Friday 30 April 2010




South America is one of the world's most extraordinary and aspirational holiday destinations. It is also one of the fastest-growing tourism markets, as travellers discover the enormous range of attractions and experiences dotted throughout this vast continent.

Now Voyages of Discovery has announced an amazing new itinerary – the 78-day Grand South American Discovery cruise, which sails around the continent, and parts of the southern Caribbean, from 03 January to 21 March, 2011.

The Grand Voyage aboard the 650-passenger M V Discovery – which visits 17 countries or autonomous island territories - combines five shorter cruise itineraries, each of which is available individually or combined with others.

The 78-day journey begins and ends in the Caribbean island nation of Barbados, continuing to iconic South American cities including Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Valparaiso (Chile) and Guayaquil (Ecuador).

Every voyage of Discovery includes presentations by expert guest speakers, who narrate and explain to passengers a variety of subjects relating to each destination, including geography, culture, history and wildlife.

On the Grand Voyage, Discovery ventures into South America's longest river, the world renowned Amazon, visits the Falkland Islands, theatre of the early 1980s war between Britain and Argentina, explores the spectacular Chilean fjords and transits the vital Panama Canal before returning to Bridgetown, Barbados.

The voyage starts with visits to Trinidad and the Orinoco River in Venezuela then stops for a day at eerily-named Devil's Island, French Guiana, before entering Brazil with an Amazon day cruise.

After spending much of January cruising the Brazilian coast, with stops in ports including Fortaleza, Natal, Recife and Rio, Discovery continues to Uruguay, Argentina and the Falklands, then back to the Argentine port city of Ushuaia, the gateway to Antarctica.

From there, Discovery rounds Cape Horn and enters the spectacular Chilean fjords before continuing north along the Pacific coast to Chilean locations including the ancient port city and former capital of Valparaiso, from where passengers can visit the current national capital, Santiago.

Discovery then sails north to the Peruvian port of Callao, enabling passengers to venture to the renowned ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, before the voyage resumes and continues to Ecuador, Panama, Colombia and the north coast of Venezuela.

The final week of the journey features laid-back Caribbean destinations including Aruba, Curacao, Grenada and Mayreau Island, part of St Vincent and The Grenadines, prior to arrival back in Bridgetown.

"This is one of the most amazing cruise itineraries currently available, and one of the most comprehensive holiday programmes on offer to South America," said Craig Bowen, Managing Director of specialist wholesaler Cruise Traveller, which promotes Voyages of Discovery in Australia.

"Not only does this itinerary showcase some of the best South America has to offer. It also taps into the growing popularity of small ship cruising, at some of the most competitive cruise prices in the market today. And it delivers a taste of the Caribbean"

The Grand South American Discovery tour is priced from AUD $14,880.00 per person – or AUD $190 per day – which is less than the price of a night in a good CBD hotel in Australia. Air fares are additional, depending upon the passenger's choice of airline, route and dates of travel.

The $14,880 rate includes all meals, from breakfast to late night snacks, plus Captain's cocktail parties and gala dinners and 24 hour tea and coffee; a comprehensive programme of talks by port lecturers and guest speakers; artistic workshops on many cruises; entertainment, port charges, all gratuities and on-board service charges (competing cruise lines add up to 18 per cent to bills for drinks, spa treatments and other on board purchases). There are no fuel or currency surcharges.

Subject to availability on the Grand Cruise, passengers can book an outside cabin (with views) for the price of an inside cabin. And unlike land-based journeys, or combined fly-coach journeys, passengers on cruises need only unpack their luggage once.

The five shorter cruise itineraries which combine to create the Grand South American Discovery tour are:

Natural Wonders of South America: Bridgetown, Barbados to Recife, Brazil, 03-19 January, 2011, 17 days from AUD $3,095.00

Discovery Coast Voyager: Recife, Brazil, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, 19 January – 01 February, 2011, 14 days from AUD $2,705.00.

In The Wake of the Beagle: Buenos Aires, Argentina to Falkland Islands and round Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile, 01-19 February, 2011, 19 days from AUD $3,560.00

Darwin's Stepping Stones, Valparaiso, Chile to Manta, Ecuador, 19 February – 06 March, 2011, 16 days from AUD $3,415.00, with optional extension to Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

In The Footsteps of the Conquistadors: Manta, Ecuador to Bridgetown, Barbados, 04-21 March, 2011, 18 days from $3,570.00, with optional pre-cruise visit to Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

The 20,186 tonne MV Discovery has eight passenger decks and accommodates 650 passengers. Facilities include two restaurants plus on-deck dining, three lounges, five bars, a lecture theatre and cinema, a library, bridge club, card room, shops, photo gallery, internet centre, two pools (one with retractable roof), two Jacuzzis, a gymnasium and health centre, a beauty salon, medical centre, and telephone, fax and satellite internet and television.

For more information about Voyages of Discovery visit :          or contact Craig Bowen, Cruise Traveller, on or 0412 664 533.
To book, please contact or call 07 5575 8094.

Monday 26 April 2010

Extreme Luxury Package this Mother's Day with True North

A luxury cruise - Diamonds and pearls - A world class Broome resort

To celebrate Mother's Day and the Kimberley cruise season, North Star Cruises has put together an amazing offer* for anyone booking a 2010 Kimberley Wilderness Cruise on board the revered adventure-cruise ship, True North.

Reserve a cabin on a 2 week Kimberley Wilderness cruise and you'll receive:
  • 4 nights complimentary accommodation at the Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa or,
  • A $2000 gift voucher from Linneys
North Star's General Manager Peter Trembath said the offers were a good fit with the stylish True North.

