True North Adventure Cruises

True North Adventure Cruises
Excelling in Australia's North West

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Cruise Weekly: Aussies Vote for Local Adventure Cruising



In an eye-opening poll, Australian cruise fans have voted for our own Kimberley as their Best Cruise Region. This remarkable turnaround may be a result of the dreaded GFC or just a growing awareness of our own enviable natural assets, but the result has dethroned the mighty Mediterranean from its once unassailable top spot.

Cruise Passenger Magazine, Australasia’s pre-eminent consumer print magazine for the cruise industry, surveyed readers as part of its annual Readers Awards.

While the Mediterranean is still close to our hearts, the Kimberley is clearly gaining a very special place in our travelling psyche.

“The Kimberley is such a beautiful area. We loved the cliffs, the changing scenery, the Aboriginal art, the waterfalls and the solitude. Every day there was something different to do.” Adrian Lutton, of Gordon, NSW, who cruised the Kimberley with his wife, Jill.

In the categories of Best Small Ship and Best Adventure Cruise Ship, there was little surprise to find Sarina Bratton’s beloved Orion leading the charge. However in the category of Best Ship Cuisine, Orion’s Serge Dansereau’s menu came up trumps, toppling the fancier international runners.

“Orion offers fabulous destinations accompanied by expert guides who ensure each experience is an adventure. We found Orion to be really well organised and it definitely visited remote places,” said Robyn Jacobs of Killarney Heights, NSW, who cruised to Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea with her husband, Greg, in April 2009.

Looking for more surprises, it was refreshing to see tiny Kimberley specialist, True North, snapping at Orion’s heels in all three categories. When you consider True North carries only one third as many passengers as Orion, client satisfaction is clearly overwhelming. Having travelled on both vessels, it’s easy to see how either can develop strong loyalties with past travellers. I’d say the message to frequent cruisers of each is to check the other vessel out.

Third place in Best Adventure Cruise Ship was another favourite of mine, Oceanic Discoverer, operated by Cairns-based adventure pioneers, Coral Princess Cruises. Carrying 72 passengers to the Kimberley, NZ, PNG and Melanesia, Oceanic Discoverer should be on your list too.

Clearly the Kimberley is racing up the charts in our favourites. With media attention from the movie ‘Australia’ and the worrying oil and gas projects planned along the coast, the Kimberley has enjoyed a press deluge these last twelve months. But let’s not sit by idly congratulating ourselves, the Kimberley needs our help.

"We are watching politics dictate the terms and conditions of our homelands… places where we've always had a sense of connection and belonging. We are now being told that this homeland, this country is now going to be used for industrial development," said Aboriginal spokesperson for the Save The Kimberley organisation, Albert Wiggan.

Visit the Kimberley, soak up the ancient landscapes and all that it delivers, but remember, we are the custodians of this special place. We decide what happens there and if it is still around for future generations.

Please visit: www.savethekimberley.com

Friday, December 4, 2009

True North Adventure Update - Savings


SAVE 20% On All West Coast Explorer Cabins!

The 2010 West Australian cruise season is just around the corner and North Star Cruises is offering 20% off all cabins on the season opener – the West Coast Explorer! The offer can also be combined with our generous Previous Guest Bonus which means a saving of over $7500 when travelling in an Explorer Class cabin

The West Coast Explorer itinerary includes the history drenched Abrolhos Islands where guests snorkel on the wreck of the Batavia and explore the remnants of Wiebbe Hayes’ rudimentary fort – a sandstone wall against the ravages of blood-thirsty mutineers! Shark Bay is a huge marine ‘play-ground’ and there are always magical encounters with turtles, dolphin and dugong. Ningaloo Reef showcases clouds of colourful fish and the Monte Bello Islands are simply fishing paradise.

Our 2010 departure also features astronomer Greg Quicke

See http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/documents/2010CruiseHighlights_001.pdf for more information.

Don’t Miss Out On A Kimberley Waterfall Season Cabin

Each year the True North sails along the Kimberley coast in time to see the end of the spectacular monsoon! Towering waterfalls are at their thundering best, ravenous barramundi patrol swollen billabongs and the outback is never as lush! Our Australian crew introduces all from the comfort of the True North’s air-conditioned helicopter or one of the ship’s multiple expedition boats (not zodiacs!)

And there has never been a better time to see the Kimberley

Guest booking the first cruise of the year will be offered our 10% Shoulder Season Discount and, guests taking advantage of our Early Bird Discount can also save 10%!

And don’t forget – previous guests can combine their Previous Guest Bonus with either of the above discounts which means a saving of over $9000 when travelling in an Explorer Class cabin!

See http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/sailingSchedules10.asp for sailing dates

2010 One Week Kimberley Cruises Now Commence/Conclude In Broome

If you’re a bit pressed for time or, if you have already done the one week Kimberley Wilderness Cruise and, you’ve always wanted to do the ‘other half’ - here’s some more great news.

North Star’s hugely popular one week Kimberley cruise is bound to be even more popular in 2010. Guests embarking in the Hunter River will now fly to the ship from Broome and, guests disembarking in the Hunter will be returned to Broome - making sure the ‘Tourist Mecca’ is always part of our one week itinerary!

See http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/sailingSchedules10.asp for sailing dates

Friday, November 27, 2009

Antarctica To Asia: Orion Expedition Cruises Expands with the Addition of a Second Specialist Expedition Cruise Ship


Orion Expedition Cruises is to increase the size of its fleet with the addition of a second specialist expedition cruise ship to join the existing 106 passenger Orion.

Orion Expedition Cruises today released details regarding the forthcoming long term charter of Clelia II, a 100 passenger all-suite luxury expedition cruise ship, to be renamed Orion II. The ship, configured to Orion's exacting requirements, is scheduled to commence expedition voyages under the Orion Expedition Cruises banner in May 2011.

Making the announcement today from on board Orion in Sydney Harbour, Sarina Bratton, Orion's Managing Director, was upbeat about the expansion of the business she started in 2004, citing a strong existing market – despite tough current worldwide economic conditions – and growing interest from international markets in expedition cruising in this part of the globe.

A loyal Orion past-passenger base, resurgent growth by independent travellers and significant opportunities afforded through charter and incentives markets have provided the platform for the expansion.

Based on thorough research, and following the success of Orion's recent voyages, Orion II will be based in South East Asia offering a wide range of expeditions that will include Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Indonesian archipelago, Japan and Borneo. Details of destinations and itineraries will be released in 2010 once voyage details and expedition team scouting are finalised.

Recently subject to a €13 million (A$21 million) refurbishment undertaken by the present operators, with emphasis on technical enhancements and upgraded environmental systems, the ship will also undergo additional cosmetic enhancements to bring her fully into the Orion style.

Commenting on the additional range of destinations and itineraries, Sarina said that Orion Expedition Cruises will be able to provide exclusive expeditions from Antarctica to Asia, and the Kimberley to Melanesia and New Zealand, with the two ships offering a balance of onboard service and luxury combined with unique personal experiences in environmentally and culturally sensitive parts of the region. Together, Orion and Orion II will be two of the most modern and capable expedition cruise ships cruising in Australasia.

The long term charter of a second purpose built ship able to access remote regions in comfort is a further step to fulfilling the company's original vision to have Orion Expedition Cruises regarded as the operator of choice in the Asia Pacific.

Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises can be obtained by visiting the website www.orionexpeditions.com For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent. Email: info@orioncruises.com.au

About Clelia II / Orion II Clelia II, will continue to be marketed and operated until April 2011 by Travel Dynamics International, New York, a leading U.S expedition cruise company serving the American educational and cultural non-profit groups.

Originally launched in late 1990 as Renaissance Four and re-launched in 2009 after extensive technical refurbishment, redecoration and other improvements, the all-suite Clelia II offers fine small-ship cruise travel. In May 2011, the ship will be renamed Orion II.

This private yacht-like cruise ship accommodates only 100 guests in 50 suites, each of which affords ocean views, measuring 215 to 285 square feet, and appointed with a sitting area or separate living room, twin or queen-size beds, spacious closets, and air conditioning.

• Satellite TV, DVD/CD player • Telephone • Mini-refrigerator • Marble-appointed en-suite BESPOKE SMALL-SHIP AMENITIES Decorated with rich fabrics, handsome wood, polished brass, rare antiquities and fine works of art, the ship's public spaces are warm and inviting. These include:

• Library with Internet access • 2 Lounges with audiovisual facilities • State-of-the-art gym/spa • Beauty salon • Boutique • Hospital • Elevator serving all passenger decks • Dining room • Two sun decks • Jacuzzi • Swimming platform Clelia II complies with the latest international and U.S. Coast Guard safety regulations and is outfitted with the most current navigation and communications technology as well as retractable fin stabilizers for smooth sailing, an icestrengthened hull for Antarctic voyages and a fleet of Zodiacs to enable easy shore access in remote locations.

Clelia II carries a staff of 65, providing a ratio of over 1 crew member for every 2 guests. Taken together with her limited guest capacity, excellence of design, craftsmanship and material, Clelia II's spaciousness and intimate ambience combine to make her ideal for distinctive cultural and expedition voyages.

About Orion Expedition Cruises Founded in early 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises is the only world class expedition cruise line operating from Australia to pristine wilderness areas in Antarctica, the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia and Asia. Orion is known worldwide for its new and diverse itineraries and sustainable operations.

Orion is designed to fulfil the desire of the sophisticated traveller for experience driven, cultural and nature based tourism that allow for a more informed and indepth interpretation of, and interaction with, destinations and their people.

Providing the comfort and luxuries that today's travellers expect in a specially designed vessel that provides access to areas otherwise largely unreachable through conventional means, Orion truly provides a path less travelled.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Capture the Kimberley with Steve Parish and Coral Princess

Over aeons, the Kimberley coast of Western Australia has been scored and scoured by wind and water and painted with a super-saturated palette to form one of the most dramatic landscapes on earth. But its harsh beauty is challenging to capture photographically, which is why a 10-night Coral Princess cruise under the photographic tutelage of world-renowned nature photographer, Steve Parish is a rare opportunity.

Steve Parish – who rarely conducts photography classes – will draw on his 40 years of photographic field work in diverse Australian landscapes to inspire guests aboard the Oceanic Discoverer to capture their own vision of the Kimberley.

Over 10 days, cruising between Broome and Darwin, Parish will conduct a series of workshops, informal discussions and field excursions, covering topics such as the philosophy of nature photography and connecting with the landscape; style and technique; different subjects and – most relevant to the Kimberley's extremes – working with light.

The 10-night Kimberley cruise visits Kuri Bay, home of the South Pacific pearl industry, and ventures ashore to view the world-famous Bradshaw (Gwion) paintings, - the world's oldest known indigenous art – and the towering, 80-metre King George Falls, the tallest waterfalls in Western Australia. There is an optional helicopter flight over the Mitchell Plateau for views of the impressive four-tiered Mitchell Falls, as well as excursions into secluded gorges and to rock pools perfect for swimming. The cruise explores the Buccaneer Archipelago – made up of 800 islands – and includes an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the 'Horizontal Waterfall', where the tide floods between rocky cliffs.

The Oceanic Discoverer will carry a maximum of 68 passengers in luxury, with a complement of highly-experienced staff, including naturalist guides and guest lecturers

Steve Parish is one of Australia's most accomplished nature photographers. His images of the Australian landscape and wildlife are recognised around the world and he has published numerous books.

For Parish, photography is "about promoting an understanding for the importance of nature. The first step has to be to light a fire in someone — inspire them to learn more, inspire them to genuinely become one with nature, urge them to connect with it and to celebrate its beauty and diversity."

The 10-night Coral Princess Kimberley Cruise with Steve Parish departs Broome on September 20, 2010, costing from $8750 per person, twin share, cruise only, in a Main Deck (Category B) stateroom.

For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises on 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cruise Weekly: Romance on the Reef

Wally comes by for a visit. (c) Vanessa Marshall


Location Thetford Reef; 16 deg 48.2S, 146 deg 10.3E

"Where's Wally?" That was the question on everybody's lips. Wally, in case you were wondering, is the 100kg Giant Hump-Headed Maori Wrasse who inhabits Thetford Reef, Coral Princess II's first stop out of Cairns on her southward exploration of the Great Barrier Reef. "He looks nasty," says Vanessa, our ebullient marine biologist guide, "but he's really a big sook. Right now it's mating season and he's almost certainly off chasing lady Wrasses."

Coral Princess Cruises, established in 1984 by Tony and Vicki Briggs, are certainly the longest operating Australian adventure cruise company and, according to Tony, the first. They've come a long way since their first vessel, a Fairmile-class former submarine chaser, first began overnight reef safaris for adventurous guests. It was a bold move, but one that certainly paid off. CPCs now operate three vessels within a territory that includes Papua New Guinea, the Kimberley, Melanesia and New Zealand. Their flagship, the 72-pax 65m Oceanic Discoverer, was launched in 2005, just in time to join True North II and Orion in the exploding local expedition cruise scene.

Our itinerary, 3 nights to Townsville, is a leisurely exploration of the outer reefs with plenty of snorkelling and scuba diving for beginners and certified divers alike. Vanessa, literally overflowing with information, crams as much biological information as we can handle. Our wonderful reef is a mind-boggling organism, 2400 kms long, stretching from Bundaberg to PNG. The variety and complexity of vivid and colourful life is beyond the comprehension of most, including me. While some believe our reef is dying in the warming planet others, like Vanessa, are more optimistic.

The itinerary is broken with a resort stop at Dunk Island and a beach BBQ at Pelorus, CPC's private island just north of Townsville. This cruise is carrying thirty passengers from as far afield as the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, France and the USA indicating there is more interest in a our reef from overseas than locally. Our vessel, Coral Princess II, is a 25-y-o, 48 pax catarmaran now exclusively operating the the two GBR itineraries. She is joined by Coral Princess over summer, when not on Kimberley duty with Oceanic Discoverer. CPCs offer three GBR itineraries; 3 nights to Townsville, 4 nights Cairns to Cairns via Lizard Island and Cooktown and 7 nights with the two butted together. My personal choice is the 4 night, northern sector for variety and a little extra land-based activity.

While lusty Wally remains elusive, there are plenty of other exciting discoveries like the two massive Coral Trout in the throws of passion, a fish feeding frenzy with giant trevally, a spectacular but solitary Lion Fish, serene turtles, elegant rays and chipper little Nemos (anemonefish). If love is an indicator, then our reef is alive and well.

Fares begin at A$1496 (twin share) for the 3-night cruise. Coral Princess Cruises: www.coralprincess.com.au 1800 079 545


Monday, October 5, 2009

Truly Getting Up Close And Personal On True North


TWO adventure cruises to the famed Kimberley wilderness region in July and August next year aboard the boutique True North, will feature activities as diverse as barramundi fishing, swimming in remote billabongs, seeing indigenous cave art with onboard naturalists, nudging underneath a vast waterfall, and a coral reef that “rises from the ocean.”

True North will sail these two 7-night cruises from Broome to the Hunter River on July 31 and August 28 2010, carrying just 36-guests served by 20-crew.

Highlights include witnessing the region’s vast tidal movements including “riding the tide” on the ebbing Sale River aboard True North’s expedition boats, and seeing the Montgomery Reef “rising from the ocean” – a phenomenon created when the fast-receding tide drains from the 350 square kilometre reef to expose myriad turtles, dugong, rays and other sea creatures.

True North also explores numerous rivers and one of the Kimberley’s most scenic waterways Prince Frederick Harbour, while shore excursions include the famous Wandjina rock paintings at Raft Point and the boab tree inscribed with HMC Mermaid 1820 by Captain Phillip Parker King 189 years ago.

A helicopter is carried aboard for optional-cost sightseeing flights, a picnic at an otherwise inaccessible billabong and a “Champagne Sunrise.”

Prices start from $7799pp twin-share including all gourmet onboard dining, use of six expedition boats for shore excursions and a light aircraft transfer from the Hunter River to Kununurra; air fares are additional. For full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cruise Passenger Magazine - Spring Issue

Why has European river cruising more than doubled in popularity for Australians in a year when we’re supposed to be broke? Where are the best river cruises in Europe, Asia, Russia, America and Africa? What do you need to know if you’ve never been on a river cruise before?

Cruise Passenger
magazine’s annual River Cruising Guide, free with the spring issue on sale now, has all the answers.

Cruise Passenger is Australasia’s leading cruise publication, dedicated to providing its discerning readership with news, reviews and in-depth features about ships and destinations by the best travel and cruise writers in the business.

Must-read features in the spring edition of Cruise Passenger include:
  • New Season Special: the inside story on ships, trips, ports and itineraries as the new cruising season Down Under launches with more on offer than ever before
  • Australia’s fabulous Kimberley: the essential cruising guide to this magnificent wilderness region
  • Destination Asia: it’s close to home and offers an amazing array of cruise and travel experiences – no wonder we’re queuing up to book cruises there.
In this issue, readers can also win these great prizes:
  • European river cruise for two, worth $13,500
  • 2 return business-class Emirates flights from Sydney to Auckland
  • $4,500 Orient-Express holiday anywhere in the world
  • Panasonic Lumix digital camera, Velbron tripod and LowePro backpacks

The ‘bible’ of cruising is available at selected newsagents and by subscription for an amazing $29.95 a year for 4 issues, including the annual River Cruising Guide and Adventure Cruise Guide – call 1300 668 905 for details.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Orion 2010 Kimberley expeditions


Highlights of the Kimberley that stimulate the mind and capture the spirits

During 2010 the luxurious expedition cruise ship Orion explores the Kimberley coastline with a series of 10 night expeditions departing May, June, July and September.

Create your own dreamtime stories when you join Orion's specialist Expedition Team in the Kimberley to view pre-history aboriginal rock art, land on remote islands and beaches and explore gorges, inlets and serpentine waterways or climb to the plateau next to the highest waterfall in the Kimberley, King George Falls.

Conveniently embarking and disembarking in Darwin or Broome, Orion's 10-night voyages combine the contrasts of exploring the ancient and magnificent Kimberley wilderness, incredible at-sea experiences and the historic pearling town of Broome with its cafes and art galleries. 

Orion's guests will see art galleries of another sort at Vansittart Bay - Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Aboriginal rock art depicting highly adorned and decorated figures. Believed to be as much as 50,000 years old, these paintings, possibly the oldest known to man, record times when humans first explored this ancient continent.

At Raft Point and Bigge Island, Orion's Expedition Team will take guests to see aboriginal art including the mythical Wandjina tribe on a 'Great Fish Chase' featuring images of the Wandjina spirits with their distinctive halos and dugong, crocodiles, fish and snakes.

Crocodiles love the Hunter River and it is no wonder, flanked with lush green mangroves and soaring ochre cliffs - arguably one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast - Orion's guests too will wonder at this extraordinary environment as they venture into the labyrinth of waterways in search of saltwater crocodiles to photograph.

An amazing event unfolds at Montgomery Reef. Arriving at high tide, in waters rich in marine life (including whales, dolphins, dugong, turtles, manta rays and black-tipped reef shark), there is very little to distinguish Montgomery Reef. However, as the 10 metre tide changes it drops faster than the waters trapped inside the reef can escape and a raging torrent of water cascades over the top as kilometres of reef emerge from the ocean.

Prepare to get wet as Orion's Zodiacs will take intrepid guests into a channel in the reef as water cascades down either side.

At Talbot Bay, Orion's guests will experience another mighty Kimberley feature - the Horizontal Falls, a by-product of the incredible 10 metres high tidal movements the region experiences. The falls are created when water, trapped on the inland side of gaps in the coastline cannot escape fast enough on a falling tide, rushes out through the narrow gap to the ocean side.

The 12km journey up the King George River, either by helicopter or Zodiac, reveals some of the world's most spectacular scenery including vertical canyon walls and the highest single-drop waterfalls in the whole of the Kimberley. Who will resist the optional flight-seeing excursion offering a wonderful view of the falls, as well as the rugged, complex system of gorges behind?

Voyage early in the season, following the annual 'Big Wet', to see the waterfalls at their most magnificent; while late July and August is the prime time to see migrating whales in the Kimberley. And what better way to see the largest Humpback whale population in the world as they head north from the Antarctic to rest and calve than from onboard Orion?

With fishing, scuba diving, hot air ballooning and camel safari's to try out there is plenty to do when Orion visits Broome. Inherited from its early pearling days, its colourful history and cosmopolitan feel is still evident. Guests can relax, enjoy the pristine white sand and swim in the clear waters of Cable Beach, wander Chinatown or visit Gantheaume Point, home of 130 million year old dinosaur footprints.

These voyages exemplify expedition cruising with Orion. Adventure, excitement and dramatic sea and landscapes combine with outstanding levels of service and comfort on-board to stimulate the mind and capture the spirits.

Orion's Kimberley season runs from May to September, offering guests a range of twelve 10 night cruise itineraries between the tropical city of Darwin and historic pearling town of Broome (and vice versa).

Kimberley Expedition –10 nights. Darwin/Broome and v.v. typically including King George River and Falls, Vansittart Bay, Bigge Island, Hunter River (for Mitchell Falls), Montgomery Reef and Raft Point, Talbot Bay/Horizontal Waterfalls, Cape Leveque, the Lacepedes – refer to specific itineraries for details.

Fares Guide:

Early booking savings available

2010 Kimberley Expedition fares begin from $9,100 per person for an ocean view Category B Stateroom. Junior Suites begin from $12,660 per person for a Junior Suite and Owners Suites with French Balcony are $19,055 per person

Expedition fares per person twin occupancy include accommodation, all meals, landings and selected activities ashore.

Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities.

With 75 crew and a maximum of just 106 passengers Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Further information on all Orion 2010 Expedition Cruises to Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, New Zealand, the Kimberley and Arnhem Land can be obtained by visiting the website www.orionexpeditions.com

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent. Email: info@orioncruises.com.au

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises New 5-day Kimberley cruise



Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises has a new five-day Kimberley coastal cruise to meet demand for shorter excursions from Broome.

The new itinerary includes a 45-minute scenic flight from Broome to meet Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises’ Kimberley Quest II at Arm Point on the Dampier Peninsula, cruising over following days to the Buccaneer Archipelago, Montgomery Reef, Ruby Falls, Raft Point, Doubtful Bay, Sale River, the Horizontal Falls, Cyclone Creek and Crocodile Creek before the return flight to Broome.

Scheduled prices range from $5000 to $6300 a person (depending on cabin), which includes local flights, cruising and guided excursions, all meals and transfers.

Four departures are in March, seven in September and one in October next year. They fit neatly into Kimberley Quest’s 2009 seven and 14-day cruises which Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises has been operating for 14 years.

Contact: Tel 08 9193 6131, or see www.kimberleyquest.com.au.

Additional detail

Waterholes, monsoonal rainforests, fishing and art sites as well as cruising by the region’s magnificent cliffs, inlets and islands are still presented in this five-day package.

The air-conditioned Kimberley Quest II accommodates just 18 passengers in deluxe twin, deluxe double, superior double cabins and an exclusive flybridge double cabin, all equipped with private ensuites. Onboard features include a spa bath on the forward deck, inside dining and bar and casual rear deck.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cruise Weekly Comment: Adventure Cruising – Aussie Style

For lots of people, the idea of an adventure cruise means some far off, distant land, icebergs and glaciers. But some dinkum Aussie operators provide world-class products right here from our favourite cities.

Of those operators sailing Australian-flagged vessels with all-Australian crew, North Star Cruises in Broome, Coral Princess Cruises in Cairns and Captain Cook Cruises in Sydney come quickly to mind with itineraries covering the entire coastline of Australia, including the Murray River.

Iconic destinations such as the Kimberley and Great Barrier Reef are well covered, but dig deeper and you’ll find semi-secret locations such as the Rowley Shoals in WA and Cape York and Arnhem Land across our Top End. North Star Cruises continue their Southern Safari out of Adelaide that covers Kangaroo Island and Eyre Peninsula with the exciting “Jaws” shark cage dive as highlight.

Coral Princess Cruises, one of the premium operators in the Kimberley, are even offering a free Great Barrier Reef Cruise for every new booking in the Kimberley this year. (this offer was supposed to expire end August, but tell them CW said it was extended by 7 days for subscribers only!) Otherwise a 15% earlybird applies for 2010 dates.

It’s a bit harder to keep track of some of the smaller operators offering niche products, but Pearl Seas Cruises, Cannon Charters, Great Escape (pic r), Matrix, K2O and One Tide all offer intimate vessels of around a dozen passengers and can be booked through the one-stop Kimberley Cruise Centre or direct. These little ships are great for divers, fishers and small corporate or family groups.

The multi-award-winning Orion Expedition Cruises are an Australian Private Company operating the 106-passenger Bahaman-flagged Orion. The “grand dame” of our adventure fleet, Orion offers the nearest thing to a big ship experience, yet still keeps that adventurous touch. Their just-announced 2010 brochure includes a wealth of local cruising options including our east coast, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia – many of which are firsts for Orion. The loyal following will have plenty of reasons for repeat cruises next year and new cruisers may want to try them too.

So if you’re hankering for an adventure cruise and don’t want the jetlag, there are stacks of great opportunities in brilliant vessels right on our doorstep. Print this page now, race into your favourite travel agent and get aboard!

Cruise Passenger Newsletter



Deal of the Week

No Single Supplement!
Kimberley Coast on board Oceanic Discoverer
Broome-Darwin 10 nights
21 Sep & 12 Oct 09
Darwin – Broome 02 Oct 09
$7750 single occupancy

Call 1800 288 266

Friday, August 28, 2009

Orion Expedition Cruises' 2010 Voyages Brochure Just Released - A 5 Star Brochure for 5 Star Expedition Cruising


Orion's latest full colour brochure, just released, features evocative colour spreads, some by award winning Australian photographers Ken Duncan and Earl Carter (along with winners of the Orion Photography Competition) depicting key destinations, along with an overview of guest experiences and life onboard.

In addition to destination features including the Kimberley and Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea, the Spice Islands, New Zealand and Antarctica, the 2010 brochure contains useful information for potential expedition travellers, demonstrating the differences between typical mainstream cruising and the stimulating physical and intellectual experiences to be had on an Orion expedition voyage.

The brochure contains comprehensive information on Orion's range of 5 star accommodation and facilities, (with floor plans from Staterooms to Owner's Suites) and examples of onboard luxuries such as boutique, massage, spa, elevator and lounges – and Serge Dansereau's award winning cuisine.

If a photo tells a thousand words then video goes one better. The brochure also contains a DVD providing a taste of some of the destinations visited and typical cultural, historic and wildlife experiences encountered along the way.

Included with this year's brochure is a useful lift-out reference booklet containing in-depth itinerary details by destination, pricing (with savings for early booking) and Calendar of Sailings for all expeditions throughout 2010 and early 2011.

Brochures are available by contacting Orion Expedition Cruises on 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate), through the website at www.orionexpeditions.com/brochure email info@orioncruises.com.au or through specialist expedition cruise travel agents.

Expansive landscape format and photography reflect seascapes and vistas typically encountered on Orion expeditions.

The cover features a dramatic photo of Orion alongside a waterfall in New Zealand's spectacular fjord land. Internal spreads include Orion at the mouth of the Hunter River in the Kimberley, Mawson's Huts in Antarctica, King George

Falls, cultural dance groups and remote beaches in PNG and Melanesia, and wildlife encounters on New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic islands and Antarctica.

In 2010 Orion has Australia covered - for the first time Orion will be visiting every Australian State - plus Macquarie Island and Antarctica. Two coastal highlights voyages that include Victoria and South Australia in November will round out visits to every State and the Northern Territory.

Expeditions also include Melanesia, remote islands of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, New Zealand fjord lands and sub-Antarctic islands.

2010 voyages feature
• 6 new rarely-visited island destinations in Papua New Guinea
• 3 new ports in the exotic Spice and Tanimbar Islands
• Orion's inaugural visit to Irian Jaya, famous worldwide for its vibrant Asmat Art woodcarvings
• New Australian coastal voyages from Cairns to Hobart including World Heritage listed marine parks, nature reserves, national parks and wilderness areas
• Inaugural voyages to Melbourne, the Limestone Coast, Kangaroo Island, Eyre Peninsula and Fleurieu Peninsula
• Christmas in New Zealand's spectacular fjordland

The Antarctic continent remains a strong Orion drawcard for adventurers lured by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the historic Antarctic explorer bases of Mawson, Scott and Shackleton.

Those seeking warmer climes can cruise our own Great Barrier Reef – perfect for shorter breaks in one of the most beautiful parts of the world – and easily accessible through major gateways.

An electronic version of the Orion 2010 brochure can be downloaded from www.orionexpeditions.com/ebrochure or a printed version mailed directly simply by contacting Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate), emailing info@orioncruises.com.au or visiting your travel agent.
General email: info@orioncruises.com.au

Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities.

With 75 crew and a maximum of just 106 passengers Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises can be obtained by visiting the website www.orionexpeditions.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

Orion keen to increase international booking and acquire second ship


Australia's Orion Expedition Cruises plans to boost UK sales before it buys a second ship.

The cruiseline's ship, Orion, sails between Darwin and Broome in the Kimberley, Northern Australia, and to Papua New Guinea and Antarctica.

However, founder and managing director Sabrina Bratton, in London last week on a UK/US sales trip to raise trade awareness of the cruiseline, said she is keen to increase international bookings and buy a second ship.

"Despite economic conditions, it's still expensive to build, so we are looking to buy. We are a profitable company with a 35% repeat factor. But that brings its own challenges as it means we have to offer new destinations and itineraries for repeat passengers," she said.

Bratton said the second ship would cruise around Asia, which would attract repeat guests as well as the UK market.

"We are offering a cruise from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, and we want to build on that. Our research shows there is demand for Asia."

Orion cruises are priced in Australian dollars, but Bratton said a pound-based brochure would be produced as UK business improves. As well as specialist cruise agents, she is targeting retailers and operators with a strong database of well-travelled clients who are not cruisers but are looking for something different.

Australians account for 90% of Orion's passengers, excluding charter business, with Brits and Americans making up most of the remaining. Bratton expects 60 British passengers this year, worth about £315,000.

If Orion adds the second ship, Bratton hopes the UK and Europe will account for 25% of sales. She said: "We have representation in South Africa and Asia but we have identified the UK as the biggest growth market after the US."

She said the new ship would be small - Orion holds just 106 passengers - so it can visit remote destinations.

Source: Jane Archer - TravelWeekly (UK)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coral Princess Expands in the Kimberley in 2010 – with Early Bird Discounts!


An exploratory cruise along the wild and beautiful Kimberley coast – much of it only accessible by sea – is Coral Princess Cruises' most popular voyage. In the just-released 2010 Kimberley & Across the Top of Australia brochure, the company is offering an unprecedented 36 departures and, for the first time, an early bird discount of 15 per cent.

Responding to popular demand, Coral Princess – which pioneered small-ship cruising in the Kimberley 14 years ago, has added 4 departures to its 2010 complement, with a choice of vessels: the 48-passenger Coral Princess or the luxurious 72-passenger Oceanic Discoverer.

And for bookings on voyages departing between April 01 and May 17, 2010, a 15 per cent discount off the cruise-only cost applies to all cabin categories. These departures coincide with the early stages of the Top End dry season, when the many waterfalls that plummet directly into the sea or into dramatic gorges are at their most spectacular.

The Kimberley wilderness of Western Australia is three times larger than England with a population of just 30 000. Coral Princess's 10-night voyages cruise between Darwin and Broome through one of the planet's oldest and most awe-inspiring sea and landscapes. Rivers carve their way through ancient, eroded mountains that were once the height of the Himalaya, dropping in champagne waterfalls such as the 80-metre King George Falls. Excursions ashore visit rock art galleries where Bradshaw (Gwion) paintings - the world's oldest known art - record a human history stretching back 50,000 years.

There is an optional helicopter flight over the Mitchell Plateau for views of the impressive four-tiered Mitchell Falls, and bushwalks to idyllic swimming holes. The cruise explores the 800-odd islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, including an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the Horizontal Waterfalls, where the largest tides in the southern hemisphere force their way between rocky cliffs in a formidable display of the forces of nature.

Prices for the 10-night Kimberley cruise start at $6850 per person, twin share, aboard the Coral Princess and $8250 aboard Oceanic Discoverer, including all meals, lectures and services of expedition staff on board, excursions and group transfers. There are regular departures from both Darwin and Broome between April and October 2010.

At the beginning and end of the season, the Kimberley cruise can be combined with an 11-night voyage, Across The Top of Australia, between Cairns and Darwin, exploring the remote reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, Cape York, Torres Strait, Arnhem Land and the Cobourg Peninsula – visiting places of exquisite beauty and cultural significance so remote that they can't be reached any other way. Departing in March, April and October, prices for this 11-night cruise start at $6850 per person. There is a 10 per cent discount for booking the two cruises together.

Next year, Coral Princess is venturing into the Kimberley by both land and sea, with a 24-night Kimberley Cruise & 4WD Expedition, combining the 10-night cruise and a 4WD tour through the Kimberley's rugged and beautiful interior.

