Thursday, 2 July 2015

Cruise a trio of Asia's great rivers


  Issued: Jul 2, 2015
Broaden your horizons and ignite your spirit…

Join one of these three, enthralling journeys each on a different great river of Asia. Cruise along the Irrawaddy River in mysterious Burma where locals still ride trishaws past gilded pagodas. Sail along the mighty Mekong between Vietnam and Cambodia, visiting silk-weaving villages and the glorious Angkor Wat – the world’s largest temple. Or explore one of India’s holiest rivers, the Brahmaputra, and visit the famed Taj Mahal and the ornate palaces and forts of colourful Rajasthan. Whatever sensory filled adventure you choose, you’ll travel in luxury and enjoy low, all-inclusive fares from just $2999 per person for 12 days including flights, touring, accommodation, sightseeing and your exotic river cruise.

Bon Voyage from the team at Cruise Express
Departs: Sep - Dec, 2015
Package Includes: return flights, 7 night luxury river cruise , 2 nights in Mandalay, 2 nights in Yangon, sightseeing, onboard gratuities and transfers
from: $4,499* pp twin / $5,499* solo

Vietnam and Cambodia
Departs: Jun - Sep, 2015
Package Includes: return flights, 7 night cruise from Saigon to Siem Reap, 2 nights in Saigon, 2 nights in Siem Reap, sightseeing, onboard gratuities and transfers
from: $2,999* pp twin / $3,998* solo

Departs: 6 November, 2015
Package Includes: return flights,  11 night luxury land tour of India including extensive touring,  7 night river cruise including all meals, Cruise Express souvenir backpack, group transfers throughout

from: $9,990* pp twin / $14,990* solo


*Fares are subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time. Offers are subject to availability at the time of booking. Cancellation and amendment fees apply. Passengers are bound by the terms and conditions as set out by Cruise Express and its suppliers and may be obtained at the time of booking. 
Copyright © * 2015* *Cruise Express*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Cruise Express International
Suite 92, 24 Buchanan Street
Balmain  NSW  2041

Active Travel offers $1500 saving, plus two free nights hotel stay before Antarctica voyage

Save A$1500 Per Couple and Stay Two Nights For Free on Extended Antarctic Expedition

Australian polar travel specialist, Active Travel, is offering an international flight saving of A$1500 per couple as well as two free nights in Ushuaia for bookings on an 18-night voyage by ice-strengthened expedition ship to Antarctica this October.

This special offer, valid until sold out, applies for an October 23, 2015 departure and includes a A$1500 flight saving per couple, complimentary polar gear and two free nights' accommodation at Ushuaia, including breakfasts, before travellers embark on the 18-night 'Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica' round-trip cruise from Ushuaia - the most southern city in the world - aboard the expedition ship, Akademic Ioffe.

The in-depth expedition is the longest Antarctic itinerary offered by Active Travel, and guests will be accompanied by Active Travel founders, Robert Fletcher and Christine Pearson, who will share their love for the great white continent. The voyage will take passengers to the Falklands, home to a profusion of seabirds and migratory birds, and then the remote island of South Georgia where thousands of king penguins cake the shores. The itinerary includes a visit to old whaling stations and the grave of history's most famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The voyage continues south through the rugged South Shetland and South Orkney islands before reaching the coast of Antarctica where four days are spent exploring the great white continent and visiting scientific research stations and historic huts during daily excursions by the ship's zodiacs. The opportunity to spend a night camped on the ice may also be possible, weather permitting.

Including onboard lectures, meals and zodiac excursions, the 20-night package is available from US$14,495 per person, twin-share. Bookings will include two free nights' accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia prior to the cruise and a flight credit of A$750 per person flight credit to be used towards international flights to Ushuaia booked in conjunction with the cruise through Active Travel.

Other pre/post cruise accommodation and touring around South America can also booked through Active Travel.

Active Travel offers one of the most extensive range of Antarctic and Arctic adventures available to Australians in partnership with long-standing polar travel specialists, One Ocean Expeditions, which Active Travel pioneered in the Australian market in 2008.

