Aqua Expeditions: Australia's Benjamin Cross Named Aqua Blu Consulting Chef

Benjamin Cross is creating a journey of flavours for Aqua Expeditions to complement Aqua Blu’s voyages as Consulting Chef ahead of 16 November 2019 inaugural sailing of this luxury expedition yacht in East Indonesia.

Born in Australia and based in Bali since 2008, Chef Cross boasts a well-travelled culinary background having begun his career working with Australian culinary talents Neil Perry (Rockpool) and Janni Kyritsis (MG Garage) and later co-founding the award-winning Urbane restaurant in Queensland.

Chef Cross then headed for Spain, opening a restaurant and working in Santi Santamaria’s three-Michelin-starred Can Fabes before settling down in Bali where he was appointed Executive Chef of Bali’s premier dining venue, Ku De Ta in 2008.

In 2013, he created Mejeakwi, Ku De Ta’s fine dining concept in Bali, co-founded Hank’s Pizza & Liquor in Seminyak, created Fishbone Local, Mason, and The Back Room with BHG (Brett Hospitality Group) as co-owner and Executive Chef.

For Aqua Blu, Chef Cross will create and oversee more than 100 recipes that together will showcase a refined journey of flavours from Asia to the Middle East, while still reflecting Indonesia’s role as the heart of the global spice trade in the 16th and 17th centuries.

In executing his culinary vision for Aqua Blu, Chef Cross will rely on local ingredients sourced primarily from Bali and East Indonesia, including indigenous spices such as nutmeg and cloves, as well as a wealth of seafood such as giant Papuan prawns sustainably sourced from the Indonesian seas.

“Harnessing the abundant gifts from Indonesia’s land and seas, the goal of my concept is to orchestrate a refined rendition of flavours that have travelled through Indonesia’s fabled sea spice trade route – an amazing confluence of Asian, European and traditional local cooking philosophies and methods,” said Chef Cross.

Chef Cross also sees Aqua Blu as an opportunity to create a larger-than-life culinary experience that complements a five-star cruise journey. “Aqua Expeditions regards authentic cuisine as central to the itinerary, which means that the dining experience on board won’t be just a menu, but a cohesive journey of discovery,” he said.

A recognised global leader in luxury small-ship cruises, Aqua Expeditions explores the world’s most wildlife and culture-rich destinations aboard best-in-class vessels of stylish contemporary design. Aqua Expeditions offers tailored five-star itineraries, a 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio with personalised service, a cuisine experience crafted by acclaimed chefs, and expert-guided activities and excursions.

Aqua Expeditions currently operates river cruise ships, Aria Amazon on the Peruvian Amazon and Aqua Mekong on the Mekong river in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Source: Aqua Expeditions


Fjallraven: Iconic global brand opens it's doors in Sydney

Swedish heritage outdoor brand Fjällräven has opened its Australian flagship store in Sydney, at 38 York Street, Sydney CBD, 2000.

Sydneysiders will be able to experience the brand and its products in a concept store environment, having only been accessible via select independent retailers, the Melbourne store and fjallraven.com.au previously.

The store aims to bring a little piece of Sweden to Sydney, with durable gear in classic Scandinavian designs made in sustainable materials (think recycled wool, recycled polyester & PFC-free waterproofing) to inspire individuals to get out into nature. The store will feature a complete range of the best-selling and iconic Kånken rucksack and daily fika will be on offer those who want a little break from the busy Sydney streets.

Susan Park, ANZ Brand Manager for Fjällräven says, “We have been looking forward to opening this store for a long time now and we’re so pleased to now be able to offer the Fjällräven experience here in Sydney. Fjällräven is perfect for design conscious Sydneysiders looking for a sustainable, non-fast fashion solution for their active lifestyles. Whether it’s a weekend hike or a ski trip or just something functional for your everyday commute, there is truly something for everyone. The store will offer a tailored range of our award-winning outdoor apparel and equipment with our knowledgeable team to offer their expertise & advice.”

