Sunday 20 August 2017

Four new polar expedition cruise ships on order

#expeditioncruising .

Nordic Cruise Company is moving ahead with its plans to build a series of four expedition ultra luxury yachts, according to Ulf Henrick Wynnsdale, president and CEO.

The first ship will be delivered in May of 2020, Wynnsdale told Cruise Industry News. Three more 220-passenger vessels will follow from Spain’s MetalShips & Docks in 10-month intervals.

A significant amount of fundraising for the project is complete.

The four ships will be the first expedition ships that are LNG ready, with capacity to sail up to 36 hours on LNG while burning MGO the rest of the time. They will also be equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, said Wynnsdale.

“We are not going to be the second best. We are going to be the best. I know we have tough competition, but competition is always good,” Wynnsdale said.

Concept to Now

Since an initial ship concept was released in January, the company went back to the drawing board, adding capacity, making the ships bigger at 16,500 tons and giving them a totally new exterior look, courtesy of Hareide Design, which drew up a new vessel stance and incorporated much more glass into the ship’s design.

“The GA we have now is probably the ninth or tenth version. It’s been changing. We are not going to jump into this and develop a ship that is not top of the line,” Wynnsdale said. “In January, we introduced the concept of an ultra luxury yacht with some expedition capabilities.”

Now, the vessel is an expedition ship, while retaining the mega yacht look. A sales plan is being formulated with David Morris International and the company plans to target the high-end of the U.S. source market. Multiple focus groups have been held across the U.S.

A hotel partner that will lend its name to the operation is still in the cards, Wynnsdale said.

“I am confident that with the expedition vessels entering the market, the demand is more for luxury andexploration, and the onboard experience is going to be just as important as the destination.”

Most staterooms will offer so-called infinity-style balconies. There will also be a top-deck observation lounge and large aft marina. Absent will be helicopters and submarines.


Being the first LNG-powered expedition ship, Nordic Cruise Company is on a mission to be green, also including fuel cells and battery power.

DNV GL has signed on as the class society. Wynnsdale said battery power would supplement two main engines during peak periods of demand, so a third would not have to kick in. The vessel will have four main engines.

Wynnsdale said that after a thorough review process, the company will construct the vessels at MetalShips & Docks in Spain, which has specialized in both mega yachts and offshore vessels. The yard and the shipowner have been talking for a full year. Wynnsdale added that there was little capacity for cruise-ship building in Norway and the Chinese yards he held talks with would have had challenges delivering a luxury product.

Since announcing its intent to enter the business in January, there has also been a slight branding adjustment – as Norwegian Cruise Company has become Nordic Cruise Company. The startup is also promising to be the “Ultra Luxury Green Expedition Cruise Line.”

Expect further branding changes before sales and marketing kick into high gear, with or without the addition of a hotel partner.

“We plan to stay far away from the word cruise ship,” Wynnsdale explained. “There are so many people that have a totally wrong picture of what cruising is all about. Expedition and voyages will sound much better.”

Intrepid and Chimu in joint partnership

#expeditioncruising .

The Intrepid Group has announced a strategic partnership with Polar and Latin American specialist, Chimu Adventures.

Intrepid has taken a 50 per cent stake in the Australian-owned company to meet a growing demand for sustainable travel experiences from increasingly adventurous travellers.

The investment from the Intrepid Group will fuel further growth for both companies, enabling Chimu Adventures to quickly scale globally and the Intrepid Group’s to further expand its tailor-made product offering across the multi-brand business.

Motivated by potential growth opportunities and shared business values, together, the two companies will be one of the largest sellers of travel to Antarctica globally.

James Thornton, the Intrepid Group chief executive explains that a priority for the new joint venture partnership is to launch a range of charter cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica.

“This year we launched our first Adventure Cruise range and had a phenomenal response.

“We know there is a huge appetite for a more sustainable and experiential style of cruise so it is our intention to expand in to polar charters as part of this cooperation.”

This is the Intrepid group’s first investment since the company returned to independent ownership two years ago when the original founders of Intrepid Travel bought back the company after a shareholder split, in order to grow the market for sustainable experience-rich travel.

The Intrepid Group has seen record sales since the split from TUI, with sales up by 19 per cent across the group this year.

The deal includes a 50 per cent stake in Chimu Adventures, Get About Asia, and three sales offices in the United Kingdom, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast.

In addition, the agreement will also include 50 per cent investment in Chimu’s three South American destination management companies, which will enable both companies to expand their global network of local destination management companies.

The addition of Chimu’s $30million business will add close to ten per cent of revenue to the Intrepid Group, which is already in excess of $300 million.

The Melbourne-based Intrepid Group, which employs 1,600 staff in 27 offices, is now one of the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences.

Chimu Adventures will remain independent of the multi-brand Intrepid Group under the new agreement, with co-founders Greg Carter and Chad Carey continuing to have complete autonomy to run the company where it will be business as usual.

“I am thrilled be partnering with the fantastic team at Intrepid Group, in order to grow the business that we started 13 years ago in a London apartment with a second hand laptop to a global level.

“We share many common ideas on sustainable travel and we believe it’s a perfect fit for both businesses,” said Greg Carter, Chimu Adventures co-founder

While the partnership is motivated by the potential growth opportunities for both Intrepid and Chimu and that the companies have many similarities including a network of local destination management companies, Thornton says it was shared values and culture that sealed the deal.

Friday 18 August 2017

PONANT Latin America and Caribbean 2018-2019 cruises


PONANT announces Latin America & the Caribbean 2018 - 2019 Collection
- voyages to the lands of conquistadors, mojitos and cigars

Reflecting the growth of international interest in Latin America & the Caribbean as cruise destinations, French Luxury & Expedition cruise line PONANT has released an extensive range of voyages covering the period October 2018 - April 2019.

Monday 14 August 2017

True North listed in Chad Clark Certified 25

#expeditioncruising .

King George 010417 high res.jpg

The adventure-cruise ship TRUE NORTH has been recognized as one of the world’s top experiential travel offerings at the inaugural CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, a first-of-its-kind travel initiative that lists the world’s top 25 travel experiences.

The winners were announced at a gala interactive event at The Bellagio in Las Vegas on August 13.

Chad Clark
Chad Clark, principal and owner of Chad Clark Travel Ventures, is a travel industry expert and self-described “experience junkie” who has spent years seeking out top-of-the-line travel experiences. He aims to set the industry standard for luxury travel with the inauguration of the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25, an elite list of the world’s most prestigious, authentic and unique travel experiences.

“We are humbled and overwhelmed by the immense number of submissions we received from travel providers across the globe,” said Clark. “And, it’s an honor and a thrill to unveil the very best in luxury travel – the CHAD CLARK CERTIFIED 25. This initiative provides travel providers with an opportunity to have their premium experiences recognized and promoted in an innovative way, while simultaneously connecting travel advisors and ultimately travelers themselves, with exclusive, thoroughly vetted travel experiences that have an industry seal of approval.”


True North Adventure Cruises has won numerous awards for excellence including state and national tourism awards, export awards and numerous consumer awards.

Australia’s premier luxury adventure cruise ship, the TRUE NORTH is purpose-built to sail deep into the heart of the wilderness, visiting areas that larger ships cannot access. Guests are privy to very-high quality off-ship experiences courtesy of the ship’s biologist and a team of naturalists, a ship’s helicopter and six dedicated adventure boats.

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

Daily activities include scenic walks, fishing, snorkelling, diving, picnics, cultural events and spectacular flights in the ship’s helicopter.

Destinations include the Kimberley – a panorama of rugged landscapes, spectacular gorges and majestic waterfalls; the still-wild coast of Western Australia featuring the intriguing Abrolhos Islands, world-famous Ningaloo Reef, fishing paradise at the Montebello Islands and, the pristine Rowley Shoals; some of Indonesia’s most stunning volcanic islands including Komodo – home to the largest lizard on the planet; the breathtaking islands of the Raja Ampat; the whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay; the mighty Sepik River and the unspoiled islands of Papua New Guinea; beautiful Sydney Harbour and, a seafood safari around South Australia’s delightful Eyre Peninsula.

For more information go to

For more information on the CHAD CLARK 25 go to

Friday 11 August 2017

Codename Vega: New expedition cruise ship concept

#expeditioncruising .

It seems anyone with any ship- or boatbuilding expertise is having a go at expedition cruise ships.

This latest announcement from Sweden’s Bassoe Technology showcases at 'turn-key' concept developed in conjunction with China's Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard for a 147m, 240-passenger vessel, codename Vega.

According to the Swedes, "The vessel which features 100 spacious all balcony suites and staterooms for up to 240 passengers, is designed for worldwide operations in Polar Regions and tropical areas and complies with all requirements, environmental standards and other rules and regulations, including the new IMO POLAR Code."

Optional features include a helicopter hanger and landing pad, as well as submarine operations.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Enjoy savings on small barge cruising in France

#expeditioncruising .

Save over $5000 per person – but act quickly space is limited *
Cruise for 7-days / 6-nights through Burgundy visiting Auxerre, Chablis, Avalon and V├ęzelay and make amazing savings on the last few cabins on select dates for 2017.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

The starving polar bear: a symbol of global warming?

#expeditioncruising .

When you go on an expedition cruise, you see mother nature in all her raw beauty. This is not a zoo or a circus. With the cute and adorable animals you cannot escape the very real hardships animals face every day in the wild. Sometimes it's the result of manmade hazards, sometimes it's just nature taking its normal course.

When Kerstin Langenberger posted this photo from Svalbard a couple of years back, many doomsayers were quick to point to global warming and the shrinking ice cap causing polar bears to starve because they can't use the sea ice to hunt seals as they normally would.

‘You have to be a little bit careful about drawing conclusions immediately," said Professor Iain Stirling of the University of Alberta, "[The bear] may be starving but it may just be old.

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen took this photo (below) of a polar bear in the same region. He remarked:

"These bears were so skinny, they appeared to have died of starvation, as in the absence of sea ice, they were not able to hunt seals. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear."

Have you sailed to Svalbard? What did you see?

Last summer I traveled with a group of friends to Svalbard, Norway in search of polar bears. We went to my favorite spot where I have always been able to find bears roaming around on sea ice throughout the summer. On this occasion, however, we didn't find any sea ice and we never found any bears alive. We did find two dead bears in this location and other groups found more dead bears. These bears were so skinny, they appeared to have died of starvation, as in the absence of sea ice, they were not able to hunt seals. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear. It is now becoming much more common. Through @sea_legacy and @natgeo we will continue to shine a light on our changing planet to convince the unconvinced. Please follow me on @paulnicklen to learn more about the effects of climate change. #polarbear #nature #wildlife #arctic #seaice @thephotosociety
A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) on

A moment with Nicolas Dubreuil, Ponant's polar expedition leader

#expeditioncruising .'s editor, Roderick Eime, caught up with Ponant’s Polar Expedition Leader, Nicolas Dubreuil, on a whirlwind visit to Sydney.

“You have two lives,” Nicolas reminds me, “the second life begins when you realise you only have one.”

At that instant, I knew I was speaking with a man whose code reflected not only my own but that of thousands of expedition cruise converts.

Dubreuil is like no Parisian I’ve ever met. This wild-haired PhD in computer science threw away a perfectly good academic career to spend his time on the polar ice cap and now lives in a tiny hut in the wilderness of Greenland.

