Cruise Line Adds Photography- And Biology-Themed Sailings

Photography And Biology

Travelers can know more about biology and photography by sourcing knowledge in a variety of ways. Online research leads to entire websites devoted to teaching us both. Locally, area colleges and universities will have lab-grade biology experiences as well as hands-on classes on photography for all ages and abilities.

Still, nothing quite beats the thrill of capturing an image of a bear in the wilderness.

This winter, adventure travelers into marine biology or photography can choose a themed cruise catering to their interests aboard 36-guest Safari Explorer or 86-guest Safari Endeavour. InnerSea Discoveries and sister-line American Safari Cruises has added themes to ten Un-Cruise sailings in the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.

“Themes bring together people with common interests and adds one more benefit for booking these dates,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Themed cruises come in every shape and size, bringing together like-minded travelers to spend up-close and personal time with a star of their shared addiction.

The new Un-Cruise photography- and marine biology-themed cruises come with an expert guest host along for the ride. Special presentations will be held on the ship or ashore and passengers are free to interact with the host throughout the voyage.

Kids in Nature departures are for families traveling with kids 12 and younger. The expedition team gears the program to a variety of ages and activity levels with a focus on educating. Hiking excursions, kayaking trips, skiff explorations and snorkeling all provide hands-on learning in a fun environment. Active explorations in nature and wildlife sightings engage all ages.

2013 Theme Cruises in Hawaii
Jan 5 – Photography and Whales with Flip Nicklin, highly-regarded whale photographer.
March 9 and 30 – Kids in Nature, a focus on spring break departures for the whole family.
April 6 – Photography with professional photographer/world traveler Peter West Carey.

2013 Theme Cruises in the Sea of Cortés
Jan 12 – Marine Biology with La Paz resident Rodrigo Rocha Gosselin, a local with passion about conservation and nature.
Feb 16 – David Julian, a 30-year veteran professional photographer.
March 16 – Ellen Barone, traveler, freelance writer and photographer.
March 30 – Marine Biology with Giovanni Malagrino, an oceanologist and professor of marine biology.
March 9 and 23 – Kids in Nature, spring break departures for the whole family.

Safari Explorer sails seven-night cruises between Hawaii, the Big Island and Lana’i with two days of activities on Moloka’i. Flexible yacht itineraries focus on explorations of four islands: Lana’i, Moloka’i, Maui and Hawaii.

Safari Endeavour sails Luxury Adventures round trip to La Paz, Baja, Mexico. While the sailing may be themed, an unstructured itinerary explores hideaways such as Isla Espíritu Santo, Isla San Francisco, Bahia Agua Verde, Los Islotes and Loreto.

In the Hawaiian Islands and the Sea of Cortés, guests can be as active as they like and activities include trekking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. On-board naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea. The unstructured itinerary allows time for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

Sound like fun? Passengers aboard the Safari Explorer got the opportunity to jump in and swim with a whale shark last week as we see in this video:


[Photo Credit- Flickr user FelixR]

Hotel News We Noted: June 22, 2012

the cloisterIt’s finally summer, and outside isn’t the only thing that’s warm in this week’s edition of Hotel News We Noted. Here, we explore some of the world’s most sizzling new hotels and promotions, as well as cool amenities that can keep you traveling in style.

As always, if you have a suggestion or a comment, feel free to email us.

Hotel Trends: U.S. Hotels Catering to Chinese Travelers
Chinese travel to the United States is up 36 percent over last year, to the tune of more than $1 million. This article from the Seattle Times explored what that means for hotels. Chains like Marriott and Hilton have already rolled out special programs for tourists, while Starwood and The-Ritz Carlton have relocated managers to China to help them gain cultural awareness. Fairmont has just rolled out a new Chinese menu. Just one example includes the nation’s strict hierarchy – employees should not be placed on a higher floor than their boss, no matter the room type. Chinese guests are also not housed on floors with the number four, which sounds like the word for “death” in Mandarin – a strange request for a U.S. audience, but something that these tour groups have greatly appreciated. And, at the tune of $5.7 billion per year spent by the Chinese in the United States, or $6,000 per traveler, hoteliers can’t afford not to take note.

Cool Perk: Leave the Workout Gear at Home, Thanks to Westin
Westin is making it easier than ever to stay fit on the road (and still avoid checked bag fees). For $5, guests can get an entire New Balance outfit – from a sports bra to shoes – delivered to their room as part of an exclusive gear-lending partnership with New Balance.

Money We Wish We Had: Larry Ellison Buys Lanai, Two Four Seasons
Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison has gone and done it again. This time, he bought Lana’i, one of Hawaii’s seven islands, which has not one but two Four Seasons Resorts. Purchased are the 236-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay and the 102-room Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele. We didn’t realize this was even possible, but apparently it is – he purchased the island to the tune of $500 or $600 million from David Murdock, another billionaire.

Unique Amenity: An On-Site Bagpiper
Guests at Sea Island’s (image of their luxe property The Cloister above) can relax after a day of shooting school or playing one of the resort’s three championship golf courses and enjoy the sounds of the resort’s resident bagpiper, who plays on the golf course every day at sundown. Shockingly, this isn’t the only U.S. hotel to offer the amenity – the Inn at Spanish Bay near Pebble Beach has the same thing. Who would have thought?

Soon-to-Open: Hotel BPM, Brooklyn
It’s no shock to us that Brooklyn will be the home base for the boutique Hotel BPM, or Hotel Beats Per Minute in Sunset Park. The hotel, opening August 1, has one cool program we’re keeping an eye on – guests can request one song that will be played throughout the hotel sound system at some point during their stay. At just $139 a night for the opening rate, it might be worth it to go and request something terrible like “Ice Ice Baby” or country music just to see the reaction of other guests. Sorry, we’re terrible.

Five of Hawaii’s hidden gems

While millions of visitors flock to Hawaii’s fabled golden shores, there are a number of sights around the state that are well-off the typical tourist map – and well worth a visit when in town.

Papohaku Beach, Moloka’i
Stoically occupying the west end of the island of Moloka’i, Papohaku Beach is one of the largest white sand beaches in the state of Hawaii, minus all of the crowds. Nearly three miles long and 100 yards wide, a day with more than 6 people is a crowded day at Papohaku. Visitors can gaze across the Kaiwi channel towards neighboring Oahu, its one million residents and crowded beaches merely an afterthought in this isolated corner of paradise. While campers must obtain a state permit for the campground, casual visits to this expanse of sand are free of charge.

Mo’okini Heiau, birthplace of King Kamehameha, Hawai’i
The first person to unite the Hawaiian Islands under a single system of rule, the journey of the revered King Kamehameha the Great began on this windswept pastureland out on Upolu Point. Set just outside of the sprawling Mo’okini heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple erected in 480 A.D. to Ku., the Hawaiian God of War, a small sign marks where Kamehameha was born in 1858. The sight is reachable via the Upolu airport road, though the final two miles to the heiau are on an uneven dirt road, and four-wheel drive is highly recommended if the road is wet or muddy. Hiking is a good backup option. Free admission.

The “Blue Room”, Kaua’i
Tucked away in the verdant jungles of northern Kaua’i, the “Blue Room” is a fresh-water pool that perfectly catches the sunlight, illuminating an exquisite shade of blue to the cold waters within. Located a short walk up a narrow, muddy trail, the combination of the lush green rainforest, vibrantly colored tropical flowers, and ice-blue water inside of the cave create a hidden treasure on Kaua’i that is literally minutes off of the normally beaten path. Free Admission.

Paliku Cabin, Maui
While thousands of visitors annually make the pre-dawn pilgrimage to witness the sunrise from the summit of Maui’s Haleakala Volcano, few venture down into the intricate network of hiking trails that line the crater floor of Haleakala National Park. Aside from the alien landscape and multi-hued cinder cones exploding from the nearby trails, there are three well maintained cabins inside of the crater that are available for public use, the most stunning of which is Paliku. This quaint cabin at 6,300 ft features an exquisitely lush landscape, and wild nene geese patrol the mist-shrouded hillside. Cabins in the park can be reserved at https://fhnp.org/wcr for a fee of $75/night.

Kaunolu Fishing VIllage, Lana’i
Little more than a rocky outcropping at the base of towering sea cliffs, this National Historic Landmark was once the site of a thriving village that was the recreation center of royalty. A favorite fishing spot of Kamehameha, Kaunolu also features “Kahekili’s Leap”, a spot from which warriors would throw themselves off of a 60 ft. cliff into the bay below to prove their valor. Exceptionally remote, Trilogy Excursions offers snorkeling trips to Kaunolu and the southwestern coastline of Lana’i. ($150/day)