Digging up Istanbul’s past
British archaeologist Dr Richard Bayliss will uncover the layered history and culture of Istanbul this September, escorting a specialist tour exploring the city’s rich Byzantine and Ottoman legacy. The eight-day itinerary Exploring Istanbul is offered by cultural tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels. Starting on September 8, 2012, the tour visits palaces, fortifications, mosques and churches, including landmarks like the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The tour includes an expedition to visit the great aqueduct of Constantinople and a private boat excursion up the Bosphorus, plus ample opportunity for gastronomic exploration amid Turkey’s cuisine. Costs from £1925 ($3760) per person, twin share include transfers, seven nights’ accommodation, breakfasts daily, most meals, all entrance fees and expert guiding. Flights to Istanbul are extra.
Rock ‘n roll cruises
Cruiseco is offering “rocktober” South Pacific holidays aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas with a cruise departing Sydney in October this year or in October 2013. “Rock The Boat 2” sets sail from Sydney on October 14 with Chubby Checker and Normie Rowe headlining a line-up of international and Australian 1950s and 1960s performers. "Rock The Boat 3" departs from Sydney on October 19, 2013, and features Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Ross Wilson, Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde, Joe Camilleri, Glenn Shorrock and Mental as Anything. Both cruises visit Noumea, Vila, Lifou, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Fares start at $2319. For further information and conditions visit www.cruising.com.au
South America by sea
Cruiseabout has a nine-night cruise onboard Azamara Quest, departing from Rio de Janeiro and visiting other Brazilian ports of Buzios, Parati, Ilhabela, Portobelo and Imbituba as well as Punta Del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). Fares start at $4199 per person, twin share (until July 27) and include all main meals and entertainment onboard and selected wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. Further details and conditions at www.cruiseabout.co.nz.
Etihad sparks repost to Qantas
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has won Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval to increase its stake in Virgin Australia from just under 5% to 10%, joining Air New Zealand (19%) and Richard Branson (26%) as major shareholders. The move prompted Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti to ridicule suggestions the investment would threaten Qantas, which had warned the Australian government that state-owned Etihad could fund a flood of capacity at Qantas’ expense. "I think people really are jumping at shadows and some people need to take a cold shower and just relax," Mr Borghetti told a business lunch.
New flight of the week
The Philippines' largest flag carrier, Cebu Pacific (CEB), will launch a thrice weekly direct service from Singapore to Iloilo on from November 9, making it the airline's fifth domestic hub. Iloilo is known as the "Province of Festivals" for its rich heritage of colourful street dances, such as the Dinagyang Festival. The city lies on the south coast of Panay Island is also known for gastronomic offerings such as La Paz Batchoy (hot noodle dish with rich broth) and the mangoes of Guimaras island. Cebu’s vice-president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog says: “The launch of this new route will be in time for the delivery of three more new Airbus A320 aircraft in the second half of 2012.” CEB will also be launching twice weekly flights from Hong Kong to Iloilo, four weekly flights from General Santos to Iloilo, and increase the frequency of the daily service from Manila to Iloilo to seven times a day. “CEB will continue to stimulate travel to, from and within the Philippines with the most extensive route network and trademark lowest fares,” Ms Iyog says. Fares are available at www.cebupacificair.com.