Lindblad Expeditions invented the concept of expedition-cruising and has been in the business for more than 50 years. It is also recognised as a global leader in responsible tourism and, over the years, in partnership with National Geographic, has raised more than $US17 million in donations for conservation projects. It has already eliminated single-use plastics across its fleet, buys sustainable seafood, makes crew uniforms from recycled plastic and is building new ships that reduce emissions.
Taking its commitment to the environment to the next level, Lindblad is making the entire company carbon neutral. That means it is investing in projects such as those generating renewable energy, to offset its carbon emissions from everything from the fuel burned by its ships to the energy demands of its office buildings, flights taken by its field and office staff to its land-based excursions.
Sven Lindblad, chief executive and founder of Lindblad Expeditions, spoke recently about the dramatic effects of climate change that he and his teams have observed in their travels.
"There are many but specifically, we're seeing receding glaciers in the Arctic and Alaska, and significantly less and thinner ice in much of the Arctic," he says. "Warmer seas globally are causing more and more coral bleaching and also affecting wildlife – for example, the Adelie penguin population in the Antarctic peninsula is decreasing.
"As a company, we recognise that global climate change is arguably the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. We all need to urgently step up our efforts whether big or small," Lindblad says. "The message is clear: we must rebalance and rebalance urgently."
VOYAGER UPS THE ANTE
Regular summer visitor Voyager of the Seas is set to arrive in Sydney in November sporting $US97 million worth of thrilling new features, following its Royal Amplification modernisation in Singapore. Kids of all ages can ride twin high-speed, twisting waterslides Perfect Storm down three decks and play laser tag in the glow-in-the-dark Planet Z arena; grown-ups can indulge in the refreshed Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre and escape to the updated adults-only Solarium; a new nursery for babies opens its doors for the first time; and teens get their own exclusive hangout. See royalcaribbean.com.au
NOT JUST FOR VEGANS
Joining sister line Oceania, Regent Seven Seas is introducing an extensive array of plant-based dishes on menus across its fleet. From October this year, more than 200 gourmet plant-based selections will be offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner to meet the evolving tastes of luxury travellers who are following vegan or vegetarian lifestyles, or just enjoy having a greater selection of meat-free mains and sides. Dishes will be taken from global cuisines including Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian and Malaysian. See rssc.com
Following the success of its Antarctic voyages on board Seabourn Quest and its Ventures by Seabourn shore-tour program, the ultra-luxe Seabourn line is adding two all-suite, 264-passenger expedition vessels to its fleet. The first, Seabourn Venture, is due to make its maiden voyage in July 2021 and the second in May 2022. There will be no risk of roughing it on these ships, even in challenging polar conditions. All the lavishly appointed suites will have verandas and built-in heated jacket wardrobes, while public spaces such as the Discovery Centre, Discovery Lounge and atrium will be decked out with custom-built furniture and original artworks. See seabourn.com
MOSEY ALONG THE MOSELLE
For those who enjoy exploring independently while cruising Europe's waterways, UTracks offers dozens of boating and biking combinations, including an eight-day Moselle barge and bike holiday. Available until mid-October, the 68-passenger MS Patria travels between Germany's Koblenz and Saarburg, a region famous for its ancient vineyards and impressive castles. Guests can explore towns, villages and vineyards every day on self-guided rides – seven-speed bikes, maps, route notes, daily briefings and picnic lunches are provided; breakfast and dinner are served on board. Fares start from $1430. See utracks.com
Which of these is the most popular destination for Australian cruisers: the Mediterranean, Caribbean or Pacific Islands? Last week's answer: Viking River Cruises
This practical and inspiring guide gives you the lowdown on the world of cruising, for first-timers and seasoned cruisers alike. It's packed with essential advice and expert tips on everything from finding the right cruise and booking a great deal, to travelling with a family, solo or as a couple. This ultimate trip-planning tool also features the best destinations for beaches, adventure, culture, chartering and more. The Cruise Handbook will have travellers ready to take to the seas in no time. RRP$29.99. See lonelyplanet.com
MEREDITH STURMAN, BALGOWNIE, NSW
NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN 31
LAST CRUISE A 17-night cruise from Buenos Aires to Antarctica on Azamara Pursuit. This was packaged by ecruising.travel and included land tours in Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls. My husband and I travelled with a great group of people and seeing Antarctica up close was as amazing as you'd expect. Cruising on a mid-size ship to Antarctica means you can't set foot on the continent but you can get up close to spectacular icebergs and glaciers, while you have all the comforts of a larger ship, including a smoother ride across the Drake Passage.
NEXT CRUISE The Dark MOFO event cruise with P&O Cruises. Their event cruises are really well organised, and we spend two nights in Hobart for the MONA winter festival.
DREAM SHIP We love ships that have great food and wine, and find smaller all-inclusive ships a real luxury, but we also love the variety on larger ships. We haven't been on a ship we haven't liked yet.
DREAM CRUISE Barcelona to Southampton visiting all the small ports in southern Spain and Portugal.
DREAM PORT Although it's controversial, the views of Venice are spectacular as you cruise past St Mark's Square.
BEST CRUISE TIP Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara have cross-brand recognition in their loyalty programs, so it's worth making sure your profiles are linked so you can get some nice perks like free internet and laundry.