This is the Soren Larsen sailing in the South Pacific. You can join her and learn all there is about tall ship sailing whilst visiting some of the most enchanted islands on Earth. If you're of a ceratin age and she looks familiar that because she was the star of "The Onedin Line."
Saturday, 30 April 2011
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
This is the Dragon's Back path on Hong kong Island. Only some two miles from the swarming city centre it is amazing to think it is here. The path offers amazing views of the island and surroundng islands and is popular with the evergrowing number of Chinese taking up walking for a hobby.
Have a great day now.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
A recent BBC documentary, “The Secret of Scott’s Hut”, saw Ben Fogle join an expedition across Antarctica to find Captain Scott’s Hut, frozen in time for a century. The hut was built to support Scott’s 1911 attempt to be the first to the South Pole and was later abandoned together with 10,000 personal, everyday and scientific items.In January of this year, Orion Expedition Cruises, the leading operator of five-star expedition cruising in the Australasian region, voyaged to Captain Scott’s hut from which he left for the South Pole never to return. The 106 guests onboard were all lucky enough to enter the hut which is a perfectly preserved time capsule of Edwardian England with all the tins of provisions in place and the men’s personal items where they left them.
In January 2012, Orion Expedition Cruises will once again offer guests the opportunity to join a Scott & Shackleton’s Centenary voyage which will cover some of the polar regions famously charted during the first race to the South Pole by pioneering explorers Scott and Shackleton. The Ross Sea coast extends from the ice shelf northwards until it reaches the very tip of Victoria Land and Cape Adare. While in the Ross Sea Region a variety of opportunistic landings we will be attempted subject to weather conditions.
Joining guests and the specialist Expedition Team onboard Orion will be renowned scientist and media presenter Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. While onboard, Dr Karl will share his wealth of knowledge with guests through a series of fabulously entertaining and witty talks presented in his inimitable style.
Orion Expedition Cruises’ 20-night Scott & Shackleton’s Antarctica departs 21st January 2012 from Bluff, New Zealand and visits Auckland Islands, Macquarie Island, the Ross Sea Region, Campbell Island and Snares Islands before arriving back into Bluff. Prices from £14,625 per person including 20 nights onboard Orion, all meals, entertainment and educational programmes, use of the ship’s sporting equipment and facilities, Zodiac excursions, port and handling charges, tender transfers and government fees and taxes.
Monday, 25 April 2011
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has announced plans to change the name of the Prince Albert II, its expedition ship, to Silver Explorer. The change will occur later this month while the vessel is in dry dock at the Lisnave shipyard in Setubal, Portugal, undergoing routine maintenance prior to commencing a summer programme of Northern Europe and Arctic voyages.
The company is committed to raising awareness of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which is dedicated to the protection of the global environment. Its focus is on three major challenges: climate change and developing renewable energies; the loss of biodiversity; improving universal access to clean water and fighting desertification.
For more information, visit www.fpa2.com.
Silver Explorer offers full-scale exploring from an ultra-luxury base at sea, in true Silversea style. With the largest average size accommodations of any expedition ship, guests enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations (many with French balconies or large private verandas), butler service, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, warm hospitality and personalised service (with a crew-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one), and Silversea's generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, bottled water, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities.
The Lloyd's Register 1A ice-rated vessel explores the world from top to bottom, including Central and South America and Africa.
For more information visit www.silversea.com or The Cruses Line
Skellig Michael has got to be one the most incredible places in the world. You’ll need to be reasonably fit to visit as you’ve got to get up 400 steps of a 1000 year old staircase and if you haven’t got a head for heights the narrow path near the top can be a bit daunting. However once you’re up there it’s one of the most incredible and fascinating places in the world.
Now a World Heritage the sight of the stone built beehive cells of this 6th Century Anchorite monastery will live with you forever. Landing here can be difficult and impossible if the seas are rough, although that didn’t seem to deter the Vikings who sacked this place on numerous occasions! When I went with Zegrahm Expditions it was a fabulous day.
The birds here are simply stunning. Peregrine Falcons glide effortlessly by staring you full in the face with an expression of half curiosity and half contempt and if you time it right, you almost feel you can walk up and shake hands with a puffin such are the bird’s acceptance of humans.
Exploring the monastery on Skellig Michael is a fascinating experience and you cannot fail to understand what the Spartan existence of those 12 monks and their abbot must have been like. There are six intact beehive cells (clocháns), over 30 early grave slabs and a haunting monolithic cross. Everything is drystone built up here, as are the steps, with the walls of the clocháns being almost 2m thick.
Inner and outer interlocking walls surround the site pierced by gates that access other steps down to the sea. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you are in somewhere like Macchu Piccu or Mycenae such is the impressive nature of the monk’s skill at building with natural materials.
You can find out more about Zehgram at the Cruise Line
Saturday, 23 April 2011
Windstar Cruises has introduced two new nine-night luxury holidays for Autumn 2011, The Hidden Treasures of the Ionian Sea, featuring sailings between Athens and Malta. The packages, which must be booked before May 15, include a seven-night cruise, complimentary hotel accommodation for two nights in Athens at a Windstar designated hotel, one complimentary transfer and an invitation to Windstar’s Yacht Club Party.
Hidden Treasures of the Ionian Sea voyages highlight the rich history and culture of enchanting destinations, UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancient Greek civilisations, charming coastal villages and breathtaking islands.
The 7-night sailing on the beautiful Wind Star departs October 15 and visits Gozo; Gythion; Cephalonia; Butrint National Park in Saranda, Albania; and Siracusa. Prices start from £2,440 per person, including seven nights in an ocean-view stateroom with all meals and entertainment and port taxes as well as two nights’ complimentary hotel accommodation and transfer plus the invitation to the Yacht Club Party.
Another 7-night Malta-to-Athens voyage on Wind Star departs October 22 and visits Siracusa; Butrint National Park in Saranda; Cephalonia; Gozo; and Gythion. Prices are again from £2,440 per person. This offer expires on May 15 and is not combinable with any other offers.
Friday, 22 April 2011
Thursday, 21 April 2011
Orion Expedition Cruises, have announced securing a world-first marketing association with renowned primatologist Dr Galdikas and her Camp Leakey-based Orangutan Foundation International.
Scientist, conservationist and educator, for four decades Dr Biruté Mary Galdikas has studied and worked closely with the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo in their natural habitat and is today the world’s foremost authority on the orangutan. Like Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey, Dr Galdikas was mentored and inspired by Professor Louis Leakey the famed paleoanthropologist.Orion II’s first Borneo season features eight voyages, three that include a visit to Camp Leakey: 30th September and 29th December 2011 and 8th January 2012.
Highlights of the agreement and the exclusive experiences afforded Orion guests visiting Borneo on Camp Leakey itineraries include:
Highlights of the agreement and the exclusive experiences afforded Orion guests visiting Borneo on Camp Leakey itineraries include:
Dr Galdikas will travel onboard Orion II for all or part of the Camp Leakey voyages as a guest lecturer.
On these visits Dr Galdikas will personally escort Orion’s guests in small groups while at Camp Leakey to visit the Orion Feeding Station, the Infant Care Centre and Rehabilitation area.
29th December 2011 marks Dr Galdikas’ 40th anniversary celebration of Camp Leakey. Dr Galdikas will sail the full cruise and present two onboard lectures with opportunities throughout the cruise to meet her.
Orion Expedition Cruises has donated funds for an orangutan feeding station at Camp Leakey that will be accessed exclusively by Orion II guests.
Orion Expedition Cruises will purchase an Orangutan Adoption Kit for each guest onboard sailing on any 2011 or 2012 Borneo sailing.
Dr Galdikas has been hesitant to allow third party operators to link with her Camp Leakey rehabilitation project. However, the meeting of minds between Dr Galdikas and Sarina Bratton opened the way for a co-operative agreement that will benefit her Orangutan Foundation International through support from Orion Expedition Cruises.
Orion Expedition Cruises’ Borneo voyages cost from £4,770 per person including 10 nights onboard Orion II, all meals, entertainment and educational programmes, use of the ship’s sporting equipment and facilities, Zodiac excursions, port and handling charges, tender transfers and government fees and taxes.
For further information visit http://www.orionexpeditions.com/ or The Cruise Line
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
An underwater bow camera, high-tech kayak launchers and iPod docks are just a few of the new features being installed on InnerSea Discoveries’ two expedition ships, Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Adventurer, during preparation for its inaugural season in Southeast Alaska beginning May 2011.
Kayaking adventures will be a popular activity with each ship carrying 28 assorted styles of Necky kayaks—stable, roomy and good for pros and novices. With multiple guided trips throughout each cruise, the ease of launching and return of kayaks is a priority. Both ships have been outfitted with custom made EZ Dock kayak launching systems able to quickly and safely launch four kayaks at a time. Kayakers can also easily guide themselves back onto the ship using the system.
“Though our focus is on activities outside the ship such as hiking and kayaking, we have put a lot of thought into new features to make the experience on board even more enriching and comfortable,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “Guests will return to a relaxing and inviting atmosphere after a day spent outside exploring nature.”
An underwater camera mounted on the ships’ bow will stream video from the underwater world to flatscreen televisions in all guest rooms and the lounge. A close-up view of life underwater will amaze with a large variety of sea life and at times, views of dolphins playing in the bow’s wake. An underwater hydrophone pipes in the otherworldly sound of whales communicating with each other.
All guest cabins are above deck with large, view windows and feature upscale amenities to ensure a warm, inviting home-away-from-home for active adventurers. Eco-friendly memory foam mattresses are included in all cabins as either a twin, double or queen bed. Flatscreen televisions with DVD players, iPod docking stations and eco-friendly bath amenities take these expedition ships to a new level of creature comfort.
Hot tubs situated outside on deck provide a spectacular setting for guests to relax and take in the scenery. Each ship also has a sauna, exercise equipment, complimentary on-deck yoga classes, a large resource library, well-stocked DVD library and board games. A professional masseuse is part of the crew and massages are available for a fee.
The interior of the newly-refurbished ships feature contemporary colors that complement the wilderness outside. The main lounge, a prime gathering spot for guests to meet and share tales of adventure, has been designed to feel like a cross between a National Park lodge and a quaint neighborhood pub with a bar top made from salvaged Alaskan yellow cedar. Guests can enjoy wine, spirits and a large variety of microbrews on tap.
The company’s “un-cruise” adventures sail between Juneau and Ketchikan (and reverse) from May through September on a Western Coves and Eastern Coves itinerary. When combined, it becomes the two-week Ultimate Adventure. Setting it apart from other cruise line itineraries, InnerSea Discoveries’ ships spend less time in port and instead spend time tucking into hidden bays and coves for adventure activities in Alaska’s wilderness.
Prices for the 7-night cruises start at $1,795 per person, double occupancy, and include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of $167 per person per week, massages, wine, spirits, beer and gratuities are extra. Select 2011 dates are designated as Family Discoveries with a focus on activities tailored for all ages. Kids 12 years and younger receive a 25% savings on all departures and 30% on Family Discoveries voyages. To book the ‘un-cruise’ or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or InnerSea Discoveries or The Cruise Line
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
This is the temple of Artemis at the superbly preserved Roman City of Jaresh in Jordan. What's so impressive is the that the pillars are morticed and tenonned not cemented at the joints deliberately so they won't fall down in earthquakes.
I was amazed walking around here at their ingenuity and the fact that their theatres are stil used for concerts today. Amazing how we underestimate the ancients and regard them as inferior in so many ways.
Have nice day now whevever you are.
Monday, 18 April 2011
I have just discovered Australia’s own luxury adventure- cruise ship, The TRUE NORTH.
The Kimberley is one of the last true wildernesses: it has not been spoilt by tourism or pollution and the best way to explore this ancient region is by cruising along its coast.
The True North is a small luxury liner with just 18 cabins – serving delicious gourmet food and wine with a staff of 20 young, attractive and extremely efficient crew members. It is a top class operation whether you enjoy hiking through wilderness with their biologists, admiring the plants and birds or fishing for giant barramundi.
Offering activity-based itineraries all around the Australian coastline and adjacent to the remote jungles of West Papua and Papua New Guineat he ship allows discerning guests to experience wilderness in surroundings more akin to one of the world’s most exclusive hotels.
However, the appeal of The TRUE NORTH complete with helicopter and multiple expedition boats was always bound to attract the attention of discerning overseas travellers and, according to North Star Cruises’ general manager, Peter Trembath, the tide has begun to turn.
For more information on the TRUE NORTH see www.northstarcruises.com.au
Saturday, 16 April 2011
Well excuse me crowing and blowing my own trumpet today but I have a piece on polar cruising in the Telegraph this morning. So here we are landing on the white continent in, believe it or not, high summer.
Take care for me now wherever you are.
Friday, 15 April 2011
Next to Adventue cruising I am smitten by river crusing. Totally different yet so relaxing and enjoyable. So here's a sample of what's on offer.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises have christened their latest vessel, SS Antoinette at the Port of Amsterdam, bringing a new class of super-ship to the world of river cruising.
In a first for the industry, the Antoinette boasts unique conservatory balconies in its top deck suites and staterooms. Each has a full open-air private balcony that, with a touch of a switch, raises the glass to create a completely enclosed conservatory, ensuring a connection with the open air and the river’s scenery, whatever the weather.
There are many other innovative features designed not only for the guests’ ultimate comfort and enjoyment, but also to ensure it is among the most environmentally friendly ships in river cruising.
The swimming pool, designed with stunning blue mosaic tile, is enclosed and provides the perfect place for a quiet nap, an invigorating swim or a place to simply watch the passing scenery as the entire area is enclosed in glass with floor-to-ceiling windows that open up. On the Sun Deck, guests can enjoy the Leopard Lounge and the elegant L'Orangerie, an indoor/outdoor dining venue. Both venues’ ceilings and windows can collapse on demand if the ship needs to pass under a low bridge. There is also a 22-seat cinema with Dolby Surround sound, the first movie theatre on any river cruise ship.
The Antoinette has just begun her inaugural season on Uniworld’s popular ‘Castles along the Rhine’ itinerary. Prices for this 8-day itinerary start from £1,850 and include accommodation in a category 5 room, shore excursions with local guides, all meals with complimentary European wines, beer and soft drinks during dinner, return flights, UK private car door-to-door transfers, and airport transfers on arrival and departure day.
For more info, see http://www.uniworldrivercruises.co.uk/
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
As you all know I love the village murals scattered all over Sardinia. In this one the artist has used the young men as models and included the village church, but look how they have painted some of the frame in and left their brushes in a tin as well.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
If you want to eat out in Hong Kong, and trust me you should, you can get a boat from the piers at the Star Ferry terminal to Lei Yue Mon, Sai Kung and Lamma Islands to their world famous alfresco seafood restaurants. We really enjoyed it because you see both sides of the harbour and the incredible modern bridges lit up. You can then return to explore Hong Kong night life later because Hong Kong is so compact you can get anywhere very quickly night or day and at a very cheap rate.
All varieties of Chinese cuisine are available here but no visit to Hong Kong would be complete without trying assorted steamed dim sum (“touch the heart”) light snacks such as dumplings, buns and pastries that are served in bamboo baskets. Causeway Bay has Traditional Hong Kong style food but if you want a more cosmopolitan atmosphere then Lan Kwai Fong has bars and restaurants in a small warren of streets that is popular with night owls.
Kowloon City is famous for Thai and Chiu Chow food and is a popular dining area for locals and visitors. Tsim Sha Tsui is more of a trendy area with exotic food to suit all budgets around Chatham Road and Canton Road. We went to a small local eatery in a back street off Nathan Road where I’m ashamed to say I had a Malay seafood curry, but it was to die for!
Have a great day now.
Sunday, 10 April 2011
These gannets are being photographed on the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh. You can see that the zodiac has gone in to get closer. Fortunately this was part of a Zegrahm Expedition who have an ethical and highly responsible attitude to not disturbing or upsetting wildlife. If you're thinking of going expedition cruising please make sure the operator you choose has this attitude. Most of them do but the problem can come from us the guests with over zealousness or excitement at the time can cause distress and if your not careful a violent reaction.
Thursday, 7 April 2011
The thing about Adventure cruising is that the smaller ships let you explore places that the larger juggernauts could never get to. One of these ships is Island Sky with some 37 cruises with Noble Caledonia this year. MS Island Sky underwent a significant multi-million pound refurbishment in May 2010 to make her one of the finest small ships in the world. With a maximum passenger capacity of only 116, a vessel of her size is capable of carrying many more but instead the MS Island Sky has the benefit of unusually large suites, luxuriously appointed public areas and spacious outside decks.
I really enjoyed my time on her and her full collection of Zodiacs really do get you to those tiny out of the way places.
Have a nice day now wherever you are.
Monday, 4 April 2011
This picture of Dinan in Brittany fascinates me for a couple of reasons. Not just the wonderful integration of modern shops such as the dressmakers, florist and woman's clothing with the the medieval structures above but until 1940 this is what London would have looked like. How awful that's been lost.
Have a great day now wherever you are.