Something To Declare: Russia's White Sea; Qantas strike; Airline "bin-ends"; Force four in Egypt
Saturday 17 September 2011
Destination of the week: Russia's White Sea
Escape Essex for the far north of Russia: that is the prospect offered by the "Nordic and White Sea Adventure" – a 20-day cruise aboard MV Discovery, departing Harwich on 25 July 2012.
The first call, Bergen in Norway, is one of the most beautiful harbour cities in the world. Then the vessel heads north beyond the Arctic Circle, where she spends the next 10 days.
On the north coast of Russia, stops include Murmansk, the Unesco-protected Solovetsky Islands and Archangel, Russia's oldest sea port. One of the guest lecturers is Sir Tony Brenton, former British ambassador to Moscow.
The journey back to Essex has calls at Hammerfest and Trondheim, among others. Prices start at around £2,200 (or £110 a day), which includes on-board tips and service charges, and parking at Harwich. Book direct on 0844 822 0800, through voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk, or see a specialist agent.
Warning of the week: Qantas strike
Almost 4,000 Qantas ground staff are expected to strike at the airline's Australian airports on Tuesday in a dispute on pay, conditions and job security. Although the the stoppage is only four hours, it is timed to cause maximum disruption to the airline's schedules: 7-11am in Sydney and Melbourne.
Passengers' rights depend on whether you are flying to or from Australia. If you are delayed leaving Heathrow, the airline has a duty of care to you under EU rules. This doesn't apply to flights inbound to London. The airline says it will "keep you informed of developments and the choices that are available."
Bargain of the week: Airline "bin-ends"
Many seasonal routes draw to a close this month, which means that the outbound journeys are being sold off cheaply, the aviation equivalent of bin-ends. Next Wednesday or Saturday, for example, Flybe is selling Southampton to Perpignan for £43 one way. You could return on another airline (eg Ryanair to Stansted) or take the train to Paris and complete the journey by Eurostar or by rail and sea.
Bmibaby abandons its base at Cardiff at the end of the summer season, providing good deals for the final outbound flights on 29 and 30 October. Alicante and Malaga are £25 one way; Palma de Mallorca and Faro are £20. You can return from any of these cities to Bristol on easyJet.
Tip of the week: Force four in Egypt
According to Neilson's new Beachclubs brochure, the Red Sea coast at Dahab experiences "300 days a year of wind above Force 4". Neilson (0845 070 3460; neilson.co.uk) has a specialist windsurfing centre at Dahab, with RYA tuition. Diving packages are also available.
The lead-in price of £749 includes Gatwick flights (Manchester £25 more) and applies on some dates in December and January.
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