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

TEN YEARS ON LINE - ONE MILLION PAGE VIEWS

Friday, 29 April 2011

L’Austral’s maiden voyage from Marseille


Four years ago, the founding members of France’s Compagnie du Ponant sat down together to dream up their ideal cruise ship. The result was two luxury mega-yachts: Le Boréal, launched last year, and L’Austral, which made its maiden voyage last night.

I was on board, sipping champagne, as L’Austral drew out of Marseille just before sunset – and discovered that the French ideal of a mega-yacht is just as elegant and sophisticated as you might imagine.

Read Full Story

ARANUI III, MARQUESAS ISLANDS MAKES LONELY PLANET'S BEST IN TRAVEL 2011


Leading travel publication and go-to guide for adventure-driven escapes, Lonely Planet, recently featured the Marquesas Islands as one of its "Top 10 regions" – highlighting the Aranui III as the "umbilical cord between Tahiti and the Marquesas."

"This distinction is an honor for us, particularly for our hard-working crew, many of whom have been introducing travelers to the Marquesas for over two decades," said Jules Wong, marketing director for the Aranui III.

"While the cruise itself takes a backseat to the undisturbed beauty and grandeur of the seldomly visited Marquesas Islands, our local crew works diligently to ensure the onboard experience is as unique and memorable as the islands themselves," added Wong.

The guide goes on to note the lack of swanky resorts in the Marquesas, describing the circuit – which is only accessible to travelers via the Aranui III – as "an ecotourist's dream."

In addition to picturesque valleys on Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa, Lonely Planet extols the Marquesan Arts Festival, which is held only once every four years (the next one is coming up in December 2011) and features indigenous dance performances, local cuisine and arts and crafts displays.

Rates for the 14-day journey on the Aranui III range from $2,079 to $5,445 per person, based on double occupancy, depending on stateroom configuration. There is a 10% surcharge for the Dec. 9 Marquesan Arts Festival departure, which includes festival admission

Rates do not include port, cruise and tourism taxes, which may total up to $350 depending on stateroom category and an $80 fuel surcharge.

The cruise includes three daily meals with complimentary wine, guided excursions outlined in the itinerary, picnic and meals on shore. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding, fishing and helicopter tours are additional.

For brochure or booking, contact: Ultimate Cruising

Clipper Adventurer Bareboat Charter to Albatros

source: www.cruiseindustrynews.com

Clipper Adventurer


ISP has arranged a long-term bareboat contract with a purchase obligation to a new company headed by Albatros Travel in Copenhagen.

Albatros Travel is the largest leisure travel company in Denmark, and since 2007, ISP has had the pleasure of chartering a number of small cruise vessels to Albatros on voyage charters, including the Quest, Ocean Nova, Clipper Odyssey, Island Sky and Clipper Adventurer.

ISP will become the manager of the new ship-owning entity when it takes delivery of the Clipper Adventurer on May 1, 2011, and will continue as Technical and Hotel Manager of the vessel. ISP will also assume the commercial management of the vessel on behalf of the new owners.

Søren Rasmussen, Owner and President of Albatros Travel states…”Since 2005 Albatros has been expanding its market in Denmark within expedition and luxury cruising. Over the last six years, each year we have chartered in more tonnage and foresee that in the future it will become more difficult to find quality vessels. For the past few years we have successfully operated the Ocean Nova in Greenland, and therefore wanted to secure capacity for our Greenland operation for future years. We are very pleased that we have been able to do this by securing the Clipper Adventurer which also has a 35% higher capacity than the Ocean Nova. Since 2007 we have chartered most of our tonnage from ISP, and are very pleased that ISP will also manage the Clipper Adventurer in the future.”

Since 2004 ISP has expanded within the expedition and small luxury cruise market and have become the largest manager of this type tonnage, as well as the largest tonnage provider to the travel industry within expedition cruising.

“We also foresee that there will be a lack of quality tonnage in the years to come, as there are no new ships being built, and due to age, a number of vessels will disappear from the market. From a strategy point of view it is a smart move by Albatros Travel to secure capacity for the future” states Niels-Erik Lund, President ISP, who further states, “it is great for ISP to be able to continue to offer the Clipper Adventurer to other operators, through the continued commercial management of the vessel.

It is the expectation that we will continue to see Quark Expedition chartering the vessel for Antarctica in the winter and Adventure Canada chartering the vessel from mid-summer through the fall season. Albatros’ main interest continues to be operating the vessel in Denmark and Greenland”.

Lindblad Expeditions Offers Four Free Nights in Peru

National Geographic Endeavour
Lindblad Expeditions is offering a complimentary “Machu Picchu & the Land of the Inca” four-night pre-cruise extension on eight Galapagos departures beginning July 23. The extension features four nights in Peru, including an overnight at Machu Picchu.

This itinerary is a compressed version of Lindblad’s eight-day extension and includes the Sacred Valley, the Inca stone fortress of Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, the capital city of Cusco and the vast Sacsayhuaman Fortress. Archaeologist Peter Frost will provide an orientation before their visit to Machu Picchu.

National Geographic Islander
The complimentary Peru extension does not include air, cannot be combined with other offers, and is valid on new bookings only when guests book the National Geographic Islander departures on July 23, Aug. 13, Sept. 3, Sept. 10 and Nov. 5, and the National Geographic Endeavour departures on Sept. 30, Oct. 14 and Oct. 21.

Rates for the Galapagos voyages begin at $5,230 per person, double occupancy, on the National Geographic Endeavour and $5,550 on the National Geographic Islander. For more information, call 800-EXPEDITION or visit www.expeditions.com.


Thursday, 28 April 2011

DISCOVER HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MED AND ADRIATIC ON DISCOVERY

TWENTY PER CENT SAVINGS EXTENDED – IF BOOKED BY 22 MAY 2011

CRUISECO has extended to May 22 its 20 per cent Early Bird Savings on two return-sailings from Harwich to the Baltics, and another from Lisbon through the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas to Dubrovnik, on board the 650-guest exploration ship Discovery in July, August and September of this year.

Discovery has a team of onboard historians, explorers and naturalists to give expert destination-based talks. It will sail 17-nights from Harwich on July 13 for Copenhagen, Stockholm, Kemi and Vaasa (Finland,) St Petersburg for three days, Gdynia (Poland,) Warnemunde and a transit of the Kiel Canal in Germany, and back to Harwich. Prices start from $3765pp twin-share.

A shorter 9-night return-sailing from Harwich on August 10 visits Norway's Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Olden, Flam, and Bergen and starts from $2880pp twin-share.

Both packages include one night pre-cruise in a London Hotel, airport/hotel/Harwich transfers, post-cruise transfers to London Heathrow airport or Victoria Coach Station, and shipboard gratuities; air fares are additional.

On September 19 this year Discovery will sail from Lisbon for seven ports in Spain, France, Italy and Croatia including one night aboard ship in Dubrovnik. The 11-night cruise starts from $5135pp twin-share and includes return international airfare from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide (deduct $245pp twin-share for Perth) shipboard gratuities and air taxes.

For full itineraries and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies Australia-wide, visit www.cruising.com.au


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

New Luxury Cruises in the Peruvian Amazon

MV Aria from Aqua Expeditions

Luxury options to explore the mighty Peruvian Amazon are expanding with the M/V Aria, Aqua Expeditions new luxury Riverboat, making its maiden voyage this month and Delfin Amazon Cruises recently re-launching the Delfin I luxury vessel after an extensive refurbishment.

