized from bow to stern to the tune of US$180 million.

Summer cruise itineraries will whisk guests away to idyllic destinations like Mystery Island and Port Vila in Vanuatu, and Noumea, Isle of Pines and Lifou (Loyalty Islands) in New Caledonia, there will even be two Fiji overnight calls, when Explorer of the Seas stays the night in Suva during her repositioning voyages between from Australia to Seattle.

Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class pioneered the interior promenade in cruise ship design, allowing interior staterooms to look down on to an indoor street lined by cafes, shops and bars, where colourful characters from much loved movies like Shrek and Madagascar light up the night with family parades and shows.

Adam Armstronf RCI .jpgRoyal Caribbean is known as an innovator, and for good reason, says Adam Armstrong, Managing Director for Royal Caribbean International in Australia and New Zealand.

“Since we arrived in Australia some eight years ago, we’ve been delivering Australians with the style of cruising they had previously been travelling overseas for. With two Voyager Class megaliners now sailing from Sydney, there’s double the opportunity to cruise on Australia’s most feature-packed ships, and double the fun,” Armstrong concluded.

Voyager and Explorer of the Seas boast a range of accommodation options, such as interconnecting staterooms and luxurious, multi-room suites, as well as the new panoramic family staterooms that offer all the benefits of an apartment, including floor-to-ceiling windows and a separate bunk room for the kids.

RCI Voyager.jpgWhen parents and grandparents are looking for some downtime, the award-winning kids club program, Adventure Ocean, offers a range of age appropriate activities and spaces that kids can call their very own. Included in the fare, Adventure Ocean groups range from Aquanauts (aged three to five years old), Explorers (six to eight) and Voyagers (nine to eleven). Tweens and teens have their own spaces too, including a dedicated night club. Babies aged 6-18 months can attend the Royal Babies and Tots playrooms, where trained youth staff, together with parents, oversee learning and play sessions. In-room babysitting services are available for a small fee.

Fares for a seven night roundtrip sailing on Voyager of the Seas start from AUD$849 per person, twin share, departing Sydney 1 November 2016 and including calls to Noumea and Isle of Pines in New Caledonia*., phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.

Cunard's New Commodore Club Cocktails - All Consuming Passion.jpgCunard Creates Cocktails Inspired by Knighted Commodores. Cunard has revealed a new menu for its popular Commodore Club, featuring a blend of signature cocktails created in honour of each of the cruise line’s seven knighted commodores.

The menu shares the fascinating stories of the knighted Cunard Commodores and features special illustrations in a modern menu design, infusing the cocktail experience onboard Cunard’s three Queens with rich maritime history. With the Commodore Club enjoying a prime location on each of the Cunard Queens, the transformed menu is one of a number of new food and beverage concepts being launched across the fleet.

The seven newly designed cocktails include ‘Over the Top’ inspired by Commodore Sir James Charles (1865-1928). Known for doing things on a grand scale, this Commodore’s dinner parties aboard Aquitania were renowned as opulently social affairs, and this aromatic and refreshing sharing cocktail is extravagantly presented, just the way Sir James would expect.

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ALOHILANI RESORT AT WAIKIKI BEACH   Hawaiian for “the heavenly brightness,” the name ‘Alohilani Resort at Waikiki Beach was chosen to honor Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch. The area surrounding the hotel was once known to house the highest concentration of royal residences, including Queen Liliuokalani’s home and beachside cottage that she fondly referred to as Kealohilani – the Royal Light or Heavenly Brightness. The hotel currently sits on land held by the Queen Liliuokalani Trust.

The hotel will boast contemporary dining concepts ranging from a farm-fresh buffet breakfast to fine Asia-Pacific cuisine. Conceived by internationally acclaimed chef Masaharu Morimoto, the hotel will feature two Morimoto concepts. Located on the second floor, Morimoto Asia will serve as the hotel’s signature restaurant featuring Chef Morimoto’s world-renowned dishes, which seamlessly integrate Western and traditional Asian ingredients. For a more casual dining experience at street level, Momosan Waikiki will feature yakitori, ramen, and a wide variety of small plates for lunch and dinner, along with a beer garden.The hotel looks forward to opening these two beautiful restaurants at the ‘Alohilani Resort in late 2017.” visit or call 808-922-1233

PANDA-MONIUM: MACAO WELCOMES TINY TWIN CUBS    Macao’s adorable local Xin Xin made history when she became the first giant panda to give birth in the city’s Panda Giant Panda cub #3.jpgPavilion. The nine-year-old panda became the proud mother of twins, bonding well with her cubs which were born an hour apart. She and the larger cub, which weighed in at 138 grams, were in good health, but the smaller cub was under weight at 53 grams and was whisked off to intensive care.
Both Xin Xin and male partner Kai Kai, were gifts of the People’s Republic of China in recognition of the handover of Macao to the Central Government. The pair was born at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre in Chengdu. The Macau Panda Pavilion opened in 2010 as an extension to the breeding program for the endangered black and white mammals.

  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to change.


RCI Explorer of the Seas

Adam Armstrong, Managing Director for Royal Caribbean International in Australia and New Zealand.

RCI Voyager of the Seas

Cunard Cocktails

Hawaii Hotel

Macau New Born

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 22 July 2016

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APT New Wine Series Cruises for 2017   APT has announced it will continue with its successful Wine Series European River Cruise journeys in 2017, having once again secured the support of some of the leading figures from the Australian wine industry. Four Wine Ambassadors will play host to APT guests on its Wine Series cruises in 2017, all of whom represent wineries from Australia’s First Family of Wines, a collective of 12 of the country’s leading multi-generational winemakers that are the heart and soul of Australian wine.

APT Wine Ambassadors for 2017 are: Scott McWilliam of McWilliam’s Family Winemakers; Peter Barry from Jim Barry Wines; Cherry Stowman, Senior Brand Ambassador for Taylors Wines; and Bruce Tyrrell of Tyrell’s Wines.

APT’s special hosts will bring with them a personal selection of their own wines to provide tasting sessions on board the cruise. They will also host special dinners paired with their own wines, lead excursions to wineries to meet local vintners, explain the nuances of traditional wine-making techniques and educate guests on European wine heritage and traditions. Each ambassador will travel with guests for the duration of their cruise. All four departures are part of APT’s Special Interest European River Cruise Collection. Commenting, APT’s Executive General Manager, Global Sales and Marketing, Debra Fox said, “Our Wine Series river cruises have been incredibly popular amongst our guests. That’s because they recognise that by having our special ambassadors onboard, they will be able to unlock the deeper cultural significance that wine making has to the riverside communities of the European destinations that our cruises visit.

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“Tasting and being guided by some of Australia’s most knowledgeable wine experts is a special addition to the APT Collection. As a proud Australian family-owned and operated business that next year celebrates a heritage of 90 years, we are particularly pleased to partner with Australia’s First Families of Wine, of which all of our Ambassadors are members,” she said.

APT’s luxury European river cruises are all inclusive and include all meals; complimentary beverages throughout; room service, butler service and complementary laundry in select suites, all sightseeing and entertainment; and transfers, port charges and tipping. There is even a fleet of bicycles on board for guests to use at their leisure. For further information about APT’s Wine Cruises call 1300 196 420, visit or see your local travel agent.

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Royal Caribbean’s South Pacific   This summer cruise season, Australians can expect big fun in the South Pacific on Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the SeasRoyal Caribbean’s twin sister ships that are dedicated to sailing Pacific itineraries all summer long. Both are newly revitalized from bow to stern to the tune of US$180 million, and with itineraries that lend themselves perfectly to families and amenities to match, Royal Caribbean is positioning the South Pacific Sisters as the go-to summer cruise holiday for families of all ages and sizes.

2016/17 summer cruise itineraries will whisk guests away to idyllic destinations like Mystery Island and Port Vila in Vanuatu, and Noumea, Isle of Pines and Lifou (Loyalty Islands) in New Caledonia. Plus, the South Pacific Sisters will make more calls than ever RCI_Desgined for Wow_Ice Skate.jpgbefore to perennial island favourite, Fiji. The megaliners will more than double the amount of Fiji calls year on year, with 34 visits across the season to two destinations, Suva and Lautoka. There will even be two Fiji overnight calls, when Explorer of the Seas stays the night in Suva during her repositioning voyages between Australia and Seattle. Royal Caribbean’s Voyager Class pioneered the interior promenade in cruise ship design, allowing interior staterooms to look down on to an indoor street lined by cafes, shops and bars, where colourful characters from much loved movies like Shrek and Madagascar light up the night with family parades and shows.

