Tuesday, 26 September 2017

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#expeditioncruising .

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Expedition cruising with Captain Cook Cruises in Fiji's Yasawas

#expeditioncruising .

For no better reason than we love the images, here are some super new shots from expert travel photographer, David Kirkland, on assignment in Fiji. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

What does ths new Polar Code mean for expedition cruising?

#expeditioncruising .

The introduction of the new Polar Code requirements for all maritime traffic in the regions of the Arctic and Antarctic waters is about to have a much greater impact on expedition cruising than many people in the industry may realise, claims longtime cruise professional, Gerd Wilmer of Sydney’s Landmark Travel.

“Many ships currently operating on polar cruises and more intending to may not have fully realised the implications of the Polar Code on their forward plans,” says Wilmer, who is also the Australian representative for German premium cruise line, Hapag-Lloyd.

Hapag-Lloyd's Bremen is one of the first vessels to become Polar Code compliant.

The Polar Code in its entirety is a complicated technical document, but the most relevant section as far as expedition cruising is concerned means that vessels that do not currently have an Ice Rating of either 1A or 1A Super will not be permitted to operate below 60deg south or above 60deg north latitudes (with the exception of Iceland and Norwegian coast). Specifically this means Svalbard, Greenland and all of the Northwest Passage will require Polar Code compliant vessels. In the south, the entire Antarctic continent, including the Peninsula, requires this.

“There are one or two cruise lines who are advertising departures that, according to the code, will not be permitted on the dates advertised,” says Wilmer, “this may well cause some customer confusion and disappointment down the line.

“What is also most interesting is that many of these new, supposedly hi-tech ships under construction will not be certified under the Polar Code because of their light Ice Rating.”

Northern Polar Zone
Southern Polar Zone

The first implementation of the Polar Code came into force in January this year (2017) and second phase comes into force in January 2018. It states:

  • Ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017 shall comply with the safety part of Polar Code at delivery.
  • Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 shall comply with the safety part of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018. (renewal surveys take place at 5 year intervals)
So, from January 2018, expect to see some major reassignment of vessels currently enjoying their last taste of the ice.

NOTE: There is some discussion about whether an upgraded vessel can be deemed to be ‘new’ at time of application, plus there are also discussions about permitting certain non-compliant vessels into areas deemed ‘low risk’ around the Antarctic Peninsula. This article will be updated when these matters are clear.

Comments below are welcome >

Peregrine triples Europe cruise program in 2018 as 'overtourism' concerns grow

Peregrine Adventures is tripling the number of its small ship Adventure Cruising departures in Europe in 2018 in response to growing demand for more sustainable cruises.

After almost 40 years as a leader in small group adventure travel on land, Peregrine Adventures' first season of small ship cruises has been an overwhelming success with a pilot charter trip along the Croatian coast 95% sold out.

Now the carbon-neutral travel company will add four new charter itineraries to its Adventure Cruising range in Europe, with a total of 20 departures available in 2018. Peregrine Adventures will also offer a wider range of trips operated in partnership with Variety Cruises, which are carbon-offset by parent company, the Intrepid Group.

Cruise is one of the largest growing sectors in the global tourism industry, but the sector has been in the spotlight lately for sustainability issues with locals protesting against mass tourism in European cities such as Venice and Barcelona.

Peregrine Adventures Adventure Cruising range is operated by small ships with no more than 50 travellers onboard, enabling travellers to visit the small ports that big ships can't get to and explore little-known towns and villages in some of the world's hottest travel destinations. It's a conscious choice, enabling the renowned responsible travel company to operate in the same immersive local style as it offers on almost 2000 trips on land each year.

"Travellers are increasingly aware of the impact they can have on holiday," says James Thornton, CEO of the Intrepid Group. "We've heard from local leaders that cruise ship travellers are now being called 'ice cream tourists' because that's all they're buying when they visit an increasingly overcrowded city like Dubrovnik."

Thornton says he believes the demand for a more sustainable style of small ship cruising is so big, that Adventure Cruising travellers may outnumber those on Peregrine Adventures land-based trips in another ten years.

"We're starting small, but we have big ambitions to grow a more sustainable style of cruise ship travel. There has been an overwhelming response to this first season. By 2025, we may even see more Peregrine customers travelling on small ship cruises than on our land-based trips."  

As part of its commitment to sustainable tourism, in 2018 Peregrine Adventures has banned all single-use plastics such as straws, cups, and water bottles on board its Adventure Cruising charter trips. Cloth bags and refillable water bottles will be provided.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Responsible polar tourism promoted in joint AECO / IAATO conference


October 1 - 4, more than 90 representatives from the Arctic and Antarctic expedition cruise industry will gather in Iceland for the second AECO/IAATO Polar Field Staff Conference. The topic of the conference is evolution and new challenges in the polar tourism industry.

The three-day conference program includes sessions on growth management, technological developments, safety standards, operational development, citizen science and field staff qualification.

The Polar Field Staff Conference is organized by the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) and the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operations (IAATO). The conference gathers guides, expedition leaders and operations managers working for AECO and IAATO. The aim of the gathering is to support the two associations' joint mission of advancing safe and environmentally responsible travel in the polar regions.

"It's a chance to discuss the practical issues that staff are facing out in the field, but it's also an opportunity to weigh in on the larger perspective of polar tourism," says Frigg Jørgensen, Executive Director of AECO.

Expected growth

According to Jørgensen, with greater interest in Arctic and Antarctic itineraries, managing growth will be an important topic at this year's conference, "It is in the industry's interest to ensure sustainable growth. AECO and IAATO are continually developing guidelines and raising standards to promote safe and responsible tourism. Our members have decades of polar field experience, and their expertise is one of our best resources as we prepare for growth," says Jørgensen.

Positive contributions

The conference also highlights how the industry is doing to have a positive impact in the polar regions. One example is the many citizen science initiatives that enable polar visitors and crew to contribute to research projects, such as collecting data for whale identification or sea-ice monitoring.  

"Involving visitors in polar research is not only good for science, it also gives them a deeper understanding of the polar regions and the need to protect these unique and globally important areas," says Damon Stanwell-Smith, Executive Director of IAATO.


Photo caption: "Safety is an important aspect of responsible polar travel. Bringing tourists safely through polar bear country in Svalbard is just another day on the job for an Arctic guide. Photo: Ilja Leo Lang." Download high resolution image here.

2017 AECO/IAATO Polar Field Staff Conference

The biennial joint AECO/IAATO Polar Field Staff Conference is aimed at operation managers, expedition leaders and senior field staff, who are working for members of AECO and/or IAATO. This year's theme is Evolution and New Challenges in the Tourism Industry. The two-and-a-half-day conference will take place at Hótel Örk in Hveragerði, Iceland, from October 1-4, 2017.

Members of the press are welcome to request press accreditation by contacting Edda Falk, Communications Manager, AECO, at edda@aeco.no / cell: +47 47 63 25 50.

Program and list of speakers available here:


AECO - Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators


International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO)


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Women-only expeditions in the Galapagos

#expeditioncruising .

A leading travel company that specializes in women-only expeditions has teamed up with female Ecuadorian, naturalist-trained guides for two itineraries that explore on land or from the sea the Galapagos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wild Women Expeditions offers more active travel departures for women only than any other tour company in the world. Its programs in the Galapagos epitomize for owner Jennifer Haddow the importance of being part of the solutions emerging in places where tourism, among other issues, places fragile infrastructure at risk.

“We run adventure programs with highest standards in ecotourism,” says Haddow. “This includes giving back to communities and investing in conservation. Wild Women Expeditions is an Ambassador of the Galapagos Conservancy, and supports the Charles Darwin Foundation whose research and program implementation affect how people both live and visit here in harmony with this environment.”

The land-based, Galapagos Islands Multisport Adventure uses small water craft to explore the distinguishing features of some of the islands that reveal the pressures of a volcanic history that led to the formation of this archipelago. Guests hike to a volcano rim, kayak to beaches of docile sea lions, snorkel through fantasy worlds of colorful fish swarming a lava cone, and even while stand up paddle boarding bear witness to a bizarre birdlife that remains unafraid of humans, even after being the subjects of attention to throngs of curious passers-by.

While hiking to the spot where Darwin’s HMS Beagle landed in 1835, the guide discusses Darwin’s theories and findings from his five-week exploration of the islands. On another day, a six-mile roundtrip hike leads up Sierra Negra, an active volcano with the second largest (6.5 mile span) caldera in the world where birdlife is abundant.

