Media ReleasesUnforgettable Australian holidays by Cruise Express
New four-day heritage rail journey to the Riverina
Short break food and wine getaway – October 2020
Low supplement for solo travellers
Support the bush and explore your own backyard – #HolidayHereThisYear
Media Release – March 3, 2020
A unique, new, four-day heritage train journey to the NSW Riverina this October will allow food and wine lovers to meet the farmers, wine-makers, chefs, gardeners and producers that make the region one of Australia’s leading culinary destinations.
Created and hosted by Cruise Express, the exclusive ‘Taste Riverina Food and Wine Adventure’ aims to showcase the Riverina’s fine wines and abundant produce and also the joys of slow travel aboard a privately chartered heritage train. The tour is also an ideal way for Australians to explore their own ‘backyard’ and #HolidayHereThisYear to support regional communities.
The leisurely getaway begins in Sydney on Friday, October 9, 2020, with the heritage rail motor, 621/721, taking guests on a leisurely and nostalgic journey to Griffith. On the way, guests will stop for lunch at the historic and now disused Cootamundra West Railway Station and for afternoon tea at the beautiful, Federation-era Ariah Park Hotel. The rail motor, built in 1962, features windows that open, allowing passengers to freely connect with the changing scenery. During the trip, guests can also visit the driver’s cab to see how the train operates.
After checking into three-nights’ accommodation in Griffith, guests will enjoy a two-day celebration of the Riverina’s passion for food and wine, underscored by the waves of Italian migrants to the area over the decades.
Experiences will include:
* A spectacular outdoor, Italian-style lunch in the orange orchard at Piccolo Farm, with a pasta-making demonstration by multi-award-winning chef, Luke Piccolo
* A sumptuous dinner at Zecca Handmade Italian featuring authentic cuisine, local produce and wine
* Private dinner at Calabria Family Wines featuring Riverina produce
* A visit to Randall Organic Rice Farm where the group will tour the farm and enjoy lunch prepared by chefs from Hungry Fox Bistro and tastings of local produce from Leeton
* A visit to a cotton farm to see, first-hand, how cotton is processed
* A breakfast and tour at the spectacular gardens at ‘Rosewood Park on Stokes’
* Tastings with the lead winemaker at De Bortoli Winery
The final day of the tour will see guests rejoin the heritage train for the day trip back to Sydney, with a stop at Temora to visit the Temora Aviation Museum with lunch. A dinner stop will also be made before the gourmet tour ends back in Sydney on Monday evening, October 12.
Including meals and daily sightseeing, the four-day ‘Taste Riverina Food and Wine Adventure’ to Griffith is available from $1990 per person, twin-share, and only $2190 for solo travellers.
Call Cruise Express on 1300 766 537 or visit http://www.cruiseexpress.com.au
New land and cruise tour explores the Balkan Peninsula
19–night fly, stay and cruise tour – sail on a private, small ship
Departs May 2021
Media Release – February 21, 2020
Some of the Balkan’s prettiest villages, grandest palaces and most spectacular mountain scenery feature in a unique new escorted land and cruise itinerary that includes a week on a private, small ship along the beautiful Adriatic coast.
Hosted by Cruise Express, the 20-day ‘Empires and the Adriatic’ itinerary is a brand new itinerary taking travellers from the imperial grandeur of Vienna to the medieval splendor of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic coast. Guests will experience the region’s best cuisine, centuries of history through Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture, quaint coastal villages and unique natural wonders as they travel through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro by land and sea.
The tour begins in the imperial city of Vienna where guests will experience the grandeur of Schonbrunn Palace, wander through Baroque streets and visit cosy eateries. The next major stop is Bled, a base for three days to explore the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, famous Lake Bled and the majesty of the Julian Alps. The route then travels south into Croatia and the Istrian peninsula with its medieval hilltop villages and strong culinary family traditions, with the chance to taste truffles and olive oil.
Further south is Plitvice Lakes National Park, a highlight of the tour with its 16 terraced lakes converging on each other to form a series of cascading waterfalls.
In the Croatian town of Split, guests will board MV Ban, a sleek, private and deluxe motor yacht for a seven-night cruise through the Dalmatian Islands, with many meals included each day and shore excursions. Take in a walking tour of the Old Town in Hvar, explore Mljet National Park with its two saltwater lakes and swim in the sparkling blue sea. The cruise ends in the walled city of Dubrovnik where the tour continues on to Montenegro and the port city of Kotor with it’s meandering, medieval streets, Romanesque churches and beautiful coastal views before returning to Dubrovnik where the tour finishes.
Including return flights from Australia to Vienna and home from Dubrovnik, the 19–night, guided, ‘Empires and the Adriatic’ package is available from $8590 per person, twin-share.
New, history-making rail adventure to the NSW outback aboard one of Australia’s most famous trains – the Spirit of Progress – on her longest journey ever
All-inclusive, with low single supplement
Media Release – February 6, 2019
One of Australia’s oldest and most famous express trains, the Spirit of Progress, will make her longest-ever journey this July when she takes lovers of slow travel on a week-long heritage rail adventure to the NSW outback – the first time the legendary train has travelled west of Sydney.
A first of its kind and two years in the planning, the history-making ‘Far West Express’ rail tour has been launched by travel agency, Cruise Express, which specialises in cruise and heritage rail holidays. Cruise Express has helped resurrect the Spirit of Progress to full, interstate working order to preserve an important chapter in Australian history for future generations. The work was done in partnership with the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre.
The new ‘Far West Express’ tour follows the sell-out of two other trips between Sydney and Melbourne this March and April aboard the revitalised Spirit of Progress.
Chartered exclusively by Cruise Express, the Spirit’s gleaming, blue and gold compartment and parlor cars will take nostalgic travellers on July 9, 2020, from Sydney to Broken Hill at the start of a seven-day tour spanning a total of 2300km return – the longest trip the Spirit of Progress has ever made. Victorians can enjoy two extra, relaxing days aboard the Spirit, travelling from Melbourne to Sydney on July 8 and from the harbour capital back to Melbourne on July 16 – adding 1900km to the overall trip.
The journey from Sydney to Broken Hill in far western NSW will take two days, with an overnight stay at accommodation in Orange. A three-night stay in the ‘Silver City’ of Broken Hill follows, with tours of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, local museums and art galleries, the hill-top Living Desert Sculptures, sunset drinks at the spectacular Mundi Mundi Plains Lookout where the film, ‘Mad Max 2’ was filmed, dinner at the iconic Palace Hotel which starred in ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ and an authentic pub meal at the famous Silverton Hotel in a quirky, ghost town deep in the outback.
Passengers then reboard Spirit of Progress, heading back to Orange for a two-night stay including visits to a local winery, with the final day of the tour spent on the train snaking across the Blue Mountains back to Sydney.
Including extensive touring, motel accommodation and most meals, the six-night ‘Far West Express’ journey from Sydney on July 8, 2020, is available from $5890 per person, twin-share, or $6490 for solo passengers. From Melbourne on July 7, 2020, the eight-night package – including a night in Sydney before and after the Broken Hill journey – is priced from $6390 per person, twin-share, and $7190 for solo travellers.
Call Cruise Express on 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au
A glamorous icon of Australia’s golden age of rail travel, the Spirit of Progress began her life in 1937 travelling on the broad gauge run from Melbourne to Albury. In 1962, the NSW standard gauge line was extended into Victoria, allowing the Spirit of Progress to travel all the way from Melbourne to Sydney. The train then ran nightly in each direction between the capitals for 24 years until 1986 when the ‘Spirit’ made her last interstate run, never returning to Sydney, until this year.
Cruise Express combines Russia with a winter Northern Lights cruise tour of Norway in February 2021
Fares from five Australian cities
Media Release – January 29, 2020
For the first time, Cruise Express has combined a cruise tour of Norway in winter with a trip through northern Russia. The 20-night ‘Russia & the Lights of Norway’ tour will offer Australian adventurers the chance to experience remote landscapes and outposts few others get to see.
The exclusive Cruise Express-hosted journey begins on February 13, 2021, in the former imperial Russian capital of St Petersburg – famed for its stunning architecture and lavish palaces. Guests will explore the city over three days, taking in the Museum of Vodka, the famed Hermitage Museum, the Shuvalovsky Palace – famous for the world’s greatest collection of Faberge eggs – and Catherine’s Palace with its magnificent Amber Room. Then head north by train to Petrozavodsk and the famous Kizhi Island to see the 300-year-old Church of the Transfiguration – a striking wooden building boasting 22 onion domes.
The adventure will then cross the Arctic Circle and enter Russia’s Kola Peninsula, stopping first in Apatity. Here a plethora of activities are included to immerse guests in the magnificent nature and culture of this region. Guests will join an exciting snowmobile safari around frozen lakes, visit a Saami village to learn about this ethnic minority group and their culture, take an exhilarating, husky-led sled ride, meet reindeers and search the night skies on a Northern Lights tour. Th tour then continue north to Murmansk – the world’s biggest Arctic city.
After seven nights in Russia, the tour crosses the border into Norway for the next stage of the tour, beginning in the far northern village of Kirkenes. Guests will stay at the famed Snow Hotel – made of ice and snow – and continue to search the skies each night for the amazing Northern Lights, nature’s dazzling celestial show.
In Kirkenes, guests will board a Hurtigruten’s voyage, travelling on ms Nordnorge for five-nights around North Cape and south to Bergen with fjords, snow-clad mountains, glaciers and storybook villages for company. After a wilderness ride on the iconic Flam Railway – one of the world’s steepest and most spectacular railways – the tour ends with two nights in Oslo and a visit to the Viking Ship Museum.
Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth, the 20-night escorted ‘Russia and the Lights of Norway’ package is available from $9990 per person, twin-share.
Call Cruise Express on 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au
The Legend Resumes – Return of an Icon to Sydney
The famous Spirit of Progress to undertake the Sydney – Melbourne run
Launch of special six-day heritage rail and sail journey in April 2020
Media Release– January 10, 2019
For the first time in a generation, Australia’s oldest express train, the famous Spirit of Progress, will depart Sydney in April, 2020, with Cruise Express offering an exclusive opportunity to ride the legendary train as part of a never-before-offered, six-day heritage rail and sail journey between Sydney and Melbourne.
A glamorous icon of Australia’s golden age of rail travel, the original, gleaming gold and blue carriages of the Spirit of Progress will arrive in Sydney in April, 2020 – the first time the once-household name has been in the harbour city since 1986 when the ‘Spirit’ ended its colourful career as the premier travel option between Melbourne and Sydney.
To mark the historic return of the Spirit of Progress to Sydney, Cruise Express has launched a unique, five-night ‘Spirit and the Princess’ journey starting on April 3, 2020.
The exclusive package includes a two-day trip aboard the train from Sydney to Melbourne, with an overnight in Albury, two nights in Melbourne and a two-night cruise back to Sydney aboard the cruise ship, Golden Princess.
Fares, including selected meals, are available from $2290 per person, twin-share, or $2990 for solo travellers.
* Call Cruise Express on 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au
Australian travel agency, Cruise Express, which specialises in cruise and heritage rail holidays to meet a growing demand for ‘slow travel’ experiences, has helped resurrect the Spirit of Progress to full, inter-capital, working order to preserve an important chapter in Australian history for future generations. The work was done in partnership with the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre and Lachlan Valley Railway.
The six-carriage Spirit of Progress includes original 1930s compartment cars, a parlor car and kiosk car, which will be hauled by the restored, 1957-built Streamliner diesel locomotive S303 and a 1977-built locomotive C501.
The Spirit of Progress began her life in Melbourne on November 17, 1937, when Victorian Premier, Albert Dunstan, took a special gold key and opened the door of a brand new world-class train – the ‘Spirit of Progress’. Launched in a blaze of publicity, the all-steel, air-conditioned train ushered in unheard of levels of comfort on the express, broad gauge run from Melbourne to Albury.
In April, 1962, the NSW standard gauge line was extended into Victoria which allowed the Spirit of Progress to travel all the way from Melbourne to Sydney. The train ran nightly in each direction for 24 years until 1986 when the ‘Spirit’ made her last interstate run, never returning to Sydney, until now.
Cruise Express Managing Director, Meg Hill, said: “There’s growing interest in great old trains and the magic of slow travel. We’re very proud to help return the iconic Spirit of Progress to full working order between Melbourne and Sydney so Australians can enjoy the nostalgic charms of travelling aboard her again.
“As life speeds up, more of us want to return to a simple, more graceful time. The beautiful and historic ‘Spirit’ offers Australians an opportunity to step back in time for a few days and savour the romance and excitement of journeys as they once were.”
For more information on Cruise Express’ heritage rail tours, visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au or call 1300 766 537.
Free newsletters and specials
Sign up so you don't miss out on our latest holiday offers and news. You can update subscription details at the bottom of any email.