Friday, 18 August 2017

PONANT Latin America and Caribbean 2018-2019 cruises

#expeditioncruising 

PONANT announces Latin America & the Caribbean 2018 - 2019 Collection
- voyages to the lands of conquistadors, mojitos and cigars



Reflecting the growth of international interest in Latin America & the Caribbean as cruise destinations, French Luxury & Expedition cruise line PONANT has released an extensive range of voyages covering the period October 2018 - April 2019.

Featuring a range of 21 cruises (10 being designated Expedition Cruises) to 26 countries - exploring both east and west coasts of South America and the Caribbean - this new Collection is available as either a convenient e-brochure download at https://fr.calameo.com/read/000132423327d2f10ea6d or as a printed brochure on request through travel agents or directly from PONANT.

No less than 26 listed UNESCO World Heritage sites and 5 major pre-Columbian era sites hint at the range of destinations to be had. From ancient Mayan and Inca civilisations, colonial cities, extraordinary jungles with colourful wildlife and massive waterfalls, to the Guiana space centre, monasteries, salsa and mojitos. Guests will discover a multitude of experiences from on board PONANT's modern and luxurious ships: Le Boréal, L'Austral & Le Soléal as well as the new-era Explorer Class ship, Le Champlain, and PONANT's classic three-masted yacht, Le Ponant.

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences include expeditions along the great river arteries of South America, the Amazon and Orinoco, visiting a remote Warao Indian village, reliving the hell of Papillon on the French penal settlement on Devil's Island or sipping a mojito while listening to jazz in Havana.

Others will seek the thrill of rounding famed Cape Horn, cruising the Beagle Channel, crossing the Panama Canal or venturing deep into the pristine waters of Chilean fjords. Accompanied by a specialist lecturer to enhance the experience, the voyages provide opportunity to travel to the birthplace of ancient civilisations and view the archaeological enigma of the gigantic Nazca Lines, Mayan Tikal and Inca Machu Picchu.

Some voyages are designated Expeditions, taking advantage of the ships' compact size and manoeuvrability to probe hidden waterways, before launching Zodiac® expedition boats for adventurous close-up opportunities of local flora, fauna, and local tribes. Throughout Expedition cruises, an expedition team of naturalists will enhance the experience.

For those looking for the relaxed pace of longer voyages why not consider a Grand Voyage? There are three to select from: 49 nights Ushuaia to Miami exploring the west coast of South America and Central America, featuring a sparkling range of experiences from glaciers to rainforests; an extended 59 night version from Vancouver to Ushuaia along the west coast of North and South America, or an exciting 37 night Grand Voyage on the new ship Le Champlain from Brazil to the Caribbean and on to Panama … Manaus to Colon - an expedition and luxury voyage extraordinaire - with Christmas and New Year in the Caribbean.… Imagine a Creole Christmas dinner of lobster, pork and rum.

Find out more, enjoy French ambiance on the world's youngest fleet afloat and experience the difference small ship cruising offers. Venture where large ships simply cannot, with a dash of French panache that is PONANT's indelible signature.

PRICING EXAMPLES:

Itineraries range from 7 to 16 nights, plus three Grand Voyages of up to 59 nights duration,

From A$7,720pp* for a 13-night cruise Chilean Fjords & Patagonia, Ushuaia to Valparaiso: 4th March 2019, Le Boréal. Twin share in Superior Stateroom

From A$9,930pp* for a 12-night cruise Natural Wonders of the Amazon, Manaus to Cayenne: 7th December 2018 and 29 March 2019, Le Champlain. Twin share in Deluxe Stateroom with private balcony

- From A$26,028 pp* for 37 night Grand Voyage Cruise Manaus to Colon: 7th December 2018, Le Champlain. Twin share in Prestige Stateroom, Deck 6 with private balcony

Pricing is yield managed and will increase as cabins are sold so it is recommended to book as early as possible.

INFORMATION & RESERVATIONS

Details of all PONANT Latin America and Caribbean Collection voyages, including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at http://en.calameo.com/read/000132423327d2f10ea6d

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or email reservations.aus@ponant.com.                                      
Further information available on the website:  au.ponant.com

Monday, 14 August 2017

True North listed in Chad Clark Certified 25

#expeditioncruising .

King George 010417 high res.jpg


The adventure-cruise ship TRUE NORTH has been recognized as one of the world’s top experiential travel offerings at the inaugural CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, a first-of-its-kind travel initiative that lists the world’s top 25 travel experiences.

The winners were announced at a gala interactive event at The Bellagio in Las Vegas on August 13.

Chad Clark
Chad Clark, principal and owner of Chad Clark Travel Ventures, is a travel industry expert and self-described “experience junkie” who has spent years seeking out top-of-the-line travel experiences. He aims to set the industry standard for luxury travel with the inauguration of the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, an elite list of the world’s most prestigious, authentic and unique travel experiences.

“We are humbled and overwhelmed by the immense number of submissions we received from travel providers across the globe,” said Clark. “And, it’s an honor and a thrill to unveil the very best in luxury travel – the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25. This initiative provides travel providers with an opportunity to have their premium experiences recognized and promoted in an innovative way, while simultaneously connecting travel advisors and ultimately travelers themselves, with exclusive, thoroughly vetted travel experiences that have an industry seal of approval.”

FAST FACTS

True North Adventure Cruises has won numerous awards for excellence including state and national tourism awards, export awards and numerous consumer awards.

Australia’s premier luxury adventure cruise ship, the TRUE NORTH is purpose-built to sail deep into the heart of the wilderness, visiting areas that larger ships cannot access. Guests are privy to very-high quality off-ship experiences courtesy of the ship’s biologist and a team of naturalists, a ship’s helicopter and six dedicated adventure boats.

Exceptional food and wine are also at the heart of a TRUE NORTH experience. The ship’s modern Australian cuisine is supplemented with locally sourced ingredients and complemented by an outstanding selection of Western Australian wines. Cabins are spacious and modern; there is a panoramic lower deck dining room, an alfresco bar, an observation lounge and a dedicated sports deck.

Daily activities include scenic walks, fishing, snorkelling, diving, picnics, cultural events and spectacular flights in the ship’s helicopter.

Destinations include the Kimberley – a panorama of rugged landscapes, spectacular gorges and majestic waterfalls; the still-wild coast of Western Australia featuring the intriguing Abrolhos Islands, world-famous Ningaloo Reef, fishing paradise at the Montebello Islands and, the pristine Rowley Shoals; some of Indonesia’s most stunning volcanic islands including Komodo – home to the largest lizard on the planet; the breathtaking islands of the Raja Ampat; the whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay; the mighty Sepik River and the unspoiled islands of Papua New Guinea; beautiful Sydney Harbour and, a seafood safari around South Australia’s delightful Eyre Peninsula.

For more information go to www.truenorth.com.au

For more information on the CHAD CLARK 25 go to www.chadclarkcertified.com



Friday, 11 August 2017

Codename Vega: New expedition cruise ship concept

#expeditioncruising .



It seems anyone with any ship- or boatbuilding expertise is having a go at expedition cruise ships.

This latest announcement from Sweden’s Bassoe Technology showcases at 'turn-key' concept developed in conjunction with China's Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard for a 147m, 240-passenger vessel, codename Vega.

According to the Swedes, "The vessel which features 100 spacious all balcony suites and staterooms for up to 240 passengers, is designed for worldwide operations in Polar Regions and tropical areas and complies with all requirements, environmental standards and other rules and regulations, including the new IMO POLAR Code."

Optional features include a helicopter hanger and landing pad, as well as submarine operations.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The starving polar bear: a symbol of global warming?

#expeditioncruising .



When you go on an expedition cruise, you see mother nature in all her raw beauty. This is not a zoo or a circus. With the cute and adorable animals you cannot escape the very real hardships animals face every day in the wild. Sometimes it's the result of manmade hazards, sometimes it's just nature taking its normal course.

When Kerstin Langenberger posted this photo from Svalbard a couple of years back, many doomsayers were quick to point to global warming and the shrinking ice cap causing polar bears to starve because they can't use the sea ice to hunt seals as they normally would.

‘You have to be a little bit careful about drawing conclusions immediately," said Professor Iain Stirling of the University of Alberta, "[The bear] may be starving but it may just be old.

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen took this photo (below) of a polar bear in the same region. He remarked:

"These bears were so skinny, they appeared to have died of starvation, as in the absence of sea ice, they were not able to hunt seals. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear."

Have you sailed to Svalbard? What did you see?


Last summer I traveled with a group of friends to Svalbard, Norway in search of polar bears. We went to my favorite spot where I have always been able to find bears roaming around on sea ice throughout the summer. On this occasion, however, we didn't find any sea ice and we never found any bears alive. We did find two dead bears in this location and other groups found more dead bears. These bears were so skinny, they appeared to have died of starvation, as in the absence of sea ice, they were not able to hunt seals. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear. It is now becoming much more common. Through @sea_legacy and @natgeo we will continue to shine a light on our changing planet to convince the unconvinced. Please follow me on @paulnicklen to learn more about the effects of climate change. #polarbear #nature #wildlife #arctic #seaice @thephotosociety
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A moment with Nicolas Dubreuil, Ponant's polar expedition leader


#expeditioncruising .

Expeditioncruising.com's editor, Roderick Eime, caught up with Ponant’s Polar Expedition Leader, Nicolas Dubreuil, on a whirlwind visit to Sydney.

“You have two lives,” Nicolas reminds me, “the second life begins when you realise you only have one.”

At that instant, I knew I was speaking with a man whose code reflected not only my own but that of thousands of expedition cruise converts.

Dubreuil is like no Parisian I’ve ever met. This wild-haired PhD in computer science threw away a perfectly good academic career to spend his time on the polar ice cap and now lives in a tiny hut in the wilderness of Greenland.

His first expedition was from Vancouver to Anchorage at the age of 17. Since then, he has been spending more than eight months each year near the poles, having travelled across by kayak, on skis, on a sleigh, on foot and under water. From Alaska to South Georgia, via Nunavut, Spitsbergen, Siberia, Iceland, the Antarctic Peninsula and Greenland, he accompanies and guides expeditions for athletes, scientists and film crews. Nicolas has been a Ponant expedition leader, guide and ethnologist for 12 years and has been sailing across the polar regions for over 20 years.

“I became tired of leading these ego-driven explorers who wanted to stand like a hero at the North Pole. ‘Here I am am all alone on the ice cap’ they would say to the camera as the film crew and I stood back making tea.

“So it was with a bit of a surprise when I joined Ponant as an expedition guide after all that 12 years ago. I was sure it was a mistake when they showed me this comfortable cabin with Tv and shower and everything. All I had for the gala dinner was my t-shirt and parka.”


As delighted as he was to be aboard Ponant, Nicolas wasn’t always a fan of tourism in places like Antarctica.

“At first I was against this kind of tourism in polar regions, but Ponant has helped change my mind. At the beginning I knew nothing of Ponant and this ‘expedition cruising’ thing. But it is clear to me now that Ponant has the [pauses] esprit, the spirit of adventure that is so important.

“Some remote places we visit have seen less people than the moon. That’s amazing. And I can bring my parents! And the luxury is in the crew and the facilities on board. You don’t have to camp in a windy tent to experience these locations.”

And you certainly don’t have to be Nicolas Dubreuil to appreciate the wonders of the Arctic and Antarctic.


Details of all PONANT voyages including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at www.ponant.com

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or email reservations.aus@ponant.com to request more information or assistance.





Silversea Expedition cruises new leadership training academy





Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has established a new leadership training academy aimed at recruiting and developing high-quality talent from across the globe to join its expedition teams. Every Silversea expedition voyage features expedition teams, which include some of the world's most knowledgeable and experienced specialists in the areas of wildlife, biology, anthropology, geology, history, and more. These expedition experts provide activities designed to ensure an enriching experience for guests, offering lectures, workshops, Zodiac® trips and nature walks.

The multiphase recruitment and training initiative begins with remote skills development through webinar sessions focusing on various aspects of working as a Silversea Expedition guide including life at sea and guest relations. Practical experience will deal with the fundamentals of boat handling, first aid, and safety at sea courses and certification. Recruits participating in the program will be invited to train for approximately six weeks aboard the newly refurbished Silver Cloud when the ship joins the expedition fleet in mid-November 2017 for her first season in Antarctica.

Aboard Silver Cloud, core competencies will be further developed through intensive hands-on training. Attention will also be given to cross training in various academic disciplines, environmental and ecological knowledge, sustainability protocols and cultural sensitivity. In addition, further skills will be developed, including  Zodiac® handling, practical field first aid, and "how to guide" training. Trainees will be provided with the unique opportunity to learn from experienced expedition staff as well as additional educators that will be travelling on board the vessel.

After completing a tiered system of increasing responsibility, successful individuals will have the opportunity to work the balance of the Antarctic season as members of the expedition team and, ultimately, on expedition voyages to other regions of the world.

"Our new leadership training academy underscores our commitment to exploring the world with the absolute best team of hand-picked experts to guide and enlighten our guests on expeditions," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's Vice President of Expedition planning and strategic development.

"The goal is to attract candidates who are knowledgeable and passionate, and prepare them for an exciting career working aboard an Expedition ship that will take them to amazing places where they will guide our guests in understanding the local history, culture and wildlife."

Individuals interested in the program may contact Silversea's Manager of Expedition product support, Kit van Wagner, at kitw@silversea.com.

Expedition cruise lines winners in luxury cruise awards

#expeditioncruising .

Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine unveils the Best-of-the-Best Luxury Cruise Awards winners

Australia’s first awards dedicated solely to luxury cruising

The Cruise Issue of Signature Luxury Travel & Style is out now, with over 50 pages dedicated to cruising, including the 2017 Best-of-the-Best Luxury Cruise Awards.

Travel’s fastest growing sector in Australia is cruising, with a growth rate of 21 per cent in the past year alone, according to the latest report from Cruise Lines International Association Australasia. Last year, one in 19 Australians – 1.28 million of us – went on an ocean cruise, the highest per-capita rate in the world. As we become more seasoned cruisers, more of us – across all age groups – are seeking the best ships and the most inspiring itineraries.

To meet demand, there are more cruise lines, more destinations and more itineraries than ever before catering for discerning travellers, from polar expeditions to Caribbean island-hopping. It’s these five-star experiences that we honour in Signature Luxury Travel & Style’s 2017 Best-of-the-Best Luxury Cruise Awards, Australia’s only accolades dedicated solely to luxury cruise offerings. These unique awards provide a definitive guide for those seeking the best cruising has to offer.

Judging these awards were 10 leading Australian and New Zealand luxury travel advisors that were highly recommended as having the best knowledge of the cruise industry and an understanding both from personal and client experiences.

We called on their expertise to vote across seven categories covering ocean, river and expedition cruising. Our judges ranked their selections for each sub-category (including cabins, service, cuisine, shore excursions, value, itineraries and embarkation process, plus expedition team for the two expedition categories), which we then converted to points to determine the overall winners.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Lindblad exhale Wellbeing partnership

#expeditioncruising .

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic today announced a wellbeing partnership with leading lifestyle brand, exhale, that will kick off with a series of three- and four-day voyages designed to deliver the joyful rigor of a Lindblad expedition with the transformative wellbeing experiences exhale is famous for.

The Base Camp Baja voyages will explore Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, among the most spectacular regions within the Sea of Cortez, aboard the 30-cabin National Geographic Sea Bird. There will be seven Base Camp Baja departures, beginning in December 2017 and extending through January 2018.

“The Sea of Cortez is among the most peaceful corners of the world. I can think of no better place to realize the mindfulness that exhale offers,” said Sven Lindblad, CEO and President, Lindblad Expeditions. “In exhale we found a partner who values the strength of guest programming, is passionate about providing a world class experience, and whose caliber of teachers aligns with our renowned expedition team. The itinerary we developed offers a mix of exploration and restorative exercise, in a setting where one might not see another human being other than their shipmates for the duration of these voyages.”


National Geographic Seabird will serve as a floating base camp with the revitalizing solitude of nature as the platform. The Sea of Cortez is famed for its pristine beauty, a wide-open region of sea, bays and beaches. Guests can customize each day of the journey as they wish: they can snorkel among sea lions and through schools of colorful reef fish, explore the coastline by kayak and stand-up paddleboard, challenge body and mind through exhale wellbeing programs, and enjoy evenings with beachside bonfires and barbecues. They can hike for miles over black lava and pink volcanic ash and spend hours photographing arroyos, cacti and birdlife alongside a Lindblad-National Geographic photography instructor.

Through the partnership with exhale, guests can indulge in healthy exhale-branded activities and wellbeing programs led by an exhale fitness teacher, spa therapist or an exhale-trained Lindblad Wellness specialist. Guests can transform through Core Fusion Barre, Bootcamp, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes as well as exhale Power Yoga classes on deck, SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) yoga, transformational mindfulness hikes, and assisted stretching. Hour-long neck and shoulder massages will be offered prior to evening cocktails, while exhale Chill Yoga classes will be offered in the evening, alongside group guided meditation.

“It is a joy to partner with a like-minded team to bring wellbeing aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird, and inspire transformation on a Lindblad “floating base camp” in the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of the Sea of Cortez,” writes Annbeth Eschbach, exhale CEO and President. “There is no better vision or perfect dream.”

Beyond the daily slate of activities, the exhale experience will be integrated throughout the journey, to include delectable and healthy food options, to spa therapies and in-room products.

Rates begin at $1,990 per person based on double occupancy in a category one cabin for the 3-night voyage, and $2,650 for the 4-night voyage – both include free bar tab.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel agent.

About exhale

At exhale we believe that transformation begins from the inside out. Since 2003, through a balanced combination of results-oriented spa therapies (massages, facials, acupuncture, nails, waxing) and high-quality fitness classes (barre, cardio, yoga, HIIT), we’ve provided the answer to a stronger, healthier, better version of you.

Enter one of our 26 inspiring, yet relaxing boutiques and follow your breath, which both invigorates and calms, connecting mind and body — paving the way to positive change.

COME IN. EXHALE. LEAVE BETTER. exhalespa.com

One Ocean Expeditions to employ HANSEATIC as RCGS Resolute from 2018

#expeditioncruising .

Just announced, One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) will take over Hapag-Lloyd's top-rated expedition ship, HANSEATIC, for polar expeditions from November 2018 after the luxury German line takes delivery of the first of their newbuild vessels.

Named after the HMS Resolute, a British Royal Navy Arctic exploration vessel, as well as the Inuit town of Resolute in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, RCGS Resolute will arrive in Canada in November 2018 for its inaugural OOE polar voyage.

Hapag-Lloyd HANSEATIC

.. and from November 2018, as RCGS Resolute

Built in Rauma, Finland, the same ship yard as OOE's current vessels, Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov, RCGS Resolute will offer modern stabilisation and unsurpassed ice classification (Lloyds 1AS) compliant with the new Polar Code.

OOE press release:

Canada’s very own leader in global polar exploration, One Ocean Expeditions (OOE), is proud to announce the expansion of its operations and its expedition cruise fleet with the addition of RCGS Resolute.

“We have been looking for just the right vessel to expand our shipboard operations. For the last two years we have experienced exponential growth and have seasons which have sold out across the breadth of our departures, in both Antarctica, the High Arctic and the East Coast of Canada” says Andrew Prossin, Managing Director of OOE.

Named after the HMS Resolute, a British Royal Navy Arctic exploration vessel, as well as the Inuit town of Resolute in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, RCGS Resolute will arrive in Canada in November 2018 for its inaugural OOE polar voyage. RCGS Resolute also carries the name of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), since OOE and RCGS are exclusive education, environmental science, and expedition partners in Canada’s north. This longstanding partnership works to the benefit of OOE’s guests, who have the opportunity to learn from and interact with world-renowned educators, researchers, naturalists, marine biologists, artists, historians and photographers.

Main dining room
With an unsurpassed ice classification, a proven track record for stability and safety, large indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, and exceptional manoeuvrability, RCGS Resolute is ideally equipped to guide guests through the world’s most pristine regions, further expanding OOE’s expertise in exploration and discovery. RCGS Resolute will carry a maximum of 146 passengers in unparalleled comfort, with an array of luxury amenities, educational opportunities and activities tailored to guests’ particular interests, and individual, personalised service. Full vessel specifications are attached.

The expansion of OOE’s fleet and programming will also result in an expansion of its Canadian-based operations in Squamish, British Columbia. Growing quickly, and in advance of this expansion OOE has increased its full time employees by 25% in the last number of months.

The announcement of RCGS’s arrival was made in Sydney, NS where Cape Breton-born Andrew Prossin, OOE founder and CEO, recently announced that OOE will be using the new Sydney pier to refuel and provision its ships before embarking on voyages North. “With the building of a second berth in Sydney Harbour, I see no reason why Sydney can’t be Canada’s Arctic gateway,” said Prossin, who currently spends $5-6 million per year provisioning his ships in Halifax. Prossin also noted that Sydney has historically been on the direct route north for explorers seeking to reach the North Pole, and that the telegram announcing Robert E. Peary’s successful visit to the North Pole was sent from Sydney in 1909.

As the only cruise operator to start and end voyages in Cape Breton, OOE is proud of the contributions it makes to the local economy. Prossin affirmed that with increased cruise traffic to the Arctic, the prospects for economic growth and generational job creation both in Sydney and in the Canadian Arctic present incredible opportunities for Canada.

For more information visit: http://www.oneoceanexpeditions.com