His first expedition was from Vancouver to Anchorage at the age of 17. Since then, he has been spending more than eight months each year near the poles, having travelled across by kayak, on skis, on a sleigh, on foot and under water. From Alaska to South Georgia, via Nunavut, Spitsbergen, Siberia, Iceland, the Antarctic Peninsula and Greenland, he accompanies and guides expeditions for athletes, scientists and film crews. Nicolas has been a Ponant expedition leader, guide and ethnologist for 12 years and has been sailing across the polar regions for over 20 years.

“I became tired of leading these ego-driven explorers who wanted to stand like a hero at the North Pole. ‘Here I am am all alone on the ice cap’ they would say to the camera as the film crew and I stood back making tea.

“So it was with a bit of a surprise when I joined Ponant as an expedition guide after all that 12 years ago. I was sure it was a mistake when they showed me this comfortable cabin with Tv and shower and everything. All I had for the gala dinner was my t-shirt and parka.”

As delighted as he was to be aboard Ponant, Nicolas wasn’t always a fan of tourism in places like Antarctica.

“At first I was against this kind of tourism in polar regions, but Ponant has helped change my mind. At the beginning I knew nothing of Ponant and this ‘expedition cruising’ thing. But it is clear to me now that Ponant has the [pauses] esprit, the spirit of adventure that is so important.

“Some remote places we visit have seen less people than the moon. That’s amazing. And I can bring my parents! And the luxury is in the crew and the facilities on board. You don’t have to camp in a windy tent to experience these locations.”

And you certainly don’t have to be Nicolas Dubreuil to appreciate the wonders of the Arctic and Antarctic.

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

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

Silversea Expedition cruises new leadership training academy

Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has established a new leadership training academy aimed at recruiting and developing high-quality talent from across the globe to join its expedition teams. Every Silversea expedition voyage features expedition teams, which include some of the world's most knowledgeable and experienced specialists in the areas of wildlife, biology, anthropology, geology, history, and more. These expedition experts provide activities designed to ensure an enriching experience for guests, offering lectures, workshops, Zodiac® trips and nature walks.

The multiphase recruitment and training initiative begins with remote skills development through webinar sessions focusing on various aspects of working as a Silversea Expedition guide including life at sea and guest relations. Practical experience will deal with the fundamentals of boat handling, first aid, and safety at sea courses and certification. Recruits participating in the program will be invited to train for approximately six weeks aboard the newly refurbished Silver Cloud when the ship joins the expedition fleet in mid-November 2017 for her first season in Antarctica.

Aboard Silver Cloud, core competencies will be further developed through intensive hands-on training. Attention will also be given to cross training in various academic disciplines, environmental and ecological knowledge, sustainability protocols and cultural sensitivity. In addition, further skills will be developed, including  Zodiac® handling, practical field first aid, and "how to guide" training. Trainees will be provided with the unique opportunity to learn from experienced expedition staff as well as additional educators that will be travelling on board the vessel.

After completing a tiered system of increasing responsibility, successful individuals will have the opportunity to work the balance of the Antarctic season as members of the expedition team and, ultimately, on expedition voyages to other regions of the world.

"Our new leadership training academy underscores our commitment to exploring the world with the absolute best team of hand-picked experts to guide and enlighten our guests on expeditions," said Conrad Combrink, Silversea's Vice President of Expedition planning and strategic development.

"The goal is to attract candidates who are knowledgeable and passionate, and prepare them for an exciting career working aboard an Expedition ship that will take them to amazing places where they will guide our guests in understanding the local history, culture and wildlife."

Individuals interested in the program may contact Silversea's Manager of Expedition product support, Kit van Wagner, at

Expedition cruise lines winners in luxury cruise awards

#expeditioncruising .

Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine unveils the Best-of-the-Best Luxury Cruise Awards winners

Australia’s first awards dedicated solely to luxury cruising

The Cruise Issue of Signature Luxury Travel & Style is out now, with over 50 pages dedicated to cruising, including the 2017 Best-of-the-Best Luxury Cruise Awards.

Travel’s fastest growing sector in Australia is cruising, with a growth rate of 21 per cent in the past year alone, according to the latest report from Cruise Lines International Association Australasia. Last year, one in 19 Australians – 1.28 million of us – went on an ocean cruise, the highest per-capita rate in the world. As we become more seasoned cruisers, more of us – across all age groups – are seeking the best ships and the most inspiring itineraries.

To meet demand, there are more cruise lines, more destinations and more itineraries than ever before catering for discerning travellers, from polar expeditions to Caribbean island-hopping. It’s these five-star experiences that we honour in Signature Luxury Travel & Style’s 2017 Best-of-the-Best Luxury Cruise Awards, Australia’s only accolades dedicated solely to luxury cruise offerings. These unique awards provide a definitive guide for those seeking the best cruising has to offer.

Judging these awards were 10 leading Australian and New Zealand luxury travel advisors that were highly recommended as having the best knowledge of the cruise industry and an understanding both from personal and client experiences.

We called on their expertise to vote across seven categories covering ocean, river and expedition cruising. Our judges ranked their selections for each sub-category (including cabins, service, cuisine, shore excursions, value, itineraries and embarkation process, plus expedition team for the two expedition categories), which we then converted to points to determine the overall winners.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Lindblad exhale Wellbeing partnership

#expeditioncruising .

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic today announced a wellbeing partnership with leading lifestyle brand, exhale, that will kick off with a series of three- and four-day voyages designed to deliver the joyful rigor of a Lindblad expedition with the transformative wellbeing experiences exhale is famous for.

The Base Camp Baja voyages will explore Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, among the most spectacular regions within the Sea of Cortez, aboard the 30-cabin National Geographic Sea Bird. There will be seven Base Camp Baja departures, beginning in December 2017 and extending through January 2018.

“The Sea of Cortez is among the most peaceful corners of the world. I can think of no better place to realize the mindfulness that exhale offers,” said Sven Lindblad, CEO and President, Lindblad Expeditions. “In exhale we found a partner who values the strength of guest programming, is passionate about providing a world class experience, and whose caliber of teachers aligns with our renowned expedition team. The itinerary we developed offers a mix of exploration and restorative exercise, in a setting where one might not see another human being other than their shipmates for the duration of these voyages.”

National Geographic Seabird will serve as a floating base camp with the revitalizing solitude of nature as the platform. The Sea of Cortez is famed for its pristine beauty, a wide-open region of sea, bays and beaches. Guests can customize each day of the journey as they wish: they can snorkel among sea lions and through schools of colorful reef fish, explore the coastline by kayak and stand-up paddleboard, challenge body and mind through exhale wellbeing programs, and enjoy evenings with beachside bonfires and barbecues. They can hike for miles over black lava and pink volcanic ash and spend hours photographing arroyos, cacti and birdlife alongside a Lindblad-National Geographic photography instructor.

Through the partnership with exhale, guests can indulge in healthy exhale-branded activities and wellbeing programs led by an exhale fitness teacher, spa therapist or an exhale-trained Lindblad Wellness specialist. Guests can transform through Core Fusion Barre, Bootcamp, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes as well as exhale Power Yoga classes on deck, SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) yoga, transformational mindfulness hikes, and assisted stretching. Hour-long neck and shoulder massages will be offered prior to evening cocktails, while exhale Chill Yoga classes will be offered in the evening, alongside group guided meditation.

“It is a joy to partner with a like-minded team to bring wellbeing aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird, and inspire transformation on a Lindblad “floating base camp” in the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of the Sea of Cortez,” writes Annbeth Eschbach, exhale CEO and President. “There is no better vision or perfect dream.”

Beyond the daily slate of activities, the exhale experience will be integrated throughout the journey, to include delectable and healthy food options, to spa therapies and in-room products.

Rates begin at $1,990 per person based on double occupancy in a category one cabin for the 3-night voyage, and $2,650 for the 4-night voyage – both include free bar tab.

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

About exhale

At exhale we believe that transformation begins from the inside out. Since 2003, through a balanced combination of results-oriented spa therapies (massages, facials, acupuncture, nails, waxing) and high-quality fitness classes (barre, cardio, yoga, HIIT), we’ve provided the answer to a stronger, healthier, better version of you.

Enter one of our 26 inspiring, yet relaxing boutiques and follow your breath, which both invigorates and calms, connecting mind and body — paving the way to positive change.


One Ocean Expeditions to employ HANSEATIC as RCGS Resolute from 2018

#expeditioncruising .

Just announced, One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) will take over Hapag-Lloyd's top-rated expedition ship, HANSEATIC, for polar expeditions from November 2018 after the luxury German line takes delivery of the first of their newbuild vessels.

Named after the HMS Resolute, a British Royal Navy Arctic exploration vessel, as well as the Inuit town of Resolute in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, RCGS Resolute will arrive in Canada in November 2018 for its inaugural OOE polar voyage.


.. and from November 2018, as RCGS Resolute

Built in Rauma, Finland, the same ship yard as OOE's current vessels, Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov, RCGS Resolute will offer modern stabilisation and unsurpassed ice classification (Lloyds 1AS) compliant with the new Polar Code.

OOE press release:

Canada’s very own leader in global polar exploration, One Ocean Expeditions (OOE), is proud to announce the expansion of its operations and its expedition cruise fleet with the addition of RCGS Resolute.

“We have been looking for just the right vessel to expand our shipboard operations. For the last two years we have experienced exponential growth and have seasons which have sold out across the breadth of our departures, in both Antarctica, the High Arctic and the East Coast of Canada” says Andrew Prossin, Managing Director of OOE.

Named after the HMS Resolute, a British Royal Navy Arctic exploration vessel, as well as the Inuit town of Resolute in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, RCGS Resolute will arrive in Canada in November 2018 for its inaugural OOE polar voyage. RCGS Resolute also carries the name of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), since OOE and RCGS are exclusive education, environmental science, and expedition partners in Canada’s north. This longstanding partnership works to the benefit of OOE’s guests, who have the opportunity to learn from and interact with world-renowned educators, researchers, naturalists, marine biologists, artists, historians and photographers.

Main dining room
With an unsurpassed ice classification, a proven track record for stability and safety, large indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, and exceptional manoeuvrability, RCGS Resolute is ideally equipped to guide guests through the world’s most pristine regions, further expanding OOE’s expertise in exploration and discovery. RCGS Resolute will carry a maximum of 146 passengers in unparalleled comfort, with an array of luxury amenities, educational opportunities and activities tailored to guests’ particular interests, and individual, personalised service. Full vessel specifications are attached.

The expansion of OOE’s fleet and programming will also result in an expansion of its Canadian-based operations in Squamish, British Columbia. Growing quickly, and in advance of this expansion OOE has increased its full time employees by 25% in the last number of months.

The announcement of RCGS’s arrival was made in Sydney, NS where Cape Breton-born Andrew Prossin, OOE founder and CEO, recently announced that OOE will be using the new Sydney pier to refuel and provision its ships before embarking on voyages North. “With the building of a second berth in Sydney Harbour, I see no reason why Sydney can’t be Canada’s Arctic gateway,” said Prossin, who currently spends $5-6 million per year provisioning his ships in Halifax. Prossin also noted that Sydney has historically been on the direct route north for explorers seeking to reach the North Pole, and that the telegram announcing Robert E. Peary’s successful visit to the North Pole was sent from Sydney in 1909.

As the only cruise operator to start and end voyages in Cape Breton, OOE is proud of the contributions it makes to the local economy. Prossin affirmed that with increased cruise traffic to the Arctic, the prospects for economic growth and generational job creation both in Sydney and in the Canadian Arctic present incredible opportunities for Canada.

For more information visit: