Ten Reasons to Choose an Expedition Cruise – Cruise Traveller

Ten Reasons to Choose an Expedition Cruise

BY: Andrew Mevissen

Adventure travel and, in particular, expedition cruising, are amongst the fastest growing tourism trends as travellers look to get way from the masses, opting for intimate, bucket-list experiences rather than floating resorts or ‘shopping malls at sea’.

Aria Amazon heads out on an expedition cruise.
Here are ten reasons why an expedition cruise makes an ideal choice for your next holiday.

1: The Destinations. Unlike their big-cruising counterparts, expedition cruises are less focused on the ship and more focused on the destination. The smaller size of expedition vessels allows them to take modern-day explorers into some of the most remote locations on the planet. From the Arctic to Antarctica and from Greenland to the Galapagos Islands, guests are treated to up close and personal views of some of the world’s most striking, natural landscapes. Zodiac excursions enhance the wonder by allowing guests to go ashore and explore these spectacular locations.

Silversea Expedition guests with local guide in the Kimberley, Australia as he explains the history of the local art.

2: The Wildlife. Being able to explore such isolated, natural locations means that guests are able to witness some of the world’s most rare and iconic creatures. Whether it’s polar bears in the Arctic, a pod of humpback whales passing by or one of the 126 bird species that call New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands home, there are plenty of once-in-a-lifetime animal encounters to imprint on the memory.

UnCruise Adventures guide in Alaska kayaking near a brown bear.

3: Uncrowded. This one’s self-explanatory. An expedition cruise offers a much more intimate and personal cruising experience. Instead of travelling aboard cruise liners the size of small towns, most expedition cruise ships carry no more than 200 passengers, which means less time waiting in queues and no fear of overcrowding destinations.

Feel the serenity, away from the crowds… A team of kayakers from Antarctica 21 cruises enjoying Antarctica at it’s finest.

4: Camaraderie. Expedition cruise-goers are a social bunch. With a lot of expedition vessels accommodating less than 100 passengers, being social is very easy. Meals are usually open seating, giving you the chance to share stories with your fellow, like-minded passengers. You’ll be hard-pressed to not make friends as most expedition cruise-goers are there for the adventure and experiences, just like you.

There’s nothing like a polar bear sighting to spark up a dinner time conversation that night. This image by Acacia Johnson for Quark Expeditions.

5: The Culture. Being able to access waterways and ports that big ships are unable to enter means that expedition cruises can immerse guests in some of the world’s most exotic and intact cultures. With local guides providing insightful knowledge, guests are treated to unique and intimate experiences with local cultures, such as a traditional Inuit welcome by the indigenous community of Pond Inlet in Canada.

A Ponant captain being welcomed to a Papua New Guinea by the highest honour and tradition.

6: Education. Not only do expedition cruises allow you to see and explore amazing locations, they also enrich you with knowledge about the destinations you visit. Most expedition cruises have onboard experts in many different fields. Whether it is history, geology, marine biology, photography or global warming, you will learn some interesting facts about your destination and its inhabitants.

National Geographic Lindblad biologist with a guest in the Galapagos.

7: Flexible Itinerary. Travelling in some of the world’s most unpredictable natural locations such as the polar regions means that each day on the water will be different, with the itinerary open and subject to change. And that’s exciting, with each day full of surprises. From the weather to wildlife sightings, expedition cruises go with the flow. One minute you’re on the way to a remote island, the next you are sailing alongside the ice to get a glimpse at a polar bear.

A berry covered island discovered in the Arctic when high winds changed the itinerary – Adventure Canada.

8: Individualised Attention. On an expedition cruise, you are not just a number and you are not lost amongst the masses. Instead, you are treated with a personal touch. The onboard expedition team knows your name and caters to your specific needs.

Expedition leader Jason with a guest out on a zodiac ride in the Arctic – Adventure Canada.

9: Luxury. Despite their smaller size, some of the newer expedition cruise ships can be quite luxurious, delivering five-star-plus experiences in the middle of nowhere. You can be soaking in a hot jacuzzi, cocktail in hand, marvelling at icebergs rolling by. Fine cuisine is also a staple of many expedition ships along with fine Egyptian cotton sheets on your bed and a private balcony from which you can feast on the scenery.

The new Hanseatic Inspiration by luxury line Hapag-Lloyd combines true expedition cruising with spectacular onboard amenities and design.

Ten: Environmentally Friendly. Small ship cruising is one of the most responsible and sustainable forms of tourism. Unlike larger ships, boutique vessels are far less damaging to the environment. The newer built vessels for example by Hapag-Lloyd, Ponant, Aurora and Quark focus on lowering energy consumption, limited single plastics usage, recycling onboard and reef sensitive anchoring. They offer the ability to travel to sensitive natural areas such as Alaska or the Subantarctic Islands with unobtrusive navigation. Onboard experts teach guests about the current environmental issues regions face and what travellers can do to help sustain these pristine locations.

With its hybrid propulsion combining liquefied natural gas (LNG) and electric generators, Ponant’s new Le Commandant-Charcot has been designed to minimise the environmental impact of travel to the furthest latitudes.

Expedition cruising by destination:

  • Expedition cruises to the Amazon – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Antarctica – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to the Arctic – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Alaska – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Asia – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Australia – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to the UK & British Isles – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Norway – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Hawaii – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Panama & Central America – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to India’s coast, Sri Lanka and the Seychelles – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to India’s Rivers – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to Mexico – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to the North Pacific – CLICK HERE
  • Expedition cruises to the Galapagos & South America – CLICK HERE

Expedition cruising by cruise line:

  • ADVENTURE CANADA – Expedition cruises to the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Scotland & Ireland
  • AMAZON NATURE TOURS – Expedition cruises on the Amazon River from Manaus, Brazil
  • ANTARCTICA 21 – Expedition cruises to Antarctica
  • AQUA EXPEDITIONS – Expedition cruises on the Mekong River, Indonesian Archipelagos & Amazon River
  • AURORA EXPEDITIONS – Expedition cruises to the Arctic, Antarctic, South America, Panama & British Isles
  • AUSTRALIS – Expedition cruises on the fjords of Patagonia
  • G-ADVENTURES – Expedition cruises to Antarctica, Asia, Galapagos, India and more
  • HAPAG-LLOYD CRUISES – Some ships are expedition vessels visiting destinations around the world
  • HERITAGE EXPEDITIONS – Expedition cruises to the SubAntarctics, New Zealand & the South Pacific
  • KIMBERLEY QUEST – Expedition cruises to the Kimberley, Australia
  • LINDBLAD NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPEDITIONS – Expedition cruises to Antarctica, the Arctic, Canada, Alaska, USA, Asia, Galapagos, South America, Norwegian Fjords, South Pacific and more
  • MAHABAAHU CRUISES – Expedition cruises on the Brahmaputra & Kareela Rivers in India
  • ONE OCEAN EXPEDITIONS – Expedition cruises to Antarctica, South America, British Isles and the Arctic
  • PANDAW CRUISES – Expedition river cruises in Asia and India
  • POLAR LATITUDES – Expedition cruises to Antarctica
  • PONANT CRUISES – Offers a range of traditional and expedition cruises to Antarctica, the Arctic, Alaska, South America, South Pacific, The Kimberley and more…
  • QUARK EXPEDITIONS – Expedition cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica
  • ROYAL GALAPAGOS – Expedition cruises to the Galapagos
  • SILVERSEA EXPEDITIONS – Expedition cruises to the Galapagos, Caribbean, Arctic/Canada, Asia, The Kimberley, Antarctica and more
  • TRUE NORTH – Expedition cruises to the Kimberley, Papua, Western Australia and more
  • UNCRUISE ADVENTURES – Expedition cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama and more