Oct 25, 2023

News from the world of travel

Behind the scenes at Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House has launched a new behind-the-scenes tour, Hidden House, available from June to October as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.

From pulleys to props, scenery to sound-checks, the tour explores the inner workings of the building including the Concert Hall's enormous pipe organ, the follow-spot lighting room and the Joan Sutherland Theatre's backstage lift which can carry up to 20 tonnes of set props for productions.

Each tour, which runs for two-and-a-half hours and is limited to groups of 10, will be hosted by two Opera House tour guides who will be joined by staging and lighting technicians to answer questions and share anecdotes of their work.

Following the tour, a leisurely high-tea brunch will be served at Portside restaurant.

Sydney Opera House chief customer officer Jade McKellar said: "During our milestone 50th anniversary year, we’re opening up our doors in new and exciting ways so that more people can experience the magic of the Opera House. With this new tour, we’re drawing the curtain back on the building's thriving epicentre and the powerful stories that bring our icon to life every day."

The Hidden House tour costs $250 per adult.

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Excitement grows for Silversea's newest ship

Silversea Cruises is preparing for the maiden voyage of its newest ship, Silver Nova, which will depart Southampton on July 15 for an 11-cruise to Lisbon which includes visits to the historic regions of Bordeaux in France and Bilbao in Spain.

President and CEO of Silversea Cruises, Barbara Muckermann, said excitement was building for the 12th ship in the Silversea fleet.

"Silver Nova embodies the vision of our cruise line and the evolution of our fleet," she said.

"Silver Nova has been purpose-built for ocean cruising, ushering an evolution of Silversea's industry-leading, ultra-luxury cruise experience."

The ship, which will carry 728 guests, will be the first of Silversea's new Nova class of low-emission ships using advanced hybrid technology.

Its spacious 364 suites will each feature a private balcony with a glass balustrade and sweeping views.

Silversea Cruises senior vice president for marine operations, Roberto Bruzzone, said: "As well as being the most sustainable ultra-luxury ship at sea, Silver Nova will introduce our guests to a new level of comfort, with some of the industry's most spacious accommodations; the largest array of bars, lounges and restaurants of any ultra-luxury ship; and a host of unprecedented innovations for our cruise line."

Silver Nova will sail in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South America during her inaugural season.

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Increased Aussie flights for Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has increased the number of flights between Australia and Singapore with the return this month of double-daily Airbus A380 flights between Singapore and Sydney, and an Airbus A380 flight between Singapore and Melbourne.

Singapore Airlines regional vice president south-west Pacific, Louis Arul, said the arrival of a second A380 to Sydney takes the airline's seat capacity to almost 100 per cent of its pre-COVID levels.

"The additional A380 also provides customers with access to First or Suites class on three of our four daily flights from Sydney," he said.

"Delivering more seats across our premium cabins, as well as increased capacity in Economy class, highlights our longstanding commitment to Sydney."

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert welcomed the new service by Singapore Airlines .

"The first-ever commercial A380 flight – way back in 2007- was a Singapore Airlines plane to Sydney and we are thrilled to see the return of double-daily services again," he said.

"This extra capacity gives travellers more choice and will help accelerate Australia's tourism recovery."

Customers travelling on either flight can enjoy six luxury Suites on the upper deck, as well as 78 Business class seats, also on the upper deck, 44 Premium Economy seats nestled in the front of the main deck and 343 Economy class seats.

The return of the A380 to the Melbourne route marks a milestone for Singapore Airlines, with the additional capacity taking the airlines’ operations to 110 per cent compared to January 2020 levels.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said the return of Singapore Airlines A380 service represented a vote of confidence in the Victorian market.

"Singapore Airlines was one of the few carriers that continued to fly into Melbourne throughout the pandemic, and we are pleased to see them reaffirming their commitment to Victoria," she said.

Singapore Airlines operates more than 100 weekly flights between Australia and Singapore.

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Behind the scenes at Sydney Opera House For more information: Excitement grows for Silversea's newest ship For more information: Increased Aussie flights for Singapore Airlines For more information: