Air NZ farewells Boeing 767

Posted On: Friday, March 31, 2017

Air New Zealand has today flown its final scheduled service using its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with flight NZ108 departing Sydney at 6:55pm local time, arriving at Auckland International Airport just before midnight New Zealand time.  ..


Phinda lives out its conservation dream

Posted On: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pulling back the curtains to welcome the early light of sunrise, I become aware that I’m not alone. Outside the floor-to-ceiling glass wall a Nyala antelope is grazing on the dewy grasses while a large monkey strolls across my verandah looking like he owns the place.  ..

P&O Cruises has joined with the South Pacific community on the island of Lifou to celebrate 20 years of cruising to the picturesque Loyalty Islands. 

Visiting P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel Captain Roger Bilson and his senior officers were guests at a special ceremony and community celebration that reflected on cruising’s contribution to the island’s economy and to the development of cultural tourism.

Throughout the period, the P&O Cruise team has worked with the Lifou tribal leaders and council to ensure the delicate balance between development and culture was retained.

P&O Cruises’ visits to Lifou began in July 1995 when its flagship, Fairstar, made the first of five calls that year. By 2000, Lifou was receiving 27 annual cruise ship calls and by 2010 this number had increased to 62. 

During 2015 more than 100 cruise ships will visit the island, and the Lifou community is keen to welcome more visitors.

Lifou Grand Chief, Pascal Sihaze, said the island’s customary members have long recognised cruise ship visits as making a positive, sustainable contribution to the local economy and to the island’s cultural heritage. 

They identified the concept as ‘cultural tourism’ based on human contact and cultural exchanges in which the local community could share traditional knowledge, art and the Kanak culture with visitors. They also saw that sharing their traditions and culture would help the island’s young people to retain features of their cultural heritage through dance, traditional fishing and art. 

Lifou Grand Chief, Pascal Sihaze, celebrates 20 years of cruise visits with PO Cruises' Pacific Jewel Captain, Roger Bilson

Carnival Australia Destinations Director, Michael Mihajlov, said the cruise line valued the bonds it had developed with the Wetr community over so many years. 

“Lifou is a very special place, and we have worked closely with the community to ensure that cruise tourism to the island is sustainable as the number of visitors continues to grow,” Mr Mihajlov said.

“We see that the partnership between P&O Cruises and the community of Lifou is working. It has helped young people to find jobs that can keep them on the island and provide a sustainable return without corrupting its centuries-old culture,” he added.

Program provides genuine cultural interactions

Fire, Ice and Vegas

Thursday, August 27, 2015

From the lights of Las Vegas to the glaciers of Alaska and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii, Cruise1st has packaged one of North America's most spectacular fly-cruise-stay getaways.

The Fire and Ice package begins with a flight from Australia to Las Vegas where travelers will enjoy four nights’ accommodation in the city that doesn't sleep before flying on to the picturesque city of Vancouver in Canada for one night of pre-cruise accommodation.

After enjoying some of Vancouver’s cosmopolitan nightlife and spending the night at a comfortable hotel, travelers will board the five-star Celebrity Solstice for a seven-night Alaska cruise through the stunning Inside Passage.

Port stops include Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, Alaska Inside Passage in Alaska; Victoria, British Columbia; and Seattle, Washington.

Humpback whales near Juneau, Alaska

Megaliner Celebrity Solstice is a new generation cruise ship featuring a range of innovations including the first Lawn Club at sea where you can enjoy activities on a manicured lawn on the ship's highest deck. There's also the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, a sky observation lounge with live music and dancing and a range of restaurants and cafes.

The cruise finishes in Seattle, where you spend one night in post-cruise accommodation before flying to tropical Hawaii for two nights at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu to relax before heading home.

The package departs Sydney on 1 May 2016, with prices starting from $3599 per person twin share.
Melbourne prices start from $3749, Brisbane from $3599, Adelaide from $3799 and Perth from $3999.

Terms and conditions apply so visit

Qantas lifts bar with new Perth lounge

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

With competition for business class customers heating up on the WA sectors, Qantas has opened the doors to its new business class lounge at Perth’s domestic airport, which it says “sets a new benchmark in business travel”.

The new design features distinct areas for dining, working and relaxing.

Those keen on relaxing will welcome the news that lounge space has been increased by 50 percent, with laid-back seating for more than 350 guests.

Designers, Woods Bagot, said the design and décor reflected regional influences based on the Western Australian landscape such as terracotta and metallic feature walls representing the mineral-rich soil. 

The colour palette is drawn from Margaret River, Matilda Bay, Wave Rock and Broome.

Qantas Domestic CEO, Andrew David, said the new Perth domestic business lounge represents the future of the airline’s business lounges across Australia.

“The lounge has been designed with our most frequent travellers from WA in mind. It accommodates the mix of corporate, leisure and fly-in fly-out workers with business facilities, a sports lounge to relax and socialise, and dining areas with single and communal seating,” said Mr David.

Mr David said the new lounge was part of a broader strategy by the airline to deliver a better travel and airport experience for Qantas customers which includes improved gate access, faster security screening, quicker check in and more lounge facilities.

Customers travelling through the lounge will be the first to enjoy two new concepts – a state of the art Italian pizza bar with a pizza chef, and a wine bar where customers can sit and enjoy barista coffee and freshly made croissants in the morning, or a glass of wine and canapés in the evening.

The new lounge features menus designed by Neil Perry, a ‘make your own’ juice station in the morning, cocktail hour from 4-5pm on weekdays, with cocktails designed by the Rockpool Mixology team.

In addition to the traditional hot and cold buffet, customers can also enjoy a ‘plate of the day’ from the central island dining tables on weekdays, which includes dishes such as baked eggs with chorizo and feta in the morning and gourmet cheese plates in the evening.

Check out the new lounge experience here.

The AirAsia Group has confirmed it will move all of its operations from the current low cost terminal to the all-new KLIA2 on 9 May2014.

All scheduled departures from the LCCT on 8 May 2014 will operate as per normal, and all guests with bookings departing Kuala Lumpur on that day are advised to still go to the LCCT to board their flights.

All AirAsia X (D7) flights will depart and arrive at LCCT on 8 May 2014, however some AirAsia (AK) flights will be arriving at the new klia2 on that day.

All affected guests will be informed via email and SMS about the changes.

For more visit or 

The new terminal will offer a larger build-up area and a brand new experience with baggage-drop counters opening three hours before scheduled departure time.

All immigration and security counters will still be operational in the current LCCT from 2-8 May 2014, therefore travellers need not worry about any inconvenience while going through the LCCT during the transition period.

In Other News

Air NZ farewells Boeing 767

Friday, March 31, 2017

Air New Zealand has today flown its final scheduled service using its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with flight NZ108 departing Sydney at 6:55pm local time, arriving at Auckland International Airport just before midnight New Zealand time. 

The Boeing 767 aircraft has been a stalwart at Air New Zealand for more than 30 years but is being replaced by the ultra-modern and highly efficient Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on long-haul routes.

The airline has flown the Boeing 767 for more than three decades having first introduced the aircraft in 1985, with both the airline’s remaining two 767-300 aircraft being retired this week.  During its time in service the 767 aircraft has flown the majority of the airline’s long-haul routes. 

The aircraft has been progressively replaced by the more fuel efficient Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner since July 2014 with a further two Dreamliners to be delivered later this year.  The airline has a total of 13 Dreamliners on order, with deliveries running until late 2018.

Air New Zealand Chief Operations Integrity & Standards Officer, Captain David Morgan said the retirement of the 767 aircraft completes the airline’s long term plan to move to a simplified fleet structure with the airline to operate a narrow-body fleet of Airbus A320s and a wide-body fleet of Boeing 777 and 787-9s. 

“This strategy will allow us to be more efficient and have a consistent wide-body fleet which will deliver benefits to both the business and customers.

“The use of the larger Dreamliners will result in a capacity increase of around three percent on the trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes.  Customers also get to experience our Business Premier and Premium Economy cabins on the 787-9 aircraft.” 

The airline’s two remaining Boeing 767s have been sold and will be converted to freighter aircraft. 

Carnival Cruise Lines is wrapping up its third Australian summer cruise season, with Carnival Legend set to depart Australia tomorrow.

The 88,500-tonne superliner is currently completing its five-night Tasmania cruise before setting sail from Sydney on a 19-night cruise to Hawaii, ahead of a season of Alaska voyages.

During the 2016-17 season, Carnival Legend carried more than 50,000 guests on a variety of itineraries ranging from 3-5 night short cruises in local waters to longer 7-12 night cruises around the South Pacific and New Zealand’s South Island.

The 2680-guest ship is confirmed to return for her fourth extended Australian summer season on 10 October 2017.

The ship will again be homeported in Melbourne in November 2018, which will allow more cruising around Tasmania.

Carnival Legend in Hobart

In a record Victorian deployment for Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Legend will sail on six roundtrip cruises from Melbourne during February and March 2018, including voyages to New Zealand, the South Pacific and Tasmania.

A 10-night New Zealand cruise from Melbourne will take in the sights of the South Island, as well as Wellington, with fares from $1629 for the 21 February 2018 departure. 

For more information, terms and conditions visit


Virgin X adds more legroom

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Virgin Australia has opened sales on its new Economy X seating for flights commencing from 21 May 2017.

The new cabin configuration will see the first three rows of the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet enhanced with additional legroom as well as upgraded services including priority boarding, priority seating and preferred overhead locker space.

Group Executive Virgin Australia Airlines John Thomas said the launch of Economy X would provide an enhanced travelling experience both on the ground and in the air across the airline’s network.

Economy X is an Australian-first product in the domestic market.

Virgin Australia’s entire fleet of 75 Boeing 737 aircraft is scheduled to be reconfigured to provide extra legroom in the first three rows of the economy cabin, with work due to be finished by the end of May.

The reconfiguration of the airline’s Boeing 737s will see almost 20 per cent of economy seats upgraded.

“We know that speed on the ground and space in the air are important to our guests. Economy X will empower passengers to tailor their travel experience and will give them more choice when they fly.”

Mr Thomas said he was confident that Economy X would be well received, however the proof will be seen in passenger uptake of the more expensive seat category.

Corporate travellers on high volume routes are priority clients, along with priority-classed frequent flyers who will use their points to upgrade.

Economy X will be located in Rows 3 to 5 as well as the exit rows and will feature a minimum of three inches (7.62cm) of extra legroom, preferred overhead locker space, priority boarding and priority security screening. 

New seating offers more legroom and premium benefits

Virgin Australia to fly free wifi

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Just days after Qantas postponed the launch of its inflight wifi service due to ‘stability issues’, Virgin Australia has jumped on the market announcing a partnership with leading inflight connectivity provider Gogo and satellite service provider, Optus.

The partnership will see Virgin provide customers with inflight wi-fi on its domestic and international services.

From April 2017, the airline will commence a three month customer testing period of Gogo’s proven 2Ku technology on a single Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Feedback from the trial will help shape the full installation of 2Ku across Virgin Australia’s fleet of Boeing 737-800, Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft later this year.

The test period will provide all Virgin Australia guests travelling on the wi-fi-enabled aircraft to access free wi-fi during their flight as well as access streaming services Netflix, Stan and Pandora on their devices while in the air.

Passengers travelling on the wi-fi-enabled aircraft will also receive a three month free subscription to Pandora Plus and Netflix. Guests who are new to Stan will also receive three months’ access for free.

John Thomas, Group Executive Virgin Australia Airlines, said the airline was confident in its choice of partners.

“We are confident that by working with Gogo and Optus Satellite and using their proven technology we can deliver the best possible and most reliable connectivity and entertainment experience in the air.

The service will allow passengers to stay connected while inflight while also enjoying a huge range of online entertainment.

Gogo currently provides inflight connectivity for a number of airlines including Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France KLM, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, GOL, Iberia, Japan Transoceanic Air and Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Australia and Gogo are currently working with regulators to obtain approval for its inflight wi-fi.

Hopes high for Commonwealth Games

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Gold Coast’s booming tourism economy is set to grow further with one year to go until the start of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, as Bob East, chief executive for Queensland-based accommodation giant, Mantra Group, predicts Queensland tourism will hit a record high after the Games. 

Mr East said the region’s reputation, built up during the event, will help to attract record numbers of tourists to the state. 

“The Commonwealth Games will provide a terrific platform for promotion and profile, showcasing Queensland to would-be visitors from further afield,” said Mr East. 

“With just one year to go, the world spotlight is already on the state and what we have to offer.

“This is our time to shine, to showcase our state and its many attractions, and position Queensland as a key and highly desirable destination.

“The Games gives us an unprecedented opportunity to take tourism to the next level.”

The State will need a boost in its tourism reputation as its tropical north coast rebuilds in the destructive wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Mr East said the benefits would be shared across the Gold Coast and neighbouring regions in South East Queensland and northern New South Wales.

“Tens of thousands of room nights will be required for the event and demand for accommodation at our twenty-three Gold Coast properties during the Games is at an all-time high,” he said. 

“Our Northern New South Wales, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast properties are already benefiting from the overflow.”

With Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville all hosting official events, Mr East said all four markets will enjoy renewed international and domestic interest in their leisure tourism offering before, during and after the Games. 

“Extensive team business has caused the average length of stay at our properties to increase substantially in the lead up to and during the Games,” he said. 

“In 2018, we’re predicting a strong uplift in occupancy year on year.”

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place from 4 to 15 April 2018, and is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors, athletes and officials to the state.

It will be the biggest event in Australia over the next decade, with up to 1.5 million spectators expected to attend, providing a ground-breaking estimated $2 billion economic boost to the state.

The event has already kick-started investment on the Gold Coast with a new light-rail system and the planned $200 million airport expansion. 

Australasia’s leading cruise industry event, Cruise 360 will showcase a new format and a speaker line-up featuring global industry leaders when it opens in Sydney later this year.

The event will see Group President Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia Jan Swartz and Azamara Club Cruises President and CEO Larry Pimentel both deliver keynote addresses at the August event. 

The refreshed format will provide enhanced networking opportunities and professional development break-out sessions, as well as seminars and analysis into current cruise and travel industry trends.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Managing Director, Joel Katz, said the dynamic trade show would extend over two days to give conference attendees the chance to meet with cruise line representatives as well as other significant cruise-related suppliers.

Delegates will have the opportunity to take a tour and inspection of P&O Cruises’ latest fleet addition, Pacific Explorer, on the second day.

Mr Katz said the organisation was excited to have secured Ms Swartz and Mr Pimentel as keynote speakers. 

“It’s an honour to have two of our industry’s top leaders take the stage at this important CLIA event.

“Their addresses will be a highlight of Cruise360 so we’re thrilled they’ve agreed to lend their knowledge to our travel agent members.”

Cruise360 will take place on 25 August at the new Hyatt Regency in Sydney (formerly Four Points by Sheraton) followed by the ship inspection on 26 August.

Early bird tickets are available at for $220. Online bookings can also be made for the Cruise360 ship inspection, with agents urged to act quickly given limited space.

CLIA managing director Joel Katz

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