Flight Plan: Emirates First Class Private Suite

“Would you care for a shot of Grey Goose vodka with your caviar?”

Caviar with a traditional selection of finely chopped onion, chopped boiled egg, sour cream and lemon, served with crisp melba toast and soft blini pancakes. And a shot of vodka!

Caviar with a traditional selection of finely chopped onion, chopped boiled egg, sour cream and lemon, served with crisp melba toast and soft blini pancakes. And a shot of vodka!

Such is life as a passenger in the Emirates First Class Private Suite. Nothing is too much trouble for the cheerful and friendly flight attendants, who introduce themselves as you board and explain the many features of your suite and the extensive menu, from which you can order anything at any time. Continue reading

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Admirals Arch, Remarkable Rocks and Clifford’s Honey, Kangaroo Island

Instead of taking our food and wine tour with Lisa from Blue Ray Lodge, my boyfriend and I go for a leisurely 150km drive to Flinders Chase National Park to visit the Remarkable Rocks. As mentioned previously, we had done basically no research before coming to Kangaroo Island so we were both completely unaware of the existence of the Remarkable Rocks, however, after testimonials from both Lisa and another couple staying at the Lodge, we were convinced. Lisa mapped out a route for us, with our first stop the beautiful Pennington Bay.

Pennington Bay

Pennington Bay

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Blue Ray Lodge, Kangaroo Island

I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Kangaroo Island, except that it had great local produce and stunning scenery. That was enough to pique my interest, so when I saw a voucher for a two night stay at Blue Ray Lodge, including home-cooked dinner and breakfast and a half-day farm and winery tour, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to find out more about the Island. We arrived on a gloriously warm weekend in September, and after stepping onto the tarmac at Kingscote Airport, I quickly realised that my winter coat was completely unnecessary. After a quick tour of Kingscote, the largest town on the island, we headed to Blue Ray Lodge at Penneshaw to be greeted with this amazing view.

Blue Ray Lodge backyard

Blue Ray Lodge backyard

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DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition, Melbourne

“Prepare for awesomeness!”

So says Po from Kung Fu Panda and that’s what you should be ready for if you visit the DreamWorks Animation exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square in Melbourne. Celebrating 20 years of DreamWorks, this exhibition is sub-titled Journey from Sketch to Screen and demonstrates the creative process of making an animated movie from start to finish. As huge fans of Shrek, the aforementioned Kung Fu Panda and pretty much all of DreamWorks’ filmography, my sister and I were desperate to check out this exhibition on our recent trip to Melbourne.

Scenes from Shrek

Scenes from Shrek

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Quarters at Flinders Hotel, Mornington Peninsula

Friends had frequently told me about the incredible variety of things to do in the Mornington Peninsula, from visiting wineries to relaxing at the beach, wandering through hedge mazes or floating away in hot springs. So when I came across a group buying deal for a two-night stay at Quarters at Flinders Hotel, I immediately snapped it up. Mornington Peninsula is an easy 60-90 minute drive from Melbourne (depending on where you start from), with Flinders Hotel located on the eastern side of the peninsula. The hotel’s location means that it’s only a few minutes walk to the closest beach and Flinders Pier.

Flinders Pier

Flinders Pier

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Giovanni’s Table, Rhapsody of the Seas

As mentioned in my review of my South Pacific cruise on the Rhapsody of the Seas, my boyfriend and I took advantage of a pre-paid dining package which allowed us to eat at all of the specialty restaurants on board for USD55. A couple of days after dining at Chops Grille, we went slightly more casual at Giovanni’s Table, an Italian trattoria.

There were a few items that I had in mind for my appetiser, but I eventually went for the almond crusted scallops which I may say, proved to be a good choice despite the dull presentation. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the pesto almond topping was well seasoned and delicious. My only complaint was that there were only two of them – I wanted more!

Capesante al Forno -  Oven baked, almond crusted scallops with red bell pepper pesto

Capesante al Forno –
Oven baked, almond crusted scallops with red bell pepper pesto

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Edge Vanuatu Abseil, Port Vila

I am standing at the top of a 50m high waterfall, preparing to plunge backwards over the precipice. The friendly Vanuatuan guide who is only wearing sandals, despite the water surging around our feet, gives me the thumbs up and a wide grin as he reminds me to keep my legs straight when I step off the edge. After taking a few deep breaths and holding tightly to the thick ropes that are securing me to safety, I slowly step backwards until I am essentially standing perpendicular to the face of the Mele Cascades.

First steps down the Mele Cascades

First steps down the Mele Cascades

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Chops Grille, Rhapsody of the Seas

While you can go an entire cruise without having to swipe your SeaPass card for food, Royal Caribbean offers a number of ‘extra special’ dining options where you pay a cover charge and order whatever you want off the menu, or in certain restaurants, you are also charged the a la carte prices. On our South Pacific cruise, we took advantage of a dining deal which, for US$55, allowed us to eat dinner in all three of the specialty restaurants featured on the Rhapsody of the Seas – Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table and Izumi. It also included $30 of credit at Izumi ($5 dining fee), which is the only restaurant on board that also charges for menu items individually; both Chops Grille (US$30) and Giovanni’s Table ($20) have a flat dining fee.

Chops Grille is described as Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse and certainly, the interior does evoke the atmosphere of a traditional steakhouse with its dark wooden tables and leather seats. Of course, there are not many restaurants that could compete with the stunning views from the window table that we were fortunate enough to sit at in this venue.

Window table with a view!

Window table with a view!

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Royal Caribbean 10 Night South Pacific Cruise – Rhapsody of the Seas

While The Love Boat is one of my favourite tv shows, it has never made me want to go on a cruise, largely because I’m prone to motion sickness and I always wondered what I would do if I hated it. I mean, it’s not like you can just get off the boat when you feel like it! However, I’m a sucker for cheap deals and when a deal for a 10 night South Pacific cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines came up on Groupon late last year, I figured, why not?

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Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas docked in Sydney

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