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Friday, 27 June 2008

Orion's Antarctic Expedition: A Christmas toast to Douglas Mawson

Imagine spending the days leading up to Christmas, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day, onboard the purpose-built expedition cruise ship Orion, being part of an Antarctic expedition of a lifetime. A Christmas toast to Australia's greatest Antarctic explorer, Douglas Mawson.

This amazing voyage will take intrepid modern-day adventurers from New Zealand (Bluff) through the Great Southern Ocean, crossing the Antarctic Circle before heading for Cape Denison and a memorable visit to Douglas Mawson's historic huts built for his 1911-1914 'Australian Antarctic Expedition'.

These timber buildings are rare in a world context, being one of just six complexes surviving from the 'Heroic Era' of Antarctic exploration: a period of great human adventure, exploration, research and discovery on the last continent to be explored.

Regarded as the windiest place on earth, regularly whipped by ferocious katabatic winds, it is a wonder that there are any remnants of buildings left at all. Yet, remarkably, in addition to the historic buildings, there are plentiful examples of clothing, food, crates, sleds, ropes and kerosene tins remaining, literally frozen in time.

Mawson’s Huts are located at Cape Denison, 67° 0’ south, further south than the position of the south magnetic pole. Magnetic compasses are useless in these waters, an area that remains mainly unsurveyed.

At over twice the length and 10 times the weight of Aurora, Douglas Mawson's wooden ex-whaling barquentine, Orion (with the benefits of oversized stabilisers, retractable sonar and ice strengthened hull) provides her 100 guests with the needs of today's adventurers: technology, safety and creature comforts that include fine food and wines, a gym, boutique, hairdressing, sauna and massage facilities - as well as 75 staff and specialist expedition crew to look after every need.

Orion's 10 Zodiacs, the perfect expedition transport, will be put to good use for landings ashore in both Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Snares, Auckland and Macquarie Island, breeding ground for countless wildlife.

On Macquarie the King penguin colony alone has some 3,000 birds. So rare are visitors here that they are usually ignored by birds, seals and penguins alike as they go about their daily business. See Elephant seals, some weighing as much as three tonnes - more than a car - and the massed gathering of Royal penguins coming and going from the sea.

This 16 night expedition concludes in Hobart, Tasmania, 27th December, 2008.

A never to be forgotten Christmas expedition to one of the most pristine and wondrous places on earth.


Orion’s Antarctic Continent – Commonwealth Bay 2008

16 night expedition: Bluff / Antarctica / Hobart

Expedition departs 11th December 2008 (ex Bluff, Invercargill, NZ). Bluff/ Snares Islands/ Auckland Islands/ Macquarie Island/ Commonwealth Bay region/ Hobart

NOTE: Please note that all Antarctic voyages are subject to possible variation according to prevailing weather conditions and as such are opportunistic in nature. On occasion intended destinations will need to be changed for safety or other reason.

Fares from $15,790 per person for an Ocean View category B Stateroom

Suites from $21,775 per person for a Junior Suite

Orion’s spacious Owners’ Suites are $33,055 per person

Remote Papua New Guinea with Aurora Expeditions



Aurora Expeditions offers travellers the chance to experience the rich cultural heritage and unspoilt nature of Papua New Guinea with two new adventure cruises in 2009. Aurora has added some exciting new stops to its itineraries, exploring some of the least visited regions of this fascinating country.

These two distinct 11-day voyages go in search of the unexpected. In 2009 Aurora will be the only cruise vessel to visit the remote Admiralty Islands, the stunning Kamiali wildlife reserve and the isolated splendour of Tingwon and Woodlark Islands. On board the 100-passenger expedition ship Marina Svetaeva, spacious viewing decks and a fleet of Zodiacs make her an excellent vessel for an in-depth exploration of PNG’s hidden bays and striking coral reefs. On board, guests have the added options of kayaking and scuba diving in PNG’s azure waters or taking exhilarating helicopter rides to explore inland.

As with all Aurora cruises, emphasis is placed on a combination of interactive experiences with the environment and a strong educational element. Assisted by a team of expert lecturers, these expeditions aim to provide authentic experiences with the people of PNG and give a genuine insight into a traditional lifestyle that has changed little in centuries.

Voyage 1 – Alotau to Rabaul (Lost in Paradise)

Departs – 10th April 2009 (11 days)

‘Lost is Paradise’ is a broad exploration of the eastern New Guinea coastline and islands of the Bismarck Archipelago including Admiralty and New Hanover Islands. From walking in the vast tropical jungle to cruising along the tropical fjords of Tufi, this voyage will take in a staggering variety of pristine environments.

Voyage 2 – Rabaul to Alotau (Islands of Smiles)

Departs – 20th April 2009 (11 days)

‘Islands of Smiles’ begins with an in-depth look at the southern coast of New Britain where you will experience expedition cruising at its best as we go in search of adventure. We then explore the tranquil isles of Milne Bay province, a group of dramatic volcanoes and coral atolls where ancient traditions flourish.

Prices are from AU$5,290 per person quad-share, including all meals on board and Zodiac excursions.

For more details or to obtain a copy of the new Papua New Guinea 2009 brochure, contact Aurora Expeditions on 1800 637 688, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or email auroraex@auroraexpeditions.com.au

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Aurora Expeditions is an Australian adventure company specialising in small group expedition-style travel to polar regions and other wild and remote places. A world leader in polar cruising, Aurora offers their travellers the chance to have an intimate experience in these regions with their flexible, innovative itineraries. On some voyages, mountain climbing, sea kayaking, photography and scuba diving options are available and Aurora’s expert naturalists, historians, staff and crew help to unlock the wonders of these special places. Deeply committed to education and preservation of the environment, Aurora's owners, Greg Mortimer and Margaret Werner are veterans of almost three decades of Antarctic research, private Antarctic mountaineering expeditions and polar travel.

For more information visit ~ www.auroraexpeditions.com.au

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Cruise West adds to its Columbia River cruises

Enjoy the wonders of the Pacific Northwest from US$2,199 per person, twin share

To keep up with growing demand, Travel the World and Cruise West have announced 20 additional departures for its Columbia River cruises in 2009. Cruise West was the first cruise line to operate cruises on the Columbia River in 1992 onboard the Spirit of Discovery and has been sailing there ever since.

"Cruise West's rich 16-year history of Columbia and Snake River cruises demonstrates our commitment to the area," said Dick West, Chairman and Managing Director. "This year's new epicurean-focused itinerary, Taste of the Pacific Northwest, has been extremely well-received. Like its popular Columbia & Snake River fellow cruises, it offers a robust enrichment program, creating memorable experiences for our guests in an up-close, casual and personal environment."

The extended 2009 season will not only offer additional departures but four fantastic ships. Guests will have a choice of ten departures in spring and autumn on the Taste of the Pacific Northwest itinerary taking place onboard the 84-guest Spirit of Discovery. The Taste of the Pacific Northwest journey is a culinary cruise that basks the rich history and delicious flavors unique to the region. Guests will cruise down the mighty Columbia River through Washington's Wine Country round trip from Portland, Oregon. Prices start at US$3,299 per person twin share.

The Voyages of Discovery itinerary is offered onboard the 96-guest Spirit of '98, the 78-guest Spirit of Columbia and 78-guest Spirit of Alaska. Travelling round trip from Portland, guests will watch the Pacific Northwest's pioneering history brought to life with a special series of excursions, guest speakers and presentations by the on-board Exploration Leader. With 25 seven-night departures from April until October, prices start from US$2,199 per person based on double occupancy.

Travel the World can assist with bookings for Cruise West, and also put together combined air and tour packages. Contact Travel the World on 1300 766 566 or visit the website www.traveltheworld.com.au for more details.


About Cruise West


Cruise West – a second-generation, family-owned business based in Seattle – offers the opportunity to explore remote, worldwide locales by providing distinctive, one-of-a-kind, personalized itineraries not offered by the traditional larger cruise lines. Cruise West's smaller ships – ten in all – hold between 70-138 people each, and the casual style onboard encourages relaxation and congenial interaction between guests and crew alike. The experience is personally enriching through expert Exploration Leaders providing onboard narrative and lectures, special local guests from a wide variety of backgrounds, and the library provided on each vessel. All have forward lounges and ample outdoor deck space for viewing and photographing wildlife and scenery. All vessels are also equipped with inflatable landing boats for close-up exploration of remote areas and shore landings.

Destinations served include: Alaska and the Bering Sea, British Columbia, Columbia & Snake Rivers, California Wine Country, Mexico's Sea of Cortés, Costa Rica & Panama, The U.S. eastern seaboard, the Caribbean, Japan, the South Pacific, the Kuril Islands, and the Great Lakes


North Star Cruises and Expeditions



North Star Cruises Australia is the Kimberley region's longest established cruise operator and winner of national awards. The company now offers a suite of itineraries especially designed for the most discerning adventurer. For more information on North Star's full range of itineraries check out the website: www.northstarcruises.com.au


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Windstar Cruises named 'World's Most Romantic'


Enjoy unsurpassed romance and luxury, starting at $1991 per person, twin share

Travel the World is pleased to announce that Windstar Cruises has been named 'Most Romantic Cruise Line' by Porthole Cruise Magazine. With a three-ship fleet of luxury motor yachts, Windstar transports guests to the legend and romance of some of the most sought after settings in the world, including the Greek Isles, the Caribbean and South America.

A favourite of honeymooners and couples worldwide, Windstar offers guests the kind of true peace, solitude and relaxation that only days away at sea can bring. Its intimate size and personal service make guests feel as if they're on their own private yacht. Windstar's popular 'Romance Under Sail' option is an unforgettable way to celebrate a special occasion – whether it's romantic picnics on the beach, rejuvenating spa treatments or private shore excursions for two.

"It is our honour that guests choose to celebrate their special occasions with us," said Diane Moore, President, Windstar Cruises. "Our relaxed attitude, picturesque destinations and pampering service help ensure that the romance of Windstar Cruises endures."

Being named the 'World's Most Romantic Cruise Line' is just the latest in a series of accolades for Windstar. The cruise line earned top honors in Travel + Leisure's World's 2007 Best Awards and was voted among 'The World's Best Small Ships' by Condé Nast Traveler readers in 2007. Windstar was also recognised as the best small-ship cruise vacation by readers of Celebrated Living and named 'Best Tall Ship' by Porthole Cruise Magazine in their 9th Annual Readers' Choice Awards.

Experience Windstar's award-winning product on one of its spectacular voyages aboard msy Wind Spirit, msy Wind Star and msy Wind Surf. Travel the World have fantastic last minute 2008 Europe Specials offering a variety of 7-night cruises to Monte Carlo, Rome, Barcelona, Venice, Dubrovnik, Athens and Istanbul, with savings of up to $2,389 off the brochure price. Prices start at $1991 per person twin share (taxes and fuel supplements are additional). Departures on select itineraries are available from 20 July 2008 until 31 August 2008.

Those looking to spend a little longer on their Windstar voyage can enjoy a fabulous selection of 14-night cruises onboard msy Wind Surf. With departures from 13 July 2008 to 24 August 2008, these cruises depart and sail to such romantic destinations as Rome, Monte Carlo, Venice and Barcelona. Prices start from $2,688 per person twin share (taxes and fuel supplements are additional). Guests can save up to $7,498 off the brochure price with these special fares.

Travel the World can assist you with international flights, pre- and post-cruise accommodation, transfers and other travel arrangements. For further information or to make a booking with Windstar, contact Travel the World on 1300 766 566 or visit www.traveltheworld.com.au.


Orion Kimberley Voyages Declared One of Australia's Best Travel Experiences



Orion declared one of Australia's best travel experiences in Travelling In Australia Magazine

In the recently announced Travelling In Australia 20 Best Experiences Awards, Orion Expedition Cruises' Kimberley voyages have been nominated winner of the Cruise/Sailing Experience category.

TIAM set about finding the best of the best with a panel of hard-core Austraholics (international Premier Aussie Specialists) determining the winners.

One of the international judges, Sunnie Rossi, President of Aussie Experts, FCm Bannockburn Travel Solutions, USA, summed up her nomination of Orion by saying "Discerning travellers don't want to just see a destination, they want to experience it and feel it. Orion allows passengers to explore the Northern Territory's rugged coastline and see some ancient Aboriginal rock art. They can jump in a Zodiac and touch a cascading waterfall, or relax in the ship's jacuzzi sipping fine wine in five-star luxury."

The full list of Travelling In Australia 20 Best Experiences Awards Nominees is available by visiting www.travellinginaustralia.com.au/survey

Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities.

With 75 crew and a maximum of just 106 passengers Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Further information on all Orion Expedition Cruises to the Kimberley and Arnhem Land can be obtained by visiting the website www.orioncruises.com.au

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent. Email: info@orioncruises.com.au

Friday, 13 June 2008

SILVERSEA CRUISES' NEW EXPEDITION SHIP, PRINCE ALBERT II, SAILS UNDER TOWER BRIDGE TO START INAUGURAL VOYAGE FROM LONDON


A new era in expedition cruising began on 11 June, when Silversea Cruises' eagerly anticipated Prince Albert II sailed under London's landmark Tower Bridge to welcome her first guests aboard.

In a display of the importance of this special event, all officers and crew stood on the bow of the vessel as she glided through the opened bridge at 9:30 a.m. (local time) with crowds of onlookers cheering and welcoming them to the English capital. The ship sailed directly from the naming ceremony held in the port of Monte Carlo last week, which was presided over by her namesake, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Along with many onlookers and well-wishers, Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre and President and CEO Amerigo Perasso were both present on the pier to see the company's latest innovative venture take up her challenge to be the world's first ultra-luxury expedition ship.

"It is indeed a wonderful sight to see this morning, our Prince Albert II sailing under Tower Bridge, with all the crew proudly escorting her into London to welcome their first guests," said Lefebvre. "It is our aim that this ship will not only offer guests the highest level of comfort and service, but also enlighten them to the rarity and beauty of the most remote places on earth."

Added Perasso, "In keeping with the environmental work of our ship's namesake, we are delighted to announce that Silversea has signed an agreement to support the Prince Albert II Foundation, whose aim is to highlight and take tangible action to protect and preserve the most vulnerable inhabitants and landscapes on Earth."

Fresh from a multimillion dollar renovation, the Lloyd's Register 1A ice-rated Prince Albert II weighs just 6,072 gross tons and will accommodate a maximum of 132 guests with a 1:1.2 crew-to-guest ratio, compared to the mass-market ships weighing in at over 150,000 gross tons with up to 5,000 passengers and a crew-to-passenger ratio of 1:3. Despite her small size, the Prince Albert II boasts the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship. All 66 ocean-view accommodations feature luxurious living space and private marble bathrooms with bathtubs. Select suites offer double private French balconies or large private verandas, and additional elite amenities including butler service.

Silversea is a provisional member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), dedicated to managing respectable, environmentally friendly and safe expedition cruising in the Arctic. The company has also joined the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). This important organisation promotes and practices safe and environmentally responsible travel to Antarctica. In addition, Silversea plans to voluntarily adopt and apply similar operating procedures in all other destinations where the Prince Albert II will operate.

The Prince Albert II welcomes her first guests on Thursday, June 12, as she sets sail from London at 5:00 p.m. to embark upon an Inaugural Season of voyages of 10 to 22 days focusing on polar adventures. Sailing first to the Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland for the Northern summer, the ship will then reposition to South America and Antarctica for autumn and winter voyages.

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For more information please contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.com

Silversea Cruises is recognised as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II in 2008, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents. Silversea has for the past four consecutive years been named Best Cruise Line by readers of Australia's Luxury Travel and Style magazine. For nine consecutive years, Silversea has been named "Number One Small Ship Line" in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the USA and in 2007 was the only cruise line named in the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller's "Top 100 Luxury Travel Experiences" at the same time topping the Small Cruise Line award for the eighth time. Silversea has been selected as "World's Best Small Ship Line" in the US Travel + Leisure readers' poll for the past eight years.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Fiji Deal extended


Captain Cook Cruises has extended it 'partners can cruise at half price' deal for all Fijian cruise bookings until June 30th. The deal is still valid for travel until March 31st 2009.

Passengers will discover the pristine beaches, turquoise waters and remote villages of the 'real' Fiji on these Yasawa Island cruises.

Offering a truly cultural experience, guests will visit unspoilt Fijian villages and handicraft markets, experience a traditional village sevusevu ceremony and Meke and Lovo feast, tour a village school, visit a village church and even experience the beautiful sounds of the children's choir singing.

As well as being immersed in Fijian culture there is plenty of time for relaxation and appreciating the beautiful marine life. Snorkell over amazing coral reefs, laze on warm white sandy beaches, bask in crystal clear waters or dive in spectacular blue lagoons. Passengers can even take a glass bottom boat ride to witness the abundance of marine life that thrives on Fiji's coral reefs.

The three-night Southern Yasawa Cruise departs Denarau on Saturday afternoons at 2.00pm and guests will discover the beauty of the Southern Yasawa Island group including the islands of Waya, Naviti and Viwa and the friendly warmth of its people. Prices start at $1175 twin share for the first person and from $588 twin share for the second person.

The four-night Northern Yasawa Cruise departs Denarau on Tuesday afternoons at 2.00pm. Guests will visit the private island of Tivua and cruise the spectacular passage from Yaqeta Island to the Yasawas northern reaches. Prices start at $1567 twin share for the first person and from $784 twin share for the second person.

The seven-night Yasawa Islands Cruise combines the three and the four night cruises for the ultimate Fijian Yasawa Islands experience. Prices start at $2604 twin share for the first person and from $1302 twin share for the second person.

To receive this deal all Fijian cruises must be booked before June 30th and are valid for travel until March 31st, 2009.


SILVERSEA'S NEW EXPEDITION SHIP IS DEDICATED BY HSH PRINCE ALBERT II IN MONACO

In the heart of Monte Carlo's harbour this morning, the expedition ship Prince Albert II officially joined the Silversea fleet during a naming ceremony conducted by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. As in the time-honoured tradition, the dedication included a blessing of the ship by H.E. Monsignor Fabrice Gallo, Prelate of the Pope of Rome.

Guests listened attentively to speeches and then raised their glasses in a toast when the red and white ribbon (representing the heraldic colors of the Grimaldi family) was cut by HSH Prince Albert II, marking the launch of a new era in expedition cruising -- one that will offer authentic and respectful adventures from a base of easy-going luxury.

"This is a very exciting and proud day for Silversea," said Manfredi Lefebvre, chairman of Silversea. "We are extremely honored that His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, has personally dedicated the ship that will bear his name. May her many journeys of discovery always honor His Serene Highness through a commitment to responsible travel."

Added Silversea President and CEO, Amerigo Perasso, "It is indeed a great privilege that His Serene Highness is here with us today and is the namesake of our new ship. In keeping with his legacy of exploration and environmental conservation, it is our hope that by educating and connecting people with distant cultures and wildlife, the Prince Albert II can open eyes and foster respect and greater care for our planet and its inhabitants."

Fresh from a multimillion dollar renovation, the Prince Albert II boasts the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship. An unmatched selection of 20 premium suites has been created especially for the discriminating traveller with 350 to 675 square feet of luxurious living space, double private French balconies or large private verandas, and additional elite amenities including butler service. All 66 ocean-view accommodations are tastefully appointed and have private marble bathrooms with bathtubs.

The Prince Albert II welcomes her first guests on June 12 as she sets sail from London on an Inaugural Season of voyages of 10 to 22 days focusing on polar adventures. Sailing first to the Arctic Circle, Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland for the Northern summer, the ship will then reposition to South America and Antarctica for autumn and winter voyages.

From mid-August to November, the Prince Albert II will journey from the east coast of North America through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles before heading south to Antarctica. Along this special repositioning route are opportunities to explore the Sea of Cortez (with an optional overnight excursion to Copper Canyon), the Chilean fjords, Falklands and South Georgia Island. Pricing starts at US$3,867, per person, double occupancy, and includes most shore excursions as well as Silversea's signature all-inclusive amenities.

For most of 2009, Prince Albert II will be positioned in Tahiti offering a series of non-traditional itineraries exploring the idyllic lagoons and coral atolls of French Polynesia, including the southernmost Austral Islands, the sprawling Tuamotu Archipelago and the northernmost Marquesas Islands. The ship will spend the balance of the year in South America and Antarctica.

Silversea is a provisional member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), dedicated to managing respectable, environmentally friendly and safe expedition cruising in the Arctic. The company has also joined the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). This important organisation promotes and practices safe and environmentally responsible travel to Antarctica. In addition, Silversea plans to voluntarily adopt and apply similar operating procedures in all other destinations where the Prince Albert II will operate.

For more information please contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.com


Silversea Cruises is recognised as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II in 2008, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents. Silversea has for the past four consecutive years been named Best Cruise Line by readers of Australia's Luxury Travel and Style magazine. For nine consecutive years, Silversea has been named "Number One Small Ship Line" in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the USA and in 2007 was the only cruise line named in the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller's "Top 100 Luxury Travel Experiences" at the same time topping the Small Cruise Line award for the eighth time. Silversea has been selected as "World's Best Small Ship Line" in the US Travel + Leisure readers' poll for the past eight years.

Monday, 2 June 2008

LUXURY TAHITI CRUISE ESCAPE LIKE NO OTHER


With sixteen crew to look after just twenty-four guests, mega motor-cruiser Haumana offers something totally unique in calm-water cruising on the spectacular Rangiroa Lagoon in Tahiti’s Tuamotu Archipelago.

Three-, four- and seven-day cruises are available on Haumana, whose Polynesian crew lead guests on a variety of daily activities that can range from beach and bush walks to village tours, kayaking, snorkelling, and game and handline fishing with a live-aboard fishing guide.

There’s even a unique French-style picnic one day of each cruise, with tables and chairs set in the water under a thatched grass sun-shelter at an uninhabited island.

And back aboard ship, crew welcome returning guests from each day’s activities with songs and guitars, while complimentary wines are offered with exceptional French and Polynesian dishes created from fresh-caught fish, lobsters and island-fresh fruits and vegetables.

For prices of 3-, 4- and 7-night cruises and fly, cruise and stay packages, see travel agents; information about Haumana’s cruises is available on www.tahiti-haumana-cruises.com