What’s hot for 2017 in cruising
As cruising continues to boom, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent expands its cruise offering. While the bulk of its portfolio is based around small ships to exotic destinations, there are new partnerships opening up with the likes of Ponant and Australis delivering exclusive cruise and land combinations.
Here are A&K’s top ten cruises for 2017.
Norwegian Fjords & Iceland
Extraordinary World Heritage sites, charming towns and villages, vertiginous cliff faces, dramatic waterfalls, soaring mountain vistas and nature unspoiled – that’s what A&K’s new cruise tour in northern Europe encapsulates. Taking travellers to the heart of northern Europe’s most breathtaking landscapes, guests cruise on board Ponant’s Le Soléal from Oslo to Bergen before arriving in Iceland where all the highlights are delivered on an exclusive week-long land programme. Guests travel from the charming and colourful capital Reykjavik to the remote south shore and the volcanoes, geysers and waterfalls of the Golden Circle region. Highlights include midnight sun cocktail celebrations, a super jeep adventure and an organic farm visit.
Group size is limited to 24 guests, with an accompanying A&K tour director throughout. International flights are included from Australia.
A&K’s 18-day ‘Norwegian Fjords Cruise & Iceland’ journey is priced from $21,995 per person.
Dates: 12 – 29 June 2017
Japan & the Ryuku Islands
With over 25 years of expertise in expedition cruising, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has released a new expedition to Japan, Hong Kong and the Ryukyu Islands. This new 16-day expedition sets out from Osaka, Japan and island hops south through the East China Sea to the rarely visited Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and ends in Hong Kong. Seven World Heritage sites spanning ancient forests, Buddhist temples and castles are included plus unique ports and secluded wilderness areas only accessible by small ship. Coral reefs, pristine beaches and volcanic islands are explored, charming markets visited and artisans observed at work. This is a truly diverse journey cruising on board the all-balcony, exclusively chartered l’Austral, with insight from A&K’s award-winning Expedition Team and on board Enrichment Specialists along the way.
A&K’s 16-day ‘Japan, Hong Kong & the Ryukyu Islands Cruise’ from US$15,495 per person (was US$19,995).
Dates: 28 May – 12 June 2017
In collaboration with Australian Gourmet Traveller, in 2017 A&K is offering a unique journey through Cambodia and Vietnam on board intimate luxury vessel Aqua Mekong. Acclaimed chef and author Christine Manfield is on board for the week-long cruise downstream from Siem Reap to the Mekong Delta. Special meals throughout the trip will highlight the many influences and traditions which have made the region’s food so bountiful as well as reflecting Christine’s favourite flavours and cooking techniques. Contrasting with the peaceful canals of the Mekong Delta, the tour finishes in cosmopolitan Saigon.
A&K’s 9-day ‘Siem Reap to Saigon with Christine Manfield’ journey is priced from $14,295 per person.
Dates: 12 – 20 October 2017
Explore the legendary southern reaches of Chilean Patagonia on A&K’s new exclusive cruise tour. Tailored around the impressive adventure cruise ship M/V Stella Australis, guests sail from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia in the wake of pioneering navigators and indigenous natives. The region is home to some of the world’s wildest and most pristine landscapes with dazzling glaciers, penguin and seal colonies, towering snow-capped mountains, Magellanic forest and legendary Cape Horn. Complementing the cruise are land programmes at The Singular Patagonia, one of Chile’s most unique hotels, and a stay in Buenos Aires experiencing the city’s distinctive cultural and culinary attractions.
Group size limited to 24 guests with an accompanying A&K tour director throughout. International flights are included from Australia.
A&K’s 15-day ‘Patagonia by Land & Sea’ journey priced from $15,395 per person.
Dates: 6 – 20 November 2017 and 29 January – 12 February 2018
Cruise the Ayeyarwady
A&K’s all-suite ship Sanctuary Ananda on Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady River is one of the finest vessels cruising there. Custom built for local river conditions, no more than 48 guests share this luxe home afloat on a range of journeys from 3 to 11 nights exploring the waterway between Bagan and Mandalay, the upper reaches towards the gorges and Bhamo. It also explores the Chindwin River and the Lower Ayeyarwady to Pyay and twice a year down to Yangon.
Cruise highlights include temples, pagodas, palaces and monasteries as well as places rarely seen before – the jungles of the north, forgotten villages and ancient towns close to the Indian and Chinese borders. During the cruises there are special cultural inclusions such as performances of traditional music and dance, ethnic dinners, lectures, cooking demonstrations, yoga, meditation and cigar making lessons.
Cruising the Yangzi
From its source in the mountains of Tibet, the Yangtze River flows a distance of 6380 kilometres making it the third longest in the world. It is one of China’s most important transport routes, carrying enormous amounts of cargo and passengers year-round. For travellers the most impressive section is the Three Gorges comprising Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorges which is the stretch covered by luxury cruise ship Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer. Setting the standard for cruising on the Yangzi, she offers the best way to explore the area in friendly and intimate surrounds with just 124 guests. On board service is a highlight, and the atmosphere more private club than cruise ship.
The Peruvian Amazon
A&K, in partnership with Aqua Expeditions, offers the luxurious Aria Amazon for cruising on the Amazon. Itineraries focus on the remote Pacaya Samiria reserve, one of Peru’s most fertile havens for sighting mammals, birds and plants. Wildlife includes brilliantly coloured birds, acrobatic monkeys, pink Amazon dolphins, sloths high in the trees and, if very lucky, the sleek black jaguar. After dark, naturalist guides help spot caimans and capybara under star filled skies.
This boutique ship carries 32 passengers and features outstanding guides, extensive touring, gourmet cuisine and designer cabins. Activities include village visits, piranha fishing, bird and wildlife viewing and visits to conservation and sustainability projects.
A&K’s Amazon cruises with Aqua Expeditions are priced from US$3480 for a three-night cruise.
The Northwest Passage
For centuries a sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific eluded sailors, traders and explorers. Since the end of the 15th-century, many of the world’s most famous maritime legends tried and failed until Roald Amundsen in 1905 made the first successful navigation. Today a lucky few can sail this legendary route on A&K’s expeditionary cruise aboard Le Boreal from Greenland to the Canadian Arctic to the Bering Sea and ending in Alaska. Along the way visits are made to historic and remote islands, fjords and harbours, meeting local Inuit communities and taking in moving stories of voyages won and lives lost. Space on A&K’s 2017 journey is very limited and registrations are open for the 2018 departure.
The Galapagos Islands are one of nature’s great experiences and are a truly unique wildlife haven where the birds and animals are impervious to the presence of humans. Getting up close reveals why Charles Darwin was so inspired after his visit in the early 19th-century, being able to marvel at extraordinary birdlife such as the famous blue-footed booby, land and marine iguanas and centuries old Galapagos tortoises or swim with sea lions and penguins. A&K offers a range of vessels to provide guests with the best possible experience during their visit to the Galapagos. A Galapagos holiday with A&K will include fascinating excursions with English-speaking naturalist guides including swimming, snorkelling and wildlife encounters.
A journey to Antarctica is one of the world’s great adventures. It is an expedition to the harshest, driest and coldest region on the planet – the world’s most remote and final frontier. With A&K the journey is conducted in sublime style on board MV Le Lyrial, which carries just 199 guests in spacious, designer comfort. A&K has over 25 years of experience in polar cruising and hand picks the Expedition Team, all of whom are exceptionally credentialed and fine travelling companions.