Tuesday 26 October 2010

Cruise Weekly: Soren Larsen on Sail

After spending an afternoon aboard the classic tall ship, Soren Larsen, during her whirlwind visit to Sydney, I felt like I’d had a genuine introduction to life aboard a windjammer, albeit a slightly smaller one. In glorious morning sunshine, prehensile crew scampered up and down the masts unfurling sails bigger than David Jones at stocktake while orders were barked theatrically from the deck.

We followed the breeze supremely up the harbour to Manly, four sheets to the wind, cutting a wake through about a dozen sailing regattas. The on the return leg, the heavens opened, water oozed in through the hatches and all and sundry huddled together in the hold or under the scant cover on deck. All this in about five hours.

Ian Hutchinson, charter manager for the owners, regaled us with stories of her history including a rounding of Cape Horn, a feat that must be completed by sailing from 50 degrees south on both east and west sides of the cape, and her time filming the great TV series, Onedin Line, in the 1970s.

A brigantine built in 1948 in Nykøbing Mors, Denmark, the value of a sturdy oak vessel was underlined immediately after the Second World War when the North Sea was still full of magnetic anti-shipping mines. After a stalwart trading career in Baltic and British waters, she seemed destined for destruction, but was rescued at the last minute by Englishman, Tony Davies, and fully restored with late 19th century sailing rig.

With her television career over, Soren Larsen is now a regular in tall ship events around the world and regularly sails the romantic routes of the South Pacific from her base in Auckland. Regular land-lubbers can also hop aboard for a real life, swashbuckling adventure on the high seas. Itineraries range from 10 to 22 nights and venture as far as Tonga, Fiji and the Kermadec Islands. A berth is roughly NZ$300/night depending on voyage length.

She’s 44m long with 650 sqm of sail, a GRT of 125 tons and accommodates 12 crew and 22 ‘voyagers’. Facilities are, unsurprisingly, shared. Cruising speed? Slow and steady. While this may not be a cruise for everybody, it is certainly the sort of nostalgic reenactment many of us dream about.

Just over 12 months ago Soren Larsen had quite a scare. Heading to the Cook Islands in rough weather when she was hit by a huge rogue wave that smashed her deckhouse and tore away much of the rigging. After two drama-filled days, she made it back to New Zealand and immediately went in for major repairs in Whangarei. What we see now is a meticulously repaired vessel ready for more adventures.

Bookings for her popular voyages fill quickly, especially those in and out of Sydney and Auckland. Martyn Paterson from Outdoor Travel tells me there are still places available for Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Islands early next year.

Contact Outdoor Travel on Toll free 1800 331 582 or visit www.outdoortravel.com.au

Saturday 23 October 2010

New Build for Pandaw

Next month work begins in Saigon on the RV Saigon Pandaw. The Saigon will join Pandaw’s Mekong fleet in December 2011, bringing it up to four vessels plying between Saigon in Vietnam and Angkor in Cambodia.

The Saigon will be identical in design to the Orient and Indochina, the new generation Pandaws built over the past two years in Saigon.

These have thirty main and upper deck staterooms of 200 square feet and combine colonial and modern design.

The Saigon will be the 7th vessel in the Pandaw fleet and finished to the usual high standards appropriate to these 5 star boutique ships. Pandaw also operate river expeditions in Burma and Malaysian Borneo.

Full details in Pandaw Newsletter

Thursday 21 October 2010

Win a 10-night Kimberley Expedition aboard Oceanic Princess

Spend 10 nights exploring the rugged Kimberley coastline, ancient gorges and tumbling waterfalls on board the luxury 72-passenger Oceanic Discoverer.

For your chance to win, write us a slogan promoting Coral Princess Cruises in 25 words or less.

The prize includes a 10-night Kimberley cruise for 2 people PLUS 2 return airfares from your nearest capital city and is valued at over $20,000. Terms and conditions apply.

Enter Now [Entries close on 31-01-2011 at 11.59pm.]

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Captain Cook Cruises Announce a ‘One Off’ Renmark Cruise

Captain Cook Cruises has released cabins for their unique seven night Renmark cruise on the Murray River, aboard the PS Murray Princess. The cruise departs on Monday 22nd November, 2010 and with only two Renmark cruises occurring this year this is the last chance to be a passenger on the historic cruise.

The Renmark cruise takes in over 420kms of the Murray River, passing through five locks from Mannum to Renmark which is near the Victorian border. Following in the wake of the great 19th Century pioneers the PS Murray Princess negotiates massive sandbars, hidden reefs and submerged forests on a unique journey that has taken months to prepare.

With the Renmark cruise only occurring when river conditions are right, it's the unknown challenges that make this voyage one last great river adventure. Succeed or fail in reaching the destination, passengers will definitely have a whole lot of fun along the way.

The Renmark Cruise departs Mannum on Monday 22nd November at 4.30pm with boarding from 2.30pm and disembarking at Renmark on Monday 29th November at 9.00am. Prices start from $1599 per person twin share.

Prices include accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks and eco-excursions, onboard presentations, use of ship's facilities including spas and saunas, the Captains Dinner and Cocktail Party, live entertainment, 24 hour self-service tea and coffee bar and complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or car parking in Mannum

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

Small Ship Cruising News from Heritage Expeditions

It has been a busy spring for Wild Earth Travel, starting with the “Christchurch Earthquake”, in early September. I had just returned from an expedition through the NW Passage and thought I was back at sea again as the land rolled beneath our feet. Luckily we escaped relatively unscathed and come Monday morning we were on deck at the office and it was business…nearly as usual, with continuing aftershocks over the coming weeks!

Over the southern winter we had a number of travelers who escaped northwards to enjoy the northern hemisphere summer, with travelers venturing into areas perhaps not normally associated with small ship cruising and zodiac excursions, places such as the Baltic, Mediterranean and British Isles. Undisputedly David from Tauranga travelled further north than any other Wild Earth Traveller, venturing to the North Pole aboard the Russian Nuclear powered icebreaker “50 Years of Victory”

In the mail this week is the latest Wild Earth brochure for our Icebreaker Expeditions to Antarctica aboard the MV Polar Star along with the latest news and expeditions from Heritage Expeditions. We have had a great response to the Polar Star expeditions with only limited berths remaining for the 2010/11 summer. There are however still some great deals available for travel this summer especially in January and February with savings up to 25% on selected cabin categories contact us to find out more. Bookings have now opened for the 2011/12 Antarctic expeditions and now is the time to book to secure your preferred dates and cabins!

Hurtigruten Unveils Distinct Antarctica Itineraries, Early Booking Discounts Of Up To 20%

Stunning glaciers, mammoth icebergs, breathtaking tundra and up-close experiences with penguin colonies are par for the course on Hurtigruten's seven Antarctica itineraries; and for guests booking by March 31, 2011, prices for these cruises are discounted up to 20% – a savings of up to $3,421 per person.  The 12- to 20-day itineraries, priced after the discount at $5,858 to $13,684 per person, double, include a night in Buenos Aires before and after the cruise, all meals onboard, the services of expert guides, lectures and PolarCirkel boat landings. These once-in-a-lifetime voyages explore the vast and mysterious wilderness of the White Continent, the coldest, driest and windiest destination on earth, replete with gleaming icebergs, blue whales and orcas feeding mere feet from the ships, and penguin populations whose individual rookeries number in the tens of thousands.

Although all of the itineraries give passengers a rare glimpse of this breathtaking continent, each cruise adventure provides a unique experience.  The 20-day "Shackleton's Antarctica" follows the same path as Shackleton's original Endurance Expedition of 1914, navigating the western-most outposts of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island before heading to Antarctica.  The 19-day "Shackleton's Christmas" follows much the same route, but with traditional carols, festive meals, Santa Claus visits and a New Year's gala added in celebration of the holidays.  A 15-day "Chilean Fjords & Antarctica" spends nearly six days in the White Continent and four days along the stunningly scenic Tierra del Fuego and Chilean Fjords, while the 12-day "Antarctic Discovery" focuses solely on the White Continent, sailing through the Drake Passage and down into the southern ocean during Antarctica's gorgeous summer.  Two 15-day options also center on Antarctica: the "Weddell Sea Adventure," following the path forged by the Swedish Antarctica Expedition of 1901-04, and "Polar Circle Quest," which heads to the rarely visited Marguerite Bay – home to a colony of rarely-seen emperor penguins.

Hurtigruten's deluxe expedition ship, MS Fram, accommodates 318 guests in suites and staterooms and features a restaurant, two bars, panoramic lounges library, and Internet café and conference rooms.   The early-booking savings can be combined with discounts available in the 1893 Ambassador Program, which includes 5% off Explorer Voyages to Antarctica in addition to exclusive discounts and recognition benefits for members.
Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic's Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway's coast and Europe in the spring.  Additional information on all of these adventures, as well as brochures and reservations, can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten's visitor-friendly web site, www.hurtigruten.us; or by phone: (800) 323-7436; fax (888)-524-2145; for brochures (800) 582-0835, 24 hours a day.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Launch of New Travel Wholesaler 50 Degrees North Pty Ltd

The newly established travel wholesaler 50 Degrees North Pty Ltd launched with a glamorous and well attended evening at Denmark House in Melbourne CBD.

After a serve of 'snapas' and canapes Consul General for Norway, Tomm Paulsen cut the ribbon to unveil the 36 page 50 Degrees North brochure with a rich and fresh range of tours, voyages and expeditions specialising on the Nordic, Polar and Russian regions.

Present at the launch was also Consul General of Denmark, Jan Ravnholt, representatives for airlines Finnair, SAS, Thai and LAN, as well as Norwegian Coastal Voyage Company Hurtigruten and a number of travel agents.

Scandinavian founder and owner Tietse Stelma, accompanied by co-founder Jayde Kincaid bring new insight and expertise to the Australian wholesale market with travel offers to this exciting 'last frontier' of the world.

The product ranges from coastal voyages along the Norwegian coast onboard the Hurtigruten fleet; to tours, treks and adventures in Iceland, Greenland and the islands of the North Atlantic.

The fleet of expedition ships used for voyages in the Arctic includes the two masted schooner SV Noorderlicht, which in winter lies frozen in the Svalbard ice taking guest arriving on snow scooters and dogsleds. The 84-berth and ice strengthened MV Antarctic Dream voyages the North Atlantic Islands, around Spitsbergen, and along the Northeast Greenland Coast, as does the 114-berth former Dutch navy vessel MV Plancius.

Russia is covered from St Petersburg in the west to the volcanos of Kamchatka in the far-east. Product in Japan includes a combination culture & ski trip and a Real Food tour, while Mongolia is represented with an all encompassing Mongolian odyssey, a horse riding adventure and a camel trek in the near Gobi.

In addition, and in the footsteps of fellow Norwegian and polar explorer Roald Amundsen, the company has included voyages to the Antarctic, as well as a range of adventures and expeditions to the Antarctic Interior.

Interested travellers can get a free brochure by e-mailing info@fiftydegreesnorth.com.
Visit www.fiftydegreesnorth.com for more information.

About 50 Degrees North:
50 Degrees North Pty Ltd is a newly established wholesale travel operator specialising on the area north of the 50th parallel north, as well as Antarctica (50 degrees south). The company is fully licensed, and a full member of the Travel Compensation Fund.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Island Escape Cruises keen to shake “best kept secret” tag.

Auckland-based boutique small ship cruise company, Island Escape Cruises, is tiring of their status as one of New Zealand and Vanuatu’s best kept tourism secrets.

“Sure, we’re exclusive, niche and out of the mass market, but that doesn’t mean we want to be a secret,” said owner Peter Bissett, “and we certainly don’t want our overwhelmingly satisfied past passengers to keep us all to themselves. They say

“the most amazing cruise and we loved every minute of it”,
“the best experience ever”,
“we had a wonderful time”
“If you’ve already travelled on the big ships, maybe it's time to rethink everything you thought you knew about cruising? Or maybe you’ve been unsure about cruising because you don’t want to feel like you’re travelling in a crowded shopping mall. Our ship, Island Passage, instead offers a relaxed, intimate experience much like a luxury private yacht.”

Don’t be misled by Island Passage’s workboat-like exterior - it hides a meticulously crafted interior. At 42m (137.8ft), this ocean-going catamaran is equipped to access remote areas while delivering the highest level of onboard comfort. She hosts up to 22 guests in 11 spacious ensuite cabins, has a large dining room and saloon lounge and is fitted with rich timber panelling and superb New Zealand Kauri handmade furniture. In the galley, our expert chef works with fresh local ingredients and delicacies to create memorable meals that reflect the day’s adventures. The ship’s spacious outdoor living areas include a covered aft deck and huge upper deck which doubles as a helipad.

Island Passage cruises the waters of the Marlborough Sounds in November, the Bay of Islands in January and February, the Hauraki Gulf in December and March before relocating north to the waters of Vanuatu from May through until the end of August.

For entertainment and exploration, Island Passage carries purpose-built landing craft with walk on/walk off ramps, three large tenders, sea kayaks, a five-seater helicopter (New Zealand only) sports and game fishing and snorkelling equipment.

Prices are all-inclusive and include all shore excursions superb cuisine, espresso coffee, tea, bottled water, juices and soft drinks, port charges, taxes, fees and onboard services. Alcohol and optional helicopter tours are extra.

For further enquiries, deals, specials, bookings or brochures please contact:
AU: Steve Walker, Island Escape Cruises, Tel: (02) 9389 2224 or steve@islandescape.co.nz
NZ: Peter Bissett, Island Escape Cruises, Tel: +649 358 1717 or peter@islandescape.co.nz
Website: www.islandescape.co.nz

Save over $2,000 per couple in the Galápagos

Voted “Best Islands in the World 2010” by Travel & Leisure magazine, the Galápagos archipelago is one of the world’s most stunning wildlife destinations. A veritable living laboratory of strange and beautiful creatures, extraordinary landscapes, turquoise blue seas - a special place to be protected and conserved - it is easy to see how Darwin was inspired to write ‘The Origin of Species’ after his visit in the early 19th century.

You’ll be similarly inspired when you travel on A&K’s 12 day ‘Sail the Enchanted Isles’, a private journey including a week onboard the delightful Sanctuary MV Eclipse when naturalists escort you by boat and on foot and reveal the story of the islands and their history. There’s also time spent in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and the rural highlands around Otavalo with a private guide and driver your only companion.

Book your own 'Sail the Enchanted Isles' journey by 22 November 2010 for departures January to March and receive a discount of $1,015 per person.

Valid for departures: 06 January-24 March 2011 inclusive Twin/ Double: From $10,240 per person (includes saving of $1,015) Single: From $11,305 per person (includes saving of $1,015)

Terms and conditions apply, contact A&K for further information.

Thursday 14 October 2010


A limited number of Cabins have been released for Captain Cook Cruises' 7-night cruise over 420kms, through five locks, to Renmark near the Victorian border. This cruise only happens when river conditions are right but it's the unknown challenges that make this voyage one last great river adventure. Succeed or fail in reaching our destination, we'll have a whole lot of fun along the way.

Captains Club Member fares
Inside Cabin 7-Nights $1439pp twin share
Outside Cabin 7-Nights $1856 pp twin share

Departing Mannum Monday 22nd Nov 2010

Reservations & Enquiries
Aust 1800 804 843 or Int +61 2 9206 1111


Wednesday 13 October 2010

Vote for your favourite expediton cruise line


True North Sells Out Inaugural Solomons Sojourn

Luxury boutique adventure cruise operator, North Star Cruises, have sold out their inaugural Solomons Sojourn aboard their award-winning vessel, True North.

While this not the first time an expedition cruise has visited the Solomon Islands, (both Coral Princess and Orion are also regulars) it is the first dedicated voyage to this destination.

"We are delighted, but not completely surprised, that True North fans have recognised the attraction of the Solomon Islands," said North Star Cruises GM Peter Trembath, "our 'go wild in style' cruise formula sits perfectly with this exciting new destination."

Starting in Honiara, the 7-night exploratory cruise visits Savo Island, Yandina, Gizo, Kennedy Island and the 140km long Marovo Lagoon among many other locations, some of which will be explored from the ship's onboard helicopter.

Fortunately North Star Cruises have space on their second Sojourn sailing 24 November.

The Solomon Islands have waxed and waned with Australian adventurers, but a new campaign led by Richard Hankin's Tropics Tourism and Marketing on behalf of the Solomon Islands VB is about to renew interest with the travel trade with a roadshow in both Sydney and Brisbane next week.

"We are delighted that North Star Cruises have recognised the Solomon Islands as an exciting adventure cruise destination and feel sure this will further spread the word about the unique attractions we have," said Hankin.

More information: www.northstarcruises.com.au, www.visitsolomons.com.sb

- RE

Last Minute NZ Gourmet Food & Wine Cruise Special

Luxury small ship operator Island Escape Cruises are offering a 'Last Minute Special Offer for their 14 November Gourmet Food & Wine Cruise sailing on the 14th of November 2010.

They are reducing the price by 10% for bookings on this sailing only.

Expedition Cabin Prices are from $2876.00 (Normally $3196.00)
Stateroom Cabin prices from $3236.00 (Normally $3596.00)
Bridge Deck Suite prices from $3596.00 (Normally $3996.00)

To complement the offer, Solo passengers only pay twin share rates and have their own cabin (Expedition Cabins only).

Plus Island Escape Crises will also include round trip airfares from Wellington to Picton and one night's free accommodation in the Mercure Hotel in Wellington or Picton pre- or post-cruise.
Must be booked and paid by Friday 22 October 2010.

See www.islandescape.co.nz or phone (02) 9389 2224

Join Hurtigruten and Celebrate Norway's Big Day Out

In 2011 Hurtigruten offers spectacular 12 day Norway sailings in combination with the National day on the 17th of May. Enjoy incredible scenery and take part in Norway's big day out on board all 11 ships and in their ports of call.

