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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Azamara Club Cruises details fleet upgrades

#cruise

New Décor from Floor to Ceiling Reimagines Guest Suites and Staterooms

Club Ocean Suite - Room #7004 Deck 7 Forward Portside. Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises, the up-market line delivering an unmatched experience at sea and on land, unveiled today new design plans for its suites and staterooms as part of the line's program to Reimagine Azamara while in dry dock early next year. The boutique cruise line will debut in Australia for the first time this year, when Azamara Quest arrives in late December. Sister ship Azamara Journey will then sail local waters for the 2016/17 season, fresh from her refurbishment next year.

"Azamara is all about Destination Immersion and we spend more time in ports at night and stay overnight to ensure our guests can spend enough time in the destination to come away with an authentic experience. Our AzAmazing Evenings, Nights and Cool Places, Insider Access and Cruise Global, Eat Local are just a few of the programs we provide guests to make the most of their time in port," says Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.

"When our guests return to the ship, we recognize the importance of offering accommodations that provide a respite from their adventures and functions like a moving upscale hotel. Keeping all areas of our ships contemporary in design as well as offering services and amenities that match is paramount. This is why we are so excited to dig into every aspect of our onboard offerings during this upcoming dry dock period."

Club Verandah Accessible Stateroom (supplied)

Azamara has contracted several of the world's leading design consultants for the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, to help transform the suites and staterooms into modern oases at sea. As design teams undertake the ship project, they look to bring the style and comforts travellers look for in travel to the high seas. Partnering with the design teams, Azamara participated in the very detailed process to choose colours and mood palates along with overall furnishings and fabrics. The result will be an overall ambiance that is comfortable as well as timeless and elegant. Authentic materials will be used, with beautiful stone and porcelain throughout and custom designed built-ins. The colours that were selected will be dusted and faded adding to the overall theme.

Additionally, the bathrooms will get an overhaul making them a much more efficient use of space. Guests will enjoy all of the new amenities while relaxing before dinner or preparing for another day of touring in the next amazing destination.

The Spa Suites will be two brand new additions to both ships. These suites will be built adjacent to the Sanctum Spa and will feature an elegant look with organic and muted colours. The bathroom shower and tub will have a view of the water, giving guests the opportunity to experience a breathtaking view when relaxing in their shower or tub. Guests who are staying in these suites will also have exclusive access to unique spa amenities that will be included in the price of these staterooms.

Azamara Quest (supplied)

The Club World Ocean and Owner's Suites will undergo major revitalizations. Coffee tables, consoles and dining tables will be replaced with modern furnishings featuring an updated style and overall feel. The sound and lighting systems will also be updated in order to make the overall mood much more inviting and relaxing. Additionally, the bathrooms will get an overhaul making them larger and a much more efficient use of space. Guests will enjoy all of the new amenities while relaxing before dinner or preparing for another day of touring in the next amazing destination.

The Club Continent Suites will have a top to bottom refresh that includes new drapes, fabrics and furnishings. Guests will feel truly relaxed and refreshed waking up each day onboard in these deluxe staterooms.

In all other staterooms, guests will see new blackout curtains, bed linens, furniture, carpeting, lighting, and a complete bathroom modernization. These updates will give guests a better experience onboard Azamara and will only add to an exciting and enriching travel experience.

Azamara Journey will enter dry dock in January 2016 in the Bahamas, so she will be completely refreshed before her maiden Australian season in February 2017. Azamara Quest will enter dry dock in April 2016 in Singapore.

For further information on the make overs, see www.azamaraclubcruises.com/ReimaginingAzamara or to book an Azamara Club Cruises voyage, visit www.azamaraclubcruises.com/en-au, phone 1800 754 500 or contact your local travel agent.  Connect with Azamara Club Cruises on Facebook at www.facebook.com/azamaraclubcruisesausnz  or follow President and CEO on Twitter: @LarryPimentel.

 Traveloscopy | 

Sydney to Welcome New Daily Services from Qatar Airways




Destination NSW will welcome a new daily service from Doha, Qatar from 1 March 2016, providing an additional 122,500 seats into Sydney each year.

Seven new daily direct services per week from Doha to Sydney will be serviced by the Boeing 777-300 aircraft which carries 335 passengers – 42 in Business Class and 293 in Economy.  Qatar Airways has a strong and growing network, with Doha a connecting hub for Europe, Africa and Asia.  Sydney currently welcomes 35,000 visitors from the Middle East who spend $200m annually in NSW, so the new services will significantly increase visitation, particularly given they will provide a greater link to the United Kingdom and Europe.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres welcomed the announcement.  "Sydney is the gateway to Australia and our most popular city and state for visitors.  This new service from Qatar Airways will enable NSW to capitalise on the airline's access to European markets as well as countries across their global network, and according to Sydney Airport will generate an estimated $95m to the NSW visitor economy.  In addition at least 2,500 jobs are expected to be created in NSW as a result of the new service."

Sydney Airport managing director and chief executive officer Kerrie Mather said, "We're looking forward to welcoming Qatar Airways to Sydney Airport. As Skytrax's 2015 Airline of the Year, Qatar Airways will provide passengers with a quality product and greater connectivity to destinations around the world."

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said, "We are delighted to debut our daily Sydney flights next March. The expansion of our Australia services will undoubtedly boost and strengthen the trade and commercial links that exist between Qatar and Australia, setting the stage for even more robust partnership opportunities in the near future. We look forward to carrying more travellers to and from Australia across our extensive global network and providing them with another world-class experience both on board and on ground at the state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport in Doha."

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said the state's tourism and major events agency looks forward to developing a partnership with Qatar Airways on campaigns to grow business, education and holiday-maker visitation to Sydney and NSW.

"NSW is Australia's most geographically diverse state, with everything from red deserts in the Outback to ski fields in the Snowy Mountains, rainforests, rivers, World Heritage Blue Mountains, award-winning vineyards, over 2,000km of sparkling coastline and of course the unforgettable Sydney Harbour.

"It is also the major events capital of Australia, with Sydney hosting world-class events including Vivid Sydney, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Sydney International Art Series, The Australian Open Golf and of course New Year's Eve and Australia Day celebrations.

"We look forward to welcoming more visitors to our state and working with our new airline partner Qatar Airways," Ms Chipchase said.


SEA LIFE Mooloolaba Awarded Prestigious National Accreditation


SEA LIFE Mooloolaba has become the first aquarium in Australia to receive accreditation from the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA), the peak industry body of the Australasia region.

The Sunshine Coast attraction, which opened in 1989 and re-launched in 2013 following a $6.5m refurbishment, is the only Australian aquarium to satisfy the requirements set by ZAA’s new accreditation program, which was created to set a new standard for animal welfare.

To obtain accreditation, members must satisfy requirements outlined by an updated framework focused on providing the best possible care to animals housed at their facility.

SEA LIFE Mooloolaba General Manager Quinn Clarke said the accreditation, representing a world first for the zoo and aquarium industry, was a wonderful endorsement of the team’s tireless work and commitment to marine conservation.



“Our team at SEA LIFE Mooloolaba have been rehabilitating sick and injured marine animals for more than 25 years, always providing the highest level of care to all of the species at the attraction with the ultimate aim of educating the community on the importance of conserving our precious marine environment,” Mr Clarke said.

“We are humbled to become the first aquarium in Australia to meet ZAA’s positive animal welfare standards as outlined by the new accreditation program.

“With this new award, visitors can again be assured of SEA LIFE Mooloolaba’s strong ethical and environmental values, BREED, RESCUE and PROTECT,” Mr Clarke said.

ZAA President Kevin Tanner said SEA LIFE Mooloolaba was the first aquarium to undergo review of its facility for accreditation.

“The accreditation program goes beyond setting minimum standards for animal care to focus on delivering positive welfare outcomes,” Mr Tanner said.

“This was the first welfare review for a ZAA aquarium member. The Association would like to thank SEALIFE Mooloolaba for supporting this exercise which has resulted in identification of how the criteria can be better applied in aquatic environments.”

SEA LIFE Mooloolaba relaunched in December 2013, unveiling five new zones – Seahorse Sanctuary, Pacific Reef, Jelly Fish Kingdom, Tidal Touch Pool and Coastal Wreck, on top of the already existing informative and interactive exhibits.

The aquarium is committed to the rehabilitation of sick and injured marine animals, with its Turtle Hospital equipped to host dozens of injured turtles at a time. The turtles are cared for in a facility solely dedicated to the animal, which includes various tanks holding between five and 1,500L of water.

SEA LIFE Mooloolaba rescues and rehabilitates endangered turtles before releasing them back into the ocean, nursing more than 850 turtles over the past two decades.

Other highlights of the attraction are Seal Island with Australian and New Zealand Fur Seals and Sea Lions on display, and the walkthrough Ocean Tunnel, home to majestic sharks, a variety of rays and an explosion of colour in the unique Coral Cove.

For more information about SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, please visit www.underwaterworld.com.au


Traveloscopy | 




Tuesday, September 29, 2015

National Geographic and G Adventures have joined forces to launch National Geographic Journeys

G ADVENTURES AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARTNER TO OFFER NEW LINE OF TRAVEL EXPERIENCES


Pioneering travel companies join forces to offer National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures

Melbourne, September 30, 2015—National Geographic and award-winning tour operator G Adventures have joined forces to launch National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures, a new line of experiential trips to destinations all over the globe.

This travel partnership—which coincides with G Adventures’ 25th anniversary—combines National Geographic’s more than 125 years of global exploration, science and storytelling
with the fun, authentic experiences for which G Adventures is internationally recognised.

The initial collection of 70 trips is designed for travellers who appreciate the freedom to roam, but seek the structure and security that comes with travelling in a group. Each group will be led by a knowledgeable local guide, and most will be limited to 16 guests. Travellers will have the opportunity to connect with local people and cultures while discovering places where National Geographic’s scientists and storytellers have shaped history. 

“We are thrilled to be working with National Geographic—an organisation that shares our values and a similar approach to travel—to offer our guests unique experiences that will forever change their expectations of travel,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures.

National Geographic and G Adventures have worked closely together to create special experiences that bring travellers behind the scenes in incredible destinations—be it practicing a centuries-old tradition of throwing pots on a visit to a women’s cooperative in Belize or joining a researcher on safari in South Africa to learn firsthand about a National Geographic-sponsored initiative to protect cheetahs and other big cats.


Forging true human connections will be an integral component of National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures. Travellers will have the opportunity to spend time in a family home in Jaipur, India; share a meal with a local author and her storytelling troupe in Botswana; meet a traditional weaver in Ecuador; and sip homemade limoncello with a farmer at his lemon orchard in Italy.

"Our partnership with G Adventures adds an exciting and accessible range of travel opportunities to our portfolio of extraordinary ways to explore the planet.  We're excited to invite travellers around the world to experience the destinations they've dreamed about, get to know people in other cultures and make a positive impact while doing it," added Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society. 

Next year’s lineup of National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures will be published on Dec. 15, 2015, with departures beginning Jan. 5, 2016.


Traveloscopy | 



Monday, September 28, 2015

Solomon Airlines to commence direct Honiara-Nadi service



 
Honiara, Solomon Islands – Solomon Airlines has announced it will commence operation of a new direct Honiara-Nadi service effective Wednesday, 04 November 2015, subject to government approval.

The national carrier will utilise its flagship Airbus A320 on the route which is scheduled to operate ex-Honiara on Wednesdays and ex-Nadi on Thursdays.

Timings as follow:

Flight IE 708 operating Wednesday, departs Honiara at 1515 arriving Nadi at 2015*  

Flight IE 709 operating Thursday, departs Nadi at 1100 arriving Honiara at 1200*

The new service builds on the national carrier's existing Honiara - Nadi service which operates via Port Vila, Vanuatu, on Saturdays and returns to Honiara, again via Port Vila, on Sundays.

This new flight path represents a further expansion of Solomon Airlines international network in recent months, the carrier having commenced a direct Sydney-Honiara service in June.

Solomon Airlines General Manager Operations & Commercial, Gus Kraus said the commencement of the new Honiara-Nadi service held great significance for the prospect of  increased trade and business links between the two countries as well as a closer relationship with a key Melanesian neighbour.

"As importantly, this new direct service opens up even more opportunity for international travellers to make seamless connections via Fiji into the Solomon Islands, and particularly from North America and northern Asia," he said.

"This new service represents yet another major benchmark for Solomon Airlines in a very proud 53-year history."

*All flight arrival/departure timings based on Solomon islands/Fiji Islands local time with Fiji Daylight Savings times applied.


For more information visit www.flysolomons.com

W:       www.flysolomons.com
FB:       www.facebook.com/flysolomons

 

Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney Unveils Exciting “New Blu” Re-Design


Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney has unveiled the first phase of its $12 million re-design, the first major update of its guest rooms and function spaces since it opened in 2000.

Reminiscent of New York's famous Flatiron building and occupying a landmark position in the heart of Sydney on the corner of Pitt, Hunter and O'Connell streets, the Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney is a stylish five-star hotel housed within a stunning heritage-listed building dating back to 1856.

This Beaux-Arts design building was once the headquarters of the Fairfax newspaper empire and then in 1954 became home to the Bank of New South Wales, now known as Westpac. The property was purchased by Malaysian entity, TA Global in 1997 and completely reconfigured over a three year period. It opened in July 2000 as the Radisson Plaza Hotel, managed by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, retaining the stunning architectural features.

This latest re-design follows a transformation of the public spaces including reception, concierge, the lounge and the hotel lobby's Fax Bar which took place in 2010. At that time the hotel was also re-branded by Carlson as a Radisson Blu. This was part of a corporate re-alignment which saw this flagship property for Asia Pacific take on the mantle of one of a handful of hotels worldwide to meet the standards required for this developing brand.

The first phase of the 'new Blu' re-design is focused on the function and meeting rooms, which have been refreshed and modernised and provide more than 500m2 of space, ideal for corporate business meetings, board meetings, social events, private dinners or cocktail functions from two to 200 guests.

The meeting spaces also include two authentically restored heritage rooms aptly named Sir James and Sir Warwick which once housed their offices. These are used mostly for board meetings and exclusive dinners. The Lady Fairfax room, located on the entry level, is now popular for its high tea service but can also serve as an event space.

The second phase of the re-design, due to commence in late October, will see a complete refresh of all 336 guestrooms and 28 suites at Radisson Blu, with new silk fabrics and contemporary chrome and metal-blue colour schemes, stylish chevron patterning reflected in the lighting and upgrades to the fittings in the building's original marble bathrooms. The Presidential Suite will be divided into two rooms, bringing the total number of guestrooms to 364.

Acclaimed Sydney architects Bates Smart have been appointed to undertake the re-design for Radisson Blu. Bates Smart worked on the recent refurbishment of the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay and the Mayfair Hotel in Adelaide.

Radisson Blu General Manager, Peter Tudehope, who was last year recognised as Australasian Hotelier of the Year by HM Magazine, said: “This $12 million investment will cement Radisson Blu's position as one of the leading five-star hotels in Sydney.”

The new look and feel of the hotel's meeting spaces and guest rooms will complement the critically-acclaimed and two-hatted Bentley Restaurant and Bar, which found its contemporary new home within the majestic façade and grander space of the hotel in 2013.

Sommelier Nick Hildebrandt has been awarded 'Sommelier of the Year' three times and his wine list has twice earned the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Good Food Guide 'Wine List of the Year' Award. Chef Brent Savage is currently the SMH Good Food Guide 'Chef of the Year' and has travelled the world cooking as a guest at some of the world's best restaurants.

About Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney

Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney is a stylish five-star hotel housed within a stunning heritage-listed building and features 336 guest rooms, 28 suites, signature Bentley Restaurant and Bar, Fax lobby bar, eight meeting rooms including two heritage-style rooms, the Lady Fairfax tea room and a Health Club and Spa.

Located at 27 O'Connell Street in the heart of Sydney it offers easy access to major transport links, attractions and shopping precincts.

All guests at the Radisson Blu receive complimentary internet access with wireless access available throughout the hotel. All guestrooms offer an ensuite bathroom with marble vanity, separate shower and extra deep tub, plus additional amenities including pillow menu, ipod dock, gourmet mini bar, 24-hour room service, tea and coffee making facilities, iron and ironing board, in-room safe and a daily newspaper.




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NSW Government to sell off luxury hotels in Sydney



The New South Wales Government has announced it will fund an upgrade of Sydney's Circular Quay by selling off several sites, including luxury hotels.

The Government's vision for the upgraded Circular Quay include two-story wharves and retail areas.

Source: ABC

The Shangri-La and Four Seasons hotels in the city's CBD, the Novotel and Mercure hotels at Darling Harbour, and commercial offices at Darling Quarter are among the properties owned by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) that will be put on the market.

The Government said it would raise $200 million to fund the construction of new state-of-the-art ferry wharves, with construction expected to begin in 2019.

Premier Mike Baird said the Government did not need to be the landlord for luxury hotels and the money raised would be put to good use.

Full Report




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A New Frontier in Walking - First Steps Along the World's Edge: The Three Capes Track


When Lonely Planet rated Tasmania among the world's top regions to visit in 2015, there was one experience they said was not to be missed. A multi-day walk like no other – where dolerite chasms are crossed, tall eucalypts cast shadows and footprints are left along towering sea cliffs. It's been coined 'Australia's premier coastal bushwalking experience.' We would like to introduce you to the Three Capes Track, a walk that takes you along the world's edge.
Lace up your boots, breathe in the world's cleanest air and head for the Tasman Peninsula. Bookings have opened for the most anticipated walking experience in Australia. The newly launched www.threecapestrack.com.au is your portal to book and be one of the first to walk hand-carved steps that weave alongside some of Australia's highest sea cliffs while the three capes; Pillar, Hauy and Raoul are silent actresses in this dramatic play.
Lonely Planet Asia Pacific Sales & Marketing Director, Chris Zeiher said, “Giving access to some of the most dramatic coastal cliffs in all of Australia in a slightly more comfortable way for people to access, was a really important thing to get out to the global travel community.”
Some would consider it ethereal; others unattainable, but thanks to the meticulous work by  Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, this experience is accessible not only to the hardened bushwalker, but those with boots looking dashingly un-worn.
It's achievable, not only in the physical sense but also within the context of a short break. In just four days, it's possible to feel you've travelled to the furthest corner of the globe. All while staying connected to the world – ideal for far-flung updates via social media. For others, the opportunity to switch off and tune in to the constant rhythm of the wind and waves is the appeal.
The track links Denman's Cove, opposite the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, to Cape Hauy. But to get there, wisps of salt spray and towering cliffs from sea level are your first introduction; via a Pennicott Wilderness Journeys purpose-built boat. Described more as a natural pathway than a traditional bushwalking track, the mud-free Australian Standard Class 3 design is wide enough for walkers to enjoy side by side. What's more, those who prefer views of the Southern Ocean over their boot laces, will appreciate the meticulous construction.
Three environmentally-sensitive cabins are positioned at key locations and just like the track beneath one's feet, these cabins are brand spanking new. These warm, cosy havens with unsurpassed views offer comfy mattresses, heating and kitchen utensils, which mean less to carry on your back. Four days later walkers emerge at Fortescue Bay – where calm waters and cool white sand are a welcome refreshment for tired toes.
But it's not just walking that has Lonely Planet talking. It is Tasmania's subterranean Mona and other wild places like the Tarkine, Cradle Mountain, Franklin River and the Bay of Fires. This travel guide is taken by our flavours on Bruny Island and the diverse, remote and wild outdoor experiences' on offer across the island.
We have plenty more to tell Lonely Planet, like how you can come here and kiss a seal, almost within view of the Three Capes Track. How mountain biking trails in the far north east are slated to be among the country's most sought. But for now, we'll sit back and enjoy the accolades with a drop of the World's best whisky while others book into Australia's best boutique lodge and line up for Australia's premier coastal bushwalk. It is little wonder Tasmania is ripe for the picking in 2015.
For more information on Tasmania, visit www.discovertasmania.com.au

Traveloscopy | 

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Celebrates 15 Years with Fresh New Look


Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, the luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, is introducing a brand refresh to redefine its luxury positioning within today's demanding travel and hospitality environments. With the philosophy 'Life is a Journey', the brand evolution goes hand in hand with Anantara's global growth strategy. 
Anantara celebrates the journey of life and puts the sense of anticipation and excitement back into the world of luxury travel and hospitality. Since the first property opened its doors in the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin in 2001, Anantara has grown into a collection of 34 luxury hotels and resorts in city, island and desert settings, across ten countries. From Asia and the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Africa, Anantara has evolved into an award-winning brand that offers outstanding guest experiences in distinctive and iconic settings.
In an insightful understanding of market trends and traveller expectations, the development of the Anantara brand marks the start of a dynamic new journey, both in terms of a strategic international footprint and enhancements to the guest experience.
'Life is a Journey' reflects a contemporary interpretation of Anantara's unique philosophy and core values of natural luxury, in parallel with the brand's expansion plans. Setting an exciting stage for savvy travellers, the evolution embodies authentic luxury with a guest-centric focus. The evolution also incorporates a fresh new look and feel and a strong social and digital focus that encompasses a new website and mobile strategy giving travellers added value, reinforcing the brand's premium positioning within the luxury segment, whilst creating a platform for future growth.
“Anantara was born in response to discerning travellers seeking luxury with a sense of indigenous discovery. By infusing authentic cultural experiences and interactive journeys guided by gurus, Anantara satisfies guest desires to connect deeply and personally with their travel destinations,” explains Anantara founder and CEO and Chairman of Minor International, William E. Heinecke. Fifteen years later, the way in which people travel and experience the world has changed, and Anantara's brand refresh has taken shape to meet the expectations, inspire the passions and delight the tastes of new explorers in city and resort destinations.”
To reflect the brand evolution Anantara has created a new logo, keeping the iconic water jar which symbolises Thai hospitality and generous spirit, and two Thai cushions representing ultimate comfort. The newly refined golden colour palette conveys Anantara's elegance, luxury and shining modern energy.
To complement the refresh an innovative new brand website has been launched, featuring built in class-leading CMS technology and other advanced features such as personalisation that will increase visitor interaction with the site.  Anantara is also taking mobile technology to the next level delivering consistent experiences across all devices and enabling potential customers to enjoy a streamlined browsing experience across multiple languages on any screen size using responsive technology. A new Anantara blog will also be launched giving international expertise and insider knowledge on the indigenous elements.
“Advancing from Anantara's many successes to date, the brand refresh is a significant milestone paving the way for an exciting new era,” said CEO Minor Hotel Group, Dillip Rajakarier. “In an insightful understanding of market trends and traveller expectations, the development of the Anantara brand marks the start of the dynamic new journey, both in terms of strategic international footprint and enhancements to the guest experience.”  
Bringing travellers closer to the details of destinations and the local fabric, be it the escape of a pristine white-sand beach or the heart of bustling city neighbourhood. Anantara creates journeys of inspiring, surprising moments and enjoyment – elevating all senses and connecting with the environment and culture of each one of its locations.