"This really is a unique and exclusive offer," said Mr Trembath.

"If you want to spoil mum this year, you really can't do better than a Kimberley cruise and some stunning jewellery and a stay at an award winning resort," said Mr Trembath.

"Linneys is world renowned for offering Western Australia's finest pearl, diamond and gold jewellery."

"And a stay at Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa is always an indulgent and relaxing experience."

"Combined with the adventure onboard the True North, you would be hard pressed to find a comparable opportunity."

The Kimberley Wilderness Cruise features the best of this pristine coastline including:
  • The Horizontal Falls
  • Fishing for elusive barramundi
  • Viewing ancient rock art
  • Exploring the Kimberley's mighty rivers such as the Prince Regent, the Mitchell and the Hunter
  • The twin waterfalls on the King George River
In 2010 Kimberley Wilderness Cruises also feature some fascinating special guests:

Renowned artist Douglas Kirsop unlocks the secrets of landscape painting on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 5 Broome to Wyndman (8 – 21 May)

New  talent Andrew Tischler will astound with his life-like paintings on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 6 Wyndham to Broome (22 May – 4 June)

Geologist Phil Playford presents his theories on global warming and more on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 7 Broome to Wyndham (5-18 June)

Celebrity Chef Ryan Carey cooks up a storm on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 8 Wyndham to Broome (19 June – 2 July)

North Star's two week Kimberley Wilderness Cruise operates between Broome and Wyndham. Guests can stay onboard for the entire cruise or, they can opt for a one week itinerary either disembarking or embarking in the Hunter River. 

Helicopter & light aircraft transfers (via Broome) are included in the one week itinerary.

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise prices start from $10,495.

For full itineraries, departure dates and prices visit

* Conditions:

Offers apply to new reservations received between April 9 and June 30 2010. Guests opting for a one week itinerary will receive two night's accommodation or a $1000 gift voucher. Accommodation must be taken on consecutive nights and is based on a Garden View Studio. If the required accommodation dates are not available then the offer reverts to the Linneys voucher. The Linneys voucher is valid until the 31/12/10 and may be redeemed on the True North, at the CBC Resort & Spa, or at Linneys Broome showroom. Offers are neither transferable nor redeemable for cash.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Le Ponant Sails to Hidden Corners of Mediterranean

From this spring through the fall, Compagnie du Ponant, the world’s only French-flagged cruise line, will offer unusual voyages to some of the hidden corners of Europe’s most popular destinations: Italy, France and Spain. From May 17 through October 23, guests aboard the luxury cruise line’s stylish Le Ponant will enjoy visits to some 12 lesser-known island gems including Porquerolles, Minorca, Lipari, Gozo, Hvar, Mljet and through the Kornati archipelago. Sailing on mostly seven-night itineraries, the three-masted Le Ponant will sail along the French Riviera, Costa Brava and the Ligurian and Dalmatian coasts.

Le Ponant is an elegant 290-foot sailing yacht that accommodates 64 guests in 32 outside staterooms. Two restaurants, one with panoramic views; two lounges and a library provide plenty of entertainment options. Relaxing outside on the expansive 4,300-square-foot deck – especially when the ship has its 16,000 feet of sails unfurled – is particularly appealing. Aboard the yacht, guests enjoy the best France has to offer: delicious cuisine, tasteful accommodations and a chic, yet informal atmosphere. The intimate size of Le Ponant and a staff-to-guest ratio of 1:2 translate to very personalized service. Compagnie du Ponant’s aim: to have guests feel like they are sailing on their own yacht.

Kicking off its European season on May 17, the seven-night “Charms of Corsica and Italy” itinerary sails from Nice down the west side of Corsica to picturesque Ile Rousse; along the towering granite cliffs of Piana Calanches, a UNESCO World Heritage site; then to the cliff-top fortressed medieval city of Bonifcacio; before continuing to Rome; Elba’s Portoferraio; the medieval town of Lerici in the Cinque Terre, and back to Nice. “Treasures of the Blue Mediterranean” (May 24, 31, September 2, 19, & October 10), seven-night sailings from Nice to Valleta and back, include mostly Italian ports like the volcanic island of Ponza, the jewel-like Amalfi, tiny Lipari in the Aeolian Islands, plus a cruise around Stromboli’s active volcano and a visit to Taormina’s ancient Greek theatre and its still-smoking Mount Etna.

Other Le Ponant cruises highlighting Italy include:

¨ “Sicily and the Mezzogiorno” (August 19, 26, September 26 & October 3) – Four seven-night voyages, from Valletta (Malta) to Naples and Naples back to Valletta, call at the famed Sicilian cities of Syracuse, Taormina and Palermo and Castellamare, gateway to the Phoenician sites of Segesta and Erice, plus Lipari and Amalfi.

¨ “Italian Promenades: Tuscany and Liguria” (October 17 & 23) – The six-night Nice-to-Nice itinerary calls in Monaco and four Italian ports, including the Tuscan resort of Viareggio, a jumping-off point for visits to Pisa or Florence.

France and Spain are the focus of:

¨ “A Mediterranean Anthology” (June 12, 19, 26 & July 3) – Four seven-night itineraries from Nice to Barcelona and Barcelona to Nice, visit: the nature reserve on Porquerolles; the medieval village of Port Saint Louise du Rhone in the heart of the Alpilles; Port La Nouvelle for its Crusader fortresses; the UNESCO Biosphere reserve of Minorca; Majorca’s cobblestoned capital Palma de Majorca, and medieval Palamos north of Barcelona, the Mediterranean’s most popular port.

Several itineraries explore the Dalmatian Coast, one of this year’s hot destinations:

¨ “From the Riviera to Medieval Cities of the Adriatic” (July 24) - This nine-night adds stops at Elba and ports along Italy’s western coast with visits to the beautiful island of Hvar; Split, a UNESCO World Heritage site with Diocletian’s Palace; picturesque Rovinj, and medieval Piran.

¨ “Blown by the Wind in Croatia” (August 2) – A seven-night Venice-to-Venice itinerary calls at eight jewels along the Dalmatian Coast including three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the walled city Dubrovnik, Trogir and Sibenik. The cruise visits the fortified towns of Zadar and Kotor; Mljet, one of this coast’s best kept secrets and medieval Korcula before it sails through the Kornati archipelago.

¨ “From the Doge’s Palace to the Palace of the Grand Master’s” (August 9) – A ten-night Venice-to-Valleta voyage combines seven ports along the Dalmatian coast with stops at Otranto on Italy’s heel, Taormina and Gozo.

Golfers can hit the links during “Tee Time in the Mediterranean,” two seven-night, Nice-to-Nice sailings (July 10 and 17) playing at select golf courses in Cannes, Corsica, Sardinia, Elba and Portofino. Included in the price are green fees at five courses, golf carts and transfers to and from the courses. The yacht’s Sports Director will handle all the details.

These itineraries are tailor made for Compagnie du Ponant’s sailing yacht. Le Ponant’s zodiacs allow guests to explore these intriguing ports as well as private coves and deserted islets. And on a hot summer day in the Mediterranean nothing is more refreshing then jumping off the marina platform for a swim.

Le Ponant has 32 exterior staterooms with large windows and all have individually-controlled air conditioning, a choice of king or twin beds and private bath with shower and L’Occitane amenities. Ranging from 113 to 165 square feet, they come equipped with the latest technology: flat-screen satellite TV, direct-dial satellite telephone, Wi-Fi as well as a mini-bar and safe.

“Ponant’s philosophy – to offer small ship cruising with a bit of French flavor in a comfortable ambiance with welcoming service – is very much aligned with the aspirations of today’s travelers,” says, Terri Haas, Compagnie du Ponant’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Our cruises are designed for those who are interested in history and culture and enjoy seeing unspoiled corners of the world,” explains Haas.

All but six cruises are seven-night itineraries. Starting at $3,045 per person, double occupancy for a Marie Galante Deck stateroom on the six-night “Italian Promenades: Tuscany and Liguria” and ranging up to $5,680 per person, double for an Antigua Deck stateroom on the 10-day “From the Doge’s Palace to the Palace of the Grand Masters,” cruise prices include all wine, beer, mineral water, soft drinks and specialty coffees served with meals. Compagnie du Ponant offers travel agent commissions ranging between 10 and 15 percent.

Variety Sails West African Rivers

By Marilyn Green / TravelAge West

As river cruising fades — at least temporarily — from most of North America, it is beginning to open up in more exotic destinations, including Vietnam and Cambodia with Ama Waterways and now in West Africa with Variety Cruises. And, although Variety is not traditionally thought of as a river cruise line, its intimate ships are well suited to river cruising.

The new itinerary fits in well with Variety’s mission to operate “unforgettable seven-day cruise programs to amazing destinations,” which have generally taken place in the Greek Isles, the Northern Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Now, however, the company is moving into Africa’s rivers.

Variety is offering the new Africa river cruises aboard the 46-passenger mega-yacht Pegasus, which is being fully refurbished. The twin-hulled catamaran has an elegant dining room, an open-air restaurant under a white stretched canvas roof, a homelike main lounge and air-conditioned staterooms with safes and a satellite television.

Aimed at veteran travelers who want to go beyond the usual destinations to experience exotic cultures, the Rivers of West Africa cruise departs on Fridays and sails roundtrip from Dakar, Senegal. The first port of call along the Saloun River is Djiffere, from which passengers have the opportunity to explore the village of Joal Fadiout, a fishing community on the mainland built entirely of shells from a nearby island.

The cruise continues along the Gambia River to Tendaba, home to Kiang West National Park and the Baobolong Reserve, a paradise for birdwatchers. Kuntaur, a thriving port village with bustling markets on the Gambia River, is important to Gambia’s main crop export, peanuts.

Guests will also visit Janjangbureh, the location of the River Gambia National Park, a conservation sanctuary for chimpanzees, hippopotamuses, Nile crocodiles and many bird species. Banjul, the capital city of Gambia on St. Mary’s Island (Banjul Island), where the Gambia River enters the Atlantic Ocean, is another port of call, and here, guests can visit the nearby the Nature Reserves of Abuko and Makasutu.

Optional pre- or post-cruise land extensions include seven days in Mali and its colorful city of Timbuktu. Variety’s eight-day West Africa itinerary is offered Dec. 17 through March 18 with fares starting at $2,490.

Variety Cruises

Cruise Tourism in Polar Regions: Promoting Environmental and Social Sustainability?

Cruises are the primary form of tourism in the Polar Regions and cruise ship tourism in both the Arctic and Antarctic is expanding rapidly. Yet little is known about the practices, implications and challenges of tourism in remote polar seas. Climate change is dramatically altering the impact and potential for such forms of tourism. Recent incidents, such as the sinking of one cruise ship and the grounding of two other cruise vessels in the Antarctic Peninsula in 2007, highlight the need for a critical examination of the implications of polar cruise tourism.

