Friday, 21 July 2017

Quark adds World Explorer [updated]

#expeditioncruising .

Artist rendering (Quark)

Quark has added World Explorer, a luxury vessel (ed: currently under construction) to its fleet of expedition cruise ships, continuing to bring a modern and comfortable cruise experience to Antarctica. This new addition to the Quark Expeditions fleet is an all-suite, all-balcony vessel and will embark on ten voyages during the upcoming season.

The ship has six suite options for 176 guests, all with luxury private bathrooms, incredible exterior views and private balconies. Guests can enjoy an outdoor running track, a dedicated spa area with an outdoor heated pool, a gym and a sauna, as well as gourmet meals and drinks. A glass domed observation lounge and ample deck space allow for stunning views across the polar landscape and its wildlife.

Artist rendering (Quark)
An independent industry source has suggested to that the build is taking place at a yard at Viana do Castelo (possibly WestSEA) for Douro Azul and associated company Mystic Cruises, with Quark entering into an exclusive charter deal for 10 voyages in the forthcoming season. The design is reportedly by Spanish company Oliver Design, based on a modified version of an earlier design.

Quark were approached for comment, but have yet to respond.

Ship Specifications:

Staff and Crew: 125
Guests: 176
Length: 126 meters
Breadth: 19 meters
Draft: 4.7 meters
Propulsion: 2 x Rolls Royce 9,000 kw hybrid diesel/electric
Ice Class: 1B
Cruising Speed: 16 knots in open water
Registration: Portugal
Lifeboats: 2 fully enclosed

Full details [PDF]


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Aurora Expeditions Marks 25 Years of Antarctic Exploration

Australia's first and only owned and operated small ship expedition company, Aurora Expeditions, is celebrating 25 years since its first expedition to Antarctica later this year.

2017 marks a quarter of a century since Aurora Expeditions first took a small group of intrepid adventurers on a breathtaking expedition to the icy continent back in 1992. Since that inaugural adventure, the company has operated over 200 expeditions to Antarctica, offering everyday travellers the chance to discover the continent's remote wilderness and walk in the footsteps of some of the world's greatest explorers.

To mark the momentous occasion, the company has launched a special '25 Year Anniversary' expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia to pay homage to Aurora Expeditions' founders, Greg and Margaret Mortimer, as well as the long list of Antarctic explorers and adventurers that came before, and after, them.

Over 18 days, travellers will sail from South America onboard the intimate, 54-passenger Polar Pioneer and explore the Antarctic Peninsula, landing ashore daily to walk amidst the snow-capped peaks and shorelines teeming with wildlife. In the magnificent wildlife paradise of South Georgia, travellers can expect to witness colonies of 500,000 king penguins, feisty fur seals and the wandering albatross – one of the largest seabirds on the planet.

Travellers on the '25 Year Anniversary' expedition will also receive a series of exclusive added extras such as a special onboard anniversary dinner, a limited-edition anniversary explorer patch, and commemorative book highlighting photographs and stories of Aurora from the past 25 years.

The expedition will be led by one of Aurora Expeditions' original expedition leaders, Dr Gary Miller, who has been travelling and leading expeditions to Antarctica for over 30 years. Gary will be joined by a top-notch team including naturalist, historian and polar specialists.

The '25 Year Anniversary' expedition to Antarctica & South Georgia will depart Ushuaia, Argentina on 27 December 2017, and finish in Santiago, Chile on 13 January 2017.


Aurora Expeditions have created a special '25 Year Anniversary' package offer for anyone wanting to join this exclusive expedition. The package is a fully-inclusive festive experience, featuring return international airfares to South America, a Christmas stopover in Buenos Areas including a Christmas Day tango show and dinner, and the 18-day anniversary expedition to Antarctica & South Georgia.

The 24-day package departs 23 December 2017 and starts from AU$24,900 per person, twin share.

For more information on Aurora Expeditions' '25 Year Anniversary' expedition or package offer call 1300 061 490, email or visit

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Christmas cruise with SeaDream to the Caribbean

IF you'll be in the United States or Canada in November of this year and have a few spare days up your sleeve, think about ducking down to the Caribbean and treating yourself to your best Christmas present ever – five days onboard the world's highest-rated boutique motor cruiser, SeaDream I at just a touch over one-third of the brochured price.