Traveloscopy | 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Silversea announces 2017 itineraries


#Silversea Cruises, known for its luxurious ships and exotic destinations, unveiled an exciting collection of 246 voyages for 2017 that are available for travelers to reserve as of today. These include itineraries for Silversea's current fleet of eight ships, which will collectively visit over 800 destinations across seven continents.

Silver Cloud as Expedition Ship - Artist's Rendering-Hi Res.jpg
Silver Cloud will join the expedition fleet in 2017
"Every year Silversea strives to offer inspirational journeys that combine the luxury of intimate cruising with the thrill of making new cultural discoveries," said Kristian Anderson, Silversea's senior vice president and general manager for the Americas. "We believe our voyage collection for 2017, with its wealth of longer, port-intensive cruises, will accomplish just that. From the rainforests of South America to the castles of Europe and the temples of Asia, guests will enjoy experiences that will enrich their lives for years to come."
Following are highlights from Silversea's 2017 schedule:

OCEAN CRUISES

New Ports of Call: Among several new ports are Sassnitz, Germany; Galway, Ireland; Bodø, Norway; Geraldton, Australia; Ilhabela, Brazil; Fredericia, Denmark; Gisborne, New Zealand; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Sir Bani Yas Island, U.A.E.

World Cruise 2017: Departing San Francisco on January 6, this 116-day ocean voyage to Monte Carlo will visit 62 destinations in 25 countries. Following a westward path, Silver Whisper will sail through the idyllic isles of Hawaii and cross the International Date Line to the South Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia. Then, weaving her way through such tropical wonderlands as Bali and Sandakan, she will arrive at the shores of vibrant Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, before setting a course for the ancient temples of India, Arabia's enchanting desert dunes, and the storied capitals of the Mediterranean.

Circle South America: Silver Spirit departs January 16 on a 63-day roundtrip Grand Voyage from Fort Lauderdale. Highlights include a crossing of the Panama Canal, two days cruising Chile's majestic fjords, a two-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, plus overnight calls in Buenos Aires and Callao (gateway to Lima and Machu Picchu).

South Africa: Silver Cloud offers a series of four 10-day voyages showcasing South Africa's east coast with convenient roundtrip departures from Cape Town. The sailings feature calls in Port Elizabeth, Durban, East London, Maputo, and an overnight stay in Richards Bay. Plus a 14-day voyage includes an overnight stay in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Mediterranean, Northern Europe & Baltic: From the Greek Isles to the British Isles and Scandinavia, dozens of intriguing voyages, ranging from 7 to 17 days, offer a variety of options for travelers seeking to discover the regions' cultural treasures, picturesque harbors, and storied cities. Notable itineraries include:

• Silver Spirit's Voyage 5713, sailing from Barcelona to Rome, will overnight in Monte Carlo on May 27, during the city's famous Grand Prix Formula One racing event.

• Silver Spirit will overnight in Venice July 15 and 16 (Voyage 5718), during the celebrations of the Festa del Redentore, offering guests the opportunity to experience the city's amazing display of fireworks and other festivities.

• Two Silver Wind voyages in September (2722 and 2723) will overnight in Hamburg during the historic port's annual Cruise Days event, when the city welcomes the world of cruises with special attractions and entertainment.

• On two Silver Cloud sailings (1713 and 1714) and seven Silver Wind voyages (2716 - 2722) the ships will sail the Thames River to dock near (or depart from) Tower Bridge in the heart of historic London -- a journey most cruise ships are too large to navigate.

• A crossing of the legendary Corinth Canal, which is too narrow for most ships to undertake, highlights two Silver Wind voyages (2727 and 2728) and Silver Cloud's Voyage 1711.

Alaska: Silver Shadow returns to explore the majestic natural wonders of Alaska on 16 seven-day voyages between Seward and Vancouver.
Myanmar: Two Silver Shadow voyages (3702 and 3705) feature multi-day stopovers in Myanmar, where guests can explore its famous golden pagodas and ancient temples in depth.

EXPEDITION CRUISES

Silversea's luxury expedition fleet will expand to four ships in November 2017 when Silver Cloud joins Silver Explorer, Silver Discoverer, and Silver Galapagos. Over 100 expedition cruises will explore the world's most fascinating and remote regions. Featured among dozens of inaugural calls are such places as Ampangorinana, Nosy Komba (Madagascar); Aride Island, Seychelles; Maheshkhali Island, Bangladesh; Makura Island, Vanuatu; Isle of May, Scotland; and Grimsey Island, Iceland.

