Rhapsody of the Seas’ re-positioning voyage to the Mediterranean

A unique array of port calls in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Europe are all part of the 45-night re-positioning voyage of Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas as she sails from Sydney to Istanbul to be based and operate cruises in the Mediterranean in 2015 for the northern summer.

Blue Mosque Istanbul By Captain Epeli Ledua

Blue Mosque Istanbul By Captain Epeli Ledua

Be a part of this special voyage with prices now reduced by more than $6500 a person when you book through cruise specialists ecruising.travel before February 28, 2014.

Sailing north from Sydney on April 17, 2015, Rhapsody of the Seas will call at Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin before crossing to Bali, then up to south-east Asia to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket and Colombo.

Then it’s on to places such as Goa and Cochin in India, Dubai, Muscat and Salalah in the Arabian Gulf region before passing through the Suez Canal to Ashod and Haifa in Israel, Limassol in Cyprus and Rhodes in Greece before disembarking in Istanbul on June 1.

Blue Mosque Istanbul By Captain Epeli Ledua

Blue Mosque Istanbul By Captain Epeli Ledua

Now priced from $7249 for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane passengers, from $7499 from Adelaide and from $7549 for Perth travellers, the package includes all main meals and entertainment on board the ship, two nights’ accommodation at the Ritz Carlton in Istanbul and one-way economy airfares from Istanbul to Australia.

Enjoy a variety of dining facilities, themed bars and lounges, indoor/outdoor pools and activity areas such as the rock climbing wall, fitness centre, theatre, cinema, casino and shopping in the open atrium.

Blue Mosque with Captain Epeli Ledua 532

Blue Mosque with Captain Epeli Ledua

BRETT DUDLEY BACKGROUND

They said he would never make it. In fact, many scoffed and more sniggered but 10 years on Brett Dudley is the proud owner of the Australian internet operation that sells more cruise holidays than anyone else.

It was January 2000 and individuals and companies were throwing money at internet-based companies like there was no tomorrow but there was and it led to IT companies splashing on the footpaths outside the stock exchanges of the world.

But not Brett Dudley’s ecruising. Although it had quickly absorbed his life savings, Dudley was confident that cruising the world’s oceans would become the fastest growing leisure pastime.

Dudley began his operation with a director of the similarly-geared general travel agency travel.com.au, although he owned his business, employed the staff, paid the bills and a commission to travel.com.au.

Brett Dudley from e'cruising

Brett Dudley from e’cruising

He called on cruise lines, telling them of his plans to sell voyages around the world on the net but they all said, ‘‘no one would ever buy a cruise holiday off an internet-based company”.

But ecruising went on to revolutionise the way people bought a cruise holiday and still leads the way in technology today as it is the only cruise travel company with online booking facilities. Even today, no one else can allow consumers to book online in one complete transaction.

In 2002, Dudley began something just as controversial, a wholesale division, Cruiseagents which sells to travel agents. Cruiseagents would go on to have agreements with 33 cruise lines, 21 airlines and 64 hotels.

In 2006, having parted company with travel.com.au two years earlier, Cruiseagents received the contract to supply cruise packages to one of the biggest travel companies in the world, Travelocity. The agreement covers Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and India.

Today, ecruising.travel has established a worldwide presence in the cruising, hotel and airline industry, and employs 32 people in its Sydney and Hong Kong offices.

During its 10 years in operation, the company has won more than 50 accolades from various cruise lines, hotels and airlines, even from Great Southern Railways. In 2009, it won the City of Sydney Business Award for Tourism, the first travel company ever to win this award.

In 2010, it won the “contribution to industry” award from the Hong Kong government for its contribution to trade between Hong Kong and Australia, the first travel company to win this award.

As Brett Dudley says, “These awards are more significant to us than the travel awards because it shows that we have a great business, not just a travel business, but one that can compete head-on with any company in Australia’’.

Details, bookings: ecruising.travel, 1300 369 848 or www.ecruising.travel