John Pond CruiseandTravel Magazine 11/3/16

APT to Launch New Bordeaux River Cruises.  The APT 74-suite rivership, the MS AmaDolce, has moved from Rotterdam via the North Sea to the French coast ready to commence her first Bordeaux river cruise. The ship will commence her maiden voyage on APT’s new Bordeaux river cruises, which start operating on the Garonne and Dordogne rivers from 22 April 2016.

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One of five new itineraries available in the Bordeaux region in 2016, APT’s 18 Day Wonders of Bordeaux & Rhône will play host to the inaugural sailing. The fully inclusive cruise is priced from $13,395 per person twin share and commences with a two night luxury city stay in Paris. Sightseeing includes all the iconic landmarks as well as a special dinner and evening at the Moulin Rouge. Guests then set sail aboard their luxurious rivership to visit Bordeaux, Pauillac, Blaye, Cognac, Libourne, Saint Émilion and Cadillac before travelling to Arles for a seven night Rhône river cruise.

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Featuring a range of exceptional gourmet experiences designed to showcase the regional food and wine, cruise highlights include APT’s exclusive Signature Invitations such as a private dinner at Bordeaux’s Château Pape Clément, enjoyed with perfectly paired wines and a visit to a family-owned cooperage before a wine tasting in Ludon. Freedom of Choice™ sightseeing options are on offer in eight different locations, including in Libourne the choice of a visit to a caviar farm for a tasting or a walking tour of the nearby Bergerac. MORE: on 1300 196 420, visit aptouring.com.au or see your local travel agent.

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VIKING Great River Cruise Deals.  From Holland’s windmills and tulip fields to Germany’s fairy-tale castles and the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley, this 15-day voyage presents the highlights of the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. Savour a decadent Sachertorte in a Viennese café, enjoy panoramic views of imperial Budapest and appreciate the genius of Mozart. Call 1800 131 744

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New Seabourn. The world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn celebrated another milestone in the construction of its new build Seabourn Encore, with the ship touching water for the first time last week. Following a traditional ceremony to commemorate this significant occasion, the ship was “floated out” from its dry dock to its outfitting dock at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, where it will undergo final construction ahead of the ship’s delivery at the end of the year.

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Murray River Loxton Cruise. Captain Cook Cruises has announced the 2016 dates for its popular seven night Mannum to Loxton and Loxton to Mannum cruises onboard small ship paddle-wheeler the Murray Princess. The Mannum to Loxton cruise will depart Mannum at 4.30pm on Friday 25 November and disembark in Loxton at 9am on Friday 2 December, 2016. The Loxton to Mannum cruise will depart Loxton at 4.30pm on Friday 2 December and disembark in Mannum at 9am on Friday 9 December, 2016.

This historic 339km voyage between Loxton to Mannum in South Australia only operates once every year and follows in the wake of the great 19th century pioneers on a unique journey through three Locks. “We are very excited to be operating this incredible cruise again this year. Both cruises are very popular with guests who want to explore Australia’s outback history from Loxton to Mannum and it is also part of Australia not many people have seen or experienced.” Explains Donna Gauci, General Manager, SeaLink South Australia.

The Loxton cruise visits Katarapko, Cobdogla Creek, Overland Corner, Old Distillery, Morgan, Sunnydale and Piggy Flat/Coolcha for overnight stops with shore excursions along the way. Each day features exciting day trips including a visit to the amazing Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve – one of Australia’s most significant archaeological sites, for a guided boardwalk tour of ancient rock carvings and to learn about Aboriginal history.

The seven nightLoxton to Mannum cruise are priced from $2098 per person twin share, inside cabin including accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks, eco-excursions, onboard presentations, the Captain’s Dinner and Cocktail Party, live entertainment, use of ship’s facilities including a sauna, spa, sun deck, bar, two lounges, restaurant and mini gymnasium and complimentary scenic coach transfers pre cruise from Adelaide to Loxton and post cruise Mannum to Adelaide. www.murrayprincess.com.au

Spring into China

Check out Cathay Pacific’s special China fares – just in time for spring – Economy Class fares from $734 return. Swap Australia’s autumn for fresh spring, as Cathay Pacific releases extra special fares to China in time for some of the best months to visit this diverse, culturally rich country. Fares start from just $734 return* if booked before 31 March 2016, for departures before 30 June 2016 (excluding travel between 23 March to 08 April 2016).

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Spring and early summer is widely regarded as some of the best months to travel to China. More than just the fair weather, here are three good reasons to visit China in Spring. Attend the annual Water Splashing Festival – Falling on the New Year celebrations of the Dai Dai ethnic people of Xishuangbanna, this three day festivities involves lots of merrymaking where everyone invariably ends up wet. The festival opens with a grand celebration, a dragon boat race is held on the Lancang River and at night locals float colourful lanterns on the river. The third day, the climax of the festival, is where people flock to the streets with pots, pans – any container really – in a splash-fest much like a snowball free-for-all. This fun festival is also said to bring good luck and prosperity. The festival takes place from April 12 to 14 at the Lancang River, Xishuangbanna and travellers can get there via a short flight from Kunming. Cathay Pacific has daily flights from its Hong Kong hub to Kunming.  SPECIAL FARES TO CHINA. Cathay Pacific’s special Chinese fares are available to 20 destinations in China and include flights to Beijing from just $734 return* and Shanghai from just $734 return* in Economy Class. Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy Class with return fares to Xiamen start from just $$1,351return* and Fuzhou from just $1,334 return*. The special fares are for travel departures not later than 30 June 2016 (excluding travel between 23 March to 08 April, 2016), and are on sale from now until 11.59pm (AEDT), 31 March 2016. Terms and conditions apply.

PHOTOS:

APT River Cruise Bordeaux

APT Rivership

Viking River Ship Buffet

Seabourn Encore Float Out

Captain Cook Murray Princess

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About John Pond, J.P.

Pioneer in television as producer of thousands of hours of TV shows on Australian and American television including Graham Kennedy, Tommy Leonetti, People in Conflict, Hollywood Bowl, Major Specials and Dr John‘s Casebook TV Shows. TV manager J. Walter Thompson & McCannErickson Advertising and head of production for Columbia Pictures TV. John changed careers to the hospitality industry working for Sydney’s top 5 star hotel as director of sales and marketing and GM. Then with Harrah’s/Caesar's World, the world’s largest hotel and casino group in Nevada. Playboy Magazine in Chicago, head of worldwide PR/Marketing, for their Resorts, Clubs, Hotels & Casinos. Producer at Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Co-creator of hit US network TV show Joker, Joker, Joker, first TV show to give away a million dollars. Writer travel articles for magazines and newspapers including Washington Post, New York Times, American Playboy as well as local Australian papers and magazines. In the USA represented many personalities including Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Mel Torme, and many other major names. John is Editor at Sea of Australia’s leading cruise magazine, Travel & Cruise writer for The Retiree Magazine, Destinations Magazine and Spectator Group of Newspapers. John reviews cruise ships, Destinations and Hotels, and is ably assisted by his Associate Editor Sandra Tiltman.
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