Tuesday 30 May 2017

Solo travellers get cruising with Ponant in Australia


Cruiseco, the leading provider of worldwide cruising options in Australia and New Zealand, is pleased to offer a new '50% single supplement' promotion for the first 10 single cabins booked aboard L'Austral. The cruise provides guests with the opportunity to venture around Australia, experiencing the country like never before.  Departing Sydney Harbour on 25th January 2018, this 40-night circumnavigation of Australia visits over 20 ports along the rugged coastline.

Aboard Ponant's luxurious vessel, L'Austral, guests can expect to explore a combination of Australia's many top tourist spots, plus some of the nation's more secluded and less visited ports.  The voyage will enable guests to check off their Australian bucket list, enjoying mesmerising landscapes, delicious locally produced food and wine and tours of the local region.  

Laura Clarke, Manager Special Projects & Group Sales, Cruiseco said,

"Cruiseco and Ponant exclusively designed this itinerary to showcase the key highlights of our majestic country such as King Island in Tasmania, the 12 Apostles in Victoria, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay and The Tip, Cape York.  Our luxurious expedition cruise, provides guests with the ability to explore idyllic villages and vibrant cities, relax on pristine white beaches and observe local flora and fauna in their natural habitat.  This unforgettable holiday experience is sure to disappear quickly, so we urge people to secure their place now."

Accompanying guests on their circumnavigation voyage will be a specialist expedition crew, handpicked for their wealth of knowledge and expertise on the local wildlife, greenery and heritage of each port.  Complimentary Zodiac tours allow for exploration of ports such as Esperance, Turquoise Bay, Yirrkala and Lizard Island, plus many more opportunities to discover untouched islands, historic monuments, World Heritage Sites and stunning scenery.

Each tour has been custom designed to captivate the rich history of Australia and as part of the itinerary, guests have the opportunity to further enhance their holiday experience via optional overland excursions.  On conclusion of these additional tours, guests will re-join L'Austral at the next port.

L'Austral provides five-star luxury, in a chic, elegant and intimate atmosphere. The ship features 123 cabins and suites, majority featuring private balconies, controlled air-conditioning, king bed, mini bar, flat screen TV iPod player, French bath products and plush bathrobes, and complimentary 24-hour room service.

Prices to travel aboard L'Austral on a 40-night circumnavigation of Australia, departing Sydney on 25th January 2018, start from AU$44,850* single fare, based on a Deluxe Stateroom.  This offer is valid for a limited time and on the first ten cabins only.

Fares include: all meals onboard, including 24-hour room service; beverages – house wines, beers, sparkling wine, non-premium spirits; and a specialist expedition crew, including experts in the field of botany, marine biology, history and photography and zodiac tours.

For additional itinerary options or to book whilst cabins are still available, visit www.cruising.com.au or call (02) 9492 8520.

*Prices are subject to availability and change.  Terms and conditions apply.

Monday 29 May 2017

Christmas in the Caribbean with SeaDream


IF you are thinking overseas for a holiday at Christmas this year, why not think something both totally out of the ordinary, and totally captivating.

And that would be to have Christmas week aboard one of the twin mega-motor-cruisers of SeaDream Yacht Club through the balmy islands of the Caribbean, and on which you and a maximum of just 100 other guests will be pampered by 95 officers and crew – and with a Christmas Day to be never forgotten.

Because SeaDream's chefs are already thinking-up just what they can enthral guests with as SeaDream I spends Christmas Day at Iles des Saintes (Islands of the Saints) in Guadeloupe in the French West Indies, and SeaDream II has Christmas Day at North Sound in Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

(Last year for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, SeaDream's chefs treated guests aboard both vessels to select local seasonal fare coupled with traditional comfort dishes that included Tuna Tartar, Fillet of Turbot, Slow Roasted Turkey and Pumpkin Pie, and to finish, dessert of Cinnamon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt.)

This year both yachts will sail their 7-day Christmas voyages on December 21, SeaDream I from Marigot on Saint Martin in the French West Indies for Bridgetown in Barbados, and SeaDream II from Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, for Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas (also in the USVI) and with daily island ports of call for both.

Both sailings will include SeaDream's award winning cuisine, premium wines, spirits and bar drinks, power and sail water-sports, a golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and staff and crew gratuities. And prices for each start from US$5091pp twin-share.

For full details see travel agents or visit www.seadream.com

(ITINERARIES: SeaDream I will depart Marigot on Saint Martin in the French West Indies on December 21 for Anguilla in the British West Indies, Gustavia on St Barts in the FWI for two overnights, Iles des Saintes for Christmas Day, Rodney Bay on Saint Lucia, Mayreau in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and finally Bridgetown in Barbados on December 28.

SeaDream II will sail on December 21 from Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands for Cruz Bay on St John and also in the USVI, Saba in the Netherlands Antilles, Gustavia for an overnight, North Sound (Virgin Gorda) for Christmas Day, and the British Virgin Islands' Soper's Hole on Tortola, Norman Island (overnight,) White Bay on Jost van Dyke, and finally Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas in the USVI.)


[] SEADREAM guests enjoy a day ashore in the Caribbean, their yacht just swimming distance away. (SeaDreamYachtClub)


Wednesday 24 May 2017

Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia aboard Cruiseco Adventurer


Cruiseco, the leading provider of worldwide cruising options in Australia and New Zealand, is pleased to offer guests a truly unique sailing experience along the Mekong River, aboard Cruiseco Adventurer.  The specifically designed itineraries departing from Saigon, Siem Reap and Hanoi offer guests 11 or 15 night cruises on selected travel dates throughout the year, providing travellers with an insight into the culture, rituals and traditions of two ancient nations.

Laura Clarke, Manager Special Projects & Group Sales, Cruiseco said:

"Our cruises capture the essence of Vietnam and Cambodia, allowing guests to discover iconic temples, bustling cities and striking architecture.  The wondrous waters of the Mekong River showcase the heart of each destination as guests sail through local villages, stopping in the ports of call to enjoy sightseeing tours, guided by locals with a wealth of knowledge."

This authentic holiday experience provides guests with a choice of sailing either up or down the Mekong River between Saigon and Hanoi, Vietnam and Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Highlights of the voyage include: Cai Be – Sa Dec, with its floating markets and French Gothic Cathedral; Oudong — Kampong Tralach, home to a Buddhist monastery and meditation centre; and Siem Reap, where guests can tour the largest temple, Angkor Wat and the last capital city of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Thom.

Cruiseco Adventurer, which expertly navigates the Mekong River, is designed to accommodate 60 guests and allows guests to sail in intimate luxury enjoying a beautiful panorama from the glass French doors or balconies of their cabin.  On board, guests will able to dine on freshly prepared meals in the restaurant, take in the sights from the sundeck or take a dip in the onboard pool.

"Our Vietnam and Cambodia river cruises provide guests with an unforgettable holiday experience.  As part of the specialised itineraries, guests can choose to add extensions to enhance their exploration of two magical countries," added Clarke.

Cruiseco Adventurer has a number of itineraries available this year and in 2018 including;

·         Saigon to Siem Reap, 11 nights: Prices start from AU$4,099* per person, based on twin share; and AU$6,299* per person based on sole occupancy.
·         Siem Reap to Saigon, 11 nights: Prices start from AU$4,099* per person, based on twin share; and AU$6,299* per person based on sole occupancy.
·         Hanoi to Siem Reap, 15 nights: Prices start from AU$5,399* per person, based on twin share; and AU$8,199* per person based on sole occupancy.
·         Siem Reap to Hanoi, 15 nights: Prices start from AU$5,399* per person, based on twin share; and AU$8,199* per person based on sole occupancy.

Cruiseco Adventurer fares include: return economy airfares from Australia; luxury cruise aboard Cruiseco Adventurer, including on-board gratuities, soft drinks, local beers, wine, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner as specified in the itinerary; luxury five-star accommodation in Caravelle Hotel in Saigon, Raffles Hotel D'Angkor in Siem Reap and for those on the 15 night voyage, Melia Hotel in Hanoi; extensive sightseeing with expert local guides; and all transfers.

To find out more or to make a booking, visit www.cruising.com.au or call (02) 9492 8520.

*Prices are subject to availability and change.  Terms and conditions apply.

Monday 22 May 2017

New boutique small ship cruises in Norwegian Fjords

Fjord Adventures has been offering small boat charters in and around the spectacular Hjorundfjord and Romsdal Mountain range of Norway for more than four years.  Due to demand, the specialist operator has launched a programme of summer itineraries suitable for families, couples, singles and small groups who wish to explore areas that large cruise ships do not access.

From August 2017, Fjord Adventures will operate regular cruises between Molde and Ålesund around a glorious archipelago of islands, stopping off en route to enjoy pretty villages and scenic locations where amazing wildlife such as orca, minke whales and porpoises are often spotted.

Owner and Skipper, Sven Stewart, has long been aware of the limitations of large cruise liners so he established Fjord Adventures with his favourite boat, HMS Gåssten, an ex-naval minesweeper and one of the last wooden warships ever built, offering accommodation for just 10 guests.

Sven has lovingly converted her to sleep up to 10 guests comfortably.  He comments:  "Our trips allow guests to visit and explore fjords and areas where the bigger ships do not have permission or the ability to access.  We offer unique and memorable holidays in one of the most unspoiled and breathtakingly beautiful areas on the planet.  We cannot wait to welcome guests aboard for our unrivalled summer cruises."

Highlights of the organized six-night itineraries include eating freshly-caught seafood bought from local fishing boats that day, spotting sea eagles nesting near the ship's anchorage with the stunning panorama of the Romsdal Mountain range in the background, and taking a ride on a small landing craft to explore local communities, including picturesque Hjertoya, a traditional fishing village that has remained unchanged for centuries.

Fellow skipper Tash Wright has worked at sea for 20 years and recently sailed solo across the Atlantic.  "As a skipper I have travelled the world and seen some incredible places, but I have to say that the Hjorundfjord is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring places I have experienced."

Activities abound during the voyage for those who wish to participate and range from stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, wakeboarding, snorkelling and swimming, to road/mountain biking on rugged terrain, sea kayaking, hiking in birch and pine forests, rock climbing, abseiling and canyoning.  The choice is almost endless but they will all definitely work up an appetite!

Luckily, the private chef serves up a veritable feast three times each day, beginning with a plentiful buffet breakfast comprising everything from yoghurt and local berries to bacon, sausages, eggs, cereals, breads and juices.

Packed lunches are available for guests going on shore excursions, while those staying on board may enjoy the likes of locally caught fish chowder and soda bread, or freshly baked asparagus and gruyere tart.

Dinner is a hearty three-course affair which, depending on the season, may feature anything from local monkfish stuffed with anchovies, wrapped in pancetta and served with crushed new potatoes, to elk casserole with Nordic chanterelles, seasonal vegetables and creamed potatoes.   Wine and beer are all included in the cost of the holiday (a definite bonus in 'expensive Norway').

Prices for the six-night Molde to Ålesund or Ålesund to Molde itineraries cost £2700 per adult and £1900 per child for an all-inclusive package including meals, refreshments, wine and beer and airport transfers on arrival and departure days.  This is based on departures in August and September 2017 and May through to September in 2018. Flights are available to both Molde and Ålesund airports.

Alternatively, HMS Gåssten may be chartered privately by those who prefer to be masters of their own destiny and wish to have a hand in plotting the details of their holiday itinerary.  Charter prices are available on request.

For further information www.fjordadventures.co

Did you know? The opening sequence to the BBC's Wonders of the Universe is filmed solely in the Hjorundfjord.

Alaskan Dream Cruises celebrates its eighth cruise season

#expeditioncruising .

Small ship cruise line Alaskan Dream Cruises will celebrate its eighth cruise season in 2018 with the launch of the new "Alaska's Frontier & Wilderness Quest" itinerary.

The 2018 season runs May 11 through mid-September with 58 sailings on six different itineraries. Many of those cruises, including a new 10-night "Alaska's Frontier & Wilderness Quest," will sail aboard the 74-passenger Chicagof Dream, which sailed its inaugural Alaskan Dream Cruises voyage in 2016. The itinerary explores the regions of Alaska's Inside Passage, including two full days in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and a day in Skagway. Guests travel from Sitka to Juneau, spending time in small communities such as Kake, Wrangell and Petersburg. The "Alaska's Frontier & Wilderness Quest" itinerary is offered on June 3 and June 13, 2018 and starts at $6,290 per person.

Additionally, special pricing is available for those booking early or traveling solo. All 2018 sailings can be purchased at 2017 rates when booked before August 1. Multiple departures of the seven-night "Alaska's Glacier Bay & Island Adventure" Itinerary on Chicagof Dream will be discounted for solo travelers. The single supplement fee will be waived for any A or AA category cabins on May 13, 20, 27 and September 2 and 9 departures.

Alaskan Dream Cruises will also bring back its seven-night "Alaska's Islands, Whales & Glaciers," "Alaska's Glacier Bay & Island Adventure" and "True Alaskan Family" cruises; the eight-night "Alaska's Inside Passage Sojourn" itinerary and the 10-night "Alaska's Southeast Explorer" sailing.

The full 2018 cruise schedule and rates can be found online at www.AlaskanDreamCruises.com.

Explore with Ponant: where polar bears outnumber the locals

#expeditioncruising .

PONANT’s ‘Discovery of the King of the Arctic’ Spitsbergen voyage

Polar bear mother and cubs (iStock)

There is little doubt that the dream of seeing polar bears in their natural habitat is a powerful incentive to travel, however timing and location of such travel is important to maximise the opportunity of sightings.

Ponant’s12 night luxury Spitsbergen/Svalbard voyage, Discovery of the King of the Arctic, takes place in prime polar bear viewing time, July, that period when the Midnight Sun doesn’t set below the horizon, and the Arctic ice slowly melts. Then there is less ice than in winter, and the polar bears tend to be in more concentrated areas, on drifting pack ice, from which they can hunt their favourite prey, the ring seal. And be observed.

More than 3,000 polar bears live around Svalbard, outnumbering the human population, so the chances of seeing one or more polar bears is high but nature being nature such things are likely although cannot be guaranteed.

Fortunately there is plenty of other wildlife to look out for and photograph. Arctic foxes, Arctic terns, walruses, whales, puffins. Svalbard reindeer have no natural predators, so don’t be surprised to see one wandering around, unperturbed, even in colourful downtown Longyearbyen. At 78 deg north Longyearbyen is the northernmost town on Earth, and the extraordinary start and finishing point for this memorable voyage.

Less ice also makes it possible to navigate the beautiful Norwegian Svalbard archipelago: magical landscapes, a blend of ancient glaciers, jagged mountains and spectacular fjords, seen from the decks of the compact 264 guest Le Boreal or closer still during Zodiac outings, the summer sun showcasing the grand vastness of this icy realm. Exploration with the specialist team of Naturalists will enhance interaction with nature.

In Norway, conservation is an age-old tradition based on sustainable principles established long before anybody had ever heard the term - since set down in law, reflecting a long-term respect for nature and wilderness. Nearly two-thirds of the surface of Svalbard is protected consisting of several nature reserves, national parks, bird sanctuaries and a geotopical protected areas.

So too polar expedition specialist PONANT respects the environment. With over 20 years of polar experience PONANT is the world leader in polar voyage expeditions. A member of both IIATO* and AECO* its fleet of ships - the most modern in the world - are all ‘ice certified’, featuring the very latest in maritime technologies and safety. Environmental respect is at the core of PONANT philosophy, with carefully chosen itineraries, the use of coatings that minimise air and water pollution, respect for the local populations, and raising awareness among crew and passengers both on board and prior to landing.

Flexibility is key to getting the most from an adventure like this and the ship’s Captain and Naturalists will maximise the daily opportunities afloat and ashore to ensure guests have every opportunity to experience the very best of this 13 day polar voyage.

With PONANT there will be no hardship encountered being a modern polar explorer. Instead enjoy French luxury and ambiance on Le Boreal and experience the difference small ship cruising offers. Intimate cruises venturing where large ships simply cannot.

Voyage overview / pricing example

PONANT 12 night luxury Discovery of the King of the Arctic voyage, 16-28 July 2018, Longyearbyen/Longyearbyen / Le Boreal

Pricing currently from A$14,250 per person, twin share, in a Deluxe Stateroom with private balcony. Please note: all fares are yield managed and PONANT Bonus savings will decrease as space is sold.

Price includes Paris/Longyearbyen/Paris flights pre/post voyage.

Fare also includes accommodation, all meals on board, Open Bar, 24 hour room service, expedition parka, free boot hire, outings in Zodiacs with the expedition team, onboard presentations.

Voyage features

• The most complete PONANT cruise to Spitsbergen. 13 days/12 nights for a comprehensive discovery of the kingdom of the polar bear

• Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with your naturalist guides;

• Hiking opportunity

• Landscapes: ice floes, jagged mountains, icebergs, plains covered with moss and lichens, lakes and rivers

• Wildlife: polar bears, Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic terns, walruses, whales, puffins

Set sail from the cosmopolitan village of Longyearbyen, - the journey will begin with an exploration of the wild and unspoiled east coast of Spitsbergen before reaching the lush green valleys of Bellsund fjord, followed by a visit to Ny Alesund, the former mining town and the most northerly post office in the world.

Further north, the majestic Monaco glacier, an impenetrable wall with blue-tinged highlights.

This expedition voyage has been designed for those to whom the essence of travel means being rewarded with rare experiences far from mainstream tourism, sharing the day’s adventures with family, friends or like-minded travellers and the stimulation of mixing with informed, passionate speakers and knowledgeable Naturalists ….. all the while travelling in luxury.

* PONANT is a voting Member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), an organisation founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to Antarctica - www.iaato.org

As a member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), PONANT continues to demonstrate its commitment to supporting and promoting the Arctic zone and to operating cruises to the area which are respectful of the environment and native populations.


Details of all PONANT voyages including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at www.ponant.com

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or email reservations.aus@ponant.com to request more information or assistance.

Saturday 20 May 2017

New ships for Katarina Line

#expeditioncruising .

Katarina Line announced that it will be introducing new, “more luxurious and modern” vessels for 2018 as part of a fleet-wide rebranding program that raises its category of ships to six from its current four-category designations of Deluxe, A+, A and B.

Beginning with the 2018 cruise season, the new categories will be Deluxe Superior, newer and larger ships that are a minimum of 154 feet long, built or updated within the past year; Deluxe, state-of-the-art ships between 137 to 154 feet long; Premium Superior, newer category A+ ships similar to the current Deluxe ships but a bit smaller in length; Premium, the smaller of Katarina’s spacious, steel-hulled ships.

The company said it is Croatia’s premier small ship company, operating over 50 ships seasonally from Croatian ports and carrying over 26,000 passengers.

Katarina Line’s more traditional wooden ships will be classified in two additional categories: Traditional Ensuite, featuring cabins with private shower/toilets; and Traditional, a smaller line of wooden ships with shared showers and toilets. Both categories will also feature air-conditioned salon.

“The popularity of small ship cruising in the Mediterranean has increased the demand for larger, more luxurious vessels that cater to the new generation of travelers. These travelers are seeking soft adventures ‘on the high seas’ with more lavish accommodation, gourmet dining and superior, personalized service,” said Daniel Hauptfeld, marketing director for Katarina Line.

He continued: “Katarina’s new, top-of-the-line Deluxe Superior vessels is in response to this demand. They are the most spacious in our fleet, constructed with the best material that includes solid wood, glass, marble, and stainless steel, with gourmet dining, onboard entertainment, and high service standards, as well as lavishly and thoughtfully designed en suite accommodation.”

Source: Cruise Industry News

Expedition cruise company to homeport in Sydney, Canada

#expeditioncruising .

With the opening of a second berth at the port of Sydney, it will become the home port for an expedition cruise company, its managing director says.

Sydney is situated perfectly to be a gateway for the business, Andrew Prossin of One Ocean Expeditions said in an interview Friday.

Read full report at Cape Breton Post

True North Wins Best Australian Adventure Experience and Best Luxury Expedition Cruise

#expeditioncruising .

True North Adventure Cruises wins multiple categories at Luxury Travel Magazine’s annual Gold List Awards.

The Broome-based adventure cruise operator scored significant wins as Best Australian Adventure Experience and Best Luxury Expedition Cruise.

The company has now won multiple Gold List awards since 2013 including five consecutive wins as Best Australian Adventure Experience. The total number of Gold List Awards won during the same period has reached 13.

Commenting on the company’s Gold List success, brand director Peter Trembath said “The high number of wins demonstrates the outstanding levels of customer satisfaction associated with an adventure cruise on the TRUE NORTH.

“Our guests don’t just disembark happy, they get off saying that their time on board was the best holiday they have ever had!”

When asked to explain the TRUE NORTH difference Mr Trembath responded “We have always focussed on providing unparalleled access to stunning coastal environments and unequalled opportunity to truly experience the destination. An adventure cruise on the TRUE NORTH is definitely not just another expedition cruise.”

Mr Trembath added that the wins were also an acknowledgement of the outstanding service culture that exists aboard TRUE NORTH “Nothing is too hard for our crew members.”

The latest accolades come as True North Adventure Cruises prepares to celebrate 30 years of successful operations.

On May 26 more than 300 guests will attend a gala celebration at Broome’s historic outdoor picture theatre, Sun Pictures. The event will include a feature length screening of the company’s anniversary movie 30 Years of Adventure.

Thursday 18 May 2017

Antarctica aboard Silversea Silver Cloud - singles offer


Discover the heart-stopping landscape of Antarctica aboard Silver Cloud's newly transformed expedition vessel, which will depart Ushuaia, Argentina on 8th February 2018 on an unforgettable 10 day return voyage. Fares start from AUD$15,390 per person based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite, including Early Booking Bonus.  The ultra-luxury cruise line is now also offering a special 25% single supplement for solo travellers.

Silver Cloud, which is due to set sail for the first time as an expedition vessel in November 2017, will take guests on a journey from one discovery to another, passing through stunning landscapes made up of frigid waters and huge rivers of ice where guests will encounter icebergs, glaciers and wildlife, with walks and hikes ashore to see huge penguin colonies and seals.

Once on board, guests will be invited to attend a warm and inviting welcoming reception, the perfect opportunity for solo travellers to meet and socialise with other like-minded guests. For those travelling alone, Silversea's Gentlemen Hosts are available throughout the cruise, to join guests as dance partners or dinner companions. 

Setting sail from Ushuaia, the thrilling voyage will follow Drake Passage, transporting guests through an area where cold polar water and warmer equatorial water come together, attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales for guests to admire.

From here, Silver Cloud will sail into Antarctica's vast white wilderness, where a flexible itinerary will take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on weather, ice conditions and possible wildlife encounters. Possible destinations include: Brown Bluff, Tabrin Peninsula; Paulet Island; Cuverille Island, Errera Channel; Paradise Bay; Petermann Island, Wilhelm Archipelago; Port Foster, Whalers Bay and; Port Lockroy, Goudier Island, before returning back along Drake Passage to Ushuaia.

Joined on board by a team of passionate and expert professionals, guests will be able to attend wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by expert naturalists and guest lecturers to learn more about their exciting surroundings and get the most out of this truly fantastic expedition.

Silversea's fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary onboard champagne, wines and spirits; and one hour of complimentary WiFi per day for each guest and unlimited WiFi for the ship's top suites (Medallion and higher categories) and all gratuities.


Antarctica All-Inclusive Package: Now including charter flights, hotels and more + AUD $899 Economy Class Air Round Trip to Buenos Aires on Silver Explorer Expeditions, or Santiago de Chile on Silver Cloud Expeditions*

Early Booking Bonus: Save 10% if you book and pay in full by 30 June*

Alluring Single Fares: Single supplements starting at only 25%

*This voyage is subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time. Terms and conditions apply. For more information 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 www.silversea.com

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Antarctic Cruising Season set to break Records


Travellers opt for Innovative Experiences

Antarctica is hotter than ever according to the latest figures released by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) who recorded a 15% increase in visitors travelling to Antarctica with IAATO members throughout the 2016-2017 Antarctic season.

For 2017-2018, Antarctica visitation is projected to see a 5% increase to reach a peak of 46,385.

The number of Australian visitors increased by 5% compared to the previous year, ranking them third on the list of passenger nationalities, behind the US and China.

According to Polar Specialist Chimu Adventures, there are many reason for Antarctic tourism growth, the most obvious being increased air capacity and misconceptions regarding accessibility and affordability. Also contributing to the destination's growing appeal is the increased amount of unique experiences to be found on Antarctic waters.

"While Antarctica stays the indisputable bucket list icon of expedition cruising, travellers are no longer just lured by the destination's physical distinctiveness alone" said Greg Carter, co-founder of Chimu Adventures.

"While first and foremost, travellers still take a trip to Antarctica for its obvious drawcards such as its remoteness, exclusivity and spectacular wildlife, we are seeing that more and more travellers are opting for travel options that go beyond the 'ordinary' expedition cruise, looking for that additional spark of uniqueness, that wow factor that makes the trip extra unique" he added.

As Chimu Adventures are preparing for this record breaking season, the company would like to assure travellers that, as a proud member of IAATO, they work under strict guidelines to ensure tourism impact on Antarctic wildlife and the environment is minimised at all times.

"Sustainability is one of our core values here at Chimu and we believe that the world's love for this incredible place, and people's desire to see it, are some of the factors that have been keeping it so fiercely protected" added Carter.

"We want our guests to become vocal ambassadors to help us spread the word about how important this last true natural untouched wonder really is as for us, creating advocacy is the strongest and most effective way to really make a difference."

According to Carter, these are the top unique experiences for the 2017-18 Antarctic cruising season:

Cruise with a purpose
On the exclusive 11-day Frozen Frontier fundraising voyage, organised by Chimu in conjunction with their very own not-for-profit Make a Difference Project (MAD), guests travel alongside Peter FitzSimons, former Wallaby and best-selling non-fiction author of 'Mawson and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen'.

Only a few weeks ago, Chimu took award-winning Aussie TV personality Sam Johnson from Love Your Sister on board, raising funds to assist Love Your Sister's quest to kick cancer in the behind.

Chimu's Marketing Manager Meg Hall (middle) in Antarctica with Sam Johnson (right) from Love Your Sister

Ski Antarctica
On the 28-day sail and ski adventure Ski Antarctica, get onto the pristine white slopes, seek virgin terrain and climb unique peaks and go sea kayaking amongst ice and penguins.

Camp on ice
As part of the 18-day Shackleton's Antarctica, adventurers will have a chance of camping on the ice, the ultimate off the beaten track adventure for many.

Visit East Antarctica
The 26-day In the Wake of Mawson expedition, retracing the footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson, is a collaboration between Chimu and Mawson's Hut Foundation, giving guests exclusive access to the very rare tourist ships departing Hobart, Australia for East Antarctica.

Dive Antarctic waters
It may not be your obvious diving destination, but gliding through the amazing icy blue waters of the Antarctic is sure to impress with fascinating underwater encounters with Antarctic marine life. The 19-day Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula includes a diving option.

For more information visit www.chimuadventures.com      


Monday 15 May 2017

Lindblad offers flights to Falklands

#expeditioncruising .

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced two exclusive opportunities for the first time ever to fly directly one way to or from the Falklands instead of making the crossing by sea. The new flights provide guests one more day along the Antarctic Peninsula or in South Georgia.

Guests on the 18-day South Georgia and the Falklands October 23, 2017 voyage can fly one way directly from the Falklands to Santiago, Chile, converting a day at sea into an extra full day among the incredible 100,000+ penguin colonies of South Georgia. The voyage welcomes Global Perspectives Guest Speaker Greg Marshall, wildlife expert and National Geographic crittercam filmmaker. Rates begin at $15,930 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.

Those traveling on the 24-day Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland’s departure on November 6, 2017 will fly direct from Santiago to the Falklands, then embark on to the majestic wildness of South Georgia and Antarctica – allowing for an extra day in Antarctica. The expedition will also welcome two stellar global guest speakers, U.S. Arctic Research Chair Frances Ulmer and former astronaut and oceanographer, Kathy Sullivan. Rates begin at $23,790 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.

Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and combining it with South Georgia and the Falklands provides an extraordinary expedition to the greatest wildlife spectacle on the planet. On South Georgia, guests will marvel at the astonishing profusion of king penguins, fur seals, elephant seals, macaroni and gentoo penguins; in the Falklands, the remarkable wildlife includes a stunning array of albatross; and in Antarctica, guests will hike, Zodiac, cross-country ski and kayak among the majesty of the ice and wildlife. Both voyages are set aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel agent.

Aurora Expeditions Newbuild World-Class Expedition Ship

#expeditioncruising .

With 25 years’ experience in expedition cruising to Antarctica and the Arctic, Aurora Expeditions has worked closely with US-based ship builders SunStone Ships Inc. to create a custom-designed ship that remains true to the company’s ethos of pioneering adventures, intimate experiences with nature and exploring new regions.

The state-of-the-art ice class 1A ship will be built to the latest polar code specifications, offering unprecedented levels of safety and environmental protection – for operations not just in the high latitudes, but across the planet. Exclusively designed for expedition cruising, the 104-metre vessel will allow Aurora Expeditions to continue to provide the authentic, small-ship experience for which they are renowned.

“With the development of our purpose-built expedition ship, we stay true to our small-ship philosophy where the focus is on the experience and engagement with the environment while at the same time providing the most comfortable form of travel in these challenging environments. In the polar regions, we will have the ability to reduce passenger numbers so we can continue to visit existing landings sites as well as explore new areas where strict regulations enforce no more than 100 people ashore at any one time.” says Robert Halfpenny, Managing Director of Aurora Expeditions.

Aurora Expeditions’ new ship will be the first in a new series of high-performance vessels designed to make the ocean-going experience as safe and comfortable as possible in the polar regions.

“We are excited to be the first to market with this exciting new design. The vessel is the first to use the patented X-BOW technology which has the ability to pierce waves with much greater stability, making open sea journeys – like Antarctica’s notorious Drake Passage – more pleasant for passengers than what is currently available from other small ships on the market today.” Halfpenny says.

While a traditional bow vessel rises on the waves and then drops violently onto the surface of the water, an X-BOW vessel, less subject to the vertical motions induced by the waves, continues on course more smoothly, while maintaining its speed. Because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also helps to save energy versus a conventional bow designed vessel.

Aurora Expeditions’ new ship will make access to nature easier and offer passengers a more comfortable experience than ever before. It will also allow for greater adventure opportunities with a custom-designed platform to cater for additional numbers of kayakers and divers, and a mud room for easier preparation for climbers and skiers. Small inflatable Zodiac crafts will continue to carry expeditioners between ship and shore, with a dedicated sea-level Zodiac loading platform for quick and easy boarding.

In between adventures, passengers will return to the warm, friendly and inclusive onboard atmosphere for which Aurora Expeditions is well-known. Whether it’s making new friends over dinner, sharing entertaining lectures, or briefings in the lounge, the small-group experience remains the same. Add to this private bathroom facilities, cabin balconies, a 180-degree indoor observation deck, wellness facilities including gymnasium, sauna and spa, and plenty of outdoor viewing areas for additional enjoyment and comfort.

At a time when the cruising industry is focused on 6-star luxury and onboard activities to attract passengers, Aurora Expeditions remains steadfast in its belief that its destinations are best-experienced in small groups, as close as possible to the heart of nature. This means getting off the ship as often as possible with multiple daily landings and getting amongst the action; seeing up close penguin adults feeding their chicks, polar bears hunting seals on pack ice or Galapagos sea turtles diving for a meal.

The yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in time for Aurora Expeditions’ 2019/2020 Antarctic season (November to March) and will complement the company’s existing fleet of vessels and destinations. Itineraries for the new ship are expected for release later this year.


Wednesday 3 May 2017

G Adventures' Big Chill is here

#expeditioncruising .

Travellers to save up to 20% on G Expedition cruises

Breathtaking glaciers, saw-toothed mountains, colossal icebergs, polar bears in their natural habitat and fields of ice that stretch on forever - these are just a few wonders available to travellers with the launch of G Adventures Big Chill sale.

The Big Chill, the adventure company's early booking bonus, offers savings of up to 20% across select trips from the G Expedition cruises for travellers looking to secure a place on a Norway expedition in 2018, an Arctic expedition in 2018, or an Antarctic expedition in 2018/2019.

The Arctic, Antarctic and Norway rank high on the world's “Mind-Blowing Places to Explore” list, and through G Adventures' Big Chill Sale it's even easier for travellers to cross these dream destinations off their bucket list.

Norway trips, Scottish Islands & Norwegian Fjords, Cruise the Norwegian Fjords in Depth, Norwegian Fjords & Arctic Discovery, exploring areas such as the stunning and wild Scottish coastline & north eastern islands to the majestic Fjords of Norway, are reduced by 20% when booking before July 3, 2017 for travel in 2018/19.

Arctic trips, Realm of the Polar Bear, Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth and Arctic Highlights, discovering the stunning Svalbard Archipelago, are reduced by 15% when booking before July 3, 2017 for travel in 2018/19.

Selected G Adventures' Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Islands, Antarctica Classic in Depth, Spirit of Shackleton, Antarctica Classic and Quest for the Antarctic Circle trips, all of which explore the region at the bottom of the world, are reduced by 10% when booking before July 3, 2017 for travel in 2018/19.

G Adventure's polar cruising programme has proven extremely popular amongst Australian and New Zealand travellers, and continues to see compounding growth year-on-year out of these markets. Adrian Piotto, Managing Director at G Adventures Australia and New Zealand, credits this to the Aussie and Kiwi love for adventure and insatiable appetite for travelling to the unknown.

“All of our G Expedition cruises offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from the unique wildlife, to the pristine landscapes and breathtaking beauty of the soaring icebergs,” he said.

“We're excited to be offering Australian and New Zealand travellers greater opportunity to explore the stunning natural wonders of these regions. Through the G Expedition travellers not only have the benefit of seeing the unforgettable scenery in comfort on board but are also given more shore time, with G Adventures' team of expert expedition guides there to provide a greater understanding of the area.”

Travellers are advised to book early. With these prices, the Big Chill isn't expected to last long.

To receive the savings, travellers must quote 17EX020EXP01 for Norway, 17EX015EXP03 on Arctic and 17EX010EXP01 on Antarctic.

For more information please visit www.gadventures.com.au and www.facebook.com/gadventures.

Terms and conditions apply.

Monday 1 May 2017

Massive Icebergs in Newfoundland and Labrador [watch]

#expeditioncruising .

‘Iceberg chasers’ are gearing up for a momentous year with the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador predicted to see more icebergs than ever before along its famous Iceberg Alley.

The monolithic iceberg that parked itself off the coast of the tiny seaside town of Ferryland over the Easter weekend was just the beginning of what’s shaping up to be a bumper ‘berg season.

The International Ice Patrol (IPP) suggests the increase in icebergs in Newfoundland may be the result of storms earlier in the year, causing more Greenland ice to break off than normal, with strong winds drawing the icebergs south.

Fans of these colossal ice mountains flock to Newfoundland in Canada’s north-east between May and August to witness the extraordinary parade along Iceberg Alley. This year, however, the season may well be extended with at least 700 icebergs expected to make their way as far as St John’s in southern Newfoundland.

On a sunny day, these 10,000-year-old glacial giants can be viewed along the northern and eastern coasts, with colours ranging from snow-white to deep aquamarine. Read on for three ways to experience these icy beauties.

Get up close with these icy goliaths on a boat tour, or paddle along in a sea kayak. Experience the rugged beauty of the coastline as you explore sea caves, inlets, and jaw-dropping fjords.
Take a hike along 29,000 kilometres of coastline and feel a shiver up your spine as you witness a sparkling iceberg drift down Iceberg Alley against a soundtrack of boreal songbirds.
As the sun sets, head back to town and sip on Iceberg Vodka, made from the purest water on the planet. Iceberg hunters harvest the ancient ice, comprised of water frozen long before industrial pollution, creating a uniquely smooth, quintessential Canadian vodka.

Plan your adventure in Newfoundland and Labrador HERE.

How to get there

Air Canada flies daily to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane with connecting flights through to St John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador via Toronto.

Visit www.keepexploring.com.au

PONANT 2018 northern summer voyages brochure

#expeditioncruising .

45 new ports of call

The new April - November 2018 PONANT brochure, in addition to new routes to be discovered, highlights two important events: the 30th anniversary of the company which was founded in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, its current President, and the arrival of the first two yachts out of four in the series of PONANT EXPLORERS.

30 years of passion

In 2018, PONANT will celebrate its 30th anniversary. 30 years of cruises under French flag across all the world’s seas, 30 years of ports of calls in some of the least-known places on the planet, 30 years of magnificent moments for our passengers. To mark this anniversary, the company has prepared two exceptional itineraries, which recall two of the most emblematic regions of the world for PONANT, the Ponant Islands and Polynesia.

The 2018 season by PONANT:

• 67 departures including 7 tropical expeditions and 9 polar expeditions • 5 geographic zones
• 53 different itineraries
• 340 different ports of call, 45 of which are brand new
• 34 new cruises and variants
• More than half of itineraries are new cruises or variants

The inaugural season of the PONANT EXPLORERS

2018 will also see the arrival of the two first sistership yachts in the PONANT EXPLORERS series. Measuring 128 metres long and with just 92 Staterooms and Suites, all with a private balcony, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain will set sail on their maiden seasons in Northern Europe and Mediterranean, from June and September 2018.

Details of all PONANT voyages including itineraries, pricing and shore excursion highlights are available at en.ponant.com

Contact your travel agent, or PONANT on Australia: 1300 737 178 or + 612 8459 5000 / New Zealand: 0800 44 32 62, or email reservations.aus@ponant.com to request more information, a copy of the brochure or assistance.