Does an expedition cruise conjure up images of cramped bunk beds, icy cabins and porridge for every meal? Think again! Expedition cruising has gone the luxury route and now you can sip fine wines in comfort while sailing to remote and fascinating corners of the globe.
Intrepid is one of the recent groups to add Polar cruises to its offering, with Antarctic experiences set to begin in 2020. The Ocean Endeavour will carry 199 passengers, with a range of cabins as well as saunas, a wellness centre, yoga classes, a gym, and a saltwater pool.
There will be a variety of experiences available, including specialised photography tours, and unique activities such as ice camping and snow-shoeing.
Silversea is one of the cruise lines taking luxury ‘to the ends of the Earth’ with small but exquisite ships. Expeditions include the Arctic, Antarctic, Northern Passage (Alaska), and Galapagos Islands. There’s also a Russian Far East voyage, where you’ll see bears, glaciers and other-worldly volcanic landscapes!
Aqua Expeditions will take you to warmer climates in luxury, sailing the Amazon or Mekong rivers. Shore excursions include treks through the Amazon rainforest to find rare wildlife, with experienced and knowledgeable guides.
Ponant advertises a multi-sensory underwater lounge area on some of its luxury yacht expeditions, combined with refined French gastronomy, relaxed elegance, and an open bar.
Many expeditions provide the opportunity to do more than see the sights – they’re tailored learning experiences, often accompanies by noted experts and explorers.
Northern Lights cruises were some of the first to introduce this expert-guided experience, with astronomers and physicists conducting presentations and courses on board, and providing telescopes and charts to create far more than the usual Scandinavian experience.
These days, cruises with experts on flora, fauna, culture, hobbies, and so many other topics can be found.
Who Should Choose an Expedition?
Resort-style cruises aren’t for everyone, and neither are expeditions. If you prefer destinations that are less geared to tourism, smaller ships, unusual scenery and cultures, and want to learn something along the way, expedition cruises could be for you.
Expedition itineraries require various levels of fitness, so please check before you book and make sure you know exactly what to expect.
Your cruise insurance will also need to cover those activities so remember to specify when you get your quote – things like glacier walks and sea kayaking often require extra cover.
If you’re visiting a remote destination like Antarctica or the Galapagos, your cruise insurance policy must cover those specific areas, so it’s important to specify every port of call to ensure you’re covered for the entire cruise.
Many expedition cruises focus on sustainability, and some even use hybrid ships that reduce their environmental impact, so if that’s important to you an expedition may be even more appealing!
With the multitude of options available, start your expedition with good, solid research and find the cruise that suits you perfectly.
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