Monday 29 February 2016

Silversea Diving Expeditions cruise to some of the best scuba diving sites

Silversea Expeditions has unveiled its collection of Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages for 2016 and 2017, offering diving enthusiasts the chance to explore some of the world's most remote destinations and top diving sites, located in the western Pacific and Indian oceans.

The 120-guest, all-suite Silver Discoverer is the latest addition to the line's expedition fleet and will feature 20 voyages, offering exciting scuba diving opportunities for experienced divers in the Maldives, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Palau archipelago, and the Andaman Islands.  These regions have been celebrated as some of the world's most spectacular diving hot spots, featuring hidden caves, tunnels, and an astonishing spectrum of coral fish and rare sea creatures.

"We're delighted to offer our guests the opportunity to explore remote destinations, both on land and underwater with this unique series of expedition voyages," said Karen Christensen, General Manager and Director Sales/Marketing, Australasia at Silversea.  "The Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages are designed to provide the most awe-inspiring deep sea adventures, while also including incredible destinations for snorkelling and onshore hiking explorations."

In addition to an onboard dive master, these unique itineraries will feature a team of experts, including marine biologists, environmentalists, ecologists, and geologists, who will enlighten guests with their extensive knowledge of these amazing areas.

The following is a small sample of upcoming Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages aboard Silver Discoverer:


Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia

Voyage 9622: Cairns to Balikpapan, 14 days, 4 – 18 October.

Myanmar & Andaman Islands

Voyage 9626: Phuket to Maldives, 15 days, 2 – 17 December.

Maldives, Seychelles (*Aldabra) & Africa

Voyage 9627: Maldives to Dar es Salaam, 17 days, 17 December – 3 January.
(*Itinerary is highlighted by a rare visit to the remote coral atoll of Aldabra. Virtually untouched and teeming with marine life, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world's largest atolls, and a pristine home to thousands of giant tortoises.)


Indonesia & Palau Archipelago

Voyage 9713: Darwin to Koror, 14 Days, 26 May – 9 June.

Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia

Voyage 9725: Cairns to Bali, 14 Days, 9 - 23 November.

The programme is complimentary, but space is limited.  Guests require an Advanced Open Water Diver license or equivalent to participate.  Guests must bring their own BCD vests and regulators.  Silversea will provide weight belts, tanks, masks, and fins free of charge on board Silver Discoverer.

For further details and a complete list of the Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit


Thursday 25 February 2016

Join the UN's Patron of the Oceans on an unforgettable polar voyage

Pioneer swimmer and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh, has announced that he will be joining two Hurtigruten voyages in 2016 – a voyage along the Norwegian coast in May and a trip to Antarctica in December 2016.

In 2013 the Briton was appointed the UN Patron of the Oceans. The World Economic Forum has named him a Young Global Leader for his "potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership" and in 2015 he was also chosen as National Geographic's "Adventurer of the Year".


On 19 May 2016, Lewis will be setting off from Bergen on the MS Spitsbergen for the 12 day 'Classic Round Voyage'. During the trip he will give speeches to both guests and local communities about protecting our coastlines and oceans as well as leading beach clean ups and taking part in a number of Hurtigruten excursions and on-board activities.

This trip follows the traditional Hurtigruten route from Bergen, along the Norwegian coastline to Kirkenes, before turning and heading back to Bergen. This unique voyage stops off in 34 ports along the way and offers and authentic way to explore Norwegian nature, culture and traditions. Prices start from $4,295 AUD per person based on 2 people sharing an inside cabin on full board basis


On his second voyage in December, Lewis will be joining the MS Midnatsol as she heads to Antarctica. During the trip he will be giving lectures about his work, as well as undertaking a series of pioneering swims off Antarctica and leading kayaking excursions.

The 16 day 'Discover Patagonia and Antarctic' expedition starts on 6 December and explores the Chilean fjords and Cape Horn before reaching Antarctica. During the voyage passengers can participate in experiments in the on-board science lab, go hiking and meet some of the many the colonies of penguins. The trip costs from $7,955 AUD per person based on 2 people sharing including one night in a hotel in Santiago de Chile, return flights from there to Punta Arenas and the voyage in an inside cabin on full board basis.

Hurtigruten aim to be world leading in sustainable explorer travel in the polar regions. The Hurtigruten Foundation seeks to enhance awareness and contribute to the protection of the vulnerable nature and unique culture of the destinations they travel to as well as raising funds to respectively exploit or reduce them through a number of initiatives worldwide.

For more information and bookings, please contact Discover Travel Shop on 1800 OCEANS (623 267) or email


Lewis is a maritime lawyer who read International Law at Cambridge University, who in 2015 he became the Hurtigruten Foundation's first ambassador. He was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world. He undertakes spectacular swims in the most vulnerable parts of our oceans to draw attention to their plight and to campaign for the creation of more marine protected areas.

Coral Expeditions explores magical Myanmar

New expeditions explore unseen and unedited parts of South East Asia's hottest destination

Myanmar, fast becoming the most sought-after and talked about South East Asian destination, will become a key feature of Coral Expeditions' new Asia itineraries during the 2016-17 wave season.

The pioneering cruise line recently launched 7 unique itineraries exploring the diverse and culture rich coastlines of South East Asia on their flag ship Coral Discoverer.

Keeping with Coral Expeditions' highly-personalised style, activities and off-shore excursions are suitable for guests of all ages and fitness levels, and slower-paced alternatives are always catered for. These voyages will be popular with Coral Expeditions' long-standing clientele in Australia, Europe and North America.

The jewel in the crown is the 12 day exploration from Singapore to Yangon (or vice versa) of the enchanting coastlines of Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, accessing places only Coral Expeditions' small ships can.

The highlight of this expedition will be a full 6 out of the 12 nights spent exploring the remarkable coastline of Myanmar, incorporating the Irrawaddy River and the Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea.

Two days will be spent in the Mergui Archipelago, a stunning marine destination which has only been open to tourists since 1996. The area is home to some 800 islands and is inhabited by 'sea gypsies', otherwise known as Moken.

At Mawlamyine, the former British capital of Burma, guests will take ground transport to Thanbyuzayat to visit the Burma World War II Railway Memorial, one of three sites associated with the infamous 'Death Railway' constructed by the Japanese military.

The Thanbyuzayat cemetery at the Burmese end of the railway is 370km from Yangon and 65km from Mawlamyine, and has 3,770 graves including 1,355 Australians, 1,588 British and 621 Dutch.

Fresh off the back of his reconnaissance trip to Myanmar, Coral Expeditions' lead Expedition Leader Steve Cox is excited to share a host of hidden gems with his guests.

'Myanmar is still a vastly unexplored country by tourists; like Vietnam a decade ago it's one of those 'get-there-before-everyone-else-does' destinations', said Cox.

'As with any of our expeditions we look for places off the beaten track to give our guests exclusive insights into the culture, history and magic of each destination, and Myanmar promises to deliver just that,' he said.

Coral Expeditions' South East Asian itineraries will begin immediately after Coral Discover undergoes a significant refurbishment which adds an entirely new level of accommodation – Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms – as well as upgraded interiors, Sun Deck bar-lounge and exercise equipment.

'It is truly an exciting time for Coral Expeditions as we will venture into new waters with our freshly refurbished flagship,' said Group General Manager, Mark Fifield.

For full itineraries and pricing download the Asia brochure here:

Wednesday 24 February 2016

SeaDream opens 2017 bookings with new ports in Mediterranean and Caribbean

SEADREAM Yacht Club has released 80 exciting new itinerary options in the Mediterranean and Caribbean in 2017, many with new ports not previously visited and too small for larger cruise ships to access.

Company President, Bob Lepisto says that by visiting these ports away from larger vessels, SeaDream's guests can explore ashore without the thousands of others and avoid queues.

"We'll be visiting some of the most colourful and contrasting ports of Southern Europe as both mega motor-cruisers sail the waters of the Amalfi Coast, the Aegean and Greek Islands, the Balearic Islands, the Adriatic Sea and Croatian Coast, and the French and Italian Rivieras, Malta and Turkey," Mr Lepisto said.

"In Porto Cervo in Italy's northern Sardinia, and other ports those larger vessels cannot go, it will be like holidaying on your own personal yacht, SeaDream I and II each carrying a maximum of just 112 guests served by 95 crew."

In the Caribbean, SeaDream's 2017 itineraries will include such secluded treasure spots as Saba and Culebrita and Vieques in Puerto Rico, as well as St Barts, Barbados, the French West Indies, the Grenadines and the US Virgin Islands.

"Our emphasis is on relaxation and rejuvenation with not only shore-side activities, that include our signature in-the-water Champagne and Caviar Splash served from a linen-sheathed surfboard, but our onboard Spas that have the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea, and our popular water sports platforms with their range of power and sail watercraft.

"And there are also our complimentary mountain bikes for personal shore-side exploration and excursions," Mr Lepisto said.

For full details of SeaDream's 2017 Mediterranean and Caribbean sailings and onboard services and facilities that make them the world's highest-rated boutique passenger vessels, see travel agents or go onto

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

Tuesday 23 February 2016

APT Prepares to Launch New Bordeaux River Cruises

Luxury travel operator APT has released footage of its 74-suite rivership, the MS AmaDolce, as she is moved from Rotterdam via the North Sea to the French coast ready to commence her first Bordeaux river cruise.

The ship will commence her maiden voyage on APT's new Bordeaux river cruises, which start operating on the Garonne and Dordogne rivers from 22 April 2016.

One of five new itineraries available in the Bordeaux region in 2016, APT's 18 Day Wonders of Bordeaux & Rhône will play host to the inaugural sailing.

The fully inclusive cruise is priced from $13,395 per person twin share and commences with a two night luxury city stay in Paris. Sightseeing includes all the iconic landmarks as well as a special dinner and evening at the Moulin Rouge.

Guests then set sail aboard their luxurious rivership to visit Bordeaux, Pauillac, Blaye, Cognac, Libourne, Saint Émilion and Cadillac before travelling to Arles for a seven night Rhône river cruise.

Featuring a range of exceptional gourmet experiences designed to showcase the regional food and wine, cruise highlights include APT's exclusive Signature Invitations such as a private dinner at Bordeaux's Château Pape Clément, enjoyed with perfectly paired wines; and a visit to a family-owned cooperage before a wine tasting in Ludon. Freedom of Choice™ sightseeing options are on offer in eight different locations, including in Libourne the choice of a visit to a caviar farm for a tasting or a walking tour of the nearby Bergerac.

Footage of the AmaDolce being loaded onto the cargo vessel ready for her relocation can be viewed here:

For further information on APT's new fully inclusive Bordeaux river cruises, please contact APT on 1300 196 420, visit or see your local travel agent.

Galapagos On Sale - Save up to $10,000 on the Ulimate Family Adventure

Take the kids to the world's most famous outdoor zoo and save up to $10,000 for a family of four during Chimu Adventure's bucket list sale on cruises to the Galapagos Islands.

Next school holidays, the ultimate family adventure awaits as you snorkel near the equator, meet a host of unique animals and see the islands known as the birthplace of Darwin's theory of evolution.

On Chimu's four, five and eight-day itineraries, you'll sail the wildlife-packed islands on one of two luxury first-class Seaman Journey and Seastar Journey luxury catamarans.

With up to 35 per cent off family cruise departures in March and April it's the perfect time to experience these Equadorian islands, famed for the vast number of species not found anywhere else on earth.

The lead-in Seaman Journey four-day cruise now costs from $2450 per person (usually $3500 a head) while the eight-day expedition has been reduced to $5299 per person (reduced from $7570).

Even bigger savings are available on the six day Seastar Journey cruise, where the price has been reduced from $7500 per person to $4875, representing saving of $10,500 for a family of four.

It's the greatest gift any parent could give their family.

Through a blend of land and sea excursions, passengers will see legendary blue-footed boobies, colourful marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, tiny penguins and the giant tortoises that gave the Pacific islands their name.

"I liked it because you can see finches and boobies and also go in the ocean and see stingrays and sharks if you are lucky," said Sydney six year-old, Lachlan Hall, after cruising the Galapagos with brother Max, 9.

Chimu Marketing Manager and mother of Max and Lachlan, Meg Hall, said the trip gave her children the best classroom they'd ever been in.

"It's a destination we all enjoyed for the geography, wildlife and adventure. The Galapagos is an educational experience which our family will never forget."

Bookings for these special close on February 29.

For further details please visit or call 1300 211 805.

New ship announced for Australis


Stella Australis, delivered in 2010

Expedition cruises to the ‘End of the World’ from US$832

Patagonian cruise line, Australis, which offers unique, all-inclusive expedition cruises to Cape Horn and the sky-blue glaciers and fjords of Tierra del Fuego – has revealed it will build a new ship tailor-made for ‘bottom of the world’ voyages.

To mark the announcement of the bigger vessel, scheduled for launch in late 2017, Australis is offering 30 per cent discounts on six end-of-season sailings this March and April, with fares now available from only US$832 per person.

The new, as-yet unnamed, 200-passenger ship for Australis – Latin for ‘southern’ – will replace the smaller, 136-passenger Via Australis, which was built in 2005 and will be sold to Lindblad Expeditions on completion of the current summer season in Patagonia. Meanwhile, Australis’ other ship, the 200-passenger Stella Australis, launched in 2010, will continue to offer expedition voyages through the channels and fjords of southern Chile during the next 2016/17 summer season until her new fleet-mate joins her for Australis’ 2017/18 program.

“This represents a great opportunity for Australis to increase our offerings, with a faster, leaner and more modern ship, similar to the Stella Australis,” said Australis Market Manager for Australia, Michelle Mohaupt.

“More Australians are travelling to South America so the three to seven night Patagonian cruises Australis offers are an ideal add-on to an itinerary on the continent, with our sailings providing the only way to see the remote and spectacularly untouched scenery at the southern-most tip of South America, including Cape Horn,” she said.

Australis is the only operator to offer regular cruises through the region, with the family-owned Chilean cruise line also offering more opportunities for travellers to step ashore on fabled Cape Horn than any other line.

From September to April each year, Australis operates regular three to seven-night expedition cruises from Ushuaia and Punta Arenas – the two southern-most towns in the world - through the mountain and glacier-lined fjords of Tierra del Fuego, the Magellan Strait and Beagle Channel. Included in fares are zodiac excursions ashore to places like Cape Horn, named 400 years ago this year by Dutch explorers, as well as Wulaia Bay and Pia Glacier. An average of seven massive tidewater glaciers can be seen on most Australis sailings while wildlife along the way includes elephant seals and Magellanic penguins.

Australis’ ships offer lounges, gym facilities and cabins with extra-large panoramic windows (almost floor to ceiling) to see the amazing scenery bathed in extended summer daylight. All guests enjoy complimentary, guided excursions and nature lectures as well as a free open-bar. Cuisine aboard includes local dishes as well as Chilean and Argentine wines. English and Spanish are spoken on board.

* Last minute 30% discount – Until March 11, a 30 per cent discount is available on six sailings of three or four nights this March or April from Ushuaia or Punta Arenas aboard Stella Australis or Via Australis. These include a three-night, round-trip ‘End of the World’ sailing on April 1,2016, from Ushuaia, including a visit to Cape Horn, on April 1 from US$832 per person, twin-share, including the 30 per cent discount. Also discounted is a four-night ‘Patagonian Explorer’ sailing from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas, including Cape Horn, from April 4, 2016, from US$1008 per person, twin-share.

For bookings, see specialist travel agent, Movidas

South America Experts
South America Experts

Monday 22 February 2016

Expedition Travel Trio Announces Partnership with The Nature Conservancy


Quark Expeditions®, International Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions
Form Joint Partnership with Global Conservation Organisation

Leading expedition travel companies—International Expeditions, Quark Expeditions® and Zegrahm Expeditions are pleased to announce a three-year joint collaboration with The Nature Conservancy. Building on the continuous dedication of each expedition travel company’s current efforts to protect the planet, this partnership presents an ideal alignment with the Conservancy’s mission to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends.

The Conservancy has grown to become the world’s largest and most respected international conservation organisation. Each expedition company is perfectly positioned to help the Conservancy raise awareness about preserving and restoring the natural world. Together, the organisations will be introducing more people to the wonders and value of nature by highlighting the Conservancy’s efforts in trip programming and marketing, and, when possible, the Conservancy’s scientists and staff will join relevant expeditions to continue the education in the field.

“We are very excited about this ecotourism partnership as we are working to protect nature at an unprecedented scale by focusing on the most pressing challenges facing people and nature and we can’t do it alone,” said Geof Rochester, Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy. “Together, we hope to inspire global action from worldwide travellers.”

A portion of each expedition guest’s trip cost* will be contributed to The Nature Conservancy over the next three years to help fund the Conservancy’s mission to conserve lands and waters on which all life depends. Participating expedition guests will also be eligible for a complimentary one-year membership with The Nature Conservancy. The affiliation will allow travellers to learn more about the Conservancy’s work in over 35 countries and encourage guests to take action to help protect nature.

“We are so proud to be commencing this joint partnership with a world-renowned conservation organisation,” states Van Perry, President of International Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions. “Each of our individual commitments to conservation has shown that in collaboration, we can be the collective voice to help The Nature Conservancy reach its goals and protect the world we are all passionate about exploring,” adds Andrew White, President of Quark Expeditions®.

A celebration to announce the partnership was held on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., and was attended by local press; the Conservancy’s Geof Rochester; and representatives from International Expeditions, Quark Expeditions® and Zegrahm Expeditions, including Portfolio Managing Director of TUI’s Adventure Travel Division, Hans Lagerweij. The event marked the official launch of the partnership.

To learn more about this partnership, visit
Learn more about the Conservancy, visit

* Between February 4, 2016 and December 31, 2018, International Expeditions, Quark Expeditions®, and Zegrahm Expeditions will contribute 0.5% of the retail price of a direct sale within the United States of a tour, holiday package or expedition with these companies, with a minimum guaranteed contribution of $244,650 by each company to The Nature Conservancy. The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the land and waters on which all life depends.

Variety Cruises selected Best Boutique Cruise line worldwide


Variety Cruises

It is with great pleasure and pride that we hereby announce that Variety Cruises has been selected as the “Best Boutique Cruise line” worldwide by the annual USA TODAY BEST OF 10 contest.

The publishing’s specialists underwent a careful curation of a select number of boutique cruise lines and invited its international readership to vote for their number 1 selection. USA TODAY is amongst the most recognizable digital and print daily publications worldwide, with over 3 million readers daily and over 35 million online visitors each month.

The number of established and well renowned contenders included SEABOURN, CRYSTAL, WINDSTAR, SEA CLOUD, LINDBLAD-NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, SEA DREAM YACHT CLUB, STAR CLIPPERS, SILVERSEAS, and PONANT amongst others. We could not be more honored to be presented side by side with these respected brands that each complements the small ship cruise industry in their own unique and special way.

VARIETY CRUISES owns and operates 11 upscale and casual MEGA-YACHTS between 4 and 5 stars with capacity of up to 72 guests. The cruise line was established upon the philosophy of connecting local communities and international travelers in a sustainable, non-intrusive way by restricting our cruise operations to small sized upscale yachts that continue to exclusively dock in small as well as secluded ports of call otherwise unreachable by larger cruise lines. Over the years our small ship cruise experience formula continues to improve and adapt with our times and destinations, yet what still remains at the core is the people that add color to every variety cruises moment including our team, our guests, and the local communities we visit.

In 2016-2017 VARIETY CRUISES performs cruises in Greece, Turkey, the Adriatic, Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, the Seychelles, Madagascar, France, Italy, West Africa, the British Isles, and Brazil. 87% of VARIETY CRUISES’ former guests describe their experience as “exceptional” while 93% state a wish and intention to travel again with VARIETY CRUISES in the future.

We would like to thank our partners and collaborators, our faithful guests and friends, and last but certainly not least our carefully selected crew for their daily efforts to each and every time offer our guests unique, unforgettable, safe, once-in-a-lifetime small ship cruise experiences striving to surpass all expectations.

We feel exceptional pride for this honor, an affirmation of decades of hard work and business values paying off with the majority vote of all USA TODAY small ship cruise aficionados. We will last but not least continue to strive to improve and upgrade our product and experience offering, as well as the awareness around us worldwide, so that more and more individuals discover the opportunity of exploring the world the Variety Cruises Way.


E: info@varietycruises.comW:

Polar Bears and Northern Lights Are Tip of Iceberg on Arctic Circle Cruises


The Arctic is on many bucket lists thanks to polar bears and Northern Lights. But what else may travelers anticipate on a cruise in the Arctic Circle? And what questions should they ask when booking a cruise on the Arctic Ocean, the world’s smallest and shallowest ocean that is fringed by eight countries?

Todd Smith, small ship cruise expert and founder of AdventureSmith Explorations, ( discusses the variables of itineraries and small ships plying this region, home to four million people living in the shadow of Viking conquests and explorers. His sage advice, “How to Choose Your Arctic Cruise”, shares what he calls “an incredible range of conditions” in the May through September Arctic summer. These conditions help to determine itineraries and therefore passenger experiences.

For example, early season (late May through early July) polar bears on ice floes are prevalent. In July and August ice is more disbursed, allowing land access and explorations of nutrient-rich waters favored by whales. September nights bring the magnificent aurora borealis.

The experiences guests seek may also determine the ship they choose. AdventureSmith Explorations' fleet of expedition ships cruising to the Arctic carry 78 to 148 guests and are specially outfitted to travel in polar waters. They are all fairly similar in terms of ice class and amenities. For more intimate explorations, this company also recommends a fleet of vessels carrying just 16 to 20 guests that offer the same close-up exploration as larger expedition ships but also provide access to shallow harbors and small islands.

The length of a cruise and the price also come into play, said Smith. Following is a handful of specials for 2016 Arctic cruises.

The 11-day Home of Vikings cruise is aboard the 116-guest Sea Spirit. The per person double rate is from $4,995; however for bookings on a May 20, 2016, departure two guests sharing the same cabin may travel for the price of one. This specific tour through fjords in the High Arctic begins in Iceland and explores South and West Greenland in search of whales and other arctic wildlife. Guests explore the town of Nanortalik at the mouth of beautiful Tasermiut Fjord surrounded by steep mountains that flank an intricate fjord system. They soak in geothermal waters watching the icebergs pass by in Uunartoq. And they visit the enchanting West Greenlandic tiny settlements of Qaqortoq, Hvalsey Qassiarsuk. Paamiut, Nuuk, Itteliq and Sisimiut to discover Viking history and witness urban arctic living amongst the colorful homes. Sea kayaking along this rugged coastline is a favorite pastime on this adventure. See:

Polar guests will save up to 25 percent with an Early Booking Discount for designated Arctic cruises in 2016; up to 25 percent on premium cabins and 15 percent on non-premium cabins aboard select Sea Adventurer and Ocean Nova2016 departures booked by April 15, 2016. Triple and Quad cabins are excluded. This discount cannot be combined with other offers and is subject to availability. Excluded are the following departures: June 12 Spitsbergen Explorer, July 4 Spitsbergen Circumnavigation and August 15 Three Arctic Islands. See:

Guests save 15 percent on AdventureSmith’s Realm of the Polar Bear on departures between June 13 and Aug. 10, 2016 if booked by March 1, 2016. See:

For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and 2016-2017 reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit

The Coolest Way to See the Arctic: Aurora Expeditions Launches Polar Snorkelling in the Arctic

Travellers can now discover the European Arctic's underwater world as Aurora Expeditions introduces Polar Snorkelling to their small-ship cruises to Spitsbergen and Greenland in 2016. The new optional activity will allow travellers to enjoy a 'full concept' Arctic experience, exploring new sites above and below the water.

Designed for the more adventurous traveller, Polar Snorkelling is a unique activity that offers the chance to discover what lies beneath the icy Arctic waters. From sea anemones and sea urchins to nudibranchs, crabs and the occasional polar cod, snorkellers will witness the surprisingly colourful marine life of the Arctic.

Perhaps the greatest highlight for any Polar Snorkeller is the opportunity to get up close to the glistening ice. Snorkellers will enjoy swimming at the edge of the Arctic pack ice, as well as enjoy the fascinating ice formations that exist below the surface.

And the best thing? Snorkellers don't need any scuba diving experience to jump in! The Polar Snorkelling option is available to anyone with some basic snorkelling experience, and to whoever is brave enough to push the boundaries to discover a new way of enjoying the underwater world of the Arctic's oceans.

Polar Snorkelling is offered as part of Aurora Expeditions' wider Polar Dive program, operated by long-term partner and cold-water diving and snorkelling specialists, Waterproof Expeditions. Polar Diving offers experienced dry suit divers the chance to discover a new destination topside as well as underwater.

Waterproof Expeditions provides all polar snorkel equipment on board, including a state-of-the-art Waterproof© D9 Snorkel Dry Suit – specially designed for polar snorkelling – as well as hood, gloves, boots and a full snorkel set including fins, mask and snorkel.

Operated under a set of strict safety guidelines, Waterproof's team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years' polar diving experience and provide snorkellers and divers with detailed briefings and  best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkelling and diving experience.

Polar Snorkelling and Diving is not for the faint-hearted, but those with a love for exploration and spirit of adventure will delight in being one of the first to enjoy some of our planet's most unexplored waters.

Polar Snorkelling is an optional activity available across a selection of Aurora Expeditions' 2016 and 2017 Arctic and Antarctic voyages, operated in conjunction with diving partners Waterproof Expeditions. Aurora Expeditions' Arctic voyages depart July through September. Prices start from AU$6,380 per person, with Polar Snorkelling and Diving starting from US$975 per person.

Aurora Expeditions and Waterproof Expeditions were the first operators to launch Polar Snorkelling in Antarctica in 2013, and now also offer the activity in the European Arctic.  

For more information visit or contact Aurora Expeditions team of polar experts on 1300 061 490.

For diving and snorkelling enquiries please contact Waterproof Expeditions:  or visit


Epic Icebreaker for an Epic Price - save up to $20 000 USD!


A once in a lifetime icebreaker expedition opportunity has now become available. It truly is a special that those with an interest in Polar expedition travel won't want to miss out on!

Travel aboard powerful icebreaker Kapitan Klebnikov as she tackles the remote and ice-filled waters of the Arctic. In addition to being a very capable icebreaker, the icebreaker is also equipped with helicopters allowing the ultimate in exploration.

There's no better time to experience the Arctic. Book now and save 25% per voyage on the following explorations aboard the Klebnikov:

Ultimate Northwest Passage
Or the Best of the Canadian Arctic.

Alternatively, combine the two expeditions and travel the full Northwest Passage route from Greenland to Anadyr, Russia via the remote shores of Ellesmere Island.

This experience was US$58,990pp twin share. But for a limited time we are pleased to present you with the opportunity of securing 35 days aboard the legendary Icebreaker Kapitan Klebnikov for just US$38,087pp twin share, saving a whopping $20 000 USD.

With a special such as this, cabins are sure to sell out, so enquire today with Wild Earth Travel! Email info@wildearth-travel.comfor more information or call 1800 107 715 or 0800 945 3327 today.

(Discounts apply to new bookings only, selected cabin types, and are subject to availability. Contact us for a full list of ts&cs).

Opportunities and challenges revealed in new Antarctic tourism study


New Study Reveals Patterns in Antarctic Tourism

Ponant vessel in Antarctica, exemplifying the new era of luxury Antarctic cruising
Newport, Rhode Island, USA: Results from a new study examining 20 years of commercial cruise activity in the Antarctic Peninsula region have important implications for Antarctic visitor management. The paper was published online this week in the journal Antarctic Science.

The analysis was conducted by Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York in conjunction with the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), which has developed the most comprehensive dataset of any human activity in the Antarctic as part of its mission to promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private sector travel to the continent. The study revealed that, while the overall number of visitors landed in the region has increased over the last two decades, tourism activity is highly concentrated at a few specific locations along the Peninsula’s south-western coast. In the 2012/2013 season for example, over 75% of all landings occurred on an area of land equating to less than one-sixth of the area of London’s Heathrow Airport, about 200 hectares.

Port Lockroy on the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most visited sites (R Eime)
‘There are both opportunities and challenges to having concentrated landings of passengers at relatively few sites” says co-author Dr. Kim Crosbie, Executive Director of IAATO. “While this focus on a few sites, can create some challenges in terms of maintaining wilderness standards, it provides good opportunities for site-specific visitor management practices. As yet there has been little or no discernable impact at these sites, but understanding tourism patterns and trends is critical to reviewing management techniques for their continued protection.”

Antarctic tourism activity is also closely linked to economic activity in countries contributing the largest number of visitors. Nationalities have changed over time with China now representing 9% of all passengers visiting the Antarctic behind countries such as the USA, Australia and the UK. The growing market in Asia is expected to contribute to an increased demand to visit Antarctica in the coming years.

Lead author, Nicole Bender from Stony Brook University says, “Antarctica, though seemingly isolated, is strongly influenced by global socioeconomic forces. Understanding how these and also environmental drivers influence tourism patterns is hugely useful for informing management decisions regarding human activities in Antarctica.”

Thursday 18 February 2016

Un-Cruise Adventures Introduces New Chairman’s, Alumni and National Park Theme Cruises in 2016


Un-Cruise Adventures expands its theme cruise schedule in 2016 with the addition of chairman’s, alumni and National Park centennial themes.

Guests can now choose from 10 theme cruise options while sailing on select small ship cruises in Alaska, Costa Rica and Panamá, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, coastal Washington and the Columbia & Snake Rivers.

In 2016 and 2017, theme cruises include photography, marine biology, ornithology, craft beer, wine, Lewis & Clark and music/entertainment. Beginning in 2016, a new chairman’s theme cruise introduces guests to company leaders on board for the week and alumni cruises unite past cruisers.

For 2016 only, cruises visiting Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska during the week of August 25, celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park System created on August 25, 1916.

Un-Cruise Adventures’ fleet of boutique yachts and small ships carry 22-88 guests on adventure and river cruises lasting one week to 21 nights. All adventure activities and shore excursions are included. Theme cruises feature a guest host on board the ship for a week of special presentations and daily interaction with guests.

“Theme cruises provide an opportunity to get topical hands on learning from experts, unite with fellow alumni or rub elbows with the leaders and owners of Un-Cruise Adventures,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO.

2016-2017 theme cruise schedule:

Mexico’s Sea of Cortés—The 84-guest Safari Endeavour sails from Baja exploring islands, bays and marine life in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

* Chairman’s – 2017: January 7
* Alumni – 2016: December 3
* Marine Biology – 2016: March 5 & 12; 2017: January 21, February 25, March 18
* Ornithology – 2016: March 26, November 26; 2017: March 25
* Photography – 2017: January 28, March 4

Columbia & Snake Rivers—The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer, explores the scenic views and history of the area, including the Lewis & Clark expedition, with living history presentations, and excursions to museums, wineries and forts.

* Chairman’s -2016: April 23; 2017: April 8
* Alumni – 2016: June 25
* Lewis and Clark – 2016: May 14 & 21
* Smooth Jazz – 2016: July 23
* Letters From Home (a singing duo specializing in 1940s style harmonies, tap dancing and comedy) – 2016: July 30
* Wine – seven departures April – October, 2016; Two departures in April, 2017

Alaska—Theme cruises are offered aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavour sailing adventure cruises in remote Alaskan wilderness roundtrip from Juneau.

* Alumni – 2016: August 28
* Marine Biology – 2016: June 5, August 7 & 14
* Photography – 2016: June 12, July 3
* Chairman’s – 2016: September 17

Alaska—National Park Centennial—Guests visiting Glacier Bay aboard five ships during the week of August 25, 2016—the actual anniversary day of the park system—will enjoy a commemorative gift and special celebration on board.

Coastal Washington—the 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer explores Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.
· Ornithology – 2016: April 16; 2017: April 22
· Craft Beer – 2016: April 30, October 8 & 22; 2017: April 8, 15

Central America—The 62-guest Safari Voyager sails in Costa Rica and Panama, exploring tropical rainforests, beaches and islands.
· Chairman’s – 2016: December 10; 2017: June 3
· Photography – 2016: December 3; 2017: February 11, May 27
· Alumni – 2017: January 28, June 10
· Ornithology – 2017: July 8, 15
· Marine Biology – 2017: July 29, August 26

(Un-Cruise Adventures)

Tuesday 16 February 2016

World Record Broken: Furthest south by ship.


Heritage Expeditions' Polar Class Expedition Vessel the Akademik Shokalskiy reached 78°43.971'S  at the Bay of Whales, in Antarctica's Eastern Ross Sea, earlier today.

Carrying 48 international expeditioners aboard, this is the furthest south any vessel has ever sailed. It also demonstrates just how much the Ross Ice Shelf, at this particular location, has receded since it was first documented by the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott in 1901. His calculations put the ice edge in the Bay of Whales at 78° 36' S.

In 1911 the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen recorded the ice edge as being at 78° 37' S. He built his base "Framheim", from which he made the first journey to the South Pole on the ice shelf at 78° 38'S.

Recent records from the few vessels that have made the journey to this remote part of Antarctic also highlight the retreat of the ice shelf. In Jan 2001 the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov recorded the ice edge at 78° 41'S and in February 2015 the vessel Arctic P claimed a new furthest south record of 78° 43.0336'S.

48 adventurous passengers are celebrating this milestone aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy along with an expedition team made up of historians, biologists and two descendants of Sir James Clark Ross, who first discovered the Ross Sea 175 years ago.

Heritage Expeditions plans another expedition to Antarctica's Bay of Whales in February 2017. Owner and founder of Christchurch based expedition company Rodney Russ is currently aboard the Shokalskiy as expedition leader and will be very interested to see whether the Ice edge has receded any further next year.

Heritage Expeditions
New Zealand's award winning expedition travel company

0800 262 8873 - New Zealand
1800 143 585 - Australia
1866 285 7884 - USA and Canada

For Worldwide Small Ship Cruising contact our in-house specialists –
Wild Earth Travel: /

Friday 5 February 2016

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

Monday 1 February 2016

Silversea wellness cruises aboard Silver Discoverer

Travellers looking to recharge both mind and body will find Silversea is offering the perfect blend of enlightening exploration and a holistic approach to rejuvenation with its line-up of more than a dozen wellness-themed expedition cruises sailing in 2016 and 2017.

The Wellness Expedition Voyages offered aboard Silver Discoverer are designed to provide guests with the opportunity to improve their well-being while journeying to destinations that are well off the beaten path in Southeast Asia, Australia, Oceania, Africa, and the Indian Ocean.  On these voyages, guests will encounter exotic landscapes, fascinating cultures, and unique wildlife, returning each day to a ship that is a sanctuary for mind, body, and spirit.

Silversea has partnered with Technogym, a leading company in the field of wellness and fitness, to create a comprehensive, and complimentary, program that includes:

·         Stretching, yoga, and Pilates classes held onboard and ashore (depending on location).

·         Fitness classes conducted in the ship's onboard swimming pool.

·         Choice of one complimentary spa massage treatment.

·         Daily lectures and cooking demonstrations on the benefits of healthy and balanced nutrition.

·         Gym sessions led by personal trainers using state-of-the-art Technogym fitness equipment.

Also featured on the Wellness Expedition Voyages is a dedicated team of specialists to accompany guests on their wellness journey.  The team includes fitness lifestyle expert Natasha Eksteen, yoga instructor Jenni Kauppila, and nutritionist Dalila Roglieri.

Karen Christensen, General Manager and Director Sales/Marketing Australasia at Silversea, says,

"We want to enable our guests to focus on their personal well-being as they journey to discover some of the world's most fascinating places and unique cultures.  Each wellness theme cruise offers a well-balanced program of fitness education, exercise, and nutritional guidance, plus an indulgent spa treatment.  These voyages are great for travellers seeking a personal journey to wellness to complement their quest for adventure."

Following is a small sampling of upcoming Wellness Expedition Voyages aboard Silver Discoverer:

Cruise the Galapagos for Less with Latin American tour specialist, Contours Travel

Cruise enthusiasts who enjoy the exclusivity of small group tours can now cruise the Galapagos for up to AUD680 less when booking their trip with Latin American tour specialist, Contours Travel.

The cruise on board the Majestic Galapagos motor yacht ranges from 4D/3N to 8D/7N with prices starting from AUD$2,099 per person based on two people travelling together. The package includes transfers for two, one night's hotel stay pre cruise in either Quito or Guayaquil, all meals and tours.

Accompanied by highly experienced English speaking tour guides, each cruise departure will have a maximum of 16 pax ensuring travellers ample space to socialise and marvel at the islands. Airfares not included. Terms and conditions apply. For more information on the different itineraries, islands, cruise departure dates and tour extensions, visit or call 1300 135 391.