A serendipitous day in Taipei

I really should pay attention to landmarks. I spent far too long walking the wrong way today, all because I confused Metro exit 5 and 8.

National Palace Museum exhibit ok

But I also visited the National Palace Museum during the day and I’m writing this from a very nice bar I spotted while I was walking the wrong way.

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Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

For reasons that will become clearer in future posts, I have to be in Bangkok by the last week of this month.


I checked my Qantas frequent flyer points* with the view to making a direct flight from Brisbane. But I discovered that for about the same number of points I could go first to somewhere I’d never been before — and I’m always up for that.

Continue reading Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

Five reasons why your next holiday should be a cruise

Cruising is said to be the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. It’s no surprise why.

Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

In case you have reservations about making a reservation on a ship, here are some good reasons why sailing is the answer.

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Do you really want to get away from it all?

In this age of constant connectivity, we’ve all had to adapt in all aspects of our lives.

Because our bosses, our families and our friends expect us to be instant,y contactable, that means the dream of sailing away to a deserted island and truly switching off may never again be achievable.

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Travel by numbers

A former colleague of mine has travelled to more than 100 countries. I don’t know if it’s his aim to visit them all, as others have done, but it’s a fairly impressive tally nonetheless.

We don’t all travel in the same way,

And, as far as I know, he doesn’t just dash in and out. He takes his time to see the sights, meet people and go off the beaten track. My country tally is about half of his, but I don’t see it as a competition.

We all approach travel in our own way.

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Be alert to travel dangers

The terrible events in London have once again brought terrorism to the forefront.


Those who commit these acts choose their targets carefully: they want to disrupt the daily lives of residents and to persuade would-be visitors to stay away. Their aims are to inflict immediate damage and to create long-term economic harm.

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The show’s the thing

People take cruises for many reasons. So, apart from the niche players in the market who cater to very specific interests, cruise companies have to design their ships to provide something for everyone.

That means paying close attention to the menu, the shore excursions, the amenities and, crucially, the entertainment program.

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Captain’s correct call

Along with other passengers on my recent cruise on the Pacific Aria to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, I missed out on two out of three scheduled port calls due to bad weather.

The Pacific Aria

I could complain, I could ask for compensation — which wouldn’t be forthcoming, since this eventuality is covered in the fine print — but, while I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see Noumea and Mare, I believe it was the right call.

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The price isn’t right

As a solo traveller who likes cruising, I’m always desperate to find a fair deal in a market that’s clearly geared towards groups of two or more.

I understand why there has traditionally been a bias towards catering for couples and families, but times are changing and more people — young, old and in the middle — are travelling on their own. With this in mind, I sometimes get riled when a see “deal” that is patently biased against solo travellers.

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Peaceful, picturesque Port Vila

I’ve rarely felt more welcome than I did in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific about 1900 kilometres east of  Brisbane, Australia.

The people I met were friendly and very proud of their country. Taxi and bus drivers eagerly volunteered information and pointed out interesting sights.

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Cruise update

I’m having a little trouble posting to this blog from the middle of the South Pacific. I am, however, updating Instagram and Twitter (see the menu at left for links). There are also new cruise-ship-related  articles by me here  and here.

Meanwhile, on the Pacific Aria, bad weather has meant the cancellation of stops in Noumea and Mare, so we’re steaming towards Port Vila. It’s a bit bumpy ..

Pacific Aria: first impressions

I’ve arrived onboard P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Aria for a seven-day journey  from Brisbane to New Caledonia and back.

Ship’s webcam view of port in Brisbane

I’ll be blogging when I can, and posting updates on social media. In the meantime, I’ve undertaken a reconnaissance mission and here are some pictures of the ship and the port.

Continue reading Pacific Aria: first impressions