Poseidon Expeditions has rolled out its 2020-21 Arctic and Antarctic cruises on polar expedition ship Sea Spirit. Among them are five departures of Poseidon's most popular Arctic West Spitsbergen and the Polar Ice Edge cruise, ranging from nine to 12 days round trip from Longyearbyen; and its signature Franz Josef Land Archipelago cruise in the Russian High Arctic, which also operates round trip from Longyearbyen. There are six Antarctic Peninsula itineraries, and other cruises that visit South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, departing from either Montevideo or Ushuaia. Bookings made before July 31, 2019 attract early-bird discounts.
TWICE AS NICE
Ponant and National Geographic have joined forces in the 2019-20 cruise season to offer 18 expedition cruises in destinations that stretch from Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to Antarctica, Greenland and Spitsbergen, and from Micronesia and the Solomon Islands to the Indian Ocean's Aldabra Lagoon, the world's largest coral atoll. Cruises will be accompanied by Ponant's regular expedition team, as well as destination experts and photographers from National Geographic. This season is only a taste of what is to come, with the new collaboration set to offer more than 130 expedition cruises by 2021.
Phone 1300 737 178. See au.ponant.com
Tall-ship specialist Star Clippers has announced a new itinerary in south-east Asia for 2020 that includes Cambodia for the first time, and also varies many of its other calls in the Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian islands. Star Clipper will visit Koh Rong, a Cambodian wildlife destination with dense forests ringed by kilometres of beaches, and Sihanoukville, a coastal city similarly known for its almost uninterrupted string of beaches. An optional, overnight excursion is available for passengers wishing to visit the temple complex at Angkor Wat.
Phone 1300 295 161. See starclippers.com
Ecruising is offering an 18-night Grandeur of New Zealand journey departing on January 16, 2020, which combines a 16-night cruise on Silver Muse followed by two nights in Auckland. The journey starts in Sydney and sails to Melbourne, Burnie and Hobart before setting course for New Zealand. Among the highlights will be sailing through Fiordland National Park's Doubtful, Dusky and Milford sounds; the South Island ports of Dunedin and Christchurch; and North Island destinations including Wellington and Napier, renowned for its art deco architecture and the nearby wineries of Hawkes Bay.
Phone 1300 369 848. See ecruising.travel
TOUR DE FORCE
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced two shore-excursion innovations designed to offer travellers more bespoke small-group experiences in 2019. Go Local tours allow for encounters with interesting locals, such as goat farmers in Andalusia in order to learn about cheese-making, residents of Portofino to learn about fishing, or an encounter with artists in their studios on Palma de Mallorca. In Crete, guests visit Kroussonas village and meet bootmakers, bakers and folk dancers. Meanwhile, Regent Choice tours are small versions of existing shore excursions, limited to 16 guests for a more personal engagement with guides.
Phone 1300 455 200. See rssc.com.au