Category Archives: small ship cruising

Poseidon Expeditions Offers Close Encounters with Reindeer and Polar Bear On High Arctic Expedition Cruises

Poseidon Expeditions, specialists in Arctic cruises, offers opportunities aplenty in the high Arctic wilderness between Norway and the North Pole to see reindeer as well as the King of the North, polar bear in their natural habitat. On Arctic Wildlife Safari and Bet of Svalbard cruises, guests can observe and learn such fun facts about these animals.

PROVIDENCE, RI– In an ancient ice age the four-legged critter we associate with Santa’s sleigh lived as far south as Tennessee. Whether those reindeer picked up a southern drawl is still up for debate.

What’s non-debatable is that Rangifer tarandus or reindeer (aka caribou), meaning snow shoveler, was so named by the Mi’kmaq, who were among original inhabitants of the Atlantic Provinces of Northern Canada.

The specialists in Arctic cruises, Poseidon Expeditions, offers opportunities aplenty in the high Arctic wilderness between Norway and the North Pole to see reindeer as well as the King of the North, polar bear in their natural habitat. On Arctic Wildlife Safari and Best of Svalbard cruises, guests can observe and learn such fun facts about these animals as… 

A reindeer’s hide is covered with hair follicles that are hollow and that trap air that provides insulation.

Their noses warm the air before it reaches the lungs.

In the winter, facial hair grows long to the mouth, protecting muzzles while grazing in snow.

Its body temperature adjusts to just above freezing to avoid losing body heat in extremely cold conditions.

Both male and female reindeer sport antlers.

They vocalize through air sacs in their neck, males warning other males away from girlfriends and females communicating with their young.

The knees of one subspecies of reindeer make a clicking noise while walking, sounds that allow a herd to stay together in a blizzard. 

And about the polar bear? 

Adult females often weigh between 500 and 600 pounds; males are double these weights. Cubs enter the world at around one pound, females reaching full weight at age five and males by age 10.

Ask anyone what color a polar bear is and they’ll reply “white” with total confidence. The fact is, their fur is actually transparent and holds no color. It only appears white because it reflects visible light. The transparent fur also traps in the sun’s heat to help keep the polar bear warm.

When polar bears swim, they use their large front paws to propel themselves through the water and their back legs to steer. They can actually move pretty fast at approximately at 6 mph, closing their nostrils when under water.

They can go days, even weeks, without eating. When they reach a week or more without food, their metabolism slows down and goes into starvation mode until the next meal.

Polar bear cubs learn to freeze or “play dead” while momma bear hunts for food. If they’re caught moving, mom will discipline them, with a smack to the head.

Two-thirds of polar bears could disappear by 2050 due to disappearing hunting grounds, or sea ice. They are now compelled to swim such long distances that they are drowning from exhaustion.

While cruising around seldom-visited, natural preserves of the far north, guests may also experience polar wildlife from the perspective of a kayak. Imagine paddling with bearded seals, large and peaceful creatures that are often encountered at close range reposing on ice floes in sheltered bays and fjords. Harbor seals and ringed seals can be seen from a kayak as well. Sometimes massive walrus can also be seen.
Guests may also access beluga whales via kayak. Paddling with these gentle and intelligent creatures in the wild — hearing their breaths and feeling their inquisitive gaze upon you — is a life-changing experience, especially if it happens to be a pod of over a hundred beluga whales swimming in long procession past and underneath the kayaks.

Poseidon Expedition’s sea kayak guides are well versed in the wildlife viewing and protection protocols developed by the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) and International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).

The rates for 2020 Arctic Wildlife SafariWest Spitsbergen & Polar Ice Edge, are discounted: May 31-June 8, June 7-June 15, June 14-June 22 from $5,895 to $5,305; June 21-July 1 from $7,295 to $6,566 and June 30-July 11 from $8,095 to $7,286. On the June 7 departure guests receive a bonus, the opportunity to mingle with a polar bear expert from the Cincinnati Zoo.

Best of SvalbardSvalbard & Polar Ice Edge cruises offers three departures in June and July 2020. Children under age 12 travel at half the regular rate when sharing a double-occupancy cabin with an adult. Per person double rates are from $10,095 double in a main deck suite.

For inquires and reservations in North America, or to request a catalog, contact the company’s Providence, RI, sales and reservation office at www, or call 347-801-2610, or contact your travel agent.
With offices in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Cyprus and China, Poseidon Expeditions is a leading provider of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. The company is committed to safe and environmentally responsible polar travel. It is a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).

For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Spend Spring Break with CroisiEurope; Book by Nov 30 for 5% Discount

In 2020, take the kids on an alternative spring break that will bring classroom learning to life. Discover art and history or wildlife and nature on board a CroisiEurope cruise.

In 2020, take the kids on an alternative spring break that will bring classroom learning to life. Discover art and history or wildlife and nature on board a CroisiEurope cruise. From the historical seaside cities of Rochefort and La Rochelle in France’s Aquitaine Region to Africa’s diverse flora and fauna, there’s a new adventure for every type of traveler waiting to be discovered.

Travelers who book a 2020 cruise before November 30, 2019 can receive a discount of up to 5% off per person, per trip with the special code: EARBOOUS.

Cruises include all excursions, activities, meals and drinks served on board.

Information and bookings at, 800-768-7232.

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Introduce New Alaska Family Offer: Kids Save up to 50%, Free Air for Adults

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced a new Alaska Family Offer that makes traveling next summer a lot more economical for families.

Named Top Small Ship Cruise Line in Alaska in Cruise Critic’s 2019 Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced a new Alaska Family Offer that makes traveling next summer a lot more economical for families.

The special offers include: 

  • Kids Save Up to 50%:  Save on up to two children 22 and under when they travel with two full paying adults on select 2020 Alaska departures: save 50% departing in May and August and save 25% departing in June and July.

Families can choose from a selection of Alaska adventure cruises—ranging from 6 days to epic— that sail among the wildlife-rich islands and channels of Alaska deep into the wildest reaches.  The itineraries go beyond the predictable ports on the new 100-guest National Geographic Quest and Venture, and the 62-guest sister ships National Geographic Sea Lion or Sea Bird.  Hike, kayak, paddleboard, bike, and actively explore. Venture where iconic wildlife gathers—bears, eagles, bubble-netting whales, and more. Witness moving First Nations performances. And sail with a renowned expedition team of naturalists, a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, an undersea specialist, and wellness instructor.

Kids and teens can also participate in National Geographic Global Explorers, Lindblad’s exclusive program for families, and the only one of its kind in Alaska.  Developed in conjunction with National Geographic Education, its designed to help kids and their families develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge of an explorer. 

These offers are valid for new bookings only, are subject to availability, not applicable on extensions, and may not be combined with other offers.   Complimentary air is based on economy group flights and must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions. In the case that Lindblad’s group flight is not available at time of booking, we reserve the right to issue a credit.  Free Air offer will be combinable with the new Family Offer, but it is limited to the adults.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor. Visit FacebookTwitter, InstagramYouTube and Pinterest.

For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

AdventureSmith Explorations Offering $1,200 Savings on Select 2019 Alaska Small Ship Cruises

AdventureSmith Explorations is offering last-minute savings of up to $1,200 (per couple or $600 per person) on select departures of 2019 small-ship cruise vacations in Alaska.

TRUCKEE, CA – The small ship cruise company, AdventureSmith Explorations, is offering last-minute savings of up to $1,200 per couple ($600 per person) on select departures of 2019 cruise vacations in Alaska.

“An expanded inventory of small ships, more itineraries and a longer season all benefit our clients who are interested in Alaska this year,” says Todd Smith, founder/president. “‘It’s very rare to see special offers this great so late in the Alaska booking season.”
To take advantage of specials that apply to specific departures and cabin categories, reservations must be made by April 19, 2019.
Savings up to $1,200 per couple come with select 2019 departures of the following itineraries:

  • Alaska’s Glacier Country is an eight-day cruise navigating some of Alaska’s most impressive glaciers and wildlife viewing. Savings come with departures aboard the 90-guest S.S. Legacy April 26; May 10, 17, 24 and 31; June 7, 14, 21 and 28; July 5, 12, 19 and 26; Aug. 2 and 9; and aboard the 88-guest Safari Endeavor Sept. 1 and 8; and a special fitness and yoga-themed departure aboard the S.S. Legacy May 3.
  • Alaska’s Glaciers & Whales is an eight-day cruise from aboard the 88-guest Safari Endeavour. Savings are applied to May 26, June 9 and 23, July 7 and 21, and Aug. 4 and 18 departures. Suites on this ship include balconies; activities options include stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
  • Whales, Wildlife & Glaciers is a diverse eight-day cruise exploring the many inlets and wildlife of Alaska aboard the 88-guest Safari Endeavor with savings on June 2, 16 and 30, July 14 and 28, and August 11 and 25 departures.
  • Alaska’s Inside Passage & San Juans Cruise spends 15 days along the iconic passage between Seattle and Juneau, visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Glacier Bay National Park and Olympic National Park aboard the 88-guest Safari Endeavor, with applicable savings on May 12 and Sept. 15; and aboard the 90-guest S.S. Legacy on Aug. 16.

These eight-day itineraries are aboard one of three Wilderness small ships that carry from 60 to 76 guests depending on the vessel. A $600 per-couple savings comes with specific 2019 departures of: 

  • Northern Passages & Glacier Bay that explores backcountry wilderness between Sitka and Juneau on the Wilderness Discoverer with savings applicable on May 4 and 18 and on Wilderness Explorer Apr. 27 and July 20.
  • Alaska Fjords & Glaciers that discovers glaciers, fjord cliffs, deep valleys and whales, the Tlingit culture and Tongass National Forest, with savings on the Wilderness Adventurer April 6, on Wilderness Discoverer June 29 and July 6, and Wilderness Explorer July 6 and 13.
  • Glacier Bay National Park Adventure Cruise that brings guests to tidewater glaciers, whales, puffins and old-growth forest is aboard the Wilderness Adventurer with savings on April 27 and June 8 departures.

Because of the high demand for Alaska cruises, the company is already taking reservations for 2020 programs. To help clients select small ships and/or itineraries that best fits their interests, Smith’s team have prepared 6 Insider Tips to Travel Alaska in the Best Way.  

For details on all of AdventureSmith Explorations’ small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and for 2019-2020 reservations, call 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit the company website.

For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

AdventureSmith Explorations’ New Ships, Itineraries Expand Opportunities to See Big Arctic 8

National Geographic Explorere at Monoco Glacier, Leifdefjord, Northwest Spitsbergen National Park, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway

TRUCKEE, CA – Small cruise ships purpose-built to ply the planet’s polar regions also transport guests on floating Arctic wildlife safaris.

AdventureSmith Explorations, the small ship cruising experts, invite guests on an increasing number of Arctic cruise options that observe, among other things, a variety of indigenous wildlife. Some, if not all, of the Big Arctic Eight, marine- and land-based creatures are often spotted on these expedition cruises.

“Just to know that these creatures are out there is part of the excitement of venturing north,” says Todd Smith, AdventureSmith’s Founder and President. “These are creatures straight out of children’s fairytales. What’s also amazing is to learn how they’re so physically adapted to their frozen world.”

He notes that demand is up to explore the Arctic among clients who have already cruised Antarctica, as well as travelers new to the polar regions. “The core of what AdventureSmith strives for is delivering the most incredible explorations of the natural world to our clients who are a special group of likeminded explorers. Alongside our observation of more cruise itineraries opening up in the Arctic, we’ve seen more purpose-built expedition ships being built with a focus to educate travelers on how to be ambassadors for the Arctic’s wild places and animals. The trips we offer are designed to be small (under 200 guests) and focused on sustainable exploration.”

The company has created a blog post with tips on spotting some of Earth’s most interesting animals. Here is what AdventureSmith Explorations has named the Big Arctic Eight:

  • Polar Bear, the largest living land carnivore, can measure up to eight feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds. Some 26,000 Polar bears are estimated to be roaming the Arctic and regions of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Russia and Norway.
  • Walrus live in the Arctic areas of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. These creatures are often viewed lounging in large herds on shorelines or icebergs. Their powerful tusks that sometimes reach three feet are tools to lift their heavy bodies onto the ice.
  • Reindeer (caribou) live on the tundra and in boreal forests and are known to migrate up to 3,000 miles a year. Males grow antlers for sexual attraction and mating standoffs. Females grow antlers to defend their food from other females. Come spring, herds number in the thousands.
  • Arctic Foxes possess incredible hearing that allows them to locate prey under the snow. Their thick, long fur that sustains them at -58 degrees Fahrenheit is an example of camouflage – in winter white or blue-gray, in summer brown-gray.
  • Narwhals are some of Earth’s most unusual creatures. The narwhal tusk is actually a spiral tooth that can grow as long as 10 feet. This is a specialized sensory organ that spots changes in the environment, aiding in locating food and mates.
  • Puffins, the cute white-and-black birds with orange beaks, can fly up to 55 mph. In spring and summer, they return to a land colony that numbers in the thousands to mate (usually with the same partner each year).
  • Beluga Whales, stark white creatures with a unique neck, can turn their heads almost completely sideways to create a right angle. This allows for special maneuverability for swimming backwards and for harvesting food. Their sonar skills echolocate their prey while working together to force fish into favorable situations. Highly vocal, they make a variety of sounds for communication in their social pods which can number up to 100 individuals.
  • Musk Ox are one of the few hooved animals, along with reindeer, that survived the Ice Age. Their long, shaggy hair can grow to two feet long and an undercoat provides insulation that is eight times warmer than sheep’s wool. In winter herds numbering up to 24 forage for roots, moss and lichen, which they harvest with their hooves.

New state-of-the-art polar exploration vessels for fewer than 200 guests now can offer itineraries as compact as seven days. Debuting in the Arctic spring of 2019 is the 174-guest Hondius and in spring 2020 the 176-guest World Explorer and the 126-guest National Geographic Endurance. They cruise in the north for the boreal summer and position south in the autumn for the Antarctic sailing season.

AdventureSmith Explorations offers several itineraries exploring the “classic” destinations of Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland. For 2019, cabin availability can still be found on:

  • Realm of the Polar Bear
  • Around Spitsbergen
  • Intro to Spitsbergen
  • Three Arctic Islands
  • A Circumnavigation of Iceland
  • Classic Polar Bear Adventure

The company also offers trips to lesser-known areas such as the Russian High Arctic: Franz Josef Land, which yield excellent opportunities to view polar bears, marine mammals and seabird rookeries.

For details on all AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide, day-to-day itineraries, availability and reservations, phone: 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit their company website.

AdventureSmith Explorations, founded in 2003, is a recognized leader in small ship cruising (“Think Outside the Boat!”). In 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Condé Nast Traveler‘s prestigious world’s Top Travel Specialists list as the leading expert on small ship expeditions.


For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

AdventureSmith Explorations Outlines Benefits of Visiting Hawaiian Islands by 36-Guest Yacht

Instead of flying from Hawaiian island to island, AdventureSmith Explorations suggests a multi-day small ship cruise.

TRUCKEE, CA – The experts in small-ship expedition cruising have a few tips for experiencing the diverse cultures, landscapes and ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands: Instead of flying from island to island, AdventureSmith Explorations suggests a multi-day small ship cruise that allows visitors to:

  • Explore four islands by accessing secluded anchorages via the water instead of flying into one airport after another, a process that devours precious vacation time waiting in lines at airport counters, gates and baggage claim
  • Escape the ever-present throngs of land-based visitors
  • Unpack just once for the entire week
  • Visit coveted, remote beaches with far-fewer sun-worshipers present
  • View coastlines inaccessible by land
  • Witness epic sunsets from the water every night (maybe even the “green flash”?)
  • Enjoy the leisurely pace that a yacht allows, keeping with Hawaii’s true laid-back nature

The cruise that AdventureSmith Explorations highly recommends is the 8-day Hawaiian Seascapes itinerary aboard the 36-guest motor yacht, Safari Explorer. And to reward travelers for new reservations made by Jan. 31, 2019, on departures from now through April 2019, guests will enjoy $100 off the beginning rate of $3,995 per person double. Through April 2019 this includes complimentary premium beer and spirits (and the privilege of enjoying an on-board wine library and piano bar), plus a massage. Right on the yacht is all of the gear needed to enjoy water sports and guided activities: hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga and snorkeling (including a night snorkel excursion to look for giant Pacific manta rays). Guests are served by an attentive 15-member crew.

Included in the island-hopping itinerary are Moloka’i and Lana’i, islands that most visitors to the region never see. The adventure begins over a champagne toast in Moloka’i where there are no stop lights nor high rises but just the new-found harmony of hiking to a towering waterfall in Halawa’s cathedral valley, one of the island’s most historic places, and celebrating a life far removed from the maddening crowd over a pa’ina (feast), complete with a home-style Hawaiian jam session.

Ship-goers will be on the lookout for humpback whales off Maui enroute to the next stop at the “private island” of Lana’i where 1,000-foot sea cliffs plunge into the Pacific that once surrounded an ancient princess and her sugarcane fields. Here guests snorkel among coral gardens near a sea turtle habitat. The Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary adjacent to Lana’i, Moloka’i and Maui provides front-row seats through marine breeding grounds while searching for dolphins, whales and other marine life.

Then it’s on to the Big Island of Hawaii where a morning on coconut palm-fringed Honomalino Bay offers snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking surrounded by colorful corals, sponges and tropical fish. Guests explore tunnels known as lava tubes, and on the water go by kayak and skiff to pay calls on marine animals and to sail into Kealakekua Bay where Captain Cook fell to the hands of the natives in 1779. Later guests stroll through the historic town of Kailua-Kona.

For details on all AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide, day-to-day itineraries, availability and reservations, phone: 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit

For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

AdventureSmith Explorations Offering Tour, Cruise Discounts for Early 2017 Warm Wearther Escapes


TAHOE CITY, CA–AdventureSmith Explorations has a selection of journeys to warm destinations at a bargain price for those who can act now. Benefits of booking these warm-weather escapes before the deadline include credits of up to $700 off scheduled rates.

Here’s a list of specials with booking deadlines noted:

The Panama Canal springs to life on an eight-day itinerary encompassing Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Guests who choose a Costa Rica & Panama Canal cruise departing on select 2017 dates and book by December 31, 2016, can select from; free round-trip airfare between Miami and Costa Rica/Panama City, plus a free overnight Panama City tour extension, which includes a private dinner at the Miraflores Locks, a city tour and a visit to the Frank Gehry-designed Bio Museum; or a $500 air credit if they cannot stay the extra day.

This classic route aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion transports guests through the Panama Canal to explore Costa Rica and Panama’s famed national parks and wildlife reserves. Highlights are snorkeling at Isla Coiba, exploring shorelines in kayaks and learning from National Geographic guides and experts. The rate is from $6,390 per person, double. See:

In Chile, a lodge-based adventure embraces the recently renovated Explora Atacama. This luxury lodge is in the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, 8,202 feet above sea level in Chile’s Atacama Desert. From this 50-room, comfort-driven resort guests may combine thermal bath soaks with hiking, bicycling and horseback riding while engaging in their choices of over 40 explorations that are led by bilingual guides. Year-round, day-time highs are in the mid 70s. The first night is free for bookings made by March 30, 2017 for stays through April 30, 2017 (minimum three-night stay). A four-day stay starts at $2,184 per person double. See:

In the Galapagos select January and February departures of sister 16-guest catamarans come with savings of $500 if booked before Dec. 31, 2016. The luxury Petrel dates to 2015 and Cormorant to 2011; each serves as home base for a comprehensive Galapagos Islands cruise. Spectacular year-round, this famed archipelago is especially fun at the start of each year as water temperatures are on the rise making it the ideal time for snorkeling. The regular rate for this four-day program is from $3,090 (Cormorant), or $3245 (Petrel) per person double.

From Iquitos, Peru, guests aboard Amatista Amazon Cruise can experience 20 percent savings if they book this nine-day adventure by Jan. 31, 2017. Enroute is an exploration of one of the last accessible tropical rainforests in the world, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, during its high water season (typically December through May) when rivers are up to 23 feet higher. This means closer viewing of monkeys and birdlife in the jungle canopy as the ship can go deeper into isolated corners of the reserve. The regular rate is from $2,499 per person double. This riverboat accommodates 30 guests. See:

Paradise of Tahiti: Receive a $700 savings on the Tahitian Affair Cruise if booked by Jan. 31, 2017. With departures that begin in late April, this cusp-o-winter tropical escape sails through French Polynesia’s Leeward Islands, including visits to Bora Bora, Tahaa, Huahine, Motu Iriru and Raiatea.  A bonus is a scenic helicopter flight for embarkation on the luxurious 24-guest Island Passage. Kayaking, fishing, swimming, snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding add to the fun. The regular rate for this eight-day cruise is from $4,270- per person double. See:

For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide, itineraries, availability and reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit
For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

AdventureSmith Explorations to Sail New 100-Passenger National Geographic Quest in Alaska for 2017

The National Geographic Quest will be outfitted with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment and Zodiacs, all geared to get guests out and into the wild, remote places being explored.
The National Geographic Quest will be outfitted with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment and Zodiacs, all geared to get guests out and into the wild, remote places being explored.

TAHOE CITY, CA– Alaska continues to be one of the world’s hottest destinations for small ship cruising. Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations has seen the growth firsthand and now recommends that plans need to be secured by early December 2016 to get the best choice of ships, cabins and itineraries for summer 2017.

“Last year the most popular high-season trips were sold out earlier than we had ever experienced. By January more than half of the summer departures were fully booked or had very limited availability,” said Todd Smith, founder and director of AdventureSmith Explorations (

This booking strategy should give early birds certain advantages while securing a cabin on a brand-new, 100-passenger expedition ship being introduced to Alaska next summer. This is Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Quest, set to launch June 26, 2017, on a Seattle-to-Sitka itinerary exploring the coast of British Columbia and into Alaska’s Inside Passage. The nature-intensive 15-day cruise starts at $9,390 per person double.

National Geographic Quest will then spend the summer exploring the coves and fjords between Sitka, Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau and Petersburg on Lindblad’s classic Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness route, an eight-day adventure also sailed by the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion, with rates starting at $5,890 per person double.

National Geographic Quest will be the most modern and spacious expedition vessel cruising Alaskan waters. The ship features roomy (135 to 185-square feet), outside-facing cabins, 22 with small balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors. Eight cabins can be configured into four adjoining cabins for families. Some cabins can accommodate a third guest. The ship will be outfitted with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment and Zodiacs, all of which are geared to get guests out and into the wild, remote places being explored. Also aboard is state-of-the-art expedition technology, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), video microscope, and a hydrophone and bow-cam designed for immediate deployment to hear and film, for instance, humpback whale vocalizations and to view bow-riding dolphins.

Following the Alaska season, the ship will remain in the Pacific Northwest for a series of new voyages between Seattle and Vancouver, with stops in the San Juan Islands, Victoria, Alert Bay and more far-reaching stops in British Columbia’s channels and fjords. Beginning in December 2017, National Geographic Quest will reposition and operate voyages in Costa Rica and Panama before kicking off a series of new voyages in Belize and Guatemala starting in February 2018.

With the introduction of National Geographic Quest, National Geographic Sea Bird will fly away to two new itineraries. Wild Alaska Escape is a six-day cruise designed to pair with a land trip that includes river rafting and biking options unique to a cruise program. The action takes place in wild, pristine Alaska for those with limited time but with an unlimited sense of adventure. Included are iconic wildlife, epic landscapes and the ancient Chilkat Tlingit village of Klukwan. In Haines, “Adventure Capital of Alaska,” guests have a three-hour bicycling trip around a stunning glacial lake, half-day hikes up a few of the region’s most dramatic mountains or, for the most fit, a trek up Mt. Riley. Others may choose to float down the Chilkat River through an area rich with native tradition and sporting the largest congregation of bald eagles in the world. In more remote stretches of the voyage come guided, point-to-point kayak trips with the ship as moving basecamp. Or, in expedition landing craft, guests may zip around sculpted icebergs or land on remote beaches for hikes in dense and dramatic Tongass National Forest. Rates begin at $4,290 per person, double. See:

Big Picture Alaska, an 11-day program crafted by National Geographic photographers, targets camera buffs. The trip spans the full north-south expanse of Alaska’s Inside Passage. The immersive, wide-ranging photo expedition takes Lindblad’s wildly popular week-long expedition and expands it, adding in the striking Misty Fiords at the lowest reaches of Alaska’s Inside Passage and Haines, in the northernmost corner. It’s the perfect mix of small-town life and the grand expanse of the wild landscape that surrounds it. Guests raft though the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, explore Glacier Bay National Park, search for humpback whales with time in a popular feeding area called Clarence Strait, kayak amid glacial ice, hike the Tongass National Forest and learn about the region’s rich Tlingit heritage while shooting with the expertise of an industry-leading expedition photography team of Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructors and National Geographic photographers. Rates begin at $8,990 per person, double. See:

AdventureSmith Explorations also notes new offerings in Prince William Sound thanks to the 12-guest Dream Catcher. The seven-day Prince William Sound Dream Catcher cruise is from $5,775 per person double. Getting up close and personal with icebergs and sea otters is just the beginning of the fun. There are set departures in addition to possibilities to charter this small ship. See:

For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide, itineraries, availability and reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit

For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Variety Cruises to offer Small-Ship Sailings in Iceland Beginning in June 2017

The dramatic landscape of Iceland. Variety Cruises is introducing small-ship sailings in Iceland beginning June 2017 © 2016 Karen Rubin/
The dramatic landscape of Iceland. Variety Cruises is introducing small-ship sailings in Iceland beginning June 2017 © 2016 Karen Rubin/

New York, NY — Beginning in June 2017, Small ship cruise line Variety Cruises is now offering Iceland: Journey in the Land of Fire & Ice, a week-long yacht cruise of the Nordic island nation. Defined by its dramatic volcanic landscape of geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers and black-sand beaches, Iceland is a nature lover’s paradise.  Sailing on the elegant M/Y Callisto, the newest addition to Variety Cruises’ fleet of yachts, up to 35 passengers will discover a fascinating country with amazing rugged landscapes and old legacies of Viking and Norse conquerors.

On the first day of the program, travelers take the Ring Road to reach Godafoss Waterfall – the Falls of the Gods – and continue to Lake Myvatn,  Namarksard and Dimmuborgir, all  fine examples of the volcanic world with lava fields, boiling and steaming mud pools, steam vents and craters.

Arriving in the almost-Arctic fishing town of Siglufjordur the next day, travelers enjoy a walking tour through the city with stops at the Herring Museum and the Folk Music Center.  On the third day of the program, the cruise reaches Isafjordur, a large fishing port in Westfjords, known for its rich cultural heritage and merchant’s homes dating from the 18th century.

In Bildudalur, travelers visit the town and the Sea Monsters Museum and then continue to sail around the Westfjords coast line and past the grand Latrarbag cliffs, which rise 450 meters over the sea.  Reaching Borgarnes, travelers have the option to visit  Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful thermal spring, as well as the Barnafoss Waterfalls.  Stop in Reykholt, once one of the intellectual centers of the island, before continuing to the Westfjords.

At Heimaey Island, the Pompei of the North, travelers discover a community which almost disappeared during a 1973 eruption that buried 400 homes and visit  two volcanoes and the Eldheimar Geological Museum.  The cruise rounds out in Reykjavik, the capital city that offers a renowned nightlife and music scene as well as a multitude of art and history museums.

Iceland: Journey in the Land of Fire & Ice will be available for $2650 – $3890, depending on cabin class. For more information, visit .

Variety Cruises, one of the world’s largest small ships cruise companies, has been offering passengers worldwide a total yachting experience since 1949. Their fleet of 12 fully-owned vessels varies in size from 4 to 36 cabins. Their yachts and staff provide an intimate and relaxed environment for the discerning travelers as they visit well known and less traveled ports of call, including Seychelles, Greece, Turkey, the Adriatic Sea, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Archipelago and Costa Rica & Panama, featuring a Canal crossing. Fine locally-flavored cuisine, exciting itineraries and personalized service are just a few of the things that have made Variety Cruises the choice for the ever-growing number of travelers looking for distinctive small ship cruise experiences. For more information, visit



For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures


Historic Maine Windjammers Offer More Specialty Itineraries this Season

Coming down the home stretch: historic Maine windjammers make quite a sight as they dash for the Rockland Lighthouse at the end of the Great Schooner Race © 2016 Karen Rubin/
Coming down the home stretch: historic Maine windjammers make quite a sight as they dash for the Rockland Lighthouse at the end of the Great Schooner Race © 2016 Karen Rubin/

Midcoast, Maine — With the addition of creative new specialty cruises, growth in the fleet and a special parade to celebrate Acadia National Park’s Centennial, the Maine Windjammer Association (MWA) has lots of new offerings for visitors in 2016.

This year, brand-new specialty cruises include bluegrass and beer aboard Ladona, a sail and kayaking cruise aboard Lewis R. French and a wellness cruise aboard Victory Chimesthat includes massage therapists, art therapists and yoga instructors.

2016 also welcomes a new member to the MWA fleet: the 82-foot schooner Ladona. Launched in 1922 as a private yacht, she spent her early years cruising the eastern seaboard and, in 1923, winning her class in the Bermuda Cup. Other adventures included a stint as a US Navy submarine patrol, a fishing dragger, a sail-training vessel, and now a Maine windjammer. After a nearly two-year restoration, Ladona will provide guests with the opportunity to experience vintage cruising once again.

For visitors looking to experience that once-in-a-century sailing opportunity, the MWA is hosting a parade through Somes Sound on August 2nd as part of the Acadia Centennial Celebration. Guests can sign up to sail for the week, or just show up in the Park and enjoy spectacular views of the windjammers as they sail in company through the Northeast’s only fjard with its towering 600-foot cliffs.

“Every trip is different and every trip is a wellness cruise where you slow down, reconnect to nature and enjoy your fellow travelers,” says Captain Linda Lee of Schooner Heritage.

Captains know that some guests want to indulge their passions or dive deeper into their hobbies which is why they’ve created specialty cruises that include activities like wine tasting, photography, knitting, lighthouse tours, full moon cruises, and live music cruises. Children will enjoy pirate adventures while older kids may enjoy sharing a weekend away with Dad.

With nine windjammers sailing from mid-May to October, there are 227 trips to choose from, ranging from in length from 1-8 days. Average prices range from $188-$250 per day, everything included, depending on the length of trip, ship and season.

There are specialty themed cruises all season long and the various vessels have their own specialty, plus there are festivals and events throughout the season  (favorite are the tie-ups, when all the vessels come together).

But my absolute favorite experience is the annual Great Schooner Race, hailed as the largest annual gathering of historic landmark sailing vessels and one of the oldest races of its type in the United States – this year, the 40th, takes place on July 8.  It is a spectacular event, and utterly thrilling to be aboard one of the 20 schooners. The race is usually a part of the cruise, so you don’t miss out on the other experiences that are hallmarks of a Maine Windjammer sailing.

For more information about the Great Schooner Race, visit To learn more about visiting Penobscot Bay, visit

The Maine Windjammer Association represents the largest fleet of traditional sailing vessels in North America. From May to October, the windjammers offer three- to six-day sailing adventures to vacationers seeking an authentic sailing experience that includes great scenery, wildlife, delicious meals and plenty of time to go ashore and explore.

For more information about the historic vessels of the Maine Windjammer Association, visit

See also:

Onboard Maine Windjammer ‘Victory Chimes’ for the Great Schooner Race and slideshow

A Schooner Gam on the American Eagle, historic Maine Windjammer

Sailing Maine’s Penobscot Bay on the Windjammer American Eagle

Windjamming on the Nathaniel Bowditch: Sailing a Historic Ship on Maine’s Penobscot Bay is a Voyage

Rockland, ME: Windjammers, Wyeths, Lighthouses & Wonder


For more travel features, visit:

‘Like’ us on

Twitter: @TravelFeatures