Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Tauck to double small ship capacity


Tauck has announced plans to double its small ship cruising capacity within the next four years through strategic fleet expansion, deepened partnership programs and new itineraries.

"We are destination explorers at Tauck and some destinations are best explored by both land and sea," said Tauck President, Jennifer Tombaugh.

"Tauck Small Ship Cruising is our first product line to sell out each year," said Ms Tombaugh.

"By adding new destinations and expanding our capacity with Ponant, we are able to provide more choice and more availability in order to better serve the current and growing demand."

Ponant, the French-owned cruise line, will debut four new luxury expedition yachts in 2018 and 2019.

As part of an expanded partnership, Tauck will leverage all four Ponant new builds starting with Le Lapérouse in summer 2018.

The first Tauck sailing on Le Lapérouse departs on 3 July 2018 with the 7-night 'Iceland: Land of Fire & Ice' round-trip from Reykjavik stopping at off-the-beaten-path towns, tiny villages and isolated islands and priced from AUD9990 per person twin share.

"Today, Tauck utilises five Ponant ships for 10 itineraries. By 2020, we'll be sailing on nine Ponant ships further supporting our investment in growing the category," said Ms Tombaugh.

NEW CUBA CRUISE
Tauck Small Ship Cruising is adding a 10-day journey throughout Cuba departing 14, 23 and 28 December 2018 aboard the 3-masted schooner, Le Ponant.

The new people-to-people cultural sailing will be priced from AUD12,490 per person twin share calling on Cuba's coastal gems between Havana and Santiago de Cuba and including a two-night stay in Havana, complete with guided Tauck sightseeing.

BBC EARTH JOURNEYS
Tauck is further expanding its 4-year partnership with BBC Earth, the award-winning filmmaker behind the 2017 acclaimed series, Planet Earth II.  Starting in 2018, all Tauck Expedition small ship cruises become a part of the Tauck Earth Journeys portfolio featuring customised BBC Earth enhancements connecting travellers with wildlife and nature.

The newest destination to be added to the Earth Journeys' cruise collection is Iceland. Planned enhancements include BBC Earth experts on board select cruise departures and Tauck Director training and certification by BBC Earth filmmakers and historians.

Currently, every land and sea Tauck Earth Journey features on-tour film vignettes custom-made by BBC Earth natural history experts, which Tauck guests view during their travels. Many Earth Journeys also incorporate BBC Earth-approved field equipment gadgets, such as sensitive
long-range microphones, thermal imaging cameras, night-vision goggles, and self-activating camera traps. The vignettes provide exclusive insights and perspectives shared by BBC Earth experts, while the gadgets allow new and exhilarating ways for guests to interact with their surroundings, further enhancing and enriching the experience.

25 YEARS OF SMALL SHIP CRUISES
Celebrating 25 years in 2018, Tauck Small Ship Cruising offer a variety of intimate sailings to destinations across the globe. Leveraging its 90 plus years of land expertise to provide guests with more access and enrichment onshore, Tauck Small Ship Cruising itineraries include cultural journeys and expeditionary sailings. In the early 1990s, Tauck took its land model to the ocean in order to bring guests to destinations best explored by sea. By engaging various maritime partnerships, Tauck discovered that small ship cruises aligned most closely with the type of experiences their guests craved with an ability to reach locations big ships are unable to explore. Tauck's first small ship cruise set sail in 1993 in the Mediterranean. Today, all Tauck small ship cruises offer flexible yacht-like cruising on vessels tailored to each destination and range from 40 to a maximum 300 guests. Each Tauck Small Ship Cruising itinerary is all-inclusive covering all shore excursions, gratuities, port charges and taxes, airport transfers, luggage handing, internet access, on-board meals and dining ashore opportunities. Most Tauck itineraries also include complimentary on-board beer, wine and cocktails, as well as pre and/or post-cruise hotel stays featuring guided Tauck-exclusive sightseeing.

Bookings to be directed to your Travel Agent or Tauck Australia on 1300 732 300 or reservations@tauck.com.au

From aboard Spirit of Enderby in PNG: Islands Alive


Sailing in the narrow channel between Fergusson and Normanby Islands, in the D'Entrecasteaux archipelago of Papua New Guinea, we were surrounded by the cones of ancient volcanoes. Now they lie dormant and cloaked in jungle green, but they are certainly not extinct. At the base of Deidei volcano we explored a large area of hot-springs, with bubbling pools of mud and water. We followed our guides carefully. The rocky crust was thin and punctuated with holes. Beneath lay scalding water. Where the water flowed out and over the surface it deposited lines of travertine crystals, creating a series of shallow terraces. Steam and a faint whiff of sulphur filled the air, the atmosphere positively prehistoric.

Later in the day, in the sea around Dobu volcano, we found different evidence of the hot rocks not far below. In shallow water, amongst beautiful coral and seagrass, streams of bubbles erupted from the seafloor. In one location, powerful jets of steam burst continuously from fissures in the rocks, their rumblings clearly audible underwater. The gentler streams of bubbles danced and shimmered in the low afternoon sunlight. Snorkelling through them was a unique and magical experience, a beautiful reminder that these islands are definitely still geologically alive.
 


guest post by 
Karen Bass and Neil Nightingale

Bob Hawke to be Guest of Honour on PONANT Le Cercle Polaire Antarctic polar voyage



Former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke, Honorary President of NGO Le Cercle Polaire, will be a Guest of Honour on PONANT's Le Boréal Antarctic voyage departing Puntas Arenas, 17 November 2017, bound for the Antarctic Peninsula.

Along with the late former Prime Minister of France, Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke, was a major political contributor in the adoption of the third protocol of the Antarctic Treaty System. He will be aboard Le Boréal to share his thoughts on the principles of international control over and management of the polar environments, through either the reinforcement of existing regulatory frameworks or the introduction of new regulations.

For nearly 20 years, PONANT, the world's leading polar cruise specialist, has been committed to ensuring that its activities in the extreme lands of the polar regions are conducted responsibly. This Antarctic voyage will highlight the importance of scientific understanding of the Arctic and Antarctic regions and encourage the preservation of the polar environments through involvement with and sponsorship of NGO Le Cercle Polaire, whose aim it is to expand global awareness of the fragility of the polar environments and the urgent need to protect them. Laurent Mayet, founding president of NGO Le Cercle Polaire will be accompanying Bob Hawke during Le Boréal Antarctic Voyage.  

200 prominent people from more than 52 countries, including Australia and New Zealand, have committed themselves to the protection of the Poles through their involvement with Le Cercle Polaire. A 'Call of the Poles' campaign has received testimony from politicians, scientists, photographers and adventurers committed to protecting the Polar Regions, the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Greater knowledge of the Polar Regions is critical to understanding global climate dynamics and the processes behind global warming.

Photo: Eva Rinandi/Flickr

PRICING:
From A$11,181pp twin share for an 11 night Punta Arenas to Ushuaia 'Chile to the Antarctic Peninsula' voyage, departs 17 November 2017, Le Boréal. Twin share, Superior Stateroom. Current Ponant Bonus Fare subject to change.

Price includes flights from Santiago/Punta Arenas, transfers, plus flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires.

Further information ON LE CERCLE POLAIRE :
Further information on Le Cercle Polaire is available at:
https://www.lecerclepolaire.com/en/le-cercle-polaire-uk/about

INFORMATION & RESERVATIONS
Details of all PONANT voyages including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at  www.au.ponant.com  

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or email reservations.aus@ponant.com to request a copy of the current Asia Pacific 2017 - 2018 brochure                            

Further information available on the website:  www.au.ponant.com

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Whale research on Antarctic expedition cruise [watch]



Collaboration between Polar Expedition Cruise specialist - One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) - and acclaimed marine mammal biologists and scientists leads to significant information on Antarctic whale behaviour that can help to protect fragile polar ecosystems.

Australian and US scientists, including Dr. Ari Friedlaender OOE's leading marine mammal biologist on Antarctic whale scientific research, were recently conducting fieldwork off the Antarctic Peninsula. With drone technology the team of experts were able to capture ground-breaking insights on the feeding behaviour of whales

"We are very proud to support leading-edge research, as well as offer the opportunity for OOE's guests and staff to meet and interact with acclaimed marine biologists and scientists in the intimate setting provided by our expedition cruise vessels. It's not everyday travellers can witness renowned scientists at work and experience such close encounters with Antarctic whales and wildlife," says Andrew Prossin, Managing Director at One Ocean Expeditions. "The 2017 Antarctic cruise season, particularly our Marine Mammals of Antarctica expedition cruise this March, was certainly one to remember!" Prossin added.



The team of scientists attached non-invasive suction cup camera tags with 3D motion sensors, which fall off approximately 24 to 48 hours later. Upon retrieving the devices, the researchers were able to study the recordings showing the feeding behaviour of the humpback whales, including lunge feeding into the abundant tight swarms of krill found in the Antarctic Ocean at this time of the year. Not only did it show footage, but it also recorded their exact movements and the depths of each dive.

