Friday, 27 May 2016

Cruiseco exclusive charter - 40-night Australian circumnavigation voyage aboard L'Austral




Cruiseco, the leading provider of cruising options in Australia and New Zealand, is thrilled to announce the exclusive charter of Ponant's L'Austral for a unique 40 night Australian circumnavigation voyage, departing Sydney on 25 January 2018.  Exclusively designed for Cruiseco, this voyage highlights some of Australia's most breathtaking destinations, outside the capital cities.

Amber Wilson, General Manager, Sales & Marketing at Cruiseco says:

"Travelling around our Island Continent is on every discerning traveller's wish list, and now with the opportunity to sail aboard the magnificent L'Austral, guests are offered an intimate and authentic cruising experience.  As a small luxury, expedition vessel, L'Austral has the capability to dock in smaller ports, providing guests with access to unique destinations and the ability to explore secluded locations via Zodiac."

"To enhance the cruising experience, guests will also be accompanied by a specialist expedition team to provide insights into the history of each port, as well as flora, fauna and landscape of the country."

The 40 night itinerary has been designed to offer guests the option to select from a number of overnight excursions away from the ship.  For example, guests can depart L'Austral in Cooktown and re-join her in Port Douglas, having visited Cape Tribulation and the Daintree National Park.  Additional highlights of this voyage include: marvelling at the 12 Apostles in Port Campbell, Victoria, with an option to view this natural phenomenon from the sky; visiting The National ANZAC Centre in Albany, Western Australia; and exploring Darwin, Northern Territory with optional tours to Kakadu and its surrounds.

Accommodating guests within 132 cabins across nine suite categories, L'Austral remains true to the Ponant philosophy of creating a unique atmosphere, with a subtle blend of luxury and wellbeing.  Guests aboard L'Austral will encounter a chic and elegant yacht-like ambiance, refined and personalised service, as well as gastronomic traditional French and international cuisine.

"Cruiseco was the first to charter an Australian circumnavigation back in October 2005, which sold out in less than a week.  Now with the opportunity to sail aboard L'Austral and experience an expedition style voyage, this package is sure to disappear quickly.  We would encourage anyone who would like to cruise with us to secure their places soon," added Wilson.

Prices start from AU$29,000 for a Superior Stateroom per person twin share or AU$26,500 for the Superior Stateroom with the Early Bird Discount, available until 15 May 2016. Price includes: 40 luxurious nights travelling around Australia; all meals aboard L'Austral; house wine, beers, sparkling wine and non-premium spirits throughout the course of the cruise; Zodiac tours in Wineglass, Talbot Bay, Yirrkala, Frangipani Beach, Cape York and Lizard Island; port charges; and gratuities.  

For additional itinerary options or to book whilst cabins are still available, visit www.cruising.com.au or call (02) 9492 8520.


Explore the Galápagos with Silversea’s Early Booking Bonus




Experience the enchanted isles of the Galápagos and discover its exotic and intriguing array of wildlife not found anywhere else in the world, with Silversea Expeditions' round-trip voyages, departing from Baltra, Galápagos.  With two 7-day itinerary options available all year round, aboard the ultra-luxurious Silver Galapagos, each showcases the highlights and unexpected treasures of this unique destination.

Silversea Expeditions' Galápagos itineraries offer guests the opportunity to: climb Prince Philip's Steps through a thriving seabird colony; venture through natural lava tunnels, snorkel in sparkling waters brimming with colourful creatures; or take a Zodiac along the extraordinary Galápagos coastline.

Silver Privilege fares start from AU$9,350per person, based on double occupancy. Fare based on V8637.  As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus, guests aboard Galápagos voyages departing from November 2016 to December 2017, will receive 10% off the published fare, when booked and paid in full before 30 June 2016.  Terms and Conditions apply.

Silversea Expeditions' fares include: all shore and Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader; all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship; an outstanding expedition team of expert guides and lecturers; complimentary WiFi and all gratuities.

These voyages are subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  Diving conditions apply. For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Diving with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji

#expeditioncruising



by Deb Dickson-Smith - Diveplanit.com

Being natural explorers, divers usually like to discover new places to dive and quite often, a diving holiday will involve lots of transfers, and the schlepping around of dive gear from one resort to the next. Which doesn’t usually leave much time to experience the other aspects of travel – food, culture, wildlife, landscape - and it’s not exactly family friendly either.

However there is a way to combine all of these elements and take the family with you. Captain Cook Cruises’ Reef Endeavour sails through some of the more remote parts of Fiji visiting world-class dive sites, as well as waterfalls, villages, and historic towns.

The ship sails overnight from one destination to the next, on 7 to 11 night cruises, with different itineraries taking different routes through the archipelago, so each day you wake up to a new dive site and a new island to explore.

Glorious Bouma Falls on Taveuni
Every morning you wake up in a different place, have the option to do two dives on remote dive sites, in a small group, in clear warm sunlit waters and the rest of the day and evening you can go ashore, visit natural wonders, share cava with friendly villagers or just sip cocktails around the pool.

