Get out into nature and experience the joys of the world on a life-affirming expedition cruise. Here’s our pick of six of the best cruises and the lines offering them.
A world first
There’s always an air of excitement when a cruise line announces a ‘world first’ and anticipation reached new heights earlier this year when Silversea revealed a bumper 167-day expedition world cruise on Silver Cloud, departing 30 January 2021, calling at 107 destinations in 30 countries. Guests will sail to some of Antarctica’s favoured destinations, before setting course for Chile’s Valparaiso via the Chilean Fjords. Silver Cloud will then visit Papeete, Tahiti, via Easter Island and the fabled Pitcairn Island, before voyaging towards Lautoka, Fiji. Other ports of call include Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Swoop Arctic is giving guests the chance to see little-known parts of Russia on two new cruises. The 22-day Russian High Arctic Island Explorer and the 26-day Russia’s Northern Shores cruises – departing 22 July 2020 and 22 August 2020, respectively – take in Novaya Zemlya, the rarely visited and largest Eurasian Arctic archipelago. The Northern Shores exploration – Nome to Tromso – sails on Silver Explorer and includes 25 landings to experience wildlife, while the Island Explorer – from Helsinki to Helsinki – sails on Sea Adventurer. Prices from £22,860pp.
Celebrity’s best yet
Those wanting to travel to the famed Galapagos Islands should look no further than Celebrity Cruises, which for its 2021 season will have not one but two first-class ships operating in the region. Celebrity Xpedition has been given a comprehensive makeover to freshen up interiors, while the 100-passenger Celebrity Flora – a brand new vessel designed specifically to sail in the Galapagos – joins the fleet in May 2019 and is poised to revolutionise cruising in the region. Prices for a seven-night Galapagos Outer Loop itinerary on Flora start from £6,510pp, departing 5 July 2020.
It’s a few years away, but in 2021, Hurtigruten’s MS Finnmarken will re-emerge as a brand-new premium expedition cruise ship, taking guests to handpicked destinations along the Norwegian coastline. A big development will be the introduction of a science centre on deck 4, allowing guests to immerse themselves in a destination and learn more about the surrounding area, culture and wildlife. A seven-day Classic Voyage North cruise – taking in the famous Norwegian fjords – comes in at £741pp, departing 20 November 2019 on the pre-refurbed MS Finnmarken.
Whale and bird watching
Lindblad Expeditions’ Baja California: A Remarkable Journey itinerary offers up some of the finest opportunities to see a host of whale species, beginning in the gray whale birthing lagoons on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. From here it’s on to the Sea of Cortez to search for a range of birds and plants and snorkel with sea lions, all ably supported by photography experts from National Geographic. Prices for the 16-day cruise – departing 15 March 2020 on board the new National Geographic Venture – start at approximately £9,000pp.
If clients are looking for exploration with an ethical and environmental focus, there are few better than G Adventures. The small-group adventure specialist has recently launched a selection of tailor-made tours in response to demand for personalised travel, putting guests in the driving seat. Its G Expedition cruises provide true immersion, taking guests to the heart of a destination, from the wildlife to the local culture and sights and sounds. Majestic lands await on G Adventures’ 13-day Antarctica Classic voyage, which takes guests to the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Prices from £5,199pp, departing 10 November 2020.