To celebrate the launch Fjällräven are giving away a $500 store voucher. Just visit the store before October 1 and upload a post to Instagram (tagging @fjallraven_au and hashtaging #FjallravenAU) to go into the running to win.

Source: Fjällräven


International Dog Day - Puppy massages and dog-friendly bars & restaurants across hotel group

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) is extending its hospitality to four-legged guests at select bars & restaurants across Australia from 26 August until the end of September.

Aussies can honour International Dog Day with their pooch at IHG’s key bars and restaurants – whether it’s enjoying a beverage at luxury hotel bar The Atrium at InterContinental Hotel Adelaide, or sipping on a puppy-cino at Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific’s Florida Beach Bar.

For the ultimate pooch pampering session, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley’s Ubika Spa is offering complimentary treatments for one-day only. Hotel guests as well as day-time visitors can choose from either the “Ubika Couple’s Massage”, a 10-minute massage for both pup and their human or the “Puppy Pamper by Ubika”, a 5-minute back, shoulder and head massage exclusive to four-legged guests only.

If a holiday is how dog-owners want to pamper their pooch for the special occasion, voco™ Kirkton Park Hunter Valley has pet-friendly rooms that are fitted with everything needed for a relaxing weekend away across a 28-hectare estate. Pets can dine with their owners on the hotel’s pizzeria patio and even select treats from a dedicated pets’ menu.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world – and the hospitality industry is becoming more open to catering to canine companions – we invite all Aussies to celebrate the day and continue to do so until the end of September. All pooches are welcome!” said Ruwan Peiris, IHG’s Head of Operations, Australasia.

It’s a win-win for dog owners and non-dog owners; dog-owners can wine and dine at a luxury hotel bar with their pooch, and for non-dog owners who want to find the best bars to pat some very good dogs – IHG has them covered, too.

Where to celebrate International Dog Day across IHG from 26 August – 30 September:

voco™ Kirkton Park Hunter Valley: Epoche Bar Pizzeria – Dogs can check-in with their owners and enjoy the entire grounds across a 28-hectare estate. The property includes two luxury accommodation rooms with private courtyards, so dogs can spend the night with home-made puppy treats on the menu.

voco™ Gold Coast: Social House Cabana – As Gold Coasters love brekky, Social House Cabana will be dog-friendly every Friday and Saturday during breakfast hours (7am – 11am). Every dog will receive a treat from the Executive Chef – his dog-friendly beef jerky snacks will leave guests barking for more.

InterContinental Adelaide: The Atrium – Specially-made InterContinental dog biscuits and dog water bowls will be available at this luxury hotel’s bar.

Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley: Gazebo courtyard – From 3 – 6pm on weekdays and 12 – 5 pm on weekends, dogs will be welcomed with a house-baked dog treat, water bowls and dog parking, with an additional snack menu available on arrival for purchase. A pizza and local cider matched menu will be available for all dog (and non-) owners.

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley: Ubika Spa & The Lovedale Bar – Indulge in a couple’s massage for both dogs and their owners. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley’s Ubika Spa is offering complimentary spa offerings for one-day only (on August 26, 2019 from 12pm – 4pm). Guests as well as day-time visitors can choose from either the “Ubika Couple’s Massage” – a 10-minute massage for both pup and their human or the “Puppy Pamper by Ubika” a 5-minute back, shoulder and head massage for four-legged guests only. At The Lovedale Bar dogs will receive complimentary treats, water bowls and chew toys, while dog-owners can celebrate with a delicious dog-inspired food special and cocktails on the gorgeous lawn area.

Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific: Florida Beach Bar – Florida Beach Bar will officially become dog-friendly indefinitely, with puppy-cinos and house made dog treats added to the menu, as well as water bowls and waste collection facilities placed around the venue during the hours of operation. Dogs will be welcome at all times, except for Saturdays from 8pm and Sundays from 4pm.

Source: IHG


Aqua Expeditions: Aria Amazon New Travel Incentive

Class-leading boutique luxury cruise line Aqua Expeditions has announced a last-minute ‘Escape to Nature’ offer for guests on Aria Amazon’s 3-Night Discovery, 4-Night Explorer and 7-Night Expedition Cruises until the end of 2019. The special benefits give travellers to Peru an incentive to cruise the Amazon before or after a visit to the famed Machu Picchu.

Under the terms of the offer, travellers booking now and sailing within 90 days will receive an air travel rebate of up to USD350 per guest on flights into and out of Iquitos (e.g. from Lima and Cusco) and complimentary upgrade from Lower to Upper Deck Design Suite (subject to availability at time of booking). Total savings per couple may amount up to USD1,500 (about AUD2,150) per suite booking.

Aria Amazon cruises are priced from USD4,050 per person twin share for 3 nights including all on-board meals, use of equipment, entrance to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and expert English-speaking naturalist guides.

All cruises feature:

  • 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio delivering personalised and heartfelt luxury hospitality
  • Small-group excursions providing intimate encounters with exotic wildlife including the pink river dolphin and three-toed sloth
  • Up-close interactions with local Amazonian communities and local ways of life
  • A world-class cuisine experience created by renowned Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, featuring Amazonian ingredients
  • Varied activities including kayaking, swimming and fishing; flexible, concurrent excursions let guests select their choices
  • The rate for a child travelling as a third guest in the room is AUD500 per night.

With more than 1,000 animal species including more than 400 types of birds, the Peruvian Amazon river and rainforest is one of the world’s most biodiverse wildlife hotspots.

Cruising the pristine upriver waters of the Amazon, the luxury 16-suite Aria Amazon and a team of local born-and-bred guides sets the stage for a truly remarkable expedition.

Each day, guests travel deep into the tributaries of the Pacaya-Samiria’s legendary Mirrored Forest in style and comfort on board a private fleet of private ergonomic launch boats.

Bookings for Aqua Amazon cruises are available through your travel agent or Aqua Expeditions Australia on 1300 124 204 or reservations@aquaexpeditions.com.au or www.aquaxpeditions.com

Source: Aqua Expeditions


Seabourn Announces 2021 World Cruise: Extraordinary Oceans

Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, has announced a remarkable opportunity for guests to experience one of the world’s great travel adventures in style. It’s the 2021 World Cruise: Extraordinary Oceans, a 140-day round-the-world voyage aboard Seabourn Sojourn, set to visit 60 ports and destinations in 32 countries on six continents with unforgettable experiences to engage and enjoy along the way.

Scheduled to depart Miami on January 3, 2021, the World Cruise will sail east-to-west visiting Central America, the west coast of South America, the islands of the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, and Africa, before ending in Barcelona, Spain, on May 24, 2021. The World Cruise is now open for sale, and the entire itinerary is available to peruse on Seabourn’s website.

The new World Cruise itinerary is the work of Tim Littley, Seabourn’s senior director of itinerary planning, who designed it with “differentiation” in mind. “I wanted this World Cruise to be exploratory in nature, focused thematically on alluring destinations and experiences that are a blend of sought after favorites combined with other smaller, quaint ports that are perhaps a bit unknown to some,” Littley said.

Littley meticulously crafted an itinerary that will have guests excited and busy with dynamic experiences followed by opportunities to relax for a couple of days or more at sea in between port visits. “Even though we’re headed around the world, we’re comfortably wandering as we move from place to place. The cadence of the journey is designed to get guests into the rhythm of exploration with an equal amount of time to relax,” he said.

As the name of the World Cruise implies, Seabourn Sojourn will cross two great oceans – Pacific and Indian – as well as traverse the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Africa. The 140-day voyage will include 10 overnights and linger late into the evening in 16 ports, offering guests ample opportunities to explore these fascinating destinations in depth.

For the first time, Seabourn will offer its popular “Ventures by Seabourn” program on a World Cruise, featuring an expert expedition team leading insightful explorations in the South Pacific. Optional kayaking, Zodiac, snorkeling and trekking tours will be available in French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and more.

In addition, there will be exclusive world cruise events planned over the course of the journey for guests on the full 140-day voyage, as well as local entertainment, regional cuisines, and palate-pleasing wines for all guests to savor as they sail around the globe.

Source: Seabourn