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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Scenic Eclipse inaugural sailing delayed again

#expeditioncruising .

In a statement released today, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours announced that the first sailing date for Scenic Eclipse, the World’s First Discovery Yacht, has been amended to 13 April 2019.

Still image from construction video dated October 2018 (Scenic)

Due to the continuing financial issues at Uljanik shipyard and the resultant strike by specialist engine and systems commissioning workers, this part of the ship's completion has been delayed.

Scenic has been in constant contact with the shipyard, workers representatives and the Government to ensure the completion of the ship as soon as possible. Due to those efforts, more than 600 workers are still on board each weekday. The progress on the ship’s interiors and other areas of the final build stage have seen far less impact from the industrial action, and continue to progress at good pace.

The specialist commissioning team returned to work progressively last week however it will not be possible to catch up the six weeks’ time lost due to strikes in this area. Scenic acknowledges the regrettable impact this has on guests and understands their disappointment at this change in sailing date.

Scenic has committed to providing guests a full refund for the cost of their Scenic Eclipse cruise and consideration of any other reasonable associated costs incurred with their travel plans. In addition, Scenic will provide all guests who rebook a Scenic Eclipse voyage a future cruise credit to the value of 25% of the cost of their rebooked cruise.

Scenic has established a dedicated phone number for guests and has begun reaching out to all guests and travel agents to provide details on the process of refunding, and offering an opportunity to apply the 25% discount to other voyages.


Monday, 12 November 2018

PONANT 180-page Oct 2019 - April 2020 cruise brochure


#expeditioncruising

From the Antarctic to Latin America, the Eastern Mediterranean to Oceania…..

There are compelling reasons to obtain a copy of this new 180-page brochure featuring over 100 voyages – small ship cruises and luxury expeditions - that include perennial favourites as well as a number of immersive new and off-the-beaten-track itineraries.



This brochure also includes a range of tropical and polar expeditions developed in conjunction with NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

New ships AND new destinations, a wealth of options: Itineraries range from 7 nights to Grand Voyages up to 73 nights, all offering PONANT's hallmark comfort and style aboard the youngest and ecologically responsible fleet of small luxury expedition ships in the world - including four new Explorer ships. Or, for those who enjoy a traditional sailing yacht, the classic three-masted Le Ponant is an elegant option for exploring the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Whether it be the icy vastness and overwhelming concentrations of wildlife in Antarctica, intimate encounters with Papuan, Polynesian or Maori people, scuba diving in the Indian Ocean or visiting the archaeological wonders of Petra in Jordan, this must-read PONANT brochure provides the stimulus to start planning your next voyage.

Travel with the polar experts, PONANT: 4 luxury expedition small ships operating in the Antarctic - Le Boreal, L'Austral, Le Soleal and Le Lyrial
A range of pre and post cruise options to extend your holiday
Small ships offer access to remote destinations that larger ships simply cannot reach.
Memorable experiences in the company of a small number of like-minded guests.

For 2019/2020 highlights for modern day luxury and expedition cruisers include:
  • Greece to Egypt and the Red Sea - from the pyramids of Giza to Lawrence of Arabia's famed Wadi Rum desert 
  • (New) Discover the Levant - including Jerusalem and Masada 
  • (New) Sail on Le Ponant to visit fascinating UNESCO sites in Malta and Sicily 
  • Hawaii, French Polynesia, Easter Island the Solomons - Pacific Ocean cruising par excellence 
  • Witness the start of the iconic Rolex 75th Sydney to Hobart yacht race and join the yachts in Hobart for the festivities 
  • With 25 polar voyages, the opportunity to spend Christmas or New Year in the Antarctic 
  • Explore New Zealand's fiordlands
  • Experience the natural wonders and cultural diversity of Latin America and the Caribbean 
  • Scuba dive in Micronesia's Chuuk lagoon, graveyard with over 60 WWII wrecks 
  • Enjoy the lesser visited Caribbean and Bijagos islands of the Atlantic Ocean 
  • In the Indian Ocean, visit Aldabra lagoon, the largest coral atoll in the world 
This 180 page October 2019 - April 2020 brochure is available now directly through PONANT or travel agents, OR a convenient e-brochure download is available at: https://fr.calameo.com/read/0001324232d362dea66fe

Additional Information:

Some voyages currently have a 30% Ponant Bonus available however fares are yield managed and savings reduce according to the number of staterooms sold.

