While the waters off Gallipoli will be awash with cruise vessels next April, only one, Silversea, will have top military brass aboard and bespoke facilities to ensure this historic experience is truly unforgettable. JOY DODDS reports.

First light over Anzac Cove/Gallipoli on April 25 next will be a riveting moment of reflection in Australia’s history – the centenary of the ANZAC attack on the Dardanelles peninsula.

The silence, broken only by the waves breaking against the cliffs and beaches, will be deafening; the emotion overwhelming for the 102,000 brave men who gave their lives for Australia. The Last Post will be theirs. Lest we forget.

Of course, the ANZAC experience united not only Australia and New Zealand, but also Turkey, Kemal Ataturk having spoken those memorable words that “ your children are now our children ….”

It is still possible to experience the Gallipoli commemoration first-hand. Some 10,000 Australians and New Zealanders , successful in the 2015 Dawn Service ballot, have been invited to attend, arriving on the eve of April 25 and staying overnight under the stars at Anzac Cove, with limited creature comforts, but doubtlessly a lifetime of memories.

Others, the 260 on board, will experience the Dawn Service in style with their own suite onboard the six-star Silver Wind/Sea (?) that will drop anchor off Anzac Cove, as part of a 14-night voyage, including a Dawn Service visit plus another to explore the peninsula. Where there were battleships and soldiers going ashore 100 years ago will be a luxury vessel with some distinguished military guest speakers on board., including Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie and the former Chief of Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie, as well as xxxxxxxx

Experts in the history and emotion of Anzac Day, these distinguished experts are an open book of stories and knowledge.

Captain’s Choice founders and directors, Phil and Kaye Asker, will escort the tour. He said of the upcoming experience:


Breakput Box:

Specialising in military history and the emotion of Anzac Day, these distinguished militarty experts are a great resource, adding a new dimension to the experience.

Admiral Christopher Barrie (AC, FAICD, FAIM, FARPI, RAN ret.)

Chris to all those who know him retired from more than 41 years of active service in the Royal Australian Navy, and as the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) in July 2002. As CDF, he directed and commanded the operation to secure east Timor in 1999-2000, and provided specialised defence security support for the Sydney Olympic Games (2000) and CHOGM in 2002 and has been an advisor and advisor in security matters and on forums. His knowledge, history and hands-on experience aboard the ship renders the Gallipoli voyage all the more memorable.

Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie AC DSC CSM

Retiring from the Army in 2011 after more than 43 years of service, in a career that started at Portsea,and eventually became overseer of all Australian military operations. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his command and leadership in east Timor in 2000/2001 among many distinguished awards.

Nowadays, Ken is part-time Defence Adviser to the NSW Government, amid many other positions – as well as being a keen golfer and traveller.

The 2015 Gallipoli Centenary Voyage also takes in many other exciting destinations, as part of a magical 10-day odyssey, seen from the deck of a ship which is the epitome of elegance, more like a boutique grand hotel experience, for a mere 260 guests. From glasses of complimentary champagne to 24-hour personal butlers, this is the only way to travel!

Living the high life aboard a small ship, you’ll enjoy the best of everything: docking in the heart of city ports one day, exploring rarely seen harbours the next. Captain’s Choice has been providing unforgettable experiences since 1994, and together with Silversea – the multi award- winning cruising operator with ‘big-ship’ majesty and ‘small-ship’ ambience – the Ultra Luxurious Cruises are a home-away-from-home , not to mention a taste of grandeur at sea, complete with spacious suites, marble bathroom, sitting area, complete with flat screen TV, private verandah and a butler on hand 24/7.

There’s also a fitness centre, spa, pool and Jacuzzi, plus signature dishes at The Restaurant and classic Italian al fresco at La Terrezza. Dine at one of three onboard restaurants with complimentary fine wines., followed by an evening of entertainment including moonlight movies on the deck.

The Gallipoli Centenary Tour takes in Greece, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, setting sail from Athens on April 18 and ending in Venice on May 4 next year.

The itinerary takes in Greece, Turkey, XXXXXXXX, departing Athens on April 19 after taking in its Acropolis and Parthenon, the Plaka and staying at the five-star Grande Bretagne Hotel. Boarding the ship, cruise to Gallipoli, via the ancient city of Troy, to Anzac Cove and Lone Pine Cemetery. Walking along the Anzac lines, up through the Shrapnel Valley where food supplies were swiftly carried by night, up to the top of the hill where the frontline trenches at Quinn’s Post and The Nek await, the emotion can only be described as a rollercoaster. These are the historic sites of Gallipoli, and the first-hand accounts of the ship’s military historians will make every one chillingly real. There’s time to explore Istanbul, after sailing up the Bosphorus, with its majestic Blue Mosque and so many other fascinating sights in Sultanahmet, the old city, before returning to Gallipoli in preparation for the Dawn Service in the early hours of April 25.

After this memorable experience, it’s time for some Greek Isles fun at tiny Skiathos, with its white beaches, tiny harbour and cliff-side ruins at Kastro. Next it’s to Olympia (Navplion), the quaint seaport town with its ancient castle, backed by the mountains of Arcadia and the famous sanctuary, the original site of the Olympic Games. The next port of call is Saranda in Albania, home to two World Heritage Sites, one Ottoman, the other Greco-Roman-Byzantine, as well as the old stone city of Girokastro.

The next port is the old medieval town of Kotor perched on the steep coast of Montenegro, with its ancient castle, and the chance to discover beautiful Sveti St Stefan and its village, beautiful Mostar or historic Sarajevo, before sailing north to the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, dating from the C15th.

A little north is the beautiful island of Hvar with its monasteries and atmospheric cobbled streets., followed by a sojourn in Koper in Slovenia, with the chance to see Lake Bled and capital Ljubljana or perhaps visit a Lipizzaner horse stud farm.

The tour climaxes in magnificent Venice where its canal-side golden palaces and duomos come into view as you sail into the harbour at Piazza San Marco. Staying at the Danieli Hotel, explore this absolute gem, packed with history, architecture, fine ristorante and fun, from the Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale) to the glassblowers of Murano.

The Gallipoli Centenary Tour starts from$15,295 per person, twin share, with plenty of optional add-ons for other journeys including el Alamein in northern Egypt on the Mediterranean shores; the battlefields of the Somme and the Western Front in France and Belgium, including Amiens and Villers-Bretonneux.

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