On the move: Year's wrap of the latest on new airports, cruise styles and air routes

ON THE MOVE

LE LAPEROUSE, PONANT CRUISES

The Kimberley season has just gone cleaner. Ponant's stunning new Le Laperouse, currently in Australian waters, is equipped with cutting edge tech aimed at reducing its environmental impact which includes a vigorous policy of reduction in the use of fuel oil, technology negating the need to drop anchor in sensitive environments and low-energy lighting systems. See au.ponant.com; abercrombiekent.com.au  

TRAIN BRAGGING

Flight upgrades are no longer something to brag about. Instead, tell your friends about your latest rail journey with the hashtag #tagskryt, which in Swedish means "train boast". This trend to eschew carbon-heavy plane travel for lower-impact, more leisurely train travel was inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who recently undertook a speaking tour around Europe travelling entirely by train. See raileurope.com

HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUSES

Yes they're touristy, but that's precisely the point. These ubiquitous, often open-topped double-deckers are an underrated and efficient way for whistle-stop tourists and travellers alike to gain a decent overview of the city they're passing through, or for those staying longer, to orientate themselves before setting off to explore on their own. Any other means could take longer and come at a greater cost. Try them.

AIR TAHITI NUI

The ambitious phasing out of its old Airbus fleet by Air Tahiti Nui, the national carrier of French Polynesia, will be completed by September this year. The airline's  Boeing 787 Dreamliner replacements are as bright and breezy as their predecessors: turquoise livery that hints at what's to come, and warm, friendly and professional service to match the destination. See airtahitinui.com

VIKING CRUISES, KIEL CANAL, GERMANY

Advertisement

Wow, what a short-cut. Running 98 kilometres from the North Sea at Brunsbuttel, to the Baltic Sea at Kiel, the Kiel Canal was completed in 1895, initially to facilitate movement of the German navy. At 102 metres, it is so narrow you can hear the birds singing in the trees on either bank as well as hollers from excited locals gathered at ferry crossings, as the luxurious Viking Jupiter moves surreally past. See vikingcruises.com.au

THE JEWEL, CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE

The world's most awarded airport has opened its game-changing lifestyle facility to great acclaim. The $1.78 billion, Safdie Architects-designed Jewel, features glamorous shopping, unique dining and great facilities for travellers. With the June opening of its eagerly awaited Canopy Park attractions on the top level, there's now 14,000 square metres of play attractions – mazes and bouncing nets – and gardens. See jewelchangiairport.com

CHURRASCARIA, CRYSTAL CRUISES

You expect Asian, Italian and steakhouse restaurants on cruise ships, so it's a pleasant surprise to encounter a Brazilian barbecue venue on Crystal Cruises' two ocean vessels Symphony and Serenity. The informal, inclusive evening specialty restaurant features Brazilian-inspired tapas and an excellent salad buffet. Waiters circulate with skewers of top-quality prawns, chicken and beef. The pork and lamb are sensational. See crystalcruises.com

AIRLINE ROUTES EXPANDING

Airlines may be facing a fall in profits and global fares are staying low, but that's not stopping carriers from competing hard across networks and adding new destinations to their repertoire with incredible speed and frequency in 2019. This is also having an impact on overall reach. The International Air Transport Association has predicted that the number of routes served by aviation will grow from 52,000 at the beginning of the year to 58,000 at its end, an 11 per cent increase. See iata.org

RESPONSIBLE CRUISING, LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS

Ordering dinner at breakfast? This is what guests on Lindblad's Galapagos cruises are asked to do in a bid to reduce the food waste that plagues the hospitality sector. Chefs know at breakfast precisely what their guests will be eating for dinner, thus eliminating over-catering. They also serve fish that is locally caught and verifiably sustainable. See world.expeditions.com

QANTAS' A380 UPPER DECK ECONOMY

Sadly, the refurbishment of Qantas' A380s will mean the end of the small, quiet and surprisingly spacious economy mini-cabin at the rear of the A380 upper deck. The upper deck will become "all premium". Qantas' A380s should be reconfigured by the end of 2020, so get in quickly to make the most of these good seats, particularly the two-seaters. See qantas.com

LA BRASSERIE, SS BON VOYAGE

The trend to more intimate, informal cruise dining is gathering pace, and this compact, alternative eatery aboard Uniworld's Bordeaux river ship shows why. It has decor, banquettes and marble-topped tables inspired by a Parisian bistro. Great for an informal tete-a-tete without fuss, and for French favourites such as onion soup with a lid of cheese, finger-licking garlic escargots and rich beef bourguignon. See uniworld.com

ISTANBUL'S NEW AIRPORT, TURKEY

If all four phases are completed, Istanbul's new airport will be the world's biggest with six runways by 2028, and capacity for 200 million passengers annually. The airport authority aims to change the world flying map – given its strategic position for Asia, Africa and Europe – and attract passengers who want an alternative to Dubai, Frankfurt and Heathrow. Consider also, home carrier and Star Alliance member, Turkish Airlines' vast reach of 304 destinations in 120 countries, the biggest in the industry. See igairport.com/en

BLUE WATER ADVENTURES, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

Offering multi-day wildlife and wilderness eco-tours through coastal British Columbia and south-east Alaska, Bluewater cruises is the antithesis to the over fed and nearly dead cruising conventions. Group numbers are kept to a maximum of 16, with vessels gliding silently through the misty fiords of The Great Bear Rainforest and beyond where you'll see anything from whale pods to eagles and perhaps even the elusive Spirit Bear. See bluewateradventures.ca

Comments