Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cuba cruising coming to Australia

by Louise Goldsbury, editor, Cruise Weekly

Variety Cruises is the latest line to announce Cuban itineraries, which are uniquely being marketed to Australians with a 20% discount.

CRUISING in Cuba is one step easier with the news that Variety Cruises, newly represented in Australia by Discover The World, will offer Havana-Havana voyages in 2012-13. The seven-night ‘Sights and Sounds of Cuba’, aboard the 25-cabin S/C Panorama, has a 20% early booking discount on selected cabin categories if paid in full before 30 June 2012.

Daily ports of call include Havana, Cinfuegos, Trinidad, Vinales/Pinar del Rio, Bahia dos Correntes, Juventud Island and Cayo Largo. Described by the company as a “balance between conventional cruising and private yachting”, the Panorama has two outdoor bars, two lounges, a library and a platform on the stern that enables swimming (when weather and anchorage conditions permit).

Fares include double or twin cabin accommodation, meals, welcome cocktail, captain’s dinner, coffee, tea and mineral water, use of fishing and snorkelling equipment, and a multilingual cruise escort. All November and December 2012 Cuba cruises booked before 30 June 2012 will also include a shipboard credit of 75 euro per person.

The new cruises follow the recent cancellation of Canadian-owned Cuba Cruise Line’s 2011-2012 season. The company had planned to charter Louis Cruise Line’s Cristal but has vowed to return in a year. Late last year, the UK’s Thomson Cruises also logistical reasons. Another British company, Fred Olsen Cruise Line, as well as German windjammer line Sea Cloud Cruises, and France’s Compagnie du Ponant currently operate Cuban and Caribbean voyages, but these are rarely marketed to Australians.

American cruises lines are not permitted to sail to Cuba; however, it is hoped that the US Government’s easing of travel restrictions for Americans to Cuba will see more cruising in the region in the future.

For details of the Variety Cruises itineraries and prices, call Discover the World Marketing on (02) 9959 3696 or email: variety@discovertheworld.com.au.


Monday, 30 January 2012

Cruise 7 nights but Pay only 4 nights with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji


Captain Cook Cruises Fiji is offering massive savings with its cruise 7 nights pay 4 nights deal on all seven night cruises including its Yasawa Islands Cruise, Discovery Heritage Cruise and Discovery Cultural Cruise.  Seven night fares are only AUD$1700 per person in stateroom accommodation, normally AUD$2678 per person including all meals, tours and onboard facilities.

This deal is valid on stateroom accommodation only, with Early Booking Saver fare still available on Cabin and new Tabua Suite prices. The deal is valid for sale until 17 March 2012 and valid for travel from 01 April 2012 to 31 March 2013.

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

Offering a truly cultural experience, guests visit unspoilt Fijian villages, schools, churches and handicraft markets, and experience traditional village sevusevu ceremonies.

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.

The seven-night Yasawa Islands Cruise is the ultimate Yasawa Island experience and departs every Tuesday and Saturday from Denarau Marina at 1.00pm, disembarking every Tuesday and Saturday at 9am.

The Discovery Heritage Cruise to Levuka, Savu Savu and Taveuni departs Lautoka Wharf at 1.00pm and departure dates include: 6 March, 01 May, 03 July, 04 September and 06 November, 2012 and 01 January and 05 March, 2013.

The Discovery Cultural Cruise exploring the four cultures of Northern Fiji departs Lautoka Wharf at 1.00pm and departure dates include: 07 February, 03 April, 05 June, 07 August, 02 October and 04 December 2012 and 05 February 2013.

Seven night fares are only AUD$1700 per person in stateroom accommodation , normally AUD$2678 per person and include all meals, guided village and island tours, glass bottom boat excursions, on board entertainment and use of the ship's facilities including swimming pool, spa, pool bar, sun deck, sauna, cocktail bar, day spa and library.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises +61-2-9126 8160 (Aust), 1300 863454, or +679-670 1823 (Fiji), Email: fiji@captaincook.com.fj or visit www.captaincook.com.fj

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ five star expeditions ship MS HANSEATIC to offer premier voyage in Russia’s Far East



Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' five star expeditions ship MS HANSEATIC to offer premier voyage in Russia's Far East

• Circumnavigating the Sea of Okhotsk
• Stops in Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands

In June 2012, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will be offering their first itinerary through the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia's Far East, on the only 5-star expedition vessel in the world, the MS HANSEATIC. The HANSEATIC's itinerary will be fully bilingual, departing Otaru, Japan on June 13, 2012 and concluding in Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka on June 30th. The 17-day expedition voyage will lead through the Sea of Okhotsk and her many islands as well as to Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands. This route, rarely travelled by cruise ships, is one of the last great unexplored sea expeditions in the world.

The wildlife in the Sea of Okhotsk and her many remote islands is some of the richest in the world and the scenery of snow-capped volcanoes, dense forest, tundra and meadow is spectacular. The on-board Zodiacs, small inflatable boats, will take guests ashore to observe wildlife such as Stellar Sea Lions, songbirds, birds of prey, seals and sea otters, up close.

The mostly uninhabited Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia's easternmost province, is a dramatic landscape of fire and ice, and the distant and isolated Kuril Islands have mesmerized explorers and traders for centuries. Guests will find a unique mixture of endemic birds. Geysers, hot springs and active volcanoes set amidst towering mountains and fast flowing rivers also make this area magnificently unique.

Excursion options of this itinerary include a helicopter flight to the Valley of the Geysers, considered one of the greatest miracles of nature that can only be visited by helicopter; a zodiac ride to Cape Utholoskiy, to hopefully view the brown bear; and a walk around Atlasova, an uninhibited island in the Kuril Islands, with the largest active volcano in the area.

This itinerary starts at EUR 9.027 / GBP 6.448 / USD 10.832 per person, based on double occupancy for an outside cabin.

About the HANSEATC:

MS HANSEATIC, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' small and beautifully appointed expedition ship, and the world's only 5-star expedition ship was created to provide intensive exploration in the most elegant surroundings for a maximum of 184 passengers. The HANSEATIC is known worldwide for its unsurpassed abilities to navigate and explore difficult waters of the Arctic and Antarctic due to its highest ice class for passenger vessels (E4). The HANSEATIC cruises the world year round, landing in unusual and remote destinations. A shallow draft and high manoeuvrability allow the ship to enter waters larger cruise vessels cannot reach. New service options now available on the HANSEATIC include: worldwide mobile phone reception, Wi-Fi in all cabins, an extended selection of international newspapers in full editions, as well as headsets for passengers during the excursions for better clarity for the experts to be heard.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' exciting destinations and itineraries visit www.hl-cruises.com. For bookings or brochure requests, please look for your nearest sales agent in your country here. All press releases and a picture gallery can be found on www.hl-cruises.com/press.

New Cruise Services in the South Pacific

by Kevin Griffin (The Cruise People Ltd)



An organisation called Pacific Schooners, under the direction of Capt Daniel Moreland, has acquired the 130-foot former Nova Scotia deep sea trawler Zebroid and intends to place her into service this April as the Cook Islands supply ship Tiare Taporo.

The name honours a famous vessel of the past that served the Pacific between 1913 and 1968, and when the new Tiare Taporo enters service she will be the first trading schooner to deliver cargo and carry passengers under sail in the South Pacific for more than a generation.

