Ponant on track with launches of its new Explorer series of ships

NEW ADVENTURE

Coral Expeditions' new vessel Coral Adventurer arrived in Australian waters for the first time earlier this month when it docked in Darwin following its 18-day maiden voyage from Singapore. The ship is heading for a five-month season in the Kimberley, where it joins Coral Discoverer and Coral Expeditions 1 on the company's 10-night itineraries between Darwin and Broome (or the reverse). The ship, which has 60 cabins, is designed to take passengers to out-of-the-way places inaccessible to larger cruise ships, and carries a fleet of Zodiacs and an expert expedition crew.

Phone 1800 079 545. See coralexpeditions.com

FRENCH FLEET

Luxury expedition company Ponant continues on track with launches of its new Explorer series of ships. Third vessel Le Bougainville made its maiden voyage in Spain in April and will be officially inaugurated on June 4, during which month Ponant's fourth new ship, Le Dumont-d'Urville, also sets sail. Three other ships are scheduled for April and July 2020 and May 2021. Ponant's Explorer series ships have 92 cabins, all with either balcony or terrace, cutting-edge technology, Clean Ship eco-certification and the world-first underwater viewing lounge, known as Blue Eye. By 2021, Ponant will have a fleet of 12 ships offering 460 cruises worldwide.

Phone 1300 737 178. See au.ponant.com

CANADA BY CATAMARAN

Canadian ecotourism pioneer Maple Leaf Adventures has launched the first ship designed specifically for luxury expeditions along Canada's spectacular west coast. The 42-metre, 24-guest catamaran Cascadia sails its inaugural voyage this month and will offer regular itineraries along the west coast that include the Haida Gwaii Islands, Great Bear Rainforest, Vancouver Island, southern British Columbia's fiords, and more sedate wine cruising through the picturesque Gulf Islands. It joins the company's two other vessels, Maple Leaf and Swell, to offer encounters with wildlife such as whales and bears, and access to coastal experts such as First Nations elders.

See mapleleafadventures.com

COLD COMFORTS

Heritage Expeditions has announced three new cruises among its 2019-20 itineraries in the sub-Antarctic and Antarctic, which will see the return of polar exploration vessel Akademik Shokalskiy. The additional voyages are a 30-day Ross Sea adventure, In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton, a 13-day Galapagos of the Southern Ocean exploration of Australia and New Zealand's sub-Antarctic Islands, and a 25-day east Antarctic In the Wake of Mawson itinerary to Commonwealth Bay. The cruises are accompanied by a team of naturalists, botanists, historians and experts who lead excursions and give on-board lectures.

Phone 1800 143 585. See heritage-expeditions.com

DOUBLE VISION

Aqua Expeditions has announced two new additions to its fleet. Aqua Blu is Aqua Expeditions' first coastal ship, and the first long-range expedition-class yacht to be permanently based in the East Indonesian Archipelago. It launches on November 16, 2019, and will primarily serve three destinations on seven-night coastal cruise itineraries, namely Ambon and the Spice Islands, Raja Ampat, and Komodo National Park. Meanwhile new river-cruise ship Aqua Nera will sail to the Peruvian Amazon from August 1, 2020, offering three-, four- and seven-night cruises on tributaries of the Amazon and in Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.

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Phone 1300 124 204. See aquaexpeditions.com

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