The incredible world of expedition cruising

18 September 2018

Fancy heading off the beaten track for an adventure? Expedition cruises journey to some of the world’s most spectacular and unspoilt destinations. Whether you dream of watching the Northern Lights dance across the sky or feeling the heat of the Amazonian jungle, expedition cruising can create some truly exhilarating memories.

With the emphasis placed firmly on destination, most expedition cruise ships are modest when compared with large contemporary ships. A few cruise providers blend luxury with adventure but, on the whole, expect down-to-earth cabins and facilities. Vessels are usually on the smaller side, allowing them to reach remote environments far away from the crowds.

Exploring your surroundings onshore is a huge part of the expedition cruise experience. Excursions often require a reasonable degree of fitness and agility, so do bear that in mind when choosing a cruise. Hiking, wildlife-spotting, nature photography and rafting give just a taste of the onshore activities on offer. Expedition teams have a wealth of specialist knowledge to share, with some cruises offering engaging evening lectures about your destination.

A growing number of companies now offer expedition cruises. Popular destinations include the frozen wilderness of Alaska and the Arctic Circle, the unique habitat of the Galapagos Islands, and iconic rivers like the Amazon or Yangtze, while the ultimate adventurer will love Antarctica. We’ve picked out some of our favourite excursions to show you what you can get up to on an expeditions cruise.

Geirangerfjord with Trollstigen Pass

Feel like you’re airborne and enjoy the view of the majestic, UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord from Eagle road. The best views can be caught from the highest hairpin known as Eagle Bend, which also provides the best photo opportunities. Next, it’s off to the idyllic Eidsdal Lake where you can observe local fishermen getting their day’s catch, or rent a boat and paddle across the clear blue waters. Lastly, it’s the spectacular Trollstigen Pass, which is known for its 11 hairpins and steep incline. Here you’ll get more views of the incredible rugged scenery as you head back to your ship.

Antarctica overnight kayaking

A number of expedition cruise ships have added paddling excursions to their impressive offering, but some offer two-night kayaking and camping tours on the frozen continent of Antarctica. Taking between four and six passengers at a time, the group sets out and paddles for a few hours before setting up bivies on the ice cap where they’ll sleep overnight. You can also take comfort in the fact that Antarctic safety guidelines ensure the ship isn’t too far away in case of emergency or inclement weather.

Walk in the jungle

A popular day excursion on Amazon cruises is a walk through the vast rainforest which surrounds the river. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, you’ll be able to discover species you may never have seen before, such as the pink dolphin, learn about medicinal plants and survival techniques, spot as many of the 1,500 bird species which inhabit the Amazon and be transported on skiff boats which will allow you to discover the wildlife of the river.


If you would like to book an expedition cruise, or to find out more, contact your Travel Counsellor

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