Botanica World Discoveries Tours has released its 2018-19 program, which showcases more than 40 garden-themed cruises and other tours. An extended program in Europe includes a grand train journey on the Golden Eagle Danube Express from Budapest to Venice, and an exclusively chartered river cruise along the Rhine and Moselle rivers that explores castle gardens, and visits to the Netherlands and Belgium during the tulip season. Other cruises include a 13-day "China Gardens" itinerary in early 2019 and a 15-day "US Mansions and Gardens" cruise on the Hudson River and Great Lakes in autumn 2018.
Phone 1300 305 202. See botanica.travel
Celebrity Cruises has released a new range of in-depth shore excursions for small groups. The "Discovery Collection" will initially be offered on cruises in the western Mediterranean, with more added globally as the year progresses. Among the tours, guests can visit a 17th-century underground vault and wine shop, enjoy lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and visit St Paul de Vence while in Nice. In Barcelona, guests can opt for medieval music in Basilica del Pi's bell tower, while in Mallorca they can explore the countryside, enjoy a piano concert and visit an ancient monastery.
Phone 1800 754 500. See celebritycruises.com.au
Abercrombie & Kent has exclusively chartered Ponant's new vessel Le Laperouse for a Kimberley cruise in June 2019. The 12-night journey from Broome to Darwin includes a stop at Buccaneer Archipelago, a jet-boat tour to Horizontal Falls, a low-tide experience at Montgomery Reef, bushwalking and cave art at Raft Point, a visit to Prince Regent Nature Reserve and a helicopter ride to Mitchell Falls. The rock art of Bigge Island is also part of the journey, plus crocodiles and turtles at Low Rocks, the King George River and a Bungle-Bungles scenic flight.
Phone 1300 851 800. See abercrombiekent.com.au
Cruise Traveller has partnered with Indian river-cruise company Adventure Resorts and Cruises to create a new 12-night cruise-tour package that combines the Taj Mahal with one of India's least-visited destinations, Assam. A five-night tour of Rajasthan and Agra is followed by a seven-night cruise on the Brahmaputra River in far-north-east India, a region that sees few tourists yet boasts abundant wildlife. The cruise aboard the 46-passenger Mahabaahu offers complimentary excursions and activities such as morning yoga and visits to remote tribal villages. The "Indian Safari and Taj Mahal" journey departs Australia on December 3, 2018.
Phone 1800 507 777. See cruisetraveller.com.au
Pandaw River Expeditions launched its first ocean cruise on the classic 1960s motor yacht Andaman Explorer last November with a seven-night "Mergui Archipelago" itinerary in Myanmar. Now the boutique cruise company has announced a new, limited-edition "Burma Coastal Voyage" that also sails the Mergui Archipelago. The 10-night cruise departs from Yangon on November 5 and 18, 2018, and January 5 and 18, 2019, and visits port towns Kawthaung, Mawlamyine, Myeik and Dawei as well as the little-known Mergui islands, with opportunities to kayak, snorkel, bird watch and uncover colonial history, as well as encounter local villagers.