Childcare worker from Warrnambool wins luxury European river cruise

STOKED: Megan Robertson is the winner of our Explore cruise competition.
STOKED: Megan Robertson is the winner of our Explore cruise competition.

Megan Robertson can't wait to start the 15-day luxury European cruise she won in our Explore competition.

But first, she'll need a passport.

The 21-year-old childcare worker from Warrnambool has never been overseas - although she has dreams of one day taking her childcare diploma and working on a cruise ship.

Jetting off to Amsterdam and cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers to Budapest as a guest on an Emerald Waterways Star-Ship is a good first step.

The cruise, from Evergreen Cruises & Tours and worth up to $26,980, was the prize in a national competition to launch our new travel section - Explore.

DREAM: What a way to arrive in Budapest - on this luxurious river cruise ship.

DREAM: What a way to arrive in Budapest - on this luxurious river cruise ship.

Megan was over the moon when she learned she had won the competition.

"I do want to travel. I'd love to go to America. Wherever! But my bank account has been saying 'no'," she said.

Megan says she'll be taking her "best friend" Emma, who has been overseas a few times so already has a passport, to share the balcony suite and be her travel adventure buddy.

SIGHTS: The Evergreen cruise travels along the spectacular Danube between Amsterdam and Budapest.

SIGHTS: The Evergreen cruise travels along the spectacular Danube between Amsterdam and Budapest.

Those adventures will include visits to some of Europe's most historic towns and cities, including Cologne and its UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral; Bamberg, a town that boasts one of the largest medieval centres in Europe; and Austria's breath-taking capital Vienna, once home to Mozart and Beethoven.

Along the way, Megan and Emma will be entertained by a Bavarian band, share coffee and cake with Slovakians and learn some traditional Hungarian folklore.

On board the Evergreen cruise ship, they'll be tempted with 41 superb meals, including a Captain's gala dinner.

ITINERARY: The 15-day cruise takes in the best parts of the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.

ITINERARY: The 15-day cruise takes in the best parts of the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.

Explore returns as a weekly liftout in 14 newspapers throughout NSW, the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania, on Saturday, January 25.

In the meantime, you can always find the latest Explore stories - full of ideas, deals and advice for holidays around Australia and the world - here, in the Explore section of your local Australian Community Media news website.

The Explore liftout appears in print in the Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mercury, Launceston Examiner, Burnie Advocate, Border Mail, Ballarat Courier, Bendigo Advertiser, Warrnambool Standard, Wagga Daily Advertiser, Central Western Daily, Dubbo Daily Liberal, Western Advocate and Northern Daily Leader.

Thanks to Evergreen Cruises & Tours for their support of Explore and providing the wonderful prize for our first editions.