Get up close & Personal with Whales in Patagonia!

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Travellers to Chile who join Swoop Patagonia’s three-day Kayak With Humpback Whales expedition between December and April, will have the chance of a magical close encounter with these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.

Accompanied by experienced guides who know these gentle giants well, guests are transferred from Punta Arenas to Punta Carrera Bay, from where they sail through the famous Magellan Straits to Carlos III Island, home to a research centre for whales and the base for this trip.

Nearby, the Francisco Coloane Park – Chile’s first marine reserve – was established to protect important feeding grounds after scientists discovered that humpback whales were returning to the area every summer.

Guests will have numerous opportunities to spot the graceful, inquisitive mammals from the boat during this trip, and those who wish may even take to the water in double kayaks and paddle alongside them.

Other highlights of the voyage include the impressive Santa Inés glacier and scenery of the remote Seno Helado fjord, as well as the abundance of Patagonian wildlife, such as sea lions, southern fur seals, Peale’s dolphins, black-browed albatross, condor, imperial cormorants and Magellanic penguins.

Overnight accommodation for up to 10 guests is provided in futuristic-looking treetop eco domes built on wooden platforms within the forest on Carlos III Island.  Here guests learn more about humpback whales from marine biologists and enjoy direct views from the dining hall out across the bay.

Prices for the three-night trip start from £1397 per person and include return transfers from Punta Arenas, meals outlined in the itinerary, the use of double kayaks and associated equipment, eco dome accommodation and expedition guides.

For more information on travel to Patagonia with Swoop visit: https://www.swoop-patagonia.com or telephone 0117 369 0296

For more information on Swoop-Patagonia’s 3-day kayak with humpback whales visit https://www.swoop-patagonia.com/visit/wildlife/whales

UnCruise Adventures Announces 2019 Schedule of Small Ship Adventure Cruises

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 New 10- and 12-night cruises in Costa Rica and Panamá highlight what’s new in UnCruise Adventures’  2019 schedule of adventure cruisesBased in Seattle, Washington, the line operates eight adventure ships, plus a partner vessel in the Galápagos, carrying 22-90 guests in Alaska, coastal Washington, Columbia & Snake Rivers, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Hawaii, Galápagos, Costa Rica and Panamá.

Small ships decked out with adventure gear take travellers deeper into the destination: kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff excursions, hiking, bushwhacking, biking, snorkeling and rafting.

“After a year of operating in Costa Rica and Panamá, we’re combining elements of our two itineraries into longer, more in depth voyages,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO. “The cultural experience in Panamá is meaningful; it’s worth the time to explore both countries and makes the trip even more memorable.”

Costa Rica and Panamá – New 10 and 12-night cruises


Columbia and Snake River cruise – New wine and culinary cruise

Southeast Alaska – 1 new itinerary; Glacier Bay National Park-UNESCO site 

Galápagos Islands –UNESCO site

Hawaiian Islands – Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Coastal Washington – Olympic National Park-UNESCO site

With a focus on exploring nature and wildlife outside, UnCruise carries its own adventure equipment and employs a team of knowledgeable expedition guides to lead adventures off ship. Guests are immersed in the destination and can choose from varying levels of activities—kayaking, hiking, beachcombing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, skiff excursions and wildlife searches.

Inclusive cruises include fresh, innovative meals; all beverages including alcohol; adventure activities; transfers day of cruise and wellness amenities. Port taxes and fees are additional. Stopover hotel stays and land packages are available in connection with cruises. Theme cruise topics include photography, marine biology, ornithology, wellness and wine. A Family Discoveries program encourages families to bring children 8 years and older with a savings of $500 for kids ages 8 to 13 years old. To book or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or UnCruise Adventures at 888-862-8881 or sales@uncruise.com.

LINDBLAD-EXPEDTIONS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – THE WILDER SIDE OF CALIFORNIA

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 Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced the inaugural voyages for the newest addition to their fleet, National Geographic Venture, sister ship of National Geographic Quest.  Slated for delivery in October, the 50-cabin coastal vessel is the second new build for the line, and has been designed with decades of expedition experience.

Following a series of launch celebrations in San Francisco, National Geographic Venture will depart on two new and unique inaugural itineraries that explore the Pacific coast, giving guests a privileged perspective on the region—before she begins her seasons in Baja, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

The first inaugural voyage, COASTAL CALIFORNIA BY SEA, flips the California script as National Geographic Venture explores the beauty and the seldom-seen highlights of its coast and islands—joined by Sven Lindblad, CEO & Founder of Lindblad Expeditions.  Departing San Francisco on December 2, 2018, the 5-night ‘left coast’ journey connects Northern and Southern CA, from the Golden Gate to Santa Catalina Island. Rates begin at $3,800 per person based on double occupancy.

The second inaugural voyage, FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO BAJA: SAILING THE PACIFIC COAST will depart December 7, 2018. Guests will experience the splendid and surprising diversity of the Pacific coast as the Venture travels from Los Angeles to La Paz, Mexico on the 12-night adventure.  Discover the region’s world-renowned food and wine, including a private lunch at a boutique vineyard in the Valle de Guadalupe. Snorkel in the vibrant undersea universe of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, teeming with marine life. Meet the residents of Isla Natividad, an incredibly successful coop within the Vizcaino Biosphere, and learn the inspiring story of their sustainable fishing practices.  Hang out with naturalists as they scour the horizon for migrating whales and nesting birds to share with you. Rates begin at $9,120 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

AdventureSmith Explorations Adds Five New Purpose-Built Expedition Ships

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A baby boom of new polar cruise vessels anticipates a growing interest in exploring Antarctica for many years to come. For the upcoming 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons, AdventureSmith Explorations, has added to its portfolio five new purpose-built vessels that will cruise Antarctica.

Following are the new builds in AdventureSmith Explorations’ polar-directed itineraries:

World Explorer for 176 guests first sails Dec.16, 2018, on the Explorers & Kings itinerary; in January 2019 it moves to the Antarctic Explorer 11-day itinerary that crosses Drake Passage. This 1B ice-class vessel boasts private balconies for each cabin, a glass-domed lounge for unimpeded ocean viewing, a gym, outdoor heated pool and running track. Days are packed with multiple landings, Zodiac cruises and such optional activities as kayaking, camping and stand-up paddle boarding (additional charge). On days at sea, the expedition team presents lectures and workshops. Rates on this ship are from $12,695 per person double for 11 days.

Hondius for 174 guests sails first in the Arctic (see North Spitsbergen) in June 2019 before repositioning for its first Antarctica sailing Nov 3, 2019, on the Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica itinerary. South Georgia, famous for its explorer history (Shackleton), is a haven for endemic wildlife. Smith encourages guests who can add a few extra days to a voyage to include this island (See: Why Include South Georgia with Antarctica and AdventureSmith’s recommended expeditions that include South Georgia below).

The ship—the world’s first registered polar class 6 expedition cruise vessel—boasts an exploratory educational travel program: interactive workshops on astronomy, navigation and botany with as much time off ship as possible. Guests can leave their shipboard base camp to hike, kayak, scuba dive and camp overnight (added cost). Choose from four different Antarctica itineraries aboard the Hondius; rates on this ship are from $7950 per person double for 10 days.

Magellan Explorer for 69 guests sails the Antarctica Air Cruise itinerary, with an air flight over the Drake Passage. The first sailing is Nov. 28, 2019, with itinerary options ranging from 6 to 16 days. The ship’s capacity is for 100; however, guests are treated to the ultimate small ship polar air cruise experience with the vessel featuring only as many passengers as a single flight can accommodate. “The Magellan Explorer’s dedication to keeping it small fits perfectly with AdventureSmith Explorations’ philosophy of small, sustainable cruises,” Smith says. She offers a variety of comfortable accommodations (many with private balconies) and includes the elusive dedicated single cabin. Zodiac cruises lead to a variety of polar activities, including kayaking, hiking and snowshoeing (at additional cost). The per person double rate is from $5,995 for 11 days on the ship’s inaugural voyage, with most regularly scheduled Antarctic Peninsula sailings starting at $13,995 per person double for 8 days.

National Geographic Endurance for 126 guests launches in the first quarter of 2020, with Antarctica sailings slated for the 2020-2021 season. This educational polar vessel has a specifically designed hull to break through the tough pack ice, increasing the ability to explore hard-to-reach destinations and making new expeditions possible. Her ability to venture deeper into pack ice and unexplored reaches, paired with state-of-the-art educational equipment, helicopter landing platform and highly qualified guides, create an in-depth intellectual and exploratory experience. Also notable: out of the ship’s 69 cabins, 75% have private balconies and 12 are designed for solo travelers. Further details will be forthcoming.

Set for 2020 Launch – Quark Polar Vessel (Name to be Announced)
Another recently announced 200-passenger polar ship is currently being built for safety and far-off exploration. The new vessel boasts twin helicopters and helipads for heli-skiing, flightseeing and exploration of otherwise inaccessible places as well as an innovative, internal hanger with four embarkation points for a fleet of 20 Zodiacs. These exploration tools; the ship’s specialized, cutting-edge safety features; and special provisioning and waste handling systems (enabling a 40-day operational range) all ensure the ability to go farther into the polar regions safer and more easily than before; look for future routes into the Ross Sea and the remote western Antarctic “Phantom Coast.” This ship is set to be launched in 2020, sailing the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Other itineraries that include Smith’s recommended South Georgia stopover are:

Explorers & Kings aboard World Explorer’s inaugural voyage Dec. 16, 2018, which includes stops at South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. The per person double rate for this 20-day expedition is from $23,595.

Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica is a classic option ranging from 19 to 23 days aboard one of three different expedition ships for the 2019-20 season. A notable new 23-day option on Feb 24, 2020, aboard the Hondius includes Elephant Island of Endurance (Shackleton) fame and the Polar Circle. The per person double rate on this 23-day route is from $18,500.

Antarctic Wildlife Adventure on the all-suite Sea Spirit comes with thousands of dollars in savings for those who book early on select 2019-20 season departures by October 31, 2018. The per person double rate varies by trip length but starts at $13,295 for 20 days.

Antarctica Air Cruise in 2020 is rolling out a new 16-day special itinerary on March 1, 2020. Guests fly to Antarctica then sail back by way of Elephant Island and South Georgia aboard the new Magellan Explorer. The per person double rate on this 16-day departure is from $15,395.

A number of ships are offering special deals and promotions for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Some extend specials into the 2019-2020 season, with notable early-booking discounts. Click HERE for more information.

For details on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide, day-to-day itineraries, availability and reservations, Phone: 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/.

Polar specialist, Swoop Arctic new, small ship.

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Polar specialist, Swoop Arctic (www.swoop-arctic.com), is delighted to announce that there will be a new, small ship available this summer for passengers wishing to take a more comfortable, intimate expedition cruise around the Svalbard Archipelago.

Originally a Norwegian weather ship, M/V Polarfront has been completely renovated to the highest standards, and now offers accommodation for a maximum of 12 guests in nine double cabins, all with en suite facilities.

Considered to be one of the finest small vessels operating in the Arctic, other features of Polarfront include a spacious lounge, library, outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and gym.  There is also ample deck space for wildlife viewing, together with an easily accessible crow’s nest, ideal for taking panoramic shots of the glorious surroundings.  Plus, at the end of a day of sightseeing, expedition landings and scouting for wildlife, the most delicious gourmet meals, prepared by a French chef, will be served in the dining room, accompanied by a large selection of fine wines.

In addition, comfort and sophistication combine with safety, stability and manoeuvrability, which will enable the ship to access inlets and fjords into which larger vessels would not be able to venture. M/V Polarfront will operate out of Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen, gateway to the Norwegian High Arctic.  Travellers flock to this breathtakingly scenic location, with its towering fjords, glaciers and snow-capped mountains, in search of polar bears, walruses, Arctic foxes, puffins and whales.

The month of July, with its long days and warmer weather, is an ideal time to view the region’s plentiful wildlife.

Departure date: June 2018 (sold out) & 4-14 July 2019.

Prices from Euros 9950 per person for a 10-night cruise based on two passengers sharing a Polarfront Suite with an early booking incentive of Euros 500 per person for the first three suites booked. Accommodation and all meals on board are included, as well as non-alcoholic drinks and excursions on one of two mark V zodiac boats.

For more information on expedition cruises to Svalbard, visit https://www.swoop-arctic.com or telephone 0117 369 0296

For more information on Swoop-Arctic’s voyages on Polarfront : https://www.swoop-arctic.com/cruises/ships/polarfront

Experience the magic of the Murray River on board Proud Mary in July and August for HALF PRICE!

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Indulge in Proud Mary’s superb, newly refurbished river view cabins, and discover the Murray River’s ecosystem at its best.

The award-winning Proud Mary caters for a maximum of only 36 passengers. Our river cruises provides the ideal environment for passengers to explore, experience, indulge and discover.

The well appointed bar, lounge and dining area provides the perfect location for indulging in the culinary delights of the resident chef, while viewing the passing Australian scenery.

This July and August, discover why our Murray River ranks with the Mississippi, Nile and Amazon for sheer beauty and diversity…. for HALF PRICE!

  • Newly refurbished river view ensuite cabins
  • All meals prepared by resident chef
  • Daily nature based shore excursion
  • Six experienced crew to cater for your every need
  • On board commentary     www.proudmary.com.au

 

PONANT sales for Winter 2019-2020 are now open

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For Winter 2019-2020, in addition to the Antarctic itineraries that are already on sale, PONANT is opening bookings on May 24 with more than 100 departures and 27 brand-new itineraries. The only French-owned cruise line propose to its passengers new destinations like Mexico, the red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Nearly 100 departures and 32 expeditions cruises

From the pre-Columbian civilisations of the Yucatan to the most important sites of the Ancient World in the Red Sea, via the nature reserve of the Aldabra Atoll, for Winter 2019-2020 PONANT is offering nearly 100 departures in Oceania, the Indian Ocean and Asia plus the Caribbean and Latin America.

The company is doubling the number of tropical expeditions thanks to the arrival of the first four PONANT EXPLORERS: Le Lapérouse, Le Champlain, Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville. These ships have just 92 staterooms and are at the cutting edge of technology with innovative equipment for protecting the environment. In addition, these vessels will be fitted with a world first – the Blue Eye, an underwater multi-sensory lounge that allows passengers to observe the underwater world at first hand.

Brand-new itineraries at the heart of the Indian Ocean

For Winter 2019-2020, PONANT is offering a selection of 15 tropical expedition cruises, led by an experienced team of naturalist-guides.

Passengers will discover the Seychelles: visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Vallée de Mai nature reserve on Praslin Island, and Aldabra, the largest raised atoll in the world, discovering the Aride Island nature reserve, 73 hectares of colourful vegetation and more than one million birds, or the red lands of the granitic Curious Island, with the possibility of diving and snorkelling. For the very first time, thanks to a new itinerary, passengers will also have the possibility of visiting the other Vanilla Islands: Madagascar, Reunion Island, Mauritius, the Comoro Islands, and Mayotte.  ponant.com