Thursday 27 December 2012

Big Thaw: The Great Arctic Ice Melt

From Aurora Expeditions, The Expeditioner, Dec 2012
[get your copy]

In 2012 the smallest Arctic ice pack on record coincided with the northern hemisphere’s warmest recorded summer. This year 500,000 square kilometres of Arctic sea ice melted—more than ever before recorded.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Aurora Expeditions Launch their First Ever Polar Voyages Brochure

Aurora Expeditions launches its first ever Polar Voyages Brochure for 2013-14. In keeping with the company's continued efforts to be environmentally friendly, they have produced just one brochure encompassing all of their spectacular voyages to Antarctica and The European Arctic over the next eighteen months.

Available in ebook and printed format, the new brochure showcases some of the most spectacular Polar regions on earth; introducing readers to the concept of enriching travel through close encounters with wildlife, breathtaking scenery, informative talks and small group camaraderie (groups of 54 or less).

Aurora Expeditions voyages Polar voyages 2013 and 2014 are expected to fill fast, with Fly/Sail options to the Antarctic Peninsula already showing strong demand. Departing South America, these voyages have been designed to reduce sea time and increase time at the destination. The New Across the Arctic Circle voyages are also showing particularly strong demand, giving passengers the opportunity to sample the Scottish, Norwegian and Spitsbergen coasts over 14 days. With adventure levels to suit all tastes, exciting activities across the program include sea kayaking, camping, photography, climbing and polar scuba diving.

Aurora Expeditions, the pioneers of ship-based adventures, are committed to small, low-impact groups keen to experience the Polar Regions in many ways whether by walking, scuba diving, sea kayaking or sitting quietly and absorbing the surrounding magnificence.
The 2013-14 itineraries reflect this commitment. Voyages to The European Arctic start from AU$5,900 and to the Antarctic Peninsula from US$6,365.

Aurora Expeditions can also book your full travel arrangements: flights, hotel accommodation, tours and transfers, making them a one stop shop for your trip of lifetime.

Voyage prices include:
  • Ship accommodation. All public areas are open to passengers.
  • All meals on board ship.
  • All Zodiac and shore excursions from the ship
  • Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services.
  • Medical services. There is a resident medical officer and well equippedclinic on board.
  • Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities.pre-departure information.
Not included:
  • Air transport to and from the ship.
  • Visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes.
  • Hotels and meals not included in ship cruise itinerary.
  • Optional excursions not included in ship cruise itinerary.
  • Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges, phone calls and optional end of voyage tips.
  • Credit card surcharge, if making your final payment by credit card.
  • Emergency evacuation charges.
SHORTCUT: View online now

Voyages Back in Time to the Lost Paradise of Papua New Guinea

During March and April 2013, the award-winning expedition cruise ship Orion will again provide a very civilised and luxurious way to explore the coast and islands of near-neighbour, Papua New Guinea.

11-night itineraries conveniently commence and conclude in Cairns, Queensland, seamlessly incorporating a charter flight direct to or from the ship in Rabaul for boarding or disembarkation.

Discover the photographer-within or anthropologist-within as you explore this land of over 800 languages and a diversity of largely self-contained cultures that will challenge the imagination. Until relatively recently Papua New Guinea was still perceived as an isolated world of head-hunters; a land of mythology, sorcery and witchcraft.

Bypassing the main towns, as Orion does, many villagers have only been exposed to the modern world through the workings of missionaries and occasional traders. Yet step ashore with members of Orion's specialist expedition team and you will be greeted with broad smiles and warm welcomes from gentle villagers - an eye opening introduction to a way of life far removed from our Western world.

Between 1920 and 1926 famed Australian Antarctic photographer, Frank Hurley, visited New Guinea, returning with a portfolio of stunning black and white images. Men in dugout canoes, women carrying babies in string bags, delicate shell and feather ceremonial decorations, intricate tattoos; amazingly, photos of scenes that could have been taken this year so little has changed in a century, perhaps many centuries.

On these Orion voyages encounter primitive tribal cultures (and perhaps purchase superb indigenous artwork and carvings), see unique flora and fauna and enjoy luxuriant snorkelling and fishing in warm indigo and cobalt blue waters, home to some the world's most prolific marine and coral life.

In Rabaul, volcanic Mt Tavurvur grumbles, expelling smoke, gases, ash and volcanic rocks from deep within the earth. Here Admiral Yamamoto directed much of the Japanese Pacific campaign and the detritus of World War II lies scattered for your examination. Tufi's villages are situated within a picturesque series of jungle clad volcanic fjords, tribal cultures unchanged for centuries; while the colonial town of Madang conjures scenes of a Conrad or Hemmingway sitting in a cane chair well positioned to catch the afternoon breeze, sipping pink gin.

Orion's voyages to Papua New Guinea provide modern day explorers with the opportunity to venture to places far from mainstream tourism, yet to do so in the company of like-minded fellow travellers, in comfort and safety and without sacrificing creature comforts.

Priceless experiences that will stay with you for life.

Putting a price on priceless experiences:

11-night Papua New Guinea Cultural Highlights: CAIRNS - optional direct charter flight to RABAUL (overnight onboard), Sepik River & Watam Village, Madang, Tami Islands, Tufi, Kitava (The Trobriands), Samarai and Kwato Islands, Alotau (Milne Bay), CAIRNS. (Or vice versa commencing in Cairns and ending in Rabaul followed by an optional return charter flight to Cairns.)

2013 Departures: 16 March, 27 March

Fares: 11 night fares from $8,070 per person for an ocean view Stateroom /
Junior Suites begin from $9,590 per person / Balcony Suites are $14,205 per person / Owners Suites are $14,560 per person
All prices twin share. Charter flight to or from Cairns/Rabaul $600 per person

Details of Papua New Guinea voyage itineraries available at

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

For reservations or to obtain a 2013 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.


Tuesday 18 December 2012

Cruiseco offers US$2,000 in air credit for Zegrahm Expeditions

 Inline images 1

To celebrate their new partnership with Zegrahm Expeditions, Cruiseco is offering its passengers US$2,000 air credit when booking any of the below cruises.

Amber Wilson, Cruiseco's National Marketing Manager says that they are proud to partner with Zegrahm Expeditions.

"As one of the most established luxury operators of small ship expedition cruises and overland adventures, we are excited to offer our customers Zegrahm Expeditions' wonderfully unique cruises. These expeditions explore the remote and the exotic. For those travellers who think they have already seen and done it all, Zegrahm certainly has something to offer," says Wilson.

Cruise destinations for the 2013 programme include: Sumatra, Vietnam and Cambodia, Japan and the Far East, Brunei, Indonesia, Melanesia, The Galapagos, South America, Australia and New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Africa, Antartica, South Georgia and The Falklands, Alaska, the Baltic, Black Seas and Russia's Far East. The special offer is valid on each of the below cruises:

Circumnavigation of Sumatra - 3 January until 20 January 2012

Enjoy an 18 days/17 nights' cruise from Singapore (return). Visit the World Heritage Site of Malacca in Malaysia and search for wildlife in Gunung Leuser National Park, known for its population of orangutans. From US$11,980 per person. Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to availability.

Vietnam and Cambodia by sea with Angkor Wat - 29 January – 14 February 2013

Enjoy a 17 days/16 nights cruise from Hanoi to Siem Reap. Cruise south along the 1,000 mile-long coast of Vietnam, stopping to discover new wonders including the World Heritage Sites of Hue, My Son, and Hoi An. Highlights of this journey is a two-day exploration of the jungle temples of the Khmer and Champa Empires including Angkor Wat. From $10,980 per person plus. Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to availability.

Rainforests and reefs: Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama - 8 March – 22 March 2013

Cruise for 15 days/14 nights from Belize City to Puerto Caldera (for San Jose). The expedition reveals the wonders of five Central American countries: Belize, Honduras, Colomia, Panama, and Costa Rica, two oceans and the Panama Canal. From $11,980 per person. Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to availability.

Brunei to Bali - 13 February – 27 February 2013

Cruise for 15 days/14 nights from Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei to Bali. Begin your journey on the island of Borneo to experience the elegant palaces and mosques and observe the gentle organutans in Sabah. Cruise to Sulawesi for a visit to Toraja to view the carved architecture. See the legendary Komodo dragon up-close on Komodo Island. From $11,980 per person. Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to availability.

Best of Indonesia Voyage 1 - 25 February – 12 March 2013

Enjoy 16 days/15 nights cruising from Benoa (Bali) to Manado. Immerse yourself in the magic of Bali with beautiful temples, scenery and art. Snorkel or dive in the clear waters of the Flores Sea and step ashore on Komodo Island to view the world's largest lizard. From $10,980 per person. Terms and conditions apply.

Best of Indonesia Voyage 2 - 10 March – 27 March 2013

Cruise for 18 days/17 nights from Manado to Port Moresby. Begin adventure begins at Bunaken National Park. Visit the fascinating cultural and historical sites on Ternate Island, long fought over for its bounty of cloves. Explore the Raja Ampat archipelago and visit remote tribal villages. From $11,980 per person. Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to availability.

Papua New Guinea, Yap and Palau - 18 April – 1 May 2013

Cruise for 14 days/13 nights from Port Moresby to Palau. This far frontier of the western South Pacific (including the outer islands of Papua New Guinea, Yap and Palau) hosts traditional cultures and tropical landscapes. Experience soaring volcanic peaks to submerged craters teeming with fish and meet with native Melanesian and Micronesian people. From $10,980 per person. Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to availability.

Zegrahm Expeditions' fleet of ships have been specially selected for each charter. These include the Clipper Adventure, Clipper Odyssey,Isabella II, Kapitan Khlebnikov, Paulau Aggressor II, Sea Safari VIII, and the newly-added Sea Spirit.
Visit or call (02) 9492 8520 for further information and to find details of your local Cruiseco agent.

Tolbachik Volcano Eruption Continues

Russian Far East volcano Tolbachik erupts after lying dormant for 36 years, visit this region on one of our Russia 2013 voyages.

Plosky Tolbachik volcano bursts into life © Sergey Gorshkov
The Plosky Tolbachik volcano (3682m) burst into activity on November 27 with impressive lava flows of up to 10km, volcanic tremors, and ash plumes rising to almost 10,000 feet. The activity has continued with Tolbachik continuing to produce more ash plumes, active lava flows, and lava fountains at the lower vent.

Plosky Tolbachik is one of 29 active volcanoes (of approx 160 in total) scattered over Kamchatka Peninsula – a 1,250km finger of land between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean.  The region is known as the 'Land of Fire and Ice' for very good reason.  Volcanoes and numerous glaciers combine to create a spectacular ever-changing landscape.  Experts predict this recent eruption may increase in magnitude and may last for some time.

Heritage Expeditions 'Russia's Ring of Fire' voyage can take you to witness Kamchatka's impressive volcanic activity for yourself, not to mention the rich wildlife opportunities. As the most experienced and knowledgeable operator in the Kamchatka region, Heritage Expeditions offers expedition-style voyages to one of the most remote and exciting travel destinations on the planet that few have the chance to experience.

'Russia's Ring of Fire' 13-day voyage aboard the 'Spirit of Enderby' departs on 24 May 2013 starting from US $7100.

Berths are still available on this expedition to the Russian Far East.

Adventure Canada looking for EL

Job Description:

Job Title: Sr. Expedition Cruise Manager (12 month contract)

About the Company:

Adventure Canada is a family owned tour operator that specializes in Polar Expedition Cruising in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland and other international destinations such as Antarctica, New Zealand and Europe. We are approaching our 25th year of operation and are located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Job Description/Duties:

We are looking for a Senior Expedition Cruise Manager with experience in expedition cruising in remote Polar Regions for a 12-month maternity leave contract.

Applicants must have a minimum of 15+ years in a management position and a minimum of 10 years of expedition travel experience in Polar Regions (Canadian Arctic & Antarctic). The candidate must have direct experience in logistical operations, shipboard operations, accounting, sales office management and human resources. Marketing & sales experience in the UK, Australasian and Russian markets are key for product development.

Candidates with experience in small business environments and family business management will be given preference; as will applicants with direct experience and working knowledge of Sea Adventurer and expedition ships. Expedition field experience as Cruise Director and the ability to operate small watercraft and firearms is an advantage.

Full details:
Contact Name: Alana Faber

Orion Focuses on Forgotten Islands

An exciting expedition providing inquisitive explorers and photography enthusiasts alike the chance to improve their photographic skills while on location visiting a string of historically important, though rarely visited, islands just north of Australia. Orion's Forgotten Islands Photography Expedition.

Along a visually stimulating path less travelled there will be ample opportunity to experience cultural, historic and geographic diversity, crossing the trade routes of the early navigators and traders who opened up this new world of spices, gold and pearls.

Commencing in Bali, sail in 5 star luxury for 10 nights aboard the expedition ship Orion to Thursday Island in Torres Strait, then head south through the northern Great Barrier Reef to disembark in the north Queensland port of Cairns.

Relive prehistoric times exploring Komodo to see the world's largest lizards. Growing to over 3 metres in length Komodo dragons these dominant predators are an impressive sight. Whereas they don't spit flames like mythical dragons they can be seen dribbling blood-red toxic ridden saliva after feeding - impressive subjects for photography.

