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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

OUT NOW: Winter 2019 Cruise Edition of Signature Luxury Travel & Style


200 pages of the best-of-the-best in luxury cruising, travel and style


The Winter 2019 Issue of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine is out, and we’re sailing the seven seas on board the world’s finest luxury cruise ships with our annual Cruise Edition.

Our 68-page Cover Story is a celebration of luxury cruising in Australia and overseas with compelling features on the boom in cruising, our third annual Luxury Cruise Awards, an array of out-of-this-world ‘Luxpedition’ cruises to far-flung destinations and 10 of the world’s finest ocean and river cruises.

We travel by sea to the lesser-known islands of the Caribbean, sail through the winelands of Bordeaux on the Garonne and Dordogne, savour a culinary cruise in Asia and meander leisurely along the exotic waters of the mighty Mekong.

We look at the growing popularity of the ‘ship within a ship’ concept, uncover hotels and resorts with their own luxury yachts and profile Sarina Bratton, a pioneer of the Australian luxury cruise industry.

By land, we explore Bali, Tokyo and Macao, waltz our way through a fairytale Viennese ball, play beach polo in Broome, discover the newly minted Hayman Island by InterContinental and board a memorable scenic flight over Antarctica.




Signature’s expert stylemeisters reveal the unexpected backstory to Pucci – one of Italy’s iconic fashion houses – as well as the whimsical, creative and very colourful world of leading American interior designer and architect Bill Bensley and his magical resorts that redefine the art of hospitality.

We lust after exquisite vanity cases, heirloom watches and lustrous pearls and savour the indigenous ‘bush tucker’ fare of Adelaide’s award-winning Orana restaurant and the lush, green oasis of Sydney’s The Grounds of Alexandria – an ideal venue for an upscale corporate event.

All this – and much more – in the Winter 2019 Cruise Edition of Signature Luxury Travel & Style, out now.

About Signature Luxury Travel & Style

Signature Luxury Travel & Style is Australia’s leading and widest circulating, audited luxury travel and lifestyle publication for discerning world travellers. For the past decade, we have inspired our affluent readers with bespoke travel experiences, Michelin-starred cuisine, sophisticated style, desirable luxury goods, stunning home design and MICE/team-building getaways. Our ethos at Signature is to provide high-quality editorial content on the best the world has to offer.

Subscribe online at signatureluxurytravel.com.au/subscribe or download the digital version via the App Store or Google Play. Visit signatureluxurytravel.com.au to join our Signature Connoisseurs’ Club, delivering the very latest in luxury travel direct to your inbox. And share your travels by tagging #signatureluxury on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Signature is a quarterly print publication, produced in Sydney by Signature Media, Australia’s leading independent publisher of luxury and family travel titles.

Monday, 22 July 2019

The Best of World Cruising


Did you know Australia is the largest cruise market in the world per capita? Did you know the best time to book a trip is on a Tuesday? And research shows holiday goers are most happy, not when they're on their trip, but in the lead up to it? Catriona Rowntree has been travelling the world for the last 23 years as the host of Getaway. She has gained a lifetime's knowledge, learning every trick in the trade. 

In The Best of World Cruising, she turns her attention to the sea, sharing her favourite trips by water as well as her top travel tips making it easy for readers to pick the best cruise for them and travel the world.

The cruise market is in growth mode, and in 2016 Australian cruise passengers produced the biggest growth rate in the world. Yet, up until now there hasn’t been a cruise guidebook specifically for Australian and New Zealand travellers.

The Best of World Cruising is Catriona’s curated list of the top 40 ocean and river cruise destinations around the world written especially with the Aussie and New Zealander traveller in mind. From sailing the sun-soaked islands of Croatia, to gliding through the glaciers of Alaska on a cruise liner, to discovering the epic waterfalls of the Kimberley on an expedition boat, there is something for everyone and every budget. For every destination, there is detailed information on key ports and not-to-be missed attractions, as well as a whole host of travel tips such as when to go, what to pack and whether this cruise is really for you.

All advice is delivered in Catriona’s charming and vivacious style, accompanied by glorious photography to spark your nautical wanderlust. In cases where Catriona has not personally visited a region, she has called on fellow cruise lovers to share their travel advice, including Livinia Nixon and Gabriel Gaté. There are also a number of ‘Captains of Industry’ interviews with Sir Richard Branson and other travel and cruising experts.

So whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or just starting to consider booking your first cruising holiday, let Catriona fill you in on everything you should know before stepping on board.

