Friday 29 January 2016

Australis Cape Horn and Patagonia Cruise - offer


Australis helps mark 400th anniversary of the naming of Cape Horn – 2 for 1 offer – and no single supplement

Four hundred years go on January 29, 1616, intrepid Dutch explorers discovered and named Cape Horn, now arguably the most famous sea marker on the planet.

To mark the 400th anniversary, the only cruise line to regularly visit the legendary point at the bottom of South America – Australis – has provided guests aboard its two ships anniversary pins and coasters, hosted special onboard lectures on the history of Cape Horn and helped restore walkways on the island for cruise ship visitors.

To celebrate the historic milestone, Australis has also offered a special, last-minute, two-for-one offer on its three-night, round-trip ‘End of the World’ cruise from Ushuaia on March 4, 2016, which includes Cape Horn, mighty Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley. Under the offer, the cruise aboard Via Australis is now available from US$2440, covering two people in a twin-share cabin and including an open bar and daily zodiac expeditions. Solo travellers can also take advantage of the two-for-one offer, with no single supplement. The special offer is available for bookings made until February 29.

Stella Australis

Australis, whose boutique vessels only carry up to 210 guests, offers a range of expedition cruises to the remote islands, spectacular glaciers and breathtaking fjords of Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia from September to April every year. Almost all itineraries including visits to Cape Horn where, weather permitting, guests can go ashore to visit the almost-mythical landfall. The point, located on tiny Hornos Island off the southern reaches of South America, is home to a lighthouse and memorial to seafarers who have lost their lives rounding Cape Horn over the centuries.

As part of the 400th anniversary, Cape Horn - named after the town of Hoorn in Holland – was visited on January 29, 2016, by authorities from Holland and Chile who held a commemorative ceremony at the cape. The Chilean navy also restored the cape’s memorial which was damaged in a storm in 2014.

And all summer, guests on Australis’ ships have learned about the cape’s history and climbed to the top of the island 400 years since it was mapped and named.

Cruises with Australis are ideal add-ons to tours across South America.

For the two-for-one offer, or general bookings, see a travel agent in Australia or visit .

South America Experts
South America Experts

3D modelling design for expedition cruise ships


Plans for two new US expedition cruise ships have moved further forward after it was announced that Seattle-based naval architect Jensen Maritime has been chosen by vessel owner Lindblad Expeditions Holdings to provide the design and production engineering services for the two ships.

The twin screw diesel ships – with capacity for 100 passengers each – will be built at the Washington State shipyard of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB) and have planned delivery dates of second-quarter 2017 and 2018. The US$94.8 million duo will operate tours between Baja, Costa Rica and Panama in winter and southeast Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Canada during the summer months.

Jensen Maritime – part of Crowley Maritime Group – said that it would use 3D modelling capabilities to allow Lindblad to confirm the vessel’s layout, maintenance envelopes and operational access prior to construction. The group will combine all the details of the structural, electrical, mechanical and HVAC systems of the vessel into one full-size 3D computer model resulting in a virtual vessel that can be inspected early in the design process for safety, maintainability and constructability.

Read full story at:

CruiseAlong Sub-Antarctic voyage package aboard Ponant L'Austral

CruiseAlong announces an unforgettable voyage beyond the boundaries of traditional cruising

What constitutes a truly unique cruise these days when much of the planet is traversed by flotillas of enormous ships that dwarf their surroundings and flood predictable destinations with tourists?

Small ship expedition cruising is the alternative - the chance to go to places, to see and do things you will never forget, travelling far beyond the boundaries of traditional cruising. A memorable voyage arranged through cruise experts CruiseAlong to the little visited Sub Antarctic Islands on PONANT's luxury expedition ship L'Austral falls into this category.

Consider this exclusive 17 night voyage, departing in January 2017 to explore the Sub Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia - a voyage where each destination is a recognised World Heritage site - perfect for a memorable holiday or for keen photographers, bird watchers or adventurous group of friends.

Traverse the Southern Ocean between Lyttelton and Milford Sound in New Zealand, visiting New Zealand's stunning fiords and remote Sub Antarctic islands - designated National Nature Reserves, the highest possible conservation status. Along with Macquarie Island and Fiordland National Park, honoured with World Heritage status, these Sub Antarctic islands represent the best of the world's natural heritage, rating alongside the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon, Galapagos and Mount Everest.

Far flung they may be, yet far from barren, these islands, protected by their remoteness, throb with life, flora and fauna. Crucial breeding grounds for vast colonies of penguins, seals and sea lions, while in the sky albatross, skuas and mollymawks dart and dive. Remarkably, such is the density, Snares Island alone, just 3km in length, has a concentration of bird life equal to that of the entire United Kingdom.

Here is an opportunity to observe and photograph endangered wildlife, including both the world's rarest penguin, the Fiordland Crested, and the second rarest, the Yellow Eyed penguin. While some species are endangered others are prolific, exampled by the vast colonies of Royal Penguins (estimated at 850,000), endemic to Macquarie Island, standing shoulder to shoulder on the volcanic black sand, with another 100,000 breeding pairs of King Penguins and 500,000 pairs of Rock-hopper Penguins thrown in for good measure. An abundance of wildlife with no fear of man, where your wide-angle lens will be used more than a telephoto lens!

Guests, limited to 200 for this voyage on PONANT's L'Austral, will feel a sense of rare privilege, comprising some of just a small group of visitors permitted to visit these islands each year. Access is restricted, by permit only: in 2013/14 just 700 people visited the Snares, and 950 Macquarie Island. To put this in perspective, by comparison 180,000 people visited the Galapagos Islands while 35,000 managed to climb to Everest Base Camp. The Sub Antarctic Islands remain pristine, a region where tourism, frankly, does not exist.

It is not just about the wildlife and the remarkable photo opportunities. Making the most of L'Austral's 12 Zodiacs join with the specialist Expedition Team headed by marine biologist Mick Fogg to explore Doubtful Sounds with its pristine, untouched, Gondwana rainforest. On Campbell Island,  discover unusual mega-herbs – herbaceous, perennial wildflowers characterised by their great size, huge leaves and colourful flowers. Campbell Island was described by the English botanist Joseph Hooker as having a "flora display second to none outside the tropics."

Generous time ashore is scheduled to allow exploration of Australia's UNESCO-listed Macquarie Island. Geologically unique, it is the only place on earth where rocks from the earth's mantle (6 km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea-level. On shore, signs remain of rampant commercial exploitation of penguins and seals during the 1800's, but now the island is home to scientists, researchers and prolific wildlife.

For those to whom the essence of travel means being rewarded with rare experiences far from mainstream tourism, sharing the day's adventures with friends or like-minded travellers and the stimulation of mixing with informed, passionate speakers and knowledgeable Expedition Team members, then this expedition has been designed with you in mind.

Voyage overview: 17 night CruiseAlong package departing Lyttleton 7 January 2017 bound for Auckland Islands and then on to Australia's own Macquarie Island. This remarkable voyage continues with Campbell Islands and the Antipodes Islands followed by Bounty Islands and The Snares before heading to fiord land - Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound with the voyage ending in world famous Milford Sound.

Pricing INCLUDES flights from/return to any major Australian Capital City, 1 night's accommodation in Christchurch, breakfast, transfers to the ship, accommodation and all meals onboard L'Austral, Open Bar, transfers from Milford Sound to Queenstown, accommodation and transfers before flying back to Australia.

Pricing from: $14,300pp but BOOK NOW and pay $12,570 saving $1,730 - includes flights and Stay Free offer. Accommodation on L'Austral is in a Balcony Cabin, Deck 4.

Some Single Occupancy accommodation available on request at supplementary cost.

• Please note that all pricing is per person, twin share.


Australia:  Lance Mumby, 1300 662 002 or email

CruiseAlong Pty Ltd
PO Box 43
Broadway NSW 2007
(A Cruise Holiday Affiliate)

Thursday 28 January 2016

Haimark companies acquired by merchant bank

MS Saint Laurent, relaunched in 2015
VC2 Capital, a merchant bank and financial advisory firm focused on small and middle market companies worldwide, has acquired Haimark Ltd, Haimark Line, Ltd., Haimark S.A., Ltd. and Haimark Affinity Travel, Ltd.

Based in Denver, Colorado, the Haimark Companies offer luxury, small ship river and ocean cruises for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history, featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions.

Since its inception in 2012, the company has grown to a fleet of 9 river and ocean vessels (in 2016) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of India, Southeast Asia and Peru and its seasonal Cuba and Great Lakes sailings.

In addition to investing internally in expanding the Company's operations, Haimark management will be actively looking for new acquisitions in the luxury travel sector.

source: Cruise Business

More: Bankrupt Haimark Line Cancels All Remaining Cruises (27 Apr 2016)

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Coral Expeditions launches Asia 2016-17 sailings

Australia's pioneering expedition cruise line Coral Expeditions has launched a series of new itineraries exploring South East Asia.

Now in its 34th year of operations, the inaugural Asia season will involve a series of seven adventurous expeditions from November 2016 to February 2017.

The new itineraries appeal to active and adventurous travellers who may have previously travelled through Asia but are now ready to explore in depth areas of the region that are only accessible by small ship.

"Our Asia season will be one of the most exciting series of itineraries for Coral Expeditions. These are truly expedition style cruises that bring our signature sense of adventure, dining experiences and Australian hospitality that our guests have come to know and love,' said Group General Manager, Mark Fifield.

The first trip of the season will begin with an eight night itinerary from Kalimantan to Singapore which includes visits to the Camp Leakey orangutan sanctuary and rarely visited Way Kambas National Park in Indonesia.

On arrival in Singapore, the Coral Discoverer will undergo a major refurbishment to add a new class of Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms, a first for any Coral Expeditions vessel, and a new Sun Deck bar-lounge.

Each itinerary is truly reflective of the company's expedition style and immersive cultural and culinary experiences, charting the diverse coastlines of Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Highlights in the itineraries include sailing up the Irrawaddy River to berth in the hustle and bustle of the old working river port at Yangon (12 nights Singapore to Yangon or v.v.) visiting the still-active Anak Krakatua volcano in Indonesia where guests can hike up the hillside ringed by the caldera (17 nights Singapore to Darwin, or 8 nights Kalimantan to Singapore).

Guests will also get an insight into a piece of war history during a local guided tour of the Burma WWII Railway Memorial outside the town of Mawlamyine, and uncover remnants of the Vietnam War at Vinh Moc Tunnels and the Demilitarization Zone.

As with any Coral Expeditions cruise, the Xplorer tender is the key ingredient to accessing some of these remote and rare sights. Simply stepping aboard Xplorer from the Main Deck, the ship's hydraulic platform gently lowers the excursion vessel into the water to set off on a new adventure.  All shore activities and excursions are included in the cruise fare.

For full itineraries and pricing download the Asia brochure here:

To book call 1800 079 545 or visit

Monday 25 January 2016

SeaDream on the French and Italian Riviera

SOME of the most secluded and stunning ports of call on the French and Italian Rivieras that are too small to allow visits by mega cruise liners, will feature on five very special sailings of the world's highest-rated boutique motor cruiser, SeaDream I in October and November of this year.

The 7-night sailings will include Rome's port of Civitavecchia to Cannes on October 1 and 22, Cannes round-trip on October 8, Cannes to Civitavecchia (October 15) and Cannes to Malaga (October 29.)

Amongst ports of call depending on sailings chosen will be Monte Carlo, Capri, Elba, Villefranche-sur-Mer, St Tropez, Portofino, Livorno, Porto Ercole, Sorrento, Barcelona, Valencia, and Bonifacio and Calvi on the island of Corsica.

Highlights can include shopping for and sampling local delicacies at the local market in St Tropez with SeaDream I's chef as he buys for that night's dinner, taking a guided village walk of Cinque Terre (the Five Villages,) or hiking Portovenere's famous hills.

And on sailings that include Monte Carlo, Bonifacio or St Tropez there are overnight stays in these ports to enjoy all they offer.

Defined as "Yachting, Not Cruising" because with a maximum of just 112-guests served by 95 crew it is like holidaying with family or friends aboard your own yacht, prices start from US$4926pp twin-share.

And this includes premium drinks from the open bars, wines at lunch and dinner, power and sail water-sports where locally permitted, a 30 international course golf simulator, onboard gratuities, and Government charges and taxes.

For more details, call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit
For bookings and further details, see SeaDream specialist Cruise Express

[pic] SEADREAM berthed at Monte Carlo's marina.

Friday 22 January 2016

Lindblad celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first citizen-explorer voyage to Antarctic


Also Marks the Invention of the Category of ‘Expedition Travel’

“I look down at the bottom of the map, unmarked by airline routes. Then I noticed that Antarctica wasn’t even on the map. My enchantment with Antarctica had been so great since childhood that I wondered why I had never thought of it before. I was aware that the idea of setting up tours to that frozen continent would be tangled with complications. Going there might even be impossible. But inspired by koumiss, I boldly announced to everyone, “Our next exploratory tour will be to a place that isn’t even on the map.” - Lars-Eric Lindblad

In 1966, Lars-Eric Lindblad made history when he took 57 intrepid travellers on the first ever ‘citizen explorers’ cruise to Antarctica, previously the exclusive province of professional explorers and scientists. January 23rd marks the exact day that these pioneering travellers stepped off the ship and into history at Smith & Melchior Islands on the Antarctic Peninsula. It was certainly an imaginative leap in the tourism industry of his day, and for its time, almost as daring as a lunar launch today.

His conviction earned him the designation of ‘father of eco-tourism.’

Lars-Eric Lindblad invented the category of ‘expedition travel,’ and created a model of exploration that Lindblad Expeditions follows today. Fifty years later, under the direction of Lars-Eric’s son, CEO and Founder Sven Lindblad, they are guided by Lars-Eric’s belief that seeing the planet’s remote wild places with one’s own eyes would make each visitor an advocate for preserving and protecting. And it is his legacy that Lindblad honours and sustains today in their deep commitment to conservation through the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Fund.

Throughout the year Lindblad will celebrate Lars-Eric’s personal vision and courage - and that of the fearless travellers who dared join him in going where no tourist had gone before.

The commemoration will include the publication of an updated edition of Lars-Eric’s book, ‘Passport to Anywhere’ that charts the history of expedition travel from 1966 to now.

Guests voyaging to Antarctica in the 2016/17 season will receive a complimentary vintage style edition parka, with a limited edition 50th Anniversary patch, inspired by the sterling silver pin created by Lars Eric for his Antarctic guests many years ago.

Antarctica expeditions on National Geographic Explorer will feature a roster of Global Perspectives Speakers, a veritable ‘Who’s Who,’ giving guests the opportunity to share an adventure with some of the greatest names in polar exploration.

Special activities and programs are being planned and will be announced throughout the year.
Lindblad Expeditions 2016/17 Antarctica expeditions include the 12-day Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent with rates beginning at AUD $16,700 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin, and AUD $28,800 for the 22-dayAntarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit or call 1300 361 012 (AU), 0800 444 462 (NZ) and +61 2 9033 8700 (international) or see your travel agent.

