Thursday 31 January 2013

New Hurtigruten hook: ‘If you liked Alaska, you’ll love Norway’

Hurtigruten’s New York office kicked off a new ‘Alaska Past Passenger’ campaign with 50% off the brochure rate for the second passenger in a cabin. This amounts to a savings of $750 to $8,917 for second guests traveling on select departures between May 1 and Oct. 31. Bookings must be made by March 31.

‘If you liked cruising Alaska, you will love Norway,’ said Rolf Logan, Hurtigruten’s sales director-Americas. ‘Our Gulf Stream-warmed waters, 34 ports of call with easy on and off access from our modern intimate ships, no wasted time on open stretches of ocean, and our stunning landscapes and friendly people make us an ideal adventure for travelers who want an even more in-depth experience than they may have had in Alaska.’

Although Alaska and Norway share a number of similarities, Hurtigruten said the differences make Norway an ideal trip for travelers looking for ‘even more of the majesty of nature’—the Northern Lights, Midnight Sun, wildlife, fjords—coupled with Norway’s distinctive culture, people and history.

Hurtigruten’s six-, seven, 11- and 12-day voyages along Norway’s coast travel to destinations between the UNESCO-listed harbor town of Bergen and Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle. Among many highlights are the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund; Trondheim, Norway’s first capital; scenic fjords including UNESCO-listed Geiranger and the northern city of Tromsø.

Silver Explorer ready to resume Antarctica service

Luxury expedition ship Silver Explorer, which sustained water damage in heavy seas earlier this month, is ready to resume its Antarctica season on Thursday, following repairs in Ushuaia.

‘Everything’s on schedule,’ a Silversea Cruises source told Seatrade Insider.

The ship had missed the Jan. 21 sailing to undergo repairs.

The Jan. 31 10-day cruise will operate round-trip Ushuaia.

Read full story

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Orion rescue of Frenchman Alain Delord in the Southern Ocean

The expedition cruise ship MVOrion arrived in Hobart, Australia, at 0900, Tuesday 22 January, having diverted from its planned course (heading to Macquarie Island  to conclude its expedition to Antarctica) in order to attempt to rescue French solo yacht sailor Alain Delord whose yacht's mast had broken into three pieces and the hull  subsequently damaged in heavy seas.

Responding to an emergency request from AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority), Orion, being the closest ship to the search zone, yet 687 nautical miles away, diverted course for a two day rush to save Alan Delord, who by that time had abandoned his yacht and was in a life raft.

Royal Australian Air Force search aircraft were deployed to locate the sailor, now adrift In the Southern Ocean encountering 7 meter swells and winds gusting to 40 knots.  Following a sighting by the aircraft a raft containing communications equipment, supplies and a survival suit, was dropped and communication commenced on an hourly basis through a French interpreter.

The sea conditions hampered Orion's speed during the 54 hour race to reach Alain, arriving in the search zone at 8.30pm Sunday 20 January, as light was starting to fade.

Guided by an RAAF Hercules dropping flares to guide the way, the crew of Orion located the life raft 380 nautical miles south-west of Hobart and Captain Mike Taylor put the rescue plan into action, positioning the 104 metre Orion to windward of the raft creating a relatively calm patch for a Zodiac to be deployed.

Encouraged by the 91 cheering guests onboard Orion, the rescue team, headed by Expedition Leader Don McIntyre, himself a former solo round the world yachtsman, quickly secured the life raft, extracted Alain Delord and transferred him to the security of the ship in a matter of minutes.

In the medical centre the ship's doctor Chris Bulstrode, a specialist in trauma medicine, examined Alain declaring he was in remarkably good condition for someone who had been through such a harrowing experience.

A suite had been prepared and following a dinner of lamb shanks, a glass of wine and a cup of tea, Alain went to bed.

Relevant maritime authorities informed, Orion set course for Hobart.

With an earlier than scheduled arrival in Hobart, the Orion team worked quickly with local authorities and suppliers to arrange guest visits to Port Arthur, Maria Island and South Bruny Island, while Alain received new documentation from France to allow for his entry into Australia.

Orion's Facebook page achieved record visits as past passengers, the world's media and general public followed the unfolding of the rescue. On the BBC's website the rescue footage trended as the second most watched video.

Positive comments have been flooding in to Orion Expedition Cruises full of praise for the way the rescue was conducted seamlessly in conjunction with AMSA.

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


Monday 21 January 2013

Stranded French yachtie rescued by Orion, but at what cost?

THE ANTARCTIC cruise ship MV Orion has rescued stranded round-the-world solo yachtsman Alain Delord who is said to be in good health.

The captain of the Antarctic cruise ship diverted to rescue a stricken yachtsman in the remote Southern Ocean has described how passengers cheered when Alain Delord was plucked from the sea.

Mr Delord was attempting to sail solo and without assistance around the world and has been at sea since October last year. His yacht, Tchouk Tchouk Nougat, was damaged in rough weather off Tasmania on Friday.

Read more:

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Cruise Weekly: Small Ship Shuffles

The small ship, expedition and adventure cruise ship fleet is continually on the move. Not just on the world's oceans, but between operators, owners and cruise lines.

Typically a ship is owned by an individual, an investment group or an instrumentality, like the Russian oceanographic ships, and managed by a specialist organisation like International Shipping Partners (ISP) in Miami. Ships are then chartered or leased to a cruise line that will sail it under their brand. Expedition ships, in particular, are a promiscuous variety, hopping from one line to another with new a persona as circumstances change.

Here is a short summary of some of the better known expedition ship movements over the last 12 months.

Corinthian II (one of the eight Renaissance class ships, R7) will conclude eight faithful years with US operator, Travel Dynamics, and be renamed Sea Explorer. She will begin with newbie operator Polar Latitudes in March 2013.

Orion II reverts to Corinthian for 2013
Orion II, once Clelia II (another Renaissance class ship, R4) after a shortened stint with Orion Expedition Cruises, is being returned to Travel Dynamics as Corinthian. She's had a tough life.

Hebridean Spirit (R6) became Caledonian Sky after Australian APT took a strategic stake in high-end adventure company, Noble Caledonia. She's heading to the Kimberley for the 2013 season (CW 02 Oct 12).

Sea Spirit (R5), once Spirit of Oceanus when with failed US cruise line, Cruise West, returns to Quark after a 2012 northern summer season with Dutch line, Oceanwide Expeditions.

Sold: Le Diamant
Ocean Diamond left service with Ponant Cruises at the end of 2011 where she sailed as Le Diamant. Quark will return her to service beginning this Antarctic season. Built in 1974 as a cargo ship, she was converted for cruising in 1986 and is nearing the end of her service life.

Scrapped: Lyubov Orlova
Clipper Adventurer, an elegant and trusted vessel, if somewhat long in the tooth, became Sea Adventurer in 2012 and will sail for Quark and Zegrahm in 2013. Built in 1975 in the former Yugoslavia, she is a twin of the Lyubov Orlova (sometimes unkindly referred to as 'lube oil all over') which, after languishing for many months under arrest in Nova Scotia, now seems destined for the breakers.

Rescued: MS Andrea
MS Andrea, a delightful little 1960-built former Hurtigruten coastal vessel (Harald Jarl) seemed doomed when her US owners went bust in 2008. Increasingly strict regulations made the cosy cruiser a liability, but it seems she will return to service this year under new Russian owners as MS Serenissima. Find her itineraries with Noble Caledonia.

Vavilov to serve new masters
One Ocean, in 2013
Akademik Sergey Vavilov, one of the most trusted and well-travelled ice-strengthened oceanographic vessels joins Andrew Prossin's One Ocean Expeditions this year after stalwart service with Quark. This writer completed his first expedition cruise in 1998 aboard this vessel while with Quark. The sister ship, Akademik Ioffe, began operations with OOE in 2010.

Le Levant departs Ponant Cruises after entering service with the French-flagged line from new in 1998. The sleek 90-passenger luxury vessel will be operated from this year by Paul Gauguin Cruises in French Polynesia after a comprehensive refit and overhaul.

Marina Svetaeva, the sturdy 1989-built Arctic ferry, bought by Aurora Expeditions founders Greg and Margaret Mortimer in 2008 soon became a burden. After sale to Dutch line, Oceanwide Expeditons, it became Ortelius and just completed its first year of service with new owners.

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You can keep up to date with ship movements and more at

Roderick Eime writes regularly on small ship and expedition cruising for Cruise Weekly.

Unconfirmed: Silver Explorer damaged en route to Antarctica

News reports indicate the Silversea vessel, Silver Explorer, has been damaged by a wave in Antarctica. A Google translation from the German language site, reads:

Silver Explorer Silversea Cruises was caught by wave on the way to Antarctica - is The Silver Explorer Silversea Cruises into a storm in the South Polar Sea, as well as two more ships. The Silver Explorer had about 130 guests on board when a wave smashed into the bridge and a disc has broken. The small expedition ship is now reversed to Ushuaia. Four people were injured. Whether the Silver Explorer is now repaired or canceled the trip is not known. It was known that prevails on the route storm with over 8 foot waves, the dolphin turned therefore from the north and did not happen as planned, the southern route as two other ships including the Silver Explorer

We are waiting for official word from the cruise line.

American Queen Cancels Two Sailings for Extended Drydocking

The American Queen Steamboat Company announced it is cancelling the February 7 and February 15, 2013, voyages of the American Queen.

The boat will spend this extra time in the shipyard providing engineers the opportunity to build a completely new and more durable paddlewheel drive shaft, while re-building and reinforcing the fabled paddlewheel.

“The safety and reliability of the American Queen is our top priority and her drive shaft must be completely re-built,” shared American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted Sykes. “This additional time in lay-up is needed to custom-build a much stronger drive shaft with a 40- to 50-year lifespan, as well as re-install the iconic paddlewheel. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our guests and travel partners, and we are looking forward to an exciting and successful second season.”

These repairs will take place in addition to her annual refurbishments that include such enhancements as painting and wall papering public spaces and staterooms, the addition of a new Front Porch Café and décor updates to the J.M. White Dining Room and Engine Room Bar, to name a few.

The American Queen is now scheduled to sail her first voyage of the season on February 23, 2013, roundtrip from New Orleans.

For more information, visit

Paul Gauguin Cruises New Ship, The m/v Tere Moana, Christened in St. Martin

Inline images 1

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, christened its new luxurious ship, the m/v Tere Moana, in an official ceremony held dockside, in Marigot, St. Martin. Cruise guests, local dignitaries, and media were in attendance.

Mireille Bailey, The Moana's godmother and wife of Richard Bailey, Chairman of Paul Gauguin Cruises and President and CEO of Pacific Beachcomber S.C., presided over the festivities, delivering a moving speech before christening the ship with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne.  Mr. Bailey along with Diane Moore, President of Paul Gauguin Cruises, and Captain Rajko Zupan, the ship's Master, spoke during the ceremony, which included plaque presentations by St. Martin's Vice President of the Collectivité, Port Chairman, Port Director, and Tourist Board.  St. Martin's Father Samson Dorival delivered the ship's blessing, and ceremony attendees were serenaded by the festive music of a Caribbean steel drum band.

After the ceremony, a Champagne reception followed by a gala dinner was held aboard The Moana before the ship set sail on its inaugural 7-night Caribbean voyage to visit islands in the French West Indies, British Virgin Islands, and St. Kitts & Nevis.  In January and February, The Moana embarks on 13- and 14-night Panama Canal cruises.  From April through November, the ship operates a variety of 7-night European voyages.  During spring and fall, 14-night transatlantic crossings are available between Europe and the Caribbean.

Like The Gauguin, The Moana offers an elegant yet casual ambiance, luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, trademark Polynesian hospitality, and extraordinary all-inclusive value. At 330 feet long and 46 feet wide, The Moana has a draft of 11.5 feet, and accommodates 90 guests with a staff of 60. The ship's 45 oceanview staterooms, 8 which offer private balconies, feature a king-size bed donned with fine linens and feather-down duvet; a flatscreen TV; DVD/CD player; iPod® docking station; in-stateroom refrigerator replenished daily with soft drinks, beer, and bottled water; robes and slippers; spacious closets; and a bathroom with sumptuous bath products.

The Moana offers two elegant dining venues and incorporates regionally infused cuisine of destinations visited featuring fresh ingredients from local markets.  Evenings feature live piano music in Le Salon, the perfect place to enjoy cocktails and unwind after a day of adventure.  The ship's Deep Nature Spa by Algotherm delivers signature spa treatments, and a fitness centre is equipped with the latest cardio and weightlifting equipment. The ship's outdoor decks feature a swimming pool, hot tub, chaise lounges, and Balinese beds.  In select ports, kayaking and paddleboarding are available from the ship's watersports marina.  And the ship's La Boutique features jewellery, apparel, sundries, and souvenirs.

For more information and Paul Gauguin and Tere Moana  reservations, contact Wiltrans International on 1800 251 174 (Australia) or 0800 446 376 (New Zealand).

Monday 14 January 2013

Small Ship Cruising in Fiji

Head off to the outer islands of Fiji with Blue Lagoon Cruises and Tui Tai.
As published in Summer 2013 issue of Get Up & Go

Thursday 10 January 2013

Rebranding Innersea Discoveries. Now Un-cruise

Source: Cruise Weekly

Safari Endeavour

INNERSEA Discoveries/American SafariCruises has rebranded itself under the company name Un-Cruise Adventures.

The company currently operates the boutique vessels Safari Quest, Safari Explorer, Safari Endeavour, Safari Legacy, Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Discoverer, and Wilderness Explorer in Alaska, Hawaii, the Sea of Cortes, and along the US Columbia and Snake rivers; as well as coastal Washington and British Columbia.

“What began as yacht cruising under the American Safari Cruises name has now expanded to include more styles of Un-Cruise Adventures, and this name change reflects that growth,” said company ceo Dan Blanchard.

For details, contact Ultimate Cruising on 1300 662 943

Aurora Moving Office

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Aurora Expeditions - Suite 212, 35 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Australia. Ph +61 2 9252 1033

Monday 7 January 2013

Sunday 6 January 2013

Monkey around with SeaDream on the Amazon

IF you're planning on being in the USA in March and you've a spare week up your sleeve, take a side trip and join a rare sailing aboard the world's highest-rated mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II, whose prices have been greatly discounted for a 7-day adventure in the upper reaches of the Amazon River – including a chance to hand-feed the monkeys on appropriately-named Monkey Island in Colombia.

The March 3 sailing also features meeting Amazonian tribes, visiting fascinating museums and jungle markets, viewing some of the world's most exotic jungle plants and animals… and if you're up to it, a canoe trip by night with guides and naturalists to search out crocodiles, snakes and other nocturnal creatures.

Price of the 7-day sailing from Iquitos to eight towns and ports in Colombia, Brazil and Peru begins from US$6426pp twin-share – down from originally-advertised US$8827pp – including all 5-star onboard dining, open bars with select premiums beers, wines and spirits, excursions with onboard guides and naturalists, a 30-course golf simulator, gratuities and port charges and taxes.

Other itineraries are also available in March, including an end-of-season 20-days from Iquitos in Peru to 20 towns and ports on the Amazon, French Guiana's Devil's Island Charlotteville in Tobago, Mayreau in the Grenadines and Bridgetown, Barbados.

Although 5-star, SeaDream's yachting ambiance calls only for smart casual attire and does not require ties, jackets or formal wear; for full details see travel agents or visit

Friday 4 January 2013

Luxury Boutique Mekong Cruise with Scenic Tours

Mekong, floating market

Scenic Tours, a leading operator of all-inclusive luxury escorted tours to Asia, is taking their guests on a luxury boutique cruise along the Mekong River on their South East Asia tours. The seven night 5-star cruise on board The Jahan sails from Saigon in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Guests will discover Cai Be's colourful floating markets and experience Vietnam's fish farming capital Chau Doc by boat and cyclo. They will visit Phnom Penh, famous for its charm and striking Royal Khmer and French Colonial architecture, and Kampong Cham to encounter monks in saffron robes, pagodas and stunning hilltop temples.

With the intimacy of boutique service on board and with a personal size of 26 luxurious staterooms, starting at 30 metres square in size, The Jahan is the most luxurious vessel on the Mekong River, leading the way in boutique river cruising. Its large staterooms boast a timeless colonial Raj design and the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that lead to a private balcony offer panoramic views of Mekong River life.

Guests may wake up to sunrise Tai Chi on the Sun Deck, relax in the pool, attend a lecture or Vietnamese and Khmer cooking class and witness traditional dance performances. The finest Vietnamese, Cambodian and Western cuisine is served on board, from a Prosecco breakfast on their private balcony, afternoon tea at the observatory, a drink at the elegant Funnel Bar at sun set, or a barbeque dinner feast at the Pool Deck.

Scenic Tours are currently offering partner fly free including taxes for bookings made by 31 March 2013. Prices on the 19 Day Journey Along the Mekong start from $7,220*pp twin share. Price includes return flights for the second person travelling with taxes exiting Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide; and 19 day tour including seven night cruise, all accommodation, most meals, all activities, airport transfers, and all tipping and gratuities.  Call Scenic Tours 1300 723 642.

Proudly Australian and unashamedly passionate, for 25 years Scenic Tours has been delivering the ultimate in all-inclusive luxury touring experiences to unique and extraordinary places on every continent.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Un-Cruise Adventures adds themes to Hawaii, Mexico sailings

86-passenger Safari Endeavour

Travelers interested in marine biology, photography or with young kids in tow have a choice of 10 sailings this winter in Hawaii and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés with Un-Cruise Adventures.

Photography and marine biology theme cruises include an expert guest host on board for the week. Presentations will be held in the lounge and passengers are free to interact with the host on board or during excursions. One-on-one time allows for questions to be answered and hands-on help with photography.

‘Kids in Nature’ departures cater to families traveling with children 12 and younger. The expedition team gears the program to a variety of ages and activity levels with a focus on educating kids of all ages. Hiking excursions, kayaking trips, skiff explorations and snorkeling are among the activities.

Theme cruises in Hawaii include the Jan. 5 ‘Photography and Whales with Flip Nicklin,’ a top whale photographer. The March 9 and 30 spring break departures are ‘Kids in Nature’ cruises, while the April 6 sailing theme is ‘Photography with Peter West Carey,’ a professional photographer whose love for travel has taken him around the world.

In the Sea of Cortés, the Jan. 12 departure focuses on marine biology with Rodrigo Rocha Gosselin, a La Paz, Mexico, resident passionate about conservation and nature. Feb 16’s ‘Photography with David Julian’ features a professional photographer with 30 years of experience, while March 16’s ‘Photography with Ellen Barone’ highlights an intrepid traveler, freelance writer and photographer.

The March 30 cruise hones in on marine biology with Giovanni Malagrino, a professor of marine biology, while the March 9 and 23 spring break periods offer ‘Kids in Nature’ themes.

In Hawaii, the 36-passenger Safari Explorer sails seven-night cruises between Hawaii, the Big Island, and Lanai with two days of activities on Molokai. Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands with explorations of four islands—Lanai, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii.

In the Sea of Cortés, the 86-passenger Safari Endeavour sails round-trip La Paz on an unstructured itinerary that explores hideaways such as Isla Espíritu Santo, Isla San Francisco, Bahia Agua Verde, Los Islotes and Loreto.

For details, contact Ultimate Cruising on 1300 662 943

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Pandaw Announces New Shorter Mekong Cruises

Pictured: RV Indochina Pandaw

click to read full report
For 2013/2014 Pandaw will offer, in addition to our regular 8-day 7-night cruise between Saigon and Siem Reap via Phnom Penh v.v., shorter cruises between these cities of 4 or 3 nights.

Saigon - Phnom Penh or v.v., or Siem Reap - Phnom Penh or v.v.

These shorter cruises will be operated by the RV Mekong Pandaw.

See attached for any information about itineraries and dates of sailing for all Mekong Cruises until March 2014.

Read the full bulletin here (too hard to transpose for web)

Pandaw will also operate 4 ships in Myanmar this year.

Details of schedules and rates are available on the web site: