Amsterdam to Alps
River-cruise company Tauck has a new tour for 2016. The "Rhine, Swiss Alps & Amsterdam" itinerary departs on April 4, and includes a boat tour along Amsterdam's canals; dinner and entertainment at 15th-century Ehreshoven Castle in Germany, and a visit to Siegfried's Musikkabinett, a museum of self-playing mechanical musical instruments, also in Germany. There are optional visits to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart and summit of the Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps. Book before January 2 for a complimentary night's stay (and airport transfers) in either Sofitel Amsterdam The Grand or Bellevue Palace Bern.
Phone 1300 732 300. See tauck.com.au.
APT has launched its new expedition cruises to Antarctica in 2017 and is tempting travellers with early booking deals, as always subject to availability and conditions. For example, when two people book any Antarctica holiday of 21-days or longer featuring a 10-night cruise and return international flights from Australia, one person will fly for free. Among others, the offer applies to the 22-day "Flavours of South America" land tour and cruise, which begins with time in Brazil and Argentina before a 10-night cruise on luxury expedition ship Le Boreal and a two-night stay in Santiago.
Phone 1300 196 420. See aptouring.com.au.
Hurtigruten is refurbishing four of its coastal ships in 2016, starting with Polarlys in January and moving on to Kong Harald, Nordkapp and Nordnorge. The ships will be fitted with a modern Scandinavian interior that uses natural materials such as slate, leather and wood. Reception areas, cafes, bistro and aft deck will all be renovated. A new restaurant with a modern Nordic feel will focus on local Norwegian cuisine that reflects the specialties of the area where the ship is sailing, and new barbecue stands will be added to outdoor decks.
Phone 1800 623 267. See discovertravelshop.com.au
Yangon's 114-year-old Strand Hotel, once the haunt of colonial types such as Kipling and Maugham, is just about to launch its own luxury cruise ship on the Irrawaddy River. The new 61-metre colonial-style Strand Cruise will offer 24-hour butler service, gourmet restaurant, wine cellar, spa, lounge library and swimming pool. Passengers can also enjoy guided tours, lectures, cultural shore excursions, cocktail parties and wine-paired gourmet dinners. Regular schedules start on January 4 with three-night sailings from Mandalay to Bagan departing every Friday, and four-night sailings between Bagan and Mandalay departing every Monday.
Insider Journeys has rolled out its latest offerings on a range of small-boat river cruises across Asia. Among them is another Irrawaddy journey, the 12-day "Treasures of Golden Burma" between Mandalay and Yangon, plus a 16-day "Mekong & Beyond" adventure in Cambodia and Vietnam that includes visits to Angkor Wat and a cruise along the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake, with an extension to Halong Bay and Hanoi. The company's small-group journeys guarantee a maximum of 16 travellers, with exclusive "insider experiences" with expert local guides.
Phone 1300 138 755. See insiderjourneys.com.au