For details, visit or call 1300 783 188.

Le Lyrial - Ponant's Newest Ship



Celebrating its inaugural voyage in May 2015 PONANT’s latest ship, Le Lyrial, one of four sister ships that comprise the youngest fleet in the world, has created quite a stir. Interested guests, travel industry and media alike have been eager to obtain more information on this latest iteration of PONANT’s small luxury expedition ship.

Responding to demand, PONANT has created a microsite specific to Le Lyrial,, with video of the Fincantieri shipyard construction, 360 degree views, facts and figures and interviews. Plus, a magazine style brochure and an e-brochure full of Q&As designed to satisfy even the most curious.

The first series of Mediterranean voyages well underway, (including joining sister ship Le Soléal at Gallipoli for the 100 years Anniversary ANZAC Day Memorial Service), Le Lyrial will soon be heading south to join L’Austral and Le Boréal for a southern summer season of Antarctic voyages.

[PONANT is the number one operator in the polar regions, carrying more passengers to the Arctic and Antarctic than any other shipping company.]

Background information: May 2015 - Le Lyrial, commenced its inaugural season. A light-grey hull, an exquisitely slender bow, a sleek line silhouette, 122 staterooms and suites designed by highly regarded French designer Jean-Philippe NUEL.


In the wake of Le Boréal (2010), L’Austral (2011) and Le Soléal (2013), Le Lyrial is the last in PONANT’s superb series of 4 sister-ships flying the French flag. All CLEANSHIP certified these ships are the latest in maritime design and innovation.

With these ships, offering sophistication and efficiency, the only French cruise line and world leader in Polar cruising perpetuates the great French maritime tradition; one that offers exceptional destinations and Five-star services on small capacity ships embodying a lifestyle “à la française”.

Like her sister ships, Le Lyrial embodies a subtle atmosphere, a combination of luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is the company’s signature. The elegance of her exterior and interior lines and intimate size (only 122 staterooms and suites) make her a rare and innovative ship on the cruise market, giving passengers the feeling they are on a private yacht.


Le Lyrial refers to the Lyra constellation in the northern hemisphere. Its principal star is the blue Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky which is on its way to becoming the next northern pole star, a fitting reference for a Five Star Expedition specialist of the polar regions.


Entrusted once again to French interior architect Jean-Philippe NUEL, the interior design, cosy yet contemporary, embodies the ‘Yacht Cruises & Expeditions’ universe as conceived by PONANT, a subtle combination of intimacy, authenticity and elegance with the inimitable “French touch”.

In a close collaboration with Veronique SAADÉ, Deputy CEO of PONANT, he created a “yachting” feel inspired by the dream destinations the company visits and the blue light of the Vega star in the Lyra constellation. The result is a subtle variation around a palette of blues, ranging from the luminous delicate grey-blue of the Polar ice to splashes of the vivid turquoise blue found in Mediterranean coves.


To meet its clientele’s expectations, PONANT has redesigned Deck 6 on Le Lyrial to accommodate larger suites, up to 66 m2 for the Owner’s Suite. As a result Le Lyrial has 122 staterooms and suites compared to the 132 on Le Soléal, L’Austral and Le Boréal.

Detail itineraries of Le Lyrial cruises are available at:

Further information on Le Lyrial, PONANT’s fleet of ships and itineraries is available by contacting PONANT on Australia:1300 737 178 or + 61 2 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or emailing

Further information available on the website:

Responding to demand, PONANT has created a microsite specific to Le Lyrial,, with video of the Fincantieri shipyard construction, new pictures, 360 degree views, facts & figures and interviews.

PONANT also created a magazine style brochure full of Q&As designed to satisfy even the most curious. This magazine is also available online on

Galapagos Islands cruise package - Free island flights and international air credit

Explore the Galápagos Islands – Where the Wild Things Are.

Book before August 30, 2015, for $500 Air Credit & Complimentary Galapagos Flights

Australians can explore Ecuador's iconic Galápagos Islands year-round with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, spot an abundance of wildlife aboard a National Geographic ship and receive $500 air credit per person plus free flights to the islands from the mainland if bookings on select departures are made by August 30, 2015.

Boasting 58 volcanic islands on the equator 900km west of continental Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago was made famous in 1835 when naturalist, Charles Darwin, visited as part of a five-year voyage which led to his work, "The Origin of Species". In observing the local wildlife, Darwin found that some animals separated from their main population had adapted to their environment, eventually changing to become new species. Today more than 26 endemic species have been identified, including 15 types of passerine birds known as Darwin's finches, the giant Galápagos tortoises – the largest in the world, with some more than 1.5 metres in length - and marine iguanas – the only lizards in the world which can forage in the sea. The Galápagos is the only place in the world where these animals can be seen in their natural habitat.

The diverse wildlife is also known for its lack of an instinctive fear of humans, offering visitors intimate encounters with the creatures and excellent opportunities for photographs.

Like Charles Darwin, travellers on Lindblad's nine-night Galapagos expeditions will explore the world-famous islands by expedition ship, with the gracious, 96-guest, National Geographic Endeavour or the intimate 48-guest National Geographic Islander acting as a home base from which to discover the volcanic coastlines and endemic wildlife. Seven nights will be spent onboard, during which time travellers will visit the islands of Bartolome - where they will snorkel with Galápagos penguins, Santiago – where they will encounter fur seals, Santa Cruz – home to the Charles Darwin Research station, Isabela – where travellers will swim and hike over rugged shoreline, Fernandina – with its marine iguanas and flightless cormorants, Floreana – where travellers will snorkel with sea lions and spot sea turtles, and Española – home to waved albatross and hundreds of Darwin's finches.

Expeditions are priced from A$6990 per person, twin-share, for the nine-night itinerary and includes one night's pre and post-cruise accommodation in either Guayaquil or Quito in mainland Ecuador and the seven-night cruise with onboard meals, non-alcoholic beverages, all excursions, zodiac and kayak expeditions, lectures and presentations, park and entrance fees, the expertise of expedition staff, and the use of wetsuits and snorkel equipment.  Departures are available year-round. Bookings made before August 30, 2015, on selected departures from August 20 - December 15, 2015, will attract $500 air credit per person plus complimentary return flights from the mainland of Ecuador to the Galapagos. Conditions apply.

For more information and to book call Lindblad Expeditions on 1300 361 012 or visit

For more information about Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands, visit

* Travel trade site address :

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Tauck River Cruise Guide aimed at novices

Tauck published a 'First-Timer’s Guide to River Cruising' aimed at answering many questions common to prospective cruisers. The new 24-page, full-color brochure is available free at, where novice river cruisers can request a print or digital edition.

Organized into Who, Why, What, Where and When sections, the guide provides information about the typical river cruise traveler, the reasons behind river cruising’s popularity and what a river cruise experience is like. The guide also includes notes on when to travel, the differences between Europe’s most popular rivers and information on why ocean cruisers and independent travelers ought to enjoy a river cruise experience.

A two-page spread provides guidance on what travelers should look for when considering the wide array of river cruises available today.

Tauck ceo Dan Mahar said the guide's primary goal is to educate those interested in learning more about river cruising, rather than simply promoting Tauck. But, not surprisingly, he thinks a knowledgeable, informed traveler will be more likely to choose a Tauck river cruise.

New expedition ship for Hurtigruten


Norway Explorer will take the place of Midnatsol on Coastal Norway route

MS Norway Explorer

Hurtigruten has announced the purchase of a new expedition ship. The ship, temporarily named MS Norway Explorer, was built in Portugal in 2009 at the Viana do Castelo shipyard*, and is now making her way to Scandinavia. After she undergoes a total reconstruction including adapting for polar waters; upgrading the cabins, suites and public spaces for the 320 guests; and adjusting the power plants and emissions so as to meet Hurtigruten’s high standards, the ship will join the fleet along the Norwegian Coastal Voyage route. Fitting well into the company’s planned expansion to offer more expeditions, the new ship will replace the Midnatsol, which will join the MS Fram in Antarctica for the 2016/17 season.

“The new ship's maneuverability and optimal size will bring Hurtigruten`s guests even closer to nature,” says CEO Daniel Skjeldam. “We invest in our fleet to ensure that Hurtigruten remains a world leader in sustainable explorer travels along the Norwegian coast and polar destinations as well as enrich our guests' unique experiences by expanding our service at destinations such as Greenland, Svalbard and Antarctica.”

A leader in exploration travel, 123-year-old Hurtigruten is continuing to expand its marketing and sales efforts in North America as it invests in its future. Having been taken private late in 2014, the company is gearing up to offer new itineraries, an array of new soft and hard adventure excursions and expansion of its highly regarded expedition leader teams over the next few years.

The company’s fleet of now 13 intimate ships, each which carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy the scenery and culture of the destination in a relaxed atmosphere. Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten's visitor-friendly website,

Facts about MS Explorer Norway
  • Number of guests: 320
  • Total berth capacity: 180
  • Gross tonnage: 7025
  • Length: 97.53 m
  • Width: 18 m
  • Draft: 5 m
  • Propeller System: 2x 360 Azimut thrusters
  • Machinery: Diesel Electric
  • Speed: 17.4 knots
Atlantida awaiting sale at the shipyard in Portugal
 * Editor notes: This vessel was previously known as "Atlantida" (IMO 9434060) and has already had an interesting history. According to a report in TradeWinds, Atlantida was first ordered in 2006 by Atlantico Line, a ferry company owned by the Azores regional government. The ship, contracted at EUR 50m, was completed in 2009 but Atlantico refused to take delivery, claiming its speed was one knot short of what was stipulated in the contract. Atlantico’s refusal to take delivery played a large part in the Portuguese shipyard's subsequent bankruptcy. Since then the yard, which has been under administration supervised by Portugal’s defence ministry, had been trying to sell the ship.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Star Clippers release new 2016 Mediterranean program


Experience the spectacular natural wonders, ancient monuments and culinary flavours of the Mediterranean on a grand voyage with Star Clippers. Soak up the European summer aboard an intimate sailing ship, visiting idyllic ports and coastal towns as part of Star Clippers new Mediterranean program for 2016. Highlights of the program include:

Royal Clipper: Inaugural Eastern Mediterranean

In September 2016, the largest square rigger in the world will visit the Greek Islands and Turkey for the first time on 7 night sailings from Athens to Istanbul and Istanbul to Athens. This itinerary features visits to Istanbul, Myrina, Skiathos, Skopelos, Poros and Piraeus. Royal Clipper will also offer new 7 night itineraries from Rome to Athens and Athens to Rome, exploring the stunning coastline of Italy, Sicily and Greece in addition to its signature Italy and Croatia Rome to Venice program.

Star Flyer: Italy, Sicily and Tunisia

Luxury loving passengers can cruise aboard the modern Star Flyer, travelling from Rome to the Aeolian Islands, Sicily and Sorrento. Visit the active volcano of Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily, explore the ruins of Pompeii near Naples, stroll along the seaside promenade of Amalfi dotted with art galleries, museums and cafés and spend a lazy afternoon in the chic port of Sorrento and it’s unspoilt countryside. For those wishing to explore more of the Mediterranean, there are new 10 and 11 night itineraries including Sardinia, Malta and Tunisia.

Star Clipper: Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia

In late August 2016, Star Clipper will depart on 7 night cruises from Venice, calling at the ancient cities of Croatia, including Dubrovnik, Korcula and Mali Losinj, along with the breathtaking town of Kotor in Montenegro. These cruises are in addition to the ever-so-popular 10 and 11 night sailings from Athens to Venice (and v.v.).

Early booking discounts are available and range between 20% and 35% off the regular cruise rates. Prices for the 7 night cruises start from $2389 per person, including a generous 25% early booking saving, with all meals, tea and coffee, entertainment, free water sports, port charges and taxes included.

For more information and Star Clippers’ E- Brochure Mediterranean 2016 visit

For more details and bookings, call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit
For bookings and further details, see Star Clippers specialist Cruise Express