Adventure * Expedition * Small Ship * River Cruises * Luxury * Boutique


Friday, 8 March 2019

Seabourn expedition vessel revealed

#expeditioncruising .

Is this new Damen design for Seabourn? (Damen) 

Seabourn has released new details on what guests can expect from its two new luxury expedition ships. The cruise line signed a letter of intent with shipbuilders T. Mariotti and Damen in July, marking the brand’s first entry into the expedition cruise market.

The ships will represent a brand-new design, with the first slated for delivery in June 2021 and the second in May 2022. The first ship is currently planned to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021, with a full summer season in Antarctica to follow.

Each will be designed with a high level of autonomy and a global deployment capability, which Seabourn says will allow them to go farther north and south than any ship in parent company Carnival Corporation’s history, visiting both warm and cool weather destinations. As previously reported, each will be built to PC6 Polar Class standards, allowing them to operate in both summer and autumn in medium first-year ice in Antarctica and the Arctic. The ships will be propelled by Azipods complemented by three bow thrusters, allowing for greater manoeuvrability.

Other newly released design details include shell doors at the ship’s waterline, which will allow guests to move easily on and off the ship via its onboard complement of Zodiacs. Additionally, dynamic positioning systems will provide the ship increased operational flexibility when it comes to maintaining its position.

For guests, the new ships will have approximately 29,600 square feet of open deck space, complemented by high-quality optics mounted in various areas on the decks when conditions permit, to maximize opportunities to view wildlife and dramatic scenery. Also notable: the ships will carry two onboard submarines for underwater exploration, as well as a complement of kayaks and 24 Zodiacs. Shore experiences will build on the brand’s existing Antarctica and Ventures by Seabourn programs, the cruise line said.

In terms of accommodations, each ship will have 132 oceanfront veranda suites, allowing for a capacity of up to 264 guests.

The onboard crew will include a 26-person expedition team, who will regularly interact with guests. These experts are also part of the Seabourn Conversations program, providing insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places the ships will visit. The expedition team will be available to guests in both formal presentations and casual conversations.

Seabourn said it will continue to announce design and itinerary details for the new ships over the next few months. Expect more on planned itineraries and booking availability this spring.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Coral Adventurer completes successful sea trials

#expeditioncruising .

Coral Expeditions, Australia’s pioneering cruise company, has announced the successful and on-time completion of the first sea trials of its new world expedition ship Coral Adventurer. 

A team of 12 senior marine and management staff from Coral Expeditions’ Cairns headquarters joined representatives from the shipyard and various systems manufacturers to put the vessel through her paces amidst rough sea conditions. True to her design intent, she demonstrated impressive stability and sea-keeping characteristics.

The Coral Adventurer will be the fourth ship in Coral Expeditions’ fleet of Australian flagged ships, all purpose-built for expedition-style cruising.

Coral Expeditions Executive Director Paul Chacko says: “The Coral Expeditions team, led by Group GM Mark Fifield, has worked closely with the shipyard to ensure the vessel meets our requirements for extended expeditions in remote areas. We have drawn on three decades of building and operating our own ships to ensure we get it right.

“While we could have easily justified a bigger ship, we restricted her to 120 passengers, which we feel is the limit for a true expedition experience. With this successful build behind us, the company is poised to further develop its new-build program to cater for growing demand for expedition cruising.”

Following final touches, including the installation of a collection of Australian art and photographs, the Coral Adventurer will begin her sold-out maiden voyage from Singapore to Darwin on April 24th.

Also tested during the sea trials were the proprietary dual ‘Xplorer’ tenders, a trademark feature of all Coral Expedition ships. Quickly deployed via a complex hydraulic mechanism, the Xplorers can whisk all 120 passengers and the accompanying expedition team off to a remote beach or a village pier in open comfort. The high-tech Coral Adventurer also carries eight zodiacs and sufficient kayaks for guest enjoyment, ensuring that quality of expedition experience and time ashore remain the company’s unique selling point in the market.

Hurtigruten's Finnmarken to become a premium expedition ship

#expeditioncruising .

Hurtigruten reports that it is planning an extensive renovation project that will transform the MS Finnmarken into a premium expedition cruise ship. The refurb is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, after which the ship will sail itineraries along the Norwegian coastline.

The project will renovate all of the ship’s cabins and suites using natural Scandinavian materials, such as granite, oak, birch and wool. On deck eight aft, in the current gym and sauna area, Hurtigruten will add five large suites with large panoramic windows.

The revamp will also add four new restaurants, including Restaurant Aune, the cruise line’s new, Scandinavian-themed main restaurant concept for expedition cruises. Also new will be Restaurant Lindstrøm, a specialty restaurant named after the favourite chef of the Norwegian polar heroes, and Fredheim, named after a legendary 1920s hunting station in Svalbard. Finally, deck eight will receive a new outdoor grill venue.

The cruise line will add its signature Science Center, an “edutainment” area that will also serve as the onboard headquarters for the ship’s expedition team, on deck four, while a new, larger wellness area – including a lounge, treatment rooms, gym and panoramic sauna – will be added on deck seven.