Pricing examples:

(NEW) MAYA TREASURE OF THE YUCATAN / Puerto Morelos to Puerto Morelos onboard
Le Champlain: 6 departures between November 2019 and January 2020 - 7 nights from $3,990 pp* in a Deluxe Stateroom with balcony

(NEW) BETWEEN VIETNAM AND THE MALACCA STRAIT / Ho Chi Minh to Singapore onboard Le Laperouse: 16 November 2019 - 9 nights from $6,240 pp* in a Deluxe Stateroom with balcony

(NEW) THE SEYCHELLES AND ALDABRA ATOLL / Mahe to Mahe onboard Le Bougainville: 4 departures between December 2019 and April 2020 - 12 nights from $8,760 pp* in a Deluxe Stateroom with balcony

FROM FIJI TO MICRONESIA with NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC / Lautoka to Guam onboard Le Soléal: 1 April 2020 - 15 nights from $12,130 pp* in a Prestige Stateroom Deck 4 with balcony

*Ponant Bonus fare per person, in Australian Dollars, based on a double occupancy. Price includes port taxes, yield managed, correct at time of writing – 12/11/2018. Refer to https://au.ponant.com for further T & Cs.

To receive a copy of this PONANT brochure, or for more information please contact your Travel Agent or PONANT directly in Australia: 1300 737 178 or in New Zealand: 0800 767 018, or email reservations.aus@ponant.com

Further information available on the website: https://au.ponant.com

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Another expedition cruise ship launch delayed


#expeditioncruising .

World Explorer expedition cruise newbuild delayed to summer 2019

World Explorer had been expected to operate on charter to
Quark during the current Antarctica season RENDERING: WestSea Viana Shipyard

The 176-passenger World Explorer, expected from Portugal's WestSea Viana Shipyard this month, is now set to arrive in summer 2019.


The 9,300gt ship, being built for Portugal's Mystic Cruises, a division of Mário Ferreira's Mystic Invest, had been scheduled to operate on charter to Quark Expeditions during the current Antarctica season and then for Mystic subsidiary Nicko Cruises of Germany.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Victory Cruise Lines orders new Infinity-class expedition vessel

#expeditioncruising .


SunStone Ships has declared option number two at CMHI shipyard after signing a long-term charter contract with Victory Cruise Line for the Infinity-class vessel, with a total of three newbuilds now under construction at the Chinese yard.

The other two are Aurora's Greg Mortimer and Lindblad's National Geographic Endurance

The newbuild will be named Ocean Victory and delivered in March 2021 and technically managed by Cruise Management International, Miami. Hotel operations will be handled by CMI Leisure, Miami.


Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Aranui Cruises to More of French Polynesia in 2020 - and save

#expeditioncruising .

Aranui Cruises has launched its 2020 program with savings of up to $1900 per couple on select cruises.

The cruise line is discounting Aranui 5’s first two voyages of the year, departing on February 6 and 22, 2020, with ocean view staterooms starting from $6030* per person twin share (savings of $1200 per couple) and royal suites available from $8970* (savings of $1900 per couple).

A senior’s discount is also available for guests aged over 60 on the September 10, 2020, departure with similar savings on offer across all cabin categories.

Aranui Cruises’ 125-metre long mixed cargo and passenger vessel Aranui 5 is one of the few remaining cargo cruise experiences in the world and in 2020, the ship will offer 20 scheduled cruises around French Polynesia, mostly consisting of its regular 13-day roundtrip voyage from Papeete to Hiva Oa, Nuka Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, and Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas; Bora Bora in the Society Islands; and Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotus.

