Grand Circle Cruise Line: new river sailings in Myanmar
Grand Circle Cruise Line is hoping to tap soaring demand for tours to Myanmar with new river cruises on the country's Irrawaddy River - VIDEO . The Boston-based company today will announce it is launching 15-day cruise tours to the long-isolated country, formerly known as Burma, to begin in 2013. The announcement comes as Myanmar continues to shed its pariah image after a brutal, decades-long military rule that sparked a tourism boycott. The new vessel, the Paukan, will be under charter to Grand Circle. Departures are available in 2013 from March to May and September to December, with fares beginning at $3,795 per person for the cruise portion of the trip only and $4,895 for the entire 15-day cruise tour. The price includes international air, airport transfers, government taxes and fees. To be called Burma & the Irrawaddy River: Bagan to Mandalay, Grand Circle's new Myanmar itinerary will start with a four-night stay at ahotel in Bangkok and a three-night stay at a hotel in Yangon (the capital once known as Rangoon) followed by a flight to Bagan -- home to 2,000 ancient temples on a 26-square-mile plain. From there, customers will board a new, 34-passenger river ship for a seven-night cruise calling on remote villages, trading centers and Buddhist sites. The itinerary ends in Mandalay, one of the country's major cultural centers.
Galapagos Islands: The Santa Cruz Adds a Four-Night Itinerary
Quito, Ecuador – July 9, 2012 -- Metropolitan Touring, the pioneer of travel to the Galápagos Islands since the 1960s, is pleased to announce a change in the itineraries for its 90-guest M/V Santa Cruz, beginning on 21st July 2012.
The Santa Cruz will split its 14-night itinerary into two itineraries of 4 nights each and one of 5 nights – effectively reducing one itinerary from a 5-night to a 4-night.
The vessel’s itineraries are among the best of any in the Galápagos, taking in the highlights of the archipelago, made famous as the “birthplace of evolution”. These include the islands of Fernandina, Genovesa and Española, as well as bringing guests into contact with iconic species such as marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Galápagos penguins and Galápagos sealions.
In late 2011, the Santa Cruz emerged from dry dock refreshed and renewed, while adding both an extra naturalist guide for snorkeling, and new fun activities for guests to enjoy while on Santa Cruz Island. All in all, she now offers incredible experiences, great value and top itineraries.
Russia oders World’s Largest Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker to Be Built
Rosatomflot has announced an open tender for the construction of the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker. The company plans to take delivery of the vessel by the end of 2017.
The as-yet unnamed icebreaker – the first of the LK-60 model to be built – will be 173 metres long and 34 metres wide, some 14 metres longer and 4 meters wider than the current biggest icebreaker, the 50 Years of Victory. The displacement of the new vessel will be about 33,540 tonnes. It will have a draught of between 8.5 and 10.5 metres. The LK-60 – which will have a crew of 75 – will be capable of breaking through ice up to 2.8 metres thick at a speed of between 1.5 and 2 knots.
Rosatomflot refers to the LK-60 as being ‘universal’ as it can be used both in the open sea and on rivers. The new icebreaker is planned to be used in the western Arctic region, including in the Barents, Pechora and Kara seas, as well as in the shallower waters of the Yenisei River and Ob Bay. During the summer and autumn months it will operate in the eastern Arctic region.
The company’s current fleet of four nuclear-powered icebreakers is slated to continue operation until 2020, working the freezing ports in Russia’s Arctic coast and maintaining the Northern Sea Route. Rosatomflot also operates two nuclear-powered freighters, two floating technical bases, a radioactive waste ship and a radiation monitoring ship.
Port Rashid Dubai: permanent home of Queen Elizabeth 2
Istithmar World, DP World and the QE2 management today (July 2) announced the iconic QE2 is to have a permanent home at the heart of Port Rashid, the hub of cruising in the Middle East. The vessel will be moored next to the original cruise terminal at Port Rashid and converted into a 300 room luxury hotel, with top quality lifestyle facilities, while the terminal itself will be developed into a maritime museum.
Once converted, the QE2 will once again display the ship’s collection of art works and other historical assets acquired during nearly four decades as one of the world’s leading ocean-going cruise liners.
The 293-metre long vessel, which in its heyday could accommodate more than 2,900 people, together with the connected maritime museum, will be a leading tourist attraction at Port Rashid and add further to the attractions it offers as the leading cruise destination in the Middle East. DP World has been expanding Port Rashid’s capacity to cater for the growing demand for cruise tourism.
HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, Istithmar World, said: “The QE2 will be at the heart of Dubai in its permanent position at Port Rashid and contribute to the growth of Dubai as the city continues to develop and expand as a top tourist destination. The vessel is truly iconic and has a huge following around the world. Our vision is to enhance the facilities on board but retain the very strong sense of history that is a fundamental part of her attraction. Having the QE2 moored as a floating, top class hotel, right on the waterfront in the centre of Dubai, will also add further life and activity to the surrounding area.”
Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region said: “We are delighted that the QE2 will be the centrepiece of Port Rashid. Together with the planned Maritime Museum, it reinforces Port Rashid and Dubai’s status as a leading cruise and maritime tourism destination. We are excited about the potential for Port Rashid to further develop as a tourist destination in its own right.”
Leili Gerami, Spokesperson and Project Director, QE2, said: “Even in its retirement the QE2’s majestic profile continues to attract much attention and there is considerable interest and enthusiasm for the next phase of her into a maritime museum.
Windjammer Sailing Adventures Sets First Voyage for July 22
Windjammer Sailing Adventures has announced that its first voyage will depart July 22, departing round-trip from Grenada. The Mandalay, which formerly operated for now-defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruises, will sail weekly, departing Sunday and returning Saturday, according to the company website. The cruises will visit “a selection of islands in the Grenadines,” including Grenada, Carriacou, Union Island, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Bequia, St. Vincent and possibly others. “Remember, ports visited are subject to change ... we go where the captain and the winds take us!” the company website says.
Windjammer Sailing Adventures was started by Charles J. Kropke in the freewheeling spirit of Windjammer Barefoot, which was started in 1947 by the legendary Capt. Mike Burke. That company had legions of devoted fans but ultimately shut down in 2007. Kropke previously told Travel Pulse he purchased pictures and memorabilia from Barefoot at a bankruptcy auction in 2008.
Kropoke, who is CEO of Windjammer Sailing, also operates Dragonfly Expeditions, which operates ecological and cultural tours throughout the Caribbean and South Florida. He purchased the Mandalay, a three-masted 236-foot barquentine, from a company in Ecuador that had restored it. Kropke reduced capacity from 72 to 64 berths.
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