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Friday, 31 October 2014

New owners, new ships for Hurtigruten


Hurtigruten expediton vessel, Fram
A group of British investors is poised to take ownership of the historic Norwegian cruise and ferry service, according to a report in Barents Oberserver.

The paper goes on to  report that Hurtigruten announced on Wednesday it recommends a takeover bid from the London-based investment group, Silk Bidco AS.

With headquarters in Tromsø, Hurtigruten operates daily voyages along Norway’s scenic coast from Kirkenes in the northeast to Bergen in the southwest.

After the announcement of the takeover bid, Hurtigruten officials are reported to have said the company would get a better financial stand to consider construction of new vessels, including ships for expedition cruising.

A new destination for expedition cruising in Russia’s White Sea region with the Solovetsky archipelago, often entitled the secret pearl of the Barents Region.

“We have agreed on starting developing the cruise itinerary from Tromsø via Kirkenes, Murmansk, Solovetsky Archipelago to Arkhangelsk,” says Olga Gorelova to BarentsObserver.

Gorelova is Deputy Head of the Agency for Tourism and International Cooperation of the Arkhangelsk Region.

The itinerary was discussed at a meeting between Russian and Norwegian tourism representatives in Arkhangelsk in October.

If successful, it is proposed that the the expedition vessel, Fram, begin cruises in 2017.

Last minute availability on Antarctic Cruises

Last minute availability on A&K's Antarctic Cruises

Luxury travel company and cruise expert Abercrombie & Kent still has limited space available on its 2014-15 Antarctic expeditions. The adventure begins in Argentina where guests travel to the 'white continent' aboard the sophisticated 199 passenger MV 'Le Boreal' which has been specially chartered by A&K for these departures. A passionate expedition team of lecturer guides accompanies guests on Zodiac excursions ashore to explore vast penguin colonies and wildlife habitats, float past dazzling icebergs, explore the southernmost city in the world and visit scientific research stations. At sea, educational and informative briefings are conducted plus whale sightings, bird watching and terrific on board camaraderie with everything included.

Classic Antarctica

12 Days 9 - 20 December 2014

Cabin categories 4 - 8

Prices range from US$15,995 to US$25,995

Classic Antarctica

12 Days 3 - 14 January 2015

Cabin categories 2 & 6

Prices range from US$15,495 to US$21,495

Antarctica, Falkland Islands & South Georgia

17 Days 13 - 29 January 2015

Cabin categories 2 - 7

Prices range from US$21,995 to US$31,995

Learn More

Sail on World's Biggest Sailing Ship in World's Biggest Nautical Event - Sail Amsterdam 2015


Sail into the World's Biggest Nautical Event on one of the Biggest Sailing Ships Afloat

Sail Amsterdam 2015 – Held Every 5 Years

The world's largest and most spectacular nautical event, the 8000-boat Sail Amsterdam, will unfurl in The Netherlands in August, 2015, and Australian cruise agency, Cruise Express, is offering sea lovers the chance to be part of the parade on one of the world's biggest sailing ships, the 162m-long Wind Surf.

Held every five years in the Dutch capital, Sail Amsterdam was first held in 1975 to celebrate Amsterdam's 700th birthday and now attracts more than two million sightseers including those on 8000 boats who clog the city's harbour to witness the spectacle of hundreds of tall ships, heritage craft and naval vessels sailing together.

The unique thrill of being part of the 2015 parade aboard one of its largest attractions is offered as part of Cruise Express' 16-night fly, cruise and stay package which includes a flight from Australia to Oslo on August 13, 2015, three nights' accommodation in the Norwegian capital and an eight-night voyage aboard the 310-passenger Wind Surf from Oslo to Dover in England.

The grand, five-masted mega yacht, which boasts 2600 square metres of self-furling sail, will first take passengers to the historic southern Norwegian port of Kristiansand before arriving in Amsterdam on August 19, 2015, for the grand Parade of Sail which will star Wind Surf as the biggest sailing ship in the colourful event.

An overnight stay in Amsterdam will be followed by visits to the Dutch port of Vlissingen, close to Antwerp over the border in Belgium, and the Belgium port of Zeebrugge near historic Brugge before Wind Surf arrives in Dover. The package also includes three nights' deluxe accommodation in London and a flight back to Australia.

The 16-night fly, cruise and hotel package is available from $7999 per person, twin-share. For more details, call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit

Friday, 24 October 2014

Ponant ship Lyrial launched


The new Ponant ship Lyrial was launched at Fincantieri today, and will be delivered to the French luxury expedition brand in spring of 2015.

The ceremony was attended by Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of Ponant, Véronique Saade, Deputy CEO of the company and, by Fincantieri, the Director of the Ancona shipyard John Stecconi. Godmother to the ship was Gohagan Virginia, wife of Thomas P. Gohagan, CEO of Thomas P. Gohagan & Company, a travel agency in Chicago.

This is the fourth ship in a series of sisters delivered to the brand since 2010 by the Italian yard.

The ship is about 11,000 gross tons, is 142 meters long and can accommodate 260 passengers in 122 cabins.

Aurora Expeditions celebrates Chloe McCardel's world record-breaking swim with exciting adventure activities


As a proud supporter of ultra-marathon swimmer Chole McCardel's recent world-record breaking swim in the Bahamas, adventure travel company Aurora Expeditions is offering everyday Aussies the opportunity to test their own limits through a selection of exciting adventure activities on board their small-ship expeditions in 2015.

If a gruelling 42-hour, 126-kilometre open water swim doesn't appeal, Aurora Expeditions wide-range of expedition cruises offer passengers the chance to have the ultimate adventure through a number of different activities ranging from an easy 20-second 'Polar Plunge' to a 50-kilometre trek across an a subantarctic island.

Antarctica comes in at number one as an adventurer's playground and passengers can choose from an array of optional activities. Camp on the ice like an Antarctic explorer, paddle a sea kayak though waters teeming with wildlife, or any good swimmer can don a dry suit and plunge into the icy cold waters to snorkel with penguins.

If those options don't cut it, experienced adventurers can test their skills at climbing one of the Antarctic Peninsula's thousand-feet peaks, scuba dive below Antarctic waters where ice walls sparkle and marine life flourishes, or follow in the footsteps of one of the world's most famed Antarctic explorer - Sir Ernest Shackleton - on a three-day, 50-kilometre crossing of South Georgia's interior.

In the Northern Hemisphere, visit Greenland, the birthplace of kayaking, and paddle amidst spectacular mountain scenery and towering icebergs the size of high-rises. In Alaska, beginners can learn to stand up paddle board, or enjoy some easy-paced kayaking and polar snorkelling.

Closer to home, passengers who enjoy the bush can sign up for a 10-kilometre, rock hopping trek through Western Australia's Kimberley wilderness to visit the old Kunmunya Ruins, an old Presbyterian Aboriginal mission from the early 1900s as well as the base camp of expedition leader Mike Cusack and his wife Susan's during their year in the Kimberley as Australian Geographic's first Wilderness Couple in 1987. The exclusive opportunity to join Mike on his yearly pilgrimage back to the site is only available on Aurora Expeditions Kimberley Coast voyages.

There really is an adventure for everyone on Aurora Expeditions exciting range of small-ship expedition cruises. For more information contact Aurora Expeditions on +61 2 9252 1033 or freecall 1800 637 688 or visit to order their brand new 2015-2016 Expedition Guide.

Travelmarvel’s New Burma Rivership RV Princess Panhwar


Available to Book Now

Travelmarvel’s new boutique rivership, the RV Princess Panhwar, is unveiled for the very first time in its new Burma 2016/17 brochure, which is available now. The custom built vessel offers premium four star river cruising with guests enjoying a choice of 36 staterooms and suites ranging in size from 26 sqm to 42.5 sqm and either a French or an outside balcony.

Public areas aboard the sophisticated new vessel include an air-conditioned lounge area on the sun deck, a main restaurant, and a spa and massage facility.

The core itinerary for Travelmarvel’s new Burma river cruising is the 15-day Majestic Burma – Irrawaddy Cruise from Yangon to Mandalay. Priced from just $5,795 per person, twin share, the cruise takes in all of the fascinating highlights of this emerging destination, including: Shwedagon Pagoda; a journey by horse drawn cart to the ‘Leaning Tower of Inwa’, taking in Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery and the teak-wood Bagaya Monastery en route; the opportunity to add your own sheet of gold leaf to the Mahamuni Buddha; and an exploration of Bagan, one of the world’s most spectacular archaeological sites.

RV Princess Panhwar restaurant
On offer is a choice of 24 sailings between January 2016 and April 2017. A three day extension of the Majestic Burma itinerary to Inle Lake is available, as is the chance to combine it with a Mekong river cruise aboard Travelmarvel’s La Marguerite on the 27-day Wonders of the Irrawaddy and Mekong.

Travelmarvel’s comprehensive inclusions cover complimentary drinks with lunch and dinner, most meals (including all meals aboard the cruise), the services of a Tour Director, airport transfers, all flights within Asia, port charges, entry fees, tipping, sightseeing and accommodation within the price of each of its Burma itineraries.

Two Earlybird Specials are being offered for this destination: ‘Fly Free, including Taxes’ on all Travelmarvel Burma holidays in any suite category departing January 2016 to April 2017; and ‘Fly Business Class from $2,995 per person, including taxes’ on any Princess Suite booking departing January 2016 to April 2017. Bookings for all offers must be made by 28 February 2015.

Spaces are limited so guests are advised to book early. Offers are subject to availability and terms and conditions apply.

Travelmarvel’s Burma River Cruising 2016/17 brochure is available now. For further information call 1300 196 420, visit or see your local travel agent.

Greece yacht cruising aboard MS Galileo


BEYOND Travel are offering discounts of up to $780 per couple on the popular eight-day first class mega-yacht cruise “Jewels of the Cyclades” through the Aegean Sea for departures in 2015 when you book and pay by December 19.

The voyage aboard the MS Galileo has only 25 cabins but is large enough to have spacious social areas yet small enough for an intimate and relaxed atmosphere and able to dock at smaller ports.

Sun deck on MS Galileo
Sailing on a round-trip cruise from Athens, the itinerary includes port visits to some of the lesser known Greek Islands such as Folegandros, Paros, Delos, Kythnos and Syros as well as the famous islands of Santorini and Mykonos. It also offers plenty of leisure time when the yacht drops anchor in many secluded bays perfect for a dip in the warm waters.

The cruise is now priced from $2,260 per person twin share, a saving of $420 per couple for a category C cabin during the low season. For a category A cabin in the high season you can save up to $780 per couple with the cruise now priced from $3840 per person twin share.

Prices include seven nights cruise accommodation, two meals a day, tea/coffee and mineral water throughout the day, use of fishing and snorkelling equipment, services of an experienced captain and crew and port charges.

There are numerous guaranteed departures between April and October, 2015.

For more details on all mega-yacht cruises contact Beyond Travel on 1300-363-554 or visit