The per person, double rate is from $5,495 for this 10-day Multisport vacation with dates of Nov. 11-20, 2017, and Nov. 10-19, 2018. Included are domestic flights from Quito, Ecuador, to San Cristobal in the Galapagos and Quito return from Baltra, plus related airport transfers; national park and transit control taxes and documentation; three nights camping on Galapagos Islands; six nights double occupancy in hotels; ground transportation and private group transfer by motorized boats between islands; all meals from beginning of program to end including a dinner with a local fishing family; four days of sea kayaking and wildlife viewing; one-day hike of Volcan Sierra; all gear and equipment related to programs including kayak, stand up paddle board and snorkeling excursions; and the expertise of English-speaking naturalist guides; Alejandra Mosquera and Africa Berdonoes.

Born and raised in Quito, Alejandra Mosquera started guiding in 2004 and now divides her time between guiding and parenting.

Africa Berdonoes grew up in the Galapgos islands, scuba diving since age12 and later becoming a Dive Master and guide. She once crossed the Pacific Ocean in a traditional Polynesian canoe, powered by wind and guided by stars. She holds an advanced degree in Protected Area Management. She believes the Galapagos can one day be an example of humans living in harmony with nature.

The cruise-based Galápagos Islands Eco-Yacht Adventure utilizes the M/V Eric a hybrid solar-powered vessel which incorporates some of the best conservation-focused technology in the world and sets the bar for environmental sensitivity for ships in the Galapagos. In accordance with Galapagos National Park protocol, M/V Eric’s route ventures through the islands on routes proscribed to minimize environmental impact.

Twenty privileged guests travel aboard this luxury yacht enroute to bold discovery and quiet revelation while walking stretches of land that serve as nesting sites for clusters of fearless, air-born creatures or snorkeling and swimming alongside a friendly sea lion or following the trail to the dramatic ocean blow hole or watching colorful crabs crawling along the shoreline. A visit to Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena (formerly the Charles Darwin Research Station) helps connect these experiential dots.

The per person, double rate for this eight-day Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 2017, adventure on this solar-powered yacht is from $5,295. The rate includes roundtrip domestic flights from Quito to San Cristobal and related airport transfers; single, double or triple-berth accommodation for seven nights aboard M/V Eric; national park and transit control taxes and documentation; all meals aboard; complimentary use of wet suits and snorkeling gear and excursion and activities-related equipment such as sea kayaks and stand up paddle boards; guided hiking and Zodiac excursions; and the expertise of English-speaking naturalist guides; Malena Cruz and Gaby Espinoza.

Magdalena “Malena” Cruz enjoys sharing her knowledge of sea currents, geology and the marine reserve. She studied to be a Tourism Professional Guide at the Universidad Internacional del Ecuador. When not guiding, she manages her family’s hotel on San Cristobal.

Maria “Gaby” Espinoza holds degrees in science education from the University Estatal Guayaquil. Fluent in English and German, she became a naturalist guide in 1990. Conservation is her passion.

About Wild Women Expeditions

Founded in 1991, Wild Women Expeditions is the world’s largest women-only travel company. Its initial focus was on canoeing on remote Ontario waters. Through an unwavering focus on Canada, one of the wildest, most pristine countries in the world, Wild Women Expeditions became experts in a pioneering niche that introduced small groups of women into wilderness settings. The company now hosts guests all over the world, offering more trips and more women-only, backcountry camping adventures than any other women’s travel company in the world.

Source: Late Cruise News

New Amazon departures for Aqua Expeditions

#expeditioncruising .

Aqua Expeditions has added two new departures on the Aria Amazon in Peru for the upcoming winter season due to popular demand. Aqua Expeditions will now be offering departure dates on November 27 and December 1, 2017.

Guests can experience the “high-water” season on Aqua Expeditions’ luxurious 147-foot-long cruise ship with only 16 spacious staterooms on board. As always, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy active wildlife excursions with jungle hikes across suspended bridges, as well as fishing, kayaking, canoeing and biking. In addition, guests can also experience drinks at sunset, live on-board entertainment, movie nights, stargazing by telescope, spa treatments, and 5-star cuisine by Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino.