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Monday, October 10, 2011

North Star Cruises: True North

North Star Cruises was the first permanent and is now the longest established charter cruise operator to cover the vast wilderness of the far north of Western Australia. Owner Craig Howson has been leading exploration, diving and fishing cruises in the region since 1987.

The company specialises in live-aboard wilderness cruises along 2000 kilometres of Kimberley coastline and coral atoll cruises at the Rowley Shoals - three atolls perched on the edge of Australia's continental shelf, 300 kilometres west of Broome.

Now based in Broome, the company commenced operations in Fremantle, Western Australia, in June 1985, placing an order for a 15 metre launch, North Star surveyed to carry 6 passengers and 2 crew for overnight charters and 14 passengers and 2 crew for day charters.

In April 1987, Craig Howson decided to seek work in Broome. There, he began day fishing and diving charters with demand soon growing for longer cruises. His company initiated the first live-aboard charters along the Kimberley coast and to the Rowley Shoals. In the 1987 season, Craig chartered three ‘True North Wilderness Cruises’ and three ‘True North Coral Atoll Cruises’ dive trips.

Market demand for North Star trips soon increased, so in April 1991 North Star IV was launched… and in September 1993, a new 70-foot luxurious vessel, True North, was launched to accommodate 14 passengers (10 comfortably) and 3 crew for overnight charters and 22 passengers and 3 crew for day charters. In 1998, to meet market demands for increased occupancy, comfort and further exploration, another vessel was launched.

However the companies most recent vessel, launched on Thursday 25th November 2004, is by far the most impressive.

The ship, again called True North, was built by Image Marine, a division of Austal Ships, builders of Greg Norman's Aussie Rules. At a cost of $12 million, she represents the largest single investment in Western Australia's marine tourism industry and is now yours to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ICCA Extols Small Ship Cruising

ICCA GM, Brett Jardine
Within the cruise industry we all knowthere are many different types of cruiseholidays but are you getting this messagethrough to your clients.

Consumers thrive on making a purchasethat offers great value.The words ‘cruising’ and ‘great value’ gohand in hand but it is important to note thatvalue does not come down to price alone.

For some, a large ship experience at alower price point is good value, for others asmall ship cruise experience at a higherprice point is good value.

How do you determine where your clientfits – QUALIFY them!Small ship “cruise passengers” tend todream of visiting more off the beaten trackdestinations and look for a fulfillingexperience at such places.

How many clients have you offered acruise holiday to, only to be told “no thanks,a cruise is not for me”?I’ll bet most of these people only considera cruise to be a large ship with thousands ofpeople and really have no idea of (a) what alarge ship experience really can offer or (b)that there are other possibilities such as asmall ship experience that will in fact meettheir holiday expectations in every respect.In many areas small ship cruising providesa very different experience from whatclients expect of a cruise holiday.

A few of the following points may helpyou to define such an experience withclients in the future.Smaller more intimate ships; focus on thedestination rather than the ship; potentiallyflexible itineraries; fewer but like-mindedpassengers; more personal experience(with other guests and crew); usuallyinformal (morelikely casual ratherthan glamour) andin most casessingle open seatdining.

I’m sure you canfind plenty ofclients that will seesome value in anoption like this!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Orion Kimberley - 2012 - book now and save up to 25%

Eons-old indigenous rock art, vast horizons, humpback whales, waterfalls, a flight over the Bungle Bungles, a specialist expedition team, luxurious surroundings and unobtrusive service – what more could you ask for on an Orion Kimberley voyage?

How about a 15% to 25% reduction on 2012 season fares? 10 night Kimberley fares, usually from $9,100, start from $6,825 per person twin share if you book before 30 November 2011.

Visit in April and May, following the annual 'Big Wet', to see the waterfalls at their most powerful. Late July and August is prime time to see some of the world's largest population of migrating Humpback whales as they return from Antarctic feeding grounds to rest and calve.

Enjoy Kimberley coast highlights including outstanding examples of pre-history Gwion Gwion and Wandjina rock art. Land on remote islands and beaches, explore vast gorges, climb to the plateau next to the highest waterfall in the Kimberley, King George Falls, and venture up the Hunter River in search of saltwater crocodiles to photograph.

PLUS, exclusive to Orion Expedition Cruises, enjoy a 2 hour Bungle Bungle Ranges flight-seeing excursion at no additional charge!

The Kimberley, so ancient much of it pre-dates the existence of fossils, is recognised as one of the world's environmental wonders. This rare and pristine wilderness area, worthy of the highest levels of conservation and protection, has recently been nominated for World Heritage listing.

These voyages are the perfect introduction to expedition cruising. Adventure, excitement and dramatic sea and landscapes combine with outstanding levels of service, cuisine and comfort that only Orion can provide.

Select from 16 ten night Orion Kimberley Expedition voyages between mid April and September 2012: 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, Crocodile Creek, Nares Point – refer to specific itineraries for details.

Fares: Depending on the Kimberley voyage selected 2012 season fares start from $6,825  per person twin share – reflecting applicable 25% discount if booked before 30 November 2011 - for an ocean view Category B Stateroom including all meals, lectures, inclusive shore expeditions, Bungle Bungle flight (or alternate Ord River excursion), gratuities and port fees.

Regular air connections provide convenient embarkation and disembarkation in Darwin or Broome.
Further information on Orion Expedition Cruises can be obtained by visiting the website

For reservations or to obtain a brochure call Orion Expedition Cruises: 61-2 9033 8777 (Sydney callers) 1300 361 012 (regional and interstate) / 0800 444 462 (New Zealand) or see your travel agent. Email: