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Bound for Perth in February

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Two senior ladies and some friends are taking a cruise from Perth in February. We are traveling from Canada and need some suggestions on two issues:

1. What is a recommended airline or route? We would like to break up the trip if possible but don't know if Honolulu, Hong Kong, Fiji or any other stops are feasible or if it is better to fly straight through. When we did a search there doesn't seem to be any airline that flies direct from North America to Perth. Any suggestions?

2. How much time should we plan for to visit Perth and what are the main "must see" sites? The cruise leaves from Fremantle, which I understand is close. Would it make sense to stay in Freo rather than Perth? Any suggestions for a reasonably priced hotel or apartment hotel that is clean and safe? We will not have a car.

This forum was very helpful when planning a previous trip to Australia and I hope you can help us out once again.

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