Southern Australia Sojourn: 12 nights in January 2013

This cruise on the lovely Crystal Symphony begins in Melbourne and disembarkation takes place in Brisbane. It takes in 5 of Australia's bigger cities, and spends several days in each one to allow time to appreciate each one.

After the laid-back and cultured Melbourne, the first port of call is Adelaide. The capital of South Australia, it is known for the surrounding wine country and the excellent city planning which makes Adelaide's central area easy to navigate.  A great city to walk on foot! Next is Hobart, Tasmania's metropolis. Hobart is full of history, founded in 1804 as a penal colony and now a friendly city, port, capital and centre of antarctic operations. Visit the extensive Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens or the museums and art galleries. Because the cruise allows 2 days in all cities, there is plenty of time for exploration and/or shore tours.

Adelaide River
by JAK SIE MASZ Flickr Creative Commons

Sydney comes after Hobart, and needs little introduction. A busy, vibrant world city with lots going on, it is Australia's biggest urban centre and packed with things to do. Bondi is one of the city's famous beaches along with Manly on the northern side of the harbour. The ship docks in Darling Harbour where you can easily access the central city which includes the iconic Opera House and bridge along with fabulous eating and shopping.

After 2 days in Sydney, the ship moves on to Brisbane, the final destination. There is one day and night onboard here before disembarkation, so plenty of time to look around before packing your bags! Brisbane is coming in to its own as a city, and is no longer the country cousin to Sydney. It is however very laid-back, so enjoy the slower pace! Wander the river banks and shop or eat in the great Queen Street Mall.

Crystal Symphony
by Trondheim Havn Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: Crystal Cruises
Vessel: Crystal Symphony
Ports of Call: Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane.
Sailing Dates: Saturday 5th January 2013- Thurs 17th January 2013.

Cruise Itinerary

Length of Cruise: 12 nights

Day 1: Melbourne, embark Sat 5 Jan 16:00
Day 2: Melbourne, depart Sun 6 Jan 06:00
Day 3: Adelaide, arriving Mon 7 Jan 08:00
Day 4: Adelaide, departing Tues 8 Jan 17:00
Day 5: At sea
Day 6: Hobart, arriving Thurs 10 Jan 13:00
Day 7: Hobart, departing Fri 11 Jan 17:00
Day 8: At sea
Day 9: Sydney, arriving Sun 13 Jan 08:00
Day 10: Sydney, departing Mon 14 Jan 17:00
Day 11: At sea
Day 12: Brisbane, arriving Wed 16 Jan 08:00
Day 13: Brisbane, disembarking Thurs 17 Jan 08:00

About the Crystal Symphony

Crystal's hallmarks are their exemplary service, great quality and abundance of choice.  The Crystal Symphony's cabins and suites are luxurious and comfortable, andthe dining top-notch. The Lido Cafe is the buffet option, whilst full a-la-carte dining happens in The restaurant, and is varied and delicious, and the service is impeccable as always. Other dining venues include the Trident Bar and Grill and The Bistro, and there are several specialty restaurants of varying cuisines with a small cover charge. On sea days, passengers can enjoy a great poolside buffet. To fill the time, you can try the enrichment offerings of Crystal's Creative Learning Institute, relax in the beautiful spa, swim in the pool, work out or join in on the many organised activities such as bingo, scrabble and trivia. For the evenings, Luxe is the ship's nightclub, and she has several other bars and a theatre, the Galaxy Lounge.

See here for great deals on the Southern Australia Sojourn cruise!

Sunshine Melodies: 9 nights in January 2013

This 9- night cruise on the Pacific Pearl to some amazing destinations in French Polynesia will relax and amaze you! The first stop after a few days chilling onboard the Pearl is Port Vila, the charming capital of Vanuatu. Here you can peruse the handicraft markets and just explore the amazing tropical town. There are several shore tours available here including a visit to the chief's meeting house! The next stop is the tiny and uninhabited Mystery Island in Vanuatu, then the gorgeous Isle of Pines in New Caledonia, famous for its pine trees, white sand and turquoise water- a true paradise! Enjoy a few more days at sea and take advantage of the ship's facilities on the way back to Sydney.

Port Vila
by Phillip Capper Flickr Creative Commons

Operator: P&O Australia
Vessel: Pacific Pearl
Ports of Call: Sydney, Port Vila, Mystery Island, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Tuesday 8 January 2013- Thursday 17 January 2013

Cruise Itinerary:

Length of cruise: 9 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Tues 8 Jan 16:00
Day 2-4: At sea
Day 5: Port Vila, Sat Jan 12 08:00- 19:00
Day 6: Mystery Island, Sun Jan 13 08:00-18:00
Day 7: Isle of Pines, Mon 14 Jan 08:00- 16:00
Day 8-9: At sea
Day 10: Sydney, arriving Thurs 17 Jan 07:00

About the Pacific Pearl

The Pearl provides a great holiday, with both opportunities to unwind and do nothing and enough activity and entertainment so you'll never be bored! There are loungers around the pool,  spas, an adults-only area with luxury loungers and a bar, and a spa favcility with amazing treatments available. For those wishing to be a bit more active, there is the rock-climbing wall, mini-golf, sport courts and a fully-equipped gym. For evening entertainment, there is always something going on in the bars and the theatre. Dining happens a la carte in the main dining room or at a varied buffet, and there is the Salt Grill restaurant for a gourmet experience- this has a small cover charge.

Pacific Pearl
by Doug Beckers Flickr Creative Commons

See here for great deals on the Sunshine Melodies Cruise in January 2013!

Pacific Treasures: 10 nights in January 2013

by prayitno Flickr Creative Commons

This cruise to some French Polynesian destinations on the Oosterdam with Holland America is one of the Pacific cruises we all know and love, but with a different spin- as the Holland America Line ships bring something else- a bit of tradition and old-school glamour. The line is known for its eclectic and thoughtful collections of art onboard, and the special touch services- like waiters roaming the decks with cool lemonade or hot soup depending on the weather!

The ship leaves from Sydney and stops first in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia. This lovely city takes its culture from both the French immigrants and the native Kanak people. Port Vila is next, a charming city in Vanuatu where you can peruse the markets or watch fishing boats come and go in the busy natural harbour. Two unspoilt tropical paradises are the next destinations: Mystery Island in Vanuatu and the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. Both have small populations, white sand, blue water and friendly natives to relax and entertain you before the ship returns to Sydney over a few sea days.

Operator: Holland America Line
Vessel: Oosterdam
Ports of Call: Sydney, Noumea, Port Vila, Mystery Island, Isle of Pines
Sailing Dates: Wednesday 2 January 2013- Saturday 12 January 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 10 nights

Day 1: Sydney, departing Wed 2 Jan 18:30
Day 2-3: At sea
Day 4: Noumea, Sat 5 Jan 08:00-12:00
Day 5:  At sea
Day 6: Port Vila, Mon 7 Jan 08:00- 17:00
Day 7: Mystery Island, Tues 8 Jan 08:00- 17:00
Day 8: Isle of Pines, Wed 9 Jan 08:00- 17:00
Day 9-10: At sea
Day 11: Sydney, arriving Sat 12 Jan 07:00

About the Oosterdam

The Oosterdam is one of Holland America's Vista class ship, and brings a bit of youthfulness to the traditional Holland America design. To keep passengers busy, there is a Culinary Arts centre for lessons in food and cooking, and Digital Workshop, a computing education facility. Other organised activities include bingo, language classes, quizzes and sports, as well as the nighttime shows and live music.  Holland America once had a reputation for bland and boring dining, but this has been overhauled and now the menu onboard is top-notch. The main dining room offers traditional dining times or open dining, and there is a buffet, along with several casual lunch options and the specialty Pinnacle Grill which has a small cover charge. Room service is free with a good menu. There is a gym and 3 pools onboard.

See here for great deals on the Pacific Treasures Cruise in January 2013!

Bali and Lombok Cruise: 11 nights in January 2013

by Bart Speelman Flickr Creative Commons

Something for the west coasters! Classic International Cruises is offering this Bali and Lombok Cruise from Perth on the stately and intimate Athena in January 2013. Be warned, there are many sea days on this cruise, but if you want a lot of relaxation at sea, it will be the cruise for you! With only 650 passengers, the Athena is a relaxed and intimate ship and will provide you the opportunity to make friends with your fellow cruisers.The two port stops in Indonesia, Bali and Lombok, will take you a world away with exotic villages and incredible beaches. Bali is a well-known and loved tourist destination, Lombok lesser-known and more untouched. Both will knock your socks off! The cruise stops in at Geraldton, a city in Western Australia, before arriving back in Perth.

Operator: Classic International Cruises
Vessel: Athena
Ports of Call: Perth, Bali, Lombok, Geraldton
Sailing Dates: Departing Wed Jan 2 2013, arriving Sun Jan 13 2013

Cruise Itinerary

Length of cruise: 11 nights

Day 1: Perth, departing Wed Jan 2 14:00
Day 2-4: At sea
Day 5-6: Bali, Sun Jan 6 14:00- Mon Jan 7 23:30
Day 7: Lombok, Tues Jan 8 06:00- 17:00
Day 8-10: At sea
Day 11: Geraldton, 10:00-17:00
Day 12: Perth, arriving Sun Jan 13 10:00

About the Athena:

The Athena is a handsome-looking ship and quite traditional, with a full walk-around deck. Dining has two sittings in the main dining room, or there is a relaxed buffet for eating on your own schedule. Five plush lounges and bars include a show lounge, a nightclub, a cinema and a casino, and there is also a library, card room and internet cafe. Sporting activities are available, as are a pool and sauna. The highlight of the Athena is her small size- with 650 passengers, it is easy to make friends and you will receive attentive and personalised service.

Click here for great deals on the Bali and Lombok Cruise in January 2013!