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Travellers' checks

Adam Nebbs

 

On sail Windstar Cruises operates perhaps the most distinctive ships at sea - modern cruise liners with massive masts and sails (pictured top). The line's ships are more commonly seen on the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South Pacific but, from October next year, Windstar will be operating in Southeast Asia. Tickets went on sale recently but, before you rush out to buy your sou'westers and oilskins, take note that the new vessel that will be brought to the region will be a mastless, sailless one of more standard design. One of the Southeast Asian voyages begins in Vietnam and ends up in Hong Kong, so that will be the most convenient way to experience Windstar's luxurious offerings. Other cruises will be mainly operating either side of the Malay Peninsula, in the Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean and South China Sea. For full itineraries and bookings, visit www.windstarcruises.com.

A flight to remember Sixty years ago, at the end of a flight from Sydney, Australia, to San Francisco, in the United States, 19 passengers and crew were killed when their plane hit a mountainside just three minutes before they were due to land. The aircraft was a Douglas DC-6 belonging to British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines, a long-forgotten but groundbreaking carrier established in 1948 to operate a transpacific route from Sydney to Vancouver, via Auckland, Fiji, Hawaii and San Francisco. It was wound up in 1954, when Qantas began transpacific flights. Some of the plane's wreckage can still be found on King's Mountain, into which, due to pilot error, the aircraft crashed on October 29, 1953. Local resident and Sydney native Christopher O'Donnell (pictured top) took an interest in commemorating the accident some years ago, and was the driving force behind a granite memorial that was unveiled at the site in 2009. Before that, he had carried a piece of the aircraft's wreckage onto a runway at San Francisco International Airport, symbolically helping the flight to reach its final destination. On Tuesday, O'Donnell, along with the son of the pilot, now in his 70s, led a hike up the mountain to pay respects to the deceased passengers and crew. You can find out more about the crash, and O'Donnell's remarkable efforts to commemorate it over the years, at his website, www.flightoftheresolution.org.

Up and away You can add a touch of class to a Bali holiday with Alila Villas Soori's new helicopter (pictured top) transfer package. This includes a private helicopter flight from Denpasar airport to the resort, as well as villa accommodation with breakfast, a 90-minute spa treatment and a Segway tour. Your luggage will be taken separately by car but you shouldn't have long to wait as it's only about 15 kilometres from the airport, and so the flight itself will be a brief one. Prices start from US$580 per person per night, and there's a minimum four-night requirement, so you may find it more cost effective to stay somewhere cheaper and book a helicopter tour on your own. But for those with deep enough pockets, Alila Villas Soori is one of the island's better resorts, and this is an easy way to get there, avoiding the din of Denpasar and its traffic. For more details, go to www.alilahotels.com/soori.

Deal of the week Two nights at the upmarket Evason Ana Mandara resort (pictured top) in Nha Trang, on the south central coast of Vietnam, are on offer with a new package from Tiglion Travel that starts at HK$4,490 per person, twin share. This price will get you a garden-view villa, or you can stay in a deluxe seaview villa or deluxe beachfront villa from HK$5,390 and HK$5,990, respectively. Daily breakfast is included, as are flights via Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City with Vietnam Airlines, and you can choose to stop over in either of those cities. This deal will be available until March next year, but with surcharges over Christmas and Lunar New Year. For further details and online reservations, go to www.tiglion.com/package.

 

 

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