Friday, 31 October 2014

Adventure Canada and HMS Erebus

Rob Poulton

Last month, the HMS Erebus, wooden vessel of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin expedition, was discovered off the coast of King William Island in the Victoria Strait in Nunavut. The mystery of its disappearance has captured the attention of historians, archeologists and explorers, both in Canada and internationally. This discovery is of paramount importance to Adventure Canada, the expedition operator in the Canadian Arctic, and its guests, who have sailed the Northwest Passage each year since 2007.

Adventure Canada offers two voyages through the Northwest Passage in 2015: Into the Northwest Passage—from  20 August to 5 September —and Out of the Northwest Passage, from  5 September to 21. Traveling aboard the Ocean Endeavour, guests will have the opportunity to experience the very same polar waterways, remote communities, and arctic wildlife as Captain Sir John Franklin and his crew. It is a journey not to be missed during this exciting time in Canadian history.

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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Outer Shores Expeditions 2015 Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Outer Shores Expeditions unveils its 2015 Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Photography Tour. Photographers with a passion for travel and discovery will once again have the opportunity to learn insider tips and tricks to capturing the beautiful Pacific Coast from expert wildlife and landscape photographer James Thompson.

Throughout the expedition from  21 to 25 April, 2015, James Thompson will be on hand to answer guest questions and provide one-on-one coaching on how to overcome technical challenges and develop new approaches to photographing the natural beauty of the British Columbian coast. Thompson is a talented and skilful addition to the Outer Shores team, having refined his craft at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and trained with nature photography legends Art Wolfe and Franz Lanting.

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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Witness nature’s light show – or get a voyage for free! Hurtigruten’s Northern Lights Promise extended

Hurtigruten has extended its ‘Northern Lights Promise’ to anyone booking a Classic Round Voyage before 31 December 2014. The extension means that if you book a 12 day voyage departing by 31 March 2015, and the lights are not visible from your ship, you will get a second trip next year – for free!

If the Lights don’t make an appearance, Hurtigruten will offer you a choice of a 7 day Classic Voyage North or 6 day Classic Voyage South, in an inside twin cabin (full board basis), departing between 1 October 2015 and 31 March 2016. Flights are not included.

The 12 day Classic Round Voyage travels along the Norwegian coastline from Bergen up to Kirkenes, where it turns around and starts its journey south.  As well as passing directly beneath the auroral zone, the ships sail away from the light pollution on land – enhancing the likelihood of an occurrence of the magical lightshow.

Prices for the Classic Round Voyage start from £999 per person in an inside cabin on full board basis (based on two sharing), departing on a wide choice of dates. Flight and transfer packages start from £330 per person.

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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

10-day expedition cruise in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada

One Ocean Expeditions, is introducing a new 10-day expedition cruise in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada visiting Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland and the French territory of Saint Pierre et Miquelon, launching in July 2015.

Starting in Louisbourg on the southeast coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the 10-day journey will showcase the beauty, rich marine life, fishing and Celtic cultures of otherwise inaccessible outports and islands of the Maritime East Coast. 
Highlights of the voyage will include the shipwrecks and wild ponies of Sable Island and Canada’s newest National Park, Bird Island; Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, the iconic Bonaventure Island, and the culturally rich Gaspe Peninsula and Anticosti Island.  This departure will also take guests to the spectacular Gros Morne National Park and the isolated marine community of Francois, as well as crossing the French border at St-Pierre et Miquelon, before returning to Louisbourg.
The 9 nights /10 day East Coast Wildlife Safari takes place, 7 to 16 July, 2015.  Prices start from £4,450per person sharing a twin cabin including all meals and accommodation on board, zodiac excursions and landings, ship transfers and foul weather gear. Flights are not included.
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Monday, 27 October 2014

Star Clippers new sailings for 2015/16

Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers has launched its 2015/16 programme, featuring cruises from three to twenty four nights on its three square-riggers, with sailings up to March  2016.

The three ships will sail in the Caribbean in winter (Star Clipper from St Maarten, Royal Clipper from Barbados and Star Flyer from Cuba) and in the Mediterranean and Aegean in summer. In addition, there are one-off sailings between Barbados and Panama (on Star Flyer); transatlantic crossings on all three ships in spring and autumn; and mini-cruises in the Mediterranean from three to five nights in addition to the longer sailings.

Taster cruises from £522
Once again, Star Clippers will be offering mini-cruises, for those who would like a taste of life on board a square rigger. Choose between three nights round-trip from Venice; four nights round-trip from Rome; or five nights from Malaga to Rome, all on Royal Clipper. Star Flyer, meanwhile, offers three- or four-night sailings from Cannes; and a four-night one-off cruise, taking in the practice day of the Monaco Grand Prix.
From £522 plus £65 port taxes for a three-night cruise from Cannes on Star Flyer, calling at L’Ile Rousse in Corsica and St Tropez, departing  23 September.

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Pandaw and the Irrawaddy Dolphin

Pandaw has announced two special 10-night departures on 8 and 18 July 2015 – The Mekong Unexplored.

Guests onboard the Mekong Pandaw will hope to spot the rare Irrawaddy dolphin with its distinctive bulging forehead and short beak in the WWF protected area of Kratie. In the afternoon, board the small Pandaw Explorer boat and visit the remote Koh Trong Island for a chance to see Mekong mud turtles as well as visiting a remote floating village. Other additions to the Mekong Unexplored itinerary include an excursion to the Chhlong, known for its French colonial buildings.

The 10-night sailing also offers excursions to the local markets in Vinh Long, a day exploring the vibrant city of Phnom Penh and a visit to the pagodas at Preak Bong Kong and Angkor Ban.

Cruise-only from £1,550 per person based on two people sharing a main deck stateroom, fully inclusive of all excursions, crew gratuities, meals and non-premium drinks. Transfers between ports of embarkation and the international airport at the start and end of the voyage. All excursions and local soft drinks, beer and spirits are included in this unique itinerary.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Aurora Expeditions launch new 2015-2016 Expedition Guide

Aurora Expeditions have launched their 2015-2016 Expedition Guide. For the first time ever, the guide encompasses expeditions across all seven continents featuring 21 itineraries, 18 destinations and over 80 individual departures, and is jammed packed with a range of new bonus inclusions. 

The expanded program includes a new 15-day 'African Cruise Safari' to some of the most concentrated wildlife regions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The expedition highlights include a four-day cruise on the Chobe River on board luxury riverboat Zambezi Queen, with game viewing from special excursion crafts, as well as nights in traditional safari lodges and game drives through Chobe and Hwange National Parks. 

In Scotland passengers will receive a 12-month National Trust membership and an onboard genealogist will assist passengers in tracing their Scottish ancestry. Free artist workshops along the Kimberley coast will allow budding artists to create their own Kimberley masterpiece.

Other inclusions include complimentary kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and polar snorkelling in Alaska and free camping in Antarctica. 

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Christmas in the Marquesas Islands

Marquesas Island adventure cruiser, the Aranui 3, has announced its special Christmas 2014 cruise featuring three very different French Polynesian archipelagos – Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society  – culminating with a Christmas Day treat on Bora Bora.

Guest speakers will include the highly regarded French Polynesian expert from the French Marine Protected Areas Agency, Sophie-Dorothée Duron. Departing from Papeete, Tahiti on 13 December 2014, guests on board the mixed passenger/cargo vessel will be treated to a fourteen-day tour of the stunning Marquesas Islands, on an awe-inspiring itinerary that has been created to climax with a memorable Christmas Day on Bora Bora.  The vessel boasts 86 fully air conditioned cabins as well as the capacity to carry more than 2000 tons of freight.

rices for the Christmas departure, 13-26 December 2014, start at £3,306 per person sharing a standard twin bedded outside cabin with private facilities including all meals with wine, all land-based sightseeing excursions and taxes.
Flights to/from Papeete, Tahiti are not included in these prices.  Air Tahiti Nui fly to Papeete with prices from around £1,560 per person return from London.

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Sail the Mekong with Uniworld saving up to £1400

Titan Uniworld are offering a Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong cruise for 17 days from £4,229. There is a saving of £1,400 on this cruise with limited avaibility.Offers end 30 November 2014

Visits Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Campong, Siem Rep  Two days are dedicated to exploring the Angkor Wat complex (above) but also included are Titan’s VIP Home Departure Service from your front door for any address in mainland UK, scheduled direct flights and 7-night full board cruise on the River Orchid.

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Gane and Marshall offers discount on new 2015 Arctic cruise if booked by 31 October 2014

Gane and Marshall has announced early bird savings on a new Arctic cruise itinerary ‘Voyage to the Frozen North’. Newly launched for 2015, the six-day cruise provides an overview of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago.

If the weather is favourable, passengers will venture to the 80th Parallel, as far north as it is possible to get on open water. There will be regular departure dates from 7 June - 24 August 2015, but early bird bookers can take advantage of a 10% discount by booking via Gane and Marshall before 31 October 2014.

Currently £1,345pp, including early bird booking discount until 31 October 2014, for travel in June – August 2015. The cruise begins in Longyearbyen and continues to visit Barentsburg, Ny-Ålesund and Magdalenefjord. October price is £1,445 if booked after 31 October 2014. 

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Silver Galapagos sailing on expedition voyage following renovations


Silversea's all-suite Silver Galapagos is currently sailing on an expedition voyage following completion of a second phase of renovations undertaken in September, during a month-long dry dock in Panama

All of the ship's suites, corridors and the Explorer Lounge have been completely refurbished in a style similar to that of the recently refurbished Silver Discoverer.
The 100-guest Silver Galapagos underwent an initial partial refurbishment last year, highlighted by the installation of new in-suite bathrooms featuring rich marble detailing, plus a new fitness centre, massage room, beauty salon, outdoor Jacuzzi, and the line's signature outdoor dining venue, The Grill.

Silver Galapagos sails Saturday to Saturday on seven-day voyages through the Galapagos Islands, following either a western or north central route. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galapagos National Park Service), Silversea's guests may experience up-close encounters with wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colourful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin's famous finches.

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Monday, 20 October 2014

Quark launches new rewards programme

Quark announces the launch of a new rewards programme to honour its loyal travellers beginning in November 2014 to coincide with the Antarctic 2014/15 season.

The Shackleton Club will reward Quark’s loyal passengers with benefits and value-add options so they can personalise their Polar experience. Membership is open to anyone and those interested can sign up for The Shackleton Club online. Rewards will be fulfilled as of a passenger’s second Quark voyage for Bronze level, third Quark voyage for Silver level and fourth Quark voyage for Gold level. Benefits of the program include:
  • Discount on future travel, combinable with other in-market promotions
  • Onboard option of either internet card or satellite calling card
  • Opportunity for last minute cabin upgrade (where available) for Silver and Gold members
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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Un-Cruise Adventures adventure savings prgramme of up to £300

Un-Cruise Adventures have unrolled a new adventure savings prgramme of up to £300 per couple on new cruise reservations made by 30 December 2014.   The savings may be applied to select 2015 cruises on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, Coastal Washington, British Columbia, Hawaiian Islands and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.

Columbia & Snake Rivers

Departing 4 April through 6 June 2015. The 88-guest S.S. Legacy sails weeklong Legacy of  Discovery voyages roundtrip Portland, Oregon with included shoreside tours and lively on board presentations focused on Lewis and Clark’s expedition, Oregon Trail, Native Americans, early pioneers and entrepreneurs. Rates for the inclusive cruise begin at £1,981 per person, double occupancy (before savings).

Hawaiian Islands (above)

An adventure savings of £300 per couple for a weeklong cruise in the Hawaiian Islands may be applied to departure dates from January to April 2015. The inclusive cruise aboard the 36-guest Safari Explorer sails from Moloka‘i to Hawai‘i (or reverse) and explores four islands: Moloka‘i, Lana’i, Maui and Hawai‘i with adventure activities and tours included.  Rates begin at £2,230per person, double occupancy (before savings).

The adventure savings offer is for new reservations booked by December 30, 2014. 

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Zegrahm announce new expeditions to South America.


Zegrahm Expeditions, is pleased to announce two unique expeditions to South America in 2015. Both aboard the 110-guest Sea Adventurer—an ocean-going vessel that navigates easily in the most rugged natural environments—travellers can cruise over 2,000 miles of Brazil’s wild coastline on Coastal Brazil, or explore five diverse countries on one South American voyage.
Coastal Brazil with Buenos Aires & Montevideo, 11 -29 March 2015, is a 19-day journey that combines the best of Brazil’s coastline, as well as Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Rio de Janeiro. A first for Zegrahm, this expedition offers a variety of daily activities—from hiking endangered forests and snorkeling over coral reefs, to admiring historic architecture. Plus, travelers will search for a number of endemic species in the Atlantic Forest of Parque Nacional de Superagui. Priced from $9,980 per person.
Departing 2 April 2015, the 16-day South American Mosaic explores five countries: Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago. Travelers will search for abundant wildlife—including 30 species of monkeys, pink Amazon river dolphins, red-and-green macaws, and 1,800 species of butterflies—and visit riverside villages to meet with the inhabitants of the Amazon, Suriname, and Essequibo rivers. They’ll also take a chartered flight into the heartland of Guyana to view Kaieteur Falls, almost five times the height of Niagara. Priced from $10,980 per person.
“These expeditions are the true essence of Zegrahm,” says Zegrahm President Edwin Blythe. “Not only will our travelers have the opportunity to discover new destinations by ship, they’ll also get to explore by Zodiac, on foot, in local boats, and even by train. From Brazil to Trinidad & Tobago, travelers will see the best natural and cultural highlights this region has to offer.”
On each of these voyages, travelers will be joined by an exceptional expedition team of naturalists, ornithologists, and marine biologists, along with Expedition Leader, Mike Moore.
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Friday, 17 October 2014

Hurtigruten promise a free second cruise if the Northern Lights don't come out to play

The Northern Lights are a natural spectacle that everyone wants to see, but they can prove elusive. Hurtigruten – operators of the cruise-come-ferry service that runs a scheduled service up and down the Norwegian coast – are now so confident that their ships offer the best chance of observing the lights that they are offering a free cruise to anyone who does not see them.

How does it work? All you need to do is book an 11-night Classic Round Voyage before 30 November 2014, for departure between 1 October 2014 and 31 March 2015. The ships’ crews will be scouring the night skies for an appearance of the dancing light show and if they come out to play, an announcement will be made from the bridge.

If the lights do not make an appearance, Hurtigruten will give passengers a choice of a 7day Classic Voyage North, or 6-day Classic Voyage South in an inside twin cabin (full board basis), departing between 1 October 2015 and 31 March 2016. Flights are not included.

The 12 day Classic Round Voyage hugs the Norwegian coastline from Bergen up to Kirkenes, where it turns around and starts its journey south.  Fares start from £999 per person in an inside cabin, on full board (based on two sharing), departing on a wide choice of dates in November and December 2014. Flight and transfer packages start from £330 per person.

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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Un-Cruise Adventures in the Sea of Cortez

Beginning January 2015, Un-Cruise Adventures offers a new adventure cruise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez wrapping the best marine life adventures into one itinerary. The 84-guest Safari Endeavour sails the weeklong Baja’s Bounty! Whale Sharks, Whales & Mobulas itinerary roundtrip from San José del Cabo, Baja, Mexico.

The new itinerary launching in January combines active explorations with seasonal sea life encounters. When grey whales arrive to calve in Bahía Magdalena, an overland tour to board panga boats and see whales and calves up close is included (usually January-March). At other times of the year, a snorkeling excursion in Bahía de La Paz may bring guests up close to the largest known fish in the sea—gentle whale sharks.

Exploration cruising allows for a flexible itinerary with time to seek out wildlife. Other areas visited include Isla San Francisco, Isla San José, Bahía Agua Verde, Isla Coronados, Los Islotes, Ensenada Grande and Isla Cerralvo. A half-day port call in Loreto includes a guided walking tour of the historic town.

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Monday, 13 October 2014

AMAWaterways adds the Irrawaddy to its 2015 river schedules

AmaWaterways has launched its new brochure for 2015  and will also launch a new ship, the 56-passenger, all-balcony suites AmaPura, and new river cruise proogramme on Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River in November 2014. Myanmar has a unique, centuries-old culture and architecture, including sacred structures gilded with gold leaf and encrusted with precious gems. AmaWaterways’ river cruises are designed to take in all the highlights, from the temple complex of Bagan to the ‘Golden City’ of Mandalay. AmaPura is built in colonial style, with luxurious, all-balcony suites, fine dining and a plunge pool on deck.

Two itineraries will be on offer: the 10-night Golden Treasures of Myanmar and 14-night Hidden Wonders of Myanmar, with the first departure on 24  November 2014. Cruises will operate year round, except for June, July and August.

The Golden Treasures of Myanmar itinerary costs from £4,679 per person including two nights pre-cruise and one night post-cruise in Yangon, transfers to and from the ship, ten nights on board the ship, all tours, all meals, free-flowing wine, beer and soft drinks with meals, on-board entertainment including cultural shows and lectures, and port charges.

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Friday, 10 October 2014