For the last few weeks, I have been telling you about Premium and Luxury Cruising. Now we are going to explore a very different type of cruising: Expedition Cruising.
What is an Expedition Cruise? While traditional cruising focuses on Entertainment, Relaxation and Culinary Delights, Expedition Cruises will focus on Nature, History and Culture of the destinations. They will go to more remote areas of the world and have a greater attention to On-Shore experiences.
Expedition ships are normally a smaller ship. They have less of a draft, which allows them to get closer to shore and to go places that larger ships cannot. The number of passengers will vary with most being less than 500 passengers, and some as few as 50 passengers. On these ships you won’t find casinos, water slides, nightclubs or large theatrical shows. But you will find guest lectures and mingling in the bar talking to fellow passengers about the day’s adventures. Some Expedition ships will even have Helicopters and Submarines that are used to further enhance the adventures.
What do you do each day? Days will be filled with adventures. Daily activities are led by the Expedition Team Leader. You won’t find a Cruise Director leading a team of entertainers. Instead, the Expedition Team Leader will lead their Team to lead the excursions. On the ship, they provide things to help you have an adventurous day. These things are Kayaks, Paddleboard, Snorkel Gear and Scuba Gear.
Be prepared, most things you do on an Expedition Cruise will require a certain degree of physical fitness. You will be climbing in and our of small boats and kayaks, You could be hiking through snow or ice. You will need the stamina to truly enjoy these cruises.
Where do Expedition Cruises Go? These ships go to places that are not easy to reach. You can go to Galapagos Island and witness some of the most astounding wildlife. Or maybe you would rather go somewhere cold. They travel to places like Antarctica and the Artic Circle. These will require special ships that can cut through ice and are specially equipped to handle the cold. Another cold spot is Alaska. You can visit islands and places that aren’t reachable any other way than a small ship. Additional places include the Amazon River or remote parts of Australia or New Guinea.
Are the ships Environmentally Friendly? Yes! The cruise lines that go into these pristine places are very friendly to the environment. Many of these areas require adherence to strict environmental codes to keep their licenses to go into these areas. The ships are designed to have as little impact as possible. One cruise line even developed two new ships for Antarctica sailing have Hybrid Electric engines so that when they get closer to shore, the ship switches over to Electric Batteries.
Do you have to bring you own gear and equipment? Usually, this question is asked when going to the Arctic Circle and Antarctica. In those instances you will want to bring warmer clothes with you, like jeans, long sleeve shirts and sweaters. For Parkas, Waterproof boots or Wetsuits, most ships have these available for rent or free use. Some will even have ones for you as part of the cruise rate. Also, the ships will have equipment including kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkel and scuba gear for your use.
What do I need to do to plan a cruise on an Expedition Cruise? These are bucket-list type cruises, so it does take planning to go on one. Usually, it will require a flight to a location that is close to the final destination. You might also have to save up some money as part of your planning. Expedition Cruises run about $3000 to $5000 per person, depending upon the cabin type you select. If you want the Luxury Expedition ships, the prices will run form $7000 to $30,000 per person
Other considerations Expedition cruising is not for everyone. These are for the very active, who are used to exerting themselves and are comfortable with fitness. If your idea of the perfect cruise is laying on the deck, reading a book and having drinks brought to you all day, then I can suggest other cruises that you would enjoy more. Also, you might not have a place to stop and go shopping for your entire trip. Most of the places you are stopping will only have wildlife living there. Be prepared to be away from civilization for 10 to 21 days while you are on an Expedition Cruise. If these things haven’t put you into a cold sweat, then you might be a good candidate for an Expedition Cruise. Give me a call or drop me a line, and I can help you plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip.