Sunday, 20 August 2017

Four new polar expedition cruise ships on order

#expeditioncruising .

Nordic Cruise Company is moving ahead with its plans to build a series of four expedition ultra luxury yachts, according to Ulf Henrick Wynnsdale, president and CEO.

The first ship will be delivered in May of 2020, Wynnsdale told Cruise Industry News. Three more 220-passenger vessels will follow from Spain’s MetalShips & Docks in 10-month intervals.

A significant amount of fundraising for the project is complete.

The four ships will be the first expedition ships that are LNG ready, with capacity to sail up to 36 hours on LNG while burning MGO the rest of the time. They will also be equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, said Wynnsdale.

“We are not going to be the second best. We are going to be the best. I know we have tough competition, but competition is always good,” Wynnsdale said.

Concept to Now

Since an initial ship concept was released in January, the company went back to the drawing board, adding capacity, making the ships bigger at 16,500 tons and giving them a totally new exterior look, courtesy of Hareide Design, which drew up a new vessel stance and incorporated much more glass into the ship’s design.

“The GA we have now is probably the ninth or tenth version. It’s been changing. We are not going to jump into this and develop a ship that is not top of the line,” Wynnsdale said. “In January, we introduced the concept of an ultra luxury yacht with some expedition capabilities.”

Now, the vessel is an expedition ship, while retaining the mega yacht look. A sales plan is being formulated with David Morris International and the company plans to target the high-end of the U.S. source market. Multiple focus groups have been held across the U.S.

A hotel partner that will lend its name to the operation is still in the cards, Wynnsdale said.

“I am confident that with the expedition vessels entering the market, the demand is more for luxury andexploration, and the onboard experience is going to be just as important as the destination.”

Most staterooms will offer so-called infinity-style balconies. There will also be a top-deck observation lounge and large aft marina. Absent will be helicopters and submarines.


Being the first LNG-powered expedition ship, Nordic Cruise Company is on a mission to be green, also including fuel cells and battery power.

DNV GL has signed on as the class society. Wynnsdale said battery power would supplement two main engines during peak periods of demand, so a third would not have to kick in. The vessel will have four main engines.

Wynnsdale said that after a thorough review process, the company will construct the vessels at MetalShips & Docks in Spain, which has specialized in both mega yachts and offshore vessels. The yard and the shipowner have been talking for a full year. Wynnsdale added that there was little capacity for cruise-ship building in Norway and the Chinese yards he held talks with would have had challenges delivering a luxury product.

Since announcing its intent to enter the business in January, there has also been a slight branding adjustment – as Norwegian Cruise Company has become Nordic Cruise Company. The startup is also promising to be the “Ultra Luxury Green Expedition Cruise Line.”

Expect further branding changes before sales and marketing kick into high gear, with or without the addition of a hotel partner.

“We plan to stay far away from the word cruise ship,” Wynnsdale explained. “There are so many people that have a totally wrong picture of what cruising is all about. Expedition and voyages will sound much better.”

Intrepid and Chimu in joint partnership

#expeditioncruising .

The Intrepid Group has announced a strategic partnership with Polar and Latin American specialist, Chimu Adventures.

Intrepid has taken a 50 per cent stake in the Australian-owned company to meet a growing demand for sustainable travel experiences from increasingly adventurous travellers.

The investment from the Intrepid Group will fuel further growth for both companies, enabling Chimu Adventures to quickly scale globally and the Intrepid Group’s to further expand its tailor-made product offering across the multi-brand business.

Motivated by potential growth opportunities and shared business values, together, the two companies will be one of the largest sellers of travel to Antarctica globally.

James Thornton, the Intrepid Group chief executive explains that a priority for the new joint venture partnership is to launch a range of charter cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica.

“This year we launched our first Adventure Cruise range and had a phenomenal response.

“We know there is a huge appetite for a more sustainable and experiential style of cruise so it is our intention to expand in to polar charters as part of this cooperation.”

This is the Intrepid group’s first investment since the company returned to independent ownership two years ago when the original founders of Intrepid Travel bought back the company after a shareholder split, in order to grow the market for sustainable experience-rich travel.

The Intrepid Group has seen record sales since the split from TUI, with sales up by 19 per cent across the group this year.

The deal includes a 50 per cent stake in Chimu Adventures, Get About Asia, and three sales offices in the United Kingdom, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast.

In addition, the agreement will also include 50 per cent investment in Chimu’s three South American destination management companies, which will enable both companies to expand their global network of local destination management companies.

The addition of Chimu’s $30million business will add close to ten per cent of revenue to the Intrepid Group, which is already in excess of $300 million.

The Melbourne-based Intrepid Group, which employs 1,600 staff in 27 offices, is now one of the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences.

Chimu Adventures will remain independent of the multi-brand Intrepid Group under the new agreement, with co-founders Greg Carter and Chad Carey continuing to have complete autonomy to run the company where it will be business as usual.

“I am thrilled be partnering with the fantastic team at Intrepid Group, in order to grow the business that we started 13 years ago in a London apartment with a second hand laptop to a global level.

“We share many common ideas on sustainable travel and we believe it’s a perfect fit for both businesses,” said Greg Carter, Chimu Adventures co-founder

While the partnership is motivated by the potential growth opportunities for both Intrepid and Chimu and that the companies have many similarities including a network of local destination management companies, Thornton says it was shared values and culture that sealed the deal.

Friday, 18 August 2017

PONANT Latin America and Caribbean 2018-2019 cruises


PONANT announces Latin America & the Caribbean 2018 - 2019 Collection
- voyages to the lands of conquistadors, mojitos and cigars

Reflecting the growth of international interest in Latin America & the Caribbean as cruise destinations, French Luxury & Expedition cruise line PONANT has released an extensive range of voyages covering the period October 2018 - April 2019.

Featuring a range of 21 cruises (10 being designated Expedition Cruises) to 26 countries - exploring both east and west coasts of South America and the Caribbean - this new Collection is available as either a convenient e-brochure download at or as a printed brochure on request through travel agents or directly from PONANT.

No less than 26 listed UNESCO World Heritage sites and 5 major pre-Columbian era sites hint at the range of destinations to be had. From ancient Mayan and Inca civilisations, colonial cities, extraordinary jungles with colourful wildlife and massive waterfalls, to the Guiana space centre, monasteries, salsa and mojitos. Guests will discover a multitude of experiences from on board PONANT's modern and luxurious ships: Le Boréal, L'Austral & Le Soléal as well as the new-era Explorer Class ship, Le Champlain, and PONANT's classic three-masted yacht, Le Ponant.

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences include expeditions along the great river arteries of South America, the Amazon and Orinoco, visiting a remote Warao Indian village, reliving the hell of Papillon on the French penal settlement on Devil's Island or sipping a mojito while listening to jazz in Havana.

Others will seek the thrill of rounding famed Cape Horn, cruising the Beagle Channel, crossing the Panama Canal or venturing deep into the pristine waters of Chilean fjords. Accompanied by a specialist lecturer to enhance the experience, the voyages provide opportunity to travel to the birthplace of ancient civilisations and view the archaeological enigma of the gigantic Nazca Lines, Mayan Tikal and Inca Machu Picchu.

Some voyages are designated Expeditions, taking advantage of the ships' compact size and manoeuvrability to probe hidden waterways, before launching Zodiac® expedition boats for adventurous close-up opportunities of local flora, fauna, and local tribes. Throughout Expedition cruises, an expedition team of naturalists will enhance the experience.

For those looking for the relaxed pace of longer voyages why not consider a Grand Voyage? There are three to select from: 49 nights Ushuaia to Miami exploring the west coast of South America and Central America, featuring a sparkling range of experiences from glaciers to rainforests; an extended 59 night version from Vancouver to Ushuaia along the west coast of North and South America, or an exciting 37 night Grand Voyage on the new ship Le Champlain from Brazil to the Caribbean and on to Panama … Manaus to Colon - an expedition and luxury voyage extraordinaire - with Christmas and New Year in the Caribbean.… Imagine a Creole Christmas dinner of lobster, pork and rum.

Find out more, enjoy French ambiance on the world's youngest fleet afloat and experience the difference small ship cruising offers. Venture where large ships simply cannot, with a dash of French panache that is PONANT's indelible signature.


