‘Mariner’ Lazy days on the seven seas


Oh the perks of the travel agent’s life!
When we were invited to join a group on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner we accepted immediately. Here was my chance to renew acquaintance with a ship inspected several times but never travelled on. And we had a duty (we told ourselves) to follow up the reports of many satisfied clients.

Our passage would be from Fremantle to Adelaide – a segment of the Mariner’s 2008 Grand Pacific Voyage that had begun in Vancouver on September 10, and would end in Los Angeles on December 20, after visiting 49 ports in 14 countries. We would be stopping only once, at Albany.
The journey began at 7:00 pm as Mariner (berthed just a few metres in front of another large cruise ship the Dawn Princess) slid sideways, extracting herself from the wharf like a book taken from a shelf. She then made her way to open sea without help from the nearby tugboat – an elegant demonstration of manoeuverability by pod-propulsion. Those pods also keep noise and vibration to a minimum when the ship is under way.

On-board the ‘Mariner’
Mariner had scheduled an overnight stay in Fremantle and we took advantage of this to arrive a day before departure and thus use the ship as our hotel. We could come and go as we pleased, returning for meals in between excursions. We set off sightseeing in Fremantle walking the historic areas and taking a tour of the old Fremantle Jail, a highly-awarded tourist attraction. Regent had arranged a free shuttle– a service they provide in most ports for guests doing their own shore excursions.

Suite Luxury!
Every passenger suite on Mariner has something to recommend it. Even the entry-level Deluxe Suites have more than enough room for two to sit and dine in, an area of 252 sq. ft. plus a balcony of 49 sq. ft. Room service, with your meals served course by course a la degustation if you wish, is free. Fresh fruit and champagne awaited us in our suite.
Check the photos in our slideshow and you will see a sitting area with sofa, easy chair and coffee table and a writing desk, mini-bar, and tv. Beds are king-size, the walk-in wardrobe is large enough to stow clothes and luggage, and a bathtub with shower is standard. The minibar contents are complimentary and re-stocked daily. Toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, cd/dvd player, safe and overnight shoe-cleaning service are also free. And, enticing guests out of their cabins before dinner, all bar drinks and selected wines with dinner are complimentary. No chits to sign and a minimal end-of-cruise account!
And the service was great. When we ordered tea for two in our cabin it always arrived within a few minutes even during the breakfast rush hour!

Who travels on Regent? World Voyages appeal to the retired, but each cruise is different, and Regent openly welcome children on board. Certain voyages include the Club Mariner Youth Program for ages 5 to 17; voyages to Alaska and Polynesia include Ambassadors of the Environment programs for ages 9 to 17 and programs also operate with world-renowned environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau. Every voyage features lectures that add enjoyment and understanding to guests’ experiences.
Contact me – martin@travelchoice.com.au if you would to know more

Two Cunard Queens to visit Australia in 2010

Cunard has just released the news that the Queen Mary 2 and her younger sister, the Queen Victoria, will visit Australian waters in 2010. The two cruise ships will call into Fremantle and Adelaide and make an overnight visit to Sydney. Queen Mary 2 will visit the Whitsundays for the first time and the Queen Victoria will berth at Albany and Exmouth in Western Australia for the first time.
In 2007 we took the ferry across from North Sydney to Circular Quay when the Queen Mary 2 arrived with her older sister, Queen Elizabeth 2. It was shore-to-shore boats, madly jostling to get a better view of the two magnificent liners. This trip could probably have been entered in the Guinness Book of Records for the shortest ferry trip from point to point that took the longest time. By the time we reached Circular Quay it was dark and the crush at the train station was tight. We could have walked home to North Sydney in the time we took waiting for a train! but it was fun and the atmosphere was one of excitement. (I will add a slide show of our ferry trip)
Will the arrival of the Queens Mary 2 and Victoria cause the same excitement?

Starting with a special

This is the year for travel specials! We have lots of choices in the run up to Christmas – but they will probably all go within a week so make a quick decision and contact me on 02 9968 1600!
Many international ships come to cruise Australia/New Zealand waters for the southern summer.
Check these rates and then calculate what you are paying per day for full board, resort amenities, and travel. Yes, you pay for optional extras such as bar drinks and shore excursions, but cruising is a most economical way to holiday. And you unpack just once.
Diamond Princess
Sydney to Auckland (and vice versa*) – departing Jan 5, 17*, 29, Feb 10*
12 nights from $995 per person twin-share (ppts) inside cabin; or $1,395 ocean view
Aurora – P&O Worldwide cruise ship
14th Feb 2009 – Singapore to Sydney via Darwin, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays.
16 nights from $1,995.00 interior, $2,560 Ocean View, $4,145 Balcony – all ppts.
True North – luxury Australian expedition ship
10th January – Southern Explorer
8 nights of luxury including award-winning cuisine, and daily shore excursions, while you explore from Adelaide to Ceduna visiting Cape Jervis, the Gambier Islands, Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay, and return by light plane to Adelaide at the end of your cruise.. (it’s now almost booked out) fare is $5748.00 ppts (and that’s half-price!).
And there’s even a Cocktail Cruise on Sydney Harbour, departing nightly at 5:00 pm, returns 7:00 pm and includes a cocktail and canapés – try it as an alternative to the pre-Christmas pub get-together!

Martin

You can email martin@travelchoice.com.au if you would like any more info on these offers!