Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views: March 26 Edition

The great Opening Up continues apace, as Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield finds when he reviews another week in travel


I caused quite a storm last weekend. I told you about the river cruise in France that I’ll accompany in August old are coming with me to France.

But there’s something worth knowing. We always announce West Travel Club tours and events first in eTravel — our free digital edition which is sent to inboxes every Wednesday.

Sign up for this by giving us your first name, last name and email address at That way you become a free “member”, and hear all the news before it goes to print.

And we’ve got some really good stuff coming up.


We have just six cabins left on the Travel Club Tour which I will be leading as we travel from Bergen in Norway to Reykjavik in Iceland in July 2023. I’m really looking forward to it. We sail on Viking Jupiter to Flam, set in the steep-sided Aurlandsfjord, and on to Alesund. A sort of Art Nouveau complex, Alesund is spread over four islands. We call at Geiranger, follow the Viking longship route across the North Sea to Torshavn in the Faroe Islands, and across the Norwegian Sea to Seydisfjordur in Iceland — a place founded by Vikings. Seydisfjordur has colourful wooden buildings, cafes, handicrafts, mountainous scenery and a vibrant atmosphere. Then we go on to Reykjavik. It is from $8845 per person (cruise only) and our partners can arrange flights and add-ons. We have a very special arrangement with Finnair. If you’re interested in one of these now-rare cabins, let us know on and we’ll take it from there.


Qantas’ direct flight from Perth to London is back on June 19, with a new flight direct to Rome from June 25. Emirates is now operating four times weekly and that goes daily from May 1. Qatar Airways has gone daily and Air New Zealand, which flies three-times weekly from Perth to Auckland and goes daily from July 3, has just announced a New York non-stop service from September 17. The speed with which we are re-entering the world is staggering, and there’s more detail on page 7.


Ah, spring is in the air .Decimino, by Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias. Think stewed fried chicken with pico de gallo and the refried beans with queso, served with el yucateco and fresh lime for $10.50. It is open seven days a week for both walk-ins and reservations.

The hotel has a “High Standards” room package from $508 a room for the night with a round of specially selected cocktails at the rooftop bar, and breakfast in bed.


Argyle Street has a place in my younger life, because my father was a director of Revlon International, which had its offices there. We sometimes went “into town” early to beat the traffic, and breakfasted nearby, before I took off for a day’s adventure and he went to work. For other, good-value options in Argyle Street, take a look at Alhambra Hotel and Wardonia Hotel (it even still has some rooms that share bathrooms).


After 11.59pm on March 31, fully vaccinated travellers and non-fully vaccinated children aged 12 can enter Singapore and will not need to apply for entry approvals (Vaccinated Travel Pass, or VTP) or be on designated Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights. They will still have to take a pre-departure test within two days before departure for Singapore, but will no longer have to serve a stay-home notice (SHN) or undergo an unsupervised rapid antigen test (RAT) after arriving in Singapore. The non-fully vaccinated are generally not allowed to enter Singapore.

Canada, Thailand and Malaysia are both fully open, without testing, for travellers from April 1.


Just over a year ago, reader Chris Ellis sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office, requesting compensation for two years of lost use of her passport because of the Australian Government’s Do Not Travel ban. Chris calculates that, taking into account the two years of non travel, and the six months required at the end, it would mean a discounted amount of roughly $65 to $75 per passport holder.

She says: “For a 10-year passport, this would equate to $243 and for a five-year passport, $90 for the full cost of the renewal.”

So far her quest has been fruitless.


And the Leisure Inn Penny Royal, a boutique heritage-listed hotel in the centre of Launceston, Tasmania, is taking on the “cost of fuel” issue, by offering a $25 petrol voucher and free parking.

Royal Caribbean has a range of sailings from two nights to 19 nights from Sydney and Brisbane starting in October with half-price deposits if book booked by April 5.


And the final word to reader Wayne Lamotte, who commented on Geoffrey Thomas’ story on the Indian Pacific in last week’s edition: “I had imagined you as a very good technical writer on aspects related to the aviation industry but I must say I was very impressed with your simple but evocative storytelling. The clever use of contrasts between Edward John Eyre’s arduous trek across the Nullarbor and the luxurious ambience of the Indian Pacific was creditable. It was a very good example of cleverly-crafted, accessible journalism.”