This is a great shame, as we are currently in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of the expedition sector, not least in the burgeoning 'luxury expedition' bracket. However, just because you don't fancy pursuing penguins in Antarctica or snorkelling with iguanas in the Galapagos, doesn't mean you can't experience life on board one of these shiny new ships.
As they reposition from pole to pole, many expedition vessels spend a few weeks in more conventional cruise destinations, travelling at a more leisurely pace and following more familiar itineraries. These cruises offer you the opportunity to try out the latest luxury expedition ships without committing to a 'true' expedition, and represent a growing trend for ships that straddle both classic and expedition cruising. Here are a few that have caught our eye…
Crystal Endeavor made her debut earlier this summer in Iceland, combining Crystal's award-winning onboard hospitality with high-tech toys including two helicopters and a submarine. Endeavor carries just 200 guests, with the most space per person of any cruise ship at sea, expedition or otherwise, and an amazing 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio. Regular Crystal guests will find many of their favourite venues on board, including the peerless Umi Uma restaurant.
If you want to experience all of this without packing your thermals, take a look at Endeavor's 23 April 2023 voyage from Nice to Seville, visiting Mediterranean harbours and glamorous yacht havens.
2. Scenic Eclipse - Sorrentine Peninsula & Adriatic
Scenic Eclipse is Scenic's first 'discovery yacht', transporting 228 lucky guests in a sleek and contemporary style. The ship carries two helicopters and a submersible, and also features an incredible 10 dining experiences spread across 7 venues. This is a ship that looks equally at home in an icy Arctic fjord or a glitzy harbour on the French Riviera, and there are plenty of options if you want to cruise on Scenic Eclipse in the Med.
We particularly like the look of the 30 April 2023 sailing from Rome to Venice, which includes an overnight hotel stay in the Eternal City followed by a 10-night cruise.
3. Seabourn Venture - Western Europe Waterways
Seabourn's first dedicated expedition ship, the 264-guest Seabourn Venture, launches in April 2022, and features lavish interiors, spectacular split-level suites and expedition toys including double sea kayaks, mountain bikes and e-bikes.
Seabourn have ensured that there is ample deck space and several cosy lounges to observe your surroundings, which you will have plenty of time to enjoy on the 30 April 2023 repositioning voyage from Cape Verde to London. Highlights of this 12-night itinerary include Gran Canaria, Casablanca and Lisbon.
Silversea's 274-guest Silver Wind will emerge from drydock later this year with a newly ice-strengthened hull, allowing her to offer both classic and expedition voyages.
Her inaugural season as an expedition ship sees her heading down to Antarctica for the winter, but if that sounds a little chilly then you may prefer to join the 25 April 2022 sailing from Barbados to Fort Lauderdale. This voyage perfectly encapsulates her new luxury/expedition hybrid style: you can choose to go kayaking amongst the mangroves, hiking through rainforest and snorkelling with sea turtles, or simply enjoy relaxing on quiet, unspoilt beaches on some of the Caribbean's lesser known islands.