Journey to southwest Maluku; virtually inaccessible, these unspoilt islands appear to float on seas of blue and green shot silk. Very few outsiders set foot here and a unique cultural experience is guaranteed on Yamdena Island, the former Dutch trading colony, and the tiny island of Kisar with a heritage of 400 years of European history. Wide angle landscape or portrait lens here?

Enjoy the languorous tropical outpost of Thursday Island in Torres Strait, with its pearling traditions and traditional ice cold XXXX beer. At Orion Reef snorkel (and try your hand at underwater photography) on this remote part of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, before the voyage concludes in Cairns.

Every step of the way, guests will have the experience of professional still and video photographers Nick Rains and Pieter de Vries to help improve techniques and create stunning travel photography. Onboard photography workshops include professional advice and instruction on understanding and optimizing camera settings, framing your subject to capture the moment, printing, post processing methods and file management.

Pieter will be holding workshops and screenings to help improve video skills, including how to create engaging story-telling sequences, filming animals, working from boats, tripod and handheld tips, and how to achieve the best possible audio. Invaluable information for owners of modern DSLR cameras with video capability.

As on all Orion expedition voyages, the specialist Expedition Team, selected for their knowledge and practical experience in fields that include botany, marine biology, anthropology and history, will share their in-depth knowledge to enhance guest experiences.

This 10 night Orion Forgotten Islands voyage provides a heady blend of local culture, European discovery, geology, unique flora and fauna all wrapped and presented in a series of beautiful islands forgotten in time. Priceless experiences that will stay with you for life.

Putting a price on priceless experiences:

2013 Departure: 28 November

10-night Forgotten Islands : BALI - Komodo, Kisar, Sangliat Dol, Thursday Island, Great Barrier Reef, CAIRNS

Fares: from $7,655 per person for an ocean view Stateroom /

Junior Suites begin from $8,975 per person / Balcony Suites are $11,565 per person / Owners Suites are $12,025 per person.

All prices twin share.

Details of Forgotten Islands voyage itinerary available at

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

For reservations or to obtain a 2013 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.


Video: A Windy Day

There's a lot of time to kill on some of the longer expedition cruises. Heritage Expeditions passengers found a particularly amusing timewaster. Enjoy!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

What's New in Small Ship Cruising

Inline images 1

AdventureSmith Explorations Adds 13 New Small Ship Itineraries for 2013: Reports Next Year's Sales 20 Percent Ahead of Last Year
Small ship, expedition cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations reports that 13 new cruise itineraries have been added to its 2013 portfolio, which now represents more than 65 vessels operating worldwide
"Our top new trips have something for everyone, with familiar and easy destinations such as Alaska and Hawaii to exotic locales like the Arctic, Belize and the Adriatic Sea. Some of these trips are active with ample activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling while others offer easy wilderness or cultural cruising," said Todd Smith, owner and founder. He noted that the new trips were added to support growing demand from past clients who have indicated their preferences for Alaska, Antarctica and Galapagos.
Smith, in late 2012 joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious 13th Annual Travel Specialists List as the world's top expert on expedition cruising.
"Three quarters of our clients this year were experiencing small ship cruises for the first time," said Smith, adding that 2012 sales are up 30 percent over 2011 and that 2013 sales are already 20 percent ahead of this point last year.
Following is a sampling of five new itineraries some of which are currently offering booking specials.
Fabled Lands of the North
The increasingly popular Arctic thrills adventurers with sightings of polar bears, walrus and whales in Arctic Svalbard and Spitzbergen.  While most Arctic trip itineraries focus on Svalbard and Iceland and depart from northern Europe, making them challenging for travelers in North America, Fabled Lands of the North begins in Ottawa and ends in Newfoundland, making it easier for North American travelers to explore the dazzling North. This itinerary explores the Canadian Arctic including Baffin Island and the Labrador Coast combined with the rugged west coast of Greenland. New bookings made by Dec. 31, 2012, can opt for complimentary charter airfare from Ottawa to Kangerlussuaq (a value of $1,200 per person).
Alaska Unleashed
On the 36-passenger Wilderness Explorer guests spend significant time with the expedition team guiding them into some of Alaska's most scenic and untouched places.  Although the lower passenger counts make the price point higher, the additional activity, says Smith, "makes it all worth it." Combine this with the company's Alaska Ultimate Adventure for Alaska's most extreme cruise tour.  New bookings on any Alaska Unleashed 2013 departure receive a $100 per person shipboard credit through Jan. 11, 2013.
Belize Ancient Sites, Rain Forests and Coral Reefs
With the second largest barrier reef in the world, countless island cayes, accessible rivers and small ports Belize is perfectly suited for small ship cruises. Remote mainland ports allow access to ancient Maya temples, pristine rainforest teeming with wildlife and the diverse cultures of Belize. Guests booking departures from Miami, Atlanta, Houston or Dallas-Ft. Worth can fly free, round-trip economy to Belize City or receive up to a $500 air credit.
AdventureBound Hawaii
Hawaii is an active travel playground but traditional vacations miss the mark with crowded beaches and rushed activity tours. AdventureBound Hawaii offers an affordable and active small ship cruise experience for travelers seeking to experience traditional culture, meet locals, and discover a Hawaii most never know. All explorations include a slate of activities including stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and skiff tours with opportunities to go ashore for touring, hiking, or lose-your-cares beach time.
Adriatic Odyssey
The Adriatic Odyssey is an exciting new alternative to more traditional Mediterranean small ship cruises. By focusing solely on the eastern Adriatic this cruise offers a unique exploration of the lesser known and less crowded ports and historical sites. Guests who book a cruise departure by January 31, 2013 will receive a 50 percent discount for the second traveler. Solo travelers receive a discount on the single supplement (pay 25% supplement instead of the standard 50%).
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, California along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. For information, availability and 2013 reservations Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free, visit or Email:

Tuesday 11 December 2012

RMS St Helena – New Tours Announced

RMS St Helena

New exciting voyages departing in 2013. Head to the far-flung British outpost, St Helena, in the Atlantic Ocean, onboard the historic and nostalgic, RMS St Helena. There is no journey like it.
Stargazing Tour
Travel in the company of Steve Owens, professional stargazer, dark skies consultant and author of the book, Stargazing for Dummies. Steve has many credentials, not least that in 2009 he set up the first International Dark Sky Park in the UK. He is working with St Helena, looking to protect their nightscape and benefit from dark skies.
St Helena is steeped in astronomical history and this tour will allow you to stargaze from a truly unique place. Among other places, you’ll visit the sites of Halley’s observatory, he of comet fame.

Hideaway Tour
The Hideaway Tour focuses on the many aspects of St Helena’s landscape, from the historical to the environmental. The tour is led by Professor Colin Lewis who has published many books and research papers and specialises in the study of climate change as evidenced by landforms and other features.
He has published articles on the history of St Helena’s natural environment and the carbon content of the ocean surrounding the island, so you couldn’t be in better hands exploring this isolated and wonderful island.

Calling all Birdwatchers
There are only a few places left on this brand new Birding Tour, developed to introduce you to the natural wonders of St Helena. See nesting seabirds and the endemic Wirebird as well as the many endemic and endangered plant species found on the island of St Helena.
The tour is led by Alastair Kilpin who has travelled extensively, soaking up the natural world. He managed a large community-owned wildlife concession in the Serengeti where he trained guides and led walking safaris. He will be accompanied by other enthusiasts from St Helena National Trust. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Exciting Developments onboard the RMS St Helena
The popularity of the RMS St Helena continues to rise and to satisfy the increased demand, seven new passenger cabins were added during its 2012 dry dock. To accommodate the new cabins the doctor’s surgery was relocated and a brand new gym fitted on the funnel deck, offering spectacular views of the South Atlantic Ocean. So you can now pedal or power walk your way to fitness in one of the most amazing and inspiring gym locations.


Hang with orangutans in Borneo

orang utan borneo escape 9
A huge alpha male orangutan (not Big Tom) at the
first feeding station. Picture: Obrien Barry
IT IS a magic moment. A strong hand plonks on my shoulder.

I look down to see two incredibly long arms reaching up and a young orang-utan pleading to be picked up.

My tentative hands oblige.

With arms around my neck, two beautiful black eyes peer quizzically into mine.

Read more:

Saturday 8 December 2012

Polar Bear Attack - Close Call

Never take wild animals for granted. The Arctic is no zoo and these passengers had a lucky escape. Pay attention to your expedition leader.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Flying High - G Adventures offering free flights between Peru and the Galapagos

For travellers who combine their Peru itinerary with a trip to the Galapagos in 2013

G Adventures will pay for the flight between Lima and Quito

G Adventures , the leading small-group adventure travel tour operator, is offering travellers a free flight between Lima and Quito (or Quito to Lima) for any Peru Itineraries booked in conjunction with a tour to the Galapagos Islands.

The offer is valid for trips departing in 2013 and gives travellers a great opportunity to experience the wonders of two of the highlights of South America – The Galapagos Islands and Peru - together.

Pete Rawley, Head Honcho of G Adventures Australia / NZ, says “This is another example of how G Adventures innovates our product and leads with service so we can offer both agency partners and travellers the best possible experience”.

“We run a number of tours in both Peru and in the Galapagos Islands, and by offering a free flight between the two, travellers can see both of these amazing destinations without breaking the bank.”

One-way tickets are available between Lima and Quito for up to 30 days between the two tour dates, allowing travellers the flexibility to spend a few extra days seeing the highlights of the area.

For more information, visit:

Wednesday 5 December 2012


Compagnie du Ponant has introduced its second partnership with French magazine Cuisine et Vins de France. In 2013 the new Gastronomic Odyssey onboard L'Austral sails around Andalusia, the Balearic Islands and Costa Brava in the company of experts from the leading gastronomic magazine.

The program includes gala dinners by the most talented Michelin-starred chefs of their generation: Emmanuel Renaut, the only chef to have received three Michelin stars in 2012, and Christopher Hache, chef at Les Ambassadeurs restaurant at Hôtel de Crilion in Paris, who has already received one Michelin star.

The gourmet journey will include three conference and tasting sessions of great champagne houses anbd excellent wines from the Bordeaux region, and introducing Spanish wines. These sessions will be hosted by Karine Valentin, Cuisine et Vins de France wine journalist and renowned wine expert and famous wine consultant Olivier Dauga.

The eight night experience from Malaga (Spain) to Marseilles (France) from 13 to 20 April 2013 with prices starting from AUD $3,268.

For cruise information for Compagnie du Ponant, please contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622.  

Tuesday 4 December 2012

New 11-Night Fiji Lau Cruise from Captain Cook Cruises

Captain Cook Cruises, Fiji is embarking on the first ever Discovery Cruise, to a part of Fiji never seen by tourists before*, the pristine Lau group. The cruise onboard the MV Reef Endeavour is scheduled to depart on 22 October, 2013 for 11 amazing nights.
"Captain Cook Cruises is so excited to be able to offer the first ever cruise around the Lau Group of Islands. We have worked really hard, using local knowledge and advice, to put together a fantastic 11 night itinerary that will not only show off everything Lau has to offer, but that will allow passengers to experience a remote and unspoilt part of Fiji." Says Jackie Charlton, Managing Director of Captain Cook Cruises, Fiji.
Invited to visit these incredible islands by locals eager to share their beauty, the 11 night Lau cruise will visit the untouched northern island of Lau - Wailagilala, Lau's largest Island - Vanuabalavu, the most beautiful Island in the Lau group - Fulaga, the uninhabited Vuaqava, Kabara - known for its wood turning and Tongan heritage and the untouched white beaches of Totoya Island.
On the way to and from the Lau group the cruise will stop in at Yanuca Island, Savusavu Bay and Kadavu, famous for its wildlife and underwater world.
Passengers can also sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular views as they cruise through the Bay of Islands, renowned for its beauty, pristine waters and spectacular scenery and the central Lau Group, passing Islands such as Lakeba, Oneata, Komo, Namuka-i-Lau and Yagasa.
Exciting activities over these 12 days include Kayaking or river tubing on the Nasakawa River, mountain bike riding through hills, valleys and villages in Savusavu Bay, visiting a crater of an extinct volcano at Cobia, fishing at Wailagilala, visiting Fijian and Tongan influenced villages and schools, attending a local church service, exploring the flora and fauna of the Vuaqava region, a traditional Meke, Sevusevu and lovo feast and endless swimming, snorkelling and diving in the clear blue ocean water off picturesque islands and in beautiful lagoons.
If a day trip isn't for you, passengers can also stay on-board and be pampered at the ships Senikai Day Spa offering a range of body treatments, work out in the ship's mini gym or simply relax on the sun deck by the spa or pool or grab a cocktail at the pool bar.
Dining is another vital ingredient of these amazing cruises. Whether it is an alfresco luncheon, a casual barbecue or table d'hote dinner, all food is prepared on board from fresh local and imported produce and cultural on-board entertainment adds a special flavour to the mix.
The Discovery Lau cruise departs Tuesday 22 October 2013 at 1.00pm from Port Denarau and disembarks on Saturday 2 November, 2013 at 9.00am at Port Denarau.
The 11 night cruise is priced from $3430 per adult twin share, children 5 -17 years sharing with adults are priced from $730 per child and children under 4 years are priced at $1200 which includes a nanny service.  Prices include accommodation, all meals, daily stopovers and water activities, guided village, school and island tours, glass bottom boat excursions, Marine Biologist and cultural talks, child minding during meal times (5 -10 years), on board entertainment and use of the ship's facilities including swimming pool, spas, pool bar, sun deck, sauna, cocktail bar, day spa and library.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises on T: +61 9126 8160 or from within Australia: 1300 To Fiji (86 3454), Email: or visit

* editor notes: Blue Lagoon Cruises has previously visited the Northern Lau Group, while this is the first cruise exploration of the entire Lau Group
(see map)

Navigating Vietnam from the water

cruiseco adventurer dec 1 escape
The Cruiseco Adventurer sails through
the Mekong River. Picture: Supplied
STEVE Lloyd is in a celebratory mood as he casts an eye over the top deck of his sleek new ship as it meanders up the mighty Mekong River though Vietnam en route to Cambodia.

"We were ambitious when building," Lloyd grins.

He has every reason to be pleased with himself. Hours earlier, Buddhist monks blessed the Cruiseco Adventurer before it was christened in port at My Tho, near Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam.

The luxury, 60-berth riverboat is at near capacity, with 48 passengers from Australia aboard for its maiden voyage.

Read more:

Monday 3 December 2012

Russia’s undiscovered Sea – wildlife encounters with the rare ringed ice seal

Inline images 2

The Sea of Okhotsk, directly north of Japan and bordering Russia's south, is ice free for just a few months a year, and the open waters of spring are ideal for expedition travel in search of indigenous wildlife.

Inline images 1

Heritage Expeditions pioneered expeditions to the Russian Far East and remain the most experienced and knowledgeable operator offering voyages to one of the last frontiers for travel and adventure.
The small numbers ( 50 PASSENGERS) aboard the Spirit of Enderby guarantee you more landings and more time ashore to experience, observe and enjoy. Their Sea of Okhotsk voyage departs 5 June to 21 June 2013 with cabins from US$8300.
Heritage Expeditions on 1800 143 585 (within Australia), 0800 262 8873 within New Zealand, or 1866 285 7884 from US/Canada

APT cruises into luxury small ship expeditions

New brochure: APT Luxury Small Ship Expedition Cruises 2013-14

APT cruises into luxury small ship expeditions

APT has released its first small ship expedition cruising brochure following the June investment in the Noble Caledonia and its specialists ships Caledonia Sky and Island Sky.

The May 2012-refurbished 110-passenger/74-crew Caledonia Sky is the main ship featured in the brochure -- APT Luxury Small Ship Expedition Cruises 2013-14 –  specifically for the Australian and New Zealand market for cruises covering the regions of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia's Kimberley coast, and Japan while the Island Sky offers a circumnavigation of Cuba.

APT General Manager Marketing, Debra Fox said APT was providing the best of two worlds in this program: APT's hallmark high standards of travelling style, comfort, service and all-inclusive pricing that has evolved from 85 years experience; and adventurous and life-enriching encounters with some of the world's most isolated and inaccessible regions.

"This combination will top the bragging rights," she said. "It pushes the boundaries of conventional travel."

Of the ship, Ms Fox said "it feels like a private yacht or a fine Country Club", it is equipped with an International fine dining restaurant, lounges and sun decks, offers five different cabin styles, each suite is at least 216 square feet which is almost twice the size of suites on standard big ships, all cabins have WiFi and flat screen TV, and an elevator services all decks.

It visits smaller ports where big ships cannot stop because of their need of greater facilities and infrastructure.  As a result APT will bypass the mass tourism circuit and is able to take advantage of ad hoc opportunities.

On the service side, all passengers can undertake excursions at the same time because it has 10 onboard Zodiacs and expeditions are led by experts (marine biologists, historians, geologists, anthropologists, explorers or botanists etc).

Prices include cruising, all meals, onboard lectures, tipping, gratuities, shore excursions (Freedom on of Choice Sightseeing Inclusions) and house wines, beers and soft drinks with all lunches and dinners.

Each departure is a one-off which APT says makes the APT expedition program the most specialised on the seas.

Fly free deals and discounts ranging from $250 to $1050 per person are offered for early bookings, expiry dates for which are between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013.

Lead-in cruise is the 14-day South East Asia Explorer (from $9995 per person, twin share, departing September 25, 2013) which cruises from Darwin to Singapore, following a route similar to "The Journey of the Krait", one of the most successful covert operations in Australian military history.

The 19-day Beyond the Dragon's Lair (from $13,959, departing February 13, 2014) starts in Jakarta and finishes in Port Moresby.

An 11-day Kimberley Coast cruise (from $7995, departing September 5, 2013) has 13 and 15-day options which include Darwin and/or Broome, while the 28-dayGrand Kimberley (from $17,395, departing August 19, 2013) includes an 11-day coast cruise and 17-day 4WD land tour with Kimberley Wilderness Adventures.

The 16-day Japanese Spring Gardens (from $11,995, departing April 17, 2014) is a cruise organised by APT's sister company Botanica. It starts in Kyoto, cruises the southern waters of Japan, sails to South Korea and then cruises along the west coast of Japan.

Also in the brochure are the 15-day Spirit of the Spanish Main (from $10,295, departing January 25, 2014) which starts in Nassau and cruises through The Bahamas, around Cuba to Mexico and Belize, and the 27-day Cuba and Mayan Adventure (from $17,795, departing January 22, 2014) which offers a city stay in Miami, the cruise and a ten day land tour of Belize and Guatemala.

These Cuba cruises are on Island Sky, which is almost identical to Caledonia Sky.

To complement the extensive sightseeing already included, APT provides a collection of handpicked Signature Experiences for a genuine immersion in each destination. Widely diverse, these activities are featured at no extra cost. One expedition offers the chance to roam the wilds of Rinca Island to see the fascinating Komodo dragons. Another adventure takes travellers to meet local Papuan tribesmen on an authentic village experience.

In personalising the expedition experience, APT also offers a range of different Freedom of Choice Sightseeing Inclusions – from rounds of golf and cooking classes, to military history tours and a Papuan Sepik River experience.

Free Air to Galapagos with Lindblad

National Geographic Endeavour
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced a special offer of free roundtrip airfare to Galapagos on select expeditions aboard the National Geographic Endeavour. Book by December 31, 2012 to receive free roundtrip air between Miami/Galapagos on the following 2013 departures: January 11, January 25, February 22, March 15 and April 5.

Consistently rated one of the world’s best island destinations, Galapagos is like being in the ultimate zoo without the fences, and offers unprecedented proximity to wild creatures that exhibit no fear of humans. And with 40+ years exploring Galapagos, Lindblad Expeditions’ profound knowledge of the destination provides guests a unique, richly immersive experience and a life changing adventure for all ages.

