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2021 Aranui 5 Schedule Released

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 13, 2019

Aranui 5 cruising French Polynesia

 

For over 30 years Aranui Cruises has been showcasing the South Pacific to eager explorers aboard ships that uniquely combine passenger cruises with freight and cargo delivery services.

Originally founded in 1954, the Aranui ships have been plying the waters of French Polynesia for over six decades. For the first 30 or so years of the company’s existence they operated primarily a regular cargo delivery service between Tahiti and the Tuamotu and Gambier Archipelagos, supplying and facilitating trade between the islands. It wasn’t until 1984 that the Aranui 1 was converted to accommodate the first passengers on her cargo routes, and by the time Aranui 5 was launched in 2016 the dual purpose of the Aranui ships was clearly cemented.

Today, Aranui 5’s classic 13-day Marquesas Islands cruise visits nine islands across three striking and distinct French Polynesian archipelagos - the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands - showing off some of the most naturally beautiful and untouched islands in the world, all with the comfort and ease of cruising.

The classic itinerary includes Bora Bora and its famed blue lagoon, plus Nuka Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, Hiva Oa and Fatu Hiva in the remote Marquesas; and the Tuamotu ports of Rangiroa and Fakarava with picturesque white sandy beaches. 

 

 

Aranui 5 unloading freight

 

In these rarely-visited islands the arrival of the Aranui 5 is met with great enthusiasm by the community, locals gathering at the wharf hours in advance to eagerly await the latest deliveries. But it’s not a one-way trade for the islanders, before Aranui 5 sets off for her next port the community’s wares are loaded aboard bound for Papeete and beyond; copra, citrus fruit, fish and barrels of noni being popular exports.

While the freighter is in port dispensing freight, her human cargo disembarks to explore a range of included excursions such as hikes, 4WD tours, visits to archaeological sites and a picnic on a secluded beach in Bora Bora.

There are 18 departures of the classic Marquesas Islands voyage scheduled for 2021 (operating year-round) with prices starting at $4,377 per person in a four-person dormitory, or $8,209 per person, twin share in a stylish Deluxe Stateroom with private balcony.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Marquesas Islands voyage departing on 16 December 2021 features an extended visit to Fatu Hiva as it coincides with the famed Marquesas Arts Festival.

While the Marquesas Islands itinerary remains incredibly popular, over recent years Aranui has been keen to expand their sights, opening up new expedition routes on their aptly-named Discovery Voyages.

 

Aranui 5 culture

 

The first of these new itineraries was the popular Pitcairn Island Discovery Voyage, first launched in 2019 (and sold out immediately – as it did for the 2020) and we have received confirmation that it will return in January 2021. With an expanded itinerary that departs Papeete via the Tuamotu and Gambier Islands to Pitcairn and includes an overnight stay at Adamstown as well as a visit to Oneo Island, this annual cruise will again sell out very quickly.

Given the success of the Pitcairn cruise, 2021 sees two new exciting Discovery Voyages having their maiden sailings.

The first of the new Discovery Voyages departs on 8 May 2021 and focuses on the Tuamotu and Society Islands, with visits to Rangiroa, Fakarava and Makatea in the Tuamotus and the Society Islands’ Raiatea, Tahaa, Maupiti, Huahine, Moorea and Bora Bora. 

The second is slated for 04 September 2021 and ventures from Papeete to the Cook Islands, with port calls scheduled for Rarotonga and Aitutaki. On the return journey guests will have the opportunity to explore the Austral Islands, the southernmost-archipelago in French Polynesia. A highlight of the time in the Australs will be Rurutu, where humpback whales come to reproduce between July and October.  

Aranui Cruises has a loyal following right around the world, and with just over 100 cabins available on each cruise you do need to get in early to be guaranteed a berth, particularly for the maiden Discovery Voyages. So why not give one of Expedition Cruise Specialists’ South Pacific experts a call today on 1800 90 20 80 to lock in your place! 

Discover the Aranui 5 and her 2021 itineraries

 

Aranui 5 cruise cabin

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.

Eco Abrolhos - the 'active' Kimberley adventure cruise

Posted by Guest Post - Paul Hogger, Eco Abrolhos Cruises on April 10, 2019

SPECIAL OFFER - CALL US TODAY ON 1800 90 20 80 TO BOOK THE FOLLOWING LAST MINUTE CRUISES = LIMITED CABINS!

13 Night Darwin to Broome - Departing 02 August 2019

  • King Bed Deluxe Stateroom - normally $14,033 per person, twin share - NOW $9,823 per person. SAVE $8,420 PER COUPLE
  • Internal Middle Deck King Single Bunk Cabin - normally $9,823 per person, twin share  - NOW  $6,876 per person. SAVE $5,894 PER COUPLE
  • Internal Middle Deck King Single Bunk Cabin (SINGLE TRAVELLER) - normally $9,823 per person, NOW $8,350. SAVE $1,473 PER PERSON
  • King Single Bunk Cabin with window - normally $10,484 per person, twin share  - NOW  $7,339 per person. SAVE $6,290 PER COUPLE
  • King Single Bunk Cabin with window (SINGLE TRAVELLER) - normally $10,484 per person, NOW $8,911. SAVE $1,573 PER PERSON

 

13 Night Broome to Darwin - Departing 17 August 2019

  • King Bed Deluxe Stateroom - normally $14,033 per person, twin share - NOW $9,823 per person. SAVE $8,420 PER COUPLE

 

This special guest blog (and photography) was kindly provided by Paul Hogger – Eco Abrolhos Guide and Photographer

 

SBS recently broadcast a 'Slow TV' series with The Kimberley featuring as one of the showcased journeys with a cruise from Broome to Darwin spanning some 15 hours of television time. While the voyage was portrayed as somewhat relaxing this is not reflective of the pace onboard the Eco Abrolhos.

You don’t have to be young and super fit, or a marathon runner, but aboard Eco Abrolhos the crew offer a vast range of activities that reward guests with a fantastic cross section of all The Kimberley has to offer.

 

Eco Abrolhos in the Kimberley

 

Why The Eco Abrolhos Itinerary?

At Eco Abrolhos we don’t offer seven or nine day 'Snapshots' or even five day 'Tasters', all eight of our annual Kimberley cruises are the same duration – 13 nights – and this is for a very important reason. We pride ourselves on taking each guest on a complete Kimberley journey – starting at Broome and finishing at Darwin or vice versa. By visiting the key sites regularly the Eco crew know the hotspots, where’s safe to swim, where the wildlife lives, the best fishing holes and where to find the largest variety of birdlife.

Our 13 night journeys are not just thrown together on the run. These expeditions are planned over 18 months in advance to correspond exactly with the best tides and moon phases for each voyage. The 13 night duration also enables Eco Abrolhos to set off on a spring tide (the largest tides) and finish 14 days later also on a spring tide. This planning is critical to provide the ship the greatest water depth (and assistance from the currents) to get into places like the Berkeley and King George rivers and give our guests the maximum “Wow factor” and water movement at iconic locations such as Horizontal Falls and Montgomery Reef, all of which are at the start or end of each expedition.

The neap tides (smaller tides) during the middle of the trip make for better fishing and crabbing opportunities in the central section and longer stops at the scenic areas like the swimming waterholes, indigenous rock art sites and onshore hikes. 

With a maximum of 11-metre (37ft) tides, timing is a critical factor everywhere we go in The Kimberley. Each and every one of our eight 13 night Kimberley Expeditions is planned like this; we’ve been doing it for years – and it works!!

 

Eco Abrolhos Itineraries

 

Eco Abrolhos's expedition tenders

The four  custom-built expedition tenders allow us to intimately explore the Kimberley. We don’t just drive up the rivers and watch the world go by. Our tenders allow us to put you in the action. With 140Hp engines, forward facing central seating and high sides, these are the perfect viewing and photo platforms. The folding front stairs makes boarding comfortable and easy and the full walk-around sides make fishing a breeze. 

Having multiple tenders allows Eco Abrolhos to cater to the various needs of our guests. Perhaps some of our guests wish to climb the waterfall while others would prefer to explore myriad creeks spotting wildlife. That’s no problem on the Eco Abrolhos.

 

Eco Abrolhos excursion tenders

excursion tenders eco abrolhos

 

Fishing aboard the Eco Abrolhos

Fishing is always a favourite activity. Our four tenders allow us to split the guests into 4 groups. Usually each tender heads to a different hotspot with their guide. It makes for some friendly banter both over the radio while the fishing is underway and afterwards back onboard the Eco Abrolhos. With all the guides being equal fisherman, the result is never the same.

 

Fishing aboard Eco Abrolhos

 

Indigenous Rock Art

Our captain is very passionate about the art and has over 35 years’ experience in The Kimberley guiding guests to remote art sites. We visit a mixture of Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) and Wandjina rock art sites. The hikes to get to the art sites range from under a minute to 20-minute climbs up a rocky cliff side. Some of the views from the art sites are just as worthy of the climb. Typically, we visit six to eight art sites during each 13-night cruise.

 

Eco Abrolhos rock art

 

Hikes and exploring ashore

Hikes, treks, bushwalks; call them what you will but they are popular during our cruises and the rewards are well worth the effort. In addition to hikes to the art sites there are multiple walks to fresh water swimming holes, hikes up side tributaries with small waterfalls and rock races, walks into areas to see stunning bird and wildlife and even a walk over a salt flat to an intact DC-3 plane wreck. One of the most active hikes is at the King George River. We only conduct this activity during the first half of the season when there is enough water flow above the falls. The hike starts with a steep incline up the side of a rocky slope before coming out on the rim of the 100-metre high gorge. The walk takes you past colourful wildflowers and along the rim before coming to the top of the iconic 88-metre high twin waterfalls. From there it’s a little further on to a delightful swimming hole on top of the world.

 

Walking excursions aboard Eco Abrolhos

 

And that's not all.....

We could keep going but by now we hope you get the idea. From pre-dawn starts to capture magnificent sunrises, to full action-packed days and backed up with a large range of post-sunset activities both on and off the Eco Abrolhos, your 13 Night “ACTIVE” Kimberley Adventure Cruise will leave you completely fulfilled with your voyage along the Kimberley Coast.

 

Eco Abrolhos after hours

 

It's not too late to book for 2019!

A selection of cabins are still available on Eco Abrolhos's 13 night Kimberley Adventure Cruises during the 2019 season.

Call us for current availability and best available pricing.

Prices for the 13-night expedition normally start at $9,823 per person, with single travellers able to travel in their own lower deck cabin without the need to pay a single supplement. Call today to ak us about our best available prices on these remaining cabins. For bookings and information please call the team at Expedition Cruise Specialists on 1800 90 20 80 today.  * Special offers are valid for new bookings only, made after 01 July 2019 and not combinable with any other offer.

 

See more about the Eco Abrolhos

 

Availability is current as at 01 July 2019 and 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.