Maybe you’re an experienced luxury cruise traveler, or you’ve just always dreamed of exploring the world by ship. Regardless, expedition cruises are worth a gander. These unique opportunities marry the best of comfort, service amenities on board and a custom-designed expedition ship, with destinations that have often been explored by few.
What sets these expedition cruises apart from many is their ability to guide passengers deep into the heart of their destinations. The intimate, small-ship designs and the opportunity to explore on smaller Zodiacs and kayaks give vacationers the chance to truly create their own adventure where others may not go.
Whether it’s remote islands in Indonesia, the Inside Passage of Alaska, the hidden coves and beaches of the Hawaiian Islands or a journey down to the ice formations of Antarctica, these adventure cruises are sure to promise, well, an adventure.
Top Pick: Silversea
Perhaps one of the most reputable names in cruising, Silversea is a leader of some of the world’s most fascinating waterways. And whether you’re a luxury cruiser or an expedition cruiser, it’s nice to have a trusted name on the bow of the ship.
Silversea has been leading expedition cruises to the corners of the world for nearly a decade. From voyages that cross the Polar Circle or visit penguin colonies at the bottom of the world, to Central America jungles and Patagonia landscapes, it’s their passion to explore remarkable wildlife and the fascinating cultures of remote lands.
The expedition teams aboard the Silversea ships hold a wealth of knowledge and may range from naturalists and geologists to biologists and historians. On-board lectures and briefings by these experts will provide great insight for a richer experience of your destination.
A few of our favorite Silversea Expedition cruises include:
Chile to Argentina – This 11-day expedition takes guests from Valparaiso, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina. Learn of southern Chile’s native Mapuche, Spanish settlers and German immigrants. Photograph Chile’s spectacular Lake Region. See the wooden churches of Chiloe Island. Cruise the English Narrows in the Chilean Fjords. Cruise by Zodiac along the Garibaldi Glacier. And so much more.
Antarctica – When else could you see natural ice sculptures like enormous works of avant-garde art? Or frosted wilderness of glistening white for as far as the eye can see? Silversea’s expedition cruise to Antarctica give travelers the opportunity to observe seal sunbathing, marvel at calving glaciers and experience marine mammals up close. Cruises are available from Jan-March and Nov-Dec in 10-22 day durations.
Beaches of Normandy & British Isles – You’ll be amazed how much you can observe, learn, photograph and experience in a simple 10-day itinerary. This cruise takes you from Portsmouth, England to Glasgow, Scotland, with so much to see in between. Spend a day on the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, France. Walk through Guernsey, the Island of Flowers. Visit the legendary Mont Saint Michel. Join in on a scenic tour of Dublin. Enjoy several top ports within Scotland.
Arctic – Towering snow-capped mountains, glacier-filled bays, vast colonies of seabirds nesting among the coastal cliffs and walrus taking a snooze on the ice. These are just a few of the awe-inspiring sights you’ll witness on an Arctic Expedition Cruise. Oh, and who could forget the opportunity to see the most impressive of all creatures at the top of the world: the polar bear. Most Arctic cruises set sail to/from Norway or Iceland during the summer months of June, July and August.
Few companies can tout 50+ years of sharing the world with travelers the way Lindblad Expeditions can. The expedition style of cruising Lindblad offers, coupled with the amazing naturalists and other specialists they have on board, is sure to provide a life-changing experience for those who want to “get out there.”
Lindblad Expeditions has always been focused on finding creative ways to explore the places already “discovered.” Their fleet of small expedition ships, zodiacs, sea kayaks, underwater cameras and other specialized equipment allow Lindblad team members to better connect guests to the wonderment around them.
In 2004, Lindblad Expeditions developed a partnership with the National Geographic Society to create an innovative program to remote and pristine destinations around the globe. Lindblad’s ships became the platform for enhancing the expedition experience for guests by including National Geographic experts and photographers on board.
PIQUE Travel Design is thrilled to support Lindblad Expeditions in its unique approach to exploration and education. Many of our clients fall in love with their intimate ships (low guest counts), the insight of the experts on board and the fascinating world they show us that is truly out there to explore.
Some of our favorite Lindblad Expedition cruises include:
Baja Cruise with Whales, Wildlife & Wonder – This is no ordinary whale-watching cruise. From the comfort of an intimate 62-guest expedition cruise ship, you’ll experience genuine exploration in Mexico’s Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. You’ll get up close and personal with gray whales and dolphins, swim with sea lions and kayak the azure waters off the coast. Most adventures last 8-15 days.
Galapagos Islands – Truly a place you can go any time with abundant wildlife and unique experiences around every turn 365 days a year. Guests can choose between two intimate settings: the National Geographic Islander, with only 48 guests on board, or the Endeavor with 96 guests. These 10 or 16-day itineraries take into the heart of the Galapagos Archipelago – swimming with sea lions, snorkeling with turtles, witnessing rare bird life, and of course, spending time with the infamous Galapagos tortoises. Perfect for families, couples, groups and single travelers alike.
Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness – Alaska’s coastline is as beautiful as it is wild and there are few better ways to experience it than from the water. Brown bears forage along the shore. Eagles soar above. Whales breech off the bow. Glaciers calve tons of ice right before your eyes. Discover the fjords, islands and waters of Alaska as they teem with life and wonder.
The Upper Amazon – Join Lindblad as they journey to the headwaters of the mighty Amazon in the heart of Peru’s rain forest. Most of the days will be spent exploring the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Rare pink river dolphins swim the waters, red howler monkeys swing through the jungle canopy while more than 60% of the birds in Peru call this reserve home. Birders come prepared! Guests will have a chance to meet the native people and learn of their livelihoods in fishing, hunting and agriculture.
With yachts and yacht-style safari boats, Un-Cruise (previously known as American Safari Cruises) offers an upscale adventure cruise experience in an intimate, luxurious environment. Boat size alone means guests will chose itineraries that allow for up close experiences at every destination – whether that’s the Pacific Northwest, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Southeast Alaska or the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.
Un-Cruise strives to create a balance between exploration and relaxation. Their expedition cruises are a great choice whether you’re traveling solo, with a companion, as a family, or with a group sharing a common interest.
Some of our favorite Un-Cruise itineraries include:
Discoverers’ Glacier Country – This adventure cruise through Southeast Alaska takes guests through the largest national forest in the United States – Glacier Bay National Park (home to grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, bald eagles and wolves). View Alaska’s massive glaciers and enter some of the world’s deepest fjords to hike and kayak. Spend time exploring Chichagof Island, Baranof Island, Frederick Sound, Stephen’s Passage and much more.
Hawaiian Seascapes – This expedition cruise is an unparalleled way to experience the islands of Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, and the Big Island from a unique perspective. Once again, the small ships are able to take guests where others don’t even know to be possible – hidden coves, undiscovered coral gardens and remote beaches. This cruise also gives you several hands-on experiences with the Hawaiian culture (make a ti leaf lei, listen to Hawaii legends, enjoy a local luau, listen to authentic Hawaiian music and much more). Underwater lovers will appreciate the unique opportunity to do a night snorkel with the Giant Pacific Manta Rays off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Baja’s Bounty, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés – Marine life lovers are sure to be intrigued by the Sea of Cortés as this adventure cruise has guests spending hours in the company of pods of dolphins, whales, sea lions and so much more. Travelers will enjoy islands, coves and canyons at stops including Isla Espíritu Santo, Los Islotes, Isla San Francisco, Bahia Agua Verde, among others.