A specific critical study of polar cruise tourism is therefore timely. The industry has moved beyond its infancy, and is now entering a maturing phase with increased numbers and types of vessels, more demanding routes, and more regular and predictable patterns of activity. A range of factors is likely to support this maturing phase, including increasing tourist demand for travel to remote places, overall popularity of cruising worldwide, more sophisticated promotional activities by tour agencies, increasing awareness at the political and community levels about the benefits and costs of cruise tourism, and changing ice regimes in the polar regions. The increase in cruise activities, and the associated risks of accidents, as well as the potential and actual impacts of the large numbers of tourists in the polar regions bring with it management challenges for sustainable use of these regions. This book discusses critically the issues around environmental and social sustainability of the cruise industry in Polar Regions. Authors from Canada, USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are experts in their respective fields and take an innovative, critical and at times controversial approach to the subject.

An opportunity to join the crew sailing an authentic square-rigged sailing ship

From Sydney to Auckland - departs 25th October ­ 8th November 2010

Just over ten years ago, the tall ship Søren Larsen set sail from Sydney Harbour to cross the Tasman Sea to Auckland with a professional crew and 22 paying passengers eager to experience for themselves life on-board as a member of the ship¹s crew.

This journey and the romance and splendour of sailing as our forefathers did will be available again later this year as the ship sails from Sydney via the Bay of Islands to Auckland, the Œcity of sails¹.

Open to all ages and with no previous experience required, this special cruise will allow passenger¹s to discover for themselves the magic and the challenges faced by Captain James Cook, by Wallis and by Bougainville, by explorers, sailors, whalers and mariners as they sailed the waters between Sydney and New Zealand and the pacific Islands.

The Søren Larsen ­ which featured in the BBC TV series Œthe Onedin Line¹ - was the Flagship of the First Fleet Re-enactment Voyage that sailed into Sydney Harbour with the fleet of Tall ships for Australia's 200th birthday in 1988.

On-board facilities include 2 or 4-berth cabins, a well-equipped saloon and galley, shower / bathrooms, inflatable boats, fishing tackle, windsurfer and snorkelling gear.

15-day all-inclusive cost $4095 per person - includes all meals on board, all excursions and activities, services of professional and experienced sail crew and cook, use of ship's wet-weather gear, inflatable boats and all safety equipment.

The role as Voyage Crew - This is an adventure holiday where the emphasis is placed on your enjoyment. Participation is part of that adventure and you will be taken on as a Voyage Crew, learning Œhands on¹ from the professional crew about shipboard life. Allowance is made for age and abilities and as part of the ship¹s watch system you can handle sail, take the helm, join-in and have fun.

Ocean Sailing or Bluewater Voyages you can be expected to stand watch and participate in all the activities of sailing the ship. The objective is to undertake an authentic blue water passage under square rig. You will be introduced to the traditions of tall ship sailing, working as part of a skilled crew within the watch system

The voyage - on arriving onboard you will be shown your berths, introduced to the crew, and signed on Ship's Articles as Voyage Crew. Much of the first morning will be spent introducing you to the ship and explaining the various routines, safety procedures and equipment and how the watch system works. For those who wish we try to give you a chance to be shown how to haul and rig the sails and climb the masts.

Sailing through Sydney Harbour, one of the world 's great harbours, is a thrilling occasion.

The trip across the Tasman will be an exciting and challenging sail for the first time novice and the experienced sailor. This voyage gives time for a good sailing passage of 1000 miles to the northern tip of New Zealand in the prevailing westerlies. This should take us about a week in reasonable conditions and during the sea passage from Australia the ship is sailing 24-hours a day and as voyage crew you will stand deck watches and work within a normal 4-hours on / 8-hours off watch system. This rotates during the course of the voyage to allow everyone to be on deck during different parts of the day.

There are 13-permanent crew who maintain and sail the ship that are there to assist and help you enjoy your time aboard. Once we drop anchor the deck watch is undertaken by the permanent crew and you the Voyage Crew are free to explore ashore. While on watch the voyage crew are under the care and instruction of the watch officer and two other permanent crew; everyone stands a turn on the helm, takes lookout on bow watch, helps fill in the ship's deck log and help handle the sails as required. The watches on deck will have to work the brigantine rig to best advantage to make the most of the changeable weather. On the longer sea passage there's time for talks about basic navigation, seamanship theory, rope work, history and development of square rigged ships. The timeless routines of the sea and unique beauty and grandeur of the ocean can only really be appreciated by those who have undertaken a blue water passage several days out from land.

Sighting Cape Reinga at the northern tip of North Island will be our first glimpse of New Zealand and soon we shall enter the beautiful Bay of Islands to clear NZ Customs at the tiny fishing village of Opua. A good ocean passage will allow us time to enjoy Œthe Bay' including the historic town of Russell and the picturesque Roberton Island. Dolphins usually delight in escorting us to Cape Brett and the Hole in the Rock archway. Once we drop anchor at the Bay of Islands the deck watch is taken by the permanent crew and the Voyage Crew are free to explore ashore. With 4 or 5 nights in hand we make our way south through the Hauraki Gulf, visiting the marine reserve and the Poor Knights islands and perhaps Kawau or Tiri Tiri island before we arrive at our final destination and home-port, Auckland.

