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Friday, September 23, 2016

Silver Muse maiden voyage - get aboard

Silversea's new flagship, Silver Muse, is set to redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations.  Igniting the start of an exciting 2017 Mediterranean cruising season, Silversea has tailored Silver Muse's maiden voyage to sail one of the most sought-after stretches of the European coastline.

Departing Monte Carlo, Monaco on 19 April 2017, Silver Muse sails west towards Spain.  The vibrant city of Marseille is the first port of call, where guests can be immersed in the countries rich history and culture, before exploring Barcelona, Spain.  Here guests can view ancient and modern architecture and relax on the sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. Guests also have the option of a variety of shore excursions ranging from a relaxing day of golf, to soaring to new heights on a helicopter tour of the city.

The voyage continues toward Italy's picturesque coast, stopping at the beautiful ports in Sicily, Amalfi, Sorrento and Rome.  Here guests can savour a delightful array of traditional Italian food, and bask under the hot Italian sun.  Guests return to the enchanting French Riviera, disembarking in Nice, on 03 May 2017, where a guided tour of the Old City awaits to conclude the truly luxurious Silversea experience.

Soak up the ambience and award-winning gastronomic pedigree of what is surely the most comprehensive dining experience at sea. Eight superb restaurants mean more choice than ever while our unrivalled culinary excellence raises the bar in offshore dining.

As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus offer, guests can save 10% on the published fare when booked and paid in full before 31 October 2016. Prices are per person based on double occupancy, in a Classic Veranda Suite:

·         Published fare starting from AU$10,950
·         Early Booking Bonus fare starting from AU$9,855

Silversea fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary onboard champagne, wines and spirits; and one hour of complimentary WiFi per day for each guest and unlimited WiFi for the ship's top suites (Medallion and higher categories) and all gratuities.

This voyage is subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit


Win a Trip in Thailand Based on Your Own Theme

#travelcompetitions .

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is inviting foreigners (residing either in Thailand or abroad) to put together itineraries of their "Amazing Dream Journey" in Thailand for a chance to win one of the six prizes of free trip and accommodation in Thailand. Each team must consist of 2 persons. Participants are required to register as a member of our website or login to such website via their facebook accounts. They have to write their 3 days 2 nights traveling plan in Thailand in relation to any of the following 6 themes in English language only, upload it and share on their Social Media accounts:

(i) Royal Project Culinary;

(ii) Luxurious Honeymoon;

(iii) Well-being Trail (Wellness break);

(iv) Life on the Green (Golf trip);

(v) Splendid Yacht (Boating travel); and

(vi) Extravagant Eco Shell (Back to nature trip)

For full terms and conditions, see

Only 1 team from each of the 6 themes will be selected by the Project Committee to award the prizes by participating in activities in Thailand related to the 6 aforementioned themes with free of charge through all the programs arranged by the TAT (personal expenses are excluded).

Applications are open between 1 September – 30 November 2016 and the six winning teams will be announced on 20 December 2016.

Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Novotel Phuket Phokeethra Opens Doors to Island's Colourful History

Novotel Phuket Phokeethra is AccorHotels' homage to the historic heart of this resort island. Situated close to the old quarter with its ancient architecture, Buddhist temples and Taoist shrines, the hotel offers inquisitive travellers an opportunity to immerse themselves in a time when prosperity first arrived on the island – not from tourists, but from the settlers who came from the Arabian Peninsula, China, India and Portugal, leaving behind a stunning heritage and blend of architecture.

This is Phuket beyond the beach, where the curious can meander down charming streets lined with well-preserved Sino-Portuguese shophouses and mansions, many of which have been repurposed as boutiques and fabric shops, galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. Foodies can embark on a culinary journey at the bustling markets, street stalls and shophouse restaurants that offer distinctive local flavours, or discover the town's fascinating past by exploring Dibuk, Thalang, Phang Nga, Yaowarat and Krabi roads by foot.

The midscale Novotel brand offers travellers an 'easy-living experience' with spacious and modular rooms and stand-out meeting facilities with a commitment to guest wellbeing. Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia, says, “Novotel Phuket Phokeethra showcases the brand's new eNergize identity with a collection of rejuvenating wellness facilities that sets a new benchmark under the Novotel brand. The hotel's location in historic Phuket Old Town offers guests travelling to the ever-popular island an opportunity to experience a colourful side of one of Thailand's oldest cities”

Featuring 180 spacious rooms and suites with city, mountain and bay views, the hotel's stylish rooms offer premium bathroom amenities, LCD TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi and minibars. For wellness, fitness and relaxation, the hotel has a spa, gym and an indoor pool.

An elegant counterpoint to the abundant street fare outside the hotel, the all-day dining restaurant, AMOR, serves delicious local and international cuisine, and the Sino-Portuguese-inspired Estrela Sky Lounge offers breathtakingly panoramic views of the city, the bay and the mountains, while the chic lobby lounge, LUA, is an inviting rendezvous point.

For meetings, events and conferences, the hotel can accommodate up to 850 guests in its state-of-the-art Grand Ballroom with vaulted ceilings and offers four additional meeting rooms.

With more than 30 beaches on the island, guests will never be far from the sea – Patong Beach, Kata Beach and Karon Beach are just a short ride from the hotel. A five-minute drive to Thalang Road and Promthep Clock Tower in Phuket Old Town and 40 minutes from Phuket International Airport, the hotel is located at 40 Chanajaroen Road, Tambol Talad Yai, Amphur Muang Phuket.

From October 1st to November 30st, 2016, guests can enjoy a two-night stay at Novotel Phuket Phokeethra from THB 3,450++ per night inclusive of a THB 1,000 credit that can be used on dining or spa treatments.

For reservations please e-mail, call +66 (0) 76-397-777, or visit for more information.

MTA receives Insight Vacations 'Elite Agency Award' accolade for third year in a row

Pictured, MTA co-managing director, Karen Merricks (centre) receiving an Insight Vacations 'Elite Agency Award' from the tour operator's Global CEO, John Boulding (left) and Managing Director, Alexandra O'Connor (right) at the Insight Vacations High Achievers Awards dinner taking place in Brisbane.

This is the third year running MTA has received the high volume sales-based 'Elite Agency Award' having achieved similar accolades in 2014 and 2015.

Adding further reasons to celebrate on the night, MTA also received recognition to mark its double achievement in becoming one of Insight Vacations' top five best product sellers nationally and top three in Queensland.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kokomo: Fiji's newest private island resort

Forbes Life has listed Fiji’s Kokomo Island Resort on Kadavu as one of the hot new hotels to try in 2016.

Australian property magnate Lang Walker is planning to soft-open his first ever resort project, located in Fiji.

The Kokomo Yaukuve Island Resort on Yaukuve Island, which is part of the Kadavu Island Group - surrounded by the world famous Great Astrolabe Reef - is set to officially open in 2016. Opening in 2016 The West side of Yaukuve Island Fiji is now complete, with the East side coming soon

The 21-villa hideaway is set to open on a 135-acre private island, one of ten in Kadavu’s Great Astrolabe Reef.

The beach side villas, come with private pools and are well-positioned for Fiji’s great pleasures of scuba diving and snorkeling with manta rays.

Owner of a development company, Walker Corporation, Walker noted there were unexpected challenges creating the resort in this new market as the site had to be carved out of the jungle.

Walker admitted to The Australian that he is new to the hospitality business and may face a few initial challenges: “I’ve got my training wheels on a bit," said Walker. “We’re pitching it to be the best in Fiji."

He added that the family-friendly resort will be aimed at visitors from Australia, New Zealand, the US and Asia.

Forbes is a leading source for reliable news and updated analysis on Lifestyle and Fiji was the only country to make its Oceania list.

(Source: Fiji Broadcasting Corporation & Spa Opportunities January 2016 )

Flavours of NSW - Great regional foodie experiences

At the recent Australian Cruise Association conference, Visit NSW produced this superb booklet about regional NSW foodie experiences. They have kindly given me permission to share it with you. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cruise numbers continue to ride a wave

The economic value of the cruise industry to Australia continues to grow according to the figures released today by the Australian Cruise Association at their annual conference.

The Economic Impact Report, produced by independent research company, AEC Group, is now in its 12th year and reports on the changing economics of the cruise industry observing key indicators in context with the current environment.

This helps the Association and its members to better understand the size, growth and economic significance of the industry to the Australian economy to assist with future planning and strategy.

The 2015- 16 report noted growth in several significant areas of the cruise sector:

 40 ports were visited in the last year - up from 31 in 2014-15. This is good news for the regional ports which are now seeing increased revenue from this source

 There were 2,762,000 passenger days in port – up from 2,400,000 last year

 Passenger and crew capacity on cruise ships has also shown an increase with 72,951 passenger capacity this year up from 68,134 in 2014-15, and crew capacity up from 29,582 to 31,230.

 Passenger expenditure increased to $1.069B from $903M the year before

 Crew expenditure also increased to $103M from $870,000

A total of 46 cruise ships visited Australia in 2015-16 with ten new ships arriving into port including Azamara Quest, Costa Luminosa, Explorer of the Seas, Golden Princess, Le Soleal and Noordam. The industry also celebrated P&Os five ship spectacular last November which saw Pacific Aria, Eden and Venus visiting for the first time.

This growth curve will continue with eight new ships scheduled to arrive this year including Norwegian Star, Maasdam, Emerald Princess, Seabourn Encore, Azamara Journey, Magellan, Sirena and RCI’s Ovation of the Seas – the largest ship to ever cruise Australian waters which will kick off a maiden season for Australia and New Zealand this summer.

The economic impact of cruise ship visits to Australia is the aggregation of all international passenger and crew expenditure and cruise ship expenditure at each port visited by a cruise ship. In 2015-16 this direct expenditure totalled $1.734B.

This year, the Association asked AEC to closely examine the cost of bunkering (refueling in port) to identify more accurately the costs incurred by the cruise lines while they are in port. This continuous evaluation of the methodology behind the report gives increased rigour to the findings.

As such, AEC examined in detail the costs of the price of crude oil - which have dropped dramatically - and the improvements in fuel burn practices and new technologies onboard. This has resulted in reduced costs to the cruise lines but also decreased port-related expenditure. Long term the Association believes this will only provide increased growth as it becomes more cost efficient for cruise lines to visit Australia.

Jill Abel, Chief Executive Officer of ACA said: “We are excited by these figures which show that the cruise sector is continuing to be a vital growth industry for this country, with strong economic benefits for all involved and positive signs that Australian ports feature highly on cruise line itineraries.”

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