(Manta, ECUADOR) At a time when traveling to uncrowded areas is more desirable than ever, Kontiki Expeditions is introducing two itineraries on the luxury yacht, M/Y Kontiki Wayra, to five provinces of the seldom-visited Ecuadorian coast. Kontiki’s small size, only 198 feet long, allows visits to off-the-beaten-track areas to one of the most biodiverse places in the world. With only nine staterooms carrying a maximum of 18 guests, Kontiki Expeditions offers “NEO Luxury” both above and beneath sea level. Sailings begin this summer.
The yacht sails two seven-night routes along the Ecuadorian coast, Toquilla and Spondylus, and takes full advantage of the country’s wealth of birds, animals, flora, fauna, indigenous foods and cultural traditions while adhering to a NEO luxury philosophy of sustainability and giving back to communities.
Kontiki’s 10 crew members and two local experts including wellness professionals, naturalist guides and a local chef – a nearly 1:1 crew to guest ratio – add to the distinctive Kontiki experience. Gastronomic experiences feature local chocolate, seafood and produce; nature-loving guests can expect to see the country’s blue-footed boobies, sea lions and howler monkeys… without the crowds.
The M/Y Kontiki Wayra yacht offers luxury with a sundeck, gourmet salon, two outdoor lounges, bar, Jacuzzi, and a gym and fitness area. Staterooms are well appointed and include WiFi, on-demand entertainment and sustainable local amenities.
Pricing begins at $7245 per person per week, based on double occupancy, and includes all activities, meals, transfers to and from ports, park entrance fees, guided expeditions and more. Private charters and solo rates are available.
PONANT, a world leader in luxury expeditions and itineraries to ports of call that only small ships can navigate, has announced a compelling World Affairs Cruise in the Baltic. Scheduled for July 17 to 25, 2021, the eight-night cruise is an offering within PONANT’s Quintessential Collection, a series of cruises that delve deeply into a subject and destination. The cruise, aboard the newly launched PONANT EXPLORER yacht, Le Jacques-Cartier, will travel to six countries, beginning in Stockholm, Sweden and ending in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fares start at $7,070 per person (inclusive of 20% PONANT Bonus Savings).
The itinerary will be matched by an equally captivating on-board experience with an opportunity to interact with leading thinkers and policy makers about the current state of U.S. relations with the rest of the world. The timely program will feature lectures and discussions by four distinguished speakers among which include:
Robin Wright is a foreign affairs analyst, author and highly decorated journalist who is noted for her coverage of wars, revolutions and uprisings. She has served as contributing editor to The New Yorker since 1988 and was previously a diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and CBS News. During her 40-year career, she has reported from more than 140 countries.
Ambassador Douglas Lute served as the U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 2013-2017. In 2007, President George W. Bush named him Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan. The New York Times referred to him as the “War Czar,” due to his senior advisory position overseeing the wars. Lute served six years in the White House having also worked under the Obama administration.
Jane Holl Lute is the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations where she has held several positions in peacekeeping. Lute also acted as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013. She was responsible for the U.S. department’s efforts to prevent terrorism, enhance security and manage the nation’s borders.
The cruise will visit the great cities that edge the Baltic Sea, a fascinating comingling of metropolitan life with centuries of rich history dating back to the Vikings. The ship will first dock in Helsinki, internationally recognized for its striking modern architecture, followed by two full days in St. Petersburg, where virtually the entire city is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During a stop in Tallinn, Estonia, explore the 13th-century Dome Cathedral and see the “My Free Country” exhibit at Maarjamäe Palace, which takes visitors on a 100-year journey through the Liberation War, Soviet occupation and restoration of independence.
Ports-of-call also include Gotland, Sweden, the largest island in the Baltic Sea to tour the preserved medieval town of Visby with its 12th century defense wall – the oldest surviving non-religious building in the Nordic countries. The final stop is Szczecin, a city in Poland nearly destroyed during World War II, which has since been completely rebuilt. Here, guests will meet with the first democratically elected President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Lech Walęsa, for an exclusive discussion onboard the ship. Walęsa is known for leading the effort in 1989 to end the communist rule in Poland and ushering in the conclusion of the Cold War.