Other Pacific Ocean bluewater sailing voyages are available from Tonga to Fiji or New Caledonia to Sydney. South Pacific island cruising voyages are offered to Vanuatu, the remote Vanuatu Banks & Torres Islands, to Fiji & to Tonga.

Places are limited. Call 1800 331 582 for more details or to make a reservation

For further details contact:

Martyn Paterson

The Active Holiday Company
PO Box 286, Bright, Victoria 3741, Australia

Tel (03) 57 501 441 Toll free 1800 331 582 Fax (03) 57 501020


Star Clippers Cruise Turkish Riviera

In the era of mega cruise liners, the 170-passenger luxury yacht Star Flyer will open up new horizons in July and August with visits to a string of tiny ports in the acclaimed  Turkish Riviera, often inaccessible to big ships.

A true clipper ship that blends the romance of sail with on-board pampering, the 110m Star Flyer will operate three 'Secret Turkey' seven-night round-trip fly-cruise/stay cruises from the Greek Island of Rhodes on July 17 and 31 and on August 14.

Prices start at $5599 from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and include return flights to Athens with Emirates, one-night at the Plaka Hotel in Athens and an Olympic Airways flight from Athens to Rhodes.

Ports of call off the beaten track include five Turkish ports along the pristine 'turquoise coast'  -- Olympus, first settled in 200BC; the stunning cliff-top city of Antalya; Kemer; and the two most popular havens for yachtsmen, Kekova and Gocek.

Star Flyer also calls at the most easterly of the Greek Islands, Katellorizon.

For reservations see your travel agent or contact Star Clippers on 1300 362 599 or email:

More information

Friday 23 April 2010

Cruise North wins national geographic adventure accolades

National Geographic ADVENTURE noted Cruise North’s commitment to cultural sustainability and Arctic exploration, saying “This is Inuit country, and who better to guide you through it than the Inuit themselves? The company is Inuit owned and operated and puts a priority on training local teens in guiding and marine navigation. Clients visit Inuit villages, learn about traditional customs, and explore arctic tundra on daily hikes and zodiac rides, into polar bear- and orca-inhabited bays and inlets.”

Marketing Manager for Cruise North, Jillian Dickens said, “We begin our season in Labrador and finish with a tour of the Northwest Passage. Our ice-class ship, the Lyubov Orlova, provides a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere for Arctic cruising.”

“Since our launch in 2005, we have rapidly established ourselves as the leader in Arctic expeditions, by capturing the true spirit of the North with our Inuit ownership and Inuit guiding. We have even earned a place on Conde Nast Traveler’s prestigious ‘Green List’ for our dedication to helping preserve Inuit culture through tourism,” said Jillian.

Make the Arctic your classroom. Chart a new course on the twin-engine, twin-propeller vessel, then turn the wheel back over to the captain and hang out with a seal. Get up at 3am to glimpse a whale and realise you’re outnumbered. Learn a few words in Inuktitut. Watch soapstone take shape in the hands of a master carver. Dance with beluga whales and follow in the footsteps of explorers. Stop in towns with less people than you’d find in your local cinema.

Watch nature contradict herself: smell the wildflowers, hear the ice crack. Enjoy a Christmas light show in the middle of a summer sky; find out why Santa only leaves once a year.


* Take a front-row seat for the Northern Lights.
* Book a pre-tour to view the continent’s largest puffin colony.
* Zodiac through the remote fjords of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve along the north coast of Labrador.
* Explore the Thule and Dorset archaeological sites of Pond Inlet.
* Look for muskox at Cambridge Bay.
* Watch a soapstone carver in Kingait (Cape Dorset), the “most artistic community” in Canada.

Ecoventura Expedition Dive Ship Underscores Sustainability

Creates DivEncounters Inc. for Growing Dive Market

Launch Plans Include Exhibiting at Three Upcoming Consumer Dive Shows in Long Beach, Tacoma and Las Vegas

The visionary, small ship travel company Ecoventura ( announced recently that it has created a new company, DivEncounters, Inc., to handle sales and reservations for the growing dive market in the Galapagos and elsewhere.

Allison Seymour who has extensive prior experience in the destination and live-aboard dive industry has been named sales manager to oversee marketing outreach for a company-owned dedicated dive yacht, the soon to be renamed and upgraded M/Y Galapagos Sky (formerly known as Sky Dancer).

Santiago Dunn, president and owner of Ecoventura and DivEncounters, Inc., said that his company for years has maintained a dive operation that was affiliated with Peter Hughes Diving, Inc., but that establishing DivEncounters, Inc. is in line with his company's mandate to manage as many elements as possible of a sustainable-minded vacation in the endangered Galapagos. Dunn explains that, "Effective June 13, 2010 Ecoventura will no longer be affiliated with Peter Hughes Diving."

M/Y Galapagos Sky will offer seven-night dive trips year-round to the northern islands of Wolf and Darwin. Cruise rates from $4595 per person (double) include cabin accommodation, all meals, snacks, beverages, filled tanks, weights, weight belt, up to four dives per day on 5.5 days for 7-night cruise, land excursions, service of naturalist guides/dive masters, transfers in the Islands between airport and dock (on cruise dates) and all other customary services and amenities.

Accommodations include eight private en-suite cabins with two twin or one king size bed with window view or port light, private head/shower, mirrored cabinet and wardrobe, bathrobes, hairdryer and toiletries. M/Y Galapagos Sky is fully air conditioned and features a spacious lounge area and fine dining. Please see

"We're looking forward to announcing a number of vessel improvements and upgrades to M/Y Galapagos Sky," said Dunn, adding that other comparable live-aboard and destination resort dive and snorkel offerings are also being developed.

