Prana by Atzaro: Indonesian Island-Hop on the Ultimate Phinisi Super-Yacht

Owned by Atzaro, the luxe Ibizan hospitality group, this stunning Phinisi super-yacht is the largest of its kind in the world. Voyages explore the remote Indonesian Coral Triangle, following the trade winds to some of the world’s most inaccessible and dreamy islands.

Prana Indonesia map
Indonesia

Designed to reflect the ancient Indonesian double-masted Phinisi sailing vessels, this 180-foot ship is entirely handmade from ironwood and teak according to traditional methods.

Prana overhead
Prana

Beyond this authentic backdrop Prana gives way to pure luxury. Nine beautiful suites, with en-suite bathrooms and deluxe furnishings, are carefully placed across four decks ensuring privacy and wonderful sea views from floor-to -ceiling windows.

A Prana Suite
A Prana Suite

Daily sun salutations on the yoga deck start the day followed by an outdoor breakfast and a leisurely rest on one of the sumptuous day beds; perfectly placed to watch the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean drift by.

Prana yoga
Morning Yoga

Days are as active or restful as you like. A range of water sports and spa treatments are offered on board as well as carefully curated shore-based adventures.

Relax on deck
Relax on Deck

During May to October, Prana visits the Komodo National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the famous ‘dragons’, stunning pink beaches and pristine waters. If you seek adventure, the ship’s resident dive expert hosts specialist diving trips to explore the protected reefs.

Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park

In the shoulder seasons of autumn and spring, Prana traverses the remote Banda Islands. Famously part of the colonial spice trade, this heavenly part of the world is rich in myth and legend. Dominated by the grand Mount Api, the landscape gives way to virgin rainforest, white-sandy beaches and coral cliffs plunging deep into an ocean brimming with marine life.

Prana Spice Islands
The Banda Islands

The islands of Raja Ampat are Prana’s destination from December until April. Nestled in the heart of the Coral Triangle, these lost islands are home to prehistoric caves, hidden lagoons, forgotten tribes and some of the best diving in the world. There are ten times the number of hard coral species here as found in the Caribbean.

Diving the Reefs
Diving the Reefs

Prana is quite simply a haven after such exhilarating days ashore. Chefs prepare the very finest regional dishes served either under the stars, in the elegant lounge or on a deserted island beach. Old and new wines complement the cuisine along with a collection of carefully chosen cocktails, beers and spirits. After dinner the open-air cinema beckons or simply an early night to the sound of gently lapping waves.

Prana sunset
Sunset on Prana

What we like ….

  • guided access to remote areas of the world
  • a perfect balance of nurturing rest and adventure
  • a unique private charter

www.pranabyatzaro.com

Photos courtesy of Atzaro

 

 

Explore California with exciting new expedition cruise ship – National Geographic Venture

Lindblad National Geographic
Lindblad National Geographic

Lindblad Expeditions introduce the exciting new National Geographic Venture with two new and unique itineraries to California. These inaugural voyages explore the Pacific coast, before Venture begins her season in Baja, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Cannery Row, Monterey, CA.
Cannery Row, Monterey, CA.

The first inaugural voyage, COASTAL CALIFORNIA BY SEA, departs from San Francisco on December 2nd 2018. Joined by Sven Lindblad, CEO and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions, this is a five-night tour stretching from the Golden Gate Bridge to Santa Catalina Islands.

Highlights include:

  • A stunning sunset cocktail cruise through San Francisco’s picturesque harbour
  • Behind-the-scenes access to Northern CA’s acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium and Southern CA’s architecturally stellar Catalina Casino
  • Exploring key coastal sites and islands including Angel Island, Sausalito, Monterey and Point Lobos, Avila Beach and Catalina Island.
Adobe Guadalupe Winery and Inn, Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe.
Adobe Guadalupe Winery and Inn, Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe.

The second trip, FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO BAJA: SAILING THE PACIFIC COASTdeparts from San Francisco on December 7th 2018. This 12-night cruise travels from Los Angeles to La Paz in Mexico bringing together fine food and wine, snorkelling in Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, visiting the Vizcaino Biosphere and the residents of Isla Natividad. Migrating whales and nesting birds are commonly sighted in the area and National Geographic naturalists are on hand throughout the voyage.

Blue Whale
Blue Whale

Highlights include:

  • Snorkel in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, the only hard coral reef in North America; featuring over 220 species of fish
  • Learn about the region’s culture with exclusive visits to the world’s largest salt mine in Guerrero Negro; and tour the small fish processing plant of Isla Natividad’s fishing coop
  • Explore the ever-shifting sand dunes of Isla Magdalena and count the 40 species of birds inhabit this area
  • See why everyone is talking about the vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe
  • Watch the sunrise illuminate El Arco de Cabo San Lucas
National Geographic Quest
National Geographic Quest

National Geographic Venturesister ship of National Geographic Quest is designed as a 50-cabin coastal expedition vessel. Sweeping views from the lounge and deck encourage wildlife and shoreline viewing at close range. Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructors accompany passengers on the voyage, offering advice and experience for the ultimate photo captures.  Zodiacs take guests on specialist trips to explore coastal areas and marine mammals; the ship will also change course to follow wildlife sightings  when possible. Kayaks, snorkelling and hiking allow guests to explore the fascinating marine and remote landscapes while the onboard facilities offer respite in the form of a well-stocked library, spa and a wealth of enrichment lectures and activities.

Sunset of Anacapa Island
Sunset of Anacapa Island

www.expeditions.com

 

 

Melting Away: Kimberley is the Hot Choice for Cool Expedition Cruising

Saltwater crocodile

Good news for sun-loving adventure junkies … expedition cruising doesn’t have to be cold! Despite the growing popularity of cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica, the stunning north-west of Australia is emerging as a hot spot in more ways than one. As well as the reliable sunshine and high temperatures, Kimberley is also a remote wilderness, threaded with winding rivers and framed by a rocky coastline, home to thumping waterfalls, deep gorges, dangerous crocodiles, scorching desert and rocky mountains burning red in the fiery light.

Small ship cruising is a fantastic way to explore this fascinating wilderness. Ponant, Silversea and Lindblad all offering stunning itineraries. Generally Kimberley cruises are bookended by tropical Darwin, a lively outpost surrounded by the turquoise water of the Timor Sea, and the cosmopolitan beach town of Broome, famous for a stunning beach and friendly atmosphere. This part of Australia follows a tropical monsoon climate with distinct dry (May to October) and wet (November to April) seasons. The best time to cruise is immediately following the wet season when waterfalls and rivers are at their most exciting, although cruises do depart all through the dry season until May.

Broome
Broome

Here are our top highlights for an expedition cruise to Kimberley.

Bungle Bungle Mountain Range
Bungle Bungle Mountain Range

Wyndham is the gateway to the Bungle Bungle mountain range in Purnululu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rich in Aboriginal culture, the area is known for the strange orange and black geological formations found across the landscape.  Scenic flights are offered here, as are trips along the Ord river where freshwater crocodiles, fruit-bats, short-eared rock wallabies, mangrove herons and mangrove gerygones are sure to be spotted.

Zodiac Visits King George Falls
Zodiac Visits King George Falls

The breathtaking King George Falls are twin cascading waterfalls with drops of 80 metres, making them the highest in north-western Australia.  Zodiac tours travel to the base of the waterfall, past towering ancient Warton sandstone cliffs.

Mitchell Falls
Mitchell Falls

Hunter River is an immense network of narrow mangrove channels, home to the notoriously dangerous saltwater crocodile. Many cruise lines offer helicopter flightseeing excursions to the famous Mitchell Falls Plateau and Mitchell Falls, where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the Mitchell River.

Aboriginal Artwork at Raft Point
Aboriginal Artwork at Raft Point

Raft Point is the is the site of the incredible outdoor Aboriginal Wandjina art gallery. Guided hikes take guests to the top of Raft Point to enjoy far-reaching views of the bay in the shade of the overhanging cliff, which is home to the Wandjina Spirit.

Montgomery Reef
Montgomery Reef

Montgomery Reef  is one of Kimberley’s iconic wonders. This famous tidal movement is massive; at just under 400km2 it is Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals. As the tide drops a raging torrent of water cascades off the top of the reef and the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean. Zodiac tours take guest close the the myriad of waterfalls appearing along the reef.

Horizontal Falls

Talbot Bay, described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world” is also known as the ‘Horizontal Waterfalls’. This pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range are approximately 300m apart with massive tidal differences of up to 10.8m on a spring tide. As seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, a waterfall appears up to 4m high.

Silver Discoverer
Silver Discoverer

Images courtesy of Silversea

Kimberley Waterfall
Kimberley Waterfall

 

 

Ultimate Guide: Expedition Cruising

Expedition cruising is making a big splash. As the fastest growing segment of the cruise market, the opportunities for adventurous travellers are exciting, unique and unexpected. From barren ice-covered landscapes to tropical jungles, modern day cruisers can choose to explore in luxury or skim the waves in hardy research vessels.

Galapagos Penguins with Lindblad
Galapagos Penguins with Lindblad

Typically, expedition cruising involves smaller ships sailing intrepid itineraries to the world’s least visited places. These hidden gems, once discovered by courageous explorers, are home to pristine environments and lesser-known cultures. From the white vistas of Antarctica to the abundant wildlife of the Galapagos Islands or the tropical paradise of Papua New Guinea – these cruises are ALL about the experience.

Attracting sophisticated travellers seeking enrichment and engagement, exploration voyages place great emphasis on destination immersion. Expedition teams are abundant in their knowledge and skills; tailoring excursions to suit the interests of guests and ensuring a well-rounded, authentic experience. Expedition cruisers tend to be physically fit, curious, intelligent and brave with a love of nature and an open-mind to unfamiliar cultures. Although expedition cruising very much appeals to the established cruise traveller, the younger demographic is also showing strong interest along with first-time cruisers who previously shunned the large party-boat cruises on offer.

Endeavour II
National Geographic Endeavour II

Vessels are specially adapted to the environments they visit, in particular polar vessels have ice-strengthened hulls. Shipyards can barely keep up with the number of new expedition ships on order. Leading cruise lines are embracing the demand for exploration cruises and the investment needed to provide first-class, environment-adapted and high-technology vessels.

Hurtigruten in Orne Harbor Antarctica
Hurtigruten in Orne Harbor Antarctica

Some lines still follow the time-honoured style of expedition cruises with clean and comfortable ships focused more on the destination than fine-dining and champagne. Others, on the other hand, are meeting a very real demand from discerning clients who expect to enjoy their home comforts as they sail to the furthest reaches of the globe. Luxury is most certainly an integral part of the design for the newest ships expected to launch over the next few years. Notably Ponant, Scenic and Crystal have ships due with all the embellishments and accoutrements of the six-star cruise experience.

Artist Impression of Crystal Endeavour
Artist Impression of Crystal Endeavour

Sustainability is obviously a major issue tied to the growth of expedition cruising. The very nature of the places featured on such itineraries is their untouched habitats, small communities and unsullied environments. Advances in technology, along with strict environmental controls, hope to preserve these places for the future, allowing naturally curious humans to visit without leaving damage literally in their wake. Many leading experts will keep a watchful eye over this growing area of tourism, ensuring the highest standards are maintained. Visitor numbers are to be kept low and new technology aims to reduce any impact from the ship. Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen will be the first pure hybrid commercial cruise ship to enter service when it is introduced later this year.

Solomon Islands with Silversea
Solomon Islands with Silversea

Countering the undeniable environmental and cultural concerns raised by a growth in exploration cruising, it is important to identify that such travellers often come away from their trip with an enhanced perspective on the natural world and indigenous cultures. Most return home with a determination to protect these important places and raise awareness of the issues threatening their importance to our world.

Galapagos Orcas with Lindblad
Galapagos Orcas with Lindblad

Images courtesy of Hurtigruten, Lindblad, Silversea and Crystal

Radar: Positive move towards protecting Arctic marine environment

In response to a sharp rise in Arctic shipping traffic, Russia and the US are collaborating on a new two-way shipping route in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea. Increased commercial shipping traffic in the area, which notably includes a growth in the number of expedition cruise ships sailing off the Alaskan islands and coast, poses a significant risk to the sensitive Arctic marine environment.

Although only intended as voluntary at the moment, precautionary sustainable practices of this type go towards protecting these precious areas; whose pristine environments form the very basis for expedition cruising in the first place. The International Maritime Organisation will discuss the proposal in February.

Radar: Specialist Yards attract Expedition Vessel Builds

Roald Amundsen
Roald Amundsen

Consumer demand to explore the world’s remote locations by cruise ship is growing at an exciting pace. Exploration cruise vessel construction is booming as cruise lines seek to meet this need with technologically advanced, environmentally sensitive and highly customised ships for polar and tropical itineraries.

Specialist shipbuilders, feeling the effects of a declining oil and gas industry, are moving quickly to fill this niche. European yards are dominating the market just now, with Norway clearly the strongest contributor. Other global players are showing an interest in this sector, in particular the Chinese.

VARD, a Norwegian subsidiary of cruise ship construction giant Fincantieri, has orders from French luxury cruise company Ponant and TUI/Hapag- Lloyd Cruises for polar-class vessels. Australian Coral Expeditions have also instructed VARD to build their new expedition vessel intended to tackle the Great Barrier Reef, Kimberley region, Cape York and Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, South Pacific Islands, Tasmania and south east Asia.

Ulstein
Ulstein Yard

Again in Norway, Ulstein won the new Lindblad contracts and the Kleven shipyard has the latest Hurtigruten vessels underway. Other European yards are enjoying success securing new builds too, such as the Netherlands-based De Hoop – who won the contract to build Celebrity Cruise’s Celebrity Flora despite never having built an ocean cruise liner before. This vessel is destined for the popular Galapagos Islands.

Some features of these new vessels include zero-speed stabilisers to allow the ship to remain in a stationary position without dropping anchor on a sensitive sea bed, LNG and Hydrogen fuel cell ready systems, expanded fuel and water tanks to provide for longer endurance ranges in remote areas, helicopter landing platforms, submarine vehicles and Zodiac launches.

SeaXplorer
SeaXplorer

Luxury expedition yachts for small groups are also part of this growth trend, with the Dutch Damen yard and yacht builder AMELS collaborating on an IMO Polar Code compliant SeaXplorer designed for only 12 guests and 25 crew.

Photos courtesy of Hurtigruten, Ulstein, Damen and Ponant

New Cruise Ships for 2018 – Hurtigruten: MS Roald Amundsen

MS Roald Amundsen, launching in 2018, is one of two hybrid cruise ships on order from leading exploration cruise line, Hurtigruten.

Pioneering a more sustainable approach to cruise travel, the MS Roald Amundsen is designed by Rolls Royce and currently in construction at the Kleven shipyard in Norway. The hybrid technology, which cuts emissions by sailing with electrical propulsion, works in combination with advanced hull construction and effective use of electricity on board. This should reduce fuel consumption and CO2-emissions by 20 percent.

Roald Amundsen Hybrid
Hybrid technology

Accommodating 350 guests, the MS Roald Amundsen is designed for remote polar waters, providing a luxurious and well-equipped base for adventurous travellers. Guests can expect first-class accommodation; from the Expedition Suites with expansive windows, balconies and private outside jacuzzi to Artic Superior or Outside Polar class cabins.

Roald Amundsen Exploration Suite
Expedition Suite

Decor on the MS Roald Amundsen is inspired by the natural Scandinavian environment; with birch, oak, granite and wool used in the many lounges and bars. Three restaurants serving Norwegian and locally-inspired food are planned along with an infinity pool and large observation area.

Roald Amundsen Infinity Pool
Infinity Pool

Of particular note is the high-tech activity centre, where the expert Expedition Team are on hand to answer questions, provide training and give lectures. The use of Virtual Reality technology enhances the  understanding of the surrounding environment.

Roald Amundsen Activity Centre
Activity Centre

The MS Roald Amundsen is effectively a base camp for exploring the remote polar waters of Antarctica. Itineraries to this isolated and pristine continent will explore the wildlife and spectacular landscape with expert-led tours.

Roald Amundsen Itinerary
An Antarctica journey

Images courtesy of www.hurtigruten.co.uk

 

 

Radar: Silversea partners with iconic photographer Steve McCurry

Silversea has announced an exciting partnership with renowned photographer Steve McCurry to document the ambitious expansion of their fleet and destination portfolio. The creative pairing with this legendary master of visual storytelling promises unique insights into the authentic and immersive experiences Silversea offers guests.

Silversea’s purpose-built fleet of nine ultra-luxurious vessels, including the recently added Silver Muse, are sleek and nimble, allowing them to access secluded ports and off-the-beaten-track destinations. The luxury and expedition itineraries offer guests more than 850 destinations in more than 130 countries on all seven continents.

Silver Muse
Silver Muse

Steve McCurry, who is best known for his haunting portrait of a green-eyed Afghan refugee girl in National Geographic, is one of the world’s leading photographers and has been recognised with the Robert Capa Gold Medal, the National Press Photographers Award, and four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest.

Steve McCurry
Steve McCurry

In July Steve joined Silversea on a trip to the Virunga Mountains in East Africa where he focused his lens on the few remaining mountain gorillas living there.

Further trips are planned to Istanbul, Sicily and Svalbard. Images from these adventures can be seen at www.steveandsilversea.com

 

Photos courtesy of Silversea and Steve McCurry.

Radar: Lindblad adds more Antarctic value

Lindblad South Georgia
South Georgia King Penguins

Lindblad Expeditions are offering flights direct to or from The Falkland Islands on two select voyages on National Geographic’s Explorer later this year, removing a full day at sea. Guests can enjoy the extra time either on the life-changing Antarctic Peninsula or in South Georgia, depending on which trip they have chosen. 

Lindblad South Georgia
Southern Elephant Seals in South Georgia

A one way direct flight from the Falklands to Santiago on the 18-day South Georgia and the Falklands trip on October 23, 2017 results in a day more to enjoy the insights of Global Perspectives Guest Speaker Greg Marshall, wildlife expert and National Geographic filmmaker – not to mention the 100,000+ penguin colonies of South Georgia.

Lindblad Antarctica Landing
National Geographic Explorer Parks on the Ice

Alternatively, on the 24-day Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland’s departure on November 6, 2017, guests can choose to fly from Santiago to the Falklands to give extra time on the stunning Antarctic peninsula.  U.S. Arctic Research Chair Frances Ulmer and former astronaut and oceanographer, Kathy Sullivan join the trip.

Photos courtesy of Lindblad

 

Best Cruises: Iceland

Following on from our feature on Iceland we pick our top cruises to the Land of Fire and Ice.

Windstar: Around Iceland Reykjavik to Reykjavik

Windstar Iceland Cruise
Iceland with Windstar

Windstar, the niche provider of yacht-style ultra-luxurious cruises, takes the graceful Star Legend to Iceland on a circumnavigational tour of this magical place. With the cruise line’s ethos firmly rooted in traditional sailing Windstar offer a unique perspective on Iceland; finding secluded bays and rarely seen wildlife, able to stay longer in special places, giving guests an authentic experience and real sense of the true Iceland. Although the Star Legend is a motorised vessel, with no masts or sails, it still has the intimacy of the original Windstar brand, offering a small-scale private-yacht experience. Equalling any exploration cruise in terms of accessing remote places, the Star Legend also carries passengers in total style and comfort.

Iceland Cruise Godafoss Waterfall
Godafoss

The trip, starting and finishing in Reykjavik, visits many geological wonders as well as the iconic Icelandic waterfalls, thermal waters and national parks. Highlights include Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which rose from the sea in the 1960s making it one of the world’s youngest places and the Viking Sushi Experience where pristine seafood is caught and instantly prepared for guests onboard a small local fishing trawler as whales and sea-eagles glide and soar nearby. Departures in July and August 2017. www.windstarcruises.com

Lindblad Expeditions: A Circumnavigation of Iceland

Hurtigruten Iceland Cruise
Jokulsarlon glacier

This professional and well-rounded itinerary truly captures the drama, intrigue and history of Iceland as it takes guests on a ten-day voyage around the whole island. Visits to Reykjavik and the established (and busy) tourist sites on the famous Golden Circle tick obvious boxes but Lindblad, in keeping with their strong expedition focus, then seeks out the rugged western frontier and remote north-east coastline.

Lindblad Iceland Cruise
Blue Lagoon

Sailing on either the National Geographic Orion or the National Geographic Explorer, the curious and adventurous traveller experiences world-class field geology, expert-led hiking and kayaking, Zodiac tours of hidden places and surreal scenery. Iceland is a first-rate photography destination after all. Of course itineraries can change, sometimes due to the weather, but with Lindblad this is more often to take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or to linger over exceptional light. Expeditions are scheduled for July 2017 and June/July 2018. www.expeditions.com

Azamara: Fjords and Iceland Voyage

Azamara Iceland cruise
The Colours of Iceland

Azamara Journey embarks on a summer voyage to Iceland with stops in Denmark, Norway, The Faroe Islands, Scotland and England – it’s common for an Iceland cruise to incorporate visits to other Northern European destinations.  Three days are spent in Iceland, out of a total of twelve, with two of these docked in the lively and cosmopolitan capital, Reykjavik. This vibrant city is an excellent base to explore the waterfalls, geysers, lava fields and thermal waters of The Golden Circle; Iceland’s famous tourist trail.

Azamara Iceland cruise Akureyri
Akureyri

A further day is spent in Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city, where the unexpected botanical gardens are located. Two thousand species of native and foreign plants grow here, surprisingly without greenhouse cover despite the Arctic location. Departure date is July 2017. www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk

Hurtigruten: The Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes of Iceland

Hurtigruten Cruise Iceland
Heimaey

With a heritage dating back to 1893 and widely regarded as a leader in Arctic exploration cruises, Hurtigruten is a popular choice for an Icelandic cruise. The Grand Arctic Traverse is a stunning nineteen-day voyage starting in the picturesque Lofoten Islands then travelling to the isolated island of Jan Mayen, followed by Iceland and finishing in Greenland. However, with only three days spent in Iceland, the alternative Elves, Sagas and Volcanoes of Iceland circumnavigates the island and is ideal for travellers seeking a comprehensive and exciting Icelandic experience.

Hurtigruten Iceland Cruise
Hornbjerg Cliff

MS Spitsbergen, a polar-class vessel, takes a full twelve days to sail around the coast. Itineraries are suggested only, with the final journey being determined en-route according to weather and opportunities – this is a true expedition cruise. As well as visits to the established thermal bathing sites and waterfalls, the captain usually stops at remote islands such as Siglufjörður and Grimsby, where guests can access wildlife and geological sites by Polarcirkel boats, and the Westman Islands which are famous for their volcanic activity and whale-spotting. Exploration cruises sail in June and July 2017. www.hurtigruten.co.uk

Images courtesy of Windstar, Lindblad, Azamara, Hurtigruten

Lindblad – French Polynesia and South Pacific

Lindblad National Geographic cruise

In March 2018, Lindblad Expedition’s National Geographic Orion sets sail for French Polynesia and the South Pacific on exciting new itineraries.

Lindblad Cruise Tahiti South Pacific

The purpose built expedition vessel plans visits to Fiji, the Cook Islands and Easter Island – amongst other exciting destinations.

Highlights include:

Lindblad Cruise National Geographic

the Pitcairn Islands, identified as one of most unspoiled reef systems in the world and home to the fairy tern,

Lindblad Cruise South Pacific diving

snorkelling the stunning reefs of Fakarava, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve,

Lindblad Cruise South Pacific

exploring the Marquesas, one of the most remote and culturally unique island groups on Earth,

Lindblad National Geographic Cruise

and experiencing genuine Polynesian welcomes throughout Samoa as guests are welcomed into Fijian villages with traditional kava ceremonies.

Lindblad Cruise National Geographic

Part research vessel, part grand hotel, the 102-guest National Geographic Orion is outfitted with a roster of exploration tools including snorkeling gear for all guests, a SCUBA program that can accommodate up to 24 divers at a time with two dive masters, a glass bottom boat, kayaks, paddleboards, a state of the art remote operated vehicle (ROV) that reaches depths of up to 1,000 feet, and a fleet of Zodiacs.

Lindblad Cruise South Pacific

Photos courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Cruise Turtle South Pacific

www.expeditions.com

Lindblad – National Geographic Endeavour II

Via Lateral alta_retouchedA

Lindblad, the award-winning expedition cruise line, bring their masterfully re-designed, compact, expertly equipped and staffed, adventure-focused, mind-expanding National Geographic Endeavour II to the Galápagos this season.

Interiors

The newly refurbished ship cuts a confident path through these Pacific waters, mixing the grit of true exploration with comfort and class. The maiden voyage, a 17-Day Epic Galápagos Photography Expedition, is now underway, kick-starting the 2017 island trips which include an option to visit the historical and modern Inca culture of Peru on some tours.

Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki)

There’s something seductive about the Endeavour II … it’s rugged, approachable, keen to get up close and personal and is not without a little risk. The name of this vessel, which unfolds from a floating mission control into a well-designed layout of cabins and public space, alludes to both a clear aim and the effort required achieving it. A trip like this is an undertaking, a commitment to embrace the world outside and all it offers.

Guest snorkeling with sea turtle in Galapagos. DER from 2005

The voyage with Endeavour II is excellent in itself and excellent for you; get on board and experience the therapeutic benefits of enrichment and exploits. Prepare to follow in the footsteps of Darwin, observe giant Galápagos tortoises with a leading naturalist guide, snorkel with sea lions, brush up on your wildlife snaps with the resident National Geographic photographer, watch sea green turtles from a glass-bottomed Zodiac, kayak beside penguins, stand on the bridge as you cross the Equator and spot the Southern Cross in the starry skies above.

ENII_Library View (2)

Elsewhere cabins induce restful sleep, the library encourages lingering over interesting books and maps, an informal ambience generates engaging conversation and the camaraderie of adventure creates life-long friendships.

GAL15_231216

The Endeavour II nourishes the soul.

www.expeditions.com

Photos courtesy of Lindblad