The 184-passenger Le Jacques-Cartier debuted in July 2020 offering a sleek, super-yacht feel with each of the 92 staterooms and suites outfitted with balconies or private terraces. The ship also offers an industry first: The Blue Eye – a multi-sensory lounge that allows guests to experience the sub-aquatic world through sight, sound and feel. Evocative of cetaceans and jellyfish with rounded furniture directed toward two large, eye-shaped portholes in the shape of whale eyes, the lounge features digital screens displaying feeds from three underwater cameras along with a collection of Body Listening Sofas that vibrate in unison to the sounds of the ocean. Guests enjoy attentive service, gourmet French-inspired cuisine under the direction of Ducasse Conseil, and a relaxed, congenial ambiance.
The ship is certified as a “CLEANSHIP” and meets the highest environmental standards for energy conservation and resource management.
In collaboration with the IHU (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire) Méditerranée Infection of Marseilles, one of the world’s leading centers in the field of infectious diseases, and Bureau Veritas, PONANT has developed a “Covid-Safe” protocol based on health standards that exceed international regulations. Discover PONANT health protocol.
Created in 1988, by officers of the French Merchant Navy, PONANT offers worldwide itineraries to the Arctic, Antarctica as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Asia, Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, Eastern Asia, Oceania, Central and South America, visit www.ponant.com, call1-844-747-2873 or contact your travel advisor.
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 www.varietycruises.com/english/home/cruiseCalendar/Iceland/40 .
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 www.varietycruises.com
TAHOE CITY, CA – The Arctic is on many bucket lists thanks to polar bears and Northern Lights. But what else may travelers anticipate on a cruise in the Arctic Circle? And what questions should they ask when booking a cruise on the Arctic Ocean, the world’s smallest and shallowest ocean that is fringed by eight countries?
Todd Smith, small ship cruise expert and founder of AdventureSmith Explorations, (http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/) discusses the variables of itineraries and small ships plying this region, home to four million people living in the shadow of Viking conquests and explorers. His sage advice, “How to Choose Your Arctic Cruise”, shares what he calls “an incredible range of conditions” in the May through September Arctic summer. These conditions help to determine itineraries and therefore passenger experiences.
For example, early season (late May through early July) polar bears on ice floes are prevalent. In July and August ice is more disbursed, allowing land access and explorations of nutrient-rich waters favored by whales. September nights bring the magnificent aurora borealis.
The experiences guests seek may also determine the ship they choose. AdventureSmith Explorations‘ fleet of expedition ships cruising to the Arctic carry 78 to 148 guests and are specially outfitted to travel in polar waters. They are all fairly similar in terms of ice class and amenities. For more intimate explorations, this company also recommends a fleet of vessels carrying just 16 to 20 guests that offer the same close-up exploration as larger expedition ships but also provide access to shallow harbors and small islands.
The 11-dayHome of Vikings cruise is aboard the 116-guest Sea Spirit. The per person double rate is from $4,995; however for bookings on a May 20, 2016, departure two guests sharing the same cabin may travel for the price of one. This specific tour through fjords in the High Arctic begins in Iceland and explores South and West Greenland in search of whales and other arctic wildlife. Guests explore the town of Nanortalik at the mouth of beautiful Tasermiut Fjord surrounded by steep mountains that flank an intricate fjord system. They soak in geothermal waters watching the icebergs pass by in Uunartoq. And they visit the enchanting West Greenlandic tiny settlements of Qaqortoq, Hvalsey Qassiarsuk. Paamiut, Nuuk, Itteliq and Sisimiut to discover Viking history and witness urban arctic living amongst the colorful homes. Sea kayaking along this rugged coastline is a favorite pastime on this adventure. See: https://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/home-of-vikings-greenland-iceland-arctic-small-ship-expedition
Polar guests will save up to 25 percent with an Early Booking Discount for designated Arctic cruises in 2016; up to 25 percent on premium cabins and 15 percent on non-premium cabins aboard select Sea Adventurer and Ocean Nova 2016 departures booked by April 15, 2016. Triple and Quad cabins are excluded. This discount cannot be combined with other offers and is subject to availability. Excluded are the following departures: June 12 Spitsbergen Explorer, July 4 Spitsbergen Circumnavigation and August 15 Three Arctic Islands. See: http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/special-offers?dest=1187
Athens, Greece-based small ship cruise line Variety Cruises is launching five new itineraries in 2015 and 2016, including cruises in the Red Sea, Greece and Turkey, the Canary Islands and in Madagascar and its Mozambique Channel Islands.
Red Sea Cruises will debut in 2016 on the 21-cabin Motor Yacht Harmony G, operating two 6 night / 7 day cruise itineraries in the area: the Kings and Pharaohs Cruise and the Splendours of the Red Sea Cruise, two equally fascinating cruise programs showcasing the treasures of the Red Sea and the cultural diversity of Egypt and Jordan. Variety Cruise’s Kings and Pharaohs Cruise from Aqaba, Jordan to Suez, Egypt (or reverse) program includes Luxor, the ancient land of gods and pharaohs and home of the Valley of the Kings, and the Karnak and Luxor temples, Sharm el Sheikh in the Sinai peninsula and home to St. Catherine’s Monastery atop Mt. Sinai and pre- and post-cruise tours in Jordan and Cairo, to unravel the amazing cultural diversity of the region.
Greece and Turkey:The Aegean Mosaic Cruise is a 7 night/8 day program from Athens to Istanbul (or reverse), with 4 sailings in 2015 and 9 sailings in 2016. Travelers sail on the 36-cabin Mega Yacht Variety Voyager, discovering both mainland port cities and islands throughout eight days. The cruise takes passengers from the exotic city of Istanbul and the fabled ancient cities of Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus to the glitzy Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini as well as off-the-beaten track islands of Patmos, Samos and Arki, where large cruise ships cannot dock. The cruise offers passengers six optional excursions and three swim stops at the most picturesque locations in the Greek islands (www.varietycruises.com/english/home/cruiseCalendar/Cruises+in+Greece+and+Turkey/32).
The Canary Islands:The Canary Islands Discovery on the 25-cabin Motor Yacht Harmony V is a 7 night/8 day cruise program showing this 10 islands archipelago – a perfect fit for Variety’s small ships — with tremendous bio and cultural diversity and close to perfect weather conditions. Guests will sail this new program from December 2015 to March 2016, which is the best period to visit the Canary Islands with temperatures not exceeding 71-74 degrees Farenheit and when winds are at their lowest. Passengers explore Gran Canaria, the main island, with its capital Las Palmas, cosmopolitan Lanzarote, Tenerife and La Palma or Isla Bonita. The simple wild beauty of Fuerteventura and the small and quaint island of La Gomera enchant the senses. Variety Cruises will operate 14 sailings plus an end March repositioning cruise from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Malaga, Spain. An Excursions Package including walking tours and excursions is available at additional cost (www.varietycruises.com/english/home/cruiseCalendar/Cruises+in+the+Canary+Islands/36).
Madagascar and its Mozambique Channel Islands:Madagascar and its Mozambique Channel Islands Cruise on the 21-cabin Motor Yacht Pegasus, is a 9 night / 10 day itinerary showing North West Madagascar in a way no land tour or cruise has done so before: The Madagascar mainland portion of the itinerary includes the magnificent Diego Suarez Bay, the Ankarana Park and Amber Mountain. The itinerary also includes an island hopping portion reaching the most beautiful islands in the Mozambique channel such as Hara, Mitsio, Komba, Sakatia, Iranji and Nosy Be. The program can embark from Nosy Be or from Diego Suarez and an Excursions Package is available including walking tours and excursions. There will be a Madagascar Specialist Guide on board to educate passengers on the islands and their histories (www.varietycruises.com/english/home/cruiseCalendar/Madagascar/33).
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 11 fully-owned vessels varies in size from 4 to 36 cabins. Their yachts and staff provide an intimate and relaxed environment; a comfort filled starting point for the discerning travelers as they visit well known and unique ports of call, including Seychelles, Madagascar, Greece, Turkey, Costa Rica and Panama. 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. Visit www.varietycruises.com.
TAHOE CITY, CA – Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations announces Spring 2015 cruises that probe the fecundity of the Galapagos and the profundity of classical Greece, among others.
“Cruises into pristine, nature-focused destinations such as Darwin’s magical archipelago, the ancient Greek Isles of Plato and Homer and into Baja’s Sea of Cortez, a favorite playground and laboratory of Jacques Cousteau are voyages every modern adventurer should take. Plus it’s ever so much more exciting in the spring when the oceans are full of life and rebirth,” said Todd Smith, Founder and President of AdventureSmith Explorations.
Here are Smith’s favorite spring trips for the upcoming 2015 season:
Small Yacht Galapagos Cruises
While equatorial Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands technically have no “spring season” weather-wise, April and May offer the best air and water temperatures and calmest seas, making these months best for snorkeling with sea lions, penguins and tropical fish. Stunning waved albatross return to Espanola Island; many other birds and reptiles are nesting in the spring. Favorite springtime ships include the 20-passenger sister ships Eric, Letty and Flamingo. According to Smith, “Their family cruises are second to none” and are offered during spring and Easter break in March and April. These ships boast the best guide-to-passenger ratio and are some of the more eco-friendly yachts to ply Galapagos waters.
Springtime in Hawaii means perfect weather and an explosion of flowers, blossoms and fruit. Rainfall diminishes as trade winds fade; the surf also calms and water temperature rise, all adding up to excellent snorkeling, kayaking and paddleboard conditions. Whales are active in the Auau Channel. The 36-guest adventure yacht Safari Explorer navigates a unique Hawaiian Seascapes cruise itinerary to Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the big island introducing authentic Hawaii in intimate ports of call.
Delfin II Amazon River Cruise
The weather cools down in March, April and May marking the end of the Amazon’s high water season, Smith’s favorite time to cruise. But the water is still high enough so that skiffs can make forays into the rainforest to sight wildlife. Four or five day cruises aboard the luxurious 28-guest Delfin II are more affordable than other ships in the region. Activities include skiff rides, kayaking, hiking and fishing. From the river guests often extend their adventure with a trip to Machu Picchu or a Mountain Lodge Trek.
Savvy travelers know that spring is the best time to travel in Greece. Temperatures are moderate, winds are calmer, crowds are light and wildflowers are abundant. Classical Greece aboard the 49-guest Harmony V embodies the best of spring in the islands and Mediterranean small ship cruising. The ship accesses smaller ports of call that aren’t accessible to large ships: Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Nafplion. Along the way the ship stops in hidden coves and glimpse ancient history away from tourist crowds.
Great Barrier Reef Cruises
It’s autumn in the southern hemisphere in April and May, a small window between high and low seasons offering comfortable air and water temperatures and less rain making snorkeling and diving ideal in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. The Coral Princess I and Coral Princess II are specially outfitted to explore the reef in style. Unlike live-aboard dive cruises, these small ship voyages of four, five and eight days focus on average travelers who would like to explore on foot, by skiff and by snorkeling, with an option to dive.
Cousteau’s Aquarium of the World
The elegant and functional 84-guest Safari Endeavour is returning to Baja for the first time since she was Cruise West’s Spirit of Endeavour. Recently refitted with ample air conditioning, spacious common areas, comfortable cabins and numerous off-vessel activities, this expedition ship cruise includes hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and sunbathing as primary activities. After whale season ends, the weather warms up and winds die down making Baja a great beach and adventure getaway. Think snorkeling among gentle whale sharks and sea lion pups. In a setting of steep bluffs and sandy beaches, guests explore Cabo Pulmo, where French Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau led numerous expeditions. Baja is easily reached in less than four hours from most major US airports.
Group travel provider Group IST has launched Arcadia Small Ship Cruises, marketing a fleet of 11 small ships, including yachts and barges, sailing to hard-to-reach domestic and international ports of call.
Partnering with Blount Small Ship Adventures, CroisiEurope, Rivages du Monde and Variety Cruises, Arcadia Small Ship Cruises offers a portfolio of programs to destinations including Cuba, the Mekong River, Seychelles, Costa Rica, the northeast United States, the Greek islands and France’s rivers and canals. Arcadia aims to offer American travelers a more service-driven and personalized cruise experience at affordable prices, with per passenger prices starting at $1,460.
