Thursday 27 September 2012

Orion's South Pacific Splendour - Limited Offer

(click to enlarge)

Antarctica Deal from Groupon

Once in a Lifetime Seven-Day Fly and Cruise Expedition with All Meals, Drinks, Excursions and More for One Person from Adventure Associates
  • Price for one person
  • Seven-day Antarctica tour with Adventure Associates, with:
  • Return flights from Chile to Antarctica
  • Five-night Antarctic cruise
  • One night at Hotel Rey Don Felipe, Punta Arenas
  • All meal, drinks and excursions
  • $200 return voucher for your next tour
Here's the deal:

Win a 7-night luxury Caribbean cruise with Paul Gauguin Cruises

ISLANDS editors have long been fans of Paul Gauguin Cruises, known for luxury small-ship cruising with authentic shore experiences across the Islands of Tahiti. Now Paul Gauguin is debuting its first Caribbean cruises on its new ship, the m/v Tere Moana. ISLANDS sister brand Caribbean Travel + Life has partnered with Paul Gauguin on a cruise sweepstakes. The prize: a luxury cruise for two for seven nights. All you have to do is enter a super-quick Paul Gauguin cruise sweepstakes form on CT+L's website. Good luck!

The Sweepstakes is open only to individuals, eighteen (18) years or older at time of entry, who are legal residents of the United States.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Hurtigruten Explores Inuit Culture and Spectacular Greenlandic Landscape on its 2013 Greenland Sailings



World’s Largest Island Offers Guests Extraordinary Interaction with Local Inuit Population

Greenland has been home to the Inuit people for more than 5,000 years and Hurtigruten makes its a point to educate its guests on the realities of living in on an ice-encrusted island where only two towns are connected by road, a summer day may find an iceberg floating by your beach setting, populations range from 2 to 15,469 hardy souls, and the dog sled has always been the principal mode of winter transport. Hurtigruten's expedition ship MS Fram arrives in the center of the towns, making it easier for its 318 guests to explore, meet and chat with locals and learn from onboard guides and expedition experts. Four different itineraries sail between the end of May and September, 2013. Early-booking fares, offering a savings of 20%, range from $6,781 to $9,005 for the nine-day ‘Heart of Greenland’ to $8,266 to $12,044 for a newer creation now with two departures – a 15-day expedition that takes in Spitsbergen, the rarely-visited North East Greenland National Park (world’s largest), and several stops in Iceland.

  Greenland has been the focal point for the climate change debate for many years and the most affected are the Inuit people living there. Hurtigruten takes every opportunity to allow interaction for the guests – whether it is hosting locals on board, visiting nearby workshops, watching fisherman bring in their catches, speaking with a dog sled handler or just freely walking through the towns and chatting.

Highlights include the seafaring town of Sisimiut, Greenland’s second largest; the port of Qeqertarsuaq, home to an Arctic research station; the scenery of Uummannaq at the foot of a heart-shaped mountain, where guests are greeted by local school children and offered traditional “kaffemik” (a friendly cup of coffee); the traditional settlement of Ukkusissat; the impressive three-mile-long glacier front of Eqip Sermia; the huge complex of fjords that surround Narsaq; and some of the best preserved ruins from the Norse period located in Hvalsey. Most itineraries include visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilulissat and the small island of Itilleq, where guests can join in or watch a traditional football (soccer) match. Three of the itineraries begin or end in Iceland with several stops included.

Guests can further explore the Inuit culture and icy landscape of Greenland by taking advantage of a wide range of optional excursions. Options include a helicopter flight to Ilulisat Glacier, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere; a polarcirkel landing at Eqip Sermia, complete with a barbecue on the outside deck of the ship; an exploration of the Viking ruins in Narsaq; and a visit to Great Greenland tannery, the only tannery in the country, where guests learn about the processes used to treat the furs. Two of the hiking expeditions offered – in Qeqertarsuaq and Ilulissat – are included at no extra cost in both itineraries.

Rates are subject to availability and include accommodation in cabin or suite of your choice; full board; educational lectures and all aspects of the onboard program; flight between Copenhagen and Kangerlussuaq when required; transfers; wind and rain resistant jacket; landing Polarcirkel boats; and specific excursions as indicated within each itinerary. International flights, optional excursions and cruise fuel surcharge are additional.

The company’s fleet of 13 intimate ships, which each carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy unique destinations in a relaxed atmosphere. Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten's visitor-friendly website,; by phone: (877) 301-3117; or fax (888) 524-2145. To order brochures 24 hours a day, call (800) 582-0835.

Kimberley coast 20% discount

Image: Kimberley Quest, waiting for the tides at Horizontal Falls.

