For those interested in nature and wildlife, who prefer small ship cruising and pursuits such as hiking and kayaking, expedition and adventure cruising fits the bill.
Expedition cruises are ideal for those who have cruised before but are looking for something different, or for first-timers hankering for a taste of adventure. You can sail to the wildest of far-flung places such as the Arctic and the rare wilderness of Antarctica – surely the ultimate adventure destination. The Galapagos too, the cluster of islands where animals have no instinctive fear of humans, is on many a wish list. “Expedition cruises are perfect for reaching off-the-beaten-track destinations,” said Simone Clark, managing director Iglu Cruise, adding, “The Amazon, Arctic, Antarctica, Galapagos and the Sea of Cortez are all popular.”
These voyages are very different from traditional cruises with their multiple dining experiences and Broadway-type shows. Expedition cruising is all about exploration; you might travel ashore by inflatable Zodiac, while evening entertainment could be a talk from a guest lecturer or destination specialist, perhaps on the destination’s flora and fauna or geology. Andy Harmer, director, Clia UK & Ireland, said: “There are cruise options out there that appeal to all, including the growing breed of intrepid travellers. Cruise lines offer a great choice of immersive-style excursions such as hiking in Alaska or seeing wildlife up close on a Zodiac tour.”
Silversea’s Silver Cloud will soon be part of the line’s luxury expedition fleet. Destined mainly for polar waters, the ship will be converted into an ice-class ship during extensive refurbishment in 2017. Spacious suites – 80% have verandas – and five dining options mean that whale watching or following the antics of cavorting penguins has never been so comfortable.
Russian shipAkvile Marozaite, Silversea regional sales manager expeditions, UK & Ireland, said: “Expedition cruising has opened up destinations that are only accessible by sea, attracting both new and seasoned cruisers looking for an authentic travel experience. We are delighted to introduce Silver Cloud to our expedition fleet in response to increased demand for expedition voyages.”
The 260-guest ship will also sail on itineraries to non-polar regions augmented by a fleet of 18 Zodiac crafts for up-close explorations. On the ship’s 10-day expedition to Ushuaia departing December 1, 2017, guests will traverse the Drake Passage – a must for any explorer. Guests should have binoculars and cameras ready, as sailing closer to the Antarctic Peninsula means the chance of seeing seals basking on ice floes, orca whales and macaroni penguins with their extraordinary, flamboyant head feathers.