“Group IST prides itself on offering meaningful travel experiences. Our clients have come to trust us as a provider of enriching land-based travel programs throughout Europe, the Near East and Africa. We’re now thrilled to be able to offer a diverse range of sea-based programs in line with our company’s ideals,” said Group IST President and CEO Michael Goren. “We’ve vetted many cruise lines and small ships around the world, looking for products that we know our audience will find substantial and memorable.”
“Small ship cruises can not only dock in hard-to-access ports, but they give cruisers ample time to explore each destination,” added Group IST COO Tom Souza. “Arcadia ships often dock right in the heart of the various ports without the need to tender and with no long security lines.”
Arcadia Small Ship Cruises offers cruisers programs to a variety of international destinations on state-of-the-art ships, while providing intimate service and fine dining. Arcadia sails to diverse ports of call many larger ships cannot reach, including the islands of New England, the Adriatic and the Panama Canal. Most ships and mega yachts that are in the Arcadia portfolio accommodate no more than 100 passengers, allowing a more personalized connection with the staff and fellow passengers. For more information visit www.arcadiasmallshipcruises.com.
The ships and the itineraries are not new. What is new is that the programs are coming under the umbrella of Arcadia Small Ship Cruises, a newly formed company. There are several benefits to booking through Arcadia, rather than directly through the various cruise lines:
1. Arcadia’s Loyalty Club enables travelers to earn points on any of the cruises, be they operated by Blount, Variety, CroisiEurope or Rivages, and redeem them through any of the operators too.
2. For those we are interested, Arcadia Small Ship Cruises can also handle air arrangements and organize pre/post cruise land programs.
3. Travelers can use Arcadia’s secure website to book or get personalized attention thru the call center. Either way, their information does not have to be re-entered each time they wish to cruise with any of the 4 operators.
TAHOE CITY, CA–Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations announces a new 10-day Baja, Mexico cruise aboard the 86-foot, historic eight-guest adventure yacht, Westward.
Launched in 1924 as the flagship of the Alaska Coast Hunting and Cruising Co., she is arguably Seattle’s most famous motor yacht having pioneered hunting, fishing, and adventure travel in the remote regions of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.
“Westward Voyages in the Sea of Cortez, launching January 2015 is our perfect complement to an already outstanding portfolio of Baja small Ship Cruises,” said Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Explorations’ Founder/Owner. Ten-day itineraries featuring both the Sea of Cortez and whale watching in the Pacific’s San Ignacio Lagoon are offered in January and February 2015.
Smith likened cruising the eco systems of the Baja Peninsula to cruising the islands of the Galapagos. Both regions offer explorations of geography, flora and fauna, bird and wildlife. Both regions are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Westward Voyages in the Sea of Cortez spends seven days cruising in the Sea of Cortez with three days watching gray whales based from Kuyimita Tent Camp adjacent to San Ignacio Lagoon Whale Sanctuary. The resulting 9-night/10-day cruise/tour is the most in-depth and intimate Baja exploration available. The per person double rate is $5,750. See: www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/westward-voyages-in-the-sea-of-cortez . Westward will ply the pristine waters of Baja in the coolest months in order to enhance the cruise experience that includes the cacophony of leaping rays, spouting whales, acrobatic dolphins and chirping bird song from the dawning shore.
Guests and crew gather on the 17 by 14-foot shaded back deck for meals and conversation. Each stateroom has three portholes that open. In addition each bathroom has one opening port. Staterooms are outfitted with a portable, battery-powered fan to provide a breeze on still nights. The air may be warm and dry in the Gulf of California winters, but the water is cool and helps offset the warmth of the day, especially in staterooms that extend below the waterline.
Additional options include two eight-day whale watching cruises January-March on a variety of small ships. Rates are from $2,995 per person, double, aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavor. Rates are from $5,990 per person, double, aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion and Sea Bird. Additional cruise programs for up to 15 days are also offered in this region.
Westwardis listed with the US National Register of Historic Places and remains dependably powered by her original Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine. Westward’s historical and adventurous spirit enriches the voyages of those lucky enough to cruise the waters with her. Modeled after a salmon cannery tender, she launched in 1924 as the flagship of the Alaska Coast Hunting and Cruising Co. Westward served a noteworthy clientele of hunters and fishermen for nearly 20 years. Distinguished guests included Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, E.F. Hutton, John Wayne, Dean Witter and numerous other VIP’s of the era. During WW II Westward served as a patrol boat off the California coast before returning to the Pacific Northwest. See: http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/westward
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Exploration has become a global leader in small ship, expeditionary cruise vacations. Company president and founder Todd Smith pioneered the concept of wilderness cruising – combining the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking and exploring ashore in remote wilderness areas. In 2012, Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler’s prestigious 14th Annual Travel Specialists List as the world’s expert on small ship expeditions, and again in 2013 and 2014. For information, availability and 2015 reservations, 800-728-2875 or visit www.adventuresmithexplorations.com.
Ecoventura, which operates an environmentally friendly fleet of small expedition yachts in the Galapagos Islands, plans to debut the region’s newest ship in early 2016.
Construction of the 20-passenger motor vessel is underway at the shipyard in Guayaquil, Ecuador but Ecoventura has begun taking bookings for MV Origin’s inaugural cruise Jan. 3, 2016. When launched she will be the newest and most comfortable 20-passenger yacht operating in Galapagos.
The vessel’s owner, Ecoventura, has more than two decades experience in sustainable tourism.
“We are exploring ways to make the Origin the most comfortable and environmentally efficient yacht in Galapagos,” Ecoventura founder and owner Santiago Dunn. “Our first goal is to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 45 percent (from 1800 gallons to 1000 gallons per week),” he explains. “This is no simple achievement when you consider our plans to sail at 12 knots on two engines so that guests can spend as much time as possible at each visitor site.”
MV Origin, designed for guests with a highly evolved lifestyle, will combine modern sophistication and a high level of comfort and service, with quality guided land excursions in small groups, gastronomical experiences, exciting physical activities and a dose of intellectual science for a life enriching experience. A veteran crew supervised by a master-level captain, two expert naturalist guides and a concierge will be at the beck and call of guests. Social areas offer private moments on board with a library, boutique, computer station, lounge areas, dining room, bar, Jacuzzi, sun deck, recliners and wet bar.
Guests aboard Origin will enjoy locally sourced, healthy, gourmet-style menus designed by top local chefs and creatively prepared by Ecoventura’s culinary school trained chefs. Some lunches will be served al fresco on deck. Passengers will have an open bar policy, including wine and local beer.
The vessel will feature 10 deluxe staterooms all located on the main deck with panoramic windows and private bathroom. Each stateroom is 140 square feet, with two twin beds that convert to a king, two connecting cabins, two triples, fine linens, bathrobes, and satellite TV.
Guests wishing to stay in shape will enjoy a fitness center with cardio equipment. The services of a professional masseuse can also be arranged at an additional charge on private charters only. Twice daily cabin cleanings are provided. Laundry service is also available. Guide lectures, cooking demonstrations and yoga will be part of the on-ship activities.
Ecoventura’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Doris Welsh, explained that MV Origin rates reflecting a premium class vessel will be higher than those on its three existing first class vessels, the Eric, Flamingo and Letty. A per person double rate for an eight-day all-inclusive cruise will be $6,500. Rates include cabin accommodation, all meals and snacks, all beverages including open bar, Captain’s welcome and farewell party, guided shore excursions, services of a concierge, use of wet suits, snorkelling equipment, stand-up paddle boards and sea kayaks, and transfers in the islands between the airport and dock.
There are two distinct itineraries on weekly (Sundays), year-round departures from the island of San Cristobal. The tours visit the most spectacular visitor sites of the archipelago; western/northern and central/southern.
Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with sales offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, the cruise company transports 4,000+ passengers annually aboard its fleet of at present three identical, 20-passenger first-class motor yachts, Eric, Flamingo and Letty, and the 16-passenger luxury dive live-aboard the MV Galapagos Sky. Departures are every Sunday from San Cristobal offering two unique seven-night itineraries.