Although Peru is best known for attractions in the Andes and visitors flock to Cusco and Machu Picchu, there is an immense and diverse wilderness to explore in the Amazon Basin which is a staggering 4,000,000km² in its entirety, and covers 60% of Peru.  In fact, it is in Peru where the mighty Amazon River begins its journey.  The gateway to sail on the Amazon River and Peru's largest natural reserve, Pacaya-Samiria, is the northern Amazon bustling hub of Iquitos, which travellers can reach after a 1hour 15 minute flight from Lima.

With its maiden voyage on 24th April, 2011, the design-driven luxurious M/V Aria riverboat has joined its sister ship with providing visitors with three, four and seven night itineraries to explore Peru's remote National Reserve.  The cruise features 16 specially designed cabins with floor to ceiling windows, a fully air-conditioned top deck as well as the Aqua Expeditions' signature Amazon Grill by award-winning Executive Chef, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. Its top deck features an observation lounge, an outdoor Jacuzzi and sun deck and it also has an exercise room.  To give guests an insight into Peruvian Amazon nature, the crew consists of four world-class nature guides and there is an Amazon Wildlife reference library and air-conditioned multimedia room on board. www.aquaexpetitions.com

Delfin Amazon Cruises
Delfin Amazon Cruises also has two luxury classic designed vessels and refurbished its Delfin I at the end of 2010 to provide four opulent large premium suites of 350 square feet.  Each guest receives a personalised service and each suite has its own large 316 square feet sun deck, private Jacuzzi and floor to ceiling windows.   Aboard the Delfin I is a an Amazon Wildlife reference library, flat TV& DVDs , exotic bar wooden game tables.  www.delfinamazoncruises.info

The Amazon in Peru is home to a unique biodiversity , with over 25,000 plant species, approximately 1,800 bird species, 361 mammal species, 251 amphibian species, 297 reptile species and more than 2,500 fish species.

This 24th of June tie in a trip to the Peruvian Amazon with the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, when the entire Amazon region comes alive!  This celebration has a strong association with water and all the stops are pulled out with live bands playing traditional music, dancing parades and a feast made up of Amazonian food.

For more information on Peru, please visit www.peru.info    

Blue Lagoon Cruises announce fuel surcharge from May 1

FIJI’S Blue Lagoon Cruises says it’s had no choice other than to introduce a fuel surcharge on existing and new bookings from May 1 following continual rises in oil prices, including a dramatic 10.2% in Fiji in the past three weeks alone.

“Up until now we have absorbed these rises, but nobody could have foreseen the extent of this recent price rise that has far outstripped our fuel price projections that were made as far back as 18 months ago,” said CEO, Tim Stonhill.

“As distasteful and unpopular as it is bound to be, we have no choice other than to introduce a fuel surcharge on all reservations, both existing and new, with an embarkation date on or after 1st May 2011. This surcharge of FJ$25 per person per day, inclusive of taxes, will be applicable to all passengers aged 15 years and over.

“We would ask agents to clearly advise all passengers of this charge and to write it on vouchers and itineraries as being an extra charge. We will collect the fee from all passengers at check-in for their cruise.”

Vanuatu sailing: Tall tales and true

Under sail ... on board the brigantine Soren Larsen. Photo: Melanie Ball
Melanie Ball signs up as a crew member on a sailing adventure to Vanuatu's remote northern islands.

The sky is a swathe of black velvet, the sea a lumpy, inky blue and my knuckles are white, so firm is my grip on the wooden wheel as I steer Soren Larsen into the night. I am concentrating hard, too, rarely taking my gaze from the compass, a brass-encased beauty, on the 44 metres of oak and iron under my control. It is exhilarating being at the helm on only the second night of an 18-day tall-ship journey through Vanuatu's northern islands. Slightly unnerving, too, despite the captain's close supervision.

An hour later I am on lookout, jacket zipped to my chin and knees flexing with the roller-coaster ride. I shelter behind the forward hatch but it gives little protection when a wave falls over the bow, diluting my hot chocolate.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/tall-tales-and-true-20101021-16v79.html#ixzz1Kg9Jkc5d

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Passenger Falls Into Icy Sea - Dies.

Janet Richardson struggles to stay afloat in the icy waters.

It has been reported in the UK Daily Mail that a passenger who fell into the Arctic waters during a medical evacuation has died

Janet Richardson, 73, from Ousby, near Penrith (UK) was being transferred from the ship, Ocean Countess, to a rescue launch when the two vessels drifted apart, dropping her in the sub-zero waters at the Norwegian port town of Bodo, north of the Arctic Circle.

Mrs Richardson was in the process of being evacuated as a result of a medical condition when the accident happened. After four agonizing minutes in the water, Mrs Richardson stopped breathing but was resuscitated by medical staff. She was later transferred from Norway to Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary in the UK where she passed away, her husband George, 78, by her side.

Her husband has called for a post mortem to determine whether the she died from the icy plunge or the medical condition.

Ocean Countess, entered service in 1976 as Cunard Countess (shipspotting.com)

Ocean Countess is owned by Majestic International Cruises and operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages under charter.

25% off Captain Cook Cruises Sydney Harbour Winter Wonderland Cruise

Captain Cook Cruises is offering 25% off its two night Sydney Harbour Weekend cruise for selected sailings in June, July and August, so passengers can discover the magical beauty of Sydney Harbour during winter.

The Captain Cook's Explorer is scheduled to sail over winter on 17 June, 22 July and 26 August 2011 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 Harbour is picturesque in winter with the mist rising off the water and the early colourful sunsets. This unique cruise allows Sydney's tourists and locals to see and discover Sydney like never before, her magnificent Harbour, famous sights and hidden coves and beaches.

Sydney Harbour offers over 250 kilometres of foreshore to discover. Living up to her name, the Explorer visits the most beautiful areas accessible by water from the Eastern Suburbs picturesque bays and beaches to the Lane Cove and Parramatta River.

There is also plenty of time ashore. Stroll through the Botanic Gardens, explore the historic Rocks district and the old artillery emplacement on Bradley's Heads and relax beachside or take a walk to the gap at Watson's Bay. The beauty of this cruise is you can be as lazy or as active as you want to be.

Dining on board is first class and guaranteed to warm you up with hearty buffet breakfasts, al fresco luncheons featuring fresh local seafood and the elegant Captain's Dinner with live music and dancing with the city skyline as the perfect backdrop.

The ship has 60 cosy cabins for overnight comfort with a choice of twin or double berths all with harbour views and ensuite facilities.

The two night's Sydney Harbour Wintersun Weekend cruises start from $360 per person twin share or for solo travellers, normally $479 and prices include all accommodation, meals, on-board facilities and most on shore excursions.

As an extra bonus Captain Cook Cruises will celebrate Christmas in July on the Captain Cook's Explorer 22 July departure featuring a special Christmas In July dinner on the Saturday evening complete with Christmas trimmings and decorations

The two night Sydney Harbour Weekend cruise departs from No.1 King St Wharf Darling Harbour at 6.00pm with boarding from 5.00pm returning Sunday at 3.00pm.

This Wintersun deal is valid for sale from April 2011 to 26 August 2011 and valid for travel on 17 June, 22 July and 26 August 2011 departures only.


For reservations and enquiries please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free on 1800 804 843, Int +61-2-9206 1111 or visit www.captaincook.com.au


Pearl II to Replace Spirit of Adventure, Become Quest for Adventure

Saga Pearl II will become Quest for Adventure (photo: Sergio Ferreira)

As reported by Cruise Industry News last week, the Saga Pearl II will be transfered to the Spirit for Adventure brand in May 2012.

Saga Holidays has confirmed that Quest for Adventure will take over from the Spirit of Adventure from May 2012.

MV Spirit of Adventure is being replaced

Quest for Adventure - currently operating as Saga Pearl II - will transfer to the Spirit of Adventure Cruise collection, operating in association with Saga. This is part of a brand integration plan that now sees all cruise customers benefit from included travel insurance and UK travel service.

With only 446 passengers, Quest for Adventure will continue to offer the same high quality small ship cruising experience that passengers have come to expect from Spirit of Adventure.

She was given a multi-million pound refurbishment at Swansea last year and enjoys a similar contemporary style. As well as first-class service, passengers can expect contemporary and elegant surroundings with a familiar relaxed crew.

Additionally Quest for Adventure offers balcony cabins giving even more choice.

Robin Shaw, CEO, Saga Shipping said: "With the arrival of the Saga Sapphire in 2012 we have taken the opportunity to rebalance our fleet and expand our adventure cruise capacity. Quest for Adventure allows customers to experience the informal, adventurous and small ship experience of before, and also benefit from the added service extras of the overall Saga cruises brand.

"Our integration plan means we can offer customers the best of both worlds." Shaw added, "We always welcome feedback from our customers and having listened to comments we have reviewed what's included in the price. For cruises aboard Quest for Adventure travel insurance, additional cancellation cover, our UK travel package with private car service and a choice of two excursions for each seven days on board are all included," continued Shaw.

After Quest for Adventure's inaugural eight-nights cruise departing from Southampton, the summer programme will consist of 6 cruises departing from Dover.

From 18th August 2012, Quest for Adventure will leave the UK at the beginning of her fly-cruise program taking in the East Coast of North America as well as Central America, with ports of call including Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala as well as cruising the Panama Canal and many ports of call in the Caribbean over the Christmas Festive Season.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Star Clipper Cruise discounts - Save 25 per cent

 exterior_rc_stlucia.jpg

Star Clippers is offering 25% discounts on 23 of its most popular Mediterranean cruises between July and October this year.
 
The cruises, from $2340 for seven nights including taxes, are available on all three tall ships in the fleet including  the 227-passenger flagship Royal Clipper.
 
Prime itineraries include the playgrounds of the rich and famous in the French and Italian Rivieras, the Greek Isles, Turkey, Malta, and a string of small ports unable to be visited by large liners.
 
A focus for Star Flyer (170 passengers) is the new 'Yachtsman's Paradise' route between Istanbul and Athens with calls at picturesque villages, towns and islands in the Aegean Sea.  Sister ship Star Clipper is operating from Athens, cruising to the Northern and Southern Cyclades calling at the best-known Greek islands.
 
The discounted prices are twin-share for cruises booked before June 30. Past passengers are entitled to an additional five percent discount.
 
All three ships are high-tech luxury versions of the spectacular clipper sailing ships made famous as they swept across the ocean trading routes of the world under billowing white sails in the 1900's.
 
The 21st century clippers come with swimming pools, piano lounge, bars, library, en-suite cabins and all the pampering of a private yacht.
 
Call 1300 362 599 or (02) 8913 6588. Email: reservations@creativecruising.com.au
www.starclippers.com
                                                        

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Beautiful south: an Antarctic cruise [video]


by Pascal Wyse, The Guardian
Go with the floe … inching into the Antarctic wilderness. Photograph: Paul Goldstein

A wildlife expedition to the Antarctic peninsula provides some unforgettable moments, from cruising through the ice floes to ice-climbing among comical penguins

Judging by the wild goose chase detailed on the Antarctic Circle website, the $100 reward won't be an easy bounty. The money is yours if you can find evidence to prove that Ernest Shackleton, on the verge of a trip to Antarctica in 1912, really did take out a newspaper advert as follows: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success."

Whether it appeared in print or not, you can't fault it for accuracy. The carnage of Antarctic discovery is all over the maps: Cape Disappointment, Exasperation Inlet, Deception Island, Terror Gulf. Then there are the stories, more or less known: Scott's expedition disaster after being beaten to the south pole, Captain Oates walking out of the tent to his certain death, claiming he "may be some time", and Apsley Cherry-Garrard's conclusion that "an Antarctic expedition is the worst way to have the best time of your life".

Read Full Story



Friday, 22 April 2011

Brave the Northwest Passage in luxury


Hapag-Lloyd's MS Bremen cruises the Northwest Passage

Vessel's designed to sail notorious waters
By Aaron Saunders, Postmedia News

Even among cruise destinations known for their unique and obscure ports of call, this one is guaranteed to turn heads: the Northwest Passage.

Convinced of its value as a shipping route, the list of those who tried -and failed -to conqueror this waterway on behalf of their country is legendary: John Ross, Sir William Parry, George Back, Sir Robert McClure, John Rae and perhaps most famous of all, Sir John Franklin.

Read the full story

Thursday, 21 April 2011

From polar ice cap to the tropics - Orion Expeditions releases 2012 voyage itineraries

Orion Expedition Cruises has released an expanded range of path less travelled itineraries for 2012. Incorporating the first full year of voyages for Orion II, as well as Orion, these expeditions - well off the marine superhighway - include rarely visited destinations from polar ice cap to the tropics.
          
In addition to existing itineraries Orion takes a fresh look at New Zealand with new Pure New Zealand and Bay of Islands voyages.

Orion II's new sailings feature the islands of Micronesia and additional 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 an inaugural visit to Java includes the temples of Borobudur.

2012 will see the two purpose-built expedition cruise ships undertake 69 voyages to 17 countries and 174 destinations stretching from Antarctica to the Russian Far East including Borneo, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Inland Sea of Japan, Korea, China and Micronesia (onboard Orion II). Australia's Kimberley coast, Arnhem Land, Great Barrier Reef, the Spice Islands, New Zealand, the Sub Antarctic islands and Papua New Guinea feature in Orion's range of expeditions.

The complete 2012 Calendar of Sailings is now available through travel agents or by contacting Orion Expedition Cruises direct on 1300 361 012 (Australia) or 0800 444 462 (New Zealand).

The website www.orionexpeditions.com also features details of the new voyages ahead of the pending release of the 2012 brochure in a few weeks.

SILVERSEA TO RENAME EXPEDITION SHIP

New name: Silver Explorer

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises today announced plans to change the name of the Prince Albert II, its expedition ship, to Silver Explorer. The change will occur later this month while the vessel is in dry dock at the Lisnave shipyard in Setubal, Portugal, undergoing routine maintenance prior to commencing a summer program of Northern Europe and Arctic voyages.

"Our expansion into adventure travel has turned out quite successful and we have to prepare for the possibility of adding more ships," said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman. "To reinforce the Silversea luxury brand image for the expedition segment, we decided to change the name of our first expedition ship to Silver Explorer and anticipate any future expedition ships will bear similar names that evoke a sense of luxurious adventure."

Lefebvre added, "It has been an absolute privilege to have a ship in our fleet named in tribute to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II. We will continue to honour his legacy of exploration and environmental conservation through our support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and look forward to hosting future onboard fundraising events to benefit the Foundation's projects."

The company is committed to raising awareness of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which is dedicated to the protection of the global environment. Its focus is on three major challenges: climate change and developing renewable energies; the loss of biodiversity; improving universal access to clean water and fighting desertification. For more information, visit www.fpa2.com.

Silver Explorer offers full-scale exploring from an ultra-luxury base at sea, in true Silversea style. With the largest average size accommodation of any expedition ship, guests enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodation (many with French balconies or large private verandas), butler service, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, warm hospitality and personalised service (with a crew-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one), and Silversea's generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, bottled water, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities.

The Lloyd's Register 1A ice-rated vessel explores the world from top to bottom, including Central and South America and Africa.

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

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Gap Adventures Announces Seat Sale for Upcoming Arctic Cruising Season

Travellers who book by April 30, 2011 save 15 to 25 per cent on select Arctic adventures.

Gap Adventures, the world’s adventure travel leader, announces a last-minute seat sale, just before the new Arctic cruising season, beginning May 2011. Travellers who book trips aboard the M/S Expedition to Norway, Spitsbergen, Iceland and Greenland from May to September 2011, receive a 15 to 25 per cent discount.

M/S Expedition
“We’re excited to launch the new Arctic cruising season and share the rugged majesty of the polar north with adventurers and cold enthusiasts,” says Will Bennett, Gap Adventures’ director of operations aboard the M/S Expedition. “The Arctic is one of the most culturally rich and historically fascinating regions of the world, with a magnificent bounty of wildlife and awe-inspiring natural wonder.”

Travellers who book Category-2 to Category-5 cabins receive a 25 per cent discount. Category-1 bookings receive a 15 per cent discount. The early booking bonus is valid until April 30.

“Very few people have the opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of Arctic region,” adds Bennett. “Echoing our commitment to leading with service, we’re pleased to offer travellers even more value with the seat sale, making the glacial trips more accessible and affordable.”

“We had the most fabulous experience and felt blessed on this adventure,” says Christine Williams, who was on the Realm of the Polar Bear tour. “Before even leaving the harbour, we were visited by a pod of beluga whales. We also encountered a polar bear that swam around our ship, saw two bears confronting one another on an ice floe, and came across loving mothers and their cubs. We even got up close to walruses, saw frisky arctic foxes, and snuck up on reindeer. It was a full on experience!”

For more information on the Arctic early booking bonus, visit: http://www.gapadventures.com/trips/promotions/arctic-save-25/.

100% Bear-antee – an Industry First
Gap Adventures has such confidence in its Expedition Team’s ability to locate polar bears that the company now guarantees at least one of our planet’s largest land predators will be spotted during its Arctic adventures.

In the unlikely event that Gap Adventures’ team is unable to locate a polar bear, every passenger onboard will receive a credit for the value they spent on their cruise to use towards a future Arctic cruise aboard the M/S Expedition.

For more information on the Bear-antee, visit: http://www.gapadventures.com/ms-expedition-cruises/faq/#faq_bearantee.

Behind the Scenes
For an insider’s experience of the M/S Expedition, follow Warren and Betsy Talbot of Married with Luggage, as they join the Gap Adventures crew in repositioning the cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina to Svalbarg, Norway. Updates, videos and pictures will be shared on Gap Adventures’ blog, as well as the Talbot’s.

For more information about Gap Adventures’ Arctic cruising season visit: http://www.gapadventures.com/ms-expedition-cruises/.

Monday, 18 April 2011

WIN a Borneo expedition on board Orion II, valued at $22,000


For your chance to discover the remote, unspoilt jewels of Borneo’s islands and coastlines – plus encounter orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park’s landmark Camp Leakey – just tell us in 25 words or less why this voyage would create a unique, meaningful experience for you.

Orion Expedition Cruises has been voyaging to the world’s rarely visited destinations since 2004. On board its purpose-built expedition ships, Orion and Orion II, guests discover remote, unspoilt places while cruising in 5-star comfort. The lucky winner of this terrific prize, and his or her partner, will cruise Borneo for 10-nights from February 17, 2012 staying in a Junior Suite on board the new Orion II.


Aurora Expeditions launch their 2011/12 voyages with 15 facts about Antarctica


Aurora Expeditions voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula for next season are filling fast. The launch of their brand-new Fly/Sail options to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia have been extremely popular. Departing South America, they have been designed to reduce sea time and increase time at the destination. Also popular are their voyages with exciting adventure activities including sea kayaking, camping, photography, climbing and scuba diving

Next season the Australian adventure cruise company will also celebrate the centenary of renowned Australian Antarctic explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson's, and his first Australasian Antarctic Expedition.  A milestone in Australian Antarctic history, this special occasion is being marked with three Mawson Centenary Celebration¹ voyages to Mawson Huts and Commonwealth Bay, departing both Australia and New Zealand.

Aurora Expeditions, the pioneers of ship-based adventures, are committed to small, low-impact groups keen to experience the Antarctic in many ways whether by walking, scuba diving, sea kayaking or sitting quietly and absorbing the surrounding magnificence.

The 2011/12 itineraries reflect this commitment. Voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula for next season start from US$5,900. Voyages to East Antarctica for next season start from US$6,500.

Here are 15 reasons why a visit to Antarctica may fascinate your sense of adventure:

east-antarctica.jpg1. It's the best place in the world to find meteorites. Why? Because dark meteorites show up against the white expanse of ice and snow and don't get covered by vegetation.

2. One of the biggest icebergs ever broke free from the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica in 2000. It was 295km long and 37km wide, with a surface area of 11,000 sq km above water - and 10 times bigger below.

3. During the feeding season, a full grown blue whale eats about 4 million krill per day, that's 3600 kg every day for 6 months. Having laid down a layer of fat from this feeding activity in Antarctica, they then starve for several months. This daily intake would feed a human for about four years.

4. Antarctic fish have lived at between +2°C and -2°C for 5 million years (-2°C is the freezing point of sea water, below zero because of the salt). They are therefore the best cold adapted animals that there are on the planet.

5. The largest land animal in Antarctica is an insect, a wingless midge, Belgica antarctica, less than 1.3cm (0.5in) long. There are no flying insects (they'd get blown away), just shiny black springtails that hop like fleas and tend to live among penguin colonies.

6. In 1981 a swarm of krill was tracked by US scientists that was estimated at being up to 10 million tonnes. This is the equivalent of about 143 million people (at an average of 70kg each).

7. Antarctica is the only continent with no indigenous species of ants.

8. Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth, as the lowest temperature recorded here was -89o C.

9. The 'Dry valley' region on the continent has been bereft of rainfall for 2 million years.

10. If Antarctica's ice sheets melt, the level of the world's oceans would rise by 60 to 65 meters

11. At the deepest point, the ice in Antarctica is around 3 - 4 km thick.

12. Antarctica is the windiest continent on earth. It experiences frequent wind storms, which at times speed over 300 knots at the sea coast.

13. The water of the Antarctica is so cold that nothing can rot here.

14. Owing to the chilly water in Antarctica, codfish have antifreeze in their blood to save them from freezing.

15. The ice cap at Antarctic contains 29 million cubic kilometers of ice. This constitutes nearly 90% of all the ice on the planet and between 60 - 70% of all of the fresh water in the world.

Aurora Expeditions can also book your full travel arrangements: flights, hotel accommodation, tours and transfers, making them a one stop shop for your trip of lifetime.


Voyages include: ship's accommodation. All public areas are open to all passengers.

◗ all meals on board ship.

◗ all shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs.

◗ lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services.

◗ medical services. There is a resident medical officer and well equipped clinic on board.

◗ port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities.

◗ pre-departure information. 



Not included:

◗ air transport to and from the ship.

◗ visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes.

◗ hotels and meals not included in ship cruise itinerary.

◗ optional excursions not included in ship cruise itinerary.

◗ laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges and phone calls and optional end of voyage tips.

◗ credit card surcharge, if making your final payment by credit card.

◗ emergency evacuation charges.


Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Surcharge for sea kayaking (including dry suit): US$825.
Surcharge for climbing: US$250.
Camping & photography are complimentary, but camping is subject to weather and itinerary. 



Further information Aurora Expeditions
T +61 2 9252 1033 I F +61 2 9252 1373 I e auroraex@auroraexpeditions.com.au I W www.auroraexpeditions.com.au


Jerry Hall Cruises The Kimberley Coast on The True North

Well known actress and model, Jerry Hall was on board Australia's own luxury adventure cruise, The True North last week where she and her partner enjoyed a one-week Kimberley cruise.

"The Kimberley is one of the last true wildernesses: it has not been spoilt by tourism or pollution and the best way to explore this ancient region is by cruising along its coast. For someone like me there is no better ship than the TRUE NORTH. It is a small luxury liner with just 18 cabins – serving delicious gourmet food and wine with a staff of 20 young, attractive and extremely efficient crew members. It is a top class operation whether you enjoy hiking through wilderness with their biologists, admiring the plants and birds or fishing for giant barramundi. Cruising along the Kimberley coast on the TRUE NORTH is the trip of a lifetime," said Jerry Hall.

Ms Hall is travelling with her partner, Perth millionaire Warwick Hensley, who is on assignment for the London Times. She will report on her travels when she returns home and the likely front-page exposure will hopefully be a major bonus for all tourism operators in the Kimberley.

The appeal of this gleaming adventure-platform complete with helicopter and multiple expedition boats was always bound to attract the attention of discerning overseas travelers and, according to North Star Cruises' general manager, Peter Trembath, the tide has begun to turn.

"In the past year we have attracted strong attention from both North America and Europe. And this interest is all the more pleasing when you consider that we are still up against uncertain world economics and adverse exchange rates. The reputation of the TRUE NORTH is so strong; we are managing to buck the negative trends," said Peter Trembath.

Offering activity-based itineraries all around the Australian coastline and adjacent to the remote jungles of West Papua and Papua New Guinea, the TRUE NORTH has become a firm favourite with Australia's travelling elite. Even today, most of the guests onboard the TRUE NORTH are well-qualified Australian adventurers lapping-up the personal attention of the ship's enthusiastic and also very Australian crew.

Over 25 years the adventure-cruise ship TRUE NORTH has developed one of Australia's most revered holiday reputations.  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.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Antarctic adventures with hot Russians

Antarctic sights: A seal rests in front of ruins of a whaling station
on Deception Island.
Picture: Louise Evans
Source: The Daily Telegraph

"I want to go to Antarctica," she says. "Are you coming?"

That one sentence put an end to my plans for another dreamy tropical getaway.

Thanks to my persuasive powers our holidays usually consist of swimming, surfing, snorkelling and chilling out by the beach, pool, lake or lagoon.

This year it seemed we would just be chilling out, literally.

The plan was to fly to Argentina, head south and take a cruise along the Antarctic Peninsula on a Russian ice pusher.

Read full story

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Captain Cook Cruises' Murray WinterSun Deal

Captain Cook Cruises is offering 25% off all Murray River cruises from June to August 2011 so passengers can discover the winter enchantment and beauty of the Murray River, its unique flora and fauna, secrets of Australian history and the taste sensations of the Murray's food and wine trail.

The historic cruise starts with the ship itself, a modern replica of the paddle wheelers that cruised the Murray in the 1800's. The PS Murray Princess has two spacious, yet cosy paddlewheel lounges featuring polished wood and gold trimmings, an elegant spiral staircase and spectacular two-story glass windows of the working paddle wheel.

Sit back in the warm paddlewheel lounges and enjoy the amazing views as the Murray Princess cruises past towering limestone cliffs, through picturesque gorges and along riverbanks lined with mallee scrub and red gum forests.

High water levels combined with the winter activity on the river will see an abundance of Australian wildlife and birdlife including Swans, Swamp Hens and Wood Ducks and their young. Plant life is also thriving with Lignum bushes flowering and rushes and reeds getting a vibrant green colour to them. Led by on-shore guides passengers can enjoy nature walks, eco-tours and learn about the thriving ecology of the river.

Each day features exciting day trips to historic ports, sacred Aboriginal sites, a sheep station and woolshed and a native wildlife shelter.

There's a food and wine trial that enables tasting at a number of vineyards and cellar doors, and in the evening, an Aussie-style campfire barbecue on the river bank.

The three nights Discovery Cruise departs every Friday at 4.30pm and prices start from $583 per person, normally $777 per person.

The four nights Outback Heritage Cruise departs Mannum every Monday at 4.30pm and prices start from $780 per person, normally $1039 per person.

The seven nights Murraylands & Wildlife Cruise departs Mannum every Friday and Monday at 4.30pm and prices start from $1200 per person, normally $1599 per person.

As an extra bonus Captain Cook Cruises will celebrate Christmas in July on the Murray Princess's July 15 and 18 departures and any adults that book a group of four or more persons will receive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine in each cabin on arrival.

Prices include all meals, accommodation, most tours, scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or onsite car parking and all onboard facilities.

The sale is valid for travel 01 June to 31st August 2011 and on sale until 31 August 2011


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

 

Cruise Passenger Member Offer: The World’s Most Innovative Antarctic Expeditions


Experience the magic of Antarctica in the Summer of 2011, aboard the celebrated research vessel, Akademik Ioffe. This ship is considered the best equipped, most stable and most capable Antarctic expedition vessel in the world, with a maximum of just 95 guests. All voyages include well presented lectures, up to three shore excursions per day when in Antarctica and a complimentary Antarctica wet weather gear hire package. For the adventurers, we include the option to spend a night camping on the ice as well as sea kayaking. You also enjoy outstanding international cuisine prepared by our team of chefs. There are 10 expeditions to choose from – departing between November 2011 and March 2012. With the Aussie dollar so strong, there will never be a better time to go! Popular expeditions include:

Antarctic Peninsula Adventure
(4-departures this season)

11-day expedition departing from Ushuaia, Argentina. Experience the breathtaking scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula – a region teeming with wildlife, towering glaciers, icebergs in all shapes and sizes and historic research bases. Our days are filled with excursions ashore accompanied by our naturalist guides. *Ask about our special airfares to South America.

Journey Below the Antarctic Circle
(1-departure this season)

On this 13-day voyage, we journey further south than we do at any other time in the season. Our aim is to cross the Antarctic Circle, below 66 ° 33' south. We aim to head as far south as Crystal Sound, an icy sweep of water surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Antarctic continent. The scenery here, combined with the extended light at the height of the Antarctic summer, make for truly jaw-dropping sights in every direction. Be quick, this expedition sells out every season! *Ask about our special airfares to South America.

The Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula (3-departures this season)

On this far-reaching expedition to the islands of the South Atlantic Ocean and the Antarctic continent, you revel in 19 awe-inspiring days of exploration. Busybody penguins in rookeries by the thousands, stupendous icebergs reflecting startling greens and blues, humpback whales feeding on krill, and, of course, the continent-sized sweeping ice sheet of Antarctica are just some of the highlights of this outstanding expedition. *Ask about our special airfares to South America.


Contact Active Travel – the Antarctic travel experts.
Call 02 9264 1231, email sydney@activetravel.com.au or visit www.activetravel.com.au.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

CRUISECO’S CAPTIVATING HIGHLIGHTS ON ORION II IN FASCINATING SABAH

THE memorial to Borneo's infamous 1945 Sandakan Death March, and by contrast the little island on which the first of the TV reality Survivor shows was filmed in 2001, are amongst the diverse highlights of a 10-night cruise available through Cruiseco aboard the boutique Orion II in Malaysia's Sabah in August.

Others include two rehabilitation centres that care for orphaned and injured wildlife including orangutans and sun bears, a visit to one of Borneo's most traditional longhouses, the memorial Peace Park where Japanese forces surrendered in 1945, a swim amid coral with myriad sea-life from black-tipped sharks and rays to tiny seahorses, and a splash in reputedly medicinally-valuable volcanic mud.

And for the inquisitive, a visit to the intriguing 33-metre high Labuan Chimney that was built in the mid-1800s with 23,000 red bricks imported from England; to this day no one knows if it was to be part of a British-style luxury mansion, a ventilation shaft for Labuan's one-time coal mines, a bell tower – or the start of a lighthouse for ships passing along the coast.

Cruiseco's 11-night package includes return airfares and taxes from Australia to Kota Kinabalu via Singapore, a night pre-cruise at the Fairmont Hotel in Singapore including breakfast, 10-nights aboard Orion II return from Kota Kinabalu with daily excursions, transfers in Singapore and Kota Kinabalu and port charges and government fees.

Prices start from $7988pp twin-share from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane (deduct $227pp for Perth)

For full details and the names of Cruiseco's 200-plus cruise-specialist travel agencies visit www.cruising.com.au


FURTHER ITINERARY DETAILS: ORION II will sail from Kota Kinabalu on August 11 this year for Mantanani and Lankayan Islands, Sandakan for three days to explore the Kinabatanga River, historic WWII sites and the Sepilok Wildlife Sanctuary, Kudat to visit the Rungus Longhouse, Labuan Island, the Klias Wetlands and Tiga Island.

The 5-star Orion II carries just 100 guests served by 65 crew and has an indoor restaurant and on-deck café, health spa, gymnasium, hair and beauty salon, Jacuzzi, lounge, library and lecture hall in which talks are given by the ship's Expedition Team and Guest Speakers.


Monday, 11 April 2011

Royal Clipper Cruising to Morocco

Royal Clipper
Calls at three ports in Morocco in October -- Safi, Casablanca and Tangier – will highlight the final cruise of the 2011 Mediterranean season for Royal Clipper, the five-masted flagship of the Star Clippers sailing fleet.

The 12-night cruise from Rome to Lisbon on October 15 (from $5300) also visits Bonifacio (Corsica) Menorca, Ibiza, Motril and Cadiz (Spain) and Portimao in Portugal.

On completion of the  cruise on October 27, Royal Clipper will leave Lisbon for a 16-night repositioning cruise across the Atlantic arriving in Bridgetown, Barbados on November 12 to start the Caribbean cruise season. (From $3140).

Dedicated sailors can combine the two voyages from $7840. All prices include port charges and all meals, entertainment and gratuities on board.

Sister ships Star Clipper and Star Flyer will also head for the Caribbean in October with Star Clipper continuing on through the Panama Canal for a season sailing in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

All three ships combine the service, amenities and ambience of the finest modern yacht with the adventure and tradition of sailing.

For reservations contact your travel agent or Star Clippers on 1300 362 599 or visit
www.starclippers.com
 

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Looking for Prince Harry in Antarctica?

It seems to be a common mistake among Google searchers apparently. Prince Harry is in fact at the other end of the world trekking across the Arctic Sea. Yes, he was even stranded for a short time.

For an update on Prince Harry's Arctic trek, see BBC News

AdventureSmith Explorations Announces Significant Savings On Two Expedition Cruises in Summer 201

Summer Cruise Specials From AdventureSmith Explorations Include $1000 Airline Voucher with Alaska Cruise; 25 Percent Discount Offered on Polar Expedition

Airline vouchers valued at up to $1000 per guest mean virtually free air travel to access one Alaska cruise this summer. A 25 percent discount on a polar expedition cruise program signifies savings of up to $1,925 per person (double occupancy).

These two offers are available exclusively through AdventureSmith Explorations, http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/, the active travel company that secures matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of small expedition ships.

The air voucher applies to bookings on the 32-passenger vessel Island Spirit that has received among the highest percentage of positive traveler comments for any Alaska small ship cruise, said Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Explorations founder and owner. The cruise itinerary explores the rugged shorelines and remote coves and bays Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage.

Island Spirit is the only US Coast Guard-licensed small ship to power both guest and public areas by batteries at night which means there's no noise from engines or generators while anchored in Alaskan bays. Its nine-day cruise stops at authentic Alaskan villages including Tenakee Springs, Baranof Springs and Petersburg. The per person, double occupancy rate is $4,495. See: http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/56

"This is Alaska's best small ship value," said Smith, adding that the cruise plies the summer feeding ground of humpback whales. Departures begin May 1 and end late August.

Sailing farther north this summer, there are 25 percent savings on eight-day weekly (July only) departures of Realm of the Polar Bear Arctic cruises aboard the 124-passenger M/S Expedition, also represented by AdventureSmith Explorations. A per person (double) rate is from $3,999 for an adventure cruise above the Arctic Circle to the remote island of Spitsbergen (within the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago) and into icy landscapes frequented by the world's largest land carnivore - the polar bear. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for further details: 1-877-620-2875 or visit:
http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/322

Friday, 8 April 2011

Travel to The Russian Far East with Heritage Expeditions

Heritage Expeditions still has limited availability on its five voyages to the Russian Far East, departing between June and September 2011, on board its fully owned and operated polar research vessel the 50-passenger Spirit of Enderby.

A 14-day 'Birding the Kuril Islands' voyage will depart on 12 June 2011 from Sakhalin Island in Russia, cruising through the islands that make up the Kuril chain which stretches across the Bering Sea between Japan and Russia, and end in the town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, a major Russian naval base during the Cold War. The voyage also explores the remote Kamchatka coastline and Commander Islands, providing travellers with extraordinary wildlife experiences and the chance to explore historical sites steeped in intrigue. Prices start from US$6,850 per person.

A 15-day 'In the Wake of Bering' voyage will depart from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy on 26 June 2011 and sail 'north by north east' in the footsteps of the famed explorer's Great Northern Expedition. This is a wilderness area that few people have seen or experienced because of the region's remoteness and the fact that it was a 'closed area' until the early 1990s. The voyage will seek out the best wildlife experiences in the region, including brown bears, beluga whales and a search for the extremely rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper, classified as 'critically endangered' and whose only known breeding ground is in northern Kamchatka and Chukotka. Prices start from US$7525 per person.

Three 14-day 'Across the Top of the World' voyages will start in Anadyr, Russia on 27 July, 10 August, and 24 August 2011 and travel from Chukotka in the Russian Arctic, homeland of the indigenous Chukchi people.  The voyages include Wrangel Island, which has the highest density of polar bear dens in the world, where there is an option to traverse the island and enter the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve, usually off-limits to tourists, but available exclusively to Heritage Expeditions customers in a specially negotiated arrangement with the Russian authorities. Prices start from $7150 per person. There is also the option to start these itineraries in Nome, Alaska, please enquire for more information.

A longer 19-day 'Jewel of the Russian Far East' voyage will depart on 6 September 2011 from the port of Anadyr, and visit remote communities of nomadic reindeer herders and abandoned Cold War bases, as well as offering spectacular wildlife viewing. Prices start from US$11,074 per person (Nome, Alaska departure point also available).

Prices include one night pre-voyage accommodation, transfers, all meals, shore excursions, port charges, landing fees and permits. Heritage Expeditions is also able to assist with competitively priced airfares and additional pre and post voyage touring.

The emphasis of these expeditions is on interactive experiences with the environment and a strong educational element. Frequent shore excursions and explorations using inflatable Zodiacs are guided by a team of experienced naturalists. Heritage Expeditions has secured permits to visit many locations which are still off limits to foreign registered vessels.

For further information visit www.heritage-expeditions.com

About Heritage Expeditions
New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions was formed in 1985, as a way of increasing awareness and conservation of the natural world through responsible expedition travel to the world's wildest and remotest places. The company pioneered small ship expedition cruising to the Russian Far East in 2007.


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Windstar Cruises announces two fantastic cruise offers

Receive a complimentary two night stay, upgrade or shipboard credit when you book by 15 May 2011

The world's most 'romantic cruise line'*, Windstar, will sail to some of the most idyllic locations this year, taking passengers to intimate harbours and secluded ports across the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Baltics, Europe and Greek Isles.

On the eve of its 2011 summer sailing season, Windstar has announced two special offers for guests who book their cruise by 15 May 2011.  Windstar will include two night's complimentary accommodation on a selection of its most popular 7-day Europe itineraries including its Athens to Istanbul, Athens to Rome and Athens to Venice cruises. The offer is available for pre and post cruise accommodation on a total of 19 sailings across the cruise line's three motor sailing yachts, Wind Spirit, Wind Star and Wind Surf, from May through to October 2011.

A second complimentary offer has also been announced by Windstar which is valid for any 2011 sailing worldwide, and provides guests with a choice to have their stateroom upgraded from a Category B to a Category A, or receive a shipboard credit of US$100 per person to use at the ship's day spa, bar and lounges, or on a shore excursion.  (Guests who book a suite will receive a shipboard credit of US$150 per person.)

Itineraries that feature the special offers include:

7-Day Athens to Athens cruise which departs 29 October and sails to Mykonos, Kos, Navplion and Ydra (Greece) and Kusadasi (Turkey). The cruise is priced from AU$3,400 per person twin share plus two free night's stay in Athens (pre or post cruise), plus an upgrade to a Category A stateroom or shipboard credit.

7-Day Athens to Rome cruise which departs on 11 June and 24 September and sails through Milos and Monemvassia (Greece), and the Italian ports of Messina (Sicily), Amalfi and Ischia. Priced from AU$3,059 per person twin share, the cruise includes two complimentary night's accommodation (pre or post cruise), plus a stateroom upgrade or shipboard credit of US$100 per person.

Windstar is distinctive with its tall masts and spectacular sails and delivers a yacht-like experience, from its al fresco dining and relaxed atmosphere. The cruise line has luxurious accommodation, a choice of restaurants, a day spa, gym and swimming pool. Sister ships, Wind Spirit and Wind Star accommodate 148 passengers each, whilst Wind Surf hosts 312 passengers.

To make a booking: contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622 or visit www.traveltheworld.com.au

 (* 'Most Romantic Cruise Line' - As voted by the readers of Porthole Magazine in 2010 and for the past five years.)


Tui Tai Expeditions Save up to 40%

Tui Tai Expeditions is happy to offer some super special pricing to book now!
We have the following HOT Specials, up to 40% off, for bookings confirmed by 31-May 2011.

Hot Specials, Book Now
Booking Window: Now to 31-May-2011
Travel Window: Now to 31-March-2012
Exclusions: 15-Dec-11 to 10-Jan-12
Conditions: Applies to new bookings only.  Booking must be confirmed by 31-May-2011.  Specials listed may not be used in conjunction with other specials or value adds.  Free inter-island airfare does NOT apply to HOT specials.

Below you'll find the best specials we have ever published, categorized by what's most popular and booked by you: adventure, scuba diver, honeymoons, families.

Hot Adventure Special
Normal Price: USD $2990
Hot Special Price: USD $1995
You save: USD $995 (33%)

Details
•    7-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
•    All-inclusive: meals, bar, spa, activities (except scuba diving)
•    Expedition Cabin accommodation
•    Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

Hot Scuba Diver Special
Normal Price: USD $3900
Hot Special Price: USD $2495
You save: USD $1405 (36%)

Details
•    7-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
•    Includes unlimited scuba diving (up to 20 dives), dive gear hire
•    All-inclusive: meals, bar, spa, activities
•    Expedition Cabin accommodation
•    Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

Hot Honeymoon Special
Normal Price: USD $3672
Hot Special Price: USD $2655
You save: USD $1017 (28%)

Details
•    5-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
•    All-inclusive: meals, bar, spa, activities
•    Stateroom accommodation
•    Private dinner served on a secluded beach, optional serenade
•    Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

Hot Luxury Honeymoon Special
Normal Price: USD $5802
Hot Special Price: USD $3495
You save: USD $2307 (40%)

Details
•    5-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
•    All-inclusive: meals, bar, spa, activities
•    Oversea Veranda Suite accommodation
•    Private dinner served on a secluded beach, optional serenade
•    Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

Hot Family of 4 Special
Normal Price: USD $2990
Hot Special Price: USD $1895
You save: USD $1095 (37%)

Details
•    7-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
•    All-inclusive: meals, bar, spa, activities (except scuba diving)
•    Expedition Cabin accommodation (2 cabins)
•    Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

Hot Family of 5 Special
Normal Price: USD $2990
Hot Special Price: USD $1795
You save: USD $1195 (40%)

Details
•    7-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
•    All-inclusive: meals, bar, spa, activities (except scuba diving)
•    Expedition Cabin accommodation (2 cabins)
•    Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

Hot Family Luxury Suite Special
Normal Price: USD $29,302
Hot Special Price: USD $17,617
You save: USD $11,685 (40%)

Details
•    7-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
•    All-inclusive: meals, bar, spa, activities (except scuba diving)
•    Accommodation in the 2 best rooms on the ship: Oversea Veranda Stateroom and Oversea Veranda Suite.  Door opens between private verandas to create a huge onboard villa complete with second-storey stardeck cabanas
•    Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

"Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" -- National Geographic
"World Class Escape" -- National Geographic
"Trip of a Lifetime" -- Outside
www.TuiTai.com

Follow Tui Tai Expeditions online:
* Follow Tui Tai Expeditions on Facebook
* Follow Tui Tai Expeditions on Twitter
* Tui Tai Blog
* Tui Tai Photos on Flickr




EC editor on assignment: Danube River Cruise



Your adventurous editor has accepted a new challenge from Scenic Tours to sample their brand new Scenic Pearl luxury river cruiser.

Updates will be posted here, but in the meantime you can see what the product is about here:

http://scenictours.com.au/destination/scenic-space-ships/

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Out of This World – the Top Five Remote Island Destinations for the Eco-Traveller


2011 Cruise Passenger Magazine Adventure Cruise Guide
2011 Cruise Passenger Magazine
Adventure Cruise Guide
Media Release: 4 April 2011

Cruise Passenger Magazine’s Adventure Cruise Guide Names the Top Five Remote Island Destinations Accessible Only by Expedition Vessel.

Our planet is transforming every day. The climate is changing, forests are vanishing, endangered species disappear daily and the polar ice is melting at an alarming rate.

All this could be a good reason to stay at home and lock the door, but adventure and expedition cruisers are travelling like, well, there is no tomorrow.

Small ships and expedition vessels, often with less than 100 passengers aboard, transport environmentally sensitive and ecologically aware travellers to some of the world’s most remote and fragile destinations on Earth.

“Expedition cruising is quite possibly the purest form of ecotourism,” says Roderick Eime, editor of Adventure Cruise Guide, “Adventure ships take small numbers of thoughtful people to places where there is no infrastructure and leave nothing behind.”

“Some of the world’s most remarkable destinations can only be reached aboard a small ship – and thank goodness for that.”

Here are five such destinations you can’t fly to or ever hope to visit aboard a 3000-passenger behemoth.

1. Macquarie Island, Australia (54° 37′ 0.12″ S, 158° 51′ 0″ E) *

Young elephant seals sing up a chorus on Macquarie Island (Roderick Eime)
Young elephant seals sing up a chorus on Macquarie Island (Roderick Eime)
Inhabited by around 20 Australian scientists and support staff, Macquarie has only featured as a ‘tourist’ destination since adventure vessels heading to the Antarctic started looking for somewhere to break the many days at sea. Geologically attached to New Zealand, but administered by Australia, it is halfway to Antarctica from Tasmania. The first residents were seals and penguins who were almost hunted to extinction in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Replaced by cats, rats and rabbits, man’s influence is slowly being reversed. Apart from the wildlife, Macquarie is famous for its rocks. Geologists will know what an ophiolite is and that Macquarie is the only place to see one.

2. Fatu Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia (10°29′0″S, 138°39′0″W)

Island of Fatu Hiva, village of Hanavave, Bay of Virgins. As seen from departing Aranui 3 (Roderick Eime)
Island of Fatu Hiva, village of Hanavave, Bay of Virgins. As seen from departing Aranui 3 (Roderick Eime)
The second most remote archipelago in the world (next to Hawai’i) is the Marquesas. Fatu Hiva is well known as centre for Marquesan arts and crafts, centred around the village of Omoa on the western coast and has one of the largest selections anywhere in the archipelago. Visitors can see men and women demonstrating their crafts including word carving, tapa (bark) cloth making and fabrics. Thor (and Mrs) Heyerdahl spent time in 1937 for the famous book, Fatu Hiva, Back to Nature. Part of a visit can include a challenging hike across the mountain to the delightful little village of Hanavave, possibly one of the most isolated anywhere in the Marquesas. The setting in the picturesque Bay of Virgins is a secret only shared by intrepid yachtsmen.

3. Espanola (Hood) Island, Galápagos Islands (1° 22′ 0″ S, 89° 41′ 0″ W) *

Majestic Waved Albatross (Diomedea irrorata) soars on cliff-side updrafts on the island of Espanola in the Galapagos group. Also called the Galapagos albatross, the waved albatross is the largest bird in the Galapagos.
Majestic Waved Albatross (Diomedea irrorata) soars on cliff-side updrafts on the island of Espanola in the Galapagos group. Also called the Galapagos albatross, the waved albatross is the largest bird in the Galapagos. (Roderick Eime)
Tiny Espanola was named by the Spanish for, you guessed it, Spain. The British also named it after the famous naval man, Samuel Hood. Tucked away in the far southeast corner of the Galápagos Islands group, its isolation was also its salvation as the more northerly younger islands, were often visited by hungry seamen, pirates and whalers. Home to a wild cornucopia of birds, seals and marine iguanas, it is one of the must-do stops on any Galápagos island itinerary. Birders will go crazy for the bizarre ritual of the Blue Footed Booby as well as the majestic, but critically endangered Waved Albatross. The marine iguana, native to the group, has a brightly coloured sub-species endemic to the island. Gardner Bay is the popular landing site and great for diving, snorkelling and swimming.

4. Deception Island, Antarctica (62° 58′ 37″ S, 60° 39′ 0″ W)

Deception Island is just off the Antarctic Peninsula and a highlight of any expedition cruise. (Roderick Eime)
Deception Island is just off the Antarctic Peninsula and a highlight of any expedition cruise. (Roderick Eime)
This collapsed volcanic caldera off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most talked about islands on any of the southerly itineraries. Dripping in history, wildlife and stunning scenery, the island was home to several countries’ whaling and Antarctic bases until a series of violent eruptions sent them scrambling. After your ship makes the nail-biting entry through Neptune’s Bellows, visitors can stroll around the abandoned base at Whalers Bay or visit the teeming Chinstrap Penguin colony where 200,000 birds all call at once. Sir Hubert Wilkins and pilot, Ben Eielson, set off from the narrow volcanic strip to become the first to fly over Antarctica in December 1928. Their hangar still stands. Any visit to Deception Island must be capped off with a swim in the volcanically heated waters at Pendulum Cove.

5. Beechey Island, Canadian Arctic (74°43′N 091°51′W)

Beechey Island (Nunavut, Canada) is a highlight of Quark Expeditions Northwest Passage. Mandatory Credit: Claudio Suter/Quark Expeditions edit Delete caption
Beechey Island (Nunavut, Canada) is a highlight of Quark Expeditions' Northwest Passage. (Claudio Suter/Quark Expeditions)
If it weren’t for some odd blips in history, Beechey Island would still be the infinitesimal featureless, uninhabited satellite of its much larger neighbour, Devon Island in Canada’s Wellington Channel. Some time in 1845, the still lost English explorer, Sir John Franklin, stopped to winter in the shelter of Beechey Island. Three of his men remain there, a testament to greater events about to unfold. Now a "site of territorial historical significance", Beechey Island plays host to Arctic expeditioners seeking to recreate Franklin’s historic, if foolhardy, voyage of disappearance. The amazingly preserved body of 21-year-old Petty Officer John Shaw Torrington provided some of the scant clues to the untimely demise of Franklin’s folly. He has since been reburied with his former shipmates.

* UNESCO World Heritage Listed

The fourth edition of Cruise Passenger Magazine’s Adventure Cruise Guide contains all the information you need to travel to any of these impossibly remote locations with a comprehensive listing of all major operators. You can also learn what to pack, who is cruising and what adventurous add-ons are available to extend your adventure.

The 2011 Adventure Cruise Guide is available in selected newsagents, by direct request and online at www.cruisepassenger.com.au (page goes live on Monday April 4)

Roderick Eime is available for interview and comment. Contact


High Res images from this article can be downloaded from here. Mandatory credits apply.

About Cruise Passenger Magazine

First published in 1996, Cruise Passenger is Australasia’s only magazine dedicated to cruising. Each quarterly issue has 128 pages of in-depth insights into cruise trends and destinations, reviews of ships and cruise lines, beautiful photographs and advice on how to choose the best cruise. For more information, see www.cruisepassenger.com.au

About Roderick Eime

A journalist, photographer and adventurer for over 30 years, Rod has developed a specialty for small ship and expedition cruising in remote locations. He has covered vessels all around the world including both polar regions and many rivers. He is also an experienced scuba diver and also enjoys telling the stories and history behind his travels. See his blogs at Expedition Cruising and Guide to Small Ship and Adventure Cruising.