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Friday, 27 May 2016

Cruiseco exclusive charter - 40-night Australian circumnavigation voyage aboard L'Austral




Cruiseco, the leading provider of cruising options in Australia and New Zealand, is thrilled to announce the exclusive charter of Ponant's L'Austral for a unique 40 night Australian circumnavigation voyage, departing Sydney on 25 January 2018.  Exclusively designed for Cruiseco, this voyage highlights some of Australia's most breathtaking destinations, outside the capital cities.

Amber Wilson, General Manager, Sales & Marketing at Cruiseco says:

"Travelling around our Island Continent is on every discerning traveller's wish list, and now with the opportunity to sail aboard the magnificent L'Austral, guests are offered an intimate and authentic cruising experience.  As a small luxury, expedition vessel, L'Austral has the capability to dock in smaller ports, providing guests with access to unique destinations and the ability to explore secluded locations via Zodiac."

"To enhance the cruising experience, guests will also be accompanied by a specialist expedition team to provide insights into the history of each port, as well as flora, fauna and landscape of the country."

The 40 night itinerary has been designed to offer guests the option to select from a number of overnight excursions away from the ship.  For example, guests can depart L'Austral in Cooktown and re-join her in Port Douglas, having visited Cape Tribulation and the Daintree National Park.  Additional highlights of this voyage include: marvelling at the 12 Apostles in Port Campbell, Victoria, with an option to view this natural phenomenon from the sky; visiting The National ANZAC Centre in Albany, Western Australia; and exploring Darwin, Northern Territory with optional tours to Kakadu and its surrounds.

Accommodating guests within 132 cabins across nine suite categories, L'Austral remains true to the Ponant philosophy of creating a unique atmosphere, with a subtle blend of luxury and wellbeing.  Guests aboard L'Austral will encounter a chic and elegant yacht-like ambiance, refined and personalised service, as well as gastronomic traditional French and international cuisine.

"Cruiseco was the first to charter an Australian circumnavigation back in October 2005, which sold out in less than a week.  Now with the opportunity to sail aboard L'Austral and experience an expedition style voyage, this package is sure to disappear quickly.  We would encourage anyone who would like to cruise with us to secure their places soon," added Wilson.

Prices start from AU$29,000 for a Superior Stateroom per person twin share or AU$26,500 for the Superior Stateroom with the Early Bird Discount, available until 15 May 2016. Price includes: 40 luxurious nights travelling around Australia; all meals aboard L'Austral; house wine, beers, sparkling wine and non-premium spirits throughout the course of the cruise; Zodiac tours in Wineglass, Talbot Bay, Yirrkala, Frangipani Beach, Cape York and Lizard Island; port charges; and gratuities.  

For additional itinerary options or to book whilst cabins are still available, visit www.cruising.com.au or call (02) 9492 8520.


Explore the Galápagos with Silversea’s Early Booking Bonus




Experience the enchanted isles of the Galápagos and discover its exotic and intriguing array of wildlife not found anywhere else in the world, with Silversea Expeditions' round-trip voyages, departing from Baltra, Galápagos.  With two 7-day itinerary options available all year round, aboard the ultra-luxurious Silver Galapagos, each showcases the highlights and unexpected treasures of this unique destination.

Silversea Expeditions' Galápagos itineraries offer guests the opportunity to: climb Prince Philip's Steps through a thriving seabird colony; venture through natural lava tunnels, snorkel in sparkling waters brimming with colourful creatures; or take a Zodiac along the extraordinary Galápagos coastline.

Silver Privilege fares start from AU$9,350per person, based on double occupancy. Fare based on V8637.  As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus, guests aboard Galápagos voyages departing from November 2016 to December 2017, will receive 10% off the published fare, when booked and paid in full before 30 June 2016.  Terms and Conditions apply.

Silversea Expeditions' fares include: all shore and Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader; all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship; an outstanding expedition team of expert guides and lecturers; complimentary WiFi and all gratuities.

These voyages are subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  Diving conditions apply. For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Diving with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji

#expeditioncruising



by Deb Dickson-Smith - Diveplanit.com

Being natural explorers, divers usually like to discover new places to dive and quite often, a diving holiday will involve lots of transfers, and the schlepping around of dive gear from one resort to the next. Which doesn’t usually leave much time to experience the other aspects of travel – food, culture, wildlife, landscape - and it’s not exactly family friendly either.

However there is a way to combine all of these elements and take the family with you. Captain Cook Cruises’ Reef Endeavour sails through some of the more remote parts of Fiji visiting world-class dive sites, as well as waterfalls, villages, and historic towns.

The ship sails overnight from one destination to the next, on 7 to 11 night cruises, with different itineraries taking different routes through the archipelago, so each day you wake up to a new dive site and a new island to explore.

Glorious Bouma Falls on Taveuni
Every morning you wake up in a different place, have the option to do two dives on remote dive sites, in a small group, in clear warm sunlit waters and the rest of the day and evening you can go ashore, visit natural wonders, share cava with friendly villagers or just sip cocktails around the pool.

And if you brought the kids, they’ll be well taken care of at kids club, or hanging with the new friends they’re bound to have met by at least Day 2.

A typical day starts with a peak out of the window of your air-conditioned en-suite cabin onto the day’s destination, lush Fijian hills sloping gently to a small village and a white sandy shore. The water's flat, the air is warm and the sun shining.

Over a buffet breakfast the dive guide gives us the dive brief, and at 9am we head to the rear of the ship with our basics. The tender pulls around, with gear already loaded, tanks already set up and weights on board.

Checking dive gear aboard Reef Endeavour
The trip in the tender is rarely more than 10 minutes and on board with you are the dive instructor, dive guide, skipper, sometimes Ben the resident marine biologist, and often a spare deck and just to help people get in and out of their gear.

As you arrive at the dive site pinpointed by GPS you have that momentary thought: are we definitely in the right place - there's nobody else here? Before remembering that that's precisely why you’re here.

As you slip beneath the calm clear waters it shows: expenses of unbroken hard coral, great meadows of soft corals, populated by friendly Fijian fish and usually all above the 20m mark giving plenty of dive time and great natural ambient light.

On the way back to the ship divers occasionally get the chance to join the snorkelers exploring the shallow coral reefs closer to shore, or you can opt to be dropped off at the beach to play around with a stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. Then it's back to the comforts of a floating resort, a quick shower and change and lunch around the pool.

The afternoon might be filled with a trip to the local historic town, a school, even a church service to hear the Fijians sing. Longer excursions are also on offer to check out rainforest walks, caves or plunging waterfall.

Wherever you go the activities are laid on and your Fijian hosts are as friendly as ever. At a school visit to Makogai, we are entertained by little kids performing the warrior dance mimicking the full performance will see at the Lovo and Meke evening later that day.

Reef Endeavour
Dinner on board is also a bit of a ceremony: something to dress for. Cocktails and canapés are served prior, the perfect opportunity to relax on the deck and watched the sun set, followed by a three course dinner on white linen with starched napkins. There's usually entertainment too though often the other guests are entertainment enough.

The practicalities of diving and cruising are straightforward. You don't need to worry about your gear: it appears on the tender when you're ready to go diving; you leave it on the tender when you get back to the ship and miraculously it reappears, refilled and re-set up, ready for the next dive.

There is also a qualified marine biologist on board - one that grew up in these waters and gives insightful presentations on the health of the reefs, the potential threats and what can be done about them. You can also learn to dive on board, learning all the basics skills in the pool and experiencing your first open water dive in the warm clear waters.

So really, combining a diving holiday with a cruise is a bit of a crowd pleaser. Easy diving with a fantastic crew that take great care of your every needs. They’ll even remember what drink you’ll have at beer o’clock.

You can read more about the diving on Captain Cook Cruises on the Diveplanit site, or you can check out the various itineraries and dates on the Captain Cook Cruises site directly.

G Adventures announces new expedition cruise itineraries for Norway


And launches early booking bonus for Norway and Arctic itineraries

G Adventures is introducing three new itineraries in Norway on board its expedition ship, G Expedition, in May 2017, following consumer demand for cruises in the area.

