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Blogs & Conversations


At Holidays of Australia & the World travel is our passion.
We eat, live and breathe it.

So naturally we’re very keen on sharing the excitement around.

Our consultants  - as well as our travel suppliers and partners - love talking about  where they’ve been, what interesting things they’ve seen and the amazing discoveries they’ve recently made.

All that and more is revealed here in our Blogs and Conversations. It’s all about Holidays of Australia & the World keeping you up to date with the latest news, the insider secrets and the fun facts of travel.

So ensure you keep coming back to our little hot spot of travel news regularly. Because you wouldn’t want to miss anything!


Check out our posts below!

A beginner's guide to
transiting Singapore's
Changi Airport
Royal Caribbean Expands Season from Marina Bay
$10,000 a night suite books out aboard luxury ship
MSC Seaview to Launch in 2018 in Western Med
Upgraded QM2 Arrives in Brooklyn
P&O reveals details on the new Pacific Explorer

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MSC Seaview to Launch in 2018 in Western Med

Tuesday, 5 July 2016  

MSC Cruises announced today that the second of its Seaside-generation of ships will be named MSC Seaview and launch in June of 2018. She will spend her inaugural season cruising the Western Mediterranean, with three major ports of embarkation: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona. “Our Company’s heritage lies in the Mediterranean and it was only natural that MSC Seaview — our third next-generation smart ship which comes into service in June 2018 — would be deployed in its historic and culture-rich waters,” said Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises. “Guests can now plan their vacation and experience everything that this ever popular region has to offer from on board one of the industry’s most innovatively-designed ships at sea.” “We are proud of our partnership with Fincantieri in realizing our vision for this innovatively-designed, new generation of smart ships at sea,” said Onorato.

Source: Cruise Industry News
Date posted: Tuesday, 5 July 2016


Upgraded QM2 Arrives in Brooklyn

Thursday, 7 July 2016  

Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 sailed into its U.S. homeport, Brooklyn, on July 6 after a significant refit costing in the region of $132 million.

Cunard said the ship "has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, many of which take their design inspiration from the original Queen Mary."
A number of VIPs were in attendance at the U.S. Remastering launch which included a day of celebration and fanfare. Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, commented on the occasion, “More than any other ship in our Carnival Corporation fleet of more than one hundred ships, Queen Mary 2 is the most famous, the most recognizable and certainly the most unique. It was the dream of our Chairman Micky Arison to build the Queen Mary 2 almost 15 years ago. He aspired to recreate that luxurious ocean liner experience from the past and Queen Mary 2 is the glorious result.”

The refit was conducted at a shipyard in Hamburg, one of the only shipyards in the world large enough to hold Queen Mary 2.

Source: Cruise Industry News
Date posted: Thursday, 7 July 2016


P&O reveals details on the new Pacific Explorer

Friday, 8 July 2016  

Barefoot bowls and a supper club are among the features on P&O’s latest ship Pacific Explorer, which will sail on its inaugural voyage in June 2017.
Details of the ship were revealed in Sydney last night at Luna Park in front of about 100 media and travel agents.

Despite the lousy weather, P&O Cruises president Sture Myrmell was upbeat as he spoke of Pacific Explorer’s features, which include two water slides, supper club, poolside Lobster & Burger bar, flying fox, barefoot bowls, contemporary Italian restaurant Angelo’s and hidden bar. And, of course, another Luke Mangan Salt grill, which will be positioned overlooking the main pool area.

“We’ve added a whole new layer of excitement with some big wow moments like the waterslides, as well as new concepts like the bowling green and a stunning hidden bar, which we think will put a smile on our guests’ faces,” said P&O Cruises president Sture Myrmell.
Pacific Explorer will be home to P&O’s first waterpark at sea, with a shaded area for kids featuring a dump bucket and oversized water toys. The P&O Adventure Park will have a flying fox.
Among the food offerings are a pizza restaurant, international food market place The Pantry (included new entry Nic and Toni’s serving Mediterranean cuisine),and Asian restaurant Dragon Lady.
The ship is currently sailing as Dawn Princess, and will be refitted in May/June next year before its first voyage – around the Pacific – from Sydney on June 22, 2017.
She will join the P&O fleet of Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden. Pacific Pearl remains in the P&O family until March, 2017, when she will transfer to British company Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

Fares on the inaugural 10-night Pacific Explorer sailing start at $1249 pp quad share.

Source: Cruise Passenger
Date posted: Friday, 8 July 2016


Royal Caribbean Expands Season from Marina Bay

Wednesday, 10 August 2016  
The Ovation of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas will be back in Singapore from this October to next May to offer Royal Caribbean International’s longest-ever homeporting season at Marina Bay, which will run for eight months totalling 55 cruises and expected to bring an estimated 200,000 guests to ports in Southeast Asia. 

The deployment of these three ships will increase Royal Caribbean’s capacity in 2017 in Southeast Asia by 30 percent over 2016. Ovation will also sail in Australia.

To kick start the season is Mariner of the Seas from this October with 39 sailings until next March, ranging from three to seven nights to popular destinations such as Penang, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My). The new itineraries for the season are the 3-night Penang Weekend Cruise which will feature night touring and the 4-night Phuket Cruise.

The Ovation of the Seas which was in Singapore in June, will be back in March to April 2017 with a total of 10 new sailings, comprising three to five nights to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and a 12-night one-way cruise to Tianjin with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) for an overnight, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Hong Kong and Seoul (Incheon). 

Following this will be Voyager of the Seas returning in May 2017 to offer six sailings of three to five night Southeast Asian itineraries to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Penang, Phuket and an 8-night one-way cruise to Hong Kong, with stopovers at Bangkok (Laem Chabang) for an overnight, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Nha Trang.

Source: Cruise Industry News
Date posted: Wednesday, 10 August 2016

$10,000 a night suite books out aboard luxury ship

Saturday, 9 July 2016  



Regent Seven Seas’ claim to have built the world’s most luxurious ship was put to the test in the Mediterranean this week when Cruise Passenger got the chance to try out the Seven Seas Explorer.
We were among the lucky few on board a special “shake down” cruise, designed to iron out any last minute problems with the newly-built vessel.

Our verdict:

In an ever-growing luxury market, this ship sets standards others are going to find hard to beat.
Seabourn, Ponant and Crystal Cruises are all expecting new-builds or announcing them in the luxury sector, and smaller vessels from Scenic and Crystal in the expedition sector will also step up capacity.
Australians are a target for the new breed of decadent cruising, where nothing is spared in a bid to meet the every whim of passengers. We are already in the top four country’s providing this line with passengers, along with the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The new Regent, however, is really something else. Regent CEO and President Frank Del Rio told us he was already working on Explorer II (a working title) to be completed in 2020.

Mr Del Rio, who is also head of Norwegian Cruise Lines and Oceania, made the Explorer his personal creation. And he makes no apologies for its claim to be the most luxurious ever built.

He said: “Good old conspicuous consumption – that’s all over. But luxury is back to reward success and not to vilify wealth. “It’s more than OK to enjoy the best of the best.”  And the Seven Seas Explorer is certainly aiming to be that.

The newly-built $485 million vessel carries only 750 guests, and boasts one of the highest space ratios in the cruise industry. It has 552 crew members – 1.36 guest-to-crew ratio.

It has a new French and Asian specialty restaurant, a Canyon Ranch spa and a huge gym.
It also has one of the biggest suites afloat.

The two-bedroom, 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite comes complete with an in-room spa retreat decorated with gold leaf, two Picasso paintings, a US$150,000 main-room bed, and a custom made Steinway Arabesque piano by famed designer Dakota Jackson. It also features an outdoor, glass-enclosed sitting area named the Vista Garden that provides magnificent, unobstructed 270-degree views over the ship’s bow.

It was marketed at US$10,000 per night per person.  Now Mr Del Rio since he undercharged, as the take up has been so strong, and the price could well be revised. “The opulence and elegance of the Regent Suite is unmatched in the luxury vacation segment, and it truly epitomizes the standard of the entire vessel,” said Jason Montague, president and chief operating officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“With Seven Seas Explorer, we built a ship that far surpasses the current standard for luxury and bears the distinction of being the most luxurious ship ever to set sail.”
A first for any cruise ship, the Regent Suite features a master bathroom spa retreat that delivers all the pampering comforts of the Canyon Ranch SpaClub without leaving the suite’s lavish comforts.

A treatment area, full sauna, ceramic heated relaxation lounges and multi-jet shower are at guests’ 24- hour disposal. Included in its treatments, exclusive to the Regent Suite only: Citrus Drench, Diamond Rose Massage and O2 Body Perfection.

An oversized hot tub located adjacent to the spa retreat looks out over the ocean and is enclosed by glass, protecting guests from the outside elements while still providing an al fresco ambience.
The all-suite ship features an unprecedented collection of luxury suites, across 10 different category levels.
Each features oversized bathroom highlighted by rich marble and decorative tile.
In the words of the line’s press pack: “All suites are designed to provide guests with an ambience that exudes luxury while also offering a warm and comfortable respite. Seven Seas Explorer features the largest balconies in the cruise industry, offering a spacious outdoor oasis for guests to enjoy the scenic vistas and ocean breezes.”

We can attest, after travelling with the ship’s designers, that the size and level of attention to detail is extraordinary. There are 2,500 pieces of art valued at more than US$6 million.

There are five restaurants, including signature restaurants Compass Rose and La Veranda. Three specialty restaurants – Pacific Rim is Pan-Asian, Prime 7 is a glamorous steakhouse and Chartreuse is a tantalizing new gourmet specialty restaurant that features a classic French menu with a modern twist.
Explorer includes a Culinary Arts Kitchen, a hands-on cooking school.

The line’s fares include all-suite accommodations, round-trip air, highly personalized service, acclaimed cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, all gratuities, and a pre-cruise luxury hotel package for those guests staying in concierge and higher class suites.
An eight-day cruise from Monte Carlo to Rome costs US$10,459 per person in the master suite and US$21,689 in the Regent Suite.

Beginning in summer 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will also include Business Class air for all intercontinental flights. The line operates three other all-suite vessels: Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Mariner, and Seven Seas Voyager. The Explorer is holding its inaugural season in the Mediterranean before heading to Miami for a series of Caribbean voyages. She will be officially christened in Monte Carlo this week by Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Find out more at www.rssc.com

Source: Cruise Passenger
Date posted: Saturday, 9 July 2016

A beginner's guide to transiting Singapore's Changi Airport

Wednesday, 20 July 2016  
Connecting flights often prove challenging for travellers and the actual ‘how to’ can vary from one city to the next, but here at Singapore’s Changi Airport transiting couldn’t be simpler – even for first-time jetsetters or those taking their inaugural international business trip.
For starters, Changi has three terminals, all for international flights, and which are conveniently numbered as T1, T2 and T3.
Qantas, Emirates and British Airways flights depart from and arrive into Terminal 1; SriLankan Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot use Terminal 2; Jet Airways flies through Terminal 3 and Singapore Airlines uses both Terminals 2 and 3, yet all of its Australian and European routes fly through only T3.
The three terminals are all connected ‘airside’, so if you arrive into one terminal but your onward flight departs from another – such as flying Qantas into Terminal 1 and connecting to Jet Airways in Terminal 3 – there’s no need to clear immigration or to leave and re-enter the building.

Connecting at Changi Airport: the basics

Stepping off your first flight, you’ll be delivered straight into the departure lounge among all other travellers. If you already have your onward boarding pass and any luggage has been tagged through, you’re free to head straight to your next departure gate, or to a lounge if you have access.
Navigating the airport is incredibly easy with clear signage wherever you look…
… and which often provides a rough estimate of how far you are from your desired gate:
Many assistance kiosks are also scattered throughout the terminals which allow you to enter your flight number manually or simply scan your boarding pass to receive visual directions to your boarding gate…
… and again, with a time estimate from your current location.

Connecting at Changi Airport: changing terminals

While it’s possible to walk from one end of one terminal to the far end of another, the sheer size of Changi can see that trek taking over an hour – instead, look for the Skytrain which runs between the terminals, arrives every few minutes and moves you around in mere moments.
Different trains move in different directions, so check the screens before you hop aboard. In this case, the Skytrain was bound for Terminal 1, taking us there from Terminal 3.
The trains are all driverless, so for a stickybeak of the airport around you, head to the front of the carriage where you’ll have a perfect view.
Note however that the normal Skytrain route from Terminal 3 (B gates) to Terminal 2 (E gates) is currently closed due to airport redevelopment works, so if that’s the route you were taking, follow the temporary shuttle bus signage instead:

Connecting at Changi: baggage but no boarding pass

If you’ve arrived but don’t have your onward boarding pass, instead keep your eyes peeled for the transfer counters (or ‘transfer lounges’) throughout the terminal concourse.
Some transfer counters cater only to specific airlines, but to make things easier for travellers each offers a printed list of airlines and shows which transfer counter you should approach for each one to check-in for your onward flight.
In most cases your luggage will be sent right through to your final destination and won’t need to be touched in Singapore, although in a few scenarios – particularly with low-cost airlines like Scoot – you may need to clear passport control, collect your baggage and then proceed to check-in again.
It’s certainly not the most convenient route, so make your first stop the transfer counter and see if they can help before taking that time-consuming detour.

Connecting at Changi Airport: security screening

Unlike most other airports where you’d first go through security screening and then enter the main departures area, Changi reserves the security formalities for the actual departure gate just before take-off.
Each gate or group of gates is separated as its own secure area and ‘closes’ either 10 or 20 minutes before departure, depending on the particular flight and airline.
For that reason, even if you’re flying in business or first class, it’s wise to arrive at the gate a little earlier than usual to avoid rushing through security, being stuck behind a long queue, or worse, missing your flight.
As you’d expect of any international airport, you’ll also be asked to remove your jacket before stepping through the metal detector and to separate both your laptop and any liquids from your bag, which you’ll have practiced before leaving Australia.
For more information about connecting between flights in Singapore, head to the Changi Airport website.
Source: Australian Business Traveller
Date posted: Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Our Blogs & Conversations


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A beginner's guide to transiting Singapore's Changi Airport

Royal Caribbean Expands Season from Marina Bay

$10,000 a night suite books out aboard luxury ship

MSC Seaview to Launch in 2018 in Western Med

Upgraded QM2 Arrives in Brooklyn

P&O reveals details on the new Pacific Explorer


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