Sunday 30 October 2011

Ocean Cruise Guide

Cruise Weekly 2011/12 Ocean Cruise Guide
Expedition cruise companies featured: North Star Cruises, Orion Expedition Cruises, Voyages of Discovery, Aurora Expeditions, Ponant, Heritage Expeditions, Hurtigruten,

About Cruise Weekly

Saturday 29 October 2011

Kimberley cruising

Stephen Scourfield, The West Australian

We pull into the Kimberley's King George River and follow its winding way from a wide mouth pouring into azure ocean, past mangroves and then great ramparts of Kimberley sandstone.

Round big sweeps and one final bend that reveals twin waterfalls, dropping side by side, throwing off a misty rainbow. Sparkling white gossamer against a massive red face.

Cruising the Kimberley coast reveals such spectacular sights every day; at every turn. It might be the 400sqkm Montgomery Reef which appears bizarrely in mid-ocean as the tide drops. It might be the indigenous rock art of remote sites like Raft Point.

The Kimberley across the north of WA is often and rightly described as one of the last wildernesses and marine treasures - rated alongside the Arctic and Antarctic. An area of significant biodiversity and one of the most intact tropical marine ecosystems on Earth.

Read More

Heritage on 'Sunday Night' on Australia's Channel 7

Deep into Antarctica - Be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime with wildlife in the millions.

For those of you that travelled with Dean Miller, the Camera man on our ship last year or this winter in Russia, his first documentary ‘In the Footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson’ will air at 18:30pm, Sunday 30th October, on Australia's Channel 7 featuring footage filmed whilst on board our ship, Spirit of Enderby.
It will include quite a few of you as well as the expedition staff including Rodney, Adam, Katya, Brad and Steve, the polar plunge, Mawson’s hut as well as the Ross Sea region and Subantarctic Islands. Be prepared to relive the waves of the southern ocean.
View the preview here if you have any problems with the video above.
For those of you that are unable to watch it on Sunday, it will be available online afterwards at Channel 7's Sunday website and we will also be featuring a story on it in our upcoming November electronic newsletter.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Variety Cruises Debuts Arabian Journeys in 2012

Variety Voyager, due May 2012

Variety Cruises Unveils "Arabian Journeys" in Fall 2012 to Explore the Mysteries of Oman and the Splendors of the Emirates

Much as Sinbad the Sailor discovered adventure in Middle East seas, Variety Cruises' new seven-night Arabian Journeys will debut in November 2012 for fantastic explorations of the Arabian Gulf and Omani Coast. The one-way, seven-night cruise will embark from Abu Dhabi or Muscat aboard the new Variety Voyager mega yacht (launching spring 2012) from November 2012 to April 2013. Fares begin from $2,790 per person, per week, based on double occupancy.

On each day of Variety Cruises' Arabian Journeys, travelers step off the ship into a new port of call. Coastal stops along the Musandam Peninsula showcase the area's almost mystical natural wonders. Inland, cruisers can encounter ancient forts and citadels, along with the rich traditions of the Omani nation. The one-way cruise embarks from Abu Dhabi or Muscat.

Day 1: Embarkation from Abu Dhabi after 3:00pm. Lecture on Khasab and the Musandam Peninsula
Day 2: Arrival at Khasab. Passengers choose from two tour options.
Day 3: Optional tour with a traditional Omani dhow sailing. Visit Telegraph and Seebi islands.
Day 4: Passing by Kumjar and East Coast of Musandam Peninsula.
Day 5: Arrival at Sohar. Optional full day excursion. Drive to Nakhal. Rejoin ship in Sawadi Sands islands.
Day 6: BBQ lunch in a nearby island. Afternoon sailing to Muscat.
Day 7: Drive excursion of Fanja and Nizwa. Optional ½ day tour of Muscat.
Day 8: Disembarkation in Muscat.
Embarkations from Muscat is the reverse schedule.

Fares for the Arabian Journeys cruise include accommodations in double or twin cabins with private bathrooms and air conditioning; American buffet breakfast and two main meals daily; use of fishing equipment (subject to availability); coffee, water or tea; and an English speaking cruise escort. Port charges are an additional $290 per person.

Variety Cruises' new Variety Voyager mega yacht is expected to make a splash on its launch in 2012. Private yachting meets conventional cruising on this 223-foot state-of-the-art vessel. With room for just 72 passengers in 36 cabins, the ship creates an intimate atmosphere for commiserating, almost as if the cruise were itself a private group event. The Variety Voyager design features sleek lines and ample deck space. Inside, cabins and public areas are finished with warm fabrics, rich marbles, Axminster carpeting and soft-toned wood paneling. Unobstructed views of the ocean and ports envelop every area of the ship. An attentive 28-member service crew provides impeccable service, as if each guest were the ship's captain.

