Agent Login
Freecall: 1800 90 20 80
(within Australia)
Find Your Cruise

Author Archives: Andrew Castles

The New m/v Hondius officially launched

Posted by Andrew Castles on June 05, 2019

the new m/v Hondius Oceanwide Expeditions

 

Click here to see the latest Hondius interior photos fresh from the ship

 

It's been a very exciting week for polar cruising enthusiasts, with the launch of the the m/v Hondius. Two years in the making, Hondius recently sailed from the Brodosplit shipyard in Split, Croatia to her Dutch homeport of Vlissingen, home of her owner Oceanwide Expeditions. After a gala welcome ceremony on 03 June 2019 it was time for the inaugural guests to board before setting off on her maiden voyage to the Arctic.

Hondius's launch is also a milestone in polar exploration, as she becomes the world’s first Polar Class 6 expedition cruise vessel to begin operations. As such, she represents one of the most structurally-fortified, technologically-advanced, and navigationally nimble expedition ships taking ot the ice, capable of reacting to weather and wildlife opportunities with the utmost speed and flexibility.

To keep itineraries flexible and response time rapid, Hondius is equipped with advanced stabilisers and two main engines capable of powering the vessel at up to 15 knots. But Hondius sacrifices no warmth to achieve her keen polar edge: You will have 72 crew and staff members (including expedition and hotel staff) at your service while cruising aboard this state-of-the-art 'home away from home', ensuring that what little time you do spend on the ship (when you're not off exploring) you will spend comfortably entertained.

 

Hondius Superior Cabin

 

Hondius also promises high-quality accommodation for up to 174 expeditioners on each voyage. You may choose from several different grades of accommodation including the exlcusive Hondius Suite (35 square metres), six Grand Suites with balconies (27 square metres), eight Junior Suites (19 to 20 square metres), eight Superior Cabins (20 to 21 square metres), 11 Twin Deluxe Cabins, (19 to 21 square metres), 14 Twin Window Cabins (12 to 14 square metres) as well as 28 Twin Porthole cabins, two Triple Porthole Cabins, and four Quadruple Porthole Cabins that vary in size from 12 to 18 square metres. Though elegantly designed in stylish mid-century modern décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide’s distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. 

See more detail on Hondius's range of Suites and Cabins

 

Here's a  few photos of the celebrations during her gala launch in the Netherlands.

 

Hondius launch gala

 

After completing her first expedition cruise, Hondius will continue the northern summer with some of the most classic routes in the Arctic polar regions. She will even sail under the northern lights in the east Greenland fjord of Scoresby Sund, Earth’s largest fjord system, later in September, with some cabins still available at 20% off normal prices!

Although Hondius’s first cruises will be in the Arctic, she is just as much an Antarctic expedition vessel. Beginning in October 2019, Hondius will embark on a full schedule of cruises throughout Antarctica, visiting such emblematic areas as the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, and the Falklands.

In these exotic Southern Hemisphere landing sites, passengers have the opportunity to spot a wide variety of whales, seals, multiple penguin species, and many other seabirds – and all while engaging in exciting activities, some of which are only available in Antarctica.

There's still space to join the new Hondius during her inaugural season of sailings. For bookings and more information please contact us on 1800 90 20 80 (or +61 7 4041 2101 if calling from outside of Australia) to speak to one of our polar cruising experts.

 

LAST CABINS ON HONDIUS'S 2021 ANTARCTICA SOLAR ECLIPSE CRUISE

One of the fastest-selling cruises on Hondius's forward schedule is the 2021 Solar Eclipse voyage departing Ushuaia on 26 November 2021. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is almost sold out, with the last few cabins now available. To find out more about this incredible journey click here.

 

 

 

2021 Solar Eclipse Cruises in Antarctica

Posted by Andrew Castles on May 16, 2019

UPDATE - LAST AVAILABLE CABINS ABOARD THE NEW HONDIUS
ASK US HOW YOU CAN SAVE UP TO USD $1,000 PER PERSON WITH OUR EARLYBIRD SAVINGS

 

If you’ve got your eye on an expedition cruise to Antarctica in the next few years, you might just want to clear your calendar for November / December 2021. A total solar eclipse will occur over Antarctica on 4 December 2021, so don’t miss your chance to see one of Earth’s most wondrous cosmic events in one of Earth’s most magnificent locations. 

Though total solar eclipses occur somewhere in the world once every 18 months or so, they can only be seen along a very narrow path, so you need to ensure you're positioned right on the centre-line of the eclipse to experience full totality (total darkness during the day). And that’s exactly what you will get when you join a luxury small ship cruise down to Antarctica for this eclipse. You’ll enjoy a prime viewing position to see the moon transition in front of the sun, with 1 minute and 54 seconds of total darkness expected.

 

 

Of course, while the eclipse is without doubt a major highlight of this expedition, you will also enjoy all that Antarctica otherwise has to offer.  Three of the ships making this voyage will be the ice-strengthened Plancius (116 passengers), Ortelius (116 passengers - SOLD OUT) and the world's first Polar Class 6 expedition ship, the soon-to-be-launched 174 passenger Hondius. The full voyage takes 20 days and will visit the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctica Peninsula. 

On the morning of the eclipse, each of these ships will be positioned on the centre-line of the moon’s shadow, at the edge of the sea ice in the Weddell Sea, between the South Orkneys and South Georgia.

Here's an overview of what's on offer:

 

Aboard Hondius  - Limited Cabins Remaining!

 

Hondius in Antarctica

 

Antarctic Peninsula - SOLAR ECLIPSE - South Georgia - Falkland Islands

Launching in 2019, the 174 passenger Hondius is the world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 cruise ship. Technologically-advanced with excellent eco-tourism credentials, the Hondius sets a new standard in polar cruising.

More about Hondius

See the Itinerary

Date: 26 November - 15 December 2021, 19 nights / 20 days 
Embarkation & disembarkation: Ushuaia
 

LAST CABINS SELLING FAST!

Prices per person, twin share in US Dollars:

· Quadruple Porthole: $16,400

· Triple Porthole: $17,900

· Twin Porthole: $19,800

· Twin Window: $20,600

· Twin Deluxe: $22,100

· Superior: $23,700

· Junior Suite: $25,400

· Grand Suite with private balcony: $29,150

· Hondius Suite: $33,500

 

 

Aboard Ortelius - SOLD OUT!

 

Ortelius Antarctica eclipse cruise

 

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - SOLAR ECLIPSE - Antarctic Peninsula

Launched in 1989 as Marina Svetaeva for the Russian Academy of Science, Ortelius caters to just 116 guests and is ice-rated to the highest levels (equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate the ice packs of the Polar regions.

More about Ortelius

See the Itinerary

Date: 24 November - 13 December 2021, 19 nights / 20 days
Embarkation & disembarkation: Ushuaia

Prices per person, twin share in US Dollars:

· Quadruple Porthole: $16,400 - SOLD OUT

· Triple Porthole: $17,900 - SOLD OUT

· Twin Porthole: $19,800 - SOLD OUT

· Twin Window: $20,600 - SOLD OUT

· Twin Deluxe: $22,100 - SOLD OUT

· Superior: $23,700 - SOLD OUT

 

 

Aboard Plancius - Limited Cabins Remaining!

 

Plancius eclipse 2021

 

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - SOLAR ECLIPSE - Antarctic Peninsula

The ice-strengthened 116 passenger vessel Plancius is an excellent vessel for polar expedition cruises in both the Arctic and Antarctica.

More about Plancius

See the Itinerary


Date: 23 November - 12 December 2021, 19 nights / 20 days
Embarkation & disembarkation: Ushuaia
 

Prices per person, twin share in US Dollars:

· Quadruple Porthole: $16,400

· Triple Porthole: $17,900 - SOLD OUT

· Twin Porthole: $19,800

· Twin Window: $20,600

· Twin Deluxe: $22,100 - SOLD OUT

· Superior: $23,700

 

Single travellers are accommodated on each ship upon payment of a single supplement of between 70% and 100%.

 

Antarctica eclipse cruise hondius

 

The goal on this itinerary is of course to experience the total eclipse, but please keep in mind the polar regions are known for their unpredictability. There’s always the chance overcast skies may hinder visibility and that adverse conditions may alter certain details of the pre-planned route. Plancius and Ortelius are scheduled to make the trip clockwise, while Hondius will make it counter-clockwise.

These once-in-a-lifetime voyages combining the best of Antarctica with a total solar eclipse are sure to sell fast. Secure your place today by calling the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists on 1800 90 20 80 or email [email protected]

 

All availability accurate as at 17 May 2019 and is subject to change.

Solar Eclipse in Antarctica aboard the Greg Mortimer

Posted by Andrew Castles on January 19, 2019

Australia’s leading polar expedition cruise operator Aurora Expeditions has this week announced the 2020/21 Antarctic and Arctic cruise schedules for their new state-of-the-art expedition ship the Greg Mortimer.

A highlight of the announcement was more detail about their once-in-a-lifetime 22 day ‘Solar Eclipse in Antarctica’ expedition which will depart Ushuaia in Argentina on 24 November 2021. Although total solar eclipses occur somewhere around the world every 12 - 24 months, it is indeed a very special opportunity to experience one over the white continent on a cruise that also calls in at the wildlife-haven that is South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

 

 

Departing from Ushuaia in Argentina, the Greg Mortimer will cross the famed Drake Passage, putting her unique X-Bow design to good use (the innovative bow design promises to reduce up and down movement and ‘roll’ in rough seas). On arrival at the peninsula guests will enjoy time to land on the ice, calling at sites including Lemaire Channel and ‘Kodak Alley’ and having close up encounters with Gentoo Penguins. 

From the peninsula, the ship will get into position at the centreline of the eclipse in the northern Weddell Sea, where up to four minutes of totality is expected during the eclipse on the morning of 04 December 2021. Details of the eclipse,courtesy of NASA, are as follows:

 

Nasa solar eclipse Antarctica map 2021

 

The next stop on the voyage will be four full days spent exploring the iconic South Georgia islands. South Georgia is renowned for incredible wildlife experiences, including Salisbury Plains, home to one of the largest King Penguin populations at over 100,000 pairs. There’s also the opportunity to pay respects at the grave of legendary polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and Godthul, replete with its bleached whale bones, colonies of fur seals and penguins just ‘hanging about’.

The Falkland Islands mark the final stop of the voyage, before the expedition wraps up back in Ushuaia on 15 December 2021.

See the full itinerary here: https://www.expeditioncruisespecialists.com/destinations/antarctica/antarctica-eclipse-aurora

 

Greg Mortimer Solar Eclipse Map

 

About the Greg Mortimer

Launching in October 2019, the 104-metre Greg Mortimer is Aurora Expeditions’ first purpose-built expedition vessel. Most striking is her unique X-Bow design, a feature said to ensure even the most fearsome crossings (such as the Drake Passage) can be made in relative comfort. 

On the inside, travellers will savour all of the comforts of home, include spacious staterooms, all with private en suite, and many with private balcony. There’s also an open seat dining room that accommodates all guests in one sitting, and a top deck bar / lecture room to sit back and enjoy panoramic views.

 

Greg Mortimer Suite

 

Experiences expeditioners will appreciate the dedicated mudroom (with individual lockers for all travellers) and innovative hydraulic viewing platforms which slide out from the side of the ship allowing up-close experiences with passing whales and icebergs.

Prices for the 22 day ‘Solar Eclipse in Antarctic’ voyage start at USD 23,700 per person in a triple share stateroom through to USD 29,600 per person in a twin share Balcony Stateroom and USD 51,200 per person (twin share) in the Captain’s Suite – which we should point out is not actually sharing with the Captain!  And, when you book before 31 March 2019 there’s also some great Earlybird Savings on offer – call us for details today.

See more about the Greg Mortimer at: https://www.expeditioncruisespecialists.com/ships/greg-mortimer-aurora

Limited to no more than 120 expeditioners aboard the new Greg Mortimer, this unique journey is sure to sell quickly. For more information contact our Antarctica Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 or send us an email for pricing and availability.

Click here to read about three more great Antarctica Eclipse cruises aboard the new Hondius, Ortelius and Plancius.

 

 

Hondius the latest new ship for Antarctica

Posted by Andrew Castles on March 23, 2018

Hondius cruising in Antarctica

 

Over the next two years we’ll be seeing some exciting advancements in expedition cruising, with several new ships taking to the water. And, if you’re planning a trip to the polar regions this will be particularly good news for you, with at least three state-of-the-art ships due to launch during 2019/20.

Previously we’ve told you about the new polar ships currently being built for both Aurora Expeditions (The Greg Mortimer) and Lindblad Expeditions (National Geographic Endurance), and today we’d like to provide you with an update on the new Hondius, currently under construction in Croatia for Dutch polar operator Oceanwide Expeditions.

Hondius is set to become the fifth ship in the Oceanwide fleet and - upon launch - will become the first ever vessel to achieve Polar Class 6 standards. Her ice-strength means she can venture into the deepest of polar regions, beyond the capability of other ships. She’s also designed to be exceptionally friendly to the environment as well, exceeding the latest green requirements imposed by the International Maritime Organization, using only bio-degradable paints, LED lighting, steam heat, and flexible power management systems to keep fuel consumption and CO2 emission at the absolute minimum.

 

Hondius Antarctica Cruise Lounge

 

Onboard, Hondius will accommodate up to 174 explorers (and 72 crew) in style, and just because you’re sailing through the least civilised locations on Earth doesn’t mean your on-board experience has to be uncivilised. As a Hondius guest, you will enjoy cuisine, surroundings, and service that starkly contrast the rugged world just outside your window. A sizable observation lounge, fully provisioned bar, and separate library room guarantee that what time you spend on board will be spent comfortably entertained.

Hondius also offers a choice of eight different levels of accommodation, with porthole cabins (quad, triple and twin) available for the budget-conscious and families, through to Superior Cabins, Junior Suites and the ultra-luxury Hondius Suite. Custom-designed and impeccably outfitted in stylish mid-century modern décor, you’re sure to be impressed by the look and feel of your cabin.

 

Hondius Superior Cabin Antarctica Cruise

 

Hondius 2019 Antarctica Cruise Schedule

 

Hondius’s 2019 Antarctic schedule has just been released, and you can be one of the very first to experience this new state-of-the-art vessel. Her inaugural voyage is a 20-night expedition departing 3 November 2019, and there’s still cabins available, starting at USD $12,500 per person in a Quad-Share cabin or USD $15,700 in a Twin Window cabin through to USD $24,900 per person in the exclusive Hondius Suite.

Here’s Hondius’s full 2019 calendar of Antarctic sailings:

 

03 November 2019 - 20 Nights - Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Puerto Madryn to Ushuaia / From USD $12,500 per person

 

02 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $6,500 per person

 

11 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $6,500 per person

 

20 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $7,200 per person

 

29 December 2019 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $7,200 per person

 

07 January 2020 - 19 Nights - Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $15,350 per person

 

05 February 2020 - 10 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $8,950 per person

 

15 February 2020 - 9 Nights - Antarctica Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $7,200 per person

 

24 February 2020 - 22 Nights - Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Elephant Island, Antarctica Polar Circle

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $15,350 per person

 

17 March 2020 - 13 Nights - Antarctica Whale Watching Discovery & Learning Voyage

Ushuaia to Ushuaia / From USD $8,500 per person

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL CALENDAR OF SAILINGS

 

For more information about Hondius’ inaugural Antarctica season - and her soon to be announced 2020 Arctic season of sailings - call the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 (within Australia) or +61 7 4041 2101.

