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Top Tips for Cruising the Galapagos Islands

clock 31st October 2019 | comment0 Comments
With wildlife that’s straight out of Walking with Dinosaurs, flora and fauna that thrives upon the volcanic landscape and an abundance of history to discover, a Galapagos cruise is a must for any world traveller. [More]


Ponant Partners With National Geographic

clock 1st October 2018 | comment0 Comments

The only French cruise line, Ponant is still relatively niche with British cruisers despite sailing luxury yacht cruises all around the world since 1988, offering bilingual, all-inclusive sailings to Alaska, the Indian Ocean and even the Amazon River. Having said this, with National Geographic selecting Ponant as their partner cruise line, we are set to see Ponant emerge fully onto the already growing British cruise market

Beating off fierce competition from their competitors such as Seabourn and Silversea in a partnership said be worth around 200 million euros, National Geographic was impressed by Ponant’s upholding of the non-profit organisation’s three core principles of adventure, education, and conservation.

 

 

With their luxury explorer yachts named after famous French explores, Laperouse, Champlain, Bougainville, Dumont-D’Urville, Surville and Bellot, Ponant are trailblazers when it comes to adventure and expedition cruising. Their small yachts have hull draughts of less than five metres, meaning Ponant’s fleet of luxury yachts can go closer to nature than other ships. Plus their new icebreaker, le Charcot, is the world’s first officially classified, cruising icebreaker-class ship. Their fantastic Blue Eye lounge even lets you be immersed in nature while aboard the ships too. The multi-sensory lounge is located 2.5 metres below sea level, and features a window in each side of the ship to gaze through, as well as hydrophones, and vibrating furniture to pick up and immerse you in your surroundings.

Education also plays a large part of the Ponant cruise experience. To fully appreciate the wonders you are seeing each day, Ponant provides fantastic lectures and excursions led by expert guides. Now in partnership with National Geographic, many of these excursions and presentations will be hosted by one of National Geographic’s own naturalists and photographers. Ponant are also dedicated to the communities they work with around the world, and take pride in showing their guests the real lives of people who live at one with nature. Experiences include everything from local aboriginal dances in Australasia to cooking seal outdoors with a native Alaskan fisherman. The partnership with National Geographic gives these communities even more of a chance to flourish.

 

Conservation is another factor that’s important to Ponant, and influences the creation of their life-changing itineraries and the design of their yachts. With their new icebreaker, le Charcot, Ponant are the first line to not only have a genuine icebreaker, but also have a hybrid powered cruise yacht with liquid natural gas engine. The result is a noise and toxin pollutant-free sailing, a dynamic positioning system rather than anchors that destroy fragile seabed ecosystems, energy saving lighting, liquid refrigeration, and even pollutant free paint. Ponant and National Geographic share a mission of showing the present generation the wonders of our world, and preserving it for those in future.

The amazing sailings from 31 July 2018 will go to all corners of the planet, from the poles to the tropics. Check out our Ponant sailings with National Geographic and start your adventure here.



Are Cruise Lines Becoming Greener?

clock 3rd September 2018 | comment0 Comments

Fans of cruising can often find themselves wondering, ‘what are cruise lines doing to help and contribute towards protecting the environment?’ There are in fact a number of initiatives to reduce waste and carbon emissions, including the use of solar panels as well as powering private islands with waste materials. Cruise companies have been making great strides in increasing sustainability and protecting the environment, and this will only increase in the future .

 

 

How Are Cruise Lines Protecting the Environment?

 

Many cruise lines have backed plans to protect the various environments on their itineraries in several ways. For example, there's now an alliance between Carnival Cruise Lines and the International SeaKeepers Society, which monitors water quality in locations visited by Carnival Triumph and Carnival Spirit. Equipment is has been built into these ships to gather data wherever they are. This is then relayed via satellite to scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami, where they can keep on top of the water quality levels.

However, this is merely one example of many systems in place for monitoring the environment's health. There are groups all around the world dedicated to tracking this kind of data, including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System.

 

What Changes Are Being Made to help the Environment?

 

One of the biggest and most common changes we’ve seen is to the hull on cruise ships. By painting the hull with silicon-based paint, the ships glide through water more efficiently, therefore saving fuel. Royal Caribbean Cruises have taken this a step further by designing aerodynamic hulls, increasing the benefit of this fuel-saving tactic.

Fuel is a key economic and environmental issue for cruise lines. Keeping the incredible ships afloat and operating at 100% takes a huge amount of energy. Today’s cruise ships can carry more 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew members - which is the equivalent of a small town - but measures can be made to increase the efficiency of the fuel used.

 

 

Here are some examples of other positive changes:

  • The US National Park Service has taken measures to reduce the environmental impact of cruising in Alaska, and there are strict regulations for the passage through Glacier Bay. Only one ship at a time is permitted to enter the bay and the number of total visits per season is also restricted.
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  • Holland America Line has partnered with the US National Park Service and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protect whales in the oceans. Together their programmes educate mariners about recognising when whales are in close proximity and how to avoid them.
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  • Royal Caribbean has invested $100 million into converting wastewater treatment systems into advanced purification systems, and also uses over 18 million gallons of biodiesel used each year, a much more sustainable, renewable alternative to diesel.
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  • Disney Cruise Line recycle the condensation from air conditioning units and use it for things such as laundry or cleaning decks, which saves gallons of water per day. They also recycle a mix of materials onboard; some of which is processed by their partners, Keep America Beautiful - an organization which is all about preserving the environment.
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  • Celebrity Cruises, have heat transfer windows that allow more light, which then reduces the cooling needed in the cabin.
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  • Norwegian Cruise Line have adopted a number of different strategies to protect the environment and increase sustainability. The cruise line uses eco-ballast technology which is a water treatment system ensuring the ship doesn’t send toxins into the water, and donates cooking oil to farmers in port cities to be re-used as fuel. Steps have also been taken to remove the use of plastic straws across the entire fleet and Norwegian Cruise Line’s two private islands. Excitingly, a partnership with Ocean Conservancy means that the cruise line is the first to join the Trash Free Seas Alliance, which is a huge step forward in the cruising industry. Finally, Norwegian Cruise Line’s campaign, Hope Starts Here, aims to rebuild schools and structures damaged by hurricanes in the Caribbean islands. In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line have funded the opening of a nature trail with Alaska Raptor Center, a dedicated avian hospital that rehabilitates injured birds of prey in Sitka, Alaska.
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    Overall, it’s clear that a number of popular cruise lines are investing in the environment in one way or another, and as science develops, this will surely only improve. If this information has struck a chord with you, find out more about how you can do your bit for the world and the communities in it, with our five holidays that make a difference.



    Get Even Closer with Fred. Olsen’s RIB Rides

    clock 21st August 2018 | comment0 Comments

    To help cruisers get even more out of their holiday, Fred. Olsen Cruises offer some incredibly thrilling and invigorating RIB rides during cruises onboard Black Watch and Boudicca. A RIB - Rigid Inflatable Boat – can take you into the heart of the action in no time at all, enabling you to see some beautiful views and enjoy once in a lifetime experiences.


     

    At the start of one of Fred. Olsen’s RIB shore tours, those onboard will be given a brief overview of what to expect, but the details and hidden treasures will be kept quiet to ensure that the adventure is full of exciting surprises. The trip will last between 60 to 90 minutes, during which you could be transported to a tranquil scene of hills and fjords, a dolphin playground, or to see an imposing glacier, to name a few possible outcomes!

     

     

    Each individual experience is likely to differ from the next, with the driver of the RIB reacting to the surroundings. They might pause or travel slowly if approaching wildlife, or there might be chances to rev up and speed through the waters in an adrenaline-fuelled ride.

    The RIB rides allow cruisers to get up close and personal with new destinations, exploring them in such a way that no detail is missed. Imagine being taken right up to a sparkling waterfall, or to the shores of what seems like an undiscovered beach. Or you could get close enough to luscious forestry to see eagles soaring and woodpeckers chittering away on the trees.

     

     

    From 2019 RIB rides will be offered wherever and whenever possible onboard the two Fred. Olsen cruise ships, but the excursions will be subject to local weather conditions and port restrictions. It’s possible to book the tours at an additional cost, simply speak to your sales advisor when you have secured a cruise booking. Take a look at our range of Fred. Olsen 2019 cruises to find out where in the world you could discover next.



    The Royal Wedding and the Couple’s Infatuation with Africa

    clock 16th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Once again the country is buzzing with excitement and curiosity, not only about the Royal Wedding, but also the Royal Honeymoon. As more details are released about the big day itself, so far there is only speculation about the honeymoon destination, but a few African countries sit at the top of the bookie’s favourites. Read on to find out how you can celebrate the Royal Wedding on your cruise, and why you should follow in the couple’s footsteps to Africa.

     

     

    Celebrating the Royal Wedding on a Cruise

    A number of cruise lines are embracing the merriment and thrills of the big day, and will be screening the event onboard. Some will also be celebrating with a few fabulous extras;

    Princess Cruises – 17 of the fleet will be showing the wedding on poolside screens, as well as bars and lounges. There will also be some Royal-themed parties, menus, and quizzes to take part in.

    Cruise & Maritime – 3 ships will screen the wedding proceedings, and there will also be quintessential British afternoon tea parties, quizzes, a 60s British music dance party, and more.

     

     

    Cunard - the wedding will be screened across the fleet, and guests can partake in a Royal Wedding afternoon tea, bespoke celebration cocktails and champagne, a themed dinner and keepsake menu, and a slice of cake which has been modelled on Harry and Meghan’s.

    P&O Cruises – in addition to screenings of the wedding, all ships will be decorated with flags and official bunting, and guests will have a glass of champagne to toast, as well as extra American and English foods with afternoon tea, and a Meghan Sparkle cocktail.

     

    From the Wedding to the Honeymoon

     

    It is thought that the newlyweds won’t embark on their honeymoon straight after the big day, however as clues come out about where they intend to go, we can’t help but feel inspired. Due to the love that both Harry and Meghan are known to have for Africa, there are several destinations in the continent that are thought to be in the running for the honeymoon, with Namibia taking the top spot.

     

     

    Why visit Namibia?

    The country gets its name from the vast Namib dessert, which is one of the oldest on earth. It stretches inland from the Atlantic coastline along the entire length of the country, and provides some truly incredible scenery. As well as this awe-inspiring attraction, Namibia offers some great wildlife-watching opportunities in the north. Etosha National Park, Damaraland, and the Caprivi Strip are all fantastic regions where visitors can see lions, elephants, and rhinos to name a few. As well as scenery and wildlife, in Namibia you’ll find friendly and welcoming locals, and some incredible new cuisine to try. Take a look at this fantastic chance to see Namibia on a cruise with Voyages to Antiquity.

    Where else in Africa could the Royal Couple be honeymooning?

    While Namibia is a firm favourite, both Harry and Meghan are known to have a fondness for many African nations. They’re both passionate about charity work, which has taken Meghan to Rwanda in the past, while supporting a clean water campaign, and has taken Harry to countries including Botswana, which is thought to be his home away from home. Here he’s worked with animal protection charities, as well as HIV/Aids projects.

     

     

    Africa is an incredibly rich continent with so much to offer. See the exciting wildlife on safari in Kruger or the Serengeti, try some delicious bottles in the wine regions of South Africa, and relax in the gorgeous tropical atmosphere of Madagascar. Explore this stunning part of the world on a cruise to Africa with MSC Cruises, or be transported on an African adventure with Princess Cruises.



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