Adventure Travel Update

Scuba Divers Great Barrier Reef

We’ve compiled a list of some new and upcoming adventure opportunities, from snorkeling in the Arctic to new African Safaris , for travelers who are ready to get out and explore. 

New Arctic Polar Snorkeling Experience From Aurora Expeditions

Aurora Expeditions has announced a new Polar Snorkeling activity, set to be offered on the company’s small ship cruises traveling to Spitsbergen and Greenland in 2016. 

The Polar Snorkeling experience gives travelers a chance to discover a range of marine life living beneath the icy Arctic waters, such as sea anemones, sea urchins, nudibranchs, crabs and the occasional polar cod. 

No previous scuba diving experience is necessary to participate in the Polar Snorkeling activity; however, participants should have basic snorkeling experience. Polar Snorkeling is offered as part of Aurora Expeditions’ wider Polar Dive program, operated by long-term partner and cold-water diving and snorkeling specialists, Waterproof Expeditions. In addition, Polar Diving offers experienced dry suit divers the chance to discover a new destination both above and below the water. 

All polar snorkel equipment is provided by Waterproof Expeditions on board, including a Waterproof D9 Snorkel Dry Suit, which is designed particularly for polar snorkeling, as well as hood, gloves, boots and a full snorkel set with fins, mask and snorkel. The activity is also conducted under a set of strict safety guidelines. Waterproof’s team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years’ polar diving experience and provide participants with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkeling and diving experience.

Polar Snorkeling is an optional activity available across a selection of Aurora Expeditions’ 2016 and 2017 Arctic and Antarctic voyages. Aurora Expeditions’ Arctic voyages depart July through September, and prices start from AU$6,380 per person, with Polar Snorkeling and Diving starting from US$975 per person.


New ”Tour de France” Luxury Barge Cruise Aboard Savannah

Ellen Sack, an American-based luxury barge cruise broker, has announced a special "Tour de France" themed barge cruise aboard the six-passenger charter barge, Savannah.

Set to embark on July 10 through 16 along France's Canal du Midi in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, the itinerary will also give guests the opportunity to cycle through parts of the actual Tour de France bike route, assisted by a dedicated cycling guide. This year, the Tour de France will take place on July 12, 13 and 14. 

Adrien Bramouille, Savannah’s owner and operator, is offering six guests the chance to experience the Tour de France up close by inviting them to join in the local festivities celebrating the event. Other activities include attending a local celebratory alfresco gourmet lunch in the market square with local leaders and a Tour de France delegate. Note: Only a limited amount of seats are available.

Later, Savannah’s guests will walk to the finish line and have VIP access to the grandstand set up for the Tour de France. Guests will then be seated with large screens set up in front of the stands to follow the race. Afterwards, Bramouille will escort guests to the walled medieval city of Carcassonne, a Unesco World Heritage Site, for a fireworks display and other festivities. 

Additional activities included with the barge cruise include winetasting, bicycle ride along the canal, and visits to local villages, markets, and basilicas. Bramouille can also adapt those excursions to suit the interests of the group. 

While onboard the barge, guests will have a gourmet chef for the week, and will sleep in double occupancy, en-suite cabins with air conditioning. Other crew members include a captain, tour guide, and hostess. 

The Savannah cruises Europe’s inland waterways between April and October. A six-passenger charter for the Tour de France cruise is $31,225, an six nights/seven days in a cabin with a private bath, all meals, from dinner the first night to breakfast the last morning, all wines with lunch and dinner, open bar, daily escorted excursions, and use of onboard bicycles. Not included is airfare to and from France, transportation to the cruise route, cancellation insurance, and crew gratuity, which is a suggested minimum amount is 5 percent of the cruise price. Guests are picked up and dropped off in Narbonne, France. 


Bicycle Ride


AmaWaterways Enhances Biking and Hiking Tours 

AmaWaterways has announced that it will expand its line-up of biking and hiking tours for travelers in 2016, with enhanced European itineraries. 

AmaWaterways carries a fleet of complimentary bicycles onboard its European ships, which will continue to be available to guests for individual or escorted bike tours. In 2015, the company introduced partnered with Backroads for more adventurous bicycling tourists, with the new offerings set to begin this year. 

AmaWaterways’ 2016 new escorted bike tours, including cycling tours along part of the Tour de France route, will include:

  • A tour of the historic waterfront town of Willemstad
  • Cycling along the river Sava and through Kalemegdan Park in Belgrade
  • A ride through Antwerp visiting as fortress, museums and hidden quarters
  • Tours of the Wachau Valley along the Danube
  • A ride through the historic town of Bamberg (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), with stops at some famous breweries and market gardens
  • A tour through wooded hills and beaches of poplars along the Inn River in Passau

Also in 2016, 12 port cities will be home to AmaWaterways’ new hiking tours. This includes two wine tasting options during the Fortress Hike in Durnstein. Other options are:

  • Fourviere Hill in Lyon
  • Passau Castle Hike in Passau
  • Mount Pipet in Vienne
  • Chateau Gaillard in Les Andelys
  • Dom Luis Bridge, Old Harbor Quarter, Cathedral in Porto

AmaWaterways’ guided biking and hiking tours are included in the cruise fare in addition to standard tours that are sometimes offered at a variety of paces, including gentle, regular and active. In addition, guests also have the opportunity to participate in Limited Edition Tours, which offer smaller groups unique options to experience local culture.


Three New Africa Safaris and Galapagos Diving Trips From Zegrahm Expeditions 

Zegrahm Expeditions has announced that it will offer six new safaris in Africa in 2016, including three new expeditions. 
The new itineraries will include:

- Gorillas and the Great Migration: Rwanda & Tanzania (July 12 – 27, 2016): In Tanzania, guests will stay in two camps, including one that is mobile, in close proximity to the action of the Great Migration. Travelers will have a chance to view zebras, gazelles, impalas, buffalo, lions, and leopards, while in Rwanda, guests will track mountain gorillas and chimpanzees throughout both Nyungwe and Volcanoes national parks. Prices start from $19,980 per person 

- Wild South Africa (August 26 – September 11, 2016): Travelers will start off in Cape Town, where they will have excellent views of Table Mountain. During the expedition, guests will explore Bushmans Kloof, follow pods of southern right whales off Walker Bay and sleep under the stars in the Kalahari Desert. Additionally, two full days will be set aside to explore Timbavati Game Reserve, situated within Greater Kruger National Park. Prices begin at $17,980 per person

- Wildlife Along the Zambezi: Zambia & Zimbabwe (September 23 – October 9, 2016): Travelers will explore the life source of hippos, buffalo, zebras, giraffes, and elephants along the Zambezi River, as well as enjoy additional game viewing opportunities in South Luangwa National Park/ A visit to Victoria Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls, from both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides is also included with the trip. Prices start from $18,980 per person

Zegrahm Expeditions has also announced a brand-new diving expedition in the Galápagos Islands, in addition to the line's 13-day Galápagos itinerary, for 2017. 

Travelers will depart October 7, 2017, on the Galápagos Diving Adventure and spend 10 days exploring one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. Aboard the 16-guest Galapagos Sky, guests will have a chance to dive up to four times a day, plus join night dives. Participants will search for whale sharks, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, and barracuda, as well cruise to remote Darwin and Wolf Islands, where both large pelagics and colorful tropical species can be found. The Galápagos Diving Adventure is priced from $8,480 per person.

Zegrahm is also launching Ultimate Galápagos, a 13-day cruise encompassing 10 unique islands. Aboard the 38-guest Isabela II, guests will observe a variety of species, including giant Galápagos tortoises, marine iguanas, and Darwin’s finches, along with discovering the islands’ geology, and snorkeling and swimming among the sea lions. Two departure options are availiable: July 14, 2016 or August 11, 2016, both priced from $11,980 per person.

Both voyages will be led by Zegrahm cofounder, expedition leader, and marine biologist, Jack Grove. Grove lived in the Galápagos Islands for seven years and wrote a book on the region called The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands


On Safari
Photo by Howard

Silversea Announces New Diving Cruises to Andaman Islands, Great Barrier Reef 

Silversea Expeditions has announced its new collection of Scuba Diving Expedition Voyages scheduled to sail in 2016 and 2017 through the western Pacific and Indian Oceans

The Silver Discoverer, a 120-guest, all-suite vessel, is the latest addition to the line's expedition fleet. The ship is scheduled to sail 20 voyages offering scuba diving opportunities for experienced divers in regions such as the Maldives, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Palau archipelago, and the Andaman Islands. The diving program will be fully complimentary.

Each voyage will have an onboard dive master, as well as a team of experts, including marine biologists, environmentalists, ecologists, and geologists, who will educate guests about the specific regions they are visiting.

A sampling of the 2016 itineraries includes:

Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia
Voyage 9622: Cairns to Balikpapan, 14 Days, Oct. 4 - 18
Myanmar & Andaman Islands
Voyage 9626: Phuket to Maldives, 15 Days, Dec. 2 - 17
Maldives, Seychelles (*Aldabra) & Africa
Voyage 9627: Maldives to Dar es Salaam, 17 Days, Dec. 17 - Jan. 3
(Included with this itinerary is a rare visit to the remote coral atoll of Aldabra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has been virtually untouched by humans and is teeming with wildlife, including thousands of giant tortoises.)

2017 itineraries include:

Indonesia & Palau Archipelago
Voyage 9713: Darwin to Koror, 14 Days, May 26 - Jun. 9
Australia (Great Barrier Reef) & Indonesia
Voyage 9725: Cairns to Bali, 14 Days, Nov. 9 - 23
The program is complimentary, however, space is limited. An Advanced Open Water Diver license or equivalent is required to participate, and guests must also bring their own BCD vests and regulators. Silversea will provide the weight belts, tanks, masks, and fins free of charge on board Silver Discoverer.