New APT Adventures In Store For 2016

16 May 2015

APT got its rather modest start in the 1920s running a bus during a Melbourne tram strike. Nearly a century on, the Aussie company offers river cruises, small-ship cruises, train journeys and tours across the globe.

Yet it isn’t resting on its considerable laurels just yet: APT has plenty of new, updated and enticing offerings for travellers who want to explore more in 2016.

Rolling On The River

New ships, new journeys, special events cruising, new sightseeing and special booking offers are keeping APT’s river-cruise fleet and itineraries young and interesting.

For a start, APT has two new ships, MS AmaStella and MS AmaViola, both luxury Concerto-class vessels that will travel the core Rhine-Danube river routes. Both have innovative new design elements such as twin balconies and spacious suites, and carry bicycles for those who want to work off their afternoon tea along Europe’s beautiful riverbanks.

There’s a whole new river cruise in the Bordeaux region of France this year, which also includes a three-night stay in Paris. The ship MS AmaDolce sails out of Bordeaux on itineraries that include wine tastings, a vineyard dinner and walking tours in such famous towns as Cognac, Saint-Emilion, Cadillac and Bergerac.

 An APT sailing past Durnstein on the Austrian Danube (image: APT)

APT is also unveiling a series of special events cruises for 2016. Look out for gourmet cruises in France in conjunction with Australian Gourmet Traveller, wine cruises, family Christmas cruises, cycling cruises and Sydney Symphony Orchestra cruises for those with a love of music.

You can now combine popular itineraries, such as the spectacular 28-day ‘Grand European’ land tour with a ‘Magnificent Europe’ cruise that covers many of the continent’s highlights. Another example: Bordeaux and Douro river cruises with a land tour across the Basque country, making for a very pleasant 21-day combination.

There are also new ‘Freedom of Choice’ tours such as a visit to Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, the Fragrance Museum in Cologne or the Botanic Gardens in Bonn, bringing the choice of tailored experiences to 81. Additions to the ‘Signature Experiences’ allow you to do things you’d never get a chance to experience by yourself, such as visit a local German family in Speyer or a private tour of Grignan castle in southern France. And look out for new special offers such as early payment discounts and ‘Travel with Friends’ savings.

 Saint-Emilion among the vineyards of the Bordeaux region (image: Tourisme Saint-Emilion)

Interested in cruising the Douro? APT’s Douro Cruise Lets Loose Wine And Scenery

Want to see the world? Float Your Boat: River Cruises Around The World


Road & Rail

There are three new cruises on wheels with the launch of APT’s private luxury train charters aboard the Danube Express, designed to connect with ‘Magnificent Europe’ cruises.

The ‘Champagne Express’ is a 10-night Budapest-Monaco-Paris journey that takes in the vineyard-clad Burgundy and Champagne regions of France, while ‘Jewels of Persia’ travels from Budapest to Teheran through Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. Highlights might be the ancient ruins of Persepolis and the glorious Islamic architecture and bustling bazaars of Esfahan in Iran.

 The Danube Express (image: APT)

Also new is ‘Switzerland by Rail’, travelling on a combination of scenic Swiss trains that take in lakeside castles, geranium-decorated villages and snow-capped Alps for some of Europe’s most breathtakingly scenic rides.

New land tours include the ‘Grand European’ tour between the two enchanting cities of Rome and Paris, the Basque country of Spain, and ‘Bohemian Jewels’, which brings visitors beyond the glories of Prague to discover the many delightful regional towns and country scenery of the Czech Republic.

Life On An Ocean Wave

Australians are becoming ever more keen on small-ship cruising too. APT now charters three ships, with MS Hebridean Sky undergoing major refurbishment in early 2016, before joining MS Caledonian Sky and MS Island Sky in the fleet. Each carries around 100 passengers and take guests on boutique-style or expedition-style cruises in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Asia, Antarctic and the Kimberley.

These are all-inclusive of meals, beverages and on-shore sightseeing and, like river cruises, also now have early payment discounts and ‘Travel with Friends’ savings. There are more departures on the most popular routes, particularly the beautiful cruise between Venice and Istanbul that takes in the history-rich coastlines of Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Turkey.

 Admiring the views from the Glacier Express in Switzerland (image: Switzerland Tourism)

Look out for the new 15-day ‘Sailing the Japanese Isles’ itinerary from Osaka to Manila that highlights the rich cultures and landscapes of Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. Guests have the chance to visit a sake brewery, enjoy a Japanese tea ceremony, visit classical gardens and explore Taiwan’s Taroko Gorge National Park, one of the great natural wonders of Asia. The Philippines combines visits to colonial-era churches and villages with snorkelling in Hundred Islands National Park.

In Europe, three new extended itineraries add land journeys to small-ship cruises for a more comprehensive overview: a 34-day ‘Ultimate Britain and Ireland Adventure’, a 20-day tour of Scandinavia combined with a cruise to the Norwegian fjords, or a 23-day land tour of Italy combined with a cruise from Venice to Istanbul.
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Brian Johnston

Born in Nigeria of Irish parents, Brian Johnston has lived in Switzerland,the UK and China, and now calls Sydney home. The widely-published freelance writer and author is a two-time Australian Travel Writer of the Year.