September 21, 2013


River cruising is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and due to its popularity, Viking River Cruises recently announced they will be increasing their original order of twelve Viking Longships by an additional two vessels and will next year launch fourteen new Longships

This increased order reflects Viking’s position as the world’s leading river cruise line and by the end of 2014, they will have introduced a total of thirty new ships over a three year period, making this the most rapid fleet expansion program the cruise industry has ever seen. Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises said “We are working hard to match supply with demand and with these new builds, we have the best designed, newest and most extensive offer of ships on the rivers, more than double all our competitors combined.”

River cruising has grown at an average annual rate of approximately nine percent over the last few years and in March this year, Viking set a world record with the inauguration and simultaneous christening ceremony in Amsterdam of ten new Longships for the 2013 sailing season.

Offering modern design and comfortable amenities, plus their exceptional standard and variety of food, Viking Longships give passengers an unforgettable experience which ensures a high rate of return passengers. A revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace is a new feature that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor to ceiling glass doors and allows passengers to enjoy the views and dine al fresco

Freya Cologne HorizViking Longships layout allows for two Explorer Suites and seven two-room Veranda Suites with full size veranda in the living room and French balcony in the bedroom. The 39 Veranda Staterooms have full size verandas and there are 22 French Balcony Staterooms.  All Longships have sustainability upgrades such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens.  The energy efficient hybrid engines reduce vibrations, giving a very smooth ride.

Since Viking’s 1997 inception, their fleet has grown to 35 river vessels, cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China and Southeast Asia. Featuring included shore excursions and on board cultural enrichment, excellent dining choices with included wine, it is easy to see why river cruising with Viking attracts passengers.

One of Viking’s most popular river cruises is the fifteen day Grand European Tour from Amsterdam to Budapest or return along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. This cruise offers a variety of sights, from Holland’s windmills and tulip fields to Germany’s fairytale castles and the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley.

Viking Cruises is a major partner of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Vikings – Beyond the Legend” commencing on 19 September for a limited time.  Located at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, this exhibition, direct from Sweden, will display a variety of treasures and reveal how the Vikings lived, going beyond the myth of Vikings as ferocious plunderers in horned helmets.

Amongst the artefacts that have never been seen in Australia are Viking swords from 700-1100AD, bronze and silver jewellery, statuettes of Norse gods, gold and silver pendants as well as an eight metre replica of a Viking boat plus a restored reconstruction of a 9th century ship.     Sandra Tiltman 



September 21, 2013


The Lincoln Centre Theater’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s famous musical “South Pacific” has returned to the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House for a strictly limited second season and is sure to be as popular or even more so, as it was last year, playing to sell out crowds.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes is again starring as French Planter, Emile De Becque and Lisa McCune is also returning in her role as US Navy Nurse, Nellie Forbush.  Known to most for her TV work, Ms McCune charms the audience with her singing, especially with her performance of “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair”

The 34 piece orchestra makes Rodgers & Hammerstein’s well loved music and lyrics come alive.  The fact that I knew every tune and all the words made the production even more enjoyable.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ deep voice singing “Some Enchanted Evening” sets the mood as the story, involving the lives and loves of the US Navy sailors and nurses based in the Pacific during World War II, unfolds.

Gyton Grantley is also well known to audiences for his TV roles, especially as Carl Williams in Underbelly. As Luther Billis, he has one of the show highlights, singing “There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame” along with the Seabees.

Blake Bowden, the winner of the 2011 Rob Guest Endowment Award, provides another magic moment for the audience when, as Lieutenant Cable, he sings “Younger Than Springtime”.

This is the first Rodgers & Hammerstein production that Opera Australia has presented and after enjoying this one so much, I hope OA will bring Australian audiences more from this incredible American duo.

Sandra Tiltman 


September 21, 2013

image002Whether you’re after a bargain, a one-of-a-kind piece or simply want to browse the treasure trove of items from times gone by, The Vintage & Retro Fair is a great day out, bringing together the best dealers in vintage, antique and retro clothing, fashion, accessories textiles, jewellery, homewares, furniture, home decor and collectables.

The Vintage & Retro Fair offers plenty of variety, with the best dealers from each era catering for a unique and varied crowd. Antique hunters will love the older trinkets and collectables dating from over 100 years ago, vintage lovers will flock to the genuine curio from 1920s onwards and retro fans can search stalls filled with inspired and sourced pieces from the last 20 years.

Browse through the couture clothing, ornate costume jewellery, hats, shoes, sunglasses, handbags, designer one-offs, menswear, posters, magazines, sewing patterns, fabrics, furniture, retro home decor, belts buckles and trinkets.

Other highlights include live fashion parades, vintage makeovers from different styles and eras and even pin-up style photo shoots. There will also be a special exhibition from the Cavalcade of History and Fashion, a not for profit group set up to preserve some fantastic pieces of clothing from the past.  The exhibition focuses solely on 1950s clothing so check out the fashions of the fabulous post-war world. All the glamour of Marilyn, James Dean, Elvis Presley and the rockabilly era

There’s a display of classic cars to add to the feeling of stepping into the past.

The Vintage & Retro Fair
 from 27-29 September 2013
at Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh. Opening Hours: Friday night (27 Sept): 5.30pm – 9:00pm, Saturday: 10am to 5pm, Sunday: 10am to 4pm – Tickets available at the door or online at 

Sandra Tiltman