Adventure * Expedition * Small Ship * River Cruises * Luxury * Boutique


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Kimberley Quest II - SAVE 30% on 2011 Cruises


If you've always wanted to cruise the Kimberley, but needed a fantastic offer to seal the deal, this is the offer for you!

There's nothing like leaving the everyday behind and surrendering to the peaceful isolation of one of the world's last unique wilderness areas, the Kimberley coast. Spending blissful days exploring a land of extraordinary contrast and colour; rich in history, unforgettable ancient art sites and breathtaking scenery is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Kimberley Quest II is a luxury small vessel specializing in unique wilderness expeditions along the vast coastline of the Kimberley between Broome and Wyndham.     Accommodating   just 18 passengers, Kimberley Quest II can get closer to the waterfalls and attractions that big cruise ships cannot, allowing guests a more intimate experience with wildlife and the breathtaking natural surroundings.

Ultimate  Kimberley  expeditions  begin  from  the  historic  Pearl  settlement  of  Broome;  either departing onboard Kimberley Quest II for their 7 day journey north, or by light aircraft which fly's guests to meet the vessel in a secluded bay near the Mitchell Plateau for their 7 day journey back to Broome.

A typical day onboard the Kimberley Quest is spent waking early to the sounds of nature and water cascading over striking rock formations before embarking on a morning excursion. From scenic tender rides, fishing, discovering rock art, bush walking, bird watching and nature viewing, guests can do as little or as much as they like.

The crew is on hand to assist and convey their knowledge of local history, identifying flora and fauna, assisting with catching that prized barramundi and sharing their rock art discoveries. With one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, every day presents a new challenge and opportunity. 

A soak in the onboard spa is a perfect way to relax after an adventurous morning exploring this awe-inspiring region.  Each blissful day ends with nibbles and drinks on the bow watching as the sun sinks below the Indian Ocean.

Broome  &  The  Kimberley  Holidays  are  pleased  to  present  an  exclusive  NEW  package  offer. Kimberley Quest II is taking 30% off all remaining "Southern Quest Fly/Cruise" itineraries for the 2011 season. That's a saving of up to $4490 per couple.  But wait, there's more..

This EXCLUSIVE package also includes:

•           2 night's accommodation in a Hotel Room at Oaks Broome with the option to upgrade to Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa
•           7 nights 'Southern Quest Cruise/Fly' Broome to Mitchell falls or v.v onboard the Kimberley Quest II.
•           FREE dining experience at Sunset Bar & Grill overlooking stunning Cable beach at Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa
•           Return airfares from most major capital cities

To book an exclusive 2011 Kimberley cruise onboard the Kimberley Quest, visit your local Travel Agent or call Broome & The Kimberley Holidays on 1300 245 565. More information is at our website

Price may vary according to flight availability.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Broome & The Kimberley Holidays: NEW Kimberley Cruising package offer!

Broome & The Kimberley Holidays have partnered with Kimberley Quest II and are pleased to present an exclusive NEW package offer. Kimberley Quest II is taking 30% off all remaining "Southern Quest Fly/Cruise" itineraries for the 2011 season.  That's a saving of up to $4490 per couple.  But wait, there's more..

This EXCLUSIVE package also includes:

·         2 night's accommodation in a Hotel Room at Oaks Broome with the option to upgrade to Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa
·         7 nights 'Southern Quest Cruise/Fly' Broome to Mitchell falls or v.v onboard the Kimberley Quest II.
·         FREE dining experience at Sunset Bar & Grill overlooking stunning Cable beach at Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa
·         Return airfares from most major capital cities.

The Product

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises, Kimberley Quest II, is a luxury small vessel specializing in wilderness expeditions along the vast coastline of the Kimberley between Broome and Wyndham for just 18 passengers. As a small vessel operator they specialise in small groups, providing comfortable surroundings and intimate experiences that will be remembered forever. The Kimberley Quest II has been designed for relaxing and exploring the Kimberley coastline in comfort and style. Carrying three excursion tenders, days are filled with a myriad of activities, exploring the waterways with your very own local guide who has extensive knowledge of the Kimberley region.

There is a choice of 9 cabins from deluxe twin, double, superior and the exclusive flybridge. All cabins feature private ensuites, individual air-conditioning, viewing windows, mini-refrigerators and are serviced daily.

The Details

·         Package is valid on all 7 Day Southern Quest cruises for the remaining 2011 season only (July – September).
·         Offer subject to availability.
·         Prices start from $6642* ex Perth, $6922* ex Melbourne & Brisbane, and $6882* ex Sydney.
·         *Conditions apply.

Celebrity Chef on Captain Cook Cruises Cooking Cruise

Celebrity Chef Simon Gault to hold Cooking Classes on board Captain Cook Cruises MV Reef Endeavour

New Zealand's high profile celebrity Chef, Simon Gault, will be holding three food master classes for passengers onboard Captain Cook Cruises four-Night Northern Yasawa Islands Fiji Cruise departing Tuesday 08 November 2011. Passengers can also extend to a seven night cruise from only an extra $331 per person.

Simon Gault shot to fame as a judge on the New Zealand version of the international hit cooking show 'Masterchef' making him a household name. Airing nationally on Sunday nights, 'Masterchef' drew some of the best ratings ever seen on New Zealand TV.

Simon Gault's restaurants have also been awarded New Zealand's Restaurant of the Year and been included in Conde Naste's New York magazine's top 50 restaurants of the world.

"With just 120 places available on the cruise, food lovers wishing to combine their passion with a visit to Fiji and an opportunity to meet the 'Master Chef' himself would need to move quickly to guarantee their place on board," says Jackie Charlton, Managing Director, Captain Cook Cruises.

"Every passenger will have the opportunity to meet Simon personally – both during the three food 'master classes' and also as part of the various daily cruise activities, including village visits and snorkelling safaris," she said.

Captain Cook Cruises four night Fiji cruise offers passengers a truly cultural experience, visiting unspoilt Fijian villages, schools and handicraft markets and partaking in a traditional village sevusevu ceremony and Meke and Lovo feast.

As well as being immersed in Fijian culture there is plenty of time for relaxation and appreciating the beautiful marine life while snorkelling over amazing coral reefs, lazing on warm white sandy beaches, basking in crystal clear waters or diving in spectacular blue lagoons.

Prices for the four-day Celebrity Chef Cruise start from $1147.00 per person twin share and passengers can extend to a seven night cruise from only an extra $331.00 per person twin share (seven night cruise total $1478 per person twin share, normally $1847). Prices include all on-board accommodation, meals and cruise activities.


HERITAGE EXPEDITIONS Releases 2012/13 Voyages


Heritage Expeditions has released its 2012/2013 expedition programme including a new and expanded range of voyages in the Russian Far East.

In addition to its existing popular itineraries, Heritage Expeditions has added two new voyages which will appeal especially to nature and wildlife lovers and those interested in history and culture.

A special 18-day 'Sea Otter Survey' voyage will give passengers the chance to be part of a genuine conservation and research project working with the sea otters of the secluded Kuril Islands, north of Japan and the Kamchatka coastline of eastern Russia. Heritage Expeditions has made its expedition ship Spirit of Enderby available to a team of researchers, who will undertake a detailed survey of the sea otters in these remote regions.

Led by otter biologist and specialist Katya Ovsyanikova, the team will include world-renowned professionals who will perform a much-needed population census, collect genetic material and carry out surveys of the food resources available to otters. Passengers are invited to join the research team and assist with data collection.

There are also opportunities for a limited number of qualified divers to undertake underwater sampling; as well as opportunities for bird-watching, botany, photography and hiking – or simply enjoying the rugged beauty of these intriguing volcanic islands.

"Conservation in Russia, as in most other countries, is underfunded and the problems are compounded by the vastness of the country and inaccessibility of many of the remote islands," said Heritage Expeditions founder and owner, Rodney Russ.

"Over the many years that my family company has been involved with conservation agencies in Eastern Russia, we have been overwhelmed by their unfailing support for our expeditions in the region.
"The Russian authorities have helped us offer travellers a world class natural history experience. Now, we feel it's time to give something back - and this is a chance for guests to contribute directly to conservation efforts in a truly unique way," he said.

Another new voyage in the program is a 17-day 'Sea of Okhotsk' voyage, which aims to unlock some of the secrets of this virtually unexplored region. In the language of its indigenous people, the Sea of Okhotsk translates as the 'Sea of Hunters', giving an indication of the abundance of wildlife to be found here, including whales, seals, dolphins, rare bird species and brown bears. Its coasts were home to the Nivikh, Oroki and Even indigenous peoples - whose descendants can still be found practising a way of life handed down by their ancestors. Heritage Expeditions believes this is only the second expedition of its kind to visit the region.

The 'Sea Otter Survey' voyage departs on 9 May 2012 with prices starting from US$4,900 per person.
The 'Sea of Okhotsk' voyage departs on 7 June 2102 with prices starting from US$7,500 per person. Berths are strictly limited and early bookings are recommended.

For further information phone 1800 143 585 (within Australia) or 0800 262 8873 (within NZ) or email

Cruise North Expeditions Releases 2011-2012 Brochure

Clipper Adventurer

For 2011 we still have a few spaces left on our Baffin and Greenland Adventure, running September 12 – 24 aboard the 81-passenger Ocean Nova.

In 2012 we have two fantastic 10-night programs that combine the best of Greenland and Nunavut starting the end of July. What an amazing time to be in the North!

We’re also thrilled to announce our new platform, the Clipper Adventurer. This ship is both elegant and comfortable, with recently renovated rooms and common areas.
Dining on the Clipper is also top-notch and includes cooked to order meals at breakfast and lunch as well as five course dinners. She’s equipped with state-of-the-art active stabilization, to help smooth the ride in rough seas.

Baffin and Greenland Adventure
September 12 – 24, 2011 aboard the Ocean Nova
Join us as we are welcomed into the land of the Inuit. Our life in the North is shaped from start to finish by the harsh climate and the unforgiving Arctic landscape.

This itinerary has been specifically chosen to highlight the best of Inuit art and culture in Nunavut, but also to provide us with the opportunity to compare and contrast Greenlandic communities with the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Our guests will be able to engage in onboard forums focusing on the many challenges that face the North.

Community highlights include the Greenlandic capital of Nuuk, and Pangnirtung, Kimmirut and Kinngait (Cape Dorset) on Baffin Island.

The arts of the Inuit have informed southern audiences for the last 60 years with visual imagery that has fired our imaginations. Even the best sculpture, prints, drawing and weavings can only give us a glimpse into this spectacular landscape and culture. We now have the privilege of experiencing their reality first hand.

Monday, 27 June 2011


Enjoy complimentary Pre & Post Hotels in Europe when you book a 2011 Cruise. 

Windstar Cruises operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore the world's most secluded harbours and coves. And for guests seeking an award winning private luxury escape in 2011, Windstar's three intimate ships; msy Wind Spirit and msy Wind Star, accommodating 148 guests each and; msy Wind Surf hosting 312 passengers, are offering complimentary pre & post cruise hotels in Europe when you book a 2011 Voyage.

Windstar's Sail & Stay packages offer tremendous value with up to 47% off sailings'  standard fares and 2 FREE hotel nights in Athens, Rome or Barcelona.

Sail to the Spanish Coast on Wind Spirit's 7-day Lisbon to Barcelona departing on the 20th of August 2011. This popular cruise transports you through the picturesque towns and cities of Tangier, Morocco; and Malaga, Almeria, Cartagena, and Ibiza; Spain. Your two free nights will be spent in Barcelona at the magnificent Wilson Hotel or similar. Priced from AU$2,289 per person twin share including taxes this cruise is also available on the reverse and departs Barcelona on the 5th of November 2011 sailing on ms Wind Surf.

Discover the hidden delights of the Mediterranean and explore ancient civilisations on Wind Surf's 7-day Venice to Athens cruise. Ports of call include Venice, Italy; Pula, Croatia; Dubrovnik, Trogir; Athens, Monemvasia, and Pylos, Greece. Departing 17 September 2011, this cruise is priced from AU$2,894 per person twin share, including taxes. Your hotel nights will be available in Athens staying at the beautiful Hotel Amalia or similar.

Wind Surf's Rome to Barcelona on the 29th of October 2011 is a magical cruise commencing in the stylish port of Civitavecchia, Italy. Sail romantically through Livorno, Portofino before entering the sovereign city-state of Monaco which is surrounded on all three sides by its neighbour France. Peppered with elegance, casinos and famous hotels often seen in Hollywood movies, you'll be charmed in this atmospheric town. Priced from AU$2,294 per person twin share, your two nights free accommodation can be in either Barcelona or Rome.

This year Windstar was named "Most Romantic Cruise Line" by Porthole Cruise Magazine and was also selected by Travel + Leisure as one of the top five "World's Best Small-Ship Cruise Lines".

To make a booking, please contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622 or visit

Plan Ahead for Best Berths on Changing Galapagos Itineraries

AdventureSmith Explorations Underscores Importance of Advance Planning with Experts to Match Ships / Itineraries to Time / Dollar Budgets

New Galapagos National Park Regulations in Effect January 2012

Come January 2012, Galapagos National Park regulations go into effect to decrease traffic to over-populated (by boat) sites in the Galapagos and to better distribute visitor largess around this fragile ecosystem. Itinerary changes will affect how, where and for what duration travelers experience specific islands by boat

Small ship expedition cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations represents 80 percent of the small ships that ply these waters, so staying on top of changes is a priority for Todd Smith, founder and president. His staff visit the islands frequently and know first-hand the boats and landing sites. This knowledge assists in matching clients to a cruise of their choice.

“Changes are already in place for about half of the boats in the Galapagos. Feb 1, 2012 is when the last vessels will implement the new itineraries,” says Smith, adding that the company’s website is updating information and itineraries on an ongoing basis.

He reports that the length of a cruise varies now from four to 15 days, whereas before cruises were from four to eight days.

“To optimize potentials of experiencing the variety of bird, mammal and marine life here, travelers who can afford the time and money for 10 or 11 day programs will have a more in-depth experience. For cruises of shorter duration, our island experts will help travelers choose the itinerary that reaches as many of the top sites as their time permits,” says Smith, noting that not everyone can afford the time and budget for longer cruises. “Because of the new regulations travelers, need an expert to help them choose the right cruise.”

While the changes will protect over-exposed sites, Smith notes that because many budgets won’t accommodate the longer, let’s-see-everything programs, some guests will forego experiences that were typical in the past.

“But, to make sure there’s space on the style and price point of a ship that’s available when clients want to travel is going to be an issue of supply and demand,” says Smith, who underscores trying to avoid last-minute reservations.

“Visitation to Galapagos is limited, vessels are small and spaces fill up fast. Many Galapagos cruises are often sold out 6-9 months in advance with holidays booked more than 12 months in advance,” he says. His company places clients on small yachts and sailboats for 8 to 32 passengers; mid-size ships of 40-60 passengers and larger ships with 80-100 passengers.

Because this is such a popular destination for small ships and passengers alike, Smith maintains a team of Galapagos experts to provide advice on itineraries, interests, abilities (snorkeling and diving) and budgets.

Matt Kareus, Executive Director, International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, of which AdvetnureSmith Explorations is an active member, said: “The measure should cut visitation at 15 heavily used sites, give equal access to all boats at sites, increase the use of underused sites, enhance the visitor experience, reduce accidents and reduce the total number of visitors by cutting out shorter itineraries. We see all of these as positive outcomes for tour operators, for visitors, and for the Park.”

Kareus says his organization’s 40 members “tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to issues of sustainability so I think, generally speaking, most of our members understand and appreciate the reasons behind the change.”

About Adventure Smith Explorations

AdventureSmith Explorations is the global leader in small ship, adventure cruise vacations. Company founder Todd Smith helped pioneer the concept of wilderness cruising that combines the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking, hiking and exploring remote wilderness areas ashore. The company matches guests with the top names in small ship cruising as well with intimate, boutique ships that may not make the radar of most travelers.

In moving through exotic natural environments and exploring vibrant native cultures seldom associated with more mainstream cruise itineraries, AdventureSmith Explorations dedicates its efforts to small footprint, sustainable travel and has launched a carbon free cruising initiative. Its off-the-beaten-path destinations include Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Hawaii, Peru, the Arctic, Antarctica, and Australia.

The company's mission is to give back to the individuals, communities and environments touched by AdventureSmith Explorations trips by connecting travelers with a network of grassroots and global nonprofit partners worldwide including the Alaska Natural History Association, Neotropica Foundation and Galapagos Conservancy. The company was named by National Geographic Adventure as one of “The Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” and is the recipient of Conde Nast Traveler’s prestigious “World Savers Award.”

Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, California along the western shore of Lake Tahoe. Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or 530-583-1775. Email: or visit:

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Six things you'll love about an InnerSea Discoveries cruise

USA TODAY's Gene Sloan just returned from a voyage with InnerSea Discoveries, a new adventure cruise line in Alaska. Question about the trip? Leave it in the comment area below.

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Looking for a way to get off the beaten path in Alaska? Remember this name: InnerSea Discoveries.

Launched last month, it's a new expedition-style cruise company in the state, and it's all about getting adventure-minded vacationers into the most beautiful and wildlife-filled corners of the Southeast Alaska region known as the Inside Passage.

I spent several days last week on board one of InnerSea's two ships, the 76-passenger Wilderness Discoverer, and in short, it's delightful (see our photo tour from the voyage).

Instead of calling at the Southeast Alaska tourist towns visited by big ships, the Wilderness Discoverer and its sister vessel, the 60-passenger Wilderness Adventurer, head to the region's most remote (and little visited) bays and fjords for day after day of outdoor adventure -- wilderness hiking, kayaking, whale watching and glacier viewing.

Read Full Story

InnerSea Discoveries are represented in Australia by Ultimate Cruising

Address: Level 2 - 645 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW Australia. 2007
Bookings and enquiries: 1300 662 943

USA and North America: AdventureSmith Explorations

Friday, 24 June 2011

Breaking News: Orion II in Aleutian Earthquake Drama

All safe – Ship undamaged

Report in just minutes ago reveals that Orion II, just delivered to Sarina Bratton’s Orion Expedition Cruises and on its inaugural journey, was just a few miles from a giant 7.3 magnitude earthquake in the Aleutian Islands.

Orion II had just left Chagulak and was en route to Adak when the quake struck.

“WOW Just had a 7.3 earthquake and currently on Tsunami Alert. We were 26miles from the centre steaming on the ship and the ship started to shudder lots. We thought we may have hit something or caught something on the prop. Checks of the ship revealed nothing and then we were sent Tsunami Warnings. 7.3 isnt small and we were probably the only people that close to the centre. WOW” said Adrian Boyle, one of the expedition leaders in an excited note to Orion’s Sydney office.

Captain Mike Taylor quickly followed with a more sobre assessment:

“Orion II sailed from Chagulak at 1730, bound for Adak. At 1910 we were notified that an earthquake with a nominal strength of 7.3 had happened. Checks of tanks and voids showed no signs of leakage and all systems are working normally. Orion II is continuing the voyage to Adak and all passengers have been advised of the earthquake that occurred.”

The vessel is certainly living up to its reputation as an adventure vessel after a minor grounding in Antarctica and a dramatic YouTube video showing the vessel ploughing through mountainous seas in the Drake Passage.

For further updates, see next week’s Cruise Weekly

Orion releases 2012 Expedition Cruise brochure

Orion Expedition Cruises releases 2012 season brochure - an expansive brochure of year-round voyages for expedition cruise ships Orion and Orion II, featuring itineraries for 69 voyages to 17 countries and 174 destinations stretching from Antarctica to the Russian Far East.

Borneo, Vietnam, Thailand, the Inland Sea of Japan, Russian Far East, China and Micronesia are included in Orion II's itineraries; while Australia's Kimberley coast, Arnhem Land, Great Barrier Reef, the Spice Islands, Antarctica and Papua New Guinea feature in Orion's range of expeditions.

2012 voyage highlights:

New sailings feature the islands of Micronesia and themed voyages to Japan with Art of Japan and Culinary Voyage of Japan itineraries. China is included for the first time with expeditions that includes the Yangtze Delta (Kobe to Shanghai) and Shanghai to Tawau (Yangtze, Taiwan, Philippines), while a visit to Java includes the long lost temples of Borobudur.
  • 16 Kimberley Expeditions, all with inclusive Bungle Bungle flight-seeing
  • Orion's inaugural New Zealand Bay of Islands Voyage of Discovery
  • Orion II's Voyage of Discovery to the islands of Micronesia
  • 7 voyages to Japan reveal fine art, cuisine and ancient cultures
  • Russian Far East expeditions include rarely visited Cold War hot spots
  • 15 Borneo voyages with various itineraries circumnavigate the island
  • 3 Vietnam Explorer voyages each explore 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • 6 Papua New Guinea expeditions reveal untouched cultures
  • A visit to Java includes the 8th century Buddhist temples of Borobudur
  • 2 inaugural voyages that include China and a trip up the Yangtze River
  • 3 Antarctic voyages to Commonwealth Bay (Mawson's Hut) and the Ross Sea (Scott and Shackleton's huts)
  • 2 voyages to Thailand and Cambodia, include the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City and the  temples of Angkor Wat

Get this brochure sent to you free

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Getting your stories in front of as many readers as possible is the goal of this site. In case you were wondering, there are a lot more people reading these stories than you might imagine.

Many stories from are now being picked by Ralph Grizzle's well read Avid Cruiser blog. In turn they appear on USA Today (Alexa Global Rank: 439)

Bookmark this link for Avid Cruiser:

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and let's not forget Yahoo7!

and, of course, you read all these stories first on Cruise Weekly
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Adventure cruise features regularly appear on Cruise Passenger Magazine's site:

and News Ltd's Escape is read by millions around Australia. Here's a recent one:
Pink Dolphins and Silver Piranhas (Amazon) and here is more detail about News Ltd's Escape

Occasionally, stories will appear in the UK publication Cruise International.

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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Blount Small Ship Adventures Reports Record Bookings

Blount Small Ship Adventures said bookings have increased 23 percent this year over the same period last year. “Travelers in 2011 are searching for a great value and an even better experience,” said Nancy Blount, president of Blount Small Ship Adventures, “and we’re giving it to them in the form of great base prices paired with more included excursions, live entertainment, guest lecturers, and onboard workshops than ever before. I think it’s safe to say that small-ship cruising has arrived.”