Read full story

Oceanwide Expeditions – World's Leading Polar Expedition Operator 2011



Oceanwide Expeditions proudly announces to be fourth time winner of the ‘World Travel Awards’ in the category of ‘World’s Leading Polar Expedition Operator 2011′.

The renowned ‘World Travel Award’ serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

We thank all partner tour operators and agencies for your ongoing support and confidence in Oceanwide Expeditions’ polar voyages and look forward to a continuous good cooperation for the years to come.

AmaWaterways’ New Africa Boat Touted by Jack Hanna

AmaWaterways, which plans to start Africa river cruise-tours this summer, says that the boat they are chartering was recently touted by zookeeper and travel show host Jack Hanna. The 28-passenger Zambezi Queen was featured on “Jack Hanna’s Into The Wild.”

“I highly recommend the Zambezi Queen,” Hanna said. “It’s a must. Anyone that’s looking to cross something off a bucket list or a way to travel in Africa, this is the way to go. From dining to the resting area to the accommodations and the wonderful staff and riverboat guides that get you up close to the wildlife, everything is top-notch and beyond five star. I’ve done this for 26 years now and this has been the epitome for me and my family to be on this magnificent vessel.”

AmaWaterways’ African cruises include the 16-day “Stars of Africa,” the 16-day “African Sunsets” and the 19-day “Golden Trails of Africa.” The tours include morning and afternoon game drives, beach picnics, wine tours, and visits to local museums such as the Huguenot Museum or Ngorongoro Archaeological Museum. Guests also will experience tribal dancing and visits to local villages.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Zegrahm arrives in the Seychelles

A Seychelles delegation consisting of Alain Mason and Lenny Alvis from Mason’s Travel; Lt. Colonel Andre Ciseau, CEO of Seychelles Ports Authority; and Alain St.Ange, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board with members of his team, visited the cruise ship Clipper Odyssey on charter to Zegrahm and Eco Expeditions, newly arrived in port after successful stops at Aldabra and the Amirantes Islands.

Founded more than 20 years ago, Zegrahm and Eco Expeditions occupies a very special niche in the world of adventure travel as a top-end organizer of expeditions to the lesser-frequented parts of the world: the North Pole, Antarctica, the Himalayas, Botswana, the South Pacific islands, and the Indian Ocean. The founder members of the company have each visited more than 100 countries and collectively have been to the Antarctica more than 250 times. Some of the places visited by Zegrahm Expeditions are so remote that they are rarely, if ever, visited.

Handled in Seychelles by Mason’s Travel, which is responsible for arranging transfers and creating enticing, custom-made expeditions for the visitors, the Clipper Odyssey which has just 55 cabins, has recently docked in Port Victoria after a successful Indian Ocean itinerary that included Aldabra, Astove, and the Amirantes Islands.

“The arrival of this vessel in Seychelles after its successful tour of some of our remoter islands sends a powerful signal that, with the proper precautions, possibilities for sea travel in our corner of the Indian Ocean remain undiminished despite the threat of piracy,” stated Alain St.Ange.

In an interview with Seychelles’ Broadcasting Corporation, author Mr. Jack Grove, one of the directors and founders of Zegrahm and Eco Expeditions, explained that operating a cruise in this region of the Indian Ocean that has witnessed sporadic pirate activity over recent years, was rather like attaching a seat belt prior to driving a car. “It is just a sensible precaution to take and, once taken, allows us to use a motor vehicle as a successful means of transport,” elaborated Jack Grove who has a PhD in ichthyology and is one of the chief marine biologists of the nature-oriented expeditions who has visited Aldabra some 10 times already.

“It is very uplifting to be able to welcome Zegrahm and Eco Expeditions back to Seychelles,” enthused Lenny Alvis from Mason’s Travel, “and in particular, Jack Grove, who is an old personal friend. I believe that crafting excursions for such discerning clients is good for our creativity, because it means that we really have to scratch our heads and bring out the best in ourselves.”

In an interview the captain of the vessel, Peter Fielding, he stated that he had enjoyed excellent relations with the Seychelles’ authorities, notably with the Seychelles Ports Authority, and had felt very safe and secure cruising in Seychelles’ waters.

Presenting two gifts to the expedition leader, a Coco-de-mer and a commemorative book of the Seychelles Carnival, Alain St.Ange repeated the great significance of the voyage of the Clipper Odyssey to Seychelles and its importance as a confidence-builder for other members of the cruise ship industry to consider the islands of the western Indian Ocean in their itineraries. “The islands of the western Indian Ocean have a great deal to offer to cruise ships and excellent possibilities exist to create amazing itineraries that include Seychelles, Aldabra, Astove, and the wonders of La Reunion island as well.”

Clipper Odyssey will be rotating captains in Port Victoria, as well as certain other members of its staff, before heading back into the Indian Ocean on yet another exclusive voyage of discovery that will include Aldabra and the island of Zanzibar with a new group of passengers who flew into Seychelles the day before the arrival of the cruise ship.

The disembarking passengers are scheduled to fly out from Seychelles after discovering the islands for the first time.

Source: Seychelles Tourism Board


Friday, 27 January 2012

Historic Day, As Silversea Expedition Guests Land On Point Wild, Elephant Island, Antarctica

Silver Explorer and her expedition team accomplished a first in the ship's history yesterday (26 January 2012), landing guests at Point Wild, Elephant Island – the location where survivors of the Shackleton Expedition lived under two lifeboats for more than four months while hoping for rescue. 

After attempting to take guests to Elephant Island for nearly 10 years, due to the weather conditions yesterday Silver Explorer's Captain Alexander Golubev was able to tuck the Silver Explorer into a small and slightly sheltered bay just to the West of Point Wild.

Robin West, Silver Explorer's expedition leader and his team of nine, including biologists, geologists and an historian, assisted 120 guests on zodiacs one at a time, to explore this historic site, which is one of the most desolate and isolated places in the world.

Guests observed the 100m x 30m strip of land, at low tide, where Shackleton's determined shipmates made a home during the winter of 1916. The zodiacs also passed through a small channel into West Bay which provided great views of Cape Wild and the Furness Glacier cascading into the ocean watched by chinstrap penguins, several male fur seals and one Weddell seal relaxing on an exposed beach platform.

Robin West commented: "Landing in the exact place where Sir Ernest Shackleton stepped ashore nearly 100 years ago, was a truly significant and historic experience, not only for our guests but for Silver Explorer and the Expedition team as well. 

'It is one of the best known stories of early exploration in Antarctica and our guests had the opportunity to be part of this."

Silver Explorer's unstructured itinerary to 'Cruise and Explore the Antarctic Peninsula,' allows the Captain and the Silversea team to determine the exact itinerary as the voyage progresses, as sea and weather conditions can vary so much in the Polar Regions.  Both guests and crew can take full advantage of the available conditions to explore as many sights and make as many zodiac excursions and landings as possible.

Combine true expedition cruising with an elegant, all-suite onboard lifestyle with Silversea Expeditions. Silver Explorer has two 10-day Antarctic expeditions departing Ushuaia (Argentina)on 3rd and 13th December 2012 All inclusive fares are priced from AU$11,699 * per person, double occupancy.

Silver Explorer cruises from Ushuaia through the Drake Passage and then explores the Antarctic Peninsula for five days before returning to Ushuaia via Drake Passage. Silver Explorer is a purpose built expedition ship with a fleet of sturdy Zodiac boats to allow for up close and unforgettable experiences with the terrain and wildlife.

*Price is per person, based on two people sharing a View Suite and includes all shore excursions, port charges, government fees and taxes. Fares for voyages embarking/disembarking Ushuaia include economy class charter air service between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, plus transfers between Ushuaia airport and pier, on day of embarkation and disembarkation.

To book or 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/expeditions

 

Star Clippers Wins World's Top Luxury Sailing Cruise Awards

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Star Clippers took top honours in three categories at the 18th annual World Travel Awards in Doha, Qatar (January 11, 2012) -- World's Leading Luxury Sailing Cruise Company, World's Leading Green Cruise Line and World's Leading Small Ships Cruise Line.
 
There were nominations from 5,000 companies in 162 countries across 1,000 categories. The winners were selected by more than 200,000 industry professionals and consumers worldwide who voted online.
 
The World Travel Awards were launched in 1993 to celebrate excellence and achievement in the world's travel and tourism industry. The Wall Street Journal has called the awards the "Oscars of the travel industry."
 
Star Clippers Director of Sales and Marketing Andy Lovering said that to be recognized by agencies and consumers around the world for its green initiatives validated Star Clippers efforts to be responsible corporate citizens.
 
"To also achieve honours for our overall product confirms the strong relationships we have with both our travel agent partners and those who sail with us," he said.
 
Star Clippers' three luxury sailing ships, the flagship Royal Clipper, and sister ships Star Clipper and Star Flyer, follow the sun in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica/Panama.
 
The ships combine the pampered luxury of mega-yacht cruising with the thrill of sailing aboard an authentic clipper ship visiting intimate ports of call often untouched by larger cruise ships.
 
For reservations contact your travel agent or Star Clippers on 1300 362 599 or email:starclippers@creativecruising.com.au <mailto:starclippers@creativecruising.com.au>
www.starclippers.com <http://www.starclippers.com>

Visit www.starclippers.com to view a video or take a virtual tour of the Star Clippers ships. See blog at www.starclippersblog.com
 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Botanica adds British Isles and Mekong garden cruises for 2013

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New brochure: Botanica Boutique Cruising 2013

Specialist garden tour company Botanica's brochure for 2013 focuses on garden-theme cruises of the British Isles, Europe and the Mekong River that can be linked to the company's popular stand alone small group land tours.

The Botanica Boutique Cruising 2013 brochure presents cruising combined with great gardens (both natural and created), historic and iconic sights, botanical lecturers and culinary gourmet discoveries.

Botanica, a part of the APT Group, is using APT boutique river ships MS AmaVerde for cruising through Europe's heartland and the RV AmaLotus for Vietnam-Cambodia cruises.  The comparable luxury small ship MS Island Sky is used for the British Isles cruise.

Botanica co-owner, Judy Vanrenen said customers were offered a unique and intimate boutique cruising experience with like-minded travellers aboard a luxurious river or expedition ship.

Guest lecturers are featured on the cruises and experienced botanical guides will escort garden excursions.

While tours for the London and Chelsea Flower Show, Cornwall Gardens, Loire Valley Chateaux and Gardens, Italian Lakes and Croatian Wildflowers and Dutch Tulip Time Cruise will again be popular, Botanica's lead-in tour is the new 11-day British Isles Gardens, History and Birdlife.

This is priced from $7,595 per person, twin share which includes 10-night cruise on the luxury small ship the MS Island Sky from Edinburgh to London, service of a Cruise Director, expedition team and an expert botanical lecturer and guides, 26 meals, house wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner on board, airport transfers, tipping and port taxes.

Botanica offers flexible touring in Portmeirion, Dublin and County Waterford with botanical options are included at no extra cost.

This tour discovers the spectacular coastline of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales with excursions in Zodiacs, visiting out-of-the-way places off the regular tourist trail, the grounds and gardens of 16th century Crathes castle near Aberdeen, some of Scotland's premier gardens at Inverewe, the 80-acre Bodnant Garden in Wales, the Isles of Scilly and the picturesque island of Tresco.

The MS Island Sky carries 114 passengers and a crew of 75. Like the AmaVerde and AmaLotus, it offers a wide choice of suite styles.

The cruise departs Edinburgh on May 24, 2013.

Gardens, golf and gourmet opportunities are included in the 14-day Europe cruise, travelling on April 27, 2013 from Amsterdam to Budapest. It is priced from $8,975.

The eight-day Mekong cruise from Saigon for Siem Reap departs February 4, 2013 and is from $3,695.

For both cruises, prices cover similar inclusions as the British Isles cruise.

The popular five-day London and Chelsea Flower Show package is from $2,655 and is on May 20, which means it can be linked to the British Isles cruise.

Phone 1300 305 202 or visit www.botanica.travel


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Adventure Cruising: Into Africa

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gorée Island, Senegal,
is a monument to the West African slave trade.
By Roderick Eime

With our planet “shrinking” at a rapid rate, expedition cruisers are always spinning their globes in search of new and enriching destinations to add to their adventure CVs. Nowadays, the whole Earth is pretty much fair game and with social and political relaxation on the west coast of Africa several cruise operators are setting out to these once dangerous lands. This is in contrast to the continuing difficulties and the threat of piracy on the eastern coast near the ‘Horn of Africa’ disrupting cruise ship schedules.

Once no-go countries such as Sierra Leone and Angola are now safe for western travellers and these mysterious lands are now gently opening their doors to a trickle of adventurous visitors. If early indications are anything to go by, these groundbreaking itineraries will be a hit with most departures booked out in advance. Here are some of the early-adopters:

Zegrahm Expeditions

This respected, 20-year-old company have been slow to make their mark in Australia, but their African itineraries and new local representation may be just what they need to kickstart them in the Aussie market. From Mauritius to Morocco and everything in between, Zegrahm offer one of the most comprehensive African explorations out there, but this cruiser has his eye on April’s “Tracing the West Coast of Africa” exploring Cameroon to Senegal. Stops include Ghana, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Zeco (that’s their industry nickname) operate the stalwart Clipper Odyssey, well known in small ship circles. From US$12,980.00 for 18 days.

Contact: www.smallshipadventure.com


Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad's West Coast of Africa is a
staggering itinerary (click to enlarge)
Never shy about forging new paths in uncharted territories, Lindblad have been at the forefront of expedition cruising since the 1960s and their comprehensive South Africa to Morocco odyssey is nothing short of staggering. Their itinerary looks more like a quilter’s blueprint as it weaves along the coast and islands over 37 days aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer. Take local boats on Lake Nokoue to the stilt village of Ganvié and visit Gorée Island, a World Heritage Site that was a hub for the slave trade. Annually in March and April, fares begin at US$28,480.

Contact: www.wildearth-travel.com


G Adventures (formerly GAP)

Not to be outdone, this front-running land and sea adventure operator has announced its first ever sailing program in West Africa aboard the 140-passenger M/S Expedition scheduled for April 2013. There are three adventures passengers can choose from which will encompass more than ten nations. A notable highlight is the opportunity to discover the Bijagos Archipelego off the coast of Guinea-Bissau – a rare experience offered by very few operators.

Contact: www.gadventures.com
Silversea

This well known operator adds a touch of glamour and luxury to their expeditions aboard the must lauded 132-guest Silver Explorer. Three itineraries are offered in the region ranging from 10 to 18 days, as the vessel sails from Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands to Cape Town. I’m betting there will be several guests staying on for the whole 45 days. Highlights include UNESCO-listed Goree Island, the seldom visited Bijagos Archipelago and a meet-up with the forest-dwelling pygmy people of Cameroon. Heavily booked, you’ll need to get in early for this. From AU$6699 (10 days)

Contact: www.silversea.com

Those prepared to venture outside the mainstream will find a wide variety of low key voyages on vessels of all descriptions. Old hands in the shipping industry tell us that infrastructure is in place at most of the cargo ports (for vessels that need it) and it’s just a matter of making minor modifications for the small passenger numbers.

“Nobody takes the time to go there and try to work closely with these destinations,” says Luis De Carvalho, an independent shipping consultant now working with these ports to help them accept more passengers. “Africa is learning, but it's the responsibility of the cruise industry to help them grow and to support them.”

That may all be about to change.


Monday, 23 January 2012

Win a trip for two to Antarctica



Win a trip for two to Antarctica with the Natural History Museum and Aurora Expeditions valued at £10,000.

To celebrate the opening of our Scott's Last Expedition exhibition we are offering one lucky winner and companion of their choice a place on an incredible Antarctic Peninsula expedition. The expedition is departing from Argentina in November 2013 (dates and details to be finalised).

Witness soaring snowcapped peaks, sheltered waterways, sculpted icebergs, penguin rookeries, seals and whales on board the Akademik Shokalskiy or Polar Pioneer.

Entry details


After 100 Years, The Chance to Relive Scott's Last Expedition

Aurora Expeditions are proud to partner with London's Natural History Museum on their new exhibit Scott's Last Expedition. Scott's Last Expedition will look at this landmark journey into the unknown from different angles including everyday life in the base-camp hut, examining the different tales of human endurance and revealing the remarkable scientific achievements of the expedition, a story largely untold until now. Aurora Expeditions are proud to be offering visitors to Scott's Last Expedition and online visitors to the Museum the chance to win an expedition cruise to Antarctica to experience the icy continent first hand.

At the time of the Terra Nova expedition, 1910-1913, there were still many unanswered questions about Antarctica. Scott brought with him the largest team of scientists that had ever visited the continent in an attempt to find the answers. The expedition returned with jars and bottles containing thousands of zoological and geological specimens. They also collected a rich record of data, fundamentally contributing to what is now known about the continent. Today, more than 40,000 specimens collected by Scott's Terra Nova expedition are held in the Natural History Museum's collections.

Elin Simonsson, the exhibition curator at the Natural History Museum who led the exhibition development, says 'Our mission is to share this fantastic and inspiring story of Scott's last expedition with the world, and for the first time tell it from a broader perspective. One hundred years on, we want people to know that Scott's last expedition was not just a journey to the South Pole, it was also an important scientific expedition that carried out work across many fields. '

Running from 20 January - 2 September 2012, this exhibition reunites for the first time real objects used by Scott and his team together with the scientific specimens collected on the 1910-1913 expedition. Visitors can also walk around a life-size representation of Scott's base-camp hut, which still survives in Antarctica. The exhibition includes:

The death of the Polar party - starting at the expedition's most dramatic point, with the deaths of Scott and the Polar team, the exhibition will revisit the entire expedition with a look at the many different tales of the powers of human endurance and exploration.

The hut - visitors will be able to enter a life-sized representation of the base-camp hut, which formed the centre of the Terra Nova expedition. In a space that contained a photographer's dark room, a laboratory, a bread-making oven and a gramophone, the expedition members achieved a surprising level of domesticity. As one of the survivors explained, 'Whatever the conditions of darkness, cold and wind might be outside, there was comfort and warmth and good cheer within'.

The science - the thousands of scientific specimens brought back from the Terra Nova expedition represented 2,109 different species of animals and plants. More than 400 of these were new to science. The scientists studied Antarctic wildlife, both on land and in the water, surveyed new terrains, studied glaciology, geology and the effects of atmospheric electricity. They also produced the longest unbroken record of Antarctica's meteorological data, which remains the baseline for modern records today.

Key scientific specimens on display include the geological specimens found with Scott's body at the last camp, the extinct plant fossil Glossopteris indica, which proved that Antarctica had once been part of the supercontinent Gondwana, and the emperor penguin eggs that three men risked their lives to collect on the notorious Winter Journey.

Terra Nova's legacy - The epic tale of Scott and the Terra Nova expedition continues to inspire new generations of scientists, historians and explorers.

During his final days, Scott wrote, 'Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.'

As these words show, the story of Scott's last expedition is one of adventure, bravery and human endeavour.

Visitor Information

Dates and times:20 January - 2 September, 10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)
Visitor enquiries: Monday-Friday +44 (0)20 7942 5000, Saturday-Sunday +44 (0)20 7942 5011
Admission: Adult £9*, child and concession £5.50*, family £26*
Website: www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/scott || www.nhm.ac.uk/scott



G Adventures Reports a 15 Per Cent Increase in Polar Expedition Cruise Bookings

G Adventures, the world’s adventure travel leader, reports a 15 per cent increase in bookings for its Antarctica programs in 2011-12 in part due to the build up of the 100th anniversary of British Captain Robert F. Scott’s heroic expedition to the South Pole to be commemorated in January. Together with the successful airing in the UK and Australia of Frozen Planet, the nature documentary of Earth’s polar regions co-produced by the BBC, the Discovery Channel and The Open University, demand for these amazing regions has been steadily climbing.

Now the seven-part series, which focuses on life and the environment in both Antarctica and the Arctic, is coming to televisions across North America. Set to premiere on the Discovery Channel on Sunday, March 18th, the tour operator expects already brisk sales to continue their record growth and is encouraging travellers to book early to avoid the disappointment of sold out departure dates in 2012-13.

“The success of Frozen Planet illustrates the high level of interest in seeing some of our planet’s most amazing sights and wildlife and what is being done to protect this fragile environment,” says Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures’ founder. “The series will spark a desire in many to go beyond HD and see for themselves what few travellers have been fortunate enough to explore. And they will be forever changed by the experience.”

Gadventures flagship, MS Expedition
G Adventures presents a diverse portfolio of Polar Expeditions for 2012 aboard the company-owned, small ship M/S Expedition. The company offers a number of different itineraries to suit varied budgets and possible time constraints in both Antarctica (travel November and March) and the Arctic (departures offered June through September) and all G Adventures Polar programs include the Expedition’s expert guides and lecturers who provide their insights and bring these amazing regions to life. For the traveller seeking a unique way to experience the region, G Adventures offers kayaking in both Antarctica and the Arctic and camping in Antarctica. In addition, pre and post-cruise hotel and flight add-ons are tailored to customize your vacation and extend your adventure.

Some highlights to expect on G’s 13-day Antarctica Classic tour include up-close encounters with leopard seals and immense rookeries of penguins. The 8-day Realm of the Polar Bear tour is the place to spot orca and humpback whales; and with G Adventures’ exclusive 100% Bear-antee if clients can’t spot a polar bear, every passenger on board will be credited the value of their cruise to put toward a future M/S Expedition Arctic cruise.

For more information and to order G Adventures new Polar Cruises brochure, call 1 800 465 5600 or visit www.gadventures.com.

About G Adventures

G Adventures is an adventure-travel pioneer, offering the widest selection of affordable small-group tours, safaris and expeditions to more than 100 countries on all seven continents. Powered by an international team of passionate travellers, the award-winning trips embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine and local transport to put you on a first-name basis with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. The intimate, authentic and sustainable approach to small-group travel introduces travellers to the highlights of a destination while offering the freedom to explore it on their own. Whatever your age, interest, ability or budget, G Adventures has a genuine life-changing experience for you. For more information please visit www.gadventures.com.



Asia Pacific Travel Marketing Services buys The Small Ship Adventure Company and Alaska Bound

Zegrahm Expeditions
Asia Pacific Travel Marketing Services Pty Ltd (APTMS) are proud to announce the expansion of their product range through the purchase of The Small Ship Adventure Company & Alaska Bound, a niche Alaska & Worldwide Small Ship cruise product specialist.



Managing Director of APTMS Kylee Kay says, “We are very excited about the opportunity to incorporate the Small Ship Adventure Company & Alaska Bound into APTMS. I believe, APTMS is well placed for this expansion and the current offerings of Small Ships & Alaska Bound will enhance and solidify our growth opportunities in the North American and global arenas by exclusively representing Zegrahm Expeditions and Alaska Dream Cruises”.

The Small Ship Adventure Company was established in 2009 as Australia’s first exclusively small ship cruise wholesaler. The company now represents exclusively one of the world’s top expedition cruise companies ‘Zegrahm Expeditions’ and Alaska’s newest small ship cruise company ‘Alaska Dream Cruises.’The sale signals the farewell of Founder, Maryann Anderson; however, daughter Suzannah Cowley will remain on and provide continuity from her new role within the APTMS management structure. The APTMS team are very pleased to have Suzannah join us, her energy and passion for Small Ships & Alaska Boundwill be of great benefit to us and ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

The synergies and opportunities that are created through this acquisition, greatly strengthen APTMS’s presence in the North American wholesale and representation market. It’s a great fit for APTMS’s existing principals and partners in that market.

APTMS is committed to continuing to offer the exclusive intimate travel experiences that Alaska Bound & Small Ship Adventure Company have become so renowned for over the past decade.

Useful links …
www.aptms.com.au
www.smallshipadventure.com
www.alaskabound.com.au


$4000 OFF GALAPAGOS ADVENTURE

$4000 OFF GALAPAGOS ADVENTURE

HUGE savings of more than $4000 per person are now available for last minute bookings on the voyage of a lifetime to the exotic Galapagos Islands with ecruising.travel, now costing from only $5999 per person.

You can make your dream a reality with a visit to these unique and pristine islands which are one of the most active volcanic areas in the world, with an abundance of bird, marine and animal life. You will spend seven nights on a unique sailing experience observing nature at its best on the privately chartered intimate Yacht La Pinta.

Departing on April 13, you must book and secure your spot by February 29.

This very special price includes return economy airfares from Sydney with Qantas, seven nights on board Yacht La Pinta with all meals and wine with dinner, daily lectures and briefings, tours led by naturalist guides, two nights' accommodation at the Sheraton in Quito and port charges and government fees.

To secure your last minute spot on this tour contact ecruising.travel on 1300-369-848 or check out www.ecruising.travel

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Zegrahm coming to Australia in 2013

Zegrahm Expeditions flagship, Clipper Odyssey
by Louise Goldsbury, editor, Cruise Weekly

Under new ownership, Small Ship Adventure Company and Alaska Bound are set to launch several products in the local market.

THE sale of Small Ship Adventure Company and Alaska Bound to Asia Pacific Travel Marketing Services (APTMS), announced yesterday, will see an expansion of agent services and a wider range of cruise packages for Australian clients.

Suzannah Cowley, the company’s new sales and marketing director, told CW that one of the most exciting developments would be Zegrahm Expeditions’ entry into Australia next year.

For the first time, Zegrahm’s expanded fleet of vessels will primarily circle the Pacific Rim and offer voyages in the Kimberley, as well as Tasmania, New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic islands, Vietnam and Cambodia, Indonesia and Borneo, Japan and South Korea, and Melanesia and Micronesia.

The company also recently signed up Australian-owned North Star Cruises, which operates the adventure vessel True North.

Other new options include Eastern Canada, small coach touring added to Alaskan cruises, and the Rocky Mountaineer train packaged with more small ships.

“Our 100% dedication to small ships won’t change – it’s business as normal but with an expanded service,” Cowley said.

“We really wanted to expand, and Asia Pacific (APTMS) is a great match because they didn’t have any cruise product but they have people like Richard Davis, formerly of Adventure World, who has a lot of small ship and Alaska experience, which was important to us.”

The acquisition will allow Small Ship Adventure Co and Alaska Bound to improve services for travel agents, Cowley said.

“As we shift into the online market, we need more expertise, and Asia Pacific has the resources for us to establish better agent support and marketing.

“We can now use their technology to offer webinars and more sales tools, such as e-brochures and flyers, to help agents convert sales.”

The move also sees the farewell of the company’s popular founder, Maryann Anderson. Due to family matters, Anderson has decided to “slow down”, Cowley said.

Agents can post their personal messages on a Facebook page set up this week: ‘Maryann Anderson - Travel Industry Farewell’.

Coral Princess Cruises offering savings of 25%-35% on Cape York and Arnhem Land expeditions.

Passengers and crew enjoy the hike to Cook's Look on Lizard Island (R Eime)
Australia's pioneer of small-ship expedition cruising Coral Princess Cruises is offering discounts of up to 35% on their 11-night Cape York and Arnhem Land expeditions departing during March and April 2012. The discounts – 35% off for Coral Princess Cruises past guests or 25% for first time Coral Princess travellers – are available on cruises aboard their state-of-the-art 72 passenger small ship Oceanic Discoverer or the intimate 35 metre catamaran Coral Princess. Single Travellers can also take advantage of great savings, with the bane of the single traveller – the dreaded single supplement – waived on the same departures.

The expedition, which explores the northern Australian coast between Cairns and Darwin, includes the opportunity to snorkel over the Great Barrier Reef and step ashore to enjoy a glass of champagne at the northernmost 'Tip of Australia' on Cape York Peninsula. Expeditioners will also discover remote indigenous villages of the Top End and Arnhem Land, including the opportunity to meet the world renowned artists of Elcho Island and Maningrida.  A visit to the remote Tiwi Islands completes the experience, with time to meet the residents, enjoy traditional ceremonies and share afternoon tea with the elders.

The discounted prices for the 11-night Cape York and Arnhem Land cruise aboard Oceanic Discoverer start at $5,648.50 per person for Coral Princess Cruises past guests (35% off) and $6,517.50 for first time travellers (25% off) in a Main Deck (Category B) Stateroom. Special prices aboard Coral Princess start at $4,543.50 for past guests and $5,242.50 for first time travellers in a Cabin category room. The reduced prices include all meals, lectures and services of the all-Australian expedition staff and excursions aboard a fleet of zodiacs and the unique 'Xplorer' excursion tender. Coral Princess begins its expedition from Cairns on March 25 2012 and Oceanic Discoverer on April 1 2012. The discount is available on new bookings made until March 25 2012 or until sold out.

Coral Princess Cruises pioneered small-ship expedition cruising in Australia in 1983 and operates a fleet of three small ships on Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Kimberley and further afield to Papua New Guinea, Melanesia and New Zealand. The company is also currently offering savings of up to 25% on its 10 night Kimberley Expeditions between Darwin and Broome during the April 2012 "Waterfall Season".

For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises on 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au.


For the latest Coral Princess Cruises news become a fan on Facebook

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Orion Art of Japan voyage


Orion's Art of Japan voyage – from Shinto shrine to Claude Monet

Orion Expedition Cruises has released details of an exclusive 8 night Orion II Art of Japan voyage featuring visits to some of the most culturally significant high points around the Inland Sea of Japan. The itinerary has been tailored especially for art lovers and those with a curiosity about Japanese art seeking to better understand and experience the breadth of art culture in Japan including some fine collections of Western art.

Developed in conjunction with the Art Gallery of NSW, this tour embraces ancient Shinto shrines, exquisite formal gardens, art complexes and museums, samurai culture, medieval castles and contemporary architecture. From the floating red shrine of Itsukushima to collections of Claude Monet, the formal gardens of Korakuen and the contemporary art of Tatsuo Miyajima, this Art of Japan voyage will be an unforgettable artistic revelation.

Join Jackie Menzies OAM, head curator of Asian art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Tony Bond OAM, Assistant Director at the Gallery and Anne Graham, Artist and Academic who has worked in Japan creating several permanent public art works. Onboard and ashore they will be joined by Dr Julian Droogan, a scholar of comparative religions, archaeology and material culture, for an Art Lecture Programme providing insight into Japan's proud ancient culture and its innovative embrace of the modern and contemporary.

Art of Japan - Voyage of Discovery

– 8 night voyage - Departure April 19, 2012

BUSAN , South Korea – Embark / SAKAI KO , Honshu Island / HAGI , Honshu Island /

HIROSHIMA, Honshu Island & MIYAJIMA, Inland Sea / UNOKO , Honshu Island /

NAOSHIMA, Honshu Island (overnight onboard) / TAKAMAT SU, Shikoku Island /

KOBE , Japan – Disembark
 

Fares from A$6,365 (usually A$7,490) per person, twin share for an ocean view Category B suite, subject to availability.

For reservations, or to obtain an Orion brochure featuring the Art of Japan and itineraries for 69 voyages to 17 countries and 174 destinations stretching from Antarctica to the Russian Far East, call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) / 0800 444 462 (New Zealand) or see your travel agent. Email: info@orionexpeditions.com

Details of Art of Japan itinerary available at http://www.orionexpeditions.com/expeditions/japan/voyage_summary


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Drop Anchor and Save on Captain Cook Cruises Murray River Cruise

Let Captain Cook Cruises take care of your every whim with their Drop Anchor Sale, offering 20% savings on all three, four and seven night Murray River Cruises. All passengers have to do is unpack their bags, put their feet up, and enjoy the spectacular scenery along the Murray River.

The sale is valid until 19 March 2012 and valid for travel from 01 March 2012 to 31 March 2013.

The historic cruise starts with the romantic paddle wheeler itself, the PS Murray Princess. Finished with polished wood and gold trimmings and featuring a winding staircase, full-length windows and a paddle wheel encased in glass, these features help replicate the paddle wheelers that first cruised the Murray in the 1800's.

With water levels once again high, it's full steam down the Murray between the Blanchetown area and Murray Bridge for 280kms of incredible terrain, wildlife and Australian history and culture.

Sit back in the paddlewheel lounges or on the open top deck and enjoy the amazing views 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.

The high water levels have seen a return of Australian wildlife and birdlife to the river in abundance. Swans, Swamp Hens, Wood Ducks and their young, Dragon Flies, Mosquito's, Midges and Frogs have all returned and 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.

For the more active, everyday 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.

All cruises depart from Mannum and the three nights Discovery Cruise departs every Friday at 4.30pm with Drop Anchor Sale fares starting from AU$640 per person, normally AU$799 per person.

The four nights Outback Heritage Cruise departs every Monday at 4.30pm and Drop Anchor Sale fares start from AU$852 per person, normally AU$1065 per person.

The seven nights Murraylands & Wildlife Cruise departs every Friday and Monday at 4.30pm and Drop Anchor Sale fares start from AU$1315 per person, normally AU$1643 per person.

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, Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: murray@captaincook.com.au or visit www.captaincook.com.au.


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Journey to bird central


John Huxley joins a shipload of experts, enthusiasts and 'penguin people' on a mission in the Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Their 15-day expedition to the Sub-Antarctic Islands has not even begun but, as they wait to board the ship in Auckland, Mike and Jo Cox are already twitching with excitement and, they admit, edginess.

"We're really looking forward to it," Mike says. "We've waited a long time. But ... well, we're just keeping our fingers crossed." For good reason.

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/travel/activity/cruises/journey-to-bird-central-20120112-1pwki.html#ixzz1jPJ8ur9W


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Kimberley Discounts

DISCOUNTS of 15% off the usual price of all Lady M Luxury Cruises' 2012 eight-day and 14-day Kimberley Coast itineraries are currently being offered by Broome & The Kimberley Holidays for bookings made before 31 March.
Prices for the voyages start from $5,990pp/ts and include a bonus complimentary night at the Mercure Broome prior to the cruise.
In addition, the company has also scrapped the single supplement for eight-day and 14-day Lady M Kimberley voyages booked before 31 Mar.
See www.broomekimberley.com.au.

M/V Sea Voyager Transports New Central/South American Itineraries

AdventureSmith Explorations Brings Award-Winning M/V Sea Voyager Into Fold with Five Central / South American Itineraries

Year Round Small Ship Cruises Begin March 2012;
Special Offer if Booked by January 31

The travel company that secures matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of small expedition ships announces that is offering effective March 2012 five new  itineraries in Central and South America thanks to the re-launch of newly renovated M/V Sea Voyager.

AdventureSmith Explorations, http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/, brings this 60-passenger expedition ship into its fold at a time when demand for travel to Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador is on the rise, said Todd Smith, founder / director. He noted that the ship that provides both an experienced crew and affordable rates was a winner in Condé Nast's 2009 Best Small Ships Awards.

Smith has worked with many of the newly assembled A-team representing the ship's parent company, Sea Voyager Expeditions (SVE), and its partner Global Voyages Group. Among them are Michael Lomax, Brand Director Global Voyages Group, whom he met through Glacier Bay Tours & Cruises in the 1990's; David Giersdorf, President & CEO Global Voyages Group, whose father gave Smith his first job as a naturalist guide; Dave Randon, Senior Sales Manager Global Voyages Group, who has joined Smith on Antarctic and North Pole expeditions; and Captain Jorge Murillo whom Smith met back when the ship was operated by Lindblad Expeditions.

"While I have not personally met Denise Landau, President & CEO Sea Voyager Expeditions, I am familiar with her because of her work at IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators)," Smith noted, adding that Landau is also noted as an eco-tourism advocate and expert.

Fares, priced seasonally, begin at $365 per day, per person, double cabin for 8 to 12-night cruises.  Included are all meals, pre-post hotels, shore tours, admission to museums and parks, tax and port fees.

Plus, travelers can save up to $2,000 per couple if they book their cabin on any of the M/V Sea Voyager departures by Jan. 31, 2012. Discount amount is dependent on time of year, cabin type and itinerary.

While cruising guests will venture with naturalists and guides into rainforests and sea in pursuit of land and marine life that is among the world's most diverse. While on board passengers enjoy air-conditioned comfort in 31 outside staterooms with ample storage and private bath. On board are a lounge, bar, fitness and massage rooms, library with WiFi, dining room, buffet, fore and aft deck space and a platform for getting on/off Zodiacs. See:
http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/accommprofile.php/d/costarica/accid/144

While other small ship cruises may be limited to Panama and the Pacific side of Costa Rica, traveling only November through March, M/V Sea Voyager will operate year round with itineraries inclusive of the Pacific and Caribbean side of Costa Rica, both sides of Panama and Panama Canal visits and coastal Columbia and Ecuador.

The five new itineraries are:

Panama to Costa Rica Pacific Cruise - 9 Days; Balboa/Panama City to San Jose/Costa Rica

Panama to Costa Rica Caribbean Cruise – 10 Days; Panama City/Panama to San Jose/Costa Rica

Panama to Colombia Caribbean Cruise – 9 Days; Panama City/Panama to Cartagena/Colombia

Columbia Caribbean Cruise – 9 Days; Cartagena/Colombia to Santa Marta/Colombia

Panama to Ecuador Pacific Cruise – 13 Days; Balboa/Panama City to Quito/Ecuador

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

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

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

Aurora Expeditions reaches Commonwealth Bay, 100 years after Sir Douglas Mawson

Aurora Expeditions' Akademik Shokalskiy has become the first ship to sail into Commonwealth Bay this Antarctic season, making it within 10 nautical miles of Mawson's Hut to commemorate Sir Douglas Mawson's arrival 100 years ago. The ship sailed into the bay on the evening of 10 January 2012, just two days after the estimated centenary of Mawson's landing in 1912.

Expedition Leader, Roger Kirkwood, says he is thrilled at being able to get this close to Mawson's Hut with the current ice conditions, noting the superior navigating skills of his highly experienced Russian Captain and his crew.

"The expedition team and all of our 48 passengers are ecstatic that we have actually arrived to celebrate and pay tribute to our Antarctic hero. It has been an amazing feat to finally reach Commonwealth Bay, but we did it!

"Our landing in Commonwealth Bay was simply magical.  Our passengers went trekking over the ice, scattered with Adelie penguins, under a clear blue sky and no wind. The Antarctic Plateau and Cape Denison, the home of Mawson's Huts, were both within sight. Certainly an experience of a lifetime!"

Access to the region has until now been block by fast ice and a 150 kilometre iceberg, known as B9B.

"We were hoping the previous few days of blizzard conditions, which dogged our passage in, would have shifted the fast-ice (ice still attached to the land), so we could make it all the way to Mawson's Hut. Unfortunately the ice is still too thick to make it all the way in. " said Roger.

Other highlights of the commemorative Antarctic expedition so far have included a three kilometre walk out over the fast ice to a grounded, cavernous iceberg, Zodiac cruising around the enormous, 150 kilometre long, 30 metre high, walls of the B9B iceberg, and watching hundreds of inquisitive and charismatic Adelie penguins playing on the ice.

Aurora Expeditions is an Australian-owned and operated expedition cruise company who have been operating expeditions to Antarctica for two decades. This season they will run three commemorative voyages to East Antarctica to celebrate the Mawson Centenary, as well as 10 voyages exploring the Antarctic Peninsula from Argentina. Their 2012/13  Antarctic brochure is now available online at www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or call +61 2 9252 1033 to order a copy.

Roger Kirkwood is a research scientist at the Phillip Island Nature Parks in Victoria, where he mainly studies the seals and seabirds of southern Australia. He has led over 100 research trips to offshore islands and published over 100 research and public articles, chapters and several books. Visiting Antarctica almost every year since 1984, he has worked for the Australian Antarctic Division and has worked over 10 seasons as a naturalist and expedition leader with Aurora Expeditions.

Variety Discovers Australia

Variety Voyager due for launch this year
source: Cruise Weekly

DISCOVER the World Marketing in Australia has been selected by small ship operator Variety Cruises to broaden the cruise line’s sales and marketing efforts in Australia and NZ.

Variety Cruises features four mega yachts: the 72-cabin Variety Voyager (launching this year), the 25-cabin Harmony V, the 22-cabin Harmony G and the 23-cabin Pegasus.

The cruise line also has a three-masted 25-cabin sail cruiser Panorama and a two-masted25-cabin sail cruiser Panorama II, as well as the 26-cabin mtor sailer Galileo.

Destinations covered by the cruise line include Greece and the Greek Islands, Turkey, West Africa, the Adriatic, South Italy, Malta, the South of France and the Arabian Gulf.

See www.varietycruises.com.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sale on Captain Cook Cruises Sydney Weekend Cruise

 
Drop Anchor and Save on Sydney Harbour Weekender Cruise with Captain Cook Cruises

 
Let Captain Cook Cruises take care of your every whim over the weekend with their Drop Anchor Sale, offering 20% savings on Sydney Harbour two night Weekender Cruises. All passengers have to do is unpack their bags, put their feet up, and enjoy the spectacular scenery of Sydney Harbour.
 
This great sale is valid until 19 March 2012and valid for travel from 01 January 2012 to 31 March 2013.
 
The Sydney Weekender cruise provides a unique way for Sydney's visitors and locals to see and discover more of Sydney and its magnificent Harbour, sights and hidden caves and beaches onboard Sydney Harbour's only overnight accommodated cruise ship, the MV Captain Cook's Explorer.
 
The ship sails on Friday evening 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 it's name as she explores and visits 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.
 
Live commentary explains the history and homes of the harbour, as passengers sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing views.
 
But the real experience is on-shore. Stroll through the Botanic Gardens, explore the historic Rocks district and the old artillery emplacement on Bradley's Heads and relax beachside at Watson's Bay. The beauty is passengers can be as lazy or as active as they want to be.
 
The ship has 60 cabins for overnight comfort with a choice of twin or double berths all with harbour views and ensuite facilities.
 
Take in the views on the Sun Deck which affords 360 degree viewing. 
 
Dining on board is first class with hearty buffet breakfasts, al fresco luncheons featuring fresh local seafood and the elegant Captain's Dinner with live music and dancing and the city skyline as the perfect backdrop.
 
Drop Anchor Sales prices start from $400 per person, normally from $499 per person and for solo travellers no single surcharge applies for inside cabins.
 
Prices include all accommodation, on shore excursions, meals 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: harbour@captaincook.com.au or visit www.captaincook.com.au .
 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

ANOTHER AWARD FOR THE TRUE NORTH

Image: Mark Stothard

North Star Cruises Australia is pleased to announce more acclaim for the renowned cruise ship “TRUE NORTH”.

The TRUE NORTH was recently voted Best Soft Adventure Cruise Ship in Cruise Passenger Magazine’s annual reader’s awards.

Acknowledging the award, North Star’s General Manager said “North Star pioneered luxury adventure-cruising in the Kimberley 25 years ago. No one knows the Kimberley like we do – we live there, it’s our backyard. And the True North is purpose built for what we do – bigger ships cannot go where we go. Our repertoire is also unchallenged. We carry six dedicated expedition boats – fully surveyed 20 foot runabouts - our guests are primarily concerned with comfort and safety and rubber boats just don’t cut the mustard! Of course the fulltime helicopter adds another dimension to everything we do and, an all-Australian crew uniquely chaperones every activity. With just 36 guests on-board it’s always a relaxed small group feel with plenty of opportunity for personal service and attention to detail. Our guests pretty much get to do what they want, when they want and it’s no wonder they consistently remark “that’s the best holiday I have ever had.” Thanks to Cruise Passenger Magazine and all our supporters!”

North Star Cruises conducts adventure-cruises around the Australian coastline and in the stunning waters of the South Pacific.

Extended periods at sea are specifically excluded and daily activities can include scenic walks, fishing, snorkelling, diving and cultural events.

For more information on the TRUE NORTH see www.northstarcruises.com.au



Aurora Expeditions celebrates Mawson’s historic landing at Commonwealth Bay

Expedition cruise company, Aurora Expeditions, continues to celebrate the centenary of Heroic Antarctica explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson, and the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, with their second commemorative expedition on board the Akademik Shokalskiy attempting to reach Commonwealth Bay to celebrate Mawson’s arrival at ‘the home of the blizzard’ 100 years ago.

Mawson landed in Antarctica at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay on 8 January 1912, assisting to gain Australia’s 42 per cent claim to the continent, and establishing the Australasian Antarctic Expedition base camp, now famously know as Mawson's Huts.

The season so far has seen heavy sea-ice conditions in Commonwealth Bay, similar to the conditions Sir Douglas encountered a century ago. Entry to Commonwealth Bay has been affected by the presence of B9B, an iceberg the size of the ACT aground at the entrance to Cape Denison.

Aurora Expeditions’ first commemorative voyage departed Hobart on 2 December, 100 years to the day of Mawson’s departure. Passengers experienced the amazing beauty of the deep south whilst walking on ice, zodiac cruising amazing icebergs and glaciers, and spotting emperor penguins and whales. They unfortunately were unable to make it all the way to Commonwealth Bay due to the B9B iceberg.

Aurora Expeditions CEO, Lisa Bolton, assures that her experienced expedition staff and skilled Russian crew will do their very best to get their modern-day expeditioners safely into Commonwealth Bay to pay tribute to the our Heroic explorers.

“From recent reports and images we can see the ice starting to break-up and we are hoping that we can negotiate the pack ice enough for us to enter Commonwealth Bay. We are at the mercy of Antarctica’s winds and waves; whatever the outcome, our expedition staff will be making sure our passengers are having the time of their lives!”

Aurora Expeditions has been operating expeditions to Antarctica for two decades. This season they will run three commemorative voyages to East Antarctica to celebrate the Mawson Centenary, as well as 10 voyages exploring the Antarctic Peninsula from Argentina. Their 2012/13 Antarctic brochure is now available online at www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or call +61 2 9252 1033 to order a copy.


Monday, 9 January 2012

New Cultural Adventures in the Ancient Mediterranean


Cultural and archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels will introduce four new itineraries in 2012, offering extraordinary journeys among the historic sites and spectacular landscapes of the Mediterranean.

Led by expert guides including archaeologists, historians and travel writers, the tours explore the great wonders of past civilisations while enjoying the food, culture and history of each region.

The four new itineraries are among 19 different tours and gulet cruises offered in Turkey, Greece and Italy, catering for small groups of no more than 18 people.  Showcased in the newly released Peter Sommer Travels 2012 brochure, they include 10 sailing itineraries aboard traditional wooden gulets, plying the azure waters of the Mediterranean between ancient sites and secluded coves while enjoying fine food served by a private on-board chef.

New tours offered by Peter Sommer Travels in 2012 include:

Cruising to the Cyclades (May 19-June 2) – A quintessential Greek island experience, sailing clear blue waters to more than a dozen Aegean islands in the Dodecanese and Cyclades archipelagos. Led by archaeologist Heinrich Hall, the itinerary includes glorious Santorini, laid-back Kos and mountainous Naxos.  Fifteen days, £3675* per person twin share (approx A$5549*).

Cruising the Carian Coast (July 21-28) – A special family sailing led by archaeologist Peter Sommer, visiting Turkey's south-west coast where ancient sites are scattered among beautiful towns and spectacular coastline, with plenty of opportunity for families to enjoy swimming and walking. Eight days, £2175* per person twin share (approx A$3284*) or £2050* per child up to age 12 (approx A$3095*).

Exploring Cappadocia (September 3-8) ­– An adventure among the remarkable geological formations and ancient cave dwellings of Cappadocia, hosted by historian Dr Michael Metcalfe and featuring an early morning balloon flight over Turkey's most celebrated landscape.  Six days, £1375* per person twin share (approx A$2076*).

A Carian Odyssey (September 8-22) – a gulet cruise along the magnificent Carian coastline of Turkey led by archaeologist Heinrich Hall, visiting spectacular sites like the marbled harbour city of Knidos and the cliff-face tombs of Kaunos, with time to enjoy quiet coves, scenic walks and fine food. Fifteen days, £3425* per person twin share (approx A$5171*). 

Among popular itineraries returning in 2012 is Peter Sommer's signature tour In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: the Conquest of Asia Minor, a 20-day journey through Turkey chosen by National Geographic Traveller magazine as one of the world's ten best educational holidays in 2008.  A complimenting 20-day tour, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: from Boy to King, explores the ruler's early life in Greece through the ancient sites of Macedonia.

The new brochure also features Italian itineraries including the eight-day Cruising the Amalfi Coast and the eight-day A Gastronomic Tour of Eastern Sicily, as well as profiling a selection of magnificent timber gulets available for private sailing charters in Italy, Turkey and Greece.

*Tour prices include all meals and accommodation aboard gulets, road transfers, all crew and guide services, and all entrance fees and tips on excursions. Excludes airfares.

For full details and bookings contact Peter Sommer Travels in the UK on 0011 44 1600 888 220, email info@petersommer.com or visit www.petersommer.com


Sunday, 8 January 2012

Win a Cruise on True North

Buy a subscription to Australian Traveller Magazine and receive up to $50 off your next hotel booking PLUS you could win a True North Kimberley Islands cruise for two worth $16,990.

All subscriber enjoy for free:
Savings of up to $41 // Convenient free delivery // Never miss an issue // A gift that lasts all year // No price rises during the subscription period.

Everyone who orders or renews their subscription to AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER magazine receives a Hotels.com booking discount worth up to $50

Simply buy a 1 year subscription and receive $25 off your next booking through Hotels.com

OR buy a 2 year subscription and receive $50 off your next booking through Hotels.com

PLUS you could win a Kimberley Islands cruise for two worth $16,990 The prize includes:
  • 6 Nights’ accommodation for two in an Ocean Class Cabin aboard True North featuring an en-suite, in-cabin entertainment and private satellite telephone
  • All gourmet meals
  • Daily activities including scenic walks, culture, fishing, snorkelling, picnics, exploring, nature and much more!
  • The True North carries 6 dedicated expedition boats (not rubber boats) that provide guests with the opportunity to experience wilderness in comfort and in small groups 

The True North In The Kimberleys


Saturday, 7 January 2012

20 NIGHTS ON 5-STAR SEADREAM II FROM BARBADOS UP THE AMAZON

IF you got a nice bonus in your Christmas pay packet, SeaDream Yacht Club's 5-star SeaDream II is sailing two extremely rare voyages in February and March of this year – the first is 20-nights from Bridgetown in Barbados in the Caribbean on February 13 to the-once notorious Devil's Island in French Guiana, and then a dozen ports on the Amazon River in Brazil and Colombia to Iquitos in Peru, and the second is 20-nights back to Bridgetown on March 4.

And both sailings are now exceptionally priced for last-minute sale from US$16,619pp twin-share including all 5-star gourmet dining, wines with lunch and dinner, drinks from the open bars, use of a 30-course golf simulator, power and sail watersports (in ports where allowed,) onboard gratuities, government charges and taxes; air fares are additional.

SeaDream II carries a maximum of just 112-guests in 56-staterooms served by 95-crew, with open-seating dining indoors or on deck and with dress requirements at dinner Smart Casual only; for full itineraries and other details see travel agents or visit www.seadream.com