Cunard cruises into new waters with a special Hongkong offshoot

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 May, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 May, 1993, 12:00am

SHIPPING company Cunard Lines has formed a new offshoot in Hongkong - Cunard American International Cruises (CAIC) - to package tours based on operations of its seven cruise ships, including the QE2.

CAIC will promote the existing Cunard tour programmes in Hongkong, and organise its programmes, which may include chartering Cunard ships.

There may be other developments now Hongkong Land is taking a more active role in management of Trafalgar, the parent company of Cunard, 25 per cent-owned by Hongkong Land.

Hongkong Land also owns part of the Mandarin Oriental hotel group. And although the Cunard group has lost most of its hotels in recent years, the remaining three include the Ritz in London.

There is a likelihood of a link-up between the Ritz and Mandarin Oriental, and the Cunard cruise operation. Book Cunard cruises and tours through Swire Travel, phone 844-8445, or fax 877-9560. BANGLADESH Biman Airlines has started twice weekly flights to Dhaka. These are operated by DC10-30 aircraft, although they may be replaced with leased Airbus A310 aircraft.

The Monday flight makes a stop in Bangkok, but the Friday flight is non-stop. Contact Biman Bangladesh's agency representative office in Hongkong on 721-5393, or fax 311-0884. THE Four Seasons hotel (in two-season Bali) has introduced Lovers' Getaway packages, running until the end of the year.

Content is suitable for other travellers. The five-night package includes accommodation, full breakfast daily, airport transfers, one dinner and a picnic.

Accommodation is in a one-bedroom villa with about 1,800 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including a small pool. Normal cost is US$325 (HK$2,500) a night for the one-bedroom villa (US$800 for the two-bedroom).

This package costs US$1,725, but does not include Indonesia's high tax (17.5 per cent). Contact Regent reservations on 366-3361, or fax 721-4400. A MINI-adventure package to a little-visited area is a three-day/two-night package from Chiang Rai in northern Thailand into the Shan states in Burma.

The tour includes visits to hill-tribe villages, hot springs, dance performances, markets and temples. Accommodation is not air-conditioned and meals ''simple''. The travel agency organises the visas.

The cost depends on the number of participants. As the range is wide - from 27,000 baht (HK$8,300) down to 8,200 baht if 23 people tour - this should be checked. The agency in Bangkok is Asian Tours Centre, phone (66-2) 255-4221, or fax (66-2) 253-2994. CATHAY Pacific schedule changes include a second frequency to Adelaide, leaving on Tuesdays. Current flights are on Saturdays. The flight is non-stop to Adelaide but with a stop in Melbourne on the northbound flight.

At the end of the month, Cathay is to rework its flights to Jakarta. The daily one-stop 747 departure at 4.20 pm will be dropped. The five-times weekly non-stop Tri-Star, which leaves at 3.15 pm, will be changed to a daily flight. Added is a daily one-stop flight at 9 am. A NUMBER of travel agencies are offering special hotel rates in London. But it is hard to make comparisons because of different seasons, range of rooms etc.

The following rates are for two people for three nights in the peak season - until July 4 at Destination Britain, until July 14 at P & O.

At Hilton Olympia (near Kensington) GBP226 (HK$2,700) at DB, and GBP290 at P & O; at Kensington Close GBP248 DB, and GBP252 P & O; at Cumberland GBP308 DB, and GBP340 P & O; at Copthorne Tara GBP310 DB, and GBP286 P & O. The P & O rates include continental breakfast.

For the low season - from July 5 at DB and July 15 at P & O - the rates are: at Hilton Olympia GBP198 DB, and GBP268 P & O; at Kensington Close GBP222 DB, and GBP214 P & O; at Cumberland GBP248 DB, and GBP280 P & O; and at Copthorne Tara GBP270 DB, and GBP286 P & O.

Contact Destination Britain/Travelove on 834-9188, or fax 834-4330. P & O Travel is on 543-3878, or fax 815-1202. Compiled by Travel Database, GPO Box 12761, Hongkong. Fax 507-4620.