Like James Cook, Vasco da Gama or Marco Polo, you can set out on your own expedition to parts unknown (at least unknown to you) via an expedition cruise. An expedition cruise is one where you are being active in an exotic locale. You are getting out into the elements, getting up close and personal with a penguin or a blue footed booby or hiking through the jungle. When onboard, the expedition continues as you learn about the region in which you are sailing, understanding its natural resources and wildlife patterns.
While your experience on shore is usually very active, onboard you are most likely spending that time enjoying an enrichment class, relaxing with a spa treatment, rejuvenating with a hearty gourmet meal or resting in your spacious stateroom. An expedition cruise is not a cruise for the masses; these are exclusive experiences where you’ll be sailing through rivers, oceans and seas in smaller vessels that can traverse a variety of environments from the reef-laden coasts of Australia to the glacier-filled waters of Antarctica. If you are ready, keep reading to discover the cruise lines that offer expedition cruising and learn about their varied offerings.
Explore with Silversea Expeditions
Silversea has the largest offering of expedition cruises. The cruise line has itineraries in Africa, Antarctica, the Arctic, the Galapagos Islands and brand new itineraries announced in Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia, among many others. Each expedition comes complete with an expedition team, which consists of expedition leaders along with experts who lead interesting lectures, like Dr. Claire Allum, an anthropologist who lived with the Chachi tribe in the Ecuadorian jungle or Andrew Marshall, a marine biologist, ecologist and documentary maker.
During the day you could spot polar bears from the safety of your Zodiac boat, bird watch during a hike through a Costa Rican rainforest or learn a traditional song or dance from the people of the Yap islands. At night you’ll delight in the gourmet cuisine that has met the standards of Relais & Chateaux and enjoy a drink in the observation lounge after hearing an interesting lecture to prepare you for tomorrow’s adventure.
Explore with Seabourn
Seabourn offers constant sailings to Antarctica and Patagonia for travelers who are keen on nature and seeing the beautiful natural landscapes of untouched lands. These sailings are jam packed with wildlife sightings, from penguins to birds and seals. On each of these cruises you’ll find experts who are ready to fill you in on the sights and provide some historical context.
Seabourn also provides options for those who may not want to get as active as most expedition cruises allow. For example, guests may stay back on the ship instead of going out in the zodiac boats to step foot on the land in Antarctica. Seabourn even provides travelers with complimentary parkas to keep you warm and dry on your adventures. You can also arrange to rent specialty boots for your expedition cruise.
Explore with Avalon Waterways
Known for their sophisticated river cruises, Avalon Waterways also offers itineraries exploring the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. The cruises through the Amazon include time discovering the enchanting and mystical ruins of Machu Picchu and guided walks through the shores of the Peruvian section of the Amazon. This itinerary also includes a visit to a native village and a Manatee Rescue Center.
On the Galapagos Islands, your cruise will include daily walks on the many different islands that make up the famed island chain. You’ll also get to try the regional Andean food when you end your cruise in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
Explore with Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises, most famous for its chic and modern cruises with excellent cuisine, also offers expedition adventures. For years now they have been sailing their smallest ship, the Celebrity Xpedition, around the Galapagos Islands. These sailings offer the glamour of the cruise line’s other itineraries but with the added bonus of the beautiful and unique landscape of the Galapagos. Each night there are lectures from the onboard experts who are certified naturalists by the Galapagos National Park.
Explore with Paul Gauguin Cruises
For the majority of its existence, Paul Gauguin Cruises had one ship that sailed in one region, French Polynesia. The cruise line recently expanded by adding a yacht to their fleet, the m/v Tere Moana, which sails around the coasts of Europe, but that doesn’t change the fact that the m/s Paul Gauguin offers the most in-depth and knowledgeable experience for vacationers in French Polynesia.
On their cruises you can go on several guided dives (if you are certified) into the beautiful blue waters once explored by Jacques Cousteau. Some cruises even features Jean-Michel Cousteau, the son of Jacques, who leads special dives and excursions. There are trips to pearl farms and hiking through the coconut trails of Moorea. To ensure that you are never too far from getting into the magnificently clean and blue waters of Polynesia, the m/s Paul Gauguin has her own onboard watersports marina from which you can launch a kayak, embark on a SCUBA lesson or try your hand at windsurfing.
With so many great specialty expeditions, figuring out where to begin and choosing your adventure is the hard part. That’s why our experts are here to make sure you come home with incredible experiences to share from the far corners of the world. It’s not every day you get to step foot on the frozen continent of Antarctica or see the amazing animals Charles Darwin discovered while formulating his theory of evolution.
If you are ready for the adventure of a lifetime, call The Cruise Web today to find a consultant who can help guide you to the perfect expedition to unleash your inner explorer.
The Cruise Web, Inc.