Why you Should be Booking an Alaskan Cruise Right Now

Few experiences can top seeing the stunning U.S. state of Alaska up close from the comfort of a luxury cruise liner on the high seas, and now is the perfect time to book

By Staff Writer

More than 37,000 Australians took an ocean cruise to Alaska in 2017, according to CLIA’s Cruise Industry Source Report. This scenic destination is more popular than ever, and with the 2018 Alaskan May-through-September cruise season complete, 2019 voyages are cruisers’ radar, with the peak booking period for Alaskan cruises for next year already underway.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has responded to this traveller demand by offering 17 Alaskan voyages aboard Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner vessel from the 16th May through to the 30th September, 2019, ranging from seven to 12 nights.

During the voyages, Seven Seas Mariner will cruise the Inside and Outside Passage, visiting ports in Anchorage, Icy Strait (Hoonah), Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway and Wrangell, as well as the majestic Hubbard Glacier. As the only cruise line to offer free unlimited shore excursions in every port, this is one of the most magical and memorable ways to see Alaska.

“Luxury travellers are increasingly interested in visiting Alaska and a cruise is truly the best way to see all of the beauty the destination offers,” said Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and CEO Jason Montague. “Guests who voyaged to Alaska return home and post their awe-inspiring pictures and stories on social media, prompting people who haven’t yet sailed to The Last Frontier to book their own luxurious Alaskan cruise for next year. It’s a trend that becomes more pronounced every year, especially after the season ends. No camera lens, Facebook post nor tweet can truly capture the beauty and sheer awe of what it feels like to sail up close to a glacier or see an eagle soar overhead.”

In 2019, the cruise line’s Alaskan voyages will feature guest lecturer Terry Breen, a renowned, published Alaska specialist who has been sailing the Inside Passage for over 20 years. And off-board and back on solid ground, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ immersive land experiences create a deep connection between the guest and the destination. The plethora of adventure-style shore excursions, all included in the voyage’s one all-inclusive price, include:

Mendenhall Glacier River Float

Guests experience Alaska’s spectacular natural beauty on a scenic rafting adventure down the Mendenhall River, with stunning views of floating icebergs and mountain peaks.


Tongass Rainforest Nature Hike

Passengers can discover the diverse flora, fauna and history of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, on display as one of Earth’s vital ecosystems.


Ocean Raft Adventures

On this exciting and memorable ocean rafting adventure in Sitka, guests board an Adventure Raft, flying over ocean swells at speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour, and feel blasts of fresh air in the open seating raft. Along the way, seabirds, whales and sea otters appear en route to the ravaged volcanic coastline of Kruzof Island.


Spasski River Valley Wildlife and Bear Search

Regent Seven Seas passengers will get to observe bears, deer and bald eagles in their natural habitats from an elevated observation area in the remote Spasski River Valley.


Craft Beer and Spirits Tasting Adventure

Guests can sample a wide selection of beers and spirits at a brewery and a distillery, both of which use glacial water and local ingredients to produce remarkably flavourful beverages.


Regent also offers pre- and post-voyage land programs for Alaskan cruises, with an all-new Ultimate Rocky Mountaineer Land Program being introduced to the 2019 program. A five-to-six-night experience, guests will embark on a train ride through the iconic towns and cities of the Pacific Northwest, along the spectacular Canadian Rockies. Soak-up dramatic scenery from the comfort of custom-built glass-domed carriages, complete with award-winning service and exquisite five-star dining thoughtfully created by executive chefs and presented in astonishing surroundings.

To make this peak Alaska booking season even more appealing, recently Regent Seven Seas Cruises has introduced special youth rates on Alaska sailings and a special limited-time package when guests combine their Alaska voyage with a pre- or post-cruise land program.

Young travellers can enjoy Regent’s Club Mariner  Youth Program aboard all 2019 Alaskan sailings, while children ages 5 to 17 can participate in a range of specialised enrichment activities that educate youth on Alaskan culture, wildlife and nature, and includes games and movie nights. Each program is designed and supervised by friendly and professional youth counsellors.

The Details

All-inclusive Alaskan fares start at $7,370AUD per person, which include unlimited shore excursions, WiFi, fine wines and spirits, fine dining, pre-paid gratuities, and a host of other amenities.

Youth age 17 and under can sail free on select 10- and 11-night Alaska voyages, and for $675AUD on select 7-night Alaska voyages in 2019.

For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises or to receive a brochure, guests can call 1300 455 200 (AU) or 0800 625 692 (NZ), or visit www.rssc.com.

Straighten Up with Kamalaya’s Postural Realignment Wellness Program

Structural Revival Exercise at Kamalaya
Customer: Kamalaya Structural Revival Exercise at Kamalaya

The new Structural Revival program, led by Kamalaya’s team of physiotherapists, naturopaths and other health professionals, identifies and then addresses the underlying causes of structural imbalances in the body

Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa has launched a new wellness program, ‘Structural Revival’, designed to realign the body and improve posture in order to reduce tension, rehabilitate injuries and re-establish highest levels of function and vitality.

This is the 14th wellness program offered by Kamalaya, and it is available for 5, 7 and 9-night durations.

The program focuses on addressing the postural misalignments that can lead to tightness, tension, discomfort and even pain, that can arise as a result of behavioural patterns in our modern lifestyles, natural ageing and trauma.

Based on a comprehensive assessment by Kamalaya’s team of physiotherapists, naturopaths and other health professionals, the new Structural Revival Program first identifies and then addresses the underlying causes of structural imbalances. The team then works closely with each guest, creating a personalised approach to match their individual needs.

Featuring an intelligent synergy of healing modalities from Asia and the West, the program includes specifically targeted Revival Exercises with physiotherapists as well as Pilates to strengthen the body and stabilise the joints. Holistic therapies such as Myofascial Release, assisted stretching and massages help to release and lengthen tight muscles, promote relaxation and freedom of movement. Focused movement modalities are complemented by therapeutic spa treatments and Kamalaya’s inspired healthy cuisine, which helps to manage inflammation with the goal of improving health on all levels.

“Over the years, we became aware that a growing number of our guests were experiencing pain, discomfort and other symptoms related to physical misalignment, so we created the Structural Revival Program to help address this,” said Karina Stewart, Kamalaya co-founder and Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine. “As well as improving muscular posture, correct structural alignment promotes healthy blood circulation, supports organ function, increases energy flow and positively impacts our emotional and psychological wellbeing. In line with Kamalaya’s philosophy for holistic wellness, we also ensure that guests are given the tools necessary to continue increasing their function, vitality and alignment after they return home.”

Kamalaya is located amid a lush, tropical landscape on the southern coast of Koh Samui, Thailand. Founded by John and Karina Stewart in 2005, the resort offers a holistic wellness experience that integrates healing therapies from East and West, a breathtakingly beautiful natural environment, inspired healthy cuisine, holistic fitness practices and customised wellness programs ranging from Detoxification to Stress & Burnout, as well as Healthy Lifestyle, Yoga Synergy and Emotional Balance.

A five night stay at Kamalaya including a five night Structural Revival Program starts from 80,973 Thai Baht per person sharing a double room. For enquiries  visit kamalaya.com or email reservations@kamalaya.com.


To find out what it’s like to experience a Kamalaya wellness program, read our stories below:

Relaxation to the Next Level

Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary

Open-Air ‘West Side Story’ is Coming to Sydney Harbour

West Side Story - Opera Australia
West Side Story - Opera Australia

1960s New York City will make its way to Sydney next year with Handa Opera’s production of West Side Story

Visitors to Sydney will soon have the opportunity to experience a once in a lifetime musical experience, with the gritty underbelly of 1960s New York City coming to Opera Australia’s famous over-water stage. Leonard Bernstein’s iconic West Side Story will open at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in March 2019.