Blount offers North American and Caribbean cruises from homeports that are less expensive to fly to than European destinations. “Our guests don’t have to spend half their vacation budgets on airfare,” Blount said. “They can embark near their home, sometimes even in their own city.”

The company is offering couples a chance to save up to $1,200 per couple on 2012 sailings when booked by Aug. 1. This early booking discount supports the launch of the company’s 2012 catalog, featuring eight new itineraries to destinations including the Galapagos Islands, Canada’s Bay of Fundy, and the Mississippi River.

Blount offers commissions on the cruise, protection plans, pre- and post-cruise stays and extensions, and special promotions.

The company’s most popular cruise itineraries include the 10-day “Gems of the Virgin Islands”; the 12-day “Best of Belize, the Barrier Reef and Guatemala”; the 16-day “Great American Waterways”; the six-day “Islands of New England”; and the eight-day “Magical Lake Michigan.” For more information, call 800-556-7450, email or visit

Windstar cuts rates up to 77%, adds bikes on board

Windstar Cruises is promoting savings of up to 77% in a two-week sale on close-in departures in Europe.

For example, seven-day cruises on Wind Spirit between Le Havre and Oslo on July 9 and Aug. 6 are priced starting at $1,199 per person in a Category B stateroom, a 77% discount.

Savings are available on an ample range of other dates and itineraries in July, August and September.

In other news, Windstar added a bicycle program that features 7000 series, aluminum frame Dragon Marine Folding Bikes.

Wind Surf has eight bikes and Wind Spirit and Wind Star each have four bikes. The bikes are available for $39 for a half-day rental and $59 for a full day. Bike helmets, locks and chains are provided.

The rentals are available in most ports and can be reserved with Windstar’s destination manager aboard each yacht.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


CRUISECO has an exclusive seven sailings in Outside Cabins aboard the small, 350-passenger Spirit of Adventure as she makes her way from the Middle East to Australia later this year, spends some time sailing Australian and South Pacific waters, and then cruises from Brisbane to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia in late January 2012.

Prices begin from as low as $1459pp twin-share for a 7-night sailing from Limassol in Cyprus on September 15 this year, visiting Alexandria for Cairo, Port Said, a transit of the Suez Canal, Safaga in Egypt, and Aqaba in Jordan where there is night aboard ship.

For those wanting to cruise both closer to home and for longer, there is a 16-night sailing from Benoa on Bali on December 1 this year, visiting Kupang in West Timor, Darwin, Thursday Island, Cooktown, Dunk Island, a day at Fitzlan Anchorage on the Barrier Reef, Brisbane, Newcastle (for the Hunter Valley wine country,) and Sydney. Prices begin from $3334pp twin-share.

Prices on these sailings are cruise-only, including Outside Cabin accommodation, dining in a choice of formal or casual venues, nightly entertainment, and guest lecture programs and enrichment activities.

For full details, itineraries and prices of Cruiseco's five other exclusive Spirit of Adventure sailings in Outside Cabins, air fares, and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies visit

Spirit of Adventure has a pool, health spa, beauty salon, fitness room, library, internet, and bicycles at no-charge for those wishing to explore ashore on their own.

Because of her size, Spirit of Adventure is able to visit less accessible and more unusual ports on these sailings than many larger vessels.

Active Travel - Free Slide and Information Session - Meet Andrew Prossin

Active Travel - Free Slide and Information Sessions

Active Travel invites you to attend our inspiring slide and information nights. These special evenings are designed to inform and entertain and are hosted by our very experienced staff. From time to time, we have special guests present to you - such as our Antarctic Expedition Leaders. These sessions are free to attend, but we ask that you RSVP, so we know how many chairs to set up - and to be sure we have enough wine, cheese and bikkies on the night! 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Cruise Weekly: Making it on the Mekong

Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Vessel: Jayavarman, 58m, 700 tons

The realm of adventure cruising is expanding. Once it was the iconic voyages to the frozen extremes, the iconic Galapagos or scenic Alaska, but now the world’s small vessels are heading inland to the remote rivers of Asia, South America or even Africa.

Not satisfied with icebergs and polar bears, expedition cruisers now want to tick Amazon, Nile and Mekong off their lists of significant waterways. As mentioned in Cruise Weekly previously, Southeast Asia’s largest river, the Mekong is shaping up as a battleground for cruise operators as the new wave of luxury river vessels stake their claim on this famous waterway.

One of the newest is Heritage Line’s 2009-launched Jayavarman, known also by its officially registered name of RV Mekong Explorer. Built in Vietnam in the traditional style of Asian river vessels, but styled apparently on the classic ocean liner ‘Normandie’. With 27 twin (or double) cabins appointed in a charming ‘old world’ style, Jayavarman transports guests in luxury on a journey beginning in the Mekong Delta port of My Tho.

Dining aboard Jayavarman (supplied)
Our 7-night exploration continues upstream through the many convoluted tributaries of the famous delta, ending up in the main stream via such evocatively named stops as Cai Be, Binh Thanh Island, Chau Doc and Xin Chao.

Shore excursions include village factories like rice mills, traditional industries such as brick-making and agricultural enterprises like fish farms and mat weaving. Mostly we are transported on comfortable local sampans with padded seats and shaded awnings with plenty of complimentary bottled water on offer. Okay, so it’s not the pyramids but it is an authentic glimpse into real life along the delta much as it’s been conducted for centuries.

Across the border and into Cambodia, the pace of life slows and a day is spent in Phnom Penh touring all the things first time visitors have to see. But there’s time for a couple of mandatory Angkor Lagers in the iconic Foreign Correspondents Club before we set off early next day. We spend the next couple of days alternating between the Mekong and it’s sibling, the Tonle Sap before we are obliged to bus it to our final destination, Siem Reap. This is one caveat for travel at this time of the year, the low water season, as the Tonle Sap doesn’t yet have enough water to allow us into the big lake of the same name. It’s not the best part of the trip, so if you are dead keen to sail into the Tonle Sap, make sure you travel in the high season and pay the extra.

Costs for the 7-night journey start at USD 3384 per person twin share in a superior suite, low season. The fare includes all meals and shore excursions (and bus), but not your port tax or visa fee. Food is a mix of plated and buffet sittings with delicious local flavours. Fish, chicken, pork, beef and spicy salads a-plenty – no-one goes hungry.

For full details and bookings, see river cruise specialists, Active Travel at

Lindblad Expeditions Offers Baja California Photo Expedition

62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird
Lindblad Expeditions unveiled a new program called Baja California Odyssey: San Ignacio Lagoon and the Sea of Cortez, which is a photo expedition into the Sea of Cortez, one of the best places for observing marine mammals in the world. The 11-day/10-night expedition aboard the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird departs Jan. 11, 2012, from La Paz.

Joining Lindblad’s six-person expedition team for the one-of-a-kind journey will be National Geographic photographer Susan Seubert, a recipient of Life Magazine’s Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, editorial photographer and photojournalist, along with two Lindblad-National Geographic-certified photo instructors. They will assist guests in shooting wildlife photos while on trips by Zodiac or kayak, or walks.

The program is designed for photographers of all skill and interest levels who are interested in improving their skills and having opportunities to shoot in the wild and participate in photography discussions, presentations and mini workshops. Whether it’s aboard the ship, exploring ashore or simply chatting over drinks, the photographers and expedition team will always be available for assistance. Rates begin at $6,990 per person double occupancy.

Lindblad is also offering two additional itineraries in Baja California. Among The Great Whales provides opportunities for close encounters with whales, with departures from January to March 2012. Journeys in the Sea of Cortez offers guests the chance to experience an exploration of the marine and desert life of Baja California. Departures are Dec. 26, 2011, and Jan 2 and Dec. 15, 22 and 29, 2012. For more information, call 800-EXPEDITION or visit

Hurtigruten's Array Of Diverse And Rarely Visited Ports Offer Unique Insight Into Antarctica's Natural Wonders, Wildlife And History

Hurtigruten invites guests to discover the chinstrap penguins on Half Moon Island, the ring-shaped volcanic caldera of Deception Island, the splendor of Paradise Bay and the British history of Port Lockroy - among other, less visited ports - on seven Antarctic itineraries during the 2011-2012 season. The once-in-a-lifetime voyages delve into the unspoiled wilderness of the "White Continent" as the deluxe expedition ship MS Fram traverses the still waters of Lemaire Channel, and navigates between the building-sized icebergs of the Antarctic Sound. The 12- to 20-day expedition voyages - with departures available from Nov. 3, 2011 to Feb. 23, 2012 - include "Shackleton's Antarctica," which follows in the historical sailings of Sir Ernest Shackleton, and "Chilean Fjords & Antarctica," a voyage that takes in Tierra del Fuego. Fares range from $6,190 to $17,105 per person, double; higher rates are for suites.

Lectures from experts such as ornithologist Manuel Marin, and Rudolph Thomann, a conservationist with a PhD in Natural Sciences, lend greater understanding of the varied aspects of Antarctica's highlights, while a selection of optional excursions, including pre- or post-cruise packages visiting Machu Picchu or the Iguazu Falls, allow guests to customize their adventures. Aside from the ports that are popular on many Antarctica itineraries, Hurtigruten also includes a range of rarely visited options, weather dependent:

• Yankee Harbour: a natural safe haven for sailors in the South Shetland Islands, this former base of operations for early sealers is home to nearly 4,000 pairs of Gentoo penguins, known for the white stripe across the top of their heads.

• Neko Harbour: hidden away in Andvord Bay between the mountains and glacier walls of the peninsula, the harbor is home to an Argentine refuge hut and a Gentoo penguin colony - and is one of the rare ports where ships may land.

• Petermann Island: situated in the breathtaking Penola Straight, a 7km wide channel noted for its icebergs and killer whales, the island offers guests the chance to whale watch and has unbeatable views of the Antarctic Peninsula.

• Wilhelmina Bay: a choice feeding ground for whales and seals, the bay is a perfect venue for views of these two Antarctic animals.

• Brown Bluff: at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, this former volcanic bluff, named for the towering 2,450-foot cliff that dominates its landscape, is home to penguins, kelp gulls and cape petrels - with Weddell seals a common visitor.

• Cuverville Island: located in the Errera Channel, the island affords travelers views of a Gentoo penguin colony - the largest in the peninsula - nesting ashore as the ship navigates between icebergs.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic's Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway's coast and Europe in the spring and fall. The company's fleet of 12 intimate ships, carrying 100 to 646 passengers, allows passengers to enjoy unique destinations in a relaxed atmosphere. Additional information on all of these adventures, as well as brochures and reservations, can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten's visitor-friendly web site,; or by phone: (877) 301-3117; fax (888) 524-2145; for brochures (800) 582-0835, 24 hours a day.

River Cruises Raise Standards in Russia

212-passenger AmaKatarina
Completely renovated ships provide elevators, balconies

By Marilyn Green |

River cruising in Russia offers a number of benefits: tremendous value, especially considering the cost of hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg; access to ancient towns like Uglich and Yaroslavl; remarkably good guides included; and an English-speaking floating home without the bother of packing and unpacking and going from air travel to car or bus. However, the standards have been uneven and, now, the cruise lines are offering drastic renovations; this year brings significantly upgraded vessels from lines including AmaWaterways, Viking River Cruises and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.

Ama launched the newest addition to its fleet on May 10 — the 212-passenger AmaKatarina, which was rebuilt from the hull up with balconies in 76 of her 106 staterooms, and suites ranging up to 432 square feet in size.

“We are very pleased to introduce the MS AmaKatarina, a ship that represents a new standard of cruising in Russia,” said AmaWaterways president Rudi Schreiner. “We are confident that she will provide the finest river cruise experience available in this highly desirable destination, and further AmaWaterways’ position as the overall river cruise industry leader.”

AmaKatarina’s staterooms have a sitting area, bathroom with separate shower, a refrigerator, a hairdryer, a safe and a telephone for onboard communications. Public areas include the Panorama Lounge, a conference hall for onboard entertainment and lectures, a solarium and a gift shop. The ship also offers Internet access, a fitness center on the Sun Deck, a hairdresser and masseuse, an elevator reaching all four decks as well as an infirmary staffed by an onboard physician.

The cruise line’s12-day Russian Waterways itinerary includes visits to the Kremlin, the Hermitage Museum, a dayboat luncheon cruise on the Moscow River, a ballet performance at the Hermitage Theatre plus a visit to the home of a local Russian family in Uglich.

‪Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has a long history of Russian operation, but problems with the standards of the ships and service led the company to leave the market in 2010.

“Pulling out of Russia in 2010 was a very difficult decision for the company.” said Uniworld president Guy Young. “Uniworld was the first North American river cruise company to offer Russia river cruises catering to North American clientele and Russia has always been a very profitable venture for us. Our goal is to have the highest standard of service and product delivery in every region in which we operate, and we were only prepared to reenter Russia when we could meet these criteria.”

The company’s answer is River Victoria, totally refurbished with riverview staterooms and suites that offer individual climate-control and flat-screen televisions; those on the Neva and Volga decks have full private balconies. The Chagall Lounge has a full-service bar and dance floor, and the Katarina Bar features an outdoor patio. The ship also has a fitness room and massage room, a boutique, a library, a complimentary 24-hour specialty coffee and tea bar and wireless Internet access in public areas.

Uniworld’s 13-day journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg extends from Red Square to the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Hermitage Museum.

Viking River Cruises is continuing its extensive fleet refurbishment program in Russia this year with Viking Pakhomov, which follows in the footsteps of Viking Surkov and Viking Kirov with a complete bow-to-stern renovation; Viking Peterhof is slated for refurbishment in 2012.

Pakhomov has two suites, two single rooms and 102 deluxe staterooms, all riverview, with hotel-style beds (except for the two single staterooms) and amenities such as 26-inch flat-panel televisions and in-room refrigerators. Public areas include the partially shaded Sun Deck with its Sky Bar, the restaurant with panoramic views, the Panorama bar at the forward end of the ship, a library with books and games and a boutique.

Hot and cold breakfast dishes, including made-to-order omelettes, are available for guests, and European specialties adapted for American tastes. For dinner, passengers are treated to a five-course gourmet menu with regional specialties. The ship also stocks a range of regional wines to complement the meal.

Viking Pakhomov sails the 13-day Waterways of the Czars itinerary with visits to sights from Moscow’s Kremlin and Red Square to the GUM department store and St. Petersburg’s Pushkin, Peter & Paul Fortress to the Hermitage.

Explore the Galápagos Islands with Wild Earth Travel

The natural history of the Galápagos Islands has fascinated visitors since their most famous passenger, Charles Darwin, landed there in 1845.

Darwin’s observations during his voyage on the HMS Beagle laid the foundation for the theory of evolution. Today these islands remain a unique place on our planet and an environment almost untouched by humans.

The best way to explore this fascinating destination is on board a small ship expedition cruise. Small expedition cruise vessels allow access to otherwise inaccessible coastlines and close approaches to wildlife, while zodiac landing craft take you to the heart of the action.

Adventure travel specialist Wild Earth Travel offers a number of voyages to these islands on a variety of vessels with itineraries to suit all styles and budgets.

The consummate voyage is a 10-day journey on board the 96-passenger National Geographic Endeavour operated by Lindblad Expeditions. Lindblad has more experience than any other operator in Galápagos and the highest ratio of guests to naturalists, who work exclusively for the company.

Lars Eric Lindblad led the first non-scientific expedition to the Galápagos in 1967 and the company has been travelling there ever since, so their experience in the region is unsurpassed.

As passionate explorers, Lindblad Expeditions approaches these wild places with an entire tool kit designed for exploration. The goal is not to show a place off in the distance, but to truly explore it up close and in depth. On board, guests interact with world-renowned scientists, naturalists and researchers, using state-of-the-art exploration tools such as video microscopes, plasma screens, hydrophones, video chroniclers and bow cams; all of which add significantly to the experience of exploring the Galápagos, and are included in the cost.

Unique to Lindblad are its team of ‘Undersea Specialists’ who dive in remote locations and bring passengers even closer to nature’s wonders through the use of underwater cameras. Guests can swim, snorkel, and kayak almost every day using the complimentary equipment on board, or enjoy the glass-bottom boat which is exclusive to the National Geographic Endeavour.

Also exclusive to the National Geographic Endeavour, is a floating massage platform, along with other comforts such as a wellness programme featuring nature-inspired spa treatments, a fully-equipped gymnasium, and top class cuisine. Prices for the 10-day voyage start from US$5230.00 per person with departures throughout the year.

Wild Earth Travel also offers a range of other small ship expeditions to the Galápagos, including a 10-day voyage aboard the 48-guest National Geographic Islander; and a 14 or 18-day Natural History Galápagos Experience on board the 16-passenger yacht Tip Top IV.


Aurora Expeditions Celebrates Sir Douglas Mawson's Centenary


Aurora Expeditions have three exciting voyages to commemorate the centenary of Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition. In January 1912, explorer Douglas Mawson and 17 others landed at Commonwealth Bay. For the next year, they braved appalling conditions, when the wind speed averaged nearly 80 km/h, occasionally peaking above 320 km/h. Their expedition ranks as one of the most successful in polar exploration history.

Each of Aurora Expeditions' Centenary voyages visits three outstanding regions: Macquarie Island, where Mawson set up a communications base; the East Antarctic coast, a vast region where the polar plateau offers a dramatic backdrop to Mawson's Hut; and New Zealand's exquisite subantarctic islands.

Passengers departing on the first Mawson's centenary voyage will mark the departure from Hobart of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) led by Sir Douglas Mawson on Dec 2 1911—exactly 100 years to the day after the AAE sailed for Macquarie Island. 

 "The Mawson's Huts Foundation is looking forward to welcoming all passengers to the Sir Douglas Mawson Centenary dinner in Hobart on Thursday Dec 1.   Over 500 guests are expected to attend the dinner which is being supported by the Federal and Tasmanian governments and a flotilla of hundreds of ships will farewell your ship as you sail down to the Derwent on the first leg of your voyage to Mawson's Huts at Cape Denison.

Patron of the Foundation the Governor General of Australia Ms Quentin Bryce AC has been invited to attend the dinner which will also mark the beginning of the "heroic era" celebrations for Antarctic exploration which saw the Norwegian Amundsen reach the South Pole ahead of the British Explorer Robert Falcon Scott, his demise and then Mawson's own incredible feat of survival after the loss of two colleagues". David Jensen, Mawson Hut Foundation.

These 26-day voyages are Aurora Expeditions' most adventurous in scope, with extended sea crossings and the chance to explore the pack ice edge, where much of Antarctica's marine life, including whales, seals and penguins, can be found. The voyages will visit Mawson's Hut and the abandoned French base at Port Martin, and the working research station of Dumont d'Urville. Prices start from US$17,475 per person twin share.

The voyage, "Emeralds of the Subantarctic" is a 13-day expedition, which takes you to Macquarie Island and Campbell Island, the Auckland Islands and, depending on sea conditions, a rare Zodiac cruise of the Snares Islands. This region contains the greatest diversity of seabirds in the world, often in astounding numbers. It's a tremendous opportunity to visit a wildlife wonderland. Prices for this voyage start from US$7,325 per person twin share.

Aurora Expeditions will be utilising their ship Akademik Shokalskiy for the East Antarctica voyages The decision to use small, ice-strengthened ships allows Aurora Expeditions to visit areas that other large cruise ships can't. For many years, Aurora Expeditions has been a leading expedition cruise company specialising in Antarctic and European Arctic expeditions. Since the early 1990s, Aurora Expeditions have shared their love of Antarctica with small groups of adventurous individuals keen to explore one of the wildest places on Earth.

Aurora Expeditions' dynamic team all share a great respect for natural and cultural environments. Aurora Expeditions continues to approach expedition travel as a catalyst for making a difference in one's life, and in the world. | +612 9252 1033 |

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Antarctica: A White Dream

Indians are one of the growth markets for inbound tourism the world over. Mumbai businessman, Jitendra Tanti, shares his adventure.


“Antarctic Dream”
It all began by boarding a flight in Mumbai which, via Johannesburg, reached Buenos Aires and then internally flew to Ushuaia – the southernmost city in the world, located in Argentina.

From there, I boarded the “Antarctic Dream” – an expedition cruise liner which would be my home for the next 11 days. Onboard the Antarctica Dream, I travelled to what seemed like another world within the one we live in. No place on earth can compare to the white wilderness presented as an elemental poem comprising of snow, ice, sky, water and rock.

Read Full Story

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Travel & Living 44: Tui Tai Fiji Cruise Feature

Visit your local Harvey World Travel office for your copy of this superb magazine.

Please note: This is a pre-production copy and some editing marks still persist

Friday, 17 June 2011


IN the first annual Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards, SeaDream 1  was placed #1 for Service in the Small Ship category.

"Cruise Critic members who have reviewed the ship are clearly very happy with their cruise experience," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief of Cruise Critic. "SeaDream I gets excellent ratings for service, which is attentive and formal, without being fussy or intrusive."

Cruise Critic, the online guide to cruises, is one of the most influential travel sites on the web, and issued its most recent awards based entirely on reviews/ratings submitted by cruisers who posted a cruise review.  The site provides objective cruise reviews, features, ports-of-call profiles and destination information.

Acknowledging the award, Bob Lepisto, President of SeaDream, said "The crew aboard SeaDream I and SeaDream II are to be thanked for their tireless efforts to ensure each guest is well taken care of. Independent reviews like this reaffirm our claim of providing unbeatable service."

SeaDream Yacht Club which operates sister vessels SeaDream I and SeaDream II,  is rated the 'World's Best Small Ship Cruise Line' (source: the Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships annually from 2003 to 2011).

For further details see travel agents or visit 

(The expression "yachting" is not only a statement about size; it describes a lifestyle aboard the intimate vessels. Chic and stylish, SeaDream's 56-stateroom twin yachts are favored for their elegant informality, personal service provided by a crew of 95, state-of-the-art facilities, inclusive open bar and gratuities, ocean-view accommodations, luxury spa and world class cuisine. Itineraries include the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Amazon. "It's yachting, not cruising.")

Uniworld Sails The Mekong River, 2012




Uniworld Boutique River Cruises introduces a new ship, River Saigon, and expands their Asia river cruises and tours in 2012, so travelers can experience this destination in world-class style and comfort for which Uniworld is known. With over 100 departures on 8 itineraries ranging from 10 to 24 days in China, Vietnam, and Cambodia, travelers can unlock the richness and vast diversity of this region. From the Great Wall of China to Cambodia's Angkor Wat, from Spiritual Tibet to bucolic Vietnam, and from the mighty Yangtze to the languid Mekong, Uniworld offers something for everyone.

Travelers can select from one of Uniworld's two new itineraries including a 15-day "Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong" River Cruise and Tour from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi; or a 24-day "Grand Asia & the Mekong" River Cruise and Tour from Beijing to Hanoi. Or opt to travel from Beijing to Shanghai for Uniworld's re-imagined 10-day land-based tour of "Classic China," or a 12-day "Splendors of China & the Yangtze" River Cruise and Tour.

For those traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia, Uniworld will launch in January 2012, a new beautiful ship, River Saigon, sailing the Mekong River with a maximum capacity of up to 60 guests. With a ship so intimate, travelers can experience this captivating region up close and in style with all the amenities and conveniences needed for the most comfortable trip possible.

Whichever Uniworld river cruise and tour travelers choose in Asia, they will receive exclusive VIP treatment throughout, along with a multitude of included benefits - from river view staterooms onboard beautifully appointed ships to deluxe hotels onshore; most meals, including special theme dinners and home-hosted lunches; captivating, fully escorted shore excursions; exciting entertainment; and so much more.

For more information, please contact your preferred Travel Professional or call Uniworld at 1-800-733-7820 or visit

About Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, the world's only authentic boutique cruise line™, is recognized among the "World's Best River Cruises" by Travel + Leisure. It is the only luxury river cruise line named to Condé Nast Traveler's prestigious Gold List, and has received their Readers' Choice Award for "World's Top Small Ship Line" and won "Best River Ships" in their Readers' Poll, which ranked River Beatrice and River Duchess the #1 and #2 river ships in the world. Uniworld's cabins and dining are also ranked among the top three in the world by Zagat Survey®; Uniworld is the only river cruise line named in the Zagat Survey® amongst the best of the best in the cruise industry.

Uniworld features luxurious boutique ships with an average capacity of 130 guests, included shore excursions, world-class gourmet cuisine, and award-winning hospitality. Uniworld offers over 500 departures sailing on 13 rivers in 20 countries throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Uniworld is a member of CLIA, Cruise Lines International Association

Aurora Expeditions is Moving

Aurora Expeditions is moving office.
From the 20 June 2011, our new office address will be:-

Moran House
Level 3, 13-15 Bridge Street
Sydney 2000
New South Wales

Please note our contact numbers and emails will remain the same.

We look forward to seeing you in our new office.

The Aurora Expeditions team | +612 9252 1033 |

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Star Flyer to Sail Andalucia and Morocco

Star Flyer
Star Clippers will operate a new series of sailings next year from Malaga in southern Spain, exploring the romantic Moorish heritage of Andalucia and Morocco.

The graceful 170-passenger square rigger Star Flyer has scheduled five seven-night cruises round-trip from Malaga with departure dates between September 15 and October 13, 2012.

Ports of call include Casablanca and Tangier in Morocco, for visits to the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, the market and the legendary Rick's Café in Casablanca (a replica of the café featured in the famous film), and the Kasbah and historic Berber town of Tetouan from Tangier.

Star Flyer then sails across the approach to the Straits of Gibraltar, where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean and one of the best spots in the area for whale and dolphin-watching. From historic Cadiz, one of the oldest cities in Spain, there's a chance to visit Seville, Andalucia's vibrant capital, famous for its flamenco dancing and Moorish architecture.

The ship then calls at Gibraltar, an outpost of Britain with a long and fascinating military history, before sailing along the sun-drenched Costa del Sol to Motril, the closest port from which to visit Granada, setting of the magnificent Alhambra’s palace and Generalife Gardens, with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop.

Prices start at $2339 including port charges. A discount of 25% applies for bookings before January 31, 2012. Children may qualify for a 50% discount.

Two further cruises include this historic region in 2012. A six-night voyage from Lisbon to Malaga, departing September 9, calls at Portimao, Cadiz, Tangier, Gibraltar and Motril. There’s another chance to explore part of Andalucia on the first leg of the ship’s transatlantic repositioning cruise, from Malaga to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Departing October 20, 2012, ports of call include Tangier and Cadiz, before spending two days at sea en route to Funchal, Madeira, and a further sea day before Las Palmas.

The new sailings from Malaga are in addition to Star Flyer’s new season of sailing in the Baltic sea from May 2012, that include an ex-UK departure from Southampton on May 5 2012.

MS HANSEATIC with New Cabins and Featuring the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Colours

•     Extensive shipyard renovations
•     New cabins with modern design on two decks

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is visually unifying the appearance of its fleet. After a 13-day-ship yard stay at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg/ Germany, the HANSEATIC now features the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' characteristic colors, an orange and blue band, as well as an orange funnel with the cruise lines logo. The comprehensive shipyard stay consisted of more than 780 items, among them, the renovation and modernization of two cabin decks, the buffet restaurant, and the sauna and pool area. The ship returns into service on June 10, 2011.

"With the charter contract for the HANSEATIC extended until 2018, we opted to add the visual unification of the fleet. Nevertheless, the legendary former logo of the HANSEATIC will be retained as a product logo on board", says Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, explaining the decision.

More than 400 shipyard employees worked in three shifts in order to implement the comprehensive modernisation plan, which included the fundamental renovation of the cabins on Deck 5 and Deck 6. Plenty of wood, new fabrics, furniture and carpeting helped to create a warm atmosphere, and now present a contemporary design for the HANSEATIC. The buffet restaurant Columbus Lounge also sparkles in a new color design and will now be called the "Bistro Lemaire." Further items include the modernization of the pool and sauna area, with a new steam sauna, as well as a multi-mode shower. In total, more than 11,482 sq. ft. of carpet, 621 gallons of paint and 3,937 sq. ft. of fabric were deployed in the context of the shipyard renovations.

New service options now available on the HANSEATIC include: worldwide mobile phone reception via OnAir, Wi-Fi in all cabins, an extended selection of international newspapers in full editions, as well as headsets for passengers during the excursions for better clarity for the experts to be heard.

Shining in new splendour, the HANSEATIC will set sail on 10 June for a four-day cruise from Hamburg via List/Sylt and Binz/Ruegen to Travemuende/ Germany.

Upcoming 2011 Expedition Cruises on the HANSEATIC:


For the first time ever, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is offering guests the opportunity to discover the fascination of the Arctic and the Northwest Passage on a shorter, 19-day cruise with MS HANSEATIC. Sailing through a smaller portion of the Northwest Passage, guests will follow the traces of Amundsen and Franklin and explore the ice coast of Greenland as well as the untouched island world in the north of Canada. The short itinerary departs from Kangerlussuaq/Greenland on August 14, 2011 and ends in Reykjavik/Iceland on September 2nd.


Guests will experience the heavenly and exotic island world between the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius onboard the HANSEATIC in November/December 2011, making a new stop in Nosy Lakandava/Madagascar. This 14-day itinerary departs from Victoria/Mahe on November 22, 2011, and ends in Port Louis/Mauritius on December 5th.

MS HANSEATIC, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' small and beautifully appointed expedition ship, and the world's only 5-star expedition ship according to Berlitz Cruise Guide, was created to provide intensive exploration in the most elegant surroundings for a maximum of 184 passengers. The HANSEATIC is known worldwide for its unsurpassed abilities to navigate and explore difficult waters of the Arctic and Antarctic due to its highest ice class for passenger vessels (E4). The HANSEATIC cruises the world year round, landing in unusual and remote destinations. A shallow draft and high manoeuvrability allow the ship to enter waters larger cruise vessels cannot reach.

Further Information and pictures can be downloaded at For bookings, inquiries or to request a brochure, please look for your nearest sales agent in your country at, link customer service.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Black Sea Cruises aboard the Megayacht Pegasus

Black Sea Treasures Cruises from Istanbul to Odessa and Odessa to Istanbul from only $3520 per person twin share visiting Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

Gateway Travel launches new summer Black Sea Cruises into their product range. The 8 day/7 night cruises operate from July to September aboard the Megayacht Pegasus.

Prices include accommodation in a double or twin cabin; full board; filter coffee; tea & water all day; use of fishing equipment; English speaking cruise escort and VAT. Port taxes of Aud 378 per person are additional.

Contact Gateway Travel on (02) 9745-3333 or for the full itinerary and price details.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Scenic Tours announces new exclusive enrichment experiences for river cruising

Marksburg - Scenic Enrich Medieval Banquet
Leading European river cruise operator Scenic Tours is offering a range of special enrichment activities, included in the cruise fare, for guests to discover the history, culture and cuisine of the countries visited.

From private tours of renowned castles and exclusive dining experiences to visiting local villages and meeting local wine vintners, the Scenic Enrich program allows guests to truly immerse themselves in local cultures and discover the essence of Europe, with a range of new and exciting options on offer for the 2012 river cruise program.

In 2012, guests aboard the 15 day Jewels of Europe River Cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest will have the opportunity to enjoy a day in the life of a traditional German village. With the Scenic Village experience, guests become part of the local community for a day, visiting the homes of local families and choosing from a range of traditional activities, from wine tasting and baking to visiting a dairy, an iron foundry or a private castle to meet a piano maker who restores 18th century pianos. The day ends with a magnificent barbecue with local villagers.

Also new is a host of Scenic Enrich experiences for those joining the 15 day Imperial Jewels of Russia River Cruise between St Petersburg and Moscow. Guests will enjoy a traditional Russian lunch at the old-world wooden 'Podvorie' restaurant in St Petersburg, where all produce and wine is home-grown at the owner's private summer residence. They will also experience a private Russian ballet performance, a home visit to taste authentic Russian tea and piroshky, and a private tour of Moscow's celebrated St Basil's Cathedral. Finally, guests will have the opportunity to meet a real Cosmonaut on a guided tour of Star City space training centre.

Scenic Tours' new river cruising program in France includes a visit to a typical French family homestead in Tournon for a delicious home-cooked meal. Guests will also meet a local wine vintner in the Beaujolais region and sample some of the best wines, cheese and sausages the region has to offer, as well as visiting a real working farm in La Camargue, France's 'wild west', where cowboys tend to herds of bulls destined for bullfighting in Spain.

Glen Moroney, founder and managing director of Scenic Tours commented: "We are delighted to be introducing these exciting new Scenic Enrich activities for 2012. These special events are developed exclusively to appeal to our discerning clientele. We aim to create memorable experiences that allow guests to really have a taste of the region they are visiting, meeting with locals and experiencing authentic European life."

Other popular Scenic Enrich activities include a guided tour of Marksburg Castle in Germany, a stunning building dating back to the 12th century with spectacular views over the Rhine. After a guided tour, guests enjoy a sumptuous private dinner and a night of entertainment provided by knights, musicians and jugglers all in medieval dress.

Also popular is a private concert featuring the music of Mozart and Strauss at the magnificent Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna, a baroque palace which was which was commissioned in the 17th century by the Prince of Liechtenstein. Guests are greeted with a glass of Austrian Sekt on arrival before enjoying an exclusive performance of Viennese music and dancing in the grand concert hall.

Scenic Tours' 2012 river cruise program includes spectacular journeys on beautiful waterways such as the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube aboard the Scenic 'Space-Ships', which are akin to travelling aboard a five-star floating hotel. In Russia, Scenic has exclusively chartered the Sergey Kutchkin – the newest ship on Russia's waterways, offering private outdoor balconies and the highest standards of service - and in France, the MS Symphony has exclusively been chartered to accommodate guests in quintessential Scenic style.

For more information or to book, call 1300 SCENIC (1300 723 642) or visit

Want to do something now to help Save The Kimberley?

Hello Save The Kimberley supporters,
People often ask us what they can do to help in the campaign to stop inappropriate industrialisation of the Kimberley. The threat of an LNG processing precinct is at our doorstep, and quite a lot is happening in the campaign locally and nationally, so please keep updated by reading the 'latest news' page of our website and find us also on Facebook. To support Save The Kimberley financially visit our donations page.
We write to you today to tell you something simple and important that you can do from your own home if only you have a little time to spare.  A letter writing campaign has been launched in Broome to let our environment minister know that many of us have concerns about the gas and we need him to address these concerns. Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to make his final decision on the cultural and environmental assessment for the project sometime later this year, so the more voices he hears, the better. Politicians tell us that letter writing is an extremely effective way to get politicians to listen, so please take the time to write a letter for the Kimberley.

Federal environment minister Tony Burke
Below is part of a letter writing guide from Environs Kimberley. You can see the whole thing at:
We would like to thank E.K. for making this information available to pass on to you.
For greatest effectiveness, please pass this on to any friends, family, or co-workers who might be sympathetic.
Warm regards,
The Save the Kimberley committee

Do you want to help in the fight against a gas hub on the Kimberley coast?
Individual letters to politicians CAN make a real impact – it's well worth your time to send a letter, and to encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do so too. Letter writing is one of the best ways we have to make ourselves heard directly by decision makers!
Letter writing is a tried and true part of the political process – let's make use of it.
Federal Environment Minister Burke needs to hear from the community that we don't want this gas plant to go ahead, and that we consider HIM responsible for making sure it doesn't!
Here are some tips to write a powerful letter:
MAKE IT SHORT AND SNAPPY. i.e. try to get it on to one page.  Your letter doesn't have to be wordy, or spout lots of science facts or figures to be taken seriously.  Write your letter in your own words, with a simple summary of your main concerns.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF. e.g. …I've lived in Broome for xx years/I've visited Broome xx times… I am a small business owner/work in the tourism industry/am a teacher/nurse/doctor…
SAY WHY BROOME AND THE KIMBERLEY MATTERS TO YOU.  e.g. Broome/Kimberley is a very special place to me because:
…it's one of the few places in the world that hasn't been industrialized.
…very strong sense of place/community
…it's culturally diverse and tolerant.
…the Kimberley is one of the last large, intact natural areas in the world…

Let the Minister know why you don't want the Kimberley industrialised, and what most concerns you about the proposed gas hub:
e.g…that the WA government is forcing the project on the community.
…I'm concerned about air pollution.
…I'm worried about what this will mean for my local community.
…I don't want Broome to become just another WA  mining town/the Kimberley to become another Pilbara.
Make it clear that you consider the Minister has a responsibility to show leadership and protect the Kimberley's environment (i.e. decisions shouldn't just be made at the state level)
e.g. … Minister Burke, I understand that you have the final say on whether the gas proposal for James Price Point will go ahead.  You must not let this happen.
e.g … Minister Burke, please tell me what action you plan to take to ensure that the Kimberley, one of the world's great natural areas, is protected? I look forward to your response.

Address your letter to the Honorable Tony Burke MP, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.
The correct salutation to Minister Burke is Dear Minister (i.e. not Dear Mr. Burke or Dear Tony)