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Expedition Cruises

Expedition Cruises

Nowadays an expedition cruise to the polar regions is an adventure on many ‘bucket-lists’, enjoying the same scenery and wildlife but without the hardships of yesteryear. A flight to a departure port leads to a ship specially designed for polar waters – one with all the features, facilities and food of the best cruise ships, and maybe top luxury surroundings with personal butler service.

We offer expedition cruises from the leading specialists with ice-classified ships calling at the best stopping points where travellers can go ashore on smaller boats to experience the adventures of a lifetime. In northern hemispheres maybe spot the elusive polar bear, in the Antarctic get close up to the many varieties of penguin, each time returning to the comforts of a modern cruise ship. In warmer climes visit some of the most exotic locations on the planet.

There is a wide range of expedition cruises available – a choice of length and itinerary, size of ship, and luxury style. Dormitory-type accommodation has been replaced by well-appointed cabins, former Russian research (spy) ships have been superceded by new build specialist polar-class ships, and the whole experience is now designed for the modern adventure traveller .

Cruise Collection 2022/ 2023/ 2024

Finding Cruises
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  • Explore the High Arctic & Iceland - cruise & land journey

    Scenic
    Scenic Eclipse
    Reykjavik, Iceland 20 Nights Reykjavík, Reykjavík > Borgarnes, Borgarnes > Golden Circle, Golden Circle > Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Kirkjubæjarklaustur > Blue Lagoon, Blue Lagoon > Reykjavík, Dynjandi (Fjallfoss), At sea , East Coast Fjords, Narsaq, Nuuk, Evighed Fjord, Ilulissat (Disko Bay), At Sea > Cruising Kangerlussuaq Fjord, Kangerlussuaq > Copenhagen, Copenhagen > UK
  • Amazon Expedition

    Amazon Nature Tours
    Tucano
    Rio Negro 6 Nights Cruise Only from £2425pp No Single Supplement on Selected Departures! Manaus (Brazil), Exploring the Rio Negro, Manaus
  • Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires

    Silversea
    Silver Cloud
    Rio de Janeiro 9 Nights Cruise Only from £2850pp Rio de Janeiro, Parati, Ilhabela, Portobelo, Montevideo, Buenos Aires
  • Puntarenas to Guayaquil

    Silversea
    Silver Wind
    Embera village 11 Nights Fly Cruise from £2950pp Puntarenas, Playa Panama, Playa Herradura, Golfo Dulce, Darién National Park, Utría National Park, Gorgona Island, Puerto Lopez, Machala, Guayaquil
  • Guayaquil to Valparaiso

    Silversea
    Silver Wind
    Guayaquil 11 Nights Cruise Only from £2950pp Guayaquil, Salaverry, Callao, Paracas, Arica, Antofagasta, Isla Pan de Azúcar, Coquimbo, Valparaiso
  • Essential Seychelles

    Ponant Luxury and Expedition
    Choice of Ships
    Praslin 8 Nights Cruise Only from £3232pp Early booking discount - save up to 25%! PLUS No Single Supplement on selected dates Mahe (Seychelles), Sainte Anne Marine National Park, Desroches Island, Curieuse Island, Aride Island, Grande Soeur, Praslin Island, La Digue, Mahe
  • Spitsbergen in Brief

    Quark Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Spitbergen 5 Nights Cruise Only from £3420pp Flexible booking policy - Ask for details! Longyearbyen (Svalbard), Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen
  • Britain's Islands and Coastlines

    Hurtigruten Expeditions
    Maud
    Iona Abbey 12 Nights No Fly Cruise from £3475pp Dover (England), Fishguard (Wales), Rathlin Island (Northern Ireland), Isle of Iona - Staffa (Scotland), St Kilda, Stornoway, Islay, Douglas (Isle of Man), Holyhead (Wales), Isles of Scilly (England), Dartmouth (England), Dover
  • Dakar to Rio de Janeiro

    Silversea
    Silver Cloud
    Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro 15 Nights Cruise Only from £3550pp Dakar, Praia, Santiago Island, Porto Novo, Santo Antão Island, Sao Filipe, Fogo Island, Natal, Salvador de Bahia, Porto Seguro, Abrolhos Islands, Rio de Janeiro
  • Islands and Wildlife of the British Isles

    Hurtigruten Expeditions
    Maud
    Iona Abbey 14 Nights Cruise Only from £3699pp Dover (England), Fishguard (Wales), Rathlin Island (Northern Ireland), Isle of Iona (Scotland) - Staffa, St Kilda, Stornoway, Fort William, Islay, Douglas (Isle of Man), Holyhead (Wales), Isles of Scilly (England), Fowey, Portland, Dover

About Expedition Cruises

Onboard Experience

Expedition cruises are accompanied by experienced teams of experts including biologists, geologists and historians. Expedition teams are on hand to share their advice and information to ensure you have the best experience and get the most out of your voyage.

Landings in remote areas are conducted by Zodiacs or Polarcirkels, which hold around 12 passengers and are used to take you closer to the shores and wildlife than the ship can reach. The ship’s captain will try to ensure landings take place in prime locations, for the best chance of spotting the local wildlife. Excursions are also available and, depending on the destination, include kayaking, hiking or snorkelling.

Destinations

The most popular destinations for expedition cruises are the polar regions of the Antarctic and the Arctic. Experience dramatic scenery dominated by snow and ice, and spot an abundance of wildlife including penguins in the Antarctic or polar bears in the Arctic. An expedition cruise through the North West Passage in Northern Canada is the ultimate adventure.

As more ships are being purpose-built for expedition cruising, cruise lines have expanded their adventure offerings. Warm water destinations include Costa Rica, the Amazon, Mexico, South America and the volcanic Galapagos Islands with their unique wildlife including blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas. Other less-visited regions include Australia’s Kimberley coast and South Pacific Islands including Papua New Guinea and Easter Island.

Sustainable Expedition Ships

The ship is a big factor when choosing the right expedition cruise and expedition ships are continuing to be more environmentally friendly and also more innovative.

Aurora Expeditions is committed to travelling respectfully. The ships have a revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW, reducing vibrations and making quicker transits through waves, which helps to reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%. The onboard desalination plant converts seawater to freshwater which is safe to drink, so they carry less freshwater on sea crossings, further reducing fuel consumption. Virtual anchoring allows the ships to hold their position, protecting the sea floor and minimising damage caused by conventional anchors. Onboard, many single-use plastics have been replaced by suitable alternatives, and they are aiming to eliminate them altogether.

Quark Expeditions aims to reduce carbon emissions per passenger by 10% through fleet improvements and aims to reuse or recycle 100% of waste on Quark Expeditions-owned vessels. Quark Expeditions has taken steps to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills, including avoiding single-use plastics and partnering in the SeaGreen recycling initiative in Ushuaia.

Silver Origin, launching in the Galapagos in 2020, will be the most environmentally friendly ship in Silversea’s fleet, designed to minimise the carbon footprint left in this National Park area. Silver Origin will also be plastic-free.

Ponant’s latest fleet of ships set a new standard of luxury expedition cruising. They are the first ships to have a multi-sensory lounge, ‘Blue Eye’, ideal for viewing the underwater world from the comfort of the ship. There is also a marina for easy access for kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling. Le Commandant-Charcot, Ponant’s revolutionary new ice-breaker ship, has been specially designed for polar regions and features hybrid propulsion to minimise its environmental impact.

Hurtigruten’s newest expedition ships are the first of a greener and more advanced fleet. They will sail with electric hybrid technology which will reduce fuel consumption by 20%. They can run on 100% electric power for up to 30 minutes, which means you can experience the surroundings in near-total silence. Hurtigruten have also banned single-use plastic.

Scenic Eclipse, built in 2019, is Scenic’s first expedition cruise ship. It provides luxury accommodation whilst still offering unique experiences. Scenic Eclipse features an on board helicopter and submarine. The highly-efficient engines are designed to reduce emissions whilst the Azipod propulsion system ensures the lowest noise and vibration levels to ensure minimal disturbance to marine life. GPS dynamic positioning systems allow the vessel to remain stationary in fragile environments where the use of anchors would damage the seabed.

More about Antarctic Expedition Cruises

More about Arctic Expedition Cruises

Scenic Eclipse Galapagos Islands Hurtigruten's Fridtjof Nansen Penguins in Antarctica Greenland Ponant's Blue Eye Lounge