Fresh from an extensive refurbishment and conversion to an ice-class expedition ship, Silver Cloud launches a series of Antarctica voyages in November and December, featuring itineraries from 10 to 19 days, and sailing mostly roundtrip from Ushuaia.

Silver Explorer's schedule retains its ever-popular expedition cruises to Antarctica, South and Central America, the British Isles, Northern Canada, Greenland, and Arctic Norway. Of special note is a 15-day expedition (7719) focused on Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. Sailing August 31 from Kangerlussuaq to St. John's, the voyage features a rare visit to Canada's remote Torngat Mountains National Park, renowned for its spectacular natural scenery.

Silver Discoverer's six expedition cruises along Australia's Kimberley Coast from March to May highlight an exotic program that encompasses Madagascar, Seychelles, Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Russian Far East, and remote Alaska. On the schedule is a new 16-day, Colombo-to-Kolkata sailing (9704) departing February 11 to explore the Andaman Islands and make the first-ever cruise ship visit to Bangladesh, with explorations of Chittagong, Maheshkhali Island, and the Sundarbans, one of the world's largest mangrove forests and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And Silver Galapagos will again operate year-round voyages exploring the pristine and biologically diverse islands of the Galápagos.

For all-inclusive at its most inclusive, Silversea is leading the way. Guests enjoy ocean-view suites, gourmet cuisine, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits, a stocked in-suite beverage cabinet, onboard gratuities, and complimentary Wi-Fi for each guest.

For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com
Traveloscopy | 

Domestic Travel Packages Now on Sale for the Highly-Anticipated 2016 Sydney Sevens


Rugby union fans are set to converge on Sydney with affordable travel packages announced for the Sydney Sevens Rugby which will be held in Sydney for the first time in 2016.
Part of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Sydney Sevens will take place from 6-7 February and will transform the entire city into a Rugby Sevens extravaganza as the world's greatest rugby players from 16 countries meet to play 42 matches over two adrenaline-filled days.
With fast-paced play (statistically, a try is scored every 70 seconds in Sevens games), Sydney Sevens will be the last chance for the world's top ranked teams to battle it out ahead of the sport's first appearance in the Summer Olympics in Rio, so expect a white-knuckle tournament of the highest quality.
Appearing in Sydney for the first time, Sydney Sevens will attract visitors from across the country and the globe. A range of great domestic travel packages are currently available from as low as $269 per person for three nights' accommodation and event tickets, making a Sydney Sevens weekend visit well within everybody's budget.
Continuous off-field entertainment will create the perfect mix of party and rugby for which the Series is known. Fans wanting the full carnival experience should book tickets in the South Stand, the ultimate party zone where fancy dress is a must and good times are aplenty.
Pre-sale domestic travel packages are currently on sale offering a variety of airfare, accommodation and event ticket options. Choose from:
  • Qantas Holidays is offering rugby fans a variety of packages starting from$445 per person twin share.
What's included:
  • 1 or 2 nights' accommodation ata variety of lodging options across Sydney including Travelodge Sydney, Travelodge Wynyard, Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach and The Darling
  • 1 day, 2 day or family event tickets (Reserved or General Admission) to the HSBC Sydney Sevens
  • Return economy airfare to Sydney flying Qantas
Travel dates: From 6 to 8 February, 2016 (depending on package)
For further details, terms and conditions and to book please visit:packages.qantas.com/events/hsbc-sydney-7s.
  • Flight Centre is offering a Sydney Sevens package from $269 per person twin share.
What's included:
  • 3 nights' accommodation at the 4-star Great Southern Hotel in a Standard Room
  • 2 day General Admission event ticket to the HSBC Sydney Sevens
Travel dates: Valid for travel 5 to 7 February, 2016
  • Kingdom Sports Group has been appointed as a Worldwide Official Travel Agent for this exclusive event and is currently offering a pre-sale package from$740 per person.
What's included:
  • 3 nights' accommodation at the Vibe Hotel Sydney in a Double Room
  • Buffet breakfast each day
  • 2 day event ticket (Reserved or General Admission) to the HSBC Sydney Sevens
  • Official HSBC Sydney Sevens merchandise
Travel dates: Valid for travel 5 to 8 February, 2016
For further details, terms and conditions and to book please visit: 
kingdomsg.com/ticketing-tours/sydney-sevens 
More information on the Sydney Sevens can be found atwww.sydney.com/events/sydney-sevens .
For more information on Sydney and New South Wales, visit www.sydney.com 
or www.visitnsw.com.

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Huseyin Sami to Illuminate Museum of Contemporary Art During Vivid Sydney 2016


Vivid Sydney today announced that the creative vision of Western Sydney artist Huseyin Sami will illuminate the heritage-listed façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), when the world's largest festival of light, music and ideas returns in 2016.
NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres, said, “Vivid Sydney is a remarkable opportunity for artists to create on a grand scale, and it doesn't get much grander than seeing your work projected onto one of Sydney's most iconic landmarks. It's exciting to see Huseyin Sami, an acclaimed artist from Western Sydney, given this opportunity and I look forward to the big reveal of his projection art next year.”
Each year, an Australian artist represented in the MCA Collection or exhibition program, is chosen to work in collaboration with projection content creators to create the amazing 3D-mapped projections that adorn the MCA façade during Vivid Sydney.
Huseyin Sami is a former exhibitor in MCA's annual Primavera exhibition, highlighting the work of young Australian artists. His work explores the material qualities of paint, crossing over the categories of painting, sculpture and installation. He has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, said, “We are delighted that the involvement of artists in the creation of the work for the MCA façade for Vivid Sydney will continue with the commissioning of Huseyin Sami, one of a generation of younger artists working with materials such as paint in exciting new ways. We look forward to seeing how his vision comes to fruition on our façade.”
Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, added that there is still time for projection content creators to submit Expressions of Interest for the MCA Original Façade, with the deadline extended to Midnight AEST, 7 October 2015.
Vivid Sydney is managed by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, and returns from 27 May to 13 June 2016.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Boeing reaches latest milestone in 777X design

Boeing has completed the firm configuration milestone for the 777-9, the first member of the 777X family to be developed.

The Boeing 777X team reached this significant design milestone after working closely with airline customers and key suppliers to optimize the configuration of the new airplane.

The 777X family includes the 777-8 and the 777-9 – both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences.

The 777-8 and 777-9 provide significant range, payload and fuel burn advantages compared to the A350.

“It’s great to see the airlines and industry team side-by-side with us as we achieve this important milestone,” said Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager of the 777X program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“The team has followed a disciplined process to complete all of the requirements for this stage of the program.”

The firm configuration milestone marks the completion of configuration trade studies required to finalise the airplane’s capability and basic design.

Wind tunnel test results, aerodynamic performance and structural loads are also evaluated to ensure the airplane meets requirements.

This allows the 777X team to begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for the airplane.

As detailed designs are completed and released, production can begin.

“The program is right where we want it to be,” added Feldmann.

“We have an airplane and production system that are on track and on schedule, and we remain laser focused on meeting our commitments to our customers.”

The 777X will be the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world, with 12 per cent lower fuel consumption and ten per cent lower operating costs than the competition.

In addition, the 777X will bring cabin innovations and improved levels of passenger comfort.

The 777X program has received orders and commitments for 320 airplanes from six customers worldwide.

Production is set to begin in 2017.
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Australian Open of Surfing secured for Manly Beach


NSW Premier Mike Baird today announced Manly Beach would remain the undisputed home of the Australian Open of Surfing for the next three years.

(L-R): Former World Champion surfer Damien Hardman, junior surfer Isabella Nicholls, NSW Premier Mike Baird, IMG Senior Vice President Chris Gilbert, Former World Champion surfer Mark Occhilupo at Manly Beach.


Mr Baird made the announcement at today's launch of the 2016 Australian Open of Surfing where he was joined by surfing legends Mark Occhilupo and Damien Hardman, and future star Isabella Nichols.

"My love for surfing and the ocean is no secret and I'm so happy this great event has been secured at my local beach for the next three years," Mr Baird said.

"The Northern Beaches really comes alive when this event is on and it's a great opportunity for tourists to visit the best beach in the world and experience Australian surf culture."

The Australian Open of Surfing is Australia's biggest action sports and youth culture festival and attracts some of the world's best surfers and skateboarders.

Last year's event attracted thousands of people to Manly Beach and provided a major economic boost for the local economy.

The event is expected to generate more than $4 million dollars in visitor spend over the next three years in a welcome boost for local shops, restaurants and businesses.

The 2016 Australian Open of Surfing be held from 27 February to 6 March and will attract up-and-coming local talent as well as some of the world's best surfers in the lead up to the Quicksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.

The event has been secured by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, in partnership with sports management company IMG.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said Manly was one of the State's most iconic destinations for tourists.

"The Australian Open of Surfing will highlight everything Manly has to offer, from its beautiful beach to high quality restaurants, hotels and attractions. The AOS is a great occasion to visit NSW and take some time to explore Manly," she said.

Further details about the event can be found at: www.australianopenofsurfing.com

 

Qantas Group Pilots FlyPink for Breast Cancer Research


Qantas Group pilots will FlyPink from 1 October, swapping out their normal gold epaulettes (shoulder stripes) for pink epaulettes, to show their support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Australian-first initiative was started by QantasLink Captain Susan McHaffie whose aunt was diagnosed and beat breast cancer. Joining the airline in 2013, Susan was inspired by the National Breast Cancer Foundation-branded pink QantasLink aircraft to find a way to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research that would encourage airlines around the world to join together for the cause.
QantasLink Captain Susan McHaffie said she hoped her small idea would encourage other airlines to show their support.
“Together with Qantas, it is my goal to raise $20,000 for breast cancer research. I hope by next year I'll walk past a pilot I don't know in an international airport wearing pink epaulettes in support of breast cancer research,” said Captain McHaffie.
QantasLink Chief Pilot, Captain Nathan Miller said Qantas was proud to get behind all its pilots and the FlyPink initiative, which will see pilots donate money to don the pink epaulettes when they sign on for flying duty.
“Qantas is really proud to show our support for breast cancer awareness, and most importantly help raise vital funds for research,” said Captain Miller.
“As a global carrier, we hope we can help our pilots take the FlyPink initiative from Australia to the world and are challenging other airlines to join us.”
National Breast Cancer Foundation Chair, Elaine Henry, welcomed the initiative and said the proceeds from the Qantas FlyPink campaign would go directly to life-changing breast cancer research projects around Australia.
“Every day in 2015, 42 women in Australia are diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is still the biggest cause of cancer-related death in women globally. We believe that research is the key to eradicating the disease, and credit research with the many advances that have been made in breast cancer care and treatment over the past few decades,” she said.
Pink epaulettes will be available to all 3,300 Qantas Group pilots who are encouraged to donate $5 and wear pink with pride in October.
Qantas Group pilots will use the month of October to raise money through a number of other activities including National Breast Cancer Foundation collection tins in crew rooms and Qantas airports, and hold Pink Ribbon Breakfasts around the country.
QantasLink will serve food items in FlyPink branded boxes and brownies in support of the campaign.
Customers and other Qantas employees can support FlyPink by donating to www.flypink.net #WeFlyPink #showyoursupport
Qantas Group pilots who will wear pink epaulettes include Qantas, QantasLink, Jetstar, JetConnect, Cobham, Network Aviation and Express Freighters Australia.
Please click here to view the FlyPink gallery.

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NSW Wins Again: Number One for Major Events


NSW has again been recognised as Australia's number one State for major events with Sydney, Newcastle and Coffs Harbour, each bestowed the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) World Festival and Event City Award.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres saidthe awards come off the back of a string of major event investments and event wins in Sydney and Regional NSW.
“These accolades are an important acknowledgement of the State's robust major events strategy and the tireless work of the NSW Government through Destination NSW, to ensure world-class events are coming to NSW,” Mr Ayres said.
“This is the sixth year in a row that Sydney has been awarded by IFEA, reaffirming our rightful position as the major events capital of Australia. The harbour city is home to Australia's largest event, Vivid Sydney which attracted a record 1.7 million attendees this year, and hosts blockbusters including Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – Aida, Australian Open of Surfing and the NRL Grand Final.
“It's also particularly pleasing to see Coffs Harbour receive its inaugural IFEA World Festival and Event City Award, following the success of major events including Coates Hire Rally Australia, F.I.T Touch World Cup and the Australian Surf Festival.
“We are also delighted that Newcastle has been recognised at such a prestigious event, demonstrating the continued efforts by Government and locals alike, to establish Newcastle as one of the leading destinations for major events.”
President and CEO of IFEA Steven Schmader said the international panel of judges noted that among the many great world cities considered for the award and recognition, Sydney consistently stands out as a leader in all that they do.
“It is a tribute to the combined leadership of Destination NSW, your city and events, that Sydney is the only global destination to have received this award every year since its inception, and a pleasure to see the DNA of the successful model that you have built spreading throughout other cities across NSW, as well as being emulated by your peers around the world," Mr Schmader said. 

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Le Meridien Strengthens Presence in India With the Debut of Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa


Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), today announced the  opening of Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa in Western India. Marking the first Le Méridien resort in India, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa is the brand's ninth property in the country, further strengthening the Paris-born brand's presence throughout India. Nestled in the scenic Western Ghats, the resort is a few hours' drive from the cosmopolitan centers of Mumbai and Pune, and offers guests an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. 
“Le Méridien and India share a passion for culture, the arts and cuisine,” said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien and Westin. “As our first Le Méridien resort in India, we look forward to inviting our creative and curious minded travelers to unlock the destination through our locally-inspired programming, culinary creations and of course, relaxation.”  
Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa features 122 stylishly appointed guestrooms and suites, all complemented with private balconies that offer expansive views of the surrounding natural scenery. Each room features the brand's signature amenities and destination-inspired moments of discovery.  The brand's reinterpretation of the traditional lobby, the signature Le Méridien Hub, transforms the public space into a social gathering place. Guests are greeted by a 24-hour curated soundtrack by French Bossa Nova band Nouvelle Vague, exclusive illy coffee prepared by Master Baristas, and Sparkling cocktails, inspired by Europe's aperitif hour. 
For culinary experiences, guests can indulge in the resort's destination restaurants and bars. Latest Recipe, the interactive all day dining restaurant, features an evocative mix of international, Asian and local cuisine. Chingari, the Indian specialty restaurant, offers some of the most diverse flavours and fiery preparations of Northern India. The pool-side restaurant, Plunge Bar, allows guests to savour canapés and sublime blends and spirits, while Longitude 73transforms from a casual coffee house by day to a vibrant social scene in the evening. 
“We are pleased to unveil the spectacular Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, a highly anticipated addition to our India portfolio”, said Dilip Puri, Managing Director India and Regional Vice President South Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “With its culturally-refined design and atmosphere combined with stunning views, the resort is sure to impress and attract travelers for a refreshing break, and emerge as a leading resort in the country.” 
Owned by BrahmaCorp, the resort endorses Starwood's growing partnership with the hospitality company. “With the opening of Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, we have further strengthened our partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the world's leading hotel company,” said Ajay Agrawal, Managing Director of BrahmaCorp. 
Other resort facilities include the Explore Spa by Le Méridien with eight treatment rooms including a hammam bath treatment room and a vichy shower treatment room. The well-equipped fitness centre along with both a lagoon style swimming pool and a rooftop infinity pool make for the ideal rejuvenating experience. The resort also offers 250 square metres of banqueting space including a ballroom, four versatile meeting rooms and a well-appointed business centre. The serene outdoor venues provide for inspiring spaces for meetings and events. 
Additionally, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar offers Le Méridien Family Kids Clubwith programming that allows families to play and strengthen their bonds during their vacation. As part of the brand's global partnership with LEGO, children up to the age of 12 will also receive a complimentary LEGO Welcome Amenity to enjoy during their stay and take home as a keepsake from their travels. 
The resort provides seamless access to the quaint hill town's rich tapestry of offerings, including a curated visit, courtesy of the brand's UNLOCK ART programme, to the Devrai Art Village and the 5,000 year old Krishna Devi temple, using only the room's key card for access. In addition, guests can indulge in strawberry picking at a farm and return to cook with the chef at the hotel. 
For more information or to book, please visit www.lemeridien.com/mahabaleshwar.

Traveloscopy | 

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