Tuesday 27 May 2008

Stricken by Disease and Pestilence, Wretched Port Abandoned

Despite twelve deaths and the grounding of HMS Pelorus in a ferocious cyclone, Port Essington was rebuilt and continued to struggle against the elements for a further ten years before the inevitable. In 1849, the tragic settlement was abandoned.

Port Essington, or Victoria Settlement, is located on the rugged Coburg Peninsula, part of the Northern Territory's Arnhem Land and all that remains of the ambitious mid-19th Century village is a few stone ruins.

An excursion and exploration of this poignant site is part of North Star Cruises' annual "Over the Top" itinerary, exploring some of the lesser-known, more adventurous destinations our great country has to offer.

Departing Darwin on 18 October, the journey can be experienced as a single 14-night adventure or as a 6-night expedition beginning in either Darwin or Thursday Island. Either way, the cruise culminates in Cairns on November 1.

Other highlights include helicopter flightseeing from the ship's own helicopter (extra cost), Great Barrier Reef snorkeling or scuba diving, great fishing, guided nature hikes and, of course, North Star Cruises' famed cuisine.

Prices for either of the 6-night itineraries start from $8,995 per person, twin share and from $13,995 per person for the full 14-night adventure.

Bookings can be made by contacting North Star Cruises on (+61 8) 91921 829 or by email to reservations@northstarcruises.com.au. Website: www.northstarcruises.com.au


For more information, images or brochures, please contact North Star's Adventure Partners.

Ph: (+61 8) 91921 829 E: cruise@northstarcruises.com.au

About North Star Cruises

Broome-based North Star Cruises is a wholly Australian owned company operating the 840 tonne, 36-passenger luxury expedition yacht, True North. The multi-award-winning company operates exclusive adventure cruises along the West Coast, the Kimberley, across the Northern Territory to Cape York, Papua New Guinea, Sydney and Adelaide. Apart from ecologically sensitive shore excursions and activities, guests can also indulge in fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving. True North is one of the very few such vessels to operate with its own helicopter on selected itineraries.

Join Ken Duncan for an Orion Antarctic photographic odyssey

Join Ken Duncan, world renowned photographer, onboard the luxury expedition ship Orion for an unforgettable voyage to Antarctica this December.

Ken Duncan, widely regarded as Australia's premier panoramic landscape photographer, will be joining Orion's specialist Antarctic Expedition Team for a 16 night Antarctic Continent expedition to Commonwealth Bay, home to the site of the historic Mawson's huts built for his 1911 Antarctic expedition.

Although panoramas are his signature style, Ken Duncan is also an expert in using a multitude of different formats and media and he will be sharing his expertise with Orion's guests to help them make the most of capturing the myriad of photo opportunities afforded on this Antarctic voyage.

With convenient embarkation in Bluff, New Zealand, Orion will head south with her 100 passengers (and 75 crew) to visit remote sub-Antarctic Snares and Auckland islands en-route to World Heritage listed Macquarie Island, with its vast breeding grounds of penguins and seals. The remnants of the old whaling station provide a dramatic photographic contrast to the wildlife in this remote sanctuary.

Orion is scheduled to cross the Antarctic Circle and head further south to Cape Denison located at 67 degrees south. Time ashore, weather permitting, will provide guests with a rare chance to visit Mawson's huts and have a look inside this icy time-capsule, left as-is after Mawson's departure.

New found photographic skills promise great opportunities to record the extensive wild life, huts, and historic debris and artifacts still to be found here.


Ken Duncan has produced numerous books and received many awards for his work. He has been published by National Geographic and Time magazines and he has undertaken assignments for The Passion of The Christ and World Vision.


Fares Guide:

16 nights Antarctic Continent – Commonwealth Bay departs Bluff (Invercargill) NZ 11th December 2008, arriving in Hobart 27th December 2008. (Ken Duncan voyage)

Fares begin from $15,790per person twin share for an ocean view Category B stateroom

Suites begin from $21,775 per person twin share for a Junior Suite

Owners' Suites with French Balcony are $33,055 per person twin share

Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities.

With 75 crew and a maximum of just 100 passengers for Antarctic expeditions Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Further information on all Orion Expedition Cruises to Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Asia, New Zealand, the Kimberley and Arnhem Land can be obtained by visiting the website www.orioncruises.com.au

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent. Email: info@orioncruises.com.au

Thursday 22 May 2008

Popular Whale Watching Cruise Back in 2008

With whale watching cruises more popular than ever, Captain Cook Cruises is again operating its daily Whale Watching cruises throughout the Whale Watching season of May 27th to November 15th, 2008.

The Whale Watching cruise takes passengers past the Sydney Opera House, Fort Denison and all the beautiful homes located in the bays of Sydney Harbour and then out through the heads and onto the open waters. Here the direction of the vessel is totally dependent on where the whales have been sighted – north towards Manly or south towards Coogee. Most whales are found within 2kms of shore.

The number of Humpback and Southern Wright whales passing through Sydney on the annual northern migration between Antarctica and their winter feeding grounds as far north the Great Barrier Reef, is expected to reach its traditional peak around the Winter Solstice on June 22nd.

After calving in the northern waters between August and September, the whales will then again head south through Sydney, making their long journey back to Antarctica.

All Whale Watching cruises are held on a 75-passenger, 16 metre super sea-catamaran purpose built for Whale Watching and featuring two decks both offering spectacular open air viewing and a comfortable all-weather lounge for the entire family.

Captain Cook Cruises offers a whale guarantee - if a whale is not sighted in the months of May to November 2008 passengers can rebook another cruise free of charge or for those cruising in June and July they also have the choice to receive 50% of their money back.

Whale Watching cruises depart daily from Circular Quay at 1.30pm and twice daily from Darling Harbour at 9.00am and 1.15pm from May 27th to November 15th, 2008.

Whale Watching Cruises are priced at: adults $69, concession $59, child (4-14yrs) $39, family (2ad+2ch) $179 and additional child same family $30.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises on Tel: 02 9206-1111 or visit www.captaincook.com.au.


Coral Princess's luxury expedition-style ship, Oceanic Discoverer, is small enough to venture into the farthest reaches of New Zealand's Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds, but stable and large enough to reach wild Stewart Island. The combination of compact luxury and manoeuvrable stability enables Oceanic Discoverer to go where no other cruise ship can.
Coral Princess Cruises has released its 2008/09 New Zealand Adventure cruises brochure, featuring a five-night Bay of Islands cruise and a 12-night New Zealand Discovery cruise.
The five-night Bay of Islands cruise departs from either Auckland or Paihia, exploring the hidden coves and spectacular coastline of the far north-eastern tip of the North Island.
Cruising in the Bay of Islands reveals natural attractions such as the renowned 'Hole in the Rock' – a rock 'tunnel' etched by wind and waves - and the Roberton Island lookout, which affords views over the 144 sub-tropical islands in the bay. Passengers can also disembark for guided walks in nature reserves like Tiri Tiri Matangi, to spot some of New Zealand's rare native birds and learn about the history of the region from Coral Princess's guest lecturers and expert guides.
There are nine departures of the Bay of Islands cruise between December 24, 2008 and February 5, 2009. It costs from $2990 per person, twin share, in a Main Deck B stateroom.
Departing from World Heritage Milford Sound and travelling to Auckland, or vice versa, the 12-night Milford Sound cruise explores the remote reaches of Milford and Doubtful Sound – described as New Zealand's most spectacular waterway - but also ventures into rarely-visited Dusky Sound. Stewart Island is renowned for its unusual birdlife, including kiwis and penguins, and marks the southernmost point on the voyage. Heading north along the east coast, the ship stops at secluded Akaroa Harbour, where it's possible to swim with dolphins, while Kaikoura is known as the best destination for whale watching.
The Tory Channel marks the entrance to the beautiful blue-green waters of Marlborough Sound, where Oceanic Discoverer's guides interpret the history and natural attractions on guided walks. The trip also takes in Art Deco Napier, historic Gisborne, the active volcano on White Island and there's time to explore the beaches and caves of the remote Mercury Islands, before ending the trip in Auckland.
The Milford Sound voyage departs on February 16 and 28, 2009 and costs $7190 per person, twin share in a Main Deck B stateroom. Prices include all meals, accommodation, excursions, transfers and port taxes.
The Oceanic Discoverer accommodates a maximum of just 72 guests, as well as a purpose-built excursion vessel, Xplorer, and a fleet of inflatable Zodiacs to allow passengers to intimately explore the secluded bays and inlets. Coral Princess's adventure style of cruising means the itinerary may vary to take advantage of opportunities to view wildlife, swim, or visit local attractions.
Coral Princess is a family-owned, eco-accredited and award-winning company that pioneered adventure cruising 25 years ago on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. For further information, call 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au.