"We have some wonderful data on different feeding strategies, ranging from rolling lunges near the surface and bubble net feeding to deep foraging dives lunging through dense patches of krill," says leading whale scientist Dr. Ari Friedlaender. "We have been able to show that whales spend a great deal of time during the days socialising and resting and then feeding largely throughout the evening and night time," Friedlaender added.



The data captured by the cameras will not only help scientists to understand the feeding patterns, social habits and the role played by whales in the Antarctic ecosystem, it will also help them to determine how any change in krill populations might affect these magnificent creatures. Through this understanding, the researchers will be in a position to establish measures to help protect the whales' environment.

Meanwhile, longer-term LIMPET tags were attached to minke whales, essentially because these mammals are faster and more elusive than humpback whales. The tags will transmit data for approximately two to three months. "This work is part of a long-term ecological research study to better understand the divergent impacts of climate change on the ice-dependent minke whales and more open-water humpback whales in this part of the Antarctic," says Elanor Bell, Australian whale research scientist from the Australian Antarctic Division.

One Ocean Expeditions is committed to supporting ongoing ethical science and outreach programs with opportunities available to accredited institutions on each voyage. A leader in polar expedition cruising, One Ocean Expeditions operates voyages to the Antarctic from end October through to March. On several of the cruises, guests have the opportunity to get to know the scientists and to be educated on leading-edge research initiatives - an important part of the One Ocean Expeditions cruise program, which differentiates the company in the growing competitive cruise market.

For more information on One Ocean Expeditions' voyages in polar destinations please visit: www.oneoceanexpeditions.com

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Island Escape cruises in Tahiti


Escape to Tahiti Like a Pop Star or President 

Tahiti Tourisme is offering Australian travellers the chance to relax like a rock star or take time out like a talk show host with a series of star-studded holiday packages now on sale.

Proving it's the world's pre-eminent island destination, some of the most famous people on the planet have chosen The Islands of Tahiti as their ultimate getaway in recent weeks.

Once owned by Marlon Brando, The Brando – an exclusive eco-resort on Tetiaroa – has been a playground for celebrities on "spring break", hosting a former president and talk show host on its idyllic shores.

A rock star and Oscar-winning actor have also taken advantage of the privacy of a luxury yacht to sail around the Society Islands, anchoring in the crystal clear lagoon of island paradise Huahine.

Meanwhile one of the music industry's most iconic couples took time out from their busy schedules to enjoy a babymoon at a Bora Bora resort.

Tahiti Tourisme Director Australia New Zealand Robert Thompson said the Islands of Tahiti had always been popular with celebrities as it offered the chance to truly get away.

"The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for their picture-perfect lagoons and palm-fringed beaches but what some visitors enjoy most is the destination's exclusivity and privacy," Mr Thompson said.

"Privacy is the ultimate luxury and it comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti, which offer all visitors the freedom and space to truly relax in their own private haven."

Tahiti Tourisme is inviting holidaymakers to experience the Islands of Tahiti like a VIP with a range of great packages:

Indulge in a babymoon like a pop star with a seven-night package including five nights in an overwater bungalow at the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort,  return economy flights with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia and transfers throughout including inter-island flights, from $5799* per person twin share.

Sail around the Society Islands like a movie star onboard the 24-passenger luxury small ship Island Escape, which offers the ultimate comfort as guests explore coves and islands that are inaccessible to larger ships. Prices start from $7199* per person twin share including the seven-night cruise, two nights at Manava Suite Resort Tahiti, return economy flights with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia, transfers throughout and inter-island flights.

Escape like some of the most famous couples in the world with a five-night package including three nights in a luxurious private beachfront villa at the Brando on Tetiaroa, two nights at Intercontinental Tahiti Resort, return economy flights with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia and transfers throughout including inter-island flights, from $8799* per person twin share. The all-inclusive resort offers all meals, beverages, excursions and a spa treatment.

For more information or to book visit www.tahititravel.com.au

*Subject to availability, conditions apply.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Arctic cruise experiences off the beaten track in 2017

#expeditioncruising

Australian travellers will have more reasons than ever to go on a polar adventure this year with Polar Specialist Chimu Adventures expanding their travel options to include a variety of off the beaten track Arctic itineraries.

Whether it's crossing the magnificent scenery surrounding Greenland, spotting polar bears in the Arctic's 'capital of wildlife' Spitsbergen, or following the footsteps of the early Arctic explorers on a voyage across the iconic Northwest Passage, Chimu's Arctic experiences will appeal to discerning travellers who have their heart set on seeing and experiencing one of the most seldom visited destinations on earth.

Apart from taking in some of the planet's most inspiring sceneries, the journeys also offer wildlife excursions as well as cultural visits and on-board lectures about the Arctic's local history and culture.

Itineraries encompass a vast range of experiences in destinations including the North Pole, Greenland, Spitsbergen, the Canadian Arctic and the Russian Arctic.

Highlights include:

-         The 8-day Realm of the Polar Bear (on sale - now priced from AU$ 3,518), is the ultimate introduction to the Arctic taking in the Spitsbergen area in-depth that is commonly referred to as the Arctic's 'capital of wildlife'. On this best value trip, travellers have a high chance of seeing the elusive polar bear and other prominent wildlife species while cruising the region's scenic glaciers, fjords and ice fields.

-         On the 15-day Arctic Highlights (on sale - now priced from AU$ 5,660), travellers can tick off not just one but several bucket list items. Taking in the best of Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland, this trip provides guests with a great chance of seeing polar bears and the Northern Lights.

-         The 13-day Top of the World (early bird sale - now priced from AU$ 36,345) is the ultimate way to see the North Pole. Guests will cruise aboard a state-of-the-art icebreaker, crush through multiyear ice on the Arctic Ocean, take in the rarely visited Russian Arctic archipelago before being presented with the once in a lifetime opportunity of standing at the top of the world.

-        The 17-day Northwest Passage: Epic High Arctic (priced from AU$ 16,255) is an in-depth exploration of the High Arctic with the North West Passage and its history being a major focus of this voyage. Following the footsteps of Sir John Franklin, this cruise explores the stunning fjords and icebergs of the Canadian Arctic, and travellers will visit traditional Inuit communities and learn about the Arctic's history and culture.

 "We have seen huge organic growth in demand for our Antarctica cruises over the last 18 months with an increasing number of travellers returning from their trips hungry for their next polar adventure. With most of our Antarctica vessels already operating in the Arctic, it was the next logical step for us to expand into this new destination" said Chad Carey, co-founder of Chimu Adventures.

"Even the most seasoned traveller will be blown away by the inspiring features that make up the Arctic – its mind-blowingly distinctive wildlife, picturesque sceneries, fascinating history and culture. For us, we really want to provide our travellers with an immersive experience that goes beyond the 'ordinary' expedition cruise and our travel options perfectly reflect this mission."

For more information, visit: http://www.chimuadventures.com/destinations/arctic-cruises

*Prices are subject to change ; terms and conditions apply.

www.chimuadventures.com

World Expeditions Antarctic Voyages Sale




#expeditioncruising

Save on selected World Expeditions active' Antarctic Voyages

Get active and save up to US$3,100 on World Expeditions' Antarctic Sale.  Choose between a 30 day historic voyage following the routes of past explorers, a 12 day base camp expedition, with free camping, kayaking, mountaineering, hiking and snowshoeing – or something in between.

On the 30 day Ross Sea Explorer -  Footsteps of Scott & Shackleton, which departs Invercargill, New Zealand on 10 January 2018 and 08 February 2018, you'll save US$2,230 on a main deck twin room, now US$20,070 per person, reduced from US$22,300 or save US$2,400 on a superior room, now US$21,600 per person, reduced from US$24,000.  This expedition is the ultimate Antarctic voyage in one of the most remote regions in the world and is only accessible for two months each year when the ice thaws. Visit historic huts of the early explorers including Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen. Voyage through the breeding grounds of Adelie and Emperor penguins, and enjoy landings on the Sub-Antarctic Auckland, Campbell and Macquarie Islands.



Save up to US$2,150 per person on the 11 day Antarctic Experience, which departs 6 December and costs from US$5,750 per person (down from US$7,200 per person). An ideal introduction to the Great White continent, see albatross and petrels as we cross the Drake Passage when the first huge icebergs come into view, along with a wide variety of wildlife including seals, whales and an abundance of penguin and other birdlife.

For the ultimate active experience in Antarctica, board the 12 day active Antarctic Basecamp Cruise, which includes camping, kayaking, mountaineering, hiking and snowshoeing.  Departing 4 November, you'll save between US$1,600 on a quad porthole room (reduced from US$7,950 to US$6,350 per person and US$2,350 (reduced from US$11,850 to US$9500 per person on a superior room.

Other trips on sale include the 15 November Weddell Sea - In search of Emperor Penguins (save up to $3,100) and the 29 November Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula (save up to $1,200).

Join World Expeditions' Antarctic experts at free information nights in Melbourne (4 May), Brisbane (10 May), Sydney (18 May) and Adelaide, (23 May) to hear about the suite of Antarctic expeditions.

Offer valid until cabins are sold out; however availability is limited.  Call 1300 720 000 or visit www.worldexpeditions.com for full terms and conditions.