Monday, 28 January 2008

BENTOURS CRUISING 2008/09 - the ultimate guide to the experiential cruise traveller

BENTOURS CRUISING 2008/09 - the ultimate guide to the experiential cruise traveller

Bentours new cruise programme features the Norwegian Coastal Voyage – Hurtigruten, historical Gota Canal in Sweden, expedition like cruising to Greenland, Spitsbergen and the North Pole, river cruising to Europe, Russia and China as well as a its most comprehensive cruise programme ever to Antarctica. The programme targets a cruise traveller looking for a cruise experience exploring the wildlife, nature of the destination as well as interaction with diverse cultures.

“Bentours cruise product suits a traveller who is interested in experiencing the cruise destination outside the ship in an active way”, says Greg Arnott, General Director for Bentours. ”Our customer is a curious and active person who wants to learn about the destinations we take them to and wants to form an intimate understanding for the destination”.

“Our iconic over 100 years old Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Hurtigruten is Bentours flagship product we started promoting and selling it in 1979”, says Arnott. The scenic 11- day cruise Bergen back to Bergen, visits 34 ports all year around – all departures guaranteed. A spectacular scene under the Midnight Sun in the summer and under the Nordic Lights in the winter, makes this unique voyage once in a life time experience. “Grand Nordic” tour including the Norwegian Coastal Voyage visiting all Nordic Capitals is one of the most popular ways to tour around Scandinavia. Tour operates daily, all year and has 16, 19 or 22 day options, starting from $4670 per person, twin share, ex-Helsinki, Stockholm or Copenhagen.

Bentours announced earlier a record year in Gota Canal bookings in 2007. The Gota Canal Steamship Company sails its three vintage ships along the 190km route between Gothenburg and Stockholm and is one of Sweden’s outstanding attractions. Cruising 4 days along the Swedish countryside ex Stockholm or ex Gothenburg starts $1760 per person* in double cabin (Category C) all meals included. “Swedish countryside” 5-day tour ex-Stockholm, partly escorted starting from $780 per person in double cabin (Category C).

High Arctic cruise product explores Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago as well as all the way up to the North Pole. “North Pole” 16- or 17- day tour ex-Helsinki and travels to Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula in Russia where travellers board the massive Russian icebreaker Yamal, the only icebreaker currently taking travellers to the North Pole. Various historians, marine biologists and ornithologist are on board giving lectures of this environmentally and strategically important region. Cruise includes daytrips by helicopter and zodiacs (weather permitting) exploring one of the last outpost of the world. Cruise starting from $22263 per person, twin share. A visa is required fro Russia. “Spitsbergen Adventure” 6- day cruise exploring the Svalbard archipelago and its unique and rich wildlife and vegetation, starting from $2750 per person, twin share ex Longyearbyen.



“After a promising first year cruising in Greenland we have slightly modified itineraries with MS Fram, Hurtigruten’s purpose built ship for expedition cruising.” says Greg Arnott.” Most of our cruises explore South and East Greenland including Disco Bay further north.”

Bentours 9, 12 and 16 day cruise tours depart from Copenhagen and explore this largest island in the world with pristine wilderness and unique wildlife as well as the indigenous Inuit culture. Tours include various optional excursions such as whale watching, hiking, helicopter and boat trips, visits to Inuit settlements and museums including “Eric the Reds Longhouse” in Quassiarsuk (population 56). “East/South Greenland Cruise” 12-day, starting from $ 6949 per person, twin share and 9-day ”Disco Bay Cruise” starting from $ 4530 per person, twin share.

“For expedition like cruising to Antarctica we are introducing the most comprehensive and extended Antarctica programme to date. We have added active components such as kayaking, skiing and camping in our program as well as expeditions visiting parts of Antarctica that we have never visited before.” says Greg Arnott. Early Bird discounts $430 per person are available for all departures when booked and deposited by 30 April 2008.

“Land of ice and land of fire” 19-day cruise programme with expert lectures on board ex Buenos Aires or ex Santiago starting from $ 8200 per person, twin share includes twice daily landings in Antarctica (weather permitting), visits to Deception Island, Whalers Bay and one of the most beautiful passages Lamaire Channel to view humpback whales and fin whales as well as various spices of penguins. “Shackleton’s Antarctica” 12-day cruise programme ex Buenos Aries, starting from $8770 per person, twin share also includes visiting South Georgia and the Falkland Islands as well as Antarctica.

“We also have an extended geographical reach, now travelling to the other side of the Antarctica” says Arnott. “Emperor Penguins” 14 day ex Ushuaia expedition travels all the way to Snow Hill Island to observe Emperors early in their breeding season. This cruise is ideal for nature lovers and photographers starting from $18840 per person, twin share.

“Great Antarctic Explorers” ex Christchurch is lead by special guest Adrian Raeside, grandson of a member of Scott’s dramatic expedition to South Pole. Adrian will share his grandfather’s journals and pictures while investigating the region and visiting huts used by the explorers. This 26-day cruise starting from $29120 per person, twin share visits Campbell and Enderby Islands, Drygalski Ice Tongue and McMurdo Station which was the base for Scott and Shackleton. Cruise stops also in Macquarie Island which is the home of Royal Penguins before arriving to Hobart.

Bentours extensions to South America now include Peru, Galapagos Island, IguaƧu Falls, Brazil, Eater Island, Atacama Dessert, Patagonia and Bolivia as well as city breaks to Lima, Rio, Quito, Santiago, Buenos Aires, La Paz and Tahiti.

Bentours River Cruise product includes well known European river cruises as well as river cruising to Russia, Ukranie and China. “Footsteps of the Cossacks” 12-day cruise ex Odessa or Kiev starting from $ 2522 per person, twin share and “Silkroad Adventure” 12-day journey from Shanghai to along Yangtze River to Beijing starting from $ 5256 per person, twin share (C class cabin)

For further information contact Bentours, phone 02 9247 3381, or 1800 221 712 email scandinavia@bentours.com.au or visit www.bentours.com.au

Bentours is cruise specialist and wholesaler specializing in travel product to Scandinavia, the Nordic region, Russia, The Baltics and Antarctica. MyPlanet Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Bentours (wholesale) and MyPlanet Australia (retail), is the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Hurtigruten Group, Icelandair and Gota Canal in Australia and New Zealand.