Explore the White Sea aboard Silver Explorer


Drift into the Arctic Circle and experience a seldom-seen part of the world, with Silversea Expeditions’ 12-day Arctic voyage aboard Silver Explorer.

Commencing her journey in Norway, Silver Explorer departs from Tromsø on 11 June 2016, and sails to the Gjesværstappan Islands. Joining a Zodiac tour, guests can catch a glimpse of the numerous seabird colonies that inhabit the area, including puffins, kittiwakes and the majestic White-tailed Eagle.

Silver Explorer then travels to Russia docking in a number of beautiful port cities, quaint villages and remote archipelagos including Murmansk, Shoina Village and Zayatskiy Islands. Here guests can: learn about the region’s rich maritime and World War II history; visit the Solovetskiy Monastery, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site; encounter endemic wildlife such as reindeer and the Arctic fox; and explore vast Arctic tundras with walking tours guided by Silversea’s expert Expedition Team

Setting her sails towards Russia, Silver Explorer cruises through the Barents Sea and along the remote Kola Peninsula to port at Kirkenes and Skarvag in Norway, before returning to Tromsø where guests will disembark on 23 June 2016.

Prices are per person, starting from AU$12,507 in an Explorer Suite, based on double occupancy. Silversea Expeditions’ fares include: all shore and Zodiac excursions hosted by an expedition leader; all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ship; an outstanding expedition team of expert guides and lecturers; complimentary WiFi and all gratuities. As part of Silversea’s “Welcome Aboard” offer, all new Silversea guests will receive a US$1,200 shipboard credit per suite, when booked by 29 February 2016.

This voyage is subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Cruise Expo - Small Ships featured - Free entry

#expeditioncruising #cruise #travel 

Sydneysiders and visitors: Come along and meet representatives of major small ship cruise lines. Ask those questions you've been dying to ask.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Video: Le Boreal on heavy lift being relocated for repairs

This video, posted last Friday, shows the immobilized Le Boreal being transported by heavy lift ship for further repairs. Exact date of this video is not specified. What happened?


Posted by Orgulloso de ser Magallánico on Friday, 15 January 2016

Saturday 16 January 2016

New ship, Scenic Eclipse, to cruise oceans from 2018 [video]

Source: Travel Daily

Australian owned & operated luxury travel company Scenic has tonight confirmed its entry into ocean cruising, revealing plans to launch its first vessel in 2018.

Three years in the planning, Scenic Eclipse is dubbed as the world's first "Discovery Yacht" and will operate over 20 cruise itineraries around the globe.

The 114-suite ship will feature two twin-engine helicopters, custom-built zodiacs, a 240-seat theatre, heated pools and even its own submarine. [ revealed the building of a new ship in November, at the time the client was not disclosed.]

A promotional video for the product describes Scenic Eclipse as "the point in the map where luxury meets discovery".

Scenic owner Glen Moroney announced the new ship at a gala event, saying the 16,500-gross tonne vessel takes its inspiration from mega-yachts and elevates ocean cruising to a completely new level in terms of technology and innovation.

"It's a whole new step for our company," Moroney said.

Scenic Eclipse will feature five restaurants offering guests Pan Asian, Contemporary French and Italian fine-dining options from world-class chefs, four lounges, a spa, spacious public areas, jacuzzis, spas and heated pool with retractable roof.

With itineraries covering polar regions, Moroney said the most important element of Scenic Eclipse was the safety and comfort of guests, with the discovery yacht positioned in the Ice Class - 1A Super category - a new benchmark for passenger ships.

Below is the press release issued by Scenic Tours today:

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Small Ship Cruising in Tahiti with Island Passage


Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations has added the truly unique, 24-guest luxury yacht Island Passage to its portfolio. From May through October it will conduct eight- and eleven-day roundtrip cruises on this yacht through one of the world’s most romantic stretches of water.

“Traditionally cruises on these waters are aboard much larger vessels accommodating from 120 guests and up,” said Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Explorations’ visionary founder and president. “In stark contrast, the new Tahitian Affair that begins and ends in Bora Bora offers unparalleled intimacy in a relaxing, lagoon-cruising style highly suited to this environment.”

The per person rate, from $4,540 for an 8-day cruise, includes on-board accommodation, meals, all non-alcoholic drinks during cruise, wine with dinner, shore-excursions as per the itinerary, use of kayaks, tenders, snorkel and fishing equipment carried onboard, and an airport ferry transfer. An alternate 11-day itinerary is also offered starting at $5,845 per person, double.

To celebrate the introduction of this new Tahitian cruise option, AdventureSmith Explorations is offering a special booking promotion; guests can reserve Tahitian Affair cruise by March 31, 2016 and receive a complimentary travel package that covers airport transfers, domestic flights and hotel accommodation in Papeete. The package includes arrival transfer to airport hotel, one night at Intercontinental Resort Papeete (or similar), transfer to airport (or pier for 11-day cruise), and return domestic flights to and from Bora Bora (or from Bora Bora to Papeete for 11-day) for cruise. This offer is valid on new bookings only and is subject to availability.

Island Passage cruises only three to four hours daily on average before laying anchor each evening. This translates to an unhurried pace and ample opportunity for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding at will from the motus or small reef islands that only a small vessel can access. Guests may also opt to swim with sting rays and sharks, or to embark on a fishing excursion. The Island Passage’s 7.2-meter aluminum fishing boat is equipped with rods, tackle and gear for line (rod/pole) or deep sea angling. The talented chef is always happy to prepare the fish that guests catch.

For additional fees, guests who are scuba-certified can arrange to dive off a dive boat that will pull up alongside Island Passage; and they can sightsee by helicopter as the vessel has a helipad for a six-seat helicopter.

When they can pull themselves out of the turquoise water, guests can tour village life on the islands of Tahaá, Raiatea and Huahine, visit a vanilla plantation, local markets and the Maeva Marae archaeological site. They may also enjoy being the audience for a local choir and learning how to crack coconuts.

While on board they mingle in the generously spaced dining and salon area and on the expansive aft deck. Oversize 175-square-foot staterooms and 195-square-foot and 235-square-foot suites all have ocean views and are appointed with fine linens, French soaps and toiletries, and fresh flowers.

Menus include local seafood and the best New Zealand organic lamb and Santo beef, fresh produce selected from local farmer's markets and award-winning cheeses, all presented with a strong European flair. The onboard wine cellar brims with award-winning wines and is frequently updated with new releases plus the Island Passage's revolving collection that is personally selected from the crew's favorite boutique vineyards.

For a recent blog post about more new offerings in AdventureSmith’s upcoming 2016 season please go to:

For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and 2016 reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit

Paul Gauguin Cruises - For Adventurists and Diving Enthusiasts


Dive with experts in some of the world’s most coveted destinations!

Travellers seeking adventure in an exotic location should look no further than Paul Gauguin Cruises. As the French Polynesia specialists, Paul Gauguin Cruises are uniquely positioned to reveal the wonders that await in the translucent aqua lagoons and rainbow-coloured coral reefs of the South Seas.

Every voyage aboard the luxurious 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin offers optional diving excursions led by an expert dive team. First time divers can take an onboard Discover SCUBA Diving class, earn credit towards PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification, and dive in! The Gauguin offers PADI certification on board, as well as refresher courses, and is the only option for diving in the Marquesas.

Luxury small ship experience:

• Spacious oceanview accommodation
• Small, intimate ports of call
• Complimentary beverages, including select wines & spirits, bottled water & soft-drinks
• All shipboard meals
• 24 hour room service
• All gratuities for room stewards and dining staff
• Retractable watersports marina featuring complimentary windsurfing and kayaking

* Watersports are subject to weather conditions and local restrictions

Past guests of The Gauguin also receive 5% off fares with Paul Gauguin Society savings.

About Paul Gauguin

Owned by Pacific Beachcomber S.C., French Polynesia’s leading luxury hotel and cruise operator, Paul Gauguin Cruises operates the 5+-star cruise ship, the 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin, providing a deluxe cruise experience tailored to the unparalleled wonders of Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific. The m/v Tere Moana offers voyages in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe, accommodating 88 guests with a staff of 62.

For additional information contact Wiltrans International on:

1800 251 174 (Australia) or
0800 446 376 (New Zealand)

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Paul Gauguin Cruises 2017 Voyages


Featuring New Itineraries in Fiji and Bali Plus Popular Favourites in French Polynesia & Collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, m/s Paul Gauguin, has announced 2017 voyages that feature popular favourites along with new, exotic 16-and 17-night Fiji & Bali itineraries and a collaborative program with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The 16-night Fiji to Bali voyage departs April 29, 2017, from Lautoka, Fiji, and visits Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Merauke, Indonesia; Dili, Timor-Leste; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Lembar, Lombok Island, Indonesia; and Benoa, Bali, Indonesia. The reverse itinerary, Bali to Fiji, is 17 nights and departs June 7, 2017.

In 2017, The Gauguin will also be showcasing its most sought-after itineraries: the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 7-night Tahiti, the Society Islands & Tuamotus; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands. Also in 2017, the popular 12- and 13-night Society Islands, Cook Islands, Tonga & Fiji itineraries return. In addition to sailing to beautiful islands in the South Pacific, and showcasing Polynesian culture and hospitality, these voyages feature complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises’ two exclusive retreats—Motu Mahana, an islet off the coast of Taha’a, and a private beach in Bora Bora. At Motu Mahana, guests enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a barbecue feast, and cocktails from full-service and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

On The Gauguin’s July 26, 2017, voyage, Paul Gauguin Cruises will present its third Reunion Cruise, which features a special 10-night Cook Islands & Society Islands itinerary with two visits to the line’s private island paradise of Motu Mahana. Designed as a reunion for past guests of Paul Gauguin Cruises and as a gala welcome for newcomers, it presents a number of unique special events, including a festive dinner, cocktail events and parties, opportunities to mingle with senior staff and crew, and more.

Paul Gauguin Cruises is also pleased to announce a new global collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). WCS has been committed to saving wildlife and wild places worldwide since 1895. Beginning in 2017, WCS will offer educational programming for adults and families aboard The Gauguin. Our series will comprise lectures about marine science and wildlife conservation in the South Pacific and beyond. Additionally during the summer months and holiday season, WCS will inspire guests to value nature through our experiential family program. WCS aims to protect half of the world’s biodiversity, while ensuring a positive impact on millions of people. Paul Gauguin Cruises is proud to collaborate with WCS in support of a healthy and sustainable planet.

To launch its 2017 voyages, Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering savings of 50% off standard cruise fares on all 2017 voyages, plus included airfare from Los Angeles.

For rates or more information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, please contact a Travel Professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit

Announcing PONANT Kimberley ‘Time Capsule’ voyages


A very modern way to experience a very ancient place

“I am very excited about revisiting an old destination, in fact a very old destination,” enthuses award winning photographer and adventurer Mick Fogg, a veteran of 120 Kimberley expeditions. Mick will lead the experienced expedition team when specialist luxury and expedition cruise company PONANT explores Australia’s own Kimberley region in 2017 for the first time.

Four 10 night voyages between Darwin and Broome / Darwin Darwin are scheduled between July and September 2017.

Special last minute deal on Indian River Cruises


* Buy one - get one free - Book by February 26 *

Summary: Two passengers can journey through India by river this April for the price of one as part of a special, last-minute offer released by Active Travel. Alternatively, passengers travelling solo can cruise without paying a supplement. Experiences include riding rickshaws, visiting tea gardens and seeing fabled lands from the comfort of a deluxe river ship. Two cruises are available from US$1415 for two people. Offer valid for bookings made by February 26, 2016. For more information, visit or call 1300 783 188.

Full details: Australians can ‘buy one, get one free’ for cruises this April on two of Asia’s major rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, thanks to a new deal offered by Active Travel, an Australian travel agency specialising in Asian river cruising.

The special deal, for bookings made by February 26, 2016, allows two passengers to travel for the price of one. Plus, travellers cruising solo can sail without paying a single passenger supplement.

The seven-night Brahmaputra cruise begins in the city of Guwahati. Included are a visit to a tea garden and factory, a trip through the bazaars of Tezpur in cycle rickshaws and a memorable visit to Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage Site home to two-thirds of the world’s Indian rhinoceroses. Guests will cruise onboard Assam Bengal Navigation’s (ABN) Charaidew, which offers 12 air-conditioned cabins. The cruise departs April 16, 2016, and costs from US$1415 for two people sharing a twin cabin, thanks to the two for one offer.

The Ganges cruise will begin in Kolkata and explore the famous river, sacred to Hindus and essential to the everyday lives of millions. Passengers can take in the scenic countryside and villages while sailing aboard the river vessel, ABN Rajmahal. Including sites such as sixth century rock carvings, Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples and historic mansions, the itinerary is packed with places of cultural and historic interest. The Ganges cruise departs April 14, 2016, and costs from US$1995 for two people in a twin cabin, thanks to the special deal.

Passengers travelling solo can travel on either cruise without paying a single supplement.

Deals are subject to availability and fares include shore excursions and transfers as per the itinerary. Flights from Australia to India are extra and can be booked through Active Travel.

Bookings and details are available through Active Travel at or call 1300 783 188.

Monday 11 January 2016

Visit the Breathtaking Arctic Regions


Experience the magnificent Arctic with One Ocean’s unparalleled expeditions. This small-ship expedition company brings you the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the industry, as well as state of the art ships, where each passenger cabin boasts an outside view. Not only does the Arctic offer an abundance of birdlife and marine mammals, it also possesses unique fishing and celtic cultures. The soaring glaciers, breathtaking icebergs and unique Inuit settlements of both Canada and Greenland will all open your eyes like never before. An area rich in spectacular scenery, an adventure to the Arctic region is truly once-in-a-lifetime. So don't hesitate, set your sights on the Arctic and secure your place with Active Travel now.

From on board: Silversea in New Zealand


Return to Dusky

Following a safe anchorage in Dusky Sound at the strangely named Poison Bay, we greeted the new day with a smile; the sun was out and the winds calm

Freshly brewed coffee is brought to our stateroom by our wonderful butler, Romeo. Hang on, a butler on an expedition cruise! Silversea has a well proven policy that the comfort of the passenger is their primary concern, and as with their other ships, passengers expect to be well looked after

After a delicious breakfast, we head for the Tasman Sea once more and head north towards Milford Sound, a few kms away

Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) is a Marine Reserve and a WahipounmuWorld Heritage site. Often acclaimed as New Zealand's most popular tourist destination. In fact Rudyard Kipling called it the eighth Wonder of the World

Although well known to the Maori, European's, including Captain Cook sailed past the entrance, not realising what it opened out to once inside the headlands. Then in 1812 Captain John Grono sailed in. He initially named it Milford Haven after his Welsh homeland.

The Zodiac's are launched and join the other tourist boats enjoying the wonderful sights. The two permanent water falls, Lady Bowen and Sterling attract the boats, who gently make their way into the cascading falls, a long time local tourist tradition

The long range weather forcast was for the Low to continue moving west and the following High to take over, so we head back out and set sail southwards to Stewart Island before the Holy Grail of expeditioners, Macquarie Island

But Neptune has other plans for us and the swells start to build up after we retire for the night. In the wee small hours he lets us have it with 8 metre waves that cause a it of fun and games for a few hours. When things calm down a bit, we were able to continue our sleep and when we awoke, we were moored in a calm bay. We were back in Dusky Sound. Go on Neptune, give it your best shot, but you won't beat Silver Discoverer and its first rate crew.

As first time sailors for these conditions, it was amazing to go to breakfast and talk with the other passengers who had all been on many other expedition cruises. They were bubbling with excitment, obviously it isn't an expedition unless you get a few challenges

We are now waiting for the meterology report for the next few days to learn where we might be going.

Such is the life of an expeditioner

Michael Osborne, really enjoying the experience of a Silversea Expeditions Cruise, somewhere just to the south of New Zealand. More in the next few days.

Saturday 9 January 2016

Silversea in New Zealand: Dashing to Dusky


The Mature Traveller, Michael Osborne, is on board Silver Discoverer in the south of New Zealand.

The weather gods are not happy, a huge front is very quickly approaching from the west. Ten metre waves and strong winds. We had headed south from Stewart Island to The Snares (Tini Heke) where we marveled at the endemic birds, the Snares Penguin, Snipe and Tomtit and up to three million Sooty Shearwaters.

At the regular afternoon briefing for the next day's activities we were informed of the approaching weather and the worse news that we may not be able to get to Macquarie Island .....

Silversea Expeditions do make sure that their passengers safetytheir most most important concern and they explained that to ensure our comfort and safety that we were now heading back north to to Fiordland National Park and the calm waters of Dusky Sound.

Dusky Sound is a very large fiord, being 40km in length  and 8km wide. Traditionally used by the Maori for hunting and first recorded by Europeans in 1770 by Captain James Cook,  who returned here in 1773 to record the passing of Venus eclipse.

After a calm nights sleep we awoke to a sun shine filled  morning and exilerating Zodiac rides to see the pristine bays and coves with their inquisitive  penguins and seals.

Afternoon rain squalls allows us the chance to explore the ship. Being an expedition vessel you will not find the complete luxury of other Silversea cruise liners. Instead Silver Discoverer has been designed to provide passengers with very comfortable surroundings that are also practical for remote destinations.

The Staterooms are spacious and beautifully appointed. The a la carte main dining room on deck three offers a brilliant choice of meals which are complimented by an exceptional selection of wines from around the world. A full breakfast and an impressive lunch being presented in the Discoverer Lounge on deck five.

We have just been informed that as the weather has not improved, out in the Tasman Sea, that are now going to make  a dash further north to Doubtful Sound and safe anchorage in Bradshaw Sound.

Looking forward to calm seas and blue skies. Until our next report, Michael Osborne

Thursday 7 January 2016

Kickstart 2016 - Last Minute Offer for Antarctica


Fly free to Antarctica to join your cruise - and more.

Oceanwide Expeditions announces new departures to the ROSS SEA in Antarctica

After successful exploration runs in 2013 and 2015 the Dutch polar cruise company Oceanwide Expeditions has announced two new expeditions to the Ross Sea in 2017. The ice-strengthened vessel "Ortelius" will be accommodated with helicopters for the two Antarctica cruises, sailing from the South-American continent to the Antarctic Peninsula, crossing the Polar Circle, further west to Peter I Island, sailing in the Bellingshausen sea along the ice-edge of "deep Antarctica" into the Ross Sea. The voyage continues to the uninhabited sub-Antarctic Campbell Island and ends after 32 days in New Zealand. The second cruise offers the same itinerary, but in reverse.

The Ross Sea Challenge

The Ross Sea region of Antarctica has always presented a dream but also a challenge to visit to explorers. The Ross Ice Shelf prevents a full seasonal operation and distances are enormous. Apart from the extremes, landing sites are still difficult to reach. "With the advantages of the "Ortelius" in combination with the use of helicopters, our travelers are having some great opportunities exploring Antarctica's most fascinating sites", says CEO Michel van Gessel.

Historic Discovery Voyages

British Polar explorer Sir James Clark Ross discovered the Ross Sea region in 1841. It took another 60 years before the true race to the South Pole began when the British Royal Geographic Society sent Robert Falcon Scott on his voyage in 1901, followed by Ernest Shackleton (1907-09), Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase (1910-12), and another attempt of Scott and Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who reached the pole in 1911. Many of the relics (such as the huts of Scott and Shackleton) of this golden period of exploration still exist, preserved by the cold, ready to be visited by modern-day explorers.

The expedition

Very few expeditions have ever ventured this far south to the Ross Sea. Oceanwide Expeditions tries to land passengers in such areas as the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, the huts of the British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross Island, McMurdo Station, the Dry Valleys – where the conditions are the closest you get to the conditions on Mars - and Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatrosses.

The voyage contains one of the last wildernesses on earth, hardly affected and visited by humans. Passengers will experience the largest ice-formations in Antarctica and will encounter an astonishing diversity of life despite its incredibly harsh conditions. The Ross Sea is home to minke whales, orca's, weddell and crabeater seals, adelie and emperor penguins, petrels and skuas.


Oceanwide Expeditions is offering everybody the chance to win a free cruise passage on their ship the Ortelius with a Ross Sea contest they are currently running.

Icebergs Clear, First Cruise To Mawson's Huts in Five Years Leaves Hobart Saturday


- Ice Shifts, Allowing Historic Journey -

Finally, two massive icebergs that have been blocking ship access to historic Mawson’s Huts in remote Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, have broken up and shifted, enabling Chimu Adventures to run the first commercial expedition to the historic site in five years.

Cape Denison 2010, the last voyage to visit before ice blocked the bay. (R Eime)
The 26-day journey aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy, carrying 54 passengers, will also raise money for Mawson’s Huts Foundation, which has been maintaining the basic timber structures since 1997 at a total cost of more than $8 million.

The Akademik Shokalskiy leaves Constitution Dock Hobart at 4pm this Saturday, January 9, 104 years after Douglas Mawson stepped ashore in 1912 on “a charming ice-quay” – which he named Cape Denison – to establish a “station for scientific investigations”.

Mawson's Huts are an historic time capsule (R Eime)
It was the beginning of a legend that’s grown over time with Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition one of Australia’s greatest stories of adventure, resilience, desperation and survival. Harsh doesn’t begin to describe their experience in the coldest and windiest spot on earth.

The only remaining evidence of Mawson and his men’s occupation are two connected timber buildings (Mawson’s Huts) that passengers aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy will have the unique opportunity - subject to weather and ice conditions - to enter and explore.

“It’s so exciting to be going back after such a long time,” said Chimu co-founder Chad Carey, who will be joining the trip.

“As recently as last February, experts were saying the icebergs could stay jammed in the bay for a decade or more but fortunately those predictions have proved incorrect and expedition ships are now able to enter Commonwealth Bay.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in the trip and have a really interesting group of people on board united by their love of Antarctica and this history surrounding Mawson’s Huts.”

Mr Carey says Chimu believes strongly in the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, providing it with office space and facilities while donating more than more than $100,000 to the cause over the years.

Mawson’s Huts Foundation Chairman David Jensen added: “Mawson’s Huts are the birthplace of Australia’s Antarctic heritage and Chimu’s support for the Foundation is critical for conservation work to continue.”

To find out more about Chimu Adventures visit

Saturday 2 January 2016

Warming opens Northwest Passage to navigation


Northwest Passage historical

Beneath the Aurora Borealis an oil tanker glides through the night past the Coast Guard ice breaker Amundsen and vanishes into the maze of shoals and straits of the Northwest Passage, navigating waters that for millennia were frozen over this time of year.

Warming has forced a retreat of the polar ice cap, opening up a sea route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for several months of the year.

Read more:

New Ship for Lindblad Expeditions


Via Australis while sailing with Australis Cruises (Marcello Gallo)

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc., the global leader of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement for the purchase of the Via Australis to be used in its operations in the Galapagos Islands. The Company expects to take possession of the ship in the second quarter of 2016 and following a significant renovation will deploy the ship during the third quarter of 2016. The Via Australis will replace the National Geographic Endeavour. The purchase price for the ship is $18 million and Lindblad plans to spend up to $10 million to refurbish and outfit the ship immediately after closing.

“The Via Australis will be the ideal platform for our Galapagos expeditions far into the future. Opportunities to acquire high quality expedition ships on attractive terms are infrequent so we seized this one,” said Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad. “The Via Australis will provide us with increased profitability on the same route through more operating days, revenue enhancement opportunities, operating efficiencies and cost savings compared to the National Geographic Endeavour. Additionally, it will require significantly lower capital expenditures for the foreseeable future.”

“The most important elements of a Galapagos experience are the islands, the animals and the sea that surrounds them, so the ship that provides access to these things matters greatly,” Lindblad added. “The Via Australis is ultra-efficient to operate and was built with the same sensibility that matters so much to us, with a focus on the world outside. To that end, she has great viewing from all public spaces. Her ability to launch and deploy landing craft is fast and seamless. She is exceptionally quiet and maneuverable, a great asset when approaching marine life. And I'm particularly pleased that this ship will be well received by our crew who work very hard and are critical to expedition success.”

The Via Australis will be renamed bearing the National Geographic name. After refurbishment, some key features of the Via Australis:

• 50 cabins: 46 double cabins and 4 single cabins. Maximum capacity of 96 guests.
• As the primary focus is the world outside, all public spaces are designed for maximum viewing with quick, easy access to decks to respond to bridge announcements of phenomenal sightings of nature and wildlife.
• An open and ample top deck provides an unparalleled location for gathering, dining, relaxing and stargazing.
• A spacious main lounge and a forward-viewing additional lounge with large windows and immediate access to the outer decks provide guests many comfortable options to relax, read or view the wildlife and scenery.
• A fleet of Zodiacs and sea kayaks outfitted to transport guests easily into the wild, remote places being explored. The efficient Zodiac loading platform can deploy two landing crafts at the same time in order to safely and swiftly put guests ashore, in the water, or on a cruise through the surrounding landscapes
• A fully equipped fitness room and a wellness spa.
• State-of-the-art A/V system for the highest quality presentations, including National Geographic photography instruction.
• Well-appointed and improved crew quarters.