With its parties, parades and children's processions Norway's National Day, 17th of May, is unique in the world - just like Hurtigruten. With banners, flags and bands the children play the main role in the celebration and take centre stage on this amazing day in spring-dressed Norway.

Sailing through the magnificent coastal waters of Norway you will enjoy a wide array of educational lectures about the history of the national day, the Norwegian Royal family and the national costumes. Be entertained with traditional folk music and learn the Norwegian anthem on board. These voyages will not only give you memories for a lifetime but also knowledge about the communities and the culture of the land of the midnight sun.

Norway adopted its constitution in 1814, and it is this event that is celebrated on the 17th of May each year. Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament, held the first 17th of May celebration in 1836, and from then this day was regarded as the national day. The first children's processions were arranged in 1870 and since 1906, the Royal Family has gathered on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Oslo to wave to the children marching by. On this day the celebration takes place in every town and every small community along the ragged coast of Norway. The 11 Hurtigruten ships calls their different ports during the day and as a guest on board you can take part in the celebration.

The sailings will of course include all the unique sights of a classic round trip with Hurtigruten: Bergen, the cultural gateway to the spectacular fjords, the Geiranger fjord, the medieval city of Trondheim, the magnificent coast of Helgeland, the crossing of the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten islands, Tromsoe, the gateway to the Arctic and not to forget the North Cape.

The 17th of May sailings start in Bergen on the dates from May 6-16.
Price from: AU$2880 (£1612 pp)

Choose also from a range of other theme voyages on board Hurtigruten's ships:

Opera Voyage
Once again the National Norwegian Opera will bring some of their best soloists to the Opera voyage on Hurtigruten, a special departure with MS Trollfjord from Trondheim to Oslo. The passengers can look forward to a program that represents classicals from well known operas, operettes and musicals.
January 6-9 2011 Trondheim - Bergen - Oslo, MS Trollfjord
Price from: AU$800 (£448 pp)

Birds of the Nordic coast
Sailing through a landscape of towering mountain peaks and breathtaking fjords this is a fantastic opportunity to combine Hurtigruten and bird watching. In May millions of migrating birds return to the Arctic coast during their nesting period. Species like puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, Arctic skuas, northern fulmars, northern gannets and sea eagles are numerous in this area. Enjoy the full Hurtigruten experience together with field trips, excursions, on board sighting sessions and lectures amidst the stunning backdrop of this beautiful coastline.
20-25 May 2011 Kirkenes-Bergen, MS Nordnorge
Price from: AU$1584 (£887 pp)

Edvard Grieg, Hall of the mountain King
Join this unique and classic voyage to immerse yourself in the music and background of the man who has become, to many, one of the most prominent ambassadors of Nordic music known today. This classical and unique voyage with the nation's favorite composer combines the dramatic and beautiful landscape of Norway's fjords and coastline with a series of on board concerts and lectures.
October 09-15 2011, Bergen - Kirkenes, MS Trollfjord 7 days
October 15-20 2011, Kirkenes - Bergen, MS Trollfjord 6 days
Price from: AU$1600 (£913 pp)

Polar-historical voyage
Sail in the wake of the great Norwegian polar heroes, Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen and discover how these pioneers confronted the elements, pushing the boundaries of human endurance to achieve incredible feats of exploration. As well as breathtaking nature during your voyage you can enjoy a number of lectures about the polar heroes and their voyages, as well as the culture and the inhabitants of the polar region.
October 14-20, Bergen - Kirkenes, MS Nordkapp 7 days
Price from: AU$1459 (£817 pp)

New Year at North Cape 2011/2012
Join our unique New Year departure and celebrate the dawn of 2012 on the top of the world at North Cape. Sailing from Bergen, this unique itinerary on board MS Trollfjord offers an exclusive chance to celebrate the New Year at mainland Europe's most northerly point - the North Cape. This special itinerary includes an over night stay the winter city Alta.
December 26-January 6, Bergen-Alta-Bergen, MS Trollfjord 12 days
Price from: AU$2330 (£1328 pp)

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising and is represented in Australia by Discover the World Marketing. For more information see your local Travel Agent or contact Hurtigruten on 1800 OCEANS (1800 623 267) hurtigruten@discovertheworld.com.au

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Aqua Expeditions Teams with Jack Hanna for Guests' Chance to Head "Into The Wild"

M/V Aqua cruising down the Amazon
This November, Aqua Expeditions will host naturalist and TV personality Jack Hanna as he and his film crew document one of the most remote areas of the Peruvian Amazon, the Pacaya Samiria Reserve.

Taking viewers "Into the Wild," Jack Hanna will sail on a three-night journey on the M/V Aqua through various Amazon river tributaries, coming face to face with the mystical pink dolphin, caymans, sloths, giant lilies and hundreds of other exotic plants and animals of the Amazon.

Aqua Expeditions has been granted access to a limited number of cabins for travelers to join Jack and his crew on this adventure. Departing Iquitos November 6 (returning November 9), this exclusive itinerary will allow M/V Aqua guests to meet Jack Hanna and his staff in the luxurious and intimate 12-suite vessel.

*Space on the November 6, 2010, three-day departure is extremely limited. To reserve, contact Dalia Gibu or call (866) 603-3687.

Friday 8 October 2010

Hurtigruten heads '71 Degrees North'

Hurtigruten hopes the publicity surrounding new TV series 71 Degrees North will create more interest in its new 2011 Norway brochure.

The programme is set in Norway and sees 10 British celebrities travel from the south to the north whilst competing in extreme challenges.

“Norway is currently enjoying a high media profile with the ITV series,” said Kathryn Beadle, Hurtigruten sales and marketing director. “Agents have a real opportunity to capitalise on this, and I hope to see demand increase as the series climaxes, like we did with Joanna Lumley In The Land Of Northern Lights.”

It is the first time the line has produced a standalone Norway brochure, without its worldwide product, in four years, with most of the programme now bookable online.

Trips on offer include traditional daily voyages along the coast of Norway, as well as other itineraries such as a new whale watching adventure – the first time the operator has offered the chance to search for whales in the summer. Another voyage includes three days in a traditional fisherman’s hut.

The brochure comes six months after the preview was launched and sales are already up 50% year-on-year.

“Our preview brochure performed well and we expect our main brochure with its new itineraries to increase demand further,” Beadle said.

“We have worked hard to ensure everything is now bookable online to help agents, and we have created some new itineraries for them to promote,” she added.

The line also revealed that it would package pre and post-voyage options for customers to extend stays, to make it easier for agents.

Meanwhile, in a bid to encourage agents to learn more about Norway, Hurtigruten is running a competition for agents to win cuddly Roy the Reindeer teddies, in conjunction with 71 Degrees North.

Every Wednesday morning, the cruise line will post a question about the previous night’s episode at hurtigruten.co.uk/agents, which agents must answer to be in with a chance of winning.

AdventureSmith Explorations Highlights of 2011 Cruise Itineraries

AdventureSmith Explorations Heralds Golden Age Of Small Ship Cruising with Itineraries from Alaska to Patagonia

AdventureSmith Explorations, the active travel company that secures matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of small, expedition ships, announces its 2011 adventure portfolio.  Careful expansion includes water-filled worlds from Patagonia to Alaska and points between on adventure-laden itineraries for small ship cruise aficionados.

Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Exploration's owner and founder, said that demand is high for new ships and new destinations.

"Almost everywhere the land meets the sea there is a small ship or yacht available for up-close exploration," said Smith. "I feel we are entering a golden age of small ship cruising. As soon as the economy rebounds the small ship market will explode. Travelers and agents are becoming aware of the benefits of this style of travel and discerning voyagers are demanding the more authentic experiences available aboard small ships."

Following are highlights of AdventureSmith Explorations' new 2011 small ship cruise programs:

Hawaiian Seascapes


The 39-guest Safari Explorer follows paradise across five islands over eight days with time out for excursions by mule, optional golf, scuba diving and snorkeling.  Rates begin at $4,995 per person, double. 2011/2012 Departures run October to May with specified family trips available.

Camp Leakey – Faces in the Forest


This 11-day trip from Bali to Singapore explores the wildlife, birds and culture of Borneo aboard the luxurious new 100-passenger capacity Orion II. A visit to Camp Leakey in Tanjung Puting National Park is a highlight, viewing the rehabilitation of ex-captive orangutans. Rates from $6,930 per person, double. Dates: Sep 30-Oct 10, Dec 29-Jan 8, 2011 and Jan 8-18, 2012.

Glacier Bay Adventure Cruise


This wheelchair accessible, six-day cruise for 12 passengers aboard Sea Wolf II is the only cruise to focus on Glacier Bay National Park, spending an entire week in this pristine wilderness.  Rates from $3,500 per person, double. Season runs from May 15 to September 2.

Other Alaska small ship programs include Alaska Eastern Coves Adventure Cruise: http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/38 and the return route Alaska Western Coves Adventure Cruise:

http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/54 Cruising is aboard the newly refurbished M/V Wilderness Adventurer and M/V Wilderness Discoverer and rates for the active eight day adventure begin at just $1,795 per person, double. Season is May to September and specified family departures are available.

Inland Sea of Japan – Discovery of an Ancient Culture


Many of the logistical complexities of traveling this region disappear when traveling for 11 days by small ship on this culture-driven cruise that considers Japan's lifeblood, the sea, and its primeval forests and mountain peaks. Rates for ocean view suite aboard Orion II are from $6,930 per person, double. 2011 cruise dates are Jul 8-18 and Jul 28-Aug 7.

Patagonia Expedition Cruise


A complement to a South American adventure is a three or four-night cruise exploring the wilderness and glaciers of the Chilean Fjords in the heart of Patagonia. Rates are from $840 per person, double. The season runs from September to April.

For more information on these and all of AdventureSmith Explorations' 2011 season offerings please visit www.adventuresmithexplorations.com, call toll-free 800-728-2875 or email travel@AdventureSmithExplorations.com.

About Adventure Smith Explorations

AdventureSmith Explorations is the global leader in small ship, adventure cruise vacations. Company founder Todd Smith helped pioneer the concept of wilderness cruising that combines the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking, hiking and exploring remote wilderness areas ashore. The company matches guests with the top names in small ship cruising as well with intimate, boutique ships that may not make the radar of most travelers.

In moving through exotic natural environments and exploring vibrant native cultures seldom associated with more mainstream cruise itineraries, AdventureSmith Explorations dedicates its efforts to small footprint, sustainable travel and has launched a carbon free cruising initiative. Its off-the-beaten-path destinations include Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Hawaii, Peru, the Arctic, Antarctica, and Australia.

The company's mission is to give back to the individuals, communities and environments touched by AdventureSmith Explorations trips by connecting travelers with a network of grassroots and global nonprofit partners worldwide including the Alaska Natural History Association, Neotropica Foundation and Galapagos Conservancy. The company was named by National Geographic Adventure as one of "The Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" and is the recipient of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious "World Savers Award."

Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, California along the western shore of Lake Tahoe.  Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or 530-583-1775. Email: travel@AdventureSmithExplorations.com or visit: www.AdventureSmithExplorations.com.

Thursday 7 October 2010

North Star Cruises Australia is Now Featuring Market Leading Experiences at Market Leading Prices

The company has announced adjusted pricing for most of its 2011 & 2012 cruise options - an affirmative action designed to keep North Star in-step with a changed market.

Prices have been significantly reduced across the entire cruise schedule and persons with effected bookings would be offered adjustment.

In addition, North Star will offer an increase in the number of shorter duration cruise options and greater overall variety incorporating new destinations and, four completely different options to experience the magnificent Kimberley.

New schedule highlights include the Kimberley Snapshot - a one week opportunity to experience the entire Kimberley coast, Batavia Bound - a Fremantle departure focused on the stunning Abrolhos Islands and, the Montes Extravaganza - an opportunity for Pilbara mining communities to experience fishing paradise in style!

Commenting on the changes, North Star's general manager, Mr Peter Trembath, said "the changes are consistent with North Star's reputation for being a market leader and will surely make our cruises even more irresistible to the discerning adventurer!"

Full details are available at http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/sailingschedule.asp?Date=2011

True North Background

The multi-award winning adventure-cruise ship, True North, allows discerning guests to experience wilderness in surroundings more akin to one of the world's most exclusive hotels.

Lavish features include:

* A sundeck, forward observation lounge, ship's lounge, alfresco bar, internet café, plasma screens with interpretive information, lower deck dining room with large panoramic windows, and fine dining.
* All cabins feature enhanced décor, en-suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones.
* Multiple expedition boats (6) allow passengers greater opportunity to do "what they want, when they want".
* To add another dimension to adventure - most cruise options feature an onboard helicopter.
* The purpose built True North is able to explore the upper reaches of shallow river systems.
* Adventure-cruises are conducted all around the Australian coastline and in the stunning waters of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
The True North - one of the finest adventure-cruise ships in the world!

For more information visit http://www.northstarcruises.com.au

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Captain Cook Cruises Celebrate Summer in Sydney

The warm weather has finally arrived and what better way to enjoy the sunshine and beauty of Sydney Harbour than on Captain Cook Cruises two nights Sydney Weekender cruise. Book a cruise for January or February 2011 before November 31st 2010 and receive 10% off and a free bottle of bubbles in your room. 

The Weekend Explorer cruise sails every Friday evening throughout January and February, for a two night leisurely cruise packed full of fine food and wine, spectacular views, sightseeing, excellent service, exciting shore excursions, music, dancing and relaxation.

The Explorer lives up to it's name as she explores and visits the most beautiful areas accessible by water; Watson's Bay, the Rocks, Bradley's Head, Botanical Gardens, Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers - over 250 kilometres of foreshore and beaches on one trip.

But the real experience is on-shore. Stroll through the Botanic Gardens, explore the historic Rocks district and the old artillery emplacement on Bradley's Heads and relax beachside or swim at Watson's Bay. The beauty is you can be as lazy or as active as you want to be.
The ship has 60 cabins for overnight comfort with a choice of twin or double berths all with harbour views and ensuite facilities. Take in the views on the Sun Deck which affords 360 degree viewing.

Dining on board is first class with hearty buffet breakfasts, al fresco luncheons featuring fresh local seafood and the elegant Captain's Dinner with live music and dancing and the city skyline as the perfect backdrop.

Book the 2 nights Sydney Weekender cruise by November 31st 2010 for travel in January and February 2011 and pay from only $431 per person twin share, including a free bottle of bubbly per room and all accommodation and meals.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1100, Email: harbour@captaincook.com.au or visit www.captaincook.com.au.

Small-ship lines trumpet fiscal health after Cruise West's death

By: Johanna Jainchill - www.travelweekly.com

The shutdown of Cruise West on Sept. 18 was seen by many travel agents as a warning shot signaling the vulnerability of small-ship cruise lines.

Many of those lines have come forward in the last two weeks to assure the travel distribution system as well as consumers that they are financially sound and have capital and equity that Cruise West lacked.

"This is an isolated situation that happened because of its own set of reasons," said Sven Lindblad, founder of Lindblad Expeditions.

[Read full story]

Monday 4 October 2010

Star Clipper on Mediteranean Odyssey

The luxury sailing ship Star Clipper will call at 15 ports in seven countries on a rare 35-night cruise from the Caribbean to Athens in April/May next year from $8700 per person.

Passengers with limited time can buy segments of the cruise: 18 nights across the Atlantic from St Maarten to Lisbon, Portugal (from $3160); 10 nights Lisbon to Malta ($4440) and seven nights Malta to Athens ($3029). The Lisbon/Malta and Malta/Athens legs will be discounted by 35% for bookings before January 31.

Ports of call also include Ponta Delgada in the Azores, Tangier (Morocco), Motril, Palma de Mallorca and Mahon (Spain) Tunis (Tunisia) Pantelleria and Siracusa (Italy) Katakolon, Monemvasia, Mykonos, and Hydra (Greece).

Fares include all meals and entertainment on board, port charges and taxes.

Star Clipper, which carries a maximum 170 passengers in the style and ambience of a private yacht, leaves St Maarten on April 9 and arrives at Piraeus (the port for Athens) on May 14.

Sister ship Star Flyer will make a 28-night cruise across the Atlantic from St Maarten on April 2 to Monte Carlo from $7060. Ports of call include Ponta Delgada, Lisbon and Portimao (Portugal) Tangier (Morocco) Motril, Cadiz, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and St Tropez. Segments of 18 nights ($3160) and 10 nights ($4440) are available.

Royal Clipper, flagship of the clippers fleet, will launch its European summer eason with a seven-nights cruise Lisbon to Barcelona Cruise on April 23. Fares tarting at $3189 will be discounted by 35% for bookings a before January 31.

For reservations contact your travel agent or Star Clippers on 1300 362 599 or email:starclippers@creativecruising.com.au


Ecoventura’s Dunn Joins World Wildlife Fund National Council

Santiago Dunn
Ecoventura Executive President Santiago Dunn has accepted an invitation to serve a three-year term on the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) National Council. His term begins Oct. 19 at the next WWF meeting in Washington, D.C.

Dunn is the leader of Ecoventura, a small-ship expedition company founded in 1990 by his father. He is committed to protecting the ecosystem of the Galapagos. Dunn’s relationship with WWF extends through joint projects and initiatives in the Galapagos that Ecoventura has helped guide and support over the past decade.

Ecoventura helped establish the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund in 2008 in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to support environmental education and marine conservation by strengthening local communities’ ability to manage natural resources. Dunn’s company originally pledged a donation of $80,000 annually (in cash and in-kind services) for the first three years in support of the fund. Dunn has increased that pledge to $100,000 annually for the next three years.

Since this fund’s inception, $238,522 in contributions have gone directly to projects such as scholarships for local children to study at the university level, development of micro-enterprises to create alternate sources of income, control of illegal fishing activities through a permanent floating station at Darwin Island and the acquisition of a satellite vessel monitoring system. For more information, call 800-633-7972 or visit www.ecoventura.com.