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A gentle introduction to luxury expedition cruising...

Cruise Advice

Regular readers will know that we're big fans of expedition cruising, but equally we recognise that many of our clients are not interested in this style of travel, or are unable to enjoy it due to mobility issues.

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…

1. Crystal Endeavor - Côte d'Azur, Catalonia & Andalusia Discovery

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.

Crystal Endeavor in Hafnarholmi, Iceland

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.

Saint-Tropez harbour, France

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.

Scenic Eclipse in Roatán, Honduras

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.

Faraglioni cliffs, Capri

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 Venture in Antarctica

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.

Hassan II mosque, Casablanca, Morocco

4. Silver Wind - The Secret Caribbean

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.

Silversea - Silver Wind in the Caribbean

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.

Pink sand beach in Barbuda
Meet the author

Tom is a former Marketing Manager at Mundy Cruising

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