 

Hondius in Antarctica

Orion heading to Russia & The Far East

Posted by Andrew Castles on February 15, 2018

orion russia far east

 

The 102-passenger National Geographic Orion is a familiar expedition ship to many Australians, having been based in our part of the world for several years while she was operating under the Orion Expedition Cruises banner to locations including the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.

After farewelling Australian waters a few years ago now, Orion was integrated into leading North American expedition company Lindblad Expeditions’ fleet as the National Geographic Orion. She has quickly become a staple down in the Antarctic region, offering cruises from South America during the peak Antarctic months of November to March, filling in the rest of the year with a series of European cruises during 2017 and a full schedule planned for the South Pacific (Tahiti, Fiji, Kiribati) between March and September 2018.

And now, just this week, we’ve been handed details of an exciting new schedule of departures for National Geographic Orion in 2019, focusing on the Bering Strait and Russian Far East. What’s particularly exciting about these voyages is that they are to regions which have been notoriously hard to reach in the past. For example, the Siberian Coast and Wrangel Island are bucket-list destinations for expedition cruisers, however there’s only ever been a couple of departures a year aboard the sturdy little Spirit of Enderby to cater to the growing demand.

Here’s details on the three different programmes on offer. If you’re interested in securing a berth we encourage you to get in early as there is only limited space and we expect these new programmes to be filled quickly by Lindblad’s large North American customer base.

 

13 Day Bering Sea Wilderness

Nome (Alaska) to Seward (Alaska)

Departing 9 July and 4 September 2019

Price from $20,290 per person

This 13-day itinerary explores the Bering Strait, a body of water separating the United States from Russia. While most of the voyage is spent in US waters, there is a brief crossing into (and landing) in Russia in the town of Provideniya. Other highlights of the expedition include exploration of the Pribilof Islands – home to about half the world’s population of fur seals, brown bear spotting in Katmai National Park and rarely-visited Kodiak and Shumagin islands.

 

Orion Russia map

 

 

13 Day Russia’s Far East and Wrangel Island

Nome (Alaska) to Nome (Alaska)

Departing 11 August and 23 August 2019

Price from $20,290 per person

This is the voyage that we’re perhaps most excited about. Not only does it cross the Arctic Circle into the Russian High Arctic, there’s also time spent exploring remote villages and towns on the Siberian Coast and, to top it all off, a four-day expedition around Wrangel Island Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site dubbed the ‘polar bear nursery'.

 

Orion wrangel Island cruise

 

22 Day Across the Bering Sea: From Katmai to Kamchatka

Seward (Alaska) to Nome (Alaska)

Departing 18 June and 21 July 2019

Price from $32,320 per person

For those with a bit more time, this 3,800-nautical mile journey almost circumnavigates the Bering Sea and explores one of the most rugged and wildlife-rich regions of the planet. You will have the chance to spot coastal brown bears from Katmai National Park to the Kamchatka Peninsula, search for Steller’s sea eagles along the scenically stunning Zhupanova River and marvel at the abundance and variety of marine mammals and seabirds from the Aleutians to the Commander Islands. 

 

Orion Russia Cruise bering sea

 

About the National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion accommodates just 102 guests in 53 staterooms and suites, nine of them with balconies. She is equipped with a full complement of cool tools to explore the environment, including kayaks, 14 heavy-duty Zodiacs, and an ROV. Her size and nimbleness offer the perfect combination of safety and the liberty to voyage untrammeled locations, where large cruise ships and less experienced expedition teams cannot go.

Click here for full details on National Geographic Orion

 

Orion cabin cruise