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Two Holland America Line Ships Explore the Pristine Beauty of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific during 2019-2020 Season

Two Holland America Line Ships Explore the Pristine Beauty of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific during 2019-2020 Season

Cruisers looking to channel their inner explorer and visit the ultimate paradise can chart a course to Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific with Holland America Line come this fall. Noordam spends the fall through spring showcasing the lands Down Under, while Maasdam charts a course on longer itineraries starting in August, including a bucket-list Australia circumnavigation.

Offering a premium, mid-sized ship experience, Noordam uncovers the enchanting isles of the South Pacific en route to Australia’s southern and eastern regions, and the North and South islands of New Zealand. Maasdam’s voyages touch the South Pacific and New Zealand on cruises from 10 to 30 days and also reach the entire coast of Australia.

“Our Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific cruises are crafted to focus on the must-explore ports, must-see sites and incredible scenic cruising — from cosmopolitan cities like Sydney to the natural beauty of Milford Sound,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Having two ships with two distinct paths makes it easier for guests to choose if they want to get a memorable taste of the region or if they want to go all in and join us on a longer adventure. No matter which itinerary they choose, guests won’t be disappointed with what awaits.”

Noordam Spends the Season Down Under Showcasing Highlights

Noordam offers cruises roundtrip from Sydney, Australia, or between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand, from October 2019 through April 2020. During the voyages, guests have unforgettable experiences with visits to iconic landmarks, some of the world’s most scenic cruising and shore excursions that feature UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The ship kicks off the season Oct. 13, 2019, with a 26-day South Pacific Crossing from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Sydney, with calls along the transpacific journey in Hawaii, American Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Noordam then begins a series of 12- to 15-day Australia and New Zealand cruises between Auckland and Sydney, including a special holiday cruise departing Dec. 21. These itineraries visit five or six ports in New Zealand as well as Hobart, Tasmania. Melbourne, Australia, is included on some of the 14-day cruises, while Port Arthur, Tasmania, is added to the 15-day itinerary. All include a day of scenic cruising in Fiordland National Park, and several departures also feature scenic cruising in Milford Sound.

Three 14-day New Zealand Discovery voyages departing in January and April sail roundtrip from Sydney and include seven or eight calls throughout the North and South islands of New Zealand, giving a comprehensive exploration of the country. The itinerary includes scenic cruising in Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park, and the April 2 departure also includes a call at Eden, Australia.

April 16, Noordam heads back across the Pacific Ocean on a 25-day journey from Sydney to Vancouver with calls in New Caledonia, Fiji, American Samoa, Hawaii and Canada.

Maasdam’s Immersive Voyages Include Unique Port Visits

From August 2019 through March 2020, Maasdam explores Australia, New Zealand, the Coral Sea and Melanesia on longer voyages that deeply immerse guests into the cultures and customs of each location. Calling at lesser-visited ports along with popular favorites, the cruises range from 10 to 30 days, including the full circumnavigation of Australia. The Maasdam’s specially curated itineraries set themselves apart with a dedicated onboard team of subject-matter experts and Excursions by Zodiac tours for up-close exploration.

Following a 29-day repositioning cruise from Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan, to Sydney, Maasdam sets its sights on New Zealand and the gorgeous islands of the Coral Sea. For travelers with less time, the 10-day New Zealand and Coral Sea cruise departing Oct. 7, 2019, is the ideal introduction to the region. Maasdam then begins a memorable 30-day Australia Circumnavigation roundtrip from Sydney. The itinerary calls at 13 Australian ports and exotic Komodo Island and includes scenic cruising in the famed Great Barrier Reef, the Torres Strait and Ribbon Reef and a sunrise at Lizard Island.

The ship’s immersive voyages continue with a series of itineraries throughout Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Melanesia and the Pacific Islands. The unique options include a 17-day cruise with six calls along Australia’s eastern coast, including Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and several ports among the southern islands of Papua New Guinea; a 20-day Pacific Islands Adventure with nine island calls and two New Zealand ports; and a 14-day Southern Australia Holiday cruise departing Dec. 23 that spends time exploring Tasmania and six ports along Australia’s south coast. The ship also sails 13-, 14- and 15-day itineraries that focus on the islands of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia.  

At the end of the season, Maasdam cruises back to San Diego, California, on a 19-day crossing from Papeete, visiting Bora Bora, Christmas Island and five ports in Hawaii. 

Book Back-to-Back Cruises with a Collectors’ Voyage

Ranging from 28 to 51 days, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Collectors’ Voyages are perfect for avid explorers seeking a more extensive cruise experience. The voyages combine back-to-back, nonrepeating itineraries and represent the best per-day value for guests.

