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Monday, 1 September 2014

APT's Top Five Expedition Cruises

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Luxury Small Ship expedition cruising has become one of APT's fastest growing products. Proof of its growing popularity is the fact that APT has grown its own fleet of Luxury Expedition Ships, taking ownership of three of the eight ships featured in its latest Luxury Small Ships 2015 brochure.

APT's expedition cruising brings together an average of just 100 like-minded guests with a team of expedition experts such as naturalists, marine biologists and geologists, sailing aboard luxury boutique-style ships to far-flung and unusual destinations. According to APT General Manager Marketing and Sales, Debra Fox, one of the key factors in the success of this style of cruising is the size of the ship:

“We are seeing rapid growth in our luxury small ship program and it's coming from two distinct traveller types. On one hand we have guests who, having tried a river cruise with us, want to try a sea-based equivalent that can take them to more exotic locations; and then we've got our more adventure-driven guests who love APT's luxury five star all inclusive travel style but want to transfer it to ocean cruising.

“What both have in common is a desire to cruise on really small ships with a group of like-minded people. Size really does matter, and the fact that the ships in our program carry an average of just 100 APT guests is what is really attracting people to APT's program in particular.”

And the top five cruise destinations for this popular style of cruising? According to APT, guests can't get enough of expedition cruising in the:

1. Kimberley and Top End – APT's first Kimberley Coast cruise season sold out in just four months. So for 2015, the luxury cruise operator is bringing its own luxury small expedition ship, the 55-suite MS Caledonian Sky, to Australia's Kimberley coast and Top End to support its other charters. In doing so, APT is able to offer double the number of departures for its popular cruises in 2015.

Set sail: 11-day Kimberley Coast Cruise sails from Darwin to Broome aboard the MS Caledonian Sky. As well as gorges, islands and waterfalls, highlights include a jet boat ride through Horizontal Falls, ancient Aboriginal art at Bigge Island and viewing rare Green Turtle breeding grounds. Departs on various dates in June to September 2015.

2. Seven Seas of the East Indies – Sailing through the unique ecosystem of the world's longest navigable underground river at Puerto Princesa, the chance to encounter Komodo dragons in their natural habitat and meeting the resident orangutans and Malayan sun bears of Balikpapan – just a handful of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are driving APT guests to book cruises in this region. One of APT's highlights is an overnight experience in Torajaland, where guests get the chance to explore a lost culture in the 'Land of Heavenly Kings'.

Set sail: 17-day Seven Seas Odyssey is a luxury expedition cruise aboard the MS Caledonian Sky and land journey from Manila to Darwin taking in the seven seas of the East Indies sailing through some of the world's most stunning islands with unforgettable stops in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysian Borneo and East Timor. Departs 21 May 2015.

3. Indian Ocean – Much of the appeal of this destination for expedition cruise guests is the fact that some of the islands are so remote, they are almost untouched. For example Aldabra, the world's second largest coral atoll, is known as the 'Galapagos of the Indian Ocean'. Named by Sir David Attenborough as 'one of the wonders of the world', it is one of the most isolated places in the world. Comprising four islets around a large shallow lagoon that is encircled by fringing coral reef, APT visitors have been granted special permission from the Seychelles' government to explore here.

Set sail: On the 15-day Grand Indian Ocean Safari from Mauritius to Mahe, the Seychelles, aboard APT's own vessel, the 57-suite MS Island Sky, the expedition team take guests on the adventure of a lifetime from La Reunion, to Madagascar and then the Seychelles. Departs 11 February 2015.

4. British Isles – History, wildlife and culture are the three magic ingredients luring travellers to coastal cruise around the British Isles. APT's own ship, the MS Island Sky, takes guests on an adventure that includes Guernsey, Tresco, the Irish coast and through the Islands of the Scottish Highlands.

Set sail: 12-day British Island Sky takes guests to remote coastal ports and tiny islands to give guests an authentic insight into the deep seated history, traditions and contrasting cultures of these isles. Departs 15 June 2015.

5. Antarctica – Majestic, unspoiled scenery, unique wildlife and rich history are the drawcards driving the popularity of this destination. From Humpback Whales to King Penguins and Weddel Seals, Antarctica is teeming with wildlife.

Set sail: Cruise aboard APT's recently acquired vessel, the luxurious MV Sea Explorer, to Antarctica with APT and enjoy zodiac adventures and insightful lectures from a team of experts. With just 53 suites on board, you'll travel in a small group of like-minded people on the ultimate luxury small ship experience. Departs 3 February 2015.

Included aboard all APT Luxury Small Ship Expedition Cruises are meals, beer, wine and soft drink with lunch and dinner, an APT Expedition Leader and full expedition team, transfers to and from the ship and all sightseeing, shore excursions, park and port charges.

For further information on APT's Luxury Small Ship 2015 program call 1300 196 420, visit aptouring.com.au or see your local travel agent.

Antarctica voyage deal - save $750



 

Savings of AU$750 on Antarctica Voyages

Australian tour company, Active Travel, is offering AU$750 off international flights for every traveller who books their 'Active Antarctica' or 'Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica' voyages before October 10, 2014.

Both voyages will depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, in November, 2014, before sailing to the white continent to see towering icebergs, pristine snowscapes, scientific research stations and abundant wildlife.

The 19-day 'Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica' voyage aboard the Russian scientific ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, will first stop at the islands of the West Falkland Archipelago, home to many sea birds, including penguins and black-browed albatross, before visiting the brightly painted historic streets of Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. The island of South Georgia, with its rugged, snow-covered mountains will be visited next, including the grave of the most famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The ship will then journey on to Deception Island, where guests can, weather-permitting, visit the flooded volcanic caldera, walk to the highest points of the crater rim and explore an abandoned whaling station. The mainland of Antarctica is the next destination, where travellers will be greeted with the spectacular sight of the huge icebergs and Antarctic ice sheet, and perhaps even set foot on the continent itself.

In addition to shore excursions and zodiac cruises with expert guides, a comprehensive ship-based lecture series will be offered to deepen guests' knowledge of Antarctica and its surrounds.

The 19-day tour departs from Ushuaia on November 3, 2014, and is priced from AU$13,695, twin-share, or AU$11,995, triple-share, including all excursions, onboard meals and Antarctic weather gear. Bookings made for this voyage before October 10, 2014, will receive a flight credit of AU$750 per person, which can be used on flights to Argentina booked with Active Travel.

The action-packed 'Active Antarctica - Off the Beaten Track' expedition is focused around a range of outdoor activities, including ski touring, snow shoeing, overnight sea kayaking, camping on ice and hiking - all set to the stunning surrounds of icebergs and ice shelves.

The 13-day expedition aboard Akademik Ioffe will also include visits to an active scientific research station and historic huts at Port Lockroy and Wordie House, a full day of photography with an on-board professional photographer and a comprehensive ship-based lecture series.

The adventure expedition departs from Ushuaia on November 8, 2014, and is priced from AU$9595, twin-share, or AU$7095, triple-share. Transfers to and from the ship, all zodiac excursions, onboard meals and Antarctic wet wear gear are included. Sea kayaking, ski touring, snow shoeing and field photography will attract an extra cost. Bookings made for this expedition before October 10, 2014 will also receive a flight credit of AU$750 per person. Conditions apply.

For details of the Antarctica packages, visit www.activetravel.com.au or call 1300 783 188.

* Flights to/from Argentina are not included in packages. Pre/post cruise accommodation can also booked through Active Travel.

 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Introducing Water Adventure Ocean Wide (WAOW) Charters

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The WAOW

Waow, meaning "Water Adventure Ocean Wide" is a 58 metre three masted sailing vessel, constructed entirely from ironwood using traditional methods, evoking the southern seas, liberty, adventure, comfort, quality and style. All to be shared by those going to sea on her.

With nine cabins for the guests, crew accommodation, dive equipment, multi-media equipment and dream destinations, we wish to achieve dreams for all those aboard.

Operations began in April 2012. The Indonesian Archipelago is the initial playground with itineraries including Komodo, Alor, Ambon, Raja Ampat, Triton Bay and Halmahera.


WAOW welcomes independent travellers and is also seeking partnerships with suitably qualified agents.

For further information, please contact Andrew Laughlin: andrew@waowcharters.com


Expedition Cruising : With Captain's Choice

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Quest to the North Pole
Copyright: Captain's Choice

Are you looking to get your feet wet on a true adventure? Expedition cruising is the next big thing! Captain's Choice have a great range of intrepid adventures across unchartered waters set to open your mind to new horizons. From luxury expeditions to exotic islands to knuckle whitening polar quests, Captain's Choice have an adventure planned for all interests.

Expedition cruising isn't only about the remote and exotic destinations Captain's Choice are known for, but also for the inspirational Expedition Team that takes you there. You'll be prepped with talks from Antarctic explorers, historians, geologists and biologists who know where to find the best photography spots and wildlife in the area. You'll leave as experts in the area.

Smaller ships are able to access out of the way ports that larger ships cannot reach and trusty Zodiacs nudge closer to the action, offering front row tickets to wildlife and natural wonders straight out of National Geographic.Expect enriching activities like hikes, kayaking and bird watching to colour your adventure as you prepare to take a walk on the wild side.

Of course luxury expedition cruises come with the dash of luxury you've come to expect from Captain's Choice. No doubt the novelty will never wear off on a Silversea expedition cruise as you step off your Zodiac and a butler is waiting for you with a steaming hot chocolate. It's the best of both worlds.

Captain's Choice are going further than ever before aboard 50 Years of Victory, the world's largest nuclear powered ice breaker in July's 2015's Quest for the North Pole in July 2015. This may not be a luxury expedition cruise, but it's sure to set even the hardiest adventurer's pulse racing!

Why not ring in 2016 in a very special way with a unique Fly-Cruise Antarctic Expedition starting in Punta Arenas, Chile on New Year's Eve 2015, enjoying the bracing beauty of the South Shetland Islands aboard the MV Sea Explorer, before an adventure of outback Patagonia? There are worse ways to say Happy New Year!

A Captain's Choice, expedition cruise combines the raw spirit of adventure with effortless, all inclusive travel arrangements from Australia. Find out more on 1800 650 738 or visit www.captainschoice.com.au

Talking about Expedition Cruising

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

New record set by Hapag-Lloyd Hanseatic

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  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ HANSEATIC reaches northernmost point
  • The HANSEATIC is currently sailing the Northeast Passage and has become the first non-Russian ship to do so
The expedition ship HANSEATIC of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has set a new record for passenger ships in the Northeast Passage. Yesterday afternoon (August 26, 2014), the 122.8-metre-long ship reached the northernmost point at 85°, 40.7' north and 135°, 39.6' east. At this latitude, the HANSEATIC was just 480 kilometres from the North Pole.



Captain Thilo Natke comments: “Unusual ice conditions made this record possible. North of the New Siberian Islands in the Russian Arctic, there was a large ice-free zone stretching north through the Arctic Ocean, which we used for this spontaneous detour.” In temperatures of around zero degrees and a brisk north-easterly wind, the passengers took a Zodiac ride along the edge of the pack ice. This event was then celebrated in style with a party on deck.

The expedition through the Northeast Passage set off from Nome/Alaska on 12 August 2014 and will continue on to Severnaya Zemlya in the next few days. It will feature expeditionary landings followed by cruises through the Kara Sea, Novaya Zemlya, the Barents Sea, Murmansk (end of the Northeast Passage), Hammerfest/Norway and Bodö/Norway, where the expedition will come to an end on 10 September 2014.

The expedition ship HANSEATIC

The 5-star* HANSEATIC was built to provide intensive exploration in the most elegant surroundings for a maximum of 175 guests. The design of the ship – including the highest ice class for passenger ships (E4) – allows HANSEATIC to travel to destinations previously inaccessible to a cruise ship. Guests explore the world’s best-kept secrets in zodiacs (small motorized boats) with only 10-12 guests. On-board experts include a team of experienced scientists, expedition leaders and specialists who guide landings and offer guests the rare opportunity to observe plant and animal life up close. However, what makes these expedition adventures standout for guests is the security of knowing that highly experienced captains are guiding the vessels and have together already travelled to the Arctic and Antarctica more than 200 times.

* According to the Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships 2014

Reservations: Please call +49 40 3001-4580 (English-speaking hotline), send an e-mail to salesteam@hlkf.de or visit www.hl-cruises.com/contact-services for local agents.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ exciting destinations and itineraries, visit www.hl-cruises.com.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

New appointments at Lindblad Expeditions Australia


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Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced two new senior hires in line with the company’s significant growth in the Asia-Pacific region in 2013/14.

The new additions to the team are Christine Gardiner, Business Development Manager, and Lisa Pagotto, Strategic Partnerships Manager.

Christine Gardiner
Christine Gardiner has had more than 10 years experience in business development roles in the travel industry, across both cruising and hotels. Her previous experience includes MSC Cruises and the InterContinental Hotel Group, with a strong focus on leveraging sales in a range of new markets. This is in addition to her experience working with Parliament House, the National Convention Centre of Canberra and the Crowne Plaza Canberra, where her sales and marketing skills were utilised by moving the corporate market strategically out of large capital cities. In her role with Lindblad Expeditions, Christine will monitor the market and company growth, as well as liaise with the trade to seek out new sales opportunities.

Lisa Pagotto
Lisa Pagotto brings a wealth of travel experience, both overseas and local, to her newly created role of Strategic Partnerships Manager. With a background of more than 10 years in the industry, her most recent experience includes sales and marketing roles at McLachlan Experiences and Kumuka Worldwide. At Lindblad Expeditions, Lisa will be responsible for all partnership activity throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Jeremy Lindblad, Business Development Director Lindblad Expeditions – Australia says: “We are so excited to welcome Christine and Lisa to the team. This was a natural expansion and stems from Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic being stronger than it’s ever been, with more than 95% occupancy in 2014 across all 10 vessels.

“The sky is the limit for 2015 and this growth to the team ensures that we continue to develop itineraries to cater to passengers in Asia Pacific.”

To obtain additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic or to book, visit au.expeditions.com, call 1300 361 012 or see your travel agent.