Thursday 31 October 2019

One Ocean Expeditions 'restructuring' [updated]

#expeditioncruising .

UPDATE: If you or your client(s) are directly affected, a Facebook page has been set up here

A mysterious, non-commital statement issued by One Ocean Expeditions today would indicate an interruption to service on the eve of the 2019/20 Antarctic season.

The statement below by MD Andrew Prossin says the company is "restructuring" in the aftermath of the loss of its two Russian-flagged vessels earlier this year.

The Canadian company's remaining vessel, RCGS Resolute, was last tracked in the port of Buenos Aires where it had sailed from about a week ago. The reason for the sudden return to port is not clear, but one source close to the company indicated a medical emergency required a crew member be disembarked urgently. This cannot be confirmed and attempts to contact the company directly have been unsuccessful. CBC, meanwhile reports "One Ocean Expeditions has been ordered by an Argentinian federal judge to stay in the port of Buenos Aires due to a 'significant debt'."

UPDATED: As of 24 Nov, RGSC Resolute is still moored in Rio 

A news item posted in the local Squamish Chief would indicate the office is closed and the lights are out.

Another news item posted on the national CBC news site cites claims by staff members about late payments.

"None of us knew for years why we just constantly had issues with not being paid," said bartender and guide Ian Peck, who was eventually paid for his work.

Another former staff member, Caro St. John, says she is still owed $6,400 USD and wonders if she will ever see her money.

"We're the ones who make the experience on the boats above and beyond. And then to not pay them and not communicate with them I think is very poor management," she is quoted as saying in the article.

The company statement, meanwhile, does not include information about passenger bookings, refunds or impacts to staff members.

We will attempt to bring you updates on this situation as they come to hand.

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Pre-registration for 2021/2022 voyages on the Greg Mortimer opened


Agents can register their clients for priority on Antarctic and Northbound voyages

Aurora Expeditions, leading expedition cruising and home-grown polar exploration specialist, has today announced the pre-registration has opened for their new 2021/2022 Antarctic and 2022 Northbound voyages onboard the Greg Mortimer and her yet-to-be-named sister ship.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Seabourn Announces World-Class Expedition Team

#expeditioncruising .

(c) Ralph Grizzle / AvidCruiser

It will soon be the height of the spring and summer travel season in the southern hemisphere, and Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, is ready for adventure with a world-class and very experienced expedition team assembled to lead all expeditions through the wilds of Antarctica and Patagonia from Seabourn Quest.

Monday 28 October 2019

What's New in Expedition Cruising for 2020

#expeditioncruising .

AdventureSmith Explorations Showcases Belize, Mediterranean and Arctic
Among 12 New 2020 Itineraries
Responding to remarkable growth in expedition cruising, AdventureSmith Explorations announces for 2020 a heady combo of 12 new itineraries and five new ships to its growing portfolio of roughly 300 small expedition ships and wilderness lodges.

This international leader in small expedition ship cruising helped pioneer wilderness and cultural travel by small ship in 2003. Its booked passenger count has grown some 150 percent annually since then. New itineraries entice both repeat and new clients.

Here are 2020 season details on new programs and ships in a multitude of adventurous cruising hot spots.

Belize and Latin AmericaAdventureSmith Explorations is especially excited about a new itinerary, Belize & Guatemala Wonders – Rivers, Reefs & Cultures, that its own team helped develop. This eight-day cruise explores in-depth the less visited sections of the Belizean Barrier Reef, a 200-mile long UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Guests snorkel amongst the stunning coral communities surrounding the Smithsonian Marine Field Station at Carrie Bow Caye, a virtual living laboratory for one of Earth’s most fascinating ecosystems.  Closer to land, guests are also introduced to more of Central America’s less know gems, such as the mangrove and savannah habitats of Payne’s Creek National Park, home to the West Indian manatee and the endangered yellow-headed parrot.

Bookings made by Nov. 20, 2019, come with a savings of $400 off the per person double rate from $4,545. The 66-passenger Safari Voyager is equipped with an EZ Dock kayak launch system, an underwater bow camera, and a constellation of the finest equipment for personal marine exploration.

Another well-rounded cruise is the Colombia & Panama–Coral, Jungles, Canal, also new, which offers a $400 early bird booking discount on a per person double rate from $4,895 for eight days aboard 66-guest Safari Voyager.