Beginning now from only US$2,279pp twin share compared with the brochured US$7,180pp lowest price, you'll sail from Marigot on St Martin in the French West Indies on November 20th, have an overnight onboard in Gustavia also in the FWI, and then enjoy balmy Caribbean days ashore at Sandy Ground in the British West Indies, South Friars Bay on St Kitts, Charlestown on Nevis, and back to Marigot.

With no more than 110 other guests indulged 5-star by 95 officers and crew, your hugely discounted price will include SeaDream's award-winning cuisine, premium wines, spirits and other drinks with meals and at the no-charge bars, power and sail water-sports, use of the golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and even staff and crew gratuities.

If this sounds like your best-ever early Christmas present, see your favourite travel agent or visit

ADDITIONAL PORT INFORMATION: MARIGOT is possibly the most French in spirit of all cities in the French West Indies, with colonial homes sitting side-by-side with cafés, bistros, pastry shops and boutiques that offer the latest in European designer fashions and jewellery – and better still, at both duty- and tax-free prices.

GUSTAVIA is perhaps SeaDream's "most treasured" destinations in the Caribbean, with exceptional beaches, restaurants, shopping and places to explore with SeaDream's free onboard loan bikes.

SANDY GROUND is the place to swim with the dolphins or bike ride around the island, while SOUTH FRIAR'S BAY offers swimming, snorkelling, body surfing or breasting the many beach bars and restaurants.

CHARLESTOWN is a favourite with regular SeaDreamers with its land tours and restaurants and bars.

[] SEADREAM slips through the idyllic islands of the Caribbean.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Windstar Cruises Launches Star Collector Voyages

#expeditioncruising .

Small ship cruise line Windstar Cruises has launched a fresh series of back-to-back cruises, where longer and more in-depth voyages from 14 to 34 days feature few repeated ports in the new Star Collector Voyages.

In addition to the elegance of an extended trip with the luxury of unpacking only once, guests also get to take advantage of travelling light for these epic journeys, as all Star Collector Voyages include free daily laundry service.

Star Collector Voyages combine some of Windstar’s most popular itineraries for a longer exploration of the region and feature overnights in port (like Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong, for example), allowing guests to make the most of their trips.

“With dozens of sailings to choose from, and more to be announced for Europe 2018, we are thrilled to now offer an extensive collection of longer voyages designed for the person who wants to sail longer, get closer, and discover the world of Windstar 180 degrees from ordinary,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

Guests can cruise through multiple regions and cross the Atlantic on unforgettable journeys that cover numerous parts of the world on one of eight Star Collector Voyages:

Arabia & Ancient Spice Routes - Athens to Singapore - 34 Days: Embark from Athens on an odyssey of contrasts and retrace some of the oldest known sea routes in the world, experiencing the cuisine, culture, and landmarks of Egypt, Jordan, Oman, UAE, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia.

The Grandeur of Southeast Asia - Singapore to Bangkok (or reverse) - 28 Days: Set sail on a journey of memorable contrasts to sample elegant cuisines and explore breathtaking UNESCO settings in Malaysia, Brunei, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. (There are two sail dates on this itinerary.)

Sailing Among Dragons: China & Japan - Singapore to Beijing (Tianjin) - 28 Days: Wander through ancient temples and cosmopolitan cities in this diverging adventure of old and new in Vietnam, China, and Japan.

The Best of China, Korea & Japan - Hong Kong to Tokyo (Yokohama) - 28 Days: An ideal choice for adventurous travellers seeking an array of excursion options, this journey from China to South Korea and Japan grants access to more than 17 exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Crossing to the Caribbean Saints - Lisbon to Philipsburg (St. Maarten) - 21 Days: Rekindle the romance of a classic ocean voyage with this transatlantic cruise from Lisbon, Portugal to tropical Bridgetown, Barbados. Once in the Caribbean, set a course among the southern island havens and highlights, with stops at some of the best beaches in the world, ending in St. Maarten.

Classic Caribbean Havens & Harbors - Philipsburg (St. Maarten) to Colón (Panama) - 14 Days: Cruise the southernmost and warmest waters of the Caribbean, stopping off in sun-drenched Aruba and exploring the untouched natural splendours in Colombia and Panama.

Caribbean Beaches & Costa Rican Cloudforests – Bridgetown (Barbados) to Puerto Caldera (Costa Rica) - 14 Days: With time in the Southern Caribbean Islands, the charming remote white beaches and quaint village markets then give way to tropical jungles, the Panama Canal, and the Pacific Ocean, ending in Costa Rica.

Caribbean Explorations - Philipsburg to Philipsburg (St. Maarten) - 14 Days: Skip the usual Caribbean cruise stops and discover the small harbours, overlooked havens, and most remote secrets among the Leeward Islands, with the lesser-known charms of Barbuda, Soper’s Hole in Tortola, Gustavia in St. Barthélemy, St. Lucia’s Pigeon Island, and much more. (There are 14 sail dates on this itinerary.)

Bookings to be directed to your Travel Agent or Windstar Australia on 1300 749 875

Windstar Cruises operates a six-ship fleet of small sailing and all-suite ships visiting 170 ports throughout Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, sailing year-round in Tahiti and the South Pacific, and adding newly-announced Alaska, Canada, New England, Asia and Arabia.

The boutique cruise ships are known for an intimate private yacht-style experience, unique itineraries and exclusive access to the world’s best small ports and hidden harbours. Windstar’s fleet is the market leader in boutique small ship cruising with a total of 1242 passenger berths.

All ships in the fleet have recently undergone multi-million dollar transformations to embody casually elegant yacht travel. The all-suite Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride serve 212 guests in all-suite accommodation; while sailing ships Wind Spirit and Wind Star sail with up to 148 guests, and Wind Surf serves 310 guests. The small ships cruise to quaint and popular ports in nearly 60 nations worldwide.

Windstar Cruises is a part of Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, known for “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint.” Xanterra’s entities also include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks, as well as resorts, railway and tour companies.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Coral Expeditions maritime themed Sydney to Hobart itinerary

#expeditioncruising .

Coral Expeditions, Australia’s pioneering cruise operator, launches a unique Sydney to Hobart maritime themed itinerary which sets sail with the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

This new itinerary will launch Coral Expeditions’ third season in Tasmania, and for the first time sees the Coral Discoverer, which underwent a significant refurbishment at the end of 2016, carry passengers across the channel from the Australian mainland to Tasmania.

Not only will guests get to enjoy the spectacle of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race at the start of the sailing, they will cruise alongside the yachts as they race along the scenic east coast, and arrive in to Hobart in time to witness the winners’ celebrations.

This maritime themed voyage welcomes Guest Lecturer John Longley on-board, who will give guests the insider perspective on the Yacht Race. Having participated in this prestigious race four times John has plenty of experiences to share.

John is an endless source of knowledge when it comes to ocean sailing, having also competed in five Americas Cups, three Admirals Cups, the Transatlantic race and many others. He also has many interesting stories to share on ship building as he was the Project Manager for the construction of the Endeavour replica. This ship is now on show at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, after John sailed around in the world in it.

As well as giving a series of lecturers John will join the expedition team in leading excursions to maritime attractions such as the Killer Whale Museum in Eden, the Davidson Whaling Station in Ben Boyd National Park, Bligh Museum of Pacific Exploration and a visit to the Hobart Race Village for presentations.

The cruise will conclude with a New Year’s celebration to remember as Coral Expeditions’ guests will have a prime position overlooking the Derwent river for a spectacular fireworks display. Stepping off the ship the excitement continues as Coral Expeditions is offering guests a special promotion for the Taste of Tasmania festival, Tasmania’s iconic epicurean event, which runs from 28th December 2017 to the 3rd January 2018.

The itinerary also includes; cruising the scenic coastline from Jervis Bay to Twofold Bay, exploring Ben Boyd National Park, visiting the picturesque Maria Island, also home to the Darlington Settlement which is steeped in convict history, and taking to the dramatic sea cliffs of Tasmania’s east coast on the Fluted Cape Walk at Adventure Bay. The regular excursions are carried out on the Zodiacs and Explorer Tender which can be easily accessed from the main deck, and with a small group of guests on-board there are no queues or waiting around.

In true expeditionary style, the voyage offers guests a flexible itinerary to enable the Captain to respond to weather conditions, ensuring that guests see the best parts of Australia’s south-east coast and Tasmania in the best possible conditions. This allows for an element of discovery, as guests will be advised the day prior where their next journey lies.

On-board the Coral Discoverer, which holds up to 72 passengers, guests can expect spacious cabins, the Bridge Deck Staterooms having private balconies, contemporary communal areas such as the sun deck and stylish Xplorer bar, modern Australian cuisine made with fresh local produce, and an expert all Australian crew.

Coral Expeditions’ Sydney to Hobart, itinerary departs on 26th December 2017 and finishes in Hobart on 1stJanuary 2018. Prices start from $4,180 per person.

To find out more, email, call +61 7 4040 9999 or visit

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Voyages to Antiquity Cuba and Jamaica 2018

#expeditioncruising .

Voyages to Antiquity has unveiled four new 13-14 day extended cruise-tours in Cuba and Jamaica as part of its 2018 program of sailings.

The classic liner, Aegean Odyssey, was built in Romania in 1973.
She was last overhauled and refitted in 2010.

The all-inclusive five-day land tour of Jamaica is added to the seven-day Highlights of Cuba sailing and includes visits to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Dunn’s River Falls, Port Antonio and the island’s capital, Kingston.

Guests will stay in five-star accommodation during the land tour, all meals and sightseeing excursions are included.

The seven-day highlights of Cuba sailing allow guests to visit Havana, Cienfuegos, Casilda and Santiago de Cuba on-board the cultural cruise line’s ship, Aegean Odyssey.

Guests will be joined on board by a Caribbean historian and archaeologist, the former ambassador to Cuba and a renowned author as part of the cruise lines’ carefully curated program of insightful guest speakers allowing guests to get under the skin of the cultural, historical and natural treasures of each port of call.

Further extended cruise-tours in Cuba and Jamaica depart on January 15th, February 23rd and February 26th next year.

Join SeaDream in Spain next May thru October


SEADREAM Yacht Club has responded to growing interest by regular guests to see more of Spain in 2018, with a program of ten captivating sailings to mainland ports and off-shore islands between next  May and October.

The twin mega motor-cruisers SeaDream I and SeaDream II will sail these five, seven, ten and eleven-day voyages out of Malaga and Barcelona, as well as Nice in France and Lisbon in Portugal, with daily ports of call that are some of Spain's most enticing.

It will be at these that SeaDream's guests will have the option of diving into the waters of some of Spain's finest beaches at places like Alicante and Marbella, to explore historic Roman ruins at Cartagena and some of the region's oldest cities such as Cadiz, and shop at luxury boutiques in Barcelona.

And by contrast stroll quiet and tucked-away villages on Ibiza or Mallorca (also known as Majorca) in the Balearic Islands, and experience the Mediterranean's outstanding dining and wining throughout, while catching first-hand how Europe's rich and famous enjoy summer holidaying at places like Puerto Banus with their exotic cars and million dollar boats along the town's beaches and waterfronts…

Prices for all sailings include SeaDream's award-winning 5-star cuisine, premium wines, spirits and other drinks with meals and at the no-charge bars, power and sail water-sports, use of the golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and even staff and crew gratuities.

Starting from US$3504pp twin-share for the 5-day sailing from Barcelona to Malaga on October 8 2018, they range up to US$7470pp twin-share for 11-days sailing Nice to Barcelona on July 21 2018.

SeaDream I and SeaDream II each carries a maximum 112 guests served by 95 officers and crew; for full details see travel agents, or visit

Photo caption:

[] THE SeaDream 'twins' tucked into port in Nice harbour; they'll sail four voyages into or out of Nice in 2018 as part of a 10-sailing program to Spanish ports between May and October next year. (supplied)