Expedition Cruising Basics

Expedition ships are smaller than average cruise ships and take less than 100 people onboard. Many of the ships are compact and the cabins rather small but they usually have toilets and showers en suite and large dining rooms to seat people together. The food is typically excellent and there should be a wine list to choose from.

The majority of the ships have an open bridge policy so you can watch the captain or first officer plotting the ship’s course or navigating between icebergs. Wildlife watching is an essential part of these cruises and there are usually large decks where you can watch the scenery and wildlife pass by.

Expedition Cruising - Beginners

If you’re not a hardy traveler you may be better off on a river cruise or canal boat trip. Alternatively take a shorter expedition cruise or one that is not so physically demanding. Expeditions that use a lot of Zodiac craft require more exertion as do those with onshore activities like hiking and trekking. However you can find cultural or historical expeditions cruises that are less physical.

If you’re worried about the cost of the trips, sign up on the cruise lines’ web sites for alerts about special sales and discounts. Many of these companies also provide detailed trip notes with contributions from passengers and staff.

Expedition Cruising - Advanced

Adventures to places in the Artic, Antarctica or remote areas will appeal to experienced expedition cruisers. These journeys often involve helicopters, zodiac landings on icebergs, polar camping, kayaking and even mountaineering.

There are also expeditions that require travelers to become part of the crew. These are usually specialized affairs and may require you to demonstrate your ability through the completion of courses or some qualification first. On these expeditions you will be required to keep watch as well as take part in a daily roster that revolves between navigation, cooking and cleaning.