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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Coral Princess Cruises seek Manager- Group Hospitality & Operations

Manager, Group Hospitality & Operations

Coral Princess Cruises

Coral Princess Cruises is recognised as a pioneer in expedition cruising in Australasia, with a 30 year history of operational excellence.  Last year, Coral Princess Cruises served over 5,000 customers across its fleet of 3 custom-designed small ships operating in the Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, West Papua and the South Pacific.  Our ships are well known for their professional service from a largely Australian and NZ crew, high quality cuisine using Australian ingredients, and itineraries featuring expert guided shore adventures.

As the company embarks on a new phase of growth, it now seeks an ambitious, detail orientated professional who wishes to step out of a pure hospitality service role, take on broader management responsibilities and help cement Coral Princess' reputation as Australia's premier boutique expedition ship operator.


  • Responsibility for the pre-cruise and on-board customer experience across our 3 ships

  • Designing and monitoring food and beverage service, and other hospitality amenities

  • Helping in new itinerary planning

  • Working with Senior Pursers to train service staff

  • Sourcing and implementing innovative new service programmes

  • Participating more broadly in company-wide business planning activities



  • At least 7 years of professional experience in luxury hospitality; marine experience preferred but not required

  • At least 4 years' experience leading service teams of at least 30 staff

  • Some experience working in Asia preferred

  • Very high attention to detail

  • Ability to handle challenges of managing multiple marine environments

  • Good business judgment


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

With True North in Louisiade Archipelago PNG


Monday, 15 December 2014

Coral Princess Cruises Sold


Tony and Vicki Briggs sell down stake in Coral Princess.

Coral Princess Cruises founder and managing director Tony Briggs has just announced that Kallang Capital Holdings, a Singaporean based company, has made a "substantial equity investment" in the Australian small ship cruise line.

Briggs said the investment positions the business for future growth, with plans to add to the current range of "pioneering cruising itineraries covering the Great Barrier Reef, Western Australia's Kimberley, the South Pacific and South East Asia".

The investment will see several enhancements to the existing fleet of three vessels over the next year, commencing with a refurbishment of the 44-passenger Coral Princess II which will be completed by February 2015.

The existing Coral Princess management team, led by Mark Fifield, will remain in charge of the Cairns-based operation, and it is "very much business as usual" with all existing bookings, trade relationships and commitments to continue unchanged.

The investment is "part of a planned transition" by Briggs and his wife Vicki. Briggs remains a director of the company and they also retain a 10% shareholding in the business.

Kallang Capital Holdings is a holding company controlled by the founders of Singaporean financial services group Primepartners as well as Paul Chacko, and represents the interests of several Singaporean family offices, providing management support to "promising scaleable businesses in Singapore and across the region".

Backyard Travel's New Sailing Tour to Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago


Backyard Travel, the online boutique travel agency specializing in unique, insider tours throughout Asia, today announced a spectacular new sailing tour through the gorgeous untouched islands of the Mergui Archipelago. Situated along the southern coastline of Myanmar, the Mergui Archipelago – also called the MyeikArchipelago – is a true 'untouched paradise', with few of its 800 idyllic islands inhabited much less developed.

Mergui Islands, Myanmar

Home to the Moken people, the MyeikArchipelago opened to tourism as recently as 2007. The Moken lead semi-nomadic, sea-faring lives, spending the dry season on fishing boats and returning to land for the monsoonal months. As such, the pristine islands here remain untouched by development, nurturing richly diverse ecosystems both above and beneath the water. Some islands here are protected as a Marine National Park, replete with natural assets such as coral reefs, mangrove swamps, sea grass beds, tangled evergreen forests and sheltered lagoons.

Accommodation options in the MerguiArchipelago are understandably limited, so the best way to explore this wonderfully unspoiled region is by boat. To help travelers access this remote, largely uncharted area, Backyard Travel has launched a new boutique cruise aboard a small luxury yacht.

This 10-day sailing trip throughout the Mergui Archipelago begins in Myanmar's glittering capital, Yangon. Here, travelers have two days to take in the city's most striking landmarks, such as the Shwedagon pagoda, before heading on to the port city of Kawthaung on the Andaman coastline. From there, travelers join the skilled captain and crew of their boat before embarking on a 5-day/4-night sailing expedition of the islands.

Among the many tour highlights is a trip to Lampi Island, a protected zone with dense rainforests and white-sand beaches. Native wildlife here includes a diverse array of tropical birds, with dugongs sifting through its sea beds and monkeys chattering in the treetops. For travelers who enjoy snorkeling and beach-combing there's the reef-fringed Pila Island, home to wide beaches and crystal blue waters. And for a unique cultural experience, there's a visit to a Moken village, where visitors can get a taste of local life first-hand.

Throughout the cruise, travelers have plenty of time to relax on the deck of their luxury craft, enjoying ocean breezes, tropical sunshine and clear night skies. Gourmet meals are prepared with fresh seafood purchased from the local Moken and at night, the boat's cabins offer the ultimate in both privacy and comfort.

“The Mergui Archipelago is one of the region's last frontiers,” said Backyard Travel's General Manager Maeve Nolan. “Parts of the archipelago still remain unmapped and it's this relative isolation that has fostered some of the most bio-diverse island ecosystems in the world. A small, boutique sailing trip such as this allows travelers to visit the archipelago in a low-impact, culturally sensitive and enriching manner.”

For more information about Backyard Travel's new Mergui Archipelago tour, or for boutique tours around Myanmar, visit our webpage or send a direct inquiry to one of our Travel Specialists.

About Backyard Travel

Bangkok based Backyard Travel is an online travel company specializing in tailor-made tours to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan and China. For more information about Backyard Travel visit the website: or social media:




True North in PNG: The Louisiades

It seems like only yesterday that I was aboard the superb luxury expedition yacht, True North, when in fact it was nearly four years ago in the Solomon Islands when I last set (bare)foot on her decks.

Moray peeps out at me during our morning dive

The remains of the Zero slowly being consumed by sand and coral

Guests ashore at Panapompom enjoy shade

Young islander and pandanus hat

True North at anchor off Panapompom Island

Not a lot has changed, just a few new faces, but Dr Andy Lewis the marine scientist and Chad the skipper are two there to greet me.

After arriving on an Alliance charter flight from Cairns to the historic Gurney airfield at Alotau, we're away in no time and among the glorious waters of PNG's Louisiade Archipelago, off the very easternmost tip of PNG.

Our first stop at Pananpompom Island is another deja vu moment. I first visited this idyllic little outpost with Coral Princess Cruise in 2006 and the tiny community is now seeing an increasing number of visits from small ships and yachts. The locals gather around us with no less curiosity than before, their warm smiles still a welcome recollection.

Sunsetters on the spit, Nivani Island (Panapompom opposite)
Young Harrison, 13, travelling with his grandfather engages in a most energetic interactions with the local boys and the stand-up paddle board becomes a focus
of fun.

The day is capped of with sunsetters on the sandspit where PO Okura Shigeru would have waded ashore after ditching his Zero in May 1942 in the lagoon a few metres away from us.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic announces new experts on 2015 voyages



Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced a suite of special guests for the next year as part of its Global Perspectives Speakers Program, including new itineraries with the legendary Valerie Taylor.

The wide range of expeditions offers guests the chance to explore and personally interact with world-renowned researchers and explorers. The line-up of speakers for 2015 allows Lindblad Expeditions guests to travel with individuals known for discovering new species, diving to uncharted depths, leading primate research, and altering the course of scientific history.

The below rates are per person per night in a category one cabin based on double occupancy.

Global Perspectives Speakers onboard the National Geographic Orion:

Valerie Taylor:

Valerie Taylor
Since her revolutionary footage of great white sharks in 1973, Valerie Taylor has been a hugely influential scuba diver. She has been on a National Geographic cover and featured in live shark sequences that have appeared in the movies of Jaws, Orca and the Blue Lagoon. Taylor will join 'Indian Ocean Odyssey: Seychelles, Maldives and Sri Lanka' departing 20 April 2015. Rates from $22,140.

Sir. James Mancham:

Learn the Seychelles history through the eyes of its founding president, Sir James R. Mancham. A visionary, award-winning peacemaker and author, Mancham played a pivotal part in settling international disputes. Mancham is widely recognised for putting the islands on the must-visit list for world travellers. He will join the two parts of the Seychelles: 'Treasures of the Indian Ocean: Zanzibar and the Seychelles' departing 9 April 2015 (from $14,770) and 'Indian Ocean Odyssey: Seychelles, Maldives and Sri Lanka departing 20 April 2015 (from $22,140).

Biruté Galdikas:

As the foremost authority on the orangutan, Biruté Galdikas has dedicated her life to educating others of the importance of this endangered animal. Since 1971, she has studied the science of these red apes through documenting their ecology and behaviour. Galdikas founded "Camp Leakey" and is the President and founder of Orangutan Foundation International. Galdikas will join three itineraries in 2015. These are 'Wild Islands of Sri Lanka, Borneo and the Andaman Sea' departing 6 May 2015 (from $23,380) 'Camp Leakey: Faces in the Forest' departing August 30 2015 (from $14,630) and 'Singapore to Raja Ampat: Exotic Indonesia' departing September 9 2015 (from $18,160).

Lawrence Blair:

Dr. Lawrence Blair has spent much of the past three decades exploring and making films in Indonesia. An expert on the culture, geography and zoology of Indonesia, he has also spent many years as a media communicator and has written, presented and co-produced the series Ring of Fire which won two Emmy awards in 1988. Dr Blair will join 'Wild Islands of Sri Lanka, Borneo and the Andaman Sea' departing 6 May 2015 (from $23,380) and 'Kimberley Expedition with the Spice Islands' departing 16 August 2015 (from $12,830).

Global Perspectives Speakers onboard the National Geographic Explorer:

Eric Larsen:

The first to journey on a summer expedition to the North Pole, Eric Larsen is known for completing more polar expeditions than any other American. Larsen's other expeditions include cycling in Antarctica, dog sledding in the Canadian Arctic and climbing Mount McKinley. Larsen will join the 'Land of the Ice Bears: An In-Depth Exploration of Arctic Svalbard' departing 16 June 2015. Rates from $10,490.

Johan Reinhard:

Johan Reinhard is famed for the recovery of Ice Maiden, an Inca mummy found on Mount Ampato. This feat was chosen by Time magazine as one of the world's ten most important discoveries of 1995. An anthropologist and high-altitude archaeologist, Reinhard has authored more than 70 publications, including six books. Reinhard will join 'Peru and Chile: Ancient Sites and Natural Wonders' departing 8 October 2015. Rates from $19,660.

Don Walsh:

Don Walsh, along with his colleague, is recognised for completing the deepest manned dive in history. An oceanographer, ocean engineer and retired Navy Captain, Dr. Walsh is author of more than 200 ocean-related publications with his explorations taking him on more than 50 polar expeditions. Dr. Walsh will travel on 'Land of the Ice Bears: An In-depth Exploration of Arctic Svalbard' departing 2 June 2015. Rates from $10, 490.

To order the Explorations brochure, obtain additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic or to book, visit, call 1300 361 012 or see your travel agent.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Discover the beauty of Greenland, Iceland, Russia and follow the Northern Lights

Experience the rugged beauty of Greenland and Iceland, the history of Russia and Follow the Northern Lights on a unique voyage. Discover Bentours using Augmented Reality-download the Stellar AR ap and using any 2015 Bentours brochure see these dream destinations come to life.

Bentours, Australia's specialist in travel to Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland and Greenland has put together these unique experiences for lovers of rugged beauty and natural wonders, amazing wildlife and fascinating history.