Oct-Nov 20% booking discount for 2013 Kimberley Coast cruising on the boutique Kimberley Quest

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises has a 20 per cent discount for bookings made during October and November on four of its stunning Kimberley Coast cruises during the March-September season next year.

Cruising is on the luxury 18-passenger Kimberley Quest II, over a choice of 22 departures.

The discount price on the Broome-Broome 10-day Adventure Quest, for example, is from $7,920 per person, twin share (normally from $9,900).

The price includes daily serviced cabin with ensuite bathroom, all chef-prepared meals served on the shady stern deck or in the air-conditioned lounge, full use of the vessel, daily guided land and water excursions and hotel transfers.

Excursions to waterfalls (such as King Cascade), rock pool swimming, rock art, whale spotting, fishing (for lunch or dinner), the must-see Horizontal Falls and Montgomery Reef are on the itinerary.

Cruising between destinations, there is plenty of time to take in the view from the spa on the forward deck or from a sheltered deck. 

Contact: Tel  1300 156 035, or see

PSCC Director Lynne Ralston said exploration of the remote Kimberley coast can only be achieved by water. "Cruising along this staggeringly rugged and beautiful coast really delivers on the wow factor, and for bragging rights," she said. "And making the discovery on a boutique ship really enhances the sense of personal contact with an amazing 'bucket-list' part of the world."

The itinerary on the detailed 10-day cruise includes Cape Leveque, Buccaneer Archipelago, Dugong Bay, Talbot Bay, Surprise Falls, Secure Bay, Montgomery Reef, Sale River and Raft Point, Doubtful Bay, Red Cone Creek, Camden and Harbour, Rothsay Water, Prince Regent River, King Cascade, Cathedral Falls, Hanover Bay, Booby Island, Heywood and Champagny Island.

The other 20% discount deal cruises are: 14-day Ultimate Quest from $10,644 per person (normally $13,305); 8-day Northern Quest and 8-day Southern Quest, both from $7,344 ($9,180).

A helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls and transfer light aircraft scenic flight between Broome and Mitchell Falls is incorporated in the eight day cruises. With the 14 day and 10 day cruises there is an additional cost which is arranged on-board.

Kimberley Quest II can be chartered exclusively for 16-18 guests (close friends, family or colleagues) and the itinerary can be tailored. The October-November discount would apply but pricing will vary with chosen or tailored itinerary.

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises was established in 1995 by the Ralston family of Broome. The family continues to run the business today. In 2009 and 2010 the company won Tour Operator titles in the annual Western Australian Tourism Awards.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

New Life for MS Andrea with Mistral

Andrea ex Harald Jarl - To become
Premier Cruises' Serenissima in 2013
by Kevin Griffin

Just arrived this morning is a brochure for a new operator called Mistral Cruises, outlining a series of Dalmatian Coast cruises to be operated by the 34-berth Mistral between March and October 2014. In some ways, these cruises will replace those that were operated until 2009 by Elegant Cruises using the 60–berth Monet and 106–berth Andrea, which is about to become the Serenissima for Premier Cruises of Finland.

The Mistral’s seven-day itineraries will alternate between Venice and Dubrovnik with calls en route at Rab Island, Trogir, Split, Vis Island, Hvar, Ploce (for Mostar), Korcula, Kotor and Cavtat. Fares will start at $2,990 plus $280 in port fees and taxes.

The ship is presently trading in the Aegean as the Callisto for Travel Dynamics International, and, as it happens, Mistral Cruises is located at the same address at 132 East 70th Street in New York.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Captivating cruise adventure

"A GIGANTIC, violent hand seemed to grasp the ship and flung us crashing on to the reef. The shattering impact of the ship smashed the coral and huge chunks flew about like shrapnel from an exploding shell.

The deck was almost perpendicular and swirling eddies of water and coral bombarded us. I clung like the devil to an iron bar and finally the wave subsided, leaving us high and dry. Thankfully, we were uninjured but our ship was a total wreck."

Read more

Tuesday 18 September 2012

News from Broome and the Kimberley Coast

We don't know where the time goes, however everyone who has escaped with us to the Kimberley Coast this season has certainly made the most of it!

We've welcomed many groups of friends aboard this year for exclusive charters. It's always a particularly festive escape when friends book out the whole boat. With champagne and seafood barbeque picnics at hidden waterfalls, sunset drinks in fancy dress from red-rock peaks with spectacular views, cocktail parties on board, relaxing afternoons fishing, and bathing in the pristine waters of Silicone beach, our cruise photos in the gallery show some of the fun and festivities on board this year.

We introduced two new cruise itineraries to the schedule this year, including our 8 night Waterfall Safari directly after the end of the "Wet" Season, which was a sensational 9 days covering over 25 waterfalls between Broome and Wyndham. Next year's Waterfall Safari is already fully booked, however we have just released our 2014 cruise schedule and bookings are underway already for the following year!

The Great Escape Charter Company is one of the original Kimberley Charter boat operators, exploring the Kimberley coast and Rowley Shoals for over 10 years.

Vietnam-Cambodia cruise-tour deal

Book a 2013-14 Vietnam-Cambodia cruise-tour of 12 days or longer before March 31 and Travelmarvel will provide free return air fares, including taxes.

The deal, which applies to select departures during the June-April season on selected itineraries, represents savings of up to $3,530 per couple.

Travelmarvel is also offering $500 per person credit towards an air fare for pre-March 31 bookings of its eight-day Mekong River cruise.

The 12 Day Essential Vietnam and Cambodia tour, for example, begins in Siem Reap (explore the temples of Angkor Wat) before joining the luxurious boutique ship RV La Marguerite for a seven-night cruise along the Mekong River through Phnom Penh and Kampong Tralach and across the border into Vietnam. Cruise through remote river side villages, receive a Buddha blessing in Oudong, ride on an ox-cart in Kampong Tralach, enjoy a rickshaw ride in Tan Chau, see the floating markets of Sa Dec and explore the incredible Cu Chi Tunnels in Saigon.

It is priced from $3,195 per person, twin share which includes the cruise as above, first class hotels in Siem Reap and Saigon, 27 meals, international wine with lunch and dinner on board, complimentary local beer, spirits and soft drink throughout the cruise, all tipping, port charges, sightseeing and entrance fees, airport transfers, expert service of a Travelmarvel Tour Director and locally guided excursions.

Call 1300 805 493, visit  - or contact your local travel agent.

Monday 17 September 2012

Hapag-Lloyd still in front

The 184-passenger HANSEATIC scored 1746 points, making
it the only expedition ship to be awarded five stars.

Berlitz Cruise Guide 2013: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ ships retain their leading position in the luxury and expedition segment
  • MS EUROPA the only ship with 5-stars-plus award
  • Expedition ships HANSEATIC and BREMEN: 5-stars and 4-stars-plus
  • Guide available in e-book format on 15 September 2012

MS EUROPA, the flagship of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, is the only cruise ship in the world to be awarded the highest rating 5-stars- plus in the new edition 2013 of the renowned “Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships“. Both expedition ships of the fleet MS HANSEATIC (5-stars) and MS BREMEN (4-stars-plus) retain their high ratings.

Rated with 1852 points out of a maximum of 2000, the 408-passenger EUROPA received again - since its commissioning in 1999 - the highest rating of all 284 ships tested. The 184-passenger HANSEATIC scored 1746 points, making it the only expedition ship to be awarded five stars. The second expedition ship of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the 164-passenger MS BREMEN, received the award 4-stars-plus for the second time with 1553 points.

Author Douglas Ward and his team tested a total of 284 cruise ships from all over the world, assessing criteria such as ship furnishings, quality and diversity in the restaurants, service and crew, entertainment and cruise experience. As a consequence, Ward describes MS EUROPA as offering “the best cruise experience available today unless you own a private motor yacht”. In this new edition of the “Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships“, once again the rating 5-stars-plus has been awarded to only one ship: MS EUROPA.

“Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2013" by Douglas Ward, 704 pages, paperback; available from 1st October 2012 from all good bookshops. Also available as an application for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch from 15th September 2012.

For bookings, inquiries, or to request a brochure, please look for your nearest sales agent in your country at, link „Contact & Services"

Tuesday 11 September 2012


Hurtigruten is pleased to announce the extension of the Early Booking offer, where guests can save up to 25% on voyages within the 2013 brochure, if booked by 30 November 2012. The Early Booking offer, which was originally valid until 30 September 2012, now gives passengers more time to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

The 2013 brochure showcases Norway’s seasonal splendour; as guests take a journey through the brochure they will be transported across a land of contrasts and four distinctive seasons, from the Arctic Awakening (Spring), Voyages of the Midnight Sun (Summer), vibrant colours of red, yellow and orange (Autumn) and the expeditions in search of the Northern Lights (Winter). Whichever season brings one to Norway, there are four distinctive voyages with almost year-round departures, each one visiting 34 ports of call on the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Voyage’:

· Classic Round Voyage Bergen round-trip (12 days)
· Classic Norwegian Discovery Bergen to Trondheim (11 days)
· Classic Voyage North Bergen to Kirkenes (7 days)
· Classic Voyage South Kirkenes to Bergen (6 days)

The Norway brochure now also includes Hurtigruten’s unique programs specifically created for the winter voyages where travellers go ‘Hunting the Light’ during the upcoming season, which is predicted to be an optimum time to see the Northern Lights.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising and is represented in Australia by Discover the World Marketing.

For more information or to make a booking, contact Discover the World Marketing on 1800 OCEANS (1800 623 267) or email

Paul Gauguin Unveils 2013 Cruise Brochure

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the Paul Gauguin and the newly acquired Tere Moana, has introduced a new 86-page, 2013 Voyages by Gauguin brochure.

The brochure outlines five itineraries in French Polynesia that are available aboard the renovated Gauguin and 13 new itineraries encompassing the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe on the cruise line’s new luxury small ship, the Moana. Detailed itineraries are grouped by region and include cruise schedules, maps, highlights, and fares.

The Gauguin’s itineraries include: seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; 11-night Australs & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands.

In December and March, the Moana offers seven-night Caribbean voyages roundtrip from St. Martin visiting islands the French West Indies, British Virgin Islands, and St. Kitts & Nevis. In January and February, the Moana’s 13- and 14-night Latin American cruises feature a transit of the Panama Canal; Cartagena, Columbia; and the wildlife reserves of Costa Rica.

From April through November, the Moana operates a variety of European voyages. Highlights include seen-night cruises in the Black Sea and Greek Isles; a roundtrip Spanish Coast voyage; and scenic sailings along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and French and Italian Rivieras. Three special voyages transit Greece’s Corinth Canal. During spring and fall, 14-night transatlantic crossings are offered between Europe and the Caribbean.

According to the cruise line, its hallmarks include an elegant yet casual ambiance, luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, and trademark Polynesian hospitality. All-inclusive fares include complimentary beverages featuring select wines and spirits; an in-room refrigerator replenished daily with soft drinks, beer, and bottled water; and onboard gratuities for room stewards and dining staff.

Additionally, Paul Gauguin Cruises offers extraordinary value with savings of 50% off all-inclusive standard cruise fares on all voyages of both ships, plus included airfare from Los Angeles on French Polynesia itineraries. Past guests of the Gauguin, enjoy additional savings of 5% off cruise fares aboard either vessel, as a member of the Paul Gauguin Society. And guests who book select departures by November 1, 2012, can enjoy double the Paul Gauguin Society benefit, for total savings of 10% off final cruise fares.

New Arctic Cruise from Abercrombie & Kent

Join A&K's seasoned expedition team on board MV 'Le Boreal' and set sail to an exciting new destination, offered for the first time through A&K Australia in 2013. In next year's northern hemisphere summer, A&K is giving discerning travellers an unparalleled opportunity to experience to the islands of the High Arctic Svalbard archipelago in Norway, less than 1,000 kilometres from the North Pole.

Observe firsthand the amazing flora that comes alive with unexpected colour under July's midnight sun, as expert guides help seek out the mighty polar bear in its natural habitat. Discover Greenland's Bronze Age villages, Eskimo settlements and fishing enclaves and search for local wildlife including whales, seabirds, reindeer and walrus. This enriching journey ends amid the contrast of Iceland's rural tranquillity and stunning volcanic landscape.

The calibre of the A&K on-board team of experts is second to none. For example, expedition leader Larry Hobbs has been a marine mammal biologist for more than 35 years. He has served as director of the Marine Mammal tagging office for the United States Department of Interior as well as the Department of Commerce, and as the principal research scientist at the National Marine Laboratories. In addition to over 20 seasons leading expeditions in Antarctica, Larry has also led trips in Norway, Greenland and Iceland.

A&K's home afloat in Arctic waters is luxury vessel MV Le Boreal. She carries 200 passengers (though in other destinations capacity will extend to 264) and has an elegant, slim-line design. The ship is designed in accordance with strong environmental guidelines including a computerised positioning system to avoid need for dropping anchor in fragile environments; engine insulation to reduce energy consumption; advanced waste water system and waste management; lightest, cleanest fuel; and Zodiacs with 4-stroke fuel-efficient motors. A technologically advanced stabilising system also minimises the effect of rough waters for added passenger comfort.

Cruise dates are from 16 - 30 July 2013, with prices starting from USD $11,995 per person twin share (excluding charter flights).

Monday 10 September 2012

Declining Arctic Sea Ice

by Richard Farmer |

That declining ice. The big Arctic melt goes on. The National Snow and Ice Data center in the United States reported overnight that following the new record low recorded on August 26, Arctic sea ice extent continued to drop and is now below 4.00 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles). Compared to September conditions in the 1980s and 1990s, this represents a 45% reduction in the area of the Arctic covered by sea ice. At least one more week likely remains in the melt season.

Professor Peter Wadhams has told BBC Newsnight that the loss of Arctic ice is effectively doubling mankind's contribution to global warming. White ice reflects more sunlight than open water, acting like a parasol, Prof Wadhams explained. Melting of white Arctic ice, currently at its lowest level in recent history, is causing more absorption.

Prof Wadhams calculates that this increased absorption of the sun's rays is "the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man". He predicts that the Arctic ice cap is "heading for oblivion". In 1980, the Arctic ice in summer made up some 2% of the Earth's surface. But since then the ice has roughly halved in area, and the volume of ice has dropped to just a quarter of what it was.

True North PNG Offer

Cruiseabout has an exceptional package on the North Star Cruises luxury expedition ship True North, exploring Papua New Guinea for seven nights in November and December. Priced from $8396 a person, twin share (saving 20 per cent), there are departures on November 24 and December 1.

The package, which must be booked by September 30, includes a charter flight from Cairns to Kavieng and from Alotau to Cairns, and the seven-night cruise including all boat excursions and activities, fishing and use of snorkelling equipment.

Celebrating North Star Cruises' 25th anniversary, the first 25 guests booking the cruise will receive $1000 towards a helicopter package and a bottle of champagne. 1300 450 133,

Saturday 8 September 2012

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Strategy for the Future: Focus on the Luxury and Expedition Sectors

Inline images 1
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' strategy for the future: Focus on the luxury and expedition sectors

·       Focus on the luxury and expedition sectors
·       Expansion of international marketing plans
·       Commissioning newly-built MS EUROPA 2 in May 2013
·       MS COLUMBUS 2 charter until April 2014

September 7, 2012 - Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced that its future strategy will be focused on luxury and expedition cruises, and is looking to grow these segments by expanding its international marketing activities. The newly-built EUROPA 2 – sister ship to the existing EUROPA – will be positioned in the 5-star luxury segment starting in May 2013. In addition to the HANSEATIC and BREMEN in the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet, growth opportunities in the expedition segment will be identified and evaluated.

In German-speaking countries, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is regarded today as one of the leading operators in the luxury and expedition segment. The expansion of marketing activities in international markets goes hand-in-hand with the focus on the areas of luxury and expedition. "By consistently focusing on these two pillars, we strive to strengthen our leading position in these segments, and at the same time we will address new markets," explains Dr. Wolfgang Flägel, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Select cruises on all of the ships of the present fleet, except for the COLUMBUS 2, will be marketed internationally. "The EUROPA 2 is a ship designed to offer an international flair and address a sophisticated, cosmopolitan target group, with plans in the future to increase market share in English-speaking countries such as the USA, UK and Benelux", adds Flägel. The first English-language EUROPA 2 brochure will be published in mid September.

MS COLUMBUS 2: The Hamburg-based operator has taken over operation of the COLUMBUS 2 from Oceania Cruises for a two-year charter contract through April 2014.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' exciting destinations and itineraries visit For bookings, inquiries, or to request a brochure, call one of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' sales agencies below:
In the USA and Canada:
Euro Lloyd Travel Group, Inc. 1-800-782-3924
Kartagener Associates, Inc. 1-877-445-7447
In Australia: Landmark Travel 

Friday 7 September 2012

Extended SeaDream Cruises in Mediterranean and Black Sea 2013

SEADREAM Yacht Club's boutique SeaDream I has a 10-night return-sailing from Istanbul through the Black Sea in May of next year that will include Sulina on Romania's Danube Delta, Odessa, Yalta and Sevastopol in the Ukraine, and Sochi and Novorossiysk in Russia.

It's one of eight extended 10- and 11-nights sailings next year by SeaDream I and SeaDream II that have each been rated by Berlitz as world's best boutique vessels for dining, service and value.

The May 25 2013 voyage includes overnights in Odessa and Yalta, and an overnight in Istanbul; prices begin from US$8245 per couple and include all 5-star dining, drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, nightly cocktail gatherings, a 30-course golf simulator, power and sail watersports (where permitted,) mountain bikes for shore excursions, onboard gratuities and port charges and taxes.

The mega motor-cruisers SeaDream I and SeaDream II each carries on average 100 guests in just 56 staterooms served by 95 crew.

Other extended voyages next year include 10-nights on May 1 from Malaga, Spain to Monte Carlo, Monaco; 11-nights on June 5 from Istanbul to Venice; 10-nights on July 10 from Piraeus (Athens) to Venice; and 11-nights on September 17 from Civitavecchia (near to Rome) round trip visiting Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Capri and an overnight in Sorrento for an opportunity to visit Pompeii.

For full details and other sailings see travel agents or visit


 Silversea is setting the benchmark in luxury adventure holidays, with its newly launched 2013 Expeditions brochure featuring a collection of 27, all-inclusive adventures aboard Silver Explorer. Exploring the globe from pole to pole and everywhere in between.

A new 48 page brochure outlines Silver Explorer's 2013 itineraries which will take her guests to 28 new ports including a return to Greenland. The Silversea adventures are not just in the Polar regions. Trek through Central American jungles. Explore Africa's seldom seen western coast. There are Canadian, Caribbean and South American coastlines to explore, as well as tiny harbours in Portugal, Spain, France and the British Isles. All brimming with history and wildlife, above and below the water.

If it is Polar bears, Chinstrap penguins, glaciers and fjords, turtles, amazing birdlife, whales, or even a sleepy Costa Rican sloth that you have always wanted to see, the new Silversea Expeditions brochure will show how easy it is to explore the far flung corners of the globe that are home to these amazing creatures.

Silver Explorer and King Penguins
Expedition cruising with Silversea is really quite indulgent. You visit some of the most remote, unspoilt destinations you have long dreamed of, and yet you travel with just 132 like-minded, experienced travellers, dining on gourmet cuisine with complimentary fine wines and Champagne. Your accommodation is in an ocean view suite or stateroom, complete with your own personal butler, to prepare a warming cocktail or run a hot bath on your return from icy wildlife adventures in the Antarctic or Arctic summers.

Your expedition team will take you on frequent zodiac adventures and the experienced team may comprise marine biologists, ornithologists, naturalists, oceanographers, historians and wildlife photographers, depending on the destination.

Late in 2013 a second Silversea expedition vessel will add Galapagos as a year-round destination for sophisticated travellers, who enjoy discovering the world's most remote destinations, in absolute comfort and style.

The Silversea Expeditions brochure is now available from travel professionals or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit

Small-Ship Cruising with AdventureSmith Explorations

Allows Travelers to Visit Off-the-Radar Villages From Alaska to New Guinea

The active travel company securing matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of small expedition ships, AdventureSmith Explorations, allows guests to experience indigenous cultures with off-ship visits to remote villages from Alaska to New Guinea.

“Our small ships designed for as few as eight passengers can navigate channels and harbors that larger vessels can’t. This means that we can offer authentic cultural exchanges in villages and markets where few outsiders ever visit,” said Todd Smith, founder.

For example, an exploration of the lost paradise of Papua, New Guinea, is reminiscent of James A. Michener’s Adventures in Paradise. Diversity (think 800 languages) abounds during a welcome ceremony that greets travelers landing in the Tami Islands with traditional Trobriand dances and drumming.  Explore the village for intricate carvings and craftwork including carved walking sticks, small stools and exquisitely crafted bowls.  With no roads, phones, electricity or luxuries the open and happy outlook of the villagers is inspiring. A dragon dance welcomes guests at Watam Village along the Sepik River where woven baskets and exceptional Sepik artifacts and unique carvings are among the take-home treasures. A 12-day cruise on the 100-passenger Orion is from $8,095 per person, double.  See:

Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage, guests visit in addition to Glacier Bay National Park, the village of Kasaan with a population of just 65. It is a main historical community of the Kaigani Haida and home to the only remaining Haida clan house in Alaska. Here in a newly erected carving hut young carvers practice their skills alongside a whale house and totem park. If this journey on the 42-passenger Alaska Dream is booked for a 2013 sailing by Oct. 31, 2012, clients will save 20 percent per person. A 9-day journey starts at $3,749 per person, double. See:

Panama’s Embera Indians are a proud people who have maintained both lifestyle and traditions as they were before the Spaniards colonized the region 600 years ago. They are master crafters of cocobolo wood carvings and basketry. After motoring up river, guests see their village emerging, as if by magic, from the jungle. They witness how sugar cane is squeezed and grains are milled by hand, perhaps purchasing weavings and baskets. A seven-day catamaran cruise on the 24-person Discovery is from $3,450 per person, double. Guests who pay in full 180 days before sailing receive an early booking discount of $250 per person. See:

The people of Peru’s Amazon rainforest where they have lived for thousands of years depend on an intimate relationship with the natural environment for survival. From the moment the cruise begins guests see people living along the river: a dugout canoe full of piranha, a gathering of huts on a high riverbank and boats full of goods to sell and trade along the waterways. Interaction with villagers who live within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve helps them to develop and promote a balance between their needs and those of the wildlife with which they share habitat and ecosystems. In Puerto Miguel villagers bring their handicrafts aboard the ship for sale and barter. Cruises of four or five days are from $3,200 per person double aboard the four-suite Delfin I. See:

Shackleton Epic offers Antarctic 'Adventure of a Lifetime' for Ten Intrepid Explorers

Tall ship TS Pelican

Ten travellers with an insatiable thirst for adventure - and AUD $30,000 to spend - are being offered the chance to follow in the footsteps of legendary British explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton by joining an epic 56-day Antarctic expedition to mark the centenary of his remarkable 1916 polar voyage.

The Shackleton Epic, which will be led by veteran British/Australian explorer Tim Jarvis, aims to be the first expedition to authentically recreate Shackleton's incredible 800-mile nautical voyage across the Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia, and his subsequent crossing of the island's mountains, using a replica lifeboat and only the equipment that was available to Shackleton at the time.

Global adventure and sustainable travel company, Intrepid Travel is the presenting partner for the expedition and is offering ten fearless explorers the adventure of a lifetime as crew on the TS Pelican, a tall ship similar to Shackleton's Endurance which will be the official support vessel for the voyage.

The expedition sets sail from Punta Arenas, Chile on January 3, 2013 and is expected to reach its final destination of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil late in February. The lucky few that secure a berth on the TS Pelican will have the opportunity to help sail the vessel, gain navigational skills, learn about the Antarctic's geography and wildlife, assist with environmental monitoring and follow the internationally recognised Shackleton's Way leadership programme.

Just ten berths are available to the public and they will go on sale at at 12:00 British Summer Time on Friday, September 7. Interested explorers can contact Intrepid on or 1300 797 010 for more information, or contact their travel agent*. More information about the Shackleton Epic expedition is available at

The voyage is taking place to honour Shackleton's remarkable survival feat against the odds and to raise awareness of environmental changes and the need to protect the Antarctic. The expedition will raise funds for Flora and Fauna International to support its biodiversity conservation programmes.

Intrepid Travel's Co-founder and Managing Director, Geoff Manchester said, "Intrepid Travel is proud to be the presenting partner for the Shackleton Epic, as it brings together two things we firmly believe in: a spirit of fearless exploration and a commitment to protecting our natural environment.

"Antarctica has attracted its fair share of explorers, but the heroic accomplishment of Shackleton and his crew stands out, not for flag-planting but for the endurance and hope that they showed in the face of obstacles that seemed insurmountable," he added.

Tim Jarvis, leader of the Shackleton Epic expedition said: "A berth on the TS Pelican as part of the Shackleton Epic is absolutely the stuff of childhood dreams. We are thrilled that members of the public will be able to participate in this historic re-enactment voyage."

For more information about the berths that are available for sale on the TS Pelican, please visit

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Introducing The Boat Company

Mist Cove of The Boat Company
M/V Mist Cove in Alaska
(c) Linda Garrison
The 24-passenger Mist Cove is an intimate eco-cruise ship owned and operated by The Boat Company.

For nature lovers and outdoorsmen, it is a perfect way to experience Southeast Alaska. During the Alaska cruise season, the Mist Cove sails the waterways of the Tongass National Forest on 7-day cruises between Juneau and Sitka, with days spent exploring the hidden waterways, mystical rain forests, and undeveloped islands of Southeast Alaska, and nights anchored in quiet coves.

Cruise Weekly: Northwest Passage a Pushover?

From Cruise Weekly 4 Sept 2012

One Ocean's Akademik Ioffe

By Roderick Eime

For the last however-many hundred years, the Northwest Passage has been a largely theoretical shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the top of Canada. For centuries, mariners, navigators and explorers have have busted their butts to make the journey through the treacherous, ice-choked and labyrinthine waterways. Most ended in failure or disaster, some even trapped in ice for years.

Our ebullient expedition leader (EL), Boris Wise, aboard One Ocean's (OOE) Akademik Ioffe warned us. "We have a daily schedule, but the only thing we guarantee is that we'll get you to Kugluktuk on August 26."

Fair call from any experienced EL. Expedition cruising is all about the unexpected, the ability to exploit opportunities as they arise and avoid adversity when it appears. Most mornings Boris is poring over the ice charts arriving by satellite from Canada's coastal monitoring authority. Red splotches are heavy (10/10) ice, while pale blue is (<1/10) and effectively ice free. While there is plenty of red, ther's also plenty of blue detours and as the journey pans out, our transit through the narrow Bellot Strait, which thwarted so many early explorers, was even conducted in a Zodiac. Boris and the captain scan the horizon with powerful binoculars, not to find a way through, but to actually find some ice.

Inuit welcome at Pond Inlet
Before I rush to join the chorus of climate change alarmists, let's remember climates do change. We have thousands, even millions, of years of evidence, yet it is hard to refute that we (the world) are currently experiencing a period of warmer global temperatures. Certainly the previously impenetrable Northwest Passage (or North-West Passage if you are an English historian) is yielding to more maritime traffic and expedition cruise companies like OOE are taking full advantage of that.

On my previous voyage aboard Ponant, the captain advised guests their inaugural passage in 2013 aboard Le Soleal is already sold-out and wait-listed. Adventure Canada (who absorbed the troubled Cruise North in 2011) and Hapag-Lloyd are also offering NW Passage cruises each year. OOE were running about 85 per cent capacity including a few industry guests like myself, but sell-outs on this historic journey with a narrow window of opportunity (at least until recently) are common.

19th Century map showing early exploration routes
Rest easy, the risk of becoming beset in ice is no more. Even if your expedition finds itself surrounded by a dense pack and unable to proceed, a satellite phone call to the Canadian Coast Guard will have one of their standby icebreakers on the scene in a few hours to escort you through. A handy backup service provided by the Canadian Government, just in case.

The highlights of any NWP voyage are the combined elements of wildlife, nature, culture, environment and history – and there are plenty of all to go around. Each day our squad of naturalists revised the mammal and bird checklist, while others with a penchant for the microscopic updated the plants. Yes, polar bears, walrus, seals, whales and even a rare Peary's Caribou had the animal spotters hopping with delight. See semi-daily reports at

Rod travelled as a guest of, flying with support from

MS Hamburg to Sail Antarctica

by Kevin Griffin - The Cruise Examiner
Plantours’ Vistamar currently Orient Queen II
Following in the wake of Plantours’ Vistamar in past years, its latest vessel, MS Hamburg, will also be offering a series of Antarctic cruises in 2012/13. The Hamburg will offer three Antarctic cruises this winter, varying from 11 to 16 nights. Plantours’ Vistamar currently Orient Queen II

The first, on December 21, departs Buenos Aires and cruises the Antarctic Peninsula, finishing in Ushuaia. The second departs Ushuaia January 6, 2013 for a round-trip cruise to the Falkland Islands and the Antractic Peninsula. The third departs Ushuaia January 17, 2013, and cruises the Antarctic Peninsula and Chilean Fjords before terminating in Valparaiso.

The two January cruises can also be combined for a 26-night cruise that includes all of the the Falkland Islands, two visits to the Antarctic Peninsula and the Chilean Fjords.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Columbus currently
Plantours & Partner's MS Hamburg

The MS Hamburg was renamed in her namesake city of Hamburg on June 7. Formerly Hapag-Lloyd’s Columbus, her capacity has been reduced slightly, from 420 to about 400 passengers.Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Columbus currently Plantours & Partner's Hamburg It is about forty years now since Hamburg had a cruise ship named after it, when German Atlantic Line operated a ship of the same name. The last Hamburg was sold to the Black sea Shipping Company of Odessa and renamed Maxim Gorkiy. The Gorkiy was scrapped in 2009.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

Compagnie du Ponant Sold

Le Boreal, the first of three state-of-the-art adventure cruise ships
Bridgepoint, a privately owned holding company, completes acquisition of Compagnie du Ponant, the French luxury cruise line renowned for its specialist polar cruises, from CMA CGM via its parent company Mérit. The terms of the transaction are undisclosed.

Founded in 1988 and with over 580 employees, Compagnie du Ponant (‘CDP’) operates three luxury ships (typically with between 32 and 132 cabins) and in 2011 carried 20,000 passengers and had revenues of €80 million.

Read full report

Is this the ultimate Antarctic wildlife adventure?

It is likely that your travel style differs from that of your family and coworkers and friends. Like me, when it comes to travel, you probably march to the beat of your own drummer.

Well, this year, I encourage you to make that march alongside the thousands of waddling and squawking penguins...


Most Antarctica travelers make the journey to the "White Continent" in larger expedition ships, with a hundred or so other people. These trips are indeed spectacular, and they provide many travelers with their adventure dreams of a lifetime.

But for the truly adventurous, small-group nature traveler inclined toward rare experiences in the outdoors, our trip aboard an expedition sailboat might be just the best option!

This exclusive voyage, departing December 14, 2012 under a special permit from the National Science Foundation, is led by world-renowned explorers and wildlife biologists. We travel to Antarctica aboard an ice-strengthened ketch that's a veteran of many polar expeditions, and return via small cruise ship. Along the way, we drop anchor in isolated coves and set up camp amidst a host of Antarctic wildlife, including friendly penguins and seals that shuffle up right next to your tent. In our remote environs, we are assured of an exclusive nature travel adventure experience available to very few travelers.

This trip isn't for everyone: it's too arduous for the typical nature traveler. But if it's right for you -- if you're one of those rare explorers who yearns for a genuine wilderness expedition in the planet's most remote realm -- this could be the most important adventure of your entire life!

If you think you have what it takes, give us a call at 1-800-543-8917 and ask for Olaf (our Chief Exploratory Officer). We are taking just five travelers, so call today! Again, you can check out the trip on our website by clicking here.

I hope to see you out there,

Ben Bressler, Founder & Director, Natural Habitat Adventures

Monday 3 September 2012