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Monday, 20 October 2014

Explore Norway in a Hurtigruten vintage voyage

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Hurtigruten offers new concept for classic ship MS Lofoten

Hurtigruten has announced a new concept on-board the fleet’s grand old lady, MS Lofoten (1964) from April 2015. The ships classic characteristics will be accentuated throughout her voyages, offering guests nostalgic experiences such as fishing directly from the ship, bridge tournaments, afternoon teas and a more traditional dining experience.

Exclusive experiences

This small, agile veteran of the seas has a few advantages over other ships as she can navigate waters others can’t - bringing her guests closer to the action and closer to the scenery. While the ship will operate on the traditional coastal voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, Hurtigruten are currently working on a number of new diversions and ports of call to add to the experience from April 2015.

Nearly 30 excursions are available with further exclusive activities offered. Guests will be given the opportunity to fish directly from the deck, or set pots to entice the fascinating king crab. The catch of the day will be prepared and served to the lucky fishermen at the next meal. In the evenings, all those fisherman’s tales gathered during the day, can be recounted over a game of bridge and a (complimentary) glass of sherry in the vintage lounge before dinner. Afternoon teas and quiz evenings will also be part of the new on-board experience.

Norwegian cuisine at its finest

A delicious 4-course dinner based on the menus of the 1960s will be created to delight the taste buds with fresh and seasonal ingredients from local suppliers along the coast. While Hurtigruten are generally known for their informal atmosphere, the voyages on MS Lofoten will be enhanced by a service reminiscent of that offered in the early days of the ship. Dishes will be served from silver platters by staff wearing white gloves and the uniforms of the era and a Captain’s Dinner will round off this voyage down memory lane.

”Modern dining and Asian fusion can be enjoyed all over the world, but now it is time to turn back the time on MS Lofoten to the old virtues, before sushi, pizza and the internet took over our everyday lifestyle. Offering an 11 day nostalgic, but high quality service concept is something we are really excited to offer our guests from 2015”, comments Thomas Westergaard, SVP Product Development & Hotel Operations.

A venerable lady

This vintage ship, launched in 1964 in Oslo, was refitted and renovated in 2003. Since that day 50 years ago, the MS Lofoten has remained loyal to the Hurtigruten shipping company and its fans. Its tasteful wooden decks, original lounges and traditional panorama decks ensure it retains its authentically charming atmosphere. This smallest and oldest Hurtigruten ship has been protected by a preservation order since 2001 and enjoys a very special place in the hearts of Hurtigruten customers. Its traditional charm and unique character have earned it a large community of fans. By its 50th birthday in 2014, the MS Lofoten had travelled almost three million nautical miles, transported 1.25 million guests and docked over 75,000 times in the Hurtigruten ports.

For more information contact your local Travel Agent or email Discover the World on hurtigruten@discovertheworld.com.au or call 1800 OCEANS (1800 623 267).

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ultimate Cruising Competition - Win a Canon EOS M

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Our good friends at Ultimate Cruising are inviting you to register online for a chance to win this gorgeous Canon EOS M. www.ultimatecruising.com.au



Friday, 17 October 2014

Antarctica air and cruise tours- less time at sea - Save A$750



Australian agency, Active Travel, is offering AU$750 off international flights for every traveller who books one of 10 Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands voyages sailing from October, 2015, to March, 2016. Among the tours are three new air and cruise packages that include 'shortcuts' by plane to reduce the sailing time to the polar region and allowing passengers more time to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and also South Georgia, which boasts more wildlife per square metre than any other place on Earth.

The air credit offer is valid for 2015/16 Antarctica earlybird bookings made with Active Travel before November 30, 2014. The adventures are run by longstanding, polar travel specialists, One Ocean Expeditions, which Active Travel pioneered in the Australian market in 2008.

The three new Antarctic and sub-Antarctic 'air and cruise' packages range in length from 11-15 days and all include flight sectors to cut the time at sea, reduce the chance of cross-passage sea sickness, allow more exploration time on land and reduce the length and cost of the tour.

The three new voyages are aboard the Russian, ice-strengthened ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, with the maximum passenger load lowered from 92 to 70 passengers, allowing for more personal service and attention.



Active Travel's first new package – the 11-day 'Antarctic Peninsula Explorer and the Falklands' – starts with a 90-minute flight from Punta Arenas to Port Stanley in the Falklands, followed by a 10-night cruise along the Antarctic Peninsula and then a two-hour flight from the South Shetland Islands back to Punta Arenas. The itinerary in Antarctica includes walks ashore with naturalist guides, visits to historic huts, cruising in zodiac boats to view spectacular icebergs and witnessing an abundance of wildlife species including seals, whales and penguins. Including the two flight transfers, the package is priced from US$9795 per person, triple share, or form US$11,795 twin-share. Departures from Punta Arenas are on December 19, 2015, and January 9, February 13 and March 7 in 2016.

A 12-day 'Ultimate Antarctica' tour begins with a flight from Punta Arenas to the South Shetland Islands, followed by an 11-night cruise to the Falklands via the Antarctic Peninsula and ending with a flight from Port Stanley back to Punta Arenas. Departing Punta Arenas on December 8 and 29, 2015, and January 19 and February 23 in 2016, the package is available from US$10,045 triple-share, or from US$12,045 twin-share, including the two air transfers.

The third package – the 15-day 'South Georgia in Depth' – includes one flight – from Punta Arenas to the Falklands, with passengers then spending 14 nights at sea, including eight days exploring the snow-capped peaks, stunning fjords and wildlife-rich shores of South Georgia Island, famous for its massive colonies of King penguins and elephant seals which jostle for space on the foreshore. Only 30 scientists live on the remote and rugged island in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The voyage, which ends in Ushuaia, Argentina, is available from US$10,145 triple-share and from US$11,245 twin-share, including the flight transfer. One departure is available on October 17, 2015.

Flights from Australia to South America are extra. Bookings made for the cruises before November 30, 2014, will receive a flight credit of AU$750 per person, to be used towards international flights booked in conjunction with the cruise through Active Travel. Pre/post cruise accommodation can also booked through Active Travel.

For details of the Antarctica packages, visit www.activetravel.com.au or call 1300 783 188.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Aurora Expeditions Launch New 2015-2016 Expedition Guide

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Aurora Expeditions, the experts in small-ship expedition cruising, is pleased to announce the launch of their new 2015-2016 Expedition Guide. For the first time ever, the guide encompasses expeditions across all seven continents featuring 21 itineraries, 18 destinations and over 80 individual departures, and is jammed packed with a range of new bonus inclusions.

The expanded program includes a new 15-day 'African Cruise Safari' to some of the most concentrated wildlife regions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The expedition highlights include a four-day cruise on the Chobe River on board luxury riverboat Zambezi Queen, with game viewing from special excursion crafts, as well as nights in traditional safari lodges and game drives through Chobe and Hwange National Parks.

The new Expedition Guide also showcases Aurora Expeditions' commitment to creating better value trips with each itinerary featuring an array of additional inclusions on top of the usual accommodation, meals and shore excursions. These range from exclusive polar jackets for all passengers to Antarctica and the Arctic, included flights and accommodation, free polar photography workshops and a printed photo book memento.

In Scotland passengers will receive a 12-month National Trust membership and an onboard genealogist will assist passengers in tracing their Scottish ancestry. Free artist workshops along the Kimberley coast will allow budding artists to create their own Kimberley masterpiece.

A BirdLife Australia specialist will interpret birdlife on board two 'Spitsbergen Odyssey' voyages and, for the first time, on the 'Scotia Sea Springtime' expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia - both unforgettable trips for keen birders. Plus, all passengers on these voyages will also receive a 12-month BirdLife Australia membership.

In Antarctica, passengers will have the chance to enjoy a 'floating exhibition' of Frank Hurley's iconic Antarctic images as Aurora Expeditions starts the commemorations of the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. A series of dedicated Shackleton Centenary Expeditions will also include a special program of on board events including a commemorative dinner, visits to key historic sites, special memorial at Shackleton's gravesite in Grytviken cemetery, a memorial badge and a specially created centenary photo book.

Other inclusions include complimentary kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and polar snorkelling in Alaska, city sightseeing tours in Ecuador, free camping in Antarctica, and a scenic heliflight over Mt Everest as part of the company's Himalaya trekking program.

Aurora Expeditions is also reinforcing its 'No Single Supplement' stance for those passengers willing to share a cabin, offering a cabin mate finding service across all of its departures.

To order a copy of Aurora Expeditions' new 2015-2016 Expedition Guide call +61 2 9252 1033 or visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au

Direct link to Expedition Guide: http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/files/uploads/brochures/AURORA_EXPEDITIONS_2015-16_BRO_WEB.pdf



Wednesday, 15 October 2014

New sea kayak experiences in Southern Sea Ventures 2015 program

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Sea Kayak voyages to the earth’s extremes feature in Southern Sea Ventures newly released 2015 program. Already paddling to most corners of the globe, the sea kayaking specialists have added five new trips to their line up of active adventure experiences. Led by expert guides with strong local insights, first timers and experienced paddlers alike can choose from 30 tropical, Mediterranean, Indonesian, European, Polar and Sub-antarctic itineraries in four distinct styles - camping, hotel, ship and yacht based kayak trips.

The new 10 day paddling trip to Indonesia, Raja Ampat Kayak and Snorkeling, explores some of the world’s most spectacular marine habitats. A luxuriously appointed sailing vessel provides the floating home base for a kayak discovery of the archipelago’s pristine coral, exotic birdlife and beautiful beaches. This is a ‘dream list’ trip for paddlers, snorkelers and scuba adventurers and offered in Nov /Dec 2015. Priced from AU $5250.

A heady cocktail of cuisine, culture and cardio, the new nine day Italian Riviera & Cinque Terre Kayak/ Walk in October 2015 is the perfect way to experience the stunning sea vistas and picturesque jumble of colourful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre. Staying in small family run hotels and living ‘la dolce vita’ is a genuine Italian immersion. Cost is Euros 2375.



Croatia’s limestone islands, quaint fishing villages, vineyards and medieval monasteries are just some of the hidden treasures revealed on the 14 day (12 days kayaking) Croatia to Montenegro Kayak/Sail Odyssey. The promise of a comfy bed and a hot shower after a day’s paddling adds to the appeal of a yacht and kayak trip combo. Priced from AU $4025 in Sept, Oct 2015. The shorter, but packed full of surprises 10 day (seven days kayaking, one day hiking) North Dalmatia Kayak/Sail Adventure in June, is priced from AU $2925. For those hooked on adventure, the Croatia Explorer trip will deliver the ultimate challenge fix. Paddling between eight islands, each with wildly different landscapes and camping in tents on remote beaches, this kayak experience with an edge is priced at AU $2175.

Kayaking in the polar regions is a humbling and lifetime experience. Wildlife, wilderness and ice are featured in the most diverse selection of Arctic and Antarctic voyages ever offered by Southern Sea Ventures. Prices depend on the length of the voyage and the berth chosen. Around the other side of the globe, curious sea kayakers can discover the rich biodiversity of the sub Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia, including The Snares, Auckland, Macquarie, and Campbell Islands. In Far East Russia kayaking is still one of the last frontiers of adventure travel, with ribbon seals, stellar sea lions and fur seals providing company for paddlers.

The much-loved tropical paddling trips in Fiji, Panama, Tonga, Australia and Melanesia deliver paddling in peaceful and uncrowded waters. The eight European itineraries include paddling along the rugged headlands and secluded coves of Turkey and dramatic scenery of Scotland and Sweden’s west coast.

For the full list of trip inclusions plus detailed itinerary and destination information visit www.southernseaventures.com or call +61 (02) 8901 3287.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Captain Cook Cruises Fiji and Sustainable Tourism: plastic recycling in outer islands


Captain Cook Cruises Fiji have highlighted the importance of Sustainable Tourism after partnering with The Ocean Ambassadors on the ground-breaking Fast Track Fiji program. The program has set out to work with operators and industry leaders to minimize waste plastics entering the ocean and bring in commercial applications to process the plastics into both alternative fuels and multiple clothing lines.

The Ocean Ambassadors, with the help of the Australian High Commission, are setting up recycling systems in the remote areas of Fiji and Captain Cook Cruises have donated space on their cruise ship, the Reef Endeavour to re-locate plastics from the outer Islands back to the mainland.

The first plastics pick-up took place from Taveuni on Saturday October 11, 2014 and was a monumental change for Fiji that has until now been at a standstill on how to deal with their waste. Up until last year Taveuni didn't even have a landfill, and now, with the help of Captain Cook Cruises, The Ocean Ambassadors and Keep Taveuni Clean, this island will slowly become the scalable model on how the rest of Fiji can change.

Fast Track Fiji will be a long term program which will include a wide array of initiatives including schools involvement, community engagement, educational presentations and corporate responsibility with the end goals to create jobs and close landfills.

According to Managing Director of Captain Cook Cruises Fiji, Jackie Charlton, "when we were approached to be part of this recycling initiative we didn't hesitate. Fiji desperately needed a campaign to collect and recycle plastics and we are proud to help start one and do some good for the environment.

We made our first collection of four bags of plastics on Saturday and we have secured a container that will be based at Denarau Marina where the plastics will be stored." Continues Jackie.

Once the container is filled the plastics will be collected and the Ocean Ambassadors will turn the bottles into clothes and fuel including their caused based brand Leisure Activist Group.

"We have a chance now to show the world what is possible when we work together. Waste plastics in the ocean have become the obvious major threat to the marine environment. If everyone takes a stand now and plays their part, Fiji can be the world's first island nation to effectively stop plastic pollution." Explains Adrian Midwood, Head of the Ocean Ambassadors and Leisure Activist Group.

"Our aim is to work with everyone, hotels, cruise ships, large business and especially the local community, as this problem is on all of us, so we intend to work with each department in different ways. For example using Captain Cook Cruise's ship, free of charge, to transport the plastics collected back to Denarau is imperative to the success of this campaign.  We aren't here to preach or tell anyone they are doing something wrong, we want to enable Fiji to do something right." Continues Adrian.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises on T: +61 9126 8160 or from within Australia: 1300 To Fiji (86 3454), Email: fiji@captaincook.com.fj or visit www.captaincook.com.fj

Australia's Minister for the Environment encourages walrus study in Antarctica

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Greg Hunt MP and Nara the Dingo
pose for a photo opportunity. (Facebook)

Greg Hunt MP, Australia's Minister for the Environment, who famously approved the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredged spoil within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, has further reinforced his credentials by suggesting that the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) should investigate alternative sources to supplement government funding for research such as walrus studies.

"They might be able to provide funding for a specific type of research, whether it's into, you know, the health of some of the marine life, whether it's into the health of some of the on ice, you know, extraordinary life, whether it's in relation to the walrus population, whether it's in relation to penguins." [see transcript]

A 20-year Antarctic Strategic Plan, released by the Government today, was written by the former head of the Australian Antarctic Division, Tony Press. [Read more]