The outdoor pool area will be fully refurbished, the shop expanded, and the ship's car deck will be replaced by the launching area for Hurtigruten explorer boats (ribs) and other expedition equipment.

The ship’s art collection will be preserved during the renovations, Hurtigruten said.

Read more at Sea Trade

Monday, 4 March 2019

Christmas in July Magic on the Murray Princess

Experience the magic of a winter Christmas and soak up the splendour of the Mighty Murray on Captain Cook Cruises three, four and seven-night Christmas in July cruises on-board paddlewheeler, PS Murray Princess. Book more than thirty days in advance and save up to 15% on Christmas Cruise fares.

New Small-Ship Cruises to Rarely-Visited Russian Arctic

#expeditioncruising .

Two new trips to the Russian Arctic from specialist cruise operator, Swoop-Arctic (tel: 0117 369 0296), are helping to open up this rugged, isolated region to travellers wishing to experience its pristine landscapes and teeming wildlife in comfort.

Both the 22-day Russian High Arctic Island Explorer (22nd July 2020; prices from £12,183pp triple share) and the 26-day Russia’s Northern Shores expedition (22nd August 2020, from £22,860pp based on two sharing an Adventurer Suite) feature Novaya Zemlya, the rarely-visited and largest Eurasian Arctic archipelago, with its massive extinct volcanoes, jagged ice cliffs and imposing glaciers.

Due to extreme weather conditions, the window for travel is restricted to July, August and September, so very few people get the chance to experience the rocky coastlines, epic bird cliffs, remote islands and flourishing wildlife in the region, and booking in advance is essential.

Ships travelling to the Russian Arctic and Russian Far East are built to withstand the thick ice floes they will encounter. While previously this has been at the expense of comfort on board, now a new breed of vessel combining strength with luxury is helping to expand the cruise options available and opening up the area to a different sector of the travel market.

Alex Mudd, Commercial Director at Swoop-Arctic, comments: “Previously, the Russian Arctic as a destination has been overshadowed by Svalbard and the Canadian Arctic. However, the current growth in expedition options, with new ships combining comfort and small numbers, is resulting in it becoming more accessible. We anticipate that these astounding expeditions will be of particular interest to pioneering travellers looking for something new and unique to explore.”

Russia’s Northern Shores (Nome to Tromso) - On board the all-suite Silver Explorer, passengers travel in the footsteps of historic explorers, Nansen and Amundsen, on board the most luxurious vessel to navigate Russian Arctic waters, complete with butler service, free-flowing champagne and outstanding cuisine, courtesy of Relais & Chateaux.

Wildlife viewing opportunities abound during this expedition, with the chance to see a plethora of birdlife on Kolyuchin Island – pelagic cormorants, thick-billed murres, kittiwakes, horned and tufted puffins to name a few; walrus, musk ox and polar bears may be sighted on Wrangel Island, while grey, bowhead and beluga whales swim in the surrounding waters.

With 25 planned landings – weather and conditions permitting – passengers can expect to visit former Soviet military ports, meteorological stations, welcoming indigenous Chukchi and Inuit communities, pristine tundra landscapes, stunning fjords and glacial archipelagos, conservation areas and wildlife hotspots.

Russian High Arctic Island Explorer (Helsinki to Helsinki) – The four-star Sea Adventurer is a spacious high ice class (1A) ship offering comfortable accommodation for up to 134 passengers. Its superior stability and vast outside decks for wildlife viewing make it ideal for travel in to the Russian High Arctic.

A highlight of this expedition cruise, which begins and ends in Helsinki and includes return private charter flights to Murmansk, is Novaya Zemlya or New Land, the third largest wilderness area in Europe.

Comprising two main islands separated by the Matochkin Strait, it offers pure, Arctic beauty at its very best. The archipelago is set between the Kara Sea and the Barents Sea and was once an important military site during the Cold War years, as well as a historic hunting ground, dating back to the 11th century.

Today, fascinating flora and fauna, including rich bird life, lemmings, ptarmigan, Arctic foxes, seals, walrus, and polar bears may all be spotted here.

Swoop Arctic’s cruises include full-board accommodation during the voyage, all on shore and zodiac excursions, educational lectures by expert polar guides and a complimentary parka.

For further information on expedition cruising in the Russian Arctic visit:

For enquiries please call: 0117 369 0696.

Friday, 1 March 2019

New boutique vessel for Alaska

#expeditioncruising .

Small ship operator, Alaskan Dream Cruises, has added a new vessel, Kruzof Explorer, to its fleet.

Named after the 18th Century Russian Admiral Kruse, the former Bering Sea crab boat is one of the toughest constructed vessels in this class and provides the niche operator with a useful addition to its fleet of five other vessels ranging from 10 to 74 passengers.

Alaskan Dream Cruises, was established in 1970 when Bob and Betty Allen, and their five children, restored a ruined boat that became the St. Michael- the first in a long line of Allen Marine tour vessels named after saints of the family’s Russian Orthodox faith.

The 39m, 12-passenger vessel carries a high-speed Zodiac, kayaks, and paddleboards and will operate such itineraries as the 9-night Remote Wilderness Expedition.


Peregrine Adventures new expeditions to Antarctica

#expeditioncruising .

  • Peregrine will double carbon offsets on all of it Antarctica expeditions
  • Lowest lead in prices starting at $7090, making Antarctica accessible for all
  • Wellness comes to the fore with frozen yoga that turns Bikram on its head

Peregrine Adventures today launched new expeditions to Antarctica that will benefit both travellers and the environment.

Peregrine Adventures’ Antarctica Expeditions aboard the Ocean Endeavour will continue the company’s focus on sustainable and experiential style of cruising.

Lindblad signs off on second newbuild polar expedition ship

#expeditioncruising .

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LIND; “Lindblad,” the “Company”), a global leader of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Ulstein to build a new polar vessel, expanding the line’s National Geographic polar fleet to four ships.

This state-of-the-art vessel will be the next phase of Lindblad’s fleet expansion following the launches of new builds National Geographic Questin July 2017, National Geographic Venture in December 2018 and the scheduled delivery of National Geographic Endurance in Q1 2020.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Digital learning on Hapag-Lloyd expeditions

#expeditioncruising .

Exclusive to three new expedition class ships: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises introduces an innovative tool for digital learning

· Study wall: 6 × 1.8 m (19.6 × 5.9 ft) touchscreen wall
· More than 250 articles on a range of disciplines
· The Ocean Academy: Study Seats and the interactive Study Poster aid innovative learning

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is introducing a new, user-friendly concept for digital learning never seen before on board an expedition ship – the study wall, which will be found on board the new HANSEATIC nature, HANSEATIC inspiration, and HANSEATIC spirit expedition ships. With innovative touch technology and an attractive design, the 6 × 1.8 m (19.6 × 5.9 ft) screen allows guests to research complex topics and background information about their cruise destinations. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been developing this concept for around two and a half years, in partnership with the Hamburg-based companies mgp ErlebnisRaumDesign GmbH and Intermediate Engineering GmbH.

Galapagos flights included with Lindblad

#expeditioncruising .

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has made it easier than ever for travellers to visit the stunning natural oasis that is the Galápagos with the launch of an incredible fly free offer available until the 30th of June on select 2019 departures.

Free return economy airfares are included when travellers book select Galápagos itineraries aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II and National Geographic Islander with Lindblad Expeditions. Trips start from $9,120* per person, twin share for 10 days. This offer is only valid on select departure dates between the 6th of July and 9th of November 2019; available departures dates can be found online.

Every expedition sails with a veteran expedition leader, a team of expert naturalists, an undersea specialist, wellness specialist, and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor. Together, they provide guests with a greater understanding and appreciation for this exceptional place.

Guests will explore various islands in the Galápagos archipelago, renowned for their abundant wildlife with no fear of humans. Activities include snorkelling with sea turtles, penguins, and sea lions; and kayaking, paddle boarding and Zodiac cruises. Hike an enchanted terrain of lush green highlands to stark volcanic landscapes; pristine beaches to mangrove thickets; from arid terrain to black lava beaches adorned with emerald seagrasses.

Choosing to voyage the Galápagos with Lindblad Expeditions provides guests with an in-depth connection to the place unrivalled in the industry - its wildlife, its human population, its conservation - thanks to their 50+ years of experience and heritage in the region.

*Conditions apply & subject to availability.

For more information visit Adventure World Travel at or call 1300 363 055

Ponant flight credit for South America

#expeditioncruising .

Central America 2019 - 2020 special offer: $1,300 flight credit per person

A vibrant bridge between North and South America, Central America is significant for its vastly different cultures, wildlife and landscapes, its many unique locations recognised with UNESCO World Heritage status.

To visit Central America is to comprehend the mysteries of the Mayans, to explore wild coastlines and experience pristine natural parks, to trace the line of history by wandering through cities built by Spanish explorers, and discover the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal.

As if these are not a compelling enough reasons to visit, PONANT is offering a $1,300pp credit towards the cost of flights when the cruise is booked before 31 March 2019.

Monday, 18 February 2019

True North Adventure Cruises introduces all-new Kimberley itinerary in 32nd season

#expeditioncruising .

Pioneer adventure cruise operator, True North Adventure Cruises, prepares for its 32nd season in the Kimberley region of Australia's North West

The Kimberley Coast is renowned for its wilderness qualities, stunning scenery, vibrant indigenous culture and some of the best fishing action anywhere.

The company first offered adventure cruises along the Kimberley coast in 1987 and has since won numerous awards and accolades.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Shipyard issues continue to plague Scenic, but there is good news

#expeditioncruising .

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has announced that the first sailing date for Scenic Eclipse, the World’s First Discovery Yacht™, is being amended to 15 August 2019.

“We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience these delays to the launch of Scenic Eclipse have caused our guests. As a company, we have done everything possible to complete the ship within the time limits that were set previously, but a series of events that are outside our control have put us in a position where we must delay,” stated a company spokesperson.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Expeditions to South Georgia with One Ocean

#expeditioncruising .

One Ocean Expeditions (OOE), a world leader in expedition cruising, continues to evolve the exploration, study and education of the polar regions, including the sub-Antarctic region of South Georgia. A destination that profoundly touches travellers, it is known as the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ and the greatest show on earth because of its sheer beauty and staggering abundance of wildlife.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Pandaw adds ship to India

#expeditioncruising .

With the safe arrival of the KATHA PANDAW in Kolkata last week by tug tow from Burma, Pandaw are delighted to announce a third vessel will go out to India this month – being the eighteen cabin KINDAT PANDAW, that will join her identical sister the KALAW also sailing out this month.

As many departures have sold out now, on both the seven-night Lower Ganges, from Kolkata to Farakka, plied by the KALAW, and the fourteen night ‘Upper Ganges’ from Kolkata to Varanasi, on the KATHA, the KINDAT will be used to provide additional departures on either.

The KINDAT, like her sister ships, belong to Pandaw’s unique ultra-shallow draft K-class. These were pioneered by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in the 1880s as the shallowest draft vessels of such a size on the planet, which they remain so today. This means that year-round they can sail all the way up to Varanasi and beyond. Being only twin-decked, they can also get under low bridges!

In 2020 Pandaw will expand operations to include the mighty Brahmaputra River and again with such shallow draft vessels can go far further than any other vessels operating on the river. The company plans to offer river expeditions as far up stream as Dibrugarh.

Pandaw founder Paul Strachan comments, “India is the jewel in the crown for river cruising, there are no other rivers in the world where there is such a magnificent combination of cultural treasures and majestic beauty; there is no other country where river cruising offers the ultimate travel solution to see all in tranquility and comfort”.

Monday, 4 February 2019

CruiseAlong Black Sea and Aegean odyssey aboard Ponant

#expeditioncruising .

The modern way to discover the ancient world

Nessebar, Bulgaria

For inquisitive souls interested in the history of civilisations reflective of diverse cultures both ancient and modern, stunning landscapes, iconic architecture, music and art styles, all intertwined with exotic tastes and sounds reflective of the crossroads of Europe and Asia, this 20 night CruiseAlong itinerary departing Istanbul to explore the Black Sea and Aegean islands en-route to Athens, will prove irresistible.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Silversea Expeditions World Tours

#expeditioncruising .

Exclusive pre-sale for two World Cruises in 2021 now open to current and future world-cruising guests

Silversea Cruises continues to push boundaries with the announcement of two pioneering World Cruises in 2021, including the world’s first ever Expedition World Cruise. Offering distinct sets of experiences and differing ways to discover our planet, the two World Cruises will enable Silversea’s guests to travel deeper into the world’s authentic beauty on their own terms, as they cruise in superlative comfort. Both world cruises will feature a range of ports in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Captain Cook Cruises' 2019 Dates for Upper Murraylands Cruise

#expeditioncruising .

Captain Cook Cruises has released the 2019 departure dates for their much loved seven-night Upper Murraylands Cruise, onboard Paddlewheeler, PS Murray Princess.

Departing once a month, this exciting cruise offers a fascinating itinerary, exploring the northern area of the Murray River from Mannum to Morgan, before returning to Mannum.

2019 Upper Murraylands cruise departures include, 15 February, 15 March, 10 May, 7 June, 16 August, 13 September, 11 October, 15 November and 20 December. 2020 departures include 14 February and 15 March.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Silversea's remarkable voyages from Antarctica to Kimberley Coast

#expeditioncruising .

In its 10th year of expedition cruising, industry-leading Silversea Cruises is continuing to unlock a broad range of deep travel experiences for guests. From the cool conditions of Antarctica to the warm climates of Australia and beyond, Silversea’s guests will explore over 900 destinations in 2019—more than any other cruise line. Standout experiences include a recent trip to the isolated waters of the 66th parallel south and a number of upcoming voyages in the spectacular Kimberley region. Until 28 February, Silversea is offering guests an additional saving of AUD$350 per person, based on double occupancy, on select Kimberley voyages. Single supplements from only 125% are also available on select voyages.

Small Ship Cruise Specialist Shares Insider’s Knowledge Of Alaska

#expeditioncruising .

The small ship cruise expert, AdventureSmithExplorations, boasts a knowledge base second to none when it comes to discovering the real Alaska, both by land and by sea.

Todd Smith, Adventure Smith Explorations’ visionary founder and president, in his early life was a guide in Alaska. Seeing a void in what was being offered to cruise guests, he worked with operators to add more and better off-ship activities to best capture the real essence of the Alaskan experience. In doing so, he helped to pioneer “adventure cruising” in the region. Today he works closely with his team of specialists on how best to avoid over-touristed places and routes in order, as he says, “to experience Alaska right.”

Thursday, 17 January 2019

From on board True North. Great Whites in the Bight

#expeditioncruising .

Itinerary: Southern Safari
Location: Neptune Islands, SA

Our Great White Shark was a little late to the party, but here he is. (RE)

Ever since the 1975 thriller JAWS burst onto the cinema screens, the world has been terrified of sharks, the Great White Shark (GWS) in particular. It's true, the GWS is the only shark species that targets mammals, feasting on pinnipeds wherever they can be found – and very occasionally mistaking us for the flippered variety.

Here aboard True North we're sailing through the nutrient-rich waters of South Australia's Eyre Peninsula, perhaps the most populous location in the world for these monstrous beasts. It was here, just outside Port Lincoln, where the famous cage scenes from JAWS were filmed – with a live shark.

In recent years, Australia has been in a minor media frenzy with a blip in shark attack numbers and numerous theories are being put forward. But from a public perspective, the biggest fear we have stems from our ignorance of these animals who are, for all intents and purposes, just going about their business.

Alf Dean World Record 1200kg Great White caught at Ceduna in 1959. The bait? A dolphin.

In the early and mid-20th century, fishermen would revel in the chase, eagerly displaying their trophies including the largest fish ever caught on a hook and line, Alf Dean's 1200kg Great White landed right here at Ceduna. Great Whites over 6 metres and 2000kg have also been recorded, caught using harpoons and barrels. GWSs have been a protected species in our waters, along with all sharks, since 1990.

For more than ten years, shark cage diving has been available in Port Lincoln with two or three operators including Rodney Fox and Calypso Star, with True North using the latter since Southern Safari was first offered. As this is my second Southern Safari, so it is my second dive with Calypso Star.

Get a bite of this!

Now, as you can imagine, there has been some debate about the merits of shark cage diving especially when it comes to attracting the animals with fish guts. Rules have tightened, so it is now no longer permitted to feed the sharks, just lure them.

Our day started slowly with lots of schooling trevally hoovering up the tuna scraps while the water rinsed thick with blood. It wasn't until a couple of hours had passed until our only circumspect candidate arrived, a modest 3-4 metre specimen (pic above). No thrashing or breaches, our shark merely cruised among the frenzied fish for perhaps an hour, then decided there was nothing to eat and wandered off toward the nearby seal colony. A sighting nonetheless. Tick.

Even though there was no comparison to my first wild encounter where three sharks fought tooth-and-nail for the bait, True North guests certainly had an up-close experience with the ocean's apex predator and hopefully found a new respect for these perfect animals, the product of millions of years of evolution.

More information on True North Adventure Cruises:

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

From on board True North: Peaking Pearson

#expeditioncruising .

Itinerary: Southern Safari
Location: Pearson Island, SA

Australia has more than 8000 islands within our maritime borders and there aren't too many uninhabited in that total. Pearson Island is the second largest within the Investigator Group at 213 hectares and the the group's highest point at 231m.

Named in 1802 by, you guessed it, Matthew Flinders who did not state the source but Flinders typically named his discoveries after benefactors or crew.

Today a group of us will summit the imposing granite outcrop on this human-free island, inhabited only by the cutest rock wallabies, some tiny dragon lizards, a few bird species and a scattering of pinnipeds.

Australian fur seal greets us (RE)

We are accompanied by Pat Walsh, a ranger with SA Parks who gives us the lowdown on this isolated archipelago.

“There has never been any human habitation here on Pearson,” he tells us, “but sheep were run here for a short time in the 1840s.”

The islands have enjoyed progressive levels of protection since 1916 and now include the waters as a marine reserve, an announcement that did not please recreational fishers who enjoy the rich bounty. More recently the Pearson Isles have been back in the news following Sea Shepherd's Operation Jeedara in response to BP's plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.

As our tenders put the landing party ashore, we receive curious stares from several fur seals cavorting in the shallows. Great expanses of golden granite extend all the way from the summit to the shore with large sandy patches sustaining sheoak, tea tree, ruby saltbush and rock fern. Pat was particularly chuffed to find a big West Coast Mintbush (Prostanthera calycina) which he tells us has all but vanished from the mainland because “pretty much everything likes to eat it”.

The delightful Pearson Island Wallaby, a relative of the mainland Black-Footed Wallaby (RE)

As I remembered from my only other visit here 10 years ago, a family of little rock wallabies live among the boulders, peering out occasionally as the clumsy bipeds shuffle around shore.

We set off uphill in a steady climb to the summit, calves burning as we pick our way through the low scrub which gives way to spindly shrubs and finally bald granite at the top where a stiff breeze keeps us in check. No parkour for me. The prospect of a heavy fall through the ample gaps bearing on my mind. Obligatory snapshots completed we head back down where True North sits like a child's tiny bathtime toy out in the bay.

Back aboard, chefs Luke and Gav have a healthy feast of abalone, fresh caught whiting and colourful salad waiting for us.


From on board True North: Pinnipeds on Parade

#expeditioncruising .

Itinerary: Southern Safari
Location: Thistle Island, SA (near Port Lincoln)

Cruise attendant, Jaimee, cavorts with a local at Hopkins Island (supplied)

The Australian Sea Lion is certainly one of the darling species in the South Australian wildlife catalogue. Best known for their favourite beach at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island (KI), these delightful critters are distributed all along the southern and western coastline between KI and as far west as the Abrolhos Islands. But all is not well in the pinniped* world.

As we swim among them here at remote Hopkins Island a few clicks offshore from Port Lincoln, the young animals taunt and tease us with playful antics, posing for our cameras and nibbling curiously on our fins. It's an idyllic life out here for them. Or so it seems.

Australian Sea Lions
Australian Sea Lions haul out on Hopkins Island (RE)
Australian Sea Lions have enjoyed protection for almost 100 years since the hunting of all pinnipeds ceased in the mid-1920s. While their boisterous cousins, the fur seals, have recovered substantially in that time, the story has not been the same for the sea lions.

Fur seals and sea lions were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 19th century.
Sea Lions fared particularly badly as their populations are slow to recover.

“Sea Lions have a peculiar site fidelity called philopatry,” Natalie Hill, our resident naturalist aboard True North tells me, “which means once a colony disappears, it's gone for good. With no females left to pass on the the hunting and breeding history to their offspring, the colony will never reestablish. Fur seals, on the other hand, can recolonise pretty much at will.”

As a result of the unregulated hunting throughout the 19th century, the sea lion has vanished from all sites in Victoria and Bass Strait and populations elsewhere have been painfully slow to recover, so much so that perhaps fewer than 12,000 individuals remain.

Young Australian Sea Lion comes to check me out (RE)

“Sea lions are listed by the IUCN as EN (endangered) and the slow breeding animals are particularly vulnerable to habitat disturbance and are unfortunately still found in bycatch, “says Natalie. “but methods are now in place to hopefully reduce this with the introduction of Seal Exclusion Devices (SEDs) in trawler nets.”

A Seal Exclusion Device is designed to allow seals to escape trawler nets.

They are also on the menu for the only mammal-eating shark, the fearsome Great White.

Swimming with these fun-loving mammals is certainly one way to draw attention to their plight and commercial swims are available out of Port Lincoln and Baird Bay for regular tourists.

True North continues its voyage through South Australian waters before concluding in Ceduna.


* pinnipeds are all Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses

Aurora Expeditions launches new global voyages

#expeditioncruising .

venturing to new wild & remote destinations along with early bird offer

Book now to save up to 25% on all trips

Aurora Expeditions, a world leader in expedition cruising and Australia’s only home-grown polar exploration specialist, has launched its 2020/21 program aboard the Greg Mortimer, one of the most advanced expedition ships in the world. The new program includes a diverse mix of new and exciting itineraries and destinations, including Antarctica and the Arctic, Iceland, West Greenland and Costa Rica – showcasing why Aurora was recently awarded “Best Itineraries” in 2018 by Cruise Critic.

Aurora Expedition’s managing director, Robert Halfpenny, said customers have overwhelmingly responded to Aurora’s expert-led and adventure-packed itineraries this past year, and will be thrilled with the new 20/21 program being released today.

“We’re thrilled to launch our new program which embodies our 27-year long legacy of offering small group expeditions that allow passengers to experience and access these otherwise extremely difficult to reach destinations,” said Mr Halfpenny.

“Our range of polar voyages remains core to the program but there are a mix of new itineraries to destinations such as Iceland and West Greenland, which will offer our customers breathtaking wildlife experiences in parts of the world few others have seen.

“We’ll continue to offer a broad range of adventure activities on all of our voyages, from sea kayaking to rock climbing and polar diving1, so our guests can customise their trips and get the most out of their time on board.”

Launching with the new 2020/21 program is an exclusive early bird deal offering a saving of up to 25 per cent on new voyages booked and deposited by 31 March, 2019, or until sold out *.

Some of the main highlights of the new Aurora Expeditions 20/21 program include:

NEW Solar Eclipse in Antarctica – 22 days

According to NASA, the best spot to witness the total solar eclipse in December 2019 is well into the Weddell Sea, exactly where the Greg Mortimer plans to be! This once-in-a-lifetime voyage will visit the incredible white continent and the beautiful island of South Georgia.

Franz Josef Land Explorer – 16 days

Expeditioners will experience a rare chance to explore the frozen landscape of Franz Josef Land on this voyage, crossing the Barents Sea to a world few have seen. Passengers will enter the Russian Arctic National Park for an immersive wildlife viewing spectacle that includes polar bears, whales, walrus, and seals.

NEW Costa Rica & the Panama Canal – 12 days

This voyage is an all-star event; with special guests including Aurora Expeditions co-founder and well-known explorer, Greg Mortimer, along with renowned photographer, Richard I’Anson, as the onboard wildlife photography expert. Expeditioners will explore some of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world and finish the trip with a guaranteed daylight crossing of the famous Panama Canal.

NEW Antarctica Complete – 23 days

The ultimate Antarctic experience, this epic journey will take passengers south of the Antarctic Circle, where few travellers have been. There will be countless excursions onto the Antarctic continent for unforgettable vistas and this trip will also explore the incredible island of South Georgia, for amazing sightings of penguin colonies and curious seals.

NEW Iceland Circumnavigation – 11 days

Explore the flora and fauna of this unique environment. Expeditioners have the chance to spot breaching whales in Husavik, and explore some of the most remote fjords and bays in Westfjords before visiting Vatnajökull National Park to witness glacial lagoons, black sand beaches, and Europe’s largest glacier.

NEW West Greenland Explorer ­– 11 days

Boasting the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, West Greenland offers an adventure-filled voyage to experience gleaming ice-filled fjords and unbeatable photographic opportunities.

The full 2020/21 program is available on our website:

For more information:

Call us on 1800 637 688 (Freecall AUS only) or + 61 2 9252 1033

Or email

Captain Cook Cruises Easter Getaway on the Murray

#expeditioncruising .

Make the most of the Easter long weekend and enjoy Easter celebrations with family or friends, while discovering the history and beauty of the magnificent Murray River, on a three-night Captain Cook Cruises Easter Cruise, departing Friday 19 April 2019.

Cruise the mighty Murray between Walker Flat and Murray Bridge onboard the largest inland paddle wheeler in the Southern Hemisphere, the PS Murray Princess. Accommodating 130 guests, the Murray Princess oozes with the authentic charm of yesteryear yet is equipped with every modern convenience.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

One Ocean Expeditions new itineraries for 2019

#expeditioncruising .
One Ocean voyages

After welcoming the new year, One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) is looking toward an exciting 2019 with the launch of new innovative itineraries, continuing the thread of their core pillars of exploration, and enhancing science and educational programming with an array of special guests and experiences.

New Whale Watching Voyage from Lindblad Expeditions

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Lindblad Expeditions Whale Watching Voyage

If you like spontaneity and have flexibility, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has just added three upcoming expeditions that could be the whale watching experience of your lifetime. Inside Magdalena Bay: Where the Whales Are is a special five-night voyage that’s unique, fun, wild, action-packed, close to home, and filled with extraordinary gray whale encounters.

This is no ordinary whale-watching experience. Magdalena Bay is where gray whale mothers, calves and juveniles end the longest mammal migration on earth. It has been part of Lindblad’s itineraries in Baja California for over 30 years, but this is the first time they are focusing an entire voyage on this splendid bay and its environs.

Guests will be literally living among the whales on the 31-cabin National Geographic Sea Bird, which will serve as the floating base camp for the adventure. See and hear them around the ship, and venture out in Zodiacs for exhilarating up-close encounters with curious calves and gentle mothers. You will be immersed in the rich marine life as the ship explores two distinct areas where whales congregate.

Beyond the whales, there is so much more. Explore the mangroves by kayak. Mountain bike over Sahara-like stretches of dunes (there is a fleet of bikes aboard). Beach comb endless beaches studded with sand dollars. Revel in the vastness and serenity as you view the many species of birds in this world-renowned region. Explore mangroves by kayak or paddle board. And explore it all with a team of expert naturalists and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor.

This compact 6 days/5 night voyage includes three departures: March 13, 19, 24, 2019. Rates begin at $3,290 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin. Plus, book now and receive complimentary round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Loreto.

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), contact your travel advisor, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Kids Free in Alaska with Lindblad

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*Bring a Child or Grandchild to Alaska for 50% Off, and Second Child for FREE*

Family Travel in Alaska

Following the recent launch of the line’s newest addition to their fleet, National Geographic Venture, Lindblad Expeditions has announced a special family offer for select Alaska voyages in 2019. Sister ship to National Geographic Quest - the line’s first ever new build which launched last summer, the new Venture brings the Lindblad Alaska fleet to four in 2019.

The family offer is applicable on select departures of the 8-day Exploring Alaska’s Coast Wilderness and is based on two full-paying adults bringing one child (22 and under) for 50% off, and a second child for free when traveling together.

The voyages are set aboard the 50-cabin National Geographic Venture and National Geographic Quest, and the 31-cabin National Geographic Sea Lion. Rates begin at $5,990 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin, with the starting rate for the first child $2,995. Savings do not apply to extensions. New bookings only.

Lindblad continues the celebratory spirit on any Exploring Alaska’s Coast Wilderness voyage with a new onboard Milestone Package. Geared for guests getting the whole clan together for a life-changing expedition to mark personal achievements and milestones—the big birthdays, anniversaries, multi-generational reunions, graduations, retirements, vow renewals—the complimentary amenities include:

• A special in cabin welcome gift upon arrival
• 5% off for groups of 8 or more
• A $150 Gift Card to use on board—for an item in the Global Gallery, a treatment in the LEXspa, a bottle of champagne with dinner, or to apply toward the bar tab
• A complimentary voyage DVD
• Complimentary custom group photograph taken by the LEX-NG Photo Instructor—to capture the moment
• A celebratory cake, served with flair on the evening of choice

The Milestone celebration is available for new bookings only, and must be communicated at time of booking. Group cancellation terms apply, and it is not combinable with certain offers.

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), contact your travel advisor, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

From on board MV True North. Koala trouble on Kangaroo Island

#expeditioncruising .

Itinerary: Southern Safari
Location: American River, Kangaroo Island, SA

Kangaroo Island koala at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (supplied)

Everyone loves koalas. They're cute, furry and oh-so cuddly, but here on Kangaroo Island (KI) they are something of a bother, not the least to themselves.

With True North safely anchored in Ballast Head Harbor(1) at American River, our half-day coach tour aboard SeaLink was ready at 7am to whisk us from the jetty and off into the heartland of Kangaroo Island.

Our first stop is at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, a privately run animal refuge covering 20 square kilometres of largely undisturbed mallee and eucalyptus wilderness. Opened in 2011 it mainly protects some 200-400 koalas, with 20 or so visible to visitors at any one time, sitting contentedly in their manna or bluegum trees.

Now there's trouble in paradise because the koalas are beginning to eat themselves out of house and home, exhausting their preferred leafy foodstuff. What I had forgotten was that koalas are not native to KI, instead in 1920 a small troupe of 18 animals was moved to the island from Victoria where they had been savagely hunted for their fur. This act of conservation has been somewhat too successful with numbers reaching around 50,000 today(2). What to do?

Lethal culling has been ruled out, relocation back to the mainland is too stressful for the animals (although trials are still be done in the Adelaide Hills and Blue Mountains), so a program of sterilisation is being undertaken with the hope further population growth can be prevented.

Visitors enjoy Remarkable Rocks (SeaLink)

With our knowledge of local koalas considerably enhanced, we set off again for more routine sites, namely the iconic Remarkable Rocks and Admiral's Arch with its resident fur seal population at the far western end of KI.

There's time for more fishing and local sightseeing in the afternoon before another superb dinner from chefs Luke and Gav.

1. Early Australian spelling used 'harbor' without the 'u' in all South Australian ports, including Victor Harbor, Ballast Head Harbor and even Adelaide's main commercial port, Outer Harbor.
2. modelling done by the University of Adelaide based on 2015 survey data.


From On Board: True North in South Australia: Victor Harbor


From on board MV True North II
Itinerary: Southern Safari
Location: Victor Harbor, SA

True North visits South Australia every year (RE)

The waters off South Australia are renowned for their big creatures, not all of them friendly. But the story of tuna fishing is certainly one of outstanding success and yes you can actually swim with these massive, powerful fish in the open ocean.

Early this morning, True North motored imperiously past Rosetta Head and through Encounter Bay where Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders had their famous rendezvous in 1802, dropping anchor in the shadow of Granite Island, a couple decent casts from the beach at Victor Harbor. (yes, that's how it's spelled)

Once operated out of the tuna capital of Australia, Port Lincoln, the whole operation is now located across the Gulf, just over an hour south from Adelaide and under the new name of 'Oceanic Victor'. Not only do we get to swim in the pen as these muscular missiles dart around in bursts of up to 70kmh chasing prostrate pilchards tossed in amongst us, we learn about their physiology, life-cycle and commercial importance.

Southern Bluefin Tuna - always on the prowl (RE)

Once cheap sandwich filler and petfood, Southern Bluefin Tuna ((Thunnus maccoyii, aka SBT) now commands tens of thousands of dollars per fish on the auction floor in Tokyo. The quota is around 6000 tonnes annually and is valued at more than $400million in export dollars. SBT are raised in “sea ranches” after they are caught wild in the ocean and fattened to market size.

True North guests up close and personal with giant Southern Bluefin Tuna (RE)

The 40-odd fish here in the pen are around 50-60kg each and consume at least one kilo of pilchards each per day. These are hungry fish and weigh more than 100kg by the time they hit the market in Tokyo.

The tuna certainly are fascinating fish, but the 'cuteness' award goes to the pair of Port Jackson sharks rescued as bycatch from local fishermen. Christened Lilly and Charlotte by the team at Oceanic Victor, they are soaking up the cuddles and tummy tickles. Yes, really. They sit with us for an hour, posing for photos and nuzzling for more attention like a couple of friendly puppies. They live in their own big tank and can swim off at any time, but seem determined to spend as much time with us as they can.

Charlotte just loves a good tummy tickle (RE)

Back to True North for another fabulous lunch prepared by chefs Luke and Gav before we set out across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island to catch the next days' feed, namely the superbly tasty King George Whiting famous in these waters and – thanks to our expert guides – we bring back a healthy catch of these delicious fish.

True North remains here at Kangaroo Island for the next few days, sampling local pleasures and more fishing!


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) looks to an exciting 2019

#expeditioncruising .

After welcoming the new year, One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) is looking toward an exciting 2019 with the launch of new innovative itineraries, continuing the thread of their core pillars of exploration, and enhancing science and educational programming with an array of special guests and experiences.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Save on 2019 UnCruise Small Ship Adventures


UnCruise Adventures offers savings on sailings in Alaska, Costa Rica/Panama

UnCruise Adventures, an award-winning small ship cruise line, heads into the new year with up to $600 savings on select adventure cruises in Alaska and Costa Rica/Panama. Ships carrying 22-90 guests sail adventure cruises with included activities and a focus on nature and wildlife.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

PONANT releases Asia, Oceania & the Indian Ocean Collection 2019-20

This newly released 'must-read' brochure features an exciting range of PONANT cruises and expeditions to fascinating destinations, the very names of which generate an unabashed sense of wanderlust.

Zanzibar, the Marquesas Islands, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Vanilla Islands, Malacca, Indonesia, Guam, Papua, French Polynesia, Easter Island and Vietnam being just some of the exotic locations visited.