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National Geographic Quest launched - See the first photos!

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 04, 2017

National Geographic Quest in action

 

Lindblad Expeditions’ new, 100 passenger expedition ship National Geographic Quest departed on its inaugural voyage earlier this week, and some of the first photos of the ship's stylish interior have just landed on our desk.

The first of two new, state-of-the-art expedition ships to be built near Seattle for Lindblad Expeditions (sister-ship National Geographic Venture launches in 2018), Quest will operate in Alaska over the northern summer, before heading down to the tropical climes of Panama, Costa Rica and Belize over the cooler winter period.

 

National Geographic Quest dining and wine room

 

Lindblad Expeditions has always been a pioneer in the field of expedition cruising, and National Geographic Quest achieves some notable firsts for this leading expedition company. She will be the first ship in their fleet voyaging in these geographies with step-out balconies (available in 22 of the 50 spacious cabins), plus six sets of connecting cabins for families and groups; and a designated mudroom for expedition gear.

 

National Geographic Quest cabin design

 

The lounge is the heart of the expedition community, where cocktail hour and Recap are held each evening. It’s also where you’ll gather for presentations, photography talks, and guest speaker presentations. Seating design takes advantage of the wraparound windows for an optimal view, and boasts multiple high-definition screens for slideshows and videos. Forward lounge doors provide direct access to the bow. There’s also a small reference library and board games and cards are also available.

 

 

Conveniently located on the lounge deck, the fitness centre is outfitted with two treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, exercise bands, and sets of small hand weights to use as well. Morning stretch classes are held in the open air of the sundeck, located aft on the observation deck. After stretch class the deck is set with tables and chairs, and lounge chairs.

 

National Geographic Quest cabin windows

 

National Geographic Quest comes equipped with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle-boards, snorkelling equipment, and Zodiacs - fast, light boats that can be used to explore remote areas. It will also have a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), video microscope, and a hydrophone and bow-cam designed to film and record the underwater world.

 

National Geographic Quest Boutique

 

National Geographic Quest Guest is an ideal platform for discovering the fast-moving channels and shallow coves of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest and for exploring the tropical waterways of Central America.

For more information, and itineraries click here.

 

National Geographic Quest travellers

New Antarctic Expedition Ships Launching

Posted by Andrew Castles on August 01, 2017

Over the next year or two we’re going to see some exciting additions to the world’s polar fleet, with two of our favourite ‘ice operators’ launching new vessels for Antarctic and Arctic waters.

 

Oceanwide Expeditions' M/V Hondius

In the first announcement, Oceanwide Expeditions revealed the latest addition to their fleet – M/V Hondius – a little while ago, with the first expeditions due to take place in 2019. A full schedule for the ship has not yet been announced, but we’ll be sure to let you know about the voyages as more information comes to light in coming months.

 

 

Hondius is the first new vessel to be built to class ‘LR PC6’, meeting the latest and highest demands of Lloyd’s Register for Polar Class 6 expedition ships, the highest Polar Class notation for ice-strengthened vessels.

At just over 107 metres in length, Hondius will cater to 178 expeditioners and 76 staff. Although we’re often loathe to recommend ships of over 100 passengers in Antarctica (to maximise excursion time), the team at Oceanwide have done a lot of planning to ensure sea legs are short and to focus on fast and effective access to shore and near shore activities for all nature and wildlife-minded explorers. A powerful fleet of zodiacs will guarantee quality outings and swift landing operation for all passengers at the same time. 

 

 

Hondius will offer deluxe accommodations for in total 178 travellers in one spacious Hondius suite (cabin size 33 m2), six grand suites with balcony (cabin size: 29 m2), eight junior suites with French balcony (cabin size: 22 m2), eight superior cabins, (cabin size: 22 m2), 11 twin deluxe cabins, (cabin size: 22 m2),  14 twin window cabins (cabin sizes: 14 to 16 m2), 30 twin porthole cabins, 2 triple porthole cabins and 4 quadruple porthole cabins (the porthole cabin sizes vary from 13 till 16 m2).

A large component of the Oceanwide Expeditions experience is education, and the ship’s designers have taken this into account when planning the new vessel. One deck has been entirely reserved for (multi-language) lectures and presentations in one large observation lounge, with an additional lecture room available for secondary lectures.

The vessel offers a deluxe standard and at the same time Oceanwide’s distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. 

 

 

One Ocean Expeditions' RCGS Resolute

In breaking news, our Canadian partner One Ocean Expeditions has just today announced that they will be expanding their polar fleet in November 2018, with RCGS Resolute joining their existing ships Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

 

 

Built in 1993 in Finland and most recently operating as Hanseatic, the 146 passenger Resolute is ice-strengthened to Lloyds 1A level, features modern stylings, excellent facilities and high stability in open water. One Ocean Expeditions is currently preparing itineraries for the new vessel, which we expect to be available from November 2017. Keep an eye out on our website for more details as they come to hand.

 

 

 

Resolute’s features include two separate bar and lounge areas with breathtaking180 degree views. A well-stocked reading room provides the ideal place to relax or catch up on some reading. Sumptuous meals are prepared for you by an expert culinary team and are enjoyed in either of two dining rooms, one of which features a popular bistro menu offering quick and easy meals for those prioritising time out on deck. Both dining rooms have ample and open seating paired with modern furnishings and large picture windows with 180 degree views. Other facilities include a theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, gymnasium, wellness centre, hot water spa, sauna and steam room and salt water pool.

 

If you’re thinking about an Antarctic cruise, or considering a cruise to the Arctic region to see the Northern Lights, these new ships may offer just exactly what you’re looking for. Contact our polar cruise specialists today for more information about our great range of Antarctic and Arctic ships,  and our portfolio of the world’s best expedition cruises.

Experience Polynesia's colourful Marquesas Festival

Posted by Andrew Castles on July 26, 2017

 

The Aranui 5, a unique half freighter – half cruise ship, will include a visit to the colourful Marquesas Festival as part of its final voyage for 2017.

The biennial festival is an important cultural event in the Marquesas Islands, the northernmost of Tahiti’s five archipelagoes. The 2017 mini festival will be a four-day extravaganza of Polynesian music and dance from December 18 to 21, 2017, at Tahuata, the smallest of the inhabited Marquesas Islands.

To coincide with the festival, Aranui Cruises’ will make an extended visit to Tahuata on December 20 allowing travellers to participate in a community feast and enjoy the cultural festivities well into the night.

The festival was created to keep the Marquesan culture alive and showcases the vibrant traditions of the remote island group with visitors treated to rhythmical dances, powerful drum performances, games and contests of strength and skill, as well as chanting, sculpting and tattoo demonstrations.

 

As a regular visitor to the far-flung Marquesas Islands, Aranui Cruises are a unique position to showcase these extraordinary islands to the world and there is no better time to visit than during one of their spectacular festivals. As with any major event, accommodation and flights are at a premium during the festival so the easiest and smoothest way to experience the Marquesas Festival is with Aranui Cruises.

During its 14-day roundtrip cruises from Papeete, the 126-metre long mixed cargo and passenger vessel dispenses cargo while guests disembark and explore nine islands across three striking and distinct Tahitian archipelagoes. Travellers can enjoy Bora Bora and its famed blue lagoon; the chance to walk in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson, Herman Melville and Paul Gauguin on Nuka Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa in the far-flung Marquesas; and the picturesque Tuamotu ports of Fakarava and Rangiroa.

Departing on December 14, 2017, the Marquesas Festival cruise is priced from $8,670* twin share for a premium suite and $7,970* per person twin share for a superior deluxe room, both featuring a balcony.

Aranui 5 also features a restaurant, two conference rooms, lounges, a library, a boutique, a swimming pool, a fitness room, a spa and four bars including the popular Sky bar. 

 

Across Antartica - The Ultimate Voyage

Posted by Andrew Castles on July 17, 2017

A little while ago I was having a chat with Florian from polar specialists Oceanwide Expeditions when he let me in on a little secret; they would soon be releasing details of their long-awaited Antarctic Ross Sea expeditions departing in 2020.

Now, 2020 is still quite some time away and planning an Antarctic cruise almost three years in advance can seem like a brave move, I mean who knows what your personal situation will be in three years time? But in the case of this special voyage, it is one you need to get your name down early for, or risk missing out.

 

Ortelius Across Antarctica Cruise

 

So what makes this trip so special? Well, firstly it is the most comprehensive Antarctic peninsula expedition you can take part in. Often, when joining an Antarctic expedition you need to choose to either travel down to the Antarctic Peninsula from Ushuaia in Argentina, or head to the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay region from Australia / New Zealand. Rarely do you get to do both sides of the continent during a single trip like this.

And secondly, it’s an itinerary only operated once every four or five years, so there’s always pent up demand. You must book far in advance otherwise it might be 2025 before you will have another chance to join this epic journey.

 

Ortelius cruising Antarctica

 

On this 32 day expedition you will be travelling aboard the sturdy Ortelius. She is an ice-strengthened small ship (rated to the equivalent of 1A; the highest ice rating) designed for polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica. Limited to no more than 116 passengers and 53 cabins, her size ensures a flexible polar experience with maximum wildlife opportunities. Ortelius carries ten high-powered zodiacs for landings and exploration. She also has a couple of helicopters onboard, adding yet another element to her exploratory capabilities.

Highlights of the voyage include the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, the huts of the British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross Island, McMurdo Station and the Dry Valleys, two full days on the Antarctic Peninsula, a crossing of the legendary Drake Passage, the Ross Sea and New Zealand's sub-Antarctic Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatrosses. 

 

ortleius antarctica wildlife seal

 

Prices for this stunning voyage start at USD $24,950 per person in a quad share room, or just a tick under USD $32,000 per person twin share. The departure dates are as follows:

Ushuaia, Argentina to Bluff, New Zealand – 13 January to 04 February 2020

Bluff, New Zealand to Ushuaia, Argentina – 15 February to 17 Match 2020

Click here to see the full itinerary

As we said, there’s lots of demand for this one, and with only a total of 106 cabins available across the two voyages you will need to book early. Give our Antarctic cruise specialists a call today to put your name down for more information.

 

Ortelius in the ice Antarctica

Choose Kimberley Cruising for the Ultimate Experience

Posted by Andrew Castles on June 29, 2017

Great Escape during a waterfall season Kimberley Cruise

 

If you are someone who wants to enjoy a Western Australian cruise, visiting amazing places with breathtaking scenery while at the same time experience the ambience of a luxury cruise vessel with fantastic amenities, then look no further.

Here at Expedition Cruise Specialists, we love expedition cruising and our team of cruise specialists are trained and experienced to help you make the right decision for your adventure.

We are  so much more than just another travel agency, we are people just like you and we know exactly what it takes for an expedition cruise to tick all the boxes.

With so much choice available, the world of expedition cruising can be confusing to the newcomer.

It would be a costly mistake if you choose the wrong cruise.

You need to find the right ship, the right itinerary and the right time of year to sail.

 

Aboriginal Art site is a feature of Kimberley Cruises

 

For Unforgettable Memories choose Kimberley Cruising

It has to be said that Australia has some of the most spectacular locations in the world, and the Kimberley region is right up there for incredible scenery and wildlife.

The region known simply as The Kimberley takes its evocative name from its most imposing landmark; an ancient mountain range visible from the rugged sea coast.

This is a land steeped in ancient Aboriginal culture and adorned with the world’s oldest known indigenous art, the mysterious Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) paintings.

However so few people get to see and experience the beauty and awe of this amazing part of the world.

The terrain is rugged and not easily accessible to mainstream vehicles or tourists wanting to go it alone.

The easiest and safest way to visit these remote areas is with professional and experienced tour guides who know the area well.

Now can you imagine yourself embarking on an amazing adventure to the Kimberley region in the comfort of a luxury expedition cruise ship?

Yes please!

It’s true, this is on offer and is an absolute must for anyone who wants to get out there and do it in style.

Cruise the stunning waters of the Australian coastline on board one of several magnificent vessels.

We have carefully crafted cruise and touring itineraries to allow guests the opportunity to ‘experience the destination’ - daily activities include scenic walks, helicopter flights, fishing, culture, picnics, nature, exploring and much more!

 

True North on a Kimberley Cruise in Western Australia

 

Seasonal Savings

Expedition cruises along the Kimberley coast in Western Australia are only possible during the dry season between late March and early October each year, when weather conditions are ideal.

For more inspiration, contact us (Freecall within Australia) on 1800 90 20 80 or email [email protected] on and we will be happy to help you start planning an adventure of a lifetime.

 

King George Falls on a  Kimberley Cruise