John Pond Cruise and Travel 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 – – will be highlighted by a number of industry screenings, major awards and workshops. Prepared by: Macao Government Tourism Office, phone (02) 9264 1488 or or

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


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

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



Macao Festival

Melbourne Limited

RC Tips Included



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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