With the Sydney Opera House in the distance, the lights of the city all around and the harbour waters lapping at the foot of the stage, audiences will get to witness one of the greatest musicals of the 20th century in a setting unlike any other.

Now in its eighth year, Handa Opera has attracted more than 330,000 visitors from around Australia and across the globe to Sydney Harbour for its productions, offering unique outdoor experience and nightly fireworks in addition to the talent of the world-class performers onstage.

Acclaimed American director and a native of New York City, Francesca Zambello will return to the harbour stage to direct the new adaptation of West Side Story, while award-winning theatrical designer Brian Thomson will invigorate the production’s set with the spirit of New York.

The outdoor stage is two and a half times larger than any indoor Australian stage and will be able to seat approximately 3,000 people. The custom-built site will offer a range of themed dining and drinking options including the Platinum Club – a pop-up dining room, bar and lounge set amongst the treetops. The Platinum Club offers various dinner and show packages as well as the option to be privately booked for groups or corporate entertaining.

To arrive in style, water taxis will be available to pick up at Man o’ War Steps at the Opera House and will drop off at Andrew Boy Charlton pool, just a short walk to the site entrance.

Travel packages are available from a number of tour operators through Qantas Holidays (AU), Qantas Vacations (USA), House of Travel (NZ) and Sofitel Sydney, offering planned itineraries and discounts on accommodation, dining, and other iconic Sydney experiences with the purchase of a show ticket.


West Side Story will run from 22 March to 21 April 2019. Single adult tickets start at $99. Group and concession prices are available for most performances. For more information, contact Opera Australia Box Office at +61 2 9318 8200 or visit opera.org.

Crystal River Cruises Announces Full 2021 Deployment

By Staff Writer

Luxury cruise line Crystal River Cruises has announced the complete deployment for its award-winning fleet in 2021, becoming the first river company to open its reservations nearly three years in advance.

The line’s five luxury river ships – Crystal Mozart and the four identical sister ships Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler, and Crystal Ravel – will sail the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers on itineraries of seven to 16 days in 2021, with 45 unique ports of call, dozens of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Every voyage also features at least one overnight stay, many with double and even triple overnights, allowing guests to further immerse themselves in the ports’ charm and history, or venture to nearby towns for broader experiences.

“We have seen such great demand and increasing desire by luxury travellers to secure their ideal European journeys earlier than ever and we are pleased to make our complete offerings for 2019, 2020 and now 2021 available for booking,” said Karen Christensen, Crystal’s senior vice president and managing director for Australasia.

The Book Now Savings on offer – up to $2000 off – also give more incentive to book early, guaranteeing the best fares for guests who plan ahead.

“In 2021, more than 180 Crystal River Cruises’ departures invite the most discerning travellers to experience the nuances of true luxury on Europe’s rivers. UNESCO-recognised Old Towns in Bamberg and Brugge, epicenters of art and music in Vienna and Salzburg and dramatic landscapes like the Wachau Valley and Middle Rhine Valley add historic and natural flavour to itineraries that also feature contemporary hubs like Düsseldorf and Basel,” Christensen added.

The “Eastern Danube Discoveries” voyage will debut on Crystal Mozart offering deeper exploration of Hungary as well as Serbia and Croatia. Other itineraries highlight the seasonal delights of riverside destinations, like springtime “Tulips & Windmills” sailings that explore the flower-laden fields of the Netherlands and Belgium; and winter sailings that focus on the dazzling spectacles of the region’s famed Christmas markets. Crystal will also sail the river less travelled, with “Enchanting Moselle” voyages through the scenic Mosel Valley.

Seemingly timeless medieval towns mix beautifully on Crystal River Cruises with modern hubs of culture and commerce. Guests can explore Germany’s oldest town of Trier, Beethoven’s birthplace in Bonn, the famed windmills of Amsterdam, Dusseldorf’s vibrant art and culinary scene and the stunning musical heritage of Vienna.

On every voyage, the Crystal River Collection of more than 200 inclusive, curated experiences ashore will enhance the journey for guests with an abundance of options that cater to varied interests. Complementary Signature Events, optional more elaborate excursions and exclusive dining experiences are also on offer.

Crystal’s new-build river vessels are all-suite, all-butler ships, with every category of accommodation positioned above the water line.  All suites feature Panoramic Balcony-Windows and walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms are featured in most categories. Sister-ship Crystal Mozart is Europe’s most spacious river ship, at twice the width of any other, and offers an unrivalled number of social spaces, restaurants and the largest spa on the rivers.

All of Crystal’s river ships feature private butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, ETRO amenities, robes and slippers, and wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs. Additional enticing features include farm-to-table cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court for entertainment, enrichment presentations and sweeping views of the countryside. Crystal’s attention to detail reaches ashore, as guests are transported on the days’ adventures in luxury motor coaches equipped with complimentary water and Wi-Fi for added convenience and comfort.


The Details

Fares for Crystal River Cruises’ 2021 voyages start at US$2,574 per person. Book Now Savings are up to US$2,000 per suite on select voyages when booked by November 30, 2018. Crystal also recently unveiled the complete deployment for 2020, which features new itineraries and special programming, including the decennial Oberammergau Passion Play.


For Crystal’s full 2021 deployment, visit crystalcruises.com

Freycinet Lodge Unveils New Pavilions and Suites

Freycinet Lodge Coastal Pavilion
Freycinet Lodge Coastal Pavilion

The stunning natural beauty surrounding Freycinent Lodge in Tasmania is now paralleled by the addition of luxurious and modern pavilions, rooms and suites

Following the recent completion of the first stages of the Freycinet Renewal Project, Freycinet Lodge has unveiled three new accommodation spaces, elevating the long-established lodge in one of Tasmania’s most beautiful – and popular – regions. Coastal Pavilions, Mountain Terrace rooms and the Lodge King suites have been added to the lodge’s accommodation offering, while the receptions areas, lounge, bar and dining areas in the main Lodge building have also been updated.

The new Coastal Pavilions seek to draw the spectacular surrounding wilderness in while maintaining the highest quality of comfort. The buildings themselves are inspired by their location, with natural timber finishes and curved walls (there aren’t any corners in the rooms), paying homage to the weathered pink granite of the Freycinet Peninsula.

The updated Mountain Terrace rooms are contemporary, spacious, and filled with natural light. The king size bed, leather lounge and outdoor bathtub set the scene for relaxing and taking in the view and surrounding bushland, while the rooms’ double-height glass walls offer glimpses of The Hazards mountain range’s pink granite peaks. In a conscious effort to update the lodge with an ecologically-friendly focus, the Mountain Terrace rooms also include improvements to water storage and reuse, while the Coastal Pavilions were constructed off-site and then transported to Freycinet in order to have minimal impact on the environment.

The Lodge King is one of Freycinet Lodge’s most spectacular suites, boasting views of Great Oyster Bay and The Hazards mountains. Located within the main Lodge building, this spacious, contemporary room offers guests their own private balcony, a king bed, large ensuite bathroom and skylight to ensure natural light.

RACT developer and tourism entrepreneur Brett Torossi worked with the innovative Tasmanian-based design and architecture team Liminal Studio to design and carry-out the Freycinet Renewal Project. With a brief to pay homage to the character of the National Park the lodge nestles into, the architects drew inspiration from the forms of coastal granite rock formations.

Freycinet Lodge is located within Freycinet National Park on Tasmania’s eastern coastline on the water’s edge overlooking Great Oyster Bay. The region is known for its spectacular beaches, including Wineglass Bay, its many nature trails and its abundant gourmet food and cool-climate wine.

