Cheap phone roaming and travel insurance in one

Holidays: a time to connect

Knocking two of the biggest travel concerns on the head with one blow, an Australian company is combining discount travel insurance with a SIM card that it says facilitates cheap overseas roaming charges.

Roaming Insurance is offering a 30 per cent discount on QBE standard rates for those aged under 70 with no pre-existing medical conditions when they book online.

Every policy purchase includes a complimentary RoamingSIM card, which the company says "can save users up to 90 per cent on global telecommunications roaming for international travellers".


Centennial fleet celebrations

Dinner cruises will give spectators box seats for what is sure to be a spectacular event, the Royal Australian Navy's Centennial Fleet Review in October.

Cruise Express, for one, has chartered Sydney Glass Island, a 23-metre-long, three-storey floating function venue, which gives 360-degree water views through three-metre-high floor-to-ceiling windows from the main dining room. The top deck is open air. It will host a four-hour, all-inclusive dinner during the celebrations.

Other regular Sydney Harbour operators, such as Australian Cruise Group and Captain Cook Cruises, have similar experiences on offer.

The October 5 event will involve the biggest armada since the 1988 Australian Bicentenary display on the harbour. Fifty-three naval vessels and tall ships from around the world will gather to mark the Australian navy's first fleet arrival in Sydney Harbour in October 1913.

During the day there will be parades, fly-pasts and aerobatic displays, while the evening's proceedings will include a fireworks display.

The Cruise Express trip leaves from King Street Wharf in Darling Harbour about 6pm. It costs $199 a person and includes a three-course dinner and drinks. Cruise Express also has an additional accommodation package including two nights at the Grace Hotel for $475 a room (single or twin share).


Avalon goes Amazonian

In other cruising news, river-cruising company Avalon Waterways has included the Peruvian Amazon as part of its 2014 offerings.

It's the first time the company has cruised the route and it will do so with a vessel designed especially for the Amazon. The 45-metre Aria has 16 suites and oozes luxury, with large floor-to-ceiling windows so guests miss nothing as the vessel goes deep into the jungle.

Avalon promises visits to indigenous communities, unique wildlife, tours in Cusco and, naturally, visits to Machu Picchu.

The itineraries start in February ex-Lima and are priced from $6099 a person, twin share, on early-bird bookings.


Explore with MoVida's Camorra

The MoVida restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne have moved Spanish cuisine from the periphery of the Australian food scene to front and centre. And the man behind them, Barcelona-born Frank Camorra, who spent the first five years of his life in Cordoba, Andalusia, is nothing short of a culinary god to many.

His restaurants and array of cookbooks have garnered many an award and continue to prove his popularity.

Camorra fans will be delighted to hear he will host a tour to his native Spain later this year.

In collaboration with MPT Worldwide Journeys, the Uncover Spain with Frank Camorra tour will depart September 29 and for 13 days immerse participants in southern Spanish cuisine and culture through Camorra's eyes.

Camorra will have a professional tour guide and Spain expert as co-host.

Uncover Spain with Frank Camorra is priced from $10,950 a person, twin share (flights not included). MPT Worldwide Journeys is currently offering an early-bird special on the tour: book by April 30 for a $500 saving a person on that price.


AFL blows into Wellington

Who knew that Kiwis could be interested in AFL? Well, Kiwis are interested in sport, full stop.

Hence, the St Kilda Saints versus Sydney Swans AFL game on Anzac Day in Wellington, which marks the first time a regular-season AFL match will be played outside Australia, is attracting strong interest, with more than 16,000 tickets sold for the 34,000-capacity Westpac Stadium game.

"Momentum is really building for what will certainly be a big crowd and atmosphere for this historic occasion," Wellington events councillor John Morrison says.

Air New Zealand flies daily to Wellington direct from Sydney.