Cruise director

Comfortable: A verandah suite on the Seabourn Odyssey. Relax: The spa pool.
Nanjing Night Net

Degustation menu: Restaurant 2 on the Seabourn Odyssey. Photo: Michel Verdure

Were you among the thousands of passengers on board Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel for the Melbourne Cup cruise last week?

If you missed the boat this year, you can book now for the 2014 event on the same ships.

Carnival Spirit is also doing a Melbourne Cup cruise next year and there are some exciting big event cruises coming up, at home and overseas.

First up is the 2014 Australian Open Tennis, which runs from January 13 to 26. P&O Cruises is offering a four-night cruise to Melbourne on Pacific Pearl, a round-trip from Sydney departing January 20. Your fare includes transfers and general admission into the grounds, and for $100 you can get ticket upgrades to Rod Laver Arena.

If you’re a tennis fan who happens to be cruising on Silver Shadow from Melbourne to Bali on January 19, you can take advantage of the line’s three-night pre-cruise package to the Australian Open. It includes reserved seating in the Rod Laver Arena, and access to all outdoor courts, the Melbourne Park precinct for night sessions and exclusive bars.

The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s biggest parties. It attracts some 2 million spectators to its wild parades and legendary balls and takes place between February 28 and March 4.

It’s not too late to book a cruise on Holland America Line’s Maasdam, which will be in Rio for three days on its 26-day Amazon and Carnaval Explorer itinerary. MSC Orchestra will dock in Rio on March 1 after a three-night cruise that leaves the city on February 26.

Formula one fans also have a choice of ships that will be on the spot for the 72nd Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.

If you’re cruising on Silver Spirit, you could take a land package that includes Tribune K seating, right in the thick of the action, on Sunday, May 25.

Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey will rendezvous at the port on race day; Quest will be on a four-day round-trip from Nice; and Journey is offering an eight-day Grand Prix cruise from Rome

to Barcelona.

Star Clippers’ tall ship Star Flyer will be in town for the trials on May 22 as part of its seven-night round trip from Cannes – an interesting combination of traditional sailing and the world’s most thrilling race for petrolheads!

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SEABOURN ODYSSEYShipshape: Seabourn Odyssey

LAUNCHED 2009. Seabourn Odyssey, pictured, is almost identical to sister ships Sojourn (2011) and Quest (2011). A fourth ship in the series is due to launch in 2016.

PASSENGERS & CREW 450 passengers (double occupancy); crew 330.

ACCOMMODATION Out of 225 suites, 90 per cent have verandahs. The Wintergarden Suites are the biggest and have their own private solariums; suites range from 30 to 120 square metres.

REGULAR HAUNTS Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe.

PERFECT FOR Sophisticated couples and singles, 40-plus.

DINING Four dining venues: The Restaurant (fine dining in a super-cool contemporary space); Restaurant 2 (degustation menus for 50 guests); The Colonnade (indoor-outdoor buffet and bistro); and the poolside Patio Grill. All drinks are included in the dining rooms and bars throughout the ship.

PARTYING The Club on Deck 5 is the spot for dancing the night away; for a quieter ambience, there’s piano music in the Observation Bar. The Grand Salon hosts a variety of shows.

DOING Odyssey has a smallish water sports marina stocked with kayaks and other water toys used when the ship is at anchor in hot climates. There is a large, two-deck spa that has six treatment rooms, saunas, steam rooms, a fitness studio with a Kinesis Wall, and a gym.

DID YOU KNOW? Frequent Seabourn cruisers earn Seabourn Club Benefits – including a free cruise after ten 14-day cruises.

THE DETAILS Fares from $5499 per person for Seabourn Odyssey’s Auckland to Sydney voyage, January 10, 2014. Calls include Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Akaroa and Oban; cruising Fiordland; stops at Melbourne, Geelong and Burnie. Phone 13 24 02, see seabourn南京夜网.Deals

OFFER OF THE WEEK

When you’re looking for value for money it’s hard to beat this 22-night fly/cruise/stay package from Sydney to Hong Kong for $2439. P&O World Cruises’ Aurora departs on February 16, 2014, and the package includes a 20-night cruise, two nights at the Marco Polo hotel in Hong Kong and return airfares to Sydney. Phone 1300 369 848, see ecruising.travel.

OTHER DEALS

UNIWORLD Save $300 per person on 14-day cruises from Vienna to Amsterdam on luxury vessels River Duchess or River Princess, when you book and pay in full by November 29. All-inclusive fares from $7299 for departures between April 28 and November 1, 2014. Phone (02) 9028 5199, see uniworldcruises南京夜网.au.

AURORA EXPEDITIONS The 20-day ‘‘In Shackleton’s Footsteps’’ voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia (round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina) departs March 11, 2014, on Polar Pioneer. Experts will lead tours. Book and pay a deposit by December 31 and save 20 per cent. From $US12,415. 1800 637 688, see auroraexpeditions南京夜网.au.Tip

It’s getting harder to be a smoker on cruise ships, but it is still legal – you just have to abide by the rules, and these vary from ship to ship. If you’re on a ship where smoking is allowed on your balcony (very few of those nowadays, although the new Europa 2 is one of them), show consideration to your neighbours and book a cabin at the aft end of the ship so the smoke blows out to sea and not into the next-door cabin. Most ships have a cigar lounge and designated areas where cigarette smoking is permitted, but be warned, if you break the rules you can expect a hefty fine.

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