Friday, 20 January 2017

Lindblad Expeditions Announces the National Geographic Venture

*Joins Sister Ship National Geographic Quest as the only purpose-built expedition ships designed and built from scratch in the USA*

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has named its newest addition to their fleet, National Geographic Venture, which is currently being built in Seattle and will make her inaugural voyage in June 2018. Sister ship to the National Geographic Quest which is launching in June 2017, they are the first new builds in Lindblad's history and the only purpose-built expedition ships designed and built from scratch in the USA.

The 100-guest National Geographic Venture will launch in June 2018 and will feature 50 cabins, 22 with step-out balconies, and six sets of connecting cabins for families and groups; all category 5 cabins can accommodate a third guest. The ship will be outfitted with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment, and Zodiacs, all of which are geared to get guests out and into the wild, remote places being explored; state-of-the-art expedition technology, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), video microscope, a hydrophone and underwater cameras.
Her inaugural voyage will be on the June 24, 2018 departure of "Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska & British Columbia."  This 14-day expedition will give the ship a day in the San Juan Islands and a day in the Gulf Islands before heading north through BC and Alaska.   She will then do the 8-day "Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness" for 8 departures; another "Treasures of the Inside Passage" in September, followed by six 8-day "San Juan Islands & British Columbia" departures. 
The design of the two new builds incorporates all that Lindblad has learned in 30+ years of operating between Alaska and Central America into every aspect of their construction. This includes larger cabins, many with balconies or the ability to connect, and beautiful public spaces. But it goes way beyond that.  Here are a few improved aspects of the ships and enhanced expedition experience:
·         A Better View – A common constraint with wildlife viewing on a ship's bow is that the anchoring gear takes up space and a single level allows only one row of guests to enjoy clean sightlines.  To provide a superior viewing experience, the bow on the National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture have been designed with the anchoring gear separated from guest space by a tiered viewing system.  This enables multiple rows of guests to line the bow with an unobstructed view.  Also, two stairways on either side of the bow lead to an expansive observation deck one level up, for a unique perspective.  All of these exterior viewing levels are accessible from the lounge, making for a seamless viewing experience. 
·         Mark V Zodiacs – Inflatable expedition landing craft enable naturalists to take guests to places otherwise inaccessible.  To outfit the National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture, Lindblad worked hand in hand with the team at Zodiac Milpro to deliver the first and only Mark V Zodiacs built entirely in the USA.  These boats are superior, military grade construction, but customized with features like extra holds for passenger stability and topside treads to improve footing for stepping on and off.  Both ships will be outfitted with 8 Mark V Zodiacs and guests will embark and disembark via custom-designed ladders to improve safety and ease of movement.
·         A Clearer View – Both ships feature a dining room with floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows and a lounge with wraparound windows as well.  (Not to mention the many cabins with portholes, large view windows or sliding glass doors.)  That's a lot of glass.  But what kind?  Lindblad painstakingly researched and tested many types of glass, ultimately selecting a premium glass with a straight tint.  This will offer the clearest, most natural view possible.
·         A Better Bridge –The bridges on these vessels have been uniquely designed with the guest in mind, and feature designated forward standing areas with clear views and settees set around the room's state of the art equipment to ensure a comfort for longer stays. All Lindblad Expeditions' vessels have an open invitation to the bridge, so that guests can learn about navigation and enjoy the vantage point that a ship's bridge provides. 
·         Environmentally Friendlier – The internal systems aboard the National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture are the best available in the market today.  Advanced waste management and treatment systems exceed international standards.  To lessen the need for fuel, both ships feature  a streamlined hull design, added a bulbous bow and have scoured the market for the most suitable propulsion systems available. Everything from the propellers to the engines have been specifically chosen to minimize vibration and improve fuel efficiency.  Working in concert, these systems will enable the vessels to use less fuel than many ships far smaller.
·         The Mudroom Keeps Cabins Cleaner – Taking their cue from the globetrotting National Geographic Explorer and Orion, the new builds will be the only ships in their regions of exploration to feature a mudroom for the storage of guest expedition gear.  The room and rows of lockers will enable guests to store boots, snorkeling equipment and other gear, making excursion preparation more efficient and leaving cabins cleaner and more comfortable. 
·         A Shared Legacy of Innovation - When Lindblad wanted to build the perfect ships to explore from Alaska to Central America, they turned to Nichols Brothers Boat Builders on Whidbey Island, Washington, the same company that built the very vessels they have used for the last 36 years. Nichols Brothers Boat Builders completed the National Geographic Sea Bird in 1981 (then known as the Majestic Alaska Explorer) and the National Geographic Sea Lion in 1982 (then known as the Great Rivers Explorer). Lindblad's work with Nichols Brothers will result in the only expedition ships of their kind built entirely in the United States—an endeavor that both companies could not be more proud of.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Journey in Norway to the Northern Lights

#expeditioncruising .

Single supplement only 17%

15-night winter wonderland tour including 6-night coastal voyage to the top of Norway

The increasing popularity of Norway’s famed Northern Lights has prompted Cruise Express to offer a new cruise tour in February, 2018.

The new, 15-night ‘Journey to the Northern Lights’ fly, cruise and tour itinerary traces the fjord-studded coastline of Norway north above the Arctic Circle all the way to the Russian border. The cruise tour offers Australians a rare opportunity to witness the natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis – magical, multi-coloured swirls of light that illuminate Norway’s crisp, night sky in winter.

The adventure begins on February 9, 2018, when travellers fly from Australia to Norway’s capital, Oslo, for a two-night stay, with a city tour that includes the Viking Ship Museum and Vigeland Sculpture Park with its 212 striking bronze and granite sculptures. Guests then ride Norway’s trains to the country’s famed fjord country for stays in Voss and Bergen and a ride on the panoramic Flåm Railway. Billed as one of the world’s most picturesque and steepest train rides, the Flåm train climbs from sea level to 863m-high mountain tops in just one hour, with the scenery including waterfalls, wild rivers, vast forests and 20 tunnels. A breathtaking cruise through two spectacular fjords – Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord - near Voss is also included.

Norway is famous for Northern Lights
In historic Bergen, guests will be guided on a walking tour along the harbour, flanked by multi-coloured buildings, and to flower and fish markets. From Bergen, the tour moves to sea for a six-night voyage aboard Hurtigruten’s 691-passenger ship, ms Kong Harald, named after the current king of Norway, which also provides a passenger, freight, mail and car service for isolated Norwegian towns only accessible by sea. The voyage features magnificent fjords, mighty glaciers and snow-clad mountains and visits to the enchanting Lofoten Islands and picturesque towns like: Tromsø, Trondheim and Ålesund.

Renowned as one of the world’s most spectacular sea journeys, the Norwegian coastal voyage in winter offers the magical luminescence of pure-white mountains reflecting the low sun and the chance to see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. After visiting Honningsvåg near North Cape – the northernmost point in Europe, 1000km north of the Arctic Circle - the cruise ends in the remote town of Kirkenes on the Russian border. Here guests will enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of staying at the SnowHotel, where the rooms are carved from ice, with reindeer fur used for cosy bedding. A thrilling dog sled ride through the forest and a rendezvous with local reindeer are also included. A flight back to Oslo for a final night’s accommodation completes the cruise tour.

Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth, the 15-night ‘Journey to the Northern Lights’ package is available from $8990 per person, twin-share, or from $10,490 for solo travellers, which represents a single supplement of just 17 per cent. Call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit which includes a video of Hurtigruten’s winter cruises in Norway.

Aqua Expeditions Mekong and Amazon hosted voyages for 2017

Aqua Expeditions, one of world's leading luxury river cruise companies, has announced two new hosted voyages for 2017 after the extraordinary success of the programs in 2016. Guests will have the exclusive chance of joining company Founder and CEO, Francesco Galli Zugaro, or Consulting Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, on Aria Amazon on the Peruvian Amazon and Aqua Mekong on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. Guests on these select departures will participate in special itineraries showcasing the creative innovations and entrepreneurial spirit that make the company's cruises memorable.


While exploring on his favourite excursions, Francesco Galli Zugaro will share his vision for creating this acclaimed cruise company. Guests can join Francesco on a biking adventure through the local streets along the Mekong or kayaking on the gentle flows of the Amazon to spot indigenous wildlife. Over cocktails, Francesco will discuss from conceptualisation and design to the construction and launch of each the magnificent cruise vessels.

Aqua Mekong: Four-night departure from 26-30 May 2017 or 25-29 August 2017

Aria Amazon: Four-night departure from 6-10 November 2017


Pedro Miguel Schiaffino—who is the Chef and Owner of Malabar and AmAz—two of Lima's cutting edge restaurants—invites gastronomes to explore the flavours of the Amazon with him. Guests will take cooking classes with Chef Schiaffino and travel together to the local markets to learn about locally grown and harvested ingredients that are essential to creating his signature dishes on-board, such as the Coconut Tapioca with Mango Sorbet and Causa with Shrimp Escabeche.

Aria Amazon: Four-night departure from 9-13 October 2017

Aria Amazon: Four-night departure from 20-24 November 2017

For more information and bookings on these departures, please visit or contact Aqua Expeditions Australia on 1300 124 204 or


Monday, 16 January 2017

Massive December rainfalls ensure spectacular Kimberley waterfalls

Silversea Expeditions invites guests to discover a unique opportunity to experience the ancient wonders and thundering waterfalls of the Kimberley aboard Silver Discoverer on 10 or 11-day voyages travelling between Darwin and Broome.  The Kimberley has experienced the wettest December on record, with Broome recording 410mm of rain in December (a 47% increase on the previous record in 1970), which is seven times greater than the normal rainfall of 58mm.

Kimberley Waterfalls in full force are an awe inspiring sight

For the duration of Silversea's Expedition cruises in the Kimberley in March and April 2017, the famous Kimberley coast waterfalls, including King George River & Falls and Talbot Bay (Horizontal Falls) will thunder more spectacularly than ever before.  The twin cascades of King George Falls are amongst Australia's highest, plunging over 80 metres. At Talbot Bay, the regions tides of close to 36-feet create an amazing spectacle. Depending on whether the tides are ebbing of flowing, guests can experience an exhilarating ride to the "Horizontal Falls".

Guests can expect to witness these extraordinary waterfalls, along with the rich history and wildlife of this region all aboard the elegant, warm and friendly Silversea vessel.

Amber Wilson, Managing Director Asia Pacific, says:

"The Kimberley voyages are an extraordinary experience that will amaze and delight. The contrast between lush flora and fauna, dramatic landscape and indigenous history is ideal for those seeking an unforgettable adventure. This season, with the tremendous December rainfall, will provide travellers with a once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience."

"The freshly refurbished Silver Discoverer is the epitome of casual elegance and sophistication, making it the perfect platform for exploring the untamed landscapes of the Kimberley.  With a team of 11 experts hand-picked for their expertise and passion for the region guiding travellers throughout the voyage, this truly is a unique adventure".

These voyages feature incredible itineraries which include 10 or 11-day sea explorations of rugged coast, imposing rock formations and deep gorges departing from Benoa (Bali), Broome and Darwin.  While in the Kimberley region, guests can: witness the spectacular tidal changes and semi-submerged world of Montgomery Reef; discover ancient and mysterious rock art; spot the White-bellied Sea Eagle, Osprey, Brahminy Kite or Peregrine Falcon; view King George's towering twin falls; and photograph the dramatic tiger-striped Bungle Bungle Range.

"Silversea prides itself on offering a luxurious cruising experience through all-suite-accommodations, butler service, complimentary spirits and fine wines, Wi-Fi and world-class cuisines" added Wilson.

Departure dates for Silversea Expeditions' Kimberley 2017 voyages include: 26 March; 6 April, 16 April; 26 April; 6 May; and 17 May.

Prices are per person starting from AU$11,750 based on double occupancy in an Explorer Suite for 6 April 2017 departure.  Book a second suite on the same voyage and receive 50% off the fare as part of the Silver Select offer.  Silversea Expeditions' fares include: all shore Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader, all-suite accommodation with butler service, gourmet meals, complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits, Wi-Fi for all guests and all gratuities.

These voyages are subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit

Friday, 13 January 2017

L'Austral's surprise visit to Bluff NZ - suffers 'an issue'

#expeditioncruising .

Passengers who were on board a troubled a French luxury liner are Doubtful Sound bound, after their cruise ship was forced to stop in Bluff.

One of luxury cruise company Ponant's yachts, L'Austral, is in port at Bluff after suffering "an issue" at sea, while on its way to the Sub Antarctic Islands.

But the vessel's misfortune has meant a bonus day for passengers, who will now experience the beautiful Doubtful Sound, thanks to a bit of Southland hospitality.

read full story

PONANT Kimberley expedition voyages for 2018

#expeditioncruising .

With four 2017 season voyages about to commence, Vice President Australasia PONANT, Monique Ponfoort, has released dates for the 2018 Kimberley season.

Amazing geology (Mick Fogg)

“The sales success of our inaugural 2017 season, about to get underway this July, has continued unabated, prompting us to schedule a further series of voyages in 2018” announced Monique.

Four 10 night voyages during July and August 2018 include the must-see highlights as well as some lesser known destinations and experiences the expedition team have uncovered along this remarkable 13,000 kilometre coastline.

Experience the unique combination of travelling onboard L’Austral, the youngest ship in the region, with the ‘best-in-the-business’ expedition team with over 50 years experience in the Kimberley.


“Not only is this a true luxury expedition, reflective of our position as the world leader in luxury expeditions, but PONANT guests travel on the most environmentally sustainable vessel in the Kimberley. With 20 years of expedition voyage experience our purpose built expedition ship brings the same high operational standards to the Kimberley that we operate in Antarctica – the only ship to do so - along with the highest level of environmental technology in the region,” continued Monique.

Revealing the geography and geology of this vast land is one aspect of the voyage but PONANT adds more, guest experiences with indigenous communities to share their stories of the dreamtime. Guests take part in traditional ceremonies such as “Welcome to country” and discover the ancient customs of Indigenous Australians - regarded as the oldest living culture on earth - maintaining their rituals on the land of their forefathers, with time to interact with these warm and friendly people, ensuring rewarding encounters and priceless memories.

Cuba, Colombia and Panama with Silversea

Delve into the unique elegance and culture of Cuba and the Caribbean on an 11-day voyage aboard Silver Explorer.

Departing Nassau, Bahamas, on 06 October 2017, Silver Explorer journeys to Havana, the capital city of Cuba.  Here guests can explore the colourful city with a guided tour, which showcases the extraordinary history and culture of this wonderful part of the world, travel in style in a vintage car to a cigar factory, and enjoy a traditional Cuban Tropicana Evening Show.  Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its narrow cobbled-stoned streets and spirited music scene, also awaits explorers as they experience the magic and enchanting atmosphere of Cuba.

At the next port of call Punta Frances, Isle of Youth, guests have the opportunity to dive into the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean with one of Silversea's marine biologists, to discover and learn about this breathtaking underwater world.  Continuing her journey to Cienfuegos, guests can immerse themselves in the vivacious capital, influential with the evolution of Cuban literature, music, politics, before sailing to Cartagena, Colombia to visit the old fortress quarters of Cartagena, yet another incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This voyage then visits San Blas Islands (Guna Yala), Panama, where guests can laze on the white-sandy beaches under overarching coconut trees, before disembarking in Colon, Panama on 17 October 2017.

Prices are per person, starting from AU$10,700* in an Adventurer Suite, based on double occupancy. Silversea Expeditions' fares include: all shore and Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader; all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship; an outstanding expedition team of expert guides and lecturers; complimentary WiFi and all gratuities.


Early Booking Bonus: Save 10% if you book and pay in full by 28 February 2017.

Click here for all Silversea Exclusive offers

*This voyage is subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact you travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit