Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay
Singapore has added a new billion-dollar man-made attraction to its list of must-sees for stopover visitors. The new Gardens by the Bay covers 54ha and features 18 tree-high vertical garden sculptures with a 128m aerial skywalk. It also has two huge dome conservatories, one for flowers and the other a cloud forest. In all, the gardens have more than 700,000 plants representing 2000 species from around the world. The Marina Bay attraction took seven years to build and is open all day and night except from 2-5am. Entry is free though there is a fee for the skywalk and the two air-conditioned domes. For more information see www.gardensbythebay.org.sg
Specials to Europe
Emirates has special introductory fares on sale until August 20 for travel from New Zealand to its two new destinations in Europe, Lyon and Warsaw. The Lyon service will start in December and flights to Warsaw will begin in February 2013.Lyon provides an ideal starting point for tourists wanting to experience the Burgundy region and take a cruise on the Rhone River, while Warsaw provides a new gateway to Eastern Europe for New Zealanders. Warsaw flights are available from $2529 economy return or $9679 business class return. Travel to Lyon starts from $2759 return economy class, with business class at $9769 return. All fares are fully inclusive of all taxes and levies. All four daily Emirates flights from New Zealand will provide connections at Dubai.
Hot deal in Las Vegas
An estimated 37.5 million people visit Las Vegas every year and experience its huge shopping malls, opulent hotels and packed with entertainment casinos. Flight Centre is offering holiday packages including return airfares flying Air New Zealand and four nights four-star accommodation in a deluxe room from $2369 ex Auckland or $2469 ex Wellington or Christchurch (per person, twin share basis). The deal is on sale until August 31 for travel between February 4 and March 7, 2013. Pricing is based on Monday-Thursday night stays. For further details and bookings www.flightcentre.co.nz
Fly to LA and cruise home
Cruiseabout has a one-way airfare flying Air New Zealand from Auckland to Los Angeles with an airport to port transfer and a 15-night cruise onboard Queen Elizabeth. It departs Los Angeles and visits Honolulu, Pago Pago (American Samoa) and Apia (Samoa) on the way to Auckland. Prices, which include all main meals and entertainment onboard, start at $4079 ex Auckland (per person, twin share basis). On sale until August 20 for departure from Auckland on February 4. For further details and bookings www.cruiseabout.co.nz
Cathay posts first-half-loss
Cathay Pacific surprised analysts a first half loss of $HK935 million ($150 million), its worst performance for the period for several years. Last year, it reported a $HK2.8 billion profit and analysts had forecast it would remain in the black. Revenues rose slightly, by 4.4% to $HK46.7 billion. Fuel costs and weak demand in its passenger and cargo businesses were among the reasons blamed for the downturn.
Mid-year expo in Auckland
Flight Centre is holding its Midyear Travel Expo 2012 on Sunday, August 12, featuring packages to the US, Canada, Hawaii, Asia, the South Pacific and Australia. The Expo will also have information on other destinations around the world with all forms of travel covered – touring, cruising, adventure travel, car hire and insurance. Exclusive flight discounts and holiday packages will be available on the day. In addition, all attendees will have the chance to go in a draw to win a luxury holiday for two to Fiji. When: Sunday, Aug 12, 10am-4pm. Where: ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane, Auckland.
New routes of the week
Visitors to Ireland can now take cheap side trips to eastern Europe from Cork on Ryanair. Starting in the first week of November, the Dublin-based airline will fly two or three times weekly to Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw and Wroclaw in Poland and to Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. Vilnius’ old town is a World Heritage Site and was a European Capital of Culture in 2009. Its historic Jewish heritage up to the 20th century led Napoleon to call it the Jerusalem of the North in 1812 as he was marching on Moscow. As Gediminas, the city was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which at its height in the 15th century incorporated much of today’s Ukraine. After World War I, Vilnius was annexed by Poland and known as Wilno. Vilnius was restored to Lithuania when it became a Soviet republic in 1945 and achieved independence in 1990 when the Soviet Union collapsed.