Itineraries range from 7 to 16 nights, plus three Grand Voyages of up to 59 nights duration,

From A$7,720pp* for a 13-night cruise Chilean Fjords & Patagonia, Ushuaia to Valparaiso: 4th March 2019, Le Boréal. Twin share in Superior Stateroom

From A$9,930pp* for a 12-night cruise Natural Wonders of the Amazon, Manaus to Cayenne: 7th December 2018 and 29 March 2019, Le Champlain. Twin share in Deluxe Stateroom with private balcony

- From A$26,028 pp* for 37 night Grand Voyage Cruise Manaus to Colon: 7th December 2018, Le Champlain. Twin share in Prestige Stateroom, Deck 6 with private balcony

Pricing is yield managed and will increase as cabins are sold so it is recommended to book as early as possible.


Details of all PONANT Latin America and Caribbean Collection voyages, including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or email                                    
Further information available on the website:

Monday, 14 August 2017

True North listed in Chad Clark Certified 25

#expeditioncruising .

King George 010417 high res.jpg

The adventure-cruise ship TRUE NORTH has been recognized as one of the world’s top experiential travel offerings at the inaugural CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, a first-of-its-kind travel initiative that lists the world’s top 25 travel experiences.

The winners were announced at a gala interactive event at The Bellagio in Las Vegas on August 13.

Chad Clark
Chad Clark, principal and owner of Chad Clark Travel Ventures, is a travel industry expert and self-described “experience junkie” who has spent years seeking out top-of-the-line travel experiences. He aims to set the industry standard for luxury travel with the inauguration of the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, an elite list of the world’s most prestigious, authentic and unique travel experiences.

“We are humbled and overwhelmed by the immense number of submissions we received from travel providers across the globe,” said Clark. “And, it’s an honor and a thrill to unveil the very best in luxury travel – the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25. This initiative provides travel providers with an opportunity to have their premium experiences recognized and promoted in an innovative way, while simultaneously connecting travel advisors and ultimately travelers themselves, with exclusive, thoroughly vetted travel experiences that have an industry seal of approval.”


True North Adventure Cruises has won numerous awards for excellence including state and national tourism awards, export awards and numerous consumer awards.

Australia’s premier luxury adventure cruise ship, the TRUE NORTH is purpose-built to sail deep into the heart of the wilderness, visiting areas that larger ships cannot access. Guests are privy to very-high quality off-ship experiences courtesy of the ship’s biologist and a team of naturalists, a ship’s helicopter and six dedicated adventure boats.

Exceptional food and wine are also at the heart of a TRUE NORTH experience. The ship’s modern Australian cuisine is supplemented with locally sourced ingredients and complemented by an outstanding selection of Western Australian wines. Cabins are spacious and modern; there is a panoramic lower deck dining room, an alfresco bar, an observation lounge and a dedicated sports deck.

Daily activities include scenic walks, fishing, snorkelling, diving, picnics, cultural events and spectacular flights in the ship’s helicopter.

Destinations include the Kimberley – a panorama of rugged landscapes, spectacular gorges and majestic waterfalls; the still-wild coast of Western Australia featuring the intriguing Abrolhos Islands, world-famous Ningaloo Reef, fishing paradise at the Montebello Islands and, the pristine Rowley Shoals; some of Indonesia’s most stunning volcanic islands including Komodo – home to the largest lizard on the planet; the breathtaking islands of the Raja Ampat; the whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay; the mighty Sepik River and the unspoiled islands of Papua New Guinea; beautiful Sydney Harbour and, a seafood safari around South Australia’s delightful Eyre Peninsula.

For more information go to

For more information on the CHAD CLARK 25 go to

Friday, 11 August 2017

Codename Vega: New expedition cruise ship concept

#expeditioncruising .

It seems anyone with any ship- or boatbuilding expertise is having a go at expedition cruise ships.

This latest announcement from Sweden’s Bassoe Technology showcases at 'turn-key' concept developed in conjunction with China's Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard for a 147m, 240-passenger vessel, codename Vega.

According to the Swedes, "The vessel which features 100 spacious all balcony suites and staterooms for up to 240 passengers, is designed for worldwide operations in Polar Regions and tropical areas and complies with all requirements, environmental standards and other rules and regulations, including the new IMO POLAR Code."

Optional features include a helicopter hanger and landing pad, as well as submarine operations.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The starving polar bear: a symbol of global warming?

#expeditioncruising .

When you go on an expedition cruise, you see mother nature in all her raw beauty. This is not a zoo or a circus. With the cute and adorable animals you cannot escape the very real hardships animals face every day in the wild. Sometimes it's the result of manmade hazards, sometimes it's just nature taking its normal course.

When Kerstin Langenberger posted this photo from Svalbard a couple of years back, many doomsayers were quick to point to global warming and the shrinking ice cap causing polar bears to starve because they can't use the sea ice to hunt seals as they normally would.

‘You have to be a little bit careful about drawing conclusions immediately," said Professor Iain Stirling of the University of Alberta, "[The bear] may be starving but it may just be old.

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen took this photo (below) of a polar bear in the same region. He remarked:

"These bears were so skinny, they appeared to have died of starvation, as in the absence of sea ice, they were not able to hunt seals. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear."

Have you sailed to Svalbard? What did you see?

Last summer I traveled with a group of friends to Svalbard, Norway in search of polar bears. We went to my favorite spot where I have always been able to find bears roaming around on sea ice throughout the summer. On this occasion, however, we didn't find any sea ice and we never found any bears alive. We did find two dead bears in this location and other groups found more dead bears. These bears were so skinny, they appeared to have died of starvation, as in the absence of sea ice, they were not able to hunt seals. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear. It is now becoming much more common. Through @sea_legacy and @natgeo we will continue to shine a light on our changing planet to convince the unconvinced. Please follow me on @paulnicklen to learn more about the effects of climate change. #polarbear #nature #wildlife #arctic #seaice @thephotosociety
A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) on

A moment with Nicolas Dubreuil, Ponant's polar expedition leader

#expeditioncruising .'s editor, Roderick Eime, caught up with Ponant’s Polar Expedition Leader, Nicolas Dubreuil, on a whirlwind visit to Sydney.

“You have two lives,” Nicolas reminds me, “the second life begins when you realise you only have one.”

At that instant, I knew I was speaking with a man whose code reflected not only my own but that of thousands of expedition cruise converts.

Dubreuil is like no Parisian I’ve ever met. This wild-haired PhD in computer science threw away a perfectly good academic career to spend his time on the polar ice cap and now lives in a tiny hut in the wilderness of Greenland.

His first expedition was from Vancouver to Anchorage at the age of 17. Since then, he has been spending more than eight months each year near the poles, having travelled across by kayak, on skis, on a sleigh, on foot and under water. From Alaska to South Georgia, via Nunavut, Spitsbergen, Siberia, Iceland, the Antarctic Peninsula and Greenland, he accompanies and guides expeditions for athletes, scientists and film crews. Nicolas has been a Ponant expedition leader, guide and ethnologist for 12 years and has been sailing across the polar regions for over 20 years.

“I became tired of leading these ego-driven explorers who wanted to stand like a hero at the North Pole. ‘Here I am am all alone on the ice cap’ they would say to the camera as the film crew and I stood back making tea.

“So it was with a bit of a surprise when I joined Ponant as an expedition guide after all that 12 years ago. I was sure it was a mistake when they showed me this comfortable cabin with Tv and shower and everything. All I had for the gala dinner was my t-shirt and parka.”

As delighted as he was to be aboard Ponant, Nicolas wasn’t always a fan of tourism in places like Antarctica.

“At first I was against this kind of tourism in polar regions, but Ponant has helped change my mind. At the beginning I knew nothing of Ponant and this ‘expedition cruising’ thing. But it is clear to me now that Ponant has the [pauses] esprit, the spirit of adventure that is so important.

“Some remote places we visit have seen less people than the moon. That’s amazing. And I can bring my parents! And the luxury is in the crew and the facilities on board. You don’t have to camp in a windy tent to experience these locations.”

And you certainly don’t have to be Nicolas Dubreuil to appreciate the wonders of the Arctic and Antarctic.

Details of all PONANT voyages including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or email to request more information or assistance.