Do you like cruises? Are you an active traveler? What are your preconceived notions about cruising? What are your preconceived notions about expedition cruising?
There are all types of cruises out there… large ship ocean, small ship ocean, yacht, river, barge and EXPEDITION! Expedition is my personal favorite. It is very different than a classic ocean cruise. So let’s explore the world of expedition cruising.
The focus is on the destination and exploring remote parts of the world that only small ships can navigate. The luxury in expedition cruising lies in what’s ‘out there’. The itineraries are much more fluid & flexible, so ships can easily veer off to view a humpback whale that’s just been spotted. It’s learning about the flora and fauna, the culture and history and being off the ship as much as possible while in port. On-board experts are on hand to give you an insight into what you’re likely to see and there’s plenty of opportunity to learn from their extensive knowledge.
Destinations that might come to mind as expedition cruise territory are the Polar Regions (Antarctica and the Arctic), Galapagos, Papua New Guinea, Alaska and The Kimberleys, And did you know that there are also expedition style river cruises? The Amazon is one example…
A Typical Day
So what does a typical day look like on an expedition cruise? Let’s take a look at a typical day in Antarctica as an example.
• Your expedition leader will cheerfully awaken you early each morning to begin your day. After a hearty breakfast, you will embark on your morning excursion. It could be hiking, sea kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, zodiac cruising, cross-country skiing, mountaineering or visiting a historic site to name a few. And who’s game for the polar plunge?
• After your excursion, you return to the ship to enjoy a well-deserved lunch and a bit of a rest before your afternoon excursion.
• Returning to the ship from you afternoon outing, you can get comfy in your lounge-appropriate ship clothes. You’re in for the night! All in time to catch your afternoon recap of the day’s highlights. The expedition leader and several expedition staff share in some of the day’s best moments, usually including some AWESOME photos. This is also the time when one of the lecturers might give a talk. The topics of the lecturers might include marine biology, ornithology, geology, glaciology, photography and even geo-politics.
• Then it’s dinner! And you just may find yourself nodding off over your meal. Seriously. It’s happened to me several times during an expedition cruise. All that activity creeps up on you!
• After dinner, it’s time to assemble in the lounge for a fun activity or just hang with your newfound friends.
Who would enjoy expedition cruises?
These types of cruises aren’t for those who are looking for casinos and Broadway style shows on board. Neither are they for those looking for midnight chocolate buffets. They are for those adventure type travelers who truly want experiential travel at its finest. If you are one of those who say “I am not a cruise type.” “I don’t want to be on a city on the sea” yada yada… this isn’t that. Expedition ships are smaller, allowing them to get into areas where the big ships can’t and aren’t allowed. And you are on the ship very little. You are OUT THERE experiencing nature and wildlife in all its glorious glory!
Expedition Cruise Companies
Some of the players in the expedition arena include: Lindblad Expeditions, Quark Expeditions, Ponant, Aqua Expeditions, UnCruise Adventures, Aurora Expeditions and True North. Several classic ocean cruise companies now have expedition ships as well. Examples are Silversea, Seabourn and Scenic.
So if you’re an active, adventure type traveler and you’ve never tried an expedition cruise, now is the time. Wildlife and nature await!
True North, an outstanding company specializing in The Kimberleys