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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Silversea announces its new expedition ship to be named HSH Prince Albert II

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has announced that its new expedition ship (originally acquired as World Discoverer II) will be renamed HSH Prince Albert II, in tribute to Prince Albert of Monaco.

The name is fitting for a ship that will be dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the planet's oceans, wildlife and indigenous cultures. The Principality of Monaco, aside from being the world's capital of wealth and luxury - and home to Silversea's global headquarters - has long been recognized as a leader in marine environment research. Prince Albert I, a pioneer in oceanographic science and exploration, first explored the Arctic's Svalbard archipelago in the early part of the last century, and founded the world renowned Oceanographic Institute. In 2006, Prince Albert II plotted a similar course on part of his journey to the North Pole, in an effort to add to the scientific body of work started by his ancestor - and to draw attention to the effects of global warming on the Arctic regions. As a result, the Prince is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the northern most point on Earth.

"We are deeply honored to have our new expedition ship named after His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco," said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman. "His passion for environmental conservation is well known and we are committed to supporting his mission by offering travelers the chance to discover and appreciate some of the world's most remote and unspoiled regions."

When Silversea's adventure ship sets sail on June 12, following a naming ceremony in Monte Carlo, it will herald the beginning of a new mode in exploration cruising - where a luxurious ambiance is just as important as the eye-opening educational experiences it will deliver.

The Lloyd's Register A1A ice-rated vessel is purpose-built for expedition cruising and is currently undergoing an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation at the Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, Italy. To ensure the ship will deliver an expedition cruise experience consistent with Silversea's award-winning luxury standards, the refurbishment will include exterior design modifications, state-of-the-art technological enhancements and a comprehensive upgrade of all guest accommodations and public spaces.

The ship is also being outfitted with a new fleet of eight, latest-model Zodiac boats with Yamaha four-stroke engines (for lowest possible emissions) that will allow guests to enjoy up-close exploration and access to some of the world's most remote landscapes.

"The interest in expedition cruising is definitely on the rise, among both affluent baby boomers and seasoned travelers wanting to further enrich their already wide knowledge of more traditional and established destinations. Silversea's HSH Prince Albert II will be the perfect option for those adventure-seekers who prefer a genuine expedition ship experience enhanced with the comforts of a true luxury product," said Amerigo Perasso, Silversea president. "Adventure travel is also about having experiences that are intellectually enriching, so every voyage will feature a carefully selected expedition team of lecturers and leading experts who will share their insights on the natural, cultural and historical highlights of some of the most pristine and secluded regions on Earth."

In a related development, the company has announced the appointment of Conrad Combrink as Silversea director of expeditions, with responsibility for developing the ship's itinerary and programs. He will also oversee the recruitment of expedition staff and lecturers. Combrink's career of over ten years in expedition cruising includes serving as expedition leader on World Discoverer I and II.

EXPLORING THE EARTH: TOP TO BOTTOM

Silversea's expedition ship will set sail June 12 from London on an Inaugural Season of voyages of 10 to 21 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. From mid-August to November 2008, HSH Prince Albert II will journey from the east coast of North America through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles before heading south to Ushuaia. Along this special repositioning route are opportunities to explore the Sea of Cortez (with an extension to Copper Canyon), Falklands and South Georgia Island. Pricing starts at US$3,867, per person, double occupancy, and includes shore excursions as well as Silversea's signature all-inclusive amenities.

After the ship's refit, the ice-class vesselwill carry just 132 guests in 66 ocean-view accommodations, many featuring private verandas. With staterooms and suites ranging from 180 to over 600 square feet, it will provide some of the largest accommodations of any expedition ship. 18 suites will each feature more than 400 square feet of luxury.

Guests will also enjoy many amenities found on larger ships, such as an elegant single-seating main dining room, library (with computers and Internet access), boutique, beauty salon, fitness center, full-service spa and two Jacuzzi pools. The ship will also feature several lounges for enjoying drinks, music and entertainment, including a cigar lounge like the Humidor on the line's other ships.

The HSH Prince Albert II will also be equipped with state-of-the-art satellite communication systems, providing bow-to-stern wireless Internet access, enabling guests with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and PDAs to surf the Internet and check e-mails from the comfort of their suites as well as public areas. Cellular phone service will also allow guests to stay in touch using their own cell phones even when the ship is miles away from land. All suites and staterooms will feature flat screen monitors offering interactive TV and video options. In the ship's lounges, the latest audio-visual equipment, complete with high-definition video screens, will display live lectures hosted by the ship's world-class expedition and lecture staff as well as visiting destination experts.

Guests aboard Silversea's HSH Prince Albert II will be inspired by the varied and constantly adapted itineraries that will make the most of the natural opportunities created by the landscapes around them. There is so much to explore that they can sail for up to 48 days on back-to-back voyages without repeating a Zodiac landing site. This is not soft adventure; this is full scale exploring from an ultra-luxury base at sea, in true Silversea style.

Reservations are set to go on sale starting Friday, February 29, 2008. A colorful self-mailer will be available to travel agents in a few weeks.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Orion 2009 – 2010 Calendar of Sailings

Orion Expedition Cruises

Orion adds plenty of spice in 2009

Building on established expedition voyages to the Antarctic, Kimberley and Papua New Guinea, Orion Expedition Cruises' 2009 - 2010 Calendar of Sailings adds three inaugural Voyages of Discovery to the exotic islands of Asia, a visit to Norfolk Island and exciting new sub-Antarctic island wildlife expeditions.

Asia: Brand new for 2009 are Orion's Spice Islands, Gulf of Siam and Vietnam Explorer expeditions to Asia. Depending on the chosen voyage these 9, 10 and 11
night itineraries (September and October 2009) include both popular and rarely visited Asian destinations. Visit a string of beautiful Indonesian islands including Bali plus expeditions to the exotic coasts and islands of Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam (including an optional side trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia).

Departing late October 2009 is a 10 night cruise between Bali and Cairns. This Forgotten Islands expedition will feature the island of Komodo, famous for its dragons, Maluku, Yamdena Island and Thursday Island in the Torres Strait before arriving in Cairns.

Sub-Antarctic Islands: Orion's expeditions to the Antarctic have sold out each year with adventurers appreciating the departures from Hobart and Bluff to Commonwealth Bay and the Ross Sea regions and the chance to visit the historic explorer's bases of Scott, Shackleton and Mawson.

The Sub-Antarctic Islands component of these voyages is so popular that in 2009 dedicated Sub-Antarctic Wildlife Adventure expeditions are planned focussing on the extraordinary wildlife found on the wilderness islands of World Heritage Macquarie, Campbell, Auckland and Snares Islands and spectacular New Zealand fjordlands. Spectacular scenery combined with abundant bird and marine life creates island adventures in a photographer's paradise for those not wishing to journey to Orion's Antarctica.

The Kimberley voyages: 10 voyages between May and September 2009 feature the dramatic highlights of the iconic Kimberley coast including the ever-popular Opera Under The Stars voyage (a one-off voyage on the 21st August 2009 that includes a night at the Opera in Broome as a guest of Orion) and a Guide to the Southern Skies voyage. This 11 night voyage from Darwin to Broome will have a special astronomical focus when Professors Fred

Watson, astronomer in charge of the Anglo Australian observatory at Coonabarabran, and David Malin, astronomical photographer, writer and lecturer, reveal the ancient legends and modern science of the universe to Orion's guests.

Arnhem Land: Orion's expeditions in 2006 and 2007 really sparked interest in the indigenous art world and so a further 7 night Art of Arnhem Land voyage, departing Thursday Island for Darwin, will be undertaken in April 2009 exploring the isolated art communities of Arnhem Land. Hosted by pre-eminent authorities on indigenous art this is the perfect voyage for art collectors and enthusiasts alike

Norfolk Island and Melanesia: In February 2009 Orion will undertake a 19 night Norfolk and Melanesian Islands Discovery voyage through the South Pacific, between Auckland, New Zealand and Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. This meandering cruise will include the Bay of Islands before heading for a 2 day stay at historic Norfolk Island.

Other expedition highlights include the picturesque Isles of Pines, Anatom - in the middle of no where - and the cargo cult island of Tanna with its still-active Mt Yasur volcano. Capturing the romance of Melanesia, Orion will also visit Malakula, Nggella (Florida Islands) and Marovo Lagoon before arriving in the flooded volcanic caldera of Simpson Harbour, Rabaul.

Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait: For time-restricted adventurers seeking a shorter voyage near home, Orion has a tempting 5 night North Queensland Tropical Reefs and Culture voyage in April 2009 cruising from Cairns via Lizard Island, Stanley Island (with its outstanding indigenous rock art), Orion Reef (perfect snorkelling) and the Torres Strait island of Poruma (Coconut Island) before concluding at Thursday Island.

Or slip away for an early summer holiday in November 2009 and join Orion's one-off 6 night Great Barrier Reef voyage that includes Hardy Reef, Hayman Island and Percy Island; then enjoy a few leisurely days at sea before disembarking in Newcastle.

Tasmania remains a favourite for Orion's sell-out Food and Wine themed voyages. Cruising between Sydney and Hobart, enroute visiting picturesque Eden, Flinders Island, famous Wineglass Bay, Coles Bay and the Southwest Wilderness region of Tasmania, guests will enjoy 5 nights of food and wine tastings to balance the expeditionary activities onshore.

Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises 2009 – 2010 Calendar of Sailings can be obtained by visiting the website www.orioncruises.com.au

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

For Sale: Reef Endeavour

The biggest ship to ever be built in Fiji will be put up for sale on Friday, due to its owner Captain Cook Cruises promising not to compete with new partners Coral Princess Cruises, says The Fiji Times.

Captain Cook Cruises recently entered into a marketing partnership with Cairns-based Coral Princess Cruises, and a promise was made between the two not to compete against each other said Captain Cook’s Joint-MD Jackie Haworth-Charlton.

This will see the Reef Endeavour being put up for sale and retired from Captain Cook’s Fiji itineraries.

Delivered to Australia in 1996, the 3,000 tonne ship which carries some 150 overnight passengers also has recently struggled with fuel efficiency, as well as operational efficiency as its all-Australian crew was more expensive than other crews in the region.

At the same time, the high Aussie dollar has seen the number of passengers drop from the market.

“It is a very sad time for us presently but I have to say she was very successful,” Trevor Haworth, Captain Cook Cruises Executive Chairman.

Reef Endeavour was launched to replace the Reef Escape which retired from the market in 1996.

Seduced by princesses - Western Australia - Australia - Travel - smh.com.au

Seduced by princesses - Western Australia - Australia - Travel - smh.com.au

Thousands of east-coast Australians are being lured west by ship, writes Mike Heard.

Mining companies aren't the only ones making big money in Western Australia. The state is turning into a goldmine for cruise lines as well.

Ignoring cheap air fares and all kinds of discount offers by coach tour promoters, thousands of east-coast Australians will head to the west by ship in the next 12 months, paying up to $11,000 each for a voyage of two to three weeks

Saturday, 16 February 2008

15% SAVING ON ANTARCTICA AND CHILEAN FJORDS CRUISE

14 February 2008

15% SAVING ON ANTARCTICA AND CHILEAN FJORDS CRUISE

Savings of up to fifteen per cent are available through Cruiseco on a nineteen day cruise-and-stay package that combines Antarctica and the Chilean Fjords in January of next year, with prices now starting from just $6795pp twin-share.

The 700-passenger luxury adventure cruiser Discovery will sail from Ushuaia and spend four full days visiting Antarctica's Deception and King George Islands, Antarctic Sound, Hope Bay, Gerlache Strait, Paradise Harbour, the Lemaire Channel and Half Moon Island.

Other highlights will include two-nights in Buenos Aires pre-cruise, cruising the Drake Passage, Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel, Punta Arenas, Puerto Mont, the Chilean Fjords and alpine Lake District, Valparaiso, and two nights in Santiago.

The tour begins in Buenos Aires on January 11 and can be taken in the reverse direction and at the same price on January 25 (although this cruise does not visit King George Island;) air travel is extra.

For full details phone 1800 225 656 for the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise-specialist agency Australia-wide, or visit www.cruising.com.au

ADDITIONAL SHIP INFORMATION: The 20,000 tonne Discovery has two restaurants plus on-deck alfresco dining, ten bars and lounges, a nightclub, a lecture theatre and cinema, library, casino, card room, and internet centre.

There are two pools, two Jacuzzis, a gymnasium, health centre and beauty salon.

Adventure a la carte - Cruising - Activities & Interests - Travel - smh.com.au

Adventure a la carte - Cruising - Activities & Interests - Travel - smh.com.au

We are in the Patagonia wilderness. That's middle-of-nowhere, no one-to-turn-to country. Inhospitable, impenetrable country, where even if you could force your way into the bush, you would lose your bearings within 10 metres.

Carlos is a tall, burly, powerful man with a scruffy beard. He wears a black military-style beret pulled low over his left eye. If you were casting for a movie, he certainly wouldn't be the good guy.

He stares me straight in the eye, a steely glare. "Strip," he orders. With his Spanish accent, it comes out as "Streeep" .

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Save on Aurora PNG

Aurora Expeditions

Step back in time and discover one of the final frontiers of adventure travel. In search of the authentic Papua New Guinea, each of our voyages aim to capture the best of this fascinating country's cultural heritage and natural history.

Aurora's relaxed style is the best way to witness colourful sing sings in the Trobriand Islands or explore the lower reaches of the mythical Sepik River. Stroll deserted tropical beaches, snorkel crystal clear waters or bushwalk through pristine lowland rainforest, teeming with exotic birds. For the more adventurous, our kayaking option offers a unique perspective of this captivating land.


CabineNews $ You Save
Quad, SharedAU$3,815

$675

Triple, SharedAU$4,070

$720

Twin, SharedAU$5,090

$900

Twin, PrivateAU$5,940

$1,050

Mini SuiteAU$6,365

$1,125

SuiteAU$6,960

$1,230

* Discounts are only available on new
direct cruise bookings, as of 11/2/2008
and are not valid with any other offers.


For more information on both of our PNG voyages:

Voyage 1 ~ Rabaul to Alotau
Voyage 2 ~ Alotau to Rabaul

Click here to view our PNG photo gallery.

Travel is aboard Marina Svetaeva, and limited to only 100 passengers. These 11-day expeditions depart on the 18th and 28th of April, 2008.


PNG 2008 Brochure download and request

Our all-inclusive PNG flight packages have been put together by our expert reservations team and include international airfares (ex-Brisbane), domestic PNG airfares, pre and post voyage accommodation, airport transfers and land based tours.

To reserve your berth or for further details, contact us on +61-2-9252-1033 (1800-637-688 within Australia) or email Aurora at auroraex@auroraexpeditions.com.au

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Sea lions massacred in Galapagos Islands


Ecuadoran authorities are investigating the massacre of 53 sea lions that were found with crushed skulls in the Galapagos Islands.

The dead animals were in an advanced stage of decomposition when they were discovered on the island of Pinta, scattered in a one-kilometre radius, said Galapagos National Park official Victor Carrion.

"The sea lions, including 13 pups, died because of a strong blow from someone. It was a massacre whose motives the prosecutor's office must clarify," Mr Carrion said.

The animals' remains did not appear to have been mutilated, and no cuts were found on their skins or limbs, he said.

The authorities found no other killed animals but they have stepped up patrols of the islands.

The Galapagos islands are 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific ocean.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) placed the islands on its list of endangered world heritage sites last year, saying they were threatened by invasive species, growing tourism and immigration.

- AFP

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Alexandra Shackleton joins Epic Antarctica Expedition

The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton is Sir Ernest Shackleton's only granddaughter. Her father was Shackleton's younger son, Edward, who became Lord Shackleton.

Alexandra, a history graduate, is president of the James Caird Society, dedicated to preserving the memory of Sir Ernest Shackleton and honoring his leadership. She is a member of several Antarctic and Southern Ocean societies. Alexandra was a consultant on the television drama Shackleton, starring Kenneth Branagh. She has written several prefaces to books about her grandfather, and has spoken about his accomplishments around the world.

We are pleased to announce that Alexandra will be guest lecturer aboard Epic Antarctica: Semi-Circumnavigation aboard the giant icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov. She will share her insights into her grandfather's life and the drive to preserve the hut he built in the Ross Sea.

This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of this historic adventure. The 31-day expedition departs Ushuaia on 13 November ending in Lyttelton (Christchurch NZ) on 13 December 2008. Prices are from US$19,900 per person triple share.

Exalted adventurers truly captured the spirit of Antarctic exploration, with Scott and his crew perishing on that fateful return journey from the pole in 1912 and Shackleton performing his miraculous 1916 rescue - now the stuff of legend.

It is in this spirit that Adventure Associates has offered voyages to the frozen continent for nearly two decades. Thousands of expeditioners have enjoyed a true journey of a lifetime, often retracing the steps of these intrepid pioneers in the process.

[ Read More ]

Alexandra Shackleton

Khlebnikov

Seal

Monday, 4 February 2008

From Fly-fishing in Patagonia to Luxury Amazon Cruising



Adventure Associates introduces two new ‘top-end’ products to its extensive Latin American portfolio.



The superb M.V. Atmosphere, a state-of-the-art expedition cruise vessel offers guests an unique opportunity of exploring Patagonia by air, land and water. Thanks to a first rate crew and a cutting edge air and water transport system, M.V. Atmosphere can deliver the thrill of fly-fishing, the majesty of whale-watching as well as bird-watching, nature photography and a varied selection of soft outdoor adventures in the southernmost corner of the world.
She was designed and carefully built to be the perfect means to explore the unseen Chilean Patagonia. Exclusive and intimate, she is manned by 32 crew and has a capacity limited to only 28 passengers. It carries aboard a six-passenger Bell 407 helicopter to airlift explorers to otherwise unreachable spots, six jet-boats to conquer the most recondite rivers of the Chilean Patagonia, a top-of-the-line Zodiac Hurricane boat to scout the coastline and an array of specialized watercraft such as portable zodiacs for heli-fishing operations and kayaks. Deluxe cabins for an 8-day cruise are from US$10,115 per person twin share, with complimentary transfers to and from Puerto Montt.

In tandem with this, is the new M.V.Aqua, the first luxury vessel ever to cruise the northern Amazon. She has 12 oversized guest suites, including four 180° panoramic master suites, featuring en suite sitting areas and generous outward-facing panoramic windows. The handsomely decorated, air-conditioned suites were designed by noted Peruvian architect Jordi Puig. Guests can socialise in the dining room, indoor lounge, on the observation deck and in the outdoor lounge. Gourmets, can enjoy fine dining deep in the Amazon jungle. Sound unlikely? Yet you will find it aboard the M.V. Aqua. You can gaze out at the great wilderness from the elegant comfort of the ship's dining room. Executive chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, one of Lima's culinary stars, has created a menu that draws on both Peruvian and European influence. There are 3, 4 and 7 day cruise itineraries departing from Iquitos, with transfers provided from the airport to the wharf. Seven day cruises are from US$4,550 per person twin share.

Adventure Associates offerings range from exploration tours for the first time visitor and myriad choice for return travellers. For further information intending passengers should contact Adventure Associates on 1800 222 141 or visit their website at www.adventureassociates.com

Contact Davyyd Bressington for further information on (02) 8916 3007

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Ice thwarts Antarctic tour - The Press - Get the latest local, national and world news from Christchurch's daily newspaper

Ice thwarts Antarctic tour - The Press - Get the latest local, national and world news from Christchurch's daily newspaper: "An ice-strengthened Antarctic tour ship attempting to re-enact Ernest Shackleton's expedition a century ago has failed to even reach the continent because of 'crazy' ice conditions blocking its path."

Affordable Arctic: Cruise North



AFFORDABLE ARCTIC ADVENTURES:

CRUISE NORTH

Inuit-owned Cruise North Expeditions, the pioneer in affordable, accessible Arctic adventures, is raising the bar for authentic Arctic travel during the final summer of International Polar Year with five custom itineraries bringing together the best in Arctic wildlife, scenery and culture.

Cruise North is offering eight departures from July 3 through September 9, 2008 including Arctic Explorer, Arctic Odyssey, Baffin Adventure, High Arctic, and new for this summer, the Northwest Passage which travels deep into the polar desert reaching Ellesmere Island, the most northerly island in the Canadian Arctic archipelago.

While each of Cruise North's itineraries has a slightly different emphasis, all of them deliver an unparalleled authentic Arctic experience with abundant wildlife including polar bears, caribou, walrus, bearded seals, Bowhead and Beluga whales and muskox.

In the spirit of International Polar Year, Cruise North's experienced expedition and lecture team of naturalists, historians, geologists, ornithologists and lnuit guides brings to life the realities of life in the Arctic with direct learning about the impact of climate change.

Priced from $4,395 CDN, double occupancy including round-trip air from Montreal to the North on First Air, Cruise North's sister company, Cruise North's value is unbeatable.

Passengers travel in relaxed comfort on the 122-passsenger ice class-rated Lyubov Orlova, ideal for navigating polar regions.

Cruise North has revolutionized Arctic travel in several ways including being the first and only cruise line to make the Arctic accessible with a home port in the Arctic. By positioning the ship in Kuujjuaq, a surprisingly short two-hour 15 minute flight from Montreal, Cruise North has added ease and time savings to Arctic travel.

An even greater distinction is that Cruise North is the only Arctic cruise line where the lnuit are ambassadors in their own home. Cruise North's entire program has been carefully reviewed with the lnuit elders and community leaders to ensure that there are no unwelcome consequences for either the people or the animals who share the land.

Launched in 2005, award-winning Cruise North Expeditions has rapidly established itself as the leader in Arctic expeditions by capturing the true spirit of the North with its lnuit ownership and lnuit guiding. Conde Nast Traveler honored Cruise North with recognition on its prestigious "Green List for environmental efforts and commitment to helping preserve lnuit culture through tourism. Cruise North will undertake its fourth annual Arctic clean-up at the end of the 2008 season, open to volunteers who want to contribute in a direct way to environmental preservation.

Web: www.cruisenorthexpeditions.com