Swan Hellenic and SETI Institute announce programme of lecturers onboard specific expedition cruises throughout the year for the ‘Explore Space at Sea’ series
Swan Hellenic is the expedition cruise company to travel with to see the Arctic, Antarctic and indeed, the rest of the world – from Brazil to Papua New Guinea, Norway to New Zealand, Australia to Africa, Madagascar to the Mediterranean. It has two state-of-the-art expedition ships, SH Minerva and SH Vega and a brand-new expedition cruise ship SH Diana will be launched on 4 May 2023, bringing Swan Hellenic’s cutting-edge fleet to three.
Incorporated as a Californian non-profit corporation, the SETI Institute is a space and earth science research organisation supporting NASA and NSF programmes and partnering with private industry and academia to answer some of humanity’s most profound scientific questions. SETI stands for 'search for extra-terrestrial intelligence'.
Swan Hellenic teamed up with the SETI Institute to take its cruise explorations further and deeper, including into the far reaches of space. Now Swan Hellenic has announced further details of its partnership with the SETI Institute to provide guests with expert insights into the history and latest discoveries in astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology and planetary science – and the quest to find other forms of life within and beyond our solar system. This quest takes SETI Institute researchers to the planet’s most remote and inhospitable corners to explore life, including Antarctica, where the Swan Hellenic fleet is present for several months every year.
The new partnership will engage Swan Hellenic's many adventure travellers with never-before-seen presentations on explorations around Earth and beyond, adding an extra dimension to their journey.
Havila Voyages newest passenger ship, environmentally friendly Havila Castor, will operate the classic coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes.
Havila Castor's energy-efficient hull design was created to handle the varied Norwegian coastal weather.
image (c) Havila Voyages
The ship has the world's largest passenger ship battery pack with 6.1 megawatt hours (MWh) meaning the ship can sail emission-free for up to four hours.
"We have a state-of-the-art ship with large cabins and stylish Nordic design that our passengers will be able to enjoy to the fullest” (CEO Bent Martini.)
Martini explained, "Our ships are the most environmentally friendly passenger ships to sail the classic coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenesand. Havila Castor will be the first ship to sail into the world heritage site of the Geirangerfjord silently and emission-free." He went on, "The ship's propulsion is a combination of natural gas (LNG) and the battery pack, so reducing CO2 emissions by up to 30 % and NOX emissions by 90c%. This means that ships of Havila Voyages are the most environmentally friendly ships that sail the coastal route. Our investment in climate, environment and sustainability is more than just words. We will deliver from day one on the requirements that were set in the contract with the Ministry of Transport”.
Havila Castor is also built for climate-neutral fuel alternatives such as hydrogen and ammonia. With current technology, gradual blending of biogas will further reduce CO2 emissions. As well as reduced emissions, other properties include heat recovery from sea and cooling water as well as a food concept that includes food sourced from short-haul and local producers. The menu on board changes during the sailing to reflect the areas in which Havila Castor sails.
Martini explained, “Our goal is to cut food waste on board and we have a unique food concept which, among other things, means that we do not have a buffet. There has been a lot of positive feedback regarding menus. We are very much looking forward to getting the ship on the route along the Norwegian coast on the maiden voyage”.
Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism and Investment, The Honourable Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, was joined by Royal Caribbean Group Vice President of Government Relations, Americas, Russell Benford, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Royal Caribbean Group to bring thousands of job opportunities to the people of Antigua and Barbuda in June.
Minister Fernandez said, “Royal Caribbean is one of the iconic brands that is part of the foundation of cruise tourism in the Caribbean and this initiative will not only see a huge cadre of our tourism professionals become gainfully employed while being ambassadors for our country, but will further strengthen the partnership between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Royal Caribbean. It’s a win-win solution for all of us.”
The Minister also spoke of the Government’s careful and successful management of the coronavirus pandemic that gave Royal Caribbean the confidence they could hire the services of citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, "knowing our people are vaccinated, fully trained and possess the skills needed to add value to Royal Caribbean’s operations. The relationship between Royal Caribbean and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda goes back well over 30 years,” said Benford. “We have supported each other through the most challenging times and signing this agreement demonstrates the strength of our partnership and will result in boosting the tourism economy.” He added, “I take this opportunity to congratulate Minister Fernandez as well as our entire team involved in moving negotiations forward that will benefit the people of Antigua and Barbuda. This is a good day for the travel industry.”
In congratulating Royal Caribbean for its service to Caribbean tourism, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO, Colin C. James remarked, “Antigua and Barbuda have enjoyed a strong rebound in cruise arrivals in January and March of this year and Royal Caribbean has been a major part of that. This new partnership will impact hospitality employment opportunities for the destination in a positive way that goes beyond just welcoming cruise passengers to our shores.”
The employment initiative on Royal Caribbean’s ships will commence with a major job fair in St. John’s for nationals and residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Employment opportunities are in positions including the Marine sector - junior seaman, junior engine man, assistant electricians; the Operations Sector - storekeepers, cruise, youth and sports staff, laundry and restaurant attendants, waiters and bakers. In the specialty sector, vacancies are available for positions including in the casino, entertainers and photographers. “This is the tourism industry performing at its finest”, James concluded. The new employees will be Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise guest ambassadors and further strengthen the existing Royal Caribbean partnership.
ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA:
Antigua (pronounced An-tee'ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’da) is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. The twin-island paradise offers visitors two uniquely distinct experiences, ideal temperatures year-round, a rich history, vibrant culture, exhilarating excursions, award-winning resorts, mouth-watering cuisine and 365 stunning pink and white-sand beaches - one for every day of the year. The largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, Antigua comprises 108-square miles with rich history and spectacular topography that provides a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Antigua’s tourism events calendar includes the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, and the annual Antigua Carnival; known as the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival. Barbuda, Antigua’s smaller sister island, is the ultimate celebrity hideaway. The island lies 27 miles north-east of Antigua and is just a 15-minute plane ride away. Barbuda is known for its untouched 11-mile stretch of pink sand beach and as the home of the largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. Find information on Antigua & Barbuda at: www.visitantiguabarbuda.com
Representatives of the Royal Caribbean Group, Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Authority following the signing
images (c) RCI / Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism
Suffering from lack-of- holiday blues? Give yourself a treat by taking to the water by ferry ....
Easy check-in processes, relaxing onboard passenger lounges and refreshment areas mean a chilled-out ambience from start to finish. Spacious public decks lend themselves to social distancing and give ferry passengers room to relax or stretch their legs, collect their thoughts and experience a more
mindful method of travel. Holidaymakers travelling by vehicle also avoid packing stresses, no baggage restrictions and bike racks, sports gear and camping equipment are transported fuss-free.
Abby Penlington, Director at Discover Ferries, says: “To inspire holidaymakers looking to enhance their wellbeing we have compiled a guide to escapes by ferry that stimulate the mind, body and spirit.”
Active trips to strengthen the body
To build core strength, flexibility and calm your mind, Isle of Wight visitors can attend sessions combining traditional Asana yoga with stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).
Travel from Portsmouth or Lymington with Wightlink; Southampton with Red Funnel; via Hovertravel from Southsea.
Operating with extra capacity for bicycles, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers means city dwellers and visitors can take in London's sights from the river, before continuing their commute or exploration of parks, piers and pathways on two wheels.
The Scilly Isles sandy beaches are perfect for open water swimming and kayaking, on a sunny day you’ll find it hard to believe you are in Britain. Embrace your adventurous spirit and take social distancing to the extreme by chartering a boat to an uninhabited island for a solitary stroll.
Isles of Scilly Travel offers services on The Scillonian departing from Penzance to St Mary’s Harbour.
For those who have taken up walking during lockdown and want to do this during holidays, the Isle of Man’s Raad ny Foillan Coastal Path is ideal. Covering nearly 100 miles, ambitious walkers can complete the route in four days or opt to walk the course in 10 days. Walkers are rewarded with spectacular views, fantastic picnicking spots and restaurants to suit all budgets.
Travel with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company from Heysham to Douglas year-round or seasonally from Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast.
Holidays to reset the mind
Retreat to the Holy Isle, a remote Buddhist island off Scotland's Isle of Arran, to indulge in Tai Chi, yoga and meditation. With relaxing activities that focus the mind in tranquil surroundings, it’s easy to see why visitors return to Re-Vitalise Retreats.
Travel to Arran with CalMac ferries from Ardrossan or Kintyre, departing from Clanoig in summer and Tarbert in winter months.
The Netherlands has a culture of indoor wellness centres that offer the ultimate in hot and
cold pools, steam rooms and saunas.
Travel with DFDS via its Newcastle to Amsterdam route; P&O Ferries departing from Hull to Rotterdam; Stena Line’s services between Harwich and the Hook of Holland.
Practise the Japanese art of forest bathing at St Brelade in Jersey, it reduces stress and improves concentration. Visitors are encouraged to take in the forest's fresh air under the guidance of local herbalists and if they wish they can forage for ingredients for a relaxing tea.
Condor Ferries operate links to Jersey from Poole.
Nourishing breaks that will heighten your senses
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so why not visit France’s apple region? Apple desserts, apple juice, cider and Calvados apple brandy mean no shortage of sampling opportunities across the region. From May to December, visitors can participate in harvesting the fruit.
Sail to Normandy from Portsmouth or Poole with Brittany Ferries; from Newhaven to Dieppe with DFDS; P&O Ferries and DFDS operate from Dover.
The Irish coastline is home to a variety of edible plant life making it a haven for foragers. Besides mushrooms, herbs, mosses and wild blackberries, there are more than 600 types of
nutrient-packed seaweed. Foragers can sustainably harvest by cutting the tips – never the root
– with a knife, it adds flavour to soups, bakes and infused oils. The food trail in Waterford is a great introduction to Ireland’s native plant life and local producers.
Travel to Ireland from the UK with Irish Ferries via Pembroke-Rosslare and Holyhead-Dublin routes; P&O Ferries from Liverpool to Dublin; Stena Line on Holyhead-Dublin and Fishguard-Rosslare services.
The Buddhist Samye Ling and Centre on Holy Isle are closed until the end of 2020 due to COVID-19, however, in line with Scottish Government advice, visitors can kayak, walk and enjoy nature on the island.
Discover Ferries represents 13 ferry operators in the UK, the British Islands and Ireland operating more than 80 routes. Its role is to promote ferry travel and holidays. The carriage of freight vehicles is also an important part of the business. Discover Ferries members are Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, Condor Ferries, DFDS, Hovertravel, Irish Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Travel, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel/ cruise writer & author of 13 books. Credits incl: Daily Telegraph, CNN, Daily Mail, BBC magazines, Country & Town House, The Scotsman, Scots Magazine, Love Exploring, Sunday Mirror, The Sun, Cruise Trade News and many more .....