Wednesday, 7 October 2015

New riverboat is Peruvian Amazon’s most luxurious.

Rainforest Cruises is marking the launch of the Peruvian Amazon's most luxurious riverboat with free internal flights for all 2016 seven-day cruises booked this year.

Amazon Discovery, which launches in October, is a 22-suite river cruiser with five-star features including a spa, plunge pool and gourmet dining, yet with space for just 43 passengers the boat is small enough to travel deep into the tributaries of Peru's Amazon.

For river cruising in comfort, the ship has an open-air sun deck with cushioned chaises longues and a shaded bar, an air-conditioned lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows for breathtaking jungle views, and a spa for stone massages, soothing wraps and coffee-cacao scrubs.

There are four and seven-day cruises available, with activities including an expedition along the black-waters of Tahuayo River to a feeding spot of Pink River Dolphins; a visit to the start of the Amazon River where the Ucayali and Marañon Rivers merge, and skiff excursions into Pacaya Samiria, the largest wildlife preserve in Peru.

On-land adventures include guided jungle walks, traditional village visits and the chance to meet the ribereños river people whose lives revolve around the river.

On-board activities include expert talks from naturalists, Peruvian cooking classes and nightly entertainment with a local flavour.

Luxury cabin aboard Amazon Discovery
Jeremy Clubb, direct of Rainforest Cruises says: "The Amazon Discovery is the most luxurious small cruiser on the Peruvian stretch of the river. For travellers who want to immerse themselves in the amazing world of the Amazon, and do so in comfort, this new launch is not to be missed."

To celebrate the launch of Amazon Discovery, Rainforest Cruises is offering free return domestic flights with LAN airlines between Lima and Iquitos (average cost around £180) for every seven-day Amazon Discovery 2016 cruise booked before 31 December.

Four-day trips start from £1319 per person and seven-day cruises from £2549 per person for departures in 2016, with all food and local drinks included. International flights are extra.

India - north and south by land and sea

All-inclusive luxury tour featuring opulent palace hotels

A luxury, small ship ocean cruise to Sri Lanka and along India's tropical southern coast will be coupled with an overland tour through Rajasthan, stays at India's grandest hotels and a visit to the Taj Mahal at sunrise as part of a new 26-day cruise tour in March, 2016, offered by Cruise Express.

The exotic, all-inclusive itinerary with APT features an interactive Indian cooking class and stays at a string of five-star Taj Hotels, including Udaipur's iconic Taj Lake Palace, which starred in the 1983 James Bond movie, Octopussy.

The adventure begins with a flight from Australia on February 29, 2016, to Chennai where guests board the boutique 114-passenger MS Island Sky for a 14-night journey to Mumbai via eight ports in Sri Lanka and India. All cabins on the ship are suites with ocean views, with guests pampered by 75 staff, complimentary shore excursions and free beverages with lunch and dinner.

As a smaller ship, MS Island Sky will call in at lesser-visited ports with the itinerary featuring Trincomalee, Hambantota, Galle and Colombo in Sri Lanka and the Indian ports of Trivandrum, Cochin, Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai. Excursions ashore include visits to temples, palm-lined beaches and spice and tea plantations, with guests able to delve into the colourful history and culture of both countries.

From Mumbai, a 10-day overland tour takes in the highlights of India's most spectacular state, Rajasthan, with its stunning and historic forts and palaces in Udaipur and Jaipur. The itinerary includes a jeep ride through villages near Samode and a sunrise visit to the World Heritage-listed Taj Mahal in Agra.

Each night guests will stay in some of India's most luxurious palace hotels. Amongst them are the marbled Taj Lake Palace, which was once the abode of maharaja and exudes an air of mystique. Guests will also stay in Jaipur's Taj Rambagh Palace, an architectural icon with ornamental gardens, rich fabrics and an interactive cooking class for guests, and the exclusive Samode Palace, a 475-year-old sanctuary blending traditional opulence with modern luxury and offering four-poster beds and exquisitely carved furniture.

Including flights from Australia and flights within India, most meals, beverages with lunch and dinner during the cruise, shore excursions and daily sightseeing, the 26-day package is available from $23,199 per person, twin-share.

For bookings and details, call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit

Two weeks on SeaDream to begin Mediterranean summer

SEADREAM Yacht Club is kicking off next year's Mediterranean Summer with an exceptionally priced seven days aboard its boutique SeaDream II from Rome to Athens, and with the opportunity to stay aboard for a second week at an even more-tempting price to visit some of the smaller and most historically fascinating ports in Greece and Albania.

After departing Rome's port of Civitavecchia next June 11 the 5-star mega-motor-cruiser will visit dreamy Capri, have an overnight stay in Sorrento for time to visit Pompeii, call at Taormina in Sicily with an option of climbing volcanic Mt Etna, have a full day at sea, and then visit Fiskardo, Galaxidi (for ancient Delphi,) and make a transit of the famed Corinth Canal before Athens port of Piraeus.

Price starts from US$4726pp twin-share including drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, power and sail water-sports where locally permitted, onboard gratuities, and Government charges and taxes.

And an immediately-following 7-days Piraeus-return allows an opportunity to take in more of Delphi (one of the top three archaeological sites in Greece,) the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Butrint in Albania, Katakolon where the ancient Olympics were held, Gythion to visit Sparta for a taste of yester-year Greece, Elafonisos Island with its famed seafood tavernas, and historic Hydra whose port is renowned for its restaurants, shops and markets – and for being car-free.

That week is priced from US$4297pp twin-share including a 10% Second Week Saving on the cruise portion. (There is no saving on Government charges, taxes etc.)

SeaDream II has just 56 staterooms for a maximum 112 guests served by 95 crew. For full details see travel agents or visit

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Take in the Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth

One Ocean Expeditions' 2016-17 Antarctic season includes two South Georgia In-Depth trips featuring on board Photography Symposiums that will appeal to amateur photographers and lovers of remote small-ship adventure cruises alike.  Both expeditions include incredible wildlife encounters, fascinating history and truly breath-taking scenery.  Plus, with up to 10 consecutive days of exploration in South Georgia, witnessing what has often been described as the 'greatest wildlife show on earth', it's the chance to spend more than double the time traditionally allocated to this seldom-visited area on longer trips to Antarctica.

For those travelling in October 2016 (15th-31st) the departure has been timed perfectly to coincide with the intense spring wildlife activity in Antarctica.  Guests will see king penguins by the hundreds of thousands, elephant seals fighting for territory to mate with their harems, fur seals mating, pupping and clustering the beaches, as well as a profusion of seabirds from albatross to giant petrels and skuas.

In addition, following OOE's inaugural Shackleton Crossing in October 2015 in conjunction with the New Zealand Heritage Trust, particularly intrepid passengers will have an amazing opportunity to repeat Sir Ernest Shackleton's famous journey across the spine of South Georgia in 2016.  Using skis, the crossing from King Haakon Bay to Stromness will take place one hundred years after the famous explorer completed the original journey.

The January 2017 voyage (28th Jan – 11th Feb) takes place during the height of the polar summer when wildlife is at its most relaxed.  Daylight hours are longer, penguin chicks are playful, fur seal pups are especially curious and a plethora of sea birds including wandering albatross, giant petrels and smaller cape petrels fills the skies.  Not to mention staggering numbers of king penguins, particularly on the black sand beaches and tussock covered dunes of Salisbury Plain.

On both expeditions five professionals will share their expertise in photographing and recording the wildlife and landscapes.  They have all been selected for their exceptional ability to prioritise excursions in order to maximise the light for photography, whilst also managing weather conditions and itinerary commitments.

Leading the group will be award-winning photographer and conservationist, Daisy Gilardini, who has visited Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Islands every year for the past 19 years.  Daisy combines her skills as a photographer and love of extreme adventure with a true passion for the natural world and a life-long commitment to the environment and conservation issues.

She comments:  "As environmental photographers, it is our duty to capture the beauty of places and species at risk and to raise awareness through the images that we capture.  Going back to the same places in different seasons is one of the most rewarding experiences for a photographer.  South Georgia holds a very special place in my heart.  It is overwhelming for the breath-taking beauty of the landscape as well as the huge amount of wildlife you can find there."

Joining Daisy will be Martin Hartley, one of the world's leading expedition and adventure travel photographers, who has 20 unique polar assignments to his name; Ron Clifford, an artist, coach and creative mentor who is well-versed in sharing his photographic skills, teaching field techniques and hosting workshops; Gerhard 'Guts' Swanepoel, who has earned his reputation as one of the most sought-after guides of his generation following 13 years of guiding and a staggering 1.2 million kilometres travelling across Southern Africa; and Canadian artist, David McEown, who has focused his work on the polar regions for the past decade, witnessing and recording the beauty of a world that is changing rapidly as it disappears.

The 16-night departure on 15 October 2016 costs from US $10,395 per person based on triple share accommodation on board the purpose built and upgraded cruise ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, while the 14-night departure on 28 January starts at US $13,395pp.

Prices include return flights between Punta Arenas in Chile and Stanley in the Falkland Islands, airport transfers, accommodation and meals on board, plus guides, wet weather gear, excursions and activities as included in each itinerary.  Interactive workshops, one-on-one reviews and constructive feedback to help improve photographic skills, as well as dedicated photographic excursions, to take advantage of the light and extended periods on shore to satisfy the photographic time required are also included.

An Antarctic Early Bird offer from OOE gives a US $1000 travel credit on all 2016/17 season bookings made before 1 December 2015.

One Ocean Expeditions

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Cruise International Awards -Voyages of Discovery won the award for 'Best for Adventure' cruises


Voyages of Discovery beat five leading cruise brands to claim the 2015 Cruise International Award for the best cruise line for Adventure.

Voyages of Discovery offers Small Ship Discovery Cruising with the opportunity to choose what you want from your holiday. On board guest speakers bring to life each destination which can be experienced with both inclusive and optional excursions.

Voyages of Discovery cruises include all meals, accommodation, entertainment, renowned guest speakers and onboard gratuities

Liz Jarvis, Editor of Cruise International, said: "The Cruise International Awards 2015 are voted for by the people who go on cruises and the results are a real insight into consumer opinion. With new cruise lines making an impact in 2015 this year's results have been very interesting. The cruise industry continues to go from strength to strength and we're delighted to be able to play our part in recognising the extraordinary achievements and incredible innovation of this amazing industry."

Andy Harmer, Director of the Cruise Lines International Association, added: "The Cruise International Cruise Awards are very much an integral part of the cruise calendar and it's great to see cruise lines, agents and others recognised for their outstanding service by those who matter – the consumers. The thousands of votes for the Awards bear testament to the passion shown by those holidaymakers with a love for everything cruise."

Click here, to download a copy of the Voyages of Discovery 2016/17 brochure.

For more information, prices and bookings, please contact your local Travel Agent or Discover the World on 1800 (623 267) OCEANS or email

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

New in river cruising from Insider Journeys


Insider Journeys adds 3 new river cruise ships to existing portfolio and introduces river tours to selected Small Group Journeys

Insider Journeys has launched its ‘2015-17 Asian River Cruising’ brochure with itineraries across Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, India, and China. The company’s most comprehensive cruising brochure yet, the 90 page guide includes information on three new river cruise ships, the ‘Mekong Eyes’, ‘Pandaw’, and ‘RV Anawrohta’, Insider Journeys’ expanded range and its portfolio of more than 25 Asian river cruises.

As small boat specialists, Insider Journeys has introduced a new product option coupling a Small Group Journey with river cruise to serve the growing demand in the Asian river cruising market. The first such offering is its ‘Mekong & Beyond’ small group journey, which combines a complete river cruise and land tour for a 16 day two country exploration through Cambodia and Vietnam that includes 7 nights’ hotel accommodation and 8 nights’ cruising.

Additional nights cruising have also been added to the ‘Vietnam Discovery’ Small Group Journey with a night’s cruising on the Mekong as well as Halong Bay, and to the ‘Burma Revealed’ journey with two nights on the Irrawaddy.

Managing Director, Paul Hole, says Insider Journeys has combined cruise with land touring in response to passenger demand.

“Trip extensions have become very popular. In the last 12 months, Insider Journeys’ Mekong cruises have seen almost half of our passengers take the ‘Cruise Plus’ option of combining cruise and land arrangements,” says Hole.

The beautifully crafted ‘Pandaw’ ships have also been introduced into the Insider Journeys stable and their new itineraries include:

· A 15 day The Mekong: From Laos to China river cruise on the mighty upper Mekong River, from Vientiane to tropical Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan, China, with an overland side trip to Burma.

From $11,932 (AUD) per person twin share

· An 11 day Red River Vietnam river cruise on the Red River Delta cruising into Ha Long Bay. The RV Angkor Pandaw sets sail from Hanoi on a round-trip adventure that includes scenic national parks, historic villages and hilltribe communities.

From $4,618 (AUD) per person twin share

Paul Hole says Insider Journeys’ Asia River cruising portfolio has expanded rapidly over the past three years.

“We’ve continued to expand our river cruise offerings to keep up with travellers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for new experiences along Asia’s fascinating main rivers. Increasingly, passengers are discovering how river cruising throughout Asia provides a unique opportunity to gain greater access and deeper insights into a way of life that has remained relatively unchanged,” says Hole.

The small boat specialists offer cruise bookings on a range of river cruises across Asia, including the ultra-luxury of Aqua Expedition’s Aqua Mekong. River cruising itineraries are offered on the Ganges (India), the Irrawaddy (Burma), the Mekong (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) and the Yangtze (China). 

For more information and bookings, Insider Journeys’ Asia experts can be contacted on 1300 362 777 or visit

For great travel adventures and stories, follow the Insider Journeys team at, on Twitter @InsiderJourneys 

Aqua Expeditions New Adventures aboard Aqua Mekong


Aqua Expeditions has introduced exciting new adventures for guests to mark the first anniversary in October 2015 of Aqua Mekong's cruises along the Mekong River between Vietnam and Cambodia.

The leader in luxury small ship cruising, Aqua Expeditions is continually researching new opportunities for guests travelling aboard the luxurious boutique Aqua Mekong cruiser to experience fresh and novel local adventures, cultural experiences and outdoor activities which showcase the richness of Southeast Asia.

The sleek and contemporary Aqua Mekong is the only vessel on the Mekong River to operate private tenders - with the fleet of four aluminium launch boats - and bikes taking guests to fascinating local settings not accessible to other cruise companies. All excursions are limited to 10 guests per guide.

Mekong excursions with Aqua Expeditions

The adventures transport guests by boat, foot and bike, past pastoral Khmer scenes of sugar palm fronds, emerald rice fields, floating markets and families travelling by ox cart while they enjoy 'meet and greet' encounters with local villagers, artisans and learned Buddhist monks.

To bring Aqua Mekong passengers deeper than ever into this tropical landscape that has long captivated the imagination of foreign explorers, one can head out on invigorating new excursions by bicycle, tuk tuks or kayak. A unique way to observe the exotic rituals of daily life along the mighty Mekong is on two wheels, stopping to photograph catfish sellers, the planting of rice paddies or local children playing with the family's domesticated water buffalo.

Guests can hop on the bikes to explore the picturesque riverbanks of the Mekong River and stay fit cycling the flat paved and dirt trails while discovering, at their leisure, local village life.

Aqua Mekong passengers have the option of 8 to 15 kilometre biking routes to say hello to a crimson robed monk, photograph stilted Khmer houses and ornately embellished pagodas or, perhaps, enjoy an invitation from a new friend to dine in their nearby home. These all-terrain touring bikes are available for both adults and children.

One can also take advantage of eight double-kayaks throughout various locations in Cambodia. For example, kayaking in Oknha Tey, guests can paddle to see local silk-weavers at work, or kayak the Moat Khla region by Tonle Sap Lake and/or in the waterways in the Kampong Chnnang Province.

Whether it is on two-wheels, in a boat, kayak or on foot, Aqua Expeditions treats all guests with active ways to explore and discover life along the might Mekong.

Aqua Mekong cruises per person twin share in First Deck Suite commence from USD3315 for a 3-night Discovery Cruise, USD4420 for a 4-night Explorer Cruise and USD7735 for a 7-night Expedition Cruise, inclusive of all on-board meals and scheduled shore activities.

For further information and reservations, call 1800 243 152 (Toll Free) or visit