Adam Armstrong .JPGRoyal Caribbean is known as an innovator, and for good reason, says Adam Armstrong, Managing Director for Royal Caribbean International in Australia and New Zealand. “Since we arrived in Australia some eight years ago, we’ve been delivering Australians with the style of cruising they had previously been travelling overseas for. With two Voyager Class megaliners now sailing from Sydney, there’s double the opportunity to cruise on Australia’s most feature-packed ships, and double the fun,” Armstrong concluded.

VIKING ANNOUNCES CRUISE ITINERARIES STARTING IN 2017 Including Havana, on Viking Ocean Cruises  Viking Sea now part of the growing ocean fleet, on Viking Ocean Cruises, she recently announced the addition of 10 new itineraries to its offerings for 2017
and 2018 sailings. Adding more than 30 ports of call to Viking’s portfolio, the new itineraries will explore destinations throughout Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, including Cuba. “As we continue to grow our fleet, we have more opportunities to offer guests new and different options for experiencing the Viking way of destination-focused cruising, an approach that is completely unique in the industry,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “Our guests are experienced travellers who are curious about the great art, history and cultures of the world, which is why we design our ships and itineraries to help immerse them in the destinations they visit.”

JP HAW.jpgJOHN POND COMMENT: 2017 looks like being a great year for cruising with many new and revitalized ships headed to our shores. I predict that we will see some really competitive prices as the big 3 battle it out for market share. NCL, the new kid on the block (to our shores) together with The Carnival and Royal Caribbean brand have many exciting offerings, so choosing the right ship for your cruise, may even be a little harder. All are good, if in doubt ask your certified cruise agent.

PHOTO BELOW: Viking Star

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  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to change.


APT Wine Region Germany

APT Rivership

RCI Voyager

RCI Entertainment

NCL Penthouse Suite

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 15 July 2016 #26

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P&O Unveils Exciting New Features on Pacific Explorer    I was present at Luna Park last week for the announcement of P&O’s “newest ship”. It will take holidaymakers on a voyage of discovery on Pacific Explorer, which will debut next year with exciting new
features including two spectacular waterslides, a chilled barefoot IMG_9499 (1).jpgbowls green and an elegant supper club for evening entertainment. With Pacific Explorer’s inaugural cruise from Sydney now less than one year away, P&O has unveiled details of the ship’s multi-million dollar refurbishment. Maintaining the cruise line’s reputation for innovation, Pacific Explorer will be packed with surprises, including P&O’s first ever waterpark at sea, as well as its most extensive range of dining options, delivered in a stylish, contemporary setting.

The fun starts on the top decks with two breathtaking waterslide experiences – the first offering LED lights and sound effects and the second featuring heart-racing twists and turns.

Pacific Explorer pool area rendering.jpgGuests of all ages will be able to enjoy the waterpark, with a shaded area for kids featuring a dumping bucket and oversized water toys.

Meanwhile, the popular P&O Edge Adventure Park will feature activities including a flying fox, while those seeking a more relaxed pace will be able to head to the back deck for a cruisey game of barefoot bowls.

Continuing P&O’s food revolution, Pacific Explorer will offer some tantalising new dining concepts, including The Black Circus, a supper club venue offering delicious food served with a side of cabaret-style entertainment.

Cruisers will also be able to enjoy a slice of Italy, with a new pizza restaurant offering gourmet pizzas and share platters, while the cruise line’s popular international food market place, The Pantry, will be extended to include a ninth outlet, Nic and Toni’s, serving Mediterranean cuisine. Also on offer will be a poolside Lobster & Burger bar, serving delicious lobster and seafood rolls as well as premium beef and pulled pork burgers. The new dining options are in addition to the cruise line’s popular Waterfront restaurant, which will feature on Pacific Explorer along with two other restaurants which debuted on Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden last year: Angelo’s, serving contemporary Italian cuisine, and the sultry Asian dining venue, Dragon Lady.

Pacific Explorer - Lawn Bowls.jpgAnother P&O favourite, Salt grill by Luke Mangan will also be onboard, enjoying a sparkling location overlooking the main pool area, while a range of new bars, including a stylish hidden bar, will provide the perfect location for relaxing pre and post dinner drinks.

Announcing details of the refurbishment, P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said Pacific Explorer’s décor would reflect modern Australia, combining elegance with relaxed comfort to create the striking contemporary look which has become a trademark of the P&O fleet. Mr Myrmell said the P&O team had a lot of fun designing Pacific Explore “We’ve IMG_9530.jpgtaken the winning features of our existing ships, then added a whole new layer of excitement with some big wow moments like the waterslides as well as new concepts like the bowling green and a stunning hidden bar, which we think will put a smile on our guests’ faces,” Mr Myrmell said. “It really will be a ship that offers something for everyone.”

Presently sailing as Dawn Princess with sister line Princess Cruises, the 77,000-tonne Pacific Explorer will be refitted in May and June next year, sailing on her first cruise from Sydney on June 22. She will join P&O ships Pacific Dawn and Pacific Jewel as well as P&O’s latest additions, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, which debuted last year. Fares on Pacific Explorer will start from $1249* per person quad share for the ship’s 10-night inaugural cruise to the Pacific Islands, departing Sydney on June 22, 2017. Call 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.


I LOVED THE LOVE BOAT   Princess Cruises has celebrated its 30-year partnership with its global ambassador Gavin MacLeod, the beloved award-winning actor who played Captain Merrill Stubing on the iconic “Love Boat” TV show.

The city of Santa Clarita, California, home of the world headquarters of Princess Cruises, honoured Mr MacLeod by proclaiming July 6 “Gavin MacLeod Princess Cruises Ambassador Day” during a special ceremony hosted by Captain Stubing’s TV daughter Jill Whelan, aka “Vicki Stubing,” which was attended by hundreds of Princess employees and fans.

Mr MacLeod has now served as the cruise line’s celebrity ambassador for three decades, exclusively promoting the premium cruise line to millions of consumers through thousands of media interviews, public appearances, travel industry conferences and onboard the Princess Cruises’ fleet, proudly sharing the joys of cruising. For more information please see attached release. An image of Gavin MacLeod with Jill Whelan is attached for your use as required. The caption info is as follows: Princess Cruises Celebrations Ambassador Jill Whelan served as host at the celebration honouring Gavin MacLeod for 30 years of service at Princess Cruises corporate headquarters in Santa Clarita, California Cel Millennium-Exterior.jpg

VIEW RIO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES WITH CELEBRITY    Celebrity Cruises together with partner Coca Cola will bring all the excitement, thrills and spills of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to guests by broadcasting all the action from onboard Celebrity Cruises modern luxury fleet of ships.

Celebrity Cruises will offer a range of Olympic themed activities and events onboard throughout the games. Guests can join in the fun with raffle draws for a chance to win official Olympic merchandise including towels and t-shirts, watch all the sporting action in one of the many bars onboard, or take part in the themed events from basketball tournaments, soccer shootouts, pool volleyball and “TriathoLawn” – outdoor activities and games on a real manicured lawn.

Choose to sail onboard the recently revitalized Celebrity Millennium and catch all the sporting action from just $1,579 per person, twin share during a breathtaking Alaska voyage. Departing Vancouver on 5 August 2016 and sailing to Seward, Alaska, the seven-night itinerary includes scenic cruising through the incredible Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier, as well as calls to Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway.

Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to change. Photos courtesy cruise lines & John Pond


Salt Grill Restaurant

Lawn Bowls

Pool Area

Love Boat’s Gavin MacLeod

Celebrity Millennium

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John Pond Cruise and Travel Magazine 8 July 2016

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT CASE   As I grow older it becomes harder to move my luggage around, especially on overseas trips. The purchase of the correct luggage becomes all important. Travelling with one case would be perfect, but what if it is lost by shipping lines, airlines, hotels or one of the many that handle it. Thousands of pieces of luggage go missing every day. One cannot afford to take the chance of losing precious medication, battery charges, cameras etc, so we really do need a carry/wheel on, that should never Featherweight_61cm_Strawberry Red (1).jpgleave our side. Wheels on luggage were a great invention (why did it take so long?), but now, as my strength wains, I find that the 2 wheel suitcases pose a weight and portability problem. The newer style 4 wheel models glide effortlessly through airports and take all the worry away. Don’t buy “cheap” cases, they have “cheap” wheels that usually don’t do the job and break down sooner than later. Buy a well known brand, for a few dollars more they last a lot longer and do the job so much better.

Attached are photos of two new models from Paklite that illustrate my idea of the close to perfect case.

_MG_2244 (1).jpgAvailable in black or turquoise and in three sizes, the duffels are as lightweight and stylish as they are practical. The Escape duffle boasts large capacity with strong and durable hardware, fabric and components including a lockable external sleeve pocket, great for passports and valuables. The small and medium sizes may easily be slipped over one’s main suitcase handle by using the built in cloth handle. This makes wheeling 2 bags at once a breeze without weight as the bottom bags 4 wheels glide effortlessly, especially on airport floors. Whether old or young, these bags take the strain out of travelling.

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The art of travelling well in Spain with Cathay Pacific   Cathay Pacific recently introduced four direct flights to Madrid and to help you travel well in Spain here are four tips to get you on your way:

  1. Slip into a new time zone We don’t just mean the time difference. Expect things to open later in the morning and social activities including dining to kick off much later and carry on into the night. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself eating dinner at 10pm.
  1. Embrace the graze – Instead of a meal at just one restaurant, enjoy a touring banquet of tapas. Walk along the street hopping from one tapas bar to the next, sampling different tapas at different establishments. One place may be known for one particular dish or another, so look out for what the locals are eating.
  2. Pucker up – In Spain, greetings are with two kisses to the cheek, starting with the right cheek. Generally it’s a light peck but if you are uncomfortable, a cheek to cheek is acceptable.

With four direct flights a week to Madrid from Hong Kong and over 70 flights a week from Australia, you will be travelling well when you choose to fly with Cathay Pacific. The great connections mean that the total travel time (including transfers) is less than 24 hours from Sydney to Madrid.

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Mystical Myanmar – Reasons to Visit   From temple-dotted plains to golden stupas, floating gardens to colonial gems, Myanmar has so much to see and experience. Yet there is no denying the country is changing. Here are five of Myanmar’s myriad sights that should not be missed:

Shwedagon Pagoda. No journey to Myanmar is complete without a visit to the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Thought to have been built by the Mon people during the 6th century, this is one of the most impressive Buddhist sites in Southeast Asia and a true religious wonder of the world. Besides the beauty of the temple itself, the Shwedagon Pagoda is a fantastic spot for people-watching, with devotees making offerings, worshiping and meditating before the golden stupas.

Shwedagon - Yangon (62).jpgInle Lake. Cruising the waters of this peaceful lake, flanked by floating gardens and wooden stilt-houses, is an unmissable experience. The antics of its famous leg-rowing fisherman, whose distinctive method can be observed nowhere else in the world, is a major draw for visitors to this tranquil oasis in the Shan Hills. When compared to the bustle of Yangon, Inle Lake is a place to relax, unwind, and observe communities and customs little-changed for thousands of years.

Colonial architecture. As a result of British rule between 1824 and 1948, and its relative isolation in the years that followed, Myanmar is home to some of the finest colonial architecture in the world. As the country has been opening up to tourists, development has been inevitable; Yangon is changing at a rapid pace so my advice to travellers who want to see Yangon’s unique heritage buildings is they should visit now.

Bagan temples_IJ_Ian Richards_00.jpgThe temples of Bagan. Where else on earth can you watch the sun set over more than two thousand temples? The temples of Bagan are truly unique. For a truly spectacular view, the temples should be seen from above – in the luxury of a hot air balloon. Due to demand, it’s really important to book the hot air balloon before travelling to Myanmar, at the same time as booking into a small group journey or making private travel arrangements.

Ngapali Beach. Having explored temples and colonial wonders in Yangon, cruised Inle Lake and watched the sun go down over Bagan’s mesmerising plains, travellers deserve some time to unwind at the beach. Few people realise Myanmar shares the same incredible stretch of coastline as its better-known neighbour Thailand, with white sand and the famed azure waters of the Andaman Sea. This tranquil coastline and its quaint smattering of fishing villages is the perfect way to end a visit to Myanmar. For details, visit: Ph: 1300 138 755

  • Not responsible for errors or omissions, prices subject to change. MORE:

PHOTOS: Suitcases at OPT (John Pond)  Inie Lake Fisherman (Ian Richards)

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