Monday, 26 November 2012


Hello Everyone

 I'm away on a press trip until 30th November. I hope to see you all then. In the meantime you can subscribe to World of Cruising magazine (It's only available through the post by) going to:

Sunday, 25 November 2012

NEW HOTEL BARGE FOR EUROPEAN WATERWAYS IN 2013




The 6-passenger Clair de Lune joins the European Waterways’ fleet next year, cruising on 6-night voyages from April to November along the Canal du Midi in the South of France - between the charming village of Le Somail and the fortified city of Carcassonne.

A deluxe hotel barge, the Clair de Lune is tastefully furnished with cherrywood and African hardwoods, providing a sophisticated, modern interior.  She offers superior accommodation for up to 6 guests in three contemporary double or twin en suite staterooms.  There is a comfortable, stylish dining area and saloon with picture windows and a large sundeck with a spa pool from which to admire the passing countryside, together with bicycles for exploring the famous towpath. She is an ideal vessel for cabin bookings or family/friends charters.

The Canal du Midi is one of the oldest canals in Europe.  Linking the Atlantic with the Mediterranean, this remarkable 17th century feat of engineering was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.  The famous waterway meanders past sleepy canal-side villages, sun-drenched vineyards and offers views of the snow-capped Pyrenees.

CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS
Tour of the medieval fortified City of Carcassonne
Visit Narbonne with its 13thC Gothic Cathedral and lively covered market
        Private Minervois wine tasting at the Domaine Massamier Mignarde
        Tour of medieval Lagrasse and its Benedictine abbey
        Private wine tasting at the Château Villemagne
        Visit Montolieu, also known as the “Village of Books”

Prices: from £3,390pp in a twin/double cabin, or from £17,200 for a 6 pax charter.

The just-published European Waterways’ 2013 Brochure - and accompanying UK£ price insert - features cruises along the magical canals, rivers and lakes of Europe, aboard a fleet of hotel barges, ranging in size from 6 – 20 guests.

New highlights introduced in the 2013 programme are:

* cruises along the picturesque Canal de la Marne au Rhin in Alsace-Lorraine aboard the 12-passenger ‘Panache’
* a new feature on the evocative French region of Champagne, offering cruises aboard three hotel barges at various times of the year
* Longer Waterway Journeys – ‘voyages of exploration’ of varying duration through several countries

Since 1974 European Waterways has been providing high quality barging cruises on its fully-crewed, ‘floating hotels’ to a discerning clientele wishing to enjoy wonderful scenery, stimulating history and local culture and, of course, fine cuisine and wines.

For more information/reservations, visit www.gobarging.com

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Crystal Cruises New Zealand Hobbit


OK I wouldn't normally post this on here but the destination kind of made me think it may interest some of you.

Known for its ingenuity in global adventure, Crystal Cruises is offering an exclusive new dinner experience this December on the “Hobbiton” set used for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and new prequel film. The unique shore-side opportunity will debut just days after The Hobbit opens worldwide when Crystal Symphony calls in Tauranga during a New Zealand/Australia holiday cruise beginning 20th December. The Crystal Adventure will also be offered on a 29th January voyage through the region.


The two local cultures of New Zealand and “Middle Earth” will come alive, starting with a private, after-hours, guided tour of the village movie set. From Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ Hobbit holes to the Brandywine Bridge, guests will enter buildings and stroll rolling hills, while learning about the massive efforts undertaken to build the site. On the grounds of the hobbit-frequented Green Dragon Inn, with a beautiful sunset view overlooking the lake and Mill, guests will enjoy a bevy of extraordinary local wine and beer, a traditional Kiwi barbeque and other fresh dishes served by waiting staff in Lord of the Rings garb.



The cost of the Hobbiton dinner and village exploration is $265/person. A second Lord of the Rings-themed Adventure is also offered on both cruises, visiting Edoras’ home, Mt. Potts Station and Lodge, and New Zealand’s Southern Alps from Christchurch.


Between the two cruises, Crystal Symphony will sail through Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Napier, Christchurch, Dunedin, Sydney, Melbourne and Dusky, Doubtful, and Milford Sounds, with single and double overnights in port throughout.


 The 20th December voyage - which also offers gourmet holiday cuisine, festive décor, a Master Photographer capturing memories and a complimentary New Year’s Eve extravaganza in Sydney Harbour - overnights in Auckland before sailing through Tauranga, Napier, Christchurch, Dunedin, Sydney (double overnight), Melbourne (overnight) and Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. All-inclusive “Book Now” fares for the 16-night Christmas/New Year’s sailing start from £7,600 per person.


The 29th January cruise also overnights in Auckland then overnights in Tauranga and proceeds through Napier, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch, Dunedin and the Sounds before concluding with an overnight in Sydney. All-inclusive “Book Now” fares for the 13-night sailing start from £4,672 per person, with £1,563 in savings if booked by 31st December.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Constellations With New Star Gazing Tour



In a galaxy far, far away...Dark skies enthusiasts should set their sights on a new star gazing tour to the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena to marvel at some of the southern hemisphere's most stunning constellations in the company of astronomer extraordinaire, Steve Owens.

A professional stargazer, dark skies consultant, and author of the book "Stargazing for Dummies", Steve set up the first International Dark Sky Park in the UK, in Galloway, Scotland, in 2009. Since then he has helped Sark and Exmoor achieve similar status, and is working with a growing number of other places, including Saint Helena, looking to protect their nightscape.

The new 19-day tour departs from Cape Town onboard the RMS St Helena, one of the last working royal mail ships in the world, following in the footsteps of Edmond Halley (he of comet fame) who set up an observatory on St Helena to catalogue the southern hemisphere's stars. The island's location just 16 degrees south of the equator ensures that virtually every constellation in the sky is visible at one time or another during the year, and in fact St Helena is one of the few places where both The Plough and the Southern Cross can be seen in the sky at the same time. Visitors can also marvel at the the Magellanic Clouds, and the galactic centre of the Milky Way.

Time on St Helena will include guided tours of Jamestown's historical sites and buildings, visits to local landmarks such as the Heart Shaped Waterfall and Diana's Peak, coastal sightseeing including seeking out dolphins and nocturnal sky watching.

The tour, departing Cape Town on 29th April 2013, costs from £2,948 per person including accommodation in a shared two berth cabin on A deck with private facilities and full board while on board the RMS St Helena, in a twin/double room with shared facilities on St Helena at Wellington House Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis, all tours on St Helena with lunches and evening meals where mentioned. International flights are extra.

For more information on St Helena visit www.sthelenatourism.com. Join the official St Helena Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/visit.sthelena.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sail to the Black Sea next spring with Swan Hellenic

 
Join Swan Hellenic’s (www.swanhellenic.com / 0844 822 0679) refurbished ship, mv Minerva, to discover the history of ancient Greece and the Crimea from £2,850 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).
 
Passengers will get the chance to explore the birthplace of Western civilisation in Athens (Greece), enjoy a scenic train journey climbing the slopes of Mount Pelion (Greece) and experience a special evening performance in the famous Odessa Opera House (Ukraine)*. Professor Ian Beckett – an expert in the Crimean War and Dr Steve Kershaw – a specialist in Greek and Roman history, will also join the panel of Guest Speakers on board to bring the destinations to life.
 
Greece and the Crimea – Black Sea cruise departs from Piraeus (Greece)-overnight, Syros (Greece), Volos (Greece), Thessaloniki (Greece), Mudanya (Turkey), Yalta (Ukraine), Sevastopol (Ukraine), Odessa (Ukraine)-overnight and Istanbul (Turkey) - overnight. Price is based on a 10 April 2013 UK departure.

Prices includes return flights from a major London airport and relevant transfers, a tailor-made programme of shore excursions in every port – worth up to £500 per person, talks by eminent Guest Speakers, meals and entertainment on-board, all gratuities and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.

Swan Hellenic passengers choosing a Superior Balcony Suite or higher (Grades A-C) can enjoy a complimentary return chauffeur service from their home to the UK departure airport or port within a radius of 75 miles (excess mileage charges on journeys over 75 miles will apply) on all 2013 cruises departing from 13 February 2013. *A supplement for this shore excursion may apply.

For more information and to book visit www.swanhellenic.com or call 0844 822 0679. Follow Swan Hellenic on twitter - @Swanhellenic and like us on Facebook.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

SPEND THE NIGHT CAMPING LIKE AN EXPLORER IN ANTARCTICA

Picture (Karin Strand)
Hurtigruten launches new excursion for the ultimate explorer experience

Ever wonder what it’s like to camp in an expedition tent on the frozen landscapes of Antarctica? Dreamed of following in the footsteps of great explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott and sleeping on the ice? This winter, Hurtigruten has made possible with an extraordinary new excursion that allows guests on its Antarctica voyages to pitch tents and spend a night like no other.
The excursion is for the true adventure seekers who want to indulge their spirit of discovery. In a small group of no more than 15, guests leave the ship behind and are taken ashore where they will set up camp and spend the night, equipped with outdoor equipment specially tailored to the region, including warm winter sleeping bags and expedition tents. Each tent sleeps two people, making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for couples and friends alike.
The excursion was developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute in order to guarantee the safety of the guests and the protection of the sensitive local environment. All guests will receive a full briefing before going ashore for the night and all the necessary equipment for the excursion is provided on board Hurtigruten’s expedition ship MS Fram. Two members of the MS Fram expedition team will escort the group.
After spending the night on the white continent, the group will head back to the ship for a leisurely breakfast. The exact location and day of the camping adventure during the voyage will be determined by the local expedition team depending on the weather and land conditions.
This excursion can only be booked on board during an Antarctica voyage and costs from £330pp.
CLASSIC EXPEDITION VOYAGE – FROM £3295pp – explore the planet’s last untouched continent on one of the most advanced expedition ships ever build, MS Fram. Voyage through the Drakes Passage escorted by albatrosses and storm petrels before arriving at the magical white landscapes of Antarctica. This voyage is during Antarctica’s summer with its incredible wildlife including seals penguins and whales. This 10-day voyage includes full board on the ship, local charter flights to Ushuaia and lectures. Flights packages from the UK to Buenos Aires are extra and cost from £1392pp including return flights, transfers and two night’s b/b accommodation in Buenos Aires pre and post voyage. Departs Ushuaia February 13 2013.

A voyage on 22 November 2013 as per above costs from £3898pp and flight packages from £1692pp
For more information call Hurtigruten – 0844 448 7601 www.hurtigruten.co.uk 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Mövenpick adds five unique cruisers on the River Nile.


 Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is thrilled to announce new options for travellers wishing to explore the magical River Nile in Egypt. Adding five new Nile cruisers to its fleet; SS Misr, once the royal yacht of Egypt’s former King Farouk, the boutique luxury sail boat Mövenpick SB Feddya, the long cruise vessel Mövenpick MS Hamees, as well as the Mövenpick MS Darakum and Mövenpick MS Sunray, the Swiss hotel company is now the largest international operator on Egypt’s River Nile with a total of eight boats.
The SS Misr is undeniably the fleet’s flagship and is the only internationally managed steamship in Egypt. Built in the United Kingdom nearly 100 years ago, SS Misr is a ‘floating time capsule’ from the reign of King Farouk who converted it to his private yacht in 1938 and used it especially for his birthday celebrations.

On-board facilities include a swimming pool on the sun deck with recreation and bar, reading and play rooms, a large restaurant and lounge, bar, gift shop and a clinic to add to the guests’ care and comfort.

The SS Misr, Mövenpick SB Feddya, Mövenpick MS Hamees, Mövenpick MS Dakarum and Mövenpick MS Sun Ray now fly the Mövenpick flag alongside the existing Mövenpick MS Royal Lotus, Mövenpick MS Royal Lily and Lake Nasser cruiser Mövenpick MS Prince Abbas, to give Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts an unrivalled variety for travellers looking for that unique blend of Egyptian warmth and hospitality infused with Swiss service and heritage. 

For more information please visit www.moevenpick-hotels.com.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Springtime in the Med with Swan Hellenic



Join Swan Hellenic (www.swanhellenic.com / 0844 822 0679) in 2013 as mv Minerva sails from Italy around the Western Mediterranean on the Palaces and Gardens cruise from £2,295 (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).
Discover the French Riviera, explore the Roman Theatre in Cartagena (Spain), walk through the souk in Tangier (Morocco) and immerse yourself in art at the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon (Portugal).
The 15-day Palaces and Gardens cruise is available from £2,295 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin). The itinerary departs from Civitavecchia (Rome, Italy), and calls at Porto Vecchio (Corsica), Livorno (Italy), Nice (France), Cartagena (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Tangier (Morocco), Lisbon (Portugal), Oporto (Portugal) and Portsmouth (UK). Price is based on a 7 May 2013 departure.
Prices includes outbound flights from a major London airport and relevant transfers, a tailor-made programme of shore excursions, talks by eminent Guest Speakers, meals and entertainment on-board, all gratuities and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
Swan Hellenic passengers choosing an outside cabin grade or higher (Grades A-I) can enjoy a complimentary return chauffeur service from their home to the UK departure airport or port within a radius of 75 miles (excess mileage charges on journeys over 75 miles will apply) on all 2013 cruises departing from 13 February 2013. Passengers on this cruise booking an outside cabin (Grades F-I) will also receive £100 onboard credit per cabin, or passengers booking a balcony suite (Grades A-D) will receive £200 onboard credit per cabin.
For more information and to book visit www.swanhellenic.com or call 0844 822 0679. Follow Swan Hellenic on twitter - @Swanhellenic and like us on Facebook.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


Luxury expedition cruise specialist Silversea has opened the books for its 2013 and 2014 Galápagos programme.
Its year-round schedule of 7-day expedition voyages aboard the 100-guest, all-suite Silver Galapagos will begin operating in late September 2013. The two voyages will be as follows:

Western Itinerary: Saturday to Saturday – round-trip from Baltra Island - Silver Galapagos will trace a path across the western, southern and eastern islands, including Santiago, Bartolomé, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz.

North Central Itinerary: Saturday to Saturday – round-trip from Baltra Island - Silver Galapagos will encompasses the northeast, central and southeast islands of Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Seymour Norte, San Cristóbal, Española, and Plazas Sur.
Fares start at £3,550 per person based on double occupancy.
This new schedule will offer adventurous travellers the chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. Through complimentary expeditions, guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea's guests will be able to experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife including sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colorful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin's famous finches.
The programme will also offer guests the opportunity to swim and snorkel in tranquil clear waters, witness unique highland ecosystems, hike through lush mangrove forests and across volcanic fields, explore natural lava tunnels, watch for wild flamingos (in season), read cave inscriptions from the 1800s, and learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
In true Silversea Expeditions style, the guests of Silver Galapagos will enjoy full-scale exploring from an enclave of luxury at sea including spacious, ocean-view suites, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, a personalised butler service and a selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship and all gratuities.
Please note all above itineraries are subject to change. www.silversea.com.

Friday, 16 November 2012

PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES REVEALS SHORE EXCURSIONS FOR CARIBBEAN & PANAMA CANAL VOYAGES



Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 90-guest m/v Tere Moana, has revealed shore excursion options for guests on seven-night Caribbean and 13- and 14-night Panama Canal voyages onboard the Tere Moana.
With options to suit most interests, guests can discover the beauty, rich history and culture of the destinations they visit on a variety of shore excursions on Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. Guests can pre-reserve standard shore excursions and enjoy each with no more than 13 fellow travellers. Or, for a more intimate experience, pre-paid tours are also available for two to six guests which include private transportation with a personal driver/guide.
Tere Moana’s Caribbean voyages cruise roundtrip from St Martin and visit Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, Basseterre, Les Saintes and St Barts. Eight departures are offered on 29th December 2012; 9th, 16th and 23rd March; 30th November; and 7th, 14th and 21st December 2013, with cruise-only fares starting from £1,983 per person.
Shore excursion options for Caribbean voyages include:
· Tortola: Dolphin Royal Swim; Certified SCUBA; and Eco-Snorkel & Kayaking
· Jost Van Dyke: Hike & Beach Tour; and Certified SCUBA
· Virgin Gorda: Best of Virgin Gorda; Baths Tour; and Certified SCUBA
· Basseterre: Day at the Beach; Best of St Kitts - Full Island Tour; Best of St. Kitts - Full Island Private Tour*; Private Yacht Tour*; and Private SCUBA Diving Tour*
· St Barts: St Barts Island Tour; Yellow Submarine Tour; ATV Adventure; BLUE CAT Snorkelling Tour; and BLUE CAT Snorkelling & One-Tank Dive Tour
Tere Moana’s Panama Canal voyages cruise between St Martin and Puerto Caldera and visit St Barts, English Harbour, Les Saintes, Oranjestad, Willemstad, Cartagena, Panama Canal (transit), Isla de Coiba and Corcovado National Park (Marenco). Two departures are offered on 5th January and 24th February 2013, with cruise-only fares starting from £3,759 per person.
Shore excursion options for Panama Canal voyages include:
· Marenco: Corcovado National Park Hiking Tour; Horseback Riding to the Last Frontier; and Marine Wildlife Safari
· Cartagena: Cartagena City Tour; Rumba Tour by Chiva Bus; and La Boquilla Mangrove Canoe Tour & Cartagena City Walk
· English Harbour: Beach Deluxe Tour; Antiguan Crusoe Island Tour; Golf in Antigua; Segway Tour; Yacht Racing; and Antiguan Canopy Tour
· Oranjestad: The Best of Aruba; and Aruba’s Treasures
· Willemstad: Willemstad Walking Tour; Jewish Heritage Tour; and Curaçao Sea Aquarium Tour
Guests on Tere Moana can also arrange private tours and services, customised to their needs and travel budgets, with Paul Gauguin Personalised Services (PGPS) by emailing PGPS@pgcruises.com. With hundreds of options to choose from, PGPS can co-ordinate air travel, accommodation, customised and private tours and transfer packages for guests.
*Shore excursions that must be purchased in advance of voyage.
13-night itinerary operates in reverse and does not visit Isla de Coiba, Panama.
For further information and reservations call 020 7434 0089 or visit www.pgcruises.com

Thursday, 15 November 2012

St Petersburg, Venice and a Total Eclipse of the Sun



Tall ship specialist Star Clippers has launched its 2013/14 brochure, showcasing romantic and exciting sailing voyages in the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Central America on the line’s three head-turning sailing ships, Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper.
Highlights of the new programme include:
· New Cuba cruises, a first for Star Clippers in 2014
· More 10- and 11-night sailings on Star Flyer from Stockholm to St Petersburg
· A return to Monaco for Star Clipper, with three round-trip sailings in April and May,
New round-trip Venice sailings for Royal Clipper
A transatlantic voyage on Star Flyer to coincide with a total eclipse of the sun
Cruises on Star Flyer to the Baltic, southern Spain and Costa Rica
Baltic
Star Flyer will offer a wide variety of cruises in the Baltic varying from a three-day taster voyage for the Hamburg Sailing Parade, a spectacular gathering of tall ships, to a 13-night Grand Voyage of the Baltic, from Hamburg to Stockholm, taking in unusual ports around Sweden’s beautiful southern coast. There will be also be six 10- and 11-night round-trip voyages from Stockholm, via St Petersburg, where the ship overnights.
From £702pp, cruise-only, for a four-night Northern Europe sample cruise on August 24, 2013 from Hamburg to Texel (Netherlands), Ijmuiden and Ostend. Or for a longer, flight-inclusive stay, sail round-trip from Stockholm on July 8, 2013 from £2,799pp, including flights, transfers, two nights in a four star city centre hotel, a Stockholm Pass and 11 nights’ full board on Star Flyer, which sails to St Petersburg for an overnight in port.
Southern Spain
Also back by popular demand is Star Flyer’s late summer season in southern Spain and Morocco. Seven cruises will take in Moroccan ports and five of these, from September 14 to October 12, are round-trip from Malaga, calling at Casablanca and Tangier in Morocco, Gibraltar, Cadiz and Motril, for Granada, setting of the magnificent Alhambra’s palace. From £1,179pp, cruise-only, seven nights round-trip Malaga, departing September 7, 2013.
Central America
In winter 2013/14, Star Flyer spends between November and January sailing the coastlines of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua on a series of seven-night voyages. From £984pp, cruise only, round-trip from Puerto Caldera, departing December 1, 2013.
Cuba
For the second half of the 2013/14 winter season, Star Flyer will reposition to Cuba to offer a series of seven-night cruises from the historic southern town of Cienfueguos, calling at Trinidad, Cayo Largo, Archipielago de los Canarreos, and the Cayman Islands. From £1,305, cruise-only, round-trip from Cienfuegos, departing February 16, 2014.
Cruises on Royal Clipper to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean
MediterraneanThe 227-passenger Royal Clipper will sail an assortment of western Mediterranean cruises, with a series of seven-night round-trip Rome cruises in May, June and October, calling at romantic and beautiful ports on the Italian mainland as well as Sicily and the Aeolian Islands. In late June, July and August, the ship will operate 10- and 11-night cruises between Rome and Venice, followed by four new round-trip Venice sailings in September, calling at ports in Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia. From £619pp, cruise-only, for a three-night taster cruise from Venice to Rovinj, Croatia and Piran, Slovenia, departing September 4, 2013.
CaribbeanRoyal Clipper winters in the warm Caribbean, alternating between Windward Islands and Grenadine Islands itineraries from her base in Barbados. From £1,105pp, cruise only, for seven nights, round-trip Bridgetown, departing December 7, 2013 and calling at St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St Kitts, Iles des Saintes and Martinique.
Cruises on Star Clipper to the Aegean, Western Mediterranean and Caribbean
Aegean
Star Clipper, with a capacity of 170, will spend most of summer 2013 in the Aegean, cruising round-trip Athens and between Athens and Istanbul via some of the lesser-known ports on the exquisite Turquoise Coast of Turkey and some of the most beautiful Greek islands. Kids sail free on the August 4, 2013 departure from Athens to Istanbul, in the school holidays, paying only for port charges and flights. From £2,149pp, including flights, domestic flights in Greece, seven nights’ half board at the Rodos Palladium Hotel in Rhodes, seven nights’ full board on Star Clipper and transfers.
Mediterranean
At the beginning of the season, four departures from Monte Carlo have been added, calling at ports in Corsica and Sardinia, as well as Elba and Santa Margherita (for Portofino). From £842pp, cruise-only, for a five-night voyage from Rome to Monte Carlo, departing October 14, 2013 and calling at Portoferraio, Porto Vecchio (Corsica), Costa Smeralda (Sardinia) and Calvi (Corsica).
Caribbean
In winter, the ship is based in St Maarten in the Caribbean, operating seven-night Leeward Islands and Treasure Islands voyages. From £989pp, cruise-only, round-trip Philipsburg, departing December 7, 2013 and visiting Nevis, Dominica, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua and St Barths.
Transatlantic voyages – and a total eclipse of the sun
All three ships offer transatlantic crossings as they move from one cruising area to the other each season. These represent a chance to escape the stresses of daily life and to commune with the sea and the stars, to read and to mingle with fellow travellers. Take the Westbound crossing on Star Flyer on October 26, 2013 from Las Palmas to Barbados for a good chance to viewing the total solar eclipse on November 3, which will be visible in the north Atlantic. From £822pp, cruise-only, 15 nights.
To book, call 0845 200 6145, www.starclippers.co.uk.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

North Star’s popular West Coast Explorer


North Star’s popular West Coast Explorer is about to become even more popular!
Featuring the intriguing Abrolhos Islands, the world-famous Ningaloo Reef and fishing paradise at the marvellous Montebello Island – the West Coaster never fails to impress. But in 2013 this ever-green saunter along the still-wild coast of Western Australia will impress even more - with the addition of a complimentary flight from Dampier back to Perth! Book before Monday 19 November to receive this offer.
Guests will embark the mighty TRUE NORTH in cosmopolitan Fremantle and the traditional ‘welcome-aboard’ cocktail will likely be framed in one of The West’s fiery summer sunsets! An introduction to the ship’s renowned crew is followed by the first of many inspired dining experiences and then it’s an overnight steam to the Abrolhos.
The following day reveals one of WA’s most-desirable aquatic playgrounds. The Abrolhos Islands are well-known as the home of the state’s lucrative rock lobster fishery however they also attract aquatic adventurers who revel in stories of ship-wreck and murderous mutiny. An opportunity to snorkel the 1629 wreck of the Batavia is definitely one of the cruise highlights and accounts of the wreck’s hapless survivors never fail to intrigue. But the islands are also a naturalist’s delight and the fishers on-board will have every chance of catching one of the finest eating fish in the ocean - the highly regarded Westralian jewfish!
When the TRUE NORTH moves back into the coast – it’s all-ashore for an exhilarating climb to the top of Steep Point and the frequent-cruisers will be well-versed in using the ship’s helicopter to secure unique perspective.
Nearby, the waters surrounding Dirk Hartog Island reliably produce close encounters with manta ray and gentle grey-nurse shark.
Imagine swimming amidst clouds of colourful fish set against pristine corals. Imagine all in knee-deep water just metres from the brilliant white sands of a squeaky clean beach. Imagine Ningaloo Reef.
The Montes are truly a North Star favourite. Mouth-watering whiting and feisty mud-crabs will definitely be on the menu. North Star ‘picnics’ are always a ‘big-hit’ and the Montes present as yet another unique setting. Opportunities for diving and relaxed snorkelling also abound.
Packed with variety and highlights every day – this once-a-year cruise needs to be on everyone’s bucket-list! And now with the added convenience of a complimentary Qantas flight back to sunny Perth!
The West Coast Explorer departs Fremantle on March 7. For more information - see the complete itinerary at http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/documents/WestCoastExplorer.pdf or contact your adventure partners at cruise@northstarcruises.com.au

Monday, 12 November 2012

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Antarctic Season 2012/2013


Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Antarctic Season 2012/2013 commences on 11 November: Expedition Advice and Itinerary Highlights

· Highest ice class, shallow draught, Zodiacs and small ship size for maximum Antarctic experiences
· Behavioural guidelines for visitors; special ecological protection
· Desired route only guaranteed in the case of an early booking
On 11 November, the BREMEN will ‘kick start’ the Antarctic season 2012/2013 with its first expedition cruise. From Montevideo, the ship will sail the maximum 164 guests on board via the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands to the Antarctic Peninsula. The HANSEATIC is scheduled to follow in mid December. For many guests, an Antarctic expedition means fulfilling a holiday dream they may have been planning for a long time. To ensure that the expedition becomes an incomparable and unforgettable experience, gathering in advance as much comprehensive information on this unique destination as is possible, is recommended.
Antarctica is classed among the most sensitive ecosystems in the world and is under special ecological protection. The expedition ships HANSEATIC and BREMEN have been using the more environmentally compatible diesel oil in the polar regions for years and long before a corresponding law entered into force in the year 2011. Beyond this, a code of conduct for Antarctica stipulates behavioural guidelines for visitors. These include that visitors are required to protect sensitive mosses, lichens and grasses and respect a safe distance to animals, for instance five metres in the case of penguins. These rules are communicated by experienced lecturers on board and in the context of time spent ashore.
“You need to take time when visiting Antarctica, as you cannot explore this unique destination on a cruise with a duration of merely one week. Anyone wishing to see more than plenty of water and a bit of ice should schedule around two weeks,” recommends Mark Behrend, captain of the BREMEN, who has been to Antarctica more than 30 times.
“The choice of route and ship is decisive for intense expedition experiences. Solely small ships with few passengers fulfil the conditions for landings. With the BREMEN’s 12 zodiacs, we offer first-hand nature experiences and ideal opportunities in terms of animal observations.
“Only passenger ships with the highest ice class E4 are capable of advancing really far into Antarctica and even moving safely to the south of the Antarctic Circle. Besides the ice class, it is primarily of crucial importance to have on board an ice-experienced ship management and crew, who are able to read the ice and navigate accordingly,” adds Captain Behrend.
It is advisable to book Antarctic expeditions as early as possible – especially on relatively small ships with a capacity of less than 200 passengers. Special routes, for example those beyond the Antarctic Circle, are also traditionally booked up more than one year in advance.
Expedition Highlights in Antarctica:
- Zodiac tour in Paradise Bay and setting foot on the Antarctic mainland
- Landings in colonies with hundreds of thousands of penguins on South Georgia
- Bathing in the hot springs of Deception Island
- Whale watching
- Cruising through the pack ice and to huge table icebergs
- Sailing though the Lemaire and the Neumayer Channel
- Visit to a scientific station
- Landing at Cape Horn
Cruise Example: Expedition Semi Circumnavigation Antarctica with the HANSEATIC from Ushuaia/Argentina to Bluff/New Zealand, 25.1.2014 – 21.2.2014, 26 days, from 17.120 EUR/ 13,360 GBP/ 20,550 USD per person cruise-only, incl. charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia
For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ exciting destinations and itineraries visit www.hl-cruises.com. For bookings, inquiries, or to request a brochure, please look for your nearest sales agent in your country at www.hl-cruises.com

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Step on board a National Trust cruise with Voyages of Discovery



Voyages of Discovery (www.voyagesofdiscovery.com / 0844 822 0820) has teamed up with the National Trust to offer a Heritage of the British Isles cruise. New ship mv Voyager will sail around the UK, visiting the nation’s most treasured cathedrals, stately homes, palaces and landscapes, brought to life with a full selection of National Trust shore excursions.
Highlights of the cruise include the Snowdonia National Parks (Wales), the cathedral city of Durham and one of nature's masterpieces - the Giant's Causeway (Northern Ireland).
The 10-day Heritage of the British Isles cruise costs from £1,109 per person and departs from Portsmouth (England) and calling at St. Peter Port (Guernsey, Channel Islands), Holyhead (Wales), Liverpool (England), Belfast (Northern Island) Oban (Scotland), Port of Tyne (England) and Portsmouth (England). Price is based on 2 June 2013 UK departure.
Prices include all on board gratuities, service charges and relevant port taxes, car parking at Portsmouth Port or selected coach transfers to port, a comprehensive Guest Speaker programme and all meals and entertainment on board.
All Voyages of Discovery shore excursions are now also bookable online – visit www.voyagesofdiscovery.com for further information.        

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Tauck Announces New Mississippi River Cruise



11-Day Journey Includes 7-Night Cruise On American Queen Steamboat
 Tauck and the award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns have crafted a new 11-day cultural exploration of the Mississippi River that will launch early next year as part of the company’s “Ken Burns American Journeys” collection. The new “Life on the Mississippi” itinerary begins with an overnight stay in Memphis, followed by a 7-night Mississippi River cruise aboard the newly re-launched American Queen paddlewheel steamboat, and it concludes with a two-night stay in New Orleans. Along the way, guests will be treated to a number of unique cultural experiences and a diverse array of Tauck-exclusive shore excursions.

Tauck will offer both northbound and southbound versions of the itinerary, with the 7-night cruise on the American Queen bookended by an overnight stay at the famed Peabody in Memphis and two nights at The Roosevelt in New Orleans. Both city stays will be highlighted by Tauck-guided sightseeing, and all of the shore excursions enjoyed by guests during the cruise will also be exclusive to Tauck (and, like the city stays, included in the cruise price).

TAUCK-EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCES ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI
While in Memphis and New Orleans, and during Tauck-exclusive shore excursions throughout the cruise, Tauck guests will enjoy an array of unique experiences that are unavailable or virtually unknown to the average traveler. In Memphis, Tauck travelers will enjoy a private lecture on the city’s history and culture from a local historian. In Helena, Arkansas, guests will be immersed in local music during a private performance by the Greater First Baptist Church Choir, and during a blues performance at a honky-tonk roadhouse. In Natchez, Tauck travelers will enjoy a fascinating progressive lunch at three unique homes, and they will also tour the city’s historic Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and its African American History Museum.
Near St. Francisville, Louisiana, Tauck guests will visit Catalpa Plantation, a private home set in a grove of century-old oak trees, and meet a member of the family that has lived on the plantation since the 1800s. Within St. Francisville itself, Tauck travelers will learn about local history and trace the city’s Spanish and English architectural influences during a walking tour. And in New Orleans, guests will learn about the city’s unique geographical setting and the impact of (and recovery from) Hurricane Katrina during a private lecture, while meeting with local relief experts, and during a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward.
Tauck-exclusive experiences are also included aboard the American Queen, from special lectures by local authorities, to a private Bloody Mary cocktail party, to a “behind the scenes” tour of the ship that reveals its inner workings. The preferential treatment begins the moment Tauck guests first board the ship; having registered with the ship in advance, they’ll board without needing to wait in line to check in. Finally, Tauck guests will have their experiences along the Mississippi enhanced by Ken Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan, who will share insights on local history and culture in a series of video vignettes that will be shown throughout the Tauck itinerary.
Tauck’s “Life on the Mississippi” is priced from $4,790 per person, double occupancy, plus air. Included in Tauck’s pricing are all shore excursions and sightseeing, lectures by local experts, entertainment, complimentary wine and beer with onboard dinners, airport transfers, gratuities for ship and hotel staff, most meals, and much more. Tauck will operate departures of the new itinerary from February through June, and in November and December with special Christmas and New Years departures as well.
Those interested in learning more can visit their local travel professional, call Tauck at 1 800 468 2825, or visit www.tauck.com.