Wednesday 27 June 2018

UnCruise Announces 2019 Cruise Schedule #expeditioncruising


Longer explorations planned in Costa Rica and Panamá

New 10- and 12-night cruises in Costa Rica and Panamá highlight what's new in UnCruise Adventures' 2019 schedule of adventure cruises. Based in Seattle, Washington, the line operates eight adventure ships, plus a partner vessel in the Galápagos, carrying 22-90 guests in Alaska, coastal Washington, Columbia & Snake Rivers, Mexico's Sea of Cortés, Hawaii, Galápagos, Costa Rica and Panamá.

Small ships decked out with adventure gear take travelers deeper into the destination: kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff excursions, hiking, bushwhacking, biking, snorkeling and rafting.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Keel-laying of Greg Mortimer in Shanghai

#expeditioncruising .

Expedition Cruising sent our special correspondent to Shanghai to see this engineering marvel for himself.

By Barry Matheson

Seasickness. It’s the bain of every seafarer, but Sydney-based Aurora Expeditions believes its new expedition ship, currently under construction in China will greatly reduce seasickness.

The ship, named the Greg Mortimer, after the company’s co-founder, will have what is called an X-Bow (pron: cross bow) that is said to accept anything the sea can throw at it.

I was able to inspect this revolutionary concept at a colourful keel-laying ceremony for the vessel staged by the Chinese at a giant shipyard in Nantong on the mouth of the Yangtze River, a 2-hour drive from Shanghai.

Keel laying of Greg Mortimer in Shanghai (BM)

Designed by the Norwegian Ulstein Group, the inverted X-Bow is shaped somewhat like a submarine’s bow that keeps ships more stable in rough seas.

“Instead of the vessel rising on the waves and then dropping with tremendous force, the X-Bow slices through the waves”, says Aurora Expeditions’ General Manager, Robert Halfpenny.

“Less slamming forces means more comfort for our passengers and crew and it’ll also help to reduce seasickness”, Halfpenny said.

“Another plus is that it uses less fuel to get through the waves, helping to save energy, and there’s very little spray so the deck remains relatively dry behind it. It takes very little water on deck to start being a hazard,” he said.

Although it won’t begin its inaugural passenger voyage until October next year, Aurora Expeditions says there’s so much interest in the new ship, its first sailing is already sixty percent full.

The company is seeing a surge in bookings and it believes

“Up until now, expeditioners have had to sail in old Russian research ships that were very Spartan, but the new Greg Mortimer is state-of-the-art with ensuite bathrooms, big balconies, TV, twin and double beds and daily cabin service”, says Halfpenny.

It has just the one dining room serving delicious courses at each meal including house wines, beer and soft drinks, afternoon tea and snacks.

Observation lounge

There’s an observation lounge that offers 180-degree views so you don’t miss out on wildlife and wilderness passing by, and viewing platforms perfect for watching polar bears, whales, or the ship pushing through pack ice.

Its 15 Zodiacs will take passengers on more frequent and longer landings, and how’s this? There’s no climbing up and down gangways, boarding the Zodiacs will be at sea-level making it much easier to transfer to and from the ship.

There’ll also be a team of expedition specialists, each hand-picked for their expertise – naturalists, historians, scientists and complimentary access to a doctor and medical clinic.

“We will take small groups to the heart nature and with its modern ice-strengthened hull, the ship has the ability to explore places that larger ships can’t reach,” says Robert Halfpenny.

An 11-day Svalbard Odyssey is priced from $8,200pp in an Aurora Stateroom departing 12/6/2020. Svalbard is a Norweigan Archipleago situated midway between continental Norway and the North Pole and is considered the best entry point for an Artic safari and polar bear sightings, or a 14-day Jewels of the Arctic cruise from $10,500pp in an Aurora Stateroom departing 26/7/2020.

Contact Aurora Expeditions 1800 637 688

About Greg Mortimer

In 1988, Greg Mortimer hatched an audacious plan to sail to Antarctica and attempt Mount Minto, the highest unclimbed peak in the Admiralty Ranges. He had already become the first Australian to reach the summits of Mount Everest, K2 and Annapurna 11, without using supplementary oxygen. Returning triumphant, he and his future wife, Margaret founded Aurora Expeditions. In 1992 he went off on his first expedition cruise to Antarctica, often landing where few, if any, had been before. Limiting group numbers, expedition cruising was born and today his company is one of the world’s leading polar specialists.

The writer travelled to Shanghai as a guest of Aurora Expeditions.

Lindblad's inaugural voyages for newest ship National Geographic Venture.

#expeditioncruising .


Join Sven Lindblad On the First Voyage

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced the inaugural voyages for the newest addition to their fleet, National Geographic Venture, sister ship of National Geographic Quest. Slated for delivery in October, the 50-cabin coastal vessel is the second new build for the line, and has been designed with decades of expedition experience.

Following a series of launch celebrations in San Francisco, National Geographic Venture will depart on two new and unique inaugural itineraries that explore the Pacific coast, giving guests a privileged perspective on the region — before she begins her seasons in Baja, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

The first inaugural voyage, Coastal California By Sea, flips the California script as National Geographic Venture explores the beauty and the seldom-seen highlights of its coast and islands — joined by Sven Lindblad, CEO & Founder of Lindblad Expeditions. Departing San Francisco on December 2, 2018, the 5-night ‘left coast’ journey connects Northern and Southern CA, from the Golden Gate to Santa Catalina Island. Rates begin at $4,750 per person based on double occupancy.

The second inaugural voyage, From Southern California To Baja: Sailing The Pacific Coast will depart December 7, 2018. Guests will experience the splendid and surprising diversity of the Pacific coast as the Venture travels from Los Angeles to La Paz, Mexico on a 12-night adventure. Discover the region’s world-renowned food and wine, including a private lunch at a boutique vineyard in the Valle de Guadalupe. Snorkel in the vibrant undersea universe of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, teeming with marine life. Meet the residents of Isla Natividad, an incredibly successful coop within the Vizcaino Biosphere, and learn the inspiring story of their sustainable fishing practices. Hang out with naturalists as they scour the horizon for migrating whales and nesting birds to share with you. Rates begin at $11,400 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.

A platform for pure discovery, the new National Geographic Venture is the perfect base for exploring. The lounge is a moving window on the world outside, the bow the perfect place for photography with a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor. Zodiacs are dropped to get close to marine mammals and the shoreline, and the captain will change course to keep the ship among a pod of dolphins. Kayak past nesting birds and dramatic coasts, or just enjoy the silence and pleasure of a leisurely paddle. Snorkel with sea lions and see schools of baitfish and colorful reef fish. Take a long hike with the wellness specialist if you crave exercise, or choose a short, slower walk with time for a naturalist to share the local medicinal uses of each plant you see. Stay aboard and read, or enjoy a massage from a wellness specialist. The ship will also feature the B&H photo gear loaner program, where guests can try the latest lenses, camera bodies and binoculars aboard ship.

Agents can call the dedicated team on 1300 363 055 or order brochures at

For more information visit 

Thursday 21 June 2018

PONANT takes delivery of Le Lapérouse

#expeditioncruising .

PONANT, the global leader in luxury expeditions and the only French cruise line, is pleased to announce the arrival of its new vessel, Le Lapérouse, the first of the six EXPLORERS-class ships.

On 15 June, as per the agreed construction schedule, PONANT successfully took delivery of Le Lapérouse, the brand-new vessel and the first of the six exceptional PONANT EXPLORERS series. Construction of the other five ships is currently underway. Le Lapérouse left the shipyard in Ålesund, Norway, on 16 June. The ship will reach Reykjavik in Iceland on 19 June for the start of her maiden cruise. The inauguration will take place on 10 July in Reykjavik.

“Le Lapérouse is a wonderful achievement for the company and the result of intensive teamwork with Vard and Fincantieri. From remarkable nautical performances to technical excellence and offering an extraordinary level of comfort, everything is in place for the PONANT EXPLORERS series to be a huge success,” says Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO and Co-Founder of PONANT.

Of a smaller capacity with just 92 staterooms and suites all with a balcony or private terrace, the ship boasts an elegant design, a long sleek line, state-of-the-art technology and major innovations. Also designed to respect the environment, Le Lapérouse is the true symbol of a new generation of ships flying the French flag.

The six PONANT EXPLORERS will feature a world first: the “Blue Eye”. The innovative multi-sensorial underwater lounge will allow passengers to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the form of a cetaceous eye, looking out on to the seabed, non-intrusive underwater lighting, and hydrophones integrated into the keel that retransmits the natural symphony of the deep water, as well as Body Listening sofas, offering a unique sensorial listening experience by corporal resonance.

Aurora Expeditions announces farewell season of Polar Pioneer ahead of Greg Mortimer launch


Book now to save up to $3,000 per person on board final 2018/19 polar season

Aurora Expeditions, Australia's leading expedition cruising company, has announced the farewell season for its beloved expedition vessel the Polar Pioneer – which is set to make its final voyage in the 2018/19 Antarctic and the 2019 Arctic season.

New small ship for Svalbard

#expeditioncruising .

Polar specialist, Swoop Arctic, is delighted to announce that there will be a new, small ship available this summer for passengers wishing to take a more comfortable, intimate expedition cruise around the Svalbard Archipelago.

Originally a Norwegian weather ship, M/V Polarfront (IMO: 7608708) has been completely renovated to the highest standards, and now offers accommodation for a maximum of 12 guests in nine double cabins, all with ensuite facilities.

Considered to be one of the finest small vessels operating in the Arctic, other features of Polarfront include a spacious lounge, library, outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and gym. There is also ample deck space for wildlife viewing, together with an easily accessible crow’s nest, ideal for taking panoramic shots of the glorious surroundings. Plus, at the end of a day of sightseeing, expedition landings and scouting for wildlife, the most delicious gourmet meals, prepared by a French chef, will be served in the dining room, accompanied by a large selection of fine wines.

In addition, comfort and sophistication combine with safety, stability and maneuverability, which will enable the ship to access inlets and fjords into which larger vessels would not be able to venture.

M/V Polarfront will operate out of Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen, gateway to the Norwegian High Arctic. Travellers flock to this breathtakingly scenic location, with its towering fjords, glaciers and snow-capped mountains, in search of polar bears, walruses, Arctic foxes, puffins and whales.

The month of July, with its long days and warmer weather, is an ideal time to view the region’s plentiful wildlife.

Departure date: June 2018 (sold out) & 4-14 July 2019.

Prices from Euros 9950 per person for a 10-night cruise based on two passengers sharing a Polarfront Suite with an early booking incentive of Euros 500 per person for the first three suites booked. Accommodation and all meals on board are included, as well as non-alcoholic drinks and excursions on one of two mark V zodiac boats.

Comments Alex Mudd, General Manager, Polar Adventures, Swoop Arctic: “There is currently a limit to the choice of small vessels offering quality expedition cruising around Svalbard. The addition of the M/V Polarfront is, therefore, very welcome, particularly as it offers extremely high levels of customer service, courtesy of an experienced and knowledgeable team of Scandinavian staff and guides.”

For more information on expedition cruises to Svalbard, visit or telephone 0117 369 0296

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Five New Purpose-Built Expedition Ships For Upcoming Antarctica Cruise Seasons

#expeditioncruising .

A baby boom of new polar cruise vessels anticipates a growing interest in exploring Antarctica for many years to come. For the upcoming 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons, AdventureSmith Explorations, the world’s leading purveyor of small and expedition ship cruises, has added to its portfolio five new purpose-built vessels that will cruise Antarctica.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Kimberley cruise from Christian Fellowship Tours


Outback cruising with purpose

Towering waterfalls, rugged Outback landscapes, ancient Aboriginal art and abundant wildlife. Discover the remarkable Kimberley Coast on the Christian Fellowship Tours (CFT) cruise of the West Australia area in August.

Tour passengers will see the most recognisable natural and manmade attractions of the Kimberley Coast during 10 escorted, unforgettable days cruising between Darwin and Broome.

In the north, discover the majestic King George River with its towering 80m twin falls and the mysterious Bradshaw paintings of Bigge Island.

Explore the Mitchell plateau and cruise the Kimberley's ``big'' rivers before experiencing beautiful King Cascades, remarkable Montgomery Reef and the amazing natural phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls in the south.

With two landings most days by the unique ``Explore'' excursion vessel or inflatable zodiacs, passengers will have more opportunities to fully immerse in the spectacular setting.

Each evening, passengers will retire to comfortable accommodation with private facilities after dining together.

The tour will include a Christian tour leader throughout the entire trip, daily devotions and Sunday worship, a 10-day cruise, accommodation, most meals, airfare and transfers.

CFT managing Jason Cronshaw, who will lead the tour, said: ``Exploring the remarkable Kimberley Coast by small ship helps you grasp the majesty of the landscape and the awesomeness of our Creator's handiwork by being amongst it.

``It's such a privilege to walk across the salt flats to view the wreckage of a US Air Force DC3 which crash landed on the beach during World War II and visit secluded spots not many other people get to see.''

More than a leisure cruise, the Kimberley Coastal Cruise will be an opportunity to learn about the history, culture and landscapes of each location visited through onboard commentary, presentations and briefings.

Past travellers have come from varied backgrounds and churches, yet enjoyed the shared experience of travelling with like-minded people.

One said they appreciated the care and support they received on tour, while another enjoyed the bond they formed with fellow travellers.

``The drivers and tour leaders are always helpful especially for those who have physical or other issues or who travel alone.''

Others also commented that travelling with CFT was an excellent way for single people, especially women, to explore the world in a safe group where they could make new friends.

Travellers on the Kimberley Coastal Cruise tour will have the opportunity to worship together on board the ship on Sunday and take part in the daily devotions for which CFT has become renowned.

The Kimberley Coastal Cruise tour departs from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on August 1 and returns August 14.

Bookings and information: or 1300 635 358.

Friday 15 June 2018

Royal Caribbean buys majority stake in Silversea Cruises




Silversea leaders stay on to guide strategy; significant synergies expected

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE: RCL) and Manfredi Lefebvre D’Ovidio today announced an agreement for RCL to acquire a stake in privately-owned Silversea Cruises, bringing together two companies with bold, long-term visions for the cruise industry.

Under the agreement, Royal Caribbean will acquire a 66.7% equity stake in Silversea Cruises based on an enterprise value of approximately $2 billion. The purchase price of the equity being acquired is approximately $1 billion. RCL plans to finance the purchase through debt. In addition, Lefebvre will qualify for an estimated contingent consideration of approximately 472,000 RCL shares, payable upon achievement of certain 2019-2020 performance metrics.

“Silversea is a crown jewel, and the acknowledged leader in luxury and expedition cruising, two key markets that are poised for growth,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Uniting our two companies presents an extraordinary opportunity to expand vacation options for guests and create revenue in strategic growth areas.”

Fain added: “We are proud to welcome aboard Manfredi Lefebvre, a visionary leader whose high standards and history of innovation we deeply respect. Manfredi will remain Executive Chairman of Silversea, continuing to lead its strategy long term.”

“This partnership will bolster the growth of this exceptional brand founded by my father," said Lefebvre. “I have always been kindred spirits with Richard and we share a vision of offering excellence and leadership to our guests. This new partnership gives Silversea the opportunity to accelerate the growth of the most successful luxury and expedition cruising brand in the world.” The strategic rationale for the partnership includes:
  • Driving long-term capacity growth in the burgeoning luxury and expedition segments at a much larger scale than what Silversea would achieve independently;
  • Diversifying Royal Caribbean's portfolio and increasing its expedition offerings by adding a premiere ultra-luxury brand;
  • Leveraging the global footprint of the combined companies to generate demand and increase vacation and destination options for the guests of both companies;
  • Realizing significant synergies related to global market access, supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale.
Lefebvre said he is confident that the significant investment stake he is retaining will sizably increase its value through the growth this long-term partnership will enable.

Lefebvre and Fain also confirmed that Silversea's CEO Roberto Martinoli will continue in his role, working with the existing Silversea management team.

Silversea, with its intimate, all-suite ships, full spectrum of global cruise offerings sailing to more than 1000 global destinations, and unique luxury expedition vessels, adds a pioneering ultra-luxury brand to RCL’s industry-leading brand lineup. RCL's largest brand, Royal Caribbean International, is a contemporary brand focused on adventure-seeking families, Celebrity Cruises is a premium brand providing a modern luxury experience to discerning global travelers, and Azamara Club Cruises is a destination immersive brand offering luxury voyages to unique ports. The company also operates the regional TUI Cruises and Pullmantur brands as part of long-term joint ventures.

The closing is expected to be completed later in the year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Regarding 2018, Royal Caribbean reconfirmed its latest adjusted EPS guidance of $8.70 to $8.90 per share. This updated guidance does not include any potential impact from the transaction, although RCL does not expect the transaction to materially impact near-term adjusted earnings per share.

Operationally, the company’s forecast for the third and fourth quarters has remained unchanged, but increases in the market price of fuel and the strength of the dollar are expected to cost the company roughly 25 cents per share. Fortunately, strong close-in demand for core products and better than expected performance below the line is expected to drive improved results for the second quarter. These improved results are expected to completely offset the impact of the FX and fuel headwinds in the second half of the year, which allows the company to maintain its guidance for 2018.

Thursday 14 June 2018

SeaDream Christmas cruise


SeaDream Yacht Club has a week-long sailing in December of this year that not only embraces one of its most popular Caribbean itineraries, it also includes Christmas Day at one of the best marinas in the islands, and a same-day visit to another island that was owned by an 18th century pirate whose brother had a wooden leg – and consequently the reputed inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and its Long John Silver.

SeaDream II that has just 56 staterooms and a crew of 95 officers and crew, sails on December 20th from historic San Juan with its narrow 16th-century cobblestoned shopping streets, and has next day at St John Island that's a national park and "the most virgin of the Virgin Islands."

Another half dozen or so islands to follow include some with the finest beaches in the Caribbean and opportunities to use the yacht's watercraft, Marigot that's the region's most French in spirit with its cafés, pastry shops and luxury boutiques, and Gustavia in the French West Indies that SeaDream calls "it's most treasured destination in the Caribbean."

And on Christmas Day morning there'll be Soper's Hole on Tortola Island for an optional 4WD safari or a swim with the dolphins, Norman Island on Christmas Day afternoon with its pirates and Treasure Island connections, Christmas Day night at Jost van Dyke Island, and Boxing Day still at Jost van Dyke with the opportunity for swimming, walking and a chance to try out its famed "Painkiller" at the legendary Soggy Dollar Bar.

Plus Christmas Day dining aboard SeaDream II will be a grand slap-up affair – last year, for example, featuring turkey and all the trimmings.

This year's sailing will end back in San Juan on December 27th; price starts from US$5091pp twin-share which includes SeaDream's award-winning cuisine, drinks with meals and from the bars, power and sail water-sports, use of SeaDream's onboard golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and even crew gratuities.

To book see travel agents or visit

[] SEADREAM II's guests on this year's Christmas sailing will enjoy days ashore at balmy Caribbean islands like this.

Monday 11 June 2018

Oceanwide launches World’s First Polar Class 6 Cruise Vessel

#expeditioncruising . 

World’s first-registered Polar Class 6 cruise launched
today in Croatia (Photo credit: Oceanwide Expeditions)

The world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 cruise vessel was successfully launched today at Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia.

Brodosplit has been building the polar expedition cruise vessel M/V Hondius for Oceanwide Expeditions, and on Saturday it was launched into the sea at the shipyard in the Dalmatian city of Split.

(Photo credit: Oceanwide Expeditions)

The polar expedition cruise ship is 107.6 m long and 17.6 m wide. It has 85 high hotel standard cabins which will be able to accommodate 196 passengers and will be powered by two engines with a total output of 4200 kW. It will be able to reach speeds of 15 knots.

Planned for launch in March 2019, Hondius is the world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 cruise vessel and features the latest green technology, meaning maximum impact for the consumer and minimal impact for Antarctica and the Arctic.

How the ship will look once the fitting is complete (Polar Expeditions Inc)

“Hondius is now in her element, the sea. She was successfully launched today at Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia in presence of Oceanwide’s shareholder and owner Wijnand van Gessel, COO Mark van der Hulst and colleagues of the ship’s operations team. She will now be berthed alongside to enter the next phase, the outfitting. We are all thrilled with how she looks and can’t wait to get her out for sea trials,” Oceanwide Expeditions said.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Silversea celebrates 10 years in expedition cruising

#expeditioncruising .

On 3 June, 2018, Silversea Expeditions proudly celebrated 10 years of luxurious expedition cruising, marking the occasion with a two-day gala voyage between London and Dublin. On this momentous day, the ultra-luxury Silver Cloud departed London’s Tower Bridge amid great elation to honour Silversea Expeditions’ very first voyage, which sailed under Tower Bridge for Svalbard a decade ago to the day.

In a nod to the company's continued focus on innovation, Silver Cloud, which was the first vessel in Silversea’s fleet and was reimagined as an elegant ice-class expedition ship in late 2017, crossed paths with Silver Spirit - Silversea’s recently lengthened and renovated ship - in Greenwich, London.

UnCruise Announces 2019 Alaska Cruise Schedule


Spring cruising begins in early April

UnCruise Adventures released its schedule of Alaska cruises for 2019 and opens the Alaska cruise season earlier with its first adventure cruise departing on April 6. Seven small ships sail 142 departures on 11 itineraries with a new Alaska's Glacier Country itinerary sailing roundtrip from Juneau.

From April through September, boutique yachts and expedition ships sail adventure cruises lasting one to two weeks from homeports of Seattle, WA; Ketchikan, Juneau, Petersburg and Sitka, Alaska. Ships carry 22 to 90 guests.

In spring 2019, UnCruise will feature 24 Alaska Awakening departures in April and May and will begin spring sailings the earliest in company history. Alaska Awakening highlights the benefits of spring and encourages visiting Southeast Alaska during the driest months of the year. On every Alaska Awakening departure, an Alaska Awakening Insider theme host will share their intimate knowledge of the land with guests.