Cruise Type
Ship
Date
Days
Destination
Information
Small Ship Cruise
Coral Expeditions II
02.12.2019
06.12.2019
4
Australia and NZ, Great Barrier Reef - 5 Days Cruise
Fare from € 1,550
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Travelroute
Day 1

Cairns

Board at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal at 4:00pm. Cruise Trinity Bay and take in the views of Double Island and Palm Cove while enjoying welcome drinks and the seafood buffet.

Day 2

Cooktown and Lizard Island

Discover historic Cooktown, with building dating back to the 1870s. Visit the botanic gardens and the James Cook Museum to see original artefacts from the HMB Endeavour. Enjoy an afternoon snorkel and sunset drinks at Turtle Beach on Lizard Island, and see giant trevally and tawny nurse sharks during an after dinner fish feed off the back deck.

Day 3

Lizard Island and Ribbon Reefs

Enjoy the breath-taking natural beauty of Lizard Island. Join an optional hike to Cook’s Look in the early morning to survey the reef. Learn about the tragic fate of Mary Watson and snorkel from the beach over giant clam gardens. This afternoon visit the pristine Ribbon Reef #9 for snorkelling and diving.

Day 4

Ribbon Reefs

Spend a full day discovering the out Barrier Reef, with snorkelling, diving, and marine biologist led tours of Ribbon Reef #3 and Escape Reef.

Day 5

Cairns

Disembark in Cairns at 8:00am.

Overview

Great Barrier Reef – 5 Days Cruise

Our 4-night Cairns – Lizard Island – Cairns cruise is the perfect option for those guests wanting to spend the maximum amount of time exploring the colourful coral gardens of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a full day to discover two different sections of the rarely visited Ribbon Reefs, considered to be the most colourful and pristine reefs found anywhere along the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the wonderful fringing reefs off Lizard Island and Two Isles. You will also have the opportunity to explore historic Cooktown and savour a full morning discovering spectacular Lizard Island.
For guests wanting to spend as much time as possible discovering the reefs of the Tropical North, whilst still enjoying time ashore, this itinerary offers you plenty of time to come face to face with the very best parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
Please note: post cruise transfer to city centre hotels or Cairns airport is included.
Highlights

The complete Great Barrier Reef experience. Snorkel over colourful coral gardens, stroll golden sandy beaches and wander rainforest trails • Secluded gourmet beach BBQ • Experience the World Heritage-listed reef from our private moorings away from the tourist crowds • Be guided by an expert Marine Biologist on glass bottom boat and snorkelling tours • Informative presentations and educational documentaries • History and cultures of the region and early explorers • Join an optional resort or certified SCUBA dive on the outer reef

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Ship information

Coral Expeditions II

Vessel Type: Motor Catamaran
Length: 35 metres
Passenger Capacity: 46
Built: 1996 refurbished in 2015
Refurbished during early 2015, Coral Expeditions II is fully equipped for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef cruising experience. Australian flagged, registered and staffed, Coral Expeditions II was purpose-built for cruising in our region and is the ideal size to access the very best parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
The 22 onboard rooms feature traditional maritime stylings with wood panelled walls. You can choose between double and twin bedded rooms, each fully equipped with a private ensuite, air conditioning and ample storage space. All rooms feature large picture windows, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the spectacular scenery.
The ship’s spacious lounge is a great place to relax and enjoy a drink from the cocktail bar in air-conditioned comfort, and features a comprehensive reference library and plasma screens. The large Sun Deck is another popular place to relax and take in the sights, with comfortable deck chairs and teak furnishings. You will also enjoy the opportunity to dine al fresco under the magnificent stars over the Great Barrier Reef.
Meals are served in the atmospheric Dining Room, and with space for all guests to dine during one sitting and no assigned seating, meal times are a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers.
Coral Expeditions II operates an open bridge policy, allowing you to spend time with the Captain and his maritime crew as we cruise. Follow our progression on the ship’s charts and chat with the Captain, or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Coral Expeditions II is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment.
Contact
Booking
Luxury Mekong River Cruise
Aqua Mekong
06.12.2019
13.12.2019
7
Asia, Aqua Mekong Expedition Cruise
Fare from € 8.120
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Travelroute
Day 1

Mekong River - My Tho - Ho Chi Minh - Vietnam

We will collect you at the Ho Chi Minh meeting point and transfer you by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where we will welcome you aboard the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace or daybed.

Day 2

Mekong River - Binh Thanh/Sa Dec - My An Hung

Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras' legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local's home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 17-kilometer Biking option is also available.

Day 3

Mekong River - Chau Doc - Vinh Xuong – Ka’om Samnor border

Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 18 kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong inspired dishes while we cross the border.

Day 4

Mekong River - Koh Oknha Tey - Preah Prosop

On this river of time we admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous item no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, we board our marine-grade aluminium skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.

Day 5

Phnom Penh - Cambodia

We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. We bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh.

Return to welcome our 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.

Day 6

Tonle Sap River - Koh Chen - Kampong Prasat - Cambodia

In the silversmith village of Koh Chen, we watch artisans producing the magnificent silverware favoured by Khmer royalty. We continue to Udong, the royal capital from the 17-19th centuries, where we learn about a uniquely challenging Buddhist practice at the Vipassana Dhura Mandala, a meditation center. In the afternoon, a walking tour of Kampong Prasat offers a close up perspective on local lives and their riverside environment.

Day 7

Tonle Sap River - Kampong Chhnang – Kampong Tralach - Cambodia

In the cooler hours, we head into the lush countryside to visit traditional potters and palm-sugar producers, astride mountain bikes or chauffeured by shaded tuk-tuk. Into the rice paddies we pedal to watch wizened masters scale sky-piercing palms towering over us. Cruise across the glassy water and disembark among the lotuses for an ox-cart ride along the Tonle Sap riverbanks, past lacquered wooden houses where during these dry months residents take refuge in the relative cool of these outdoor impromptu living rooms.

Day 8

Phnom Penh - Cambodia

Customized exploration of Phnom Penh and disembarkation.

Please Note: you can make the same route vice versa, from: Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Overview

Aqua Mekong Expedition Cruise

Joining us for the full 7-night Mekong Expedition Cruise allows us to share with you all the mysteries and wonders we have discovered between the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers and among the diverse cultures thriving in our midst.

Passengers who travel with us during the high water season (August-November), from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh experience the full history of Mekong life, meeting Khmer farmers, Buddhist monks and our entrepreneurial friends in Vietnam’s kaleidoscopic wet markets along the way.

Sailing in the opposite direction, from the colonial chic of Saigon to the legendary Angkorian heritage in Siem Reap is to travel leisurely back in time across this legendary landscape.

During the low water season (December-August), our program includes much more time on the Cambodia stretch of the Mekong and along the Tonle Sap River.

River cruises on the Amazon and Mekong with Aqua Expeditions can be made in 4, 5 or 8 days. Aqua Blu cruises in Indonesia can be made in 8 or 13 days.

Highlights

Discover tipped pagoda temples and remote Buddhist monasteries. Meet Buddhist monks and learn about beliefs which have anchored religions and societies along the Mekong. Visit Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and a UNESCO site. Fly through Mekong waters by skiff with helpful insights about local sights and wildlife from our guides. Venture out into local Mekong River villages to discover everyday life unfolding before you. Spot billed pelicans in their last Southeast Asian refuge.

Please Note: More Aqua Mekong Expedition Cruises are available, not all of them are listed online. Please contact us for more details.

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Ship information

Aqua Mekong

Vessel Type: Luxury River Expedition

Length: 62.4 meters

Passenger Capacity: 40

Year Built: 2014

Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aqua Mekong incorporates relaxed yet refined lounging and dining areas and can accommodate a maximum of 40 guests plus crew. Modern navigation technologies and the highest cruise ship standards as well as our experienced river pilot and crew ensure smooth travel and safety on the water.
The Aqua Mekong has 20 air conditioned Design Suites, each one a generous 30 square meters (320 square feet), eight with balconies and all created entirely of local materials with the relaxed sophistication and contemporary comforts of a five star resort. Floor to ceiling panoramic windows allow guests to gaze upon the Mekong from the pillow top California king size bed that can be converted upon request into two full twin beds. More captivating views await on the plush, roomy daybed placed by the window wall or for our eight balcony accommodations, outside along with a romantic table for two. Those who wish to keep up on the world beyond these enthralling riverbanks will appreciate the flat screen television and complementary high speed wireless internet.
Sunlit indoors and out, the top level Observation Deck aboard the Aqua Mekong has been designed to seamlessly connect guests with the constantly shifting landscape of floating Vietnamese villages, French colonial church spires and gilded Buddhist stupas along this mighty river, always in the utmost comfort. Whether one chooses to relax in the air conditioned Indoor Lounge, go horizontal under the sun outside at the ship’s Outdoor Lounge area or cool off with a plunge in the shimmering pool at the bow side, the Observation Deck ensures that the river always remains in full view.
Guests gravitate to the Indoor Lounge in the mornings for cà phê đá, Vietnamese coffee poured over ice with sweet condensed milk, between excursions to swap travellers’ tales and for daily lectures from the expert local guides.