MediterraneanThree different seas are the focus for 12 days aboard the 58-passenger Sea Cloud while exploring Mediterranean Gems: Sailing from Dubrovnik to Naples. This beauty of a vessel replete with masts and billowing sails departs on the Adriatic from the Game of Thrones city, Dubrovnik, through the Strait of Otranto that divides Italy’s boot from Albania. Ports rife with history await as the sailing ship plies the Mediterranean bound for the Strait of Messina that separates Sicily from Italy, with stops at Hellenic ruins in Siracusa (Ortygia) and Taormina. Later, on the Tyrhennian Sea, guests explore Stromboli, home of one of Italy’s most active volcanoes. Eruptions of a cultural sort follow as history foments in Agropoli, Paestum and Pompeii, with time enough to enjoy the beauties of Amalfi. The per person double rate is from $13,330. Departures in 2020 are May 22 and Sept. 17.

AlaskaPeople short on time can partake of a new six-day Wild Alaska Escape: Juneau to Ketchikan cruise through the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska aboard 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion. The per person double rate is from $4,420. Multiple departures in 2020 are in May, June, July and August.

AntarcticaGuests may choose to go big in Antarctica with National Geographic Epic Antarctica that sails over 35 days between Argentina and New Zealand aboard 126-passenger National Geographic Endurance. The per person double rate is from $48,800.

ArcticNew epic Arctic cruise itineraries embrace Greenland, Russia and Canada. For details please see:

  • Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land & Novaya Zemlya, 16-22 days aboard the 132-guest, recently restored Ocean Adventurer, from $9,995 per person double;
  • Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay, 15 days aboard the 132-guest Ocean Adventurer, from $8,495 per person double;
BajaBaja cruise options expand with a new six-day focus on the Pacific gray whales of Baja on The Whales of Magdalena Bay aboard 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion. Per person double rates are from $3,740.

Northern EuropeGuests explore nine countries along the Baltic Sea on Circumnavigating the Baltic Sea, a new 16-day Northern Europe cruise aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer. Per person double rates are from $17,330.

New ShipsAdventureSmith Explorations’ founder/owner Todd Smith says 20 years ago he could only dream about the capabilities and technology of the new ships being folded into his company’s 2020 portfolio. “These new ships will push the boundaries of adventure, comfort and sustainable technology while exploring the world’s wild places.” 
  • Indonesia: 30-guest Aqua Blu has been newly refurbished for delivering seven- and 12-night itineraries through Indonesia’s Golden Triangle.
  • Galapagos: 18-guest Conservation lives up to its name with offset carbon emissions, biodegradable amenities and no single-use plastics while plying the waters of one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems.
  • Amazon: 40-guest riverboat, Aqua Nera, sets new standards of luxury in Amazon River cruising on the Peruvian Amazon. Think outdoor cinema, a screening room, pool table, plunge pools and spa treatment rooms.
  • Polar (Antarctica & Arctic): 200-guest Ultramarine offers specialized exploration tools (helicopters and helipads for flightseeing and heli-skiing), cutting-edge safety measures and the ability to cruise for 70 days sets this one apart. 
For details on these and all of AdventureSmith Explorations’ small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, please call 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit the company website.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Wrangel Island: Polar Bear heaven.

#expeditioncruising .

Neil Nightingale and Karen Bass have been making wildlife films around the world for more than 30 years. But there are locations so remote and so rich in wildlife that still surprise them. Wrangel Island in the Russian Arctic is one of those.

Polar bears are intensely curious animals (Neil Nightingale)

The swimming polar bear sensed our presence from quite a distance away. Immediately, he turned and paddled towards us. Climbing onto a patch of ice resting against the ship, head turning this way and that, nose lifted to smell, he gave us a long and searching look.

Monday 21 October 2019

Expedition cruising route for US/Canada Great Lakes proposal


The new 'Inside Passage' route on Lake Superior's North Shore MAP: Great Lakes Cruising Coalition

Over the past two years, the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition has been investigating the potential for expedition-style ships to sail inside the North Shore Archipelago, a series of islands adjacent to the shoreline. From time to time, several of these inside passages have been used for merchant shipping, but their potential for expedition-style cruising has only recently been recognized, offering a totally new product to the growing Great Lakes cruise trade.

Read full story

Thursday 17 October 2019

Ponant adds new ship and extra voyages for Kimberley for 2021

#expeditioncruising .

Monique Ponfoort, PONANT Vice President Asia Pacific, announced an increased commitment for the company in the 2021 Kimberley season, saying “To meet the growing interest in and demand for our Kimberley expeditions, we are increasing the number of departures in 2021 to provide more choice of travel dates and an expanded range of itineraries.”

Oceanwide Expeditions ready for a new Antarctic season

#expeditioncruising .

Oceanwide Expeditions is packed, prepped, and fully primed for the 2020 Antarctic season, having made a series of key upgrades to its three m/v cruisers, Plancius, Ortelius, and Hondius.

In addition to their usual mid-season checkups, these vessels received multiple renovations: updated cabins for Plancius; a dining room and crew area makeover for Ortelius; and more user-friendly gangways for Polar Class 6 Hondius, as well as numerous smaller updates.

The completion of this work is a great kick-off for our Antarctica 2020 season, which is bright and full of adventure opportunities for every traveler.

Activities like mountaineering, snowshoeing, kayaking, camping, scuba diving, and photography workshops are all available, along with the chance to see such iconic Antarctic species as humpback whales, leopard seals, Adélie penguins, and so much more.

Our Antarctica 2020 program includes all of our most popular expeditions, such as our classic Antarctic Peninsula trips, which seek out some of the best landscapes and wildlife along this emblematic landmass.

On the other hand, our multi-activity Basecamp voyages are ideal for travelers who want a cruise as immersive as it is exhilarating.

Specialized Weddell and Ross Seas cruises are great for polar connoisseurs looking for lesser-visited locations, while people interested in a more expansive journey will love the stunning sub-Antarctic wildlife havens of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

Our philosophy at Oceanwide Expeditions is to get our guests off the ship and into the action as much as possible. This means short sea legs that provide as many outdoor excursions as we can fit in, with as many exotic wildlife sightings as nature (and our guides) can provide. This has been our mission for over 25 years.

Monday 14 October 2019

Viking Expedition Cruises names vessels

#expeditioncruising .

Viking Cruises has rolled out its expedition offering in Viking Expedition Cruises, which currently has select itineraries available only to past guests before general sales open in early 2020.

Viking will build a pair of expedition ships at VARD, the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris. Each Polaris-class ship will carry 378 guests and offer Polar Class 6 hull specifications.

The expedition offering will mix in with the company's dominant river cruise brand and luxury cruise offering as Torstein Hagen continues expanding his Viking Cruises empire.

The ships will have six cabin categories with the smallest starting at 218 square feet. Cruise Industry News previously reported the ships will feature submarines and carry a large 20-person expedition team.

Similar to the company’s ocean program, the brand will offer the “thinking person's” cruise product.

Onboard, guests can look forward to trademark Viking features such as Manfredi's Italian Restaurant.

Among the options available for early booking, the company's Antarctic Explorer program sails from Ushuaia in early 2022, with each cruise at 13 nights for the inaugural season. Early bird offers start at $15,393 per person. Embarkation starts in Buenos Aires, where guests will spend a night before a charter flight to Ushuaia.

An Arctic Adventure program is also available for past guests for early booking, sailing roundtrip 13-day cruises from Tromso in August and September 2022.

Sanctuary Nile Adventurer resumes 4-day Nile sailings

The Sanctuary Nile Adventurer has long been regarded as one of the best boutique ships on the Nile, nominated by National Geographic as one of its 'journeys of a lifetime'. And now that 'journey' is about to become even more memorable, with the ship recommencing its luxurious 4-day sailings along this epic river following a dramatic makeover unveiled late last month.

Sunday 13 October 2019

Galapagos 60th: Free Air, Solo Premium Waived, Guest Speakers...


In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, Lindblad Expeditions has announced a series of promotions and activities in keeping with their 50+ year legacy dedicated to conservation and the people of Galapagos.

Keel laying of Lindblad Expeditions' second polar newbuild, National Geographic Endurance


Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc., a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, and Ulstein Group, Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer, celebrated the keel laying of Lindblad's second polar new build at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. The occasion also served as the official naming ceremony of the vessel.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Visit New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands for a Genuine Wilderness Experience

Small-ship cruise company, Heritage Expeditions, offers a selection of responsible travel options for travellers wishing to explore the Subantarctic islands, including a special partnership voyage with New Zealand's Department of Conservation, where tourism is restricted to protect the richness and diversity of the flora and fauna and to ensure a genuine wilderness experience for small groups of visitors.

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Hapag-Lloyd to cut heavy fuel oil

#expeditioncruising .

Low-pollutant marine gas oil will be used by all ships in the fleet from 2020

· This voluntary commitment far exceeds the minimum statutory requirements
· Emissions are to be cut by around 80 %
· Significantly lower levels of soot and particulates

UnCruise Adventures New Belize and Guatemala Adventure Cruise Itinerary

#expeditioncruising .

Further expanding into Latin America, UnCruise Adventures has unveiled its newest small ship adventure cruise itinerary: Belize & Guatemala Wonders – Rivers, Reefs & Cultures. Six departures between October and December 2020 sail roundtrip Belize City on the 66-guest Safari Voyager. A special offer saves couples up to $800 on cruise fare.