While guests disembark and enjoy a range of complimentary guided excursions including hikes, 4WD tours, local feasts and visits to archaeological sites, Aranui’s Polynesian crew unload cargo, with the vessel acting as a lifeline to the remote island ports it visits.

Aranui Cruises Regional Representative Australia New Zealand Laurent Wong said the cruise line has been offering a unique cargo-passenger experience for more than 30 years and was proud to take international visitors to some of the most beautiful and remote corners of French Polynesia.

“Our regular roundtrip voyage to the Marquesas and Tuamotus is still the best way to access some of the most culturally-rich islands in French Polynesia, all while enjoying an authentic Polynesian experience onboard our special cargo cruise ship Aranui 5,” Mr Wong said.

“To celebrate the launch of our 2020 program, we’re offering a few discounted cruises to pack even more value into our already great value cruise fare, which includes more than $2000 worth of guided shore excursions, a weekly laundry service, three meals per day, complimentary French wine with onboard lunches and dinners, and calls to nine Tahitian islands including a fabulous picnic on a secluded island in Bora Bora’s blue lagoon.”

Mr Wong said the 2020 program would also feature an encore cruise to Pitcairn Island but it was expected to sell out quickly.

There are no cruises in January 2020 as Aranui 5 will be in dry dock.

Aranui 5 features a restaurant, two conference rooms, lounges, a library, a boutique, a swimming pool, a gym, a spa and four bars including the popular Sky bar.

For more information visit www.aranuicruises.com.au or call +613 9449 3778

*Subject to availability, conditions apply. Discounted cruises are available until sold out.


Thursday, 1 November 2018

Sailing Adventure in the Seychelles

#expeditoncruising

Island-hopping in style with Exodus Travels

One of the world's most beautiful and isolated archipelagos has been re-discovered.

The world's only mid-ocean islands of granite formation

The Seychelles archipelago is often mentioned in the same breath as the lost Garden of Eden. Green-covered atolls lapped by warm crystal-clear waters, with pristine beaches, rare flora and fauna that have been cocooned in isolation for millions of years make up a surprisingly diverse destination of striking natural beauty.

In a sailing adventure that is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, a traditional schooner is used to explore the Seychelles' main islands. Each day on board allows travellers to explore isolates bays and coves, nature reserves, snorkel through marine parks and take awe in the colourful, protected habitats of rare endemic birdlife.

Nine days from $4,095. For only one more week, Exodus Travels are giving everyone who books  $250 off per person.

To book, head to www.exodustravels.com or speak to your travel agent.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

New Baja Cruise and Land Escapes From AdventureSmith Explorations

#expeditioncruising

Goodbye Winter and Hello Baja With New Land and Sea Itineraries From AdventureSmith Explorations


AdventureSmith Explorations will help banish snow and ice with three new close-to-home itineraries, two by land and one by sea. All deliver guests this winter into the sunshine of Baja where the wonders of a North American version of the Galapagos await.

One itinerary places people nose-to-nose with land and marine life teeming in one of the world's most nutrient-rich marine environments-- the Sea of Cortez, home to 39 percent of the world's total marine mammal species, a third of the world's marine cetacean species and 891 fish species. This abundance of marine life also draws many species of birds. Another itinerary posits guests up close and personal with the color, culture, landscape and people on the Pacific Ocean side of Baja California Sur (south) where sunny days and white sand beaches traditionally draw culture mavens and their followers to an abundance of art, music and regional fare.

"On or off the water, our Baja itineraries are immersive and active. The new programs we're presenting this winter address requests for quick getaways as well as week-long vacations, all in a region with the same kind of appeal as the Galapagos," says Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Explorations Founder and President. "We can usually accommodate last-minute requests for land-based and cruise itineraries in this affordable, easy-to-navigate region."

Three days at Camp Cecil on the desert island of Isla Espiritu Santo comes with naturalist guides ready to indulge whims for birdwatching, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, snorkeling and swimming just off the coast of Baja California. A three-day rate is from $750 per person double, with departures any day, November through April. Included are roundtrip transfers from La Paz and Todos Santos to this electricity-free island; snorkel gear and wet suit; all adventures and related equipment; all meals and happy hours; walk-in luxury tent accommodations; panga (dinghy) support; bilingual naturalist guide/certified Wilderness First-Aid Responder; and National Park Conservation fee. The luxury camp (real linens on the beds and daily housekeeping service) is located within a National Marine Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site offering protected wildlife and landscapes rife for exploration. The waters harbor whale sharks, dolphins, sea lions, and over a dozen species of whales (including Blue whales). Guests search for blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate bird colonies. The island is one of the 900 islands in the Espiritu Santo Archipelago.

Baja Intimate Insider is a seven-day itinerary that can be customized. The rate is from $3,500 per person double, with departures any day, year-round. Hand-curated local guides introduce guests to their favorite artists, rancheros and chefs. The rate includes boutique accommodations selected for character and size (intimate); meals; daily activities and excursions; local guides/experts and airport transfers to and from San Jose del Cabo airport. Adventures can include hikes, horseback rides, birdwatching, ranch tours and cooking classes. Opportunities for guests may include:
  • visit the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve, one of Baja's most beautiful but least-explored areas and home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, boasting one of the highest rates of plant endemism of any place in the world;
  • surf with Mario, a veteran surf instructor, who guarantees that guests will stand up on their boards during the first hour of instruction - at least for a few moments;
  • stargaze with Sergio, the owner of Los Colibris Casitas, who will explore Aztec and Mayan mythology through the stars;
  • explore ranching in the mountains with Doña Ramona and learn how to make traditional tortillas; marvel at the artistry of potters who share the landscape riddled with dry arroyos;
  • dine on creative farm-to-table presentations and home-style Mexican cuisine;
  • imbibe the secrets of Iker Algorri, chef/author of Cooking Adventures in Baja California Sur;
  • walk the bluffs over the Pacific coastline where sea lions cavort;
  • check out some of the over 430 bird species spotted in this region while riding horses with Kaia, an avid birder and naturalist;
  • drink wine with local artist Jill Logan. 
The brand-new 100-guest National Geographic Venture launches this winter with spacious accommodations and equipment to suit the most active of travelers over five days on Base Camp Baja, a wellness-focused cruise in the Sea of Cortez. This cruise is active and relaxing with award-winning wellness programs. Guests pursue yoga, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, stretching in the onboard fitness center, meditating and massages as well as body and natural facial, hand and foot treatments. This new ship is kicking off its first-ever sailing season in Baja before heading north to Alaska. The per person double rate is from $2,650. Departure dates in 2018 are Dec. 22-26, Dec. 26-30 and Dec. 30-Jan. 3, 2019; 2019 departures are Jan. 3-7, Jan. 7-11, Dec. 23-27, Dec. 29-Jan. 2, 2020; 2020 departure dates are Jan. 2-6 and Jan. 6-10.

A bonus for vacationing in this region is the possibility of swimming with whale sharks. Although whale sharks are found swimming all over the world, La Paz, Baja (a commonly used port for AdventureSmith's small ship cruises), is one of the easiest and closest opportunities to swim alongside them for North Americans. These fish (the largest fish in the world) have made a winter home in the sandy shallows just outside the La Paz harbor where snorkelers can test their swimming speed (and nerve) by trying to keep up with these massive creatures. (Whale sharks swim like a shark but feed on plankton and other small sea life, offering no threat to swimmers.) Swimming with these majestic creatures is an experience not easily forgotten.

For details on all AdventureSmith's small ship cruises worldwide, day-to-day itineraries, availability and reservations, phone: 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit https://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/