Zuri Zanzibar Opens as Eco Resort

Zuri Zanzibar

The luxurious resort, infused with local culture, is located on a 300-metre private beach in the Tanzanian archipelago

Located on the Tanzanian archipelago on the island of Zanzibar, Zuri Zanzibar has opened to guests, the culmination of a 10-year passion project from Design Hotels. The idyllic retreat on Kendwa beach is comprised of 55 thatched-roof bungalows and villas surrounded by a 300-metre stretch of private beach. The buildings are an expression of African ethos and have been informed with an environmentally and socially sensitive approach to building, design and operations.

The typical clustered village atmosphere is a nod to African heritage while design firm Jestico & Whiles create a modern-meets-traditional feel. Each villa is private and protected, peaking out from greenery and placed over 13 acres. Every villa has ocean or garden views and winding paths lead between each villa and on to the resort’s social spaces and environments.

The luxury resort offers seven restaurants and bars, an infinity pool, a watersports centre and a unique spice garden. In addition, the Maua Wellness program allows guests to benefit from an open-air gym and training facility, sunrise and sunset yoga, tailored fitness programming, and a meditation and massage area.

In the sustainable hotel and ecotourism trend gaining traction around the world, Zuri Zanzibar is a holistic property which took both ecological considerations and responsible tourism as its guiding principles. Guests will experience not only luxury but also a stay deeply connected to the resort’s surroundings and local community.



The Apurva Kempinski to Open in Nusa Dua

The Apurva Kempinski Bali

Kempinski has unveiled its newest luxury resort on the long sandy stretch of Nusa Dua in Bali

The Kempinski brand has unveiled its latest addition of five-star accommodations, coming to Nusa Dua in southern Bali this coming February 2019.

The Apurva Kempinksi Bali, set amongst the cliffs and beaches of Nusa Dua, features 475 guest rooms, suites and exclusive villas, as well as five dining venues and a Cigar & Shisha Lounge. Facilities include an ocean-facing spa and fitness centre, a 60-metre swimming pool, a kids’ pool and a family club. For special events and business conferences, The Apurva offers an ocean-view ballroom, meeting rooms, a beachfront wedding chapel and 2200 square-metres of ocean-front lawn space for outdoor celebrations.

“We are excited to welcome The Apurva Kempinski Bali and add this iconic property to our hotel portfolio,” said Chief Operating Officer of Asia, Kempinksi Hotels and Member of the Management Board, Michael Henssler. “From its unique architecture to artfully curated interior design, The Apurva Kempinski Bali will present itself as a majestic open-air theatre in which the guests will have the opportunity to experience the wonders of this unique island.”

The Apurva’s distinct Balinese architecture, landscape and guiding principles are complemented by a sleek interior design by award-winning architect Budiman Hendropurnomo of Denton Corker Marshall and acclaimed interior designer Rudy Dodo of Trivium Design Group.

The Apurva Kempinski Bali has announced that reservations are now open for stays from 1 February 2019.



Anantara Quy Nhon Vietnam Opens its Doors

Anantara Quy Nhon Hillside Pool Villa

The all-villa resort by Anantara overlooking the Bay of Quy Nhon welcomes its first guests today

Situated on 7.2 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens, Anantara Quy Nhon opens its doors today, unveiling 26 luxurious villas overlooking the Bay of Quy Nhon.

Offering guests the chance to reside in an undiscovered part of Vietnam, Anantara Quy Nhon in south central Vietnam is located on a secluded bay in an area known for its impossibly wide beaches and emerald waters.

With a focus on ultimate luxury, the resort’s all-villa accommodation ranges from one to two-bedroom ocean-facing villas. Both the villas and main resort incorporate the surrounding natural environment in their construction and  highlight locally-sourced materials, traditional craftsmanship and regional influences while working harmoniously with its contemporary design.

Each spacious villa includes sleek timber and granite sundecks, minimalist plunge pools and extended, low, overhanging roofs. Vietnamese blue stone mixes with more modern granite and marble elements, encapsulating the cross-cultural flare of Anantara Quy Nhon. Every villa also comes with a dedicated butler service and a range of customisable luxury amenities, such as preferred room scent, Anantara signature soap collection and in-villa wine cellar boasting fine vintages and delicatessen.

The dining options on-site celebrate local seafood and regional flavours. The all-day dining restaurant, Sea.Fire.Salt., offers expert advice and guided tastings by Anantara Salt and Wine Gurus. Find specially made cocktails, Vietnamese craft beers and Cuban cigars at the swim-up bar. The in-villa dining options are just as high-end, with the menu recreating a restaurant experience with gourmet breakfast in bed, fully catered poolside barbecues and a luxury Vietnamese street food concept. In addition, Anantara’s signature Dining by Design delights with ‘castaway’-inspired island picnics as well as exciting fishing trawler expeditions followed by five-star dining.

Guests will be able to take full advantage of both the Anantara Spa and Anantara’s signature Balance Wellness concept, with the hillside spa, shrouded by jungle-like foliage, overlooking the serene bay below. All treatments are inspired by nature and each treatment suite has both double massage beds and oversized bathtubs for nourishing coconut milk soaks. The resort’s Balance Wellness concept offers a range of wellness experiences, including private sessions with alternative therapists who are trusted experts in holistic healing.

To fuel the luxury experience even further, Anantara is also offering guests the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly with MJets’ private Cessna Citation X aircraft, which departs from Bangkok, to deliver guests to their secluded paradise in Vietnam. As part of the MJets package, guests will also receive a Phu Cat Airport round trip, three nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, a Dining by Design meal, a cooking class with a master chef and a special Anantara Spa offer.

While Anantara softly opens today, 15 November. the resort will be officially unveiled in January 2019.



You Can Now Get In-Room Massages On-Demand

Blys Concierge in-room massage treatments
Blys Concierge in-room massage treatments

Blys Concierge is elevating guests’ hotel stays with on-demand luxury spa experiences that see a therapist arriving at your door in less than two hours

Australian company Blys has launched Blys Concierge, an on-demand massage service for hotel guests that delivers in-room massages on short-notice. Blys Concierge also makes it possible for hotels to offer their guests spa services if they don’t have the space or resources to run a full spa on-site.

The new service is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, 365 days of the year. Whether travelling for business, a family holiday or romantic getaway, guests are able to schedule a massage in their room with as little as two hours’ notice. Saving guests from the hassle of researching a reputable local spa or hoping for a decent massage, every Blys Concierge massage therapist is verified and reviewed for technique and professionalism. Guests have the option of choosing from 60, 90 or 120-minute massage treatments, as well as a variety of different massage options including couples massages, deep tissue, Swedish, pregnancy or sports massages.

Allan Manuel, Head of Partnerships at Blys, is leading the Blys Concierge expansion by working together with Australia’s most innovative hotels to deliver a truly on-demand in-room luxury spa experience. Manuel’s main objective is to “contribute, even just a little, to a guest leaving a five-star review at a hotel”.

QT is one of the first hotel groups to jump on board with Blys Concierge, with its modern, art-focused boutique hotel, QT Bondi, now offering the service to its guests. “Whether guests are visiting from overseas, interstate or even having a staycation, the option of an in-room massage is always well received,” said General Manager at QT Bondi, Cian McClafferty.

The Blys Concierge platform is free to use, with no lock-in contracts or minimum bookings required. “Our goal is to make the experience of getting an in-room hotel massage as pain-free and easy as possible for everyone involved,” said Manuel.

To celebrate the launch of Blys Concierge, Blys is treating one lucky winner and a guest to the Ultimate Relaxation Experience, which includes a night at a QT Hotel in Australia and in-room Blys massages for two.

Entries close on Friday 23 November 2018.

To enter the Ultimate Relaxation Experience, visit vyper.io, or to book your own on-demand massage from Blys, visit getblys.com.au.