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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.


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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: www.truenorth.com.au




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.

More: www.truenorth.com.au



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.

More: www.truenorth.com.au

* 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: www.auroraexpeditions.com.au

For more information:

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

Or email info@auroraexpeditions.com.au



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

#expeditioncruising .
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 www.expeditions.com, 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

#expeditioncruising .

*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 www.expeditions.com, 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.


More: www.truenorth.com.au


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

#expeditioncruising

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!

More: www.truenorth.com.au

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

#expeditioncruising




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.