Sunday 30 June 2013

Former Wallaby Nathan Sharpe enjoys a True North cruise around New Guinea

Nathan Sharpe?s fishing fantasy

AUSTRALIAN rugby union player Nathan Sharpe retired from international rugby at the end of 2012 as the most capped Super Rugby player in history. 
The first thing he did after his final match was fly to Papua New Guinea for a fishing trip with his best mate since he was 10, with North Star Cruises.

Travel Indochina experiences continued growth in cruise passenger numbers

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Australia's expert in small group journeys and tailor-made holidays to Asia, Travel Indochina, has launched a significantly expanded range of Asian cruising options within the release of its third river cruising brochure.

The release of the 64 page brochure has also coincided with the inclusion of cruise packages on Travel Indochina's new consumer website

Thirteen new itineraries across the Mekong, Yangtze Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers in Indochina, China and Burma respectively, are included in the new brochure.

Two new vessels have also been introduced into the Travel Indochina stable; the 'Mekong Sun', suitable for the upper reaches of the Mekong River, with a maximum of 28 guests, and Orient Express' new Burma cruiser, the 'Orcaella', with 25 spacious cabins.

Managing Director of Travel Indochina, Paul Hole, says the uptake of river cruising in Asia has been strong.

"Last year we experienced an unprecedented 400% year-on-year growth in cruise passenger numbers," says Paul.

"This year has continued to provide strong results, with an increase of 83%."

"We've continued to expand our offering to keep up with travellers' seemingly insatiable appetite for new experiences along Asia's fascinating main rivers. River cruising offers a unique way to experience Asia, spanning the lifeblood of many of these countries. We've been working with this demand to provide more flexibility in our packages, offering trips varying in length to suit all preferences, from 4 – 22 day options."

One of the new packages available is a 5 day/4 night 'Mystical Luang Prabang & Cruise' option that includes a 3 day cruise on the Mekong Sun, and 2 nights deluxe accommodation staying at Luang Say Residence after the cruise. The relaxing escape also includes a cooking class at Tamarind, and plenty of time to explore all that Luang Prabang has to offer.

To mark the release of the brochure, 2014 Early Bird Sale prices are available for select cruises.

Early bird Mekong River cruise packages on the luxurious Jahan and Jayavarman vessels are available for a range of Jun – Sept 2014 8-22 day departures from either Saigon or Siem Reap.

For sale from 01 Jul to 31 Aug 2013, the 12 Day 'Saigon to Angkor' Mekong cruise package was $3,823 pp twin share 'Superior Cabin', and is now $3,490 pp twin share, for a saving of  $333 pp twin share, or $666 per couple.

Travel Indochina is also offering solo cruisers a 'Yangzi Explorer' Yangtze River Cruise with no single supplement for the 16 – 27 March and 1 June – 4 September 2014 departures.

The brochure provides information designed to make a traveller's life easier, with new content that includes shore excursions, cuisine, charters and full deck plans.

For full details of River Cruising itineraries or a copy of the brochure, Travel Indochina's Asia experts can be contacted on 1300 362 777 or

Le Soleal delivered to Ponant

Le Soleal is the third ship of its type delivered to Ponant

Fincantieri has delivered the third of three luxury cruise ships to the French cruise line Compagnie du Ponant. Le Soleal was delivered at the Ancona shipyard today.

Described as being similar to a mega-yacht in size and appearance, Le Soleal is a unique niche product and will be the cruise line's new flagship. She is designed to offer passengers different experiences, reaching destinations around the globe inaccessible to larger vessels.

The new ship, which will fly the French flag, is approximately 11,000 tons, 142 meters long and 18 meters wide. It can accommodate more than 260 passengers in 132 cabins and suites, all with a sea view, 94% of which have a private balcony.

Like with its twin sisters, Le Boréal and L'Austral, the Bureau Veritas classification society has assigned Le Soléal not only an ice class, for navigation in polar and sub-polar regions, but also Clean Ship and Comfort Class certifications, by virtue of the ship's latest-generation technology for reducing environmental impact, noise and vibration.

Le Soléal differs from the two previous ships with the design of her public rooms, all developed for the first time entirely by Fincantieri with products and craftsmen selected by a special in-house team, and equipped, like all the cabins, with a latest-generation energy-saving lighting system using only LEDs made in Italy. Fincantieri's newest build also has a different coloured hull and higher installed power to allow more flexibility in cruise planning.

Compagnie du Ponant, based in Marseille, has a fleet of three cruise ships targeting the luxury market, which has now been expanded with the addition of Le Soléal. Founded in 1988, today the company is a member of the UK-based Bridgepoint Group.

Fincantieri has built 65 cruise ships since 1990, of which 42 since 2002. Another nine ships are being built or due to be built in the Group's yards.

Saturday 29 June 2013

Pandaw to construct two new vessels

 Pandaw River Expeditions are delighted to announce the construction of two new vessels in Burma. The Sinmalike shipyard in Rangoon have been awarded the contract to build two K plus class vessels of 56 meters length with twenty deluxe staterooms. This is a new design with an ultra shallow draft of less than a meter enabling the ships to pass through channels that at low water would be blocked to other vessels.

These ships, the Kindat Pandaw and the Kalaw Pandaw, will be finished in traditional Pandaw style with teak and brass. Pandaw ships are unlike other river cruise ships being exact replicas of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company ships of the 1920s with spacious promenade decks running around them.

Pandaw founder Paul Strachan says:
"It is wonderful to be building again in Burma where we started nearly 20 years ago. There is a lot of ship building know-how there and we can achieve the ultra shallow drafts so essential for the extreme low water conditions now prevailing. Last year vessels of over one meter draft could not pass from Pagan to Mandalay for over three months during the peak of the high season. At Pandaw we can not let this happen."

The Kindat and Kalaw will operate on the new Mandalay Pagan Packet service starting in July 2014 together with the Indochina and Orient. These four ships will offer a total capacity of 100 cabins / 200 pax between these destinations weekly. The Mandalay Pagan Packet is s a stand alone product in and out of Mandalay International Airport obviating the need for hotels or domestic flights.

These new build's will bring the Irrawaddy Flotilla up to seven vessels and the total Pandaw fleet up to twelve ships.

True North Adventure Cruise Update

In the Starters Hands

There’s something special about the Broome Races

Red dirt splashed by an azure sea. An eclectic mix of local characters thrown together with an army of enthusiastic out-of-towners! Balmy weather that seems to wrap even the most oblivious in a relaxed blanket of contentment. And a sense of remoteness that exposes the adventurous nature in us all.

The Broome Races are quintessentially a bucket list item and maybe an opportunity to tick a couple of items off your own list in a single gallop.

Kimberley Cup day is on August 3 – the week before the TRUE NORTH’S Kimberley Ultimate 7 departs Wyndham and, the Broome Cup is on August 17 – just two weeks prior to the departure of Kimberley Ultimate 8

There is never a better time to visit the Kimberley – the whole region is under the whip! The national parks and all of the other seasonal attractions are open and ready to impress

And, there are still a handful of cabins available on both of the above departures! Don’t miss a unique opportunity to race and cruise

To make a booking - contact your preferred travel representative or North Star's adventure partners on (+61) 8 9192 1829. Don't forget to ask about our current incentives - there are some great savings to be made

The Hottest Item on the Card

There are also a couple of cabins still available on the West Papua Discoverer which is out of the gates on October 6.

Now this one is well and truly up there in the big stakes department – an odds-on favourite with anyone who appreciates the best of the best

An opportunity to discover the amazing Raja Ampats – an archipelago of more than 1500 islands, cays and shoals. An opportunity to cross the equator and see the breathtaking Wilson’s bird of paradise, to snorkel amidst clouds of harmless jellyfish, to swim with manta rays and to explore jungle in the land of the undiscovered

Featuring return flights in our chartered jet – a gobsmacking adventure laced with comfort and style

To make a booking - contact your preferred travel representative or North Star's adventure partners on (+61) 8 9192 1829.

Get your Race Book for 2014!

North Star Cruises has just released a revised cruise schedule for 2014.

And as you might expect there is something new on the card

A maiden runner called the Wet Season Adventure.

For more information click on the Cruise Schedule

Happy Racing and, see you on the TRUE NORTH

Thursday 27 June 2013

False pricing in expedition cruising

as reported in

by Louise Goldsbury, editor

Briggs seeks end to false pricing

Coral Princess CEO Tony Briggs is hopeful of more credible pricing for expedition cruising in Australia.

Briggs seeks end to false pricing
The change of ownership of Orion Expedition Cruises has been welcomed by rival operator Coral Princess Cruises as an opportunity to be rid of “false prices” for products such as expedition cruises in the Kimberley region.

As head of the Australian company, Tony Briggs told CW that local ship owners had struggled to compete against international vessels offering large discounts to consumers.

“We pioneered the concept of expedition cruising in the Kimberley in 1995 and we never discounted – only for past guests, groups and charters,” he said.

“ The biggest change in the past six or seven years has been the level of discounting occurring in the market by foreign-owned, foreign-flagged, foreign-crewed ships with a much lower cost base, who don’t employ Australian workers or pay Australian taxes, so it was a challenge for all of us to compete.”

Coral Princess, North Star Cruises, Kimberley Quest and The Great Escape were forced to match the lower fares, Briggs said, which had a dramatic effect on business.

“We couldn’t grow to our full potential, and there was no chance for new local operators to enter the market,” he said.

“Hopefully we’re coming out of that now – we just want a level playing field.”

Briggs said he was “heartened” by recent comments earlier this month by Orion’s new owner Sven Lindblad that he would “restore credibility in pricing” for expeditions in the
region (CW 04 Jun).

“When there’s a false price being set to allow for discounting, it creates a lot of confusion in the market, which is not good for operators or consumers,” Briggs said.

He urged agents to keep in mind the differences between the experiences on itineraries offered by local ships compared to ships owned by foreign companies.

Oceanic Discoverer in PNG. Coral Princess pioneered the return to cruising in PNG in 2006.

“When they put clients on an Australian coastal cruise on an international ship, it’s not an Australian cruise – they have to go to an international port, such as Timor.

“We’re proud to have Australian-flagged and Australian-crewed ships in the Kimberley for six months of the year offering more departures than any other operator,” he said.

Coral Princess, Coral Princess II and Oceanic Discoverer also sail in the Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, New Guinea, Melanesia, Cape York and Arnhem Land.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Explore PNG and the Magical Louisiade Archipelago On-Board True North

Limited Availability in December 2013

Exclusive True North sailings to Papua New Guinea and the Louisiade Archipelago offer fortunate guests unique opportunity to discover pristine and rarely visited destinations.

And the True North is the only way to truly explore these remarkable destinations. Australia’s premier luxury adventure-cruise ship is purpose-built to sail deep into unspoilt areas that larger ships cannot access.

Departing on the 3rd of December 2013, the nine night Adventures in Paradise itinerary is True North’s most refined offering in Papua New Guinea and includes an extended voyage from the Bismarck Sea to the beautiful Louisiades. Highlights include flights in the ship’s helicopter over the active volcano at Rabaul and, opportunity to visit the stirring Isurava Memorial on the Kokoda Track.

Following this, the True North’s Archipelago Adventure is a shorter duration 5 night adventure that focusses on the Louisiade Archipelago. Departing on the 12th of December 2013, this itinerary is an ideal getaway for the time poor professional looking for an ultimate escape.

The Louisiade Archipelago stretches some 400km along the northern rim of the Coral Sea - a wonderland of hundreds of islands, lagoons and extensive barrier reefs. This remote area is home to the seafaring Dobu people and boasts some of the best diving, snorkelling and fishing to be found in Papua New Guinea.

Guests on both cruises will have the opportunity to see the wreck of a Japanese Zero at Deboyne lagoon and to swim with manta rays at Losai Island. Sport fishermen can expect to tangle with sailfish, Spanish mackerel and giant dog-tooth tuna whilst postcard-perfect beaches and islands will inspire the inner photographer.

The True North’s rich and varied itineraries are tailor-made for the traveller looking to complement time in Papua New Guinea with the incredible array of activities that is synonymous with the True North. Guests enjoy the highest quality experiences courtesy of True North’s on-board naturalist and marine biologist, the ship’s state of the art helicopter, six dedicated expedition boats and a knowledgeable crew of 20 who tend to the every-need of just 36 guests.

Exceptional food and wine are also at the heart of a True North experience. The ship’s modern Australian cuisine is supplemented with locally sourced ingredients and complemented by an outstanding selection of Australian wines. Cabins are spacious and modern; there is a panoramic lower deck dining room, an alfresco bar and an observation lounge.

The nine-night New Adventures in Paradise (3-12 December 2013) starts from $13,595pp and includes return charter flights from Cairns.

The five-night Archipelago Adventure (12-17 December 2013) starts from just $7,995pp and includes return charter flights from Cairns.

Bookings: Contact North Star Cruises on 08 9192 1829 or email

Orion presents Lindblad National-Geographic Galápagos voyages


Orion Expeditions is introducing the extraordinary voyages of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic to the magical Galápagos Islands with a new brochure and a special $1,000 air credit offer.

Consistently rated one of the world's best island destinations, Galápagos is like being in the ultimate zoo without the fences, and offers unprecedented proximity to wild creatures that exhibit no fear of humans.  And with nearly 50 years exploring Galápagos, Lindblad Expeditions' profound knowledge of the destination provides guests a unique, richly immersive experience and a life changing adventure.

The comprehensive brochure details Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Galápagos voyages, with enticing add-on tours to Machu Picchu in Peru and expeditions to the Upper Amazon River.  Lindblad's 96-guest National Geographic Endeavour and 48-guest National Geographic Islander are based year round in Galápagos, and offer weekly departures every Friday and Saturday. With a renowned team of naturalists on every expedition, guests can gravitate towards the team members whose interests in ornithology, geology or undersea life mirror their own, and a Lindblad- National Geographic certified photo instructor helps guests bring their skills to the next level.  

To introduce the new expeditions, guests that book before 31 July 2013 will receive a $1,000 air credit per person on 2013 Galápagos voyages.  Offer is subject to availability; new bookings only. The 10 day/9 night voyages including 7 nights onboard are priced from $4,820 per person twin share.  

For further information, or to obtain the new Galápagos brochure contact Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) / 0800 444 462 (New Zealand) or see your travel agent. Email:

About Lindblad Expeditions‐National Geographic

Lindblad Expeditions‐National Geographic, pioneers in expedition travel, offers voyages in the Galápagos, Antarctica, the Arctic, Baja California, Alaska, Costa Rica, Panama, the Amazon, Asia & Pacific, Africa, Europe and beyond. They work in alliance to inspire travellers to explore and care about the planet. Their collaboration in exploration, research, technology and conservation provides extraordinary travel experiences and disseminates geographic knowledge around the globe. Lindblad Expeditions‐National Geographic has won numerous awards and accolades, most recently in 2012: "#1 Small Ship Cruise Line (Travel + Leisure's World's Best Family Awards); Top Small Ship Cruise Lines (Travel & Leisure World's Best Awards); Top Small Ship Lines (Conde Nast Traveler's Best in the World Cruise Lines); Top 20 Small Ships: National Geographic Endeavour and National Geographic Explorer (Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Poll); "Best for Adventure" (Cruise Critic Editors' Pick Awards), and "#1 Best Expedition Cruise Line (Porthole Cruise Magazine Readers' Choice Awards.



Tuesday 25 June 2013

Small Ship Adventure Company

Featured brochure.

Visit website:

Kimberley Cruise Mitchell Plateau - Save 50% off the second traveller

Kimberley Cruise Mitchell Plateau

Book for two on the Kimberley Cruise Mitchell Plateau and save 50% off the second traveller.

The Kimberley region of West Australia is one of the world's last great wilderness areas. The coastline is simply spectacular with deep gorges, coral reefs, mangroves and huge tides providing some of the many natural highlights. Utilising a 20 berth expedition cruise boat, you can access some of the Kimberley's wildest coastline in comfort, reaching all her best kept secrets normally only accessible by weeks of gruelling overland 4WD travel. During your days on board the Odyssey, the accent will be on day walks and shore explorations including visits to the Lacepede Islands, Montgomery Reef, Horizontal Water Falls, Sale River, Prince Regent River, King Cascade and Camp Creek to mention just a few destinations. From Naturaliste Island you'll enjoy a stunning helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls to join your charter flight back to Broome where this extraordinary wilderness experience concludes. More info and trip notes here - Kimberley Cruise Mitchell Plateau.

This 9 day cruise only departs in July and August, so there is not much time to secure your cabin at these incredible prices:

Deluxe Rooms - $13,350 per couple - SAVE $4450
Standard Twin Share Rooms - $11,850 per couple - SAVE $3950
Departs 13 July, 21 July, 2 August, 10 August, 30 August 2013
TO BOOK - Contact your local World Expeditions office or send us your booking form.

Conditions: Valid on new bookings made between 25 June - 30 Aug 2013 direct with World Expeditions or Australian Walking Holidays. Valid only on select departures - 13 July, 21 July, 2 August, 10 August, 30 August 2013. Not valid in conjunction with any other offer. Subject to availability and trips reaching minimum numbers to depart.

Special Offer on Mediterranean Gulet Sailing

Sailing the Turkish coast with Peter Sommer Travels
Archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels has announced a 20 per cent saving on a spectacular two-week Mediterranean sailing expedition.

Beginning Saturday August 31, 2013, the 15-day itinerary Cruising the Carian Coast explores some of the most magnificent scenery along the Turquoise Coast, and has been reduced by more than $1200 per person.

Travelling aboard a traditional wooden gulet, the expedition combines the glorious Greek islands of Rhodes, Symi and Halki with some of the greatest archaeological gems of Turkey's Carian coast.

Hosted by British historian Dr Graham Oliver, it begins in the picturesque Turkish port of Göcek and sails west to Bodrum, the site of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

In between it visits Kaunos with its exquisite rock-cut temple tombs, and the beautifully preserved marbled city Knidos, arranged around a double harbour. Other sites include ancient towns like Phoenix and Lydae, set in remote and beautiful locations.

Along the way guests will have time to explore quiet coves, take scenic walks, swim in crystal waters and enjoy delicious Turkish and Greek food.
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Gulet cabin

Gulets range in size from 24m to 40m, catering for 8 to 24 people in a mix of different cabin sizes – master bedrooms, doubles or twins. These two-masted wooden vessels, usually made from local pine, were long used for transport and fishing along the southern coasts of Turkey. Typically designed with a sharp bow, broad beam and rounded aft, these days they are designed and fitted with comfort and not trade in mind. Service is a prime consideration and we boast experienced captains and excellent cooks to make your adventure simply unforgettable. Mealtime panoramas range from secluded coves to picturesque old fishing villages. All food is prepared in the gulet’s galley by the onboard cook, who conjures up a variety of fresh local delicacies. On most itineraries gulets cruise for an average of three hours a day. There are plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Cruising the Carian Coast is now priced from £2900 per person twin share (approx A$4840) including all accommodation and meals aboard a traditional gulet, all crew services, entrance fees, archaeological excursions, expert guide and airport transfers. Price excludes flights (begins Dalaman, ends Bodrum).

For full details and bookings contact Peter Sommer Travels in the UK on 0011 44 1600 888 220, email or visit

Cruiseco's From the Bridge: Orion - It can only get better

Cruiseco's custom magazine, From the Bridge, contains a feature on Orion's new life with Lindblad. Get your copy from Cruiseco

Fire damages Hapag-Lloyd HANSEATIC. Cruises cancelled.

source: seatrade insider was aboard HANSEATIC in 2012
Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten canceled two more Hanseatic cruises following a fire that damaged the ship during its maintenance docking at Bremerhaven's Bredo Werft earlier this month.

Hanseatic is now expected to resume service on Aug. 16.

Passengers will get a full refund and 10% off another sailing during the 2013-2014 season. Travel agent commissions are protected.

The July 14 sailing from Svalbard's Longyearbyen and the Aug. 1 cruise from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, were dropped. Earlier the company canceled the June 17 sailing from Bremerhaven and the July 4 cruise from Tromsø.

The June 9 fire damaged the ship's engine compartment and a fire watchman from the yard and two Filipino crew members suffered smoke inhalation, requiring hospitalization.

The blaze broke out during welding work in one of Hanseatic's ballast tanks. It was quickly extinguished by local fire services but caused enough damage to significantly extend the shipyard overhaul.

Fire is an ever-present enemy of ships and one all-too-familiar to the historic German line.

In 1966, a fire aboard the 1929-built HANSEATIC gutted five decks while in port in New York. She was subsequently scrapped.

BREMEN was destroyed by an arsonist in Bremerhaven in 1941. No lives were lost in any of these fires.

The gutted BREMEN in Bremerhaven, 1941.

Monday 24 June 2013

National Geographic Orion 2014 brochure

click to have this brochure sent to you for free

National Geographic Orion 2014 brochure reveals a new era in expedition travel

Orion Expedition Cruises has released its 2014 season brochure; 64 pages detailing 25 voyages with expeditions to over 100 destinations onboard the specialist expedition ship that sets the standard for expedition cruising across the region.

Commencing in March 2014, the newly named National Geographic Orion inaugural itineraries feature three Melanesian and Micronesian voyages including two 'Voyages of Discovery' denoting the inclusion of new destinations not visited previously.

In May 2014 National Geographic Orion will commence a season of Kimberley coast voyages revealing the wonders of ancient art, remarkable geology and diverse wildlife. The Kimberley with Spice voyage includes exquisite Rowley Shoals before heading to Komodo and Bali.

Two 10 night Borneo voyages include a visit to Dr Galdikas' renowned Camp Leakey orang-utan rehabilitation centre, promising unforgettable photo opportunities and wildlife experiences.

The Spice Islands beckon with a remarkable 16 night expedition through the famed yet rarely visited Molucca Islands and Asmat in West Papua, en-route to Cairns.

In November 2014, Cairns marks the departure point for National Geographic Orion to head east across the South Pacific with a series of three Voyages of Discovery taking in some of the famed and remote outlying island groups the region is so well known for. Far from mainstream cruises these voyages capture the real South Pacific, stopping at many islands and atolls never contemplated by large passenger liners.

The year concludes with three polar voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula. Departing from Ushuaia all include time ashore on South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

These voyages, all detailed in the 2014 brochure, epitomise expedition cruising. Crafted expeditions experienced in the company of a small number of other like-minded guests, competently guided by an experienced expedition team and crew on a ship unsurpassed for style and expedition capability.

From the ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon (Chuuk) to the stone Moai statues on Easter Island, this expansive full colour brochure includes voyage summaries and typical cultural, historic and wildlife experiences likely to be encountered. Useful reference for potential expedition travellers seeking rewarding cultural interaction and intellectual stimulation unknown in mainstream cruising.

The relaxed luxury life onboard is exampled in the brochure through Orion's range of accommodation options (including floor plans for Staterooms and Suites through to Owner's Suites) and facilities that include boutique, massage, spa, elevator and lounges – along with Serge Dansereau's award winning cuisine.

Orion's 2014 brochure can be requested from or by contacting Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate), emailing or through specialist expedition cruise travel agents.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Passenger from Quark's Sea Spirit dies in Zodiac accident


Sea Spirit
A passenger from Quark Expeditions' Sea Spirit died after the Zodiac she was on capsized June 17 near Svalbard, Norway. Two others were injured.

"Quark Expeditions Inc. regrets to confirm that an accident has occurred during a Zodiac sightseeing excursion near the 14th of July Glacier, just outside of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway," Quark said in a prepared statement. "A Zodiac carrying 12 passengers capsized, resulting in the fatality of one passenger and the injury of two other passengers. The injured passengers are not critical but are receiving medical care in Longyearbyen."

According to the Mirror's John Honeywell, the victim was an American woman in her 60's. She and the other 11 passengers fell into the water when their boat was struck by a wave.

File image of passengers
aboard Zodiac RIB (R Eime)
Local authorities received a call for help at noon, local English-language news source Views and News from Norway reported. A rescue helicopter with a doctor onboard was sent, but the woman died before they arrived. Authorities have not yet determined the cause of death, and an investigation is under way.

"Quark Expeditions is doing everything possible to assist those involved and the local authorities during this difficult time," Quark said via its statement.

Sea Spirit is in the midst of a 10-night Spitsbergen Explorer sailing that left Longyearbyen on June 14.

(Editor's note: the water around the glacier is normally calm, so the question must be asked, "was the wave the result of calving ice from the glacier?" Will update this post as more information comes to hand. It should also be pointed out that all operators of Zodiac tenders instruct passengers on safety and lifejacket use, so it is reasonable to assume the passenger was wearing an approved life jacket. Zodiacs are sturdy and exceptionally stable vessels. The capsizing of a Zodiac is likely the result of an extreme event, possibly a rogue wave thrown up from a calving glacier which would not have been detectable by the driver until it began to break over his boat in the shallow water close to shore.)

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Cruise Weekly: Awaken Burma

By Roderick Eime

It seems everyone’s eyes are on Burma as the new tourism destination. But after languishing for years with sanctions and restrictions, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar will struggle to cope with the anticipated influx of western travellers eager to experience this once mysterious destination.

A shortage of hotel beds and other critical infrastructure like air capacity, is set to play into the hands of cruise operators as the ideal means of exploring this newly opened nation. In 2012, Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism released figures that quoted a doubling of arrivals over six years to just over one million. Cross-border arrivals are static, while air arrivals are soaring.

Much of the romantic allure of Burma was formed during the British colonial era when the country was absorbed into the Empire in the closing years of the 19th century. Of course, life under British rule was not ideal for the devout Buddhist population of Burma, but stories of the steamy, mysterious land by the likes of 1907 Nobel laureate, Rudyard Kipling, set the scene with tales of adventure and derring-do for generations of imaginative English-speaking children.

One of the enduring visions of colonial Burma is that of the many hard-working steamboats of the 1865-formed Irrawaddy Flotilla Company that traversed the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers in the service of the British Empire. When the British recovered Burma in 1945 after Japanese occupation, the IFC was reformed.
Original RV Indochina Pandaw
Today the original vessels of the IFC are gone, but their spirit lives on in a new and rebuilt fleet of replica vessels, constructed with absolute authenticity to recapture that romantic colonial spirit. Enter Pandaw.

Building on the overwhelming popularity of the nostalgic river cruising concept established on the Mekong with RV Indochina Pandaw, the company expanded river operations to include the Irrawaddy with an identical sister vessel, the Orient Pandaw.

The name Pandaw derives from the last of the original, Clyde-built vessels recovered and restored to its former glory in the late 1990s, thus reviving the name and the concept of Asian retro river cruising.
Orient Express: Road to Mandalay
While pioneering the riverboat trade along the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers, Pandaw’s success quickly attracted new operators. Pandaw continued to profit from their exclusivity and many cruise wholesalers like Cruiseco and Viking employed the classic vessels while others like Orient-Express launched their own. Smaller, local operators like Yangon-based Myanmar River Cruises are also getting in on the action with a fleet of six varied vessels including day boats.
Myanmar River Cruises: Irrawaddy Princess
While more and more visitors are arriving in Burma and many looking at the floating option, knowledge within the retail cruise sector is limited to specialist agencies with actual on-the-water experience. A good reason to consult ICCA accredited cruise agents. See for members.

Monday 17 June 2013

News from Windstar

Discover the Black Sea on the New Star Pride

For the first time, Windstar sails the enigmatic, once hidden, wonders of Europe’s Black Sea in signature Windstar yachting style. This seven-day Black Sea Tapestry voyage round trip from Istanbul, Turkey on the new Star Pride departs June 13, 20; and September 8, 2014, and visits five new ports including Yalta, Sevastopol, and Odessa, Ukraine; Constanta (Bucharest), Romania; and Nessebar, Bulgaria. Highlights include: Istanbul’s elegant Blue Mosque; Swallow’s Nest Castle in Yalta; the intriguing Potemkin Steps in Odessa; Sevastopol’s underground Soviet submarine base; and medieval Nessebar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its impressive collection of historic churches.

Discover the 2014 Star Pride European Voyage Collection here.

Complimentary Enchanting Castles & Gardens Package Offered

For a limited time, book the July 11, 2013 Idyllic British Isles sailing and receive a complimentary Enchanting Castles & Gardens package (valued at $799) where you’ll experience Cornwall with a private tour of the region’s exclusive retreat, St. Mawes, with lunch at the renowned Tresanton Hotel; a visit to the striking gardens cultivated by Benedictine monks on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly; as well as a traditional Cornish cream tea at Caerhays Castle, among other fascinating stops in Wales and Ireland.

Check out our top 10 interesting facts surrounding Cornwall here.

Top 5 Windstar Insider Tips

Our Vacation Planners are busy every day taking your questions to make sure you get the most out of your Windstar vacation. We rounded up the top five questions they receive along with a few insider tips to make your next cruise even more memorable.

Click here to learn what the best time is to use the yacht’s Marina; what types of activities are offered on board, and learn how you can star gaze with the Captain.

Windstar Spotlight

Guests on board a recent Wind Star voyage enjoyed a special “magical moment” when fellow passenger, Mr. Joe Allen, a former NASA astronaut, gave an impromptu presentation about working in space.

Click here to read about it.

What our fans are saying on Facebook…

Sharron Z.: “I sailed from Barcelona to Rome in April aboard Wind Surf and it was the most amazing trip, the service and food were above our expectations. Our suite was comfortable and beautiful. I cannot say enough about the wonderful staff. Cannot wait for my next Windstar cruise.”

Mary K.: “An incredible week on board the fabulous Wind Star. What a phenomenal crew! Thanks Windstar Cruises for making this one of our best vacations ever.”

Sophie J.: “Just returned from Rome/Athens cruise aboard Wind Spirit. Missing the amazing service, lovely stateroom, superb food, and beautiful scenery. We’ll never forget exiting ports while watching the sails unfurl and listening to Vangelis 1492! What a spectacular experience! Special thanks to Yos, Edwin, and Guzmen for always going above and beyond. We can’t wait to return to your wonderful cruise line!

Connect with us on Facebook to get insider news, offers, and to connect with other Windstar alumni.

Friday 14 June 2013

Golfing Malaysia and Thailand's finest courses with Seadream

GOLF fanatics can round-out a holiday aboard the world's Number One boutique passenger vessel, SeaDream II when she visits Asia from October this year to April 2014, with an opportunity to play at seven of Malaysia and Thailand's finest courses that have been opened-up to guests on this first-ever SeaDream visit to the region.

SeaDream will arrange tee times, round-trip transfers and a shared golf cart, with fees  payable for each course by guests whilst aboard.

And between ports and courses guests can brush-up on their game at the complimentary 30-championship-course golf simulator aboard SeaDream II.

SeaDream II will sail some sixteen itineraries in Asia, to Cairns, Papua New Guinea and the Trobriand Islands during her season in Asia, as well as from Piraeus (Athens) to Mumbai in October and back to Greece in April 2014.

Prices for sailings begin from US$4254pp twin-share for a 7-night sailing on January 4 2014  from Singapore to Phuket via six ports in Malaysia and Thailand (including Penang,) and include all 5-star dining, drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, nightly cocktail gatherings, use of the 30-course golf simulator, power and sail water-sports where permitted, gratuities, and port charges and taxes. Golfing fees and charges are extra.

Details from travel agents or

Courses include Penang's Bukit Jambul Country Club whose Robert Trent Jones Jnr design has been described as "the" course in Malaysia, Saujana Golf & Country Club in Port Klang that Golf Digest rated as Malaysia's Number One course, Thailand's Patong Blue Canyon Country Club whose par-3 Hole 17 is included in "The World's Top 500 Best Holes," and Langkawi's 99 East Golf Club whose designer, Ross Watson included many design references from the best Australian and Scottish links courses.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Set Sail on the Voyage of a Lifetime with APT’s New Luxury Small Ship Discoveries

click to order this brochure now
Meeting remote tribes people in Papua New Guinea, visiting an active Indonesian volcano, dining out at one of San Marino’s finest Michelin star restaurants, exploring the Gallipoli Peninsula, observing nature in the pristine Antarctic and exploring the back waters of Kerala onboard a houseboat are just a handful of the extraordinary experiences available in APT’s new Luxury Small Ships 2014/15 brochure which launches tomorrow (14 June).

The 29 one-off itineraries vary from 10 to 28 days and cover the length and breadth of the globe, from Europe, Asia and Antarctica to Latin America, the Indian Ocean and the Kimberley. Travelling on APT’s small five star boutique-style ships, guests travel in groups of 110 or less per sailing, enabling them to form friendships with fellow travellers as well as venture off the beaten track to visit hard-to-reach, exotic destinations, traditionally inaccessible to larger vessels.

Two luxury cruise styles are offered:

- Small ship cruising providing indulgent cruising to both popular and unusual destinations. Guests will travel onboard one of APT’s luxury yachts accompanied by an APT Cruise Manager and expert guest lecturers who offer a detailed insight into culture, history and the natural wonders of the destination.

- Expedition cruising allows guests to embark on a path less travelled while enjoying the comfort of one of APT’s luxury small ships. All are led by an APT Expedition Leader supported by an impressive onboard expedition team of hand-picked experts including marine biologists, ornithologists, naturalists, historians and geologists, all of whom share their knowledge and enthusiasm both onshore and off. Using a fleet of Zodiacs, guests explore remote regions and get up close to local nature, wildlife and culture.

Seven luxury small ships make up the APT fleet delivering these itineraries:

- MS Island Sky. Holding 110 guests and refurbished in 2010 this ship offers unusually spacious suites, all with ocean views. With a rear sun deck, bar, jacuzzi, hair salon and its own library, there is plenty of space to relax and unwind;

- MS Caledonian Sky. Refurbished in 2012, this boat holds 110 guests and is akin to a fine country club with a Lido deck for al fresco dining, a sun deck, library, small gym and hairdressing salon. Each suite enjoys ocean views, climate control, mini fridge, sitting area, flat screen television and a telephone.

- M/Y Variety Voyager. Completed in 2012, it features state-of-the-art amenities and a modern design and holds just 70 guests. A sun deck, bar and lounge, glass-enclosed dining room, power showers and marble ensuites as standard are some of the features that make this ship a true private mega yacht experience.

- Sea Explorer. Carrying just 106 passengers, this stylish ship is designed specifically for Antarctica. Refurbished in 2013 it is outfitted with the latest navigational and communications technology, as well as retractable fin stabilisers for smooth sailing. Its hull is also ice strengthened. One of just a few ships in Antarctica that has the ability to transport all passengers ashore at the same time, it features a bar, jacuzzi, dining room, library and internet access.

- Sea Cloud II. The only sailing ship in the fleet, this elegant vessel was launched in 2001 and holds 90 guests. All suites have marble baths trimmed with gold fixtures and have guaranteed outside views. A modern airy dining room, boutique, library and rich mahogany furniture create an exclusive atmosphere.

- Oceanic Discoverer is the newest ship operating in the Kimberley region and was purpose built to offer all the comforts of a larger cruiser, with the more intimate feel of a smaller style ship. Hosting just 72 guests, the ship features a promenade deck, range of elegant staterooms that each feature ocean views, an ensuite and air conditioning.

- Coral Princess is a 35-metre purpose-built catamaran which was beautifully refurbished in 2012. Accommodating just 48 people, all of the 24 spacious cabins feature ensuite and climate control as standard.

Amongst the voyages on offer are:

- Colours of Sri Lanka and India – priced from $12,995 per person, twin share, it comprises 20 day luxury small ship land tour and cruise (12-31 March 2014), onboard the MS Island Sky. After two nights at Chennai’s Westin Velachery guests set sail to Pudacherry before circumnavigating Sri Lanka, taking time to venture into the hills on a 75 year old train, visit temples and travel on Tuk-Tuks. Rejoin the India coastline at Tuticorin and travel on to Trivandrum, then Cochin, where guests have the option to stay on a traditional houseboat on the Kerala backwaters. Sail onwards to Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai, where guests will have the chance to see a Bollywood movie in production. Fly to Delhi and overnight in the Westin Gurgaon Hotel, travelling to Agra to visit the iconic Taj Mahal before flying home.

- Grand Indian Ocean Safari – Guests will visit some of the most remote, hardest to reach destinations on the planet on this 15 day luxury expedition cruise (11-25 February 2014), with land I would take this out, onboard the MS Island Sky priced from $11,395 per person, twin share. Following an overnight stay at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel set sail for 13 nights stopping at St Denis on the island of Reunion before heading off to explore remoter areas of Madagascar. Sail on to Astove in the southern Seychelles, with its landlocked lagoon, followed by Aldabra where APT travellers are privileged visitors having been granted special permission from the government to explore this island. Then it’s onwards to Alphonse, then Poivre, Praslin, La Digue and Mahe, where guests disembark.

- Spice Islands and Beyond – 18 day expedition cruise and land on the MS Caledonian Sky (19 August to 5 September 2014), priced from $12,495 per person, twin share. Highlights include sailing from Coron Island to Puerto Princesa on Palawan where guests will navigate its subterranean river with its full mountain to sea ecosystem, dubbed one of the new seven wonders of the world. Then to Indonesia, exploring local islands, villages, markets and wildlife as well as the breathtaking reefs of the uninhabited island of Pulau Wayag, where onboard marine biologists dive to capture this underwater wonder on camera to share with guests. Travel onwards to Jayapura to visit a Papuan tribal village. Disembark at Wewak after visiting the Sepik River and enjoy two nights at Port Moresby’s Grand Papua Hotel with a special commemorative service and visit to the Kokoda Track.

As well as enticing new itineraries, APT has also equipped ships with a number of special features to offer an enhanced experience for guests. Debra Fox, APT’s General Manager Marketing explains, “We want our guests to have an experience of a lifetime. So as well as offering them unique tailored continuous global itineraries, incredible luxury through our small yachts and expedition ships and the chance to explore destinations in much more detail than is possible on a conventional cruise, we have also invested heavily in equipping our boats with additional features.

“New for 2014, we have installed an ROV, which is a motorised underwater camera, on the MS Caledonian Sky, enabling our marine biologists to film and display the underwater sights in real time, presenting them live to passengers in the lounge. On the same ship we have installed 16 sets of scuba gear and dive instructors so that guests can explore underwater, as well as on land, if they so wish. Expedition Cruise Ships also have 10 inflatable zodiacs so that all guests can be out exploring at the same time. These enhancements allow APT guests to choose the level of their adventure,” Mrs Fox said.

The new brochure features a range of deals including a saving of $2,000 per couple on any Luxury Small Ship cruise booked by the 31st August 2013 and a further $1,600 per couple on any consecutive cruises booked.

Included in the price of all Luxury Small Ship itineraries are an APT Cruise Manager or Expedition Leader, a knowledgeable and experienced team of onboard experts, lectures and entertainment, tipping and port charges, all meals, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board the cruise, all shore excursions, sightseeing and transfers.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Lindblad to bring new competition to Kimberley cruises

Expedition cruising in the Kimberley region of Australia is about to get some new, healthy competition, says Sven Lindblad.
Sven Lindblad (file image)

THE founder of Lindblad Expeditions, Sven Lindblad says his purchase of the soon-to-be former Orion Expedition Cruises (CW 07 Mar), will add some new spice to the local market.

Speaking to Cruise Weekly during a visit to Australia last week, Lindblad said he had great respect for other companies operating in the Kimberley region but that his operation brought a new diverse option to the region.

Lindblad praised two particular operators but said he didn’t look at other operations in the same way most would look at a competitor.

“Both Coral Princess and True North are really good companies. They offer something slightly different, True North being much smaller and Coral Princess being in the middle in terms of size and they have different emphasis on price points so that’s good,” Lindblad told CW.

Over the next year, Lindblad says he plans to closely study the Australian appetite for expedition cruising and that if there is a strong response to the products he offers, there was potential for a larger presence down under.

“If we can grow this market significantly, which I believe we probably can, then it would lead to expansion here. But I don’t know yet”.

The Lindblad Expeditions founder said passengers aboard his vessels would be aware of ocean conservation programs he supports along with the National Geographic Society.

“We’re kind of zealous about education, conservation and exploration,” Lindblad added.

Together, the two organisations invest approx $1m per year into a number of conservation activities and educational programs, including a teachers program where educators are invited to join Lindblad ships to participate in research and to learn about the environment.

“The National Geographic Explorer – our flagship – has an ongoing ocean health campaign that we work on and work together with scientists and raise monies towards things that relate to ocean preservation.

“The ocean is in real trouble on a global basis and as far as we’re concerned, people who travel have two ways they can be of value.

“One is, they can understand the challenges better and become part of that conversation and the other is just to help with resources we need,” Lindblad concluded.

Celebrity Galapagos Cruise Cancelled

Celebrity Cruises recently issued a statement on their current Galapagos status:

The Galapagos National Park has cited Celebrity Xpedition for transportation and storage of 12 kilograms of frozen lobster tails in the Galapagos while out of season. Because of this, Celebrity Xpedition's license that is necessary to enter the Galapagos National Park has been temporarily suspended for 45 days by the local authority.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to cancel the June 9 sailing of Celebrity Xpedition:

Celebrity Cruises is truly sorry for this unexpected impact on our guests' vacation. We understand their excitement and anticipation for exploring the Galapagos onboard Celebrity Xpedition. Celebrity Cruises is committed to complying with the rules and regulations of the Galapagos, which are put in place to protect and safeguard this unique and pristine environment.

While we are working to have our license to sail in the Galapagos restored sooner, the situation is still fluid. We will be contacting guests booked on the June 16 sailing to provide them with the most updated information.


Thursday 6 June 2013

PNG, the Trobriands, Indonesian Papua and Bali with SeaDream

SeaDream II
IMMERSE yourself amongst some of the world's most primitive cultures virtually right on Australia's doorstep, and do so from the contrasting ambience of the world's highest-rated boutique mega motor-cruiser, SeaDream II from Cairns to Bali by way of eight ports in Papua New Guinea, the Trobriand Islands and Indonesian Papua.

Available for a maximum of just 56 couples served by 95 crew alongside experts who will offer onboard lectures and educational sessions, SeaDream II will depart Cairns on February 1 2014 for this 14-day voyage. It is priced from US$10,909pp twin-share including all 5-star dining, drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, nightly cocktail gatherings, power and sail water-sports (where permitted,) use of a 30-course golf simulator, a fitness centre, onboard gratuities and port charges and taxes.

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia, Professor Bob Tonkinson who has also been expedition anthropologist on countless journeys through Papua New Guinea, Melanesia and the Western Pacific since 1981, will lead SeaDream's onboard expedition team on this sailing.

For full details see travel agents, or visit

ITINERARY DETAILS: SeaDream II will visit Alotau one of the key battle sites of Papua New Guinea during the Second World War and where Japan suffered its first land defeat at the hands of the Australians, and then primitive Kitava in the Trobriand Islands – where magic spells are still an important part of everyday life, and where reef diving is amongst the South Pacific's best in crystal clear, turquoise water.

There'll also be a visit to Tami Island that became famous during PNG's 1920s Gold Rush, a sail up part of the Sepik River on which wildlife abounds, and a call to the traditional village of Watam where the 300 inhabitants still live a primitive existence without outside road connections, phones or electricity.

Jayapura that was known as Hollandia in Dutch colonial times, then Sukarnapura when Indonesia took over what is now Indonesian Papua in 1963 and Jayapura from 1968, little Banda Neira island that was once the centre of the world's nutmeg trade, undulating and miniscule Larantuka with its still-Portuguese influences, and Komodo Island that's home to the giant Komodo Dragon monitor lizard that's a descendent of the dinosaurs, are other ports of call on this fascinating 14-days sailing.

Orion’s Borneo expeditions - endangered wildlife, ancient temples and coral reefs

Time is running out in order to secure space aboard the expedition cruise ship Orion for voyages to Borneo during September, October and November 2013.


"Popular demand and an unprecedented booking rate have reduced the number of cabins still available on these Borneo voyages" advised Joel Katz, Chief Operating Officer of Orion Expedition Cruises. "Now in our third year of voyages to this extraordinary island we have refined the destinations to present two exceptional itineraries across three voyages. Both itineraries offer the chance to experience connection with endangered wildlife in their natural habitat including a highlight visit to Dr Galdikas' orang-utan rehabilitation centre, Camp Leakey."


Depending on the selected itinerary voyages either start or finish in Bali. The 29 September ten night Borneo Discovery expedition includes an unforgettable trip to the island of Java to explore the site of the world's largest Buddhist temple at Borobudur. Both itineraries include a scenic trip on local klotoks up the Sekonyer River to Camp Leakey orang-utan rehabilitation centre in Tanjung Puting National Park. Orion guests will see and interact with some of the 300 or so orang-utans cared for here.  Tana Toraja, "Land of the Heavenly Kings", in the highlands of central Sulawesi, offers a rare introduction into unique and sometimes confronting animistic cultures.


The two Faces in the Forest voyages in October and November 2013 feature Camp Leakey along with visits to Kuching (for Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre) and Bako National Park, renowned for its rainforests, wildlife, waterfalls and extraordinary plant life. The hundreds of islands that make up the Natuna and Anambas archipelagos provide ample opportunity to swim, snorkel and enjoy abundant marine life and coral reefs.


Encounter endangered wildlife, explore ancient Buddhist temples, gain insight into remote cultures and discover extraordinary marine habitats on Orion Expedition Cruises' Borneo voyages.


All 2013 itineraries are detailed on the website

A full colour deluxe brochure is yours for the asking – note that itineraries vary so speak to your travel agent or directly with Orion Expedition Cruises for details.


Orion 2013 Borneo voyages


29 September 2013: Borneo Discovery 10 nights – BALI, Semarang (for Borobudur), Tanjung Puting National Park (for Camp Leakey), Pare Pare (for Tana Toraja), BALI


25 October 2013: Camp Leakey / Faces in the Forest 10 nights - BALI,  Tanjung Puting National Park (for Camp Leakey ), Kuching (for Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre), Bako National Park , Natuna Archipelago  and Anambas Archipelago, SINGAPORE

18 November 2013: reverse itinerary


Fares vary by itinerary starting from: $8,425 per person for an ocean view Stateroom / Junior Suites begin from $10,460 per person / Owners Suites

are $17,645 per person


All prices twin share.


For reservations, or to obtain more information call Orion Expedition Cruises:

61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) / 0800 444 462 (New Zealand) or see your travel agent. Email:


Wednesday 5 June 2013

Viking River Cruises Releases 2014 River Cruise Atlas

Inline images 1 

New Itineraries, New Viking Longships, New Air Offer

Viking River Cruises, the world's leading river cruise line, has announced the availability of its 2014 River Cruise Atlas exclusively for the Australian and New Zealand markets, featuring twelve new Longship vessels, new itineraries, our popular $995^ return air offer reintroduced, and a value packed Early Booking Discount with savings up to $2,000 per couple off their cruise fare. This is the sixth consecutive brochure Viking is producing for the Australia and New Zealand markets including market specific offers and AUD pricing.

"As people became more familiar with all its benefits, river-cruising's popularity has increased considerably over the past decade," says Mr Torstein Hagen, CEO and Chairman of Viking River Cruises. "Because of the intimate size of our ships, the all-inclusive nature of our programs, the excellent Early Booking Discounts and the overall demand, we encourage travellers to book now and lock in their first choice in itinerary, departure date and stateroom category, before the most popular programs aresold out," Hagen continues.



Viking River Cruises announces three new exciting itineraries in 2014 which have been tailored to suit the tastes and needs of the experienced Australian and New Zealand traveller. The vessels featured for the Australian & New Zealand market are the newest Longships with the most cutting edge features, and the itineraries now include exciting new destinations such as Portugal, Burma and a new way to see Bordeaux as well as Old European favourites such as Grand European Tour and European Odyssey.  Viking has also reintroduced Elegant Elbe, Footsteps of the Cossacks, Magnificent Mekong and Tulips and Windmills.


Viking River Cruises is offering 22 itineraries in 2014 ranging from 8 to 23 days in length. While the majority of its river cruises are in Europe, the company is also a Russia specialist with a comprehensive journey along the Volga, Neva and Svir between Moscow and St. Petersburg. In China, Viking has the very best ship, featuring all-balcony staterooms and fully equipped Western-style kitchens. The company's China "cruise tours" take visitors to China's highlights, including Beijing, Shanghai and the Terracotta Army in Xian, plus a Yangtze River cruise.


For the 2014 season, Viking is introducing: 


·       2014 Portugal's River of Gold 10 days with 8 guided tours from $2,995*pp


Discover one of Europe's most pristine destinations—Portugal. Begin with two fascinating days and nights exploring the capital city of Lisbon, then proceed to Porto at the mouth of the Douro River to embark your cruiseship. The river takes you on a winding easterly course between steeply terraced vineyards, stopping at ports of call largely unchanged for centuries with charming town squares, colourful castles, baroque mansions and historic monasteries. At the Spanish border you'll indulge in a scenic ride into Spain to visit the medieval city of Salamancabefore the voyage back to Porto. See unspoiled vistas and sample Portuguesespecialties like salt cod, hearty soups and stews and of course the area's sensational port and tawny wines. If you have never visited Portugal, you are in for a treat; or, see a dramatic new side of this beautiful country on the Douro River.


·       2014 Chateaux, Rivers & Wine  8 days with 6 guided tours from $2,995*pp


Caressed by Atlantic breezes, the vineyards that cover the rolling hills along the rivers of Aquitaine have for centuries produced France's most remarkable wines: Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, Médoc and Margaux are but a handful of the appellations that make Bordeaux wines world-famous. At theregion's heart, the city of Bordeaux stretches along the river bank, inviting visitors to savour its grand architecture, tempting cafés and superb museums. Celebrate joie de vivre in this land of wine and oysters, truffles and cognac, as you cruise the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers.


·       2014 Memories of Mandalay 16 days with 14 guided tours from $4,995*pp


Natural beauty, rich history and spiritual wonders await you in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). Begin your journey in bustling Bangkok, where you encounter some of the Thai capital's highlights, including the unforgettable Grand Palace temple complex set on the Chao Phraya River. Then fly to Myanmar for a two-day stay in Yangon (Rangoon) and a breathtaking cruise along the verdant Irrawaddy River, known as "the Road to Mandalay" after Rudyard Kipling's famous poem.  In legendary Mandalay, experience the sweep of the region's history from palaces and pagodas through colonial times to a contemporary melting pot of Asian cultures.


*Conditions: Prices are listed in Australian dollars, per person, double occupancy and subject to availability. Single supplements apply. Valid only on 2014 sailings. Price based on lead-in date and category. Prices include Early Booking Discount of $1,000 per person. Offer is strictly limited and only valid for new bookings, must book by 30 June, 2013. Viking River Cruises reserves the right to revise and withdraw pricing and discounts throughout the season without prior notice. Conditions apply. For more information visit


The new Longships for 2014 are:


Viking Alvin; Viking Bestla; Viking Buri; Viking Delling; Viking Eistla; Viking Gullveig; VikingHeimdal; Viking Hermod; Viking Idi; Viking Ingvi; Viking Kvasir; Viking Hemming; Viking Torgil; and Viking Lif.



Designed by legendary naval architects Yran & Storbraaten, the team behind The Yachts of Seabourn, these new vessels offer state-of-the-art engineering, patented design* and luxury. The Viking Longships provide guests with more ways to personalize their trip. Choose from a variety of stateroom classes, on-board entertainment options and ship locations from which you can enjoy sailing through the scenery, all the while enriching your time in some of Europe's most remarkable destinations. 

Two Explorer Suites feature spectacular 270° views with a private wraparound veranda. Veranda Suites feature two full rooms with a veranda off the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom. Enjoy the indoor-outdoor Aquavit Terrace at the bow of the ship, or relax on the Sun Deck. These "green" ships, featuring energy-efficient hybrid engines, solar panels and an organic herbgarden, were named to honour prominent members of the Norse pantheon. Each ship carries 190 guests in comfortable, understated elegance, with hotel-style beds and amenities like 40" flat-panel Sony® TVs and in-room refrigerators. 

* Corridor configuration designs U.S. Patent # 1832106-0001 to 1832106-0011.


Ship Features

·       95 comfortable outside staterooms (2 Explorer Suites [except Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil], 7 Veranda Suites, 39 Veranda Staterooms, 22 French Balcony Staterooms, 25 Standard Staterooms)

·       All suites feature two roomswith a veranda off the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom

·       Sun deck with 360-degree views and shaded sitting area; organic herb garden and solar panels; putting green, and walking track

·       Aquavit Terrace with a revolutionary indoor/outdoor viewing area at the bow of the boat, and grills for al fresco dining

·       Observation lounge and bar with floor-to-ceiling glass doors

·       Restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views

·       Library corner and onboard boutique

·       Elevator

·       Free shipwide wireless internet service

·       Laundry service

·       Ecologically friendly hybridengines producing less vibrations for a smoother ride

·       42" flat-panel Sony® TV with infotainment system featuring movies on demand plus CNBC, CNN, ESPN, FOX, National Geographic and more


Ten new Viking Longships™ christened

As previously announced Viking River Cruises set a world record with the christening of ten new Viking Longships™. The first-of-its-kind simultaneous christening ceremony in Amsterdam debuted the ships – Viking Aegir, Viking Atla, Viking Bragi, Viking Embla, Viking Forseti, Viking Jarl, Viking Rinda, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor and Viking Var – and was certified by a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ adjudicator as 'The Most Ships Inaugurated in One Day by One Company.' Playing an integral role in the event were ten distinguished women from around the world, representing the key Viking brand pillars of history, art, education, exploration and discovery, to serve as ceremonial godmothers for the new ships.


Early Booking Discount

The company has also announced its best ever Early Booking Discount. Guests can take advantage of savings up to $2,000 per couple on award-winning Russia, China and Europe itineraries if they book by 30 June 2013.


Remarkable Air deal

Viking River Cruises is launching the 2014 season with a remarkable airfare only offered to the Australian and New Zealand market. For only $995^ return per person, travellers can purchase a return economy airfare to Europe from all major gateways in Australia. This deal is inclusive of taxes and seasonal surcharges and is offered to a wide range of European gateways.

^Conditions apply. Please visit


For bookings travellers can call toll-free 1800 131 744 (Australia) or 0800 447 913 (New Zealand) and visit for more information.


About Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises, the world's leading river cruise company, offers scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. The company has been honoured multiple times as the top river cruise line on Condé Nast Traveller's "Gold List" and Travel + Leisure's "World's Best" Awards as well as recognized as the World's Leading River Cruise Operator at the World Travel Awards in 2009 & 2010 & 2011 and by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line" in the website's 4th Annual Editors' Picks Awards. Since its 1997 inception, the company has grown to own and operate the largest river cruise fleet, and provides unique, deluxe vacations to experienced travellers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Viking River Cruises is a full cruise line member of International Cruise Council Australiasia. For additional information, contact Viking River Cruises at 1800 829 138 (Australia) or 0800447 913 (New Zealand) or visit the company online at