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ONE OF Australia’s favourite TV personalities has shared her river cruise highlights for 2024.

Former Sunrise presenter Melissa Doyle has appeared in a series of new videos, a blog and social media content as part of her ambassador’s role with Avalon Waterways.

“As someone who loves to travel, Avalon’s relaxed luxury, attention to detail, flexible itineraries with plenty of choice and incredible local experiences are a travel-lovers dream,” said journalist, radio presenter and author Mel.

“Unpacking once yet exploring multiple countries and all whilst being able to relax in style is what river cruising with Avalon Waterways is all about.”

Mel sailed solo for the first time in 2022 on one of Avalon’s Active & Discovery itineraries along the Danube and most recently discovered the spoils of the romantic Rhine with her husband.

“I saw little riverside towns that I would have missed if I’d been travelling by road and quaint little villages that weren’t pumping with tourists. I made new friends and added more places to my ever-growing list of cities to visit.”

Guests can read more about Melissa’s Avalon adventures on the Globus family of brands Go Live It blog here, or watch the video series here, with more to come from her later in the year.

“We look forward to sharing more stories with Mel this year and welcoming even more guests onboard Avalon Waterways in 2024, which is set to be an exciting season for us with a new Suite Ship the Avalon Alegria launching on the Douro in March and an extended season on multiple rivers in Europe to meet demand,” said Gai Tyrrell, Globus family of brands, Managing Director Asia Pacific.

viking hoists their big sale

SAVINGS ARE to be made with Viking’s Explorer Sale now on across its river, ocean and expedition voyages.

A selection of limited-time offers are available on all new bookings made before March 28 for new bookings for 2025 and 2026.

Highlights include:

  • Included return economy flights* to Europe on 2025 and 2026 river journeys and to Southeast Asia on 15-day river journeys
  • Up to $3,000 flight credit per couple* on 2025 & 2026 ocean voyages
  • Savings of up to $4,000 per couple* on select 2025 & 2026 expedition voyages (* t&c’s apply).

“With many of Viking’s 2024 sailing dates sold out on popular itineraries, booking early ensures the best value and widest possible choice of sailing dates and stateroom categories” said Michelle Black, ANZ Managing Director Viking.

“2025 introduces new sailing dates for our fastest-ever selling ocean itinerary, ‘Malta, Morocco and the Mediterranean’, which proved so popular when it launched in 2023 that it sold out in weeks.

“Our new ‘From the Arctic to Antarctica’ expedition voyage is on many a traveller’s wish list. This epic pole-to-pole expedition for modern-day explorers sails rugged landscapes, stunning fjords, towering glaciers and immense icebergs between the ends of the earth.”

The company has also announced three new, first-of-their-kind itineraries that will provide guests with exclusive access to China this year.

The new voyages range from 10 to 20 days and explore cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. They will operate from September to November on the Viking Yi Dun, formerly the Viking Sun.

Bookings for the company’s newest ship, the Viking Vesta, are now open, along with 2026 ocean voyages.

Portugal Duoro

river ships get that aussie touch

TWO NEW river ships designed specifically with Australians in mind are to be launched in Europe.

Conceived by the world-renowned, Melbourne-based Hecker Guthrie design team, APT Solara and APT Ostara will cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers in 2025.

The ships draw inspiration from the continent’s waterways, blending European elegance with unpretentious Australian ease to create a European experience through Australian eyes.

Each ship will feature six world-class, all-inclusive dining options including the main restaurant, wine cellar, conservatory, casual dining option, exclusive aft restaurant, rooftop dining, plus the additional option of in-suite dining.

On the sun deck guests will find a heated pool, alfresco dining and a lounge area. A choice of three well-appointed suite options include twin window suites, balcony suites and owner’s suites.

“The APT Solara and APT Ostara will redefine luxury river cruising, thoughtfully designed with the Australian guest in mind,” said David Cox, APT Travel Group’s CEO.

The popular 15-day ‘Magnificent Europe’ is just one of the many itineraries to showcase the new fleet in 2025. Prices start at $8,995 per person twin share. Book by April 30 for an early bird offer of flights included plus an early payment discount of $1,000 per couple.

APT is also venturing into Northern Europe in 2025 with three new small ship expedition cruising itineraries aboard the ultra-luxury Seabourn Venture.

new cruise campaign is a real beauty

MSC CRUISES have just launched their new global integrated marketing campaign.

The TV campaign, entitled “For a greater beauty”, encourages audiences to discover the beauty of cruising in a more conscious way with a profound respect for the ocean and the planet.

The promotion will be seen in more than 30 countries worldwide through a mix of marketing channels including TV, out of home, print media, digital and social media.

It was filmed by Australian director Kiku Ohe who is known for his ability to craft compelling visual narratives and elicit authentic character-driven performances.

The TV spot was filmed on board MSC World Europa, the fleet’s first ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and features the latest environmental technology.

MSC Cruises is firmly committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions for its marine operations by 2050.

Taylor Swift

swifties all at sea for cruise tribute

FANS OF Taylor Swift can make their wildest dreams come true on an Aussie cruise homage to the American pop star.

Dedicated ‘Swifties’ will shake it off aboard Ovation of the Seas when she sails on a three-night voyage from Sydney beginning on February 20, 2025.

Events At Sea is organising ‘Karma is a Cruise’ group, a fan led Swift-themed celebration aboard.

“Our group is a celebration of Taylor Swift’s incredible music and the vibrant community she has created,” said Laura Clarke, Events at Sea Founder.

“It’s more than a vacation; it’s a gathering of friends, united by our love for Taylor’s artistry. Let’s keep the Taylor magic alive in 2025!”

Planned activities include ‘Shake It Off Shake-Up’ welcome mixer, door decorating contest, ‘Your on your own Kid’ friendship bracelet making party, ‘Red Clues Rendezvous’ scavenger hunt, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ dance rebellion, ‘Sing It Like Swift’ karaoke and ‘Teardrops on My Trivia: The Ultimate Swift’ quiz with prizes to be won.

Packages start at $632 per person. Cruise fare, port fees, taxes, gratuities, accommodation, all meals and snacks are included.

Prices are per person for double occupancy staterooms. Pricing for single, triple and quad occupancy staterooms are available on request. There must be at least one adult age 18 or above occupying each stateroom.

Messi Royal Caribbean


ship ceremony gets a little messi

ONE OF the world’s top sports stars has officially named the world’s largest cruise liner.

The all-new Icon of the Seas made her official debut at a standout naming celebration in Miami.

Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi was on hand to preside over the ceremony in front of Royal Caribbean executives, passengers and crew.

“Family is everything to me and it was exciting to take part in welcoming what is the world’s best family vacation to Miami,” said Messi, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of Icon.

“Everything I’ve seen on Icon of the Seas is next level. There are experiences for the whole family to make memories that they’ll remember forever.”

The ceremony was held on the AquaDome neighbourhood and also featured four-time Emmy award-winning host Mario Lopez.

“Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of dreaming, innovating and living our mission – to deliver the world’s best vacation experiences responsibly,” said Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO.

“She is the ultimate multigenerational family vacation, forever changing the status quo in family travel and fulfilling vacation dreams for all ages on board.”

Icon of the Seas features eight neighbourhoods, six waterslides, seven pools and more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges.

french flair heading back to the kimberley

PONANT HAVE launched their 2025 Kimberley season with 18 departures available to book between May and September 2025.

Le Jacques-Cartier will return for a second year in the region after her inaugural season in the Kimberley in 2024 alongside sister Le Soléal.

Sailing the 10-night ’Australia’s Iconic Kimberley’ itineraries between Broome and Darwin, guests on both vessels will explore the beauty of the region and be immersed in the untouched landscapes and fascinating indigenous culture.

Journeys will be intimate with a limited capacity of 132 staterooms and suites aboard Le Soléal and only 90 aboard Le Jacques-Cartier. The 11-day, 10-night sailings are priced from $10,170 per person.

“As award winning expedition leaders in the region, we are excited to showcase our expertise and continue to provide the unrivalled experience our Ponant expeditions are known for,” said Deb Corbett, General Manager Sales & Marketing Asia Pacific.

For guests looking to experience the Kimberley in 2024/25, PONANT can now take care of all expedition arrangements effortlessly with PONANT PLUS, ensuring each guest embarks with ease and returns rejuvenated.

PONANT PLUS offers extensive added value, including flights, airport and hotel transfers, accommodation and local touring.