Mawson’s descendant guest lecturer on Antarctic cruise

Emma McEwin, the great-granddaughter of Sir Douglas Mawson, will be a guest lecturer aboard Aurora Expeditions’ ice-strengthened Marina Svetaeva on a 27-day round cruise from Hobart to Antarctica on December 12.

McEwin, author of ‘An Antarctic Affair,’ will give passengers an insight into the life and heroic exploits of her famous ancestor as they sail for Mawson’s Huts at Commonwealth Bay, the isolated base camp of the 1911 Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

Fares for this ‘Iceberg & Emperors’ voyage aboard the 100-passenger Marina Svetaeva, which has a fleet of inflatable zodiacs and two helicopters, cost from US$12,290 per person quad share.

Pandaw Cruises Provides Cyclone Relief

Pandaw Cruises have been active in Burma since 1995 and have the logistical team in situ to operate our river ships to assist in the cyclone relief effort. We have deployed both our Burma ships to the worst affected areas. The ships have been converted to hospital ships and currently have teams of Burmese doctors and paramedics on board.

Pandaw IV is being operated by Merlin, a UK based charity - www.merlin.org.uk - who were already operating in the Laputta area with a good existing network of medics and health workers in the area. The ship is well supplied with emergency kits and medical equipment. Pandaw II is being operated by Save the Children in association with the Rangoon Pun Hlaing Hospital. A team of over 20 Burmese doctors and paramedics are on board. She will operate south of Bassein.

More: www.pandaw.com

Tuesday 20 May 2008


SYDNEY (20 May, 2008) – Sarina Bratton, Founder and Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises today announced the purchase of the company by KSL Capital Partners, a leading private equity company in the USA.

Following several unsolicited approaches to purchase Orion Expedition Cruises, the current shareholders have agreed to an offer from KSL Capital Partners, a Denver based private equity company specialising in high end travel and leisure enterprises. This majority shareholding will provide the capital and opportunity for Orion Expedition Cruises to expand beyond its one ship operation (through the building of new ships and/or other acquisitions), ahead of the original business plan.

Founded in early 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises is the only world class expedition cruise line operating from Australia to pristine wilderness areas in Antarctica, the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia and Asia. After three years of operation, OEC has achieved a reputation worldwide for its new and diverse itineraries and sustainable operations. Sarina Bratton will continue as a significant shareholder and Managing Director.

“Consumer desire for experience driven, sustainable tourism is not a passing trend,” Sarina explained today. “Experienced travellers globally are seeking small, niche, culture and nature based experiential tourism products that allow for a more informed and in-depth interpretation of, and interaction with, the destinations. It is considered that Australia and its close neighbours are well positioned for growth in this area. I am very excited about the opportunity this partnership presents and look forward to working with KSL to take Orion Expedition Cruises to the next level.”

Steven Siegel, Partner and Chief Operating Officer of KSL Capital Partners said, “We believe Orion Expedition Cruises can be much more than a one ship, or even two ship company. Our investment in Orion Expedition Cruises will see the company grow to a multi-ship operation, fulfilling the potential of the brand in the Asia Pacific region. Our investment in Orion is a testament to the strength of the business, the management team and the growth opportunity in the sector. There is great synergy between Orion and our other tourism and hospitality businesses and we are looking forward to working with Orion and its management team.”

About KSL
KSL Capital Partners is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL Capital Partners is headquartered in Denver. For more information, please visit http://www.kslcapital.com.

Notable investments made by the principals of KSL include:

* ClubCorp, Inc., the world’s largest owner and operator of golf, country and business and sports clubs
* Western Athletic Clubs, headquartered in San Francisco, California
* Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas
* The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia
* Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California
* Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone Mountain Resorts
* La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West in La Quinta, California
* Doral Golf Resort & Spa near Miami, Florida
* Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa on Maui in Wailea, Hawaii
* Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona
* La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California
* Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, California

For more information about Orion Expedition Cruises please visit our website www.orionexpeditions.com or contact Michael Corbett, Public Relations Manager Orion Expedition Cruises on 02 4572 1885.

Thursday 15 May 2008

The Ultimate White Christmas - Silversea's Antarctica


Silversea Explorations has created the ultimate white Christmas and New Year experience, an 11 day voyage departing Ushuaia, Argentina on 22 December 2008 aboard Silversea's sparkling new Prince Albert II.

Offering the latest in luxury exploration cruising, Prince Albert II's itineraries are unstructured by design, allowing the ship to stay longer in sites of particular interest, or make slight detours whenever weather, nature or mere curiosities dictate.

The 11 day Christmas voyage will navigate Drake's passage each way to the Antarctic and spend six days exploring the spectacular scenery and wildlife with experienced naturalists, lecturers and an expedition team who will share their knowledgeable insights of these pristine waters and the abundant marine species.

Designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world's most remote destinations, including both the earth's polar regions, the Prince Albert II boasts a strengthened hull, with the highest Lloyd's register ice-class notation (1A) for passenger ships.

All this attention to detail, plus an all inclusive Silversea cruising experience. Cruise only fares start from US$7335* per person, double occupancy with Silver Savings of 25 percent.

Each luxuriously appointed suite has ocean views and offers the largest average size accommodation of any expedition ship. Some suites even have private verandas or French balconies. The marble bathrooms feature full baths and in the gourmet restaurants, the menus are designed by Relais and Chateaux with complimentary wines, champagnes and spirits served throughout the ship. With a staff to guest ratio of 1:1 the service standards will be outstanding. Expert naturalists and special guest lecturers will enhance the sailing.

Space is limited on this Christmas New Year Prince Albert II Antarctic voyage.

* Port and fuel charges extra.

For more information please contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.com

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II in 2008, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents. Silversea has for the past four consecutive years been named Best Cruise Line by readers of Australia's Luxury Travel and Style magazine. For nine consecutive years, Silversea has been named "Number One Small Ship Line" in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the USA and in 2007 was the only cruise line named in the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller's "Top 100 Luxury Travel Experiences" at the same time topping the Small Cruise Line award for the eighth time. Silversea has been selected as "World's Best Small Ship Line" in the US Travel + Leisure readers' poll for the past eight years.

Wednesday 14 May 2008



A 6-night fly, cruise and stay package to Tahiti is selling through Coral Seas Travel from $5929pp twin-share, including return air and taxes from Sydney, a four-night cruise through the Tuamotu Archipelago aboard the luxury 24-passenger Haumana with all meals and a selection of wines, and two nights in an OceanView Room at the Radisson Plaza in Papeete.

The mega motor-cruise Haumana has sixteen crew to look after her 24-guests, with daily activities that can include escorted beach and bush walks, village tours, kayaking, snorkelling, game and handline fishing with an onboard fishing guide, and a unique 4-star French picnic at an uninhabited island on which tables and chairs are set in the shallow waters.

Haumana sails the waters of the tranquil Rangiroa Lagoon in the spectacularly beautiful Tuamotu Archipelago, with dining a fusion of French and Polynesian accompanied by a choice of wines with lunch and dinner.

For full details phone 1800 641 803, in Sydney 8236 9900 or check-out www.coralseas.com.au

e-Travel Blackboard: Great Polar journeys to the White Continent

e-Travel Blackboard: Great Polar journeys to the White Continent: "Great Polar journeys
to the White Continent

Adventure Associates is celebrating its 35th year and 20th taking adventurers to Antarctica. For the coming season we are offering no less than 10 Antarctic ships operating 17 unique and varying expeditions to the great White Continent.

For all cruise bookings during the coming season we are happy to offer your clients a Complimentary pre‑cruise hotel night's accommodation with breakfast, in either Buenos Aires or Santiago, en‑route to join vessels departing Ushuaia.

Our Polar consultants can certainly offer the perfect cruise for your clients. From 11‑Day compact adventures to the Antarctic Peninsula to an epic 31‑Day semi‑circumnavigation from Ushuaia to New Zealand.

Sunday 11 May 2008

Cruise Passenger Magazine Launches the Definitive Adventure Guide

Cruise Passenger Magazine Launches the Definitive Adventure Guide

Adventure and expedition cruising is the fastest growing area of the already burgeoning cruise market.

Australia's foremost cruising magazine, Cruise Passenger has recognised that this very special form of experiential travel now requires its own magazine – a specialist publication devoted to the unique needs of the ship and tour operators that clearly sets it apart from traditional large ship product.

Free with the Autumn issue of Cruise Passenger, on sale now, and also through D’Albora Marinas and Paddy Pallin outlets, the magazine was produced by the regular Cruise Passenger team headed by Edge Custom Media’s Deborah Dickson-Smith and Kayte Nunn, with the addition of Roderick Eime as guest editor.

A regular contributor to Cruise Passenger, Rod is a confirmed adventure cruiser, having travelled to the Antarctic and Arctic, Galapagos, Amazon, Melanesia, New Zealand and more – on board everything from motorised dugouts to icebreakers.

”True travellers are discovering adventure cruising in droves, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel business," says Rod, "and it's about time adventure cruisers had their own magazine."

Readers will expand their horizons with new destinations and itineraries as well as investigate the new ships that will take them there.

From the frozen reaches of the North Pole to the furthest Antarctic extremes and everything in between, the Cruise Passenger Adventure Guide is the definitive reference for the new wave of modern seaborne adventurers.

Editorial highlights the exciting new destinations only adventure cruising can deliver plus explains 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.

For further information and interview opportunities, please contact:

Kayte Nunn, Editor. (02) 8962 2624, email kayte.nunn@edgecustom.com.au

Roderick Eime, Contributing Editor. 0418.214.028, email Roderick Eime

For promotional opportunities please contacts:

Deborah Dickson-Smith, Publisher. (02) 8962 2683, email Deborah@edgecustom.com.au

Partners Cruise for Half Price

Captain Cook Cruises is offering partners half price fares for all 3, 4 and 7 night Yasawa Island Fijian cruises onboard the explorer style small ship MV Reef Escape.

This amazing deal is valid for travel until March 31st 2009, but must be booked before May 31st 2008.

Passengers will discover the pristine beaches, turquoise waters and remote villages of the ‘real’ Fiji on these Yasawa Island cruises.

Offering a truly cultural experience, guests will visit unspoilt Fijian villages and handicraft markets, experience a traditional village sevusevu ceremony and Meke and Lovo feast, tour a village school and visit a village church and experience the beautiful sounds of the children’s choir singing.

As well as being immersed in Fijian culture there is plenty of time for relaxation and appreciating the beautiful marine life while snorkelling over amazing coral reefs, lazing on warm white sandy beaches, basking in crystal clear waters or diving in spectacular blue lagoons. Passengers can even take a glass bottom boat ride to witness the abundance of marine life that thrives on Fiji’s coral reefs.

The three-night Southern Yasawa Cruise departs Denarau on Saturday afternoons at 2.00pm and guests will discover the beauty of the Southern Yasawa Island group including the islands of Waya, Naviti and Viwa and the friendly warmth of its people. Prices start at $1175 twin share for the first person and from $588 twin share for the second person.

The four-night Northern Yasawa Cruise departs Denarau on Tuesday afternoons at 2.00pm. Guests will visit the private island of Tivua and cruise the spectacular passage from Yaqeta Island to the Yasawas northern reaches. Prices start at $1567 twin share for the first person and from $784 twin share for the second person.

The seven-night Yasawa Islands Cruise combines the three and the four night cruises for the ultimate Fijian Yasawa Islands experience. Prices start at $2604 twin share for the first person and from $1302 twin share for the second person.


For reservations and enquiries please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free on 1800 804 843,
Int +61-2-9206 111 or email: fiji@captaincook.com.au or visit www.captaincook.com.au

Thursday 1 May 2008

Famous Author, Samuel Pickering to talk on Murray Princess

Passenger’s on Captain Cook Cruises seven night Murray River cruise departing June 6, 2008 will meet famous author and the man who inspired the character of Mr. Keating, played by Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society, Samuel Pickering. Throughout June the second person also travels for half price.

Despite being best known in Australia for his unconvential way of teaching that that inspired the character Mr Keating, Samuel Pickering is also a famous author having written 21 books and 100’s of articles. Some of his books include Walkabout Year and Waltzing the Magpies, both written in Australia.

Mr. Pickering has returned to Australia, to write a third book entitled A Tramp’s Wallet and says he has always been fascinated by Australia and has come to enjoy the people. “They are the nicest, most generous people in the world,” Pickering says.

Part of this book will feature a chapter on the Murray River and whilst researching the book, Captain Cook Cruises will be hosting Mr. Pickering on the Murray Princess. During the seven night cruise Mr. Pickering will be giving talks to passengers on life and capturing life on paper.

For those unable to cruise for 7 nights Mr. Pickering will be speaking for guests on the 3 night cruise departing June 6 and also for guests on the 4 night cruise departing June 9.

The 3-Night Wetlands Discovery Cruise is a mini weekend escape where passengers will discover the vast variety of flora and fauna, join a backwater boat tour, visit the Port of Murray Bridge and sample the food and wine of this famous region. The cruise departs Mannum every Friday at 4.30pm and returns Monday at 9.00am. Prices start from $775 per person twin share and from only $388 for the second person twin share.

The 4-Night Outback Heritage Cruise departs Mannum every Monday at 4.30pm and return Fridays at 9.00am. Cruise highlights include a visit to a vineyard and wine-tasting at the cellar door, a wildlife shelter and an aboriginal archaeological reserve plus a woolshed riverside barbeque & campfire. Prices start at $999 twin share for the first person and from $500 twin share for the second person.

The 7-Night Murraylands & Wildlife Cruise includes a free Barossa Valley tour and combines the 3 and 4 night cruises for a total Murraylands and wildlife experience. Prices start from $1596 twin share for the first person and from only $798 twin share for the second person. The seven night cruise departs Mannum every Friday and Monday at 4.30pm and returns Friday and Mondays at 9.00am.

All cruises include meals, accommodation, complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or car parking in Mannum, guided walks, presentations and all onboard facilities including use of two spas, two saunas, sun deck, two bars, two lounges, single sitting dining saloon and entertainment.

For reservations and enquiries please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free on 1800 804 843,
Int +61-2-9206 111 or email: murray@captaincook.com.au or visit www.captaincook.com.au