 

Contact
Booking
Luxury Explorer Cruise
Le Bougainville
06.12.2019
14.12.2019
8
Africa, Asia, The Essential Seychelles
Fare from € 4,000
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Travelroute
Day 1

Victoria, Mahé

Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

Day 2

Sainte Anne Marine National Park

Day 3

Saint Joseph Atoll

Day 4

Curieuse Island

Situated off the coast of Praslin, Curieuse has a distinguishing feature: its red earth. Discovered in 1768 by the French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, it was ravaged by a fire in 1771 and then home to a leper colony of which a few vestiges still remain. Declared a national marine park in 1979, it is home to many underwater species, which can be discovered while scuba diving or snorkelling in the idyllic waters of the Indian Ocean. But above all, Curieuse is renowned for the hundreds of Aldabra giant tortoises that live there. It is highly likely that you will get the chance to meet these fascinating reptiles. Along with Praslin, it is also the only island on which the sea coconut grows wild.

Day 5

Aride Island

Aride is an island in the Seychelles situated a few kilometres north-west of Praslin. Listed as a nature reserve, this pearl of the Indian Ocean will seduce you with the beauty of its landscapes of wild cliffs and fine-sand beaches. Protected from human impact and sometimes called “bird capital”, it is home to several endemic plants as well as exceptional wildlife. Most notably, it is the refuge of an impressive number of seabirds (Seychelles magpie-robins, terns, noddies, and more), and reptiles, such as Wright’s skinks, which can be found in the island’s wooded areas. Sea turtles can also be observed on the island’s beaches, and boxfish can be admired while scuba diving in the surrounding waters.

Day 6

Grande Sœur

Day 7

Praslin Island

Situated some forty kilometres away from Victoria, Praslin is the second largest island in the Seychelles. Its idyllic beaches where granite rocks nestle in immaculate sand correspond perfectly to how we imagine the Seychelles to be. They invite visitors to dive into the turquoise waters, which are ideal for snorkelling. In the centre of the island, hidden in the heart of a stunning tropical rainforest, lies the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this veritable plant sanctuary, several endemic species of palm trees can be observed, as well as the famous sea coconut, which can weigh up to 20 kg and is sometimes called “coco fesse” because its shape calls to mind a pair of buttocks.

Day 8

La Digue Island

A sprinkling of islands scattered in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles exude calm and beauty against a backdrop of leafy coconut trees, white sand and crystal-clear water. In addition to the tranquility of its green lagoons and its idyllic beaches, this remote paradise also boasts an exceptional fauna and flora. In the many parks and nature reserves, come and observe colourful birds, giant turtles and the numerous marine species living in the turquoise waters. Before reaching the archipelago’s capital, Mahe, your ship will introduce you to La Digue. Time stands still here on this small stretch of land protected from all motorised traffic, where the only mode of transport is the bicycle or the oxcart.

Day 9

Victoria, Mahé

Disembarkation

Overview

The Essential Seychelles

On this brand-new itinerary, PONANT invites you to discover the must-see jewels of the Seychelles. On Mahé, you will board Le Bougainville for a 9-day expedition cruise to the heart of this archipelago’s Inner Islands for a glimpse of paradise.
The first stop on your cruise: Sainte Anne Marine National Park, whose coral reefs are home to stunning species, guaranteeing unforgettable snorkelling.
On Curieuse Island, reputed for its red earth and for the Aldabra giant tortoises that have taken up residence there, take an excursion to the heart of the mangrove. You will then discover Aride, an unspoiled delight of the Indian Ocean, home to thousands of birds including some endemic species.
In Praslin, don’t miss the chance to visit the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. There you will find sea coconuts, gigantic endemic fruits with a very evocative shape, nicknamed the “love nut”.
Palm trees, granite rock, white sand and crystal-clear water then await you on Grande Sœur and La Digue. The beaches on these two stunning islands are each more beautiful than the next, guaranteeing moments of relaxation that will live up to your fantasies of the Seychelles.
The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.
Highlights
Landing in Zodiac®inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides • UNESCO site: the Vallée de Mai nature reserve in Praslin. • Discover 8 islands in the Seychelles on a single cruise • The Aride nature reserve, a treasure of the Seychelles with some 73 hectares of colourful vegetation and more than one million birds • The bare red earth of Curieuse, a granite island in the Seychelles • Anse Source d’Argent, the most famous beach of La Digue, surrounded by large blocks of granite and edged with coconut palms • Possibility of observing tortoises on Saint Joseph and Curieuse • Encounters with the locals • Possibility of diving (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent) with an experienced instructor on board and of snorkelling with your expedition team

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Ship information

Le Bougainville

Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience.

As the first ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant's spirit, Le Bougainville will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.

Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service.

Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel.

Contact
Booking
Small Expedition Yacht
Coral Discoverer
08.12.2019
18.12.2019
10
Australia and NZ, New Zealand South Island Expedition
Fare from € 5.720
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Travelroute
Day 1

Queenstown / Milford Sound

A morning coach transfer from Queenstown to Milford South arrives for a 2:00pm boarding. Enjoy a scenic cruise through Milford Sound.

Day 2

Thompson Sound / Doubtful Sound

Explore Fiordland’s most spectacular waterway, as we cruise through a maze of hidden channels, home to myriad wildlife.

Day 3

Dusky Sound / Pigeon Island

Dusky Sound is dramatic and remote. Cruise among the sheer cliffs and explore the inlets.

Day 4

Stewart Island

Stewart Island is almost totally wilderness, and home to vast numbers of seals, birds and other wildlife. A guided walk discovers native birds such as the weka, tui, and kiwi.

Day 5

Dunedin

Cruise Otago Harbour, before visiting Dunedin. Spend the day exploring all that the city has to offer, including its beautiful architecture, art galleries, and botanical gardens.

Day 6

Akaroa

Discover the French history of this scenic village. Optional activities include swimming with the rare Hector’s Dolphin (optional extra).

Day 7

Kaikoura

Join a special whale-watching cruise to view the giant Sperm Whale in its natural environment, along with fur seals and dolphins.

Day 8

Marlborough Sounds

Explore the spectacular waterways including the fjord-like Queen Charlotte Sound. Enjoy a multitude of interpreted explorations.

Day 9

Tasman Bay / Golden Bay

Kayaking and bushwalking in Abel Tasman National Park.

Day 10

Marlborough Sounds

Return to the Marlborough Sounds for more discovery, with the interpretation of the Expedition Team.

Day 11

Wellington

Disembark in Wellington at 8:00am

Please Note: this is a remote area expedition subject to last minute itinerary changes.

Overview

New Zealand South Island Expedition

With its stunning coastal landscapes, small seaside provinces and an abundance of charismatic marine life, New Zealand is uniquely suited to be explored on a small ship expedition.
Join us aboard Coral Discoverer and see a different side of New Zealand’s South Island. Visit the less accessible and remote areas of Marlborough Sound, Fiordland, and Stewart Island. Get up close to wildlife with our expedition team. Wake up to new vistas each day and relax in the comfort of life on board.
Highlights

Experience the grandeur and remote beauty of Fiordland National Park • Visit remote sections of Abel Tasman national Park with options for kayaking and bushwalking • Visit remote Stewart Island, home to vast number of iconic native birds and wildlife • Spend two days exploring the more inaccessible and spectacular areas of Marlborough Sounds

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Ship information

Coral Discoverer

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition

Length: 63 metres

Passenger Capacity: 72 (in 36 rooms)

Built: 2005 / Refurbished: 2016

Launched in 2005, Coral Discoverer set a new benchmark standard for small ship cruising in Australia. Refurbished in November 2016, she continues to raise the bar to new levels of sophistication in expedition cruising in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer is the grand vision of Coral Expeditions, pioneers in expedition and adventure cruises around Australia, Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. Her tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat all 72 passengers for excursions to beaches and rivers. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities.

Coral Discoverer was built to the exacting international SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards and specifications in Cairns, Australia, with one aim in mind; to create the ultimate small ship cruising experience. Australian flagged, and staffed entirely by an Australian and New Zealand crew, your experience aboard Coral Discoverer will be unique.

After the refurbishment, the Sun Deck has evolved to become a new social space and the hub of on board community living. This area has been converted into an undercover deck area complete with round ‘Explorer Bar’ with bar stools and sun deck with lounges and an area for outdoor exercise equipment.

Guest accommodation has also received a substantial upgrade with the addition of six Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms providing coveted inside/outside living quarters. Each of our other Stateroom grades has also received a full upgrade with updated bathroom fixtures, soft furnishings and artwork making for an even more comfortable stay on board Coral Discoverer.

The Coral Discoverer offers five different grades of staterooms, ranging from Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms to Main Deck Staterooms. Bridge Deck Balcony Staterooms are on the top deck and have private balconies opening out from French windows. All rooms are furnished with contemporary flair and feature original artwork, a small private en-suite, individually-controlled air-conditioning, an iPod dock, ample storage and Australian toiletries. All staterooms are serviced daily. Each stateroom is spacious, sized between 15sqm (161 square feet) to 20 sq. (215 square feet) and has either a balcony, feature picture windows or porthole windows. Most staterooms can be configured to either junior king or twin bedding.

Contact
Booking
Luxury Explorer Cruise
Le Soléal
09.12.2019
19.12.2019
10
Antarctica, Latin America, Emblematic Antarctica with Le Soléal
Fare from € 10,550
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Travelroute
Day 1

Ushuaia

Capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, Ushuaia lies in a bay opening into the Beagle Channel, at the country’s southernmost tip. Its colourful houses are framed against towering mountains, snow-capped in winter and summer alike. A ride on the heritage railway is an exciting excursion into the Tierra del Fuego National Park. A cruise in Ushuaia Bay is a perfect way to do some sea lion and Magellanic penguin spotting.

Days 2 & 3

At sea - Drake Passage

Use your days spent in the Drake Passage to familiarise yourself with your ship and deepen your knowledge of the Antarctic. The Expedition Leader will first present the IAATO rules of conduct that must be observed during landings in the region and will explain everything you need to know about the Zodiac® outings. Lectures about the history and wildlife of the Antarctic will be an opportunity for you to learn more about this magical region, where every cruise is a unique experience. From the ship’s bridge, you will experience exceptional sailing moments before joining the naturalist-guides on your ship’s exterior decks to look out for albatrosses, cape petrels, and other seabirds flying over the Drake Passage.

Days 4 - 8

Antarctic Peninsula

Succumb to the magic of a place unlike any other. To this day, the mythical Antarctic Peninsula still holds real fascination and promises its visitors unforgettable moments. Throughout your adventure in this icy realm, you will find yourself in the heart of a spectacular decor in subtle shades of blue and white, surrounded by exceptional wildlife. Penguins, humpback whales, seals and giant petrels are at home here, as are elephant seals, fur seals, Antarctic minke whales, and orcas. Depending on which sites you will be lucky enough to visit, you may get the chance to observe them and share with them the beauty of these extreme parts. Each day, based on ice conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest Zodiac® outings or landings to discover the infinite riches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Glaciers, ice floe, tabletop icebergs, mountain peaks that plunge straight into the sea, volcanic beaches, research stations, enchanting bays, and vestiges of the whaling industry: these are the faces of the Antarctic that will likely reveal themselves to you, in a hushed and surreal atmosphere. You will sail in the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Adrien de Gerlache and Sir Ernest Shackleton, great Antarctic explorers who, from the 19th century, set out to conquer these remote and uninhabited lands.

Days 9 & 10

At sea - Drake Passage

If there is one place, one sea, one waterway dreaded by tourists, researchers and hardened seafarers alike, it is undoubtedly Drake Passage. Situated at the latitude of the infamous Furious Fifties winds, between Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands, it is the shortest route to Antarctica. Seasoned navigators will tell you that you must earn your visit to the White Continent! As the Antarctic convergence zone where cold currents rising up from the South Pole meet warmer equatorial water masses, Drake Passage harbours a very diverse marine fauna. Don't forget to look to the sky to catch a glimpse of elegant albatross and Cape petrels, playfully floating about in the wind around your ship.

Day 11

Ushuaia

Disembarkation.
Please Note:
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the IAATO.

Overview

Emblematic Antarctica with Le Soléal

Tabletop icebergs, growlers, drift or pack ice… the Antarctic has its own language, which you’ll soon speak fluently!
We are offering you a chance to sail through the Heart of the Peninsula who offers travellers an enchanting polar desert, a final frontier surrounded by a gigantic ice sheet. This is a fascinating journey to the heart of this remote land, Penguins live in their thousands, waddling on the shores, whilst Humpback Whales come and swim alongside ships.

Highlights

Wildlife: The highest concentration of Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap penguins in Antarctica; Minke and humpback Whales, Weddell seals, sea Leopards, and numerous sea birds: Cape Petrels, Albatrosses, imperial Shags, and snow Petrels  Landscapes: A multitude of drifting icebergs, ice floe (or pack ice), calving of imposing icebergs, tall snowy mountains  Visits: To research stations and former whaling stations  Hiking possible: Deception Island, Neko, Paradise Bay  Outings everyday in Zodiac® dinghies: The Weddell Sea, Neko Bay, Paradise Bay

Please Note: your voyage rates include Flight Buenos Aires / Ushuaia + visit or time at leisure + transfers + flight Ushuaia / Buenos Aires

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Ship information

Le Soléal

Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship
Length: 142 meters
Passenger Capacity: 264
Built: 2013
Sailing under the French flag, this magnificent yacht of only 132 staterooms and suites, with balconies, joined in 2013. You will be enchanted by the contemporary decor inspired by the luxury yachting world, with fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white.
A refined ambience is enhanced by the quality of the workmanship and materials: white Corian counters in the lobby contrast with the warmth of leather to recall a boat's hull, while the central sculpture of enameled pieces takes its inspiration from the sea. In the lounge bar, the carpet picks up a tennis stripe theme symbolizing a certain idea of cruising, one synonymous with French elegance and a chic seaside spirit.

Contact
Booking
Luxury Expedition
Silver Cloud
10.12.2019
20.12.2019
10
Antarctica, Latin America, Classic Antarctica
Fare from € 14,490
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Travelroute
Day 1

Ushuaia, Argentina

Departing from Buenos Aires, fly to Ushuaia and transfer to the port. Embark Silver Cloud, settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. During the afternoon you will be introduced to some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. At sail-away bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the ‘Land at the End of the World’.

Day 2

Drake Passage

The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funnelling effect of the passage’s seafloor. While crossing the Drake Passage we will encounter the Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary between cold polar water flowing northward and warmer water moving southward. The Antarctic Convergence is not a fixed line but moving, depending on the season. Where these two currents meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Spend some time on deck watching the Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels gliding in the air currents of Silver Cloud’s wake. As we set sail on our initial transit, familiarise yourself with the elegant Silver Cloud and the Expedition Team members.Attend wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by our expert naturalists and guest lecturers that will prepare you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead.

Day 3

Drake Passage

Day 4

Antarctic Peninsula

While sailing to Antarctica in early December the winter pack ice is breaking up and melting. Every turn can reveal a new and breath-taking adventure. As the pack ice becomes thicker, it becomes apparent to everyone that we are moving closer into Antarctica’s vast white wilderness. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures, calving glaciers, and for the possibility of close encounters with marine mammals. Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, Minke, and orca whales to surface from below the frigid waters. Each day we will attempt Zodiac departures, and, if conditions permit, we will cruise amidst colourful icebergs or step ashore to visit a variety of penguin rookeries and perhaps scientific research stations on complimentary excursions led by our team of natural history experts. A flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter. Here are some of the places we may visit: Antarctic Sound Named after Nordenskjöld’s ship, this 30 miles long stretch of water at the north end of the Antarctic Peninsula offers some of the best tabular iceberg observations. Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula (a 2,200-foot bluff on mainland Antarctica) Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, 745-metre-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels use this as a breeding area. Birds such as the all-white Snow Petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance. As you explore the area, a Weddell seal may be seen basking in the sunlight. Wait long enough and you will see the Adelie Penguins standing along the shore finally making their way into the surf. Cuverville Island, Errera Channel The island was discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99, and was named for a vice admiral in the French navy. Large bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels also may be seen whilst Wilson’s Storm Petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. If conditions permit, a hike towards the top of the island will permit stunning views of the surrounding mountains and channels. During Zodiac tours around the many icebergs, hauled-out Weddell seals may be seen. Paradise Bay (Antarctic Peninsula) The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. From the ship, observe Argentina’s “Base Almirante Brown”, and the Chilean station “Gonzalez Videla”, two of many Antarctic research stations that are manned periodically. Here, you can actually set foot on mainland Antarctica. View the wildlife from sea level while cruising in your Zodiac with one of our experienced Expedition Team members. Neko Harbor (Antarctic Peninsula) The site is named after a whale factory ship, which often used this bay –and Neko Harbor still today offers good chances to see whales. A landing will provide an opportunity to see Gentoo Penguin rookeries and quite possibly Weddell seals and crabeater seals hauled out on the cobble beach. A hike to a lookout point will be a good exercise and will be rewarded with panoramic views of the glacier, Andvord Bay and the Gerlache Strait. Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island) Deception Island is home to a collapsed volcano and an excellent example of a caldera where it is believed that the volcano’s summit collapsed with one section sinking far enough to allow the sea to flood the interior. We plan to sail inside this breached wall through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. Our resident geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area while our naturalists might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s. Port Lockroy, Goudier Island The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was then used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop. Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum. Have a look to see how science was done in Antarctica more than 50 years ago. A post-office and mailbox are located inside the former station.

Day 5

Antarctic Peninsula

Day 6

Antarctic Peninsula

Day 7

Antarctic Peninsula

Day 8

Antarctic Peninsula

Day 9

Drake Passage return

Navigating our return through the Drake Passage, we will watch for seabirds and wildlife we may have missed on the first leg. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to edit photos. The Captain will invite you and your new friends to the Farewell Cocktail, as we travel towards Ushuaia.

Day 10

Drake Passage return

Day 11

Ushuaia, Argentina

After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud and transfer to Ushuaia International Airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires.

Please Note: expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.

Overview

Classic Antarctica

Traversing Drake’s eponymous passage is a must for any explorer. With diverse seabirds attracted to the area, have your binoculars and cameras ready and as you sail closer to the Antarctic Peninsula, look for seals basking on ice floes, Macaroni penguin, and the prodigious Orca whale. Begin and end your expedition at the “world’s end”, Ushuaia.
INCLUDED IN THE CRUISE FARE: one night pre cruise hotel, transfers (between airport/hotel and ship), charter flight to/ from Ushuaia.

Highlights

Marvel at spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers • Set foot on the continent and mainland of Antarctica • Encounter Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins • Spot elephant seals, Weddell seals, leopard seals and crabeater seals • Watch for whales – humpback, Minke, orca, pilot, and beaked whales • Identify Snowy Sheathbill, Antarctic Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Antarctic Tern, Cape Petrels, Wandering Albatrosses, Southern Fulmars, Blue-eyed Shags, Southern Giant Petrels, skuas, Black-browed Albatrosses, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, and other seabirds

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Ship information

Silver Cloud

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition

Length: 157 m.

Passenger Capacity: 254

Crew Capacity: 212

Built: 1994 Refurbished & Rebranded: 2017

After extensive refurbishment, Silver Cloud will be the most spacious and comfortable ice class vessel in expedition cruising. Her large suites, her destination itineraries and her unparalleled service make her truly special. Her five dining options will tantalise your taste buds and as 80% of her suites include a veranda, watching a breaching whale or a few cavorting penguins has never been so personal. Broad sweeping decks with multiple open spaces and a swimming pool complete what is surely the most distinctive expedition ship sailing today.

A limited number of guests, particularly with just 200 in polar waters, mean that Silver Cloud has the highest space to guest and crew ratios in expedition cruising. With her 18 zodiacs, possibilities are almost limitless with ship-wide simultaneous explorations. Finally, a team of 19 passionate and dedicated experts are always at hand to ensure your voyage is enhanced every step of the way.

Contact
Booking
Small Expedition Yacht
Tip Top IV
18.12.2019
31.12.2019
13
Latin America, Pacific and Oceania, 14 Day Natural History Galapagos Experience
Fare from € 6.620
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Travelroute
Day 1

Arrive in Quito

The trip begins in Quito, Ecuador. On arrival, you will be transferred directly to the Hotel Mercure Alameda where we will spend the night. We think very highly of the Hotel Mercure Alameda. It is said that, of the finer hotels in Quito, they have the most personal service. Our experiences strongly support this impression. Meals on your own.

Day 2

Quito

Today is a free day in the High Andes city of Quito, with a spectacular old town district that is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Nearby sightseeing possibilities include Indian markets, the Equatorial Monument, tropical cloud forests, the Amazon Basin, and active volcanoes. A wide range of half-day, full-day and multi-day expeditions are available. Lunch and dinner on your own. Overnight Quito; Hotel Mercure Alameda.

Day 3

Baltra & North Seymour

A morning flight will take you from the High Andes, to another world; the Galapagos Islands. On arrival in Galapagos we will immediately transfer to the yacht waiting at the nearby harbour. This afternoon we will begin our program of shore excursions with a visit to the island of North Seymour. In addition to being a major nesting area for the blue-footed booby, North Seymour is home to the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds in the Galápagos. Both marine and land iguanas are found in good numbers here, and sea lions often surf the rocky shore break.

Day 4

Tower

Located in the northeast portion of the Galápagos, Tower is an outpost for many sea birds (as is Española to the south - perhaps this is why they are our two favourite islands). Depending on conditions we often will have a chance to snorkel and kayak within the bay. • Darwin Bay is an anchorage within a caldera, with surrounding cliffs forming the inner portion of the rim. Along the small beach there is a forest of salt bush where adjacent colonies of great frigate birds and red-footed boobies nest. There are two endemic gull species found in Galápagos; lava gulls and swallow-tailed gulls – both frequently nest here. • A visit to Prince Philip’s Steps begins with a Panga Ride along the cliffs, watching for red-billed tropicbirds and the occasional fur seal, while squadrons of frigate birds fly overhead in their endless piratical pursuits. On shore dwarf Palo Santo trees are home to a colony of red-footed boobies, while Nazca Boobies nest below on the ground. Along the lava fields storm petrels fly overhead in great numbers, while short-eared owls hunt for them among the lava cracks.

Day 5

Santiago

James Bay/Puerto Egas is home to Fur Seal Grotto - not only a beautiful site, but this is your only chance to get close to the endemic fur seals. Some of the best tide-pooling is also here, drawing a wonderful variety of shorebirds and seabirds, with yellow-crowned night herons and American Oystercatchers being the most commonly seen. Inland you might have a chance to see painted locusts, grasshoppers, and possibly even the Galápagos snake. Galápagos hawks are also common on the inland trail. Santiago • Playa Espumilla is a golden sandy beach where sea turtles nest, and ghost crabs and wading birds abound. Beyond the mangroves that frame the beach lie saline lagoons; further in you can find some of the 10 finches that inhabit Santiago, along with the vermillion and broad-billed flycatchers. • A cruise past Buccaneer Cove shows where sailors cleaned ship, hunted meat from the abundant sea lions along the beach, and collected firewood and water. Impressive tuff cliffs frame the southern cove, while eroded cinder to the north has been carved by time into fanciful shapes.

Day 6

Isabela & Fernandia

The cold waters approaching Punta Vicente Roca offer some of the best opportunities for whales and dolphins, and maybe the chance to snorkel with a Mola mola. Fernandia• This is the youngest of the Galápagos Islands. Punta Espinosa is a wonderful visitor site, with the largest colony of marine iguanas in the islands, in addition to flightless cormorants, Galápagos Penguins, herons and Galápagos Hawks. This is often the best place to see marine iguanas in the water as they feed on the barely submerged rocks along the shore.

Day 7

Isabela

Tagus Cove is a natural harbour featuring steep cliffs replete with graffiti from ship’s crews dating as far back as 1836 carved into the face. The cliffs are populated by marine iguanas, penguins, crabs, sea lions, and in the crevices outside the bay, Brown Noddy terns and the occasional Galápagos Martin. Ground and tree finches, hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and perhaps the woodpecker finch can be viewed along the way. • Elizabeth Bay is a mangrove inlet explored by zodiac, with an amazing concentration of green sea turtles and rays. The neighbouring Marielas Islets are home to the largest colony of Galápagos Penguins, with penguins often seen in the water at Elizabeth Bay.

Day 8

Isabela

Urbina Bay was the site of a dramatic volcanic uplift in 1954, where 4 miles of coastline suddenly rose nearly 15 feet, with the coastline driven three quarters of a mile farther out to sea. The marine remnants and giant coral heads are a stark reminder. Inland land iguanas, and an occasional tortoise, are often found here. Along the shore flightless cormorants and brown pelicans typically nest. We might have a chance to snorkel along the rocky bay. • Situated against a backdrop of 3 volcanos, Punta Moreno features views of Isabela’s Sierra Negra & Cerro Azul, and Fernandina’s Le Cumbre. The trail traverses sharp Pahoehoe lava to verdant interior and coastal brackish lagoons. You’ll find all 3 types of cactus colonizing this relatively recent lava flow. The shoreline features Blue-footed Boobies and nesting flightless cormorants while the lagoons are home to white-cheeked pintail ducks and flamingos feeding on abundant brine shrimp.

Day 9

Floreana

Punta Cormorant is one of the most interesting landings (on an olivine beach), with an emphasis on plant life and shore birds. A brackish lagoon is home to flamingos, pintail ducks, and commons stilts. Panga cruising and snorkelling at the offshore islet of Champion (where you might also get a glimpse of the endemic Charles Mockingbird on shore). • Post Office Bay is one the most historically famous island locations - be sure to bring a postcard or two ashore with you to "mail". • Black Beach & the Highlands - while not official park visitor sites, both are rewarding. Much of the early human history of the Galápagos, and especially the Wittmer family, played out in the highlands of Floreana. A visit to the highlands is also your only opportunity in the archipelago to search for the endemic medium tree finch. The seaside Wittmer hotel features an exhibit of early photographs of sailing expeditions and explorers to call on the island.

Day 10

Santa Cruz

A trip to the Highlands (by mini-bus) traverses all 7 vegetation zones of the Galápagos. In addition to two enormous pit craters, other volcanic formations include some of the largest known lava tunnels in the Galápagos. Not surprisingly, the lush highland vegetation is home to a variety of land birds, including vermillion flycatchers, Galápagos Flycatchers, woodpecker finches, dark-billed cuckoos, and Barn Owls. Tortoises are often seen in the wild here. • Puerto Ayora is the scientific heart of Galápagos, including the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and Galápagos National Park tortoise center, as well as the primary population center. This will be the only opportunity to see the rare Galapagos saddleback tortoises.

Day 11

Espanola

Punta Suarez is a paradise for birders, with waved albatross, Nazca Boobies, blue-footed boobies, Galápagos Hawks, Galápagos Doves, and also marine iguanas (the most colourful in the islands) all vying for center stage. • Gardner Bay is a tranquil white sandy beach known for sea lions, lava lizards, finches, yellow warblers, & Hood Mockingbirds, to name just a few. Gardner or Tortuga Rocks offer great snorkelling, as well as the occasional chance to kayak.

Day 12

San Cristóbal

This is the easternmost island in the archipelago (and also the provincial capital). • Punta Pitt is a coastal tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds, including blue-footed, Nazca & red-footed boobies (the only site where all 3 species might be seen together), frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, and storm petrels. • Cerro Brujo is a very striking, eroded tuff cone. One of the first places visited by Charles Darwin, the beautiful white coralline sand beach and lagoon are home to brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, plus a variety of shore birds. Stroll the beach and you will soon realize that you are being watched by hundreds of shy ghost crabs. San Cristóbal is also home to the endemic Chatham Mockingbird. • Kicker Rock is a similarly eroded tuff cone, this time rising almost 500 feet from the ocean. The yacht will cruise around Kicker Rock as the sunlight plays off the contours of the cliffs and formation (complete with blue-footed boobies, Nazca Boobies, and frigate birds).

Day 13

Mosquera

This is a tiny islet, really more of a long, narrow sand spit, with a huge population of sea lions. Additional occupants include Sally Lightfoot Crabs and lava lizards, plus a wonderful variety of birdlife flying over. It makes a perfect "last landing" to reflect on the wonders of Galápagos experienced during your 11 days in the islands. • Baltra - A mid-morning departure will have us back in Quito this afternoon. On arrival (late afternoon) in Quito, we will be transferred directly to the Hotel Mercure Alameda where we will spend the night. We will have a group Farewell Dinner at one of the leading restaurants in Quito.

Day 14

Departure from Quito

Transfer to the airport today for your return flight home. Or, if you prefer, remain on in Ecuador for a few days exploring the High Andes, Amazon Basin, or tropical cloud forests…

Additional charges: Galápagos National Park Entrance Fee/Migration Card + Fuel Surcharge. From: € 410,- pp

Overview

14 Day Natural History Galapagos Experience

Galápagos Photography Tour
Our trips are different. This voyage spends 11 days in the Galapagos Islands. Out trips are the longest regularly available tours of the Galapagos.

‘’It is the fate of most voyagers, no sooner to discover what is most interesting in any locality than they are hurried from it’’, Charles Darwin, 1845

Our trips are educationally-oriented and are accompanied by a Tour Leader / Biologist in addition to a local Naturalist Guide. The tours are oriented to the passenger who wants to observe and learn as much as possible about the Galapagos – the animals and plants – on land and in the water.

The tours are also oriented to photographers (although you don’t have to be a photographer to get full value and enjoyment from our trips). We do offer some light photographic advice and, more important extensive, unique, and excellent photo opportunities.

Highlights

Maximize and get the most out of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure travel experience. Our Workshops provide an in-depth orientation to the islands beyond the scope of most “vacation- type” tours • Spend a longer time in the islands than most tour groups. We feel that 11 days is the minimum time necessary to see most of the important Visitor Sites (including the outer islands) and be assured of a maximum viewing opportunity of the significant plant and animal species. We include 3 days in the volcanically-active western islands, where we whale-watch, see penguins, flightless cormorants, and giant tortoises in the wild • In addition to the legally-required Naturalist Guide, we provide a Tour Leader/ Biologist who gives daily lectures on natural history. The Guide’s role is to escort people on shore, to provide some wildlife interpretation, and to make sure the rules of the National Park are enforced. Having a Tour Leader adds a serious educational orientation to the trip • Our two daily island visits are longer (2-4 hours each) than most tours. We also go on shore earlier in the day (typically landing between 6 and 7am. vs. 8am for most other vessels) to enhance viewing and photographic opportunities.

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Ship Overview

Tip Top IV

Vessel Type: Motor Yacht

Length: 27 metres

Passenger Capacity: 16

Built / refurbished: 2006 / 2015

The 125 ft, steel-hulled, TIP TOP IV was built in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2006, and totally refurbished in 2015. The design includes all modern navigation instrumentation and safety features. She has a crew of 7 and carries just 16 passengers in 10 air-conditioned double cabins (4 on the bridge deck and 6 on the lower deck). All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer. The interior is very spacious and attractive, and features a library/conference room, and a spacious dining room. There are extensive outside viewing (both sun and shade) areas. Twin diesels give her a cruising speed of 12 knots. Shore landings are made via twin 17-foot inflatable zodiacs. Special equipment on board includes basic snorkelling gear to loan as well as kayaks.

Contact
Booking
Luxury Mekong River Cruise
Aqua Mekong
20.12.2019
27.12.2019
7
Asia, Aqua Mekong Expedition Cruise
Fare from € 8.120
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Travelroute
Day 1

Mekong River - My Tho - Ho Chi Minh - Vietnam

We will collect you at the Ho Chi Minh meeting point and transfer you by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where we will welcome you aboard the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace or daybed.

Day 2

Mekong River - Binh Thanh/Sa Dec - My An Hung

Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras' legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local's home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 17-kilometer Biking option is also available.

Day 3

Mekong River - Chau Doc - Vinh Xuong – Ka’om Samnor border

Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 18 kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong inspired dishes while we cross the border.

Day 4

Mekong River - Koh Oknha Tey - Preah Prosop

On this river of time we admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous item no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, we board our marine-grade aluminium skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.

Day 5

Phnom Penh - Cambodia

We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. We bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh.

Return to welcome our 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.

Day 6

Tonle Sap River - Koh Chen - Kampong Prasat - Cambodia

In the silversmith village of Koh Chen, we watch artisans producing the magnificent silverware favoured by Khmer royalty. We continue to Udong, the royal capital from the 17-19th centuries, where we learn about a uniquely challenging Buddhist practice at the Vipassana Dhura Mandala, a meditation center. In the afternoon, a walking tour of Kampong Prasat offers a close up perspective on local lives and their riverside environment.

Day 7

Tonle Sap River - Kampong Chhnang – Kampong Tralach - Cambodia

In the cooler hours, we head into the lush countryside to visit traditional potters and palm-sugar producers, astride mountain bikes or chauffeured by shaded tuk-tuk. Into the rice paddies we pedal to watch wizened masters scale sky-piercing palms towering over us. Cruise across the glassy water and disembark among the lotuses for an ox-cart ride along the Tonle Sap riverbanks, past lacquered wooden houses where during these dry months residents take refuge in the relative cool of these outdoor impromptu living rooms.

Day 8

Phnom Penh - Cambodia

Customized exploration of Phnom Penh and disembarkation.

Please Note: you can make the same route vice versa, from: Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Overview

Aqua Mekong Expedition Cruise

Joining us for the full 7-night Mekong Expedition Cruise allows us to share with you all the mysteries and wonders we have discovered between the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers and among the diverse cultures thriving in our midst.

Passengers who travel with us during the high water season (August-November), from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh experience the full history of Mekong life, meeting Khmer farmers, Buddhist monks and our entrepreneurial friends in Vietnam’s kaleidoscopic wet markets along the way.

Sailing in the opposite direction, from the colonial chic of Saigon to the legendary Angkorian heritage in Siem Reap is to travel leisurely back in time across this legendary landscape.

During the low water season (December-August), our program includes much more time on the Cambodia stretch of the Mekong and along the Tonle Sap River.

River cruises on the Amazon and Mekong with Aqua Expeditions can be made in 4, 5 or 8 days. Aqua Blu cruises in Indonesia can be made in 8 or 13 days.

Highlights

Discover tipped pagoda temples and remote Buddhist monasteries. Meet Buddhist monks and learn about beliefs which have anchored religions and societies along the Mekong. Visit Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and a UNESCO site. Fly through Mekong waters by skiff with helpful insights about local sights and wildlife from our guides. Venture out into local Mekong River villages to discover everyday life unfolding before you. Spot billed pelicans in their last Southeast Asian refuge.

Please Note: More Aqua Mekong Expedition Cruises are available, not all of them are listed online. Please contact us for more details.

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Ship information

Aqua Mekong

Vessel Type: Luxury River Expedition

Length: 62.4 meters

Passenger Capacity: 40

Year Built: 2014

Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aqua Mekong incorporates relaxed yet refined lounging and dining areas and can accommodate a maximum of 40 guests plus crew. Modern navigation technologies and the highest cruise ship standards as well as our experienced river pilot and crew ensure smooth travel and safety on the water.
The Aqua Mekong has 20 air conditioned Design Suites, each one a generous 30 square meters (320 square feet), eight with balconies and all created entirely of local materials with the relaxed sophistication and contemporary comforts of a five star resort. Floor to ceiling panoramic windows allow guests to gaze upon the Mekong from the pillow top California king size bed that can be converted upon request into two full twin beds. More captivating views await on the plush, roomy daybed placed by the window wall or for our eight balcony accommodations, outside along with a romantic table for two. Those who wish to keep up on the world beyond these enthralling riverbanks will appreciate the flat screen television and complementary high speed wireless internet.
Sunlit indoors and out, the top level Observation Deck aboard the Aqua Mekong has been designed to seamlessly connect guests with the constantly shifting landscape of floating Vietnamese villages, French colonial church spires and gilded Buddhist stupas along this mighty river, always in the utmost comfort. Whether one chooses to relax in the air conditioned Indoor Lounge, go horizontal under the sun outside at the ship’s Outdoor Lounge area or cool off with a plunge in the shimmering pool at the bow side, the Observation Deck ensures that the river always remains in full view.
Guests gravitate to the Indoor Lounge in the mornings for cà phê đá, Vietnamese coffee poured over ice with sweet condensed milk, between excursions to swap travellers’ tales and for daily lectures from the expert local guides.

 

Contact
Booking
Small Expedition Yacht
Coral Adventurer
21.12.2019
02.01.2020
12
Australia and NZ, Asia, Spice Islands & Raja Ampat
Fare from € 7.250
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Travelroute
Day 1

Depart Darwin

This afternoon at 4:30pm board Coral Adventurer at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf, where there is time to settle in before our 6:00pm departure. In the evening, join your fellow travellers, the Captain and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks in anticipation of what promises to be a remarkable journey discovering Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Day 2

Crossing the Timor Sea

Spend the day at leisure as we cross the Timor Sea towards Bandaneira. Join our Expedition Staff in the ship’s lounge for an interesting introduction to our journey, and the many experiences we will share over the coming eleven days.

Day 3

Bandaneira and Spice Islands

In the middle of the Banda Sea, lies an enchanted fragment of history, the centre of the Spice Island trade. Originally the world’s sole source of nutmeg and mace, these nine tiny islands have attracted traders since at least 2,000 years ago. In the 16th century, European explorers discovered entire continents in their quest for these islands. On our approach to Banda Island the outline of Gunung Api volcano, with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit, will be clearly visible. See Banda’s famous Kora Kora canoes in action, with up to 38 oarsmen aboard they are a sight to behold as they glide across the water. Enjoy lunch aboard before departing for a snorkel or dive on the nearby Lava flow reef system or you may like to enjoy local tea and coffee along with delicious snacks at the water front. Later in the afternoon there is time to explore Fort Belgica, built by the first Governor General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1611, the fort is extremely well preserved and provides an interesting insight into Dutch colonisation. The locals entertain us with a traditional dance and music performance before we enjoy a glass of champagne watching the sun set over the fort.

Day 4

Spice Islands

This morning enjoy the opportunity to immerse yourself with local guides in the colours and aromas of the Spice Islands. Travel through the streets of Bandaneira, past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism on a town tour. See the museum, the former VOC Governor’s Mansion visit the old church, explore a nutmeg plantation and finish with traditional dancing and tastings of local treats on the waterfront. This afternoon we farewell the Spice Islands and set sail towards Raja Ampat, enjoying informative presentations from our Guest Lecturer ahead of our arrival tomorrow.

Day 5

Raja Ampat - Wagmab and Mesemta Islands

Our ship will enter the Misool archipelago and anchor at beautiful Wagmab, where excellent coral gardens and steep walls allow us to snorkel and dive to our hearts content. If conditions allow, our naturalist will have the glass bottom boat in action over the reef systems, before we depart for our afternoon destination. Coral Adventurer will then cruise up a stunning passage and arrive into the Mesemta Bay. Enjoy snorkelling and viewing from the glass bottom boat, or paddle at your leisure through these amazing karst islands on kayaks. Finish the day with our famous BBQ on the top deck and take in the sunset looking over this spectacular backdrop.

Day 6

Hidden Bay - the Wallace passage and Yenwaupnor village

This morning we navigate the narrow entrance to discover Hidden Bay. The entrance to the bay, is easy to overlook and visits from cruise ships are rare. Aboard Xplorer and our zodiacs we will traverse through the famous Wallace passage where history abounds and stunning surrounds will keep your cameras in action. After lunch enjoy snorkelling and diving on the nearby reef. The glass bottom boat will be available to view the reef with our naturalist onboard, head off and enjoy a kayak tour around the nearby limestone karsts. Over lunch, we travel to South Gam where we will head ashore in the late afternoon for a village visit at Yenwapnour, the local Papuans will welcome us with their string band and traditional songs. Local underground oven foods will have been prepared for you to try and then the local guides will take you through the village before we return to the ship for drinks.

Day 7

South Gam Island and Aljui Bay

Join us for an early morning adventure, as we seek out the elusive Red Bird of Paradise at an exclusive local vantage point (40 min uphill hike good fitness required) on a bird watching hike or choose to take the opportunity for an early morning snorkel. We then set sail for the beautiful Aljui Bay on the Island of Weigeo for a relaxing afternoon, snorkelling and diving on one of the best reef sites in the area and explore this spectacular channel in the zodiacs with our expedition team. After a busy day relax with a drink in the top lounge.

Day 8

Wayag Island

We cross the equator into the northern hemisphere as we make our way towards Wayag Island, which is currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage listing. Discover the lagoon’s white sand beaches and maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands as we explore the lagoons in zodiacs and aboard Xplorer. After lunch, those keen on an energetic climb up famous Pindito Peak will be rewarded by breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Alternatively choose to relax with a swim, snorkel, guided glass bottom boat tour or kayak paddle.

Day 9

At sea

A relaxing day at sea, we join the Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for an informative introduction to Cenderawasih Bay and our activities over the last two days of our expedition.

Day 10

Cenderawasih Bay and Kwatisore village

We enter the marine life haven that is Cenderawasih Marine Park and go in search of an encounter with the biggest fish in the sea, the beautiful Whale Shark. This region is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to snorkel with these majestic animals, and with luck, we may have a chance to snorkel amongst them. The afternoon is spent with the local Papuans at Kwatisore village. Learn about the local community and culture through traditional custom dances and games, then enjoy a guided walk through the village and visit the vibrant market stalls.

Day 11

Cenderawasih Bay and Mamboor Island

Awake for an early morning snorkel with the magnificent Whale Sharks before we depart for Mamboor Island set deep in the heart of Cenderawasih Bay, head ashore with our expediton team and local guides to see a real local village and learn about the interesting customs and traditional lifestyles of the West Papuan people. Afterwards, enjoy a swim off the nearby beach before you join your fellow travellers, the Captain and crew for the Captain’s Farewell Drinks and reminisce over what has been an unforgettable adventure exploring the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat.

Day 12

Arrive in Biak

This morning join our private jet for our flight from Biak to Darwin (additional costs apply).

Please Note: this itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition, we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. The itinerary includes the possibility of interaction with wild animals and this interaction is subject to the presence of this wildlife on the day.

Overview

Spice Islands & Raja Ampat

Combining scenery of outstanding natural beauty, diverse wildlife and storied histories, our Raja Ampat and Spice Islands expedition is a unique journey of discovery and adventure like no other. Embark Coral Adventurer in Darwin, at the commencement of our 11-night voyage to Biak, West Papua. Become one of the very first to have experienced these rarely-visited islands, where villagers have remained shielded from the outside world and communities are only now emerging into the 21st century.
The centrepiece of our expedition is a five day exploration through the nature lover’s paradise that is Raja Ampat. Harbouring over 75% of the world’s total coral and fish species, Raja Ampat’s pristine and brightly coloured reef systems offer perhaps the very best snorkelling and diving in the world today. On Misool, one of the famed ‘Four Kings’ of Raja Ampat, you will have the opportunity to snorkel through Tomorol Cave. While in Pulau Gam’s traditional Sawingrai village, you will join a local on a guided walk through the rainforest in search of the iconic Red Bird of Paradise.
Over many centuries great European explorers claimed new continents in their quest to discover the Spice Islands, and aboard Coral Adventurer we’ll retrace their footsteps as we approach the island of Banda Neira, guided by the plume of smoke emerging over the horizon from the island’s active Gunung Api volcano. The most treasured and valued commodities of their time, the world’s entire supply of nutmeg and mace was grown in the Spice Islands between the 12th and 15th centuries, and even today a stroll through Banda’s local spice markets offers a melting pot of aromas, colourful spices and vibrant characters. In Cenderawasih Bay, a protected Marine Park home to one of the world’s largest schools of Whale Shark, we’ll seek out these amazing fish, some measuring up to 12 metres in length.
Cruising aboard Coral Adventurer, in the company of an experienced expedition team and all-Australian staff, you are sure to make the most of every minute discovering the very best that nature has to offer on this remarkable journey through Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Highlights

Be welcomed to Banda Neira by the famous Kora Kora canoes gliding over the water • Explore Fort Belgica, a Dutch outpost built in 1611 • Snorkel and dive amongst the excellent coral garden at Wagmab Island • Discover Wayag’s ‘gumdrop’ islands and be rewarded by the view from Pindito Peak • Swim with the unforgettable Whale Sharks at Cenderawasih Bay • Experience the local culture of the West Papuan people

<close>

Ship information
Coral Adventurer
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship
Length: 93.4 meters
Passenger Capacity: 120 (60 staterooms)
Built: 2017
Our brand new ship is built to take you closer to unspoilt vistas in comfort, style and safety. A culmination of two years of design and three decades of passion for expedition cruising – Coral Expeditions is proud to invite you to experience the Coral Adventurer.
Bigger is not better
At a time when cruise ships get larger and glitzier, we remain stubbornly compact and intimate. Our ships are designed to take you to unspoilt destinations not accessible to large ships.  We want you to have the luxury of space, dine with whom you please, or find your quiet corner on deck.  So we have limited the Coral Adventurer to 60 spacious cabins.  This preserves the intimate atmosphere we are known for without sacrificing the stability and comfort of a true ocean going vessel.
Built for discovery
The Coral Adventurer features our trademark dual ‘Xplorer’ tenders cradled on a hydraulic platform slung off the back of the ship, enabling our guests to go ashore in comfort and ease.  The shallow draft of the ship enables us to go closer to shore than larger ships. Together with our renowned expedition team, our new ship will offer the most advanced expedition capabilities of any small ship afloat.
Built for comfort
With active stabilisers dampening sea motion, mostly balcony cabins, and interiors designed with the colours and textures of tropical Queensland, the Coral Adventurer is a comfortable ship.  She features promenade decks, generous communal areas that accommodate all guests, a passenger elevator, and an open kitchen where you can observe our chefs whip up small batch cuisine from locally sourced ingredients.
Built for personal service
The Coral Adventurer will continue our proud tradition of Australian flagged vessels with friendly and professional Australian crew.  Our onboard atmosphere remains refreshingly informal and intimate.  Take your seat at our bridge lounge, chat with the captain at your leisure or accompany our chefs on a market tour.
Food and wine features
Single seating dining area with communal ‘wine table’ finished with Australian stone; serving buffet breakfast and lunch, and multi-course table d’hote dinners • Showcase galley visible to guests for fresh small-batch cuisine featuring Australian produce • Multiple indoor and outdoor bars, including our Explorer bar on the sundeck for sunset drinks with 180 degree views • Curated wine cellar featuring modestly priced boutique wines for daily drinking and exceptional vintage Australian reds.
Guest comfort
All outside guest cabins with en-suite bathrooms; majority have private balcony • Active stabilisers to dampen sea motion • Gym equipped with elliptical trainers and treadmills • Passenger elevator • Wi-Fi available in all guest areas

Contact
Booking
Luxury Explorer Cruise
Le Bougainville
26.12.2019
03.01.2020
8
Africa, Asia, The Essential Seychelles
Fare from € 4,550
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

Victoria, Mahé

Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

Day 2

Sainte Anne Marine National Park

Day 3

Saint Joseph Atoll

Day 4

Curieuse Island

Situated off the coast of Praslin, Curieuse has a distinguishing feature: its red earth. Discovered in 1768 by the French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, it was ravaged by a fire in 1771 and then home to a leper colony of which a few vestiges still remain. Declared a national marine park in 1979, it is home to many underwater species, which can be discovered while scuba diving or snorkelling in the idyllic waters of the Indian Ocean. But above all, Curieuse is renowned for the hundreds of Aldabra giant tortoises that live there. It is highly likely that you will get the chance to meet these fascinating reptiles. Along with Praslin, it is also the only island on which the sea coconut grows wild.

Day 5

Aride Island

Aride is an island in the Seychelles situated a few kilometres north-west of Praslin. Listed as a nature reserve, this pearl of the Indian Ocean will seduce you with the beauty of its landscapes of wild cliffs and fine-sand beaches. Protected from human impact and sometimes called “bird capital”, it is home to several endemic plants as well as exceptional wildlife. Most notably, it is the refuge of an impressive number of seabirds (Seychelles magpie-robins, terns, noddies, and more), and reptiles, such as Wright’s skinks, which can be found in the island’s wooded areas. Sea turtles can also be observed on the island’s beaches, and boxfish can be admired while scuba diving in the surrounding waters.

Day 6

Grande Sœur

Day 7

Praslin Island

Situated some forty kilometres away from Victoria, Praslin is the second largest island in the Seychelles. Its idyllic beaches where granite rocks nestle in immaculate sand correspond perfectly to how we imagine the Seychelles to be. They invite visitors to dive into the turquoise waters, which are ideal for snorkelling. In the centre of the island, hidden in the heart of a stunning tropical rainforest, lies the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this veritable plant sanctuary, several endemic species of palm trees can be observed, as well as the famous sea coconut, which can weigh up to 20 kg and is sometimes called “coco fesse” because its shape calls to mind a pair of buttocks.

Day 8

La Digue Island

A sprinkling of islands scattered in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles exude calm and beauty against a backdrop of leafy coconut trees, white sand and crystal-clear water. In addition to the tranquility of its green lagoons and its idyllic beaches, this remote paradise also boasts an exceptional fauna and flora. In the many parks and nature reserves, come and observe colourful birds, giant turtles and the numerous marine species living in the turquoise waters. Before reaching the archipelago’s capital, Mahe, your ship will introduce you to La Digue. Time stands still here on this small stretch of land protected from all motorised traffic, where the only mode of transport is the bicycle or the oxcart.

Day 9

Victoria, Mahé

Disembarkation

Overview

The Essential Seychelles

On this brand-new itinerary, PONANT invites you to discover the must-see jewels of the Seychelles. On Mahé, you will board Le Bougainville for a 9-day expedition cruise to the heart of this archipelago’s Inner Islands for a glimpse of paradise.
The first stop on your cruise: Sainte Anne Marine National Park, whose coral reefs are home to stunning species, guaranteeing unforgettable snorkelling.
On Curieuse Island, reputed for its red earth and for the Aldabra giant tortoises that have taken up residence there, take an excursion to the heart of the mangrove. You will then discover Aride, an unspoiled delight of the Indian Ocean, home to thousands of birds including some endemic species.
In Praslin, don’t miss the chance to visit the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. There you will find sea coconuts, gigantic endemic fruits with a very evocative shape, nicknamed the “love nut”.
Palm trees, granite rock, white sand and crystal-clear water then await you on Grande Sœur and La Digue. The beaches on these two stunning islands are each more beautiful than the next, guaranteeing moments of relaxation that will live up to your fantasies of the Seychelles.
The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.
Highlights
Landing in Zodiac®inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides • UNESCO site: the Vallée de Mai nature reserve in Praslin. • Discover 8 islands in the Seychelles on a single cruise • The Aride nature reserve, a treasure of the Seychelles with some 73 hectares of colourful vegetation and more than one million birds • The bare red earth of Curieuse, a granite island in the Seychelles • Anse Source d’Argent, the most famous beach of La Digue, surrounded by large blocks of granite and edged with coconut palms • Possibility of observing tortoises on Saint Joseph and Curieuse • Encounters with the locals • Possibility of diving (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent) with an experienced instructor on board and of snorkelling with your expedition team

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Ship information

Le Bougainville

Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience.

As the first ship in a new series that remains true to the Ponant's spirit, Le Bougainville will embody the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.

Aboard this ship that flies the French flag, you will experience the incomparable pleasure of an intimate cruise, with the possibility of exploring an ever-increasing range of destinations in an ethnic-chic ambiance with luxury service.

Experience a luxurious setting where the accent is on authenticity and passion for travel.

Contact
Booking
Small Expedition Yacht
Ocean Adventurer
29.12.2019
08.01.2020
10
Antarctica, Discovering the 7th Continent
Fare from € 7.750
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina

You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.

Day 2

Embarkation Day

Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart—the next time you see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!

Day 3

Crossing the Drake Passage

Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by your Expedition Team who will prepare you for the wildlife, glaciology and history that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time on deck looking for wildlife or chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.

Day 4

Crossing the Drake Passage

Day 5

South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience. Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are hiking the Antarctic landscape, visiting a research station or consorting with chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins, all of which can be found here. Keep an eye out for Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals as well as curious whales, such as humpbacks, fins, or perhaps orcas while on a Zodiac cruise. Each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy. Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier. Every day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to inspire and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.

Day 6

South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Day 7

South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Day 8

South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

Day 9

Crossing the Drake Passage

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team and celebrate the experiences shared exploring Antarctica.

Day 10

Crossing the Drake Passage

Day 11

Disembarkation in Ushuaia

You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure onward or catch your flights home.

Please note: embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.

Overview

Discovering the 7th Continent

Antarctica has been inspiring explorers for centuries. And this expedition offers you the chance to discover why, with an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll encounter a world where nature creates the rules, her unpredictable temperament making each trip unique, exciting and personal.
Imagine cruising in a Zodiac through crackling sea ice like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, or navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. You’ll enjoy iconic Antarctic highlights, exhilarating adventures and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.

Highlights

Discover why this trip is perfect for first-time visitors to Antarctica • Explore highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula • Travel safely and comfortably aboard any of Quark Expeditions’ three small, ice-strengthened expedition vessels • Learn about the environment and wildlife from on-board lecturers and specialists • Experience abundant wildlife: penguins, seals, whales and more!

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Ship information

Ocean Adventurer

Vessel Type: Comfortable Expedition Vessel

Length: 101 meters

Passenger Capacity: 132

Crew Capacity: 87

Built / refurbished: 1975 / 1998 / 2017 - re-named to the Ocean Adventurer in June 2017
The Ocean Adventurer is a comfortable vessel with spacious cabins, which all have private bathroom facilities and exterior views. Designed to carry travelers in comfort to the most remote corners of the world, Ocean Adventurer was built in 1976, and underwent extensive upgrades
in 2017. This multi-million dollar investment included renovations to the interior of the ship, significant technical upgrades, and the addition of a new cabin category, the Owner’s Suites. The refurbishment gave the ship new bathrooms in every cabin, and upgrades to the Lounge, Dining Room, gym, and suites. Technical enhancements – including two new engines, generators, gear boxes, drive systems, and re-bladed propellers – resulted in increased fuel efficiency, and a minimized carbon footprint.
Contact
Booking
Small Expedition Yacht
Coral Adventurer
02.01.2020
14.01.2020
12
Australia and NZ, Asia, Spice Islands & Raja Ampat
Fare from € 7.250
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

Depart Darwin

This afternoon at 4:30pm board Coral Adventurer at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf, where there is time to settle in before our 6:00pm departure. In the evening, join your fellow travellers, the Captain and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks in anticipation of what promises to be a remarkable journey discovering Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Day 2

Crossing the Timor Sea

Spend the day at leisure as we cross the Timor Sea towards Bandaneira. Join our Expedition Staff in the ship’s lounge for an interesting introduction to our journey, and the many experiences we will share over the coming eleven days.

Day 3

Bandaneira and Spice Islands

In the middle of the Banda Sea, lies an enchanted fragment of history, the centre of the Spice Island trade. Originally the world’s sole source of nutmeg and mace, these nine tiny islands have attracted traders since at least 2,000 years ago. In the 16th century, European explorers discovered entire continents in their quest for these islands. On our approach to Banda Island the outline of Gunung Api volcano, with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit, will be clearly visible. See Banda’s famous Kora Kora canoes in action, with up to 38 oarsmen aboard they are a sight to behold as they glide across the water. Enjoy lunch aboard before departing for a snorkel or dive on the nearby Lava flow reef system or you may like to enjoy local tea and coffee along with delicious snacks at the water front. Later in the afternoon there is time to explore Fort Belgica, built by the first Governor General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1611, the fort is extremely well preserved and provides an interesting insight into Dutch colonisation. The locals entertain us with a traditional dance and music performance before we enjoy a glass of champagne watching the sun set over the fort.

Day 4

Spice Islands

This morning enjoy the opportunity to immerse yourself with local guides in the colours and aromas of the Spice Islands. Travel through the streets of Bandaneira, past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism on a town tour. See the museum, the former VOC Governor’s Mansion visit the old church, explore a nutmeg plantation and finish with traditional dancing and tastings of local treats on the waterfront. This afternoon we farewell the Spice Islands and set sail towards Raja Ampat, enjoying informative presentations from our Guest Lecturer ahead of our arrival tomorrow.

Day 5

Raja Ampat - Wagmab and Mesemta Islands

Our ship will enter the Misool archipelago and anchor at beautiful Wagmab, where excellent coral gardens and steep walls allow us to snorkel and dive to our hearts content. If conditions allow, our naturalist will have the glass bottom boat in action over the reef systems, before we depart for our afternoon destination. Coral Adventurer will then cruise up a stunning passage and arrive into the Mesemta Bay. Enjoy snorkelling and viewing from the glass bottom boat, or paddle at your leisure through these amazing karst islands on kayaks. Finish the day with our famous BBQ on the top deck and take in the sunset looking over this spectacular backdrop.

Day 6

Hidden Bay - the Wallace passage and Yenwaupnor village

This morning we navigate the narrow entrance to discover Hidden Bay. The entrance to the bay, is easy to overlook and visits from cruise ships are rare. Aboard Xplorer and our zodiacs we will traverse through the famous Wallace passage where history abounds and stunning surrounds will keep your cameras in action. After lunch enjoy snorkelling and diving on the nearby reef. The glass bottom boat will be available to view the reef with our naturalist onboard, head off and enjoy a kayak tour around the nearby limestone karsts. Over lunch, we travel to South Gam where we will head ashore in the late afternoon for a village visit at Yenwapnour, the local Papuans will welcome us with their string band and traditional songs. Local underground oven foods will have been prepared for you to try and then the local guides will take you through the village before we return to the ship for drinks.

Day 7

South Gam Island and Aljui Bay

Join us for an early morning adventure, as we seek out the elusive Red Bird of Paradise at an exclusive local vantage point (40 min uphill hike good fitness required) on a bird watching hike or choose to take the opportunity for an early morning snorkel. We then set sail for the beautiful Aljui Bay on the Island of Weigeo for a relaxing afternoon, snorkelling and diving on one of the best reef sites in the area and explore this spectacular channel in the zodiacs with our expedition team. After a busy day relax with a drink in the top lounge.

Day 8

Wayag Island

We cross the equator into the northern hemisphere as we make our way towards Wayag Island, which is currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage listing. Discover the lagoon’s white sand beaches and maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands as we explore the lagoons in zodiacs and aboard Xplorer. After lunch, those keen on an energetic climb up famous Pindito Peak will be rewarded by breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Alternatively choose to relax with a swim, snorkel, guided glass bottom boat tour or kayak paddle.

Day 9

At sea

A relaxing day at sea, we join the Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for an informative introduction to Cenderawasih Bay and our activities over the last two days of our expedition.

Day 10

Cenderawasih Bay and Kwatisore village

We enter the marine life haven that is Cenderawasih Marine Park and go in search of an encounter with the biggest fish in the sea, the beautiful Whale Shark. This region is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to snorkel with these majestic animals, and with luck, we may have a chance to snorkel amongst them. The afternoon is spent with the local Papuans at Kwatisore village. Learn about the local community and culture through traditional custom dances and games, then enjoy a guided walk through the village and visit the vibrant market stalls.

Day 11

Cenderawasih Bay and Mamboor Island

Awake for an early morning snorkel with the magnificent Whale Sharks before we depart for Mamboor Island set deep in the heart of Cenderawasih Bay, head ashore with our expediton team and local guides to see a real local village and learn about the interesting customs and traditional lifestyles of the West Papuan people. Afterwards, enjoy a swim off the nearby beach before you join your fellow travellers, the Captain and crew for the Captain’s Farewell Drinks and reminisce over what has been an unforgettable adventure exploring the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat.

Day 12

Arrive in Biak

This morning join our private jet for our flight from Biak to Darwin (additional costs apply).

Please Note: this itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition, we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. The itinerary includes the possibility of interaction with wild animals and this interaction is subject to the presence of this wildlife on the day.

Overview

Spice Islands & Raja Ampat

Combining scenery of outstanding natural beauty, diverse wildlife and storied histories, our Raja Ampat and Spice Islands expedition is a unique journey of discovery and adventure like no other. Embark Coral Adventurer in Darwin, at the commencement of our 11-night voyage to Biak, West Papua. Become one of the very first to have experienced these rarely-visited islands, where villagers have remained shielded from the outside world and communities are only now emerging into the 21st century.
The centrepiece of our expedition is a five day exploration through the nature lover’s paradise that is Raja Ampat. Harbouring over 75% of the world’s total coral and fish species, Raja Ampat’s pristine and brightly coloured reef systems offer perhaps the very best snorkelling and diving in the world today. On Misool, one of the famed ‘Four Kings’ of Raja Ampat, you will have the opportunity to snorkel through Tomorol Cave. While in Pulau Gam’s traditional Sawingrai village, you will join a local on a guided walk through the rainforest in search of the iconic Red Bird of Paradise.
Over many centuries great European explorers claimed new continents in their quest to discover the Spice Islands, and aboard Coral Adventurer we’ll retrace their footsteps as we approach the island of Banda Neira, guided by the plume of smoke emerging over the horizon from the island’s active Gunung Api volcano. The most treasured and valued commodities of their time, the world’s entire supply of nutmeg and mace was grown in the Spice Islands between the 12th and 15th centuries, and even today a stroll through Banda’s local spice markets offers a melting pot of aromas, colourful spices and vibrant characters. In Cenderawasih Bay, a protected Marine Park home to one of the world’s largest schools of Whale Shark, we’ll seek out these amazing fish, some measuring up to 12 metres in length.
Cruising aboard Coral Adventurer, in the company of an experienced expedition team and all-Australian staff, you are sure to make the most of every minute discovering the very best that nature has to offer on this remarkable journey through Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Highlights

Be welcomed to Banda Neira by the famous Kora Kora canoes gliding over the water • Explore Fort Belgica, a Dutch outpost built in 1611 • Snorkel and dive amongst the excellent coral garden at Wagmab Island • Discover Wayag’s ‘gumdrop’ islands and be rewarded by the view from Pindito Peak • Swim with the unforgettable Whale Sharks at Cenderawasih Bay • Experience the local culture of the West Papuan people

<close>

Ship information
Coral Adventurer
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship
Length: 93.4 meters
Passenger Capacity: 120 (60 staterooms)
Built: 2017
Our brand new ship is built to take you closer to unspoilt vistas in comfort, style and safety. A culmination of two years of design and three decades of passion for expedition cruising – Coral Expeditions is proud to invite you to experience the Coral Adventurer.
Bigger is not better
At a time when cruise ships get larger and glitzier, we remain stubbornly compact and intimate. Our ships are designed to take you to unspoilt destinations not accessible to large ships.  We want you to have the luxury of space, dine with whom you please, or find your quiet corner on deck.  So we have limited the Coral Adventurer to 60 spacious cabins.  This preserves the intimate atmosphere we are known for without sacrificing the stability and comfort of a true ocean going vessel.
Built for discovery
The Coral Adventurer features our trademark dual ‘Xplorer’ tenders cradled on a hydraulic platform slung off the back of the ship, enabling our guests to go ashore in comfort and ease.  The shallow draft of the ship enables us to go closer to shore than larger ships. Together with our renowned expedition team, our new ship will offer the most advanced expedition capabilities of any small ship afloat.
Built for comfort
With active stabilisers dampening sea motion, mostly balcony cabins, and interiors designed with the colours and textures of tropical Queensland, the Coral Adventurer is a comfortable ship.  She features promenade decks, generous communal areas that accommodate all guests, a passenger elevator, and an open kitchen where you can observe our chefs whip up small batch cuisine from locally sourced ingredients.
Built for personal service
The Coral Adventurer will continue our proud tradition of Australian flagged vessels with friendly and professional Australian crew.  Our onboard atmosphere remains refreshingly informal and intimate.  Take your seat at our bridge lounge, chat with the captain at your leisure or accompany our chefs on a market tour.
Food and wine features
Single seating dining area with communal ‘wine table’ finished with Australian stone; serving buffet breakfast and lunch, and multi-course table d’hote dinners • Showcase galley visible to guests for fresh small-batch cuisine featuring Australian produce • Multiple indoor and outdoor bars, including our Explorer bar on the sundeck for sunset drinks with 180 degree views • Curated wine cellar featuring modestly priced boutique wines for daily drinking and exceptional vintage Australian reds.
Guest comfort
All outside guest cabins with en-suite bathrooms; majority have private balcony • Active stabilisers to dampen sea motion • Gym equipped with elliptical trainers and treadmills • Passenger elevator • Wi-Fi available in all guest areas

Contact
Booking