Home' D Fine Redland Lifestyle Magazine : November 2009 Contents d'fine magazine November 10, 2009 23
Karen and I are often asked "what's the
flavour of the month" in cruising or
"where are people cruising these days?"
In the past month, there's been a big increase
in enquiries for European cruising,with interest in
the Mediterranean, for example Barcelona to
Athens, and Venice to Istanbul via the glorious
The 2010 Europe 'Earlybird' airfares and 'Fly-
Free' deals have been released and there are
some fantastic offers in the market. So how do
you find out what's best for you? Ask us. We have
access to the best deals and give independent,
unbiased advice and opinions . We simply want
our clients to have the best information to help
you make the right choice.
One river cruise operator has experienced a
really high level of bookings for 2010. So much so
that its newest ship is fully booked for Amsterdam
to Budapest and v.v. for the whole of June.
Remember that these ships usually carry around
130 to 150 passengers, so they can fill very quickly.
Karen and Peter have done Europe river cruising
with different companies and we'd love to talk to
you about your plans for your next trip.
Due to the level of interest in Europe in 2010,
we're having a preview session with leading
companies Trafalgar Tours and Insight Vacations.
Note 10am Saturday 21 November in your
diaries.The venue is the Redlands RSL, but please
call 3488 0103 to say you're coming.
Closer to home, P&O's Brisbane cruise program
has been so successful, we'll have two ships
based in Brisbane in April 2011. Interestingly, it's
not just Queenslanders taking these cruises.
Passengers are flying in from interstate and New
Zealand to board a cruise from Brisbane. We have
great deals on many cruises from our home port,
so please call us for a chat about the ships, the
cabins, the itineraries and most importantly our
Cruise Lovers prices.
A number of clients have asked if we do tours
to Africa and we are looking at a 14 nights
escorted trip to see the great wildlife migration in
August 2010. The trip will take in the Serengeti,
the Ngorongoro Crater, the Masai Mara and Lake
Nakuru National Park. Call us for advance
information and details of our Africa film night in
Call us now to discuss your cruising holiday!
Peter Darby and Karen McLaren
Your cruise and tour specialists.
Phone 3488 0103
Cruise Lovers, Cleveland
The village of Durnstein on the Danube
I'm sitting in a dog-sled on Norris glacier,
freezing my butt off at a mushers' camp high
up on the Juneau Icefield in Alaska.
You too would have a cold bottom with a half a
mile of snow-covered ice beneath you. The
leaders of this team of eight Alaskan huskies,
Oprah and Skye, have dug their heels in or rather,
their cute bootie-clad paws.
Finally, our musher,Quinn, utters the command
and we're off. Quinn stands on the runners and
the dogs stream ahead with ears pinned back and
reins jingling. All around us is only stillness, save
for the occasional yap of the dogs and the
schussh of the blades cutting through the snow.
Despite the stinging cold, we are jubilant. We
are on a 10-day cruise of Alaska's iconic Inside
Passage on a voyage that runs between two of the
world's most beautiful harbour cities, Vancouver
and San Francisco.We are sailing on the Silverseas
Silver Shadow, a luxury cruise ship that takes only
382 passengers. Mornings are chilly but there is
nothing quite so invigorating as a few brisk
circuits around the deck, so I try to be disciplined
and start each day with exercise.
Then I undo all this good work by gorging on
the breakfast buffet.Worse, I do the same thing at
lunch, rationalising that I'll skip afternoon tea and
I won't eat all five courses at dinner. But resisting
temptation is tough on cruise ships.
Our first port, the town of Sitka on the western
coast of what is now called Baranof Island,began as
a Russian trading post in 1799. The Tlingit Indians
resisted occupation but were slaughtered. The
Russians then built a fort, where they remained
until 1867 when Alaska was sold to the US.
Dominating this pretty town, with its dramatic
backdrop of Mt Edgecumbe, is the quintessential
onion-domed Russian Orthodox cathedral of St
Michael -- the first in the western hemisphere. On
this sunny spring afternoon, happier thoughts
turn to Sitka's gardens, which are now simply
bursting with cool-climate blooms.
In the main street, I spy diners through a pub
window gorging on gigantic Alaskan crab claws. I
decide I'll be in on that so, with bib on and melted
butter trickling down my chin, I get stuck in.
Predictably, souvenir shops selling Russian and
Tlingit merchandise abound. I fall for a faux fur
Russian hat with ear flaps and a hammer and
sickle badge. It proves ideal for dog-sledding,
whale watching or snoozing on deck beneath a
fleecy blanket with a hot chocolate and
From Sitka, we sail north and enter Lynn Canal,
the longest and deepest fjord in North America.
Our destination is Haines and the frozen-in-time
Fort William H. Seward, which was built in 1901. In
this picturesque town,there are lots of curiosities:
the world's largest hammer museum, vintage cars
still in use and locals who love a chinwag.
By contrast, Alaska's capital, Juneau, is cold,
crowded and bursting with shops catering to
cruise passengers. In the high season, the state
capital has up to 100,000 visitors a week.It provides
access to heart-stopping scenery and a host of
activities including helicopter "flightseeing"
sledding, bear spotting, otter antics, whale
watching,kayaking, salmon fishing or sinking a few
in Juneau's infamous Red Dog Saloon.
But the obvious advantage of exploring Alaska
by ship is that so much can be viewed at close
range. A highlight was inching up Endicott Sound
for a head-on encounter with Dawes Glacier until
we can go no further and must retreat to
Ketchikan and then San Francisco.
The writer was a guest of Silversea, Air Canada
and Fairmont Hotels.
MORE INFORMATION: Cruise Lovers, Cleveland,
3488 0103 Silversea Cruises, 02 9255 0600,
silversea.com. Air Canada, aircanada.com.
The best way to discover the frigid north is by ship, writes Maggy Oehlbeck.
Cruise Alaska in luxury
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