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


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Coral Expeditions float-out of new flagship Coral Adventurer

Successful float-out event with ship's build on schedule for inaugural departure

Coral Expeditions officially launched their new vessel, Coral Adventurer, into the ocean on 8th December 2018.

The float out ceremony, which involved two days of relocating the vessel from yard onto the floating dock, was a key milestone for Australia's pioneering cruise line, Coral Expeditions.

"Excitement was at a real high with Coral Adventurer now officially in the water and her delivery drawing nearer," says Mark Fifield, Group General Manager Coral Expeditions.

"To date, the construction project has involved expertise from across the world with over 800 workers involved. We were delighted to be joined by over 200 shipyard staff who celebrated this special moment with us, for whom Coral Adventurer build has been a labour of love over the past 11 months."

Also at hand were specialists and designers involved in the installation of all interior furnishings including the wood panelling, feature stonework, stateroom fit out and the ship's public areas.

With her build firmly on track and on time, Coral Expeditions expect no delays preparing their fourth vessel for her sold-out maiden voyage in April 2019.

Sea trials will commence in February, handover in late March, followed by shakedown cruises in April. Her official launch will be celebrated in Singapore on April 23rd 2019 before she enters service on her first 18-night departure 'In the trail of Tasman'.

The vessel will then arrive for the first time in Australian waters for an official welcome in Darwin on May 13th 2019.

The 120-passenger Coral Adventurer has been specially designed by Coral Expeditions, marrying the company's 34 years of experience building and operating expedition ships with the latest advances in marine and environmental technology.

The ship's lightweight dual Xplorer expedition tenders, a trademark feature of all Coral Expeditions vessels, will extend the capabilities of the ship by allowing fast transit for all passengers with open views on shore excursions and deeper exploration into rivers and beaches. A new multi-purpose space, the Barralong Room, will host interpretive activities and projects that connect guests in an engaging format throughout their voyage experience.

Fifield continues: "Coral Adventurer has received a positive response from the market with extremely strong forward bookings and charter interest," said Fifield. "We have had an overwhelming response to the recently launched 60 day 35th Anniversary Circumnavigation of Australia, which is nearing capacity after only two weeks in the market and this instils great confidence amongst our team and stakeholders to action further fleet development into the future."

Pic: Senior Management and project team from Coral Expeditions attend floating ceremony for Coral Adventurer (L to R: Paul Chacko – Executive Director, Tamara Sweeting – Hospitality Manager, Alistair Burgoyne – Director, Perry Wilkes – Finance Director, Frank Krone – Newbuild Project Manager, Gary Wilson – Senior Master, Michael Marson – Marine Superintendent, Jeff Gillies – Commercial Director, Mark Fifield – Group General Manager, Doug Parker – Fleet Engineer and Gary Wyn-Hum – Purchasing Manager)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

PONANT’s new ship LE LAPEROUSE exploring the Kimberley in 2019 and 2020

#expeditioncruising .

Brochure just released

2019 is the inaugural Kimberley season for the first of six new Explorer class ships currently under construction for PONANT, and the attraction of visiting this pristine wilderness onboard the most eco-sensitive of vessels in the region is an attractive proposition.

Launched in July 2018, Le Laperouse will be positioned in Australian, Melanesian and New Zealand waters as part of its inaugural season of voyages in 2019, returning again in 2020.

Complete details of 2020 voyages, options, dates and pricing now available in a new Kimberley brochure just released:

“This provides Australians and New Zealanders with the opportunity to sail on one of the world’s newest ships featuring the very latest in maritime technology, safety and environmental sensitivity .…. Important considerations for voyages in remote areas such as the Kimberley” says Monique Ponfoort, Vice President PONANT Asia Pacific.

“Le Laperouse offers all the accoutrements of luxury travel and amenities - including an infinity-edge pool and sea view spa - however its compact size, with just 92 staterooms and suites, all with balconies allows for the personalised style of service PONANT is known for. Importantly, smaller size provides access to even more remote parts of the world where large ships simply cannot contemplate venturing.”

With 30 years of expedition voyage experience PONANT’s purpose-built luxury expedition ships bring the same high operational standards to the Kimberley that they operate in the Arctic and Antarctica – the only ships to do so and reflective of PONANT’s position as the world leader in luxury expeditions.

“Our top-tier expedition team, a key element in getting the most out of any Kimberley trip, is headed by experienced adventurer and award-winning wildlife photographer Mick Fogg. A 20 year veteran of over 300 expeditions he ranks the Kimberley in his top three remote area destinations”.

Le Laperouse in the Kimberley is the perfect introduction to small ship luxury expedition cruising. Adventure by day exploring all the famous Kimberley highlights along the coast including Zodiac trips with the Expedition Team up rivers and under waterfalls, then enjoy champagne and fine cuisine by night.

Limited space still available during May to August 2019 Kimberley voyages
May to August 2020 Kimberley expeditions currently open for sale - details available at, through travel agents or in the downloadable brochure at

All voyages include the must-see highlights as well as some lesser-known destinations and experiences the expedition team has uncovered along this remarkable Kimberley coastline.

Experience the unique combination of travelling onboard Le Laperouse, the youngest ship in the region, with the ‘best-in-the-business’ expedition team.


Details of all PONANT Kimberley expeditions including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 767 018, or for bookings.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

From aboard National Geographic Venture: The Mysterious Channel Islands of California

#expeditioncruising .

Brand new: National Geographic Venture at anchor off Santa Rosa (RE)

While some like to refer to them as California's Galapagos on account of the world's cutest little fox (Urocyon littoralisand its six subspecies, the Galapagos connection is pretty thin thereafter.

The Channel Islands were formed by uplift as opposed to volcanic and were connected to each other as recently as 15,000 or so years ago leaving around 140 endemic species of plant and animal behind. They were once as close as just a few miles from the mainland, making it much easier for life to arrive by the 'wind, wings and water' method of biological dispersal.

Santa Rosa Island is about 42kms off the California Coast

On top of that, their history of human presence extends right across their existence, first with the Chumash and Tongva Native Americans, then the Spanish, then the current US Americans mainly through ranching and military.

The best known of all the islands is in the Southern Group, Santa Catalina, or just Catalina which has a permanent population of around 4000 mainly in the resort town of Avalon.

On our first day ashore on the inaugural voyage of Lindblad Expedition – National Geographic's brand new vessel and sister ship to last year's NG Quest, the National Geographic Venture, is here on Santa Rosa in the northern sector. This former ranch has had all non-native mammals removed or eradicated including pig, elk and cattle and a program of conservation and rehabilitation begun by the US National Park Service.

Channel Island Fox recently removed from the endangered list (Chuck Graham)

A campground has been established and hiking is one of the favoured recreational pursuits along with kayaking. Even so, visitation to the islands generally is still pretty limited, Santa Rosa in particular.

Hikers descend from Cherry Canyon on Santa Rosa Island (RE)

Groups set out on their own with some choosing a relatively demanding hike to see the rare Torrey Pine trees, while I joined a group for a moderate climb and hike around Cherry Canyon. We spotted a couple of the island's endemic birds and even caught a glimpse of the elusive fox which weighs just 4kgs and stands about 30cm high – just 25 per cent of the mainland grey fox it is descended from.

As something of an expedition-head myself, it's the in-depth interpretation by qualified experts (with human communication skills) that appeals to me most about Lindblad. The recent spike in interest in expedition travel has enabled Lindblad to embark on a substantial fleet expansion and the 100-guest NG Venture (as a follow up to NG Quest last year) completes this pair for use on West Coast, Alaska, Mexico and Caribbean itineraries.

Our journey continues south to Catalina Island and Mexico.

For more information on Lindblad – National Geographic journeys, see

Thursday, 6 December 2018

New shore excursions from Silversea for Cuba

With Silversea's trademark destination expertise, the shore excursions will take guests closer to Cuba's authentic beauty

Ultra-luxury cruise leader, Silversea, unveils a collection of 34 shore excursions, carefully designed for its new 16-voyage Cuba collection for 2019 and 2020. Taking guests closer to the authentic natural beauty and amazing cultural and historical treasures of the Caribbean island nation, the onshore experiences in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Cienfuegos will provide immersion into the local way of life. Enhancing the cruise experience, the shore excursions will showcase the most important attractions in and around each city with Silversea's trademark destination expertise.

"We are pleased to launch a diverse array of tailor-made experiences that will enable our guests to travel deeper in order to discover and appreciate a land seemingly frozen in time, yet filled with awe-inspiring scenery, extraordinary people, and a vibrant culture," says Adria Bono, Silversea's Director of Shore Excursions.