The 96 guest National Geographic Endeavour offers year round 10-day expeditions in Galapagos.

Bookings and enquiries:

Thursday 29 November 2012

Shorter Mekong Cruises on Pandaw

RV Mekong Pandaw
Passengers can now book Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, or Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, on the RV Mekong Pandaw.

SHORTER Mekong itineraries, of only three or four nights in duration, have been introduced by Pandaw River Expeditions, priced from US$704 with "very last minute 20% discount" for departures next month.

Available from Dec 2012 through Mar 2013, the program provides an extra option for Australians travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The trips to or from Siem Reap involve a five-hour coach transfer to or from Kampong Cham, while the excursion up the Tonle River to Kampong Chhnang is by either coach or ship depending on water levels.

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Phnom Penh sailings explore the main Mekong channel, with visits to a tribal village, catfish farm and floating markets, and a trishaw ride.

Siem Reap packages include tours of temples, villages and the Twin Holy Mountains.

Meanwhile, the Tonle Pandaw will return to Burma next year to start a weekly rotation cruise out of Mandalay.

Sailing upriver to the Third Defile and then down to Pagan, the route takes in all major sights in addition to lesser-known stops such as the pot-making villages.

“This cruise alleviates the need for any hotels at Mandalay and Pagan, which solves a huge problem for the traveler, and the need to go in and out via Yangon,” which has become gridlocked with traffic in recent times, Pandaw said.

The cruise will connect with direct international flights to Mandalay.

In 2013, Air Asia, Bangkok Air, Thai and Silk Air are scheduled to have direct flights to Mandalay from Bangkok and Singapore.

With ten vessels exploring four countries, Pandaw is the largest "luxury" river cruise company in Asia.

Fares include English-speaking guides, crew gratuities, meals, locally made alcoholic beverages soft drinks, tea, coffee and mineral water.

For information, see

Cruise Passenger Magazine: Pacific Pleasures, Ocean to Ocean

North Star Cruises - Special Guest to join the Southern Safari

Inline images 1

North Star Cruises is very excited to announce that Tony Parkinson, founder of the Penny's Hill vineyard, will be joining the TRUE NORTH's Southern Safari cruise.

Make sure you mark this opportunity down as the only way to start the New Year. The Southern Safari is nothing short of a wine and seafood-lovers delight.

Just some of the aquatic fare includes sashimi in the ship's lounge, Coffin Bay oysters fresh from the farm and washed down with chilled champagne, buckets of freshly caught whiting and sweetest of all – mouth-watering blue swimmer crabs! Plus throw-in lunch at the Penny's Hill vineyard, 2 days cruising around must-see Kangaroo Island, cage diving with great white sharks, swimming with Port Lincoln's giant tuna, some of the most reliable fishing action on the Australian coast and, you've got a safari with a difference!

Tony Parkinson will personally introduce some the TRUE NORTH's brand new wines and, he is also keen to share some of the local area's best kept secrets! Tony first started growing grapes in the McLaren Vale in 1988 and ultimately was driven to the production of premium estate-grown wines under the distinctive 'red dot' Penny's Hill label. This was followed by the opening of an award-winning restaurant and cellars on the historic 1855 "Ingleburne" property and, in conjunction with winemaker Ben Riggs, the development of other fine labels such as Mr Riggs and The Black Chook. In addition to his prominent role at Penny's Hill, Tony is also co-founder of the Fleurieu Biennale - Australia's richest landscape painting prize. He also recently established the MUD Literary Club which raises funds for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali and the Adelaide Writer's Week. When time permits, he also races vintage cars.

The 8 night Southern Safari departs Adelaide on January 14 and includes a flight from Ceduna back to Adelaide at the end of the cruise.

For more information, see the complete itinerary at or contact your adventure partners at

To make arrangements - contact your preferred travel representative or email your adventure partners at or
phone (+61 8) 9192 1829.


Wednesday 28 November 2012

The 50th edition of Cruise Passenger magazine out now

This specially commissioned cover is an original artwork that celebrates the enduring romance of cruise travel – and the continuing popularity of good, old-fashioned, top-quality travel writing!

Readers have the chance to win a limited-edition, poster-size print signed by the artist, Michael Crampton, in a competition that’s ridiculously easy to enter.

We’re also celebrating the world’s love affair with cruise travel by offering the chance to win an amazing voyage for two people in Australia’s hottest destination, The Kimberley, with Orion Expedition Cruises. Worth $25,860, this competition is open to all our subscribers, existing and new. Yes, you have to be a subscriber to receive Cruise Passenger magazine and at $29.95 a year (the price of about 10 cappuccinos) it’s an absolute bargain. And a lovely present for a good friend.

More must-reads in this edition:
• Best in the business: 2012 winners of the 8th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
• Accent on Europe: Away from the madding crowds; classic Royal Scotsman rail journey combined with a Celtic cruise; Oceania Marina in the Med.
• Inspiring Escapes: Gourmet dining on the Peruvian Amazon; traversing the Northwest Passage; a classic Alaska cruise; visiting lesser-known South Pacific spots with a boutique cruise line.
• New ships: editor’s review of Celebrity Reflection, plus a look at what’s coming up in 2013.
• News: Jump on a European river cruise next year with MasterChef‘s Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, My Kitchen Rules’ sexy Frenchman Manu Feildel, and Ready Steady Cook’s Janelle Bloom, Alastair McLeod and Damian Heads.

Cruise Passenger magazine is published by Edge, 51 Whistler Street, Manly, NSW 2095. It is an independent voice in the cruise industry and has been published since 1976. It covers ocean, river and adventure cruises in ships of all sizes and for all budgets and has a loyal following among discerning world travellers. If you haven’t discovered the world of cruising already, think on this: it’s no longer the domain of the “newly wed, over-fed and nearly dead”!

Pitch a Tent in Antarctica – a once-in-a-lifetime treat offered by Hurtigruten on Antarctica sailings

Inline images 1

Pricing Specials on Several Sailings Adds to the Excitement – Upwards of 25% Off

Hurtigruten continues to find ways to add excitement and unique qualities to its exploration sailings – with the latest being the option to pitch tents and camp overnight on the frozen landscapes of the White Continent.  Guests opting for this truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure get a glimpse of how it might have been for explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Earnest Shackleton – albeit with the perks of modern equipment and safeguards.  "The idea is to offer our guests an authentic experience in the spirit of the great explorer, Amundsen," explains Mona Ringstrand, explorer product manager at Hurtigruten ASA.  This "bragging rights" adventure is priced at about $500 per person.

The company is also offering special pricing for its Jan. 20 Weddell Sea sailing and four Classic Expedition departures – upwards of 25% off regular fares. This is a savings of $4,000 to $9,000 per couple.

Accompanied by two experienced expedition guides for every 15 participants, guests will participate in the set up of the two-person tents and will be supplied with all cold-weather needs -- except pajamas.  The guides will be doing activities dependent on the situations – short walks, talks, listening to the polar sounds, offering hot drinks and a cold drink toast, wake-up calls for the White Continent sunrise, and more.  Developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute, the company abides by IAATO guidelines – all meals are still on board the MS Fram.  Although offered on every departure, the final decision regarding which sailings as well as locations of the camping option are determined by weather and land conditions.

Hurtigruten offers five different Antarctica itineraries aboard the well-designed expedition ship, MS Fram, with starting prices from $5,327 to $10,321:

10-day "Classic Expedition" focuses solely on Antarctica, sailing through the Drake Passage to landings that immerse guests in the remote landscape and exotic wildlife of The White Continent;
13-day "Polar Circle Expedition," similar to the 10-day experience, spends its extra days traveling as far south as the Antarctic Circle;
13-day "Weddell Sea Expedition" follows the path forged by British Captain James Weddell, who reached 74º latitude in 1823 - a first for explorations;
17-day "Christmas Expedition" celebrates the season with traditional carols, festive meals, Santa Claus visits and a New Year's gala and includes the Falklands and South Georgia;
19-day "In the Realm of the Great Explorers" explores the areas visited by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, and takes in the sub-Arctic eco-system of the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition voyages, 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 and fall.  The company's fleet of 12 intimate ships, which each carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy the scenery and culture of the destination in a relaxed atmosphere.  Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten's visitor-friendly website,; by phone at 877-301-3117; or fax at 888-524-2145.  To order brochures 24 hours a day, call 800-582-0835.

Friday 23 November 2012

Heritage Nile cruise and deal aboard SS Hadeel

Inline images 1

Home on the Nile's SS Hadeel

For seven nights cruising on Icon Holidays' 12-day Nile Heritage Cruise, home is a traditional Egyptian dahabiyya, the SS Hadeel. With only eight double cabins, each with ensuite, the Hadeel offers a very special and intimate journey down the Nile. Though traditional in design, the ship has a dining room, lounge, spa and open air viewing area – perfect for an evening cocktail.

During the leisurely cruise between Luxor and Aswan, passengers visit the country's majestic temples and sites, testament to five thousand years of Egyptian history.

The tour starts with Cairo's Great Pyramids, the Sphinx and the old capital of Memphis. After the cruise, guests visit Abu Simbel to see the temples of the great Ramses II and his Queen, Nefertari.

Prices range from $3361 to $5016 per person, twin share depending on season and choice of hotel style. The price includes hotel in Cairo, the cruise, two local flights, Abu Simbel excursion by air with private tour guide,  26 meals (including three meals a day on the SS Hadeel) and all entrance fees.

Icon is offering half price for a second person for bookings made on any Egypt itinerary between December and May before December 31.

Four Seasons Nile Plaza (Nile View room), Grand Nile Tower (Grand Room), and the Cairo Sheraton (Nile View room) are hotel choices in Cairo.

The cruise package operates every week from December to May inclusive

Contact: 1300 853 953 or see

Icon Holidays is an Australian-owned company.

Aurora Expedition Deals

North Pole Expedition – 5% Discount

Be one of only 250 people to stand at the top of the world in 2013. Our voyage begins in Finland aboard Fifty Years of Victory, the world’s most sophisticated icebreaker capable of crushing three-metre-thick ice. An onboard helicopter extends our ability to visit ice-locked Franz Josef Land in search of polar bear. Celebrate with champagne upon arrival at 90® North and enjoy an optional hot air balloon flight above the North Pole to complete this experience of a lifetime.
Click here for more details

Spitsbergen 2013 – 10% Discount

Exclusive 10% discount to enews subscribers on Spitsbergen voyages departing on 16 - 26 July and 26 July - 5 August 2013. (Savings of up to AU$1050 per person) Explore the Jewel in the Arctic Crown, an archipelago as diverse in scenery as it is rich in wildlife. The land of the midnight sun provides opportunity to seek out polar bear, walrus, whales and seals amid landscapes of breathtaking magnitude.
Click here for more details

South Indian Ocean Voyage - 5% Discount

A once in a lifetime opportunity to experience untamed Heard Island - deep in the South Indian Ocean, 4,000 kms from Western Australia and 1,000 kms from the Antarctic continent. At this rarely visited Subantarctic outpost resides a bounty of wildlife: southern elephant seals, king, gentoo, macaroni and rockhopper penguins. A molten glow and billow of smoke issues from the crater of Big Ben, Australia’s highest mountain and only active volcano.
Click here for more details

1 week remaining on Antarctica Earlybird Specials

Selected voyages on the Antarctic 2013/14 program are still subject to a 10% Earlybird Discount. Seize the opportunity to cruise amongst ice floes, get up close to penguins and seals or enjoy an evening camping on the ice.
Click here to view 2013/14 Expedition Schedule or contact our team for details.

Terms and conditions apply to all offers.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Is this the world's rarest bird?

Amsterdam Albatross

Amsterdam Albatross

After many days at sea we were delighted to have a very rare visitor. This Amsterdam Albatross circled the ship for 2 hours as we sheltered from a westerly storm in the lee of Amsterdam Island. There are only about 140 of these birds in the world and they all nest on this island and remain in the Indian Ocean. Our male visitor came close enough for us to read the band number on his leg and through this we were able to access his life history from the French researchers on Amsterdam Island. Fascinating!


Captain Cook Sailing for the Lau Group

Reef Endeavour will be embarking on her first Discovery Cruise to the pristine Lau group for 11 nights in October 2013. Captain Cook Cruises have been invited to visit these incredible islands by locals eager to share their beauty. editor, Roderick Eime, has visited these islands twice and can attest to their unspoiled charm.

See CCC's announcement

Tuesday 20 November 2012

G Adventures Antarctica Deal - save 25%

Inline images 1

G Adventures, the leading small-group adventure travel tour operator, is giving Australian travellers a unique opportunity to experience the wonders of Antarctica at 25% off.

Guests who book before 31st December 2012 for a February 16th departure in 2013 on G Adventures Antarctica Classic cruise will receive a 25% discount on the total cost of the trip.

Pete Rawley, Head Honcho of G Adventures Australia / NZ, says  "Antarctica in February is breathtaking – it's the best time during the season for whale-watching, and less ice in the region generally allows exploration further south along the Peninsula."

"We have had fantastic support for our polar programmes from the Australian travel industry over the past few years, so much so that we now send more Australians to Antarctica than any other nationality."

The discount applies to the trip categories 3-5. For more information follow the link below, or call G Adventures on 1300 796 618 and ask about the 25% off Antarctica special before December 31st.


Monday 19 November 2012

Orion Launches New Web Site

Luxury expedition cruise company, Orion Expedition Cruises, has launched a new website. Completely redesigned, it provides a better overall user experience; visually more sophisticated, it retains detailed information highly praised by trade and consumers alike.

Adding a new easy-to-operate format combined with enhanced navigation and usability the site features:

Simplified easy-to-use navigation bar providing logical access to extensive layers of information for voyages '

Plan your expedition' search tool allows the user to refine their search by choice of expedition, region, departure date, voyage duration, specific interest, experiences and ship.

Interactive maps of the Asia Pacific region contain all the destinations Orion vessels explore - over 94 destinations from the polar reaches of Antarctica to the tropical climes of Borneo. Video footage of numerous destinations

Detailed day by day descriptions for each itinerary

A new section indicates 'live pricing'. Now consumers and travel agents can check for the latest pricing to ensure access to the best possible savings

A new 'My Voyage' section provides useful background and information for guests who have booked but have not yet travelled, including a facility to pre-register for optional excursions and beauty & spa treatments

The site will enhance Orion Expedition Cruises' well-established position as the leading luxury expedition cruise company in the region.

For reservations or to obtain a brochure of 2013 expeditions call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent. Email:

Sunday 18 November 2012

North Star Cleared in Croc Attack, Rescuers Awarded

Alan Sartori with West Australian Governor Malcolm McCusker.
Picture: Daniel Wilkins
News Limited
 Source: News Limited

A MYSTERY rescuer known only as "Big Al" has broken his silence to reveal how he wrestled a 3m crocodile that had latched on to a friend's leg.

Far from considering himself a hero, he said: "I just did what I thought was right."

Tara Hawkes, 23, was swimming in a waterhole 200km north of Broome in April when the crocodile bit her thigh and pulled her underwater.

Alan Sartori "Big Al" said he acted on instinct when her heard her screams, launching himself into the pool and on to the attacker's back.

"I saw it on top of her. I jumped into the water and on to its back and pushed it into the shallows. I stuck my thumbs into its eyes and felt it start to slacken off," Mr Sartori, 35, said yesterday as he was honoured at the Royal Life Saving Society's Western Power Bravery Awards.

"Tara was bleeding pretty heavily. I picked it up and chucked it back into the water and it came back at me. It was pretty heavy. I wouldn't ever want to do it again. I'm just glad I took the chance and had a crack (at saving her)."

It was an emotional reunion at the awards ceremony as Ms Hawkes said she wouldn't be alive without the heroics of Mr Sartori and Mike Fletcher, who helped wrestle the crocodile.

After months of rehabilitation, scars are the only physical reminder of the attack, but she still suffers anxiety and panic attacks, and is seeing a counsellor.

Ms Hawkes and Mr Sartori had been working as crew members on the Kimberley vessel True North. Mr Fletcher was a passenger, and all agreed the ordeal had made them life-long friends.

"It took me under and all I could see was black and my life literally flashed before my eyes. It was just so big and so strong and I was helpless," Ms Hawkes said. "It was about to do a death roll, I think. I was gone if they didn't come for me. I owe them my life.

"The three of us were punching this thing in the face and screaming and shoving our fingers in its eyes and trying to hit it.

"I basically had to piece my leg back together. It was pretty horrible. I look at my scars every day and think about it. I will carry these guys in my heart wherever they go."

Mr Fletcher said: "Al was so intense, his face was so steely.

"Al was holding this thing by the head out of the water with its jaws wide open. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen".

A subsequent Worksafe investigation determined the ship's owners, North Star Cruises, were not at fault in the incident, and had taken adequate steps to protect staff from crocodile attacks.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Last minute discounts from Oceanwide

Voyage OTL22 aboard m/v “Ortelius”
11-days ship-based helicopter voyage to the Emperor Penguins in the Weddell Sea
(Antarctic Peninsula)
24 November – 04 December 2012
2 for the price of 1
This offer applies for new reservations, 1 person pays full price and the second person travels for free and includes free accommodation, all meals and harbour fees and also includes fuel surcharge, but excludes the helicopter surcharge of US $ 3,460.
For example, the first person pays US $ 13,750 plus US $ 250 fuel surcharge in a twin porthole cabin, the second person pays US $ 3,460 = US $ 8,730 per person.

Voyage PLA24 aboard m/v “Plancius”
10-days voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula, 13 – 22 December 2012
40 % discount
This offer applies for new reservations.
For example, a twin cabin with porthole can now be offered for US $ 7,190 minus 40 % discount = US $ 4,314 per person
excl.  fuel surcharge US $ 225 per person.

Voyage OTL24A aboard m/v “Ortelius”
10-days voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula, 14 – 23 December 2012
40 % discount on the superior cabins and the suite
This offer applies for new reservations.
The superior cabins can now be offered for US $ 9,990 minus 40 % discount = US $ 5,994 per person  excl.  fuel surcharge US $ 225 per person.

Agents: ask about special commission rates

Prices do not include fuel surcharges (see the general notes of our Dates and rates).

Thursday 15 November 2012

Silversea's Galapagos Expedition Cruises Now Open For Booking

Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has opened the books for its 2013 and 2014 Galápagos programs.

Its year-round schedule of 7-day expedition voyages aboard the 100-guest, all-suite Silver Galapagos will begin operating in late September 2013 featuring the following options:

Western Itinerary: Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, Silver Galapagos will trace a path across the western, southern and eastern islands, including Santiago, Bartolomé, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz.

North Central Itinerary: Sailing Saturday to Saturday roundtrip from Baltra Island, this itinerary encompasses the northeast, central and southeast islands of Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Seymour Norte, San Cristóbal, Española, and Plazas Sur.

Fares start at AU$6,050 per person based on double occupancy.

The Galápagos schedule offers adventurous travellers the life-enriching chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea's guests may experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colourful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin's famous finches.

The program also offers opportunities to swim and snorkel in tranquil clear waters, witness unique highland ecosystems, hike through lush mangrove forests and across volcanic fields, explore natural lava tunnels, watch for wild flamingos (in season), read cave inscriptions from the 1800s, and learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

In true Silversea Expeditions style, the guests of Silver Galapagos will enjoy full-scale exploring from an enclave of luxury at sea that includes spacious, ocean-view accommodations, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, the personalised service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, and stocked in-suite beverage cabinet.

Detailed information, pricing and complete itineraries for Silver Galapagos are now available at

For more information please contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872 (Australia), or your travel professional or visit