Explorations Central (EXC) Brings Australia and the South Pacific to Life on Board

Throughout the cruises, EXC programming brings local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Guests who want to learn more about the region can attend an EXC Talk about the ports of call or head to an EXC Port to Table cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare. The Dining Room and Lido Market also will showcase the flavors of the region. On board the specially curated Maasdam itineraries, enrichment is guided by a resident team of subject-matter experts.

Cruises feature a diverse selection of Shore EXCursions that allow guests to immersively experience each port of call. Tours focus on culture, history, nature, architecture, adventure, culinary topics and family outings. Exclusive culinary-themed Shore EXCursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine showcase the regions' food scenes from a local perspective.

Maasdam also carries eight Zodiac inflatable boats, the type popularized by famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, so guests can enjoy opportunities to intimately explore less accessible sites and wildlife habitats in select ports as part of the ship’s Shore EXCursion program. A mix of onboard experts and local guides co-guide Zodiac outings to enrich the experience for guests.

Depending on itinerary length, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific cruise fares begin from $549 to $4,299 per person, double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional.

SEABOURN CONTINUES TO ELEVATE ITS AWARD-WINNING CULINARY & GUEST EXPERIENCE, WELCOMING NEW CHAMPAGNE PARTNER MONTAUDON

SEABOURN CONTINUES TO ELEVATE ITS AWARD-WINNING CULINARY & GUEST EXPERIENCE, WELCOMING NEW CHAMPAGNE PARTNER MONTAUDON

Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury travel experience, continues to raise the bar high on the art of fine food and beverage service at sea with the introductions of new brand partners this year, including the brand’s legacy of well-known Champagne service with Montaudon Brut across the entire fleet.

The new Montaudon Brut will be available across all Seabourn ships by the end of this summer season.

“Our clientele is extremely well-traveled, and they certainly appreciate quality wine and Champagne. Montaudon Brut will be a welcome surprise as we aim to enhance as well as broaden the palates of our guests,” says Gerald Mosslinger, vice president of Hotel Operations for Seabourn.

A full-bodied and fruity Champagne, Montaudon Brut is a blend of 40 percent Pinot Noir, 35 percent Pinot Meunier, and 25 percent Chardonnay that is cellar aged for two years. The flavor profile is refreshing on the nose with notes of green apples, toast and lime with a hint of iodine, giving way to notes of cherries, strawberries and peppermint. A luscious sensation of white fruit develops on the palate, with a spicy finish and a menthol aromatic aftertaste.

The new Champagne follows on the heels of the introduction of Regiis Ova caviar for the renowned Seabourn caviar service that is available for no additional charge. Regiis Ova, co-founded by culinary partner Chef Thomas Keller and Shaoching Bishop, offers Siberian Reserve (Acipenser Baerii) caviar from a family owned and operated farm in the fisherman village of San Gregorio de Polanco on the shore of the Rio Negro in Uruguay. 

Seabourn’s quest for innovation stems from a passion to provide excellence on board and the recognition that some of life's most cherished moments occur around the table, where every meal or drink is a new opportunity to celebrate. As such, the Food & Beverage talent on every ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet offers guests a journey inspired by 30 years of culinary excellence, the latest innovations and trends, and the welcoming spirit that pervades every aspect of a Seabourn experience.

Every Seabourn ship departs on a journey with 40 labels that form part of its complimentary wine list that join thousands of bottles stored in the cellar. The onboard selection often grows as a voyage progresses as Seabourn’s sommeliers go in search of local wines at ports of call in notable wine regions to bring back something special to pair with an evening’s meal. In true Seabourn style, attentive staff takes careful note of guests’ feedback and uses their responses to plan inventory for future voyages.

Even the most well-traveled guests are in for something unexpected on a Seabourn sailing. Over three decades on the seas, the cruise line has built many great and lasting relationships with vineyards that enable it to access low-allocation wines available to guests for an additional charge. Mosslinger points, for instance, to connections fostered by Seabourn’s ongoing partnership with Chef Keller, which has opened doors to Napa Valley vineyards, or another example of highly allocated Washington State wines that otherwise distribute exclusively via mailing list.

“These are wines guests won’t be able to find at a wine shop, and certainly not on the ocean,” Mosslinger noted, while also acknowledging that the line sources not only Old and New World wines with worldwide recognition, but also bottles from small vintners with distinctive terroir.

Of course, the broad diversity of beverage selections includes more than wine. Seabourn’s ships stock a wide range of complimentary premium spirits, with everything from Grey Goose vodka to Hennessy VSOP cognac available to guests. While every bartender on board is well-versed in the art of classic and contemporary cocktail-making, the line’s mixology program created through a partnership with world-renowned mixologist Brian Van Flandern keeps recipes fluid and intriguing, with local spirits – limoncello from Sorrento, for instance, or single malt Scotch from micro-distillers in Scotland – often fashioned into drinks that are reflective of the regions guests are traveling through.

Whatever the beverage, Seabourn’s service staff are kept at the top of their game through educational opportunities that enhance their level of knowledge: everything from onboard sommelier-led tastings to twice-annual tours of Napa Valley vineyards arranged for top crew where they touch and feel grapes and taste unfiltered wine straight from the barrel. 

When it comes to culinary programming, Seabourn serves to satisfy the appetite of every guest. Seabourn chefs have endless recipes allowing their teams to innovate and not repeat throughout a voyage. There is also a wide choice of cuisines and dining venues to look forward to, including updated versions of iconic American dishes at The Grill by Thomas Keller; exquisite Japanese cuisine created by skilled chefs at Sushi.

There is more, including lavish breakfast and lunch offerings and regionally themed, bistro-style dinners at The Colonnade; relaxed poolside dining highlighted by an exclusive Napa burger and artisanal hot dog developed by Chef Keller at The Patio; and imaginative dishes celebrating eclectic traditional flavors from around the world at Earth & Ocean at The Patio, an al fresco dining innovation introduced just last year. In-Suite Dining is also available around the clock, including dinner from The Restaurant timed course-by-course served in the privacy of one’s suite or veranda.

And there are unexpected innovations geared to surprise, delight and satisfy such as delicious house-made artisanal gelato made fresh onboard using a wide variety of ingredients to produce a taste-temping range of choices.

The guiding philosophy of the culinary team is to maintain Seabourn’s strong reputation and quality by sourcing the freshest, most seasonal ingredients available. Chefs often head to shore at ports of call to shop at local markets, frequently inviting guests along for the experience. “Seeing our chefs shop for the base ingredients used to prepare dishes really personalizes the journey, and guests get to see the end-product on the menu in the evening,” says Mosslinger.

Chefs come to the line with years of experience in fine hotels and restaurants, built thanks to training at some of the best culinary institutions in the world. Service crew bring their own unique level of professional experience and are then trained for up to three weeks at the onboard Seabourn Academy. Whether their role resides in front of guests or behind the scenes, the key to the exquisite dining service Seabourn provides is making guests feel welcome. Chefs come out to chat with guests, and servers are always on the lookout for ways to take a culinary experience to the next level: Such as having the kitchen prepare a special desert they overheard a guest mention in conversation.

“That’s what we call a ‘Seabourn Moment,’” says Mosslinger, “That surprise ends up being one of the most memorable parts of a guest’s overall travel experience and the fact that it was completely unexpected means it often becomes a wonderful story told over and over again long after they leave the ship.” 

Source: www.seabourn.com

Rail Europe: Travel On Bernina Express From Glaciers To The Palms

Rail Europe: Travel On Bernina Express From Glaciers To The Palms

When you travel on the Bernina Express, you will enjoy one highlight after another. There is everything from impressive constructions to spectacular views.

Gourmet delights served to your seat
“Coffee, something sweet or Prosecco!” That’s the cry heard on the Bernina Express as the minibar approaches. Friendly stewards are on hand to serve local specialities and turn a journey in the panoramic car into a true gourmet trip!

Zügen Gorge

Enjoy riding through the wild and romantic gorge. The three-kilometre-long passage in the Davos landscape takes you through rugged rock formations. The Bernina Express winds its way impressively over viaducts on one of Rhaetian Railway’s most beautiful routes.

Albula/Bernina UNESCO World Heritage route

The Albula and Bernina section of track is a masterpiece in terms of civil engineering and routing. Landscape and railway blend into one: in wide radiuses, ingenious man-made structures punctuate rugged valleys. The Landwasser Viaduct, the helical tunnels between Bergün and Preda and the Brusio Circular Viaduct all stand testimony to the early, pioneering days of the railway.

Landwasser Viaduct

The viaduct at Filisur spans the Landwasser Valley and leads directly into a tunnel. The construction of the three main pillars in 1901/02 was an outstanding architectural feat, considering that the viaduct was built using only two cranes and without scaffolding. This is the most spectacular landmark on the Rhaetian Railway and it has become famous the world over.

Alp Grüm

Enjoy this unforgettable view of the Palü Glacier, Bernina Range, Bergamasque Alps and all of Valposchiavo! Alp Grüm station is on the border between the German- and Italian-speaking areas of Switzerland – although from a geographical point of view, Alp Grüm belongs to the German-speaking area.

Valposchiavo

The valley in the southern Alps is a great place to enjoy lengthy hikes, leisurely strolls and fine regional specialities. Explore the historic heart of Poschiavo, centred around its pleasant piazza, and discover various aspects of the valley's history in one of the museums or the colourful "Spanish Quarter" built by returning emigrants. Soaking up the beautiful scenery at the Lago di Poschiavo makes a fitting end to a memorable trip.

Brusio Circular Viaduct

This viaduct turns round a 360-degree curve, lengthening the track so that it is possible to overcome the difference in altitude in the narrow Valposchiavo. The Brusio Circular Viaduct is considered the most spectacular construction on the Bernina Line.

Bernina Express Bus

The Bernina Express Bus is ready and waiting to take passengers on a leisurely drive through the picturesque landscape of Valtellina, past Lake Como, where many stars own holiday homes and Hollywood films are shot, to Tirano. With its Mediterranean flair, the destination steeped in culture and history invites visitors to enjoy sheer indulgent relaxation. 

For further enquiries, please contact your preferred travel agents or us at: RAILEUROPE@pacificworld.travel 

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Aeroflot becomes Official Airline of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019

Aeroflot becomes Official Airline of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019

Aeroflot, one of the world's premium airline brands and Russia's flag carrier, has become FIBA’s Global Partner and the Official Airline of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

This summer Aeroflot and FIBA are taking the Basketball World Cup Trophy to cities around the globe, delivering an exciting World Cup experience to fans and showcasing its greatest prize as part of basketball celebrations and FIBA's flagship competition. Under the agreement, Aeroflot holds the Presenting Partner rights for the Trophy Tour and the Trophy Ceremony that will occur following the Final in Beijing on September 15.

The contractual rights also include Aeroflot’s brand visibility on all basketball courts across the eight host cities of the World Cup and Presenting Partner rights for the "Best Flying Moments" that celebrate the most spectacular actions of the competition across FIBA's official digital platforms.

Aeroflot Deputy CEO for Strategy and Marketing Andrey Panov said: “Since the start of Aeroflot global partnerships, its brand awareness has doubled in key markets. We believe that our partnership with FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will positively impact on recognition of the Aeroflot brand and further reinforce our position in one of our key markets – China – where this year’s World Cup is taking place. We are also honoured to be the first airline that takes part in the first ever global FIBA Trophy Tour.”

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said: "We are extremely pleased to welcome Aeroflot as a FIBA Global Partner. It's an immense honour to partner with such a leading and renowned company, which we believe, will be a great partner in our mission of developing and growing basketball worldwide. We are confident the partnership will be successful for both organisations and we look forward to a fruitful cooperation."

Founded in 1923, Aeroflot today flies to 159 destinations in 54 countries and has been named the world’s most recognised airline brand according to the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

The agreement was brokered by FIBA Marketing, the strategic partnership between FIBA and Infront, which is responsible for securing multi-year agreements related to FIBA's new calendar of events.

Source: www.aeroflot.com

Hawaiian Airlines Celebrates Free In-Flight Entertainment with Donation to Local Non-Profits

Hawaiian Airlines Celebrates Free In-Flight Entertainment with Donation to Local Non-Profits

HONOLULU – Hawaiian Airlines guests who sit back and watch the carrier’s complimentary in-flight entertainment (IFE) programming when traveling in July will be supporting Hawai‘i’s arts movement while helping protect the islands’ environment.

Throughout the month, each time guests onboard Hawaiian’s flights view any IFE content, the airline will award one mile to benefit three local nonprofits featured on its Hawaiian Skies channel - Na Kama Kai, Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) and the state of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Malama Hawaiʻi initiative. 

Hawaiian offers over 100 hours of movies, and television, music and games on all Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft, with approximately 30 percent of the content highlighting Hawaii's rich culture. Hawaiian Skies gives travelers an in-depth look at the people and things that make Hawaiʻi an unparalleled destination.

"As Hawaii's airline, we are proud to share with our guests the many stories that make our island home so special. In the last year, we've featured over 300 programs that were either about Hawaiʻi, filmed in Hawaiʻi, or showcased local actors or directors," said Evan Nomura, product manager of in-flight entertainment at Hawaiian Airlines. "This month, we are excited to engage our guests as we express our mahalo to organizations that have shared their stories to entertain us but also educate us about important issues affecting our home.”

Hawaiian rolled out complimentary IFE on all transpacific flights on July 1. Guests onboard Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft enjoy seatback monitors in the Main Cabin and 13-inch tablets in the Premium Cabin. The A321neo features wireless streaming in-flight entertainment for personal devices through the Hawaiian Airlines app.

Source:  www.hawaiianairlines.com