Thursday 31 May 2012

Royal Warrant for Hebridean Princess

L – R: David Indge, Chief Purser; Roger Allard Executive Chairman All Leisure Holidays; Ken Charleson, Sales & Marketing Director Hebridean Island Cruise and Captain Ian Stevenson, Master Hebridean Princess
L – R: David Indge, Chief Purser; Roger Allard Executive Chairman All Leisure Holidays; Ken Charleson, Sales & Marketing Director Hebridean Island Cruise and Captain Ian Stevenson, Master Hebridean Princess
Hebridean Island Cruises has unveiled a plaque on board Hebridean Princess to celebrate being granted a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty The Queen.

As reported here, the warrant – for the provision of Cruise Holidays – came into effect from January 1 2012. Hebridean Island Cruises is the only travel brand currently with a Royal Warrant from The Queen.

The cruiseline operates the world’s smallest luxury cruise ship, the 30-cabin Hebridean Princess, offering itineraries taking in the highlands and islands of Scotland and Ireland. Five-star Hebridean Princess has been chartered on two separate occasions by the Royal Family (in 2006 and 2010).

Orion Expedition Cruises voted Best Cruise Line in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Awards 2012

Orion Expedition Cruises has added to its list of national and international awards by scooping the Best Cruise Line (Global) accolade ahead of other finalists Cunard, Silversea and Seabourn at the sixth annual Australian Gourmet Traveller travel awards announced in Sydney.

This prestigious award, received for the fourth consecutive year, eclipses all other cruise lines with Orion now the recipient of an unprecedented 5 Australian Gourmet Traveller awards.

The awards represent over 22,000 public votes from Gourmet Traveller readers in addition to an expert panel of writers, editors, authors and independent experts.

Australian Gourmet Traveller editor Anthea Loucas hosted the event and presentation of trophies for the 13 reader-voted awards and six expert-judged categories.

Orion’s Cruising the Kimberley voyages were also announced as runner up in the Standout Australian Experience (won by MONA in Hobart).

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Celebrate Your Kimberley Cruise With The Gift of Pearls

Whether you are celebrating a 50th birthday or a 30th anniversary this year, or just looking for an opportunity to spoil your loved one with a breathtaking cruise experience, this Kimberley Cruise deal is sure to impress. For a limited time, we are including a beautiful Willie Creek pearl pendant valued at over $2400, with Coral Princess Cruises* booked before 30 June 2012. Your exclusive gift is an 18k Yellow Gold Willie Creek Pearl Australian South Sea Cultured Pearl and Diamond pendant on an 18k Yellow Gold Omega necklace. This stunning piece will be available for collection prior to embarkation, the perfect accessory for a Kimberley Cruise of a lifetime.

Spring is a truly wonderful time of the year to discover the Kimberley. Not only is the weather near-perfect but you can experience Western Australia's annual Whale migration as the world's largest population of Humpback Whales make their way to the warm waters of the Kimberley. Nothing beats sunset on the deck as Mother Nature puts on a spectacular show of breaches, spy hops and tail slaps whilst you sip on bubbles and delight in freshly caught cuisine. Over 10 days you will explore the King George, Hunter and Prince Regent Rivers, the tidal phenomenon of Montgomery Reef, abundant wildlife, ancient Aboriginal rock art, unique flora and fauna and the spectacle of the Horizontal Waterfalls at Talbot Bay.

This exclusive Kimberley Cruise experience is 11 nights and includes:

• A 10 night luxury cruise from Broome to Darwin or vice versa aboard Coral Princess or Oceanic Discoverer
• All cabins feature en-suite bathrooms
• All onboard meals
• All off vessel excursions
• BONUS gift worth $2420 - An exquisite Willie Creek Pearl Pendant
• BONUS 1 nights' accommodation in Broome pre or post cruise

From $6,990* per person twin share aboard Coral Princess including a bonus night at Mercure Broome

From $8690* per person twin share aboard Oceanic Discoverer including a bonus night at Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa PLUS also receive a bonus Dinner Experience at the Sunset Bar & Grill overlooking Cable Beach.

Coral Princess is a 35 metre Catamaran accommodating 48 guests and offering an intimate cruising experience with the onboard facilities you'd expect from a larger vessel. All accommodation is air-conditioned with private ensuites and all rooms are serviced daily

Onboard facilities include an air-conditioned dining room, two air-conditioned lounges, a sundeck and spa pool, wireless internet, reference library, phone and fax facilities, fully stocked cocktail bar and limited laundry facilities.

Oceanic Discoverer is 63 metres, accommodates a maximum of 72 guests and offers facilities you would expect from a larger cruise ship including 2 lounges, sundeck and spa pool, wireless internet and a specially designed excursion vessel with onboard toilet, as well as a fleet of zodiacs. Accommodation consist of just 36 spaciously appointed staterooms which all feature stylish ensuite bathrooms.

This offer is available for selected 2012 departure dates only.

Coral Princess:

Darwin to Broome – departing 31 August 2012
Broome to Darwin – departing 10 September 2012
Darwin to Broome – departing 21 September 2012
Broome to Darwin – departing 01 October 2012

Oceanic Discoverer:

Darwin to Broome – departing 07 September 2012
Broome to Darwin – departing 17 September 2012


•           Offer must be booked before 30 June 2012
•           Offer is limited to one pearl pendant per booking
•           Available for selected 2012 departures only
•           Prices based on per person twin share, subject to availability and subject to change

To book your 2012 Kimberley cruise of a lifetime, visit your local Travel Agent or call Broome & The Kimberley Holidays on 1300 245 565. More information is at our website

Saturday 26 May 2012

Luxury expedition vessel's missions of mercy

THINK of North Star Cruises, the Broome-based company that pioneered adventure cruising along Western Australia's Kimberley coast more than 25 years ago, and luxury immediately comes to mind.

Owner Craig Howson wanted a vessel in a class of its own to carry just 36 passengers and a crew of 20 when he ordered the purpose-built 50m mono-hull True North.

Looking like a super yacht from a James Bond movie, True North has a sundeck, a forward observation lounge, alfresco bar and a fine-dining room with enormous windows that offer uninterrupted views.

Read full story

Dan Blanchard, CEO, InnerSea Discoveries & American Safari Cruises

With the christening of two revamped vessels last week, InnerSea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises expanded their fleet of yachts to six. Both brands have adopted a unique philosophy called “un-cruising,” which focuses on avoiding larger ports of call and encourages passengers to explore nature through hiking and kayaking.

In 2013, the Safari Legacy is scheduled to debut and it will offer guests the opportunity to relive the Alaskan Gold Rush of the late 19th century. We spoke with Dan Blanchard, owner, chairman and CEO of the two brands, about how his company has inherited the small ship cruise line legacy of now defunct Cruise West, as well as the impact that his two newly renovated ships will have on his company.

Read full story at Travelpulse

Sebastian Ahrens To Leave Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of the German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will be leaving at the end of the year for personal reasons.

Ahrens has been leading Hapag-Lloyd Cruises since 2003. His responsibilities included product management, sales, touristic operations, as well as marketing and public relations. Prior to his management position Ahrens was a partner at McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, and involved in the strategic repositioning of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

"We thank Mr. Ahrens for his dedicated work and wish him all the best and continued success both in his professional career and his private life", says Dr. Michael Frenzel, chairman of the Executive Board of TUI AG/ Chairman of the Supervisory Board of TUI Travel PLC.

Friday 25 May 2012

North Star Cruises - 25 Years Today

Welcome to North Star Cruises' latest Adventure Cruise Update

Twenty-Five $1000 Heli-Packages to Celebrate 25 Years

Inline images 1
Brand New Itineraries in PNG

Twenty-Five $1000 Heli-Packages to Celebrate 25 Years

Twenty five years ago to this very day the original TRUE NORTH sailed into Broome for the very first time

Much has changed since then but one thing remains the same – an adventure on the TRUE NORTH is still one of the world's most unique holidays

And to celebrate this very auspicious occasion, North Star Cruises is giving away 25 heli-packages valued at $1000 to the next 25 people who book either one of our remaining 2012 Kimberley Ultimate cruises or, any 2012 PNG departure! Plus, we'll make sure there is a bottle of champers waiting for you on-board

Don't miss out – this offer is strictly limited to the next 25 bookings only. Just mention '25 years' when you contact us

For more information – see

Brand New Itineraries in PNG

Continuing a reputation as Australia's pioneers in adventure-cruising, North Star Cruises have again set the benchmark with the release of new itineraries in Papua New Guinea.

During 2011 the company's revered adventure-cruise ship TRUE NORTH undertook a 21 day circumnavigation of the Bismarck Sea. Senior captain Brad Benbow and ship's biologist Dr Andy Lewis, collaborated with a boatload of enthusiastic passengers to refine the company's new Sepik Soiree and Bismarck Bonanza itineraries – ensuring brand new opportunities to discover virtually untouched areas of Papua New Guinea.

2012 highlights will include the vast reef complexes around Rambutyo Island, the turquoise waters of Ninigo Atoll, flying over active volcanos, swimming with manta rays, black bass fishing and cruising the mighty Sepik River

Guests will be intrigued by visits to the spirit house at Yentchan Village and may even get to witness rarely seen rituals.  There are also opportunities to purchase exotic artefacts

Life on-board the TRUE NORTH offers something for everyone, from a lazy basking in the sun, to diving, hiking and, fishing in what can only be described as a fisherman's paradise. 

Divers and snorkelers can expect some of the best underwater scenery on the planet with the myriad reefs providing countless coral playgrounds - no words can describe the underwater beauty of the areas visited.

And fish guru Dr Gerry Allen will also be part of the 2012 line-up

"The 2011 voyages completely surpassed all our expectations, when world-experts see things that cause them to gasp in awe we know we are seeing something pretty special and sharing all this with our guests is always our joy", said North Star Cruises director Craig Howson, a veteran of 25 years  adventure-cruising on the Kimberley coast.

For more information on North Star's 2012 PNG season - contact your adventure partners at

To make arrangements - contact your preferred travel representative or email your adventure partners at or
phone (+61 8) 91921 829.

Telephone: (+61 8) 91921 829
Fax: (+61 8) 91921 830

Thursday 17 May 2012

There's Still Time to Book an Alaska Small Ship Cruise

Responding to the trend of last minute summer vacation bookings, small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations just announced that there is still good availability on many of the company’s summer cruises in Alaska. In past years, by mid-May remaining space is usually at a premium. With a slow economy however, consumers benefit with an increase in availability, cruise options and even booking incentives.

“We are the recognized leader in Alaska small ship cruising,” says Todd Smith, founder and director of AdventureSmith Explorations. “We offer the most selection and more first-hand knowledge than anyone else in the business and when our partners have last minute summer space to fill, they turn to us.”

AdventureSmith Explorations’ partners in Alaska include Lindblad Expeditions, InnerSea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Alaska Wildland Adventures and a host of smaller companies and ships off the radar of most travelers and travel agents.

Smith reports good space availability for summer 2012 still remains on the following Alaska cruises, with the caveat that consumers need to call for information and reservations very soon:

For true adventurers looking for a more active small ship Alaska Cruise:

-Explore Northern Passages and Glacier Bay aboard the newly refurbished 76-guest Wilderness Explorer. Eight days from $3,095 per person, double.

-Enjoy SE Alaska and Glacier Bay National Park on Discoverer’s Glacier Country eight day cruise aboard the newly refurbished 86-passenger Safari Endeavour from $4,795 per person, double occupancy.

For clients seeking easy adventure aboard a small ship AdventureSmith suggests:

-Inside Passage Sojourn aboard the 42-guest Alaskan Dream combines easy wilderness cruising with visits to Alaska's popular ports and authentic Tlingit villages. Eight day cruises priced from $4,299 per adult, double. Children age 15 and younger get 30% off.

-Glacier Bay & Island Adventure aboard the 78-guest Admiralty Dream offers six day cruises beginning at $1,749 and eight day cruises from $2,295 per person, double. Third person and/or children 15 and younger receive 30% off double occupancy rate. A current promotion offers savings of up to 30% on select departures.

-Join an Alaska Island Spirit cruise aboard the 32-guest Island Spirit for a combination of nature, wilderness and authentic port stops. Nine day cruises begin at $4,995 per person, double. Kids under 16 cruise ‘two for the price of one’ on dedicated family departures. Current special: Save $1,000 per person on select departures.

For intimate yet active yacht explorations AdventureSmith suggests:
-The active Inside Passage cruise aboard the 12-guest Pacific Catalyst was named a National Geographic Magazine Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime. Seven day cruises start at $3,850 per person, double.

-A six day Glacier Bay Adventure Cruise aboard 12-guest Sea Wolf is priced at $3,800 per person, double. Book now and save $300 pp on select departures.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Quark in Greenland 2013

Sea Spirit
ADVENTURE cruising specialists Quark Expeditions has released its 2013 calendar of sailings, which includes icebreaker adventures to the North Pole, as well as luxury voyages to Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland.

Highlights of the line-up include two North Pole voyages departing 19 June and 30 June 2013, as well as the “Three Arctic Islands: Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen” trip.

The season also includes a new voyage, the “Greenland Explorer: Valleys and Fjords” expedition which takes guests from Ottawa to Reykjavik along the coast of Greenland, and includes a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Illusiat Ice Fjord.

For more details, or to grab a brochure, see your local travel agent or visit

Saturday 12 May 2012

Tui Tai Expeditions Free Airfare and Save up to 47%

Tui Tai Expeditions is happy to offer you a new set of Book Now specials. These are the best specials we have ever offered, with low rates and a bonus of FREE Inter Island airfare!

In addition to the special rates and free airfare value add, we are offering bonus commissions to our best performing wholesalers!

We have the following COOL Specials, up to 47% off, for bookings confirmed by 30-June 2012. See all specials.

Hot Specials, Book Now
Booking Window: Now to 30-June-2012
Travel Window: Now to 15-January-2013
Exclusions: none
Conditions: Applies to new bookings only. Booking must be confirmed by 30-June-2012. Specials listed may not be used in conjunction with other specials or value adds. Free inter-island airfare value-add is subject to availability, schedule and fares from the airlines. We will make every effort to honor this value add, or provide a "Own Airfare" discount if free airfare is not available.

Own Airfare discount
If you have already booked inter-island airfare, you can just take an additional discount off your nett rate. Here are the discounts:
7-night cruise discount: Nett USD $275 per person
5-night cruise discount: Nett USD $300 per person
Below you'll find the best specials we have ever published, categorized by what's most popular and booked by you: adventure, scuba diver, honeymoons, families.

Cool Adventure Special
Normal Price: USD $3415
Cool Special Price: USD $2295
You save: USD $1120 (33%)
• 7-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
• Includes: FREE Inter-Island airfare
• Includes: meals, activities
• Does not include: scuba diving, bar, spa treatments
• Expedition Cabin accommodation
• Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

Cool Adventure Special, 5-nights
Normal Price: USD $3013
Cool Special Price: USD $1995
You save: USD $1018 (34%)

• 5-night Tui Tai Expedition Cruise
• Includes: FREE Inter-Island airfare
• Includes: meals, activities
• Does not include: scuba diving, bar, spa treatments
• Expedition Cabin accommodation
• Price is per person and does not include Fiji Government Tax (20%)

These are just some. Contact Tui Tai for all specials.

Follow Tui Tai Expeditions online:
* Follow Tui Tai Expeditions on Facebook
* Follow Tui Tai Expeditions on YouTube
* Tui Tai Blog
* Tui Tai Photos on Flickr

Phone: +679.885.3032
Mobile: +679.999.6369

Thursday 10 May 2012

Aurora Cancels Shokalskiy

Image of  Shokalskiy from Aurora website today.
The vessel, sister ship to well-known Polar Pioneer,
is being withdrawn effective immediately.
Polar Pioneer Schedule Unaffected

QUESTIONS over the continued operation of adventure cruising specialist Aurora Expeditions have been addressed by the cruise line, with a spokesperson telling Cruise Weekly that the company has made an early cancellation of its short term charter of the vessel Akademik Shokalskiy which was due to run until March 2013.

Akademik Shokalskiy joined the Aurora fleet in 2011.

Although the spokesperson did not comment further on the charter, the company did say that despite the cancellation, it will still continue operate its traditional program of voyages to Scotland, the European Arctic, Antarctica, the Kimberley Coast and Papua New Guinea in 2012/2013.

Stay tuned to CW for more Aurora updates next week.

Captain Cook Cruises Announce Mannum to Renmark Cruise

Captain Cook Cruises has announced it will operate a second seven night Renmark cruise on the Murray River, aboard the PS Murray Princess.  The cruise will depart Mannum on Monday 3 December, 2012 and arrive at Renmark on Monday 10 December 2012.

"The Renmark cruise is so popular because it is so unique and only operates when river conditions are right. It's the unknown challenges that make this voyage one long great river adventure" explains Anthony Haworth, General Manager, Captain Cook Cruises.

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

The cruises will pass through Portee Bar, Kingston On Murray, Cobdogla and Moorook and passengers will get the opportunity to visit Burk Salter Vineyard at Blanchetown, take part wine tasting, learn about Australian history at the Morgan Museum in Morgan, explore the township of Waikerie, visit the picturesque river town, Berri and enjoy a scenic tender boat ride up the river.

The Renmark Cruise departs Mannum on Monday 3 December at 4.30pm with boarding from 2.30pm and disembarking at Renmark on Monday 10 December at 9.00am.

The seven night Renmark Cruises start from $1643 per person twin share and include accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks and eco-excursions, onboard presentations, use of ship's facilities, the Captain's Dinner and Cocktail Party, live entertainment and complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit

Mississippi Paddlewheel Revival

The big red paddlewheel is turning. Crowds rush to the riverbanks of small towns to whoop and wave. In the pilot house, Capt. John Sutton lowers the twin stacks so American Queen can pass under railroad bridges. Heavily laden coal barges, like long chains of dominoes, chug past.

The double doors of their cabins splayed wide open to the spring breezes, passengers line American Queen’s rails to soak in the ever-changing scenery that varies from a legendary bandits’ cave to locks and dams. As Sutton blows the steam whistle, a ship buff says: ‘Savor that sound. That is not a sound you’ll hear in the United States any more.’

Read all of this story

Read David Ellis's feature at Traveloscopy

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Travel across tundra in Russia

Walrus on Wrangel. Picture: Ewen Bell

by Ewen Bell

WRANGEL Island is one of the most isolated postings for a Russian park ranger. More than 100km north of the Siberian coast, where there are more bears than people by a factor of 10.

For a few months of the year, the coastline around Wrangel is ice-free and the Russians are inviting tourists to keep them company.

Rangers on Wrangel spend their summer weeks repairing machinery and huts from the ravages of winter or the curiosity of polar bears.

Read more

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Oceanwide Plancius update

22 April: Tugboat comes to aid of Plancius in South Georgia. (Alistair Wilson)
The  mechanical dysfunction of the main propulsion system of mv Plancius is repaired. The ship left Montevideo on 08 May and is now en route to home port and will be back in the Netherlands  on 05 June for another check up and yearly inspection in dry dock. Oceanwide Expeditions had to cancel the first two Arctic voyages ( North Atlantic, 7 – 18 June 2012 and North Spitsbergen, 18 – 25 June 2012) due to the delay and repairs. Most passengers have been  rebooked on alternative Spitsbergen departures onboard Noorderlicht, Ortelius, Antarctic Dream and Plancius. The vessel will start its Arctic season as scheduled with voyage PLA06, North Spitsbergen, 25 June – 04 July 2012 (starting and ending in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen).

Sunday 6 May 2012

Vale Allan Roxburgh

Allan Roxburgh aboard
MV Fiji Princess in Feb 2009
Many passengers aboard Blue Lagoon Cruises will fondly remember Allan Roxburgh, a Fiji-born kai viti of Scottish descent known locally as "the old cock", who accompanied many of History & Culture itineraries over the last few years. Allan, who was about to celebrate his 80th birthday in December, died after a short illness.
I sailed with Allan twice on these enriching voyages, enjoying his sometimes rambling tales of adventures in the Fiji Islands as a child with his father aboard a copra schooner during the war years and afterward.
Born in the old colonial-era capital of Levuka on the island of Ovalau, Allan enjoyed immersing guests in the history of the old town and would tell many stories you'd never read in the history books.
"I'd be at school and my younger brother would come to the class and say 'Dad wants you'. Everyone knew what that meant. 'Alright Allan, off you go', the teacher would say and I'd race home and grab my gear because Dad was about to set sail."
This writer owes a small debt of gratitude to Roxburgh for introducing me to the wonderful tale of Count Felix von Luckner, the buccaneering German nobleman who ranged throughout the Pacific in 1917. On our visits to the quaint old Ovalau Club on Levuka, where von Luckner's hand-drawn portrait hangs, we would raise a glass to the Count and Alan would retell the fascinating yarn of his arrest by a tiny militia detachment from Levuka who bluffed the Germans with a coconut trunk rigged as a dummy deckgun on a commandeered ferry.
Allan's funeral was held in Lautoka and was attended by the President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, as well other dignitaries and community figures. He was then buried at sea according to his wishes.
We'll raise a glass to Allan this week at the Ovalua Club. Travel well old friend.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Legendary cruising in Fiji

THIS year a new adventure cruising company was born, Legend Cruises, offering Aussies even more small ship cruising options around Fiji’s Yasawa Islands.

Just three months old, the company offers five-day cruises onboard the 160-foot Yasawa Legend, which depart Lautoka Wharf for the Blue Lagoon Caves, Yasawa I Rara and Nacula Island, and provide guests with opportunities to snorkel; swim; explore caves, villages and local schools; hike; kayak; and enjoy a traditional kava ceremony and lovo feast.

For more info see