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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Uniworld Joie de Vivre set sails

The Boutique River Cruise Collection's First Super Ship to Sail the Seine River Embarks on Inaugural Journey through Northern France

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection's newest Super Ship, the S.S. Joie de Vivre, set sail yesterday on its maiden voyage along the historic Seine River. The inaugural events included a christening ceremony in Paris led by the ship's Godmother, Dame Joan Collins. Following the event, the S.S. Joie de Vivre embarked on its journey through Northern France along Uniworld's Paris & Normandy itinerary, with unique programming in celebration of the highly anticipated launch.

"We are delighted to welcome the S.S. Joie de Vivre to our impeccable fleet of floating boutique luxury hotels, as the first of Uniworld's Super Ships to sail the renowned Seine River," said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. "Our company has brought travellers to France for more than 70 years and we are thrilled to introduce a new, enticing way to experience the country. Godmother Dame Joan epitomises the same 'joy of living' philosophy embodied by the S.S. Joie de Vivre, and we are honoured to have had her christen the ship before its inaugural journey."

With a length of 125 metres, rather than the typical 135 metres, the S.S. Joie de Vivre can conveniently dock in the heart of Paris in the shadow of its most beloved landmark, the Eiffel Tower. The ship has two Royal Suites, eight Junior Suites, and 54 staterooms for a maximum capacity of 128 guests. Sailings on the S.S. Joie de Vivre in 2017 run from 2 April to 27 December.

The family-run design team from Uniworld's sister brand, Red Carnation Hotels, has bestowed their creative talents on the S.S. Joie de Vivre with bright, colourful and classic design and décor inspired by 20th Century Parisian influence from the Golden Twenties to the free-spirited Sixties, all blending seamlessly with modern conveniences. The ship features a design influenced by its destination and reminiscent of the finest super yachts across the globe, including highly-polished wood finishes throughout the vessel, each surrounded by luxurious fabrics and carpets in a minimalistic setting.

Farm-to-table cuisine and superb local wines are on display throughout the ship's culinary venues, including Restaurant Le Pigalle, Salon Toulouse, Le Bistrot. Le Cave des Vins is the S.S Joie de Vivre's hidden gem – an intimate venue for an exclusive hands-on dining experience. Guests select fresh ingredients and prepare a seven-course meal with the ship's onboard chefs, with French wine pairings from the sommelier.

Passengers are invited to relax and indulge their senses at Club L'Esprit, the onboard spa and wellness venue. Club L'Esprit offers a variety of massage therapies and beauty treatments, as well as a fitness centre. Yoga sessions and aquatic fitness classes are also offered daily and refreshing smoothies are served in the L'Esprit Bar.

A pool with a hydraulic floor transforms the space from day to night for guest entertainment. By night the venue becomes Claude's and offers an authentic French Supper Club experience, serving delicious delights from a tapas menu accompanied by curated cocktails with live music. For a few nights throughout the duration of the journey, Claude's presents classic French cinema under the stars.

The S.S. Joie De Vivre joins the Uniworld fleet which feature all-inclusive itineraries in Europe, as well as voyages in Russia, China, India, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia – a total of 22 rivers in 26 countries worldwide.

For more details or booking, please visit Follow the inaugural sailing on Uniworld's social media community at, or using the hashtag #ExperienceJDV.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Silversea Silver Cloud new designs revealed

The ship's multi-million dollar refurbishment to set new standards in luxury expedition cruising

Silversea has released a selection of renderings showcasing the beautifully crafted Silver Cloud interiors ahead of her conversion into an ice-class expedition ship, which will take place between August and October this year. Silver Cloud, which launched the Silversea fleet in 1994, will offer the ultra-luxury distinctions of a classic Silversea ship combined with the strength and maneuverability required for expedition cruising.

The new renderings highlight the luxurious design of Silver Cloud's public spaces including La Terrazza, The Restaurant, Observation Lounge, Panorama Lounge, and Venetian Lounge. The extensive refurbishment will include the creation of the Observation lounge, new teak flooring, upholstery and lighting in La Terrazza and new carpet and upholstery in The Restaurant. Silver Cloud will also feature a new gym with Technogym equipment.

In addition to interior updates, the multi-million dollar refurbishment will strengthen Silver Cloud's hull enabling her to explore polar waters. Silver Cloud's transition to an ice-class vessel will bring expedition guests the luxury, style and comfort synonymous with Silversea's classic ships. A guest capacity of 260 in non-polar regions and just 200 in polar regions means that guests will enjoy the highest levels of personalised and attentive service on board. The limited capacity in polar regions also means that all guests can disembark at the same time to explore each region.

"As the first ship in our fleet, Silver Cloud has a special place in Silversea's history, and we're delighted to reveal further details of her refurbishment. We look forward to welcoming guests aboard to experienceSilver Cloud's luxurious interiors as well as her incredible itineraries later this year," said Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises.

When Silver Cloud was launched in 1994 by Antonio Lefebvre, it set a new standard in luxury cruising. His son, Manfredi Lefebvre became chairman of Silversea in 2001 and has since expanded the fleet from four to eight vessels with a ninth currently under construction. The expansion has included the introduction of expedition cruising with the launch of Silver Explorer in 2008.

Silver Cloud will also have a team of up to 19 dedicated experts on hand to ensure guests leave with the best experiences from their voyages, whether they are the sights, the sounds, the history or the stories. Daily presentations and lectures by experts in the state-of-the-art theatre will also be streamed live to all suites.

For a copy of the Silver Cloud brochure or for more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit

Saturday, March 25, 2017

MSC Cruises new generational mega ship MSC Meraviglia

MSC Cruises introduces flexible dining options – starting with MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside

MSC Cruises, the world's largest privately-owned cruise line, revealed their new innovative dining concepts – available on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.

Designed to meet the needs of today's cruise guests, the MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside will introduce flexible dining options and packages. These can be booked at any time prior to embarkation and whilst on board, with the ability to change it at any time during their cruise. For Fantastica booked clients the flexi dining options gives them the chance to choose their dining time in the main restaurant and the opportunity throughout the cruise, to change this timing to suit their needs. Clients will be able to allocate a dining time to their Fantastica booking from 60 days prior to sailing through their Manage your Booking on the website or throughout their cruise onboard. For Bella cruisers the Classic cruise dining experience is still available, with a choice of two sittings each evening. This is popular with guests who prefer a dedicated table each night - with personalised service from the same waiter.

MSC Aurea clients continue to enjoy "My Choice Dining" in the main restaurant for complete freedom, whilst MSC Yacht Club guests enjoy their dedicated MSC Yacht Club restaurant with free-time dining, with the option of reserving a table in advance for ease.

Casual dining venues are available for all guests 20 hours-a-day. The MSC Cruises buffet has been enhanced with a range of international food experiences. MSC Seaside will feature two casual dining venues, one of which will feature family-friendly options and child-friendly seating.

Speciality restaurants gives guests opportunities to experience cuisines from around the world. MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside will feature restaurants with innovative 'open kitchens' to experience chefs at work. Selected restaurants on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside will also feature a Chef's Table deal
MSC Cruises will introduce a new Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant on board MSC Meraviglia to complement the ship's Kaito Sushi Bar. With a modern twist on Asian cuisine, guests can sit at cooking stations and watch chefs cooking at an open grill.

The Butcher's Cut, a new American Steakhouse restaurant concept, will celebrate the craft heritage of America. Guests can select steak from glass-fronted meat ageing fridges before chefs prepare fresh dishes in the open kitchen. The bold wine list features an appealing selection to complement the dishes. Cocktails are also inspired by American heritage, while guests can savour a wide range of craft beers.

MSC Seaside will also feature Ocean Cay a signature seafood restaurant. This will serve American-style fish dishes with a Mediterranean twist. Dishes will include Stone Crabs (a delicacy in the homeport of Miami), beautiful fresh Sea Bass (flown in from the Mediterranean) and homemade spaghetti alle vongole (with clams).

Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi will be a highlight on MSC Seaside. Three restaurants, created by the Japanese-American chef, will consist of: an à la carte restaurant serving gourmet Asian creations, a Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki Grill (each offering an authentic pan-Asian dining experience).

MSC Cruises is partnering with experts for dining experiences on new and existing ships. Roy Yamaguchi, world-renowned chef, is collaborating for the MSC Seaside. Chef Yamaguchi is involved in conceptualising and designing the new pan-Asian restaurant.

A long-standing partnership with Michelin chef Carlo Cracco will now encompass signature dishes for the main restaurant menus on MSC Meraviglia, including the Christmas and New Year menus.

Jean-Philippe Maury, French chocolatier and pastry chef, will bring sweet creations to the MSC Meraviglia. Jean-Philippe Chocolat & Café will feature an open chocolate atelier. Jean-Philippe Crêpes & Gelato will serve tasty treats at the ship's Mediterranean-style promenade.

MSC Cruises is introducing dining packages that can be booked prior to the cruise. Guests on-board the MSC Meraviglia can book a Dinner & Show Package for an exclusive table d'hôte menu and then experience a Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge.
A special dining package Eataly Chef's Table will be available on the MSC Meraviglia, offering seven gourmet dishes cooked to perfection and all perfectly matched with seven wines. A package can be booked in advance to explore each of the speciality restaurants.

Find out about all of the new dining packages at:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Air Kiribati, Solomon Airlines sign agreement for new air links

Air Kiribati and Solomon Airlines have signed an agreement establishing a new aviation service linking Tarawa with Honiara, Brisbane and Nadi (Fiji).

The agreement holds even more significance for the Kiribati national carrier which recently relaunched as an international airline following a decision by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to provide the carrier with its official two letter designate code – IK.   

At an official signing taking place in Tarawa, the Kiribati Minister for Transport, Information, Communication, and Tourism Development, the Hon. Willie Tokataake heralded the signing as important both in its capacity to significantly boosts aviation access into Kiribati and also build on both countries' existing strong links.

"There is no doubt this new agreement will boost economic development opportunities and in particular tourism and export opportunities for Kiribati," the Minister said.

Welcoming the agreement, Solomon Airlines CEO, Brett Gerbers described the signing as an  important step for both airlines and would play a key role in forging an even closer relationship with Kiribati.

"Our partnership with Air Kiribati is an important one and we very much look forward to working together to see this become a success,

"This service is more than just a link between two nations – it is also an avenue for both nations to grow and prosper as we walk forward together."

Echoing Mr Gerber's words, Air Kiribati CEO, Tarataake Teannaki  aid his airline was excited to be working with an airline partner which understood the travel needs of both the Kiribati people and Air Kiribati.

"This service will be a major step up and will give the Kiribati people new options to travel beyond our islands," Mr Teannaki said.

Service start date and the service schedules will be announced in coming weeks with an official launch to be held in Tarawa. 

The development builds on an agreement signed last November for a new Air Service Agreement (ASA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Solomon Islands and Republic of Kiribati.

Aimed at promoting aviation between the two countries as one sector, the MOU is already showing development on a raft of activities intended to contribute to both countries' social and economic development.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Europe Holidays: A new choice for consumers

Consumers have a new choice for European travel, with the launch of Europe Holidays, a convenient reservations platform that gives travellers easy access to hundreds of escorted tours, cruises and island hopping packages, supported by an expert team 24/7.

Part of Magic Tours International Group, an Australian family owned company with 25 years' experience, which encompasses Select World Travel & Cruise and, Europe Holidays offers meticulously curated itineraries throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.

Managing Director, Chip Popescu, explains the inspiration for the company.

"We have brought together our passion for Europe, our vast real world experience gained through Select World Travel and our online expertise of, to create the perfect combination that allows consumers the flexibility to book when and where they want, supported by the expertise and destination insights that only a true travel professional can provide," says Popescu.

"Europe Holidays really brings together the best of both worlds – online and offline – for the benefit of our travellers."

The company's signature tours include a 9-day Dalmatian Sunshine itinerary, which has an emphasis on the architectural and historical charms of Croatia, visiting Dubrovnik, Split, Plitvice Lakes, Postojna Cave, Bled, Ljubljana and Zagreb, and an 8-day Venice, Florence and Rome tour that encapsulates the renaissance splendour of the Tuscan capital, Florence, and the region's stunning panorama. It also specialises in Island Hopping arrangements in Croatia, Greece and Spain.

"Our tours provide a balance of expert escorted guidance and free time, providing flexibility to ensure our passengers see the highlights, but can also explore their own interests while travelling through some of Europe's most incredible cities."

To celebrate the company's launch, a competition is offering consumers the chance to win a Cannes & Monte Carlo Film Festival and F1 experience. The $10,000 value prize includes return economy flights for two to Nice, four nights on the French Riviera, the chance to go star spotting in Cannes, tickets to the 2018 Monaco F1 Grand Prix, a Michelin Star meal and a personalised itinerary.

Competition entry is via

Europe Holidays is headquartered in Queensland, and is IATA and ATAS accredited.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Kokoda 75th Anniversary Tour without Trekking

Until now, the only way to explore the battlefields of the Kokoda Campaign has been on a gruelling 10-day trek, a challenge that tests the fitness and spirit of all Australians who attempt it. But now, thanks to an innovative new tour designed by historian Mat McLachlan, travellers can visit key sites from this pivotal WWII campaign without the blisters and bruises of a Kokoda trek.

The Kokoda 75th Anniversary Tour -- Without Trekking, is a unique opportunity to visit the hallowed ground of the Kokoda Track with ease and in comfort -- without the need to pull on the hiking boots! This is the perfect opportunity to pay your respects to the 2000 Australians who were killed or wounded in this bloody campaign, and to walk in the footsteps of a relative who fought in one of the most famous Australian battles of all time.

Beginning in Port Moresby, the tour visits key WWII sites by air-conditioned vehicle, including Bomana War Cemetery, the largest Australian military cemetery in the world, and Ower's Corner, which marks the beginning of the Kokoda Track. From there the tour will fly by chartered plane to the village of Kokoda, enjoying magnificent views of the Kokoda Track en-route. At Kokoda the group will explore the scenes of some of the toughest fights of the Kokoda Campaign, and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the recapture of Kokoda by Australian troops with a flag-raising ceremony. The tour then visits the villages of Buna, Gona and Sanananda, scenes of heavy fighting during the Beachhead battles, which marked the end of the Kokoda Campaign.

"We are delighted to offer our clients the chance to visit the Kokoda battlefields without trekking, and to see these iconic sites which, until now, have been virtually inaccessible for most Australians," said Mat McLachlan, founder of Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours.

The Kokoda 75th Anniversary Tour -- Without Trekking, begins in Port Moresby on Oct 31, 2017, and runs for 7 days. Cost is AU$4397 per person (twin share, land only), and includes all accommodation, transport, guiding services by expert war historian and most meals.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Mat McLachlan, visit, or contact the team at or phone 1300-880-340.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Norfolk Island Country Music Festival 2017

Top Australian and New Zealand artists will once again be drawn together for the annual Norfolk Island Country Music Festival which is happening from 15 – 19 May.

The Festival this year celebrates 25 years of honouring new and established talent from both sides of the Tasman during the week-long line-up of activities at this popular short-haul holiday destination.

Headlining the Festival from Australia will be Shane Nicholson, who first made waves with rock band, Pretty Violet Stain, before releasing his debut solo album, It's a Movie in 2002. Shane has gone on to explore everything from folk to country music, picking up eight Golden Guitars, two APRA awards and two ARIA awards along the way.

Jody Direen will be the headline act from New Zealand showcasing her amazing vocal talent, gifted song writing skills and powerful stage presence. Jody's popularity has crossed international borders leading her on an epic journey to Nashville, Tennessee – and now Norfolk Island.

Also appearing from Australia are songwriter and former McAlister Kemp mainstay, Drew McAlister and country music duo, Warren H Williams and Dani Young, whose album Desert Water debuted at #2 on the ARIA Country Albums Chart and lead single, Two Ships, spent six weeks at #1 on Tamworth Country Radio.

From New Zealand, Midnite Special featuring Michelle Lightband, Lex Greaves and Rob Katipa Jnr, will be on board, along with Kelvin Cummings, New Zealand Gold Guitar winner and Trans-Tasman Entertainer of the Year at last year's Festival.

The Norfolk Island Travel Centre has announced a special 7-night Norfolk Island Country Music Festival package which includes a bonus Norfolk Island discount shopping card with free gift (valued at $40) and the following:

· 7 nights' accommodation
· Return economy class 'seat plus bag' Air New Zealand airfare to Norfolk Island
· All pre-paid airline taxes
· Arrival meet and greet at island airport
· Return airport transfers on-island
· 7 days' car hire (petrol additional and payable direct)
· Half-day island tour
· Miniature golf
· 'A Walk in the Wild' rainforest walk

This package is priced from $1199 per person twin share ex-Sydney for travel 12 - 19 May 2017 and from $1169 per person twin share ex-Brisbane for travel 16 - 23 May 2017.

Platinum and gold passes to the Festival events are available at a cost of $545 and $380 respectively for travel 12-19 May 2017 or $410 and $325 respectively for travel 16-23 May 2017.

For bookings, contact Christan Davies at Norfolk Island Travel Centre on
Toll Free 1800 1400 66 or or and quote Booking Code CM17.

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The Expeditionist
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