Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Northwest Passage Cruise Highlights Plethora of Wildlife as it Follows in the Wake of Legendary Explorers

While the history of the 300-year search for the Northwest Passage, which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is well documented, travellers in search of a polar adventure may be less aware of the huge variety and numbers of wildlife to be enjoyed during a voyage through the Canadian High Arctic.

According to Aaron Lawton, a Northwest Passage Expedition Leader with specialist small ship cruise company, One Ocean Expeditions, it is possible to be truly inundated and overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of marine mammals, polar bears and birdlife that appear during such a voyage.

This bombardment of wildlife sightings is by no means an isolated experience as passengers on board the impressive ice-strengthened Akademik Ioffe will discover. Using zodiac inflatable boats with the quietest of motors, travelling upwind of a polar bear, it is possible to safely get within metres of these beautiful creatures as they stroll along the shoreline. And, with a real chance of seeing pods of beluga or bowhead whales, a raft of ringed, harp or bearded seals, a herd of walrus and staggering numbers of birds, many with chicks in various stages of fledging, it is certain to be a wildlife experience to remember.

Today’s adventurer will travel in much greater comfort than the remarkable polar explorers who went before them. Facilities on board the Akademik Ioffe include a bar and lounge, a library and media room, plus a theatre-style presentation room, gift-shop and wellness centre with massage, sauna and hot tub, as well as a dining room serving sumptuous meals throughout the voyage.

Additional highlights of the 14-night trip, which travels between Kangerlussuaq in Greenland and Coppermine in Canada, include majestic, steep-sided fjords and massive tabular icebergs; the chance to visit remote Inuit communities and meet traditional Greenlandic kayakers; and the opportunity to participate in hiking, kayaking, photographic and birding expeditions in the company of expert guides.

One Ocean Expeditions is offering the choice of two 14-night voyages through the Northwest Passage this summer. Departures are on 12 August 2012 from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland sailing west to Coppermine, Canada and 26 August 2012 in reverse.

Prices start from US $7590 per person based on triple share and from US $10,990 for a private twin cabin. Suites and superior cabins are also available and range from US $11,990 to US $13,990.  Charter flights between Ottawa and Kangerlussuaq and Edmonton and Coppermine are required for passengers joining these voyages, at an additional cost of US$1850 per person.  Kayaking excursions are also available at a cost of US $695 per person.

Return transfers between Kangerlussuaq/Kugluktuk airports and the ship, all meals and accommodation and zodiac excursions are included.

For further information, visit

Monday, 27 February 2012


Spring along Norway’s coast is a magical time as the days get warmer and colour gently returns to the landscape. Hurtigruten has now made it easier to experience this beautiful season with the offer of free flights on selected departures in April. Available on the 12-day Classic Round Voyage from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the north and back, the ship calls at more than 30 ports, many of which are never visited by larger ships.
Customers travelling at this time will also be able to enjoy their journey under the brand new ‘The Arctic Awakening’ theme, which includes a wide range of shore excursions and on board activities. As part of this guests will have the opportunity to learn new skills, such as how to shell prawns and fillet fish, all under the guidance of local fishermen who come on board especially for this purpose. In addition, from mid-April, the ships sail into the famous Geirangerfjord Above, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a big draw for many travellers.

Classic Round Voyage – from £1587pp – Take the 12-day Classic Round Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. Starting at £1587pp, the price includes full board on the ship and free flights with BMI from London Heathrow on selected dates in April. Based on two sharing.
For more information call Hurtigruten – 0844 448 7601

Friday, 24 February 2012

Last minute spring fling

Join Hebridean Island Cruises’ ( / 01756 704 704) luxury small cruise ship, Hebridean Princess, for a spring cruise around the west coast of Scotland.
Save up to 30% on brochure fares on North from Kintyre seven night cruise from £1,575 per person (based on two people sharing an inside double / twin cabin). Highlights include Auchindrain open air museum – the last farming township in Scotland – and the beautiful National Trust Arduaine Garden.
Departing from Greenock we visit Crarae, Rothesay, Loch Long, Loch Goil, Arran, Campbeltown, Jura, Crinan, Craobh Haven and Kerrera with the final port of Oban. Price is based on a 20 March 2012 departure.
There is limited availability on this all inclusive cruise and prices include all meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, shore excursions and gratuities and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
For more information and to book visit or call 01756 704 704.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Viking River Cruises announces new route along Portugal’s Douro River

Following demand from customers to create a new river cruise holiday along Portugal’s River Douro, Viking River Cruises, the World’s Leading River Cruise line, is thrilled to launch its new itinerary for 2013: River Douro, Portugal’s River of Gold.