 RRP AUD$35.00

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

How SMALL ships became a BIG success for Cruise Traveller



The journey of Cruise Traveller

SeaDream and Oasis of the Seas illustrate the contrast between big and small ships

Small ships launched big dreams for Cruise Traveller Managing Director and co-founder, Craig Bowen, back in 2003. Passionate about travel and sharing the world’s great places with other like-minded modern explorers, Craig started a luxury travel company in Australia called Connoisseur Tours in 1999 so travellers could discover the world in style. At the same time, cruising, worldwide, took off in a big way but it was the small things about cruising that inspired Craig.

While cruise ships were getting bigger and travel companies around the world were jumping on the growth and obsessed about the growing size of vessels, Craig noticed no-one was looking after small, boutique ships, which boasted their own unique appeal to cruisers who valued intimacy, style, relaxation and elegance. So over a beer with a friend from New Zealand and his brother, the keel for Cruise Traveller was laid in 2003 and today, the guiding motto to make small things big still steers the growing business which is now the most experienced and successful small-ship cruise agency in Australia.

“Back in 2003 no travel company was specialising in boutique, luxury ships,” says Craig. “But we knew this sector held appeal and we were right, with the small-ship industry now 20 times the size it was in 2003, with a plethora of smaller ships now cruising the seven seas with many more on order.”



But what also galvanised Craig’s belief in small ships was a voyage he did to Antarctica in 2004. “That trip totally inspired me about the allure of expedition cruising and making remote and wild places like Antarctica more accessible to people for more wonder in their life. When I returned from Antarctica, I resolved to totally specialise in small-ship travel and Cruise Traveller has not strayed from that objective ever since.

“I’ve been to Antarctica three times now and can’t wait to go back again. What also struck me on my first polar trip was how beautiful and fragile our planet’s wild places are and how we need to preserve them. I think we have a role in the travel industry to protect the amazing places we enjoy on small ship cruises and that’s why we actively support environmental causes and only represent cruise companies that respect nature in what they do. Education is an integral component of travel and Cruise Traveller is at the bow of that if you like.”

Today, Cruise Traveller represents around 50 small ship cruise lines that sail to all corners of the world, with a focus on remote and exotic destinations. “Because we specialise in small ships, we are experts in this field and can offer a one-stop-shop to Australians seeking to see the world on a smaller ship,” says Craig. “I often say we don’t know a lot about the 90 per cent of the industry that we don’t sell but we know absolutely everything about the sector that we do specialise in. To that end, we invest significant resources every year into sending our team members on small-ship cruises around the world so that they can experience, first-hand, the amazing products we sell so that our guests are getting an expert opinion 100 per cent of the time.

“Our clients are very savvy, discerning and demanding which is perfect because excellent and efficient service is also our specialty. My background is in hotel customer service so offering our clients the best personal service possible is our aim. We have a high customer repeat rate of up to 40 per cent so we know we’re doing a good job but we always strive to do better.”

In 2003, Craig and an assistant, Karen, were the only staff at Cruise Traveller and they promoted just three small-ship cruise operators. Karen is still with the company all these years later alongside 13 other staff across the areas of product development, marketing, reservations and administration and Craig and his two Kiwi co-Directors are still navigating the business to bigger and better things, with a ten-fold growth in business since 2003 already.

But as Craig adds: “Although we’re growing in business, our aim has never been to get too big. We just want to do what we do well.”

www.cruisetraveller.com.au

Monday, 27 May 2019

Adelaide Cruise Surge




Adelaide Cruise Surge Continues as P&O Cruises Announces Sixth Consecutive Year Home-Porting with Longest Ever Season

P&O Cruises Australia today announced its sixth consecutive year of calling Adelaide home with Pacific Aria to lead the cruise line’s longest ever cruise season in the just released 2021 program.

The new season includes 14 cruises from Adelaide – twice the number offered in 2020 and with three new itinerary types.

The newly announced 65-day season – running from January 30 to April 2, 2021 – means that P&O Cruises will have carried more than 70,000 guests to Australian and international destinations from Adelaide since 2016.

Highlighting its commitment to local cruising, P&O has already based ships in Adelaide over a longer period than any other cruise line.

Features of the new season include two new 10-night Southern Discovery itineraries to Western Australia calling at Albany, Busselton, Fremantle and Esperance.

And for a fun and quick getaway, guests will have an opportunity to relive the decade of big hair, fluoro shirts and electric music during P&O’s popular ‘1980’s Tribute Cruise’ which will sail from Adelaide for the first time.

P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said the bumper 2021 season offered an even greater variety of cruises for South Australian guests.

“In response to local demand, we’ve been committed to basing P&O ships in Adelaide since 2016 and our biggest-ever program reflects the interest in cruise holidays in the state,” Mr Myrmell said.

“We know that more South Australians want to experience a cruise and this is why we have made sure the upcoming season offers a bigger and more varied selection of itineraries that cater for all tastes, interests and budgets from mini-breaks to a longer, relaxing holiday.”

There are plenty of opportunities to get a taste of cruise life with seven Short Breaks including three-night themed itineraries and four-night hops over to Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln.

Guests looking for a mix of Australia’s top cities and beaches can experience the best of both worlds with a seven-night itinerary calling at Melbourne, Hobart and Kangaroo Island.

In addition to the enhanced variety of cruise itineraries departing from Adelaide in 2021, P&O’s record South Australian season will also contribute an estimated $14 million to the state economy from guest and crew spending, ship supplies and port charges.

Highlights of P&O Cruises’ South Australian 2021 cruise season include:
  • New for 2021 – Two 10-night Southern Discovery cruises to Western Australia with calls to Albany, Busselton, Fremantle and Esperance
  • New for 2021 – A 1980’s Tribute Cruise with performances from authentic 1980s bands, high-energy tribute acts, specialty parties and screenings of the decade’s best TV shows and films
  • Five three-night comedy Short Breaks with performances from top-class comedians
  • One seven-night itinerary visiting Melbourne, Hobart and Kangaroo Island
  • Four four-night Southern Getaway itineraries stopping at Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island
  • One four-night Short Break cruise calling at the city of Melbourne
The 55,820-tonne Pacific Aria makes her maiden 2021 voyage on January 30, 2021, departing on a three-night comedy cruise. Fares start from $429* per person quad share.

For more information visit pocruises.com.au, call 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.

*Subject to availability, conditions apply

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Extend your Silversea European experience with combination cruises




Silversea Cruises is offering guests the opportunity to combine two or more of its magical European voyages into one superb experience in 2020. Departing between March and October 2020 and typically spanning 14-36 nights, the hand-picked selection of Combination Cruises not only combines the very best the region has to offer but allows an in-depth insight to each destination. Offering exceptional value for money, Combination Cruise fares start at only AU$489pp per day, including a 10% Early Booking Bonus and additional discounts*. Return economy flights can also be added from only AU$1,750pp or guests can upgrade to business class with special reduced fares.

Offering an unparalleled variety of destinations throughout the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the British Isles and beyond, the Combination Cruises allow guests to get closer than ever to the eternal romance of Europe, travelling in whispered luxury aboard five of Silversea’s intimate vessels, including the cutting edge new build, Silver Moon—set to launch in August 2020. Perfect for long haul travellers, the extended voyages enable guests to spend time unlocking deeper travel experiences as they sail though regions of unrivalled beauty. Highlights of the diverse Combination Cruises include:

Lisbon to Dublin – departing 7 May 2020, on a 22-day expedition voyage on board Silver Cloud, guests will discover the flavours of Portugal, Spain, France and Britain as they travel the Atlantic coasts. Encompassing 22 Ports, 6 countries and overnights in Bordeaux and London, guests will also have the chance to enjoy the legendary hospitality of the Celts with the opportunity to island hop the most beautiful British and Irish isles, complete with colourful vistas and infused with drama, decadence and history. Cruise only fares start from AU$13,960* per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite, including Early Booking Bonus and a non-use air-credit for each voyage.

Barcelona to Venice – departing on 12 September 2020, this 20-day voyage on board Silver Moon will transport guests through ancient worlds on what will be her inaugural season in the Mediterranean. Visiting 17 different ports, guests will discover some of the most historic places in Europe during calls in Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. Highlights include the must-see Ephesus, Rhodes' colossus and Venice’s iconic canals. Cruise only fares start from AU$13,060* per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite, including Early Booking Bonus and a non-use air credit for each voyage.

London (Greenwich) Roundtrip – departing on 6 June 2020, guests on board Silver Whisper will enjoy a 27-day roundtrip sailing from Greenwich, London, including two overnights in London and an overnight in Edinburgh, Scotland. Calling in the UK, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway, guests will discover pristine landscapes, including glaciers, fjords, fumaroles, mountain ranges, black sand beaches, snow-covered slopes, and endless untouched forests. Cruise only fares start from AU$17,200* per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite, including Early Booking Bonus and a non-use air credit for each voyage.

Athens (Piraeus) to Dubai – Silver Spirit departs Athens on 29 October 2020, on a 24-day voyage to Dubai. Commencing with Athens’ dynamic mix of old and new, guests will discover the exquisite allure of the Greek Isles before travelling the mysterious Arabian and Red Seas. Highlights include an overnight in Ashdod, Jerusalem and Safaga (Luxor), Egypt. Guests will be able to relax and unwind during days at sea, providing the perfect opportunity for reflection after visiting Petra and the Holy Land. Cruise only fares start from AU$11,750* per person, based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite, including Early Booking Bonus and a non-use air credit for eligible voyage – SL201029007.

Whilst travelling aboard Silversea ships, guests enjoy spacious ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine, and the personalised service of a butler. Enriching the onboard experience are such all-inclusive amenities as complimentary premium wines and spirits, speciality coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; an in-suite bar, stocked with guests' preferences; an in-suite 24-hour dining service; lecture and enrichment programmes; and unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi.

View the range of Combination Cruises: https://www.silversea.com/landing-combination-cruises.html

To download the brochure for Silversea’s European Combination Voyages please click here.

*Combination Cruises are available on a selected number of limited voyages. Fares are based on double occupancy on a Vista Suite unless otherwise specified. Voyages and special offers are subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time. Terms and conditions apply. For more information on Silversea, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Dream Cruises expands Australian cruise offerings


Dream Cruises has announced new cruise options for Australia's East coast, releasing a series of short sector itineraries and a new embarkation point in Newcastle.

Explorer Dream will be the first of the Dream Cruises fleet to homeport in Australia (at Sydney's White Bay Cruise Terminal), with the first departure due to set sail from Sydney on 27 October 2019.

In addition to the seven-night coastal cruises to Queensland and Tasmania, Dream Cruises has released a series of short sector cruise options. There are six new sectors to choose from, including one-way and weekend cruises.

Consumers can now opt to cruise one way from Brisbane to Sydney or reverse, with a choice of two, three, four and five-night itineraries available.

Dream Cruises has further expanded their offerings by announcing a new embarkation point – Newcastle. Novocastrians can depart from the convenience of their local port, with two departures dates available. There is a four-night cruise departing 4 November 2019 from Newcastle to Brisbane (via Gladstone and the Sunshine Coast) and a seven-night round-trip from Newcastle on 25 November 2019, visiting Gladstone, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Sydney.

Fares start from AU$286 per person twin share for a two-night cruise from Brisbane to Sydney.

For full details visit dreamcruiseline.com or phone Dream Cruises on 02 9212 6288.

READ THE FLYER HERE

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Cruise Growth Continues Despite Infrastructure Constraints



Australia has continued its long run of cruising growth with a total of 1.35 million Australians taking an ocean cruise during 2018, a slight increase on the previous year's record.

However, growth slowed to just 0.9 per cent year-on-year, according to the 2018 Ocean Source Market report for Australia released today by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), reflecting capacity constraints associated with a shortage of berthing infrastructure in Sydney.

Despite the lower growth, the result still showed a higher number of Australians choosing a cruising holiday than ever before. Nearly one in every 17 Aussies, or 5.8 per cent of the population, took a cruise last year, giving Australia the highest market penetration rate of the world's major established cruise markets – ahead of the US (4.0%), the UK (3.0%) and Germany (2.8%).

Cruising in local waters (Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific) grew by just 0.1% over figures for 2017, reflecting current infrastructure constraints. But this was offset by growth of 3.4% in the number of Australians taking fly-cruise options in destinations further afield, indicating demand remains strong in the Australian market.




"Cruising continues to be exceptionally popular among Australian travellers after many years of growth and world-leading market penetration," said CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz. "A lack of berthing capacity in Sydney has hampered cruise lines' efforts to expand their operations in local waters, but the increasing number of Australians flying to ports overseas shows the market is still strong and holds great potential for the future."

CLIA's report says a subdued growth trend will continue in the short term into 2019, but it predicts a return to stronger growth in the near future.

"Cruise lines have already announced significant new vessel deployments in this region from the 2020-21 season, with smaller, older ships to be replaced with newer, larger options," Mr Katz said. "Combined with the construction of a new International Cruise Terminal in Brisbane and other projects announced in Cairns, Eden and Broome, this is expected to reignite growth in the Australian market."

Mr Katz said the development of new berthing facilities in Sydney remained the most urgent infrastructure priority for the cruise sector in Australasia, and that the industry looked forward to further announcements on the NSW Government's Cruise Development Plan.

Other findings from the 2018 Ocean Source Market report include:

NSW still represented more than half the Australian ocean cruise market (53%), but its share fell as popularity grew in other states, with Qld contributing 22% and Vic 13%.
The average age of the Australian cruise passenger remained steady at 49 years.
Growth in short domestic cruises lowered the average cruise length, which was down from 9.1 days in 2017 to 8.8 days in 2018.

In the inbound market, about 200,000 people came from other regions to cruise in Australasian waters in 2018, more than half from North America.

The majority of Australians cruised within Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific (76.6%). Europe/Mediterranean was the most popular long-haul destination (8.1%), followed by North America/Caribbean/Alaska/Hawaii (7.3%) and Asia (5.4%).

Worldwide, 28.5 million people took a cruise in 2018, a 6.7% increase on the previous year. This figure is forecast to break the 30 million barrier in 2019.

To download a copy of CLIA's 2018 Ocean Source Market report for Australia, click here