Expedition style cruises - where a lot of WOW happens. Extraordinary opportunities for curious and adventurous learners and explorers, whether you are well traveled or new to travel onboard a ship.
What is an expedition cruise? A small ship experience (generally under 200 guests on purpose built ships) focused on the nature, wildlife, history and culture of the areas they visit. Ships are very comfortable with plenty of amenities to suit all tastes - premium to ultra-luxury (long gone are the days of roughing it on an old ice breaker).
Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions
Photo courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions
What are the experiences? Expedition cruises focus on off-ship opportunities - zodiak rides, kayaking, walks and hikes that get you close to wildlife, snorkeling to experience underwater life, visits to local communities (never seen by the big ships). Onboard entertainment is focused on lectures, lively discussions, photography and science centers (you may see some spa facilities but definitely no production shows or casinos).
Itineraries: Expedition cruises have general itineraries but in most cases are not set in stone - no set schedules. Mother Nature tends to decide what options are available for the day in the rea you are visiting, and expedition teams (and captains) are always on the lookout for something special.
Where do expedition cruises visit? Expedition style cruises are available on all continents and focus primarily on regions accessible/reachable only by small ship - many untouched, pristine and less visited parts of the world.
Typically you think expeditions are only to the polar regions - Antarctica at the bottom of the world and the Arctic (Greenland, Northwest Passage, etc) at the top of the world. Many sailings are to the polar waters, but there are expeditions to warmer, tropical and sub-tropical regions too. Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Greece, the British Isles, the Galapagos Islands, Australia's Kimberly region, Borneo and Indonesia to name a few.
Photo courtesy of Australis
Sounds strenuous. Do I need to be super fit? For the best experience, you don't have to be super fit but you do need to be mobile. Some of the ships do not have elevators , which means you must be use stairs between the decks. Much of the exploration is done on zodiak boats which means you must be able to climb in/out of the boats from the ship or from shore.
Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten
When it comes to expedition ships you have many options. For example on these 2 top destinations, last count, over 20 lines with Antarctica itineraries and 20+ expedition and motor yachts in the Galapagos Islands.
Expedition style has come a long way since the days of old ice breakers!
Ready to learn more or get started on your adventure? Let me help you put together a fantastic experience. Call 602.540.7338 or connect with me here.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder