Thursday 31 January 2008

Coral Princess Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises Join Forces on the Great Barrier Reef

JANUARY 31, 2008.
Coral Princess Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises
Join Forces to Grow the Great Barrier Reef
Leading Australian small-ship cruise lines Coral Princess Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises have announced plans to join forces to further the growth of their Great Barrier Reef cruise divisions. The partnership will ensure the ongoing growth of both companies and provide unique opportunities to improve business efficiencies.
The new partnership, a result of long-term discussions between Coral Princess Cruises Managing Director Tony Briggs and Captain Cook Cruises Executive Chairman Captain Trevor Haworth AM combines over 40 years experience operating multi-night cruises on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.
Both companies are excited by the new opportunities this partnership will provide. Both Australian family-owned companies, they share common philosophies and existing cruise itineraries.
The opportunity to consolidate both companies' Great Barrier Reef cruise operations has progressed joint plans for the design of a new, state-of-the-art, purpose-built small-ship to operate their schedule of three, four and seven-night Great Barrier Reef cruises.
Whilst planning for the new luxury vessel continues, both companies will operate schedules utilising Coral Princess's fleet of small-ships. Captain Cook's Reef Endeavour is to be sold following its final Great Barrier Reef cruise on February 22, 2008.
Coral Princess Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises look forward to further developing this exciting partnership into the future.
Coral Princess Cruises also operates expedition and adventure cruises to the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Melanesia and New Zealand.
Captain Cook Cruises Fiji and Murray three, four and seven-night itineraries and two-night Sydney Harbour itinerary will remain un-affected and continue as scheduled.
For further information and bookings, visit or

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Captain Cook Cruises New Endeavour on the Great Barrier Reef

Captain Cook Cruises are pleased to announce plans to join forces with Cairns based Coral Princess Cruises to further the growth of their Great Barrier Reef cruise Division.

As part of this development Reef Endeavour will be withdrawn from service on 25 February 2008 and will be sold.

Passengers with Cruise bookings on Reef Endeavour past this date may transfer to a 3 or 4 night Coral Princess Barrier Reef cruise of similar itinerary at the booked price.

Alternatively, passengers may transfer to Reef Escape in Fiji, Murray Princess on the Murray River or Captain Cook’s Explorer 2night or dining cruises on Sydney Harbour at a 50% discount or, alternatively, receive a full refund.

Captain Cook Cruises deeply regrets the departure of Reef Endeavour after twelve memorable years cruising the Barrier Reef and wishes to thank the Masters, Officers and Crew who have continuously provided an outstanding product and passengers who sailed in her and the travel industry for their vital support.

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Save the Kimberley

Save the Kimberley

This website has been put together by the 'Save The Kimberley' group.

The majestic Kimberley is one of the world’s last great wilderness regions. This pristine area rich in culture, heritage and biodiversity is Australia’s last untouched frontier. Home too many endangered species the Kimberley wilderness is a virtual Noah’s Ark, a shielded system that is much as it was from the beginning of time. Humpback whales, turtles, Dugongs, the Golden Back Tree Rat let alone the many other species of flora and fauna that are yet to be discovered. Can you believe that this World class treasure is under threat?"

Monday 28 January 2008

North Star Cruises’ Inaugural Southern Safari a Hit

True North at anchor off Pearson Island in the seldom-visited Investigator Group (photo: Roderick Eime)

For immediate release: 26 January 2008

North Star Cruises’ Inaugural Southern Safari a Hit

Broome-based North Star Cruises is delighted at the passenger reaction to the recently completed Southern Safari adventure cruise in the waters off Adelaide, South Australia.

“We’ve been coming this way for several years now on our way back from Sydney,” said Craig Howson, managing director of North Star Cruises, “and we thought it was about time we made a proper exploration of the wonderful beaches, fishing and attractions down here.”

Passengers aboard the 740 tonne, 50m luxury expedition vessel True North enjoyed relaxing wine tasting in McLaren Vale, stunning sightseeing on Kangaroo Island and the Eyre Peninsula, sensational fishing for SA’s famous King George Whiting and an exhilarating cage dive with great white sharks off Port Lincoln. The busy 8-night itinerary retraced and revisited many of the sites first explored by Mathew Flinders in 1802 including the pristine Investigator Group.

The journey began in Adelaide on January 17th and finished in Streaky Bay on the 25th, with guests transferring back to Adelaide by commercial flight.

“We’ll make a few small refinements to the itinerary for next year, but otherwise we’re happy with the product and, most importantly, the passengers are too,” said Howson.

“Putting the whole package together was made much easier by the welcome and enthusiastic cooperation we received from all levels of government here in South Australia and we extend our thanks and congratulations to the many departments and individuals who went out of their way to ensure the smooth running of our first Southern Safari. Thank you South Australia.”

The Southern Safari will now be a regular annual offering in multi-award winning North Star Cruises’ expanding catalogue of adventure itineraries that include Adventures in Paradise (PNG), Over the Top (NT and Qld) and their acclaimed signature product, the Kimberley Wilderness Cruise (WA).

Bookings for the 2009 Southern Safari begin immediately with the new itinerary and dates available shortly.

For further information, images or brochures, please contact North Star Cruises on
(+61 8) 91921 829 or visit the website at

About North Star Cruises – “Go Wild in Style”

The recipient of numerous state and national adventure tourism awards and with over twenty years operational experience, North Star Cruises and their purpose-built expedition vessel, the 740 tonne, 36-passenger True North, specialise in enriching nature and culture based cruise tours in a luxurious, yet laid-back style with an unmistakably Australian flavour.

Expedition and Adventure Cruising Guide

Adventure and Expedition Cruising is the fastest growing area of the already burgeoning cruise market. In fact some would say it’s not cruising at all, rather adventure by ship.

As such, we at Cruise Passenger Magazine recognise that this very special form of experiential travel now requires its own magazine. An expert, specialist publication devoted to the unique needs of the ship and tour operators that clearly sets it apart from the traditional large ship product.

The magazine will be produced by the regular Cruise Passenger Magazine team, with the addition of Roderick Eime as guest editor. A regular contributor to Cruise Passenger, Rod is a confirmed adventure cruiser, having travelled to both the Antarctic and Arctic, Galapagos, Amazon, Melanesia, New Zealand and more aboard everything from motorised dugouts to icebreakers.

Readers will expand their horizons with new destinations and itineraries to keep their passion alive as well as investigate new ships that will take them there.

From the frozen reaches of the North Pole to the furthest Antarctic extremes and everything in between, Cruise Passenger Magazine’s Essential Adventure and Expedition Cruising Guide will be the definitive reference for the new wave of modern seaborne adventurers.

Advertisers will be offered a potent blend of editorial and advertorial allowing them to highlight their product in the most favourable light. Editorial will highlight the exciting new destinations only adventure cruising can deliver plus explain for the first time traveller what to expect, how to pack and why adventure cruising will introduce them to a whole new world of life enriching experiences.

The list of destinations will include the must-do’s of Antarctica, Russian Far East, Papua New Guinea, The Kimberleys, Melanesia, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon, Alaska, the Galapagos and much more.

Expedition Cruising, Adventure Cruising

Adventure Quest

Committed adventure cruiser, Roderick Eime, shares some insight on one of the fastest growing travel sectors.

Flick through the pages of any magazine or newspaper and you’re confronted with an overflowing smorgasbord of cruise travel possibilities. If this explosion of romantic ocean-going itineraries leads you to think cruise travel is on the up, then you are right. Cruising is on a rocket. But look closer and you’ll find, sometimes tacked on the end of a larger ad, adventure possibilities you may never have dreamed of.

Sure, everybody knows the irresistible, fairytale allure of the South Pacific, Caribbean and Mediterranean, but what about the frozen reaches of the Antarctic, the wilds of the Kimberley or the tiny atolls of Melanesia? Within this huge category of ‘cruising’ there exists a sometimes overlooked subset generally referred to as “adventure and expedition cruising”.

Once almost a secret society among wealthy adventurers and well-heeled thrillseekers, this type of travel has ignited the imagination of those looking beyond regular, packaged products. Travel marketers and advertising pundits are calling this emerging genre “experiential and transformational” travel where the journey is all about delivering uplifting and life-changing experiences.

Ships plying these waters can vary enormously too. They range from luxury pocket cruise-liners, replete with every creature comfort and a “quick response” crew ready to fulfill your every whim, through to refurbished ex-Soviet spy vessels. These Russian vessels are the ones largely responsible for opening up the frozen extremes of our planet and include mighty icebreakers and hardy oceanographic ships built to operate in the most challenging conditions.

At the softer end, vessels like the Australian-based Orion and Oceanic Discoverer, world-travelling Seadream I and II and Seabourne are examples of ships constructed to deliver a high, even opulent, level of luxury and still retain the flexibility and versatility of an expedition yacht. Orion, for example, not only cruises the rich tropical backwaters of PNG and the Kimberley, but ventures to the most remote reaches of Antarctica, well below the ‘circle’ and into the exclusive realm of Emperor Penguins and historic explorers.

BENTOURS CRUISING 2008/09 - the ultimate guide to the experiential cruise traveller

BENTOURS CRUISING 2008/09 - the ultimate guide to the experiential cruise traveller

Bentours new cruise programme features the Norwegian Coastal Voyage – Hurtigruten, historical Gota Canal in Sweden, expedition like cruising to Greenland, Spitsbergen and the North Pole, river cruising to Europe, Russia and China as well as a its most comprehensive cruise programme ever to Antarctica. The programme targets a cruise traveller looking for a cruise experience exploring the wildlife, nature of the destination as well as interaction with diverse cultures.

“Bentours cruise product suits a traveller who is interested in experiencing the cruise destination outside the ship in an active way”, says Greg Arnott, General Director for Bentours. ”Our customer is a curious and active person who wants to learn about the destinations we take them to and wants to form an intimate understanding for the destination”.

“Our iconic over 100 years old Norwegian Coastal Voyage - Hurtigruten is Bentours flagship product we started promoting and selling it in 1979”, says Arnott. The scenic 11- day cruise Bergen back to Bergen, visits 34 ports all year around – all departures guaranteed. A spectacular scene under the Midnight Sun in the summer and under the Nordic Lights in the winter, makes this unique voyage once in a life time experience. “Grand Nordic” tour including the Norwegian Coastal Voyage visiting all Nordic Capitals is one of the most popular ways to tour around Scandinavia. Tour operates daily, all year and has 16, 19 or 22 day options, starting from $4670 per person, twin share, ex-Helsinki, Stockholm or Copenhagen.

Bentours announced earlier a record year in Gota Canal bookings in 2007. The Gota Canal Steamship Company sails its three vintage ships along the 190km route between Gothenburg and Stockholm and is one of Sweden’s outstanding attractions. Cruising 4 days along the Swedish countryside ex Stockholm or ex Gothenburg starts $1760 per person* in double cabin (Category C) all meals included. “Swedish countryside” 5-day tour ex-Stockholm, partly escorted starting from $780 per person in double cabin (Category C).

High Arctic cruise product explores Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago as well as all the way up to the North Pole. “North Pole” 16- or 17- day tour ex-Helsinki and travels to Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula in Russia where travellers board the massive Russian icebreaker Yamal, the only icebreaker currently taking travellers to the North Pole. Various historians, marine biologists and ornithologist are on board giving lectures of this environmentally and strategically important region. Cruise includes daytrips by helicopter and zodiacs (weather permitting) exploring one of the last outpost of the world. Cruise starting from $22263 per person, twin share. A visa is required fro Russia. “Spitsbergen Adventure” 6- day cruise exploring the Svalbard archipelago and its unique and rich wildlife and vegetation, starting from $2750 per person, twin share ex Longyearbyen.

“After a promising first year cruising in Greenland we have slightly modified itineraries with MS Fram, Hurtigruten’s purpose built ship for expedition cruising.” says Greg Arnott.” Most of our cruises explore South and East Greenland including Disco Bay further north.”

Bentours 9, 12 and 16 day cruise tours depart from Copenhagen and explore this largest island in the world with pristine wilderness and unique wildlife as well as the indigenous Inuit culture. Tours include various optional excursions such as whale watching, hiking, helicopter and boat trips, visits to Inuit settlements and museums including “Eric the Reds Longhouse” in Quassiarsuk (population 56). “East/South Greenland Cruise” 12-day, starting from $ 6949 per person, twin share and 9-day ”Disco Bay Cruise” starting from $ 4530 per person, twin share.

“For expedition like cruising to Antarctica we are introducing the most comprehensive and extended Antarctica programme to date. We have added active components such as kayaking, skiing and camping in our program as well as expeditions visiting parts of Antarctica that we have never visited before.” says Greg Arnott. Early Bird discounts $430 per person are available for all departures when booked and deposited by 30 April 2008.

“Land of ice and land of fire” 19-day cruise programme with expert lectures on board ex Buenos Aires or ex Santiago starting from $ 8200 per person, twin share includes twice daily landings in Antarctica (weather permitting), visits to Deception Island, Whalers Bay and one of the most beautiful passages Lamaire Channel to view humpback whales and fin whales as well as various spices of penguins. “Shackleton’s Antarctica” 12-day cruise programme ex Buenos Aries, starting from $8770 per person, twin share also includes visiting South Georgia and the Falkland Islands as well as Antarctica.

“We also have an extended geographical reach, now travelling to the other side of the Antarctica” says Arnott. “Emperor Penguins” 14 day ex Ushuaia expedition travels all the way to Snow Hill Island to observe Emperors early in their breeding season. This cruise is ideal for nature lovers and photographers starting from $18840 per person, twin share.

“Great Antarctic Explorers” ex Christchurch is lead by special guest Adrian Raeside, grandson of a member of Scott’s dramatic expedition to South Pole. Adrian will share his grandfather’s journals and pictures while investigating the region and visiting huts used by the explorers. This 26-day cruise starting from $29120 per person, twin share visits Campbell and Enderby Islands, Drygalski Ice Tongue and McMurdo Station which was the base for Scott and Shackleton. Cruise stops also in Macquarie Island which is the home of Royal Penguins before arriving to Hobart.

Bentours extensions to South America now include Peru, Galapagos Island, Iguaçu Falls, Brazil, Eater Island, Atacama Dessert, Patagonia and Bolivia as well as city breaks to Lima, Rio, Quito, Santiago, Buenos Aires, La Paz and Tahiti.

Bentours River Cruise product includes well known European river cruises as well as river cruising to Russia, Ukranie and China. “Footsteps of the Cossacks” 12-day cruise ex Odessa or Kiev starting from $ 2522 per person, twin share and “Silkroad Adventure” 12-day journey from Shanghai to along Yangtze River to Beijing starting from $ 5256 per person, twin share (C class cabin)

For further information contact Bentours, phone 02 9247 3381, or 1800 221 712 email or visit

Bentours is cruise specialist and wholesaler specializing in travel product to Scandinavia, the Nordic region, Russia, The Baltics and Antarctica. MyPlanet Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Bentours (wholesale) and MyPlanet Australia (retail), is the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Hurtigruten Group, Icelandair and Gota Canal in Australia and New Zealand.

Tuesday 22 January 2008

New Departure and Rates for MV Fantasea Ammari

From Friday 21 March, the MV Fantasea Ammari will be offering a new four night cruise around the Whitsundays. Take a mini-break and spend four unforgettable nights cruising on the calm waters of the Whitsundays, snorkelling by day and dining under the stars by night. The perfect weather arrives in March with crystal clear days, warm waters and average daytime temperatures of 28C.

Departing Hamilton Island every Friday, the 32-cabin boutique cruise ship visits famous Whitehaven Beach, the Great Barrier Reef and many other beautiful sandy coves and pristine swimming beaches around the 74 islands.

Optional three night cruise including meals and many activities is $1995 twin share per person while the new four night cruise is $2460 per person twin share. Fly to Hamilton Island or Whitsunday Coast airports on Virgin or Jetstar, drive or QRail to Proserpine. For bookings visit or call 1800 662 786.

Antarctica Cruise Community Website Attracts Over 700 Users

Antarctica Discovery (, the cruise community website launched in 2007 to offer an updated image of Antarctica has experienced a high volume of user registrations during the Antarctic cruise season.

Voyages of Discovery’s cruise ship MV Discovery

The website, devised by innovative cruise company Voyages of Discovery, creates a dynamic social environment where people can share their experiences of Antarctica with others. Recently upgraded, the site allows passengers, crew and lecturers to register their details and to upload photos and journals from onboard the ship.

Passengers have the opportunity to post their experiences onto the website as they happen and photos taken of Antarctica’s stunning scenery and wildlife can be uploaded and live on the site for the world to see, just hours after being taken. The site’s users can also instantly send their photos home as Ecards, write up their day-to-day adventures as a journal and browse other passengers’ experiences.

David Yellow, Voyages of Discovery’s Managing Director states: “The internet has become an increasingly valuable tool for travel companies to build a closer relationship with their clients. We launched Antarctica Discovery to encourage a live, genuine commentary and vision of this beautiful place, as seen by thousands of our passengers every year. Whilst there will always be a need for professional copywriting and photography, there is now a growing demand for a view of destinations as seen by fellow travellers and Antarctica Discovery provides this.”

The website has also added social bookmarks that allow users to share photo galleries, journals or videos they enjoy across the internet with other popular community websites such as Stumbleupon, Digg and Facebook.

Voyages of Discovery’s cruise ship mv Discovery is currently cruising in Antarctica. The company has sales offices in North America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and has seen a massive increase in demand for Antarctica cruises in recent years.

For further information about Voyages of Discovery please visit our main site, For reservations and news of the latest Antarctica offers, contact: 02 9959 1380.