If you’ve been on a cruise ship before, you know that all of the bells and whistles can be exhausting. However, not every sea journey is the same, and an expedition cruise could be just what you need! With intellectually stimulating activities, world-class accommodation, and unforgettable itineraries, expedition cruises are fast becoming the preferred way to sail the high seas.
But what exactly is an expedition cruise? Where do
they go? And why are they becoming the go-to cruise option for those looking to travel the oceans?
Put simply, an expedition cruise is a journey to hard-to-reach areas of the globe that immerse the travelers in the natural side of the location they are visiting and sometimes even the culture and history. They allow passengers to experience the wild side of nature while traveling in comfortable, modern accommodation.
Expedition cruise ships come in many forms. The Maryanne is the only sailing schooner in the Galapagos. With a maximum of 16 passengers, the ship provides a unique way to enjoy this bucket destination.
Want to know more? Let’s talk about why you should add an expedition cruise to your bucket list!
One of the common misconceptions about expedition cruises is the accommodation. When the term comes to mind, you might think of Christopher Columbus traveling to the Americas, or Cortez and his men eating hardtack and drinking rancid water. Think again! Expedition cruises are in line with typical cruises in their amenities, but the atmosphere onboard is like no other. You’ll travel with people from all walks of life, from the scientifically curious to those looking to escape their comfort zone. Get involved with the educational presentations, or put yourself to work learning about traditional sailing methods of seafarers of centuries past.
Many people associate cruise ships with the older retiree looking for sunny shores or the family of four excited for the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet and deck pool. However, an expedition cruise is so
much more than that! Many companies offer different styles of travel, from the modern cruise liners with facilities like gyms and saunas, but some cater more to those with an adventurous side. Traditional cruises may come with all the frills, but there is nothing quite like traveling on an old-school clipper ship through the Galapagos Islands or punching your way through icebergs and wild waters in the Antarctic. While such
experiences were once reserved for scientists and researchers, expedition cruises now offer the chance for regular people to undertake once-in-a-lifetime journeys that can be found nowhere else.
Because of this, cruise leaders and staff are often experts in their field, and you can expect everyone from historians to marine biologists to be onboard during your journey. These knowledgeable guides will often impart information about the local area, native animals, and even the history of coves and geological formations you encounter. You’ll leave your cruise feeling educated – and have some interesting facts about your trip for friends and family back home!
Photographers, rejoice – expedition cruises are the perfect way to capture some of those enviable holiday snaps! Unlike other cruise ships, expedition cruises are incredibly flexible. Heard that there’s a pod of orcas a few miles away? The cruise ship will likely go out of its way to take you there. Heard about a secret, remote cove for swimming? No problem! Expedition cruises will usually depart from their usual schedule to
The opportunity to get up close with destination and its inhabitants makes an expedition cruise a perfect vacation for photographers – no matter what the skill level.
accommodate weather conditions, sea state, or simply to make their passengers happy. So leave your reservations at the door – spontaneous adventure is around every corner on these unique cruises!
While traditional cruises tend to stick to the same sun-soaked destinations, expedition cruises will also take you to places you’d never even believe were possible. For example, many expeditions sail
to the polar regions, where you’ll be surrounded by ice, snow, and the ever-present polar wildlife. Get up close and personal with penguins, elephant seals, and polar bears on an ice breaker, and marvel at the awe of massive glaciers and ice shelves that loom on either side.
If you’re more about the tropical vibe, don’t despair! Popular destinations for expedition cruises include tropical islands in the Galapagos, remote reefs off the coast of
Destinations abound for those seeking an expedition cruise including the remote Kimberly region of Western Australia.
Madagascar, and even wildlife spotting opportunities along African shores. You can even take a shallow-draught ship through the Amazon River, marveling at the bright and colorful flora and fauna as you pass through. Soak in the sun on the upper decks as you cruise through the still waters of Costa Rica and Panama, or take a smaller boat to explore the many tiny villages that line the shores of these magical destinations.
Traditional cruises are incredibly popular because they facilitate easy travel for passengers of all ages. However, an expedition cruise may present some challenges for travelers with mobility issues. Many expeditions will use inflatable Zodiac craft to move to and from the ship, and landing in rocky coves or beaches may require passengers to jump into shallow water. Expedition cruise ships also tend to be much smaller than traditional liners, with features designed to get them in and out of areas larger vessels cannot go. Don’t worry – if you don’t move around as easily as you’d like, you can still undertake one of these fantastic voyages! You may just be limited in how often you can leave the ship – all the more time to take incredible pictures from the upper decks!
Zodiac excursions and landings allow expedition cruisers access to places their mother ships cannot access allowing travelers to see the beauty and wonder of remote places.
One of the most commonly asked questions about expedition cruises is about the equipment. While many cruises will facilitate adventure activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or scuba diving, you don’t necessarily need to bring your own gear! Most expedition cruise ships will happily allow guests to rent out or borrow everything from wetsuits to cold-weather jackets, with the cost usually absorbed into the fare. If you’re not sure what to pack, cruise companies will send through a detailed list of what to expect and how to prepare in the weeks leading up to the trip.
While traditional cruise liners can carry upwards of 6000 passengers, specialized expedition ships usually have a manifest of between 12-500 like-minded travelers onboard. This means you’ll have a more personalized itinerary and a real sense of community during your voyage. Compare photos, make friends and take away an experience you’ll never forget.
Are you planning your next expedition? Contact me today, and I’ll organize a trip that is sure to thrill and amaze you. From sailing to tropical islands to visiting the polar ice caps, there is an expedition cruise to suit every lifestyle. Channel your inner explorer, and let’s get you to those far corners of the globe! Come on – the adventure of a lifetime awaits!
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