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Australia's Coral Expeditions Announce New Ship

Posted by Andrew Castles on September 27, 2017

Coral expeditions Kimberley Cruises new ship

 

There’s soon to be more choice for fans of small ship cruising, with Australia’s pioneering expedition cruise company Coral Expeditions announcing that they have signed a contract to add a new, state-of-the-art expedition ship.

Due to launch in mid 2019, the yet unnamed 93.50 metre ship will be built in Vietnam by Norwegian shipbuilder Vard and will join Coral Discoverer, Coral Expeditions I and Coral Expeditions II in the Coral Expeditions fleet.

Plans for the luxury ship show 60 large staterooms, ranging in size between 17 and 43 square metres, over half with their own private balcony. There’s also a single-seating dining room, a light-filled lecture lounge and multiple indoor and outdoor bars.

Fans who have travelled on the Coral Expeditions fleet previously will immediately notice the company’s distinctive style flowing through the new ship, highlighted by the modern Australian-designed interior with the colours and textures of tropical Queensland, the birthplace of the company.  They can also expect to encounter the same professional and laid-back Australian service for which the company’s crew are renowned.

 

Coral Expeditions new ship cruising Papua New Guinea

 

The new ship will also be fully-equipped for adventure. Twin hydraulic platforms will house two unique 60-passenger ‘Xplorer’ excursion tenders, along with a fleet of inflatable zodiacs and kayaks. There’s also facilities on board to host scientific research missions.

Expedition aficionados can expect itineraries focused on adventure cruises in Australia, the South Pacific and Asia, with a major deployment on Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast between March and September each year. Whilst details of the Kimberley cruise schedule haven’t been announced as yet, we can expect that the company’s iconic ten-night itinerary between Broome and Darwin (and vice versa) will be on offer, featuring all of the highlights of the Kimberley coast including Mitchell Falls, King George Falls, King Cascades, Montgomery Reef, Horizontal Falls, Aboriginal art and much more.

Other destinations being looked at for the new ship include Indonesia’s Raja Ampat and Spice Islands, Papua New Guinea and the Islands of Melanesia.

Schedules for the new ship are expected in coming weeks, sign up to our newsletter to receive details of the new schedule as soon as it is announced.

 

Coral Expeditions on a Kimberley Cruise

 

Just Released: Resolute's 2018/19 Antarctica schedule

Posted by Andrew Castles on September 22, 2017

Resolute expedition cruise to Antarctica

Several weeks ago we told you about Canadian polar operator One Ocean Expeditions, and their exciting plan to add a third expedition ship to their fleet, the RCGS Resolute.

Just this week, schedules for the new ship landed on our desk, and there’s some exciting opportunities for travellers to experience the best of the white continent and surrounds.

Resolute’s inaugural voyage for One Ocean Expeditions (she previously operated as the award-winning Hanseatic for Hapag Lloyd) commences on 6 November 2018, with a ten day Antarctica Peninsula Adventure. Over the following five months she will operate a total of 12 voyages to the Peninsula, some including exploration of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

There’s also a special ‘Antarctica Off the Beaten Track” expedition, which – as the name suggests – takes in some of the lesser-known parts of the seventh continent, along with a Christmas in Antarctica voyage.

 

One Ocean Expeditions in Antarctica

 

Resolute’s 2018/19 southern season concludes with a unique 13 day voyage exploring Chile’s Fjords between Ushuaia and Valparaiso.

Here’s your first look at Resolute’s full schedule for the 2018/19 Antarctic season:

 

2018 / 19 Dates Itinerary Nights
November 6 - 16  Antarctic Peninsula Adventure 10
November 16 - 28 Antarctic Off the Beaten Track 12
November 28 - December 10 Antarctic Peninsula Explorer 12
December 10 - 20 Antarctic Peninsula Adventure 10
December 20 - 30 Christmas in Antarctica 10
December 30 - January 17 Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica 19
January 17 - 30 Journey Below the Antarctic Circle 13
January 30 - February 17 Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica 19
February 17 - March 1 Antarctic Peninsula Explorer 12
March 1 - 11 Antarctic Peninsula Adventure 10
March 11 - 21 Antarctic Peninsula Adventure 10
March 21 - 31 Antarctic Peninsula Adventure 10
March 31 - April 12 Chilean Fjords Adventure 13

 

Introducing RCGS Resolute

Resolute is modern, well appointed, safe and ice-strengthened to 1A classification. Accommodating just 146 expeditioners, there are spaces ideally suited to every need throughout the ship. Spacious outer decks provide stunning 360 degree viewing platforms perfect for photography, wildlife watching, birding and appreciating expansive views.  The salt water plunge pool, large relaxation deck, hot water jacuzzi are all located aft of the wellness centre (massage therapy, Finnish Sauna, steam room) and well equipped exercise room. Inside there are multiple areas to explore ranging from the well-appointed theatre style presentation room, aft observation lounge and bar, forward observation lounge and bar, and both dining rooms. Add in the One Ocean Expeditions multimedia room, and mobile laboratory and the opportunities are endless. 

RCGS Resolute joins Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov under the One Ocean Expeditions banner, to offer one of the most capable, safe, and exclusive expedition cruise fleets in the industry.

To book your Antarctic expedition cruise aboard RCGS Resolute contact the polar cruise experts from Expedition Cruise Specialists on 1800 90 20 80 or email [email protected]

 

One Ocean Expeditions in Antarctica

Discover Papua New Guinea in 2018

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 29, 2017

Papua New Guinea expedition cruise locals

 

When we think of places ideally suited to discovery by expedition ship, it’s our nearest-neighbour Papua New Guinea that often comes to mind first.

PNG is a thrilling country to visit; spectacular scenery, beautiful coral reefs and unique wildlife, the largest area of intact rainforest outside the Amazon and ancient cultures (over 800 local languages!) untouched by modern man. It’s the sort of place you want to visit before word gets out and it becomes overrun by tourists!

Yet, PNG can also be one of the most daunting places to experience for all but the most intrepid of adventurers. Travelling with a sense of adventure is a must, often accepting that the tourism infrastructure, comforts and amenities in some of the more remote parts can be below what we expect in these modern times. Some travellers might even feel a bit intimidated in certain areas, such as Port Moresby, where you do need to keep your wits about you when venturing out and about.

If you’ve always wanted to experience PNG, but are concerned that it might be a bit ‘too hard’, then perhaps a small ship adventure cruise might just be what you’ve been looking for.

After all, when you travel by small ship you can make use of luxurious onboard accommodations, enjoy fantastic dining experiences, savour incredible excursions with expert guides, all safe in the knowledge that you are going to be well looked after.

 

coral discoverer stateroom papua new guinea cruise

 

Over recent years we’ve seen incredible growth in adventure cruising to PNG. One of the first expedition ships to offer adventure cruises in PNG was Coral Discoverer in 2006, closely followed by True North. Both of these well-appointed small ships have developed outstanding itineraries, taking in the many highlights of the country, including the opportunity to cruise the mighty Sepik River.

There’s a limited schedule of departures on offer for 2018, and with space for just a few hundred lucky adventurers each year now is the time to book to make sure you secure a place.

We’re also really excited by a brand new voyage for 2018 aboard the classic catamaran Coral Expeditions I, which has just been announced. During February Coral Expeditions I will undertake four week-long scouting expeditions of the legendary Sepik River, travelling into the middle Sepik region, an area that has been rarely visited (and is mostly inaccessible) to foreign travellers until now.

Here’s a look at what we have on offer in PNG in 2018.

 

Coral Discoverer

12 Nights Madang to Cairns

Departing 5 November 2018

Price from AU$10,650 per person

In 2018, the 72-passenger Coral Discoverer is offering a single 12-night expedition between Madang and Cairns, so you will need to be quick. This Australian-flagged (and crewed) small ship was one of the pioneers of adventure cruising in PNG, and following a major update recently she has retained her crown as one of the very best expedition ships operating in these waters.

Signature experiences of the voyage include an overnight trip into the Sepik River, stopping at villages well off the tourist trail. There’s also plenty of time for snorkeling, SCUBA diving and kayaking over some of the South Pacific’s best coral reefs.  

Highlights also include:

·       Meeting colourfully-costumed locals in the Trobriand Islands

·       A visit to the Dei Dei Hot Springs

·       Exploring Tufi Fjords

·       WWII history at Buna and Sanananda - site of some of the bloodiest fighting and gateway to the Kokoda Track

·       Manam Island Volcano

·       Tuam Island

See the full itinerary

 

Papua New Guinea cruise coral discoverer trobriand islands

 

True North

10 Nights Kavieng to Madang (includes return charter flights from Cairns)

Departing 7 & 17 November 2018

Price from AU$20,995 per person

Focussing on Northern PNG, True North’s 10 night adventure cruise starts in Cairns, with a charter flight to Kavieng to board the ship. Then, over eleven days cruise through the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago en route to the Sepik River and then Madang. True North accommodates just 36 travellers at any one time, and comes fully equipped with her own private helicopter for the ultimate in exploration. 

Highlights of the itinerary include:

·       Vitu Islands snorkelling and cultures

·       Manus Province

·       Ponam Island – a key WWII battleground

·       Hermit Islands barrier reef

·       Ninigo Islands

·       Three days exploring the Sepik River

·       Stilt houses on Lake Kambaraumba

·       Bagabag Island

See the full itinerary

 

True North in Papua New Guinea cruise

 

Coral Expeditions I

7 Nights Madang to Madang

Departing 6, 13, 20 & 27 February 2018

Price from AU$4,990 per person

This new expedition aboard the classic catamaran Coral Expeditions I has us really excited. Dedicated solely on exploring the lower and middle reaches of the Sepik River, the seven night itinerary promises exploratory visits to some remote outposts along the Sepik, with plenty of time for cultural interaction and discovery. Like any real expedition, the daily programme will remain flexible to ensure maximum exploration, but you can expect the following highlights:

·       Murik Lakes

·       Villages of Bien and Angoram

·       The stilt houses of Kambaraumba

·       Tambanum village – known for its woodcarvers

·       Chambri Lakes

·       Sacred flutes cultural performance

·       The Spirit House at Wombun

See the full itinerary

 

papua new guide cruise visit coral expeditions I

 

If you’re interested in experiencing PNG for yourself in 2018 then don’t delay - contact the team at Expedition Cruise Specialists on 1800 90 20 80 (or +61 7 4041 2101 if calling form outside Australia), email us at [email protected] or see more information at www.expeditioncruisespecialists.com

 

True North Sepik River ceremony cruise

Images in this article courtesy of our partners Coral Expeditions and True North.

Why Your Next Fijian Holiday Should Be A Cruise

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 23, 2017

Reef Endeavour cruising in Fiji

 

If you’ve holidayed in Fiji before you know how hard it can be to decide where to spend your vacation time. You would have spent a lot of time thinking about whether you should choose a family-style resort on the Coral Coast, one of the luxury international hotels at Denarau, perhaps an island in the Yasawa Group or even a remote getaway on the northern island of Vanua Levu.

Making this decision requires a lot of weighing up of the facilities at each hotel, the variety of dining options located close by, whether the resort has a sandy (or coral) beach and an inviting pool, not to mention the various activities and day tours on offer. It can be really confusing.

So why not take all the hassle out of your next Fijian holiday and book a small ship cruise aboard the Reef Endeavour. When you join a 3, 4, 7 or 11 night cruise aboard Reef Endeavour you won’t be restricted to just one resort; instead you will visit several different islands - each with a beautiful sandy beach - take in some of the country’s best snorkelling spots and meet the locals during authentic cultural activities. In fact each morning you will wake up in a new location ready for another exciting day of exploration.

 

kayaking in Fiji from Reef Endeavour cruise

 

And, Reef Endeavour accommodates no more than 130 travellers on each cruise, so you’re guaranteed an intimate experience along with warm hospitality from the smiling Fijian crew. All your meals are included during the cruise, along with a range of exciting onboard activities to keep you, and the rest of your family, busy. You will have ample time for snorkelling and swimming, kayaking, cultural excursions and simply relaxing on a stunning stretch of white sand beach. And, you can do as much or as little as you like; it’s entirely up to you.

Reef Endeavour’s Fijian cruises depart year round from the Port of Denarau, close to Nadi Airport.

 

7 Night Yasawa Islands Cruise

The classic 7-night Yasawa Islands cruise departs on Tuesdays and Saturdays year-round and offers a total Fiji cultural and island experience. On this expedition you will discover the remote northern Yasawa Islands from Naviti to Yasawa, plus the southern Mamanuca Islands. Highlights include the famous Sawa-i-lau limestone cave and blue lagoon and rainforest walks with expert naturalists. There’s also plenty of time for snorkelling and beachcombing, along with some traditional Fijian cultural events.

 

snorkelling in Fiji on Reef Endeavour Cruise

 

 

11 Night Lau Islands & Kadavu Discovery Cruise

If you’ve been to Fiji before and think you’ve done it all, then think again! A couple of times a year Reef Endeavour offers a voyage of discovery to a part of Fiji rarely seen by tourists - the Lau Islands and Kadavu. Departing from Nadi, this 11-night expedition showcases the culture and traditions of Fiji. You will be able to explore pristine islands, swim, snorkel and SCUBA dive over colourful coral reefs in perfect lagoons and take long walks on rainforest trails leading to refreshing waterfalls. Most days offer the opportunity for in-water activities and cultural interaction.

You will also be welcomed by the villagers and experience their happy islander existence. On Oneata Island witness the Sunday church service, the singing is sure to inspire. Marvel at skilled wood turners and discover islander heritage. Experience a traditional meke (dance), sevusevu (ceremony) and lovo (feast). This expedition showcases a different side of Fiji; away from the tourist crowds, where Melanesian cultures and traditions remain intact.

The 11-night Lau & Kadavu Discovery Cruise always sells quickly, and with 2018 and 2019 departure dates just released, it pays to get in early to secure your place.

 

Fijian cruise cultural experience Reef Endeavour

 

Fijian Cruising Earlybird Deals

There’s currently some great Earlybird offers on Reef Endeavour Fijian cruising, with the 7-night Yasawa Islands cruise starting at just $2,716 per adult (ask us about special deals for any kids travelling!) and the 11-night Lau & Kadavu Discovery Cruise starting at $4,500 per adult – a saving of $1,125 off the normal price. These prices are inclusive of your shipboard accommodation, meals, most activities and offer excellent value for money.

So whether you’re after a romantic Fiji getaway for two, or a holiday with the family, when you’re next thinking about a Fijian getaway give the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists a call on 1800 90 20 80 to discover more about some great small ship cruising options.

 

 

SAVE 30% on Aqua Mekong summer season cruises

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 08, 2017

 

Take a thrilling journey of discovery along one of Asia’s greatest rivers; the mighty Mekong aboard the luxury river ship Aqua Mekong. Over five or eight incredible days sail from Vietnam’s bustling Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) all the way through to Cambodia’s colonial capital Phnom Penh. And, best of all, save 30% off normal prices when you cruise during the summer season between May and July.

The longest river in Southeast Asia, the mighty Mekong flows over 4,000 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau to the southeast, through Laos and Thailand to the equatorial flood plains of Cambodia and Vietnam, then finally into the South China Sea.

 

Aquas Mekong cruise map

 

Two thousand years of human history can be traced back to the Mekong River. It is said that the rise and fall of the great Khmer civilisation responsible for the building of Angkor Wat was inextricably linked to the Mekong’s shifting tides. Today, around 60 million people live, work and play on the Mekong. Fish from the river comprise Cambodia’s single largest source of protein and it is rightly called the rice bowl of Vietnam, as it is on the fertile lands of the Mekong River Delta that the Vietnamese people grow half their nation’s agricultural product.

The Mekong River is also a hub for Vietnamese culture and a major transportation route for villagers living in the Delta. From floating markets selling fish, coconut candy, tropical fruit, vegetables and flowers to bee farms that line the river, the Mekong throbs with activity from before sunrise.

 

Aqua Mekong Excursion

 

Why visit the Mekong in the Summer Season? 


The month of May on the Mekong officially kicks off the planting season (known as Royal Plowing Day) on the 24th in Cambodia and Vietnam. Royal Plowing Day marks the beginning of rice-growing season in Southeast Asia. This time of year on the Mekong is known as the ‘green season’ with 30-minute gentle rains each day that nourish lush landscapes. While cruising aboard the spectacular Aqua Mekong, guests wake up every day to verdant riverbank views and landscapes rich with tropical greenery drifting past their suites’ floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Even when it rains, as it does throughout the year, the Aqua Mekong’s tenders and water-based excursions remain extremely comfortable during these usually short cloudbursts.

 

kayaking Aqua Mekong cruise

 

Rainy season arrives in May and lasts through October. This actually creates the high-water conditions that allow the Aqua Mekong tenders to cruise deeper into Vietnam’s emerald flooded forest, to Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and along otherwise inaccessible yet fascinating tributaries. Despite the name, rain only falls around half an hour each day and usually in the afternoon. Excursions from the Aqua Mekong are timed so that cocktail in hand, guests may soak up the timeless romance of rain on the river while comfortably under cover.

 

Aqua Mekong cruise suite

 

About the Aqua Mekong

 

The 62 metre Aqua Mekong was designed by Saigon-based architects at Noor Design to embody the aesthetic of a sophisticated five star hotel. Local sustainable materials and artisanal touches are designed to welcome guests in the utmost comfort between on and off shore excursions along this fascinating river. Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aqua Mekong incorporates relaxed yet refined lounging and dining areas, and can accommodate a maximum of just 40 guests plus crew. Modern navigation technologies and the highest cruise ship standards as well as an experienced river pilot and crew ensure smooth travel and safety on the water.

 

Aqua Mekong lounge

 

All guests travelling on board Aqua Mekong cruises during the 2018 & 2019 Summer Seasons will receive 30% off their all-inclusive cruise rates. 

These special savings are valid for departures from:

May 1st to July 27th, 2018

May 3rd to July 30th, 2019

 

Discounted 4-night cruise prices from:

First Deck Suite: USD $3,780 per person

Second Deck Suite: USD $3,920 per person

 

Discounted 7-night cruise prices from:

First Deck Suite: USD $6,615 per person

Second Deck Suite: USD $6,860 per person

 

Click here to see more about the Aqua Mekong.

For more information and to book your place freecall 1800 90 20 80 today (or +61 7 4041 2101 if calling internationally).