AAT Kings Launches Bushfire Relief consumer bus trips including #emptyesky

In collaboration with the #EmptyEsky movement and regional tourism businesses, AAT Kings welcome travellers and the wider community to join them on one of their newly launched not-for-profit Bushfire Relief Giveback Experiences – a selection of Day Tours and Short Breaks across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Designed to help provide immediate support directly to tourism communities that have been affected by this season’s devastating bushfires.

Experiences have been developed respectfully and in conjunction with local communities, and while onboard AAT Kings will transport you and your empty esky, to visit local markets, cafes and stores, where you’ll have free time to wander through the town, spend with the local shopkeepers and fill your esky or reusable bag with locally made products.

To enrich the experience, guests will also meet some of the locals who will tell stories of recovery and share firsthand how best to help these destinations.

Matthew Cameron-Smith, Managing Director for AAT Kings, stated: “Having worked with Australian tourism operators for over 100 years, AAT Kings live and breathe these communities, and they need us now more than ever. We’ve worked with local businesses to bring much-needed benefit through the tourism economy directly back to restaurants, cafes, farmers markets and local stores, to help start providing immediate support to the regions that need it the most.”

Erin Boutros, Co-founder of Empty Esky, commented: “We are so excited to be partnering with AAT Kings to offer our community the opportunity to put their pledges into action and visit fire affected towns. Since the Empty Esky campaign launched, we have witnessed first-hand how powerful the Australian spirit is. The ‘Empty Esky’ trips will lead the way in effectively supporting bushfire affected towns as they recover.”

All Bushfire Recovery Giveback trips are 100% not-for-profit for AAT Kings, and have been designed in collaboration with the local community to inject funds into small businesses and support farmers.

Cameron-Smith concludes, “Our nation and the world have been deeply affected as we watched parts of our country and wildlife ravaged by the fires, we are so privileged to be able to take advantage of our experience and network, to facilitate bringing as many visitors as we can back to our most affected townships. Working in partnership is the best way that we know how to help, and we invite the industry to join us in supporting our fellow Australians to get back on their feet for the long-term.”

Bushfire Recovery Giveback Experience: #EmptyEsky to Shoalhaven Ex-Sydney ($110, $56 child)
Journey to Kangaroo Valley and take in morning tea at a local café, before heading to Nowra Farmers Market. The market is jam packed with local farmers produce for you to taste and buy and fill up your #emptyesky, knowing every cent goes directly to the growers. You’ll then have the opportunity to meet up with some of the community who have been affected by the bushfires, as they share stories of recovery over a sumptuous, locally sourced lunch sharing stories with locals at Bangalay Dining.

Bushfire Recovery Giveback Trip: #EmptyEsky 4 day Short Break, NSW South Coast (prices start at $700; $420 child) Head to the south coast region of NSW, an area which has been one of the country’s most bushfire affected – support local communities by visiting charming riverside towns and beachside gems, wander through local markets and cafes to fill your #emptyesky with local produce.

On this trip you’ll head to Cobargo and meet local farmers, hear their stories and have the opportunity to volunteer and rebuild fences for their farms. You’ll be shown the best way to help, and work with a local to make this happen. After a rewarding and hard-working day, relax in Cobargo Pub and enjoy a quiet drink, with dinner included, also includes the coastal town of Batemans Bay, before returning to Sydney.

To make a booking – go to aatkings.com/bushfire-recovery, call 1300 228 546, or visit your local travel agent.

Source: AAT Kings

Red Carnation Hotels Celebrates Greatest Success to date in Forbes Travel Guide’s 2020 Star Awards

Red Carnation Hotels has proudly announced that four of its award- winning properties have achieved the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide (“FTG”) Five-Star rating in the annual Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards. Joining sister property Hotel 41 in receiving the highest FTG accolade are London’s The Milestone Hotel and The Egerton House Hotel, alongside Virtuoso’s 2015 ‘Hotel of the Year’ Ashford Castle, which is the only hotel in Ireland to achieve five-star status.

Forbes Travel Guide is the world-renowned and only global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas and is widely recognised as being the gold standard of hospitality rating systems, with a meticulous and anonymous process assessing all areas of a hotel’s product and service.

Red Carnation Hotels’ Managing Director Jonathan Raggett said: “The Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating award system is one of the most meticulous, globally respected and highly sought-after accolades in the industry. To have Ashford Castle, The Milestone Hotel and the Egerton House Hotel join Hotel 41 as Forbes Five Star properties is great testament to the generous hospitality and levels of service, luxury and attention to detail that guests consistently receive at our properties.

“Every day our teams go above and beyond to make every stay special, and these awards are a reflection of their hard work and passion, and the leadership and values of our President and Founder Beatrice Tollman.”

Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide said: “We have been committed to championing genuine Five-Star service for more than 60 years, and this year’s winners, as always, exemplify the very highest standards in hospitality.”

“It is difficult to earn a Forbes Travel Guide rating, and all our Star-Rated winners have shown how incredibly deserving they are of their accolades by demonstrating sheer dedication in their passion for service. We congratulate them all.”

Source: The Red Carnation Hotel Collection


As the global cruise community grows bigger and bigger each year, luxury cruise company Uniworld, unveiled a new way to see Europe, including a train journey on one of their river journeys. Travel enthusiasts ventured to Reign in Sydney’s QVB for a champagne breakfast and to meet the president and CEO of Uniworld, LA-based Ellen Bettrige.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise line, has evealed its 2021 collection, promising to, yet again, elevate river cruising to a whole new level of luxury. The 2021 line-up continues to offer the award- winning service and luxurious fleet that Uniworld is renowned for and strives to deliver more, with two new itineraries in Europe, additional departures in growing destinations such as Peru and Egypt, and an exceptional air-offer.

Uniworld’s President & CEO Ellen Bettridge was in Sydney to launch the collection. She believes 2021 is an exciting opportunity to show Uniworld’s continued excellence and response to the needs of guests and travel partners. “I’m thrilled to show our guests that we’re aiming to elevate again in 2021 to provide them the best destinations, the best fleet and the best luxury river cruise experience.”

Onboard a Uniworld voyage, the guest is at the heart of every decision, they are committed to providing guests with the ultimate experience, which is why they’re providing guests with a choice of three offers when booking a 2021 river cruise:

  • Economy flights free, or
  • Business Class from $3,999 per person, or
  • No flights – save $1,000pp on their cruise

These offers are combinable with Uniworld’s River Heritage Club loyalty benefits, as well as available early payment discounts until 14 March.

In 2021, Uniworld has added two exciting new itineraries to their product line up. The 8-day Classic Germany & Amsterdam aboard the River Princess, cruises along the Main River from Amsterdam to Nuremberg (and reverse on some departures), taking in the best of the serene villages, renaissance architecture and medieval towns.

Uniworld has combined this new itinerary with its popular Authentic Danube to create a new grand itinerary, the 15-day Rhine, Maine & Danube Discovery. From Amsterdam all the way to Vienna, this itinerary cruises along the scenic Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, appealing to guests looking for an in-depth exploration of Central Europe’s quaint villages, exquisite castles and colourful cities.

In addition to these two itineraries, Uniworld is also thrilled to announce a new luxury train journey available to guests as an extension on select sailings of the Venice & The Gems of Northern Italy itinerary. Guests can now complete their voyage on the S.S. La Venezia and continue onboard the luxurious Golden Eagle Danube Express train, travelling from Venice to Zurich. The extension includes three nights onboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express and once night accommodation in Zurich on arrival.

In continuing to elevate their guests with the best possible experience, Uniworld will also continue to enhance its ships and itineraries into 2021. This year will see an additional four super ships added to the Uniworld fleet – S.S. Sphinx, S.S. La Venezia, S.S. Sao Gabriel and Mekong Jewel, totaling 20 ships in 2020.

Bettridge believes that 2021 will only see the fleet improve even further, with transformations across the super ship fleet, transforming the S.S. Queen and S.S. Empress in 2021. “Our guests deserve the best and we’re excited to be able deliver the best with the addition of four new super ships and enhancements to our one-of-a-kind fleet, as well as increased sailings on destinations where we’ve seen increasing demand.”

In December 2019, Uniworld announced a new destination- the Peruvian Amazon, chartering the eco- friendly, all suite Aria Amazon. Since launching the destination, Uniworld have almost completely sold all scheduled sailings and in response, have added more dates to accommodate for guests excited to see this exotic destination.

Egypt is another destination where Uniworld has seen an increasing demand, with travellers searching for a luxurious journey along the infamous Nile river. In recognising this, Uniworld will, in 2021, provide guests with two ships to choose from for the popular 12-day Splendours of Egypt & The Nile itinerary, onboard the River Tosca or S.S. Sphinx (launching in 2020).

“In finishing 2019, we’re proud of the growth of the Uniworld brand and in 2020 we’re striving to exceed that in both bookings and delivering for our guests with the introduction for four new super ships. 2021 is no different. Each year brings enhancements within our fleet, exciting new itineraries and a goal to elevate our guest’s luxury experience even more,” said Bettridge.

Source: UniWorld

Away x Serena Williams Collection Is Here!

Away has partnered with legendary athlete, entrepreneur, and avid traveler Serena Williams on a brand new collection of bold Rouge luggage designed to make travel more seamless.

The best selling hardside suitcase includes all of your favourite Away features. Each suitcase comes in Serena’s signature Rouge complete with a multi-coloured camo lining.

Available in The Expandables range – expanding by 4.45cm so you can pack more into your trip.

The Shoe Cubes, exclusive to the collection, are designed to store your shoes and keep them separate from the rest of your stuff, while the Packing Cubes ensure that everything else is zipped and tidy.

Source: AWAY

Windstar Cruises introduces New Wind Surf Officer's Suite

On Windstar Cruises’ flagship Wind Surf, which just emerged from a major renovation, guests are able to stay in the new Officer’s Suite. The nautically appointed suite on the five-masted schooner (the largest sailing cruise ship in the world), is located directly behind the Bridge, in an area labelled ‘crew only’.

While all of Windstar’s six ships have an open Bridge – where guests can interact with the ship’s officers and get a rare, behind-the-scenes look at cruising – the Officer’s Suite is the only public accommodation in the officers ‘quarters.

It is believed to be the only suite of its kind at sea – and perhaps the ultimate true cruise enthusiasts’ accommodation.

“We renovated this very unique suite with more of a nautical theme to reflect its exclusive location tucked away just behind the Bridge,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

“Guests in this suite share exclusive company with the Captain, Chief Officer, Hotel Manager and Chief Engineer. It’s absolutely 180 degrees from ordinary with nothing else like it in the industry,” said Mr Delaney.

The new 22 square metre Officer’s Suite sports a nautical theme with a bedroom, full bath with Jacuzzi tub, and living room with a wide screen television.

Décor includes a sextant, Wind Surf print, a museum-quality model of a J-class sailing ship and binoculars.

During Wind Surf’s recent time in dry dock, the entire ship received a significant renaissance from the outer hull (including a complete sandblasting and painting) to every room and public space on the ship.

Part of the major evolution of this popular vessel included 16 new guest rooms bringing the capacity on board to 342 guests (an increase from 310).

Additional crew accommodation was also created to raise the crew level to ensure a continued 1 to 1.5 staff to guest ratio.

Public areas now have a more social atmosphere and ‘living room’ feel with an expanded lounge and bar with new furnishings and a stage.

World Spa by Windstar, a new state-of-the-art spa and wellness centre, is also a main element in the renaissance of Wind Surf and will be run by Windstar’s partner One Spa World.

For bookings contact Windstar Australia on 1300 749 875 or reservations@windstar.com.au

Source: Windstar