And if you brought the kids, they’ll be well taken care of at kids club, or hanging with the new friends they’re bound to have met by at least Day 2.

A typical day starts with a peak out of the window of your air-conditioned en-suite cabin onto the day’s destination, lush Fijian hills sloping gently to a small village and a white sandy shore. The water's flat, the air is warm and the sun shining.

Over a buffet breakfast the dive guide gives us the dive brief, and at 9am we head to the rear of the ship with our basics. The tender pulls around, with gear already loaded, tanks already set up and weights on board.

Checking dive gear aboard Reef Endeavour
The trip in the tender is rarely more than 10 minutes and on board with you are the dive instructor, dive guide, skipper, sometimes Ben the resident marine biologist, and often a spare deck and just to help people get in and out of their gear.

As you arrive at the dive site pinpointed by GPS you have that momentary thought: are we definitely in the right place - there's nobody else here? Before remembering that that's precisely why you’re here.

As you slip beneath the calm clear waters it shows: expenses of unbroken hard coral, great meadows of soft corals, populated by friendly Fijian fish and usually all above the 20m mark giving plenty of dive time and great natural ambient light.

On the way back to the ship divers occasionally get the chance to join the snorkelers exploring the shallow coral reefs closer to shore, or you can opt to be dropped off at the beach to play around with a stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. Then it's back to the comforts of a floating resort, a quick shower and change and lunch around the pool.

The afternoon might be filled with a trip to the local historic town, a school, even a church service to hear the Fijians sing. Longer excursions are also on offer to check out rainforest walks, caves or plunging waterfall.

Wherever you go the activities are laid on and your Fijian hosts are as friendly as ever. At a school visit to Makogai, we are entertained by little kids performing the warrior dance mimicking the full performance will see at the Lovo and Meke evening later that day.

Reef Endeavour
Dinner on board is also a bit of a ceremony: something to dress for. Cocktails and canapés are served prior, the perfect opportunity to relax on the deck and watched the sun set, followed by a three course dinner on white linen with starched napkins. There's usually entertainment too though often the other guests are entertainment enough.

The practicalities of diving and cruising are straightforward. You don't need to worry about your gear: it appears on the tender when you're ready to go diving; you leave it on the tender when you get back to the ship and miraculously it reappears, refilled and re-set up, ready for the next dive.

There is also a qualified marine biologist on board - one that grew up in these waters and gives insightful presentations on the health of the reefs, the potential threats and what can be done about them. You can also learn to dive on board, learning all the basics skills in the pool and experiencing your first open water dive in the warm clear waters.

So really, combining a diving holiday with a cruise is a bit of a crowd pleaser. Easy diving with a fantastic crew that take great care of your every needs. They’ll even remember what drink you’ll have at beer o’clock.

You can read more about the diving on Captain Cook Cruises on the Diveplanit site, or you can check out the various itineraries and dates on the Captain Cook Cruises site directly.

G Adventures announces new expedition cruise itineraries for Norway


And launches early booking bonus for Norway and Arctic itineraries

G Adventures is introducing three new itineraries in Norway on board its expedition ship, G Expedition, in May 2017, following consumer demand for cruises in the area.

The adventure operator is also offering a 15 per cent early booking bonus for these trips, as well as all other 2017 Longyearbyen and Svalbard itineraries, to encourage travellers to book early and secure their preferred itinerary, date and cabin category.

Adrian Piotto, Managing Director G Adventures Australia and New Zealand, says travelling Norway by ship is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to see the country.

"Norway has long been popular with travellers from New Zealand and Australia because of the stunning natural wonders the country has to offer. On board the G Expedition travellers have the benefit of seeing the fjords in comfort, with G Adventures' team of expert expedition guides there to provide a greater understanding of the nature and wildlife in the area."

"It is a stunning part of the world, and perfectly fitted for expedition cruising. With these new itineraries travellers have even more ways to explore Norway."

The early booking discount is valid for all bookings made before June 30, 2016 and applies to all Norwegian and Artic itineraries departing between May 11, 2017 and August 11, 2017.

The three new Norwegian itineraries are as follows:

-              Cruise the Norwegian Fjords – Tromsø to Bergen -  Venture into the magical and mysterious lands along the coast of the Norwegian Sea for close encounters with glaciers and fjordscapes. Perfect for explorers long on ambition but short on time, this eight-day expedition brings travellers to important sites of Norway's ancient history, UNESCO-protected historic sites, and incredible nature. Was priced from $2,999pp now priced from $2,549 for an eight-day trip from Tromsø to Bergen.

-              Scottish Highlands and Norwegian Fjords - Go deeper into the otherworldly fjords of Norway on this unique journey through the Norwegian Sea. Discover UNESCO-protected wonders like the Standing Stones of Stennes, the mystical Ring of Brodgar, witness the curious clash of cultures in the Shetland Islands, and marvel at the stunning forests and waterfalls that line the fjords. Was priced from $5,199pp, now priced from $4,419pp for a 14-day trip from Edinburgh to Tromsø.

-              Norwegian Fjords and Polar Bears of Spitsbergen - Set sail from Bergen – the gateway to Norway's fjords – to the remote shores of Svalbard on this odyssey across the Norwegian Sea. Walk across the glaciers that carved the stunning landscapes, explore subarctic islands by Zodiac in search of polar bears, and walk through history at UNESCO-protected historical sites. Was priced from $6,299pp, now priced from $5,354pp for a 15-day trip from Bergen to Longyearbyen.

For more information or to book a trip to any of the above destinations, call 1300 796 618 or visit www.gadventures.com.au

New Ships and New Adventures – Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Releases Explorations Brochure 2016/2017

#expeditioncruising

Get this brochure now - click here

Today, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has released its 2016/2017 Explorations brochure that offers adventure seekers extraordinary small-ship expeditions, showcasing over 50 itineraries including new highlights such as Wild Alaska Escape and Big Picture Alaska. The brochure also delves into the features of Lindblad's latest fleet additions, National Geographic Endeavour II and the specially built, National Geographic Quest.

With 50-years of expedition travel experience, Lindblad's new brochure highlights diverse exploration voyages, cruising to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth such as Antarctica, Alaska, Galapagos, Cuba, Europe and Amazon.

Sven-Olof Lindblad, president and founder of Lindblad Expeditions says, “On 140 pages there is a myriad of opportunities to see, know, learn and experience our world in latitudes ranging from the extreme north to the extreme south. It is our intent to celebrate this year as the 50th anniversary of my father's historic expedition to Antarctica when he brought the first travellers to that magical continent. New ideas, new ships, and new geographies are all part of our celebrations.”

National Geographic Endeavour II

National Geographic Endeavour II
The Explorations brochure features Lindblad's new 96-passenger vessel, National Geographic Endeavour II. Earlier this year, the leader in small-ship expedition travel purchased the ship, which will replace National Geographic Endeavour in January 2017 after extensive renovations.

National Geographic Endeavour II is exceptionally quiet and maneuverable, and will continue to maximise Lindblad's Galápagos experience with great viewing from the 53 outside cabins, state-of-the-art exploration tools, and a fast, seamless Zodiac loading platform. Spacious lounges, modern cabins, and first-rate dining will add to the luxury of comfort.

The following are two examples of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic's brand new itinerary highlights for 2017, which will join the 55 further voyages highlighted in the Explorations brochure.

Big Picture Alaska

Aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, guests will immerse themselves in an 11-day photo expedition through Alaska's famed Inside Passage and experience the perfect mix of small-town life and the grand expanse of wild landscapes. This voyage for up to 62 guests at a time is available from June to August. Prices for this adventure start at AU$11,240 per person in double occupancy in a category one cabin. More information here: au.expeditions.com/destinations/alaska/ketchikan-sitka/

Wild Alaska Escape

An active and exciting 6-day journey aboard National Geographic Sea Birdthat showcases Alaska's iconic wildlife and epic landscapes in the compact timeframe of one week. Guests can take hikes on world-class trails through forests, kayak long routes deep into glacially carved fjords, and raft to an ancient Alaska village. This expedition is available from May to August. Prices start at AU$5,370 per person in double occupancy in a category one cabin. More information here: expeditions.com/destinations/alaska/sitka-juneau

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages, visit expeditions.com, or call 1300 361 012 (AU), 0800 444 462 (NZ) or +2 9033 8700 (Asia).

Monday, 23 May 2016

Uncover the hidden gems of the Pacific and Indian Ocean aboard Silver Discoverer

#expeditioncruising



From the spectacular natural wonders of Indonesia, to the tantalising cuisine of Myanmar, sail aboard Silversea Expeditions' 120-guest Silver Discoverer to the hidden archipelagos of the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus, guests aboard Silver Discoverer voyages departing from November 2016 to December 2017, will receive 10% off the published fare, when booked and paid in full before 30 June 2016. Terms and conditions apply.

Examples of Silver Discoverer's unmissable voyages:

V9624: (Diving Voyage) Departing from Singapore on 10 November 2016, this 11-day voyage enables guests to explore the volcanic landscapes of Pulau Weh and meet the resident orangutans on Sumatra, before disembarking in Phuket. Fares start from AUS$13,095* per person, based on double occupancy.

V9625: Departing from Phuket on 21 November 2016, guests aboard this 11-day voyage can experience historical wonders of India and Myanmar including the 2,500 Shedwagon Pagoda in Yangon. Fares start from AU$11,565* per person, based on double occupancy.

V9626: (Diving and Wellness voyage) Sailing from Phuket, Thailand to Maldives (Male) on a 15-day Indian Ocean sojourn, guests can experience the indigenous cultures of the Andaman Islands, discover historic Sri Lankan fortresses and shop for spices in local bazaars. Fares start from AU$16,335* per person, based on double occupancy.

V9627: (Diving, Wellness and Birding voyage) Commencing in the Maldives (Male), Silver Discoverer sails to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on a 17-day voyage where guests can discover Zanzibar, the "Spice Isle" replete with narrow streets and riveting legends, encounter dolphins and see the rare coco de mer palms in Praslin's UNESCO-listed Vallée de Mai. Fares start from AU$21,015* per person, based on double occupancy.

Silversea Expeditions' fares include: all shore and Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader; all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship; an outstanding expedition team of expert guides and lecturers; complimentary WiFi and all gratuities.

*Terms and conditions apply. Prices include Silversea's Early Booking Bonus offer. Promotion available to bookings made and paid in full before 30 June 2016. Diving conditions apply.

These voyage are subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Antarctic deal - book now


Ultimate Antarctic adventure

World Expeditions is offering massive savings of up to US $7,050 per person (twin porthole) on its epic 32-day journey into the very heart of Antarctica.

Book before 3 August 2016 and save US $5,750 (quadruple porthole), US $5,950 (triple porthole) or US $7,050 (twin porthole). The offer is available for a limited time on trips departing on 13 January or 15 February 2017.

Following the path of the early explorers, this ultimate Antarctic adventure involves abundant wildlife encounters, whale sightings and a visit to the Ross Island research stations. It is one of World Expeditions' most adventurous and comprehensive itineraries.

Priced from US $19,950 per person (quad/triple porthole) to $25,700 (twin porthole). On sale until 3 August, 2016

Ph 1300 720 000. See www.worldexpeditions.com

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Aqua Expeditions family travel promotion on the Mekong

#expeditioncruising



Aqua Expeditions, leader of luxury cruises on the world’s greatest rivers has introduced a family travel promotion in response to the demand for more inspiring, educational and authentic travel experiences for children. Parents are constantly seeking new experiences for their children on holiday.

Aqua Expeditions’ latest family activities have been tailored to take families on an unforgettable educational experience down the magnificent Mekong River on-board its luxury all-suite vessel Aqua Mekong.

To mark the launch of these family-friendly departures this May, Aqua Expeditions is offering an introductory promotion. Children between the age of 7 and 12 years old will stay on board the Aqua Mekong for free when sharing with both parents in a triple cabin or accompanied by a single parent.

Children can look forward to experiential learning experiences through cycling visits to local fishing villages where they will interact with the community, explore the wet markets, taste local specialities and participate in a special interactive cooking class with the chef. They will also be able to visit a religious mountain monastery for a blessing ceremony with resident Buddhist monks.


Further activities and adventures include kayaking, fishing, and even outdoor movie screenings on the observation deck where guests enjoy family-friendly films. There is also an on-board library, board games, and foosball table for children to enjoy. All families will have the opportunity to tailor their trip to participate in activities that interest them most.

The minimum age to travel on the Aqua Mekong is seven years old. The child will need to share the cabin with his/her parents to be entitled to the promotion.

The promotion is valid for departures 6 May to 12 August 2016 and 5 May to 11 August 2017 inclusive. Black-out dates are 24 May to 21 June 2016 and 2 June to 30 June 2017.

Customers who meet all the conditions mentioned above but have already made a booking with Aqua Expeditions prior to this announcement will also be entitled to this promotion.

For more information on this new family travel promotion as well as routes and itinerary dates, please visit http://www.aquaexpeditions.com/exclusive-offers/family-friendly-adventures-mekong-2016-exclusive-offer/ or contact reservations@aquaexpeditions.com

www.aquaexpeditions.com


South Georgia and the Falklands with Lindblad [video]

#expeditioncruising

Steeped in Shackleton and whaling lore, covered mostly in glaciers, South Georgia explodes with life: king, gentoo, and macaroni penguins, enormous elephant seals and a thriving fur seal population. On South Georgia you can observe one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles: tens of thousands of stately king penguins on a single beach. See the human face of the region in the Falklands, reminiscent of Great Britain, with grazing sheep, tea and crumpets. And in this privileged place, the albatross reveal the beauty of their mysterious lives.



Un-Cruise Adventures Releases 2017 Schedule of Small Ship Adventure Cruises




Un-Cruise Adventures Releases 2017 Schedule of Small Ship Adventure Cruises

New Pure Panamá itinerary set to debut

Un-Cruise Adventures has released its full deployment schedule for 2017, highlighted by a new Pure Panamá cruise as well as updated Galápagos Islands and Columbia River wine itineraries.

Un-Cruise Adventures' fleet of boutique yachts and small ships carry 22-88 guests on adventure and river cruises from one week to 21 nights in Alaska, British Columbia, coastal Washington, Columbia and Snake Rivers, Mexico, Hawaii, the Galápagos Islands, Costa Rica and Panama. Adventure activities, tours, and presentations are included.

"We're feeling strong demand from our guests for new adventures," said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. "It's an exciting time as we expand our explorations into new countries and develop new itineraries."


Panamá – New destination in 2017

Beginning in April 2017, the 62-guest Safari Voyager will sail 22 departures on the new Pure Panamá: Cultures, Coasts & Canal itinerary sailing roundtrip Panamá City, Panamá. Areas visited on the eight-night adventure cruise include Panamá City, Guna Yala, Chagres River, Panamá Canal, Pearl Islands Archipelago and the Darién Jungle. Rates begin at $3,795 per person, double occupancy.

A new 15-night Ultimate Costa Rica and Panamá itinerary combines the  Panama and Costa Rica cruises together on two departures departing April 22 and November 17, 2017. Rates begin at $7,745 per person, double occupancy and include a pre-cruise hotel night.


Galápagos Islands – Updated itinerary in 2017

From April to October 2017, the 48-guest La Pinta sails 10 departures on the Darwin's Islands and Colonial Quito itinerary roundtrip from Quito, Ecuador. This eight-night adventure begins with two nights in Quito and includes visits to seven islands with stops at the Charles Darwin Research Center and the geological marine site of Punta Vicente Roca on Isla Isabela. Rates begin at $8,295 per person, double occupancy.


Columbia and Snake Rivers – Updated wine itinerary in 2017

The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer, offers 34 weeklong river cruise departures on two itineraries on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, roundtrip Portland, Oregon from April through November. In 2017, eight departures are offered on the updated Rivers of Wine itinerary that visits several wineries in Washington and Oregon. Wine experts join the ship for wine tastings and presentations on board and guests explore American viticultural areas such as Red Mountain and the Willamette and Columbia Valleys.

The Legacy of Discovery itinerary cruises through the scenic Columbia River Gorge to the rolling hills of the Palouse, east to Hells Canyon and back to the coastal town of Astoria, Oregon while transiting eight sets of locks and dams. Expert guides share extensive knowledge of the Lewis and Clark journey with onboard historians, presentations and visits to several historical sites. Rates begin at $3,395 per person, double occupancy.


Costa Rica & Panamá

From January through April 2017, the 62-guest Safari Voyager sails 16 weeklong adventure cruises on the Uncharted Isthmus! Sloths, Monkeys & Mangroves itinerary between San José, Costa Rica and Panamá City (or reverse). Jungle hikes, snorkel, kayak, paddle board and explore by skiff.  Visit Curú National Wildlife Refuge, Manuel Antonio National Park, Osa Conservation Area and Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica; Coiba National Park and Gulf of Panama Islands, Panama. A full Panama Canal transit is included in each voyage. Rates begin at $3,745 per person, double occupancy.

In November 2017, an updated eight-night Unveiled Wonders itinerary adds one night pre-cruise to the adventure offered on six departures through December 2017 and continues through April 2018. Rates begin at $4,195 per person, double occupancy. 


Southeast Alaska

From April to September, travelers may choose from eleven adventure cruise itineraries on 157 departures lasting one week or 12 days, several with visits to Glacier Bay National Park, from homeports of Seattle, WA; Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka, Alaska.

New in 2017, the Inner Reaches Western Coves itinerary from Ketchikan to Juneau visits the Tlingit village of Kake for a half day to experience the Native Tlingit culture through dance, storytelling and totem carving presentations.

Itineraries may be combined to create adventures from two to three weeks long while remaining on the same vessel.  Six vessels—22-guest Safari Quest, 36-guest Safari Explorer, 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer, 74-guest Wilderness Explorer, 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer and 84-guest Safari Endeavour—sail adventure cruises in remote Alaskan wilderness with a focus on exploring wilderness and wildlife. With few or no port calls during the week, the emphasis is on exploring outside: hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff excursions and whale watching are included. Rates begin at $2,895 per person, double occupancy.


Pacific Northwest

From April to May and September to November, weeklong adventure cruises sailing roundtrip from Seattle explore the islands, temperate rainforests and hidden coves found in the secluded waterways of the Pacific Northwest. The 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer offers 14 departures on an Explore! Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands itinerary sailing in Washington's Puget Sound from south Hood Canal north through the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands with visits to Olympic National Park, Mt. Constitution and Sucia and Orcas Islands. The 22-guest Safari Quest sails 19 departures on a British Columbia's Yachters' Paradise itinerary exploring Victoria, Harmony Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Jervis Inlet, Gulf Islands, B.C.; and San Juan Island, WA. Rates begin at $3,695 aboard the Safari Quest and $2,095 aboard the Wilderness Discoverer. Rates are per person, double occupancy.


Mexico's Sea of Cortés

From January through March and November through December, the 84-guest Safari Endeavour operates 20 Baja's Bounty adventure cruises exploring the remote Sea of Cortés, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Seven-night adventures include either an opportunity to snorkel alongside whale sharks in Bahía de la Paz or a scenic trip across the peninsula to Bahía Magdalena to see gray whales and calves up close, depending on the time of year. A flexible sailing schedule explores Isla San Francisco, Bahía Agua Verde, Isla Partida, Isla Espíritu Santo and La Paz. Highlights include snorkeling with sea lions, a mule ride with local rancheros into the arroyo, kayaking, hiking and snorkeling excursions. Rates begin at $2,995 per person, double occupancy.


Hawaiian Islands

In 2017, 22 departures explore four islands —Hawaiʻi, Maui, Lanaʻi and Molokaʻi—on a Hawaiian Seascapes adventure cruise. From January through April and November through December, the 36-guest Safari Explorer sails one-way itineraries between Hawai'i and Molokaʻi (or reverse). Highlights include a full day of exclusive cultural activities on Molokaʻi, snorkeling with Giant Pacific Manta rays, whale watching and searching for marine life in the Humpback National Marine Sanctuary, exploring the shoreline by kayak and snorkeling with sea turtles. Rates begin at $3,795 per person, double occupancy.

Inclusive cruises are available in nine destinations and fares include spirits, wines and microbrews; cuisine; and wellness amenities. Theme cruise topics include alumni, photography, musical entertainment, marine biology, ornithology, wellness, wine, chairman's and craft beer. A Family Discoveries program encourages families to bring children eight years and older along with a savings of $500 for kids ages eight to 13.

To book or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or Un-Cruise Adventures at 888-862-8881 or sales@un-cruise.com.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Hunting the Northern Lights


#expeditioncruising



* Single supplement only 18% *

15-night winter wonderland tour including 6-night coastal voyage to the top of Norway and a stay in the remarkable SnowHotel

Wild landscapes and storybook villages iced with snow will join the famed Northern Lights as the star attractions of a new cruise tour package in Norway next February during the northern winter.

Offered by Cruise Express, the 15-night fly, cruise and tour itinerary traces the fjord-studded coastline of Norway north above the Arctic Circle all the way to the Russian border. The ‘Hunting the Northern Lights’ Unique Journey offers Australians the rare and memorable opportunity to witness the natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis – magical, multi-coloured swirls of light that illuminate Norway’s crisp, night sky in winter.

Northern Lights
The adventure begins on February 10, 2016, when travellers fly from Australia to Norway’s capital, Oslo, for a two-night stay, with a city tour that includes the Viking Ship Museum and Olympic ski jump. Guests then ride Norway’s trains to the country’s famed fjord country for stays in Voss and Bergen and a ride on the panoramic Flåm Railway. Billed as one of the world’s most picturesque and steepest train rides, the Flåm train climbs from sea level to 863m-high mountain tops in just one hour, with the scenery including waterfalls, wild rivers, vast forests and 20 tunnels. A breathtaking cruise through two spectacular fjords – Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord - near Voss is also included.

In historic Bergen, guests will be guided on a walking tour along the harbour, flanked by multi-coloured buildings, and to flower and fish markets. From Bergen, the tour moves to sea for a six-night voyage aboard Hurtigruten’s 822-passenger ship, ms Trollfjord, which also provides a passenger, freight, mail and car service for isolated Norwegian towns only accessible by sea. The cruise features magnificent fjords, mighty glaciers and snow-clad mountains and visits to the enchanting Lofoten Islands and picturesque towns like: Tromsø, Trondheim and Ålesund.

Renowned as one of the world’s most spectacular sea journeys, the Norwegian coastal voyage in winter offers the magical luminescence of pure-white mountains reflecting the low sun and the chance to see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. After visiting Honningsvåg near North Cape – the northernmost point in Europe, 1000km north of the Arctic Circle - the cruise ends in the remote town of Kirkenes on the Russian border. Here guests will enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of staying at the SnowHotel, where the rooms are carved from ice, with reindeer fur used for cosy bedding. A thrilling dog sled ride through the forest and a rendezvous with local reindeer are also included. A flight back to Oslo for a final night’s accommodation completes the cruise tour.

Including return flights from Australia, the 15-night ‘Hunting the Northern Lights’ package is available from $8490 per person, twin-share, or from $9990 for solo travellers, which represents a single supplement of just 18 per cent.

Call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or 1300 676 926 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au which includes a video of Hurtigruten’s winter cruises in Norway.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Encounter orangutans in their natural habitat in Borneo with Silversea Expeditions

#expeditioncruising


Embark on an Indonesian odyssey through exotic locales while marvelling at volcanic landscapes, greeting orangutan families at Camp Leakey and exploring picturesque islands, aboard Silver Discoverer's 11-day voyage from Balikpapan to Singapore.

Departing on 18 October 2016, Silver Discoverer navigates through the Java Sea to port at Tanjung Wangi, Pasuruan, Sumenep and Karimunjawa before sailing to Kumai (Camp Leakey). Silversea is offering its guests a rare and unforgettable opportunity to visit the world famous Camp Leaky and visit exclusive parts of the nature reserve usually closed to the general public. Located in the Tanjung Puting Reserve (now a National Park) in Central Borneo, Camp Leakey is devoted to the conservation of wild Orangutans and their rainforest habitat.

Following a day at sea, Silver Discoverer then arrives at Kepulauan Banda, a group of islands in the Tudjuh Archipelago where guests can enjoy the spectacular underwater world with a swim, snorkel or scuba dive through the turquoise waters surrounding the islands. This voyage concludes in Singapore with guests disembarking on 29 October 2016.

As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus offer, guests can save 10% on the published fare when booked and paid in full before 30 April 2016. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, in an Explorer Suite:

· Published fare starting from AU$14,550.

· Early Booking Bonus fare starting from AU$13,095.

Silversea Expeditions' fares include: all shore and Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader; all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship; an outstanding expedition team of expert guides and lecturers; complimentary WiFi and all gratuities.

