True North Adventure Cruises

True North Adventure Cruises
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Kimberley Quest II - Winners at the WA Tourism Awards

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises were announced winners in the category of Ecotourism and silver medallists in Tour & Transport Operators at the Western Australian Tourism Awards on Saturday night.

Highly regarded within the tourism industry as prestigious awards, owners Jeff and Lynne Ralston are very excited of the great achievement and acknowledge the work of the entire team.

The win sees Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises automatically entered in to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in March 2011.

We are very proud of our achievement and thank you all for your support.

P 1300 156 035
F +61 (0) 8 9193 6303

www.kimberleyquest.com.au

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Behind Orion's Expeditions to Borneo

As you would imagine a great deal of time and effort goes into the preparation of Orion expeditions, whether to the Antarctic, PNG, Kimberley, or, in this instance for Orion II's 2011 four different itineraries that circumnavigate Borneo.

While some MD's can reel off seat pitch and others their wine list of preference for various airlines, the immigration stamps in Sarina Bratton's battered passport hint at adventures behind business trips of a different nature, to places where frequent flyer points are unheard of.

Behind Orion's expeditions to Borneo

In preparation for inaugural visits in 2011 by the expedition cruise ship Orion II, Sarina Bratton, Founder and Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises, recently returned from a scouting expedition to Borneo. Accompanied by Expedition Leader Mick Fogg, Sarina spent days trekking, researching and exploring parts of Borneo to finalise bespoke shore activities that Orion's guests will experience in August and September next year.

 "This visit to Borneo exceeded all my expectations on every level" enthused Sarina. "The wildlife is quite simply amazing – orangutans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys are just the beginning. Unfortunately much of the natural habitat has been impacted by logging, plantations, even poaching, so part of the reason behind my visit was to open discussions with a number of wildlife rehabilitation organizations at Camp Leakey, Samboja Lestari and Sepilok to see how we can meaningfully assist with rehabilitating orangutans and other endangered wildlife".

"Beyond the wildlife experiences and National Parks we will visit, our guests will also have the chance to stay overnight in a rainforest lodge retreat, snorkel with manta rays, scuba dive, see historically important World War II sites at Labuan and Sandakan and enjoy cultural interaction with the wonderful, gentle, locals with their longhouses and ancient traditions".

"I am very excited to be able to take Orion's guests there in a responsible, controlled manner, to help contribute to the local tourism industry in a sustainable way".

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Kimberley Cruise - 6-day Captain's Quest


We have put our Captain's knowledge and experience to the test and ask them to create their ideal itinerary along the Kimberley coast. Joining forces they have come up with an expedition that covers the places they love to explore and rarely have the opportunity to visit.

We are therefore very excited to announce this completely new six day expedition which delves into the hidden areas that highlight our Captains' love of the Kimberley. Exploring the area of coast between the Hunter River and Mitchell River which both seven day southern and northern cruises never encounter, this is your opportunity to share in the excitement and revel in new discoveries.

6 Day Captains' Quest 2011

25 September - 30 September
30 September - 5 October

Copies of the new itineraries are attached, otherwise please visit www.kimberleyquest.com.au

Alternatively email cruise@kimberleyquest.com or phone 1300 156 035 for more details.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Orion named Best Responsible Cruise Operator at World Travel Market

Orion Expedition Cruises, the leading operator of five-star expedition cruising in the Australasian region, has been named Best Responsible Cruise Operator at the internationally acclaimed 2010 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards which took place as part of World Travel Market in London on Wednesday 10th November (World Responsible Tourism Day).

Thousands of tourism organisations and travel experiences were nominated by the public in just 13 categories with the central tenet being that all types of tourism – from niche to mainstream – can and should be operated in a way that respects and benefits destinations and local people. These prestigious awards recognise individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.

Commenting on Orion Expedition Cruises' award, the judges said: "Orion Expedition Cruises is the only cruise company with Earthcheck certification, and shows a real commitment to the communities it visits. By acknowledging that authenticity can only be realised for their guests by working in partnership with communities, they conduct community research ahead of establishing new ports of call - helping protect cultural heritage and environment while offering real benefits to the places they visit. They have influenced suppliers to make positive changes like moving from plastic containers to cardboard and aluminium bottles over plastic. Cruise is a growth area and this small operator is one to watch."

Commenting on the award, Sarina Bratton, Founder and Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises, said: "The destinations visited by Orion have some of the most pristine and sensitive wilderness areas on our planet, with little or no infrastructure to support visits by hundreds of people at one time. Understanding this, we have a social responsibility to develop a marine tourism blueprint that is sustainable, one that is at the forefront of eco-sensitivity and a benchmark for internationally recognisable and environmentally sound operating practices. For Orion, sustainability is more than a fashion, a trend or a compelling need. Sustainability is a core component of our company's originating vision and values. To explore "a path less travelled" requires a gentle step. To work with the challenges and opportunities these environments offer is the starting point of every journey."

Founded in early 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises has developed voyages to encourage guests to become a part of the region they are discovering. It is a unique product that appeals to both local and international travellers alike: people who seek the mental stimulation of new experiences, places and discovery, whilst enjoying the comfort of luxurious surroundings.

Orion Expedition Cruises operates the 106-passenger expedition vessel Orion in the Kimberley region of Australia, the East Coast of Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the Sub Antarctic Islands, Melanesia, the Spice and Forgotten Islands and Antarctica.

In May 2011, Orion Expedition Cruises will increase the size of its fleet with the addition of a second specialist expedition cruise ship, Orion II. 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, Borneo, the Inland Sea of Japan and the Russian Far East.

For further information or reservations call 1300 361 012 or visit www.orionexpeditions.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Win a 10-night Kimberley Expedition aboard Oceanic Princess

Spend 10 nights exploring the rugged Kimberley coastline, ancient gorges and tumbling waterfalls on board the luxury 72-passenger Oceanic Discoverer.

For your chance to win, write us a slogan promoting Coral Princess Cruises in 25 words or less.

The prize includes a 10-night Kimberley cruise for 2 people PLUS 2 return airfares from your nearest capital city and is valued at over $20,000. Terms and conditions apply.

Enter Now [Entries close on 31-01-2011 at 11.59pm.]

Thursday, October 7, 2010

North Star Cruises Australia is Now Featuring Market Leading Experiences at Market Leading Prices

The company has announced adjusted pricing for most of its 2011 & 2012 cruise options - an affirmative action designed to keep North Star in-step with a changed market.

Prices have been significantly reduced across the entire cruise schedule and persons with effected bookings would be offered adjustment.

In addition, North Star will offer an increase in the number of shorter duration cruise options and greater overall variety incorporating new destinations and, four completely different options to experience the magnificent Kimberley.

New schedule highlights include the Kimberley Snapshot - a one week opportunity to experience the entire Kimberley coast, Batavia Bound - a Fremantle departure focused on the stunning Abrolhos Islands and, the Montes Extravaganza - an opportunity for Pilbara mining communities to experience fishing paradise in style!

Commenting on the changes, North Star's general manager, Mr Peter Trembath, said "the changes are consistent with North Star's reputation for being a market leader and will surely make our cruises even more irresistible to the discerning adventurer!"

Full details are available at http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/sailingschedule.asp?Date=2011

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 (6) allow passengers greater opportunity to do "what they want, when they want".
* To add another dimension to adventure - most cruise options feature an onboard helicopter.
* The purpose built True North is able to explore the upper reaches of shallow river systems.
* Adventure-cruises are conducted all around the Australian coastline and in the stunning waters of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
The True North - one of the finest adventure-cruise ships in the world!

For more information visit http://www.northstarcruises.com.au

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Savings PLUS a complimentary helicopter flight - Orion Kimberley

Explore Australia's great Kimberley wilderness – and save!

Book now, save up to 15% and receive a bonus helicopter flight

Enjoy the Kimberley highlights including pre-history Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art, land on remote islands and beaches, explore gorges, venture into waterways in search of saltwater crocodiles PLUS enjoy complimentary helicopter sightseeing over King George Falls OR Mitchell Falls in addition to an inclusive (and exclusive) 2 hour fixed wing Bungle Bungle Ranges flight.

Savings of 10% to 15% now available on new Orion 2011 season Kimberley bookings made before 30 November 2010

Fares begin from $8,190 (including savings) per person twin share for an ocean view Category B Stateroom.

Thirteen 10-night Orion voyages between late April and early September 2011

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

There is no better way to experience the Kimberley in 2011 than onboard Orion - the only expedition cruise ship to hold internationally-recognised EarthCheck EC3 marine tourism accreditation acknowledging world-leading sustainable and environmentally sound operating practices.

Orion Expedition Cruises' environmental responsibility is recognised both domestically and internationally, including an Honorable Mention, Education, in the 4th Annual Conde Nast Traveler Save the World Awards.

Orion's passion for expedition cruising invariably exceeds expectation, providing important differences no other cruise operator in the Kimberley can offer. Combine a relaxed onboard ambiance, the highest staff to guest ratio of any ship based in Australian waters, and unmatched facilities and services (including spa, hairdresser, elevator and gym) on a ship of international standards and you will discover it's not just what we do, it's the way we do it that sets the benchmark for expedition cruising in Australia and Asia.

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@orionexpeditions.com  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Qantas Brisbane-Broome Service a Boon for Kimberley Cruisers

Qantas 737-800 arriving in Broome (BME). Photo: Simon Wilson/airliners.net
Qantas announced it will commence direct Brisbane-Broome services next year (2011), resulting in Broome becoming the third destination behind Perth and Karratha that Queensland passengers can fly to direct from Brisbane. The new services will be seasonal, operating from April-October, to coincide with the Broome dry season.

This new service will join Broome-Melbourne and Broome-Sydney services, resulting in passengers from the popular tourist destination being able to fly direct from Broome to three east-coast destinations, as well as Perth.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Coral Princess Releases 2011 Kimberley Programme – with Early Bird Discounts!

Oceanic Discoverer at Raft Point

Coral Princess Cruises is offering an Early Bird Special of 15 per cent off selected departures of its just-released 2011 Kimberley cruise programme. The 10-night exploratory cruise along the wild and beautiful Kimberley coast of Western Australia – much of it only accessible by sea – is Coral Princess Cruises' most popular voyage. 
In the new 2011 Kimberley & Across the Top brochure, Coral Princess is offering 36 departures, cruising between Darwin and Broome. For bookings on voyages departing between April 8 and May 6, 2011, 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 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.
"It's a diverse and vast landscape that takes time to explore," explained Tony Briggs, Founder and Managing Director of Coral Princess. "The advantage of a Coral Princess cruise is that our ships are Australian-owned and flagged. This enables us to spend up to 30 per cent more time exploring the Kimberley during a 10-night cruise than the foreign-flagged vessels that must, by law, include an international port in an itinerary of the same length."
Having the extra time means that shore excursions are more frequent and more leisurely. On the Coral Princess cruise, 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.
Coral Princess – which pioneered small-ship cruising in the Kimberley 15 years ago, offers guests a choice of two purpose-built vessels: the 48-passenger Coral Princess or the luxurious 72-passenger Oceanic Discoverer.
"Our all-Australian crew and team of guest lecturers delivers an unmatched level of experience, knowledge and service that has seen our clients returning year after year," said Briggs.
Earlybird prices for the 10-night Kimberley cruise start at $5,908 per person, twin share, aboard the Coral Princess and $7,183 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 2011.
The 15 per cent discount applies to all new bookings on departures between April 8 and May 6. The offer is for the cruise only, and is available until November 30 or until sold out.
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 $6950 per person. There is a 10 per cent discount when booking the two cruises together.   
For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises on 1800 079 545 or visit http://www.coralprincess.com.au/.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Orion 2010 limited offer - No single supplement for sole occupancy

In response to enquiries from potential solo travellers, Orion Expedition Cruises has announced that they will waive the single supplement surcharge applied on all Orion sailings from 16th September to 21st December 2010 inclusive. 5 cabins will be reserved for sole occupancy on each voyage in order that single travellers will be able to pay the per person fare with no added supplement.

This offer applies to a range of destinations including the Kimberley, Forgotten Islands, Papua New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef, Australian East Coast, Tasmania, New Zealand Sub-Antarctic and New Zealand Fiordland itineraries.

Voyage duration varies from 7 to 13 nights with fares from $5,200 (7 nights) for a Category B Ocean view Stateroom. Fare includes accommodation, meals, onboard lectures, inclusive shore expeditions, port taxes and gratuities.

Note: No sole occupancy surcharge for new bookings on all sailings from 16th September to 21st December 2010 inclusive. Subject to availability. Not combinable with any other promotion or other savings other than Pathways (past guest) savings.

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

To discuss your travel needs or to obtain a brochure please call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) or see your travel agent. Email: info@orionexpeditions.com.au

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coral Princess Offers 20 Per Cent Off Selected Kimberley Cruises

Exploring the ruggedly beautiful Kimberley coastline aboard Coral Princess Cruises' exclusive small ships is even more appealing this spring with a 20 per cent discount on cruise prices and an offer for singles to cruise at twin share prices.

The offer is available on selected 10-night journeys departing during October 2010 aboard Oceanic Discoverer.

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.

The cruises explore the 800-odd islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, including an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the Horizontal Waterfalls, and there is an optional helicopter flight over the Mitchell Plateau for views of the impressive four-tiered Mitchell Falls.

The voyages also coincide with the annual humpback whale migration along the Western Australia coastline, providing guests with exhilarating whale watching opportunities.

The offer is valid for new bookings made from July 1 to August 31, 2010 or until sold out on selected October 2010 departures of the Kimberley expedition cruise program.

The discounted prices for the 10-night Kimberley cruise start at $6600 aboard the 72-passenger 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.

Single travellers cruise at the twin share rate aboard selected October 2010 departures of the Oceanic Discoverer. Prices start at $8250.

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

Coral Princess Offers 20 Per Cent Off Selected Kimberley Cruises

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Exploring the ruggedly beautiful Kimberley coastline aboard Coral Princess Cruises' exclusive small ships is even more appealing this spring with a 20 per cent discount on cruise prices and an offer for singles to cruise at twin share prices.

The offer is available on selected 10-night journeys departing during October 2010 aboard Oceanic Discoverer.

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.

The cruises explore the 800-odd islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, including an exhilarating Zodiac ride through the Horizontal Waterfalls, and there is an optional helicopter flight over the Mitchell Plateau for views of the impressive four-tiered Mitchell Falls.

The voyages also coincide with the annual humpback whale migration along the Western Australia coastline, providing guests with exhilarating whale watching opportunities.

The offer is valid for new bookings made from July 1 to August 31, 2010 or until sold out on selected October 2010 departures of the Kimberley expedition cruise program.

The discounted prices for the 10-night Kimberley cruise start at $6600 aboard the 72-passenger 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.

Single travellers cruise at the twin share rate aboard selected October 2010 departures of the Oceanic Discoverer. Prices start at $8250.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Helicopter Voucher included on Great Escape Cruises

The Great Escape Charter Company is celebrating 10 years of Kimberley adventure and to mark the end of this special year, the adventure cruise specialists have just released a fantastic offer of a complimentary helicopter voucher for all new reservations on the remaining 2010 August and September cruises.

“Given the late rains that the region has experienced recently it is a great time to be cruising the Kimberley coast and enjoying the fantastic waterfalls” says Chris Tucker, Captain of MV Great Escape, who has been exploring the region for nearly 25 years. “This is also the best time of year to witness the Humpback Whales as they migrate along the Kimberley coast to the calving grounds.”

If people opt for the 13 nights Kimberley Classic Adventure from Broome to Wyndham or vice versa, the complimentary chopper voucher affords guests the opportunity to experience the

‘BEST OF THE BIG FOUR’

This encompasses flights over the Horizontal Waterfalls, Montgomery Reef, Prince Regent Nature Reserve & the Mitchell Falls – what way to enjoy the Kimberley!! Offer valid until 14th August 2010.

If people do not have two weeks to spare, the 7 nights Southern Kimberley Experience is a great choice for exploring Broome to the Mitchell Plateau and the voucher is for

‘BEST OF THE BIG THREE’

This includes flights over the Horizontal Waterfalls, Montgomery Reef, & Prince Regent Nature Reserve. Guests still have the opportunity to enjoy the Mitchell Falls anyway, as the transfer flights to/from the vessel fly over this area and this helicopter flight is included in the cruise price. Offer valid until 17th September 2010.

For more information or availability, call Liz or Lisa at the office of The Great Escape Charter Company 08 9193 5983


*(conditions apply, not to be used on conjunction with any other offer).

The helicopter vouchers will be issued upon receipt of the final cruise payment.


Monday, July 19, 2010

North Star’s Cash Back Offer Makes a True North Cruise Even More Affordable

North Star Cruises has announced a new cash-back incentive to travel on the award winning adventure-cruise ship True North.

The offer applies to the following cruises this year:

- Kimberley Wilderness Cruises 12, Wyndham to Broome, August 14-21, 2010
- Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 14, Wyndham to Broome, September 11-24, 2010
- All 2010 Coral Atoll Cruises 2010
- All 2010 Solomon Sojourns 2010

North Star General Manager Peter Trembath said savings of up to $4,999 are possible.

"There's never been a better time to book a cruise on True North," said Mr Trembath.

"The cash back offer has arrived just in time for the exciting second half of the year sailing schedule."

Mr Trembath said the remainder of the 2010 season was action packed:

• Dry season - what dry season? Late rainfall is a bonus for guests booked on the revered Kimberley Wilderness Cruise where fishing, waterfalls and rainforest hikes are part of the experience.

• Broome events season: The Broome Race Round is in full swing culminating in the Broome Cup on August 14. The popular Opera under the Stars is staged August 28. Broome events are perfect timing for a Kimberley Wilderness Cruise.

• Wine sommelier Michael Tamburri joins Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 12 (Wyndham to Broome) to add another dimension to an already action packed itinerary which features the stunning King George Falls, fishing for barramundi on the Drysdale River, exploring ancient Bradshaw rock art and more.

• Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 14, Wyndham to Broome attracts another bonus - a 10% shoulder season discount.

• Coral Atoll Cruises to the stunning Rowley Shoals commence in September. The Shoals boast crystal clear waist deep water teeming with a huge variety of fish and brilliantly coloured coral.

• November heralds the maiden voyages to the beautiful Solomon Islands and its exciting mix of culture, vibrant coral reef, history and stunning South Pacific vistas.

Conditions apply - for more information contact North Star's adventure partners at cruise@northstarcruises.com.au or visit the web site at www.northstarcruises.com.au

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Orion presents pearls and opera in the Kimberley

Exquisite pearls and fine opera combine as naturally as champagne and caviar or Orion and the Kimberley, and this year two Orion Kimberley voyages provide exclusive inclusions for those interested in the finer things in life.

Join either 10 night Orion voyage and receive an invitation to the highlight of Broome's cultural events calendar of the year, OPERA UNDER THE STARS®, featuring performers of national and international acclaim including soprano Antoinette Halloran, tenors Aldo Di Toro and Stuart Skelton, and baritone, James Clayton.

* August 19, 2010 Pearls of the Kimberley or
* August 29, 2010 Kimberley Expedition

In addition, the Pearls of the Kimberley voyage incorporates Orion’s first visit to Rowley Shoals plus a Paspaley Pearls special event held at their South Sea Pearl Farm, Kuri Bay, including a cocktail party featuring opera singers flown in for this exclusive private performance.

Both voyages include Orion’s signature Kimberley explorations highlighting the visual drama of 3,000 kilometres of Kimberley coast with its ancient indigenous rock art, vast tidal changes, emerging reefs, dramatic waterfalls and prolific marine life – all experienced in a relaxed atmosphere of five star comfort under the watchful eye of 75 professional crew.

Additional information

Pearls of the Kimberley

Departing Broome - August 19, 2010

BROOME, Rowley Shoals, Nares Point, One Arm Point, Kuri Bay, Camden Harbour and Sheep Island, Montgomery Reef and Raft Point, BROOME.

Highlights include the three atolls of Rowley Shoals, one of the world’s pristine environments, with extensive marine life including giant cod, maori wrasse, turtles, dolphins, manta rays and whales. Snorkel and swim in this aquarium-like marine park, home to over 200 species of coral and more than 650 species of fish.

This is followed by a Paspaley Pearls special event at Australia’s first South Sea Pearl Farm, Kuri Bay, where Orion guests will learn to grade the harvest and sort the pearls. This will culminate with a cocktail party featuring renowned opera singers Sharolyn Kimmorley AM; soprano Rachelle Durkin and tenor Matt Morgan, flown in for a private performance.

This voyage will also include two nights accommodation at Pinctada Cable Beach, Broome’s new five star resort and spa experience. Enjoy the award winning OPERA UNDER THE STARS® featuring an outstanding cast of opera talent.

Kimberley Expedition – OPERA UNDER THE STARS®

Departing Broome - August 27, 2010

BROOME, (overnight onboard including OPERA), Cape Leveque, Talbot Bay/Horizontal Waterfalls, Montgomery Reef and Raft Point, Hunter River (for Mitchell Falls), Bigge Island, Vansittart Bay, King George River and Falls, DARWIN.

Commence your 10 night Kimberley coastal expedition with an invitation to this award winning, world-class event, OPERA UNDER THE STARS® featuring an outstanding cast, each acclaimed for their thrilling performances in the world of opera. This vibrant and inspiring group of stars will perform together under the stars at an exciting new venue, the Cable Beach Amphitheatre - situated adjacent to the turquoise waters and white sands of one of the world’s most picturesque beaches, Broome’s stunning Cable Beach.

OPERA UNDER THE STARS® 2010 will feature a sublime programme of music highlighting repertoire for both the Lyric Tenor and Heldentenor voices including gems such as “Cielo e Mare” from La Gioconda by Ponchielli and “Winterstürme wichen dem wonnemond” from Wagner’s Die Walküre. Also featuring will be the moving final scene from Act I of Puccini’s La Bohème; the divinely inspired duet “Au fond du temple saint” from Les Pêcheurs de Perles by Bizet and the rousing tenor aria “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot.

Price Guide:

Fares begin from $9,100 per person for an ocean view Category B Stateroom.

Suites begin from $12,550 per person for a Junior Suite and Owners Suites with French Balcony are $19,055 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 and inclusive accommodation in Pinctada or Cable Beach Resort.

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

Monday, June 28, 2010

It’s Orion whale watch time in the Kimberley

Late July through to September in the Kimberley is prime time to view pods of migrating whales – and what better way to see the largest humpback whale population in the world head north from the Antarctic to rest and calve than from on board the luxury expedition cruise ship, Orion?

With 3,000 kilometres of undeveloped shoreline and over 1,000 rarely visited islands, this land, so ancient it pre-dates the existence of fossils, ranks as one of Australia’s, and the world’s, truly remarkable destinations.

Join with Orion’s specialist Expedition Team and create your own dreamtime stories when you to view pre-history Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art, land on remote islands and beaches, explore gorges, venture into a labyrinth of waterways in search of saltwater crocodiles 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. All this plus the chance to see migrating humpback whales, estimated to exceed 20,000 individuals, breaching, tail slapping and blowing.

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

Orion Kimberley Expedition voyages – Select from 7 voyages between 20 July and 16 September 2010.

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

Only Orion’s Kimberley expeditions include one night’s accommodation in Broome pre or post voyage plus a Bungle Bungle sightseeing flight at no additional cost.

Fares Guide:

Fares begin from $9,100 per person for an ocean view Category B Stateroom.

Suites begin from $12,550 per person for a Junior Suite and Owners Suites with French Balcony are $19,055 per person


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wine Expert Joins True North Kimberley Wilderness Cruise

Respected wine sommelier Michael Tamburi will lead a food and wine soiree along the magnificent Kimberley coastline in August.

Mr Tamburi, who has owned and operated Perth's La Vigna fine wine outlet for 22 years, will join a two-week Kimberley Wilderness Cruise departing August 14.

North Star Cruises General Manager Peter Trembath said Michael would add a new and exciting dimension to the cruise.

"Michael will be sharing his amazing wine knowledge with our guests who will also enjoy gourmet produce including a bounty of freshly caught fish," said Mr Trembath.

"Michael is a respected wine educator, national judge and media commentator."

"It will be an exclusive experience which will result in a very special Kimberley Wilderness Cruise indeed!"

As an added bonus, guests who book a two week Kimberley Wilderness cabin before June 30 will also receive either four night's accommodation at the Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa or, a Linneys gift voucher valued at $2000.

Other highlights of a Kimberley Wilderness Cruise include:

-       Ancient rock art
-       A panorama of rugged mountains
-       Spectacular gorges
-       Barramundi fishing
-       Mud crabbing
-       Croc-spotting
-       Champagne heli-flights at dawn
-       Helicopter picnics to remote locations

North Star's two week Kimberley Wilderness Cruise operates between Broome and Wyndham. Guests can stay onboard for the entire cruise or, they can opt for a one week itinerary either disembarking or embarking in the Hunter River. 

Helicopter & light aircraft transfers (via Broome) are included in the one week itinerary.

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise prices start from $10,495 (one week trip).

See the itinerary at: http://www.northstarcruises.com.au/kwc_wyndhambroome.asp

For full itineraries, departure dates and prices visit www.northstarcruises.com.au


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Watch Whales while Cruising the Kimberley with Coral Princess

The world's largest humpback whale migration sees up to 6000 whales heading up the 'superhighway' along Western Australia's coast to calve in the warm waters off the Kimberley between August and November. Coral Princess extended its Kimberley cruise program last year – and discovered that late season whale watching is 'simply incredible'.

"We lost count of how many whales we saw on the voyage. We had daily sightings, and several came within metres of the ship, with mothers appearing to 'show' their calves to the human onlookers," said Vicki Briggs, Director of Coral Princess Cruises.

"We're used to seeing whales on our voyages, but the late season departures were incredible in terms of the frequency of sightings, and for the experience of seeing mothers and calves interacting."

Coral Princess Cruises has added extra departures for its most popular cruise - a voyage exploring the remote Kimberley coast between Broome and Darwin – extending the season from its usual start in April through to October.

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, to explore the many waterfalls, river systems and reefs  - or to stop and watch the whales!

Prices for the 10-night Kimberley cruise start at A$6850 (A$6950 in 2011) aboard Coral Princess and A$8250 (A$8450 in 2011) 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.

For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises at www.coralprincess.com.au.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Orion Releases 2011 Expedition Voyages Brochure

Orion Expedition Cruises has just released its new, expanded, 2011 Expeditions brochure, which features the company's two ships, Orion and (to be introduced in May 2011) Orion II.

The 94 page brochure covers 49 voyages to 17 countries and more than 170 remote and exotic destinations stretching from Antarctica to the Russian Far East.

Destination summaries by region provide useful reference for potential expedition travellers and highlight the differences between typical mainstream cruising and the rewarding physical and intellectual experiences to be had on Orion's luxury small ship expedition voyages.

"The introduction of Orion II to the fleet in 2011 has inspired us to present our range of exciting year-round expedition cruises within a quality photo-image format to best portray our varied destinations and 5 star ships. Expansive landscape photography reflects seascapes and cultural interaction typically encountered on Orion expeditions and the expanded range of 27 different itineraries provides plenty of choice for potential guests".

"Orion's ecologically and culturally sustainable expeditions provide authentic experiences in remote and seldom visited destinations. Onboard lectures and shore-side interpretation by our expedition team allows our guests to absorb the surroundings and cultures unknown to mainstream tourism", commented Sarina Bratton, Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises, when announcing the release of the new brochure.

The luxury life onboard is revealed through Orion and Orion II's range of accommodation and facilities, (including floor plans for Staterooms and Suites through to Owner and Penthouse Suites) and examples of onboard facilities that include boutique, massage, spa, elevator and lounges – and Serge Dansereau's award winning cuisine.

The brochure has a useful pricing supplement with early booking incentives, rewards and notes on how to reserve your Orion Expedition.

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.

2011 voyage highlights:

• 13 Kimberley Expeditions, with inclusive Bungle Bungle flights
• Orion's inaugural West Papua and Maluku Voyage of Discovery
• Orion II's Voyage of Discovery to the Russian Far East
• Discover the ancient cultures on Orion II's Inland Sea of Japan voyage
• 7 Borneo voyages which will circumnavigate the island
• 2 Tasmanian Food and Wine focused voyages
• Orion's inaugural Exploration of the Antipodes
• 3 Orion Antarctic Centenary voyages of celebration to Commonwealth Bay (Mawson's Hut) and the Ross Sea (Scott and Shackelton's huts)
• Lord Howe Island and Aotearoa, including the active volcano at Mt White island
• Christmas in New Zealand's spectacular fjordland and sub-Antarctic islands
• 8 voyages to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, including the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh and Angkor Wat


Additional information

Orion II's inaugural voyages in 2011 include the Russian Far East, an in-depth exploration of Borneo, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia (including a visit to Angkor Wat, the world's largest religious monument), and the Inland Sea of Japan.

Orion's itineraries feature 13 voyages exploring Australia's Kimberley coast, the rarely visited indigenous art centres of Arnhem Land, and a voyage to the Spice Islands. Voyages to New Zealand and the Sub Antarctic islands will include the rarely visited Chatham, Antipodes and Bounty islands, while Orion's Papua New Guinea itineraries feature an exciting new voyage across northern Papua to West Papua and Maluku.

An electronic version of the Orion 2011 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 through specialist expedition cruise travel agents.


Fares Guide:
All prices per person, twin share.

5 nights Great Barrier Reef / Orion: Fares from A$3,715 for an ocean view Category B stateroom; A$5,125 for a Junior Suite; Owners' Suites with French Balcony are A$7,780.

7 nights Gulf of Siam Explorer / Orion II: Fares from A$5,705 for an ocean view Category B Ocean Suite; A$7,910 for a Junior Suite; Penthouse Suites with Balcony are A$11,480.

10 nights Inland Sea of Japan /Orion II: Fares from A$8,150 for an ocean view Category B Ocean Suite; A$11,300 for a Junior Suite; Penthouse Suites with Balcony are A$16,400.

10 nights Kimberley Expedition / Orion: Fares from A$9,100 per person for an ocean view Category B stateroom; A$12,550 for a Junior Suite per person; Owners' Suites with French Balcony are A$19,055 per person. All prices twin share.

14 nights Ryukyu Islands and Sabah /Orion II: Fares from A$11,410 for an ocean view Category B Ocean Suite; A$15,820 for a Junior Suite; Penthouse Suites with Balcony are A$22,960.

18 nights Mawson's Antarctica / Orion: Fares from A$19,365 per person for an ocean view Category B stateroom; A$26,710 for a Junior Suite per person; Owners' Suites with French Balcony are A$40,555 per person. All prices twin share.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cruise Diary: True North in the Kimberley


Few places in the world cause Australian eyes to light up brighter than the Kimberley, and the True North, crowned by its own helicopter, is ultimate way to experience it. This is a very abbreviated account of what to expect on a one-week adventure.

Day 1: From Broome we're transferred by light aircraft to the Mitchell Plateau where our helicopter awaits. A 15-minute ride and we land on the True North in the Hunter River below. What a way to start a cruise! A group has already set off on a three-hour hike, while the later arrivals choose between fishing or sightseeing on one of the six tenders. We reunite for dinner and a chance to meet our fellow passengers, while entertained by special guest, guitarist Phil Ceberano, who performs an acoustic set every night.

Day 2: Dressed only in our swimwear, everyone gathers on the bow for an intimate encounter with King Cascade. The captain edges the boat so close to the waterfall that we're all drenched – and loving it. Afterwards, two tenders venture out to the Ampitheatre Waterfall for a heavier aqua-pounding. Others have spent the day fishing, mud-crabbing, walking, or taking a scenic helicopter flight, so there are many stories to share throughout the evening.

Day 3: The highlight of the trip takes place today: a "heli-picnic" at Melaleuca Falls. The chopper shuttles passengers to a beautiful swimming hole where we enjoy a BBQ of fish, crab, prawns, steak and salads. We walk up to the waterfall and sit on a ledge behind the cascading water – an exhilarating experience. The rest of the afternoon is passed with a few drinks under the paperbark trees, before the helicopter whisks us back to the boat for dinner.

Day 4: I join a tender ride out to Montgomery Reef, home to turtles, birds, sharks and dugongs. Back onboard, our local guide Jarrad presents a talk on the Kimberley wilderness as we head down the Sale River for a short walk to another swimming hole. While some passengers fly off for a night of "heli-camping", the remaining 20 have a fancy-dress party to celebrate crewmember Mikey's 21st.

Day 5: More fishing and sightseeing down the Glenelg River, followed by a Kimberley-style day spa at Ruby Falls where we smear ourselves with mud. Continuing on to Steep Island, we embark on a 30-minute trek up to see one of the region's most accessible sites of Wandjana rock art. After dinner is the lively quiz night, which my team wins, of course.

Day 6: A tour of the bridge and engine room kicks off the morning, then a helicopter ride over Talbot Bay and the mining islands of Koolan and Cockatoo. Unfortunately the effect of the Horizontal Falls is spoiled by the neap tide, but our disappointment is washed away with a couple of beers and a game of cricket on the snow-white sands of Silica Beach – a good Aussie end to a great Australian adventure.

For details, see www.northstarcruises.com.au.

Where to Stay in Broome: The new Pinctada Cable Beach Spa Resort is the only official five-star accommodation in town. Managed by Marilynne Paspaley AM, the 72-room resort has a pool with spa and lap lane, alfresco dining, poolside café, cocktail lounge, gym, day spa, meditative garden and landscaping by Jamie Durie.

A few minutes walk from Cable Beach, it's a relaxing and friendly spot to stay before and after your Kimberley cruise. The ambience is enhanced with native plants, boab trees, original artworks and breeze-capturing balconies on all spacious studios. Airport pick-up is available.

For bookings, see www.pinctadacablebeach.com.au.



Louise Goldsbury is the editor of Cruise Weekly, available FREE to all cruise lovers in Australia and New Zealand. Sign up at www.cruiseweekly.com.au

Monday, April 26, 2010

Extreme Luxury Package this Mother's Day with True North

A luxury cruise - Diamonds and pearls - A world class Broome resort

To celebrate Mother's Day and the Kimberley cruise season, North Star Cruises has put together an amazing offer* for anyone booking a 2010 Kimberley Wilderness Cruise on board the revered adventure-cruise ship, True North.

Reserve a cabin on a 2 week Kimberley Wilderness cruise and you'll receive:
  • 4 nights complimentary accommodation at the Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa or,
  • A $2000 gift voucher from Linneys
North Star's General Manager Peter Trembath said the offers were a good fit with the stylish True North.

"This really is a unique and exclusive offer," said Mr Trembath.

"If you want to spoil mum this year, you really can't do better than a Kimberley cruise and some stunning jewellery and a stay at an award winning resort," said Mr Trembath.

"Linneys is world renowned for offering Western Australia's finest pearl, diamond and gold jewellery."

"And a stay at Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa is always an indulgent and relaxing experience."

"Combined with the adventure onboard the True North, you would be hard pressed to find a comparable opportunity."

The Kimberley Wilderness Cruise features the best of this pristine coastline including:
  • The Horizontal Falls
  • Fishing for elusive barramundi
  • Viewing ancient rock art
  • Exploring the Kimberley's mighty rivers such as the Prince Regent, the Mitchell and the Hunter
  • The twin waterfalls on the King George River
In 2010 Kimberley Wilderness Cruises also feature some fascinating special guests:

Renowned artist Douglas Kirsop unlocks the secrets of landscape painting on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 5 Broome to Wyndman (8 – 21 May)

New  talent Andrew Tischler will astound with his life-like paintings on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 6 Wyndham to Broome (22 May – 4 June)

Geologist Phil Playford presents his theories on global warming and more on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 7 Broome to Wyndham (5-18 June)

Celebrity Chef Ryan Carey cooks up a storm on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 8 Wyndham to Broome (19 June – 2 July)

North Star's two week Kimberley Wilderness Cruise operates between Broome and Wyndham. Guests can stay onboard for the entire cruise or, they can opt for a one week itinerary either disembarking or embarking in the Hunter River. 

Helicopter & light aircraft transfers (via Broome) are included in the one week itinerary.

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise prices start from $10,495.

For full itineraries, departure dates and prices visit www.northstarcruises.com.au

* Conditions:

Offers apply to new reservations received between April 9 and June 30 2010. Guests opting for a one week itinerary will receive two night's accommodation or a $1000 gift voucher. Accommodation must be taken on consecutive nights and is based on a Garden View Studio. If the required accommodation dates are not available then the offer reverts to the Linneys voucher. The Linneys voucher is valid until the 31/12/10 and may be redeemed on the True North, at the CBC Resort & Spa, or at Linneys Broome showroom. Offers are neither transferable nor redeemable for cash.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Orion III is very likely for 2013

by Louise Goldsbury, Editor, Cruise Weekly

Orion Expedition Cruises is yet to debut Orion II in Asia, but plans are already underway for a third ship.

Australia's Orion Expeditions has had such success with the impending launch of its second ship that a third vessel is set to be added within the next three years.

Speaking exclusively to Cruise Weekly, Sarina Bratton, Orion’s founder and managing director, said: “The way things are going, I absolutely expect we will do.

“I have already had some discussions with ship owners and we normally have to work two to three years in advance,” she said.

A launch of Orion III in 2012 was “maybe a bit early, but maybe 2013”, Bratton revealed.

The proposed destinations for a third ship remain under wraps while the company pushes ahead with next year’s program on the new Orion II.

The brochure for 2011 cruises in the Russian Far East and Asia will be released in late April or early May.

Options include Kimberley expeditions with complimentary flights over the Bungle Bungles; three first-time Orion voyages – ‘West Papua and Maluku’, ‘Exploration of the Antipodes’ and ‘Antarctic Centenary’; Tasmanian food and wine cruises; Lord Howe Island and Aotearoa; Christmas in New Zealand’s fjordland and sub-Antarctic islands; Orion II’s cruises of the Inland Sea of Japan; the Russian Far East; a circumnavigation of Borneo; and eight voyages to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Meanwhile, a “smattering of space” is still available this year on the original five-star, 100-passenger Orion for cruises in Australia.

The most immediate opportunities are for ‘Wild PNG & Bismarck Archipelago’, departing 07 April; ‘Tropical Reefs & Culture’ on 28 April; ‘Art of Arnhem Land’ on 04 May; and several Kimberley cruises between May and September 2010.

“The way things are going, I absolutely expect we will do”

“We have got the most exciting destinations on offer in the Asia Pacific – whether you’re interested in the wilds of Borneo, the cultural aspects of Cambodia, Vietnam or Japan, the remote wilderness of PNG or our brilliant experience in the sub-Antarctic, we’ve got it covered,” Bratton said.

Details of all 2010 and 2011 voyages are available at www.orionexpeditions.com.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And the (Kimberley) Quest begins in 2010...

After spending the last four months exploring Sydney, northern New South Wales and Queensland and playing host to past passengers, travel agents, media and interested clients, the Kimberley Quest II is back in familiar territory cruising the Kimberley as she begins her maiden voyage for the 2010 season.

Proving to be as spectacular as predicted the Kimberley is certainly putting on a great show.

Alive with colour and new life, the rugged gorges are engulfed with water cascading over their ancient escarpments. Masses of delicate flora flourish and dominate the landscape which is complemented by an abundance of bird life. Back to accommodating just 18 passengers, those onboard are enjoying the intimacy that only a small vessel can provide.

The unforgettable sights and breathtaking scenery are once again revealing what is described as 'the ultimate Kimberley experience'.

Cabins are still available for 2010. For more information visit www.kimberleyquest.com.au

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time to Jump Aboard Aurora Expeditons

Dear Expeditioners,

It's been a while now since I was last in touch with you and already this season's Antarctic Peninsula voyages are coming to an end.

Last month we hosted a Scottish Heritage Evening at our Sydney office, so thanks to all of you that joined us in making it such a fantastic evening! Special guest Kerry Farmer from The Australian Society of Genealogists advised us to how to trace our Scottish ancestry while Andrew Derbidge, Cellar Master for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society shared his insights (and humour) on Whisky appreciation.

Our information nights have been such a success that we are planning to host more evenings around Australia so keep an eye out on the Aurora website events page or email us to register your interest.

Next month I will be on board our new vessel, Oceanic Discoverer to undertake some research for new itineraries in the Kimberley region. As we also use the Oceanic Discoverer for our Papua New Guinea voyages, it will be the perfect opportunity for me to experience the vessel first hand. I look forward to updating you on my experiences next time!

Best wishes,

Joanna Schuetz
Sales Manager
Aurora Expeditions
jo@auroraexpeditions.com.au

Monday, March 8, 2010

After The Wet, the Kimberley Waterfalls and Mighty Rivers Flow


The famed Kimberley Waterfall Season is just around the corner – and the luxury adventure cruise ship, True North, is giving guests the opportunity to experience the Kimberley at its very best!

The True North kicks off the 2010 Kimberley Wilderness Season next month.

North Star Cruises' General Manager Peter Trembath said the period immediately following the monsoons presented as the best opportunity to see iconic waterfalls such as Mitchell Falls and King George Falls at their thundering best.

"In fact, there's no better time to see the Kimberley," said Mr Trembath.

"The whole region is transformed by rivers in flood, towering waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife," he said.

"Billabongs are swollen, massive wetlands are alive with birdlife, and let's not forget the barramundi will be biting!"

"True North's guests enjoy unique experiences you just can't find anywhere else, including helicopter flights to secluded locations every day of the cruise."

"This is always one of the most popular times of the year and the remaining cabins won't last long."

As an added bonus, this year's Kimberley Wilderness season  will feature a range of special guests including:

Guitarist Phil Ceberano provides classic accompaniment on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruises 2A Wyndham to Hunter River (27 March – 3 April) and 2B Hunter River to Broome (3 April – 9 April)

Kimberley  Artists Mark Norval & Donny Woolagoodja introduce the oldest paintings known to man on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruises 4A Wyndham to Hunter River (24 April – 1 May) and 4B Hunter River to Broome (1 May – 7 May)

Renowned artist Douglas Kirsop unlocks the secrets of landscape painting on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 5 Broome to Wyndman (8 – 21 May)

New  talent Andrew Tischler will astound with his life-like paintings on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 6 Wyndham to Broome (22 May – 4 June)

Geologist Phil Playford presents his theories on global warming and more on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 7 Broome to Wyndham (5-18 June)

Celebrity Chef Ryan Carey cooks up a storm on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 8 Wyndham to Broome (19 June – 2 July)

Other highlights of a Kimberley Wilderness Cruise include:

-       Ancient rock art
-       A panorama of rugged mountains
-       Spectacular gorges
-       Barramundi fishing
-       Mud crabbing
-       Croc-spotting
-       Champagne heli-flights at dawn
-       Helicopter picnics to remote locations

North Star's two week Kimberley Wilderness Cruise operates between Broome and Wyndham. Guests can stay onboard for the entire cruise or, they can opt for a one week itinerary either disembarking or embarking in the Hunter River.

Helicopter and light aircraft transfers (via Broome) are included in the one week itinerary.

The first cruise of the season departs on March 13.

Kimberley Wilderness Cruise prices start from $10,495.

For full itineraries, departure dates and prices visit www.northstarcruises.com.au

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cruise the Kimberley with Coral Princess and Photographer, Steve Parish

Coral Princess Cruises has teamed up with world-renowned nature photographer, Steve Parish to help passengers 'capture' the magnificence of the Kimberley, on a 10-night cruise between Broome and Darwin.

The brilliant light of the Kimberley both inspires and challenges photographers: the intense palette of the landscape is undeniably dramatic – but to capture the extreme contrasts photographically and render them accurately requires a little insider knowledge. Ten days under Steve Parish's tutelage is a precious insight into the tricks of the trade.

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. 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

For Parish, whose work is recognised around the world and who has published numerous books, photography is "about promoting an understanding of 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.



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is Expedition Cruising the Purest Ecotourism?

Out in the wide world of commercial travel, cruising is enjoying a revival. Buoyed by the new wave of gigantic, luxurious vessels carrying up to 5000 passengers for as little a two hundred dollars per day, the allure is understandable.

In Australia, cruise passenger numbers have tripled in less than ten years. In 2009, around 350,000 travelled on a cruise ship. In 2002, it was 116,308. All sectors and geographic areas are enjoying growth including river cruising, adventure cruising and boutique products.

“It’s a thrill to see Papua New Guinea really hitting its straps as a cruise destination now,” says Tony Briggs of Coral Princess Cruises, “and our projections for New Zealand are also exciting thanks to some new strategic marketing.”

Overseas in the US and Europe, things were certainly gloomier and the big lines, replete with sparkling new vessels and empty cabins, discounted like never before to counter the GFC blues. Our own operators also felt the loss of inbound passengers, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Orion Expeditions from doubling their fleet and itineraries.

But is all this exciting expansion good for tourism in emerging and fragile destinations? Many of us recall the experience of going ashore from a big ship in Fiji in the 1980s and ‘90s. Merchants, touts and traders out in force, extracting every penny from the tourists. Beads, shells and the dreaded carved wooden knives now decorate mantelpieces from Bondi to Birdsville.

Since the early ‘90s, adventure and expedition cruising has been on a steady upward curve. Small ships, ice class vessels, river steamers and boutique cruisers have carried inquisitive soft adventurers to remote tropical islands and chilly polar regions in search of enrichment and excitement. Small numbers, little or no infrastructure and strict environmental protocols mean an experience in contrast to those aboard their bigger brethren.

Recent attention to climate change and environmental degradation has accelerated a certain urgency among thinking travellers to see our rapidly changing planet. Some scientists predict our children will see a complete disappearance of the polar ice cap in their lifetime.

Expedition and adventure cruising in low impact vessels, carrying small passenger numbers (often 100 or less) to destinations with little or no tourism infrastructure is quite possibly one of the purest forms of ecotourism.

While icebergs and penguin colonies often come to mind when thinking of expedition cruising, destinations much closer to home can yield the same ‘other world’ experience. Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Indonesia and our own remote Kimberley coast and Great Barrier Reef transport travellers to a world much like that encountered by 18th and 19th century explorers.

The increased demand for adventure cruise itineraries can be viewed as a positive indicator among the travelling public. A growing awareness of our fragile planet and its disappearing cultures and wildlife urges more and more conscientious tourists to venture out in search of the “experiential and transformational” promised by adventure marketers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Orion Itinerary Changes for Kimberley 2010

Now including Bungle Bungle complimentary flight-seeing and an overnight in Broome at no additional cost

Orion Expedition Cruises is enhancing its Kimberley itineraries for the 2010 season, offering the most inclusive Kimberley experience together with service standards unequalled in the Southern Hemisphere.

Due to a change in interpretation of Australian Government rules governing cruise ships in the Kimberley region, Orion is slightly altering its Kimberley itineraries. This provides the opportunity to enhance the itineraries with the following additions - at no extra cost to guests:

* Visit to the port of Wyndham - opportunity to visit Kununurra, heart of the East Kimberley
* Inclusion of complimentary flight-seeing over the famous Bungle Bungle ranges
* Inclusion of one night's complimentary accommodation in one of Broome's finest hotels including breakfast and transfers
* Now an 11 night holiday for the original cost of 10 nights

First brought to the world's attention only 25 years ago, the Bungle Bungle ranges are part of Purnululu National Park, a natural wonder seen firsthand by only a privileged few. The ranges are best experienced by air and are a short flight from Wyndham or Kununurra. Orion Expedition Cruises will be the only operator in the region to offer this amazing experience as part of its Kimberley voyages at no additional cost.

Orion will also be providing overnight accommodation in one of Broome's top hotels before or after the 10 night voyage, thus providing guests with an 11 night holiday for the cost of the usual 10 night expedition.

Operationally, Orion will leave Australian waters to comply with international voyage requirements - this will provide guests on board with a relaxing and enjoyable day at sea to enjoy the premium 5 star comforts and facilities on board Orion.

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).

Fares Guide:

Pricing remains unchanged

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 are per person twin occupancy, include accommodation, all meals, flight seeing over the Bungle Bungles, one night complimentary accommodation in Broome and selected activities ashore.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Cruise Weekly: Make the Kimberley your Quest



Astute cruise watchers have had a bumper season with many new vessels appearing in Sydney Harbour, not the least of them being P&O’s new superliner, Pacific Jewel.

But the really eagle-eyed will have noticed the diminutive Kimberley Quest II touring about the harbour. Mistaken perhaps for some playboy billionaire’s superyacht, the Kimberley Quest II is actually a busy adventure vessel working Australia’s favourite cruise region, the Kimberley. Owner’s Jeff and Lynne Ralston have brought her to Sydney for the Christmas/NY period to do private charters, agent tours and media appearances.

KQII was built by Austal in Fremantle who also built the multi-award-winning True North and the two Bora Bora Cruises’ vessels Tu Moana and Ti’a Moana. KQII accommodates just 18 passengers and six crew offering a truly intimate cruise experience.

When I say busy, KQII will do 26 expeditions is a typical season spanning mid-March to October. Most are 7-night ‘quests’, although three 13-night ‘ultimate quests’ at the beginning of the season between Broome, Mitchell Plateau and Wyndham are offered.

KQ’s media file is relatively slim compared to her competitors, but I called on colleague John Borthwick to describe the experience from when he reported for the SMH in 2008.

The Kimberley coast is a world of red rocks, big crocs and cave art of extraordinary antiquity. To cruise the Kimberley¹s rivers and fjords is to take part in one of Australia¹s greatest remaining adventures. And to do so in the purpose-built vessel Kimberley Quest II is to see this magical realm at is finest.

Cataract waterfalls, vast harbours (that dwarf Sydney¹s many times over), boabs and rare birds, plus barramundi for the taking, are all part of the Kimberley Quest experience. Add the luxury of the vessel itself, with a just 18 privileged passengers, plus specialist guides and an expert chef, and this becomes the cruise of a lifetime in a timeless realm.

While the Kimberley may be our favourite cruise region (according to Cruise Passenger Magazine’s reader survey) it will never become our busiest in terms of passenger numbers. The largest vessel currently offering dedicated Kimberley adventures is Orion at 100 passengers and the typical starting price for any vessel is around $1000 per person per day.

For details on Kimberley Quest, see www.kimberleyquest.com.au. To compare all Kimberley cruise products and find occasional specials, visit www.kimberleycruises.com

Artists, Musicians, Chefs and Specialist Guides - an Impressive Array of Special Guests Join True North Kimberley Cruises in 2010


North Star Cruises has unveiled a busy calendar of events aimed at giving guests a unique experience on board the ultra-luxury True North adventure cruise ship.

Guests can learn about landscape painting, enjoy classical guitar performances, gain a deeper understanding of ancient rock art, and learn more about Kimberley geology.

North Star General Manager Peter Trembath said 2010 was the "Year of the Special Guest".

"We are providing some excellent value-add bonuses for guests who book a Kimberley Wilderness cruise," said Mr Trembath.

"Interacting with some unique characters and specialists guides within the stunning Kimberley environment provides guests with an experience they will never forget."

So far, events and special guests scheduled for 2010 include:

Guitarist Phil Cebrano provides classical accompaniment on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruises 2A Wyndham to Hunter River (27 March – 3 April) and 2B Hunter River to Broome (3 April – 9 April)

Kimberley Indigenous Artists Mark Noval & Donny Woolagoodja introduce the oldest paintings known to man on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruises 4A Wyndham to Hunter River (24 April – 1 May) and 4B Hunter River to Broome (1 May – 7 May)

Renowned artist Douglas Kirsop unlocks the secrets of landscape painting on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 5 Broome to Wyndman (8 – 21 May)

New artistic talent Andrew Tischler will astound with his life-like paintings on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 6 Wyndham to Broome (22 May – 4 June)

Geologist Phil Playford presents his theories on global warming and more on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 7 Broome to Wyndham (5-18 June)

Celebrity Chef Ryan Carey cooks up a storm on board Kimberley Wilderness Cruise 8 Wyndham to Broome (19 June – 2 July)

Other Kimberley Wilderness Cruise highlights include:

The Horizontal Waterfalls
Montgomery Reef
Fishing for barramundi and mud crabs
Ancient rock art
Bush walking and swimming in billabongs
Crocodile spotting
Bird watching - of every imaginable colour
Heli-picnics and heli-fishing
The mighty rivers of the Prince Regent, the Hunter and the Mitchell

For full itineraries, departure dates and prices visit www.northstarcruises.com.au

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.

For more information visit http://www.northstarcruises.com.au

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kimberley Early Bird Special - Save 15%



Join Australian's premier small-ship cruise line Coral Princess Cruises to discover the remarkable Kimberley coast, one of Australia's most remote and spectacular wilderness areas. Cruise in unrivalled style and total comfort aboard the award-winning 'Coral Princess' or the state of the art flagship 'Oceanic Discoverer'. Both small-ships feature the facilities and amenities you have come to expect from much larger vessels, yet allow access to spectacular landscapes inaccessible to bigger ships. Experience the friendly and attentive service of our all-Australian crew and enjoy the finest of local dining as you explore the many natural highlights, stunning landscapes and ancient cultures of this seldom visited part of Australia. This truly is the cruise experience of a lifetime!

Our 10 night Kimberley expeditions cruise between Darwin and Broome and depart regularly between April and October 2010. Join us to explore the remote river gorges, rarely seen Aboriginal art, towering waterfalls and natural rugged beauty of this ancient coastline and our expert, all-Australian team of experienced guides and naturalists will acquaint you with the region's stunning natural scenery unique marine, bird and wildlife.

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