To truly understand the magic of expedition cruising, you need to give it a go for yourself - but we’ll try to describe some of the amazing aspects that make it a unique way to travel. An expedition cruise generally takes place on smaller, more intimate cruise ships, often luxury vessels with hardy exteriors and sumptuous interiors. Their itineraries include ports that big ships can’t visit. Remote places of natural beauty and an array of fascinating ports all around the globe are on the agenda, depending on the cruise line and ship.
Expedition cruises also tend to focus on the wonderful things to be found onshore, and how you can explore them in-depth. They might include intrepid and interesting shore tours, in cities and amongst nature. They are fantastic for wildlife spotting! Essentially, an expedition cruise is more than just a relaxing holiday - it’s a convenient, comfortable and excellent way to visit a particular part of the globe by sea.
Where could an expedition cruise take you?
All over the world, to put it simply. Expedition cruise lines offer itineraries as diverse as Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, the fjords of Northern Europe and the colourful ports of Southeast Asia, as well as everything in between. Purchase handmade clothing at Corinto in Nicaragua, or take a peek under the waves in the spectacular Raja Ampat Indonesian archipelago. The world is your oyster.
Close to home, you could visit places not featured on mainstream cruise itineraries like the Kimberley region, Norfolk Island, Easter Island, the Chathams and much more. This is one of the primary highlights of expedition cruising: you’ll see places that you generally wouldn’t, be it on a cruise or any other trip. No, they don’t all have jetties or convenient docks, but expedition ships are well equipped for getting you ashore to explore.
Many luxury expedition lines, such as Regent Seven Seas, Azamara, and Seabourn, even offer world cruises which circumnavigate the globe over a good few months. This would be the ultimate adventure!
What can you expect onboard?
Quite a few expedition cruises are on the top end of the scale, luxury-wise, and even the ones which are not quite as upmarket offer very nice accommodations along with great amenities and service. So, don’t fret about navy-style bunks and camp food - an expedition cruise is a very comfortable way to explore.
The most intrepid of expedition cruises are well equipped for getting you up close and personal with the environment. For example, the Silver Explorer - like many other vessels - has a fleet of zodiac boats so you can get ashore just about anywhere. The True North ship is equipped with a helicopter for scenic exploration by air, and the Coral Adventurer is one of the many ships that have snorkel and scuba gear onboard to make it easy to get out there and dive. Read up on the features, highlights, and equipment that your ship has before you book.
Find your line
Considering an expedition cruise? Here’s a quick list of some great lines offering amazing holiday quests around the globe.
- North Star Cruises/True North Australia - This one’s close to home, and offers unforgettable expeditions in the stunning Kimberley region, Indonesia’s islands and Papua New Guinea. Their vessel, True North, is intrepid in every sense of the word and has a shallow draft which will get you close to spectacular shorelines.
- Azamara Club Cruises - A luxury line, their expeditions mix comfort and “getting you out of your comfort zone” perfectly. Pick a particularly exciting itinerary, such as the ones which visit the Antarctic Peninsula and Elephant Island in the frozen south. The line prides itself on destination immersion and offers shore tours and experiences designed to get passengers participating in life all over the world.
- Celebrity Xpedition - While most Celebrity ships tend towards the mainstream, this vessel is something else entirely. It cruises the incredible Galapagos islands, one of the world’s most remote destinations, allowing passengers to discover unique wildlife like the endemic penguins and sea lions, and amazing isles and beaches too.
- Coral Expedition Cruises - Another Aussie line, this one has an array of interesting destinations including the Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea, Cape York, Tasmania, the Spice Islands, New Zealand, and more. Their small ships are purpose-built for adventure, and the Aussie and Kiwi crew members are friendly, welcoming, and informative.
- Silversea - This luxury cruise line has a range of expedition cruises to wonderful destinations like South America, Antarctica, and Greenland. They even have a journey along the American West Coast, which explores sounds, mountains, redwoods, cities, beaches and more from Vancouver to San Diego. The Silver Cloud and Silver Explorer are well equipped for this unique style of cruising.
Once you’ve picked your expedition, start preparing for the journey of a lifetime. An expedition cruise is a fantastic way to experience the world, and the many options mean you can experience the parts of our incredible globe that you want to see, on a cruise line that suits you. There’s so much out there to discover!