DivEncounters, Inc. plans to exhibit at three upcoming major consumer dive shows: May 15-16, Scuba Show in Long Beach, CA; May 21-23, Dive & Travel Expo in Tacoma, WA; and Nov. 17-20 DEMA in Las Vegas, NV.

About Ecoventura: Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with sales offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, the cruise company transports 4,000+ passengers annually aboard its dedicated dive yacht along with their fleet of three expedition vessels; identical, 10-cabin, superior first-class 20-passenger motor yachts. All of its vessels have been purposefully retrofitted to meet or exceed the highest possible environmental standards.

For information on M/Y Galapagos Sky please email To receive a copy of Ecoventura's 2010 catalog, including dive trips, please call toll-free 1.800.633.7972, or e-mail

To access current rates, schedules and itineraries you can log onto:

Thursday 22 April 2010

Captain Cook offers 25% Off Murray River's Winter Wonderland

Captain Cook Cruises is offering 25% off all Murray River cruises from June to August 2010 so passengers can discover the winter enchantment and beauty of the Murray River, secrets of Australian history and the taste sensations of the Murray's food and wine trail

The historic cruise starts with the ship itself, a modern replica of the paddle wheelers that cruised the Murray in the 1800's. The PS Murray Princess has two spacious, yet cosy paddlewheel lounges featuring polished wood and gold trimmings, an elegant spiral staircase and spectacular two-story glass windows of the working paddle wheel.

Sit back in the warm paddlewheel lounges and enjoy the amazing views as the Murray Princess cruises past towering limestone cliffs, through picturesque gorges and along riverbanks lined with mallee scrub, red gum forests and century old stone causeways.

The river in winter attracts an amazing array of Australian wildlife and over 350 species of birds. Led by on-shore guides, passengers can enjoy nature walks, eco-tours, a backwater boat tour and learn about the ecology of the river.

Each day features exciting day trips to historic ports, sacred Aboriginal sites, a sheep station and woolshed and a native wildlife shelter.

There's a food and wine trial that enables tasting at a number of vineyards and cellar doors, and in the evening, an Aussie-style campfire barbecue on the river bank.

Or stay on-board and heat up in one of two spas or saunas.

The three nights Discovery Cruise departs every Friday at 4.30pm and prices start from $583 per person, normally $777 per person.

The four nights Outback Heritage Cruise departs Mannum every Monday at 4.30pm and prices start from $779 per person, normally $1039 per person.

The seven nights Murraylands & Wildlife Cruise departs Mannum every Friday and Monday at 4.30pm and prices start from $1199 per person, normally $1599 per person.

As an extra bonus Captain Cook Cruises will celebrate Christmas in July on the Murray Princess's July 23rd and 26th departures and feature a special Art Lovers Cruise departing August 27th and 30th departures.

All cruises depart from Mannum and prices include all meals, accommodation, most tours, scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or onsite car parking and all onboard facilities including use of two spas, two saunas, sun deck, two bars, two lounges, single sitting dining saloon and entertainment

The sale is valid for travel 01 June to 31st August and on sale until 31 August 2010

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit


Free pre-cruise hotel stay June – August departures

Tracing the travels of explorers Lewis and Clark, Cruise West (, the world's leading provider of small-ship explorations to the most fascinating destinations on earth, sails on two of the West's mightiest rivers with the seven-night River Voyage of Discovery from April through October.

Commencing and ending in Portland, Oregon, the cruise traces nearly a 1,000 miles of the famed expedition along the mostly pristine and wild Columbia and Snake Rivers.  From the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge – carved by great floods thousands of years ago -- to the towering black pinnacles of basalt to the engineering accomplishments of the locks and dams that make these two waterways vital shipping lanes, the cruise views blend natural wonders with manmade marvels. 

Off-ship adventures beckon

Throughout the cruise, the Pacific Northwest's pioneer history is brought to life with a special series of included excursions, knowledgeable local guest speakers, and narration and presentations by the onboard Exploration Leaders.  In addition, guests can look forward to an enhanced array of delicious food and wine choices through the line's Palate program.

Excursions include a motor coach tour to breathtaking Multnomah Falls, the tallest falls in Oregon; a jet boat up Hells Canyon past 7,000-year-old Indian petroglyphs; wine tasting in historic Walla Walla, renowned for producing some of the finest wine in Washington state; and an excursion to Astoria to visit the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park and the site of Fort Clatsop -- where the explorers spent a hard winter by the Pacific Ocean.

The River Voyage of Discovery cruise offers Saturday departures on the 96-guest Spirit of '98 that was designed to emulate an early steamer with carved wooden cabinetry, plush floral upholstery, and a Grand Salon complete with a full bar and old-world charm.  Sunday departures are on the 84-guest Spirit of Discovery that offers ample outside deck space for optimum viewing.

The line is including a free pre-cruise hotel stay for all departures June through August 2010.  Rates start at $2,999 per person, double occupancy.  For further details, visit, call 800-296-8307 or a contact a travel professional.

~Up-Close, Casual and Personal Explorations~

Cruise West believes that small is beautiful.  Small-ship explorations allow up-close and personal experiences unmatched by the traditional larger cruise lines. For more than 63 years Cruise West has provided authentic travel experiences where the destination is the focus. The fleet of small ships with guest capacities ranging from 78-148 explores remote and distinctive destinations throughout the globe.   A robust onboard enrichment program further enhances the guest experience through topical guest lecturers, additional exploration by Zodiac and included excursions at every port.

Thursday 8 April 2010

One Ocean: Extreme wilderness in the Canadian Arctic

Polar cruise operator, One Ocean Expeditions is keen to encourage more travellers to explore the extreme wilderness areas of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland.

For their August 2010 voyage, the charter flights needed to access the remote Arctic ports of Resolute and Kangerlussuaq (usually an additional cost) will be included in the cruise price of the 13-day expedition cruise sailing from the Northwest Passage to Greenland onboard the 122-passenger ice-strengthened Clipper Adventurer – a saving of US$1600 per person.

One of the drawbacks of travelling to the remote High Arctic regions are the charter flights that are often involved to reach the ports of embarkation and disembarkation. The cost of the charter flights – in this instance US$1600 per person for flights Edmonton/Resolute and Kangerlussuaq/Toronto - can be a deterrent, especially for travellers from the UK and the rest of Europe, as this fairly substantial amount has to be added to their international flights.

Andrew Prossin who founded the fast-growing polar operator, One Ocean Expeditions just three years ago says, “We are keen to motivate travellers from the UK to choose the High Arctic for their summer holidays. As an expedition leader this area of the Arctic happens to be one of my personal favourites, overflowing with history, fascinating cultures and renowned for its rare and spectacular wildlife.”

The Clipper Adventurer sails from Resolute Bay, Nunavut on 2 August 2010 arriving in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on 14 August 2010. On 2 August there is a charter flight from Edmonton to the embarkation port of Resolute and when passengers disembark on 14 August there will be a charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Toronto. The cost of the two charter flights is usually US$1600 per person.

The price for the voyage starts at US$5590 per person sharing a twin cabin with private facilities including the charter flights, hotel/airport/ship transfers, and accommodation, food and excursions during the voyage. Hotel accommodation in Edmonton and Toronto will be required pre- and post-voyage. International flights UK/Edmonton and Toronto/UK are not included in the price.

Two professional photographers will be on board for the passengers: David Schultz and Rob Stimpson.

About the voyage

The voyage starts at the western end of Lancaster Sound, a wildlife super-highway connecting the waters of the North Atlantic and Baffin Bay to the Arctic Ocean and the Canadian High Arctic Archipelago. From the majestic fjords of Northeast Baffin Island the Clipper Adventurer will cross Baffin Bay to the icecap and dramatic mountains of Greenland.

As well as lengthy hikes on the tundra for wildflowers and lichens, and wildlife zodiac cruises along the base of bird cliffs with many thousands of nesting guillemots, murres and kittiwakes, there is an important cultural aspect to this voyage. Visits to some of the world’s most remote communities will introduce both the modern and ancient aspects of the Inuit culture. The Inuit of Nunavut are linked to the land in a way that very few cultures can claim. Captured in their art, songs and dance, the heritage of their people tells a story of hardship and hardiness, of connectedness to the Arctic ecosystem and an understanding of it that is unrivalled elsewhere. In contrast, the Greenlandic people of West Greenland have lived with less connection to the land in recent centuries showcasing a different culture. Regardless of this, the art and oral culture of the Greenlandic still illustrates a strong connection to the land and ice.

The Clipper Adventurer

The Clipper Adventurer is a superb 122-passenger expedition vessel, reminiscent of the days of the great ocean liners, with lots of varnished wood and brass. Equipped with state-of-the-art sonar, stabilizers and classified A-1 ice-class, she navigates the Arctic waters with ease. All cabins have an outside view, lower beds and private bathrooms. The window-lined dining room serves delicious international cuisine; presentations are held in the lounge which seats all 122-passengers and there is a more intimate bar in the club room for up to 45.

For more information and bookings, visit: Active Travel

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Pandaw Cancels Ganges Cruise for 2010/11 Season

Paul Strachan writes:

It is with no small regret that I must inform you that I have taken the decision to cancel all future Ganges cruises.

We had always known that the logistics of operating in India would be challenging. We took up the challenge to provide our Pandaw passengers with the sort of adventure othey would expect from Pandaw. The passengers who sailed on board the RV Bengal Pandaw gave us mixed reviews. Most of them loved the “wildness” of the trip while others found the trip not living up to the standards of our other Pandaw Cruises.

With extreme variation in water levels and very strong flow rates navigating the Ganges verges on the impossible. Shifting sand banks damaged the propellers more than once, resulting in emergency repairs with virtually no engineering or logistical support from ashore. Thanks to the constant support of the Inland Waterways Authority of India, we were able to continue sailing safely through the last season against all the odds. Weighing it up, there are simply far too many factors against running a successful cruise.

I am very very sorry about this. Having pioneered so many other rivers together with our intrepid passengers it is rare that one admits defeat. In the case of India and the Ganges I feel that it would be best to cancel.

Thank you so much for your support and I hope that despite this, you will continue to sail with Pandaw Cruises along the Irrawaddy, Mekong, and Rajang. We have a number of new projects coming up including Laos and Indonesia where I hope conditions will be less difficult.

Ni sa moce Nanuya Princess

Lautoka, Fiji, 07 April 2010 – After 24 years continuous service one of Fiji's best known cruise vessels MV Nanuya Princess has dropped anchor in the Port of Lautoka for the last time under Blue Lagoon Cruises' colours.

The final voyage brings the curtain down on an illustrious career which has seen the 36-berth, 49-metre vessel operate 2,400 cruises in Fiji's north-western islands carrying more than 85,000 passengers – most of them Australians and New Zealanders – in the process.

Blue Lagoon Cruises' CEO Tim Stonhill (pictured left) was on the dock to welcome the 'old lady', passengers and crew home for the last time on 30 March.

Mr Stonhill said the decision to retire the vessel is part of a bigger picture plan which will see the boutique cruise specialist consolidate its 'Club' and 'Gold Club' product line to offer just one generic cruise product from next month.

As a part of the plan Blue Lagoon Cruises' flag ship MV Fiji Princess will be taking over MV Nanuya Princess's existing three-day/two night and four/day/three-night 'Club' cruises in Fiji's picturesque Yasawa Islands.

Mr Stonhill said the MV Nanuya Princess would now be offered for sale.

Attached image: Blue Lagoon Cruises CEO Tim Stonhill (on left) welcomes MV Nanuya Princess into Lautoka port for the last time under the company's colours.

UPDATE 2015: The former Nanuya Princess happily sailing in the Maldives as Yasawa Legend

Active Travel sees Rising demand on India's Ganges and Hooghly Rivers

ACTIVE TRAVEL, Australian GSA for the Assam-Bengal Navigation Company (ABN) has reported a significant increase in demand for its India river cruise programme on the Ganges, Hooghly and Brahmaputra rivers.

ABN operates two identical vessels, RV Chairadew and RV Sukapha. Each accommodates 24 passengers in 12 comfortable airconditioned cabins. Onboard facilities include a spacious saloon with French windows opening onto a front balcony deck and the dining-room offers a delicious variety of local and western dishes

Richard Cunningham, Marketing Manager for Active Travel, said "the Ganges has had a lot of publicity in the past 12 months with another well-known operator starting a new India programme. That company has now publicly withdrawn from India. I believe this is a strong endorsement of the our product, which is well-planned, well-executed and delivers great customer satisfaction."

For the 2010/2011 cruising season ABN is offer several programmes in the region. An eight day Hooghly Explorer begins in Kolkata and explores the many remnants of Portuguese, Danish and French colonial history on a cruise to Jangipur (or vice versa). Prices start at $1595 per person, twin share.

Alternatively, a nine day Holy Ganges cruises along the eastern section of the Ganges, from the Farraka Barrage to Patna – where there are easy onward connections to Varanasi, Agra or Delhi. Prices from $2455 per person, twin share. It is also possible to combine the two trips, cruising all the way from Kolkata to Patna on a two-week trip priced from $5315 per person twin share.

In addition the company offers several cruises in Assam, on the Brahmaputra River.

For further details contact Active Travel, in Sydney, on 02 9264 1231.

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Tuesday 6 April 2010


Make a quick decision before April 17 and you can enjoy huge 25 per cent savings aboard an extended 28-night Mediterranean cruise on the luxury small-ship, Spirit of Adventure in October and November this year – journeying through no fewer than twenty-two ports in a dozen countries.

You'll also get two-nights pre-cruise in Valletta in Malta with breakfasts, two-nights post-cruise in Limassol (Cyprus) again with breakfasts included – and while cruising with Spirit of Adventure enjoy the bonus of a choice of shore excursions in most ports of call at no extra cost.

The 350-passenger Spirit of Adventure will sail from Valletta on October 14, visiting Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Cyprus.

Book before April 17 and Cruiseco, a consortium of 170 cruise-specialist travel agents Australia-wide, has this exceptional fly, cruise and stay package priced from just $8295pp twin-share including return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, the 2-night hotel stays pre- and post-cruise, 28-nights aboard Spirit of Adventure with all meals, entertainment, destination lectures, shore excursions in most ports, and port charges.

From Perth prices start from a slightly-less $8244pp twin-share; for a full itinerary, ship details and the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise-specialist travel agency, go onto

Thursday 1 April 2010

Captain Cook Cruises Combining the Best of the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands

Captain Cook Cruises is combining the best of the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands by announcing that for the first time since beginning operations in Fiji, its new Fiji cruise ship MV Reef Endeavour will be offering pick-ups for guests staying at Mamanuca Island resorts.

MV Reef Endeavour will moor off Honeymoon Island near Castaway Island at 1800 every Saturday night allowing Mamanuca Island resorts guests to transfer to the vessel for a 3 or 7 night Yasawa Islands cruise.

Plantation, Musket Cove, Lomani Island resort, Malolo, Liku liku, Castaway and Mana Island Resort have all offered guest's complimentary boat transfers to MV Reef Endeavour.

The new pick ups allow visitors to Fiji to experience the very best of both the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.

"We are delighted MV Reef Endeavour's sophisticated navigation systems and faster cruising speed have allowed us to add even more value to our Fiji cruise itinerary including a return to the Mamanuca Islands" said Joint Managing Director Jackie Haworth.

The new pick ups allow visitors to Fiji to experience the very best of both the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.

The 3-Night Southern Yasawa Island Cruise departs Denarau Marina every Saturday and Early Booking Savers (EBS) fares start from $959.00 per person. The 7-Night Yasawa Island Cruise departs every Saturday from Denarau and EBS fares are available from $1999.00 per person twin.

Captain Cruises also offer a 4-night Northern Yasawa Island cruise with EBS fares available from $1199.00 per person twin share.

Prices include all meals on board, guided village and island tours, glass bottom boat excursions, on board entertainment and use of the ship's facilities including swimming pool, spa, pool bar, sun deck, sauna, cocktail bar, day spa and library.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit