As the world shrinks and far-flung locales become more accessible, remote, bucket-list destinations are easier to reach and explore than ever before. Expedition cruising once meant “roughing it,” voyaging on scientific research vessels with a bare minimum of comfort. But today, you can travel to exotic places like the Galapagos, Patagonia, Antarctica, Greenland, Russia’s Far East and obscure islands in cushy comfort, “soft adventure” style. These voyages don’t come cheap, but if you’d like to plan a big adventure without sacrificing comfort try one of these 5 expedition cruises, easily bookable through Travelocity.
The Celebrity Flora was custom-built specifically for Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, a rare move for a cruise line whose sole focus isn’t expedition cruising. The 100-passenger, all-suite, eco-friendly vessel debuted in May 2019, and features 15% less fuel consumption, anchor-less technology to position the ship without disturbing the ocean floor and its salt-to-fresh-water conversion system means less impact on islands famous for giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies and some species found nowhere else on earth. Floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere offer expansive views of nature, and the deck even features a star-gazing platform. Two penthouse suites, considered the biggest in the Galapagos at 1,288 square feet each, have spacious balconies of over 300 square feet (plus in-cabin telescopes). Year-round, seven-night voyages depart from Baltra Island, the standard arrival point in the archipelago located near its center, and sail either the Northern or Southern Loop.
The Crystal endeavor is a 200-passenger all-suite, all-veranda yacht with a sushi and Japanese-Peruvian restaurant from Nobu Matsuhisa, a 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio and the only casino on an expedition vessel. The first voyage for this Crystal Cruises ship will be a 17-night voyage to the Russian Far East in August 2020. Departing from Tokyo, it will cruise the Japanese coast, Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk and Zhupanova River with stops in Korsakov, Tyuleniy and islands like Yankicha. Also in 2020, a 16-night cruise to Indonesia and the Great Barrier Reef departing from Bali (Benoa), with stops in the Raja Ampat, Komodo and Sumbawa Islands, plus Cairns and Lizard Island in Australia. Meanwhile, an Australia-only 14-night cruise departs from Cairns, with stops in Sydney and Lizard, Fraser and Coral Sea Islands. Three Antarctica voyages in 2021 depart either from Ushuaia, Argentina (11-night and 15-night cruises), or from Christchurch, New Zealand for a 22-night voyage that ends in Hobart, Tasmania. Also coming soon is a rare Arctic, Russia and Norway cruise of the so-called Northeast Passage featuring a 28-night voyage departing from Anadyr, Russia with stops in Murmansk, the Arctic’s biggest city, and the world’s last uncharted islands, ending in Tromso, Norway.
The ultra-luxury Seabourn cruise line is renowned for its superb service, scholars, adventurers and experts that join every ship, a restaurant whose menu is from Thomas Keller, chef-owner of The French Laundry in Napa and Per Se in New York, and complimentary premium wines and spirits. The 458-passenger, all-oceanfront-suite Seabourn Quest sails from Patagonia to Antarctica, starting November 2019 (since seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere). A 21-night voyage that sails the Chilean Fjords, Strait of Magellan, El Brujo Glacier and Beagle Channel, with stops in Puerto Montt, Castro in the Chiloe islands and Punta Arenas (all in Chile), Ushuaia and the Falkland Islands (both in Argentina) and the tip of Antarctica departs from San Antonio, Chile (near Santiago, the capital). A longer cruise to the region (42 nights) adds stops in Brazil, like Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Recife and an Amazon voyage, plus Uruguay (Montevideo and Punta del Este). “Caviar on Ice” will linger in your memory: Sip Champagne on ice, surrounded on all sides by icebergs.
Alaska’s Inside Passage cruise embarks in summer and late spring, with a variety of itineraries on a 458-passenger all-suite ship. A 12-night cruise departs Vancouver with stops in Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau and Wrangell, cruising Tracy or Endicott Arm and Misty Fjords; a 14-night voyage departs from Seward, Alaska and adds Haines to that route. A 20-night voyage, “Alaska and America’s Gold Coast” adds California and more of British Columbia, with extra stops in Prince Rupert, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Seattle, departing from Vancouver and arriving in Los Angeles.
A Celebrity Cruises ship that’s sailed the Galapagos since 2004, this 100-passenger vessel of both staterooms and suites introduced greatly-enhanced amenities for its suites in August 2019. All new features include verandahs, personal attendants, sparkling wine, daily hors d’oeuvres, in-room dining, a pillow menu and free binoculars and rain poncho. The Xpedition sails these islands year-round, seven days a week.
Ready to set sail? You can easily book any of these cruises and check for deals directly through Travelocity.
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