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World’s Best Expedition Cruise Line Announced

Posted by Andrew Castles on November 29, 2022

 

 

We are thrilled to advise that one of our polar partners Oceanwide Expeditions has been named the World’s Best Expedition Cruise Line for 2022 in the annual ‘World Cruise Awards’.

Taking out the honours in a packed field of nominees, which also included Australia’s own Coral Expeditions and Aurora Expeditions, Oceanwide’s victory is over a quarter of a century in the making. Commencing operations in the Netherlands in 1993 with one ship cruising in Svalbard, Oceanwide has since grown to operate a fleet of five ships, including two ‘state-of-the-art’ new-builds Hondius and Janssonius.

These days, Oceanwide Expeditions has an incredible array of expedition itineraries on offer, from the Arctic and Scandinavia, right through to Antarctica. In Antarctica, Oceanwide offers travellers a wide range of programmes to choose from, including unique BaseCamp expeditions designed for more active travellers, along with comprehensive 30-day ‘Across Antarctica’ voyages travelling between Ushuaia in South America and Bluff in New Zealand.

Here's an overview of Oceanwide Expeditions’ fleet of small ship as we enter 2023:

 

The Newbuilds

Launched in 2019 & 2022 respectively, Oceanwide’s two new sister-ships Hondius and Janssonius set a high standard for polar expedition cruises. At the time of her launch, Hondius became the first of the new breed of polar expedition ships to achieve Polar Class 6 certification.

Accommodating up to 170 travellers, both Hondius and Janssonius are the ideal size for polar expedition, not too large to limit time on the ice in Antarctica, but large enough to offer all the ‘mod cons’ and space that travellers are looking for.

 

Featured itineraries:

Antarctica Discovery & Learning – 11 Days from Ushuaia

Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica – 21 Days from Ushuaia

In Search of Polar Bears & Pack Ice – 8 Days from Longyearbyen

Scoresby Sund & Aurora Borealis – 9 Days from Reykjavik

 

 

 

Classic Expedition Ships

Oceanwide Expeditions operate two classic expedition ships, Ortelius and Plancius. Built in the 1980s as research vessels, these ships offer a real expedition experience. While they may not have all of the ‘bells and whistles’ of the newest expedition ships, they are tough and hardy vessels that can have intrepid travellers exploring the pack ice and beyond.

 

Featured itineraries:

Across Antarctica – 32 Days from New Zealand to South America

Antarctica Basecamp – 13 Days from Ushuaia

Weddell Sea; In Search of the Emperor Penguin – 11 Days from Ushuaia

 

 

 

The Schooner

For something a little different in the Arctic, Oceanwide’s three-masted schooner Rembrandt van Rijn is well suited for expedition cruising among the fjords of Greenland and Spitsbergen and coastal Norway voyages. This vessel accommodates a maximum of just 33-travellers on her expeditions.

Featured Itineraries:

North Norway Whale Safari & Northern Lights – 8 Days from Tromso

Alpine Peaks of Spitsbergen; Ski & Sail – 8 Days from Longyearbyen

 

 

 

If you would like to experience what makes Oceanwide Expeditions ‘the World’s Best’ for yourself, contact the team at Expedition Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 and we will be happy to run through the options with you. Whether you’re discovering the Arctic or Antarctica our team are ready to help make your holiday dreams become a reality.

 

 

 

Aranui 5's 2024 Cruise Schedule

Posted by Andrew Castles on November 16, 2022

 

For more than 30 years, Aranui Cruises’ unique ‘half cargo / half passenger’ ships have been taking avid adventurers on one of the most fascinating voyages anywhere on the planet. Aranui 5, the crown jewel in their pursuit of the ultimate passenger-freighter, will take you to far-flung corners of French Polynesia, resupplying tiny communities living far from civilisation with everyday items such as new refrigerators, televisions and motor vehicles. 

During your Aranui 5 cruise, all your meals and scheduled excursions are included as you discover the magic that attracted Paul Gauguin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thor Heyerdahl and Jacques Brel to this remote region. The ship’s gracious staff and crew, many of whom are from the islands you will visit during the cruise, will welcome you as family and delight in introducing you to their centuries-old customs. Onboard, you will also enjoy getting to know knowledgeable lecturers and guides as they share the French Polynesian culture with you as you explore these captivating islands.

 

 

With Aranui 5’s 2023 cruise calendar already filling quickly, now is the best time for you to book your 2024 cruise. And, in excellent news for travellers, there’s a 10% Earlybird Saving off the base cruise fare when you book and deposit your 2024 Aranui 5 French Polynesia cruise with Expedition Cruise Specialists before 28 February 2023. That’s a saving of up to $2,986 per couple on the classic 12-day Marquesas Islands cruise.

Check out Aranui 5’s 2024 schedule below. There’s a series of the ever-popular 12-day Marquesas Islands cruises on offer, plus three Discovery Cruises, the first to Pitcairn Island and the second and third to the Austral Islands. It always pays to secure a spot on the Discovery Cruises as early as possible, as capacity is limited to just 230 travellers on each cruise.

 

Aranui 5’s 2024 Cruise Schedule

All cruises depart from and return to Papeete.

 

See the Marquesas Islands Itinerary

See the Pitcairn Islands Itinerary

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs: 20 January 2024

Arrives: 31 January 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  03 February 2024

Arrives: 14 February 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  03 February 2024

Arrives: 14 February 2024

 

11 Day Pitcairn Island Discovery Cruise

Departs:  17 February 2024

Arrives: 27 February 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  02 March 2024

Arrives: 13 March 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  16 March 2024

Arrives: 27 March 2024

 

11 Day Austral Islands Discovery Cruise

Departs:  30 March 2024

Arrives: 09 April 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  13 April 2024

Arrives: 24 April 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  04 May 2024

Arrives: 15 May 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  18 May 2024

Arrives: 29 May 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  01 June 2024

Arrives: 12 June 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  15 June 2024

Arrives: 26 June 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  17 August 2024

Arrives: 28 August 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  31 August 2024

Arrives: 11 September 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  14 September 2024

Arrives: 25 September 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  05 October 2024

Arrives: 16 October 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  19 October 2024

Arrives: 30 October 2024

 

11 Day Austral Islands Discovery Cruise

Departs:  02 November 2024

Arrives: 12 November 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  16 November 2024

Arrives: 27 November 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  30 November 2024

Arrives: 11 December 2024

 

12 Day Marquesas Islands

Departs:  16 December 2024

Arrives: 27 December 2024

 

 

 

 

2024 Earlybird Fares for the 12-day Marquesas Islands Cruise

 

All prices are in Australian Dollars, and are per person, twin share, unless otherwise stated. These Earlybird Fares are valid for new bookings only on 2024 cruises made no later than 28 February 2023.

 

Click here to see Aranui 5's cabin types

 

Class ‘C’ Dorm – $4,630.00

ideal for groups of 4/8 or single travellers seeking a budget option

 

Single Stateroom - $10,161.00

For single travellers seeking their own cabin

 

Stateroom - $7,420.00

 

Deluxe - $8,708.00

 

Superior Deluxe - $9,382.00

 

Junior Suite - $9,790.00

 

Premium Suite - $10,182.00

 

Royal Suite - $11,106.00

 

Presidential Suite - $13,996.00

 

To book your 2024 Aranui Cruises French Polynesia cruise call the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 or email [email protected]

 

 

 

JUST RELEASED: 2024 Reef Prince Kimberley Cruises

Posted by Andrew Castles on October 15, 2022

 

 

Already, many of our most-popular Kimberley cruising small ships are nearing capacity for the 2023 season, meaning that operators are now starting to release their 2024 schedules to cater to the high demand. One of our favourite Kimberley small ships is the stylish 36-passenger Reef Prince, and with 2024 cruises now available you can secure your spot. Reef Prince’s ‘State Class’  and ‘Class 1’ cabins are always highly sought-after, so it pays to get in early to secure one of these cabins before they sell out.

When looking at Reef Prince’s 2024 schedule, perhaps the first thing you will notice is that the cruise duration for the Broome to Darwin and vice versa itinerary has been extended from 11 to 12 days, with the extra day to be spent exploring the magnificent Berkeley River in the northern Kimberley. While the extra day accounts for much of 2024’s price increase, who would complain about an extra day in the Kimberley aboard a fabulous vessel such as the Reef Prince?

 

 

An intimate and Stylish Experience

With no more than 36 travellers on each expedition, the small-ship Reef Prince offers an unforgettable Kimberley cruising experience. Reef Prince’s new 2024 itinerary operates over eleven nights between Broome and Darwin and vice versa, with all the highlights included, such as King George Falls, Montgomery Reef, King Cascades and Horizontal Falls. You’ll also discover a several secret swimming, fishing and Aboriginal art sites that Reef Prince’s expedition crew like to keep close to their chests!

The atmosphere on board Reef Prince is decidedly relaxed an Australian. Service is unobtrusive yet professional, and meals in the light and airy dining room constantly receive the very highest of praise. Menus make use of the best local produce, supplemented by freshly caught seafood – if you manage to ‘land a barra’ during a fishing expedition there’s no doubt your efforts will be lauded over dinner!

 

 

 

2024 Reef Prince Kimberley Schedules & Prices

Reef Prince’s Kimberley Cruising schedule for 2024 has just been released, and we encourage you to book early to secure your preferred cabin type on your preferred cruise date.

 

Broome to Darwin – 2024

Click here to see the Broome to Darwin Itinerary

23 March – 03 April
19 April – 30 April
15 May – 26 May
12 June – 23 June
08 July – 19 July
06 August – 17 August
02 September – 13 September

 

Darwin to Broome – 2024

Click here to see the Darwin to Broome Itinerary

06 April – 17 April
02 May – 13 May
29 May – 09 June
25 June – 06 July
22 July – 02 August
20 August – 31 August
16 September – 27 September

 

2024 Cruise Fares

Click here to see the Reef Prince Cabin descriptions

State Class: $17,495 per person
Class 1: $15,995 per person
Class 2: $15,595 per person
Class 3: $14,595 per person
Class 4: $13,595 per person

Single travellers might like to note that they can secure sole use of Class 2, 3 or 4 cabins with just a 20% single supplement!

 

Your cruise price includes:

·       Accommodation in selected room grade for 11 nights

·       Transfer from CBD hotels to Reef Prince

·       Cruise transportation to your post-cruise hotel or Airport

·       All meals on board

·       Fast boat ride through the Horizontal Waterfalls

·       Facilities, port & handling charges

·       Excursions and tender transfers as described in the itinerary

·       Aboriginal Native Title Fees

·       Government Fees & Taxes.

 

 

As mentioned earlier, if you’re after one of the most popular State Class or Class 1 cabins it does pay to reserve your place early to secure your preferred cruise date. You can lock in your Kimberley cruise with a 20% deposit within seven days of booking, with final payment not due until 60 days prior to your cruise date.

So, what are you waiting for? Call the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 or email us to reserve your Kimberley cruising holiday of a lifetime! And don’t forget to ask us about our ‘Booking Bonus’ accommodation deals when you book your 2024 Kimberley cruise.

Click here to find out more about M/V Reef Prince

 

 

Active Antarctica Cruises for Adventurers

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 24, 2022

 

These days, as expedition cruises become more and more mainstream, you could say that the new breed of expedition ship is more akin to a mini cruise-liner, where the ship itself is the destination. But that doesn’t mean true adventurers need to miss out, as there’s some great options available for the most intrepid of travellers who wish to experience all that Antarctica has to offer. 

If you’re more interested in experiencing what’s off the ship, rather than on, Basecamp expeditions are designed for more active adventurers seeking a range of included activities. Departing from and returning to Ushuaia (southern Argentina), 13-night Basecamp cruises are offered aboard your choice of four ships operated by our partners Oceanwide Expeditions. You can choose to explore aboard the new Hondius and Janssonius, or the classic polar-ships Ortelius and Plancius.

Each expedition uses the mothership as a main hub, and from there, travellers are able to choose their own adventure each day from a variety of included activities, all of which are included in the cruise fare. After anchoring in the heart of the action, Basecamp travellers will have easy access ashore aboard the Zodiacs and it’s up to them as to how they want to spend their days. On each activity you will be ably led by certified experts in that activity, so if you’re a novice they will be on hand to provide training and advice. 

Keep reading to find out more about included Basecamp activities, and get a glimpse of what’s on offer by checking out the video below. 

 

 

Zodiac cruises and ship-to-shore transfers

A staple of expedition cruises, Zodiacs are rubber tender boats that are used for two major purposes on Basecamp expeditions. The first use is for exploration of the shoreline. These durable and agile tenders are able to zip along the edge of the ice, giving you the chance to take in icebergs and land-based wildlife.  Zodiacs are also used to transfer travellers from their Basecamp mothership to the shore. All the activities you are able to enjoy ashore are made possible by these boats!


 

Photography Workshops

Whether you’re a keen Instagrammer wanting to make your friends jealous, or a seasoned photographer, Antarctica Basecamp cruises offer a panorama of beautiful landscapes and wildlife to capture. Onboard your ship, you will be joined by photo experts for photography workshops, teaching you how you can maximise your skills. Then, once ashore you will have ample time to put what you have learned into practice! Each photography excursion is limited to just 20 travellers, allowing the photo guides to provide personalised attention and advice when teaching camera mechanics and shot composition.

 


Snowshoeing and hiking

If you’re looking to be a little more physically active on your Antarctic cruise, walks of different levels and required endurance are on offer. In Antarctica, each day two landings of between two and three hours in duration are generally on offer during Basecamp.  If you’re joining an early-season expedition (November / December departures), there may still be some deep snow to traverse, making it necessary to break out the snowshoes! Snowshoes are very easy to use, they fit your pre-issued rubber boots, and they’re a fun alternative to slogging through shin-deep snow.

 

 

Kayaking

On Basecamp expeditions, typically two kayak excursions are offered a day (while anchored in Antarctica), each limited to 14 travellers at a time, ensuring that the safety spotters can keep an eye on everyone. You’ll be provided with a double-seated kayak, a neoprene wetsuit, and a life-jacket. You will need to provide the muscle yourself!

 

 

Mountaineering

Mountaineering excursions are offered for the most active adventurers who really want to get their hearts racing. Each qualified mountaineering guide leads as many as 12 expeditioners per excursion (up to six mountaineers per rope lead) on glacier walks to mountaintops that reward you with stunning views across the ice. Mountaineering experience isn’t essential, but you will want to be in fairly decent shape for this activity as it can be quite taxing. If you do choose to take part, you will be provided with the necessary mountaineering gear including ropes, carabineers, harnesses, helmets, ice axes, and crampons.

 

 

Antarctic Camping

After an action-packed day full of exciting adventures, you’ll surely be looking forward to a good night’s sleep! On Basecamp expeditions, you can get that sleep under the open polar skies! Say that again -  we have a beautiful, warm ship and you want us to camp overnight on the ice? Why not, it’s all part of the adventure and a completely unique experience. During the expedition, up to four nights are dedicated to overnight camps ashore. After dinner, those who choose to camp will be ferried ashore in the Zodiacs (where tents have already been set up for you) and you will be provided with windproof and waterproof bivouac bags, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. After a restful night ashore, you will return to the mothership the next morning, just in time to join your fellow travellers for breakfast!

 

So, what will it be? Kayaking through the morning, followed by an afternoon of photography? Or maybe an easy hike followed by an overnight campout is more your speed.

It’s all up to you.

 

Basecamp Expeditions depart throughout the season between November and March each year. They are incredibly popular, and tend to sell out quickly, so you do need to book early. Prices for 2023 departures, including Basecamp activities, start at USD $9,100 per person in a quad share cabin, or USD $11,200 per person in a twin share porthole cabin. For bookings, or more information, contact the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists on 1800 90 20 80 (+61 7 4041 2101) today.

See the itineraries and departure dates by clicking on each of the ships below.

Hondius

Ortelius

Plancius

 

 

 

 

Tony Briggs honoured with Order of Australia Medal

Posted by Andrew Castles on June 13, 2022

We’re proud to announce that Tony Briggs, our Chairman and pioneer of expedition cruising in Australia, has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Tourism in The Queen's Birthday 2022 Honours List.

Originally from the small Tasmanian town of Bridport, Tony began his marine career in the Whitsundays, where he operated ferries to Hayman Island. Then, in 1983 he purchased his own Fairmile class submarine chaser and founded Coral Princess Cruises. For the next 30 years, under Tony’s leadership, Coral Princess Cruises (now Coral Expeditions) pioneered adventure cruising on the Great Barrier Reef, Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast, Australia’s Top End and further afield to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Islands of the South Pacific and New Zealand. Over those years Coral Princess Cruises received a number of state and national tourism awards, and Tony himself was honoured with an award for Most Significant Contribution to Inbound Tourism.

Throughout his career, Tony has contributed to the tourism and maritime industries in Australia through his service on boards including the Association of Marine Park Tour Operators, the Cooperative Research Centre for the Ecological Sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef (now known as the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre) and more recently the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Australia’s national regulatory body promoting the safety and protection of our marine environment.

We’re proud that Tony’s contribution to Australian tourism has been recognised today with such a well-deserved honour.

Congratulations, Tony Briggs OAM.