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Friday, 28 January 2011

Save up to 25% on PNG & Melanesia sailings with Orion

PAPUA NEW GUINEA & MELANESIA

Departing March & April 2011

There is no better time to visit our PNG and Melanesia with Orion.

Orion is currently offering savings of up to 25% on Category A staterooms and Junior Suites on selected voyages.

Each day of these expeditions will reveal yet another aspect to the wonderful cultural diversity of Papua New Guinea and the breathtaking scenery unique to this remote land. This is still a land of magic and spirits. A land of 800 languages, the cultural diversity will take your breath away. From volcanic tropical fjords and the flooded crater that is Rabaul's Simpson Harbour to pristine white sand beaches, the beauty of Papua New Guinea is wonderfully varied.

MELANESIAN DISCOVERY
16 nights - Auckland to Rabaul departing 7 March 2011
Fares from AU$10,360pp* - SAVE UP TO 25%

PNG CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS
11 nights - Rabaul to Cairns departing 23 March 2011
Fares from AU$7,835pp* - SAVE UP TO 25%

PNG CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS - Australian Geographic Photography Expedition
11 nights - Cairns to Rabaul departing 3 April 2011
Fares from AU$9,400pp* - SAVE UP TO 15%

WEST PAPUA & MALUKU
11 nights - Rabaul to Darwin departing 14 April 2011
Fares from AU$7,765pp* - SAVE UP TO 15%

All the above expeditions have an Australian operated charter flight between Cairns and Rabaul, so expeditions start or finish in Cairns making the experience much more accessible. One way charter flight is an additional AU$600pp.

For more information or to make a booking, please contact your travel agent or our Customer Service Team on (AU) 1300 361 012, (NZ) 0800 444 462 or email info@orionexpeditions.com.au

*Fares are per person twin share in Australian Dollars based on best savings available. Savings are subject to availability.
25% saving available for category A staterooms & Junior Suites on 7 March 2011 and 23 March 2011 departures only. Offer for new bookings only.

Latin Trails Launches New Luxury Cruise Galapagos Grand Odyssey

Starting February 1, 2011 Latin Trails will add another luxury boat to their top quality Odyssey liners and their first class Galapagos Journey Fleet. The new yacht was built from scratch at the port city of Guayaquil having the highest standards of safety and comfort in mind. These accommodations, that include spacious living areas, luxurious and comfortable environments, combined with Latin Trail's signature impeccable service, will be the perfect combination to explore this unparalleled natural sanctuary that is the Galapagos Islands in style.

M/Y Grand Odyssey will have a capacity for 16 passengers, featuring 7 spacious suites and one Master Suite all equipped with panoramic windows to enjoy the marvelous landscapes of the Islands and to open towards the fresh air flow, private bathrooms with hot/cold water, air conditioning with independent controlling for every room, minibar and television. These cabins will also be adaptable to twin bed or to one faux king bed. There will be connected suites ideal for families as well. The Main Deck will feature social areas such as our spacious and comfortable saloon, dining room areas, bar and a mini library. To enjoy the cool breeze and always captivating scenery, visitors will have an alfresco dining area, an open air bar along with two Jacuzzis and Balinese sun beds. Continuing Latin Trail's commitment to service, this new boat will finally be complemented with a Spa area with a complete massage and therapies menu. There will truly be no comparison to Grand Odyssey's Galapagos experience.

The boat will be designed to very high environmental standards to ensure its ecological footprint on this natural relic is minimal and thus assure the Galapagos Islands will continue dazzling future generations to come. This is why the M/Y Grand Odyssey will navigate with the latest technology available and will surpass all necessary safety requirements. This company, with over 20 year's experience, specializes in custom tours for small groups or individuals and only works with the most professional crew available. This crew includes a certified naturalist English speaking guide, available in various other languages as well, which will unlock the mysteries found in every single, unique island. From snorkeling and kayaking with playful sea lions, to hiking side by side with the mythical Galapagos tortoises, to discovering the numerous bird species that led to Darwin's theory of evolution ,to simply relaxing on many colorful beaches, Latin Trails will deliver the journey of a lifetime.

Latin Trail's also announces that starting 2011 they will have more tour length options in all their boats. There will be 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15 day tour that can be made in numerous combinations to adapt to every client's specific needs. With these new additions Latin Trails can offer more varied and complete itineraries so every single visitor leaves cuador entirely satisfied. This will also help reduce stress from every island's ecosystem and reiterate the company's eco-friendly mission. Galapagos Grand Odyssey prices will range from $3,400 to $4,080 in the 5 day tours to $10,500 to $12,600 in the 15 day tours.

Latin Trails, www.latintrails.com

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Variety Cruises Announces New Build for 2012 - Variety Voyager

Variety Voyager, due May 2012

Variety Cruises announces the debut of its newest ship, the M/Y Variety Voyager, with an expected launch date of May 2012. The ship will explore the Mediterranean on Variety Cruises’ new Treasures of South Italy and Malta seven-night program.

Variety Voyager motor yacht will maintain the intimacy of mega yacht cruising that is the cornerstone of the Variety Cruises concept. The 68-meter vessel will host up to 64 guests in 32 fully equipped staterooms, assuring guest’s utmost safety and comfort.

The M/Y Variety Voyager will make its maiden voyage on the new Treasures of South Italy and Malta cruise. Exploring the southern coast and islands of Italy and Malta, the cruise will sail May – October 2012 for seven nights. Ports of call begin with Salerno in southern Italy and the island of Capri. In Sicily, the program will visit Lipari, Stromboli, Giardini Naxas, Taormina, Syracuse, Porto Empedocle and Cefalu, with an additional stop in Malta. Her winter voyages will take her to the Indian Ocean where she operate two cruise programs : a/ In November and again in March, The Gulf and the Treasures of Oman from Muscat /Oman to Abu Dhabi / United Arab Emirates. b / From December 2012 to March 2013, she will cruise along the Western Coast India , from Mumbai or Trivandrum offering a unique insight of India and a world first on small ship

With 28 crewmembers, Variety Voyager guarantees outstanding guest service. Highlights include:

* Indoor restaurant seating 64 guests with expansive floor to ceiling glass windows to showcase ocean views
* Outdoor restaurant area seating 50 people
* Lounge area at main deck seating 64 passengers and adjoining reception area and bar.
* A trendy and spacious outdoor Deck Bar Lounge will feature late-night entertainment from resident DJs and other entertainment
* Wellness Zone on the Marina Deck, offering a Balinese Spa with massages, sauna, steam rooms and an exercise area with various fitness equipment
* The aft section of the ship includes a Marina zone allowing for easy launch of Zodiacs, access to the sea and to watersports equipment
* Internet corner and library
* Audiovisual equipment perfect for groups and other entertainment

www.varietycruises.com

New Mega-Yacht to join Ponant's Fleet

Offering unique sailings to Antarctica in 2011

Explore the majestic glaciers and soaring icebergs of Antarctica with premium French cruise line, Compagnie du Ponant. Debuting in April 2011, Ponant's new mega-yacht L'Austral will be offering unique voyages to the ultra serene destination later this year.

L'Austral is the fifth addition to Ponant's fleet of ships, accommodating up to 264 passengers in its 132 ocean view cabins. Transporting guests to sites inaccessible to large ships, and providing a chic and ultra elegant yacht-like ambiance, L'Austral will impress guests with its sophisticated service and gastronomic cuisine.

Join L'Austral and draw in the mythical wonders of the seventh continent on Ponant's 10-Day Antarctica: Land of Extremes cruise. Offering an incredible spectacle of translucent glaciers, rocks and icebergs, this roundtrip cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina sails through Drake Passage and explores Antarctica's tranquil Neko Bay, Pleneau Island, Cuverville and Deception Island. With various departures available from 21 November 2011 to 30 January 2012, this cruise is priced from $5,071* per person twin share (for a superior cabin) and includes safety and port taxes of $571 per person. (Price based on 21 November 2011 sailing).

Eligible for the international 'green ship' label, L'Austral's eco-friendly design features dynamic positioning to avoid anchoring on the seabed; an optical underwater detection to avoid collisions with whales and other marine life; and diesel engines which reduce exhaust emissions to the environment.

At only 142 metres long, L'Austral's small size offers an intimate environment that caters to your every need. The modern and luxurious amenities include two restaurants that rival the finest restaurants in Europe; a theatre for lectures and performances; a panoramic lounge with Internet access; a sun deck with swimming pool and outdoor cocktail bar; and a spa and fitness centre with massage and steams rooms.

For further information about Compagnie du Ponant or to make a booking, please contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622 or visit www.traveltheworld.com.au.

* Cruise fares have been converted from Euro using an indicative rate of 0.70 and is based on the 21 Nov 2011 L'Austral sailing.

THE ARCTIC UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH SILVERSEA'S PRINCE ALBERT II

On a recent Arctic adventure, guests aboard Silversea's state-of-the-art expedition vessel Prince Albert II were treated to this extraordinary sighting of a family of polar bears. Watching in awe from their zodiac boat, the group felt privileged to witness such an intimate encounter with the King of the Arctic.

The 132-guest Prince Albert II is small enough to explore some of the world's most pristine and fragile landscapes up close. The vessel has been based in the Arctic since June, exploring the Svalbard archipelago, Iceland, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, with the season finishing in September. Prince Albert II will then embark on three Central American expeditions, followed by the Antarctic season which runs from November to February 2011, with 8 round-trip Ushuaia voyages navigating Drake's Passage and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Silversea Expeditions aboard Prince Albert II bring an elegance to expedition cruising. Guests enjoy the largest all ocean view accommodation of any expedition ship, with butler service across all suite categories, and all wines and drinks, gourmet Relais & Châteaux meals and gratuities included. An onboard team of naturalists and special guest lecturers enhance the experience and zodiac boats provide opportunities for thrilling up-close explorations.

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

Silversea Cruises is recognised as an innovator in the luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and the new Silver Spirit, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance.  With the inclusion of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, Silversea Cruises' itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Asia, Caribbean, Antarctica and the Arctic and over 400 fascinating destinations in between. Silversea has been named Best Cruise Line by readers of Luxury Travel Magazine Australia for the past six years. For two consecutive years Silversea has been named 'Best Luxury Cruise Line' in the TravelWeekly Asia Awards and for nine consecutive years "Number One Small Ship Line" in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the USA. In 2007 Silversea was the only cruise line named in the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller's "Top 100 Luxury Travel Experiences", at the same time topping the Small Cruise Line award for the eighth time. Silversea has been selected as "World's Best Small-Ship Cruise Line" seven times in the Travel + Leisure (USA) readers' poll and was rated Number-One luxury cruise line by high-net-worth consumers in the 2008 Luxury Brand Status Index.  

National Geographic Expeditions

Always wanted to travel in the company of National Geographic photographers and writers, well now you can! Lindblad Expeditions in conjunction with the National Geographic Society operate expeditions aboard their fleet of small expedition vessels that include MV National Geographic Sealion in Alaska, MV National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos and MV National Geographic Explorer in the Polar Regions. Renowned for their innovation in expedition travel all expeditions include kayaking and sail with an undersea specialist who brings the underwater world alive.

These expeditions are now available for the first time in New Zealand and Australia exclusively from Wild Earth Travel. Dates and prices for Alaska and Arctic 2011 sailings have just been released and include some great early bird specials. The Alaska expeditions are a particular favourite of ours as they offer an in-depth exploration of the bays, glaciers, scenery and wildlife of the inside passage from Sitka to Juneau, to read the detailed itinerary click here

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

WIN an unforgettable cruising experience to the awe inspiring wonders of Antarctica


Cruiseabout is giving you the chance to WIN an unforgettable cruising experience to the awe inspiring wonders of Antarctica.

Spend 11 nights getting up close and personal with the fascinating marine life, bird species and most spectacular shifting landscapes on Earth.

Encounter leopard seals and immense rookeries of a variety of penguins and witness dramatic glaciers and icebergs from the open deck, while the M/S Expedition brings you safely and comfortably through the marvels of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Expert guides and lecturers offer knowledge insights to bring the natural history to life and create an adventure of a lifetime.

This is an adventure experience you'll never forget as you explore the majesty and enormity of this amazing 7th continent. It truly is like no other place on Earth.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

$1,500 off all Antarctica expeditions with Gap Adventures!


Adventure World has just announced an early booking discount of $1,500 off all* Gap Adventures Antarctica expeditions.

Sale ends 31 Jan 2011

HURRY - call Adventure World today on 1300 295 049 for up to the minute prices and availaiblity. Below are some examples of the tours:

Antarctica Classic in Depth 13 days Expedition - From $5,579*pp

Antarctica Classic 11 days Expedition - From $6,899*pp

Quest for the Antarctic Circle 14 days Expedition - From $6,059*pp

Spirit of Shackleton 20 days Expedition - From $19,019*pp

The M/S Expedition vessel caters for only 124 passengers giving you a personal experience in this unique landscape. Be guided by experienced expedition leaders and naturalists who will brief you on all there is to know of this wild untamed land. Zodiacs will transport you to shore allowing you to get up close and personal with mother nature. This is a truely memorable experience, one not to be missed.

Antarctica: The last frontier…

Massive, magnificent and unforgiving, Antarctica is a continent of superlatives that will leave your mind searching for words to describe it. Each day presents a new discovery, whether you’re cruising through ice-choked waterways, trekking through chattering penguin rookeries, or catching minkes and humpbacks breaching in the pristine waters. The few travellers who are fortunate enough to explore Antarctica’s vast expanses return home forever changed by an experience so awe-inspiring that it reaches to their very core.

www.adventureworld.com.au

Adventure World launches ‘Cruise Adventures’

Adventure World, the Australian company founded in 1979 by industry veteran Peter Newsom that was bought by NRMA Travel in 2007, has launched a brochure that showcases small ship and expedition cruises around the world.

‘Cruise Adventures’ includes products from American Safari Cruises and InnerSea Discoveries that Adventure World now represents in Australia following the demise of Cruise West which it represented for more than 30 years.

‘Cruise Adventures is our selection of the very best small-scale adventure voyaging has to offer,’ Adventure World’s head of product and marketing, Neil Rodgers, said.

To mark the launch of ‘Cruise Adventures’ there are special fares from the Amazon to the Antarctic.

They include a three-night Amazon River cruise from Manaus aboard the classic three-masted sailing ship Desafio for from A$872 per person twin-share and a night’s accommodation in Ushuaia before a nine-night round voyage to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula aboard the 120-passenger Expedition for from A$8,189.

The ‘Cruise Adventures’ collection has a wide range of Nile, Mekong, Yangtze and Ayeyarwady River products, as well as everything from voyages to the Galapagos Islands to sailing holidays around Croatia.

www.adventureworld.com.au

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Blue Lagoon Cruises extends 50 per cent offer into February

Fiji's Blue Lagoon Cruises has extended its current 50 per cent discount on three, four and seven day Yasawa Island cruises departing from now until 28 February 2011.

The special offer means pricing for a three-day all inclusive cruise now starts from just AUD215* per person twin share.

Four-day cruises are priced from AUD300* per person twin share while seven-day itineraries lead in at AUD825* per person twin share.

Pricing includes all onboard accommodation, all main meals, morning and afternoon tea, cruise and cultural activates.

For cruise reservations telephone Blue Lagoon Cruises in Lautoka, Fiji, on +679 666 1622, facsimile +679 666 4098, via email on reservations@blc.com.fj or online at www.bluelagooncruises.com.

*Conditions apply. All cruises are subject to availability. Please note prices do not include international airfares or beverages (other than tea or coffee).


Video: Expedition Cruising Highlights



Saturday, 22 January 2011

Captain Cook Cruises Discovery Cruise Sale

Discover Australia & Fiji with Captain Cook Cruises

Discovery Cruise Sale


Captain Cook Cruises is welcoming in 2011 with a Discovery Cruise sale offering 20% off their 2 night Sydney Weekender cruise and all three, four and seven night Murray River and Fiji cruises.

The Discovery Cruise sale is on sale until 31 March 2011 and valid for travel until 31 March 2012.

The 2 night Sydney Weekender cruise aboard the MV Captain Cook Explorer is the harbour's only overnight accommodated cruise and passengers will discover the true magic and beauty of Sydney Harbour.

The ship, which accommodates 120 passengers, sails every Friday evening at 6pm from No.1 King Street Wharf, Darling Harbour for a two night leisurely cruise packed full of fine food and wine, spectacular views, sightseeing, excellent service, exciting shore excursions, music, dancing and relaxation.

The Explorer lives up to its name as passengers visit and explore the most beautiful areas accessible by water; Watson's Bay, the Rocks, Bradley's Head, Botanical Gardens, Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers - over 250 kilometres of foreshore and beaches on one trip.

Sydney Weekender sale prices start from AUD$382 per person twin share and include all meals and most activities.

Captain Cook Cruises three, four and seven night Murray River cruises aboard the PS Murray Princess cruise between Blanchetown and Murray Bridge for 280kms of incredible terrain, wildlife and Australian history and culture.

Each day features exciting day trips to historic ports, sacred Aboriginal sites, a sheep station and woolshed, tastings at vineyards and a native wildlife shelter. Passengers can also sit back and enjoy the amazing scenery as the Murray Princess cruises past towering limestone cliffs, through picturesque gorges and along riverbanks lined with mallee scrub, red gum forests and century old stone causeways.

For bird and animal lovers, the lowlands attract an amazing array of Australian wildlife and over 350 species of birds. Led by on-shore guides, passengers can enjoy nature walks, eco-tours and learn about the ecology of the river.

Murray Princess sale prices start from AUD$622 per person twin share for the 3 night Discovery Cruise and include all meals, accommodation, most tours, scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or onsite car parking and all onboard facilities.

Discover the pristine beaches, turquoise waters and remote villages of the 'real' Fiji on Captain Cook Cruises three, four and seven night Yasawa Island cruises aboard the 120-passenger, fully accommodated MV Reef Escape cruise ship.

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

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

Stay on-board and be pampered at the ships Senikai Day Spa, or simply relax on the sun deck by the spa or pool or grab a drink at the pool bar.

Fiji sale prices start from AUD$639 per person twin share for the 3 night Southern Yasawa Islands cruise and includes all meals, accommodation, tours and all onboard facilities.  Family cabins are also available for 2 adults and 2 children ages 5 -17 years from AU$1548


For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit www.captaincook.com.au.


Antarctica: Where the ice is nice

Where the ice is nice



Penguins, bergs and more from East Antarctica with Heritage Expeditions. Blue, blue and white. www.ewenbell.com

WIN! A LUXURY 10 NIGHT ORION EXPEDITION CRUISE FOR 2 TO THE KIMBERLEY VALUED AT OVER $21,000


 

Australian Traveller - the nation's premier travel magazine - is your authoritative and trusted guide to this great country.

Written by Australians, for Australians travelling in Australia, every issue is packed with reviews you can trust, spectacular journeys you can actually do and the best photography published in the country. Australian Traveller is honestly Australian.

Buy three gift subscriptions and get one free. To take up this offer email subs[at]australiantraveller.com with a contact number and preferred time for us to call you.


Subscribe or Renew NOW & You Could Win!

A LUXURY 10 NIGHT ORION EXPEDITION CRUISE FOR 2 TO THE KIMBERLEY VALUED AT OVER $21,000 Accommodation in a Category A Ocean View Stateroom cabin for two people with gourmet onboard meals (including 24hr room service).

Zodiac transfers and shore excursions, plus lectures and briefings by the specialist Expedition Team.

Choose from one of thirteen expeditions (from 25 April 2011 to 3 September 2011, subject to availability). Flights not included. For the full itinerary and voyage dates, visit www.orionexpeditions.com


 

Orion is the world’s latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities. With 75 crew and a maximum of just 106 guests, the multi award winning Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Orion’s ten-night Kimberley voyages combine the contrasts of exploring the ancient and magnificent Kimberley wilderness with its ancient aboriginal rock art, incredible at-sea experiences and the historic pearling town of Broome with its cafés and art galleries. For the full itinerary and voyage dates, visit www.orionexpeditions.com

Friday, 21 January 2011

Windstar Cruises named one of the 'Best Cruise Lines'

Windstar listed on Condé Nast Traveler's 2011 Gold List

Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore the world's most secluded harbours and coves, has been recognised by luxury travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, as one of the 'Best Cruise Lines' in its prestigious annual Gold List.

Windstar's ongoing commitment to ensuring a luxurious and enriching cruise experience for its guests has ensured its consistent presence on the Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List. Acknowledging the world's best hotels, resorts and cruise lines, this esteemed list is based on the magazine's annual Reader's Choice Survey. Condé Nast Traveler's readers have awarded Windstar an overall average score of 84.3 out of 100 for various criteria including: itineraries, cabins, service, food, design, activities and excursions.

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 a number of unique itineraries throughout Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas.

In April, photography enthusiasts can enjoy a visual feast as celebrity portraitist and travel photographer John Russo, joins Wind Surf's 7-day Lisbon to Barcelona sailing, to share his photography secrets. Russo has photographed high list celebrities including Kevin Costner, Eva Longoria and John Travolta and his work has featured on the covers of Vogue, Elle, GQ and Esquire. Whilst being transported through the picturesque towns and cities of Tangier, Morocco; and Malaga, Almeria, Cartagena and Ibiza, Spain; guests will enjoy two lectures by the top celebrity photographer. Priced from AU$2,323 per person twin share including NDAs and taxes, this cruise departs 17 April 2011. (REF: CatB/GSA)

Discover the hidden delights of the Mediterranean and explore ancient civilisations on Wind Star's 7-day Athens to Venice cruise. Ports of call include Athens, Monemvasia and Pylos, Greece; Dubrovnik, Trogir and Pula, Croatia; and Venice, Italy. Departing 16 July 2011, this cruise is priced from AU$3,476 per person twin share, including NDAs and taxes.  A reverse sailing from Venice to Athens is also available on 30 July 2011. (REF: CatB/OnSale)

In addition to Condé Nast Traveler's honour, Windstar has been recently recognised by some of the most notable names in the travel and lifestyle world. Celebrated Living, American Airlines' prestigious publication for first class passengers, named Windstar as the "Best Small-Ship/Mid-Ship Cruise Line" on their Platinum List for the fourth time in a row.

Windstar was recently 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". Windstar was also recognised on Condé Nast Traveler's list of "Best Cruise Lines" for 2010 and all three Windstar yachts were honoured in the "Best Small Ships" Reader's Poll.

To make an enquiry or booking, please contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622 or visit www.traveltheworld.com.au <http://www.traveltheworld.com.au/>

Cruise to Australia's Kimberley Region with Aurora Expeditions


One of Australia's last great frontiers, the Kimberley sprawls across the isolated north-west of Australia, sparsely populated and wildly adventurous. Wrapped in burnished red rock walls and a stunning turquoise ocean, the areas magnitude and imposing, unspoiled grandeur will not only touch your spirit but leave an imprint on your soul. There is something vastly unique about this area.

Australian adventure company, Aurora Expeditions, is offering the opportunity to explore this timeless land with three voyages on board the 46-passenger vessel, Coral Princess. The cruise is equipped with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable staff on a small group journey set apart by size, skill and flexibility. Your unique adventure is also heavily committed to education and environment preservation.

The cruise will be led by legendary Kimberley expeditioner Mike Cusack of Australian Geographic's first 'wilderness couple' fame, who offers a special insight into one of Australia's least visited areas. Also on board as a guest lecturer will be renowned art historian and author, Dr Garry Darby who will unravel the mysteries of Aboriginal Bradshaw rock art and the famous Wandjina spirit paintings.