For each guest taking part in this voyage (V9623), Silversea Expeditions will donate US$100 to Dr Galdikas' non-profit Orangutan Foundation Intl (OFI).

This voyage is subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Diving conditions apply. For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit www.silversea.com.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Superyacht builder announces new expedition yacht design

#expeditioncruising

Dutch Damen Shipyard has presented SeaXplorer, a new range of Explorer yachts ranging 65m to 100m. The yard claims this is the world’s first purpose-built, Polar Code compliant range of expedition yachts with true global capability. Yachts under this range will be able to cruise from extreme polar to remote tropical areas. Damen debuted SeaXplorer designs last week at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Damen is a large, financially strong and stable company known for both its Amels and Damen brands. The firm generates an annual €2 billion turnover in markets including harbour, defence and security, offshore and its yachting portfolio.

Starting from the drawing board, Damen has designed every detail of the SeaXplorer range. In the Netherlands, a dedicated Damen SeaXplorer team headed up by product director Mark Vermeulen has developed the three designs. Amels will be responsible for sales and marketing.

Real expedition

“A number of experienced yachting clients approached us about adapting Damen’s professional vessels, so we knew from them that there were simply no globally capable luxury explorer yachts out there,” Rob Luijendijk, Amels managing director, explains, adding that EYOS Expeditions, who have decades of experience in bespoke luxury expeditions to the wildest places on the planet, has also contributed its input.

“So that’s why Damen began developing the SeaXplorer. The result is well beyond a pretty rendering. It’s a fully developed range – something only Damen could do,” Luijendijk comments.

The shipyard has invested thousands of hours in research and development, ice tank testing, and real expedition standards through detailed design input from partner EYOS Expeditions.

The SeaXplorer range has exterior lines by Azure Yacht Design and Naval Architecture. Damen says the SeaXplorer makes no compromise on the superyacht lifestyle with the owner’s choice of luxury interior designer.

Global comfort and icebreaking capability

Damen describes the SeaXplorer range to be safe and comfortable in any sea thanks to its patented Sea Axe hull design. In addition, while other yachts have to wait at a distance, the SeaXplorer’s Polar Class double-acting hull will break through the ice.

The three models in the range can reach the most remote destinations and enjoy up to 40 days of full service for all guests without port call.

The SeaXplorer has been designed to carry tenders (including a dive support tender), expedition equipment, toys, submersibles, dive equipment (including recompression chamber) and up to two helicopters.

Designed for smooth expedition logistics, the yachts can deploy tenders and toys quickly and safely so guests never miss a chance encounter or spontaneous adventure.

Speaking at the Monaco Yacht Show, the yard’s chief commercial officer Arnout Damen said the SeaXplorer range shows what can be achieved by bringing together the right team to focus on solutions to client demands.

“It’s the synergy of Damen and Amels, the shipbuilding know-how, the deep understanding of superyacht lifestyles and the right experienced partners who understand luxury expeditions. It makes the SeaXplorer a very attractive project at an advanced stage so we can have a real conversation with each client about what they want to achieve.”


APT Expands Kimberley Coast Cruising in 2017

#expeditioncruising

Australia’s leading domestic travel operator APT is expanding its Kimberley Coast Cruising in 2017, announcing the addition of a new ship to its cruise portfolio.

The new APT Kimberley Coast Cruising 2017 brochure offers the largest range of cruising to the region.

Available in travel agents from today, it features a choice of three cruises styles - luxury, expedition and boutique - across three different vessels. APT is also seeing a surge in popularity amongst those wishing to combine coastal cruising in the region and so is offering a range of cruise and 4WD Kimberley Wilderness Adventures so guests can explore the region from land and sea.

The latest addition to APT’s Kimberley cruise portfolio is a luxury cruise experience that showcases the highlights of the Kimberley aboard L’Austral.

The ship offers capacity for 230 guests, who enjoy APT’s fully inclusive lifestyle both on and off the ship.

Cruises aboard L’Austral operate three departures between Broome and Darwin, and are accompanied by two of APT’s expert Cruise Directors. A 12-strong expedition team sails on this vessel and guests are taken ashore by the ship’s fleet of 12 Zodiacs.

For guests wanting to explore the Kimberley in more depth the brochure features expedition style cruising aboard APT’s own MS Caledonian Sky.

The 57-suite vessel enters its third season sailing the Kimberley coast line and APT is offering a choice of five departures on it’s popular 11-day Kimberley Coast Cruise between Darwin and Broome (or Broome to Darwin).

APT’s own vessel is a popular choice due to its intimate size, spacious cabins and impressive facilities that include a Lido deck for al fresco dining, a sun deck, library and a lounge, bar and public areas.

Guests are accompanied by a 10-strong expedition team and a fleet of 10 Zodiacs enable guests to explore the coastline up close and in-depth.

Boutique cruising that allows you to get to the heart of the Kimberley is APT’s third cruise style available in 2017, with a choice of three cruises are being offered aboard the Coral Discoverer.

Offering all the comforts of a larger cruiser, it has the more intimate feel of a smaller style ship. Hosting just 72 guests, the ship features an Xplorer vessel for shore excursions, which offers shade for guests and also enables exploration to sites such as King Cascades which are situated further up rivers.

APT’s Kimberley Coast Cruise itineraries are fully inclusive and cover all sightseeing, APT’s bespoke Signature Experiences, park and cruise fees, expert services of an APT Expedition Leader/Team, an all day drinks package on the MS Caledonian Sky and L’Austral or drinks with lunch and dinner on board the Coral Discoverer cruise, transfers to and from the ship, expert guest lecturers and all meals.

With the new APT brochure launching today, Rob Tandy, General Manager for the company’s Kimberley portfolio says, “Yet again the Kimberley has proven a strong seller for travel agents. APT has a reputation as being an outstanding operator in the region and we’re proud to be the people that guests trust to guide them through Australia’s last frontier.

“Kimberley Cruise and land combinations continue to prove attractive and APT has the infrastructure to be able to support travel agents with bookings that offer the opportunity to experience this region from both vistas,” he added.

Accommodation on the land tours includes APT’s exclusive network of Wilderness Lodges which offer a touch of luxury in the outback. Also featured are a portfolio of stunning Stations, Hotels and Lodges, such as Home Valley Station and Cicada Lodge, alongside Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, Emma Gorge Resort in El Questro Wilderness Park, Drysdale River Station, and Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Lodge.

Most popular cruise is the 11-day Kimberley Coast Cruise which travels between Darwin and Broome aboard the MS Caledonian Sky. Priced from $11,895 per person it features King George River and Falls, Jar Island, Careening Bay, Bigge Island, Raft Point, Montgomery Reef and Adele Island.

APT’s tailor-made sightseeing Signature Experiences include a high powered fast boat ride through Horizontal Falls, admiring the tallest falls in Western Australia at King George Falls and a visit to Raft Point with an Indigenous guide to see Indigenous rock art.

To help agents secure early sales, APT is offering a ‘Fly Free’ SuperDeal to the region on all cruise and land tour combinations, representing a saving of up to $2,400 per couple. Cruise-only bookings qualify for a ‘Companion Fly Free’ offer. Availability is limited, terms and conditions apply and the offers are valid until 31 July 2016 or until sold out.

APT hosts more people in the Kimberley each year than any other tour and cruise operator and is widely recognised as being one of the region’s leading tourism providers, winning the Best Tour Operator for four years running (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) at the NTIAs.

Get this brochure now


APT’s Kimberley Coast Cruising 2017 brochure is available now.

For further information call APT on 1300 196 420, visit www.kimberleywilderness.com.au/cruise or see your local business development manager.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Join author Fiona McIntosh on SeaDream


PROLIFIC Australian author Fiona McIntosh will sail aboard SeaDream Yacht Club's boutique SeaDream I from Rome to Cannes in October of this year, and is looking forward, she says, to mixing, meeting and chatting casually around the yacht with fellow guests about her life and writings, rather than giving any formal, stand-up talks and Q&A's during her week aboard.

With over 30 adult fantasy and historical adventure-romance novels to her name – plus a half dozen children's books – another novel for release later this year and one for next year already in the pipeline, Fiona McIntosh says she's hoping to meet-up with some of her myriad readers while aboard SeaDream… and maybe even share some advice with any hoping to one day themselves also break into print.

The boutique mega-motor-cruiser SeaDream I that Fiona McIntosh will be sailing on,  carries a maximum just 112-guests and will sail from Rome's port of Civitavecchia on October 22. It'll visit such dream destinations as Sorrento (with an optional visit to Pompeii,) the Isle of Capri, Bonifacio on Corsica for an overnight stay, Calvi also on Corsica, and the French Riviera's famed St Tropez, and finally Cannes.

Premium drinks from the open bars, wines at lunch and dinner, power and sail water-sports where locally permitted, a 30 international course golf simulator, onboard gratuities, and Government charges and taxes are all included in prices that begin from US$4926pp twin-share.

For full details see travel agents, or go to www.seadream.com

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

[] PROLIFIC Australian author Fiona McIntosh will sail a week aboard SeaDream I in the Mediterranean this October, meeting and mixing with guests between Rome and Cannes on the French Rivieria.

[] SEADREAM between the cliffs of Capri – one of the magical places she'll visit during her sailing in October this year with Australian author Fiona McIntosh.

 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Consider an India River Cruise

#expeditioncruising

Go With the Flow, Try an Exotic River Cruise



"At Active Travel, our fascination with exotic river travel began more than two decades ago. Now we are proud to offer the most comprehensive range of river cruises, including in the Assam and the Bengal regions of north India. Through our partnership with Assam Bengal Navigations, we are now taking bookings for both of these unique journeys. Try the Brahmaputra Taster, for example, which is a four-night cruise that offers a fascinating introduction to Assam. Here, you'll enjoy visits to villages and to the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, where you will drive out on safari in search of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros. Or perhaps The Holy Ganges Upstream Bengal Cruise is more to your taste? To find out what’s available."

enquire with Active Travel.