Once a rare option, expedition cruises are becoming a more common feature with increasing varieties of travel options.
There are increasing numbers of expedition ships being converted or built. Therefore the options for sailing are expanding - in variety and style and luxury and authenticity.
Voyages are now possible to experience the Northern Lights in the dramatic coastal lands of Northern Norway or Iceland, witness the rawness and secluded areas of Alaska and Canada, travel in search of Polar Bears to the remote archipelago of Svalbaard in the Arctic, explore the incredible Icescapes and Inuit settlements of Greenland, set foot on the last frozen frontier of Antarctica which accumulates 90% of the world's ice, sail to and explore parts of the delicate and extraordinary Galapagos islands, as well as the wonderful scenic lands of South America.
Adventure can be 'soft exploration' in superb new luxuriously appointed expedition vessels or 'extreme exploration' with more raw and functional vessels. Expert guidance is a key feature of these new forms of expedition cruise so you will have the chance to witness, experience, converse and learn - in many cases with de-briefs from the experts to highlight the best experiences of the day. And so long as you have suitable photographic equipment, you'll have the chance to take extraordinary photographs. Often expedition voyages will have photographic experts on board who will also help you up your photography game too.
Many of the newer ships are being built with the environment at the forefront of the design - for example Hurtigruten's new ships are designed as hybrid vessels with new streamlining to the hulls and advanced battery power to reduce CO2 emissions and minimize fuel consumption and noise - heralding a new generation of greener, cleaner ships. Hurtigruten are also campaigning for a ban on Heavy Fuel Oil and their ships use Special Distilate Marine with dramatic reductions in emissions of Sulphur, NOx and soot.
In fact, more than a third of all new ships being built (25 ships total) are being planned to use LNG as their primary propulsion fuel.
Increasing controls are being placed on the most sensitive marine environments with limits on the size of ships, number of ships, along with specific requirements for operations and compliance with the highest standards of marine conduct in order to protect the most sensitive environments. Ships use Marine Gas Oil in many regions to comply with Emission Control Areas and elsewhere required by regulation. Ships may also use Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil or Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel Oil in these regions, further reducing emissions
Indeed the cruise lines, having already led the way in maritime transport, are collectively further improving their approach to the health of the world's oceans, marine life and marine environments recognising that this is crucial to the industry and prized highly by cruise passengers.
Partnerships with The Nature Conservancy, UNICEF, the World Wide Fund for Nature, UNESCO, US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and others are developed by the cruise lines to ensure the health of the oceans and the communities visited. Removal of single-use plastic are being pursued by many cruise lines, and the whole cruise industry is committed to reducing fleet-wide CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 (vs 2008).
Specialists in exploration cruising include:
If you have a clear idea of where you would like to journey on an expedition voyage then get in contact and we can outline your options, and give you more information. If you're not sure where to go, but have an adventurous spirit then we can help you think about the possibilities. If you're thinking you'd like to keep your feet on the ground then still get in touch, as we have a variety of land based options too - including National Geographic Expeditions, Backroads Touring, G Adventures, and many other sources - so we can find something for you whether you like to explore in luxury or with a more raw experience..
We connect with the whole range of cruise lines and land tour providers. We can arrange phone or video appointments to suit you. Our phone (see below) is always on and so we can be reached throughout the week by Facebook or Twitter message, by phone, or by email.
Many of the more mainstream cruise lines also include incredible exploration itineraries - e.g. to Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and North Norway - and even in some cases Antarctica and Galapagos. Cruise lines such as:
For Alaska itineraries it's difficult to beat Holland America Line - with a strong track record of over 70 years of sailing in Alaska and a range of itineraries incliding the Inside Passage from Vancouver or Seattle, or the voyage between Seward (near Anchorage) and Vancouver. Holland America Line also obtain more passes to the incredible Glacier Bay (a sensitive location with powder blue water from glacial meltwaters, and voyages acompanied by the Glacier Bay Park Rangers). Highlights on an Alaskan cruise could also include visits to Juneau from where excursions can be taken for whale watching and to witness the Medenhall Glacier; a day in Skagway which saw the hopes and excitement of the Klondike Gold Rush, and Ketchikan - the (canned) salmon capital of the world, and from where you can gain access to the scenic Misty Fjords National Monument.
Holland America also provide a great range of Land & Sea combinations that we can give you all the details of - enabling you to experience the Denali National Park, or combine with scenic journeys by Rocky Mountaineer glass-topped trains in Canada.
Define your own Adventure:
Adventure travel can also be whatever you want it to be - if you have never been to, or explored an area then that can be your adventure! Whether it be the more extreme locations mentioned already or the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Norwegian Fjords, Thailand & Vietnam, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, the Mediterranean, Britain and Ireland, or the Canary Islands. The world is a wonderful place and there is so much to see – so we can help you make your adventure whatever you want it to be.
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