Blue Water Holidays
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
Experts in River and Small Ship Cruising Holidays since 2002
01756 706500 +44 1756 706500
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
01756 706500
+44 1756 706500
Expedition Cruises

Expedition Cruises

An expedition cruise is an exhilarating and awe-inspiring experience. Travel in the wake of famous explorers, come face-to-face with the world’s most fascinating cultures and see wildlife in their natural habitats.

Expedition cruising takes you to some of the most remote parts of the world, only accessible by small, purpose-built ships. The focus of an expedition cruise is to explore the surroundings, giving a taste of adventure with the emphasis on learning.

Cruise Collection 2020 / 2021 / 2022

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.


The most popular destinations for expedition cruises are the polar regions of Antarctica 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. The volcanic Galapagos Islands expedition cruises are also popular, and the area is home to Blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas. An expedition cruise across the Northwest Passage is for the ultimate explorers as the ship navigates extreme conditions.

As more ships are being purpose-built for expedition cruising, cruise lines are ever increasing the repertoire of destinations offered. Warm water destinations include Costa Rica, the Amazon, Mexico and South America. Other less-common regions explored by expedition cruise ships include Russia and Franz Josef Land, Kimberley - off the coast of Australia and the 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.

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