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Coral Expeditions Earlybird Sale On Now!

Posted by Andrew Castles on November 29, 2019

Australia’s luxury expedition cruise line Coral Expeditions is offering 10% off regular prices on a range of 2021 expedition cruises when you book and deposit by 01 April 2020.

Founded in 1983, Coral Expeditions is the pioneer of small ship expedition cruising in Australia and the South Pacific, and for a limited time we’re making earlybird savings available on some of their most popular cruise itineraries, including Tasmania, Cape York and Arnhem Land and Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast.

There’s no doubt that 2021 is shaping up as another big year for Coral Expeditions. Their fleet renewal schedule continues with the inaugural Kimberley sailings for their latest expedition ship, to be christened Coral Geographer. Currently under construction, Coral Geographer is a sister-ship to 2019’s Coral Adventurer and will join the Adventurer and former flagship Coral Discoverer exploring the Kimberley coast between Darwin and Broome over 11 days in 2021.

As one of the true pioneers of Kimberley cruising, when you take to the seas on one of Coral Expeditions’ cruises you are guaranteed an adventure to remember. From the Horizontal Falls to Montgomery Reef, King George Falls and King Cascades to the world’s oldest Aboriginal rock art, this itinerary is packed full of the Kimberley’s must-see icons. And, on top of that,  you will travel with some of the best expert guides in the business and an experienced expedition team.
 

 

Kimberley Cruises map 2021 coral

 


Coral Expeditions’ two new expedition vessels Coral Geographer and Coral Adventurer have been designed to welcome travellers with varying budgets. At the top end, spacious and luxurious Bridge Deck Suites and Explorer Deck Balcony Staterooms tick all the boxes for the most discerning travellers, while the more budget-based cruiser will be impressed by the comfortable surrounds of Coral Deck and Promenade Deck Staterooms. A new pricing model for 2021 also means there’s off-peak pricing on selected Kimberley cruises, resulting in earlybird fares from as little as $6,885 per person on waterfall and whalewatching season departures. This is some of the best Kimberley cruise pricing we’ve come across in a number of years, so make sure you get in early to secure the best prices.

Travelling in the peak May, June and July period also offers some great earlybird prices, with 10% off regular fares when you book before 01 April 2020. By booking early not only can you access the savings, you can also select the most appealing date, and you’re more likely to secure your first-choice stateroom type. Often, this means that you need to book your Kimberley cruise 12 to 18 months in advance to be sure you don’t miss out.
 
Although 2021 might seem a long way off, and you might think you have plenty of time to book your cruise, the incredible popularity of Kimberley cruising means that many of the peak season dates will be quickly snapped up.
 
Here's an overview of the 2021 Kimberley cruise season for each of Coral Expeditions’ three state-of-the-art small ships:

 

Coral Adventurer 2021 Kimberley Cruises - Earlybird Pricing

 

Coral Adventurer Kimberley cruising

 

Find our more about Coral Adventurer

 

Ten nights Darwin to Broome
Departs
23 April 2021 – Off Peak Pricing
14 May 2021
4 June 2021
25 June 2021
16 July 2021
6 August 2021 – Off Peak Pricing
27 August 2021 – Off Peak Pricing
 
Ten nights Broome to Darwin
Departs
3 May 2021
24 May 2021
14 June 2021
5 July 2021
26 July 2021
16 August 2021 - Off Peak Pricing
6 September 2021 - Off Peak Pricing
 
2021 Coral Adventurer Kimberley Earlybird Cruise Fares
Bridge Deck Suite - $18,801 per person, twin share
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom - $14,031 per person, twin share
Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom - $13,761 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck Stateroom - $9,801 per person, twin share
Coral Deck Stateroom - $8,415 per person, twin share
 
Off Peak Earlybird Pricing – available on highlighted ‘Off Peak’ departure dates
Bridge Deck Suite - $15,471 per person, twin share
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom - $11,511 per person, twin share
Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom - $11,241 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck Stateroom - $8,091 per person, twin share
Coral Deck Stateroom - $6,885 per person, twin share

 

Coral Geographer 2021 Kimberley Cruises - Earlybird Pricing

 

corla geographer Kimberley Cruises 2021

Find our more about Coral Geographer

 

Ten nights Darwin to Broome
Departs
30 April 2021 - Off Peak Pricing
21 May 2021
11 June 2021
2 July 2021
23 July 2021
 
Ten nights Broome to Darwin
Departs
10 May 2021
31 May 2021
21 June 2021
12 July 2021
2 August 2021 - Off Peak Pricing
 
2021 Coral Geographer Kimberley Earlybird Cruise Fares
Bridge Deck Suite - $18,801 per person, twin share
Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom - $13,761 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck Stateroom - $9,801 per person, twin share
Coral Deck Stateroom - $8,415 per person, twin share
 
Off Peak Earlybird Pricing – available on highlighted ‘Off Peak’ departure dates
Bridge Deck Suite - $15,471 per person, twin share
Explorer Deck Balcony Stateroom - $11,241 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck Stateroom - $8,091 per person, twin share
Coral Deck Stateroom - $6,885 per person, twin share

 

Coral Discoverer 2021 Kimberley Cruises - Earlybird Pricing

 

coral discoverer kimberley cruising 2021

 

Find out more about Coral Discoverer

 

Ten nights Darwin to Broome
Departs
16 April 2021 – Off Peak Pricing
7 May 2021
 
Ten nights Broome to Darwin
Departs
26 April 2021 – Off Peak Pricing
 
2021 Coral Discoverer Kimberley Earlybird Cruise Fares
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom - $15,021 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck (category A) Stateroom - $12,861 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck (category B) Stateroom - $11,835 per person, twin share
Main Deck (category A) Stateroom - $11,295 per person, twin share
Main Deck (category B) Stateroom - $10,791 Per person, twin share
 
Off Peak Earlybird Pricing – available on highlighted ‘Off Peak’ departure dates
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom - $13,671 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck (category A) Stateroom - $11,691 per person, twin share
Promenade Deck (category B) Stateroom - $10,746 per person, twin share
Main Deck (category A) Stateroom - $10,251 per person, twin share
Main Deck (category B) Stateroom - $9,801 per person, twin share

 

For bookings and more information speak to the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80 or email us.

 

Mitchell Falls Kimberley c cruises

 

* Earlybird prices are applicable when you book and deposit your 2021 Kimberley cruise no later than 01 April 2020. Subject to availability and not combinable with other offers other than Xplorers Club Savings.

Maldives Cruise Makeover

Posted by Andrew Castles on November 15, 2019

Choosing where to stay when planning a trip to the holiday islands of the Maldives can be such a hard decision to make - there’s so many picture-perfect archipelagos and luxurious resorts to choose from. So, instead of having to select just one location, why not see and experience as much as possible by joining a seven or fourteen-night small ship cruise.

Departing weekly from the sea-walled capital of Male, your cruise aboard the intimate Yasawa Princess promises plenty of time to experience the best of the Maldives. Choose from a range of activities including swimming and snorkelling in turquoise blue lagoons, SCUBA dives over some of the area’s best coral reefs, strolls on magnificent sandy beaches (on both resort and uninhabited islands) and even the opportunity to try your hand at landing a big game fish. And when the adrenaline isn’t racing, you’ll also love sitting back with a cool drink in hand while you take in the views from the expansive decks or your comfortable air-conditioned cabin.

 

Yasawa Princess Maldives Cruise

 

There’s a choice of three itineraries on offer, with seven-night cruises from Male to Maamagili (and vice versa - one way domestic flight Maamagili included) departing every Monday (year round), both easily combined to form the ultimate 14 night Maldives experience. The itineraries explore the Central Atolls, made up of South Male, Vaavu and Ari. The program is designed for both snorkellers and divers alike and highlights include an Alimathaa night snorkelling experience with nurse shark, sting ray and giant travally and a whaleshark excursion on the southern edge of Ari atoll. During the cruise there will also be multiple excursions to sand banks and deserted islands for picnics and to meet the locals. 

 

Maldives cruise map

 

Prices for the 7-night cruise from Male to Maamagili start from US$ 1,825 per person, twin share (including the one way domestic flight) while the 14-night Best of the Maldives cruise is priced from US$ 3,108 per person, twin share. There’s also an option to upgrade to an ‘all-inclusive’ fare which includes alcoholic beverages while onboard.

Fully refurbished in October 2019, Yasawa Princess’s 28 cabins are set across three decks and accommodate just 56 travellers. The air-conditioned cabins feature a charming, tropical décor and are replete with a range of luxuries and amenities to ensure your stay exceeds your expectations. There’s also a spacious and breezy sun deck with ample sun loungers, and an open-plan restaurant and lounge area.

We think they have done a fabulous job on the refurbishment, check out the first photos of her new look below. 

For more information about Yasawa Princess Maldives cruises call the expert team at Expedition Cruise Specialists today on 1800 90 20 80.

 

Yasawa Princess Dining Room

 

Yasawa Princess Dining Room

 

Yasawa Princess al fresco

 

Yasawa Princess cabin Maldives cruise

 

sun deck Yasawa princess Maldives

 

Yasawa Princess Maldives beach

Aurora Expeditions’ new Polar expedition ship Greg Mortimer sets sail

Posted by Andrew Castles on November 01, 2019

Greg Mortimer cruises in Antarctica

 

This week has seen a major milestone for Australia’s own Aurora Expeditions, with the official launch and inaugural cruise for their brand-new, state-of-the art expedition ship Greg Mortimer.

At a glittering ceremony in Ushuaia, Argentina, ahead of her inaugural voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula, the Greg Mortimer was officially christened by her godmother, co-founder of Aurora Expeditions Margaret Mortimer. Rather than the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne against the hull, the ship was christened by the smashing of a piece of Antarctic ice. Also in attendance was Greg Mortimer himself, famous explorer (the first Australian to scale Mt Everest!) and expedition travel pioneer.

 

Elephant Bar aboard Greg Mortimer

 

Speaking of her role as Godmother of the ship, Margaret Mortimer said: “It never crossed my mind that I would one day be Godmother to a ship named after my husband. I am so proud to be launching his namesake and pay tribute to all those hard-working people who have made this ship a reality. For future expeditioners, I hope you enjoy many hours of life changing moments on board the Greg Mortimer.”

The new Greg Mortimer is the first expedition ship to launch using the patented Ulstein X-BOW® technology, an inverted bow design that allows the ship to pierce waves with much more stability than the traditional bows we’re accustomed to. This game-changing technology is said to transform the experience and comfort on some of the world’s most legendary open-sea routes, including the Drake Passage which separates the Antarctic Peninsula from South America. 

 

Greg Mortimer Dining Room

 

A further advantage of the Greg Mortimer is that she has been built to adhere to the latest polar expedition cruising guidelines; Polar Class 6. 

The Greg Mortimer is built to accommodate up to 160 expeditioners, although she will typically travel with fewer in Antarctica to allow maximum exploration for her guests ashore. After a busy day of exploration on the ice, travellers will savour outstanding onboard facilities, akin to what you would expect to find on a much larger ship. In addition to a spacious dining room offering panoramic views, there’s also a well-appointed library, lecture room equipped the latest in AV technology, an observation lounge and an open-bridge affording spectacular views, surely one of the most popular spots to take a seat and admire the breathtaking scenery. There’s also a well-equipped gymnasium (to work off those sumptuous meals) and even a sauna, sure to be a popular spot to warm up after a day on the ice.

 

Greg Mortimer Bridge

 

The Greg Mortimer’s year-round schedule takes in both the Antarctic and Arctic regions (southern and northern summers respectively), linked by some fascinating expedition voyages through Central America and Europe. If you would like to find out more information about the Greg Mortimer or register your interest ahead of the upcoming launch of her 2021/22 schedule please call one of our expert team today on 1800 90 20 80 to find out more about this wonderful new expedition ship.

 

Click here to see more photos of the new Greg Mortimer

 

Greg Mortimer expedition cruise in Antarctica

Why Small is Big in Antarctica

Posted by Roderick Eime on August 20, 2019

Oceanwide Expeditions Hondius in Antarctica

 

Are you ready for your big adventure cruise?

You must be sick of hearing about your friends’ fantastic Antarctic adventures by now, so isn’t it about time you had your own?

Yes, it’s true, there are adventure cruises all around the world now but for most people, it’s Antarctica that sets the heart racing and is your first taste of true wilderness. The great empty white continent is the coldest, windiest, driest, least inhabited continent on the planet and hardly seems like an ideal holiday destination. Well, I’m about to tell you Antarctica is the sort of place you DON’T go for a holiday - but instead, for the most rewarding, enlightening and enriching adventure experience you will ever have. 

If you were to go into your corner travel agent and ask about Antarctic cruises, chances are they will scratch their head and reach for the closest brochure. Most likely it is a cruise company with whom they have a sales agreement and one that excludes a great many of the really interesting smaller cruise companies who know more about travel to Antarctica than the big, glitzy operators with their free-flowing champagne and Michelin-starred chefs.

Now, if you like that kind of thing, by all means, go for it because no matter who you travel with, you are sure to have the best time. But let’s dig a bit deeper and see what else is on offer for this spectacular voyage you will most likely only ever do once in your life.

 

Spirit Enderby Penguins in Antarctica

 

Where exactly does my voyage go?

Almost every voyage leaves from the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, at the very bottom of South America. You will then sail across the legendary Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula and - hold onto your beanie - because it can get rough. You might get lucky and sail across the ‘Drake Lake’, but no one can guarantee a smooth crossing.

 

EXPERT TIP from Expedition Cruise Specialists: These days new Polar Class 6 ships like Oceanwide Expeditions’ Hondius and Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer are purpose-built to minimise movement in open water. But if you’ve got a queasy stomach and even the thought of a bumpy crossing turns you green, Antarctica21’s new Magellan Explorer might be just the ticket. Cross the Drake Passage in both directions by charter jet before joining the ship close to the action.

 

The new Magellan Explorer in Antarctica

 

Once across the passage, your ship will arrive in the much calmer waters around the Peninsula and begin to explore the islands and fjords full of squawking penguins and curious seals. Ships may also visit the sites of current and former Antarctic bases, so there’s a fair dose of history too.

If you’re more the serious adventure type, you might consider a voyage to East Antarctica. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask. Because that part of the continent, below the Antarctic Circle, is the epicentre of history and exploration and is sure to trump your friends’ stories about their ‘excursion’ to the Peninsula. For this voyage, ships depart from the southern tip of New Zealand, stopping at the lesser-known subantarctic islands due south of the long white cloud. You may not have heard of Macquarie Island which, for trivia buffs, is actually part of Tasmania, although more than 1700 kms away. It was made famous by Sir Douglas Mawson, who set up camp there in 1911 while on his way to the Ross Sea, where you can end up if you’re going all the way.

 

EXPERT TIP from Expedition Cruise Specialists: Getting to East Antarctica is harder as it involves a longer time at sea, but the rewards are undoubtedly worth it. New Zealand’s Heritage Expeditions offer several expeditions to East Antarctica each year aboard the Spirit of Enderby, or for the ultimate experience you can cruise all the way from Ushuaia to New Zealand aboard Oceanwide Expeditions’ Ortelius or Lindblad Expeditions’ soon to be launched National Geographic Endurance.

 

Spirit Enderby towards Antarctica

 

What will I see in Antarctica?

Most of your boring dinner guests will tell you all about the penguins, (flying) seabirds, seals or even whales and, let’s be honest, they can be pretty entertaining. Communing with the handsome King Penguins with their hilariously fluffy youngsters is not something you’re ever going to forget. Then there are the boisterous Gentoos who hop around constantly tending their nests and demanding youngsters. Sound familiar? 

Sometimes the little guys will get distracted and come over to check you out. If you sit still, they will inspect your backpack, pulling on the buckles and straps to see what’s inside. Shoelaces are another favourite source of amusement.   

Now you need to be on your guard with the fur seals. The naughty weener pups, with nothing better to do while they wait for mum to come back from shopping, will chase each other around and sometimes you too. If dad’s at home you will likely get a surly look and a not-so-polite request to move along. 

 

seals antarctica with oceanwide expeditions

 

The big blubbery elephant seals are something else altogether. Like some weird sea monster dreamed up by Jules Verne, these slothy creatures wallow around in packs, belching and slobbering all over each other. The little ones, however, are as cute as all get out with their big dreamy eyes and whiskers and may even approach you if you’re patient. Your guide will quickly remind you that it's their choice, not yours to make the approach, so don’t get carried away. 

You’ll know too that whales love to go on summer holidays to Antarctica where all the food is. Take it in turns with your fellow passengers to stand watch on the bridge for the telltale blow of the spout. If you’re not sure what sort of whale it is, your guide will race over with the picture book and get you to describe the shape and pattern of the ‘blow’ and how big the fins are. Most common are the Humpbacks who just love to shoot out of the water and splash back in. This is called ‘breaching’ and it’s only Humpbacks which do this. Ask your guide why. Otherwise, you might sight the smaller Minkes, Orcas (aka Killer Whales) or big ones like Fin Whales or (get ready with yelps of delight) the super rare Blue Whale.

EXPERT TIP from Expedition Cruise Specialists: Several ships, inclduing Oceanwide Expeditions’ Hondius  offer dedicated whale watching cruises each year, guided by leading marine mammal experts.

 

Aurora expeditions whale watching

 

And what else is there to do?

These days the various ships that go south have a whole bunch of stuff to keep you amused. When ashore you can hike up a hill (or mountain), go snowshoeing, photograph everything in sight or explore the historic huts and bases like at Port Lockroy or Deception Island. For the particularly intrepid, there is ice camping (yes, in tents) or even snorkelling and dry suit diving for qualified scuba divers. During the few sea days and in the evenings, sit in on one of the expert lectures from biologists, historians or any of the other scientists who may be along.

Then, when your expedition is over, you will have a brag bag chock full of stories and yarns for when you take your place at the table

 

Roderick Eime is Australia’s leading expedition cruising photojournalist. You can follow his exploits at www.expeditioncruising.com

Images in this article courtesy of Oceanwide Expeditions, Aurora Expeditions, Heritage Expeditions, One Ocean Expeditions & Antarctica21 

 

Camping on the ice in Antarctica

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