For more information on Variety Cruises, please call 1-800-319-7776 (US) and 1-866-944-8498 (Canada) or visit

About Variety Cruises

Variety Cruises' signature style of small-ship cruising offers life-enriching journeys for inquisitive minds. Founded in 2005, with a history dating back to 1949 under the Zeus name, family-owned Variety Cruises is one of today's largest boutique yacht cruise lines in the world. A fleet of 11 fully owned vessels includes mega yachts, sail cruisers and private luxury yachts. Each hosts a select number of passengers ranging from 12 to 75, providing the intimacy one might find on a private ship, and can dock into smaller ports of call in cosmopolitan locales. Variety Cruises' programs explore a colorful collection of popular sites and hidden gems in destinations including Greece, Turkey, the Adriatic, Italy, France, West Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. The experiential itineraries embrace each destination by allowing ample leisure time in each port, often docking right in the heart of a town or village and later offering swim stops in secluded bays. All the while, the friendly and ample staff help passengers feel right at home on board their floating boutique hotel. In 2011, Variety Cruises was honored with the Condé Nast Traveler Greece Reader's Choice Award for Best Small Ship Cruise Company in Greece. Variety Cruises is affiliated with key travel organizations, including but not limited to the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), Ensemble, and

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Victories In The Pacific Luxury Expedition Cruise

Walk in the footsteps of World War II history with world-renowned expert Richard Frank as your guide. Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours is pleased to introduce history buffs and adventurous travelers to key battlefield sites in the South Pacific Theater where some of the most famous conflicts of World War II were fought. The 14-day Victories in the Pacific cruise begins in Noumea, New Caledonia on March 4, 2012 and ends in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, visiting some of the most beautiful tropical islands on the globe. These destinations also teem with history and were the sites of famous battles that reshaped world history. Passengers on this voyage will be able to visit natives who rarely come in contact with Caucasians, view some of the rarest birds in the world, and dive in pristine waters filled with aquatic life.

Richard Frank is one of the world's most celebrated specialists on the Pacific War and has published numerous award-winning books. Most recently he was the historical consultant for the Golden Globe-winning HBO mini-series The Pacific. It is an honor to have Richard on board the Oceanic Discoverer, a 72-passenger luxury expedition ship.

Due to its small size, Oceanic Discoverer can access rarely-visited islands, giving guests a unique opportunity to explore the history and idyllic natural beauty of the South Pacific. You will have the opportunity to experience the locations of famous World War II battles such as Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Bougainville, and New Britain. In addition to the historical importance of this expedition, Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours has allotted generous time to soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings. Snorkel in some of the most pristine waters on the globe and view wildlife you have only seen in magazines or on film.

For more information visit

'Cup of Tea' not to everyone's taste

Sarina Bratton, Founder and Managing Director, Orion Expedition Cruises, writes:

To the many who kindly provided feedback on our newspaper advertisement – thank you. As promised, I provide you with some 'feedback on the feedback'!

It is fair to say that the headline above was polarising. Recycled from a vintage copy of Surfing World, it seemed an arresting answer to a question posed to me recently in an email from a guest: How do you describe the indescribable?

We were most encouraged by the majority who responded enthusiastically, by those who said they 'love' the ad and felt motivated by it. However, I remain mindful that some saw it as irreverent while others saw it as annoyingly religious. (Neither, of course, were intended.) The candor and thoughtful feedback from each of the dissenting comments is appreciated and valued, and provides food for thought for our future communications. Other comments led to important text amendments.

The task for us is to determine how different and adventurous we should be with our advertising. It is certainly important we achieve "cut through". Or should we just leave being different and adventurous to the expeditions themselves? Whatever the answer, bringing you off-the-beaten-track itineraries will not change. That's guaranteed. It's what makes Orion Orion.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Sailing with the Vikings

Tall ship cruise enthusiasts will trace the legendary voyages of the Vikings to 37 historic ports in Scandinavia and the Baltic next year.

Between May and August, the four-masted luxury clipper ship Star Flyer will follow in the wake of the fearsome seafaring warriors who raided wide areas of Europe, Asia and North Atlantic islands between the late 8th and 11th centuries.

 A string of countries are on Star Flyer 's first northern Europe program: The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Lithuanian, Russia (St Petersburg for two nights) Estonia and Latvia.

Some of ports are tiny gems unable to be accessed by big cruise liners.

The inaugural five-night cruise leaves Southampton for Hamburg on May 5 to launch the season of 18 cruises, mainly seven nights, from embarkation ports including Hamburg, Kiel, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and Warnemuende.

An early highlight of the new Star Flyer Scandinavia/Baltic season will be participation in spectacular sailing parades with tall ships from around the world in Kiel, Hamburg and Rostock.

Fares for seven-night cruises range from $3319 per person including port taxes and all meals and entertainment on board. Early booking discounts apply to some cruises.

The two others ships in the Star Clippers fleet, the flagship Royal Clipper and Star Clipper, will offer 54 cruises throughout the Mediterranean in 2012.

All three ships offer a novel cruise experience, blending the adventure of traditional sailing with the luxury of a modern cruise ship.

For reservations contact your travel agent, or Star Clippers on 1300 362 599 or

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Explore the Caribbean in the Comfort of a Deluxe Mega-Yacht on Compagnie du Ponant's 7-Night Fort-de-France Cruise

Tweet: Explore the Caribbean on Compagnie du Ponant's 7-Night Fort-de-France Yacht Cruise - Limited Time Savings up to 20%;

Miami, FL - Award-winning upscale yacht cruise company, Compagnie du Ponant, invites travelers to explore the Caribbean on the seven-night "Fort-de-France - Fort-de-France" cruise - one of 17 itineraries available in its newly added Caribbean roster - with limited time savings of up to 20%. Offering an experience that can only be had on the smaller, more intimate ships, the 90-passenger Le Levant takes in several off-the-main-stream stops on its four round-trip sailings from the west coast of Martinique. Ports are spread throughout Grenada, also known as the "Island of Spice"; Venezuela, a melting pot of indigenous, African and Spanish culture; and Trinidad and Tobago, an archipelago with diverse landscape ranging from coral reefs to forest and savanna. The nature of the deluxe yacht and the focus of the company on experiential travel means the advantage of smaller ports and more time for in-depth exploration ashore. Fares are currently being offered at a 20% savings under Ponant's Bonus program - the more in advance the booking, the greater the savings. Reduced prices range from $2,571 to $3,505 per person, double, for the Nov. 5 & 26, 2011 departures (regularly $3,213-$4,381) and $2,420 to $3,299 for departures on March 20 & 27, 2012 (regularly $3,024 to $4,123).

After embarking from Fort-de-France, the 330-foot Le Levant sails to St. George, the capital of Grenada, where red-roofed, pastel dwellings are nestled within tropical rainforests, white sand beaches and impressive waterfalls. Ports in Venezuela include the Orinoco Delta, a labyrinth-like river in the heart of Warao Indian Territory that wends its way through primal forest and mangrove swamps; Puerto Ordaz, the site of the Llovizna Falls; El Arroyo and Arature, deltas housing a wealth of wildlife that is described and pointed out by a nature guide; and El Toro, where guests can see life in an Indian village. Greeting guests in Trinidad and Tobago's capital, Port of Spain, are exotic birds such as snowy egrets, white-necked herons and the scarlet ibis, seen nesting by the Caroni Swamp, and a vibrant nightlife. Continuing on to Grenadine, Le Levant pulls into Tobago Cays, where turquoise waters are home to colorful coral and tropical fish, before circling back to Fort-de-France.

Ponant's philosophy is front and center on its cruises: designed for the traveler who prefers to explore off-the-beaten­-path, unspoiled destinations, especially those out of sight of the large ship masses. Just as important to the guests' experience as they trek around the world, is the on-board environment. The company prides itself on its discrete personalized service, assured with a staff to guest ratio of greater than 1:2, delicious cuisine - both haute and country French, stylish accommodations, elegant design, expansive sun decks and open-air restaurants.

Le Levant offers an intimate setting in a spacious environment for its 90 guests: two restaurants, a spacious lounge, several bars, a library, a swimming pool, a beauty and fitness area with sauna, and salon. A 4,300-square-foot Sun Deck provides plenty of space for relaxing in the sun and open air. Its 45 outside staterooms have an abundance of space and amenities - king size or twin beds, a desk, minibar, dressing table, marble baths with showers and L'Occitane amenities. The staterooms have all the latest technology including: flat screen satellite TVs, DVD/CD players, satellite direct-dial telephone, Wi-Fi and 110/220 outlets.

Included in all sailings are all meals, accompanied by wine, beer and soda; Captain's welcome, cocktail parties and gala dinner; 24-hour room service; and all entertainment, events and shows as indicated within the itinerary. Port charges/taxes, gratuities, optional excursions and transfers are additional.

Established in 1988, Compagnie du Ponant is a member of both La Charte Bleue d'Armateurs de France and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). All of Compagnie du Ponant's cruise itineraries are designed to protect marine wildlife, coastal environments and local flora and fauna.

Compagnie du Ponant's North American sales office is located at: 2 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 2000, Miami, Florida 33131. For reservations and further information, call: 1-305-398-9849 or toll free: 1-888-400-1082; fax: 1-877-533-3043; email: or go to

Monday 17 October 2011

Aurora Antarctica 2012/13 brochure out now


Antarctica 2012/2013

10% early bird discount, book today!*

Aurora Expeditions are delighted to release their 2012/2013 Antarctica brochure.
With increased capacity, this season is set to be our biggest and best yet!

NEW FOR 2012/2013

        * Choice of two ships  - Polar Pioneer & Akademik Shokalskiy      
        * Additional Fly/Sail options, replacing one sea crossing with a flight
        * A brand new voyage - 'South Georgia & the Weddell Sea'
        * Greater assortment of voyage lengths ranging from 8 to 20 days
        * More departure dates, with a selection of 20 voyages 
        * More availability of adventure activities

Book before 31 December 2011 to receive our 10% early bird discount!*
Plus, book on two voyages back-to-back to SAVE 15%!**

Be quick to secure your preferred voyage and cabin, as our voyages will fill fast!

Solo travellers welcome!

