Sunday, 25 February 2018

Fact Check: Ponant's Hybrid Propulsion Systems

#expeditioncruising .

With so many new and hi-tech expedition vessels coming online in the next few years, there is naturally a lot of hype around each one.

Revolutionary propulsion systems, radical hull designs and ultra clean and green energy and waste systems are all touted as the next greatest innovation since sliced bread.

So let’s fact check a few of these claims and the one catching my attention right now is the first passenger-specific icebreaker ever ordered, the 150m 30,000GT Ponant icebreaker. The hull is being built right now at Vard Tulcea in Romania.

Hybrid Propulsion

Click to enlarge. (source: Ponant)

We all know of the hybrid cars now driving around from manufacturers like Lexus and Toyota. These cars use a combination of conventional petrol engine drive and switchable Lithium Ion electric drive either alone or in combination. Petrol engines can be smaller and more economical because they are supplemented by electric power from batteries charged using surplus kinetic energy like when the car is coasting or under brakes.

The principle used aboard hybrid ships is not a great deal different. There are generators, huge battery banks, electrically-driven propellers, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tanks and conventional diesel engines as well.

Norwegian line, Hurtigruten, will beat Ponant to the punch by launching the first-ever hybrid powered cruise ships. But while these will be regular Polar Class (PC) 6 vessels, Ponant’s icebreaker will be to PC2, PC1 being the strongest.

Different ship designs use hybrid technology in slightly different ways, but for the sake of this example, the propulsion on Ponant is purely electric with propellers like massive underwater fans attached to Azimuth Pods (or ‘Azipods’) which contain the huge electric motors and can swivel around through 360 degrees. Other expedition ships like Scenic's much-vaunted Eclipse (also PC6) will also use Azipods, but not with a hybrid propulsions systems.
ABB Azipod like this rotates through 360 degrees and
contains the electric motor for driving the fixed-pitch propellers.

The diesel engines inside the hull are necessary to drive the generators to create the electric power for the propellers, and much like a dual-fuel car which can drive by either conventional gasoline or Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), these massive diesel engines can run on either light marine diesel (MDO) or LNG.

For the technically minded, these powerplants are of the Wärtsilä 31 DF type, recognised by
Guinness World Records as the world's most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine. It is not
disclosed yet which configuration is used in Ponant, as the twin-turbocharged W31 can be
ordered in anything from 8 to 20 cylinder. V8 configuration pictured. (source)

So, is this hybrid propulsion all the Ponant spin doctors make it out to be? Quite possibly. It will depend on which is the primary fuel source (MDO or LNG) and for what duration either fuel is used. Either way, it is an enormous technological leap from the massive former-Soviet nuclear-powered icebreakers Yamal and 50 Years of Victory currently taking guests to the North Pole.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Cruise the Arctic’s legendary Northwest Passage with Adventure Canada

#expeditioncruising .

Special offer — two free nights’ accommodation – Book by June 1, 2018

And supplement-free offer for solos.

Travel agents and consumers invited to free information sessions in March

One of the world’s most famous sea routes—the legendary Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic—can be explored on a just-released, 17-day expedition voyage in 2019 offered by eco-cruise company Adventure Canada.

To mark the release of the cruise, which features icebergs, polar bears, walruses, fjords, Inuit communities, and artefacts of former explorers, Australia’s Cruise Traveller is offering a free night’s accommodation both before and after the voyage, available until sold out.

The Northwest Passage route is one of many remote region cruises offered by Adventure Canada, which is running its biggest-ever promotional tour to Australia next month to meet growing demand for authentic wilderness experiences in the Canadian Arctic and beyond. Adventure Canada Expedition Leader and Business Development Director Matthew James (MJ) Swan—son of the company’s founder, Matthew Swan—will meet hundreds of travel agents and consumers in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia from March 5–16, 2018. (Media note - Details of the seven seminars around Australia further below.)

The Northwest Passage is a historic route through Arctic waterways, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Many 19th century European explorers tried to traverse the passage as a possible trade route to Asia, often with journeys ending in disaster. Today, the Northwest Passage is accessible by ice-strengthened expedition ships—but the icy waters still retain their mystic charm.

Departing August 17, 2019, Adventure Canada’s cruise on the 198-passenger Ocean Endeavour will begin in Greenland, with its quaint villages, dramatic fjords, and glaciers, before crossing the Davis Strait to the iceberg-filled waters of Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost territory. The voyage will follow the Northwest Passage from Baffin Island to as far as Kugluktuk near Coronation Gulf, with reindeer, polar bears, walrus, and muskoxen part of the scenery. An onboard archaeologist will perform onsite interpretations at ancient sites of the Thule and Dorset people, and there will be opportunities to experience the local Inuit culture first-hand.

Cruise Traveller is offering Australians an extra two nights’ hotel stay for free - one night in Toronto before the cruise and one night in Calgary afterwards. The cruise costs from US$14,855 per person, twin-share, including charter flights to and from the ship. Normally US$16,190, save US$1335 per person when you book by June 1, 2018.

And for a limited time, and subject to availability at time of booking, singles pay no single supplement on selected categories. (Singles from US$16,190 category 3). Flights from Australia are additional.

Call 1800 507 777 or visit .

Since its birth as a family-owned expedition cruise line in 1987, Adventure Canada has operated cruises to the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Labrador, and Newfoundland, with Iceland, Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and the remote corners of Ireland being added in 2018–19.

Free Information Sessions in Australia:

Consumers, travel agents—and their clients—in Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast are invited to attend one of seven information sessions with MJ Swan, Adventure Canada Expedition Leader and Business Development Director.

*Sydney CBD: Tuesday, March 13 – 2pm and 6pm
*Brisbane CBD: Monday March 5 – 10am, 2pm and 6pm
*Gold Coast (Main Beach): Tuesday March 6 – 10am and 2pm

To register for the sessions, which will be hosted by Adventure Canada’s Australian representatives, Cruise Traveller, visit or email

Coral Expeditions Kimberley and Arnhem Land

#expeditioncruising .

Coral Expeditions, Australia's pioneering cruise line, has released a new brochure for their 2019 Kimberley and Cape York & Arnhem Land sailings with the inclusion of their latest fleet addition, the Coral Adventurer.

click to view online
The new look brochure, with fresh photography and layout, introduces the company's Expedition Leaders and Guest Lecturers and includes detailed descriptions of Coral Expedition's inimitable 'Expedition Experience'. Local interaction and cultural exchange are the anchors of Coral Expedition's itineraries and one of the great benefits of small ship cruising.

This will be the first time the company's newbuild and fourth vessel, the Coral Adventurer, will cruise the remote and ancient areas of Northern Australia, showcasing its expedition capabilities and bringing guests to some of the most pristine regions of the country inaccessible to larger vessels. Raising the bar for coastal expedition cruising, the state-of-the-art small ship, holding 120 passengers, is backed by over 35 years of knowledge and passion for expedition cruising and is built with the latest shipbuilding technology.

The 2019 Kimberley season will mark 23 years of expedition cruising in this region, having pioneered the Kimberley region since 1996. For the past 10 years, Coral Expeditions have operated two ships for an extended six-month season in the Kimberley, taking over 25,000 guests through the region. As Australian flagged ships, Coral Expeditions has a unique advantage in that their ships can operate within the Kimberley without any restrictions and know this region better than most.

Leading daily expeditions on their unique Xplorer tender and Zodiac vessels, guests are guided through these untamed regions by known experts that includes specialised guest lecturers with deep knowledge and expertise of geology, history and ecology. The expedition team is supported by highly-skilled staff who offer a superb service and great onboard atmosphere. This combination of marine expertise and interpretive content make Coral Expeditions the pre-eminent operator in both regions.

10-night Kimberley sailing highlights:
  • Witness the tidal phenomenon of the Horizontal Waterfalls
  • Marvel at the 80m high King George Falls
  • Sacred Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art
  • The Montgomery Reef's falling tides
  • Possible wildlife sightings featuring humpback whales, green and sea turtles, crocodiles and rock wallabies
  • Optional scenic helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls
The Cape York & Arnhem Land itineraries incorporate Coral Expeditions signature Great Barrier Reef experiences, established over 35 years ago.

11-night Cape York & Arnhem Land sailing highlights:
  • Bathurst Island and the vibrant culture of the Tiwi people
  • The Coburg Peninsula and its vast diversity of wildlife
  • Elcho Island and Maningrida art centres
  • Cape York for a champagne sunrise
  • Snorkelling the Great Barrier's Reef pristine sites
  • Thursday Island and the Torres Strait Islands
Remaining true to their small ship expedition origins, Coral Expeditions will continue to offer the choice between the classic Coral Expeditions 1, holding just 44 passengers, and the recently refurbished Coral Discoverer which caters for 72 passengers, in addition to the custom-built Coral Adventurer. The three expedition ships have been specifically built with Australian coastal cruising in mind and are ideal to safely navigate the mighty rivers and scenic inlets of the Kimberley and Arnhem Land.

The 10 and 11-night itineraries depart between March to October 2019. Cape York sailings depart from Cairns on 17 March and 14 April 2019 and from Darwin on 4 & 18 October 2019. The Kimberley itineraries run between Darwin and Broome (v.v) on regular sailings from 29 March until 7 October. Prices start from $8,690 per person.

For more information on this itinerary and to see the new brochure please visit:

To book or for more information, call 1800 079 545 or visit

Monday, 19 February 2018

SeaDream Yacht Club in the Mediterranean

Make the Med's famous and tucked away your SseaDream

SEADREAM Yacht Club still has space on a sailing in May of this year that embraces a near-dozen ports both famous and quietly tucked away in the Mediterranean.

They include Motril that's the stepping-off point to the ancient Moorish city of Granada in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, three of Spain's famed Balearic Islands, and legendary Saint-Tropez, Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera.

Sailing on May 2 of this year from Malaga that's on Spain's southern Costa del Sol, and one of the oldest cities in the world, the mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II that carries just 112 guests in 5-star luxury, will have eight days in ports famed for their white and gold beaches, ancient walled cities with their narrow streets and laneways,

And the chance to try out the local regional seafoods, pastries and wines and cheeses at restaurants and cafés in ports visited.

There will also be a full day at sea to indulge SeaDream's own renowned dining and services poolside, at the Top of the Yacht Bar or in a quiet corner by yourselves.

Prices for this unique sailing that's for an extended ten days rather than a week, start from US$6609pp twin share, including award-winning cuisine, premium drinks both with meals and at the no-charge bars, power and sail water-sports, use of the golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and even staff and crew gratuities.

For full details see travel agents or visit

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Contours Travel’s Patagonia & Antarctica summer 2018/19 tour

#expeditioncruising .

Contours Travel – the longest-running Latin American tour operator in Australia – has launched its first, hosted cruise tour to Patagonia and Antarctica, with two departures slated for next summer.

Read the full story here:

Saturday, 10 February 2018

New expedition cruise ship designs from Damen

#expeditioncruising .

The cruise vessel is at home in polar regions or tropical waters. It has a highly fuel efficient diesel mechanical hybrid propulsion system and is 'battery ready' should an owner wish to incorporate a battery system for functions like peak shaving, supplementary power for manoeuvring or silent sailing.

The vessel would be built to comply with Polar Class 6 and have 30 days of autonomous cruising capability.

First unveiled in late 2016, the design was created in partnership with Expedition Voyage Consultants, which brings years of expedition operations expertise (one high-profile project was Crystal Cruises' inaugural Northwest Passage sailing in 2016) and the seasoned naval architecture firm Knud E. Hansen, whose designs have gone into the building of more than 700 ships.

The concept is for a roomy, 112-passenger vessel in the high-end, luxury segment. However, spaces could be optimized to increase the capacity to 140 passengers.

Read more:

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Silversea Photo Academy for Antarctica


Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has introduced its new My Photo Academy on sailings to Antarctica aboard Silver Cloud, utilising the ship's new Photo Studio as a hub for the multifaceted enrichment program.

With a mesmerising landscape and amazing wildlife as the backdrop, guests will have the chance to elevate their photographic prowess by learning how to take and edit pictures like a professional whilst sailing on itineraries designed to maximise expedition time and provide opportunities for shooting great images.

"Our new photography program is a perfect fit for the immersive expeditions we offer in Antarctica," said Conrad Combrink, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development Expeditions and Experiences. "Voyaging to the bottom of the Earth is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, full of magical moments which we will help our guests to capture in beautiful images they will be proud to display in their home or office."

With both private and group lessons, guests can learn to master the art of digital photography through the Academy, which provides an array of specialty workshops for both beginners and professionals. Among the topics covered is an introduction to photography, social media, and the use of Adobe® Lightroom® and Photoshop® software tools to edit images to get just the right look.


Unique to Silver Cloud, the Photo Studio -- designed and implemented in collaboration with Galardi Media Network, a Swiss company specialising in new technologies and multimedia -- is a vibrant space of creativity featuring state-of-the-art equipment for both MAC and PC users, including high-quality printers available for use on a fee basis for guests wishing to create postcards or take home frame-ready pictures, including panorama- and A2-size prints. A user-friendly, touch-screen interface makes it easy for guests to print their own photos.

With the guidance of a professional photo manager, guests can learn and practice their photo-editing skills on such high-grade professional equipment as:

-       Six HP Envy 27-inch, all-in-one desktop computers
-       Six iMac 27-inch, all-in-one desktop computers
-       Four Loupedeck photo-editing consoles for Adobe Lightroom
-       Two DNP dye sublimation photo printers
-       Two Epson inkjet plotters
-       Custom workshop management software
-       Three Samsung 55-inch screens with 4K picture quality
-       One Samsung 65-inch screen with 4K picture quality

Additionally, guests can schedule a 20-minute, one-on-one appointment with a photo-editing expert to receive guidance on a host of topics, including:

-       Smart gear recommendations
-       Instruction on proper camera use
-       Camera menu options
-       Help with social media and posting: Facebook and Instagram

The intimate Silver Cloud accommodates just 200 guests in polar waters. A fleet of 16 Zodiacs provides unprecedented opportunities for up-close exploration, while 10 kayaks offer a truly personalised experience of nature in the polar realms. Twenty or more passionate and dedicated Expedition Team members are always at hand to share their considerable knowledge and insights. They give lectures in the multi-tiered Explorer Lounge, run workshops, lead Zodiac and kayak trips, and guide nature walks -- all of which is complimentary. Expedition voyages to Antarctica are offered from November through February.

For further details on Antarctica itineraries, please visit