Named ‘River of Gold’ for its striking quality of light, Portugal’s Douro River winds its way through steeply terraced vineyards, rolling landscapes and pretty towns with colourful castles, baroque mansions and historic monasteries.

Viking guests will visit vibrant Porto, the medieval Spanish city of Salamanca and enjoy a two-night superior first class hotel stay in Lisbon, with excursions within the capital, including a tour of the 15th century Jerónimos Monastery. Along the way, guests can indulge in delicious cuisine including Portuguese specialities and the region’s famous port and tawny wines.

An exciting new itinerary calls for an exciting ship. The Viking Douro was built specifically to sail this scenic river. Spacious and supremely comfortable with panoramic views, large staterooms with French balconies and 360 degree views from the public areas, guests can sit back and relax as they immerse themselves in the glorious scenery.

With visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites, all excursions, on board meals and wine with lunch and dinner included in the price, this holiday – like all Viking river cruises – offers remarkable value.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Brand new brochure from Exodus with 60 wildlife trips to choose from £1,069

Brand new brochure from Exodus with 60 wildlife trips to choose from £1,069
From gorillas in the dense jungle of Uganda, king penguins in the frozen plains of Antarctica and black bears in the National Parks of Canada, the world’s most beautiful and wildlife awaits. Responsible travel projects including Penguin Lifelines for the Antarctic penguins and the Bandhavgarh Project to conserve the Bengal Tiger

Standing toe to toe with a Rwandan Mountain gorilla, looking down precision optics at a cheetah family or being just metres from a polar bear cub in the Arctic can be life changing moments – and now, Exodus Travels, the UK’s leading adventure tour operator, has a brand new brochure Wildlife Encounters 2012 – 2013, offering a selection of the best wildlife experiences imaginable.

To book, call Exodus on 0845 863 9601 or visit

Thursday, 16 February 2012

OFF to Norway

Hello everyone. I'm off up to Norway to see the Northern Lights hopefully until February 21st with Hurtigruten's ship MV Finnmarken. You'll be able to follow my progress by lookiing at where I'll be blogging each day about the cruise.

Best wishes


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Celebrate the return of Spring with Hurtigruten

As the snow slowly melts away, the sun ventures back above the horizon and the days get longer, the Norwegians celebrate the return of spring. Now, for the first time, guests travelling with Hurtigruten between 15 March and 31 May can enjoy their journey under a brand new ‘Arctic Awakening’ theme. This includes a wide range of shore excursions and on board activities and the celebration of the Norwegian National Day on 17 May.
Shore excursions take guests closer to the marine life, migratory birds and coastal animals and allow them to experience the Norwegian spring awakening first-hand. Included is the brand new ‘Kayaking in Tromsø’ excursion where participants paddle along the coast surrounded by an impressive mountain landscape. Other excursions include a trip to the largest seabird colony in Scandinavia on the bird island of Runde and to the national park on the Varanger peninsula, which is home to an overwhelming number of different species of birds.
The theme of the activities on board is ‘Secrets of the Sea’ and guests will get the opportunity to learn different skills, such as how to shell prawns and fillet fish, all under the guidance of local fishermen who come on board especially for this purpose.
The zest for life shown by Norwegians during spring finally culminates in Norway’s National Day on 17 May. The day will be celebrated on board all ships in the Hurtigruten fleet and guests and crew can come together to celebrate with handmade banners and enjoy time singing and dancing. In the ports, guests can mingle with the locals amidst a great deal of excitement and laughter – many of whom will come on board to sample the delicacies of the Norwegian cake buffet. A variety of talks are also offered on the ships providing guests with information about the history of National Day, the royal family of Norway and the national costumes.

Find out more at

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Asian cruising from £59 per person per day

Join Voyages of Discovery’s mv Discovery ( / 0844 822 0820) for a 17-day Tales of India and Arabia cruise from £999 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).

Discover the fusion of religion and culture in Mumbai, visit the birthplace of Ghandhi ‘The Father of the Nation’ in Porbandar and follow the Frankincense Trail.

Price includes return flights from a major London airport, transfers and a 17-day voyage departing from Mumbai (India) – overnight- and calling at Porbandar (India), Muscat (Oman) –overnight, Salalah (Oman), Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt), Aqaba (Jordan) and the final port of Safaga (Egypt) - overnight. Based on 19 March 2012 UK departure.

Price includes all meals, entertainment and gratuities on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, plus onboard lectures from a team of renowned Guest Speakers.

For more information and to book call 0844 822 0820, visit

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Ultimate Galapagos voyage with Zegrahm

Join Zegrahm Expeditions’ expert leaders Jack Grove and Greg Estes aboard the elegant Isabella II, a luxury yacht carrying only 40 passengers, on their Ultimate Galapagos voyage departing June 21, 2012.

This 13-day expedition is designed to give travelers a comprehensive overview of the islands, with in-depth exploration of both the marine and terrestrial worlds. Taking full advantage of Jack and Greg’s knowledge and years of experience, we offer travelers a truly behind-the-scenes look at the Galápagos. Jack, a former Galápagos resident with decades of experience that ranges from marine research to conservation efforts, also wrote the comprehensive volume The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands, while Greg Estes, a licensed naturalist guide, has written a book on Darwin called Darwin in Galápagos.

For more details contact

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Mekong cruise, £1295pp, saving £328 with AMA Waterways

Mekong cruise, £1295pp, saving £328

From exotic floating markets to bustling cities, AmaWaterways cruise from Siam Reap to Ho Chi Minh City meanders along Asia’s magnificent Mekong taking in life along its banks with daily included excursions to temples, markets, cities and riverside villages. A week's stay on board the majestic La Marguerite, the most luxurious ship on the river, now costs £1295pp on 19th March, was £1623pp, saving £328pp. The price includes all meals on board, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with dinner, daily excursions and nightly entertainment on board.

 Contact AmaWaterways on freephone 0808 223 5009,

Thursday, 9 February 2012

AEGEAN ANTIQUITIES Limited offer save £300 per person

A voyage to the secret islands and ancient sites of the Aegean aboard the MS Island Sky with Michael Scott & Canon Dr Anne Davison 10 nights from £3795.

Late summer in the Aegean, the perfect time for visiting unspoiled islands, timeless villages and ancient sites. Keepinga distance from the main ports the objective is to explore the lesser visited islands and regions of the Peloponnese where 3000 years of history can be can be viewed in relative peace and quiet.

From little known Kastellorizo, a gem of an island off the Turkish Lycian coast, we will ply the Aegean tracing the north coast of Crete. Here you will enjoy three calls from Sitia in the east to Hania in the west, learning more about the Minoans who founded Europe’s earliest civilisation and enjoying the beautiful mountain landscapes and some of Greece’s most prized architectural sites.

Next, on to the Peloponnese and the enchanting town of Monemvasia. From the port of Nafplion you undertake a full but rewarding day visiting the amazing site of Mycenae. Then back into the Aegean for visits to Delos, Tinos, Chios and Samothraki before entering the Dardenelles and making our way to one of the most captivating of cities, Istanbul.

For more info and booking details, be sure to check out

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Variety Cruises have extended early booking offer to the end of February with savings of up to 25%

Variety Cruises have extended their early booking offer to the end of February with savings of up to 25% on the cruise fare across a range of dates.

Weekly departures: April to October - 7 nights from £1299pp

Weekly departures: April, May, June, Sept & Oct - 7 nights from £1275pp

Weekly departures: June to September - 7 nights from £1110pp

Weekly departures: April to October - 7 nights from £956pp

Weekly departures: July to September - 7 nights from £1270pp

Departures: 27 April; 4, 11, 18, 25 May - 7 nights from £1015pp

Weekly departures: September to October - 7 nights from £1675pp

Weekly departures: June to September -7 nights from £1675pp

RIVERS OF WEST AFRICA - M/Y Pegasus 2 for 1 Offers
2 Weeks for the price of 1: 2 & 9 March - 7 nights from £545pp
Other dates save 10%

All prices above exclude port charges from £120 - £185pp and Flights.

Variety Cruises offers a unique deluxe yacht cruise concept on its fleet of state-of-the-art motor yachts and sail cruisers with between 20 and 36 cabins accommodating from 40 to 72 guests. These sophisticated vessels are well known for their friendly and informal atmosphere and attentive service. They feature well appointed and comfortable accommodation, with spacious public areas and sun decks. All vessels feature attractive outside cabins with en suite facilities and all the modern amenities including: a mini bar, hairdryers, TV and individually controlled air conditioning.

The series of innovative itineraries on offer explore smaller islands and harbours beyond the reach of large cruise ships and give much more time in each destination. Swimming in pristine bays from the aft swimming platform, and time to explore at your leisure in each location, are key elements of the Variety Cruise Experience.

For more info or bookings call:  0208 324 3114

Monday, 6 February 2012

Last minute cruise down under

Treat yourself to some last minute sunshine this February by joining Voyages of Discovery’s mv Discovery on a 26-day Australia & The Indonesian Islands cruise, from £1,999 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).

Visit the cities of Sydney and Brisbane (Australia) before exploring the magical Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and the stunning islands of Bali and Komodo (Indonesia).

Price includes return flights from a major London airport, transfers and a 26-day voyage departing from Sydney (Australia) – overnight, Brisbane (Australia), Townsville (Australia), Cairns (Australia), Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Darwin (Australia) – overnight, Komodo (Indonesia), Bali (Indonesia) – overnight, Semarang (Indonesia) and Singapore. Based on 7 February 2012 UK departure.

Price includes all meals, entertainment and gratuities on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, plus onboard lectures from a team of renowned Guest Speakers.

For more information and to book call 0844 822 0820, visit

Friday, 3 February 2012

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ five star expeditions ship MS HANSEATIC to offer premier voyage in Russia’s Far East

• Circumnavigating the Sea of Okhotsk

• Stops in Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands
In June 2012, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will be offering their first itinerary through the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia’s Far East, on the only 5-star expedition vessel in the world, the MS HANSEATIC. The HANSEATIC’s itinerary will be fully bilingual, departing Otaru, Japan on June 13, 2012 and concluding in Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka on June 30th. The 17-day expedition voyage will lead through the Sea of Okhotsk and her many islands as well as to Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands. This route, rarely travelled by cruise ships, is one of the last great unexplored sea expeditions in the world.

The wildlife in the Sea of Okhotsk and her many remote islands is some of the richest in the world and the scenery of snow-capped volcanoes, dense forest, tundra and meadow is spectacular. The on-board Zodiacs, small inflatable boats, will take guests ashore to observe wildlife such as Stellar Sea Lions, songbirds, birds of prey, seals and sea otters, up close.

The mostly uninhabited Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia’s easternmost province, is a dramatic landscape of fire and ice, and the distant and isolated Kuril Islands have mesmerized explorers and traders for centuries. Guests will find a unique mixture of endemic birds. Geysers, hot springs and active volcanoes set amidst towering mountains and fast flowing rivers also make this area magnificently unique.

Excursion options of this itinerary include a helicopter flight to the Valley of the Geysers, considered one of the greatest miracles of nature that can only be visited by helicopter; a zodiac ride to Cape Utholoskiy, to hopefully view the brown bear; and a walk around Atlasova, an uninhibited island in the Kuril Islands, with the largest active volcano in the area.

This itinerary starts at EUR 9.027 / GBP 6.448 / USD 10.832 per person, based on double occupancy for an outside cabin.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ exciting destinations and itineraries visit

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Art of Japan Voyage

Orion Expedition Cruises has released details of an exclusive eight-night Art of Japan voyage featuring visits to some of the most culturally significant high points around the Inland Sea of Japan. Departing Busan on 19th April, the itinerary has been tailored especially for art lovers and those with a curiosity about Japanese art seeking to better understand and experience the breadth of art culture in Japan, including some fine collections of Western art.
Developed in conjunction with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, this tour embraces ancient Shinto shrines, exquisite formal gardens, art complexes and museums, samurai culture, medieval castles and contemporary architecture. From the floating red shrine of Itsukushima to collections of Claude Monet, the formal gardens of Korakuen and the contemporary art of Tatsuo Miyajima, this Art of Japan voyage onboard Orion II will be an unforgettable artistic revelation.
Join Jackie Menzies OAM, head curator of Asian art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Tony Bond OAM, Assistant Director at the Gallery and Anne Graham, Artist and Academic who has worked in Japan creating several permanent public art works. Onboard and ashore they will be joined by Dr Julian Droogan, a scholar of comparative religions, archaeology and material culture, for an Art Lecture Programme providing insight into Japan’s proud ancient culture and its innovative embrace of the modern and contemporary.

The eight-night Art of Japan voyage onboard Orion II departs Busan on 19th April and visits Sakai Ko, Honshu Island; Hagi, Honshu Island; Hiroshima; Miyajima, Inland Sea; Uno Ko, Honshu Island; Naoshima, Honshu Island; and Takamatsu, Shikoku Island; before arriving into Kobe, Japan. Prices start from £3,825 per person (a saving of £670 per person) including eight 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 and reservations call 020 7399 7620 or visit www.orionexpeditions.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Explore's new Polar Adventures Brochure

Explore's new Polar Adventures brochure features 3 new ships and 19 new polar voyages.  They are also offering up to 30% off selected Polar Voyages.
The new collection of Polar Adventures introduces more ships that'll take you into the heart of Antarctica and to the most rugged parts of the Arctic. Spot emperor penguins, the tallest penguin species in the world, in the Ross Sea, or naviage the Arctic on a two mastered schooner, the Noordelicht. These are just 2 of the company's new ideas, to complement their classic collection of Polar Adventures.