Wild Earth Travel Wild Earth Travel is more a travel organization rather than a cruise company. Wild Earth Travel is founded by expedition leaders who followed their hearts and have a worldwide network of various cruise companies. These specialists have been following their passion for more than 30 years, creating the most beautiful expeditions in the furthest corners of the world. They know from first hand and foremost what itineraries are worth to visit. Apart from interesting destinations, they know where the routes and colonies are located of many animal species. Their experience gives them a unique position within the world of small-scale cruises and especially those of expeditions. These cruises are recommended for adventure travellers who are interested in nature and related cultures. Do you like a cruise on a small ship, where you can expect a lot of personal attention? This is the right place where you can find a cruise that suits you best! With Wild Earth Travel you can visit the wild habitat with its special species, all over the world. The highly selected partners of Wild Earth Travel with their professional crew and their local expertise offer you an enormous range of choices. And all expeditions are done under the guidance of experienced guides and specialists. You can choose from small sailing boats and catamarans up to various sorts of motor yachts. They have quite a range of expedition ships and small luxury ships up to imposing icebreakers. All equipped with comfortable and often luxury accommodations, intimacy, and comfort guaranteed. With Wild Earth Travel adventure and experience seem infinite. Go for it! Through the years a huge supply of expedition and small cruise ships has been formed. The ships vary in size from 2 up to 300 passengers. No long rows for the buffets or excursions. Just have a good old-fashioned exploration of a destination with a small group of interested travellers. Most of the ships have all kinds of amenities to guarantee you a pleasant stay. Small ships, which are designed to reach special and remote places, will guarantee you an amazing experience! Wild Earth Travel provides you with a cruise or expedition not only to enjoy but also to see and experience. In addition to all the relaxation, your trip is also worth learning!

Small Ships, Big Adventures

Cruise Type
Ship
Date
Days
Destination
Information
Luxury Expedition
Hebridean Sky
13.10.2021
23.10.2021
10
Africa, Passage to Cape Verde
Fare from € 5.750
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Travelroute
Day 1

London to Casablanca, Morocco

Fly by scheduled indirect flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Hebridean Sky and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.

Day 2

Safi

This morning we will depart the port of Safi and head along the coast to Essaouira. Founded in the 18th century, Essaouira was built to be a rival city to Agadir. Formerly known as Mogador, meaning small fortress, it was designed as a fortified town surrounded by Vauban-style ramparts and played a major role as an international trading seaport, linking Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa with Europe and the rest of the world. On our full day tour, we will see the amazing mixture of Portuguese and Berber architecture, the 16th century sea bastions built to protect the city, the 18th century Medina and in the Mellah we will find the souks dedicated to gold, spices and fish. We enjoy a seafood lunch near the beach before returning to the MS Hebridean Sky.

Day 3

Agadir

This morning we arrive in southern Morocco in the vast bay of Agadir. A morning tour will include time at the Kasbah, built to defend the Atlantic shoreline and offering wonderful views over the coast, and the Talborjit Mosque. After some time in the souk we will drive through the fertile Souss valley to the gold, pink and orange tinted imperial city of Taroudant, a past capital of the Saadian dynasty. Explore the medina with its souks, see the red ramparts and end with a visit to the Assarag and Tamaklotte Squares. After a local lunch we return to the ship and sail this evening.

Day 4

At Sea

Spend the day at sea, maybe join a lecture or find a spot on deck to relax.

Day 5

El Marsa for Laayoune

From the port of El Marsa drive across the sand dunes to the city of Laayoune. There are not many travellers who can boast of a visit this far south in Morocco. Mostly consisting of flat desert, it is one of the least populated regions in the world. It makes for a really interesting morning as we take in the unique Spanish-Saharan architecture in the old town, visit the Roman Catholic church, the Moulay Abdelaziz Mosque and see the food and artisan markets. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at sea.

Day 6

Dakhla

Enjoy a morning at sea and arrive after lunch in Dakhla. The town occupies a long peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic and is well off the traditional tourist routes. We will drive along the lagoon, a paradise for migratory birds, before visiting a Sahraoui camp in the sand dunes. Here we will learn about the nomadic Sahraoui culture, partake in a tea ceremony and use the 4x4 vehicles to see the stunning views from the top of the dunes. Return to the ship and sail this evening.

Day 7

At Sea

Enjoy a relaxing day spent at sea as we cruise to the Cape Verde Islands.

Day 8

Palmeira, Sal, Cape Verde

The island of Sal was relatively undeveloped until the mid-nineteenth century when the salt export business was established and this afternoon we will visit one of the original sites at Pedra de Lume. We will see the saltpans, learn of the salt extraction process and even have the chance to float in the waters. Alternatively transfer to the town of Santa Maria for a relaxing afternoon swimming from the beaches or exploring the local shops for Cape Verdean crafts.

Day 9

Tarrafal, Sao Nicolau

Sao Nicolau is a charming, peaceful and attractive island of plantations, small holdings and busy farming villages. It also has impressive, almost untouched mountain scenery, friendly residents and lively traditions. On our tour we will drive through a spectacular landscape towards the historical capital Ribeira Brava. Here we will discover the lively centre of the island which reflects the character of the people and learn why Ribeira Brava was the bedrock of Cape Verdean intellect in the 19th century. After lunch enjoy an afternoon at leisure.

Day 10

Porto Novo, Santo Antao & Mindelo, Sao Vicente

We have a full day on the most beautiful of the islands, Santo Antao. Driving up the old trading route we pass the volcanic crater ‘Cova’ with its agricultural plantations and enjoy panoramic views of the island before arriving in the tiny picturesque mountain village of Fontainhas, on the northern side of the island. After lunch in the seaside village of Ponta do Sol, we will take the coastal road towards the greenest valley in the archipelago, the valley of Paul. Here we will enjoy a coffee break whilst learning about the production of sugarcane on the island. We will also discover ‘Grogue’, the national drink of the islands and have a taste of it at the oldest traditional Grogue distillery of the island. Drive back along the coast to the southern side of the island and our waiting ship. This evening we will make the short hop over to Mindelo and after dinner we will be joined by local musicians and dancers for a spectacular farewell performance.

Day 11

Mindelo to London

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.

Overview

Passage to Cape Verde

Join us aboard the wonderfully comfortable MS Hebridean Sky for a journey that will take us from the port of Safi along the Moroccan coast visiting the magnificent cities of Essaouira and Agadir on the Atlantic shoreline. We then continue our voyage to two little visited places along the coast of North Africa, Laayoune and Dakhla. This region promises to be a most memorable experience and, for those who enjoy visiting out of the way places where tourists are a rarity, it is a unique opportunity.
Highlights
Reaching the Cape Verde archipelago, we will island hop between these remote islands and discover the saltpans of the island of Sal, bustling farming villages as well as spectacular mountain scenery and volcanic landscapes. It is a little world of its own, each island having a distinct culture and atmosphere and an ideal region for exploring by small ship • Our voyage will be particularly enjoyable as it includes some daytime sailing, allowing for time to relax on deck and attend the informative lectures by our knowledgeable Guest Speaker who, along with the excellent local guides will bring to life all we see

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Ship information

MS Hebridean Sky

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 91 meters
Passenger Capacity: 118
Crew Capacity: 70
Built / Refurbished: 1992 / 2016
The MS Hebridean Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island Sky and MS Caledonian Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world. Formerly known as the Sea Explorer, the vessel underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in Sweden in Spring 2016 before being re-launched as the MS Hebridean Sky.
Your Suite On board there are 59 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites. All feature a sitting area and fourteen suites have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht. The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views with suites on the Scott and Shackleton Decks featuring private balconies. Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring vanity unit with sink and walk-in rainfall shower, large wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a minifridge, flat screen television and a telephone in each suite. Refillable water bottles, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Additional facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries and individually controlled air-conditioning and heating. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be. The beds in each suite can be configured as twins or double with the exception of suite 601 and 602 which feature fixed double beds. The impressive Hebridean Suite, located on the Shackleton Deck consists of a separate bathroom and sitting room with extra large balcony stretching the length of the suite. Additional benefits of booking this marvellous suite include complimentary mini-bar stocked with your preferences and complimentary laundry.
Your Space The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Hebridean Sky include a large lounge on the Byrd Deck featuring a selection of seating options from individual armchairs and sofas to side cushioned benches. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in The Lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. In addition to the Lounge, there is also The Club, located on the Mawson Deck which features the main bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The Club also offers a 24-hour tea and coffee station. Towards the aft of the ship on the Mawson Deck is The Library which is well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a selection of essential reads. A collection of games and devices to access the internet via the ship’s satellite can also be found in the library. Access to the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi via your own device is complimentary on board (signal strength varies depending on location and demand). The Dining Room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Amundsen Deck and is a bright and charming setting to enjoy the delicious meals on board. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Scott Deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Whilst heaters and blankets make dining al fresco comfortable in cooler climates. Further to this, on the top Shackleton Deck there is an observation area which offers a fantastic platform for spotting wildlife complete with deck furniture, ideal for relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. You will also find a clinic and Doctor on board and a lift that serves all decks. Additionally there is a small hairdressers with appointments made on request.
Your Dining It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board our Sky vessels when you are cruising in far-flung corners of the globe, indeed it takes a team of highly talented chefs to deliver fresh, varied dishes no matter where you are at sea. Fortunately, our catering teams are well adapted to the world of small ship cruising where no two days are the same and the menus are often scheduled and tailored around the days’ excursions. With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine on board is of a consistent superior quality that befits such vessels. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Such purchases enhance the well-stocked larders and enable the chefs on board to exhibit their culinary skills and bring a local touch to the varied menus, emphasising the international expertise of the chefs on board. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapés take place every day in either the comfort of the Lounge or out on the Lido Deck when the weather is favourable. Tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day. Special diets can be catered for with sufficient notice. In keeping with the informal atmosphere on board, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like-minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals and there is also a comprehensive wine list with a wide selection of new and old world wines from which to choose. The onboard catering and restaurant staff are experienced at sea and enthuse a passion for superb service. Whether it be ensuring you have an outdoor blanket as you enjoy the crisp sea breeze on the Lido Deck or sharing their knowledge of the characteristics of the days’ wine selections, you will experience a service on board like no other. You may also enjoy sumptuous barbeques on deck whilst at times, the chef will make your dish to order at special pasta or stir fry stations.
For Your Comfort The MS Hebridean Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. During your voyage we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and Doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to a specific area on deck.
Contact
Booking
Small Ship Cruise
Serenissima
14.10.2021
22.10.2021
8
The Mediterranean, The Adriatic, Passage to Puglia & Beyond
Fare from € 4.050
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Travelroute
Day 1

London to Valletta, Malta

Fly by scheduled flight. Transfer to the MS Serenissima moored in Valletta and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner on board as we sail this evening.

Day 2

Syracuse & Noto, Italy

Syracuse was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC and by the 5th century was a political and military power throughout the Mediterranean and rivalled Athens as the largest and most beautiful city in the Greek world. On leaving the vessel we visit the Neapolis Archaeological Park where we find a well preserved Greek theatre with seats carved from limestone. Paradise Quarry, now an attractive garden and orange grove, was the primary source of that limestone and is the site of the curious ‘Dionysius’ Ear’, a vast grotto with an amplifying resonance. We will continue to explore the island of Ortigia where we find the Temple of Apollo, considered to be Sicily’s most ancient Doric temple and the Baroque Cathedral, erected over the remains of the Temple of Minerva. This afternoon you can choose to explore independently from our central berth or alternatively join a tour to the beautiful antique town of Noto. Built in 1703 we will see numerous 18th century palaces of incredible architectural value including the Duomo, the Museo Civico and the Convento dei Francescani.

Day 3

Crotone

After a morning at sea we arrive in Calabria and the port of Crotone which is on the site of the ancient Greek City of Kroton. Whilst little remains of the Greek city it was one of the most important settlements of Magna Graecia, where Pythagoras set up a school in 530 BC and whose athletes were very successful at the Olympic Games. We will take a scenic drive inland this afternoon to Santa Severina, one of Italy’s prettiest towns overlooking the Neto River valley. We will explore the majestic Carafa Castle which was built by the Normans in 1076 and is surrounded by strong, crenellated walls with a moat on three sides and contains intricate underground labyrinths and stables, with the remains of Medieval frescoes. Also see the cathedral, the beautiful Byzantine baptistery and wander the town’s tangled streets. As we return to the ship we will stop at one of the vineyards that produces famous Calabrian wine, Ciro, for a tasting accompanied by typical Calabrian food.

Day 4

Taranto

Today we arrive in Puglia for our morning tour which will take us into Basilicata as we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sassi di Matera (stones of Matera). Situated in the old town of Matera, the Sassi are prehistoric dwellings dug into the rock itself and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. The site comprises over 1000 buildings including houses, churches, shops, workshops and monasteries covering over 1000 hectares and we will learn more about the history of the town on a walking tour of the labyrinthine streets. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure in Taranto. You may want to see the 15th century Aragonese Castle, the 11th century cathedral or the remains of the Poseidon Temple. Afterwards maybe cross the bridge to the newer town and visit the excellent archeological museum.

Day 5

Otranto & Lecce

From the port of Otranto we will drive to Lecce, often referred to as ‘The Florence of the South’ with its amazing collection of Baroque architecture. A guided walk will include a visit to the beautifully decorated Santa Croce Basilica and Piazza Duomo, considered one of the finest and most impressive squares in southern Italy. We return to the ship for lunch and the afternoon is free to explore Otranto independently, maybe walk the winding streets or along the seaside promenade. The highlight is the wonderful cathedral with its Medieval mosaic floor created by the monk, Pantaleone, between 1163 and 1165. You can also see the Chapel of the Dead which shows the bones and skulls of 813 martyrs killed by the invading Turks in 1480.

Day 6

Monopoli

Today we drive into the Puglian countryside which is scattered with ‘trulli’, limestone dwellings built with dome or conical roofs. We will enjoy a pleasant walk in Alberobello, a fairy-tale trulli village and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and see the St Anthony Church also built in trullo style. Afterwards we visit ‘Cantina Albea’ and its wine museum, home to pictures and old instruments used in the past for the production of wine and where we will enjoy a tasting along with a talk on the wine production. Return to the ship for lunch and this afternoon is free to return to the old town to explore independently. You may want to wander through the historic centre, visit the cathedral or see the Castello di Carlo V.

Day 7

Kotor, Montenegro

Be on deck early this morning as we sail through the stunning fjord-like scenery into Kotor. On arrival at our berth, we will take a morning walking tour to explore this Medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This really is an extraordinary place full of marvellous architecture and pretty town squares. Our walk will include the 12th century Cathedral of St Tryphon, the ancient town gates, the Maritime Museum and Romanesque churches including St Luke’s. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy the afternoon to explore at your own pace. Those feeling active may wish to take the strenuous climb to the Castle of San Giovanni which offers wonderful views over the bay and town below.

Day 8

Split, Croatia

After a leisurely morning at sea we arrive in Split. This afternoon we will take a guided walk through the town including the Palace of Diocletian which was built by the emperor in 295-305 AD as his retirement villa. Much of this large building is well preserved and the palace contains Split’s Old Town within its walls, making it the only Roman palace that has been continuously inhabited since Roman times. It is a wonderful spot to wander the maze of streets. We remain moored overnight for anyone wishing to take an after dinner stroll.

Day 9

Split to London

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Overview

Passage to Puglia & Beyond

Here is the perfect voyage for those who love Italy, travelling in the company of a small group of like-minded travellers and sailing aboard a delightful small ship with a varied programme of interesting visits ashore. From the historic crossroads island of Malta and its lovely 16th century capital Valletta, we will sail to the wonderful Croatian port of Split, our itinerary taking us off the beaten track to many places that are beyond the reach of the mega-cruise ships. The centrepiece of our voyage is our four days spent sailing around the heel of Italy and discovering Puglia’s many gems. Based on its strategic location, the region was colonised, invaded and conquered for centuries with each dynasty leaving its mark. From prehistoric dwellings and traditional trulli abodes to splendid Baroque architecture and 15th century palazzos, we will explore the region with local guides. As we make our way along the Adriatic coast of Italy and across to Montenegro and Croatia we will call into cities and towns, learning of their intriguing history and witnessing some stunning architecture. A highlight for many will be our exploration of Kotor, Montenegro’s 14th century walled fortress town fronted by a sublime bay and surrounded by limestone cliffs, before arriving for an overnight mooring in the attractive Croatian city of Split, a fitting end to our voyage.

Highlights

Travelling with You – Ernest Rea
Ernest Rea is a celebrated British broadcaster who specialises on the history of religions and the way that faith impacts on the contemporary world. His regular national radio programme, Beyond Belief, was awarded the prestigious Sony Gold Award for the Best Speech Programme on British Radio.

He worked for the BBC for 22 years in a variety of production and editorial roles. From 1989 to 2001 he was Head of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC responsible for all religious television and radio programmes nationally and locally. During this period, he spent much time in the United States, brokering co-production television deals with leading American broadcasters. He was closely involved in a variety of key national events, including the Funeral Service for Diana, Princess of Wales.

He is in wide demand as a speaker at international inter faith conferences, literary festivals and academic symposia. In 1997 he was personally awarded the Gold Medal of the International Council of Christians and Jews for his contribution to Inter Faith Understanding. He has First Class Honours Degrees in Theology and in History and Politics which helped to fuel his passion for the study of world religions and the way in which they impact on the ancient and modern worlds.

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Ship information

Serenissima

Vessel Type: Small Ship
Length: 87 meters
Passenger Capacity: 95

Crew Capacity: 52
Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2019
We are delighted to have had the MS Serenissima on long term charter since 2013. There are so few ships of her generation still cruising and the fact that she is is a great testament to her owners who invest considerable sums to keep her in top form. In December 2018, the vessel once again undergone a significant refurbishment after which she nowadays accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.
MS Serenissima is a charming vessel and one of her best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During a major refit the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels.
The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible. The European Captain, Officers, Expedition Staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation.

Contact
Booking
Small Expedition Yacht
Coral Adventurer
18.10.2021
28.10.2021
10
Australia and NZ, Ancient Lands of the Kimberley
Fare from € 6.850
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

Depart Broome

Board your Coral Expeditions ship at 4.00pm where there is time to settle into your stateroom before our 5:00pm departure. Take the time to become acquainted with all the facilities onboard as we cruise northwards towards Cape Leveque.

As dusk falls meet your fellow travellers, the Captain and crew for the Captain’s Welcome Drinks.

Day 2

Lacepede Islands

The Lacepede Islands are a protected class-A nature reserve and are significant as a seabird nesting rookery for brown boobies and roseate terns. Other species often sighted at the Lacepedes include Australian Pelicans, frigate birds, egrets and gulls. The four low-lying islands are also an important breeding and nesting habitat for green turtles.

If weather and tide conditions are suitable, we will explore the lagoons by Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels.

Day 3

Horizontal Falls and Buccaneer Archipelago

he Horizontal Falls are one of the Kimberley’s biggest attractions and are a result of the mammoth 11m tides the Kimberley is renowned for. Naturalist David Attenborough described the Horizontal Falls as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.’

The Horizontal Falls are created as the ocean thunders through a narrow gorge in the McLarty Ranges. Water builds up on one side and is forcibly pushed through the bottleneck, creating a rushing horizontal waterfall of swiftly flowing seawater. Riding the rapids on our Zodiac inflatable tenders is one of the highlights of our Kimberley expedition cruises.

Talbot Bay is at the heart of the Buccaneer Archipelago, where rocks on the 800 or so islands are estimated at over 2 billion years old. At Cyclone Creek, you will see evidence of massive geological forces in the impressive rock formations and cruise through the Iron Islands, past Koolan Island, before enjoying sunset drinks at Nares Point.

Day 4

Doubtful Bay and Raft Point

Raft Point guards the entrance to Doubtful Bay, a vast body of sheltered water which harbours significant sites such as the ancient Wandjina rock art galleries, considered some of the finest in the Kimberley. If a Traditional Owner guide is available to accompany us, we will be able to visit the galleries.

Doubtful Bay is the traditional country of the Worrora people who follow the Wandjina, their god, law-maker and creator. Images of Wandjina are found throughout the Kimberley, recording their stories, knowledge and culture in stone.

Other sites we aim to visit in Doubtful Bay include the mighty Sale River, Steep Island and Ruby Falls at Red Cone Creek.

Day 5

Montgomery Reef

Montgomery Reef is a biologically diverse area covering over 400sq km and was named by Phillip Parker King. Twice daily, as the sea recedes in mammoth 11m tides, Montgomery Reef rises from the Indian Ocean in a cascade of rushing water revealing a flat-topped reef pockmarked with rockpools and rivulets.

As the reef emerges, we get up close in our Xplorer and Zodiac inflatable tenders to witness the spectacle as our Expedition Team share their knowledge on the formation of the reef and the myriad wildlife. Opportunistic birds take advantage of the emerging reef, feeding on marine life left exposed in rock pools. Turtles and dolphins too are also attracted to feeding opportunities as the ocean recedes.

The ocean is awash in a swirl of eddies and whirlpools as the moon’s gravitational force takes hold. Then, a few hours later the entire water-borne drama is reversed as the tide comes in and Montgomery Reef disappears below sea level.

Day 6

Prince Regent River and Careening Bay

King Cascade is a classically beautiful terraced waterfall and is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Kimberley. Falling from a considerable height and around 50m across, water tumbles down a staggered terrace of Kimberley sandstone. Layer upon layer of the ochre-hued and blackened rock sprouts grasses, mosses and ferns in a sort of lushly vegetated hanging garden.

We reach King Cascade after cruising in our Xplorer tender vessels down the Prince Regent River which is a remarkable anomaly as the river runs dead straight along a fault line.

Lt. Phillip Parker King named nearby Careening Bay after he beached his leaking vessel HMC Mermaid to effect repairs. While stranded on this remote coastline for 17 days the ship’s carpenter carved HMC Mermaid 1820 into the bottle-shaped trunk of a boab tree near the beach. 200 years later, the Mermaid Boab Tree has since split into two trunks and sports a mammoth girth of 12m. Significantly, the bulbous tree is listed on the National Register of Big Trees and the carpenter’s careful inscription now stands almost as tall as a person.

Day 7

Prince Frederick Harbour and Biggie Island

Prince Frederick Harbour is one of the Kimberley’s most spectacular locations at the southern end of York Sound. The harbour is dotted with islands lined with mangroves and monsoon rainforests, set against a backdrop of ochre-hued escarpment.

White-bellied sea eagles and other birds of prey are often seen here, and at low tide, expansive mudflats reveal large populations of mudskippers and mangrove crabs. We will take our Xplorer tender vessels on a cruise up Porosus Creek to view some striking rock formations.

Day 8

Mitchell Falls, Winyalkan & Swift Bay

Tumbling down the Mitchell Plateau in a series of tiered waterfalls and emerald green rock pools, the Mitchell Falls are the photogenic poster child for the Mitchell River National Park. Take a scenic heli flight (additional cost) to multi-tiered Mitchell Falls where emerald-hued rock pools cascade down the escarpment.

Mitchell River National Park is inhabited by significant numbers of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and bird species which are lured by a year-round water source. Sandstone terraces beside tiered rock pools make a terrific viewing platform from which to savour the serenity of this ancient landscape.

An alternative option to Mitchell Falls is exploring the sandstone caves of Hathway’s Hideaway. This mass of weathered tunnels, arches and columns form a labyrinth-like maze and was once an Aboriginal midden. Another option while anchored at Winyalkan Bay is a visit to a series Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock art galleries at Swift Bay.

In the evening we will enjoy watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean while indulging in a gourmet BBQ.

Day 9

Vansittart Bay

Vansittart Bay is home to many cultural and historically significant sites like the remarkable Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Aboriginal rock art galleries estimated to be up to 20,000 years old. Jar Island is so-named after the pot shards found here, brought to the island by Macassan fisherman harvesting sea cucumbers (also known as trepang).

Nearby, on the Anjo Peninsula lays the well-preserved wreckage of a US Airforce C-53 Skytrooper aircraft, the result of a pilot losing his bearings flying from Perth to Broome in 1942 and putting down on a salt pan near present-day Truscott Airbase.

Day 10

King George River and Falls

Fed by the King George River draining across the Gardner Plateau, 80m tall King George Falls are the most impressive Kimberley waterfalls and the highest twin falls in Western Australia. Before reaching the mist-like spray rising from the base of King George Falls, we cruise through steep-sided gorges carved by a flooded river system that carved a swathe through the Kimberley landscape 400 million years ago.

Early in the waterfall season, we may cruise around the base of impressive King George Falls while in later months we take the opportunity to view the honeycomb erosion patterns of sandstone cliffs up close.

As our incredible Kimberley adventure draws to a close, on our last evening aboard we enjoy the Captain’s farewell drinks amongst new-found friends.

Day 11

Arrive in Darwin

Our incredible adventure along the Kimberley Coast concludes in Darwin this morning at 8:30am. Bid farewell to new-found friends and the Captain and crew. Post cruise transfers to CBD hotels or the airport are included.

If you’re not transferring directly to the airport why not spend the day enjoying the tropical city of Darwin with its landscaped waterfront and harbourside Wave Pool.

Overview

Ancient Lands of the Kimberley

Perfected over three decades, our 10-night Kimberley cruise takes you on an unforgettable journey from Broome to Darwin. Expert guides interpret 40,000-year-old rock art and retrace the history of Phillip Parker King who first charted this spectacular coastline 200 years ago. Later in the season, witness Humpback Whales on their migration north to breeding grounds along the Kimberley coast.

Board a Zodiac and touch the spray from the magnificent King George River and its towering 80-metre twin falls. Join an expert guide to learn about the history of the ancient Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock paintings. Witness waterfalls cascading off Montgomery Reef as it rises out of the ocean on the ebbing tide, whilst discovering the reef’s diverse marine life.

Highlights

Experience the thrill of riding the tidal rapids through Horizontal Falls aboard a Zodiac • Marvel at King George River and get in close to the soaring 80m high King George Falls • Visit Indigenous rock art galleries and learn about ancient Wandjina and Gwion Gwion art • Spot crocodiles, tawny nurse sharks, sea turtles, humpback whales, and rock wallabies • Get up close to Montgomery Reef as it emerges from the sea and discover the tidal reef’s diverse marine life • Visit the Important Bird Area of the Lacepede Islands, and spot numerous bird species throughout your voyage, including Eastern Ospreys and White-breasted Sea Eagles • Follow in the wake of Phillip Parker King on a cruise up the Prince Regent River to King Cascade waterfall • View the Kimberley landscape from the air on an optional scenic helicopter flight to Mitchell Falls (additional cost) • Enjoy sunset canapes and drinks on the beach as dusk settles over the Kimberley

<close>

Ship information
Coral Adventurer
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship
Length: 93.4 meters
Passenger Capacity: 120
Crew Capacity: 42
Built: 2019
Designed and built to be the most modern tropical expedition ship afloat, Coral Adventurer debuted in April 2019. She features comfortable Australian interiors, Xplorer tender mechanism, intimate guest experience, and personalized service.
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 Staterooms and Suites.  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-facing Staterooms and Suites 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 Small Ship Cruise
Silver Origin
23.10.2021
30.10.2021
7
Latin America, Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise
Fare from € 9,000
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

San Cristobal and Kicker Rock

Like so many of the islands in the Galápagos, San Cristobal is formed by dormant volcanoes. It lies to the east of the archipelago and is one of the oldest islands in the group. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island, making their living from tourism, fishing, in government offices, or off the rich volcanic soils with some limited farming existing in the highlands. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the island is the capital city of the Galápagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbor, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s.
Kicker Rock is the vertical remnant of a former tuff cone less than 5 kilometers to the west of San Cristobal. Both its Spanish name “Leon Dormido” (Sleeping Lion) and English name Kicker Rock imply that it is one rock only -when in fact it is a larger one 300 meters long by 100 meters wide with a maximum height of approximately 150 meters and next to it an obelisk-like rock separated by a narrow channel some 20 meters deep. When approaching Kicker Rock, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and frigatebirds can be observed in the air, while sea lions can be seen along the shore. Snorkelers and divers have reported manta rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. The Spanish name implies that the geological formation seen from the south resembles a sleeping lion. An interesting explanation for the English name suggests that James Colnett in 1794 likened it to famous landmarks in Portsmouth.

Day 2

Isla Bartolome and Buccaneer Cove, Santiago

Our ship anchors in sight of the volcanic moonscape of Isla Bartolomé, at Sullivan Bay. Zodiacs bring guests ashore to ascend a boardwalk of 388 steps. Passing through the arid volcanic landscape provides a chance to watch for lava lizards, Galapagos Hawks, and Blue-footed Boobies. However, the climber’s ultimate reward is one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the Galapagos Islands – the view towards Pinnacle Rock with black, volcanic cones of Baltra, Daphne Major and Daphne Minor in the distance. On the way down watch how the sunlight catches the green of pioneering plant species in stark contrast against dark volcanic rock, and look forward to time swimming and snorkeling from the golden beach at Bahia Dorada.

Day 3

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) and Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)

Punta Vicente Roca is one of the marine sites Isabela Island has to offer. On the southern side of Ecuador Volcano, the tip of land on the western end of Isabela is named after Vicente Ramon Roca, President of Ecuador from 1845-49, who as Prefect of Guayas had proposed the Ecuadorian annexation of the Galapagos Islands in 1831. The geological formations, the underwater caves and lava tubes offer fascinating views of the coastline. The South Equatorial Countercurrent hits this part of the archipelago from the west and the water offers abundant food sources for different marine life and seabirds. It is normal to see Pacific green turtles, but sharks, rays, whales and dolphins can also be expected, apart from a small colony of fur seals. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies and other seabirds nest in the cliffs and both the endemic Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants have established small colonies nearby. Marine iguanas also like this area because of the rich variety of seaweeds growing underwater along the western coast of Isabela. As a marine site, deepwater snorkeling is also possible at Punta Vicente Roca.
With the gentle slopes of La Cumbre volcano in the distance, the low, lava-forged coast of Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a spectacular sight. Hundreds of marine iguanas rest on the black rock of recent lava flows absorbing heat from the stone and defending their territories against one another. Galapagos sea lions and their pups also take shelter here, resting on the beach and playing in the shallow tide pools sprinkled along the coast. Walk past high sandy areas where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along low, shallow mangrove ponds ringed with bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and Flightless Cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sunshine.

Day 4

Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay

Tagus Cove is bordered by a steep rocky coastline and has for centuries offered shelter for ships and yachts. The cove is named after the British frigate HMS Tagus visiting the Galapagos in 1814. Already by the 1830s other ships had their visits recorded by painting or scratching their name onto the rocks. On approach Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants –both birds mainly found on Isabela’s west coast and neighboring Fernandina- are often seen. From the landing a trail through an incense tree forest leads past Darwin Lake to a viewpoint on top of a splatter cone. During the hike several land birds including Medium Ground-Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Yellow Warblers as well as Large-billed and Vermilion Flycatchers are often present. Brown Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies prefer the rocks along the shore.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the marine sites on Isabela’s west coast. South of Alcedo Volcano and north of Sierra Negra, Elizabeth Bay is found at Isabela’s narrowest east-west extension where the lava flows of these two volcanoes have connected each other. Elizabeth Bay’s shores show mangroves and specifically the easternmost part, a cove which can only be entered via a narrow channel, has red, white and black mangroves. Different animals prefer different parts of Elizabeth Bay. Las Marielas, three rocks at the entrance to the bay, are favored by Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins as a resting place, while the mangrove area is preferred by Great Blue Herons for hunting or the Magnificent Frigatebirds for perching. The bay is used by turtles, rays and even sharks for feeding or resting. The shallow water and the root system of the mangroves in the small inlet allow smaller fish to hide from bigger predators.

Day 5

Post Office Bay (Floreana), Champion Islet, Floreana and Punta Cormorant (Floreana)

Floreana’s Post Office Bay has received its name as the site was used to leave mail for retrieval by others who were thought to stop at the Galapagos Islands or might be heading for the addressee’s direction. First mentioned by Porter in 1813 as “Hathaway’s Postoffice”, HMS Beagle’s captain FitzRoy stated that it was not in use in 1835 as the island was already settled at that time. Floreana had been the first island to be settled by Ecuadorians in 1832. Today a barrel instead of the original box is used by visitors who leave their own postcards and retrieve mail for hand-delivery. Apart from the beach and mail barrel the bay offers good swimming and snorkeling. The area holds remains of a failed Norwegian fish canning plant and settlement dating back to the 1920s. A lava tube in the vicinity can also be explored. Although Floreana is inhabited, the number of residents is reduced because of the difficult access to water. A track from Post Office Bay connects with the only road from Puerto Velazco Ibarra on the west coast to a spring in the highlands.
Champion Islet is a small islet some 700 meters off the northeast coast of Floreana. It is one of four marine sites surrounding Floreana and offers excellent deepwater snorkeling opportunities. Curious sea lions approach the snorkelers while turtles slowly swim by and sharks, sting rays, and a high diversity of colorful fishes can usually be seen. During a Zodiac cruise around Champion Islet not only seabirds such as Nazca Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, or Red-billed Tropicbirds will be seen, it is also possible to spot the rare Floreana Mockingbird.
Floreana Island’s northernmost point is called Punta Cormorant – named after the British naval vessel HMS Cormorant and dating back to the late 19th century. From the landing beach a short track leads to a shallow lagoon that is famous for its flamingos. The brilliantly pink birds skim the salty waters for shrimp and tend to chicks on the nest. The trail then scales a low hillside through scattered Palo Santo trees to reveal an idyllic white-sand beach on the other side of the point. Standing at the edge of the lapping waves, you might spot mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves out of the sea to lay eggs in the sugar sand dunes that lay high above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, Yellow Warblers, and Medium and Small Ground Finches.

Day 6

Santa Cruz Highlands and Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Puerto Ayora

Los Gemelos (The Twins) is a visitor site in the Santa Cruz highlands. Found some 15 kilometers northwest of Puerto Ayora, the road leading from Puerto Ayora in the south of Santa Cruz to Itabaca in the north dissects the twin pit craters. Pit craters are formed when the roof of an underground void collapses. The smaller pit crater is on the eastern side of the road, while the larger one is on the western side. See from above, the two openings in the ground are not at all identical. Their layout might imply an elongated magma chamber or a lava tube leading further west and the larger twin actually having formerly been two small pit craters whose connecting wall collapsed as well. Trails through a Scalesia forest not only give access to good views of the pit craters, but also permit to observe some of the smaller land birds. Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Doves, Medium Ground Finches and several other finch species can often be seen there.
Silver Origin will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the centre’s captive breeding and reintroduction programs. In addition to these star species, throughout the station there are huge prickly pear cactus trees being fed upon by the pretty Galapagos Cactus Finch. To round out the stay in Puerto Ayora, enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafés.

Day 7

Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz), Isla Guy Fawkes and Bahía Borrero, Santa Cruz

Cerro Dragón’s land iguanas once played an important part in a conservation program headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When the reptiles’ numbers declined in the 1970s, some animals were taken to breed in captivity and were released back into undeveloped areas. Today, it is an honor to see the success of this program firsthand at Cerro Dragón. Walk inland on a trail past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos, to see the reintroduced animals. In a periodic local phenomenon, during rainier times the salinity in the lagoons drops with the inflow of freshwater. As a consequence crustacean populations decline, which in turn means the shorebirds become scarce.
In the northern area of Santa Cruz Island, Bahía Borrero is a beautiful white coralline beach used as a nesting site by Green Sea turtles. Behind the dunes, we have a forest of typical vegetation from the arid zone: Palo Santo, Leather leaf, and Salty bushes. This vegetation welcomes Yellow Warblers, and some of the most characteristic species of Darwin Finches, such as the Common Cactus Finch or the Small Ground Finch. This extinct volcano, due to its altitude, shows all the different zones of vegetation, changing from the littoral to the arid, and then with more moisture into the humid zone, to end in the dry pampa zone. It is an impressive landscape to enjoy while you swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or have a nice relaxing walk along the beach.

Day 8

Baltra

Disembarkation.
Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour, is truly the entrance to the Galapagos Islands. Despite not being considered as part of the National Park proper, Baltra definitely offers a taste of the weird and wonderful nature that thrives on the islands. The island is located in the central part of the archipelago. At just eight sq. mi it is one of smallest islands, yet its flat, volcanic rock surface and central location in the archipelago makes it an ideal place for one of the islands’ two airports. The airport was built by the US Air Force, who used it as an army base during WWII. As a travel destination in itself it offers few attractions, and all travellers who come here are just passing through, either on either way to or from the islands. There is no tourism infrastructure (save a few agencies that offer tours of the islands) or shops on Baltra and any purchases that you might wish to make should be done at the airport if they can. However, land iguanas and Galapagos finches are popular sights, and the iguanas are often seen running across the runway itself. As you cross the Itabaca Channel to or from Santa Cruz, be on the lookout for some other Galapagian locals: giant turtles and playful sea lions completely oblivious to the humans around.

Ship information

Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise

Including return flights between Ecuador and Galápagos.

The weird and wonderful Galápagos Islands are definitely contenders for the world best travel destination. These are the islands where the animals look at humans curiously, rather than the other way around! Inspiring and educational, each island has its own species and strengths, ranging from miles of dramatic coastline to nesting colonies of endemic birds. The islands may be small, but be prepared for some big surprises! Ticking off all 15 species of the Galapagos Big 15, this seven day voyage is perfect for curious cruisers! From marine iguanas to Galapagos Hawks, to the iconic blue-footed boobie, no other place on Earth can compare to the Galapagos’ fusion of flora and fauna. Join us to explore the volcanic landscapes that time forgot, discover unique wildlife both above and below the sea, drinking in the drama and depth of natural history along the way.
Highlights

Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team • Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team • Isla Bartolomé & Santiago Island • Fernandina Island, Isabela Island and more • Amazing Wildlife & Snorkelling

<close>

Ship information

Silver Origin

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 101 metres
Passenger Capacity: 100
Crew: 90
Built: 2020

The first destination specific ship built by Silversea, Silver Origin is the height of experiential travel in the Galápagos. Never before have the islands been so superbly presented: a team of Ecuadorian national expert guides, the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the Galápagos, 8 Zodiacs, seamless hybrid spaces that offer an extraordinary voyage – for extraordinary people. All-suite accommodation, Horizon Balconies, butler service, sophisticated interiors, interactive basecamp, Ecuadorian inspired cuisine … no aspect of Silver Origin has been left to chance. The most environmentally conscious ship we have ever built, take a vertical leap and transform your idea of travel with Silver Origin.

Contact
Booking
Luxury Small Ship Cruise
Silver Origin
06.11.2021
13.11.2021
7
Latin America, Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise
Fare from € 9,000
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

San Cristobal and Kicker Rock

Like so many of the islands in the Galápagos, San Cristobal is formed by dormant volcanoes. It lies to the east of the archipelago and is one of the oldest islands in the group. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island, making their living from tourism, fishing, in government offices, or off the rich volcanic soils with some limited farming existing in the highlands. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the island is the capital city of the Galápagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbor, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s.
Kicker Rock is the vertical remnant of a former tuff cone less than 5 kilometers to the west of San Cristobal. Both its Spanish name “Leon Dormido” (Sleeping Lion) and English name Kicker Rock imply that it is one rock only -when in fact it is a larger one 300 meters long by 100 meters wide with a maximum height of approximately 150 meters and next to it an obelisk-like rock separated by a narrow channel some 20 meters deep. When approaching Kicker Rock, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and frigatebirds can be observed in the air, while sea lions can be seen along the shore. Snorkelers and divers have reported manta rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. The Spanish name implies that the geological formation seen from the south resembles a sleeping lion. An interesting explanation for the English name suggests that James Colnett in 1794 likened it to famous landmarks in Portsmouth.

Day 2

Isla Bartolome and Buccaneer Cove, Santiago

Our ship anchors in sight of the volcanic moonscape of Isla Bartolomé, at Sullivan Bay. Zodiacs bring guests ashore to ascend a boardwalk of 388 steps. Passing through the arid volcanic landscape provides a chance to watch for lava lizards, Galapagos Hawks, and Blue-footed Boobies. However, the climber’s ultimate reward is one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the Galapagos Islands – the view towards Pinnacle Rock with black, volcanic cones of Baltra, Daphne Major and Daphne Minor in the distance. On the way down watch how the sunlight catches the green of pioneering plant species in stark contrast against dark volcanic rock, and look forward to time swimming and snorkeling from the golden beach at Bahia Dorada.

Day 3

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) and Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)

Punta Vicente Roca is one of the marine sites Isabela Island has to offer. On the southern side of Ecuador Volcano, the tip of land on the western end of Isabela is named after Vicente Ramon Roca, President of Ecuador from 1845-49, who as Prefect of Guayas had proposed the Ecuadorian annexation of the Galapagos Islands in 1831. The geological formations, the underwater caves and lava tubes offer fascinating views of the coastline. The South Equatorial Countercurrent hits this part of the archipelago from the west and the water offers abundant food sources for different marine life and seabirds. It is normal to see Pacific green turtles, but sharks, rays, whales and dolphins can also be expected, apart from a small colony of fur seals. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies and other seabirds nest in the cliffs and both the endemic Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants have established small colonies nearby. Marine iguanas also like this area because of the rich variety of seaweeds growing underwater along the western coast of Isabela. As a marine site, deepwater snorkeling is also possible at Punta Vicente Roca.
With the gentle slopes of La Cumbre volcano in the distance, the low, lava-forged coast of Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a spectacular sight. Hundreds of marine iguanas rest on the black rock of recent lava flows absorbing heat from the stone and defending their territories against one another. Galapagos sea lions and their pups also take shelter here, resting on the beach and playing in the shallow tide pools sprinkled along the coast. Walk past high sandy areas where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along low, shallow mangrove ponds ringed with bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and Flightless Cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sunshine.

Day 4

Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay

Tagus Cove is bordered by a steep rocky coastline and has for centuries offered shelter for ships and yachts. The cove is named after the British frigate HMS Tagus visiting the Galapagos in 1814. Already by the 1830s other ships had their visits recorded by painting or scratching their name onto the rocks. On approach Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants –both birds mainly found on Isabela’s west coast and neighboring Fernandina- are often seen. From the landing a trail through an incense tree forest leads past Darwin Lake to a viewpoint on top of a splatter cone. During the hike several land birds including Medium Ground-Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Yellow Warblers as well as Large-billed and Vermilion Flycatchers are often present. Brown Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies prefer the rocks along the shore.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the marine sites on Isabela’s west coast. South of Alcedo Volcano and north of Sierra Negra, Elizabeth Bay is found at Isabela’s narrowest east-west extension where the lava flows of these two volcanoes have connected each other. Elizabeth Bay’s shores show mangroves and specifically the easternmost part, a cove which can only be entered via a narrow channel, has red, white and black mangroves. Different animals prefer different parts of Elizabeth Bay. Las Marielas, three rocks at the entrance to the bay, are favored by Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins as a resting place, while the mangrove area is preferred by Great Blue Herons for hunting or the Magnificent Frigatebirds for perching. The bay is used by turtles, rays and even sharks for feeding or resting. The shallow water and the root system of the mangroves in the small inlet allow smaller fish to hide from bigger predators.

Day 5

Post Office Bay (Floreana), Champion Islet, Floreana and Punta Cormorant (Floreana)

Floreana’s Post Office Bay has received its name as the site was used to leave mail for retrieval by others who were thought to stop at the Galapagos Islands or might be heading for the addressee’s direction. First mentioned by Porter in 1813 as “Hathaway’s Postoffice”, HMS Beagle’s captain FitzRoy stated that it was not in use in 1835 as the island was already settled at that time. Floreana had been the first island to be settled by Ecuadorians in 1832. Today a barrel instead of the original box is used by visitors who leave their own postcards and retrieve mail for hand-delivery. Apart from the beach and mail barrel the bay offers good swimming and snorkeling. The area holds remains of a failed Norwegian fish canning plant and settlement dating back to the 1920s. A lava tube in the vicinity can also be explored. Although Floreana is inhabited, the number of residents is reduced because of the difficult access to water. A track from Post Office Bay connects with the only road from Puerto Velazco Ibarra on the west coast to a spring in the highlands.
Champion Islet is a small islet some 700 meters off the northeast coast of Floreana. It is one of four marine sites surrounding Floreana and offers excellent deepwater snorkeling opportunities. Curious sea lions approach the snorkelers while turtles slowly swim by and sharks, sting rays, and a high diversity of colorful fishes can usually be seen. During a Zodiac cruise around Champion Islet not only seabirds such as Nazca Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, or Red-billed Tropicbirds will be seen, it is also possible to spot the rare Floreana Mockingbird.
Floreana Island’s northernmost point is called Punta Cormorant – named after the British naval vessel HMS Cormorant and dating back to the late 19th century. From the landing beach a short track leads to a shallow lagoon that is famous for its flamingos. The brilliantly pink birds skim the salty waters for shrimp and tend to chicks on the nest. The trail then scales a low hillside through scattered Palo Santo trees to reveal an idyllic white-sand beach on the other side of the point. Standing at the edge of the lapping waves, you might spot mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves out of the sea to lay eggs in the sugar sand dunes that lay high above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, Yellow Warblers, and Medium and Small Ground Finches.

Day 6

Santa Cruz Highlands and Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Puerto Ayora

Los Gemelos (The Twins) is a visitor site in the Santa Cruz highlands. Found some 15 kilometers northwest of Puerto Ayora, the road leading from Puerto Ayora in the south of Santa Cruz to Itabaca in the north dissects the twin pit craters. Pit craters are formed when the roof of an underground void collapses. The smaller pit crater is on the eastern side of the road, while the larger one is on the western side. See from above, the two openings in the ground are not at all identical. Their layout might imply an elongated magma chamber or a lava tube leading further west and the larger twin actually having formerly been two small pit craters whose connecting wall collapsed as well. Trails through a Scalesia forest not only give access to good views of the pit craters, but also permit to observe some of the smaller land birds. Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Doves, Medium Ground Finches and several other finch species can often be seen there.
Silver Origin will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the centre’s captive breeding and reintroduction programs. In addition to these star species, throughout the station there are huge prickly pear cactus trees being fed upon by the pretty Galapagos Cactus Finch. To round out the stay in Puerto Ayora, enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafés.

Day 7

Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz), Isla Guy Fawkes and Bahía Borrero, Santa Cruz

Cerro Dragón’s land iguanas once played an important part in a conservation program headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When the reptiles’ numbers declined in the 1970s, some animals were taken to breed in captivity and were released back into undeveloped areas. Today, it is an honor to see the success of this program firsthand at Cerro Dragón. Walk inland on a trail past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos, to see the reintroduced animals. In a periodic local phenomenon, during rainier times the salinity in the lagoons drops with the inflow of freshwater. As a consequence crustacean populations decline, which in turn means the shorebirds become scarce.
In the northern area of Santa Cruz Island, Bahía Borrero is a beautiful white coralline beach used as a nesting site by Green Sea turtles. Behind the dunes, we have a forest of typical vegetation from the arid zone: Palo Santo, Leather leaf, and Salty bushes. This vegetation welcomes Yellow Warblers, and some of the most characteristic species of Darwin Finches, such as the Common Cactus Finch or the Small Ground Finch. This extinct volcano, due to its altitude, shows all the different zones of vegetation, changing from the littoral to the arid, and then with more moisture into the humid zone, to end in the dry pampa zone. It is an impressive landscape to enjoy while you swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or have a nice relaxing walk along the beach.

Day 8

Baltra

Disembarkation.
Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour, is truly the entrance to the Galapagos Islands. Despite not being considered as part of the National Park proper, Baltra definitely offers a taste of the weird and wonderful nature that thrives on the islands. The island is located in the central part of the archipelago. At just eight sq. mi it is one of smallest islands, yet its flat, volcanic rock surface and central location in the archipelago makes it an ideal place for one of the islands’ two airports. The airport was built by the US Air Force, who used it as an army base during WWII. As a travel destination in itself it offers few attractions, and all travellers who come here are just passing through, either on either way to or from the islands. There is no tourism infrastructure (save a few agencies that offer tours of the islands) or shops on Baltra and any purchases that you might wish to make should be done at the airport if they can. However, land iguanas and Galapagos finches are popular sights, and the iguanas are often seen running across the runway itself. As you cross the Itabaca Channel to or from Santa Cruz, be on the lookout for some other Galapagian locals: giant turtles and playful sea lions completely oblivious to the humans around.

Ship information

Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise

Including return flights between Ecuador and Galápagos.

The weird and wonderful Galápagos Islands are definitely contenders for the world best travel destination. These are the islands where the animals look at humans curiously, rather than the other way around! Inspiring and educational, each island has its own species and strengths, ranging from miles of dramatic coastline to nesting colonies of endemic birds. The islands may be small, but be prepared for some big surprises! Ticking off all 15 species of the Galapagos Big 15, this seven day voyage is perfect for curious cruisers! From marine iguanas to Galapagos Hawks, to the iconic blue-footed boobie, no other place on Earth can compare to the Galapagos’ fusion of flora and fauna. Join us to explore the volcanic landscapes that time forgot, discover unique wildlife both above and below the sea, drinking in the drama and depth of natural history along the way.
Highlights

Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team • Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team • Isla Bartolomé & Santiago Island • Fernandina Island, Isabela Island and more • Amazing Wildlife & Snorkelling

<close>

Ship information

Silver Origin

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 101 metres
Passenger Capacity: 100
Crew: 90
Built: 2020

The first destination specific ship built by Silversea, Silver Origin is the height of experiential travel in the Galápagos. Never before have the islands been so superbly presented: a team of Ecuadorian national expert guides, the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the Galápagos, 8 Zodiacs, seamless hybrid spaces that offer an extraordinary voyage – for extraordinary people. All-suite accommodation, Horizon Balconies, butler service, sophisticated interiors, interactive basecamp, Ecuadorian inspired cuisine … no aspect of Silver Origin has been left to chance. The most environmentally conscious ship we have ever built, take a vertical leap and transform your idea of travel with Silver Origin.

Contact
Booking
Luxury Small Ship Cruise
Silver Origin
20.11.2021
27.11.2021
7
Latin America, Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise
Fare from € 9,540
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

San Cristobal and Kicker Rock

Like so many of the islands in the Galápagos, San Cristobal is formed by dormant volcanoes. It lies to the east of the archipelago and is one of the oldest islands in the group. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island, making their living from tourism, fishing, in government offices, or off the rich volcanic soils with some limited farming existing in the highlands. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the island is the capital city of the Galápagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbor, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s.
Kicker Rock is the vertical remnant of a former tuff cone less than 5 kilometers to the west of San Cristobal. Both its Spanish name “Leon Dormido” (Sleeping Lion) and English name Kicker Rock imply that it is one rock only -when in fact it is a larger one 300 meters long by 100 meters wide with a maximum height of approximately 150 meters and next to it an obelisk-like rock separated by a narrow channel some 20 meters deep. When approaching Kicker Rock, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and frigatebirds can be observed in the air, while sea lions can be seen along the shore. Snorkelers and divers have reported manta rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. The Spanish name implies that the geological formation seen from the south resembles a sleeping lion. An interesting explanation for the English name suggests that James Colnett in 1794 likened it to famous landmarks in Portsmouth.

Day 2

Isla Bartolome and Buccaneer Cove, Santiago

Our ship anchors in sight of the volcanic moonscape of Isla Bartolomé, at Sullivan Bay. Zodiacs bring guests ashore to ascend a boardwalk of 388 steps. Passing through the arid volcanic landscape provides a chance to watch for lava lizards, Galapagos Hawks, and Blue-footed Boobies. However, the climber’s ultimate reward is one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the Galapagos Islands – the view towards Pinnacle Rock with black, volcanic cones of Baltra, Daphne Major and Daphne Minor in the distance. On the way down watch how the sunlight catches the green of pioneering plant species in stark contrast against dark volcanic rock, and look forward to time swimming and snorkeling from the golden beach at Bahia Dorada.

Day 3

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) and Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)

Punta Vicente Roca is one of the marine sites Isabela Island has to offer. On the southern side of Ecuador Volcano, the tip of land on the western end of Isabela is named after Vicente Ramon Roca, President of Ecuador from 1845-49, who as Prefect of Guayas had proposed the Ecuadorian annexation of the Galapagos Islands in 1831. The geological formations, the underwater caves and lava tubes offer fascinating views of the coastline. The South Equatorial Countercurrent hits this part of the archipelago from the west and the water offers abundant food sources for different marine life and seabirds. It is normal to see Pacific green turtles, but sharks, rays, whales and dolphins can also be expected, apart from a small colony of fur seals. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies and other seabirds nest in the cliffs and both the endemic Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants have established small colonies nearby. Marine iguanas also like this area because of the rich variety of seaweeds growing underwater along the western coast of Isabela. As a marine site, deepwater snorkeling is also possible at Punta Vicente Roca.
With the gentle slopes of La Cumbre volcano in the distance, the low, lava-forged coast of Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a spectacular sight. Hundreds of marine iguanas rest on the black rock of recent lava flows absorbing heat from the stone and defending their territories against one another. Galapagos sea lions and their pups also take shelter here, resting on the beach and playing in the shallow tide pools sprinkled along the coast. Walk past high sandy areas where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along low, shallow mangrove ponds ringed with bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and Flightless Cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sunshine.

Day 4

Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay

Tagus Cove is bordered by a steep rocky coastline and has for centuries offered shelter for ships and yachts. The cove is named after the British frigate HMS Tagus visiting the Galapagos in 1814. Already by the 1830s other ships had their visits recorded by painting or scratching their name onto the rocks. On approach Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants –both birds mainly found on Isabela’s west coast and neighboring Fernandina- are often seen. From the landing a trail through an incense tree forest leads past Darwin Lake to a viewpoint on top of a splatter cone. During the hike several land birds including Medium Ground-Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Yellow Warblers as well as Large-billed and Vermilion Flycatchers are often present. Brown Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies prefer the rocks along the shore.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the marine sites on Isabela’s west coast. South of Alcedo Volcano and north of Sierra Negra, Elizabeth Bay is found at Isabela’s narrowest east-west extension where the lava flows of these two volcanoes have connected each other. Elizabeth Bay’s shores show mangroves and specifically the easternmost part, a cove which can only be entered via a narrow channel, has red, white and black mangroves. Different animals prefer different parts of Elizabeth Bay. Las Marielas, three rocks at the entrance to the bay, are favored by Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins as a resting place, while the mangrove area is preferred by Great Blue Herons for hunting or the Magnificent Frigatebirds for perching. The bay is used by turtles, rays and even sharks for feeding or resting. The shallow water and the root system of the mangroves in the small inlet allow smaller fish to hide from bigger predators.

Day 5

Post Office Bay (Floreana), Champion Islet, Floreana and Punta Cormorant (Floreana)

Floreana’s Post Office Bay has received its name as the site was used to leave mail for retrieval by others who were thought to stop at the Galapagos Islands or might be heading for the addressee’s direction. First mentioned by Porter in 1813 as “Hathaway’s Postoffice”, HMS Beagle’s captain FitzRoy stated that it was not in use in 1835 as the island was already settled at that time. Floreana had been the first island to be settled by Ecuadorians in 1832. Today a barrel instead of the original box is used by visitors who leave their own postcards and retrieve mail for hand-delivery. Apart from the beach and mail barrel the bay offers good swimming and snorkeling. The area holds remains of a failed Norwegian fish canning plant and settlement dating back to the 1920s. A lava tube in the vicinity can also be explored. Although Floreana is inhabited, the number of residents is reduced because of the difficult access to water. A track from Post Office Bay connects with the only road from Puerto Velazco Ibarra on the west coast to a spring in the highlands.
Champion Islet is a small islet some 700 meters off the northeast coast of Floreana. It is one of four marine sites surrounding Floreana and offers excellent deepwater snorkeling opportunities. Curious sea lions approach the snorkelers while turtles slowly swim by and sharks, sting rays, and a high diversity of colorful fishes can usually be seen. During a Zodiac cruise around Champion Islet not only seabirds such as Nazca Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, or Red-billed Tropicbirds will be seen, it is also possible to spot the rare Floreana Mockingbird.
Floreana Island’s northernmost point is called Punta Cormorant – named after the British naval vessel HMS Cormorant and dating back to the late 19th century. From the landing beach a short track leads to a shallow lagoon that is famous for its flamingos. The brilliantly pink birds skim the salty waters for shrimp and tend to chicks on the nest. The trail then scales a low hillside through scattered Palo Santo trees to reveal an idyllic white-sand beach on the other side of the point. Standing at the edge of the lapping waves, you might spot mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves out of the sea to lay eggs in the sugar sand dunes that lay high above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, Yellow Warblers, and Medium and Small Ground Finches.

Day 6

Santa Cruz Highlands and Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Puerto Ayora

Los Gemelos (The Twins) is a visitor site in the Santa Cruz highlands. Found some 15 kilometers northwest of Puerto Ayora, the road leading from Puerto Ayora in the south of Santa Cruz to Itabaca in the north dissects the twin pit craters. Pit craters are formed when the roof of an underground void collapses. The smaller pit crater is on the eastern side of the road, while the larger one is on the western side. See from above, the two openings in the ground are not at all identical. Their layout might imply an elongated magma chamber or a lava tube leading further west and the larger twin actually having formerly been two small pit craters whose connecting wall collapsed as well. Trails through a Scalesia forest not only give access to good views of the pit craters, but also permit to observe some of the smaller land birds. Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Doves, Medium Ground Finches and several other finch species can often be seen there.
Silver Origin will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the centre’s captive breeding and reintroduction programs. In addition to these star species, throughout the station there are huge prickly pear cactus trees being fed upon by the pretty Galapagos Cactus Finch. To round out the stay in Puerto Ayora, enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafés.

Day 7

Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz), Isla Guy Fawkes and Bahía Borrero, Santa Cruz

Cerro Dragón’s land iguanas once played an important part in a conservation program headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When the reptiles’ numbers declined in the 1970s, some animals were taken to breed in captivity and were released back into undeveloped areas. Today, it is an honor to see the success of this program firsthand at Cerro Dragón. Walk inland on a trail past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos, to see the reintroduced animals. In a periodic local phenomenon, during rainier times the salinity in the lagoons drops with the inflow of freshwater. As a consequence crustacean populations decline, which in turn means the shorebirds become scarce.
In the northern area of Santa Cruz Island, Bahía Borrero is a beautiful white coralline beach used as a nesting site by Green Sea turtles. Behind the dunes, we have a forest of typical vegetation from the arid zone: Palo Santo, Leather leaf, and Salty bushes. This vegetation welcomes Yellow Warblers, and some of the most characteristic species of Darwin Finches, such as the Common Cactus Finch or the Small Ground Finch. This extinct volcano, due to its altitude, shows all the different zones of vegetation, changing from the littoral to the arid, and then with more moisture into the humid zone, to end in the dry pampa zone. It is an impressive landscape to enjoy while you swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or have a nice relaxing walk along the beach.

Day 8

Baltra

Disembarkation.
Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour, is truly the entrance to the Galapagos Islands. Despite not being considered as part of the National Park proper, Baltra definitely offers a taste of the weird and wonderful nature that thrives on the islands. The island is located in the central part of the archipelago. At just eight sq. mi it is one of smallest islands, yet its flat, volcanic rock surface and central location in the archipelago makes it an ideal place for one of the islands’ two airports. The airport was built by the US Air Force, who used it as an army base during WWII. As a travel destination in itself it offers few attractions, and all travellers who come here are just passing through, either on either way to or from the islands. There is no tourism infrastructure (save a few agencies that offer tours of the islands) or shops on Baltra and any purchases that you might wish to make should be done at the airport if they can. However, land iguanas and Galapagos finches are popular sights, and the iguanas are often seen running across the runway itself. As you cross the Itabaca Channel to or from Santa Cruz, be on the lookout for some other Galapagian locals: giant turtles and playful sea lions completely oblivious to the humans around.

Ship information

Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise

Including return flights between Ecuador and Galápagos.

The weird and wonderful Galápagos Islands are definitely contenders for the world best travel destination. These are the islands where the animals look at humans curiously, rather than the other way around! Inspiring and educational, each island has its own species and strengths, ranging from miles of dramatic coastline to nesting colonies of endemic birds. The islands may be small, but be prepared for some big surprises! Ticking off all 15 species of the Galapagos Big 15, this seven day voyage is perfect for curious cruisers! From marine iguanas to Galapagos Hawks, to the iconic blue-footed boobie, no other place on Earth can compare to the Galapagos’ fusion of flora and fauna. Join us to explore the volcanic landscapes that time forgot, discover unique wildlife both above and below the sea, drinking in the drama and depth of natural history along the way.
Highlights

Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team • Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team • Isla Bartolomé & Santiago Island • Fernandina Island, Isabela Island and more • Amazing Wildlife & Snorkelling

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Ship information

Silver Origin

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 101 metres
Passenger Capacity: 100
Crew: 90
Built: 2020

The first destination specific ship built by Silversea, Silver Origin is the height of experiential travel in the Galápagos. Never before have the islands been so superbly presented: a team of Ecuadorian national expert guides, the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the Galápagos, 8 Zodiacs, seamless hybrid spaces that offer an extraordinary voyage – for extraordinary people. All-suite accommodation, Horizon Balconies, butler service, sophisticated interiors, interactive basecamp, Ecuadorian inspired cuisine … no aspect of Silver Origin has been left to chance. The most environmentally conscious ship we have ever built, take a vertical leap and transform your idea of travel with Silver Origin.

Contact
Booking
Small Ship Cruise
Serenissima
21.11.2021
06.12.2021
15
The Mediterranean, Africa, Passage through Antiquity
Fare from € 7.750
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

London to Limassol, Cyprus

Fly by scheduled flight to Larnaca. On arrival transfer to the MS Serenissima moored in Limassol. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.

Day 2

Limassol

Our morning tour will include the Temple of Apollo, one of the main religious centres of ancient Cyprus where Apollo was worshipped as God of the Woodlands. It seems that the worship of Apollo on this site began as early as the 8th century BC and continued until the 4th century AD. We will continue to the ruins of Kourion, a city built in 1200 BC. Of particular interest are the public baths, the necropolis, the Fountain House, House of Gladiators and House of Achilles. The most spectacular site at Kourion is the Greco-Roman Theatre that has been completely restored and is used today for open air musical and theatrical performances. After lunch on board the afternoon is at leisure before we sail in the early evening.

Day 3

Haifa, Israel

We arrive in Israel at the northern port of Haifa for two days of exploration including options to visit Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Called the City of Annunciation, Nazareth is revered as the spot where the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary to tell her she was to bear the Son of God. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and visit the Church of the Annunciation, which is built where Mary is said to have lived. Maybe visit the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we find Capernaum’s ancient synagogue and Peter’s House before stopping in Tabgha, home to the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Leaves, with its 5th century mosaic floor. We will drive up Mount Carmel for a breathtaking view over the bay from the top of the city’s famous Bahai Gardens. We also plan to visit Acre, one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites of the region and once the chief port of the Crusaders. Visit the underground city seeing the Crusader halls, crypt and the tunnels used as a secret route to the port. Also visit the bazaar and the UNESCO site of Kahn El Umdan (Inn of the Columns) one of the bestpreserved caravanserai in Israel. The last option is to drive to Caesarea – the impressive ruins rest on the coast halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. This grand ancient city and harbour were built by Herod the Great between 22 and 10 BC and reigned capital over its region for almost 600 years. Named after the Roman Caesar Augustus, it had all the amenities of a splendid Roman city: baths, a hippodrome, a theatre and an aqueduct and we can explore the remains in the archaeological park.

Day 4

Haifa, Israel

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Day 5

Ashdod

We continue our exploration of Israel from the southern port of Ashdod where we will spend a day and a half. During our time here we will organise visits to Jaffa, the ancient port city from which Tel Aviv developed. Famous for its association with the biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and St Peter, it has a fascinating history stretching back over four thousand years. We will explore the highlights including the Clock Tower, Flea Market and the renovated alleys and buildings of the city. We will also drive inland to Jerusalem including a visit to the Mount of Olives from where we can enjoy spectacular views over the ‘Golden City’ of Jerusalem. Follow in the footsteps of Jesus as you walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest. Wander the streets of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and continue through the Christian Quarter to the bazaar, passing the Roman Cardo in the Jewish Quarter and the Western (or Wailing) Wall. Our last afternoon is at sea and we arrive in Port Said in the evening to prepare for our transit of the Suez Canal.

Day 6

Ashdod

Day 7

Suez Canal Transit

Spend the day in transit of the Suez Canal and the Great Bitter Lake.

Day 8

Port Tawfiq for Cairo, Egypt

Today is a full day tour dedicated to the capital city of Cairo. We visit the impressive Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the tombs of the great Pharaohs and their queens. After lunch we visit the Egyptian Museum with 107 halls that are separated into seven sections. The museum houses statues, jewels and treasures of Tutankhamun. We will visit the Amarna Room and see the Fayoum portraits and monuments from the later periods from the Greeks and the Romans. Return to the MS Serenissima for dinner this evening.

Day 9

At Sea

Spend the day on board as we sail through the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez. Join one of our lectures or find a spot on deck as we sail to Safaga where we arrive this evening and moor overnight.

Day 10

Safaga for Luxor, Egypt

The port of Safaga will be our base for our overnight trip to Luxor. After driving through the desert our first call will be on the West Bank, one of the most famous and important archaeological sites in the world. See the Valley of the Kings, burial ground of the pharaohs for a period of 500 years. The tombs vividly depict the journey of the sun god and pharaoh through the dangers of the underworld. In the temple of Queen Hatshepsut you will discover scenes commemorating the reign of this exceptional monarch such as the ambitious voyage where she sent her ships on the Red Sea to the mysterious land of Punt. After our visit we transfer to our hotel in Luxor for some time to relax before meeting for dinner. Our second day will include the temples of Karnak, one of the most memorable and popular historical areas to visit in the world. Here you will witness the unbelievably vast array of monuments dedicated to Amun-Ra, king of the gods, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu. Just two of the highlights you will see are the great hypostyle hall with over 130 columns some 22 metres high and the obelisk of the powerful queen pharaoh Hatshepsut. We will have some time to explore the souk before continuing to the Nile for a short cruise including lunch. In the afternoon we will board our coaches and return to the MS Serenissima in Safaga.

Day 11

Safaga for Luxor, Egypt

Day 12

Aqaba, Jordan

After a busy couple of days we will have a relaxing morning at sea arriving in Aqaba at lunchtime. This afternoon explore the old town of Aqaba including time to walk through the bustling souk. This evening we will transfer to one of the beaches in the Aqaba Marine Park for a barbeque by the sea.

Day 13

Wadi Rum & Petra

Disembark this morning as we drive to Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon where the desert landscape is mixed with awe-inspiring shapes to create an almost supernatural atmosphere. We will embark on an adventurous excursion by a Bedouin open top four-wheel drive vehicle. We begin at the visitor centre from where there is a view in the distance of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the famous landmark named after the book by T.E. Lawrence ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. During our excursion we will also see the Alameleh inscriptions which are a good example of ancient rock drawings, Siq Um Al Tawaqi, a short canyon containing a carving of the head of T.E. Lawrence and ruins of Allat (Goddess) Temple of the AAD tribe. After lunch we continue our journey to Little Petra, where a modest gorge (Siq el-Barid) leads into the area of carved tombs and monuments. See the Painted Cave which is believed to have been a shelter for a sect focused on Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine, as it contains remains of Greekstyle plaster artwork, quite unique for Petra, displaying tangled vines and flowers with brightly coloured birds and cupid-like figures. After our visit transfer to our hotel and meet for dinner tonight.

Day 14

Petra

After breakfast in the hotel we will explore the breathtaking Nabatean city of Petra which was carved out of the rose-red sandstone about 2000 years ago and has been voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Walk past the Obelisk Tomb and then through the Siq, the narrow 1.2 kilometre gorge that leads to Petra’s most impressive monument, the Treasury which was carved out of the pale reddish sandstone in the 1st century BC. Pass by the dozens of classical Nabatean ruins and tombs known as the Street of Facades, the remarkable 3000 seat Theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Colonnaded Street, the Byzantine Church, the Temple, the Monumental Arch and the mighty Qasr el-Bint Faroun. After lunch amidst the ruins of Petra you will have the option to return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure or stay and explore the site further independently. Those feeling active may choose to climb about 900 steps up to the large, 1st century AD monument known as the Monastery with its remarkable views over Wadi Araba. Meet tonight for dinner.

Day 15

Madaba & Dead Sea

After breakfast drive to Madaba, home of the most famous Byzantine mosaics. Visit the greatest and most significant of all the city’s treasures, the wonderful mosaic map of ancient Palestine, which is located on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. The 6th century AD map, hailed as the oldest in existence, was depicted for the benefit of the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, as it represented the surrounding regions as well. After lunch we will continue to our hotel in the Dead Sea. This afternoon is free to swim or float here which, at 423 metres below sea level is the lowest spot on earth. The high salt content prevents the existence of any life forms but is also believed to provide healing properties with the mud on the sea bed being rich in minerals. Meet tonight for dinner in the hotel.

Day 16

Amman to London

Check out this morning and transfer to Amman airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Overview

Passage through Antiquity

Here is a passage through antiquity, an incomparable journey with a wealth of sites on offer including biblical landmarks, Crusader castles, Egyptian temples and tombs as well as the magnificent Nabatean city of Petra. We have planned the journey for November when temperatures will be pleasant for exploring and with the aid of our knowledgeable local guides and excellent Guest Speaker, we will learn of some fascinating civilisations.

Our first call is the Cypriot port of Limassol from where we sail to Israel for three and a half days of exploration as we discover an extraordinary collection of both classical and Biblical sites. Following a transit of the Suez Canal, one of the world’s greatest feats of civil engineering, we spend time in Egypt exploring some of the great monuments of the Pharaohs, the divine kings of thirty dynasties who ruled Egypt for some thirty-five centuries. See the great temples of Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx and spend some time in Cairo’s magnificent Egyptian Museum.

We continue to Jordan where we leave the MS Serenissima and spend three nights in five star hotels. From the desert sands of Wadi Rum, to the grandeur of Petra and the mystical Dead Sea, Jordan is steeped in history and awe inspiring beauty. Petra, a city set deep in the Edom mountains and lost to Western ‘civilisation’ for hundreds of years was hewn directly from the rock by the Nabateans and is an amazing feat of engineering and construction. As you explore this vast and complex city, whose wealth came from its proximity to the ancient Middle East trade routes, you cannot help but be impressed by the industry and sophistication of this ancient civilisation.

Highlights

Travelling with You – Dr David Price-Williams
David Price-Williams has a first degree from the University of Wales in Ancient Near Eastern languages with a subsidiary in Attic and Koine Greek. His postgraduate work and his doctorate, from the University of London, is in Near Eastern archaeology. His first overseas archaeological field work in the eastern Mediterranean was in 1969 as a field surveyor at the classical site of Knidos in Turkey. He then worked for the Smithsonian Institution as an archaeological field surveyor on excavations in the Near East before directing his own field research in the same area through the early 1970s.

David has just retired after almost forty years lecturing on the Archaeology of Western Asia (Eastern Mediterranean) at the Institute of Archaeology for the University of London Extra Mural Department. He is the author and co-author of numerous academic papers on the area and several books. David has designed and lectured on many tours to Greece, Turkey and the Near East and is very familiar with the archaeological sites of Turkey. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an elected life member of the Society for Old Testament Studies as well as the Southern African Quaternary Research Association.

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Ship information

Serenissima

Vessel Type: Small Ship
Length: 87 meters
Passenger Capacity: 95

Crew Capacity: 52
Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2019
We are delighted to have had the MS Serenissima on long term charter since 2013. There are so few ships of her generation still cruising and the fact that she is is a great testament to her owners who invest considerable sums to keep her in top form. In December 2018, the vessel once again undergone a significant refurbishment after which she nowadays accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.
MS Serenissima is a charming vessel and one of her best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During a major refit the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels.
The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible. The European Captain, Officers, Expedition Staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation.

Contact
Booking
Luxury Expedition
Hebridean Sky
24.11.2021
16.12.2021
22
Antarctica, Latin America, Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse
Fare from € 14.450
<read more>
Travelroute
Day 1

London to Santiago, Chile

Fly by scheduled indirect flight.

Day 2

Santiago

Arrive this morning and transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities or explore the city independently.

Day 3

Santiago to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our specially chartered flight to Port Stanley, the charming capital of the Falkland Islands. On arrival transfer to the MS Hebridean Sky and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.

Day 4

Port Stanley

Spend the day in Stanley where during our excursion we will see some of the highlights of the town including the cathedral, battle memorial and the Historic Dockyard and museum which documents the social, maritime, military and natural history of the islands. Alternatively learn more about the 1982 conflict whilst, if conditions permit, we also hope to offer nature walks or a 4x4 tour to one of the beaches where we may find King, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins. Sail this evening for South Georgia.

Day 5

The Southern Ocean

As we cruise towards South Georgia the richness of these waters will be evident in the marine mammal life, especially the fur seals on fishing forays. We have a good chance of spotting whales such as fins and minkies whilst the birds circling our stern will be outstanding, especially the large albatrosses and numerous breeds of petrels.

Day 6

The Southern Ocean

Day 7

South Georgia

We have two and a half days of expedition cruising in and around South Georgia, a paradise island with snow-clad mountain peaks rising 9000 feet and with 165 glaciers tumbling down towards the sea. We arrive early in the season when parts of the island are still covered by a thin layer of snow. For anyone interested in wildlife, South Georgia is a true oasis. The beaches will be covered by elephant seal bulls and females with feeding pups. They share the beach with a myriad of nesting King penguins. Most of the other sea birds have arrived and started nesting. This is also the time when the great arrival of the fur seals starts. Millions of fur seals will, over a few weeks, return to the beaches to breed. During our time here we hope to visit Salisbury Plain where we will find enormous elephant seals which crowd the beaches alongside thousands of pairs of King penguins whilst in Fortuna Bay we will see nesting light mantled sooty albatrosses and hope to witness their gracious courting flights. A few thousand King penguins nest here. Meanwhile in Grytviken we will visit the old whaling station and of course pay our respect at the grave of ‘the boss’ – Ernest Shackleton.

Day 8

South Georgia

Day 9

South Georgia

Day 10

At sea

The waters between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula are rich with fin whales, where in good conditions we have seen as many as a hundred in a day. If not whale-watching, lookout for Antarctic petrel, Kerguelen petrel and one of the most beautiful birds of the Southern Ocean, the snow petrel. The icebergs will also become more plentiful as we sail south. Alternatively join the lecture programme as we learn more about the wildlife and history of the region.

Day 11

Solar Eclipse Day

Today we will position the ship to achieve the best location to view the solar eclipse which is due to start in the late morning. The advantage of our small ship is the ability to find a spot or break in the clouds to increase our chances and maximise our time under a total eclipse. With our onboard experts on hand to provide commentary we will remain here until the end of the eclipse’s passage when we continue our voyage to Antarctica.

Day 12

Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

We have seven days of exploration around the Peninsula and South Shetland Islands which will include many of the best places for wildlife and magnificent scenery. Whilst we arrive with a planned itinerary the final schedule will be determined by our Captain and the Expedition Leader based on sea, weather and ice conditions. Using our Zodiacs we hope to make daily landings or cruises for unique close encounters with animals such as adelie and gentoo penguins, fur seals and petrels. Watch avidly on deck as we approach land or sail through breathtaking channels surrounded by lofty peaks looking down on ice-strewn waters where resting crab-eater or leopard seals can be spotted. Enroute South we plan to see Elephant Island with its rocky and inhospitable shore where Shackleton’s crew famously survived. We hope to sail past the collapsed volcanic cone of Deception Island for a chance to visit Whalers Bay, Petermann Island, home to numbers of adelie penguins, picturesque Neko Harbour, the Lemaire Channel where towering icebergs rise from the sea and Half Moon Island with its rookery of chinstrap penguins. We also endeavour to sail through the breathtaking Antarctic Sound, alternatively known as ‘iceberg alley’, where massive icebergs drift north from the continent.

Day 13

Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.

Day 14

Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.

Day 15

Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.

Day 16

Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.

Day 17

Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.

Day 18

Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands.

Day 19

Drake Passage

Two days to relax onboard and reminisce with your fellow travellers about all you have seen and experienced during our expedition. Enjoy a lecture, look for wildlife or simply relax as we make our way across the Drake Passage toward Ushuaia. Named after the 16th century English seaman, Sir Francis Drake, the Drake Passage separates the southernmost tip of South America from Antarctica. This is a particularly good area to spot royal albatross and blue petrel and we will also be on the lookout for pods of sperm whales.

Day 20

Drake Passage

Day 21

Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to Buenos Aires. On arrival transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. This evening we will meet for dinner and a tango show in a local restaurant.

Day 22

Buenos Aires to London

After breakfast in the hotel transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Day 23

London

Arrive this morning.

Overview

Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse

It is hard to put into words the sheer grandeur of an Antarctic landscape. This most southern of continents, this desert of ice, is so unique and rare to man’s experience, that even the most dramatic of photographs pale into insignificance when one is confronted by the sheer magnitude, beauty and wonder of the landscape. Enormous icebergs rise from the sea, hillsides are covered with thousands of penguins and seals bask on icebergs dotted in the ocean; the sights, sounds and emotions will stay with you forever. When these scenic marvels are combined with an incredible astronomical phenomenon, the total solar eclipse, we have something very special.
For most travellers Antarctica is a once in a lifetime visit, it is therefore important that the trip should be as rewarding as possible and the MS Hebridean Sky is the perfect vessel both in terms of the educational opportunities on board and the number of occasions to go ashore. Antarctica is to be experienced, not just to be seen, and we believe the only way to do this is on board a small ship.
Highlights
Whilst an undoubted highlight of the cruise is the opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse, there is much more included to occupy us. The timing of the eclipse coincides with what is regarded as spring in Antarctica as the pack ice begins to melt. This is the mating season for penguins and other species and you can observe their spectacular displays of courtship ritual, nest building and such antics as stone stealing. This is also the time when fur seals claim their breeding territories • In addition to the Antarctic Peninsula, we have also included magnificent South Georgia where you will experience one of the world’s natural wonders, the ‘Alps in mid-ocean’, offering remarkable concentrations of wildlife against a backdrop of glaciers and snow-covered mountains. Hugging the coast to the wildest reaches of the island we will land on beaches alive with rampaging fur seals, somnolent elephant seals and truly astonishing numbers of king penguins. We have three days of exploration in this unique animal paradise and using the Zodiacs we will aim to land each day allowing you the optimum time ashore to experience this rich animal kingdom. We also spend time on the Falkland Islands, a truly enchanting place with a unique character and staggering wildlife. This is the last sanctuary of the elegant albatross which soars gracefully against the blue sky, with colonies of elephant seals basking at the foot of vertiginous cliffs. In between our landings and while at sea, you can pass the time on deck looking for wildlife, attend the series of lectures by members of the expedition team and simply relax on board

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Ship information

MS Hebridean Sky

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 91 meters
Passenger Capacity: 118
Crew Capacity: 70
Built / Refurbished: 1992 / 2016
The MS Hebridean Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island Sky and MS Caledonian Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world. Formerly known as the Sea Explorer, the vessel underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in Sweden in Spring 2016 before being re-launched as the MS Hebridean Sky.
Your Suite On board there are 59 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites. All feature a sitting area and fourteen suites have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht. The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views with suites on the Scott and Shackleton Decks featuring private balconies. Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring vanity unit with sink and walk-in rainfall shower, large wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a minifridge, flat screen television and a telephone in each suite. Refillable water bottles, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Additional facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries and individually controlled air-conditioning and heating. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be. The beds in each suite can be configured as twins or double with the exception of suite 601 and 602 which feature fixed double beds. The impressive Hebridean Suite, located on the Shackleton Deck consists of a separate bathroom and sitting room with extra large balcony stretching the length of the suite. Additional benefits of booking this marvellous suite include complimentary mini-bar stocked with your preferences and complimentary laundry.
Your Space The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Hebridean Sky include a large lounge on the Byrd Deck featuring a selection of seating options from individual armchairs and sofas to side cushioned benches. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in The Lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. In addition to the Lounge, there is also The Club, located on the Mawson Deck which features the main bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The Club also offers a 24-hour tea and coffee station. Towards the aft of the ship on the Mawson Deck is The Library which is well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a selection of essential reads. A collection of games and devices to access the internet via the ship’s satellite can also be found in the library. Access to the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi via your own device is complimentary on board (signal strength varies depending on location and demand). The Dining Room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Amundsen Deck and is a bright and charming setting to enjoy the delicious meals on board. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Scott Deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Whilst heaters and blankets make dining al fresco comfortable in cooler climates. Further to this, on the top Shackleton Deck there is an observation area which offers a fantastic platform for spotting wildlife complete with deck furniture, ideal for relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. You will also find a clinic and Doctor on board and a lift that serves all decks. Additionally there is a small hairdressers with appointments made on request.
Your Dining It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board our Sky vessels when you are cruising in far-flung corners of the globe, indeed it takes a team of highly talented chefs to deliver fresh, varied dishes no matter where you are at sea. Fortunately, our catering teams are well adapted to the world of small ship cruising where no two days are the same and the menus are often scheduled and tailored around the days’ excursions. With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine on board is of a consistent superior quality that befits such vessels. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Such purchases enhance the well-stocked larders and enable the chefs on board to exhibit their culinary skills and bring a local touch to the varied menus, emphasising the international expertise of the chefs on board. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapés take place every day in either the comfort of the Lounge or out on the Lido Deck when the weather is favourable. Tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day. Special diets can be catered for with sufficient notice. In keeping with the informal atmosphere on board, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like-minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals and there is also a comprehensive wine list with a wide selection of new and old world wines from which to choose. The onboard catering and restaurant staff are experienced at sea and enthuse a passion for superb service. Whether it be ensuring you have an outdoor blanket as you enjoy the crisp sea breeze on the Lido Deck or sharing their knowledge of the characteristics of the days’ wine selections, you will experience a service on board like no other. You may also enjoy sumptuous barbeques on deck whilst at times, the chef will make your dish to order at special pasta or stir fry stations.
For Your Comfort The MS Hebridean Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. During your voyage we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and Doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to a specific area on deck.
Contact
Booking
Luxury Small Ship Cruise
Silver Origin
04.12.2021
11.12.2021
7
Latin America, Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise
Fare from € 9,540
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Travelroute
Day 1

San Cristobal and Kicker Rock

Like so many of the islands in the Galápagos, San Cristobal is formed by dormant volcanoes. It lies to the east of the archipelago and is one of the oldest islands in the group. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island, making their living from tourism, fishing, in government offices, or off the rich volcanic soils with some limited farming existing in the highlands. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the island is the capital city of the Galápagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbor, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s.
Kicker Rock is the vertical remnant of a former tuff cone less than 5 kilometers to the west of San Cristobal. Both its Spanish name “Leon Dormido” (Sleeping Lion) and English name Kicker Rock imply that it is one rock only -when in fact it is a larger one 300 meters long by 100 meters wide with a maximum height of approximately 150 meters and next to it an obelisk-like rock separated by a narrow channel some 20 meters deep. When approaching Kicker Rock, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and frigatebirds can be observed in the air, while sea lions can be seen along the shore. Snorkelers and divers have reported manta rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. The Spanish name implies that the geological formation seen from the south resembles a sleeping lion. An interesting explanation for the English name suggests that James Colnett in 1794 likened it to famous landmarks in Portsmouth.

Day 2

Isla Bartolome and Buccaneer Cove, Santiago

Our ship anchors in sight of the volcanic moonscape of Isla Bartolomé, at Sullivan Bay. Zodiacs bring guests ashore to ascend a boardwalk of 388 steps. Passing through the arid volcanic landscape provides a chance to watch for lava lizards, Galapagos Hawks, and Blue-footed Boobies. However, the climber’s ultimate reward is one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the Galapagos Islands – the view towards Pinnacle Rock with black, volcanic cones of Baltra, Daphne Major and Daphne Minor in the distance. On the way down watch how the sunlight catches the green of pioneering plant species in stark contrast against dark volcanic rock, and look forward to time swimming and snorkeling from the golden beach at Bahia Dorada.

Day 3

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) and Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)

Punta Vicente Roca is one of the marine sites Isabela Island has to offer. On the southern side of Ecuador Volcano, the tip of land on the western end of Isabela is named after Vicente Ramon Roca, President of Ecuador from 1845-49, who as Prefect of Guayas had proposed the Ecuadorian annexation of the Galapagos Islands in 1831. The geological formations, the underwater caves and lava tubes offer fascinating views of the coastline. The South Equatorial Countercurrent hits this part of the archipelago from the west and the water offers abundant food sources for different marine life and seabirds. It is normal to see Pacific green turtles, but sharks, rays, whales and dolphins can also be expected, apart from a small colony of fur seals. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies and other seabirds nest in the cliffs and both the endemic Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants have established small colonies nearby. Marine iguanas also like this area because of the rich variety of seaweeds growing underwater along the western coast of Isabela. As a marine site, deepwater snorkeling is also possible at Punta Vicente Roca.
With the gentle slopes of La Cumbre volcano in the distance, the low, lava-forged coast of Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a spectacular sight. Hundreds of marine iguanas rest on the black rock of recent lava flows absorbing heat from the stone and defending their territories against one another. Galapagos sea lions and their pups also take shelter here, resting on the beach and playing in the shallow tide pools sprinkled along the coast. Walk past high sandy areas where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along low, shallow mangrove ponds ringed with bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and Flightless Cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sunshine.

Day 4

Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay

Tagus Cove is bordered by a steep rocky coastline and has for centuries offered shelter for ships and yachts. The cove is named after the British frigate HMS Tagus visiting the Galapagos in 1814. Already by the 1830s other ships had their visits recorded by painting or scratching their name onto the rocks. On approach Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants –both birds mainly found on Isabela’s west coast and neighboring Fernandina- are often seen. From the landing a trail through an incense tree forest leads past Darwin Lake to a viewpoint on top of a splatter cone. During the hike several land birds including Medium Ground-Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Yellow Warblers as well as Large-billed and Vermilion Flycatchers are often present. Brown Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies prefer the rocks along the shore.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the marine sites on Isabela’s west coast. South of Alcedo Volcano and north of Sierra Negra, Elizabeth Bay is found at Isabela’s narrowest east-west extension where the lava flows of these two volcanoes have connected each other. Elizabeth Bay’s shores show mangroves and specifically the easternmost part, a cove which can only be entered via a narrow channel, has red, white and black mangroves. Different animals prefer different parts of Elizabeth Bay. Las Marielas, three rocks at the entrance to the bay, are favored by Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins as a resting place, while the mangrove area is preferred by Great Blue Herons for hunting or the Magnificent Frigatebirds for perching. The bay is used by turtles, rays and even sharks for feeding or resting. The shallow water and the root system of the mangroves in the small inlet allow smaller fish to hide from bigger predators.

Day 5

Post Office Bay (Floreana), Champion Islet, Floreana and Punta Cormorant (Floreana)

Floreana’s Post Office Bay has received its name as the site was used to leave mail for retrieval by others who were thought to stop at the Galapagos Islands or might be heading for the addressee’s direction. First mentioned by Porter in 1813 as “Hathaway’s Postoffice”, HMS Beagle’s captain FitzRoy stated that it was not in use in 1835 as the island was already settled at that time. Floreana had been the first island to be settled by Ecuadorians in 1832. Today a barrel instead of the original box is used by visitors who leave their own postcards and retrieve mail for hand-delivery. Apart from the beach and mail barrel the bay offers good swimming and snorkeling. The area holds remains of a failed Norwegian fish canning plant and settlement dating back to the 1920s. A lava tube in the vicinity can also be explored. Although Floreana is inhabited, the number of residents is reduced because of the difficult access to water. A track from Post Office Bay connects with the only road from Puerto Velazco Ibarra on the west coast to a spring in the highlands.
Champion Islet is a small islet some 700 meters off the northeast coast of Floreana. It is one of four marine sites surrounding Floreana and offers excellent deepwater snorkeling opportunities. Curious sea lions approach the snorkelers while turtles slowly swim by and sharks, sting rays, and a high diversity of colorful fishes can usually be seen. During a Zodiac cruise around Champion Islet not only seabirds such as Nazca Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, or Red-billed Tropicbirds will be seen, it is also possible to spot the rare Floreana Mockingbird.
Floreana Island’s northernmost point is called Punta Cormorant – named after the British naval vessel HMS Cormorant and dating back to the late 19th century. From the landing beach a short track leads to a shallow lagoon that is famous for its flamingos. The brilliantly pink birds skim the salty waters for shrimp and tend to chicks on the nest. The trail then scales a low hillside through scattered Palo Santo trees to reveal an idyllic white-sand beach on the other side of the point. Standing at the edge of the lapping waves, you might spot mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves out of the sea to lay eggs in the sugar sand dunes that lay high above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, Yellow Warblers, and Medium and Small Ground Finches.

Day 6

Santa Cruz Highlands and Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Puerto Ayora

Los Gemelos (The Twins) is a visitor site in the Santa Cruz highlands. Found some 15 kilometers northwest of Puerto Ayora, the road leading from Puerto Ayora in the south of Santa Cruz to Itabaca in the north dissects the twin pit craters. Pit craters are formed when the roof of an underground void collapses. The smaller pit crater is on the eastern side of the road, while the larger one is on the western side. See from above, the two openings in the ground are not at all identical. Their layout might imply an elongated magma chamber or a lava tube leading further west and the larger twin actually having formerly been two small pit craters whose connecting wall collapsed as well. Trails through a Scalesia forest not only give access to good views of the pit craters, but also permit to observe some of the smaller land birds. Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Doves, Medium Ground Finches and several other finch species can often be seen there.
Silver Origin will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the centre’s captive breeding and reintroduction programs. In addition to these star species, throughout the station there are huge prickly pear cactus trees being fed upon by the pretty Galapagos Cactus Finch. To round out the stay in Puerto Ayora, enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafés.

Day 7

Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz), Isla Guy Fawkes and Bahía Borrero, Santa Cruz

Cerro Dragón’s land iguanas once played an important part in a conservation program headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When the reptiles’ numbers declined in the 1970s, some animals were taken to breed in captivity and were released back into undeveloped areas. Today, it is an honor to see the success of this program firsthand at Cerro Dragón. Walk inland on a trail past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos, to see the reintroduced animals. In a periodic local phenomenon, during rainier times the salinity in the lagoons drops with the inflow of freshwater. As a consequence crustacean populations decline, which in turn means the shorebirds become scarce.
In the northern area of Santa Cruz Island, Bahía Borrero is a beautiful white coralline beach used as a nesting site by Green Sea turtles. Behind the dunes, we have a forest of typical vegetation from the arid zone: Palo Santo, Leather leaf, and Salty bushes. This vegetation welcomes Yellow Warblers, and some of the most characteristic species of Darwin Finches, such as the Common Cactus Finch or the Small Ground Finch. This extinct volcano, due to its altitude, shows all the different zones of vegetation, changing from the littoral to the arid, and then with more moisture into the humid zone, to end in the dry pampa zone. It is an impressive landscape to enjoy while you swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or have a nice relaxing walk along the beach.

Day 8

Baltra

Disembarkation.
Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour, is truly the entrance to the Galapagos Islands. Despite not being considered as part of the National Park proper, Baltra definitely offers a taste of the weird and wonderful nature that thrives on the islands. The island is located in the central part of the archipelago. At just eight sq. mi it is one of smallest islands, yet its flat, volcanic rock surface and central location in the archipelago makes it an ideal place for one of the islands’ two airports. The airport was built by the US Air Force, who used it as an army base during WWII. As a travel destination in itself it offers few attractions, and all travellers who come here are just passing through, either on either way to or from the islands. There is no tourism infrastructure (save a few agencies that offer tours of the islands) or shops on Baltra and any purchases that you might wish to make should be done at the airport if they can. However, land iguanas and Galapagos finches are popular sights, and the iguanas are often seen running across the runway itself. As you cross the Itabaca Channel to or from Santa Cruz, be on the lookout for some other Galapagian locals: giant turtles and playful sea lions completely oblivious to the humans around.

Ship information

Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise

Including return flights between Ecuador and Galápagos.

The weird and wonderful Galápagos Islands are definitely contenders for the world best travel destination. These are the islands where the animals look at humans curiously, rather than the other way around! Inspiring and educational, each island has its own species and strengths, ranging from miles of dramatic coastline to nesting colonies of endemic birds. The islands may be small, but be prepared for some big surprises! Ticking off all 15 species of the Galapagos Big 15, this seven day voyage is perfect for curious cruisers! From marine iguanas to Galapagos Hawks, to the iconic blue-footed boobie, no other place on Earth can compare to the Galapagos’ fusion of flora and fauna. Join us to explore the volcanic landscapes that time forgot, discover unique wildlife both above and below the sea, drinking in the drama and depth of natural history along the way.
Highlights

Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team • Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team • Isla Bartolomé & Santiago Island • Fernandina Island, Isabela Island and more • Amazing Wildlife & Snorkelling

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Ship information

Silver Origin

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 101 metres
Passenger Capacity: 100
Crew: 90
Built: 2020

The first destination specific ship built by Silversea, Silver Origin is the height of experiential travel in the Galápagos. Never before have the islands been so superbly presented: a team of Ecuadorian national expert guides, the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the Galápagos, 8 Zodiacs, seamless hybrid spaces that offer an extraordinary voyage – for extraordinary people. All-suite accommodation, Horizon Balconies, butler service, sophisticated interiors, interactive basecamp, Ecuadorian inspired cuisine … no aspect of Silver Origin has been left to chance. The most environmentally conscious ship we have ever built, take a vertical leap and transform your idea of travel with Silver Origin.

Contact
Booking
Small Ship Cruise
Serenissima
15.12.2021
29.12.2021
14
The Mediterranean, Africa, Passage through the Levant
Fare from € 7.550
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Travelroute
Day 1

London to Antalya, Turkey

Fly by scheduled indirect flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima for embarkation. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.

Day 2

Antalya

This morning we explore one of the principal Roman ruins along Turkey’s southern coast. We pass the modern city of Antalya en-route to the ancient city of Perge which dates back to 1000 BC and was founded by Mopsus and Calchas after their retreat from Troy. See the Basilica of Perge, which played an important role in the spread of Christianity, the 2nd century AD stadium, the baths complex and two magnificent round towers of the Greek Gate. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and spend the afternoon at sea.

Day 3

Limassol, Cyprus

From our berth we take a morning tour which will include the Temple of Apollo, one of the main religious centres of ancient Cyprus where Apollo was worshipped as God of the Woodlands. It seems that the worship of Apollo on this site began as early as the 8th century BC and continued until the 4th century AD. We will continue to the ruins of Kourion, a city built in 1200 BC. Of particular interest are the public baths, the necropolis, the Fountain House, House of The Itinerary Gladiators and House of Achilles. The most spectacular site at Kourion is the Greco-Roman Theatre that has been completely restored and is used today for open-air musical and theatrical performances. The afternoon is free for independent exploration.

Day 4

Haifa, Israel

We arrive in Israel at the northern port of Haifa for two days of exploration including options to visit Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Called the City of Annunciation, Nazareth is revered as the spot where the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary to tell her she was to bear the Son of God. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and visit the Church of the Annunciation, which is built where Mary is said to have lived. Maybe visit the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we find Capernaum’s ancient synagogue and Peter’s House before stopping in Tabgha, home to the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Leaves, with its 5th century mosaic floor. We will drive up Mount Carmel for a breathtaking view over the bay from the top of the city’s famous Bahai Gardens. We also plan to visit Acre, one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites of the region and once the chief port of the Crusaders. Visit the underground city seeing the Crusader halls, crypt and the tunnels used as a secret route to the port. Also visit the bazaar and the UNESCO site of Kahn El Umdan (Inn of the Columns) one of the best-preserved caravanserai in Israel. The last option is to drive to Caesarea – the impressive ruins rest on the coast halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. This grand ancient city and harbour were built by Herod the Great between 22 and 10 BC and reigned capital over its region for almost 600 years. Named after the Roman Caesar Augustus, it had all the amenities of a splendid Roman city: baths, a hippodrome, a theatre and an aqueduct and we can explore the remains in the archaeological park.

Day 5

Haifa, Israel

Day 6

Ashdod

We continue our exploration of Israel from the southern port of Ashdod where we will spend two and a half days. During our time here we will organise visits to Jaffa, the ancient port city from which Tel Aviv developed. Famous for its association with the biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and St Peter, it has a fascinating history stretching back over four thousand years. We will explore the highlights including the Clock Tower, Flea Market and the renovated alleys and buildings of the fascinating city. We will also drive inland to Jerusalem including a visit to the Mount of Olives from where we can enjoy spectacular views over the ‘Golden City’ of Jerusalem. Follow in the footsteps of Jesus as you walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest. Wander the streets of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and continue through the Christian Quarter to the bazaar, passing the Roman Cardo in the Jewish Quarter and the Western (or Wailing) Wall. We also hope to visit Bethlehem seeing the Church of the Nativity, the oldest functioning Christian church in the world, and the grotto venerated as the birthplace of Christ. Our last afternoon is at sea as we arrive in Port Said in the evening to prepare for our transit of the Suez Canal.

Day 7

Ashdod

Day 8

Ashdod

Day 9

Suez Canal Transit, Egypt

Spend the day in the transit of the Suez Canal and the Great Bitter Lake.

Day 10

Port Tawfiq for Cairo

Today is a full day tour dedicated to the capital city of Cairo. We visit the impressive Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the tombs of the great Pharaohs and their queens. After lunch we visit the Egyptian Museum with 107 halls that are separated into seven sections. The museum houses statues, jewels and treasures of Tutankhamun. We will visit the Amarna Room and see the Fayoum portraits and monuments from the later periods from the Greeks and the Romans. Return to the MS Serenissima for dinner this evening.

Day 11

Christmas Day At Sea

Celebrate Christmas Day on board sailing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez. Join one of our lectures or find a spot on deck as we sail to Safaga where we arrive this evening and moor overnight.

Day 12

Safaga for Luxor

The port of Safaga will be our base for our overnight trip to Luxor. After driving through the desert our first call will be on the West Bank, one of the most famous and important archaeological sites in the world. See the Valley of the Kings, burial ground of the pharaohs for a period of 500 years. The tombs vividly depict the journey of the sun god and pharaoh through the dangers of the underworld. In the temple of Queen Hatshepsut you will discover scenes commemorating the reign of this exceptional monarch such as the ambitious voyage where she sent her ships on the Red Sea to the mysterious land of Punt. After our visit we transfer to our hotel in Luxor for some time to relax before meeting for dinner. Our second day will include the temples of Karnak, one of the most memorable and popular historical areas to visit in the world. Here you will witness the unbelievably vast array of monuments dedicated to Amun-Ra, king of the gods, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu. Just two of the highlights you will see are the great hypostyle hall with over 130 columns some 22 metres high and the obelisk of the powerful queen pharaoh Hatshepsut. We will have some time to explore the souk before continuing to the Nile for a short cruise including lunch. In the afternoon we will board our coaches and return to the MS Serenissima in Safaga.

Day 13

Safaga for Luxor

Day 14

Aqaba, Jordan

After a busy couple of days we will have a relaxing morning at sea arriving in Aqaba at lunchtime. This afternoon explore the old town of Aqaba including time to walk through the bustling souk or take a chance to swim in the clear waters.

Day 15

Aqaba to London

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.

Overview

Passage through the Levant

Christmas in the Eastern Mediterranean is a very special time and exploring by sea allows us to incorporate a heady mix of fantastic places with great ease from the ancient sites of Turkey and Cyprus and the biblical landmarks of Israel to the wonders of Cairo and Luxor on the Nile. The gentle temperatures and crowd free sites make it a lovely season to explore this corner of antiquity and with the 95-passenger MS Serenissima as our comfortable base, and the aid of our knowledgeable local guides and excellent Guest Speaker, we will learn of some fascinating civilisations.

Setting sail from Turkey’s southern coast city of Antalya we will visit the ancient city of Perge and, from Limassol in Cyprus, the Temple of Apollo and the ruins of Kourion with its Greco-Roman Theatre and lovely coastal views. Continue on to Israel for four days of exploration as we discover an extraordinary collection of both classical and Biblical sites from the City of Annunciation, Nazareth, to the ancient port city of Jaffa and the ‘Golden City’ of Jerusalem. Following our transit of the Suez Canal we spend time in Egypt exploring some of the great monuments of the Pharaohs, the divine kings of thirty dynasties who ruled Egypt for some thirty-five centuries. See the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx and spend some time in Cairo’s magnificent Egyptian Museum.

Enjoy a relaxing Christmas Day at sea as we sail to Safaga from where we have arranged an overnight stay in Luxor in order to maximise our time spent visiting the fascinating sites here such as the Valley of the Kings and the great temples of Karnak. Our journey through history ends in the Red Sea port of Aqaba where we disembark the MS Serenissima with the option to return home or join the post-cruise extension to explore delightful Jordan and one of the most spectacular archaeological cites in the region, the ‘Rose Red City’ of Petra.

Highlights

Travelling with You –Ernest Rea
Ernest Rea is a celebrated British broadcaster who specialises on the history of religions and the way that faith impacts on the contemporary world. His regular national radio programme, Beyond Belief, was awarded the prestigious Sony Gold Award for the Best Speech Programme on British Radio.

He worked for the BBC for 22 years in a variety of production and editorial roles. From 1989 to 2001 he was Head of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC responsible for all religious television and radio programmes nationally and locally. During this period, he spent much time in the United States, brokering co-production television deals with leading American broadcasters. He was closely involved in a variety of key national events, including the Funeral Service for Diana, Princess of Wales.

He is in wide demand as a speaker at international inter faith conferences, literary festivals and academic symposia. In 1997 he was personally awarded the Gold Medal of the International Council of Christians and Jews for his contribution to Inter Faith Understanding. He has First Class Honours Degrees in Theology and in History and Politics which helped to fuel his passion for the study of world religions and the way in which they impact on the ancient and modern worlds.

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Ship information

Serenissima

Vessel Type: Small Ship
Length: 87 meters
Passenger Capacity: 95

Crew Capacity: 52
Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2019
We are delighted to have had the MS Serenissima on long term charter since 2013. There are so few ships of her generation still cruising and the fact that she is is a great testament to her owners who invest considerable sums to keep her in top form. In December 2018, the vessel once again undergone a significant refurbishment after which she nowadays accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.
MS Serenissima is a charming vessel and one of her best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During a major refit the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels.
The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible. The European Captain, Officers, Expedition Staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation.

Contact
Booking
Luxury Expedition
Caledonian Sky
16.12.2021
31.12.2021
15
Africa, Marvels of Madagascar - 2021
Fare from € 10.450
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Travelroute
Day 1

London to Mauritius

Fly by scheduled indirect flight.

Day 2

Port Louis

Arrive today and transfer to Port Louis to embark the MS Caledonian Sky.

Day 3

Port Louis

After a leisurely morning enjoy a sightseeing tour including Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens which are home to over 500 species of plants. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail tonight.

Day 4

Port Est, Reunion

We arrive at breakfast in Reunion where we have a choice of excursions. On a full day tour we will visit the central highlands where spectacularly rugged peaks of dormant or extinct volcanoes cradle huge amphitheatres known as cirques, where mountains tower to over 10,000 feet and beautiful waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet. The rich soil and mellow climate produce a lush and verdant landscape which is dotted with villages and towns with a uniquely French atmosphere. We will enjoy views from the Nez des Boeufs and see the Piton de la Fournaise crater. After enjoying a creole lunch in a local restaurant visit the “Cite du Volcan” museum. Alternatively enjoy a morning tour to a vanilla plantation in St Andre where we learn about the history and culture of this integral part of Reunion’s heritage. We will also enjoy some free time in St Denis before returning to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch and an afternoon at leisure before we set sail this evening.

Day 5

At Sea

Enjoy a leisurely day at sea as we sail to Madagascar.

Day 6

Nosy Mangabe & Masoala National Park, Madagascar

Over breakfast we arrive at Nosy Mangabe, a 520 hectare island reserve in Antongil Bay. Here we find one of the most diverse areas of virgin rainforest in Madagascar which has also been an important research centre since the mid-1960s when several aye-ayes and lemurs were released into the forest. We will use our Zodiacs to land on the beach next to the forest and will offer a series of nature walks looking at the varied trees, plants and ferns and also hope to spot chameleon, lizards and black and white ruffed lemur. For the birders, keep an eye out for Madagascar buzzard, kingfisher and paradise flycatchers. We remain in Antongil Bay overnight to visit Madagascar’s largest protected area, the Masoala National Park which comprises coastal rainforest, flooded forests and marsh and mangroves. Mammal species encountered include the red-ruffed lemur, the red-fronted brown lemur and the ring-tailed mongoose. The park is also home to various species of brightly coloured Mantella frogs and all manner of extraordinary chameleons. We will run a series of walks for all levels during our time here whilst you also have the option to swim off the beach or perhaps visit the local village.

Day 7

Nosy Mangabe & Masoala National Park, Madagascar

Day 8

Diego Suarez

After a morning at sea we enter dramatic Diego Suarez, a stunning natural harbour with a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants. This afternoon choose from a city tour visiting the Commonwealth Cemetery and Place Joffre, or the Malagasy rainforest at the Mount Amber National Park. Dividing into short and long walk parties we will go in search of lemurs and chameleons as we explore the rainforest. In the towering vegetation, we may spot several species of lemurs and chameleons as well as endemic birds, including parrots.

Day 9

Nosy Hara

Sail overnight around the northern tip of Madagascar where strangely shaped limestone islets dot the aquamarinecoloured sea. The expedition team will decide on the most suitable island for landing, such as Nosy Hara, with its abundant birdlife and a great beach to swim from. There will be walks through the dense woodland to observe the unusual vegetation. We will also offer a Zodiac cruise around the islands and a chance to snorkel over the coral. Tonight we enjoy some Christmas Carols in the Lounge.

Day 10

Nosy Tanikely

We arrive this morning at the Nosy Tanikely Island Marine Reserve, an uninhabited island which offers excellent snorkelling opportunities and wonderful beaches. We will take the opportunity to either swim in the clear waters or snorkel over the corals keeping an eye out for reef fish, turtles and morays. Alternatively, our naturalists will lead guided walks on the island where we may see the resident lemurs, fruit bats and hermit crabs and enjoy fantastic views from the lighthouse on the island’s highest point. Enjoy an afternoon at sea to celebrate Christmas Day on board.

Day 11

Mahajanga

Mahajanga is a major port in northwest Madagascar situated on the Betsiboka River and is our base for a full day excursion to Ankarafantsika National Park located a couple of hours drive inland. This deciduous forest is a haven for birds, lemurs and reptiles and we will explore with our guides on a choice of walks. Eight species of lemur have been observed here including the famous Microcebus, the smallest primate in the world. Meanwhile over 120 species of birds nest here and we will keep an eye out for the Madagascan fish eagle and banded kestrel whilst the 44 species of reptile include chameleon, turtles and crocodiles that live in Lake Ravelobe.

Day 12

At Sea

Relax on board and enjoy our lecture programme as we continue our journey along the Madagascan coast.

Day 13

Morondava

From our anchorage off the town of Morondava, we will use the Zodiacs to land on the local beach. From here we have a choice of excursions to explore the local region. A half day morning tour will visit the Avenue de Baobabs. Of the eight baobab species in the world, six are endemic to Madagascar. Here we see the Adansonia grandidieri species with a row of 20 to 25 trees which border the gravel road. Learn about the trees and their spiritual significance before returning to Morondava and exploring the local market. Alternatively, join a full day excursion to Kirindy Forest. Situated approximately a two hour drive from Morondava, we will pass the Avenue de Baobabs as we travel north. Kirindy is a 10,000 hectare, dry deciduous forest, one of the most endangered in the world where the flora and fauna includes many endemic species. Here we find three species of baobab, many birds and reptiles, eight species of lemur including the rare pale fork-marked lemur and other mammals including giant jumping rat, fosa and narrowstriped mongoose.

Day 14

Tulear

Our last call in Madagascar will be Tulear on the southwest coast. Arriving at lunchtime we have a choice of activities this afternoon. Maybe drive to the Antsokay Arboretum which is entirely devoted to conservation of the plants from the southwest of Madagascar and, after more than 30 years of hard work, offers a densely kept selection of flora presenting a typical sub-arid thicket with baobabtrees towering over the smaller plants. We will see the four hectare botanical garden which comprises over 900 species of plants of which 90% are endemic to the region. Alternatively visit the Reniala Private Reserve, a small area of just 60 hectares but containing a spiny forest which is unique to South Eastern Madagascar. The park is home to 200 plant species including baobabs as well as being a paradise for birders with sightings of paradise flycatchers, Madagascan hoopoe and Madagascan crested drongo.

Day 15

Tulear to Johannesburg, South Africa

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our specially chartered flight to Johannesburg. Connect here with our scheduled onward flight to London.

Day 16

London

Arrive today.

Overview

Marvels of Madagascar – 2021

The term ‘unique’ is often an overused description in the travel world but certainly applies to the island of Madagascar. The animals, plants, landscapes and people that make up this thousand mile long island are unlike anywhere else in the world. This extraordinary country long remained obscure as a destination and is still relatively unknown amongst even the most serious of travellers. There is minimal infrastructure in many parts of the island and for those wishing to explore the island in some depth, doing so by small ship, especially one as well-suited as the MS Caledonian Sky is far preferable to exploring by any other means.
Our expedition includes eight days on the island and opportunities to explore rainforests full of wildlife including lemurs, chameleons and indigenous birdlife as well as seeing the underwater world and village life. Our days will be spent exploring ashore, often traversing over rugged terrain and walking through spectacular rainforests and each evening we will have the benefit of returning to our comfortable ship to relax and look forward to the next adventure. With the vessel’s fleet of Zodiacs for forays ashore, allowing access to the wonderful places denied to larger ships, you can enjoy encounters with fabulous endemic wildlife in this immensely rich and timeless corner of the Indian Ocean. Our onboard experts will greatly enrich your expedition and ensure that we make the most of our time on the world’s “eighth continent”.

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Ship information

Caledonian Sky

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 90 meters
Passenger Capacity: 114
Crew Capacity: 70
Built: 1991 / refurbished 2018
The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows.
If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 70 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere.
Your Suite
On board there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites, 23 of which have private balconies located on the Promenade or Bridge Decks. Following a comprehensive refurbishment of the suites in November 2018, the suites on each deck have their own colour theme utilising fabrics from companies such as Osbourne & Little and Zimmer & Rohde. Soft hues, blended tones and the classic contemporary fabrics enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be. Each suite exudes great character and grandeur with wood panelling and brass features found throughout. The large suites are arranged over four decks and all have outside facing views. All suites feature a sitting area complete with coffee table, armchairs and flat screen televisions (DVD players and DVDs can be borrowed from reception for use in your suite).

Your space

The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Caledonian Sky include a large lounge featuring comfortable seating. Daily briefings given by the onboard team and talks from Guest Speakers take place in the Main Lounge which is fitted with multiple screens. For your convenience it is also possible to follow the onboard lectures from the comfort of your suite. Also in the Lounge is a 24-hour tea and coffee station along with an elegant bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. In addition to the Main Lounge on the Caledonian Deck, there is the recently refurbished Lounge on the Panorama Deck which has a bar, library and further spacious seating arrangements, ideal for watching the world go by as you cruise to your next destination. The Travel Library is the perfect place to relax with a good book and is well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a collection of essential reads. A selection of games and devices to access the internet via the ship’s satellite can also be found in the library. Access to the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi via your own device is complimentary on board (signal strength varies depending on location and demand). The Dining Room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Castle Deck. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck which is complete with deck tables and chairs where meals are served in warm weather under shade and often occasions such as sail away parties and barbeques are held here.
On the Panorama Deck towards the front of the vessel there is an additional Observation Deck, complete with bar and comfortable cushioned deck furniture for sun bathing, relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. On the Promenade Deck there is also a small gymnasium featuring a treadmill, bicycle and cross trainer, and a hairdressers with appointments made on request. For your wellbeing, there is a clinic with Doctor on board and a lift which serves all decks.

Your dining
With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board.

For your comfort
MS Caledonian Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. As is the joy of small ship cruising, during your voyage, we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more about your journey (subject to weather or security conditions). There is a navigation channel on the television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to a specific area on deck.
Gratuities
Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.
Contact
Booking
Luxury Small Ship Cruise
Silver Origin
18.12.2021
25.12.2021
7
Latin America, Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise
Fare from € 15,930
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Travelroute
Day 1

San Cristobal and Kicker Rock

Like so many of the islands in the Galápagos, San Cristobal is formed by dormant volcanoes. It lies to the east of the archipelago and is one of the oldest islands in the group. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island, making their living from tourism, fishing, in government offices, or off the rich volcanic soils with some limited farming existing in the highlands. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the island is the capital city of the Galápagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbor, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s.
Kicker Rock is the vertical remnant of a former tuff cone less than 5 kilometers to the west of San Cristobal. Both its Spanish name “Leon Dormido” (Sleeping Lion) and English name Kicker Rock imply that it is one rock only -when in fact it is a larger one 300 meters long by 100 meters wide with a maximum height of approximately 150 meters and next to it an obelisk-like rock separated by a narrow channel some 20 meters deep. When approaching Kicker Rock, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and frigatebirds can be observed in the air, while sea lions can be seen along the shore. Snorkelers and divers have reported manta rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. The Spanish name implies that the geological formation seen from the south resembles a sleeping lion. An interesting explanation for the English name suggests that James Colnett in 1794 likened it to famous landmarks in Portsmouth.

Day 2

Isla Bartolome and Buccaneer Cove, Santiago

Our ship anchors in sight of the volcanic moonscape of Isla Bartolomé, at Sullivan Bay. Zodiacs bring guests ashore to ascend a boardwalk of 388 steps. Passing through the arid volcanic landscape provides a chance to watch for lava lizards, Galapagos Hawks, and Blue-footed Boobies. However, the climber’s ultimate reward is one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the Galapagos Islands – the view towards Pinnacle Rock with black, volcanic cones of Baltra, Daphne Major and Daphne Minor in the distance. On the way down watch how the sunlight catches the green of pioneering plant species in stark contrast against dark volcanic rock, and look forward to time swimming and snorkeling from the golden beach at Bahia Dorada.

Day 3

Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) and Punta Espinoza (Fernandina)

Punta Vicente Roca is one of the marine sites Isabela Island has to offer. On the southern side of Ecuador Volcano, the tip of land on the western end of Isabela is named after Vicente Ramon Roca, President of Ecuador from 1845-49, who as Prefect of Guayas had proposed the Ecuadorian annexation of the Galapagos Islands in 1831. The geological formations, the underwater caves and lava tubes offer fascinating views of the coastline. The South Equatorial Countercurrent hits this part of the archipelago from the west and the water offers abundant food sources for different marine life and seabirds. It is normal to see Pacific green turtles, but sharks, rays, whales and dolphins can also be expected, apart from a small colony of fur seals. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies and other seabirds nest in the cliffs and both the endemic Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants have established small colonies nearby. Marine iguanas also like this area because of the rich variety of seaweeds growing underwater along the western coast of Isabela. As a marine site, deepwater snorkeling is also possible at Punta Vicente Roca.
With the gentle slopes of La Cumbre volcano in the distance, the low, lava-forged coast of Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a spectacular sight. Hundreds of marine iguanas rest on the black rock of recent lava flows absorbing heat from the stone and defending their territories against one another. Galapagos sea lions and their pups also take shelter here, resting on the beach and playing in the shallow tide pools sprinkled along the coast. Walk past high sandy areas where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along low, shallow mangrove ponds ringed with bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and Flightless Cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sunshine.

Day 4

Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay

Tagus Cove is bordered by a steep rocky coastline and has for centuries offered shelter for ships and yachts. The cove is named after the British frigate HMS Tagus visiting the Galapagos in 1814. Already by the 1830s other ships had their visits recorded by painting or scratching their name onto the rocks. On approach Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants –both birds mainly found on Isabela’s west coast and neighboring Fernandina- are often seen. From the landing a trail through an incense tree forest leads past Darwin Lake to a viewpoint on top of a splatter cone. During the hike several land birds including Medium Ground-Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Yellow Warblers as well as Large-billed and Vermilion Flycatchers are often present. Brown Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies prefer the rocks along the shore.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the marine sites on Isabela’s west coast. South of Alcedo Volcano and north of Sierra Negra, Elizabeth Bay is found at Isabela’s narrowest east-west extension where the lava flows of these two volcanoes have connected each other. Elizabeth Bay’s shores show mangroves and specifically the easternmost part, a cove which can only be entered via a narrow channel, has red, white and black mangroves. Different animals prefer different parts of Elizabeth Bay. Las Marielas, three rocks at the entrance to the bay, are favored by Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins as a resting place, while the mangrove area is preferred by Great Blue Herons for hunting or the Magnificent Frigatebirds for perching. The bay is used by turtles, rays and even sharks for feeding or resting. The shallow water and the root system of the mangroves in the small inlet allow smaller fish to hide from bigger predators.

Day 5

Post Office Bay (Floreana), Champion Islet, Floreana and Punta Cormorant (Floreana)

Floreana’s Post Office Bay has received its name as the site was used to leave mail for retrieval by others who were thought to stop at the Galapagos Islands or might be heading for the addressee’s direction. First mentioned by Porter in 1813 as “Hathaway’s Postoffice”, HMS Beagle’s captain FitzRoy stated that it was not in use in 1835 as the island was already settled at that time. Floreana had been the first island to be settled by Ecuadorians in 1832. Today a barrel instead of the original box is used by visitors who leave their own postcards and retrieve mail for hand-delivery. Apart from the beach and mail barrel the bay offers good swimming and snorkeling. The area holds remains of a failed Norwegian fish canning plant and settlement dating back to the 1920s. A lava tube in the vicinity can also be explored. Although Floreana is inhabited, the number of residents is reduced because of the difficult access to water. A track from Post Office Bay connects with the only road from Puerto Velazco Ibarra on the west coast to a spring in the highlands.
Champion Islet is a small islet some 700 meters off the northeast coast of Floreana. It is one of four marine sites surrounding Floreana and offers excellent deepwater snorkeling opportunities. Curious sea lions approach the snorkelers while turtles slowly swim by and sharks, sting rays, and a high diversity of colorful fishes can usually be seen. During a Zodiac cruise around Champion Islet not only seabirds such as Nazca Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, or Red-billed Tropicbirds will be seen, it is also possible to spot the rare Floreana Mockingbird.
Floreana Island’s northernmost point is called Punta Cormorant – named after the British naval vessel HMS Cormorant and dating back to the late 19th century. From the landing beach a short track leads to a shallow lagoon that is famous for its flamingos. The brilliantly pink birds skim the salty waters for shrimp and tend to chicks on the nest. The trail then scales a low hillside through scattered Palo Santo trees to reveal an idyllic white-sand beach on the other side of the point. Standing at the edge of the lapping waves, you might spot mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves out of the sea to lay eggs in the sugar sand dunes that lay high above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, Yellow Warblers, and Medium and Small Ground Finches.

Day 6

Santa Cruz Highlands and Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Puerto Ayora

Los Gemelos (The Twins) is a visitor site in the Santa Cruz highlands. Found some 15 kilometers northwest of Puerto Ayora, the road leading from Puerto Ayora in the south of Santa Cruz to Itabaca in the north dissects the twin pit craters. Pit craters are formed when the roof of an underground void collapses. The smaller pit crater is on the eastern side of the road, while the larger one is on the western side. See from above, the two openings in the ground are not at all identical. Their layout might imply an elongated magma chamber or a lava tube leading further west and the larger twin actually having formerly been two small pit craters whose connecting wall collapsed as well. Trails through a Scalesia forest not only give access to good views of the pit craters, but also permit to observe some of the smaller land birds. Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Doves, Medium Ground Finches and several other finch species can often be seen there.
Silver Origin will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the centre’s captive breeding and reintroduction programs. In addition to these star species, throughout the station there are huge prickly pear cactus trees being fed upon by the pretty Galapagos Cactus Finch. To round out the stay in Puerto Ayora, enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafés.

Day 7

Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz), Isla Guy Fawkes and Bahía Borrero, Santa Cruz

Cerro Dragón’s land iguanas once played an important part in a conservation program headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When the reptiles’ numbers declined in the 1970s, some animals were taken to breed in captivity and were released back into undeveloped areas. Today, it is an honor to see the success of this program firsthand at Cerro Dragón. Walk inland on a trail past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos, to see the reintroduced animals. In a periodic local phenomenon, during rainier times the salinity in the lagoons drops with the inflow of freshwater. As a consequence crustacean populations decline, which in turn means the shorebirds become scarce.
In the northern area of Santa Cruz Island, Bahía Borrero is a beautiful white coralline beach used as a nesting site by Green Sea turtles. Behind the dunes, we have a forest of typical vegetation from the arid zone: Palo Santo, Leather leaf, and Salty bushes. This vegetation welcomes Yellow Warblers, and some of the most characteristic species of Darwin Finches, such as the Common Cactus Finch or the Small Ground Finch. This extinct volcano, due to its altitude, shows all the different zones of vegetation, changing from the littoral to the arid, and then with more moisture into the humid zone, to end in the dry pampa zone. It is an impressive landscape to enjoy while you swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or have a nice relaxing walk along the beach.

Day 8

Baltra

Disembarkation.
Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour, is truly the entrance to the Galapagos Islands. Despite not being considered as part of the National Park proper, Baltra definitely offers a taste of the weird and wonderful nature that thrives on the islands. The island is located in the central part of the archipelago. At just eight sq. mi it is one of smallest islands, yet its flat, volcanic rock surface and central location in the archipelago makes it an ideal place for one of the islands’ two airports. The airport was built by the US Air Force, who used it as an army base during WWII. As a travel destination in itself it offers few attractions, and all travellers who come here are just passing through, either on either way to or from the islands. There is no tourism infrastructure (save a few agencies that offer tours of the islands) or shops on Baltra and any purchases that you might wish to make should be done at the airport if they can. However, land iguanas and Galapagos finches are popular sights, and the iguanas are often seen running across the runway itself. As you cross the Itabaca Channel to or from Santa Cruz, be on the lookout for some other Galapagian locals: giant turtles and playful sea lions completely oblivious to the humans around.

Ship information

Galápagos Islands Luxury Cruise

Including return flights between Ecuador and Galápagos.

The weird and wonderful Galápagos Islands are definitely contenders for the world best travel destination. These are the islands where the animals look at humans curiously, rather than the other way around! Inspiring and educational, each island has its own species and strengths, ranging from miles of dramatic coastline to nesting colonies of endemic birds. The islands may be small, but be prepared for some big surprises! Ticking off all 15 species of the Galapagos Big 15, this seven day voyage is perfect for curious cruisers! From marine iguanas to Galapagos Hawks, to the iconic blue-footed boobie, no other place on Earth can compare to the Galapagos’ fusion of flora and fauna. Join us to explore the volcanic landscapes that time forgot, discover unique wildlife both above and below the sea, drinking in the drama and depth of natural history along the way.
Highlights

Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team • Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team • Isla Bartolomé & Santiago Island • Fernandina Island, Isabela Island and more • Amazing Wildlife & Snorkelling

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Ship information

Silver Origin

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 101 metres
Passenger Capacity: 100
Crew: 90
Built: 2020

The first destination specific ship built by Silversea, Silver Origin is the height of experiential travel in the Galápagos. Never before have the islands been so superbly presented: a team of Ecuadorian national expert guides, the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the Galápagos, 8 Zodiacs, seamless hybrid spaces that offer an extraordinary voyage – for extraordinary people. All-suite accommodation, Horizon Balconies, butler service, sophisticated interiors, interactive basecamp, Ecuadorian inspired cuisine … no aspect of Silver Origin has been left to chance. The most environmentally conscious ship we have ever built, take a vertical leap and transform your idea of travel with Silver Origin.

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