The adventure operator is also offering a 15 per cent early booking bonus for these trips, as well as all other 2017 Longyearbyen and Svalbard itineraries, to encourage travellers to book early and secure their preferred itinerary, date and cabin category.

Adrian Piotto, Managing Director G Adventures Australia and New Zealand, says travelling Norway by ship is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to see the country.

"Norway has long been popular with travellers from New Zealand and Australia because of the stunning natural wonders the country has to offer. On board the G Expedition travellers have the benefit of seeing the fjords in comfort, with G Adventures' team of expert expedition guides there to provide a greater understanding of the nature and wildlife in the area."

"It is a stunning part of the world, and perfectly fitted for expedition cruising. With these new itineraries travellers have even more ways to explore Norway."

The early booking discount is valid for all bookings made before June 30, 2016 and applies to all Norwegian and Artic itineraries departing between May 11, 2017 and August 11, 2017.

The three new Norwegian itineraries are as follows:

-              Cruise the Norwegian Fjords – Tromsø to Bergen -  Venture into the magical and mysterious lands along the coast of the Norwegian Sea for close encounters with glaciers and fjordscapes. Perfect for explorers long on ambition but short on time, this eight-day expedition brings travellers to important sites of Norway's ancient history, UNESCO-protected historic sites, and incredible nature. Was priced from $2,999pp now priced from $2,549 for an eight-day trip from Tromsø to Bergen.

-              Scottish Highlands and Norwegian Fjords - Go deeper into the otherworldly fjords of Norway on this unique journey through the Norwegian Sea. Discover UNESCO-protected wonders like the Standing Stones of Stennes, the mystical Ring of Brodgar, witness the curious clash of cultures in the Shetland Islands, and marvel at the stunning forests and waterfalls that line the fjords. Was priced from $5,199pp, now priced from $4,419pp for a 14-day trip from Edinburgh to Tromsø.

-              Norwegian Fjords and Polar Bears of Spitsbergen - Set sail from Bergen – the gateway to Norway's fjords – to the remote shores of Svalbard on this odyssey across the Norwegian Sea. Walk across the glaciers that carved the stunning landscapes, explore subarctic islands by Zodiac in search of polar bears, and walk through history at UNESCO-protected historical sites. Was priced from $6,299pp, now priced from $5,354pp for a 15-day trip from Bergen to Longyearbyen.

For more information or to book a trip to any of the above destinations, call 1300 796 618 or visit www.gadventures.com.au

New Ships and New Adventures – Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Releases Explorations Brochure 2016/2017

#expeditioncruising

Get this brochure now - click here

Today, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has released its 2016/2017 Explorations brochure that offers adventure seekers extraordinary small-ship expeditions, showcasing over 50 itineraries including new highlights such as Wild Alaska Escape and Big Picture Alaska. The brochure also delves into the features of Lindblad's latest fleet additions, National Geographic Endeavour II and the specially built, National Geographic Quest.

With 50-years of expedition travel experience, Lindblad's new brochure highlights diverse exploration voyages, cruising to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth such as Antarctica, Alaska, Galapagos, Cuba, Europe and Amazon.

Sven-Olof Lindblad, president and founder of Lindblad Expeditions says, “On 140 pages there is a myriad of opportunities to see, know, learn and experience our world in latitudes ranging from the extreme north to the extreme south. It is our intent to celebrate this year as the 50th anniversary of my father's historic expedition to Antarctica when he brought the first travellers to that magical continent. New ideas, new ships, and new geographies are all part of our celebrations.”

National Geographic Endeavour II

National Geographic Endeavour II
The Explorations brochure features Lindblad's new 96-passenger vessel, National Geographic Endeavour II. Earlier this year, the leader in small-ship expedition travel purchased the ship, which will replace National Geographic Endeavour in January 2017 after extensive renovations.

National Geographic Endeavour II is exceptionally quiet and maneuverable, and will continue to maximise Lindblad's Galápagos experience with great viewing from the 53 outside cabins, state-of-the-art exploration tools, and a fast, seamless Zodiac loading platform. Spacious lounges, modern cabins, and first-rate dining will add to the luxury of comfort.

The following are two examples of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic's brand new itinerary highlights for 2017, which will join the 55 further voyages highlighted in the Explorations brochure.

Big Picture Alaska

Aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, guests will immerse themselves in an 11-day photo expedition through Alaska's famed Inside Passage and experience the perfect mix of small-town life and the grand expanse of wild landscapes. This voyage for up to 62 guests at a time is available from June to August. Prices for this adventure start at AU$11,240 per person in double occupancy in a category one cabin. More information here: au.expeditions.com/destinations/alaska/ketchikan-sitka/

Wild Alaska Escape

An active and exciting 6-day journey aboard National Geographic Sea Birdthat showcases Alaska's iconic wildlife and epic landscapes in the compact timeframe of one week. Guests can take hikes on world-class trails through forests, kayak long routes deep into glacially carved fjords, and raft to an ancient Alaska village. This expedition is available from May to August. Prices start at AU$5,370 per person in double occupancy in a category one cabin. More information here: expeditions.com/destinations/alaska/sitka-juneau

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages, visit expeditions.com, or call 1300 361 012 (AU), 0800 444 462 (NZ) or +2 9033 8700 (Asia).

Monday, 23 May 2016

Uncover the hidden gems of the Pacific and Indian Ocean aboard Silver Discoverer

#expeditioncruising



From the spectacular natural wonders of Indonesia, to the tantalising cuisine of Myanmar, sail aboard Silversea Expeditions' 120-guest Silver Discoverer to the hidden archipelagos of the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus, guests aboard Silver Discoverer voyages departing from November 2016 to December 2017, will receive 10% off the published fare, when booked and paid in full before 30 June 2016. Terms and conditions apply.

Examples of Silver Discoverer's unmissable voyages:

V9624: (Diving Voyage) Departing from Singapore on 10 November 2016, this 11-day voyage enables guests to explore the volcanic landscapes of Pulau Weh and meet the resident orangutans on Sumatra, before disembarking in Phuket. Fares start from AUS$13,095* per person, based on double occupancy.

V9625: Departing from Phuket on 21 November 2016, guests aboard this 11-day voyage can experience historical wonders of India and Myanmar including the 2,500 Shedwagon Pagoda in Yangon. Fares start from AU$11,565* per person, based on double occupancy.

V9626: (Diving and Wellness voyage) Sailing from Phuket, Thailand to Maldives (Male) on a 15-day Indian Ocean sojourn, guests can experience the indigenous cultures of the Andaman Islands, discover historic Sri Lankan fortresses and shop for spices in local bazaars. Fares start from AU$16,335* per person, based on double occupancy.

V9627: (Diving, Wellness and Birding voyage) Commencing in the Maldives (Male), Silver Discoverer sails to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on a 17-day voyage where guests can discover Zanzibar, the "Spice Isle" replete with narrow streets and riveting legends, encounter dolphins and see the rare coco de mer palms in Praslin's UNESCO-listed Vallée de Mai. Fares start from AU$21,015* per person, based on double occupancy.

Silversea Expeditions' fares include: all shore and Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader; all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship; an outstanding expedition team of expert guides and lecturers; complimentary WiFi and all gratuities.

*Terms and conditions apply. Prices include Silversea's Early Booking Bonus offer. Promotion available to bookings made and paid in full before 30 June 2016. Diving conditions apply.

These voyage are subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Antarctic deal - book now


Ultimate Antarctic adventure

World Expeditions is offering massive savings of up to US $7,050 per person (twin porthole) on its epic 32-day journey into the very heart of Antarctica.

Book before 3 August 2016 and save US $5,750 (quadruple porthole), US $5,950 (triple porthole) or US $7,050 (twin porthole). The offer is available for a limited time on trips departing on 13 January or 15 February 2017.

Following the path of the early explorers, this ultimate Antarctic adventure involves abundant wildlife encounters, whale sightings and a visit to the Ross Island research stations. It is one of World Expeditions' most adventurous and comprehensive itineraries.

Priced from US $19,950 per person (quad/triple porthole) to $25,700 (twin porthole). On sale until 3 August, 2016

Ph 1300 720 000. See www.worldexpeditions.com