The 4WD journey travels the length of the legendary Gibb River Road, stopping at million-acre El Questro station to hike into Emma Gorge and soak in the hot pools of Zebedee Springs. Further along the road, Lake Argyle is the largest man-made lake in the Southern Hemisphere, with 18 times the capacity of Sydney Harbour. A highlight of the road trip is World Heritage-listed Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) National Park, and 'camping out' in style overnight at the award-winning Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge.
The 24-night Cruise & 4WD Expedition starts at $12 745 aboard the Coral Princess and $14 145 aboard Oceanic Discoverer. Prices are per person, twin share. This includes the cruise and 4WD transport, all meals and group transfers.

For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises on 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Forget Global Warming, now it's Economic Climate Change


With economic indicators starting to look slightly more positive, adventure cruise operators are hoping passenger numbers return to pre-GFC levels.

Orion Expedition Cruises MD, Sarina Bratton, reminds us she is still on the look out for Orion II to take the company further afield to Asia and the Pacific Islands while North Star Cruises have scheduled a return to West Papua in 2010 as well as a 10-night first timer to the Solomon Islands en route to Sydney for their annual stay in the harbour city.

Meanwhile some operators have found the last few weeks particularly testing.

The classic sailing ship, Soren Larsen, was struck by a rogue wave en route to the Cook Islands and is back in NZ for repairs, while the new luxury Amazon River cruiser, Aqua, was boarded by armed bandits (twice!) who robbed passengers and crew.

Fortunately there were no significant injuries in either case and Aqua at least is sailing again at near capacity.

Amanresorts announced the debut of Amanikan, a custom-built 105-foot coastal cruiser built in the style of traditional wooden Indonesian vessels known as Phinisi. This vessel will form part of the uber-luxe company's new 7-night Komodo Expedition which includes diving and an exclusive resort stay for a trifling \$US22k per couple.

Aussie favourites, Aurora, with new CEO, Lisa Bolton at the helm, are doing a refit of itineraries. Exciting news is their partnering with Coral Princess Cruises for PNG as well as Kimberley from 2010 and a reaffirmation of itineraries in the Russian Far East.

Logistics for deep Antarctica are still a sticking point and I'm told an announcement is due this week which will clarify some issues.

The stalwart Akademik Ioffe was made surplus by Quark Expeditions and gleefully snapped up by ONE OCEAN for their 2010 Antarctic program who promise to lift the bar with adventure options including kayaking, camping, hiking and Zodiac cruises.

The Canadian company is represented in Australia by Active Travel of Canberra. Active Travel, who also represent a wide range of river vessels and destinations, tell me there's a real battle brewing for bragging rights on the Mekong.

Heritage Cruise Lines has pushed back the launch of their brand new, The Jayavarman, to November and as indicated previously, Pandaw are not going down without a fight with expanded river itineraries as far afield as Borneo.

Other snippets include the deployment of Prince Rainier's private yacht, now refurbished and renamed M/Y Grace, to the Galapagos as well as Lindblad's announcement of Neil Armstrong joining their Nov.15 departure to Antarctica aboard the National Geographic Explorer.

UK-based travel giant, TUI Travel PLC acquired adventure cruise and tour company Zegrahm Expeditions and its sister company, Eco-Expeditions to add to Quark and Peregrine. The company now owns over 200 travel and leisure brands.

The next few weeks will reveal even more developments as adventure cruise operators rise to the challenges of the new economic climate.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Experience the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix from on board Orion

Orion Expedition Cruises, in association with Events Worldwide, is showcasing the Singapore Formula 1 Singtel Grand Prix with options of 3 or 4 night packages that include Grand Prix tickets.

Stay in Singapore harbour on board the luxuriously appointed Orion, enjoy the adrenalin packed experience of the world’s only night time Grand Prix and see Australia’s Mark Webber in action in his Red Bull F1 car as he chases another podium position and championship points.

Reserve your accommodation on Orion including Singapore F1 ticket packages: 25 – 27 September 2009. Twin share from A$2149 per person on sale now. Staterooms and suites available for individuals, corporate hospitality or other group bookings.

Call Events Worldwide on 1300 788 666 or email sports@events.com.au for complete details and options.

Additional information: At time of release, following the Hungarian Grand Prix (26 July 2009), Mark Webber is currently placed second in the Formula 1 Driver’s Championship for 2009.

Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities.

With 75 crew and a maximum of just 106 passengers Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Information on all Orion Expedition Cruises to Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Asia, New Zealand, the Kimberley and Arnhem Land can be obtained by visiting the website www.orionexpeditions.com

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent. Email: info@orioncruises.com.au

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Aurora Expeditions Launches New Kimberley Coast Program for 2010


Aurora Expeditions offers travellers the chance to experience Australia's hidden Kimberley Coast with their unrivaled team of experts in 2010.

The three voyages, led by legendary Kimberley expeditioner Mike Cusack of Australian Geographic's first 'wilderness couple' fame, will explore the hidden bays, estuaries and spectacular sandstone gorges of this pristine wilderness. Mike offers a special insight into one of Australia's least visited areas, where his intimate knowledge reveals the secrets of this ancient and forgotten land.

Joining the expedition staff for the 2010 season will be Rosanna Angus, a local Aboriginal guide who has delighted guests with her vibrant personality and abundant knowledge of indigenous history, bush tucker and bush medicine. Rosanna's fresh, insightful approach to interpreting the cultural aspects of the helps to cast a new light on some of the Kimberley's lesser-known treasures.

Aurora will also be joined again by eminent indigenous art historian Garry Darby and the inimitable Chris Done whose years of research as a naturalist bring the wonders of the Kimberley Coast to life.

As with all Aurora cruises, emphasis is placed on a combination of interactive experiences with the environment and a strong educational element. Aurora's onboard team of lecturers and naturalists are Kimberley experts who interpret history, plants and animals from Aboriginal and European perspectives.

Aurora's first two 11-day voyages will travel from Broome to Bigge Island off the Kimberley's north-west coast and back again, and include the Lacede Islands, a prime breeding ground for green turtles and tens of thousands of breeding birds; the tidal pools of Montgomery reef; and the secrets of the Wandjina spirit paintings.

A third 11-day voyage from Broome to Darwin, will explore one end of the Kimberley Coast to the other, crossing Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and visiting the spectacular King George River on the north coast. Passengers will be able to explore the renowned horizontal waterfalls of Montgomery Reef, Prince Regent National Park and the spectacular 90 metre plunge of the King George Falls.

The voyages depart on 31 May 2010; 11 June and 21 June respectively.

Prices start at AU$6,850 per person twin-share, including all meals, Zodiac excursions and lectures by onboard naturalists and experts.

For more details or to obtain a copy of Aurora's new Kimberley Coast 2010 brochure, contact Aurora Expeditions on 1800 637 688; visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or email auroraex@auroraexpeditions.com.au

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cruise Weekly Comment: Don’t Cry Me a River

I’m ashamed of myself; I’ve been an adventure cruise snob thinking that an adventure or expedition voyage had to be at least coastal or even oceanic in nature to qualify. I was wrong and now I’m admitting it.

I had this idea that river cruising was some cushy lark for timid softies with delicate tummies and an inhibited sense of adventure. Well, several recent river cruises have helped me dispel those prejudices and I’m finding myself developing a liking for the inland variety.

First it was Cruise West on USA’s Columbia River, then Pandaw on the Rajang of Sarawak and now I’m signed up for the Brahmaputra in India with Active Travel. Yes, I had to look it up.

Oceanic Discoverer on the Sepik
I really should not have been so surprised because two years ago, I was with Coral Princess when they made one of their initial explorations of the Sepik. This river is one of the largest in PNG and twists and turns for over 1100 kilometres into the wild backcountry inland from the northern coast. It was here that I had one of my most other worldly expedition experiences when the women of Tambanum worked themselves into a black magic frenzy, yelping and flailing around like possessed banshees. The men knew their place, meekly banging their drums and chanting back-ups, careful not to get a beat out of place. These girls were way out there!

Although I’ve never been on the Amazon proper, I did venture up one of the lesser known tributaries, the Rio Negro, into eastern Ecuador, on the other side of the Andes. Our jungle hideout, Sacha Lodge, was secreted deep in the tidal floodplain and completely at the mercy of tiny marauding primates like marmosets and squirrel monkeys. Giant prehistoric birds called Hoatzins would lurk about while Toucans kept their distance and called loudly from the canopy. You could even fish for piranha off the veranda.

While aboard RV Orient Pandaw, I did get a run down from Australian rep, John Boyd, about future plans for the SE Asian river specialists. Well known for their signature voyages along the Mekong from Saigon to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, they’ve also been busy on the Chindwin and Irrawaddy in Burma since 1995 and are soon to embark on the Ganges and Hugli rivers in India starting this September. The other stuff is secret, but look out for exciting new itineraries from this go-ahead line.


Here in Australia, Captain Cook’s Murray River itineraries are a popular, evergreen product, while some of the more locally-focussed Kimberley operators like North Star or Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises spend time upriver on the Roe, Prince Regent or Hunter chasing Barramundi and ancient Gwion Gwion rock art. Then there’s the Volga in Russia, the Danube Delta in Romania, the Dnieper in the Ukraine and the Nile and Congo in Africa. Yes, they all have cruises.

So don’t think that expedition cruising has to mean icebergs, penguins or polar bears. Nor does it have to involve crossing seas in search of remote islands, some of the world’s great inland waterways hold great adventure possibilities.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Aurora Expeditions Appoints New CEO


Adventure Travel Company, Aurora Expeditions, has announced the appointment of Lisa Bolton as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

The appointment follows the retirement of founder, Greg Mortimer, who sold the business at the end of last year.

Mortimer, the first Australian to climb Mount Everest and a veteran of more than 100 voyages to Antarctica, will continue to lead expeditions for the company.

“I look forward to continuing the legacy that Greg Mortimer created, pushing the boundaries of adventure and expeditionary travel and making it possible for travellers to experience the wildest and remotest corners of the planet,” said Bolton.

“It is a great privilege to follow in the footsteps of one of the pioneers of expedition travel, and I am pleased to be involved in the next development stage of one of Australia’s most successful adventure companies,” she said.

Bolton previously held roles with Carnival Australia (P&O Cruises) and Qantas Airways.

Aurora Expeditions is an Australian adventure company specialising in small group expedition-style travel to Polar Regions and other wild and remote places such as The Russian Far East, Papua New Guinea and The Kimberley Coast. A world leader in polar cruising, Aurora offers their travellers the chance to have an intimate experience in these regions with their flexible, innovative itineraries. On some voyages, mountain climbing, sea kayaking, photography and scuba diving options are available and Aurora’s expert naturalists, historians, staff and crew help to unlock the wonders of these special places. Deeply committed to education and preservation of the environment, Aurora's founders, Greg Mortimer and Margaret Werner are veterans of almost three decades of Antarctic research, private Antarctic mountaineering expeditions and polar travel. For more information about Aurora visit http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Orion OPERA UNDER THE STARS® Kimberley voyage 2009


Opera With The Stars Under The Stars

A grand night of operatic proportions awaits guests from the five star expedition cruise ship Orion at the conclusion of its Kimberley Expedition voyage in late August 2009.

Having absorbed the visual drama of the spectacular Kimberley coast with its vast tidal changes, emerging reefs, swirling waters, dramatic waterfalls and prolific marine life, Orion’s guests will be invited to enjoy Broome’s iconic OPERA UNDER THE STARS®, a highlight of Broome's cultural events calendar.

Overlooking Cable Beach, famed for its fiery sunsets, this ‘one night only’ evening provides a delightful contrast of informality countered by uplifting voices of opera singers who have received critical acclaim for performances both at home and overseas.

The musical programme includes the sublime aria “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s Norma, excerpts from Carmen by Bizet as well as duets by Verdi and Delibes.

Be it an impromptu glass of champagne on some remote sand bar, a seafood beach barbeque or an invitation to the opera, these are typical unexpected experiences Orion strives to provide guests on all Orion voyages.

Special offer – save 15% on these prices

10 nights Kimberley Expedition OPERA UNDER THE STARS® voyage

21 August 2009 Darwin/Broome departure only.

Fares begin from $8,790 per person for an ocean view Category B Stateroom.

Suites begin from $12,125 per person for a Junior Suite and Owners Suites with French Balcony are $18,410 per person

Expedition fares are per person twin occupancy include accommodation, all meals, landings and selected activities ashore plus invitation to OPERA UNDER THE STARS® in Broome on Saturday 29th August.

Limited availability.

Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises can be obtained by visiting the website www.orionexpeditions.com

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent.
Email: info@orioncruises.com.au

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pearl of a deal for Kimberley cruises

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises is offering a $500 gift voucher per person at pearl specialist Linneys in Broome as well as a 15 percent discount on 2009 and 2010 Kimberley coast cruises.

This discount price on the seven-day cruises between Broome and Mitchell Plateau is from A$7093 a person (normally $8,345), from $10,280 (normally from $12,095) for the 13-day Broome-Wyndham cruises and from $4250 (normally from $5000) for the five-day Broome-Broome cruises.

Prices include a light aircraft and helicopter flight between Broome and the Mitchell Plateau (on 7-day cruises), private cabin with ensuite bathroom, full use of the vessel, guided land and water excursions and all chef-prepared meals served on the shady stern deck or in the air-conditioned lounge.

Rates for 2010 are the same as 2009.

Cruises operate during March to October.

Cruising is on board the 25-metre Kimberley Quest II, equipped with a spa on the deck and helipad for scenic flights.

The Kimberley Quest II has only nine double cabins, with a choice of four styles.

Cruise highlights are the Horizontal Waterfalls, the spectacular islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, King Cascades, Montgomery Reef and the King George Falls, guided scenic tender rides gorges, a myriad of inlets, estuaries and unnamed creek systems, ancient art sites and colonial settlement ruins.

Email cruise@kimberleyquest.com.au or see www.kimberleyquest.com.au

Monday, June 22, 2009

Whale watch in the Kimberley – and save 15% on Orion


Late July and August is the prime time to see migrating whales in the Kimberley – and what better way to see the largest Humpback whale population in the world as they head north from the Antarctic to rest and calve than from on board the luxury expedition cruise ship, Orion?

Limited space remains for some of Orion’s 10 night Kimberley Expedition Kimberley voyages in 2009. Take in the highlights between Darwin and Broome, including visits to mighty King George Falls, the dramatic Horizontal Waterfalls, Montgomery Reef and the spectacular ancient indigenous rock artwork of Bigge Island – plus the chance to see whales breaching, tail slapping and blowing.

Kimberley Expedition – Select from 5 voyages between 22 July and 31 August 2009:10 nights. Darwin/Broome and v.v. typically including King George River and Falls, Vansittart Bay, Bigge Island, Hunter River (for Mitchell Falls), Montgomery Reef and Raft Point, Talbot Bay/Horizontal Waterfalls, Cape Leveque, the Lacepedes – refer to specific itineraries for details.

Fares Guide:

Special offer – save 15% on these prices

Fares begin from $8,790 per person for an ocean view Category B Stateroom.

Suites begin from $12,125 per person for a Junior Suite and Owners Suites with French Balcony are $18,410 per person

Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship, featuring an unmatched range of onboard facilities.

With 75 crew and a maximum of just 106 passengers Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Further information on all Orion Expedition Cruises to Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Asia, New Zealand, the Kimberley and Arnhem Land can be obtained by visiting the website www.orionexpeditions.com

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or your travel agent. Email: info@orioncruises.com.au

Cruise the Kimberley with Coral Princess – and Explore the Reef for free.


Coral Princess Cruises has added two extra departures for its most popular cruise: a voyage exploring the remote Kimberley coast between Broome and Darwin. And for new bookings before 31 August 2009, Coral Princess is offering a second three- or four-night cruise on the Great Barrier Reef, valued at up to $4392 per couple, for free.

Due to ever-popular demand, the two extra voyages aboard the company's luxury flagship Oceanic Discoverer depart on October 2 and 12 2009. New bookings will also include a free Great Barrier Reef cruise that can be used any time in the 12 months following the Kimberley cruise and can even be passed on to family members as a memorable gift.

The 10-night Kimberley cruise visits Kuri Bay, home of the South Pacific pearl industry, and ventures ashore to view the world-famous Bradshaw (Gwion) paintings, - the world's oldest known indigenous art – and the towering, 80-metre King George Falls, the tallest waterfalls in Western Australia. There is an optional helicopter flight over the Mitchell Plateau for views of the impressive four-tiered Mitchell Falls, as well as excursions into secluded gorges and to rock pools perfect for swimming. The cruise explores the Buccaneer Archipelago – made up of 800 islands – and includes an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the 'Horizontal Waterfall', where the tide floods between rocky cliffs.

The Kimberley wilderness of Western Australia is three times larger than England with a population of just 30 000.

Coral Princess operates two ships in the Kimberley. The Oceanic Discoverer accommodates a maximum of just 72 guests and travels with a purpose-built excursion vessel, Xplorer and inflatable Zodiacs. Coral Princess accommodates a maximum of just 48 guests. In true expedition style, the itinerary may vary to take maximum advantage of opportunities to venture ashore or to explore the many waterfalls, river systems, reefs and other natural attractions.

Prices for the 10-night Kimberley cruise start at $6450 aboard Coral Princess and $7750 aboard Oceanic Discoverer. Prices are per person, twin share and include the cruise, all meals, lectures and services of expedition staff on board and group transfers. There are regular departures from both Darwin and Broome between April and October 2009.

For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises on 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Original Kimberley Quest destroyed by fire

Note from Editor: Kimberley Quest II continues to sail advertised voyages

source: abc.net.au

FIRE has destroyed a $2.3 million luxury cruise liner in the West Australian town of Broome.

The fire was reported about 11.30pm (WST) yesterday and was still burning late this morning.

Police spokeswoman Ros Weatherall said it was believed no one was aboard the boat.

The Kimberley Quest, a 24.9m fiberglass vessel built in 2000, had been in port at the Broome slipway undergoing repairs.

Ms Weatherall said two arson squad detectives were on their way from Perth to investigate the cause of the blaze.

"Because it is still burning, no one has been able to get too close to the boat,'' Ms Weatherall said.

"Hopefully the fire will be out soon and police can take a closer look at it.''

The boat's owners have asked police to clarify that the destroyed vessel was not the Kimberley Quest II, which is currently cruising the Talbot Bay area with 18 people on board.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

North Star Cruises Special Offers


Travellers offered unique opportunity to experience ultra luxury adventure cruise ship True North with special ‘beat the economic slowdown’ incentives.

North Star Cruises has unveiled a raft of special incentives to battle the economic slowdown.

For a limited time, consumers can take advantage of three 10% discounts.

North Star Cruises General Manager Peter Trembath said there had never been a better time to experience the luxury and adventure of a True North cruise.

“If you were ever thinking of experiencing the iconic True North, now is the time, with discounted special deals that are never likely to be repeated,” said Mr Trembath.

Specials include:

Previous Guest Discount: All previous guests will receive a 10% discount on repeat arrangements.

Early Bird Tariff Discount: All guests will receive a 10% for bookings outside 12 months.

Early Bird Deposit Bonus: All bookings received for departures outside 12 months will be subject to a 10% deposit only. The balance of the normal 25% deposit will become payable 12 months from departure.

The special deals are valid for all new bookings and will continue until further notice.

Mr Trembath said incentives could be combined meaning some excellent savings for those who qualified for more than one special deal.

“For many people, the True North is that once in a life time experience – so if you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing one of our cruises, it’s time to take advantage of these unbeatable special offers.”

“We travel to some of the most exotic locations in the world including the stunning Kimberley coastline, and into the Pacific Islands.”

Highlights for the rest of the 2009 season include:

• The Kimberley Photographic Workshop with renowned photographer Christian Fletcher onboard the Kimberley Wilderness Cruise departing Broome August 29
• The West Papua Discoverer cruise which explores an untouched paradise of hidden culture and incredible natural scenery departing Darwin in October.

For more information visit www.northstarcruises.com.au or phone 08 9192 1829.

True North Background

The multi award winning adventure cruise ship, True North, allows discerning guests to experience wilderness in surroundings more akin to one of the world’s most exclusive hotels. Lavish features include:

• A sundeck, forward observation lounge, ship’s lounge, alfresco bar, internet café, plasma screens with interpretive information, lower deck dining room with large panoramic windows, and fine dining.

• All cabins feature enhanced décor, en-suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones.

• Multiple expedition boats allow passengers to do “what they want, when they want”.

• The True North is the only Kimberley adventure-cruise ship that sails with its own helicopter.

• The purpose built True North is able to explore the upper reaches of shallow river systems.

• Adventure cruises and expeditions operate along the magnificent coastlines of Australia and the South Pacific.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Orion Wins Covetted Adventure Award


GT Travel Awards 2007: Best adventure tourism
Orion Expedition Cruises


Source: Gourmet Traveller Magazine

Orion’s great success in its three years of operation has been to make the inaccessible accessible, and to do so in supreme comfort. Until Orion commenced cruising in 2004, it was almost inconceivable that you could explore the fascinating but remote Kimberley coastline without your own yacht and a sense of adventure. Similarly, the Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinea used to be off-limits to all but the most courageous travellers; now it’s possible to explore these demanding destinations with Champagne in hand and expert commentary on tap. Zodiac excursions, sea-plane flights and outback sightseeing by 4WD offer further opportunities to experience areas off-limits to most Australians. Onboard Orion’s custom-built craft, ocean views and internet access are standard in all suites, as are flat-screen televisions, gym and sauna, and ample staff to cater to the needs of a maximum 100 cruisers. With menus created by Sydney chef Serge Dansereau and five-star facilities at their disposal, Australian explorers never had it so easy. Judges’ comments: "Orion combines luxury, intimate cruising, top accommodation, superb service and exceptional cuisine with the opportunity to journey to places that are way off the beaten track."

Orion Expedition Cruises (02) 9033 8700 or 1300 361 012, www.orioncruises.com.au.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coral Princess’s Great Barrier Reef Cruise Giveaway


Cruising with Coral Princess has just become even better value. For new bookings made by June 30, 2009 on a range of destinations and departures, Coral Princess Cruises is offering a second cruise on the Great Barrier Reef, valued at up to $4392 per couple, for free.

Book a cruise with Coral Princess to explore the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia or Across the Top of Australia on selected departures between September 2009 and March 2010 to receive a complimentary three- or four-night Great Barrier Reef cruise.

The second cruise can be taken at any time in the next year, or can be passed on to family members as a gift that will earn a lifetime of brownie points!

Coral Princess's 72-berth Oceanic Discoverer is small enough to reach remote bays, islands and villages that other inaccessible to larger ships, yet large enough to offer the comfort and facilities of bigger vessels. The ship was purpose-built by Coral Princess Cruises to offer first-class, nature-based adventure cruises to some of the world's most remote and fascinating regions including Papua New Guinea, the Kimberley coast and the isolated islands of Melanesia. Shore and boat excursions are guided by naturalists and experts who interpret the natural, cultural and historical highlights of the region.

Coral Princess Cruises pioneered the concept of small ship expedition cruising on the Great Barrier Reef over a quarter of a century ago, and has since become Australia's most awarded small ship cruise operator. It remains wholly Australian, family-owned and staffed.

Prices start at $6450 per person in a twin share cabin on the 11-night Across The Top of Australia cruise between Darwin and Cairns. The Kimberley or Papua New Guinea 10-night expeditions start from $7750 per person twin share and 13-night Melanesia cruise from $10500 per person twin share. Prices include accommodation, all meals, lectures and services of expedition staff on board, group transfers, activities and excursions during the cruise, and landing fees. The free Great Barrier Reef cruise offer is available on a select range of departures for each of these destinations.

For further information and reservations call 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last minute availability: Enjoy a Winter Escape Aboard the True North!

Put away your winter woolies and pack your swimmers and fishing hat for a breathtaking Kimberley Adventure!

Contact your adventure partners now and secure a place on one of the following departures to recieve a FREE nights accomodation pre and post cruise in Broome or Kununurra!*

The following cabins are available to book now:

CRUISE -- DATES -- CABINS AVAILABLE

Kimberley Wilderness 5 -- 09 May - 22 May -- Ocean Class
Kimberley Wilderness 6 -- 23 May - 05 June -- Ocean & singles
Kimberley Wilderness 7 -- 06 June - 19 June -- Ocean Class
Kimberley Wilderness 8 -- 20 June - 03 July -- River & Ocean Class

GO WILD IN STYLE ON BOARD THE TRUE NORTH THIS SEASON!

North Star Cruises Australia
Post Office Box 654
Broome 6725 Western Australia.
Telephone: + 61 8 9192 1829
Fax: + 61 8 9192 1830
Email: cruise@northstarcruises.com.au

URL:www.northstarcruises.com.au


*conditions apply, valid for new bookings - contact your adventure partners for details regarding accomodation offer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

North Star Cruises’ West Papua Discoverer Cruise Opens for Bookings


Bookings are now being taken for North Star Cruises’ much anticipated West Papua Discoverer cruise which explores an untouched paradise of hidden culture and incredible natural scenery.

North Star’s General Manager, Peter Trembath said interest in this remote region had never been greater as today’s travellers increasingly sought out rare unexplored areas of the world.

“There are more so-called ‘un-contacted people’ living in West Papua than in any other region on earth,” said Mr Trembath.

“It really is one of the few remaining wilderness areas on the planet, making an adventure-cruise to this area a truly remarkable and even life-changing experience,” he said.

“This cruise, onboard our award winning adventure cruise ship the True North, will show our guests a way of life that has been unchallenged by the 21st century.”

“This could well be the most stunning region that the True North has ever visited.”

The 12-night West Papua Discoverer Cruise explores the south coast of West Papua and features stunning natural landscapes including towering jungles, Amazonian rivers, Jurassic-like islands and pristine coral gardens. Highlights include:

- A tour and snorkelling at Batanta Island
- Visit the forests of Pulau Mansuar including swimming in lagoons and exploring hidden caves
- Snorkelling and diving the Raja Ampats, an archipelago comprising over 1,500 islands, cays and shoals
- Waigo Island, Fam Island, Waiag Island for snorkelling and swimming
- Swim with manta rays at Aljui Bay
- Kofiau Island – visit the island village and learn about the local way of life.
- Karas Island for swimming, snorkelling and fishing
- Arguni – an area known as Jurassic Park after its rugged cliffs and mountainous forests
- Snorkeling and night diving in Triton Bay where you can swim under a freshwater waterfall
- Crocodile spotting at Etna Bays
- World class fishing
- Presentations and lectures from guest experts on the region’s vast wilderness.

Also on the cruise in 2009 will be renowned marine life expert, Dr Gerry Allen and Dr Mark Erdmann, a senior advisor to Conservation International.

Both have spent many years working and researching in West Papua and their expertise will greatly enhance guest enjoyment and understanding of this virtually unknown land.

Guests will fly out from Darwin on October 19th, 2009 before joining the True North in Sorong, the gateway to the “land of ‘un-contacted’ people.

Prices start from AUD$19,995 per person all inclusive and places are strictly limited. For more information visit www.northstarcruises.com.au or phone 08 9192 1829.

True North Background

The multi-award winning adventure cruise ship, True North, allows discerning guests to experience wilderness in surroundings more akin to one of the world’s most exclusive hotels. Lavish features include:

• A sundeck, forward observation lounge, ship’s lounge, alfresco bar, internet café, plasma screens with interpretive information, lower deck dining room with large panoramic windows, and fine dining.

• All cabins feature enhanced décor, en-suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones.

• Multiple expedition boats allow passengers to do “what they want, when they want”.

• The True North is the only Kimberley adventure-cruise ship that sails with its own helicopter.

• The purpose built True North is able to explore the upper reaches of shallow river systems.

• Adventure cruises and expeditions operate along the magnificent coastlines of Australia and the South Pacific.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises Extends 20% Discount Deal on Kimberley Cruises


Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises (PSCC) has extended its 20 per cent discount offer on 2009 and 2010 Kimberley coast cruises from March 31 to June 30.

This discount price on the seven-day cruises between Broome and Mitchell Plateau is from AUD$6,676 a person (normally AUD$8,345), from AUD$9,676 (normally from AUD$12,095) for the 13-day Broome-Wyndham cruises and from AUD$4000 (normally from AUD$5000) for the five-day Broome-Broome cruises.

Scheduled rates for 2010 are the same as 2009.

Cruises are in the March-October season.

Cruising is on board the 25-metre air-conditioned Kimberley Quest II, equipped with a spa on the deck and helipad for scenic flights.
The Kimberley Quest II accommodates just 18 passengers (and six crew) in deluxe twin, deluxe double, superior double cabins and an exclusive flybridge double cabin, all equipped with private ensuites.

Prices include a light aircraft and helicopter flight between Broome and the Mitchell Plateau (on 7-day cruises) full use of the vessel, guided land and water excursions, all chef-prepared meals (and non-stop access to the caffe latte machine on the rear deck).

Cruise highlights are the Horizontal Waterfalls, the spectacular islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, King Cascades, Montgomery Reef and the King George Falls, guided scenic tender rides through a myriad of inlets, estuaries and unnamed creek systems, ancient art sites and colonial settlement ruins.

What's also in store are swimming excursions to waterfalls and stunning cliff-top rock pools, wandering along deserted beaches, day and night crocodile spotting and fishing for much-prized barramundi, mackerel and trevally ... and lazing under the sun in the spa on the bow deck as the vessel cruises along the region's rugged escarpments and into spectacular gorges, sometimes 80 metres high.

Contact: Tel +618 9193 6131, email cruise@kimberleyquest.com.au or see www.kimberleyquest.com.au.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Great Escape takes you to stunning locations, with food to match


The Kimberley Coast is home to some of Australia’s most unique and remarkable landscapes, featuring iconic natural beauty and magical underwater treasures. With such amazing scenery on offer, one can heighten the experience with a distinctive and exclusive menu. The Great Escape Charter Company has revolutionised the way we travel by stylishly combining luxury travel with a unique menu that involves crew and guests working together to catch that day’s food.

Led by an experienced crew, The Great Escape offers guests an intimate journey through the uncharted waters of the Kimberley region and Rowley Shoals showcasing some of Australia’s rare, natural beauties. Guests experience first-class service throughout their stay, including having an on board Chef providing an exquisite menu to compliment the luxury cruise experience.

Each day typically starts with guests awaking to breathtaking scenery and to a breakfast which includes a seasonal fruit platter, bacon and eggs and cereal all accompanied with fruit juice. Relax with a frothy cappuccino, enjoyed on the sprawling back deck whilst admiring the view, before the day’s adventures begin. Guests are guided in one of the three tenders to explore the ubiquitous waterfalls, rock pools and gorges; all symbolic of the Kimberley region.

Your browser may not support display of this image.With lunch and dinner next on the menu, it is time to ‘hunt and gather’ to provide for the main course. The crew and guests hop into the tenders to go fishing, oystering or mud crabbing returning to the main vessel with enough for the Chef to create a range of delicious fresh seafood dishes. The meals range from Chilli Mud Crabs, Crespelle with Kimberley King Prawns, Salt and Pepper Squid and freshly shucked Kimberley Rock Oysters, all served to the guests liking, perfected by the on board Chef.

Kylie Bartle, co-founder of The Great Escape, believes they offer once in a life-time holiday experiences that guests will undoubtedly never forget. “We offer a luxury holiday which has many adventurous aspects involved,” says Kylie. “Guests really get involved in the different activities that are on offer, and they love the fact they are able to eat the fish that they catch! It makes the meal taste a little bit better.”

The Great Escape consists of two vessels; with the prestige staterooms offering ensuites, air-conditioning, flat screen TVs with DVD player and queen size beds. There are several different cruise options available which travel throughout the Kimberley Region and the Rowley Shoals, The Great Escape is the ideal means of travelling in style and comfort all while being treated to a selection of the finest foods available in the area.

For more information visit www.greatescape.net.au

Friday, March 20, 2009

North Star Cruises - Last Minute Availability April to June 09


e  Last minute availability   f

April – June 2009

Come aboard for the start of the Kimberley Season and see the waterfalls flowing!

This is the perfect time of the year to visit the Kimberley Region with a hive of activity including the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster in Kununurra and the Broome Racing Season kickstarting in May.

The following cabins are avilable to book now:

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 3           11 Apr – 24 Apr        2 single berths available

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 4a          05 Apr – 02 May      Explorer & Ocean Cabins available

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 5             09 May – 22 May     Ocean Class cabins available

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 6            23 May – 05 Jun        Ocean cabins available

Highlights from our Kimberley Wilderness cruise:

·         Get up close & personal with this ancient land that is over 1.8 billion years old. 

·         Knowledgeable crew onboard to interpret the history, geology, art, flora & fauna.

·         Amazing excursions daily including optional scenic heli flights up gorges, over river systems and waterfalls.

·         Excellent Fishing – guaranteed to catch one! (Barramundi, Mangrove Jack,

Fingermark Bream, Queenfish, Salmon)
 

 Go Wild in Style!

PO Box 654 Broome Western Australia 6725

Telephone: (+61 8) 9192 1829 Facsimile: (+61 8) 9192 1830

Email: cruise@northstarcruises.com.au URL: www.northstarcruises.com.au