The Aurora Expeditions team | +612 9252 1033 |

*Early bird discount is valid on the first 15 bookings on each voyage. Valid on new, direct bookings only. Discount is not valid in conjunction with any other offer.
**Back-to-back discount valid on new, direct bookings only and not valid with any other offer.

Cruising to the heart of nature

Aurora Expeditions - Level 3, 13-15 Bridge Street, Sydney, 2000, NSW, Australia. Ph +61 2 9252 1033

Saturday 15 October 2011

Coral Princess to receive $1 Million refurbishment

Coral Princess
Coral Princess Cruises' 35 metre catamaran Coral Princess has returned to her homeport in Cairns following a successful Kimberley cruising season and has immediately headed to dry dock for a million dollar refurbishment.

The 50 passenger small-ship, which operates alongside the company's flagship Oceanic Discoverer in the Kimberley between April and October each year, will receive new engines, expansive teak decking, reconfigured dining room and lounge, stylish new interior and exterior teak furnishings and revitalised décor as part of the $1 million investment.

Coral Princess Cruises, an accredited eco-tourism operator, is committed to the concept of sustainable cruising, and the ship's new "whisper quiet" engines have been developed to minimise emissions and improve fuel efficiency, whilst providing increased power and greater stability.

After re-emerging from dry dock the ship will resume service on the Great Barrier Reef in February where she will operate alongside her sister ship Coral Princess II before returning to the Kimberley in early April for the commencement of the 2012 season.

Australian-owned Coral Princess Cruises pioneered small-ship expedition cruising on the Kimberley coast in 1996 and has 34 departures scheduled across the 2012 season, which runs between April and October. The company is currently offering 15% discounts on April 2012 'Waterfall Season' departures aboard Oceanic Discoverer and the newly refurbished Coral Princess. The special is available on bookings made before 31 December 2011 or until sold out.

 For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises on 1800 079 545 or visit

Editor's Note: Not to be confused with either of these vessels:

Coral Princess II, which operates
exclusively on the Great Barrier Reef

Coral Princess, the 90,000 GRT
cruise ship operated by
Princess Cruise Lines

Mary Filbee joins Oceanwide Expeditions as Director of Marketing and Sales

It is my great pleasure to inform you that Mary Filbee has joined Oceanwide Expeditions as Director of Marketing and Sales. In this position, she will also be responsible for all sales activities in the English speaking markets (such as the US and Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand) and new product development. Please be so kind to direct your new sales enquiries for the English speaking markets, including group and charter requests to Mary Filbee. (The procedures for reservations remain unchanged. You can contact our head-office in Vlissingen, the Netherlands and for all reservations in the US and Canada you can contact our office in Houston, USA.)

Mary has long-term experience with and a great knowledge of the expedition cruise product in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions. As Marketing and Sales Director of Polar Star Expeditions she was responsible for all aspects of international marketing and sales activities, managed the reservations department, and developed new products, annual sailing schedules, daily itineraries and programming of the ship-based voyages (in cooperation with the Operations Manager). Mary has established relationships with tour operators and charterers worldwide.

Mary Filbee is based and will operate from Chester, Canada. She can be reached at Her phone number is ++ 1 – 902 275 4745, mobile phone ++ 1 – 902 277 2280.

I am sure that Mary is a welcome addition to our Oceanwide team and I am positive it will be a pleasure for you to co-operate with her.

With best regards,

Michel van Gessel
Managing Director
Oceanwide Expeditions

Mary Filbee was most recently manager of marketing and sales for now-defunct Polar Star Expeditions, a position she held for over seven years.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Oceanic Wanderers – Birding Wonders of the Australian Bight

The vast waters off Australia's southern coastline are among the best in the world for viewing nature's oceanic pelagic wanderers.

This zone, where the air is never still, hosts the most diverse collection of seabirds in the world. Put simply, it is a birder's paradise and on the 'must-do' lists of all true nature-lovers.

Heritage Expeditions is offering an exclusive opportunity to join an authentic once-off expedition into the heartland of Australasia's seabird population from Albany, Western Australia to Hobart, Tasmania departing on 2nd December 2012 - 'Birding the Australian Bight'

Many only ever get to experience the fringes of these seas on day trips; but this expedition aims to go further and deeper into the world of these amazing birds and their surrounding environment.

Spending six days at sea on board the 'Spirit of Enderby', the voyage will follow a submerged continental shelf where the birdlife is at its richest, and the numbers and sheer diversity are overwhelming.

Passengers can expect to see up to 14 different species of albatross; elusive Pterodroma petrels that cruise offshore; massive colonies of shearwaters that gather before heading to their breeding grounds; and other Southern Ocean species that are rarely seen in Australian waters. The southern coastline is also home to numerous dolphins and whales that feed in the nutrient-rich seas.

The expedition cruise will be escorted by one of the world's most experienced birding tour leaders, renowned ornithologist and author, Chris Doughty. Doughty has field experience with more than 6,700 different species of birds and has led birding tours to every corner of the globe, even adding new species to the Australian list. He is also the author of the field guide to the Birds of The Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

The 50-passenger 'Spirit of Enderby' is the perfect vessel for this type of expedition. Fully refurbished in 2009, the ship provides comfortable cabin-style accommodation, most with private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and spacious deck areas for wildlife viewing. There is also a combined bar/library, lounge area and a dedicated lecture room on board.

Prices for this exclusive 9-day expedition start from US$2,000 per person (triple share) through to US$5,200 per person (twin-share) for the Heritage Suite, and include on board ship accommodation, meals, transfers and all shore excursions.

For further information phone 0800 262 8873 (NZ), 1800 143 585 (Australia) or visit

Monday 10 October 2011

*updated* Mekong Riverboat Fire

RV Lan Diep
ExpCruising has received a statement from CFM

"In the early hours of Saturday the 8th of October RV Lan Diep incurred a serious fire which broke out in the gangway and spread into the gallery kitchen. We suspect an electrical problem was the cause of the fire although we still need to complete a full investigation. The fire was contained by CFM’s brave crew, who able to use their expert training to put the flames out and bring the situation under control. Thankfully passengers were unharmed, although some crew members suffered minor injuries. The most important thing is that nobody was killed or seriously injured, CFM’s skilled crew and excellent safety systems on board ensured that the fire was contained in the kitchen area and quickly extinguished. A full investigation will begin into the cause of the fire."

General Manager

ExpCruising understands the vessel will be out of action for two weeks while under repair in Phnom Penh.

A land tour will replace the river cruise for guests booked on the effected journeys.

The 22-cabin RV Lan Diep was launched in 2007 and is similar to the 24-cabin vessel, RV Indochine, launched in 2008 by Compagnie Fluviale du Mekong, a French/English owned company founded in 2000 with offices in Phnom Penh. The company currently owns four boats including the smaller Toum Tiou vessels.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Orion II's maiden Russia voyage

Zodiacs from the expedition ship 'Orion II' explore the Kuril Islands
off far eastern RussiaPicture: John Borthwick
THERE'S no such thing as bad weather just travellers badly dressed for the weather, says the expedition leader as our rubber Zodiac boat skims over the low swell.

It is mid summer in the ultra-remote Kuril Islands of far eastern Russia, which means near-zero temperatures and me wearing 18 items of clothing including gumboots and a bank-robber balaclava.

Our surroundings are volcanic peaks, kelp beds and shining fog banks. Sea otters casually float nearby on their backs. Another Zodiac radios us, swearing they see a supine otter clutching an empty vodka bottle to its chest. Too Russian to be true?

I don't believe it until, back on our mothership, Orion II, I see the photo of this would-be blotto otter.

Read more:

Friday 7 October 2011


JOIN the fast-growing legions of fans of European river cruising in 2012, and by booking through Cruiseco enjoy huge savings aboard the luxury and genuinely-boutique vessels of Uniworld with Cruiseco's Early Bird air savings and exclusive group-buying discounts, coupled with further massive savings of as much as $1400 per person with Uniworld's Pay In Full Discount scheme.

These specially-selected fly/cruise river packages on vessels that carry from just-120 to 206-guests, also include a US$50 per person on board spending credit, shore excursions led by local English-speaking guides throughout cruises, complimentary fine wines, beers and soft drinks with dinners (and lunches on some cruises,) airport transfers on dates of embarkation and disembarkation, onboard local entertainment, and onboard gratuities.

Cruiseco's fly/cruise packages include 7-nights cruising through Burgundy and Provence on April 29 2012 priced from $5,250pp twin-share, 12-nights St Petersburg to Moscow on June 23 2012 from $7,536pp twin-share, and 16-nights from Brussels to Prague on September 9 2012 from $7,895pp twin-share.

These prices include return air from Sydney, air taxes, port charges and government fees, Cruiseco's Early Bird air discounts and Uniworld's Pay In Full Discounts of up to $1,400pp (depending on cruise and cabin category) if booked and paid by October 31 this year.

For details and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies visit  (Check also their 12-night Christmas fly/cruise package that departs Nuremberg for Budapest on December 22 2012.)

Thursday 6 October 2011

Orion II cruises cancelled *updated*

Correction: Earlier reports said Orion II will go into dry dock in Singapore. The cruise line have advised me this is not the case and that all repairs will be undertaken while tied up to the wharf. Orion are keen to reassure clients and partners that no hull damage occurred during the recent Borneo incident.

ORION Expedition Cruises is currently contacting passengers to advise them of the cancellation of two upcoming Orion II itineraries: the 10 Oct Gulf of Siam voyage and 17 Oct Thailand Temples cruise.

The cancellations follow the recent grounding of Orion II into soft mud (CW 22 Sep), and will make time for the vessel to go to Singapore to fix technical glitches and problems with the ship’s airconditioning.

Guests booked on affected voyages are being offererd the chance to book on the same itineraries later in the year or future cruise credits, see next week’s Cruise Weekly for more details.

ICCA Extols Small Ship Cruising

ICCA GM, Brett Jardine
Within the cruise industry we all know there are many different types of cruise holidays but are you getting this message through to your clients.

Consumers thrive on making a purchase that offers great value. The words ‘cruising’ and ‘great value’ go hand in hand but it is important to note that value does not come down to price alone.

For some, a large ship experience at a lower price point is good value, for others a small ship cruise experience at a higher price point is good value.

How do you determine where your client fits – QUALIFY them! Small ship “cruise passengers” tend to dream of visiting more off the beaten track destinations and look for a fulfilling experience at such places.

How many clients have you offered a cruise holiday to, only to be told “no thanks, a cruise is not for me”? I’ll bet most of these people only consider a cruise to be a large ship with thousands of people and really have no idea of (a) what a large ship experience really can offer or (b) that there are other possibilities such as a small ship experience that will in fact meet their holiday expectations in every respect. In many areas small ship cruising provides a very different experience from what clients expect of a cruise holiday.

A few of the following points may help you to define such an experience with clients in the future. Smaller more intimate ships; focus on the destination rather than the ship; potentially flexible itineraries; fewer but like-minded passengers; more personal experience (with other guests and crew); usually informal (more likely casual rather than glamour) and in most cases single open seat dining.

I’m sure you can find plenty of clients that will see some value in an option like this!

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Great American Steamboat Company to Begin Mississippi River Cruises

The 436-passenger American Queen.

The Great American Steamboat Company is returning the 436-passenger American Queen steamboat to the Mississippi River. Resumption of the cruises on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers begins April 13, 2012. The ship will depart from cities including Memphis, New Orleans, Vicksburg, St. Louis, Louisville, St. Paul, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Inspired by the steamboats of the 19th century, the American Queen offers a two-level Grand Saloon and a two-deck Grand Dining Room. Many staterooms have private verandas. Personal touches include freshly baked cinnamon rolls each morning, complimentary wine and beer with dinner, and evening turn-down service with a praline on the pillow.

Voyages range from three to 14 nights, and fares start at $995 per person, double. The Steamboating Plus program offers a complimentary luxury hotel stay before or after the sailing, along with transfers, a welcome brunch and other perks. The line also offers the Total Financial Security Program, where 100 percent of fares paid are held in escrow accounts until the voyage is completed. For more information, call 888-749-5280.

Orion Kimberley - 2012 - book now and save up to 25%

Eons-old indigenous rock art, vast horizons, humpback whales, waterfalls, a flight over the Bungle Bungles, a specialist expedition team, luxurious surroundings and unobtrusive service – what more could you ask for on an Orion Kimberley voyage?

How about a 15% to 25% reduction on 2012 season fares? 10 night Kimberley fares, usually from $9,100, start from $6,825 per person twin share if you book before 30 November 2011.

Visit in April and May, following the annual 'Big Wet', to see the waterfalls at their most powerful. Late July and August is prime time to see some of the world's largest population of migrating Humpback whales as they return from Antarctic feeding grounds to rest and calve.

Enjoy Kimberley coast highlights including outstanding examples of pre-history Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art. Land on remote islands and beaches, explore vast gorges, climb to the plateau next to the highest waterfall in the Kimberley, King George Falls, and venture up the Hunter River in search of saltwater crocodiles to photograph.

PLUS, exclusive to Orion Expedition Cruises, enjoy a 2 hour Bungle Bungle Ranges flight-seeing excursion at no additional charge!

The Kimberley, so ancient much of it pre-dates the existence of fossils, is recognised as one of the world's environmental wonders. This rare and pristine wilderness area, worthy of the highest levels of conservation and protection, has recently been nominated for World Heritage listing.

These voyages are the perfect introduction to expedition cruising. Adventure, excitement and dramatic sea and landscapes combine with outstanding levels of service, cuisine and comfort that only Orion can provide.

Select from 16 ten night Orion Kimberley Expedition voyages between mid April and September 2012: Darwin/Broome and v.v. including King George River and Falls, Vansittart Bay, Hunter River (for Mitchell Falls), Montgomery Reef and Raft Point, Talbot Bay/Horizontal Waterfalls, Crocodile Creek, Nares Point – refer to specific itineraries for details.

Fares: Depending on the Kimberley voyage selected 2012 season fares start from $6,825  per person twin share – reflecting applicable 25% discount if booked before 30 November 2011 - for an ocean view Category B Stateroom including all meals, lectures, inclusive shore expeditions, Bungle Bungle flight (or alternate Ord River excursion), gratuities and port fees.

Regular air connections provide convenient embarkation and disembarkation in Darwin or Broome.
Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises can be obtained by visiting the website

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) / 0800 444 462 (New Zealand) or see your travel agent. Email:

APT Mekong cruise 2-for-1 deal extended

APT's two-for-one deal on its Mekong River cruises in December has been extended to January and February departures.

The deal applies to eight, 12 and 13-day Mekong River cruise packages on bookings made before December 31.

The deal marks the launch last month of the Australian company's new 62-suite ship RV AmaLotus (pictured). The deal price for the 12-day Angkor, Mekong and Ho Chi Minh City package, for example, is from $5345 per couple, twin share, which includes a seven-night cruise, guided excursions on the cruise and at Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City, two nights at the award-winning Le Meridien Angkor, two nights at the Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 29 meals including local wine, beer and spirits with lunch and dinner on the cruise, onboard entertainment, APT Tour Director, port charges, transfers and tipping.

Cruising will be on RV AmaLotus or the 46-cabin RV La Marguerite, launched two years ago.

Consumer Contact: call 1300 229 804, see or your travel agent.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

A New Online Guide to the Galapagos


There was once a time when a trip to the Galapagos entailed 8 days on aboat; or as Aqua-Firma defines it, a ‘Wildlife Yacht Safari’. Nowadays, youhave far more choice than this. Whilst being on a Wildlife Yacht Safari isideal for most people, Aqua-Firma also operates combined Yacht & LodgeSafaris (time on land and on water); combined trekking, sea kayaking andwildlife adventure journeys, whereby accommodation is entirely on land; andsome exclusively dive focused liveaboard and land based diving trips.Aqua-Firma can operate an almost infinite number of tailored combinationsenabling you to make the absolute most out of what will probably be a oncein a lifetime visit.

A great starting point for deciding upon an itinerary is Aqua-Firma’s newonline Galapagos Island Guide (visit Thishas been designed to help you understand each island's key features anddiscover the best ways in which to explore it. The Galapagos archipelagoconsists of 13 volcanic islands and further smaller islets besides.

Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, wilderness adventurer, bird watcher, a keensnorkeler, scuba diver, or someone with the Galapagos on their radar tovisit one day; the Guide will help you to pinpoint the ideal locations tovisit and what you can expect to find there. Each island guide includes anintroduction and further links to explore in more detail its Wildlife,Marine Life, Conservation & Geology.

Whilst the island guide is a useful reference, you can jump a step by simplycalling an Aqua-Firma Galapagos expert on 0844 412 0848 (local rates) or01428 620012 to discuss your interests and let them come up with a proposeditinerary to suit you. They can also offer advice on how you can combine theGalapagos with a trip to the Amazon, Andes, Peru's Machu Picchu, CentralAmerica and even as far south as Antarctica!

To access the Galapagos Island Guide and to explore what Galapagostrips Aqua-Firma offers, please visit:

Cruise Passenger Magazine, Issue 45, Out Now

Expedition and adventure in this issue:
Journey of the Jayavarman (Mekong)
Plus Free River Cruising Guide

Mekong: Lost Civilisations Cruise - big savings

CRUISE specialists have reduced, by more than 50 per cent, the price of their 11-night Lost Civilisations cruise tour, which includes a seven night cruise on board the five star luxury vessel- The Jahan, along the Mekong River. It applies to, all remaining voyages in 2011 and more than 20 departures in 2012.

Discover the in-depth history of Ho Chi Minh City including a guided tour of the famous Chu Chi tunnels used in the 1960’s by Viet infiltrators during the Vietnam War before cruising up the river through Vietnam and Cambodia to arrive at Siem Reap for two nights.

Prices start from $4259 for certain departures in a standard cabin and include return economy airfares with Singapore Airlines from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, two nights’ accommodation at the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, city tours with a guide, seven nights cruise accommodation with full board including complimentary room service with house wines and spirits, shore excursions with an English-speaking guide, entrance fees, two nights’ accommodation at La Residence d’Angkor in Siem Reap and a tour if Angkor Wat Temples with lunch and transfers.

Those who upgrade to a signature room or suite from $4809 will also receive cabin butler service, daily restocked mini bar, the “A pictorial journey on the Jahan” book, two complimentary days in the spa and a private candlelit dinner at the observatory.

Package must be booked by March 31, 2012.

For more details contact on 1300-369-848 or check out the new website

SMH: Up the lazy, hazy Hooghly

India, boat on the Hooghly river.
Spirit level ... the RV Sukapha. Photo: Getty Images

Lee Atkinson takes a slow boat back to the days of empire while daily life unfolds all around.

The Ganges may get the glory as both the longest and most sacred river in India but the Hooghly - the western branch of the Ganges that seeps into the sea in the Bay of Bengal south of Kolkata - was once one of the most important waterways in India.

It is on the banks of the Hooghly, in its towns and villages, palaces and fields, that the British conquest of India began. Here the East India Company and their French, Dutch and Danish rivals set up their trading ports and forts, shipped their boatloads of silks and cottons, teas and opium downriver to Calcutta (now Kolkata), fought battles and made history.

Read more:

Truk Lagoon: Wreck Diver Paradise

Flickr User: gh0stdot

Micronesia Revealed: Rabaul to Palau

Orion II voyage in 2012

Board Orion II for a twelve night Micronesia Revealed Voyage of Discovery combining some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving spots, World War II battle sites, shipwrecks, isolated coral atolls and remote island cultures.

Climb active volcanoes, snorkel with manta rays on untouched coral reefs the size of suburbs or dive the shipwrecks of Truk Lagoon. Join friendly villagers as they perform traditional dances and visit outlying islands where visitors are a rarity, even today.

This voyage includes Tingwon, Manus and Yap, the Japanese ship graveyard of Truk Lagoon and the great reef systems scattered across Micronesia including Palau, with its famed Rock Islands, regarded by many as the most beautiful island group on the planet - 200 limestone islands, topped with jungle, sitting in transparent waters - a fitting conclusion.

26 November 2012 Rabaul to Palau. Book before 30 November 2011 and save up to 40%.

Fares from $5320 pp twin share (normally from $8870).

Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises can be obtained by visiting the website

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) / 0800 444 462

(New Zealand) or see your travel agent. Email:

Antarctica Sales at all time high


Heritage Expeditions
2012-2013 Antarctic Programme

Those who have Antarctica firmly on their 'must-do' list should book soon or risk missing out on the 2012-2013 season, according to Heritage Expeditions general manager, Dave Bowen.

"We are already two-thirds full for our November 2012 - March 2013 Antarctic season of voyages, and expect that the remaining berths will sell out by the new year," said Bowen.

"Australia has always held high interest in Antarctica, but this has been fuelled even more so this year by the Mawson Centenary this December. All of our berths for this voyage sold out very quickly and we are looking forward to being in Hobart on 1st December for this momentous sailing," he said.

"After the tough year tourism experienced globally in 2010, it appears Antarctica is 'hot' once again, and our forward bookings would indicate that those who do not want to be disappointed and miss out on visiting the world's most amazing destination next year, should act very soon," said Bowen.

Heritage Expeditions voyages sail to 'the heart of Antarctica', the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay regions.

"If you have experienced the Antarctic Peninsula, then this is the 'real deal'," said Bowen. "Sailing into the Ross Sea takes you further south into the frozen continent than any sea route. To enter this region of Antarctica is a privilege, with only a few hundred people able to visit each year.

"Those who want to follow in the footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson will need to visit this part of Antarctica; and those who think they have already seen Antarctica, should re-consider, as this voyage is quite a different experience from just visiting the tip of the peninsula. Also voyages depart from Australia or New Zealand, making access much easier," he said.

It is in these 'deep Antarctic' regions that the relics of the heroic period of Antarctic exploration can be seen and experienced. Historic huts and many other sites bring Antarctic history alive including Borchgrevink's Hut at Cape Adare, Shackleton's Hut at Cape Royds, Mawson's Hut at Cape Denison, Scott's Huts at Cape Evans and Hut Point.

Heritage Expeditions has been operating voyages to Antarctica since 1985. The company owns and operates its own ship, the 50-passenger ice-strengthened 'Spirit of Enderby', a fully refurbished Russian research vessel perfect for Antarctic exploration.

Highlights of Heritage Expeditions 2012/2013 Antarctic expedition program include two 29-day 'In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton' voyages departing 8th January and 6th February 2013. Prices start from US$17,000 per person (triple share).

For further information or a brochure of Heritage Expeditions complete list of destinations and voyages phone 1800 143 585 (within Australia) or 0800 262 8873 (within NZ) or visit

Heritage Expeditions New Zealand Ltd
Antarctic House, 53B Montreal Street, PO Box 7218 , Christchurch , New Zealand
Free Phone: 0800 262 8873 (within New Zealand)  1800 143 585 (within Australia) Phone: +64 3 365 3500
Fax: +64 3 365 1300 Email:


Monday 3 October 2011

Paul Gauguin Cruises Acquires Second Ship, Plans Global Deployment

sources: Travel Pulse USA Today

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the Tahiti-based Paul Gauguin ship, has acquired a second ship that will begin sailing under the Paul Gauguin Cruises banner in December 2012. This ship will undergo a renovation in November 2012 and then will be christened Moana. The vessel will have 45 staterooms for a total capacity of 90 guests. The company did not reveal further details about the ship, but other sources say it is the former Ponant vessel, the 1991-built Le Levant.

Full 2013 deployment details for Moana will be announced in early 2012, but the company plans to operate it in the Mediterranean in the summer and the Caribbean and Latin America in the winter.

Paul Gauguin Cruises is owned by Pacific Beachcomber, French Polynesia's largest luxury hotel operator.

"We are monumentally proud to add a second ship to our Pacific Beachcomber portfolio and Paul Gauguin Cruises family," Paul Gauguin Cruises president Diane Moore says in a statement. "This is an incredibly huge branding achievement for the growth of our cruise line and I look forward to welcoming fans of The Gauguin on board our latest addition."

Sunday 2 October 2011

Historic Antarctic expedition

escape antarctica

One Ocean Expeditions ship Akademik Ioffe in Antarctica. A cruise voyage will take place to South Georgia in November to bury the ashes of British explorer Frank Wild  next to Ernest Shackleton. Picture: Supplied

Angela Saurine | National Features, News Ltd

IT WAS his final wish to be buried next to Ernest Shackleton and 90 years after their last expedition together, Antarctic explorer Frank Wild's request will finally be granted.

Wild, considered one of the great Antarctic explorers, will be buried beside his former boss in Antarctica this year after an exhaustive search for his long-lost ashes.

Four of his Australian descendants will be among the passengers taking part in a commemorative cruise with One Ocean Expeditions to South Georgia in November to take his ashes to their final resting place.

Read more

Angela Saurine travelled with Active Travel