Over the course of your exploration into the Kimberley, your senses will be overwhelmed with ancient landscapes, sweeping gorges, powerful waterfalls, abundant wildlife and impressive Aboriginal cultural sites and haunting rock art.

Prices for the 11-day cruise start from $6950 per person twin-share, including all meals on board, shore excursions and lectures.

Special Offer - Book on a Kimberley voyage before 31 January 2011 to receive FREE accommodation and tour package valued at approximately $280! The package includes one night's accommodation in Broome and an indigenous tour of Minyrr Park tour with local Aboriginal Elder, Micklo Corpus.

Kimberley Coast Information Evening- Aurora Expeditions will be holding a FREE Kimberley Coast educational evening with guest speaker - Dr. Garry Darby on 9th February in Sydney, Australia. Please send an email to auroraex@auroraexpeditions.com.au for more details and to reserve your place.

For further information contact Aurora Expeditions on +612 9252 1033 or 1800 637 688 (Freecall from Australia) or visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au

Experience the Kimberley Coast & the Legendary Spirit of the Ghan in One Amazing Holiday

Coral Princes Cruises - Oceanic Discoverer

Infused with the essence of all things Australian, Broome & The Kimberley Holidays has released a spectacular trip of a lifetime combining The Ghan - the legendary rail journey through the heart of Australia - with a wilderness cruise of the pristine and remote Kimberley coast onboard the Oceanic Discoverer.

Broome & The Kimberley Holidays is Australia's leading specialist travel company for The Kimberley and beyond, based in Broome, WA. The Kimberley and The Outback are our home and in our region, local know-how goes a long way. We've combined two of our favourite experiences in this 'journey of a lifetime'.

Our NEW "18 Night Ultimate Cruise/Rail Expedition" features 10 nights aboard Oceanic Discoverer, cruising the sparkling waters of the Kimberley coast between Broome & Darwin, pre & post accommodation & touring in both Broome & Darwin, plus Gold service accommodation aboard The Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide as follows:

Itinerary:

DAY 1-2: Depart Adelaide on The Ghan for 2 nights aboard this iconic train.

DAY 3: Arrive in Darwin, Australia's most unique capital city and stepping stone to an awesome array of adventures. Accommodation is included at Mantra on the Esplanade Darwin for 3 nights.

DAY 4: Join Aussie Adventure Holidays on a Litchfield National Park/Waterfalls day tour. You will have the opportunity to visit the main falls of Tolmer, Florence and Wangi Falls plus the delightful Bluey Rockholes, with plenty of time to relax in the crystal clear refreshing waters.

DAY 5: A dinner cruise on the sailing schooner "Alfred Nobel" in Darwin Harbour is the perfect way to spend a balmy Darwin evening.

DAY 6-16: Your cruising adventure begins with Coral Princess Cruises as you board Oceanic Discoverer for a 10 night exploration voyage to the Kimberley. Experienced guides supervise the expedition itinerary, maximising the experiences offered by the breathtaking scenery, while a specially designed excursion boat and inflatable Zodiacs allow you to explore the many gorges and rivers.

DAY 16-18: Arrive in Broome, once the pearling capital of the world, a unique and exotic town with a romantic and often flamboyant history. 3 nights accommodation is included at Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa. There are many additional touring options available in Broome - take a town tour to learn more of Broome's fascinating history, visit Willie Creek Pearl Farm for an insight into the fascinating process of cultured pearling or a scenic flight over the rugged inland gorges of the Gibb River Road.

DAY 19: Depart Broome for your home port.

Packages start from $10,999 per person and more information can be found by following this link.

Reservations contacts: 1300 245 565 or reservations@broomekimberley.com
For more information visit www.broomekimberley.com.au

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

InnerSea Discoveries Reports Strong Inaugural Sales


InnerSea Discoveries has reported that sales are strong for inaugural cruises aboard its two expedition ships that are scheduled to launch in May. The ships will offer seven-night cruises in Alaska’s Inside Passage, which can be combined for 14-night Ultimate Adventure cruises, through September. In particular, bookings for the 14-night cruises are fours times higher than expected, according to Tim Jacox, the line’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.


The 50-passenger ships, the Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer, will sail between Juneau and Ketchikan (and reverse) on a Western Coves and Eastern Coves itinerary. The itineraries will bypass the usual ports visited by most large ships in favor of a deeper wilderness experience that includes excursions like hiking and kayaking. Between Ketchikan and Juneau, the only port visited is the Tlingit village of Klawock, where guests will meet with locals, hear stories about their culture, visit an active carving shed and totem poles, and explore the area.

The ships will also visit five wilderness areas -- Capitan Passage and Devilfish Bay in Tongass National Forest, Little Port Walter and Mist Cove, Patterson Bay and Deep Cove, The Brothers Islands and Frederick Sound, and Endicott Arm and Ford’s Terror Wilderness. Highlights will include a full-day of whale watching in Frederick Sound; up-close view of Dawes Glacier, an actively calving tidewater glacier; hiking in remote areas; and an exploration of El Capitan Cave, the largest known cave in North America.

The Eastern Coves itinerary will spend more time exploring the wilds of the mainland, including two wilderness areas, plus LeConte Bay and Misty Fjords National Monument. Between Juneau and Ketchikan, the only port call will be Wrangell, where guests will land by skiff at Chief Shakes Tribal House for native Tlingit storytelling, visit Kiksetti Totem Park, and the museum or take an optional tour such as a river boat ride up the nearby Stikine River or go mountain biking.

Each ship will carry 28 kayaks, 10 stand-up paddle boards and a limited number of wetsuits, rain gear, binoculars, trekking poles, Osprey daypacks and snorkeling equipment. Hiking and kayaking trips will be in groups 12 or fewer guests and will range from short excursions to eight-hour expeditions. Independent touring also is available. In addition, guests will be able to participate with crew to collect samples and data to submit to the forest service and other organizations. And one night each week, guests may embark on an optional overnight kayak trip with full camping gear and guide provided.

On board will be hot tubs, a sauna, exercise equipment, yoga on deck and 24-hour espresso/coffee/tea service. Cabins will feature memory-foam mattresses and flat-screen TVs with DVDs and iPod docks. An underwater bow camera will stream live video of wildlife, including dolphins surfing the bow wake on the TVs. The main salons will echo the feeling of a 1940s National Park Service Lodge and a neighborhood pub. Meals will feature fresh ingredients, including locally caught Alaskan seafood.

Fares for the seven-night cruises start at $1,795 per person, double, and include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of $167 per person per week, as well as massages, alcoholic beverages and gratuities, are extra. Select dates are designated as Family Discoveries with a focus on activities tailored for all ages. Kids 12 years and younger receive a 25 percent discount on all departures and 30 percent on Family Discoveries voyages. For more information, call 877-901-1009 or visit www.innerseadiscoveries.com.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Aurora's Antarctic Exploration Evening - 2 February 2011

Celebrating 100 years of Australian Antarctic Exploration!

Join Aurora Expeditions and the University of Adelaide for an evening of Antarctic exploration, as we get ready to celebrate the centenary of Sir Douglas Mawson's 1911 Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

Learn more about Antarctica and the torturous conditions our explorers battled as they risked their lives in the name of science and discovery.

Listen to environmental scientist, author and adventurer, Tim Jarvis, relive his account of retracing Mawson's footsteps of his famous survival journey of 1912. University of Adelaide fellows, Kate Selway and David Kelsey, will share their passion for Antarctica's geology, discussing current research projects and findings.

Event Details:-

Wednesday 2 February 2011
6pm to 8pm
The University of Adelaide

Other Events:

Aboriginal Art Event SYDNEY
The Rocks, Sydney
Wednesday 9 February 2011
6pm – 8pm
Speakers: Dr Garry Darby (Art Historian, Lecturer, Author & Aurora Expeditions' Guide)

Arctic & Russia Event SYDNEY
Arctic Geology & Russian Culture Evening
The Rocks, Sydney
Wednesday 16 February 2011
6pm – 8pm
Speakers: Dr Paul Willis (Geologist, ABC Science Reporter & Aurora Expeditions' Guide) & Dr Larissa Koroleva (Lecturer at University of NSW)

Bookings are essential, as places are limited.

To reserve your place and for venue details please call 1800 637 688 or email auroraex@auroraexpeditions.com.au.

For more information please visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/events.

Cruise Weekly: PS Murray Princess

Vessel: PS Murray Princess
Location: Port of Mannum, SA. 34°54′S 139°18′E

It seems almost perverse to be enjoying a return to normal Murray River itineraries for Captain Cook Cruises' giant sternwheeler, PS Murray Princess, while we watch the heart-rending dramas unfold in Queensland, Victoria and parts of New South Wales.

True, the highest river levels in almost a decade has meant that we can now travel, theoretically, from Mannum to Albury. But access to the Riverland port of Renmark is sufficient for a resumption of normal services curtailed until just last month because of continued low levels.

During the halcyon days of river commerce in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the 250 hard-working paddle steamers were regularly thwarted by the seasonal vagaries of the Murray's ebb and flow. With crippling floods occurring every decade or so, sometimes vessels were stranded in the low season for up to three months or more until the snow melt flows washed downstream, restoring life to the river. From 1913, 13 locks and weirs were installed on the river in an attempt to control the levels and make year-round navigation possible. But the plan was too late to save the dwindling river trade, rapidly being overhauled by road and rail transport. While primary producers turned to land transport to get their wool, wine and fruit to market on time, tourist demand kept the big paddlewheelers afloat. Taking a few days for a leisurely cruise along the Murray River has been a South Australian tradition for the best part of a century with comfort and refinement gradually increasing to its peak with the Murray Princess, the largest and grandest vessel yet.

Capable of carrying 120 passengers in comfort akin to an ocean-going vessel, the atmosphere aboard probably hasn't changed a great deal over the years, and judging by the mood, there is little incentive to modify the ambience. Sure, it's tailored to an older demographic, 50-to-infinity, with everything you'd expect. Entertainer Bobby Hunter on keyboards, a self-confessed former 'bodgey', rips out all the nostalgic tunes with electronic assistance as well as calling the bingo and running the trivia quizzes. Captain Roy Weedon regularly comes down from the wheelhouse to MC events in the dining room such as the hilarious fancy dress night. There are shore excursions like the woolshed at Sunnydale, aboriginal heritage at Ngaut Ngaut and a town tour of historic Swan Reach, many places that formed my own childhood memories of weekends water-skiing and frolicking on the Murray in the '70s. But the majority of your time will be spent in enforced relaxation as you watch the spectacular limestone cliffs roll past at six knots.

Captain Cook Cruises offer 3, 4 and 7-night, all-inclusive itineraries departing Mannum, 50 kilometres east of Adelaide.

For more information, visit www.captaincook.com.au.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Ocean Magazine - Ocean Cruising - Issue 35


A New Chapter in Antarctic Expedition Cruising

Canadian polar travel specialist, One Ocean Expeditions, represented in Australia by Active Travel, have secured the long term use of the celebrated Russian polar research vessel, Akademik Ioffe for the next five years, begining a new chapter in travel to Antarctica.

Over the past decade, consumer interest in Antarctica has increased exponentially, with a number of expedition cruise companies operating two- and three-week voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falklands and South Georgia.

Apart from the occasional innovation, such as sea-kayaking or overnight camping on the Peninsula, the various operators have, to a large extent, offered a very similar product, the main differences being the size of ship, quality of accommodation and length of cruise.

In 2011/2012 this is all set to change.

Andrew Prossin, a Polar veteran and CEO of the highly successful One Ocean Expeditions, says "Antarctic product is in danger of becoming stale. Each year we see new players coming into the market but they are offering nothing new. It's becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to tell one cruise from another".

Prossin is an innovator by nature. He was the first to introduce the sea-kayaking option to the Australian market and the first to offer overnight camps on the Antarctic Peninsula more than a decade ago.

For the 2011/12 season he is planning a raft of new ideas that will put One Ocean Expeditions in a league of its own. Among the planned innovations are:

- Cross country ski touring
- Kite surfing
- Overnight sea kayaking excursions away from the ship
- Full day excursions with a professional photographer

Such activities have rarely, if ever been offered before in Antarctica, but Prossin's list of new ideas doesn't stop here....

He has just signed a contract to charter the well-known Russian research vessel, Akademik Ioffe, for the next three seasons and is talking to the Russians about integrating tourism and research. The Akademik Ioffe is a highly sophisticated research vessel still used by the Shirshov Marine Institute in Moscow. It is likely that Russian scientists will be on board during the 2011/12 season to conduct a research programme, which will add another element of interest for cruising passengers. The Russians, of course, are thrilled they may be able to use their ship for the purpose for which it was built.

Several onboard changes are also planned, including an indoor climbing/bouldering wall, and a spa and Jacuzzi. Cabin and facility upgrades will also be implemented to offer even better value for money. Our fleet of Zodiac inflatable boats will be joined by a 30 foot long RIB powered by a 250hp engine, to allow extended trips away from the ship of up to 10kms and to act as a 'mother ship' to the rest of the Zodiac fleet.

One Ocean's Australian agent, Active Travel, will shortly be releasing the 2011/12 brochure. Dates and rates for the 2011/12 season are available now. For details call 02-9264 1231 or visit www.activetravel.com.au

Aurora Expeditions' Kimberley Adventures educational event (Sydney)

Fine arts and aboriginal arts specialist lecturer to share insights into Aurora Expeditions' Kimberley Adventures

Aurora Expeditions are offering you the chance to meet Dr. Garry Darby, an art historian, lecturer and author specialising in Aboriginal art. Garry will give an illustrated talk about Wandjina and Bradshaw art and share his own personal insights of the Kimberley region.

The Kimberley event will take place from 6-8pm on Wednesday the 9th of February at Aurora Expeditions office ( Suite 201, Level 2, 88 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney)

Garry lectures at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University and has three degrees in fine arts. He has studied at the University of New England and the University of Sydney. He specialises in Aboriginal art and has led flying study tours into Central Australia, Arnhem Land and the Kimberley for the past ten years. Garry acts as consultant for corporate collectors and Sydney galleries and regularly teaches courses about all aspects of Aboriginal and western art history at Sydney institutions and colleges. In 1999 Dr Darby was part of a team which staged the outstanding exhibition "Desert Dreaming" at the United Nations Building, New York.

He has curated a number of exhibitions of Aboriginal art in Sydney including 'Desert Dreamtime' at Kambala, 'Exploring the Dreamtime' at Trinity Grammar School and "Wandjina!: Art of the Kimberley" at Macquarie University. In the latter he worked very closely with Mowanjum artist Donny Woolagoodja.

Aurora Expeditions' own expedition experts will also be on hand to answer any questions about travelling to the Kimberley Coast in 2011 / 2012 or any of their other destinations.

For many years, Aurora Expeditions has been a leading travel company specialising in Antarctic and High Arctic expeditions. Over the years, Aurora Expeditions has expanded its scope from polar exploration to include new, rarely explored destinations such as Papua New Guinea, the Kimberley and the Russian Coast. In its quest to seek destinations that push the boundaries of travel, Aurora Expeditions has purposely kept the number of participants on each departure small, allowing more intimate encounters with wildlife and cultures, and lessening its impact on the regions visited.

Along with the guidance of its experienced founders, 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.

Bookings for the 'Educational Evening' are essential as places are limited. To book your seat, please call now on 02 9252 1033.

For more information on Aurora Expeditions, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/events <http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/events>

Orion's Russian Far East. So far. So good.

Geographically closer to Los Angeles than Moscow, Russia's Far East, epitomised by the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands, remains a rarely visited region of grand proportions and power - both natural and man-made.  

If names that sound like places from a Cold War novel appeal - Petropavlovsk, Zhupanova, Russkiya and Yankitcha – then you will be fascinated by Orion Expedition Cruises' voyages to a part of the world that, until recently, remained off-limits to the West.  

Orion II's 2011 voyages to this land of ice and fire are designed for modern day adventurers to experience places as yet untouched by tourism, all the while from  the comfort and security of a five star specialist expedition cruise ship, your base camp from which to explore in the company of the specialist expedition team.

Like opening a Russian Doll, each layer revealing another beneath, the Russian Far East is a region of surprises. From Petropavlovsk, home to Russia's atomic submarine fleet, gilt statues and memorials to the Red Army, to villages with picturesque Russian Orthodox onion dome churches, succulent barbecued salmon and traditional vodka tastings, these Orion II voyages provide varying perspectives and insight into lands of modern nuclear and primal volcanic power. 

Arm yourself with a camera to capture enduring memories of impressive wildlife - here brown bears, not humans, sit at the top of the food chain. Huge bird colonies dot cliffs and large seal rookeries are scattered along the coast; an array of predators from arctic foxes to orcas and massive raptors roam freely. Zodiac expeditions will take you close to the action.

The region boasts 160 volcanoes, 29 currently active. On this expedition, at Ushishir, Orion II's Zodiacs will transport guests into a flooded caldera to investigate the hydrothermal field with its steaming fumaroles, sulphur crystals, hot springs and boiling puddles, with the scent of hydrogen sulphate hanging in the air.  

From a Russian military-style helicopter access the Valley of the Geysers, with its 200 thermal spouts ejecting steam; in the shadow of a snow covered volcano visit an abandoned Soviet air base, complete with anti aircraft guns. Join the expedition team ashore in the sparsely inhabited Kuril Islands to meet the inhabitants who still make their living from a sea regarded as among the most productive in the world.  

Life back onboard is by way of contrast. Combine a relaxed onboard ambiance, extensive and unexpected range of facilities including boutique, massage and health spa, expansive accommodation options, satellite television, 24 hour room service and a welcoming, thoughtful, crew – including a dedicated expedition  team - and you will discover it's not just what Orion does, it's the way it's done that sets the benchmark for expedition cruising in Australia and Asia. 

PLEASE NOTE: some aspects of these itineraries may change as arrangements are finalised. Check for latest updates on www.orionexpeditions.com  

Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises can be obtained by visiting the website www.orionexpeditions.com  

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

Pricing on board all Orion and Orion II voyages is in Australian dollars. Orion's voyages to the Russian Far East all start and finish in places with international flight access. Sapporo and Petropavlovsk are the points of embarkation or disembarkation with Orion Expedition Cruises providing an exclusive connecting charter to streamline access or departure.

Fares Guide:

Early booking savings available 

2011 Natural Treasures of the Russian Far East Expedition 10 night fares begin from $8,150 per person for an Ocean View Suite/Category B. Junior Suites from $11,300 per person and Penthouse Suites with balcony are $16,400 per person 
 
Expedition fares per person, twin occupancy, include accommodation, all meals, landings, port charges, gratuities and selected activities ashore.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Emeraude Classic Cruises Adds Soft Adventure in Halong Bay


Emeraude Classic Cruises is introducing a three-day/two-night soft adventure itinerary in Vietnam’s Halong Bay. The Emeraude's new soft adventure options run from rock-climbing to butterfly trekking on Cat Ba Island. In between, there’s middle ground in kayaking.

"Halong Bay is so much more compelling when it's not a passive experience," said Kurt Walter, group general manager of Apple Tree Group Hospitality. "Yes, it’s one of the most magnificent seascapes you've ever seen, but when you get out into it, with a paddle in your hands, or your hands on the grit of these limestone karsts, then you've just gained a whole new dimension of experience."

The new program is managed by Slo Pony Adventures, a Vietnam-based travel company run by Onslo Carrington and Erik Ferjentsik, two American-trained outdoor enthusiasts. Participants can book the soft adventure of their choice independently, or as part of a group effort.

For rock climbers, Slo Pony is cultivating 20 different venues around the bay, including the Polish Pillar, a karst that exemplifies the bay's limestone formations. Most climbing for beginners and intermediates takes place at Moody's Beach, where a two-faced crag is laced with easy-to-moderate routes. On Cat Ba Island, Slo Pony leads trekkers through Butterfly Valley in the National Park. Here the experience is less predictable but serendipitous with waterfalls, exotic wildlife and views. On the bay itself, Slo Pony's kayak guides steer Emeraude passengers to deserted beaches and in and out of myriad lagoons.

Halong Bay assumed a prominent spot on the world stage in 1994 after UNESCO inscribed its 1,600 islands and islets on the World Heritage List. As one of 28 finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature, the bay itself is now in the running for a spot as one of the select seven. At present, Halong Bay ranks fifth in the voting for this designation. Launched in 2003, the Emeraude is a near-replica of the stern wheeler that plied these same waters between 1906 and its wreck in 1937. The modern vessel accommodates 74 passengers in 12 superior cabins, 22 deluxe cabins and three suites.

Emeraude Classic Cruises is owned and operated by The Apple Tree Group, a French-owned, Ho Chi Minh City-based company with interests in tourism and hospitality, real estate and construction and import and distribution all over Southeast Asia. Its hospitality properties also include La Residence Hotel & Spa in Hue and the Press Club in Hanoi, as well as the Kamu Lodge on the Mekong River near Luang Prabang, the Villa Maly, a boutique hotel in Luang Prabang and the Nava Mekong, a dinner cruise on the Mekong.

For more information, call 011 84 4 3 934 0888, email sales@emeraude-cruises.com or visit http://www.emeraude-cruises.com/.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Cruise news from the Falkland Islands Tourist Board

Falkland Islands announce positive cruise tourism outlook

The future¹s bright for The Falkland Islands Tourist Board who has just announced its latest tourism forecast for the 2010/11 season.

Tourist arrivals to the British outpost for the current season, which runs from October to April, are expected to reach 67,000, up 32% on 2009 figures, with a predicted spend of £5.3 million.

Also on the rise is arrivals from cruise ships. The Falklands are anticipating a growth of 1.3% in cruise passenger arrivals for the current season (October to April), with  49,011 passengers expected to visit. These statistics dovetail the global upswing in cruising - 1.77 million people are expected to take a cruise next year accordingly to the latest figures released b the Passenger Shipping Association.

A total of 29 ships are scheduled to call at the Falkland Islands this season as an integral part of wider South America or Antarctica itineraries, comprising both expedition vessels and large cruise lines. The Falklands also welcomes four new vessels to its shores this season including Le Boreal and Marina Svetaeva.

³Today¹s cruise passengers are seeking authentic experiences in relatively undiscovered locations. The Falklands offers just this, plus wildlife in abundance and our latest tourism forecast demonstrates the increasing popularity of this destination² commented Paul Trowell, General Manager for the Falkland Islands Tourist Board.

Domestic tourism is also predicted to continue its steady growth at 3% per annum, to reach over 13,500 trips and generate over £1.15 million in expenditure in 2010.

For more information on the Falkland Islands visit <http://www.falklandislands.com>www.falklandislands.com
Become a Falklands fan on Facebook at <http://www.facebook.com/naturesbestkeptsecret>www.facebook.com/naturesbestkeptsecret and follow the tourist board on twitter at <http://twitter.com/FITBTourism>http://twitter.com/FITBTourism
All statistics taken from the Falklands Forecast produced by Acorn Tourism Consulting Ltd UK.

Hapag-Lloyd Expansion in the Luxury and Premium segment with MS EUROPA 2 and MS COLUMBUS 2

•  Commissioning of newly built MS EUROPA 2 in Spring 2013
•  Commissioning of MS COLUMBUS 2 in April 2012
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will strategically expand its product offering  by 2013 with the addition of two ships to its existing fleet. With the newly built MS EUROPA 2 the company will strengthen its leading position in the Luxury segment by Spring 2013. The Premium segment will be enhanced as of April 2012 with COLUMBUS 2.
Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises: "We are pleased to be increasing our product diversity with both ships with the aim of reaching new target groups. The EUROPA 2 is the logical further development and contemporary interpretation of a luxury ship and, as sister ship to the existing EUROPA, will be positioned as a lifestyle-oriented and informal 5-star vessel. The COLUMBUS 2 fulfils the demand for a relaxed, small Premium ship with a modern concept in the German-speaking cruise market, and therefore offers an expansion of this segment, which is attractive for us by its nature and in commercial terms."
The EUROPA 2, with her eleven decks and 258 suites, will accommodate a maximum of 516 passengers and offers the largest amount of space per passenger on a cruise ship, with all-veranda suite accommodation of at least 28 square metres. Spa, penthouse and family suites complete the accommodation range. Seven restaurants, including a sushi Bar, two lounges and four bars will offer culinary diversity and a multi-faceted entertainment programme. A large wellness and spa zone, as well as a variety of sport- and health-oriented facilities, will do justice to the current trend for active holidays and wellbeing. With seven-day combinable cruises to the Mediterranean in the summer months and to distant destinations in winter, the EUROPA 2 will be particularly suited to fulfilling the requirements of guests taking time out from work and of families who are looking for an easy-going holiday in an elegant ambience at sea. Equipped with a fleet of Zodiacs, the EUROPA 2 will also be in a position to offer landings in small harbours and isolated bays off the familiar routes.
The COLUMBUS 2 has eleven decks and with 349 cabins provides accommodation for a maximum of 698 passengers. With just 28 inside cabins and with 89 outside cabins, 170 balcony cabins, 52 penthouse suites and four Vista and six Owners' suites, the Premium ship offers a very high standard of accommodation for this market segment. The spacious cabins have a standard size of 20 square metres. With four restaurants and three bars the ship has a diversity of dining facilities ranging from casual to informally elegant.
Various stages and lounges are available for the recreational and entertainment programme. The pool deck with its stage offers the prospect of summer events in the open air. A generously sized spa and wellness zone, a pool deck with swimming pool and jacuzzis, sunbathing areas, an on-deck jogging course and on-deck driving range ensure active relaxation on days at sea. W-LAN throughout the whole ship, along with Internet access points in the Library and Observation Lounge, enable passengers to remain connected, even on the high seas.
The ship, which was built in 1998 in what is now the STX shipyard in France, will be sailing in spring and autumn on seven-day combinable routes in the Mediterranean. In the summer months COLUMBUS 2 will be offering twelve-day cruises visiting the Nordic countries and sailing the Baltic Sea. In addition, two- to three-day "introductory" cruises, for example at the time of the Hamburg Cruise Days 2012, will give passengers the opportunity to get to know the ship. In the winter months the COLUMBUS 2 will set off on a world cruise to distant destinations.
An extended route preview with information on the COLUMBUS 2, cabins and deck plans will be published on 25th January. Bookings will be taken from that date onward.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is represented in Australia by Landmark Travel, gerd@landmarktravel.com.au or 13 00 13 68 46

North Star Cruises - Late availability on 2011 West Coast Explorer cruise!

Dear Adventure Cruisers
 
Our annual West Coast Explorer is about to get started - Join us on 26th February for a 10 night cruise departing Fremantle and finishing at the Dampier Peninsula.
 
Explore the maritime history along the Western Australian coastline and...
  • Visit the infamous Abrolhos Islands named after Dutch Commander Frederik de Houtman.
  • Catch monster jewfish, snapper or mackerel and let the amazing chefs prepare a culinary delight.
  • Hike to the top of Steep Point -- the most Western point of the Australian continent.
  • Snorkel and dive amongst a variety of marine life including turtles, acrobatic manta rays, and dugongs to name a few
AND to add yet another dimension to this amazing adventure, our helicopter now accompanies the cruise offering* 7 exhilarating scenic flight options including:
 
·         Ningaloo Reef flight - Take to the air and experience the sheer beauty and size of the Ningaloo Reef.
 
·         Montebellos flight– explore this maze of islands, lagoons, reefs and sandy beaches that make up the Montebello Archipelago.
 
·         Dirk Hartog Island– Fly over Dirk Hartog Island, the largest and most historically significant island in Western Australia.
 
*All scenic heli flights are an additional cost and booked once onboard the True North.
 
For more detail on the day to day activities you will encounter on this cruise, please click on the following sample itinerary for more information: http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/wce.asp  
 
Dates for this cruise are 26 February – 08 March 2011
 
Fares start from $8,995 per person.
 
Reserve your cabin now by calling 08 9192 1829 or your preferred travel representative!
 
Contact us at cruise@northstarcruises.com.au or +61 8 9192 1829

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Cruise ship outruns pirates

Spirit of Adventure

A British cruise ship packed with Saga holidaymakers was pursued across the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates.

By Laura Roberts - The Telegraph

Guests on the Spirit of Adventure were ordered to take shelter below deck as a speed boat carrying men thought to be pirates drew alongside.

The incident took place as the vessel, which is operated by a sister company of Saga, travelled from Madagascar to Zanzibar.

Susie Browne, 73, from Enford, Wilts said: "It was a really terrifying ordeal. We were eating dinner and then ordered below deck with our heads bowed. The captain sped up and tried to outrun the pirates.

"Three days ago we had been given a lecture on what to do if a pirate ship bears down on us."

Passengers were having a black tie dinner when a code word was issued to staff over the tannoy and they were moved to a lounge.

Mrs Browne said: "They told us to sit on the floor and the doors were barricaded. We were told they had spotted pirates two miles behind us. We were told to keep our heads down in case they shot us through the windows. Then we were told they were up beside us. Everyone was calm. We are speeding towards Zanzibar."

The ship, carrying 350 passengers, was able to outpace the pirates and dinner was resumed. Naval authorities were alerted.

A Saga spokesman said: "The Spirit of Adventure was followed by a suspect vessel for about an hour this evening. After guests were moved down to the middle of the ship the captain sped up to full speed and the vessel went away. We think it was scouting out the ship. Usually pirates are not interested in passenger ships but in cargo ones which have a higher value. There are well rehearsed procedures that are put in place for this sort of incident."

He added: "The soup may have got cold for a while but we have heated it back up again."

The Spirit of Adventure was due to arrive at a Zanzibar port this morning. It will then stop in Dar es Salaam, Tanga and then Mombassa where the cruise finishes on January 17.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are making enquiries."

In April last year, the cruise ship Discovery was approached by a speed boat of Somali pirates which had rocket propelled grenade launchers on board. It was deterred when crew released rolls of razor wire over the stern rail.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

New Itinerary for Captain Cook Cruises' Murray Princess

PS Murray Princess is largest paddle wheel vessel to operate on the Murray River
More Water in the Murray Brings New Itinerary for Captain Cook Cruises

Captain Cook Cruises has reverted back to its high water itinerary for its four and seven night cruises.

Recent rains over Victoria and New South Wales have filled the Lower Lakes of the Murray River allowing the first significant releases of water through the Murray Mouth since 2006. The river levels at Mannum, where the Murray Princess embarks and disembarks, are now 1.75 metres higher than they were at their lowest level eighteen months ago.

With the increase in water comes an opportunity for passengers aboard the Murray Princess to cruise through Lock 1 at Blanchetown.

"Normally our guests are coached to Blanchetown to view the system of locks that control the river levels. Being able to take our passengers through the lock again is wonderful." Explains Jackie Charlton, Joint Managing Director, Captain Cook Cruises.

Operators along the Murray River, including the Murray Princess crew and river enthusiasts, are flocking to the Murray to see the revitalised river.

The high water level also means increased birdlife and wildlife. Swans, Swamp Hens, Wood Ducks and their young, Dragon Flies, mosquitos, midgies and frogs have returned to the river in abundance. Plant life is also thriving on the Murray with Lignum bushes flowering and rushes and reeds getting a vibrant green colour to them.

The three nights Discovery Cruise departs every Friday at 4.30pm and prices start from $777 per person, twin share.

The four nights Outback Heritage Cruise departs Mannum every Monday at 4.30pm and prices start from $1039 per person, twin share.

The seven nights Murraylands & Wildlife Cruise departs Mannum every Friday and Monday at 4.30pm and prices start from $1599 per person, twin share.

Prices include all meals, accommodation, most tours, scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or onsite car parking and all onboard facilities including use of two spas, two saunas, sun deck, two bars, two lounges, single sitting dining saloon and entertainment.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit www.captaincook.com.au.


Monday, 10 January 2011

Aurora Expeditions' Specialist Photography Expedition to Antarctica


Join Aurora Expeditions' specialist photography expedition to Antarctica.


Aurora Expeditions has created a special photographic expedition for just 27 passengers. Accompanied by two professional photographers, David Burren and Martin Bailey from LuminOdyssey, this voyage is for all levels of photographers.

This 25-day trip begins in Ushuaia at the Southern tip of Argentina and cruises south over the Drake Passage to spend a week on the Antarctic Peninsula. Time will be spent exploring the historic and rich wildlife at Vernadsky Station, taking in the spectacular rugged coastline from Lemaire Channel to the Gerlache Strait as you head northwards to King George Island. You will be greeted by fur and elephant seals as well as adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins. As you continue north, you will witness the spectacular cliffs of the Falkland Islands, home to an abundance of breeding birds and the world's largest black browed albatross colony at Steeple Jason Island as you steam towards Atlantic Patagonia. Following the steps of Darwin, you will explore the abundant wildlife, visiting Puerto Desaedo, Bahia Bustamante and the waters around Peninsula Valdes. Enjoy the spectacle of majestic orcas feeding on young sea lions at Punta Norte before you sail into the port of Mar del Plata.

Whether you're using film or digital, a compact camera or an SLR, you will return with the essence of Antarctica captured by your lens. This may be an iceberg shining on a slate grey sea, minke whales spouting beside the ship, and clouds, pre-dawn pink, which morph into ice-draped mountains.

For digital camera photographers, resident experts, David and Martin will explain how to process and organise images with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. Prior to the voyage David and Martin will be available to advise you regarding your photography equipment. During the passage to Antarctica they will present classes and seminars to help prepare you for the Peninsula & Falkland Islands, and these will continue throughout the voyage.

Background

David Burren: David is a renowned photographer and teacher. He teaches colour management and digital processing at Photography Studies College in Melbourne. David has photographed the natural world on all seven continents, from the deserts of outback Australia to the cold of the Antarctic summer and the Arctic winter. David's personal site: www.davidburren.com

Martin Bailey: Martin is a British nature and wildlife photographer based in Japan, and is known to many photographers through his popular podcast, blog and workshops. Martin's personal site: martinbaileyphotography.com

Aurora Expeditions pioneered ship-based adventures and remain committed to small, low-impact groups keen to experience Antarctica in many ways, whether it is climbing, scuba diving, sea kayaking, photography or sitting quietly and absorbing the surrounding magnificence.

Aurora Expeditions is proud to be the first Australian member of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATTO), dedicated to leading expeditions that respect the environmental guidelines and codes of conduct.

Prices start from US$9350 and include ship accommodation, all meals onboard, all shore excursions, lectures, medical services, port charges and taxes

For further information contact Aurora Expeditions or your local travel agent. www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or 02 9252 1033 www.facebook/auroraexpeditions

North Star Cruises Lowers Prices - More Opportunity


The company explained that the move to lower prices was an affirmative action designed to keep North Star in-step with a changed market.

Commenting at the time, the company's general manager, Peter Trembath, said "the changes are consistent with North Star's reputation for being a market leader and will surely make our cruises even more irresistible to the discerning adventurer!"

In addition to lower prices - North Star also announced 4 completely different options to cruise the magnificent Kimberley region.

The Kimberley Ultimate has always been North Star's flagship adventure. A two-week soiree along the Kimberley coast featuring a wild and beautiful panorama of rugged mountains, spectacular gorges and majestic waterfalls. Plus unexplained rock-art, extraordinary wildlife and monster barramundi.

Kimberley Gorges (7 nights)
The Kimberley Gorges itinerary features the northern half of the Kimberley
Ultimate cruise. Here the landscape is dominated by the Kimberley's stunning gorge country including the Berkeley River, the King George Falls and the Mitchell River. The cruise includes helicopter/aircraft transfer to Broome.

Kimberley Islands (6 nights)
The Kimberley Islands itinerary features the southern half of the Kimberley Ultimate cruise. A totally different Kimberley experience featuring the exhilarating Horizontal Waterfalls, intriguing Montgomery Reef and the mighty Price Regent River. The cruise includes helicopter/aircraft transfer from Broome.
Kimberley Snapshot (7 nights)

And finally, the best of the best

For those pressed for time or perhaps considering the budget - the Kimberley Snapshot is the flagship Kimberley Ultimate itinerary condensed into a single week! The cruise features several Kimberley icons including the King Gorge Falls, the Hunter River, the Prince Regent River, Montgomery Reef and the Horizontal Waterfalls.

Full details are available at
http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/sailingschedule.asp?Date=2011

True North Background

The multi-award winning adventure-cruise ship, True North, allows discerning guests to experience wilderness in surroundings more akin to one of the world's most exclusive hotels.

Lavish features include:

* A sundeck, forward observation lounge, ship's lounge, alfresco bar, internet cafe, plasma screens with interpretive information, lower deck dining room with large panoramic windows, and fine dining.
* All cabins feature enhanced decor, en-suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones.
* Multiple expedition boats (6) allow passengers greater opportunity to do "what they want, when they want".
* To add another dimension to adventure - most cruise options feature an onboard helicopter.
* The purpose built True North is able to explore the upper reaches of shallow river systems.
* Adventure-cruises are conducted all around the Australian coastline and in the stunning waters of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The True North - one of the finest adventure-cruise ships in the world

For more information visit www.northstarcruises.com.au

Friday, 7 January 2011

AURORA EXPEDITIONS PLAN ANTARCTIC METEORITE COLLECTION

Aurora Expeditions is offering adventurers the opportunity to travel back in time and assist in the collection of an incredibly rare 5 kilogram meteorite on its upcoming Weddell Sea voyage to Antarctica this month.

Dr Paul Willis (ABC)
Aurora Expeditions expert palaeontologist, Dr Paul Willis, will be returning to the site where he miraculously discovered the meteorite on his last voyage to Seymour Island in 2008.  On this occasion the expedition will bring the precious meteorite back to Australia.

Seymour Island is recognised as the best place in the world to observe what's known as the K/T Boundary, the geological 'line in the ground' where the dinosaurs died some 65 million years ago. Parts of the island are carpeted with fossils from the floors of ancient seas showing a land where dinosaurs ruled and forests connected continents.

Dr Paul Willis- a renowned palaeontologist, geologist and regular science reporter on the ABC TV show Catalyst, as well as a frequent guest on Radio National's Science Show and In Conversation, made the incredible discovery on an Aurora Expeditions voyage in 2008.  "We were looking for fossils on Seymour when I spied a grapefruit-size rock that was completely different to everything around it. I knew almost straight away what it was because it looked so unusual and because meteorites are relatively easy to find in Antarctica (there is no soil or vegetation covering them up). It was a fascinating specimen and, to my mind, one that ought to be collected and preserved for prosperity."

Paul did not have the permits required to collect the meteorite, so he carefully photographed it and recorded its exact position.  On his return to Australia, a meteorite expert at the Western Australian Museum confirmed that it was potentially of huge scientific interest and the long-awaited collection of this phenomenal meteorite will be taking place this month.

Aurora Expedition's passengers will be treated to a truly remarkable experience as they join Paul in the retrieval of this fallen star.  As with all Aurora Expeditions voyages, daily shore excursions and explorations using inflatable Zodiacs provide access to the best wildlife encounters and photographic opportunities. A team of expert naturalists and staff will guide passengers through the dramatic landscapes and abundant wildlife that embody the Antarctic Peninsula.

Limited to a small group of 54 passengers, the 12 day Weddell Sea voyage departs on 6th February 2012 & 17 February 2012. Voyage prices start from US$6,775 excluding flights. Both voyages have a scuba diving option.

For further information contact Aurora Expeditions on (02) 9252-1033 or 1800 637 688 (toll-free) or visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au