Sunday, 31 October 2010

In the Wake of the Vikings

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Scotland and adventure travel may seem like an unexpected pairing. Yet, Zegrahm Expeditions combines Scotland with the unspoiled islands of the Faroes and the volcanic wonders of Iceland for a 14-day expedition from July 13-26, 2011, aboard Clipper Odyssey that is sure to transform your view of Northern Europe from well-trodden to well-off-the-beaten-path.

Travelling in the wake of true expeditionary travellers — the Vikings — be amazed by the dramatic scenery that sets the stage for Zegrahm's expert team of lecturers to bring the region's natural history and culture to life. Voyage highlights include:

  • Tour (and taste!) Scotland's best-known industry: whisky
  • Storm the beach (via Zodiac) at Dunrobin and explore this 13th-century castle and its Versailles-inspired gardens
  • Sail past seabird colonies perched on cliffs along the region's dramatic fjords
  • Take a cliff-side hike and enjoy stunning views while learning about the volcanic geology below your feet
  • Visit picturesque coastal villages still steeped in Viking tradition
  • Embark on a thrilling snowmobile ride across Europe's largest glacier

For further information about Zegrahm Expeditions’ cruises, visit http://www.zeco.com/ or call the adbenture cruise specialists at The Cruise Line on 0800 008 6677.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

New Small Ship Line offers Adventure Cruises

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Small-ship line InnerSea Discoveries, sister company to American Safari Cruises, offers exhilarating cruises in Alaska in 2011 that go beyond the norm. Each of the four itineraries ranging from 7 to 14 nights is designed to take advantage of the wonder and wildlife that are hallmarks of the Alaskan wilderness. Rather than just being an observer, guests are invited to participate in daily included activities such as kayaking, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, exploration by small water craft and more.

The numerous activities offered cater to all levels of abilities. Guests choose the pace that appeals to them, such as a tranquil paddle along the shoreline, a robust guided six-hour paddle and hike at Deep Cove or quietly exploring pristine waters such as Yes Bay by stand-up paddle board.

There are options galore, including just relaxing on board to watch for sea and wildlife with a favourite beverage in hand from the on-deck hot tub!

All itineraries feature a port call at the authentic town/communities of Wrangell or Klawock to mingle with the locals who look forward to sharing stories about their rugged history and native heritage.

Choose from four adventure itineraries:

  • The 7-night South-east Alaska’s Inner Reaches Western Coves, Ketchikan to Juneau
  • 7-night Alaska’s Inner Reaches Eastern Coves, Juneau to Ketchikan
  • 14-night Alaska’s Inside Passage Ultimate Adventure (combined Western and Eastern Coves itineraries), from Juneau round-trip
  • And the 14-night Wilderness Passages of Discovery, Seattle to Juneau or reverse.

The itineraries are purposely flexible as nature sets the schedule and the floor-show. If a pod of Humpback whales are frolicking in Frederick Sound, the ship makes time to stop and linger.

Travelling with a maximum of 49 like-minded guests aboard the expedition ships Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer, guests can expect exemplary service, delicious cuisine with an emphasis on local foods served family style or buffet depending on the day’s activities, a 1:3 crew to guest ratio and access to top notch gear. The on and off-ship experiences are accentuated by experienced naturalists who present topical information and serve as guides on excursions.

Prices for the 7-night cruises start at $1,795 per person, double occupancy, and include transfers and all activities, except the optional excursions available at a few select wilderness stops. Port charges of $167 per person per week, massages and spirits are extra.

For more information, log on to http://www.innerseadiscoveries.com/

Reef and Rain Forest Cruises

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Reef and Rainforest is proud to present an unparalleled range of first-rate wildlife cruises on carefully selected small ships and expedition vessels, mostly to destinations in which they have years of experience. The emphasis is on wildlife and natural history, both above and below water. None of the ships has more than 150 passengers, and many a good deal fewer, so that pristine natural locations won't be swamped. On most cruises, biologists, conservationists and other specialists act as your guides, better to reveal the hidden mysteries of the natural world.

Destinations include North and Central America, Peru, Brazil, Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, Arctic, India, Africa and Indian Ocean, Madagascar, Seychelles, Papua New Guinea.

Highlights include:

Antarctic Fly Cruise - Antarctica XXI the first air cruise to Antarctica. Jumping over Cape Horn and the mythical waters of the Drake Passage, Antarctica XXI invites you to a unique experience that will take you to one of the most remote places on earth, the coldest, highest, windiest, driest, and most inhospitable continent - Antarctica. In less than 2 hours of flying from Punta Arenas to King George Island, the largest Island of the South Shetland Archipielago, you will be at the gates of the white continent. From King George Island we will navigate for six days and five nights along the Antarctic Peninsula, visiting the most wonderful places and enjoying the best wildlife sites of Antarctica.

Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness -
Cruise length: 8 days
Highlights: Spend a full day in Glacier Bay National Park; kayak and zodiac among icebergs in Tracy Arm Fjord; visit favoured summer feeding areas of humpback whales; and explore coastlines with some of the highest densities of nesting bald eagles

Amazon cruise (Above): Iquitos to Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve
Cruise length: 4, 5 or 8 days
Highlights: Explore small inlets, winding river systems, local villages and the wildilfe rich Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. The wildlife of the Reserve includes 13 species of primates and 200 species of birds

7-night Naturalist Cruises in the Galapagos
Cruise length: 8 days
Highlights: Explore one of the world's great natural wonders where geographical isolation has led to the evolution of may unique species, including marine iguanas, giant toroises and Darwin finches.

For more information loook at Reef and Rain Forest Cruises

Friday, 29 October 2010

Learn How to Capture the Northern Lights

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Both budding and experienced photographers can brush up on their digital photography skills with some of the world’s most beautiful scenery as the picture subject. Hurtigruten is offering two special themed digital photography voyages this winter, with the chance to capture snow-clad fjords, arctic landscapes and, hopefully, even the elusive Northern Lights. An onboard digital photography expert will provide guidance and a series of lectures so that everyone learns new skills and techniques.

Capturing the Northern Lights is a photographer’s dream and this winter Hurtigruten is offering separate beginners and intermediate voyages to ensure all levels of photographer are catered for. Both are accompanied by on board lecturer Paul Howard, who has been a freelance photographer with over 27 years experience working on both local and national newspapers and well known magazines.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY VOYAGE FOR BEGINNERS - 27 January - £1199pp – On this seven-day voyage, photography enthusiasts can learn how to perfectly capture the beauty of the fjords. Lectures include: basic digital photography explained; understanding our camera; picture composition and a Q&A session on becoming a photographer. No previous experience is necessary to get the most from this wonderful voyage. Priced from £1199 per person to include seven night’s cruising from Bergen to Kirkenes on a half-board basis, return flights from Heathrow and the services of a tour manager and lecturer. No single supplements apply.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY VOYAGE FOR INTERMEDIATES - 8 March - £1279pp – On this seven-day voyage, budding digital photographers can improve their skills and learn new techniques. Lectures include: Inside your camera; picture composition and use of the flash; photo manipulation – editing your photographs and a Q&A session on becoming a professional photographer. Priced from £1279 per person to include seven night’s cruising from Bergen to Kirkenes on a half-board basis, return flights from Heathrow and the services of a tour manager and lecturer. No single supplements apply.

Both voyages can be extended to include the return journey to Bergen (the full Classic Round Voyage) from £315pp.

For more information, visit http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/ or call The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

New Fly/Sail options to the Antarctic Peninsula

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Aurora Expeditions have launched their Antarctica brochure for 2011/2012, showcasing their brand-new Fly/Sail options to the Antarctic Peninsula and their celebratory voyages to East Antarctica and Commonwealth Bay to celebrate the centenary of Sir Douglas Mawson's Australian Antarctic Expeditions.

These 26-day voyages are Aurora Expeditions' most adventurous in scope, with extended sea crossings and the chance to explore the pack ice edge, where much of Antarctica's marine life, including whales, seals and penguins, can be found. The voyages will visit Mawson's Hut and the abandoned French base at Port Martin, and the working research station of Dumont d'Urville. Prices start from $17,475 per person, twin share.

The voyage, "Emeralds of the Subantarctic," is a 13-day expedition focusing entirely on the stunning islands south of Australia and New Zealand. This one-off voyage takes in Macquarie Island and Campbell Island, the Auckland Islands and, depending on sea conditions, a rare Zodiac cruise of the Snares Islands. This region contains the greatest diversity of seabirds in the world, often in astounding numbers. It's a tremendous opportunity to visit a wildlife wonderland. Prices for this voyage start from $7,325 per person, twin share.

Aurora Expeditions have also announced new Fly/Sail and Sail/Fly options, associated with their South Georgia & Antarctica Peninsula voyages. The Fly/Sail options have been designed to reduce sea time on these journeys. On two of the South Georgia voyages, participants will fly from Santiago in Chile to join the ship in The Falkland Islands, and on a third, the trip finishes in Stanley and participants fly to Santiago, reducing travel time by two days. The Fly/Sail voyages are 17 days in duration, with the first taking place from the 12th-28th November 2011, with kayaking and photography options, the second fom 5th-21st January 2012 with kayaking options, and the third from the 21st January-6th February 2012, again with kayaking options. Prices start from $11,685 per person based on twin share.

For the Antarctic Peninsula region, Aurora Expeditions are also offering Fly/Sail voyages for Christmas and New Year 2011/2012. The trips will travel south to the Antarctic Circle to visit remote regions such as The Gullet and Crystal Sound. The Christmas 10-day Sail/Fly voyage takes place from the 19th-28th December 2011 with prices starting at $7,340 per person, twin share, while the New Year Fly/Sail 9-day voyage takes place from the 28th December 2011-5th January 2012. Prices start from $6,525 per person, twin share.

For more information on Aurora Expeditions, visit http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/

Cruising to The Falklands

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Each year, thousands of tourists make the journey to the Falkland Islands onboard a cruise ship or expedition vessel. This increasingly popular method of travel allows people to visit many sites that remain largely inaccessible to land-based tourists in the Falklands, all from the comfort and safety of a world-class vessel. Ships have the opportunity to land on the outlying islands of the Falklands archipelago, including Carcass, Saunders and Sea Lion Island.

A wide variety of shore excursions and tours are available for passengers to experience the unique wildlife and fascinating history of the Islands. From the capital, Stanley, join the award-winning Bluff Cove Lagoon Tour, where you can stroll along the white sandy beach, home to 1,000 breeding pairs of gentoo penguins and a growing colony of king penguins and chicks, or watch the sea lions and dolphins often seen swimming in the surf.

Visitors can also take part in tours to Volunteer Point, a cornucopia of bird activity and home to king, gentoo and Magellanic penguins – as well as waterfowl and endemic sub-species like the dark-faced ground tyrant, Falkland pipit and thrush. Or enjoy the acrobatic antics of rockhopper penguins as they navigate and hop over the rocks on the Murrell tour.

New activities and tours for cruise passengers for this season are the Lorenzo Penguin & Nature Tour and the North Pond Penguin Tour. Both take guests on an adventurous 4 x 4 trip with a local guide and close experience of the penguins for which the Falklands are famous. Also recently added is a 2.5 hour guided historical walking tour of Stanley to convey the capital’s pioneering history and its British roots.

For more information, visit http://www.falklandislands.com/. For cruising, day tours and a list of operators who visit the Falklands, visit the Cruise Line Ltd or call 0800 008 6677.

World of Cruising magazine has a special feature on the Falklands in the next (Winter) issue, publishing December 28. Why not get yourself a copy by subscribing online on this link.

(Image of Rockhopper Penguins running by Alan White)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Oceania's Alaskan Bearwatching cruise

By guest blogger Steve Newman


As a pre-cruise add-on to its new schedule of Alaska sailings Oceania Cruises is offering a new three day bear watching tour, to enable guest to watch bears in their natural habitat in Alaska’s pristine forests.

The tour takes guests from Anchorage by float plane to land on a remote lake where families of bears feed on fish and can be seen at close hand. A boat trip to a remote lodge on the lake and a tour of the area maximises opportunities for guests to witness the wildlife and tranquility of this unspoilt region.

A second day is spent touring visiting Mt. Aleyska and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre, set amid hanging glaciers and surrounded by mountains, this 140 acre reserve works to rehabilitate injured or sick wildlife and provide wildlife awareness.

Oceania Cruises is featuring Alaska for the first time with ten new cruise itineraries that take in of Alaska’s magnificent waterways, glaciers and off the beaten track ports in summer 2011 on board its 684-guest, mid-sized luxury cruise ship Regatta (above), with prices from £1406 pp, based on two sharing, including all meals, soft drinks and bottled water.

For further information about Oceania Cruises’ visit www.OceaniaCruises.co.uk or Cruise specialists The Cruise Line.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

MS Expedition In Antarctica

By guest blogger Steve Newman

The MS Expedition (above) travels a yearly cycle from Antarctica to the Arctic, also stopping at the islands of the North Atlantic as well as parts of Central/South America. G Adventures have a focus on top of the line safety, comfort and the unique demands of polar travel, the MS Expedition is one of the world's leading polar expedition cruise ships. The expedition team is made up of naturalist, biologist, anthropologists and historians, who give detailed lectured and briefings on all the elements of the trip. Every evening the Expedition Leader will give a briefing on the plan for the next day. All travellers will also be prepared for what they are about to see and experience before any landing or excursion.

Antarctica Classic Duration: 11 days Departures: available throughout 2010 and 2011

Highlights: Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, the South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, amazing wildlife, and immense icebergs. A true adventure to the world's most remote wilderness. This 11-day Antarctica Classic expedition focuses on the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, home to some of the planet's most impressive wildlife and dramatic landscapes. Throughout the voyage, the team of lecturers and guides will share their knowledge of the region's remarkable natural history.

Enjoy an 11-day trip from £3,249. Price includes accommodation onboard the MS Expedition, meals, ten expedition staff and naturalists, Zodiac excursions, scheduled visits to the modern scientific research stations and one night accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia.

For full details please visit: www.gadventures.co.uk

MSC Lirica to be based in Abu Dhabi

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Abu Dhabi's ambition to become an international cruise hub has received a significant boost following the signing of a landmark co-operation agreement between Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and MSC Cruises that will see the company deploy one of its top vessels to the UAE capital on a home-port basis from October 2011. Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed Port will serve as the primary embarkation and disembarkation point for MSC Lirica.

Surrounding Lirica's 19 regional forays will be repositioning cruises from and to Genoa in Italy. On October 14, 2011, the vessel will depart Genoa for a 17-day/16-night maiden voyage to Abu Dhabi, where she will begin her maiden regional season.

A southland course will take Lirica through the Mediterranean, calling at Naples and Port Said (Egypt), before going through the Suez Canal and reaching Aqaba (Jordan). The vessel stops in Salalah and Muscat in Oman, then Dubai, before reaching her home port in Abu Dhabi. The luxury ship then leaves the UAE for Genoa on March 9, 2012.

With regional tours departing Abu Dhabi every Sunday from October 28, 2011, Lirica will travel round the Arabian Gulf peninsula to Muscat, before turning round en route for the UAE's eastern emirate of Fujairah on the Indian Ocean. It will continue heading north to Bahrain, then sail southwards to Dubai, before completing its journey in Abu Dhabi.

For further information log on to http://www.msccruises.co.uk/ or visit specialist agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Beat the Winter Blues with Azamara

By guest blogger Steve Newman

With the temperature in Mexico averaging 21°C in January, leave the cold weather behind and head to sunnier climes with Azamara Club Cruises A 12-night Sea of Cortez fly/cruise onboard Azamara Journey (Above) costs from £1,804.00 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).

Price includes return flights from London Heathrow, one-night pre-cruise hotel accommodation and an 11-night cruise departing San Diego (California) and calling at Mazatlan (Mexico), La Paz (Mexico), Topolobampo (Mexico), Guaymas (Mexico), Loreto (Mexico) and Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), before returning to San Diego (California); meals and room service; destination-influenced entertainment and enrichment programmes; housekeeping and dining gratuities; bottled water throughout the voyage; house wines with meals; specialty coffees and teas; and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.

Price is based on 18 January 2011 departure.
For more information visit http://www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk/ or visit cruise specialists The Cruise Line

Silversea February Caribbean Cruise

By guest blogger Steve Newman


The Caribbean will always be one of the most popular cruise destinations.
So it is no surprise that Silversea's
Silver Cloud departs 17 February 2011 on a 9 day voyage (#1106), from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados, with calls in Tortola, St. Martin, Antigua, St Lucia, the Grenadines and Grenada. All-inclusive cruise-only fares start at £2,298 per person. $500 complimentary onboard spending credit is awarded to each suite.
For more in formation log on to their site at www.silversea.com or cruise specialists The Cruiseline.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Amsterdam mini Cruise for £69 for two.

By guest blogger Steve Newman

The dark nights are upon us and the winter chill has just about started, so what better time to book a short break away with DFDS Seaways. Take advantage of the current Let's Go Dutch offer and travel on a Mini Cruise to Amsterdam from only £69 for two people. You buy one ticket and the other is courtesy of DFDS Seaways!

With two nights onboard the ship in an en suite cabin you can enjoy a great meal in one of the four onboard restaurants and afterwards why not enjoy a drink and live entertainment in the Columbus Club or simply chill out in one of the onboard lounges.

After a relaxing night's sleep you will arrive fully refreshed to start your Amsterdam adventure. Relax in a café, hit the shops or take a trip down the canal, the choice is yours. With museums, galleries, attractions and more, Amsterdam has something for everyone. If you fancy a longer break, why not extend your Mini Cruise break and include an overnight stay, through DFDS Seaways, in Amsterdam.

2 nights from £69 for 2 people. Based on 2 sharing inside cabin

What's Included
* 2 nights onboard ship in an en suite cabin
* Coach transfers to and from the city centre
* Optional complimentary coach sightseeing tour
* Live entertainment onboard

To book visit www.dfds.co.uk/dutch

Grand Voyage to Cuba

By guest blogger Steve Newman

With only eight cabins remaining, don’t miss out on Voyages of Discovery’s 31-night ‘Grand Voyage to Cuba’. Fly/cruise from only £1,599 per person (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).

Price includes return flights, transfers and a 31-night cruise departing from Malaga (Spain) and calling at Gibraltar (U.K), Cadiz (Spain), Funchal (Madeira), Antigua (British West Indies), St Kitts (Basseterre/Nevis), Dominica (Dominica), St. Lucia (British West Indies), Barbados (British West Indies), Grenada (British West Indies), Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago), Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago), La Guaira (Venezuela), Curacao (Netherlands Antilles), Aruba, Montego Bay (Jamaica) and Santiego de Cuba (Cuba) before arriving at Havana (Cuba); meals, entertainment and gratuities on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, plus onboard lectures from a team of renowned guest speakers.

Price is based on 18 November 2010 departure.

For more information and to book visit http://www.voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk/

Saturday, 23 October 2010

MSC offers fantastic prices to the Caribbean

By guest blogger Steve Newman

MSC Cruises is offering fantastic prices to the Caribbean. MSC Poesia will be cruising in the Caribbean from 1 November 2010 to 6 March 2011.

Customers can choose from a wide variety of itineraries ranging from 7, 10 and 11 night sailings. A 7 night cruise starts from £399 per person whilst a 14 night cruise starts from £550 per person. With these unbeatable prices there is also an opportunity to combine itineraries and gain extra savings. Furthermore MSC Cruises has just launched a Caribbean Mini brochure dedicated to the British market. The brochure features full details about MSC Poesia, her itineraries and prices.

For further information or to book a cruise with MSC Cruises visit www.msccruises.co.uk or visit dedicated cruising specilaists The Cruise Line.

Free return filghts to OZ

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Orion Expedition Cruises, the leading operator of five-star expedition cruising in the Australasian region, is offering free helicopter flight-seeing trips on all 2011 Kimberley voyages booked before the end of the November 2010.

In 2011, Orion Expedition Cruises will operate 13 Kimberley expeditions between the tropical city of Darwin and the historic pearling town of Broome (and vice versa). During these voyages guests will experience the dramatic contrasts of Australia’s north-west, rich in Aboriginal culture and galleries of ancient artwork. Towards the west, in the historic pearling town of Broome, the colours of nature are vibrant and intense: rich red earth, azure blue seas and brilliant white sand beaches. North of Broome lies the ragged Kimberley coast, a place you can only comprehend from the sea. Rugged gorges, inlets, waterfalls plunging 100 metres ( above) all combine for an awe-inspiring experience you simply can't have by travelling overland.

Anyone booking a Kimberley voyage before 30th November 2010 will have the choice of a free helicopter flight-seeing trip to either King George Falls or Mitchell Falls. This is in addition to the free flight over the Bungle Bungle ranges which guests already receive along with free return flights from the UK.

Prices for Orion Expedition Cruises’ Kimberley voyages start from £5,325 per person based on twin share including onboard accommodation, all meals, entertainment and educational programmes, use of the ship’s sporting equipment and facilities, Zodiac excursions, port and handling charges, tender transfers and government fees and taxes. Also included is the free helicopter flight-seeing trip to either King George Falls or Mitchell Falls, a free flight over the Bungle Bungle ranges and free return flights from the UK.

For reservations and enquiries visit www.orionexpeditions.com

Friday, 22 October 2010

Art in Antarctica - One Ocean Expeditions

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Polar cruise operator One Ocean Expeditions takes popular polar photographer Daisy Gilardini and her partner, watercolour artist David McEown, to Antarctica.

In November and December this year, polar photographer Daisy Gilardini and watercolour artist David McEown will sail to the Antarctic Peninsula on board the comfortable, ice-strengthened 89-passenger Marina Svetaeva. During the voyage Daisy and David will give talks, multi-media presentations and practical workshops on photography and art and, when landing on the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands, they will be available to help guests with sketching, camera settings and other creative queries.

The sailing dates for the Antarctic Peninsula Adventure are 28 November, 8 and 18 December 2010. All three voyages start and end in Ushuaia, Argentina. Passengers who choose to sail on the 8 December 2010 departure will be entitled to a great offer – the best available cabin at the time of booking for just US$6590 per person. They could even find themselves in a Shackleton Suite (subject to availability) with a normal published price of US$8590 per person; an enormous saving of US$2000 per person.

The Marina Sveteava has a multimedia download studio with computers and cables for downloading images, as well as numbered hard-drives for storage until guests are ready to back up to their own media device.

The price for the 10-night voyages (28 November & 18 December) starts at US$7590 per person sharing a twin cabin including accommodation, food and excursions during the voyage. The special price on the 8 December voyage is US$6950 per person for the best available cabin at the time of booking. Flights to/from Ushuaia, Argentina where passengers embark the Marina Svetaeva are not included in the price. There is no additional charge for the photography and art workshops with Daisy Gilardini and David McEown.

Find out more from www.oneoceanexpeditions.com

Yachts Of Seabourn Offer ends 30th October

By guest blogger Steve Newman

BOOK BY 30th OCTOBER 2010 AND EXPERIENCE SEABOURN FOR JUST £1,999pp

Ultra-luxury cruise line, The Yachts of Seabourn is offering air-inclusive fares from just £1,999 per person on European itineraries on board Seabourn Legend in 2011. For guests who love to experience the enchanting history and culture of Europe, the 7-day itineraries are the perfect introduction to the luxury and adventure that awaits onboard Seabourn.

Itineraries priced from £1,999 per person:

Florence and Bella Italia
Monte Carlo, Monaco – Rome, Italy
Seabourn Legend
7 Days, departures: 10th April and 1st May 2011

Yachtsman’s Riviera
Rome, Italy – Monte Carlo, Monaco
Seabourn Legend
7 Days, departures: 17th April and May 15th 2011

To book, visit http://www.seabourn.co.uk/ or call cruise specialist The Cruis Line on 0800 008 6677.

Disney Fantasy

By guest blogger Steve Newman

The Disney Fantasy, the second ship in Disney Cruise Line's new-build series, will sail her maiden voyage on April 7, 2012, bringing even more innovation, unique guest experiences and personalised service for which DCL is renowned. The sister to Disney Dream, Fantasy will also feature the amazing AquaDuck 'water coaster', magical children’s areas, world-class entertainment, delightful dining, retreats for adults and immersive experiences for guests of all ages, with Disney stories and characters.

Guests can now book for the initial part of the 2012 season. The Fantasy will sail out of Port Canaveral, Florida, on the popular seven-night Caribbean itineraries – alternating eastern and western – including a stop at Disney’s wonderful private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

The Dream will continue to sail three, four and five-night cruises to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay, while the Wonder will remain on the west coast, sailing Mexican Riviera itineraries from the Port of Los Angeles. To start the 2012 season, the Magic will sail alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz explained: “The Disney Fantasy continues our tradition of sailing beautifully-designed vessels that offer innovations, world-class guest service and memorable family vacation experiences like only Disney can do. We are delighted to expand our offerings to provide guests with more options and more flexibility to enjoy a Disney family cruise.”

For more information, check out http://www.disneycruise.com/

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Circumnavigate with Zegrahm!

Zegrahm Expeditions Embarks on Five Hallmark Circumnavigations in 2011

SEATTLE, WA, OCTOBER 20, 2010—In addition to their expert leaders and unique expeditionary style of travel, Zegrahm Expeditions has perhaps become best known for their circumnavigations of some of the world’s most interesting, and, often times, obscure, archipelagos. In fact, the 20-year-old company was the first to circumnavigate Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic and New Guinea in the western South Pacific. Zegrahm believes linking together all the fascinating locales within a single destination by small-ship offers travellers an in-depth and uncompromised view of the local culture, history and natural environment. Plus, many of the areas that Zegrahm visits have little to no infrastructure in place, so travelling by small ship is the only way to go.

And, 2011 is no exception. Zegrahm’s travel year commences with the first of the following five highly-anticipated circumnavigations, two of which are brand-new itineraries for Zegrahm:

· Circumnavigation of Sumatra: Zegrahm celebrates the start of the New Year with an inaugural 18-day sojourn around Western Indonesia’s equator-straddling island of Sumatra. Travellers will be amazed by orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park (above), spectacular Krakatoa Island and stone-jumping super-humans on Nias Island, plus the region’s incredible array of wildlife, unspoiled wilderness and more than a dozen ethnic groups.

· Circumnavigation of Sicily: Zegrahm’s first-ever April expedition circling the Mediterranean’s largest island combines visits to amazing archaeological wonders — from the Roman theatres and villas of Taormina and Lipari to the ornate Norman-Arab castles and cathedrals in Cefalu, Palermo and Monreale — with a tasty immersion into the region’s famed viticulture and cuisine.

· Circumnavigation of Iceland: This 14-day expedition reveals the element-sculpted landscapes and volcanic wizardry that have made the Land of Fire and Ice famous. Travellers search for breeding whooper swans; ride snowmobiles across Europe's largest glacier; walk among ruins that recall the heyday of Viking exploration; and explore the fabled Golden Circle — Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Center.

· Circumnavigation of Ireland: The Emerald Isle truly sparkles on this fascinating August voyage that brings history to life as Zegrahm explores the Neolithic burial site of Newgrange; the Viking legacy of Waterford; and the 18th-century English architecture in Dublin, Cork and Killarney. No less spectacular are the rolling green glens of the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula's dramatic cliffs and Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway.

· Circumnavigation of the Black Sea: Eurasia’s most intriguing destinations are revealed —Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria — on a 15-day expedition where beautiful landscapes are enhanced only by the stunning architecture and archaeological sites that travellers experience on one of two September departures. This itinerary is a long-time favourite among Zegrahm travellers.

To learn more about each of these itineraries, plus read accounts of past circumnavigation expeditions, visit http://www.zeco.com/. To book in the UK, be sure to contact specialist agents The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Bales Wordlwide new brochure.

By guest blogger Steve Newman

2011 is a milestone year for Bales Worldwide, marking 50 years since the luxury operator took its very first group tour to the Holy Land. Bales is celebrating these five decades of worldwide touring with the launch of the new Escorted Small Groups and Tailor Made Holidays Brochure for 2011/12.

The new programme covers 50 destinations throughout Asia, Africa, the Orient, Latin America, Egypt and Arabia, India and Canada & Alaska, with a dedicated online brochure for Australasia. There are a few countries making a welcome return including Sri Lanka and Myanmar, plus the programme introduces a series of new tours and suggested journeys - from an adventurous journey across Tibet, or mountain biking and trekking in Peru's Sacred Valley, to exploring China's tropical Hainan Island.

To mark the 50th anniversary of escorted touring, the new programme sees the launch of the Bales Heritage collection, giving travellers a taste of some of Bales' most iconic escorted tours from the impressive back catalogue featuring unusual and unique travel itineraries to Jordan, India and Egypt with more destinations to follow.

In addition to countless tailor-made travel ideas and suggested itineraries, there are a total of 54 escorted and small group journeys with prices starting at just £1095 for the 11-day 'Wonders of Ancient Egypt' tour, consisting of three nights in Cairo followed by a week's Nile cruise.

For more details, visit http://www.balesworldwide.com/.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

New Year in Norway with the Northern Lights

By guest blogger Steve Newman

How about ringing in the New Year in Norway with the Arctic landscapes as the backdrop? Hurtigruten are offering a New Year's banquet which can be enjoyed with dancing in the bar after dinner, before heading up on deck at Midnight where there will be fireworks and a toast for the New Year. Depart on December 30 for a five-night ‘Venture into the Arctic’ voyage onboard MS Midnatsol travelling from Bergen in the south to Tromsø in the north and hopefully seeing the Northern Lights along the way. And what better way to kick off 2011 than with a dog-sledding excursion or snowmobiling, which can be added to the trip.

Prices start from £895 per person and include four nights half board on the ship, one night B&B accommodation in Tromsø at the end of the voyage and return flights from Gatwick. No single supplements apply.

To book, log on to http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/ or visit cruise specialists The Cruise Line.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Head to Paris with Royal Caribbean

Join Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas for a short break to the most romantic city on earth, Paris.

A three-night cruise, including a trip to the wonderful French capital, costs from just £349 per person in the spring (based on two people sharing an inside cabin).

The price includes three nights aboard Royal Caribbean's UK-dedicated vessel, sailing from Southampton and calling at Le Havre (for trips to Paris) before returning to Southampton; all meals and entertainment onboard; and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.

Independence (above) is brimming with 15 decks of activities, including Royal Caribbean's signature Flowrider surf park at sea, an onboard ice-skating rink, rock climbing wall, a children’s water park, a teen-only nightclub, mother and daughter/father and son spa facilities, basketball and volleyball courts, miniature golf course and shopping.

Price is based on an April 27 departure in 2011.

For more information, visit http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/ or check out The Cruise Line Ltd for a good range of deals on all Royal Caribbean voyages on 0800 008 6677.

Star Clippers New Brochure

By guest blogger Steve Newman

It’s that time of year again and the new brochures are now available featuring a wide range of cruises for 2011. Luxury boutique cruise line Star Clippers is no exception and their new brochure is now hitting the doormat. They have exciting itineraries in Central America (Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua) and the Caribbean, where the Clipper ships will visit dream locations in the Grenadines and British Virgin Islands among others. The company’s ever popular ocean crossings are ideally suited to those who dream of long sea voyages whilst the summer season will find the ships roaming the Mediterranean (French or Italian Riviera), the Greek Islands and a fascinating new route between Athens and Istanbul. To find out more, look at http://www.starclippers.co.uk/ or check out cruise specialists the Cruise Line.

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Adventure Cruise Collection

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Adventure cruising is the fastest growing section of the market, with more and more people of all ages wanting to 'get up close' to nature.

The Cruise Line have just launched their new Adventure Cruise Collection brochure, and I strongly advise you to get a copy if this is your style of cruising.

From watching bears fishing for salmon in Alaskan rivers to swimming with turtles in the Caribbean, getting up close to polar bears in the Arctic or lying on the snow to snap away at Emperor Penguins, this is a must for any adventure cruiser. Destinations include the Galapagos, Hawaii, New Zealand, Central America and a whole lot more. Find out more by logging on to the http://www.cruiseline.co.uk/ or call them on 0800 008 6677.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Welcome to the new Azamara Club Cruises

By guest blogger Steve Newman

One of the most interesting stands at the Cruise Show at Birmingham's NEC this weekend was the one for the new, updated Azamara Club Cruises, a boutique cruise line of no small distinction.

The name is not the only change you will notice, either. The company has added a whole raft of new features and onboard enhancements for the enjoyment of their guests. Azamara Club Cruises also takes guests to a wide range of enticing destinations, creating experiences that are once in a lifetime, such as the Panama Canal with its stunning wildlife (above). You can see the world through the local culture with its music, dance, art and history, or enjoy a more active excursion on extended biking trips, golf, walking or hiking. Shopping and dining are musts, of course, and the company's local experts can prepare you for your time ashore with insights about the right local flavours and tastes, as well as in-depth knowledge about local artisans and shops.

Why Azamara Club Cruises? Because their guests are truly part of a club whose members love to explore the globe, and enjoy being treated to the warmth and hospitality of their onboard staff, on their two smaller, more intimate ships. You can join them and become an instant member of Le Club Voyage. Membership is complimentary and includes up to two adults, over the age of 18, who live in the same household.

You can find out more at Azamara Club Cruises or through cruise specialists, The Cruise Line or check them out at the next Cruise Show, presented by the Daily Telegraph, at London's Olympia next March 26-27. And don't forget to check out the big Azamara feature in the latest edition of World of Cruising magazine, which has more insight into this unique operator.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Exodus Now Has 16 Different Polar Itineraries

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Exodus is now the largest operator of small-ship polar expeditions in the UK, with voyages to Spitsbergen and Antarctica from £4,139 (with flights from UK).

If a holiday is not a holiday without experiencing something remarkable, then Exodus’ Polar itineraries are where you need to start looking for your next great escape. If you prefer your ice blue, towering 70m above your head and set in temperatures way below zero instead of crushed in a mojito, then you had better get your trip booked in.

Now the largest operator of small-ship polar expeditions, Exodus’ new 2010-2012 Polar Expeditions brochure is full of trips to Antarctica, Spitsbergen and the Arctic Circle and, while ranging in price, they are all awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime expeditions you are guaranteed never to forget.

Exodus’ Paul Goldstein, an expert guide, wildlife photographer and polar enthusiast, will be hosting a number of the expeditions and is no stranger to the beauty and wilderness of the Polar Regions. He says: “From Spitsbergen adventures, Emperor Penguin Safaris and Antarctic Circle tours, Exodus offers once-in-a-lifetime Polar Expeditions.

"No-one arrives in the Poles by accident and those intrepid enough to cross the Drake Passage or stay up till the early hours in 24-hour Arctic daylight are never short-changed. The Polar Regions are perhaps the last pristine wildernesses left on the planet but your experience of them depends entirely on the ship chosen to take you there. Choose Exodus and you choose the best.”

Check out these two sample voyages:

Spitsbergen Explorer: 12 days (11 days ship-only) from £4,139 including flights; next departure dates are June 16 and 26, 2011. Exclusive departures with photographic specialists are on June 16 and July 16.

Part of the popular Polar Expeditions brochure is the great exploration of Spitsbergen - home to Polar bears, walrus, Arctic foxes and huge colonies of seabirds. There is 24-hour daylight this far north in the summer and Exodus plans to maximise this from the decks of the 100-berth Vavilov or Ioffe.

Easily maneuverable around the ice, these ships are perfect for such adventures and have the added advantage that passengers can be in inflatable Zodiacs in the water at just a few minutes notice – watching a Polar bear and her cubs playing in the ice or perhaps sailing in the same space as a 150-ton whale. Any photographic or wildlife fan should seriously consider these departures, which are guided by award-winning photographer and Polar enthusiast Paul Goldstein.

Journey to the North Pole - 15 days (12 days ship-only) from £16,260 (flight prices on request). The next and only departure in 2011 is June 23.

With only one departure a year and only one ship capable of offering this stunning itinerary – reaching the top of the world aboard the unique icebreaker 50 Years of Victory – this is a rare and rewarding trip which is worth every penny. Travel to the North Pole and, en route, discover polar bears and stunning birdlife, plus visit the fascinating cities of Helsinki in Finland and Murmansk in Russia.

It is a trip that combines the raw power of the ship – cutting through ice metres thick – the use of helicopter flights for aerial viewing and Zodiac landings for intimate wildlife encounters, this is an expedition unlike any other.

To book, visit http://www.exodus.co.uk/. or try the specialist agent The Cruise Line Ltd at http://www.cruiseline.co.uk/.

Photo © Paul Goldstein/Exodus Travels.

Voyages of Discovery Cruise Videos

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Voyages of Discovery has launched its latest winter cruise videos following the success of its summer cruise video series. Offering an insight into what can be expected on a typical Voyages of Discovery cruise first-hand, the videos bring itineraries to life for both agents and customers.

Leading the way within the cruise industry with the two-minute video ‘brochure’, Voyages of Discovery uses onboard and destination-led footage to showcase each cruise, highlighting the discovery cruising destinations, cultural excursions and renowned guest speakers onboard. The 21-day Empires of the Sun cruise and 17-day Tales of India & Arabia voyage, both new to the winter 2011/12 brochure, are also available as cruise videos.

Accessible on www.voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk/cruisevideos, you can use the videos to experience a flavour of new itineraries and destination offerings off the beaten track in the new brochure, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Japan, Myanmar, Vietnam and China.
Brochures can also be viewed online at www.voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk/brochure.php.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Uniworld Back to Russia

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection will be re-entering the Russian market in 2011 with the launch of the completely refurbished River Victoria (above) projected to be one of the most beautiful and comfortable ships to sail the Volga River.

Uniworld has a long history of operating in Russia but company exited the market in 2010 because the quality of the ship and onboard services did not meet their high standards. Now, the totally refurbished Victoria will incorporate the planning and design themes from Uniworld’s sister company, the award-winning Red Carnation Hotel Collection.

The river-view staterooms and suites offer individual climate-control thermostats, telephones, flat-screen satellite TVs and bathrooms stocked with high-quality bath and body products. Staterooms and suites on the Neva and Volga decks have full private balconies to view Russia’s many gems along the Volga River.

The River Victoria’s common areas are being designed for their guests’ total comfort and enjoyment. The Chagall Lounge offers a full-service bar and dance floor; the Katarina Bar features an outdoor patio; and the Pushkin Restaurant has stunning panoramic views.

The ship also offers a sun deck patio with lounge chairs, a fitness room and massage room, a boutique, a library/reading room, a complimentary 24-hour speciality coffee and tea bar and Wi-Fi access in public areas.

Guests can experience all of the comfort and elegance of the River Victoria on Uniworld’s exciting Imperial Waterways of Russia itinerary. This 13-day journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg uncovers some of the world’s finest art and architecture, as well as tucked-away villages with Old World charm and warm, friendly people.

From Red Square, the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Hermitage Museum to the white stone churches of Uglich and Yaroslavl, this cruise brings guests up close to the rich traditions and royal history of Russia.

Prices start from £3,075 per person, including return scheduled flights and UK door-to-door private car airport transfers, and, by booking and paying in full by October 31, guests can enjoy savings of £800 per couple off their cruise.

Find out more at http://www.uniworldrivercruises.co.uk/ or check with the river-cruise specialists at The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

AMA's New Brochure

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Award-winning river cruise line AMA Waterways has launched its 2011 UK brochure, featuring luxurious voyages in Europe, Russia, Cambodia and Vietnam with a lead-in price of £1,422pp for a seven-night cruise, including all meals, wine with dinner (in Europe), daily excursions and free Wi-Fi.

Eighteen itineraries take in the Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone, Saone and Moselle, as well as the Volga-Baltic Waterway in Russia and the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia. Next year will also see AMA Waterways introducing two new vessels, special events ashore and a wide range of pre- and post-cruise options.

Steve Williams, managing director of Fred. Olsen Travel, which represents AMA in the UK, says: “We are very excited about the launch of a new brochure for 2011 which embraces the introduction of a new ship, AmaLotus, on the Mekong and the AmaKatarina, destined to be the best ship on the Volga."

For maximum flexibility, as many guests prefer to choose their airline or travel by train to join their ship, AMA offers cruise-only pricing. These prices can, however, also be packaged with flights, train, transfers and hotels. For example, Prague, Budapest or Istanbul can be added to the Grand Danube voyage, while hotels in Paris and Barcelona can be combined with the Provence and Spain itineraries. Guests visiting South-East Asia can choose between an eight-day cruise from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City (or vice versa) or a 16-day itinerary combining the cruise with accommodation in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City.

Oh, and don't forget to come along to the Cruise Show at the Birmingham NEC this weekend!

Windstar 2011 Signature Collection

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Windstar Cruises has announced details of its 2011 Signature Collection Host Series which offers guests the unique opportunity to cruise while learning from distinguished experts in the fields of culinary arts, wine, photography, gardening and wealth management.

Guests can...

* Learn useful design tips from award-winning British garden designer Anthea Guthrie
* Taste and learn about wines from top winemakers Daniel Baron of Silver Oak Cellars; Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellar and Figgins Family Wine Estates; Tor and Susan Kenward of Tor Kenward Family Wines; Bob Iantosca of Gloria Ferrer and Julia Iantosca of Lasseter Family Winery; and David Gianulias and Todd Rustman of Levendi Winery
* Delight in the culinary skills of chef Fabio Viviani of Firenze Osteria
* Discover the art of photography with celebrity and travel photographer John Russo
* Discuss the principles of wealth management with Todd Rustman, co- founder of GR Capital Asset Management

Windstar Cruises operates three sailing yachts known for their pampering without pretense and their ability to visit the hidden harbours and secluded coves of the world's most beautiful destinations. Carrying just 148 to 312 guests, the luxurious vessels cruise to nearly 50 countries, calling at 100 ports throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Americas.

For further information, visit http://www.windstarcruises.co.uk/. Why not call in to the CRUISE Show at Birmingham this weekend to find out more, or visit The Cruise Line.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Celebrity New Casual Evening Dining service

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Celebrity Cruises is revamping its evening offerings in its “lido,” or primary casual dining venues. Moving away from a sit-down experience and towards an “international marketplace” approach, the offerings will blend classic and contemporary cuisine.

“Since the launch of our Solstice Class in 2008, our guests have shared a great deal of positive feedback about the flavours and variety offered in our marketplace-style Oceanview Café venues, so we are taking that concept to the rest of the fleet,” said Jacques Van Staden, Vice President, Culinary Operations (above).

The new evening casual dining service will present a flavourful array of authentic cuisine, including:

  • A made-to-order curry station featuring Indian staples such as raitha, papadums and paratha
  • A made-to-order pasta station enhanced with assorted breads and a salad bar
  • Two fresh, made-to-order sushi stations
  • Two made-to-order stir-fry stations featuring Asian-inspired ingredients and preparation
  • A Mediterranean-inspired lineup of antipasti, olives, cheeses and assorted cold meats
  • A carving station, with grilled meats such as pork chops, New York strip steak, chicken breast, and grilled fish
  • Multiple fresh vegetables, a “loaded” baked potato station, and a variety of sauces such as béarnaise and gravies
  • A made-to-order pizza station open until 12:30am, featuring fresh garlic bread and antipasti items
  • Two dessert stations

Celebrity Cruises’ will no longer offer tableside service in a traditional “sit-down” style during its evening casual dining service. The evening lido dining service will begin at 6pm each evening and will be available onboard Celebrity Century, Constellation, Infinity, Millennium and Summit by the end of October. The changes will not affect Celebrity Xpedition, the 92-guest megayacht sailing year-round in the Galapagos Islands.

More information about all of Celebrity Cruises casual dining offerings is available at http://www.celebritycruises.com/ or visit them at at The Cruise Show at the NEC Birmingham this weekend. For great deals, be sure to check out the Celebrity section of specialist agent The Cruise Line Ltd.

The Daily Telegraph presents CRUISE Birmingham
16 – 17 October 2010
NEC, Birmingham


Get TWO tickets for the price of one with Time Spent At Sea by booking in advance - quote “Time Spent At Sea” or visit www.cruisingshow.co.uk

Plus! Exclusive advance ticket competition and ticket offer with Time Spent At Sea

For a chance to win one of five pairs of tickets to the Birmingham show, email your name, address and email address to sue@escapeevents.co.uk (not forgetting to mention Time Spent At Sea Birmingham as your reference!).

Even if you don't win, you can still receive TWO tickets for the price of one to the show when booked in advance. You can receive two £6 tickets for just £3 each (under 16s are free). Please add £1.50 postage and packing per order.

Order online at www.cruisingshow.co.uk or call 0871 620 4024 and quote “Time Spent At Sea.”

Opening Times
Saturday, 10am-5pm
Sunday, 10am-4pm

Ticket Prices
On the door: £10 (under 16s free)

Free access for Children in the South Pacific

Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering children FREE access to its revolutionary Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Programme on two nine-night Society Islands & Tuamotus voyages departing December 18 and 27 this year. This programme is usually available for a fee of $269 per child.

Explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau created this unique, groundbreaking programme to introduce young travellers to the extraordinary natural wonders of French Polynesia. The programme provides young participants aged nine to 17 with hands-on, interactive experience in marine and island ecosystems.

Young ambassadors will explore coral reefs, hike rainforest trails and visit marae (ancient Polynesian temples). Participants will also learn how black pearls and vanilla are cultivated, how volcanic islands become coral atolls and how to paddle an outrigger canoe. Parents are encouraged to join children on eco-excursions and other activities onboard and ashore, making the programme a great activity for families.

Both voyages start and finish in Papeete and visit Fakarava, Huahine, Bora Bora, Taha'a and Moorea. Prices start from £3,564 per person, including return scheduled flights, transfers, accommodation in an ocean-view stateroom with all meals, soft drinks, selected alcoholic beverages and gratuities.

For further information, visit www.pgcruises.com/ or see them at The Cruise Show at the NEC Birmingham this weekend.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Jack Hanna joins Aqua Expeditions!

This November, Aqua Expeditions will host naturalist and TV personality Jack Hanna and his film crew as they explore and document one of the most remote areas of the Peruvian Amazon, the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Taking viewers Into the Wild, Hanna will sail on a three-night journey on the MV Aqua through various Amazon river tributaries and come face to face with the mystical pink dolphin, cayman, sloth, giant lilies and hundreds of other rare and exotic Amazon animal and plant species.

And, in a very rare opportunity, Aqua Expeditions has been granted access to a limited number of cabins for travellers to join Jack and his crew on this adventure.

Departing Iquitos on November 6 (returning November 9), this exclusive itinerary will allow Aqua guests to meet Jack and his staff in the luxurious and intimate 12-suite vessel.

*Space on the three-day departure is extremely limited. To reserve, contact Dalia Gibu at dgibu@aquaexpeditions.com or by calling toll-free in the US on 1866 603 3687.

ABOUT JACK HANNA

Jack Hanna is an icon in the world of wildlife conservation and exploration. Jungle Jack Hanna's hands-on approach has won him widespread acclaim as Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, conservationist, author, television personality and lifelong adventurer. After twelve years hosting Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures, he launched his latest syndicated TV series, Jack Hanna's Into the Wild. In 2008, Into the Wild received an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Series, and Jack was nominated for Best Host of a Children's Series. Recognised around the country as America's favourite zookeeper, Jack has made countless television appearances since 1983 on shows such as Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, Larry King Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Maury Show, Fox News Programs, and CNN News Programs. For more information, visit http://www.jackhanna.com/.

Cruise on the World's Largest

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas (above) is proudly claiming the title of the world’s largest cruise ship (from sister ship Oasis) when she launches in December. Don’t miss out on the chance to sail on board this record-breaker next summer on a nine-night Eastern Caribbean fly/cruise from £2,048 per adult and £1,685 per child (based on two adults and two children sharing an inside cabin).

Allure's onboard highlights include Central Park, an open air park area with real trees; a zip-line which is suspended nine decks high; and the Rising Tide Bar, which moves between three decks. The ship has more than 20 restaurants and cafes and 25 different shops. She will also feature the award-winning West End and Broadway musical Chicago in the 1,380-seat theatre, as well as shows, interactive activities, parades and even meals with some of DreamWorks Animation’s best loved characters, including Madagascar’s Alex; Mort and Po from Kung-Fu Panda; and Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon.

Price includes return flights from London Heathrow, one-night pre-cruise hotel accommodation, transfers and a seven-night cruise departing Fort Lauderdale (Florida) and calling at Nassau (Bahamas), Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas) and Philipsburg (St. Maarten), before returning to Fort Lauderdale; meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.

Price is based on 24 July, 2011, departure. For more information or to book see http://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/.

And don't forget to check out what we said in Time Spent At Sea last year about Oasis of the Seas, and don't miss top cruise writer Gary Buchanan's full review of Oasis in World of Cruising earlier this year, on this! link.

For more info on Royal Caribbean bookings, be sure to visit The Cruise Show in Birmingham this weekend or in London next March (26-27). Or perhaps look at The Cruise Line Ltd and their specialist agents on 0800 008 6677.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Photo-Splendour of Papua New Guinea

Orion Expedition Cruises, the leading operator of five-star expedition cruising in the Australasian region, is offering guests the opportunity to join the photographic workshop of a lifetime where they will be able to hone their photographic skills and capture all the action in one of the world’s most photo-opportunistic locations - Papua New Guinea.

This 11-night voyage, departing Cairns on April 3, 2011, provides an extraordinary array of opportunities to test and develop photographic skills – historic World War II sites, tropical islands, exotic bird and marine life, primitive artworks, active volcanoes, the colonial atmosphere of Madang and a rare visit to a remote village near the Sepik River where the friendly welcome and cultural displays will overwhelm.

In association with Better Photography magazine and the Australian Geographic Society, and under the knowledgeable guidance of internationally recognised photographer Nick Rains and Grand Master of Photography Peter Eastwood, this voyage is designed to appeal to photographers of all levels – while not forgetting their partners (whose interest in the finer points of photography is often less enthusiastic).

Nick and Peter will be holding pre-shoot workshops onboard before taking guests on location accompanied by members of Orion’s specialist expedition team. Workshops include professional advice and instruction on photographing seascapes, portrait skills, lighting, detailed macro flora and fauna and instruction on editing-software to optimise the final images.

Explore, experience and shoot from dawn to dusk, then relax and enjoy superb cuisine and company by night.

Orion’s 11-night “Papua New Guinea Cultural Highlights” cruise starts in Cairns and visits Alotau, Samarai & Kwato Islands, Fergusson Island, Tufi Harbour, Tami Islands, Madang and Sepik River before arriving in Rabaul.

Prices start from £5,615 per person, including 11 nights onboard, all meals, entertainment and educational programmes, use of the ship’s sporting equipment and facilities, Zodiac excursions, port and handling charges, tender transfers and government fees and taxes.

For UK bookings, be sure to check with adventure cruise expert The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.

Up to £900 saving at The Cruise Show with Avalon

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Here's another great offer to start the week - you can save up to £900 per couple when you book an Avalon river-cruise during the Cruise Show.

The go-ahead Avalon Waterways is offering visitors to the Cruise Show at Birmingham’s NEC, an exclusive range of special offers worth up to £450 per person on select 2011 cruises (listed below).

Cruise Show Saving per couple:

Mar 20, European Splendour £900
Mar 30, Blue Danube to the Black Sea £900
Apr 9, Blue Danube to the Black Sea £900
Apr 10, The Legendary Danube £900
Apr 18, Blue Danube Discovery £900
Apr 24, Burgundy & Provence £650
Apr 24, Romantic Rhine £650
May 6, Blue Danube Discovery £900
Nov 2, Magnificent Europe £900
Nov 14, Blue Danube Discovery £900

Don’t forget, all other 2011 Avalon cruises are offered with a saving of £300 per couple.

For more great deals on Avalon Cruises, check out top specialist agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

You can also find more at The Cruise Show at Birmingham NEC on October 16-17 and at London's Olympia next March (26-27).

Sunday, 10 October 2010

From Whale Watching to Staying in a Fisherman's Cabin!

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Fancy seeing nature's gentle giants, the sperm whale, in their natural habitat and under the Midnight Sun? Exploring small fishing villages whilst staying in a traditional fisherman's 'Rorbuer'? Or taking a voyage that combines Norway and Spitsbergen and the chance to see Polar Bears?

All this, and much more, is now possible with new itineraries introduced for 2011 by Hurtigruten, which aim to bring passengers even closer to all that Norway has to offer. Alongside the traditional daily departures from Bergen that travel up and down the coast, the new voyages offer something a little different, combining time onboard and time on land.

Giants of the Deep - Vesterålen Whale Watching Adventure (from £2380pp)
This 12-day trip combines a voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back to the Vesterålen Islands with two nights in Andenes for a whale-watching safari. This is the first time Hurtigruten has offered whale watching in the Summer. Just an hour north-west of Andenes is Bleik Canyon, part of the continental shelf and home to a rich supply of deepwater squid, cuttlefish and plankton; the staple diet of the sperm whale.

The trip departs on 31 July, 2011, and includes the 8-night voyage on a full board basis, one night in Bergen and two nights in Andenes on a B&B basis, whale-watching and tour lecturer and tour guide (based on two sharing and price includes early booking discount if booked by December 21; flights are extra).

Classic Norway and Spitsbergen (from £2814pp)
A new 11-day itinerary combining the coast of Norway and the north west of Spitsbergen with internal flights between. This trip takes in northern Spitsbergen, including Ny Ålesund, the world's most northerly permanent occupied settlement and hopes to cross the 80th parallel to visit Moffen Island.

There will be the chance to see a wealth of different wildlife and animals, including, hopefully, the Polar Bear. Four dates are available on July 25 and August 1, 8 and 15, 2011, and the price includes 10 nights full board on the ship, flights between Kirkenes and Longyearbyen and from Longyearbyen to Oslo (based on two sharing).

Themed Voyages with experts - these once again feature prominently, with themes including Polar History, Edvard Grieg, Birds of the Nordic Coast and Norway's National Day. Also new for 2011 is a New Year themed voyage that includes celebrating seeing in the New Year actually on North Cape, with prices from £1328pp.

For more information, look up http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/ or the dedicated Hurtigruten section of The Cruise Line Ltd.

You can also learn more about Hurtigruten cruises at The Cruise Show at Birmingham NEC on October 16-17 and at London's Olympia next March (26-27).

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Regent Seven Seas Autumn Sunshine

By guest blogger Steve Newman

Five nights of Autumn sunshine are now possible with Regent Seven Seas Cruises on their new Barcelona cruise this November. The voyage includes Valencia and Funchal (Madeira) on Seven Seas Voyager (above), departing November 8, with 5 nights in a balcony suite from £1,499 per person.

The full itinerary is as follows:

8 November, sail from Barcelona
9 November, Valencia 8am-6pm
10 November, Cartagena 8am-6pm
11 November, Malaga 8am-6pm
12 November, At Sea
13 November, Funchal, Disembark

The generous price includes the 5-night all-inclusive cruise, free return economy flights, free unlimited shore excursions in every port, fine dining including speciality restaurants, all drinks and beverages, all gratuities, all onboard activities and use of luxury amenities, and 24-hour room service and in-suite dining.

For more information, look up http://www.rssc.co.uk/ or visit Regent Seven Seas at the Cruise Show at Birmingham NEC on October 16-17 and at London's Olympia next March (26-27). For more great deals on RSSC cruises, check out top specialist agents The Cruise Line Ltd.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Crystal's Taste of the Exotic in 2012

Ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises has announced its 2012 cruise collection, unveiling an enticing choice of exotic voyages. Now offering 68 worldwide itineraries - including brand new coveted destinations - the line frequently voted 'World’s Best' introduces its most extensive global presence yet.

Continuing to maintain the highest number of repeat customers and with an ongoing commitment to selling only through the trade, Crystal will offer even greater choice in 2012. These new itineraries and voyages have been meticulously crafted to appeal to today’s discerning luxury traveller.

The 2012 voyages are now available for waitlist and include:

· 94-day “Epic Islands and Empires” Pacific Rim World Cruise through Hawaii, the South Pacific, eastern and western Australia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia, Alaska, British Columbia and San Francisco, including a three-day inclusive overland adventure in Beijing; a maiden call in Newcastle, Australia; and a return to South Korea for the first time since 1994

· Christmas/New Year cruises in Australia/New Zealand and the Mediterranean

· Expanded collection of Mediterranean itineraries, including late Autumn options

· Expanded collection of Baltic and Northern European cruises

· More seven-day cruises in the Mediterranean and New England/Canada, as well as a seven-day voyage during Thanksgiving through the Mexican Riviera

· Transatlantic cruises from New York to Dover and from Miami to Lisbon, which can be combined with European cruises

· Late Autumn cruises in the South Pacific and New Zealand

· More overnight stays in destinations, including Ashdod, Reykjavik, Odessa, Honfleur, Hamburg, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Istanbul, Venice, Sorrento and Bordeaux, as well as destinations throughout Asia, Australia and South America.

Andy Harmer, UK sales and marketing director for Crystal says: “Globally renowned not only for its unrivalled luxury but for leading the way with unique and compelling offerings, the 2012 itineraries promise to be another milestone for Crystal Cruises. It is extremely exciting to have both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in European waters for an expanded season and to announce new Christmas and New Year cruise destinations as part of our commitment to remain the World’s Best.”

Agents can access the day-by-day itineraries from October 30 at http://www.crystalcruises.co.uk/.

Now available for waitlist; contact Crystal Cruises on 020 7287 9040 or online. Or call specialist agent The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677 or http://www.cruiseline.co.uk/.