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Choose Your Own Adventure: The Rising Trend of Luxury Expedition Cruising

By: Tully Luxury Travel
adventure • expedition • cruising

The Polar Arctic Northern Lights hunting aurora borealis sky star in Norway travel photographer Svalbard in Longyearbyen city the moon mountains

Bold travelers seeking active, adventurous itineraries in fascinating places need look no further than expedition cruising. Exploring some of the Earth’s most dramatic landscapes, this is your chance to check once-in-a-lifetime experiences off your bucket list.

Climb aboard a luxury expedition yacht and you will join an elite group of travelers fortunate enough to follow in the footsteps of history’s great explorers. Visiting remote communities who rarely encounter tourists, you will have the opportunity to see life as it is really lived on this planet, rather than as a series of stage-managed photo opportunities. Encounter, as well, some of the world’s most amazing wildlife in legendary destinations such as the Galapagos.

Small and intimate – with room from just 12 to 200 passengers – these new vessels are built for adventure, but offer all the creature comforts of home with a full range of amenities. Leave the ruggedness of your day spent hiking and exploring behind when you return to your ship and enter a world of exquisite food, top service, saunas, fine dining, solariums and, of course, luxurious suites. Unpack only once and have the world’s most beautiful and extraordinary destinations come to you.

Here are the latest luxury expedition cruise offerings.

1 | Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Expedition Cruising: Scenic Cruise Ship sailing near an iceberg

The new 114-suite Scenic Eclipse, the “World’s First Discovery Yacht,” is already sharing its six-star luxury with guests around the world. Onboard you will find

indoor and outdoor pools, a yoga and Pilates room, fitness area, spa and more than 10 dining options plus eight bars and lounges to keep you busy. Zodiacs, kayaks, e-bikes and other equipment is available, but it is the private helicopter and six-passenger submersible everyone is buzzing about. Choose from one of six new itineraries spanning 38 countries and offering visits to 68 new ports. Our Tully favorite? The High Arctic Explorer, a 15-day voyage that travels to the northern tip of Norway, through the country’s Svalbard Archipelago and magnificent fjords, waterfalls, mountains and sleepy fishing villages.

2 | Lindblad Expeditions

Expedition Cruising: Lindblad Cruiseship people in a zodiac in the ocean

Lindblad Expeditions’ new National Geographic Endurance is set to take on Antarctica and the Arctic. Featuring a revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW, its powerful wave-slicing action provides an extremely smooth ride in adverse conditions, even reducing spray on deck for superior observation. Intimate by design, the Endurance caters to a maximum of 126 guests in both cabins and suites. Nineteen-foot long expedition crafts and two loading stations make disembarkation as quick as possible. Remote-controlled vehicles, Cousteau-quality underwater cameras and hydrophones bring the world under the waves to life – and you will have access to a photographer certified by Lindbland and National Geographic to help you capture the best images possible. New for 2021 is the 24-day Exploring the Russian Arctic itinerary, taking intrepid travelers to Franz Josef Land, the sandy shores of Ostrov Isachenko and through the icy waters of the Kara Sea, navigable for only a few months of the year.

3 | Crystal Expedition Cruises

Expedition Cruising: Crystal Endeavor Ship in the Arctic

Marketed as the world’s largest megayacht, the 200 person-capacity Crystal Endeavor will offer 12 to 22-day itineraries falling into three different themes: Remote Expeditions, Cultural Discovery and Destination Exploration. A few of the Endeavor’s six-star amenities include a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center, a glass-enclosed solarium and the only casino on an expedition yacht. All-suite accommodations feature butler service and high-tech amenities. Two helicopters and a submarine provide breathtaking new perspectives of rugged coastlines, open sea and wildlife. With more than 60 itineraries in destinations ranging from Iceland to Panama, let your inner explorer seek out the voyage that speaks to your own sense of adventure. We suggest the Indonesian Immersive & The Great Barrier Reef, a 16-day exploration and cultural immersion, with highlights that include Komodo National Park and the Spice Islands.

4 | Silversea

Expedition Cruise: Galapagos Giant Tortoise and tourist woman on Santa Cruz Island Galapagos

Also set to launch soon is Silversea’s Silver Origin, designed specifically for cruising the Galapagos. The Origin promises the “height of experiential travel,” with the most personalized onshore adventures, a local Ecuadorian expedition team and authentic regional cuisine. Onboard, enjoy sweeping vistas from floor-to-ceiling windows, bathtubs with ocean views, and private balconies with outdoor showers. Every one of the 50 guest suites enjoys superb butlerservice, regardless of category. And a fitness center, beauty salon and spa mean you will always look and feel your best. With two alternating 7-day itineraries between Baltra and San Cristobal, guests will have endless experiences to take advantage of, including the opportunity to explore lava flows at Sullivan Bay, snorkel with whitetip reef sharks and take a Zodiac ride to Buccaneer’s Cove, which once provided refuge for pirates.

5 | Ponant

Expedition Cruising: Peter Island

The 135-stateroom Le Commandant Charcot from French company Ponant is scheduled to begin its departures in May 2021 with a focus on polar regions, including the Geographic North Pole. The vessel is the first hybrid-electric polar exploration icebreaker and promises to deliver “the cruise voyage of tomorrow.” Guests will appreciate that every lavish suite has a private balcony and has been designed to evoke the “feeling and sense of sailing on a private yacht.” Dining is superb gourmet French and international cuisine, but don’t worry if you overeat: Work it off later with a dip in the indoor swimming pool or a spell at the gym. We suggest the 16-day Expedition to Charcot & Peter I Islands, a roundtrip voyage from Ushuaia. Landing on Peter I Island allows for serious bragging rights: Fewer people have visited this small volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea than have set foot on the moon!

5 | Seabourn Cruise Line

Sea Lion of the Beagle Channel Ushuaia

Seabourn’s Venture is set to sail the Amazon and polar regions beginning in July 2021. The ship boasts a “private club atmosphere,” featuring 132 oceanfront suites kitted out with walk-in closets, furnished private verandas, a spa bath with a full tub and Molton Brown amenities. New on the scene is a built-in heated jacket wardrobe, meaning travelers going outside will be toasty from the get-go.

When it comes to daily excursions, the Venture is “equipped to explore,” with two custom-built six-person submarines, 24 Zodiacs, mountain bikes, e-bikes plus scuba and snorkeling gear for warmer destinations. Eight dining experiences are under the watchful eye of Michelin-starred Chef Thomas Keller. New itineraries include 25 immersive voyages, ranging from 7-22 days, everywhere from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Planned for March and April 2022 is a series of 7-12-day expedition voyages in the Amazon: Cruise guests will travel in Zodiacs along the Amazon River, visiting ancient sites and indigenous Amazon villages.

Now the question is… With all these alluring options, how do you choose? Our team of Travel Designers can help. Our firsthand knowledge empowers us to curate highly customized trips. The strong relationships we have built globally means that we can make things happen that others cannot. Let us meet and then far exceed your expectations.

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Myths, Marvels & Monuments: A Cultural Mosaic

January 17, 2022

117 Days

Crystal Serenity

Circumnavigate the globe from Miami or Los Angeles on an odyssey exploring New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Sri Lanka and India. Journey on to discover the sheikdom of Oman, the treasures of Istanbul and historic ports in the Black Sea. Navigate the Mediterranean and choose to disembark in Monte Carlo or enjoy an Atlantic crossing until you arrive full circle, enriched and enlightened. With Crystal, discover a world Where Luxury Is Personal™.

EXCLUSIVE FULL WORLD CRUISER EVENTS:

  • Welcome Celebration Receptions Aboard Crystal Serenity on the eve of departure (January 17) for Full World Cruisers joining in Miami, and for Full World Cruisers joining in Los Angeles (February 2)
  • Shoreside Gala Dinner Extravaganza for all Full World Cruisers in Sydney, Australia (February 28)
  • Shoreside Event for all Full World Cruisers (location to be announced at a later date) 

FULL WORLD CRUISE BENEFITS:

  • Two Complimentary private town car transfers between port city airport and the ship on day of embarkation/disembarkation in port city*
  • Exclusive Themed Onboard Events
  • Specially-Curated Gifts
  • Robust Enrichment Program; culinary experiences, celebrity entertainment and special festivities
  • Excess Luggage Reimbursement if applicable for Full World Cruise guests (up to $500 per guest)
  • NEWFree 2-Day Laundry*
  • NEW! Free Doctor Visits Onboard*