Tuesday 30 January 2018

American Constellation is on its Way to Puget Sound for New 2018 Season

#expeditioncruising .

American Cruise Lines’ ship, American Constellation, is on its way to Puget Sound for the 2018 Pacific Northwest cruise season.

The new ship left Florida last week, after concluding a successful 2017 inaugural season on the East Coast, and is now en route to the Panama Canal, and is expected to arrive in Puget Sound in late January.

The leader in US cruising, American Cruise Lines offers three different itineraries in Puget Sound for 2018: a five-day Highlights of the Puget Sound; an eight-day Puget Sound & the San Juan Islands; and an 11-day Grand Puget Sound.

These spectacular cruises are all roundtrip from Seattle, Washington, and offer guests some of the most inspiring coastal scenery and exciting whale watching available.

American Constellation will sail the three Puget Sound itineraries March, April, May and early June 2018.

“The Pacific Northwest is one of the most majestic cruising destinations in the world and the demand for cruise travel in this the region is strong.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer so many unique itineraries and so many fabulous touring options aboard the newest ship in the region,” said Timothy Beebe, vice president of American Cruise Lines.

Pre-cruise packages are available on all cruises departing from Seattle and include premium hotel stay, city tour and transportation to the ship.

For reservations or to learn more about American Cruise Lines or the 2018 cruise season, please visit: AmericanCruiseLines.com or call 1-800-814-6880.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Ponant DISCOVER Magazine. Issue 2. [read]

#expeditioncruising .

Welcome to our second edition of DISCOVER, featuring a further selection of articles by well-respected travel writers.The positive feedback we received following the release of our first edition has inspired us to share more stories with you.

These magazine and newsprint articles reflect the writer’s personal take on how PONANT combines luxury with expedition experiences - impartial professional commentary on life onboard and ashore - experiences reflecting some of PONANT’s varied global destinations.

Happy reading,

Sarina Bratton AM
Chairman, PONANT Asia Pacific

Monday 22 January 2018

Aurora Expeditions Reveals Programme for new Expedition Ship: the Greg Mortimer

#expeditioncruising .

Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading expedition cruising company, has today launched the full program for its new world-class expedition ship, the Greg Mortimer, and its inaugural 2019/2020 polar season.

Following Greg Mortimer’s maiden sea voyage ‘Spirit of Antarctica’ in late October 2019, the ship will operate an additional 20 expeditions across the 2019/2020 season with itineraries spanning Antarctica (Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands) and the Arctic (Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, East Greenland, Jan Mayen, Iceland and Norway).

Launching with the itineraries are two exclusive deals including a free upgrade from Aurora Stateroom to Balcony Stateroom, valid on all 2019/2020 Antarctica and the Arctic voyages, or the option to save up to £4,300 per person on other selected cabin categories.

Robert Halfpenny, Managing Director of Aurora Expeditions, said of the launch, “We are delighted to launch the Greg Mortimer program and these exclusive deals – the countdown until the first voyage has well and truly begun!

For more than 25 years, we’ve been driven by the passion to explore, and we’ve always chosen the best ships to do so. The Greg Mortimer has been purpose-built for adventure and will set a new standard for expedition cruising, while continuing to provide the authentic, small group adventures that we are known for.

To be on-board the inaugural voyages and visiting the world’s most spectacular wilderness areas will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any expeditioner.”

The state-of-the-art Greg Mortimer will redefine expedition cruising as the first expedition cruise ship to feature the patented ULSTEIN X-BOW®. The new 104-metre ice class 1A expedition ship will utilise the latest advancements in naval design and technology to make exploring remote destinations even easier, and to create a more enjoyable and comfortable expedition experience for the 120 expeditioners on board.

The main advantage of the ULSTEIN X-BOW® is its ability to pierce waves with much greater stability than a traditional bow whilst maintaining speed. Because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also improves fuel efficiency and reduces air emissions.

Safety is a core principle for Aurora Expeditions and the Greg Mortimer will feature the latest ‘return-to-port’ technology, as well as virtual anchoring and dynamic positioning to ensure the protection of the Poles’ delicate sea floor.

Getting up-close to nature is at the core of the ship’s experience, and the new ship better facilities this immersive experience, through its 15 Zodiacs, sea-level activity and Zodiac launching platform, as well as 360° observation decks. Additionally, passengers will have the option to attend onboard lectures delivered by some of the world’s leading experts, enjoy a drink in the panoramic observation lounge, or unwind in the wellness centre.

The vessel was named Greg Mortimer in honour of the Australian adventurer and Aurora Expeditions co-founder.

Mortimer co-founded Aurora Expeditions in 1991 with his wife Margaret, with a shared passion for adventure, exploring wild places and sharing the experience with friends. Their aim was simple: to take small groups of travellers on voyages to regions that inspired them, thereby creating lifelong ambassadors for the preservation and protection of these sacred places.

The new ship will complement the company’s existing fleet of vessels, travelling to destinations worldwide.

Bookings go on sale from 22 January 2018.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Lindblad Expeditions Returns to Egypt in 2018

Lindblad Expeditions has announced its return to Egypt with a remarkable 13-day journey, Passage Through Egypt.  The epic adventure combines explorations of Cairo and stays at the exclusive Nile Ritz-Carlton and the historic Mena House, with a six-night cruise on the Nile aboard the elegant and intimately-sized, 42-guest Oberoi Philae.  

From a visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, to the sites along the Nile including Abu Simbel and Giza, guests will witness the astonishingly vivid momunents, art and objects the ancient Egyptians created, and learn about life in both ancient and modern Egypt.  Traveling via private aircraft for all internal flights, and accompanied by an outstanding team of Egyptologist guides versed in the fields of culture, art, history, and archaeology—many who have worked with Lindblad for years—guests will experience a journey of the highest standards.

"I am so pleased to announce the resumption of our program in 2018. I first traveled to Egypt with my father in 1961, when he was researching his first expedition there. The journey was epic, and the experience was indelible. Things are very much on the upswing,  and there is a pervasive optimism there about the future. And the resplendent antiquities remain," stated Sven Lindblad, CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.

The program has been specially crafted to showcase Egypt's many facets, and offers privileged access to some of the most remarkable sites – accompanied by a Lindblad Certified Photo Instructor, who will help guests build their skills and take your best photographers of the iconic sites. Highlights include:

·        In Cairo, see the treasures of Tutankhamon; explore Old Cairo, known for its Coptic churches; and stroll winding streets to the thousand-year-old Ben Ezra Synagogue.  Explore some of its greatest Islamic architecture and art, including the Ottoman-era Muhammad Ali Mosque, the elegant Ibn Tulun Mosque, and one of Cairo's jewels: the Gayer-Anderson Museum.

·        In Luxor, visit Karnak Temple, where for 2,000 years 30 pharaohs added their own monuments and shrines;  explore exquisite Luxor Temple, guarded by massive statues of Ramses II; explore the Valley of the Kings and see the tombs of the greatest pharaohs including Tutankhamon and Seti I (which require special permits);  and by special permit visit one of the most remarkable tombs of all: that of Nefertari, located in the Valley of the Queens.

·        Visit the Temple of Khnum at Esna, one of the last temples built during the dynastic area; sail to Edfu Temple and see one of the best-preserved monuments of the Ancient World: the temple of Horus, the falcon god; and Kom Ombo, built during the Ptolemaic era, it is unique in being dedicated to two gods—hawk-headed Haroeris and crocodile-headed Sobek.

·        In Aswan, visit the island temple of Philae, the fine Nubian Museum, and drink high tea at the legendary Old Cataract Hotel, and sail on a felucca.  In Abu Simbel, visit the two great temples built by Ramses II, disassembled and moved, block by massive block, to higher ground when the Nile was dammed at Aswan.

·        At Giza, explore Saqqara with the Step Pyramid of the pharaoh Zoser, a revolutionary design that initiated the art of pyramid-building. Then spend the afternoon exploring the Pyramids and Sphinx. Go inside the Great Pyramid, following the narrow passageway of the Grand Gallery to the burial chamber of Cheops. See the Solar Boat, built about 2500 B.C.—and ride a camel if you wish!

The Cairo sojourn will begin in the heart of the city at the Nile Ritz-Carlton, in a beautifully appointed room overlooking the Nile. After returning to Cairo from Upper Egypt, guests will stay at the historic Mena House, stunningly sited at the foot of the Giza Plateau, with rooms featuring Pyramid views from their balconies.

A Nile cruise is the centerpiece of the journey, and few if any ship can match the elegance of the Oberoi Philae. Built originally for 100 guests, she was completely remodeled to accommodate just 42, and offers the finest and most exclusive accommodations on the Nile.  Her 22 cabins, including 4 suites, are large and comfortable, and the ship's nearly floor to ceiling windows offer idyllic views of the Nile and the passing scenery.  The top deck features a swimming pool and an al fresco restaurant, with a stylish enclosed restaurant downstairs, as well. A spa and a professional wellness specialist add an extra level of amenity and comfort. The lounge is the venue for talks and recaps, and there are a number of other public spaces to relax, read, and enjoy the views.

Departures are October 28 & November 25, 2018; and January 20 & March 17, 2019. Rates begin at $8,480 per person in a category 1 cabin based on double occupancy.  Guests can also choose to enhance their experience with an optional 5-day post-voyage extension to Jordan.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions 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.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Captain Cook's Murray River Loxton Cruise 2018 Dates Announced


Captain Cook Cruises has announced the 2018 dates for its popular seven-night Loxton cruises on board small ship paddlewheeler the Murray Princess.

The Mannum to Loxton cruise will depart Mannum on Friday 23rd November at 4.30pm and disembark at Loxton on Friday 30th November at 9am. The Loxton to Mannum cruise will depart Loxton on Friday 30th November at 4.30pm and disembark at Mannum on Friday 7th December at 9am.
This historic 339km voyage between Mannum to Loxton in South Australia only operates once every year and follows in the wake of the great 19th century pioneers on a unique journey through three Locks.

"We are very excited to be operating this incredible cruise again in 2018. Both cruises are very popular with guests who want to explore Australia's outback history between Loxton and Mannum. It is also a part of Australia not many people have seen or experienced." Explains Donna Gauci, General Manager, SeaLink South Australia.

The Loxton cruises feature overnight stops at Katarapko Creek, Cobdogla, Overland Corner, Old Distillery, Morgan, Sunnydale and River View Lodge.

Days are filled with exciting onshore excursions including a visit to Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve - one of Australia's most significant archaeological sites, experience a typical Australian woolshed show and Native Wildlife Shelter at Sunnydale and at Morgan and Waikerie explore their historic townships and museums.

At Cobdogla visit the Cobdogla Irrigation & Steam Museum - home to the world's only working Humphrey Pump and at Loxton learn about the early settlers and their families via displays in over 45 recreated buildings and exhibits at 'The Village', along the banks of the mighty Murray River.

Enjoy the unique experience of cruising through Lock #1 at Blanchetown, Lock 2 at Morgan and Lock 3 at Overland Corner.

There's a food and wine trail that enables tastings at Caudo Vineyard and an Aussie-style campfire barbecue dinner to be enjoyed on the river bank. Onboard learn more about the Murray and Riverland regions and sample some of the local produce and wines with a structured tasting event held in the Sturt Dining Room.

Along with this once in a lifetime journey, there's an abundance of nocturnal wildlife including kangaroos, hairy-nosed wombats, tortoises and many other species that may be spotted on the riverbanks.

Birdwatchers can view the prolific birdlife including pelicans, wrens and swans while all guests will delight in the breathtaking river scenery as they cruise past towering limestone cliffs, through picturesque gorges, sandbars and fascinating submerged forests.

Early booking saver fares for the seven-night Loxton cruises are available from A$2057 per person twin share.

Fares include accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks, eco-excursions, onboard presentations, onboard WiFi, the Captain's Dinner and Cocktail Party, live entertainment, use of ship's facilities including sun deck, bar, two lounges, restaurant, mini gymnasium and complimentary scenic coach transfers pre-cruise from Adelaide to Loxton and post-cruise Mannum to Adelaide.

A new Mannum to Adelaide Airport coach transfer service is now operating post cruise for disembarking Murray Princess passengers flying out of Adelaide.

Private car transfers for up to four people are also available from and to Adelaide CBD to Mannum and return to Adelaide Airport for A$143 per person each way, based on two people travelling.

For further information, visit www.murrayprincess.com.au

Crystal Marks First Construction Milestone For Crystal Endeavor


Steel-cutting ceremony held at MV WERFTEN for Crystal's first Polar Class expedition yacht

Crystal marked an important construction milestone in Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises' expansion, as it cut the first piece of steel for Crystal Endeavor at MV WERFTEN Shipyard in Stralsund, Germany.

Crystal president and CEO, Tom Wolber, was joined by Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and CEO of Crystal's parent company, Genting Hong Kong (GHK); Colin Au, group president of GHK; Jarmo Laakso, CEO of MV WERFTEN; and local dignitaries Harry Glawe, Economics Minister of the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and Dr. Alexander Badrow, Lord Mayor of Stralsund at the ceremony held at the shipyard on Monday, January 15.

"Today is a special day in the development of Crystal Endeavor, which will introduce the next level of exploration for the Crystal brand," Wolber said. "We are pleased to collaborate again with the experts at MV WERFTEN as we work toward a vision for Crystal Endeavor that truly embodies the spirit of discovery of Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises."

"We look forward to this innovative expedition yacht with great anticipation in the Stralsund shipyard," Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said. "A highlight is our investment of over 20 million euro in new equipment so that the Stralsund shipyard will be able to continue to build cruise ships efficiently in the future."

"Crystal Endeavor is a truly exceptional ship. We are proud to be able to implement this project and are particularly pleased to, once again, be starting shipbuilding activities in the Stralsund shipyard, creating hundreds of new jobs," Laakso said.

Set to debut in 2020, Crystal Endeavor will be the largest and most spacious purpose-built Polar Class ship featuring Crystal's celebrated service and hospitality, all-suite, butler-serviced accommodations, and unmatched choices for bold adventure in the world's most remote destinations.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact your travel professional, or

Crystal's Sydney office on:
1300 059 260 (Local Call Australia)
0800 600 108 (Toll Free New Zealand)

or visit Crystal's website, www.crystalcruises.com

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Two Cruise for the Price of One on the Amazon

#expeditioncruising .

On Select Departures of Amazon Basin River Cruises

Booked by Jan. 31, 2018, thru AdventureSmith 

Two people for the price of one can enjoy Amazon Basin cruises on select departures if bookings are made by Jan. 31, 2018, through AdventureSmith Explorations, the small ship cruise experts.

Three deluxe riverboats engaged in this early 2018 program promotion offer luxury suite accommodation for three and 4-night cruises from now through the end of April: the 8-guest Delfin I, 28-guest Delfin II and 43-guest Delfin III. A rate for one person that allows a companion to travel for free starts as low as $2,400 for four days.

The period of this promotion is the Amazon Basin’s high water season. Itineraries in the Amazon vary based on high water and low water seasons. High water season is November to May and allows for more extensive exploration and access via water routes. These months are ideal for travelers who prefer to duck into otherwise isolated corners of the reserve aboard motorized boats and to see riparian plants, fruits and flowers. Low water season is June through October and allows for more trail walks; these months are ideal for travelers who prefer to walk through the rainforest and discover its flora and fauna. All listed activities depend on water levels, weather and season. Travelers equipped with a sense of adventure and curiosity tend to enjoy their experience in the Amazon jungle regardless of the season.

Experienced guides explain the region’s biodiversity. Voyages include visits to native villages, kayaking, swimming in waters frequented by pink river dolphins, fishing, daytime hiking, and night safaris. On board, guests can enjoy exquisite Amazonian cuisine in an authentic, intimate setting with the right amount of elegance and comfort. The ships are varied in their size, but all feature extra-large or panoramic floor-to-ceiling view windows. The 8-guest Delfin I is the most intimate and romantic, with its luxury suites all featuring their own terraces, two with private cold-water whirlpool baths.

Specific departures offering this two-for-one special are:

Delfin III (3 Night) – Jan. 27

Delfin III (4 Night) – Feb. 6
Delfin I (4 Night) – Feb. 8
Delfin I (3 Night) – Feb. 12
Delfin III (3 Night) – Feb. 17
Delfin II (3 Night) – Feb. 18
Delfin II (4 Night) – Feb. 21
Delfin I (3 Night) – Feb. 26

Delfin III (3 Night) - March 3
Delfin I (3 Night) - March 12
Delfin I (4 Night) - March 15
Delfin III (4 Night) - March 20
Delfin III (3 Night) - March 31

Delfin III (4 Night) - April 3
Delfin II (4 Night) - April 25
Delfin III (3 Night) - April 28 

For more information please visit https://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/amazon-cruises

Current specials and discount promotions for a variety of AdventureSmith Explorations sea and land programs can be found at: https://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/special-offers

For more information on all of AdventureSmith’s programs, trip availability, and reservations, please call 1-877-620-2875 toll-free or visit http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Big saving on wild Patagonia cruise and retreat package

#expeditioncruising .

Escape to the ends of the earth with last minute offer on Patagonia Stay and Cruise Package

Save $2020 per couple

Contours Travel - the longest-running Latin American tour operator in Australia – is offering a $2020 saving per couple on a new, all-inclusive package that will allow travellers to explore the spectacular wilderness at the 'end of the earth' in Patagonia by both land and sea.

The 'Discover Patagonia' tour departs on March 22, 2018, from Punta Arenas and Contours travel is offering a last-minute saving of $1010 per person until sold out. The all-inclusive, seven-night package takes guests to one of the world's last great wilderness areas and allows them to explore mountains, lakes, ice-fields, forest landscapes and beautiful vistas of the southern tip of South America.

The package includes a four-night cruise aboard the new Ventus Australis expedition ship, which was launched on January 2, 2018. Latin for 'southern winds' the 210-passenger ship will take guests along Patagonia's icy waters to snow-capped mountains, stunning glaciers and legendary Cape Horn, with a host of wildlife along the way including whales, dolphins, penguins, condors and elephant seals. Following in the footsteps of pioneers like Sir Francis Drake and Charles Darwin, Ventus Australis gives guests an unforgettable sense-of-discovery, from the comfort of a deluxe ship. The cruise is all-inclusive, with a complimentary open bar and daily excursions.

Highlights of the cruise between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia will be a visit ashore, weather permitting, to the 'end of the earth' - Cape Horn, which divides the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as a visit to the spectacular 'Glacier Alley' on the Beagle Channel.

Included in the package are three nights' stay at the Singular Patagonia Hotel, a luxurious sanctuary next to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. The former, century-old cold storage warehouse was transformed into a luxury retreat on the shores of Last Hope Sound near Puerto Natales. Featuring 57 rooms and suites, a full-service spa, a museum and two renowned restaurants, the hotel sits on six hectares of private reserve accessible only to hotel guests. The stay at the Singular Patagonia Hotel is all-inclusive with fine dining, beverages and guided excursions into the wilderness included.

Including the four-night cruise and three-nights' stay – both with meals, beverages and transfers included – the seven-night package from March 22, 2018, is priced from A$5485 per person, twin-share (a saving of $1010 per person off the original price). The saving is available until sold out

Flights to Patagonia from Australia are extra.

Call Contours Travel on 1300 135 391 or visit www.contourstravel.com.au

First Steel Cut for Lindblad's New Polar Vessel

#expeditioncruising .

Lindblad Expeditons and Ulstein Verft celebrated a milestone of the first polar new build in the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet with the steel cutting on January 5, 2018 in Ulsteinvik, Norway.  The ceremony marked the production start for the world's foremost expedition ship, which is scheduled for delivery in 2020.

The steel cutting ceremony was supervised by Janusz Stechly at DNV-GL and yard representatives Ole Osnes Gjerde and Marek Lewczuk.

The state-of-the-art polar vessel is designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on safety and comfort. A core feature is the patented X-BOW®, that provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas; and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions.  The ship's expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability underway, whether at zero speed when stopped for wildlife observation, or embarking/disembarking the ship.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Vale Kris Madden - Expedition Leader

#expeditioncruising .

Kris Madden
Kris sailing in Milford Sound 2011
Members of the expedition cruising community will be saddened to learn of the untimely death of expedition leader and committed conservationist, Kris Madden.

A gifted writer and lover of all animals, particularly her beloved whales, Kris suffered a massive heart attack on the 28th of December having just spent time with family in Melbourne over Christmas.

Kris worked aboard vessels operated by Aurora, Heritage and Polar Star Expeditions in the Antarctic offering interpretation to guests from the perspective of an approachable expert with a deep and genuine affection for her subject. She had just returned from an expedition with Heritage Expeditions through Melanesia.

All those, including this writer, who spent time in her lively company will mourn the great loss to both the travel media and expedition travel community.