Expedition Cruises: A new trend in cruising

Travelwise

Expedition cruising is much like traditional cruising but with more emphasis placed on the experience ashore, excursions and ports of call — many of which are much more off-the-beaten-track than mainstream cruises. The focus is not about the ship’s creature comforts but very much about the destination, its nature and wildlife — and to experience this not just from the water but also on land.

Your experience takes place on small ships to remote parts of the world beyond the reach of roads — Alaska, Antarctica, Chili, the Falklands, Costa Rica, Panama, Iceland and Greenland, Galapagos Islands, Mediterranean, Europe, Arctic Islands, the Amazon and Norwegian Fjords, to name a few destinations for expedition cruises.

A small group is a must if you want to enjoy close encounters with the wild. You will have excellent opportunities to photograph, wildlife watch, snorkel or just enjoy the wilderness or destination of choice. You will be in the company of like-minded travelers who enjoy exploration and have a genuine interest in wildlife and beautiful scenery.

Accommodations can range from pure luxury with balcony suites to more moderate but comfortable staterooms. You will enjoy world-class cuisine as well as local flavors.

Every voyage is hosted by an expedition leader, joined by a curated expedition team of naturalists tailored to the region explored. Their support staff also includes science-oriented guest lecturers on board who give presentations on the politics, culture, history, geology, geography, biology, ecology or anthropology of their vessel’s destination.

Aboard an expedition vessel, the day-to-day scheduling and port stops are more fluid than in the daily programs on conventional ships. This permits the flexibility of changing course or altering plans on a dime to take advantage of weather, sea conditions, wildlife sightings or any other serendipitous occurrence.

Your small ship adventure will feature kayaks and zodiacs, along with helicopters to take you beyond the horizon and submarines to transport you beneath the surface where you will see things you never imagined or expected to see. Zodiacs are inflatable crafts instead of conventional tenders that take you to the shores. Once ashore, groups are often divided into smaller parties based on fitness level and interest, with the heartier travelers taking off on hikes of various degrees or long kayaking outings. Easier-going folks taking a leisurely, naturalist-led walk along a shoreline to look in tidepools or search for rare birds — again, depending on the destination.

Expedition cruising is also designed for the family where adventure guides will lead programming for adults and “junior adventurers” alike — creating memories of a lifetime.

Several years ago, a group of Warwick Travelers went on an expedition cruise in the Galapagos Islands. We flew to Guayaquil, a port city in Ecuador. The following morning, we flew to San Cristobal Island, where we were transferred by Zodiacs to board our small vessel, meet our naturalist guides and begin our Galapagos exploration cruise. This was quite an amazing adventure — one that I will always remember.

Expedition cruising is a taste of adventure and exploration like you’ve never experienced. The top three reasons to take an expedition cruise are almost equally divided among wildlife experience (68), adventure travel (68 percent) and cruise itinerary (66 percent).

From extreme polar regions to remote tropical isles, you will explore the world’s most intriguing destinations with extraordinary insight.

Let your inner explorer guide you in choosing the voyage that speaks to your own personal sense of adventure. Your travel advisor will guide you every step of the way.

About Nancy B. Alligood, CTC 19 Articles
Nancy B. Alligood, CTC is general manager/owner of Warwick Travel Service, Inc.and can be reached at 757-599-3011 or at n_alligood@warwicktravel.com.

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