Tuesday, December 2, 2008


They are two of the world’s revered cruise destinations – the vast, stunning beauty of Antarctica, and the warm waters of the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador – and both are two of nature’s richest havens.

“When you talk of the Antarctic, and of the Galapagos Islands, you are speaking of the two destinations in the world where the true wonder of nature can be experienced right before your eyes – they are fascinating places that leave such a strong impact on visitors,” MyPlanet general manager Sandy Greenwood said.

In its latest brochure ‘Antarctica & South America 2009’ MyPlanet has highlighted these two specific regions which are both in strong demand from the Australian market, and introduced three styles of travel to suit individual budgets – comfortable expedition, superior expedition and luxury expedition.

New for 2009 is the luxury Orion Expedition Cruises which will operate ‘luxury expeditions’ from Hobart to New Zealand and the Sub-Antarctic Islands and deep into the Antarctic. The luxury ship, with a choice Staterooms and Suites spread over six decks, includes 24 hour room service, all meals, landings by zodiac boats, lectures, and complimentary expedition parkas.

Its 14 day ‘New Zealand & Sub Antarctic Islands’, priced from $10,160, visits Macquarie Island renowned for its Royal, King, Gentoo and Rock Hopper penguins, the volcanic Campbell Island with its crested penguins, albatross and black browed mollyhawks, the Auckland Islands with their Hooker seal lion colonies and rare yellow eyed penguins, then on to Stewart Island and the stunning Fjordland of New Zealand.

New also is Orion’s 21 day ‘Scott & Shackleton’s Ross Sea Antarctic’, priced from $20, 795, which crosses the Antarctic Circle to journey deep into the vast Antarctic waters. From Hobart its crosses the Ross Sea with landings at such remote locations as Cape Hallett with its giant glaciers and mountains, Cape Terra Nova Bay discovered by the Scott Expedition, the massive David Glacier and the bleak Inexpressable Island visiting Scott’s Hut built in 1911, and Shackleton’s Hut - both still preserved by their freezing environment. It is then onto the remote Possession Islands where the 1899 British Expedition’s Borchgrevink hut still, remarkably, stands. From there it is back to Invercargill in New Zealand via Snares Island.

Then there is the popular ‘Superior Expedition’ cruises aboard the Hurtigruten ship MS Fram with accommodation ranging from ‘Inside Cabin’ through to ‘Outside Cabin’, ‘Mini Suites’, ‘Suites’ and ‘Grand Suites’. “This is a very comfortable eight deck cruise ship,” Greenwood said. All rooms have private facilities, all meals are included, landings are by Polar Cirkel boats, there is a complimentary expedition parka, specialist lectures onboard plus a tour of Buenos Aires. Flights from BA to Ushuaia are included.

Cruises include the 12 day ‘Antarctic Peninsula’ priced from $7650, ‘An Emperor’s Antarctica’ priced from $10,150 for 16 days and ‘Shackleton’s Antarctica’ -21 days from $9860.

The ‘Comfortable Expeditions’ are aboard the Quark ships Akademik Shokalskiy and the Ocean Nova.

These expedition style ships have shared, private, superior and suite accommodation all with private facilities, all meals, Zodiac boat landings, an expedition parka and lectures.

New in this category for 2009 is the 20 day ‘Antarctic Quest via The Falklands & South Georgia. Priced from $17,389 it explores all the extremes of the south – the icebergs, waterways, glaciers, mountains and rich wildlife in what is an incredible journey.

Also memorable is the 12 day ‘Antarctic Voyage’ through the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula - visually stunning with icebergs, pods of whales, glaciers and remote icy bays and inlets. It is priced from $9756.

And then there are the famed Galapagos! These are the 74 islands 1000km off the Ecuadorian mainland that inspired Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’ and helped map the world’s evolution.

The 6 day ‘Quito & the Galapagos Islands’ cruise, priced from $3680, is aboard a superior class ship with all meals and sightseeing plus return flights ex Quito included. Aboard the yacht MV Galapagos Legend visitors explore the second largest marine land in the world come into contact with a melting pot of unique species including marine iguanas, giant tortoises and seals.

‘Galapagos in Depth’ is a six day adventure/scientific expedition that is described as “the ultimate” Galapagos experience. The cruise, priced from $4595, visits Rabida Island with its sea lions, flamingos, marine iguanas, birds and fur seals, the lunar landscape of Bartomele Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station, the wildlife of Punta Suarez, the volcanic sands of Floriana and renowned Black Turtle Cove with its green turtles and golden rays.

“In the Galapagos you really commune with nature; it is all around you –the wildlife, and the beauty of the islands, is unforgettable,” Greenwood said.

For further information contact MyPlanet, phone1800 221 712 www.myplanetaustralia.com.au

MyPlanet Australia the leading travel company for Scandinavia, Russia, the Baltic’s, the Arctic, Antarctica and South America celebrating 30th Anniversary in 2009 has launched its cruise and tour program for 2009-2010 season. The program is a smorgasbord of independent and escorted travel, comfortable expedition, superior expedition and luxury expedition cruises, rail and sightseeing tours all year around. MyPlanet Australia Pty Ltd operates as a retail arm for MyBentours; a wholesaler and cruise specialist for Australian and New Zealand travel industry. MyPlanet Australia Pty Ltd (trading as MyBentours and MyPlanet) is the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Hurtigruten Group, Icelandair and Gota Canal in Australia and New Zealand. MyPlanet is locally operated and globally connected as part of TUI Travel PLC

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