Wednesday, 2 September 2015

All-Aussie cruise line told to sack crew and hire foreigners

#expeditioncruising

Proudly all-Australian: North Star Cruises
According to a report in The Guardian, Australian expedition cruise line, North Star Cruises, have been told by a bureaucrat from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to 'sack crew and hire foreigners' in order stay competitive.

This flies in the face of advice given under the previous government, where foreign-flagged vessels using majority foreign crew are required under cabotage laws to leave Australian waters when transiting between ports. Such laws are designed to protect domestic businesses from international operators governed by less stringent regulations - in this case payment and conditions of crew.

This argument came to the fore when Orion Expedition Cruises, billed as an Australian cruise company,  flew a Bahamanian flag and hired European and Filipino crew, thereby competing against Australian flagged companies (North Star Cruises and Coral Princess Cruises) on an unfair 'playing field.'

Read the full report here.




Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Silversea Expeditions - New 2016 Brochure

#expeditioncruising



New quick response codes enhance the reader's experience

Silversea has just released two new brochures detailing the luxury cruise line's incredibly comprehensive collection of ocean and expedition cruises sailing in 2016, when its all-suite, eight-ship fleet will visit over 800 destinations on seven continents. Both print and digital versions of the brochures can be requested by visiting Silversea.com/brochures.

"Whether you're looking for an exciting adventure in far-off lands, or just a chance to relax and recharge, our new brochures detail a remarkable range of inspired itineraries and enriching programs that will help you create the perfect luxury holiday experience," said Karen Christensen, Silversea’s General Manager & Director Sales / Marketing, Australasia.

An elegant new 192-page brochure details Silversea Cruise's ocean-going voyages, while a separate 157-page brochure for Silversea Expeditions creatively showcases the line's expedition cruises. Both brochures feature new quick response (QR) barcodes that smartphone and tablet users may scan to access the Silversea website.

Following are a few highlights:

EXPEDITION CRUISES

Shackleton Centenary Voyages, Antarctica
During January, February, and December, Silver Explorer will mark the 100-year anniversary of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition with three special 18-day Antarctica voyages offering guests the chance to follow in the footsteps of the great explorer to discover the lands and waterways of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Elephant Island, and the Antarctic Peninsula.

White Sea, Russia
Sailing roundtrip from Tromso in June, Silver Explorer will feature an inaugural 12-day expedition cruise to the isolated White Sea and Kanin Peninsula in Russia's extreme north.

Myanmar
In a first for Silversea Expeditions, Silver Discoverer will visit Myanmar on three voyages during November and December, offering the chance to explore the region’s pristine Mergui Archipelago and Yangon's ancient temples.

Aldabra, The Seychelles
In December, Silver Discoverer departs Male on a new 17-day expedition to the Seychelles, Maldives, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Highlighting this voyage is an inaugural visit to Aldabra, an amazing raised coral atoll that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Galápagos Islands
The expert guides of Silver Galapagos will continue to share their passion for these pristine and biologically diverse islands on two alternating seven-day itineraries exploring the north central and western isles throughout 2016.

For more information contact your travel profession or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.com. Both print and digital versions of the brochures can be requested by visiting Silversea.com/brochures.

Sunsail yacht charter in Tonga

#expeditioncruising



Live like royalty on a seven day Sunsail yacht charter in Tonga 

Sunsail is offering a seven-day sailing holiday in Vava’u, the ‘Friendly Islands’ of Tonga. You can expect village feasts, close encounters with humpback whales and warm tropical waters; ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Here are five reasons to visit Tonga on a Sunsail Yacht Charter:

1.     Vava’u is home to the largest population of humpback whales. Visit between July and October when the adult females arrive in tropical waters from the icy Antarctic to give birth to their young.

2.     Maninita is a haven for seabirds. Whilst small white terns perform courtship rituals above your boat, there’s just as much action below the water. Venture into the cathedral-like Swallows Cave in the afternoon when the sunlight streams in, illuminating marine life; multi-coloured stalactites and 200 year-old Tongan engravings on the walls.

3.     Local villagers welcome sailors to Taunga with a feast of tropical fruit, fresh seafood and Tongan delights cooked underground in an umu pit and wrapped in banana leaves. After dinner, you can join in a live traditional song and dance or take a stroll among the coconut groves. Keep an eye out for indigenous Flying Foxes hanging from the fruit trees.

4.     To the Southwest lies Hunga Island, hone to a huge lagoon formed by the crater of an extinct volcano. The 525-acre island is a dense jungle of coconut trees, with plenty of hiking paths to cliffs and lookouts. The lagoon is a completely protected coral reef haven for whales and visitors. Take a 25 minute walk to Hunga Village to visit the friendly locals and try your hand at fishing, before retiring to your yacht to feast on the catch of the day.

5.     A short hop from Hunga Island is Vaka’eitu. Visit Blue Lagoon Resort, an eco-sanctuary with eight large fales, each constructed from local materials. After a day spent snorkeling with whales, sea stars, and tropical fish, dine ashore in the restaurant which offers vistas of the lagoon and surrounding reef. Enjoy the specialty lobster and glimpses of whales frolicking in the clear waters.

Prices start from $4,830 for a seven night holiday on a four-cabin luxury Sunsail catamaran yacht sleeping up to ten people in Tonga. Never sailed before? No problem; add a skipper for $231 per day.

Further information www.sunsail.com.au

Cruising to return to North Korea

#expeditioncruising


As reported by Alan Lam in Cruise Business

The dynamic cruise industry in Asia may have just taken a pioneering step towards breaking down a most obstinate barrier of our times. South Korea’s Jeju Cruise Industry Association has just announced plans to launch cruises to North Korea.

Ox Cart in Nampo North Korea
Ox Cart in Nampo North Korea (Raymond Cunningham)


Departing from Jeju Island, the so-called Peace Cruise Line will call at North Korea ports of Nampo, Wonsan, Rajin and Sonbong.

Initially the cruise will be intended for Chinese tourists only, using a Chinese-flagged ship. Cruises on other non-South Korean vessels carrying South Koreans and other nationalities will follow. This will be the first time for a long time South Korean tourists will be able across the maritime border between North and South.

The project will require a substantial investment in North Korea. It is believed that the newly created Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank may be a funding partner in building reception facilities.

Won Hee-ryong, the Governor of Jeju, told the Asia Cruise Forum - which has just been held on the island – that the endeavour was to serve as a “messenger of peace through tourism”.

Contrary to popular belief, cruising in North Korea is nothing new. In August 2011 North Korea launched its first cruise on board an ageing, former cargo vessel named Mangyongbong. It was deemed as the “least luxurious cruise in the world”, as the liner was rusty, the cabins were cramped and the Captain’s Table was a help-yourself buffet.

North Korean port city of Nampo has nine docks for large vessels. It is ideal for excursions to Pyongyang. Wonsan has also limited tourist facilities and has served as receiving point for visitors from Japan.

The project, if successfully launched, will attract enthusiastic clientele from all over the world, as North Korea is truly a new frontier of cruise tourism in every sense of the word.

Ski mountaineering – a new activity in Antarctica

#expeditioncruising

Oceanwide Expeditions vessels m/v Ortelius, m/v Plancius, and s/v Rembrandt van Rijn are known as comfortable floating basecamps operating in the remote polar regions of Spitsbergen, Greenland and Antarctica. The ice strengthened and to highest safety standards built expedition vessels function as hubs for multi activity programs like kayaking, diving, camping, mountaineering, photo workshops, hiking and snowshoeing, and ski crossings.

Oceanwide Expeditions now proudly presents the addition of a new activity onboard m/v Ortelius in Antarctica: Ski mountaineering

At the end of the Antarctic summer the glaciers are still covered with snow and conditions are perfect for active people to go out and explore. Untouched mountain tops invite experienced ski mountaineers to indulge in this technical and strenuous activity. Ski mountaineers climb high snow-covered and glaciated peaks and viewpoints, mostly roped up in small groups. It’s a thrilling experienced for those skiers experienced enough to ski downhill individually and master sometimes steep, and potentially dangerous alpine environment. Certified mountain guides are responsible for the safety of the group, they supervise the activity from beginning to end.

Requirements for ski mountaineering

Ski Mountaineering experience, good physical condition and health is essential and must be backed up by a health statement. Participants must be able to master techniques of alpine skiing in off piste terrain (ascent and descent). Each participant is asked to submit a personal questionnaire which should highlight the ski mountaineering experience. The maximum ratio of participants per mountain guide is 8:1.

Special glacier equipment will be provided free of charge:
  • ropes
  • carabiners
  • harnesses
  • ice axes
ortelius-outside-1
m/v Ortelius

Participants will bring their personal protective outdoor clothes, ski mountaineering equipment. For individuals who wish to participate in this activity please enquire for a personal registration form with Oceanwide Expeditions reservation departments in Europe or USA.

Ski mountaineering is now available on multi activity basecamp expeditions onboard m/v Ortelius

OTL30, Antarctic Peninsula, 18 – 28 February 2016 ( 10 nights ) , Ushuaia – Ushuaia

OTL31, Antarctic Peninsula, 28 February – 10 March 2016 ( 11 nights ) , Ushuaia – Ushuaia

Monday, 31 August 2015

Murray Princess Loxton River Cruise 2015 Date Announced



Captain Cook Cruises has announced the dates for its popular seven nights Loxton to Mannum cruises onboard the small ship paddle-wheeler, PS Murray Princess.

The Loxton to Mannum cruise will depart Loxton at 4.30pm on Friday 4 December and disembark in Mannum at 9am on Friday 11 December, 2015.

This historic 339km voyage between Loxton to Mannum, South Australia only operates every two years and follows in the wake of great 19th century pioneers on a unique journey through three Locks.

"We are very excited to be able to operate this incredible cruise this year.  This cruise is always such a popular choice with guests as it really explores Australia's outback history from Loxton to Mannum and is a part of Australia not many people have seen or experienced." Explains Donna Gauci, General Manager, SeaLink South Australia.

The Loxton cruise visits Katarapko, Cobdogla Creek, Overland Corner, Old Distillery, Morgan, Sunnydale and Piggy Flat/Coolcha for overnight stops with shore excursions along the way.

Each day features exciting day trips including a visit to the amazing Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve - one of Australia's most significant archaeological sites, for a guided boardwalk tour of ancient rock carvings and to learn about Aboriginal history.

Guests will fall in love with the animals at a visit to a Native Wildlife Shelter and enjoy a fun and very interactive Australian Woolshed Show.

In many of the historic towns guests will be able to learn about the early settlers and their families on fascinating guided walks and visits to historic museums. Some townships even date back to the early 1800's.

There's a food and wine trail that enables tastings at a rustic cellar door and an Aussie-style campfire barbecue dinner to be enjoyed on the river bank.

Along with this once in a lifetime journey there's an abundance of nocturnal wildlife including kangaroos, hairy-nosed wombats, tortoises and many other species that may be spotted on the riverbanks.

Birdwatchers can view the prolific birdlife including pelicans, wrens and swans while all guests will delight in the breathtaking river scenery as they cruise past towering limestone cliffs, through picturesque gorges, sandbars and fascinating submerged forests.

The seven night Loxton to Mannum cruise is priced from $1888 per person twin share including accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks, eco-excursions, onboard presentations, the Captain's Dinner and Cocktail Party, live entertainment, use of ship's facilities including a sauna, spa, sun deck, bar, two lounges, restaurant and mini gymnasium and complimentary scenic coach transfers pre cruise from Adelaide to Loxton and post cruise Mannum to Adelaide.


For further information visit www.murrayprincess.com.au


For Further information and bookings please contact:

T: 1300 729 938 from within Australia or +61 9 8202 8697 from Overseas

Email: murrayprincess@sealink.com.au

Visit: www.murrayprincess.com.au

Website: www.captaincook.com.au

Friday, 28 August 2015

APT Celebrates Inaugural Voyage of the RV AmaDara on the Mekong

#expeditioncruising #rivercruising


Award-winning luxury travel operator APT today announced the expansion of its Asia river cruise fleet with the inaugural sailing of the new 124-passenger RV AmaDara along the Mekong River.

Welcoming the new rivership, APT Chief Marketing Officer Debra Fox said, "We are delighted to announce the addition of our latest ship, the AmaDara, to our fleet. Like our other Asian river cruise vessels, we've combined comfort and luxury with authentic local design and outstanding immersive sightseeing to ensure guests experience the very best of the region, both on and off the ship."

Joining sister ship the RV AmaLotus, the AmaDara features an innovative design, boasting 62 extra-spacious staterooms and luxury suites, as well as a new specialty restaurant. Each well-appointed stateroom includes a private 'Twin Balcony' comprising a French Balcony with a second full-sized step-out balcony. The ship's interior is reflective of elegant French colonial décor, while inspired by Southeast Asia with authentic Mekong artifacts and accents.

Guests sailing aboard AmaDara will enjoy an array of comfortable amenities including air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, a spa, a fitness centre and a refreshing sun deck with swimming pool.

The all inclusive lifestyle available to guests travelling on APT's Vietnam and Cambodia holidays also extends to the AmaDara. As well as a special Vietnamese welcome dinner designed by APT Asia Ambassador, celebrity chef Luke Nguyen, guests sailing on APT itineraries will enjoy inclusions such as all meals and beverages onboard, all flights within Asia, five star luxurious accommodation, an APT cruise or tour director, all sightseeing, transfers, airport taxes, port charges and tipping.

Travel agents can book clients to travel aboard the AmaDara as part of APT's 12-day Vietnam and Cambodia Highlights. Priced from just $4,395 per person, twin share, the trip commences with a two night stay at the five-star Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers in Ho Chi Minh City, from where guests can choose to learn about the battle of the Long Tan or visit the Cu Chi Tunnels before enjoying a special degustation dinner designed by celebrity chef Luke Nguyen, complete with matching wines, at Xu Restaurant.

The journey also includes a seven night lower Mekong cruise to Siem Reap aboard the AmaDara. Highlights include a visit to Evergreen Island, a rickshaw ride around Tan Chau, a Buddhist blessing at the monastery in Oudong, and an ox-cart ride through rural villages. The trip concludes with a two night stay at the Hotel Sofitel Angkor in Siem Reap from where guests can experience a 'Champagne sunrise' at the World Heritage-listed Angkor Archaeological and enjoy a special farewell dinner with traditional Apsara dance performance.

To find out more about APT's luxury tours and cruises to Vietnam and Cambodia, please call APT on 1300 196 420, visit www.aptouring.com.au or see your local travel agent.